Newsletter

Morning Notes

McLean Woman Accused of Stalking Apple CEO — “Apple has filed for a restraining order against a woman who allegedly stalked the tech giant’s CEO Tim Cook, showed up at his house at least twice and sent him threatening photos of guns and bullets, according court filings in Santa Clara… Choi allegedly drove cross-country from McLean, Virginia, to Cook’s house in Palo Alto – which she visited at least twice on Oct. 22, 2021, according to the documents.” [Fox Business, Daily Mail]

Capital One Center Part of Corporate Urbanization Trend — Major companies across the U.S. are turning their suburban headquarters into mini cities, with Capital One’s growing 24-acre campus in Tysons as one example. Executives say the trend reflects competition for workers as well as public and private investment aimed at making suburbs denser and less car-dependent. [The New York Times]

Former McLean High Students Climb Africa’s Tallest Mountain — “After a grueling six-hour hike from their camp in the middle of the night in early January, McLean High School graduates Rebecca Berkson and Katie Herold were treated to a magnificent vista: the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro at sunrise.” [Sun Gazette]

County Completes “Winter Warming” Project — Fairfax County’s senior center staff finished a project this month to collect hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, and socks for adults and children in need. The donation drive kicked off in October and ultimately distributed 1,404 items to local nonprofits Cornerstones, Homestretch, and Shelter House. [Neighborhood and Community Services]

Funds Sought for Great Falls Traffic Control — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution yesterday (Tuesday) asking that the U.S. Park Police include $100,000 in its next budget request to address traffic from Great Falls National Park. The funds would cover overtime costs for officers working the Georgetown Pike and Old Dominion Drive intersection. [Patch]

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Morning Notes

Storm Brings Power Outages, Hail to Fairfax County — Thunderstorms swept through Fairfax County last night (Wednesday), resulting in reports of damaging winds and even hail “that toppled trees and wires.” As of midnight, Dominion Energy’s outage map showed thousands of people in the county without power, particularly around McLean. [Capital Weather Gang]

Farmer’s Market Nonprofit Awarded State GrantFRESHFARM will get a $50,000 grant from the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund to establish new fresh food mobile markets in food-insecure areas of Northern Virginia. The nonprofit operates several farmer’s markets in Fairfax County, including the ones at the Mosaic District and The Boro. [Patch]

More Traffic Control Sought for Great Falls Park — “Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA) officials are seeking to have the federal government provide $100,000 in permanent, annual funding for U.S. Park Police to control traffic at Old Dominion Drive and Georgetown Pike outside the park’s entrance when park usage is especially heavy…Traffic congestion outside the park routinely occurs on weekends, holidays and fee-free days from March through early November, GFCA leaders said.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Madison HS Student Brings Books and Bikes to Tanzania — James Madison High School rising junior Sophia Brown organized a bicycle drive at the Vienna school in May and collected dozens of donated books to bring to Tanzania for a Girl Scout project. Sophia traveled to the East African country this summer with support from the nonprofit Wheels to Africa, which she has worked with since she was in second grade. [FCPS]

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Morning Notes

Man Dies in Great Falls Car Crash — A man identified as Salvadro Alvarez Perez, 24, of Maryland died Saturday night (May 29) after hitting a fence and mailbox and flipping over in a crash that occurred at 10:53 p.m. near the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Old Dominion Drive. Detectives believe alcohol may be a factor in the crash but are continuing to investigate whether speed was a factor as well. [FCPD]

Linway Terrace Closed for Stormwater Pipe Replacement — Starting at 8 a.m. today, Linway Terrace between Birch Road and Kirby Road (Route 695) in McLean will be closed to through traffic, weather permitting, until 5 p.m. on June 11 to replace a stormwater pipe. Except for people who need to access properties along Linway Terrace, traffic will not be able to go beyond just west of Bryan Branch Road in either direction. [VDOT]

