Tysons, VA

A temporary statewide moratorium on eviction proceedings will remain in effect from this week through Sept. 7, according to a Virginia Supreme Court Order.

The move comes amid an ongoing Congressional stalemate over the next economic relief package.

In a statement on Monday (Aug. 10) Gov. Ralph Northam said the decision is necessary to ensure all Virginians maintain “safe, stable housing” as the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic continues. He hopes to work with the Commonwealth’s General Assembly this month to craft more permanent legislative protections for homeowners and tenants.

So far, the state has pumped $50 million via the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) specifically for households facing eviction or foreclosure due to the pandemic. A number of county-based resources to navigate the issue are also available online.

The end of the federal moratorium on evictions, which expired last month, and the lapse of the $600 weekly boost to unemployment benefits, has left many renters in peril.

Roughly 27 percent of adults in the country missed their rent or mortgage payment in July, according to a nationwide survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. Roughly 34 percent of renters said they were unsure how they would make their August payments.

Given this economic backdrop, do you think Northam should further extend the temporary ban on eviction proceedings? Let us know in the comments below. Also, we’d love to hear from readers on their experiences with paying rent and mortgages and their interactions with landlords.

Photo by Tierra Mallorca/Unsplash

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A trio of Fairfax County Board Supervisors has pushed for the establishment of the Affordable Housing Preservation Task Force.

The task force was created through a board matter during a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ meeting on July 28. Chairman Jeff McKay and supervisors John Foust, Dalia Palchik, who represent the Dranesville and Providence districts, noted that the task force is essential in order to preserve affordable housing, especially as older multifamily rental and mobile home communities are threatened by demolition or redevelopment.

“These trends are slowly eroding the county’s market affordable housing stock and forcing families and individuals out of the communities where they work,” the board matter states.

The move comes as the county continues discussions on ways to improve its affordable housing and workforce dwelling unit policies. In 2016, the board calls for the development of a housing strategic plan that offers guidance on how to strengthen and preserve affordable housing.

According to an analysis by the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech, there are 9,500 housing units in Fairfax County that are considered market affordable and target households earning 60 percent of the area median income and below.

The county is aiming to ensure that no market affordable housing units in the county are lost — a recommendation provided by the board-created Affordable Housing Resources Panel.

The board matter calls on the task force to develop a comprehensive preservation plan. The task force will provide recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on the following issues by the end of the first quarter of 2021:

  • “Definitions for the types of preservation that can occur in communities;
  • typology of properties at risk and characteristics to guide prioritizing properties or
  • neighborhoods in need of action sooner; and
  • a comprehensive set of preservation strategies that includes recommended policies and
  • tools to achieve the county goal of no net loss of affordability.”

“The way to ensure no net loss is through clear articulation of preservation strategies,” the board matter states.

The task force will include a variety of stakeholders, including the private sector, county officers and local planners.

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Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust is joining an effort by Fairfax County officials to help people avoid evictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Foust teamed up with Chairman Jeff McKay and Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck on a board matter to address rent relief options. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the proposal yesterday (Tuesday).

“As we continue to address the impact of COVID-19 and the associated impact on employment in our community, low and moderate income families in particular are increasingly at risk of falling behind on rent and mortgages, and eventually eviction and even homelessness,” the board matter says.

County staff must now develop a Housing Partnership Pledge by working with landlords and lenders. The county officials want to see them offer to defer foreclosures and evictions, along with providing extra time for tenants to pay rent.

Fairfax County is looking at Chicago’s pledge as a guide, according to the board matter.

Along with the pledge, the county is directing the Department of Housing and Community Development to develop new guidelines for emergency rental assistance so that landlords must work “in good faith” to keep their tenants housed in exchange for the county helping tenants’ make payments.

Under the new guidelines, landlords receiving the assistance would have to notify the county before taking legal action against the tenants.

“In addition, we should explore asking landlords receiving emergency rental assistance to waive late fees dating to April 1,” the board matter says.

Additionally, the Redevelopment and Housing Authority is now asked to look into more opportunities to provide emergency rental assistance.

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After several months of delays, plans to redevelop the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church property in the Falls Church area may go before Fairfax County planners in the spring.

Developer Toll Mid-Atlantic LP Company is seeking permission to redevelop 10 acres of the property at the intersection of Leesburg Pike and Idylwood Road into a residential neighborhood.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission’s public hearing for the project has been postponed several times this year since the application was first submitted in April.

“The St. Paul’s Lutheran Church SPA public hearing and concurrent Toll Brothers rezoning public hearing were moved since the applicant has yet to resubmit plans to the County for review,” Senior Planner Kelly Posusney told Tysons Reporter.

The Planning Commission is now scheduled to consider the application in the spring — if the plans are resubmitted to the county, Planning Commission staff told Tysons Reporter.

Posusney said that the resubmitted plans are now tentatively expected in January.

“If they fail to resubmit in January, the public hearings would most likely need to be moved again,” Posusney said. “The project has only completed our pre-staffing review, which is the initial review by staff. They never submitted plans for a staffing review, and that is why they need to resubmit.”

Image via Google Maps

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Almost three years after The Boro broke ground, the Rise and Bolden buildings in Meridian Group’s 1.7 million-square-foot development are now leasing.

