Newsletter

Fairfax County’s plan to build more sidewalk on Chesterbrook Road was received warmly by the McLean residents who joined a virtual community meeting last Wednesday (Nov. 17).

The Chesterbrook Road Walkway project will add about 3,200 feet of concrete sidewalk with curb and gutter on the south side of the street — also known as Route 689 — from Maddux Lane to 41st Street on the Arlington County border.

The new sidewalk will extend a recently completed segment between Maddux and Kirby Road to create a continuous pedestrian facility on the narrow but heavily used road lined with single-family houses.

“In my exercising, I walk along this stretch of highway several times a week, and I’m well aware of the problems and the need for this sidewalk,” 35-year McLean resident Rich Cohen said.

Designed as a country road, Chesterbrook has evolved into a key route for commuters between McLean and Arlington. Plans to redevelop downtown McLean could further widen the gap between the needs of area residents and drivers.

The existing road design presents a number of obstacles, including the limited shoulder width, drainage issues, and utilities and landscaping that need to be relocated or cleared, Fairfax County Department of Transportation project manager Mark VanZandt noted.

While no major modifications are proposed, the roadway will need to be slightly widened in three spots to accommodate off-tracking vehicles. More pavement will be added, but the travel lanes will actually go from 12 feet wide to 11 feet, according to consultant Adam Welschenbach.

“This is to ensure that vehicles stay in their lane and do not drive over pedestrians,” he said.

Currently in the preliminary stages of the design process, the sidewalk itself will be 5 feet wide with a roughly half-foot buffer between the pavement and the curb.

The project will add eight ADA-compliant curb ramps, with crosswalks at Forest Lane and Brookside Road. Those locations were chosen because of their proximity to a lot of houses, Fairfax County engineer Masoud Hajatzadeh said.

FCDOT anticipates that the project will require temporary grading easements from 23 properties. The county also plans to modify and reconstruct 14 driveway entrances to accommodate the new sidewalk.

The Chesterbrook Road Walkway project will involve reconstructing several residential driveway entrances (via FCDOT)

Staff have not done a tree inventory yet, but VanZandt acknowledged that some clearing is inevitable, given the nature of the project, and the county won’t have the right-of-way needed to replant the trees.

“We do compensate homeowners for tree loss when the tree is on their property during land acquisition process,” VanZandt said. “I know the removal of a tree, it’s difficult to replace.” Read More

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Morning Notes

Lorton Pharmacy Gave Adult-Sized COVID-19 Vaccine Dose to Kids — The Fairfax County Health Department advises families whose children got the vaccine between Nov. 2 and 10 from the KC Pharmacy in Lorton to monitor for side effects and talk to a health care provider. The pharmacy is under investigation by the Virginia Board of Pharmacy and has been removed from the state and federal vaccination programs. [FCHD]

Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against FCPS Proceeds — A federal appeals court ruled in favor of a girl who filed a Title IX lawsuit against Fairfax County Public Schools over its handling of sexual harassment and rape allegations from when she was a student at Rachel Carson Middle School from October 2011 until February 2012. The lawsuit is one of two facing FCPS, which also has three outstanding federal investigations. [Inside NoVA]

NoVA Public Health Officials Urge Caution During Holidays — “Although Northern Virginia localities have some of the highest vaccination rates in the state, there is still substantial transmission of COVID-19 in the community, and we must remain vigilant to protect those who are not eligible for vaccination and those at higher risk for serious illness.” [VDH]

Public Meeting on McLean Sidewalk Project Tonight — “The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) will hold a virtual community meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, at 7 p.m., to present updates on the Chesterbrook Road Walkway Project from Maddux Lane to North 41st Street. The project is intended to provide a continuous pedestrian facility along the south side of the roadway from Maddux Lane to 41st Street.” [FCDOT]

Local Restaurants Generate Heat — “Tysons restaurants, Wren and Leila were recently featured in ‘The 16 Hottest New Restaurants Around D.C.,’ according to @Eater_DC. Both restaurants offer a variety of eclectic cuisine and specialty cocktails, perfect for any occasion.” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

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Fairfax County is designing restoration plans for an eroded stretch of Little Pimmit Run from Franklin Park Road to just upstream of Kirby Road in McLean.

The $9.23 million project will address 7,100 feet of degraded stream channel in addition to about 1,250 feet of tributaries, which will be restored so that they tie into the main channel of Little Pimmit Run.

“The water has a lot of energy and it’s causing a lot of erosion,” project manager Fred Wilkins said during a recent meeting.

According to Wilkins, the project aims to slow the speed of the water, which will protect infrastructure and area vegetation. It will also restore the ecology of the stream and the surrounding area, while preventing sediment and pollutants from flowing from Little Pimmit Run into the Chesapeake Bay.

Identified in 2019, other problems caused by the ongoing erosion include undercut banks and compromised trees, the county’s project page says.

Wilkins says another goal of the project is to protect infrastructure.

“There are multiple locations where we have sanitary pipes that cross the stream bed, and in some cases, the water can move debris that can damage the sanitary crossings, as shown during the 2019 storm, which caused emergency repairs to be needed,” he said.