Madeira School Expansion Approved by Planning Commission — “The Madeira School on May 26 received the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s unanimous support for its special-exception application to add a new science building, more housing and modernized equestrian facilities.” [Sun Gazette]

Idylwood House Fire Caused by Lightning Strike — A house fire that occurred in the 7700 block of Virginia Lane at approximately 8:40 p.m. last Wednesday (May 26) was caused by a lightning strike that hit the home’s exterior. There were no injuries, but the fire displaced two people and produced approximately $42,500 in damages. It was one of two house fires ignited by lightning that night. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

I-66 Lane Closures Coming to Vienna Area — “Overnight lane closures and traffic stoppages on I-66 East and West approaching Vaden Drive in Vienna are scheduled to occur Tuesday, June 1, through Saturday, June 5, for installation of beams for the new Express Lanes access ramps at Vaden Drive…Drivers should expect delays if traveling in this area and should consider using alternate routes.” [VDOT]

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The Shepherd’s Center that serves Oakton, Vienna, Reston, and Herndon is no more.

The local nonprofit organization, which provides services to older adults, has merged with an affiliate in Great Falls to form the Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia (SCNOVA), the new organization’s interim executive director, Jayne Young, announced on Feb. 15.

Young says the Oakton/Vienna/Reston/Herndon Shepherd’s Center and Shepherd’s Center of Great Falls started exploring options to improve their reach and efficiency several months ago, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced nonprofits to reevaluate how they deliver services.

“Certainly, the pandemic has challenged us to find new ways of tackling most anything you can think of,” Young said in a letter. “For our Shepherd’s Center, that included taking a look at the way we meet our mission so we ensure that we continue delivering impactful services as efficiently as possible.”

The merger will give clients from the smaller Great Falls center access to more services, while combining the resources and volunteer networks of the two organizations, which are both affiliates of the Shepherd’s Centers of America.

Young says all Great Falls volunteers and clients will be transferred to SCNOVA, which will operate out of the existing Oakton/Vienna/Reston/Herndon facility at 541 Marshall Road in Vienna. Free transportation services will also still be provided to seniors in Great Falls.

The full transition is expected to be completed on Sunday (Feb. 28).

Founded in 1997, the Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna expanded to include the Reston and Herndon areas in 2019.

The nonprofit assists adults 55 and older with free transportation to medical and therapy appointments, food pick-up and delivery, minor home repairs, and health counseling and referrals. It also offers educational classes, luncheons, caregiver support groups, and other community programs.

“We are excited to begin 2021 with such good news!” Young said in her letter. “Working together, we hope to provide even better and more impactful services to seniors in Northern Virginia.”

Image via Google Maps

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While one battle continues in the courtroom, a new front has opened up in the McLean area’s protracted war against Newport Academy, a for-profit rehabilitation program for teenagers and their families.

Newport Academy recently leased two properties on Plantation Drive in Great Falls that it plans to turn into residential facilities for teens with depression, anxiety, trauma, and other mental health issues, according to a letter from the company’s legal representatives to Fairfax County Zoning Administrator Leslie Johnson.

Sent on Oct. 8, the letter asks Fairfax County to affirm that the proposed use would constitute a group residential facility and, therefore, would be a by-right use, meaning it would not need to go through the county’s zoning approval process.

“The physical characteristics of the Property are ideal for such a group home,” the letter says, highlighting the property’s distance from adjacent sites, one of which has no residents. “The Property also boasts beautiful outdoor space, including both a covered and uncovered deck, and significant grounds.”

In the letter, McGuireWoods attorney Sean Murphy and Relman Colfax partner Michael Allen state that the property in question – a 10,390 square-foot home located at 11740 Plantation Drive – “contains ample space for parking,” including a garage and circular driveway, and “presents no problems for parking or local traffic.”

The law firm also sent a separate request for a use determination on the property at 11901 Plantation Drive, which would be used for the same purpose.