Last but not least, the project manager said the county aims “to give the community something to enjoy.”

The project will unfold in two phases, starting with a stretch of stream from Franklin Park Road to Chesterbrook Road that runs parallel to Solitaire Lane. The second phase picks up north of Chesterbrook Road and goes away the way to Kirby Road.

Right now, county officials are deliberating the future alignment of the channel. Once one is chosen, concept designs should be ready to be submitted this September 2021. A community meeting is slated for November.

There will not be a construction timeline until the designs are completed.

The project straddles private property and county property, and will require coordination between the county and property owners, Wilkins said.

People in the area can expect to see flagging and survey markers over the next several months, according to the county’s project website.

“Survey markers do not necessarily mean that the marked tree will be removed,” the website said.

This restoration work joins another stream restoration project along the channel between Forest Lane and North Albemarle Street, along with a sewer realignment project, emergency wastewater stabilization, and a Fairfax County Department of Transportation sidewalk project, Wilkins said.

The project is being funded through the county Stormwater Service District.

Images via Fairfax County

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McLean’s Chesterbrook Shopping Center has changed hands for the first time since the early 1980s.

After managing the property for almost two decades, Federal Realty Investment Trust has now acquired the 89,625 square-foot shopping center at 6244 Old Dominion Drive for $32.1 million, the real estate brokerage firm KLNB announced on Friday (May 7).

The entire transaction took less than four months to complete, according to a press release from KLNB, which represented the previous owner, Chesterbrook One LLC.

“Chesterbrook Center is well positioned for significant growth and perfectly aligns with our Northern Virginia strategy,” Barry Carty, Federal Realty’s senior vice president of East Coast acquisitions, said. “We were thrilled to work with KLNB on this sale and look forward to building on the previous owners’ decades of work to grow Chesterbrook into a destination center for the community.”

According to KLNB, the Chesterbrook Shopping Center had been owned by the same family since the early 1980s and has been anchored by Safeway since 1965.

Other tenants include Starbucks, Walgreens, Bank of America, BB&T Bank, Mylo’s Grill, New Star Asian Bistro, and the dog daycare and boarding facility Playful Pack, which officially opened yesterday (Monday).

Federal Realty has served as the center’s operations and leasing manager since 2002, which will allow for a “seamless transition” in ownership, Federal Realty Corporate Communications Manager Brenda Pomar says.

“With its close proximity to Tysons, Arlington and Washington D.C. along with the impactful amount of daily vehicular traffic on Old Dominion and the strong demographics surrounding the property, Federal is excited to explore opportunities for Chesterbrook,” Pomar said.

Old Dominion Drive gets about 18,000 vehicles per day, according to KLNB.

Federal Realty’s leasing brochure for Chesterbrook states that 137,751 people live within a three-mile radius of the shopping center, and the area’s median household income is $172,080.

The plans for the property going forward are not yet clear, but Federal Realty Vice President of Asset Management Deirdre Johnson says the acquisition supports the property manager’s overall strategy for Virginia, which is fueled by the area’s “strong job growth, desirable demographics, high barriers to entry, and business-friendly climate.”

Federal Realty’s other Tysons-area properties include Tysons Station, Pike 7 Plaza, and the Pan Am Shopping Center on Nutley Street in Vienna, along with Falls Plaza, Graham Park Plaza, and Idylwood Plaza in Falls Church.

Federal Realty sold a portion of Graham Park Plaza last year to the developer EYA, which is replacing the vacant retail space with townhouses. The company is also rebranding Falls Plaza as Birch & Broad as part of a renovation project that’s expected to finish later this year.

“Chesterbrook presents many opportunities to create a unique and special community destination,” Johnson said. “We are currently exploring options and look forward to announcing future plans.”

Photo courtesy KLNB

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After nearly half of a century, The Treasure Shop in McLean has announced its closing date is Tuesday, June 30.

For patrons interested in browsing one last time, the store is hosting a final sidewalk sale out front on Thursday and Friday (June 25-26) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

The boutique and consignment shop made the decision to close after 49 years of business because of the COVID-19 setbacks and increasing operational costs, according to a statement from the store. 

The shop will be following recommended protocols to protect patrons during their final sale, including maintaining social distancing, requiring masks and allowing no more than three individuals in the store at a time.

“A lot of people really love the treasure shop. I would say it’s going to be missed,” said Amiee Freeman, the spokesperson for the Navy Marine Coast Guard Residence Foundation, which owns The Treasure Shop. “It’s kind of the end of an era.”

The Treasure Shop has been a major part of McLean and the Vinson Hall Retirement Community for decades. The store said the decision to close “was not made lightly,” and many members of the community are saddened by the closing. 

“I am truly sad to hear this,” one person wrote on the store’s Facebook page. “The Treasure Shop has been such a unique and beloved place to me for many years, both to shop and to consign. I am really sorry to see you go.”

“So sorry to hear this. I love your shop. It always has wonderful items from all over the world,” another person wrote.

The Treasure Shop originally opened in 1971 in Vinson Hall as a way of selling unneeded items to military personnel as well as raising funds to assist residents, according to the Vinson Hall Retirement Community website. From there, the store grew into a widely-known consignment shop where people could find unique and interesting items.

The store moved into the Chesterbrook Shopping Center in 2009 due to the need for more space and parking. 

The shop credits its success to the volunteers, consignors and donors who helped support the establishment over its 49-year run.

Photo courtesy of Amiee Freeman 

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A fire that broke out in a McLean house earlier this week caused the death of the family’s dog and displaced five residents.

The firefighters responded to the fire, which started in the basement of a house in the 6800 block of Old Chesterbrook Road, on Wednesday (Dec. 18) morning. The fire had spread to other floors. By around 12:30 p.m., firefighters had the blaze extinguished.

“A family dog was located in the basement but unfortunately did not survive,” Fairfax County Fire and Rescue said in an update today (Friday).

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“No occupants were home at the time of the fire,” the fire department said. “The fire was discovered by a neighbor who called 9-1-1 and then flagged down a Fairfax County Police Officer.”

The human occupants and firefighters were uninjured.

“Five occupants were displaced because of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered but declined,” the fire department said. “Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $100,000.”

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(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Firefighters extinguished a house fire along Old Chesterbrook Road in McLean.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue tweeted about the fire in the 6800 block of Old Chesterbrook Road at 10:51 a.m. The fire department tweeted at 11:09 a.m. that firefighters located the fire in the basement.

“Firefighters working to extinguish the fire in walls and between floors,” the fire department tweeted shortly after 11:30 a.m.

The occupants are safe and didn’t receive any injuries, the fire department said.

Fire investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire, which firefighters were able to extinguish shortly before 12:30 p.m.

Map via Google Maps 

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Tonight, locals can find out more information about the status of the project to bring new sidewalks to Chesterbrook Road in McLean.

The work plans to stretch along the road from Chesterford Way to Maddux Lane.

“The project will include a new 5-foot wide sidewalk, curb and gutter along the south side of Chesterbrook Road, with storm sewer and water utility infrastructure improvements,” according to Fairfax County.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust and the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) will hold the meeting tonight at Chesterbrook Elementary School (1753 Kirby Road) at 7 p.m.

The project is the latest of nearby sidewalk improvements in McLean.

Map via Google Maps

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Construction on improvements to Kirby Road south of Chesterbrook Elementary School is slated to start in September.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation gave residents an update yesterday (Wednesday) on the sidewalks project spanning from Birch Road to Corliss Court along Kirby Road.

Latesa Turner, an FCDOT engineer, gave a presentation to a small group of people at Chesterbrook Elementary School (1753 Kirby Road) last night shortly after 7 p.m.

The project would add the following new elements to Kirby Road:

  • a 5-6-foot wide concrete sidewalk and ADA-accessible curb ramps
  • concrete curb and gutter
  • drainage inlets and pipes
  • driveway entrances
  • pedestrian crossing and median refuge at Powhatan Street
  • re-alignment of Chesterfield Avenue intersection
  • water main reconstruction and upgrades
  • road pavement and striping

The first phase of the project, which will last between three to four months, will involve closing the westbound lane of Kirby Road to construct the water line relocation, according to the presentation. Drivers can expect traffic maintained in both directions during the lane closure.

Then, the second phase will involve closing the westbound lane of Kirby Road for drainage and utility work, along with work on the curb ramps, driveway entrances, sidewalk and gutter. The second phase is expected to last five to six months, according to the presentation.

The contractor will come out within the next week for clearing and tree removal. Then, construction will start in September. The first phase is slated to be done around December and most of the work will be completed by February. All of the work is slated to be finished by April 2020.

Once finished, Turner said that the Virginia Department of Transportation will maintain the sidewalks.

When asked why it took two years for the project to start construction, Turner said that many steps had to take place after the idea was approved including finalizing the plans, receiving VDOT approval, permitting and bidding for the project after the land acquisition in late 2017.

Despite some grumblings among attendees about waiting for the improvements, many expressed support for the upcoming work.

“I’m really glad you’re doing this,” one attendee told Turner toward the end of the meeting.

Image 4 via Fairfax County

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Two McLean and one Falls Church public schools are recent recipients of a statewide education award.

Five schools statewide earned the 2019 Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence, according to a press release from Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).

The local schools to receive the award include:

  • Chesterbrook Elementary School (1753 Kirby Road)
  • Cooper Middle School (977 Balls Hill Road)
  • Longfellow Middle School (2000 Westmoreland Street)

One other FCPS school — Carson Middle School in Herndon — received the award. The fifth school was Jamestown Elementary School in Arlington.

“The schools and school divisions that have earned these awards are not only the highest-performing schools in our Commonwealth, but are among the best schools in the nation,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a press release.

The Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence is the highest recognition in the Virginia Index of Performance awards for advanced learning and achievement, according to the press release.

Image via Google Maps

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