Newport Academy’s potential new neighbors disagree with its characterization of the two properties.

The residents who own the six other properties on Plantation Drive, which is just north of Route 7, wrote their own letter to Johnson on Nov. 3 asking the county’s zoning administration division to deny Newport Academy’s requests.

The residents argue that Newport Academy’s proposal would violate the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance because its patients could count as transient occupants instead of residents, and because it would exceed the eight-person limit for group homes if the two leased properties are combined into a single facility.

The residents also say Plantation Drive is an “inappropriate” location for Newport Academy’s proposed facility, which would have adverse impacts on traffic and pedestrian safety.

“The proposed use presents substantial and untenable risks of harm from significant additional traffic, including large trucks, on the single lane driveway,” the residents stated. “This driveway is used by pedestrians, including children walking to and from their bus stop. There have been numerous incidents involving vehicles on the driveway in recent years.”

Newport Academy previously attracted residents’ ire when it sought to open two rehabilitation facilities along Davidson Road and on Kurtz Road in McLean.

Johnson determined in May 2019 that, since it would consist of three adjacent properties, the proposed Davidson Road facility would constitute a congregate living facility, which is not a by-right use.

Johnson found that the Kurtz Road site, on the other hand, would qualify as a group residential facility. The county board of zoning appeals ultimately upheld her decision on Mar. 11, leading residents from the surrounding neighborhood to file a lawsuit that is still waiting to be heard in Fairfax County Circuit Court.

“Due to the ongoing legal process regarding our home on Kurtz Road, we cannot comment on the matter,” Newport Healthcare Senior Director of Communications Kristen Hayes said when asked about the lawsuit.

Newport Academy has been operating a residential treatment program for adolescent girls at 1318 Kurtz Road in McLean since Mar. 22.

Plantation Drive resident Norman Chirite believes similarities to the situation with Davidson Road suggest that he and his neighbors have sufficient grounds to oppose Newport Academy’s request.

He will present their case to the Great Falls Citizens Association during its land use and zoning committee meeting tonight (Tuesday).

“I think what they’re doing is pretty problematic,” Chirite said. “It’s like they didn’t get what they wanted in McLean so they just moved down the road, and you know, we’re going to fight back a little bit.”

Unlike the Davidson Road properties, though, the houses on Plantation Drive have already been used as group residential facilities. They previously belonged to Sagebrush Treatment Center, which operated treatment programs for adult men recovering from substance abuse.

Newport Academy says that its plans for the property will be less intensive than how it has been used for the past three years.

The company says that the services it plans to provide through the facilities on Plantation Drive will be “a key resource,” especially as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates mental health issues for many people.

“Many teens lack access to quality treatment for mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and trauma, or face long waiting lists for programs,” Hayes said. “…We look forward to expanding in this area to provide these much-needed mental health treatment services for teens.”

Photo via Google Maps

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Luxury for Less: August 21

Welcome to Luxury For Less, a weekly column highlighting the best deals in luxury real estate. Written by Brandy Schantz of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury For Less offers tips and tricks navigating the competitive real estate market and securing the home of your dreams. To learn more, visit ttrsir.com.

It’s been quite a busy year but the market finally appears to be slowing just a bit.

Teachers are hard at work getting ready for the school year to begin and Fairfax County schools will officially start back next week. This means that sellers are getting serious before the holiday season is upon us and the market slows to a crawl. This week’s featured home is a wow home for sure. Who needs to leave home when you have a 5,000 bottle wine cellar, a gym, a bar, a recreation room and a backyard to die for.

This home in Great Falls is a stunner and is now reduced in price by nearly a half million dollars. Enjoy peace and tranquility next to your koi pond and truly get away from the hustle and bustle.

9110 Dara Lane Great Falls (Reduced $450,000)

Check out the rest of this week’s Luxury for Less listings:

The properties listed are a small selection of properties available in the Tyson’s Corner area. For a full list of properties listed on MLS and private exclusives, please contact Brandy Schantz.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

You may walk by Wine Outlet everyday when you’re on Church Street and assume the prices are outrageous, so you never go in. However, each store located at 114 Church Street NW Vienna1137 Walker Road Great Falls, and 6727 Curran Street McLean, you’ll find a small, friendly wine and beer store that features reasonably priced wines, cheese, breads, desserts and a small selection of meats paired nicely with a friendly staff!

I didn’t know they have a cheese counter or that on Friday’s and Saturday’s they have fresh baked goods delivered.

Here’s some more useful info:

  • Wines as cheap as $6 per bottle
  • Beer on tap
  • A large selection of USA Wines, along with imported bottles as well
  • Great selection of craft beers
  • Tastings: Friday from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday 1-4 p.m.
  • Free delivery within 5 miles, or delivery outside of 5 miles for a small fee
  • They make gift baskets
  • They will price match!
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McLean, like nearby Great Falls and Wolf Trap, are all still in the Top 50 for Bloomberg’s 2019 Richest Places ranking, but the elite suburban communities took a dip in this year’s rankings.

McLean’s average household income is $283,992, a slight increase over 2016’s $280,225 and 2015’s $268,997, which was what the 2018 rankings were based on.

But that wasn’t enough to keep the locality from falling five spots in this year’s ranking. It was surpassed by newcomers like Rumson, a wealthy corner of Monmouth County in New Jersey.

Great Falls ranked higher than McLean, at number 16 in the rankings. It too took a hit, falling from a lofty 14th place with its $309,599 average household income.

Wolf Trap, currently ranked 42nd, fell three places. The neighborhood’s average household income is $251,610.

Overall, Fairfax County was ranked second in U.S. News & World Report’s richest counties, with a median household income of $117,515, between Loudoun County in first place and Howard County, Maryland in third place.

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A Great Falls man has been arrested and charged in yesterday’s robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank near the Old Brogue Irish Pub.

Police throughout Fairfax County were told to be on the lookout for the suspect after he demanded and received money from a teller and then demanded the keys to her SUV. Police officers, sheriff’s deputies, detectives, SWAT team members and two police helicopters helped in the search for the suspect, who was later arrested and identified as 60-year-old Christopher Lapp.

More from Fairfax County Police:

BANK ROBBERY: 750 Walker Road (Wells Fargo Bank), 11/13/18, 11:39a.m. A man entered the bank carrying a handgun and handed the teller a note and a bag, demanding money.  After the teller gave the suspect money, he walked out of the bank and followed another customer to her car and told her to give him the keys to her SUV.   She gave him the keys and the man then drove away towards the back of the shopping center.  Her abandoned car was recovered nearby a short time later.  Witnesses described the suspect as approximately, 5’07” and wearing a beige mask, black baseball cap, sunglasses, a beige jacket, and dark pants with two blue or purple stripes down the sides. Many entities responded to assist in the search to include our SWAT Team, robbery detectives, patrol officers, Fairfax County and U.S. Park Police helicopters, and Fairfax County Sheriff Deputies.  60-year-old Christopher Warren Lapp, of Great Falls, was found in the area matching the description and was ultimately charged with armed robbery, carjacking, and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in connection with the robbery.  He was transported to the Adult Detention Center and held without bond.

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Update on 11/14/18: A suspect has been arrested and charged in the bank robbery.

(Updated at 4:40 p.m.) Fairfax County Police are looking for a man who robbed a Wells Fargo Bank in Great Falls today.

The robbery was reported around noon at the Wells Fargo at 750 Walker Road, near the Old Brogue Irish Pub.

The suspect reportedly made off with cash and is now on the run after fleeing in a car. He was described by police as “5’6″-5’8″, possibly wearing glasses, black baseball hat, beige jacket, and possibly armed.”

Map via Google Maps

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