The two luxury apartment buildings are set to open later this summer, according to a press release from Meridian Group.

The 32-stories-tall Rise has more than 400 apartments, while Bolden, which will sit atop the Whole Foods Market, offers 133 “boutique residences,” according to the press release.

Both Rise and Bolden include a fitness center, yoga studio, an entertainment kitchen and club and a pool with a lounging area. They share an elevated outdoor sky park with a theater and bar area, fire pits and lounges, according to the press release.

The apartments appear to start at $2,400 for ones with one bedroom and one bathroom.

Meridian teamed up with McLean-based management company KETTLER ahead of the pre-leasing announcement.

Images courtesy Meridian Group 

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The sprawling Boro development that hopes to become the new beating heart of Tysons could be getting a little larger.

The Meridian Group — developers of The Boro — are planning to submit designs this summer for a recently acquired property across Westpark Drive at 8333 Greensboro Drive, according to the Washington Business Journal.

The Business Journal reported that the new development would likely be a mix of residential types including townhouses, apartments, for-sale condos, and a high-rise senior living component.

Senior living has been particularly hard to come by in Tysons, especially with The Mather facing some difficulty in the approval process.

Image via Google Maps

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The Town of Vienna is no stranger to landing on lists for prime spots to live.

For the second year in a row, Vienna nabbed the #1 spot for “The Best Places to Live in Virginia” list by HomeSnacks, which uses data from the Census, FBI, OpenStreetMaps and other sources to rank areas around the country.

HomeSnacks analyzed 62 places around the state and determined that Vienna’s low unemployment rate, “very stable household median incomes” and low crime rate made it stand out.

HomeSnacks used several criteria to evaluate its national “Best Places to Live” list this year, including high population density, low unemployment rates, median income adjusted for the cost of living, low housing vacancy rate, high expenditures per student, low student-teacher ratios and low crime.

So what do you think? Which of the following criteria do you think makes Vienna so desirable?

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(Updated 10 a.m.) There’s no shortage of luxury housing coming into Tysons, but what about affordable housing?

According to Brian Worthy, a spokesman for Fairfax County, the limited number of affordable units in Tysons are near max occupancy. But with new mid- and high-rise developments required to devote a portion of the new units to affordable housing, Worthy said there are more units on the way:

As of May 15, 2019, there are approximately 536 rental Affordable and Workforce Dwelling Units (ADUs and WDUs) that have been constructed in Tysons. The average occupancy rate is 94 percent.

Currently, there are approximately 3,919 rental ADUs and WDUs that have been committed by developers through Board of Supervisors approved rezoning actions. We don’t currently track the total number of these units that have been proposed as part of unapproved developments in Tysons, but to date, the major, approved rezonings have all committed to provide affordable or workforce dwelling units.

Worthy noted that ADUs serve households with incomes of 50-70 percent of Area Median Income (AMI). Fairfax County documents show that range as $38,600-$54,050 for single-family households, increasing proportionally to the size of the household.

Tysons’ WDUs serve incomes ranging from 60-120 percent of AMI, reflecting the higher cost of living in Tysons as compared to the rest of Fairfax. The WDU program is designed to help working households find housing close to employment centers and transportation options.

Creating housing affordable to locals at all ranges of the income spectrum has been a countywide problem. According to the FY 2020 Fairfax County budget, a total of 3,016 affordable units — privately-owned homes that are not bound by rent restrictions — have been preserved in Fairfax County between 2004 and 2018, but the county fell 82 units short of its affordable housing goals for last year.

The county projects a growth of 62,184 households over the next 15 years, of which 18,622 are expected to earn 80 percent of AMI and below.

Chart via Fairfax County Government

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The showroom’s closet full of prop Gucci and Saks Fifth Avenue bags says just about everything you need to know about The Monarch — Tyson’s new mega-rich condominium building under construction.

Yesterday (Wednesday), developer Renaissance held a project launch celebration inside their ninth-floor office in the Ritz-Carlton (1650 Tysons Blvd) overlooking the site.

The office also doubles as a fully furnished model residence. Renaissance staff guided prospective residents through lavish bedrooms and kitchens, noting amenities like a direct-access elevator that opens right into the living room and white-glove lobby attendants who can carry groceries for residents.

The building offers a kind of opulence unfathomable to anyone making less than $100,000 a year. Units in The Monarch range from $600,000 to just over $3 million.

Kami Kraft, the vice president of The Mayhood Company, which is marketing the project, said the types of employment in Tysons and the proximity to Tysons Galleria were indicative to a need in the area for new luxury condominiums.

The building is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in late 2020.

The project is part of the Arbor Row development, a 19-acre stretch of mixed-use buildings along Westpark Drive. The first building of the project, the residential Nouvelle, was completed in 2015 and the next phase, the senior living facility The Mather, is going to the Fairfax County Planning Commission tonight.

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If you’re looking for a place to house your servants, watchman and tenant farmers, there’s good news — Fairfax is in the middle of a process to simplify its complex and humorously outdated zoning code.

At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Development Process Committee meeting yesterday (May 14), the committee reviewed a series of proposed changes to modernize the zoning code — a process dubbed zMOD.

During the meeting, a consultant working on the modernization said Fairfax County’s zoning wasn’t the most labyrinthine he’d seen, but it was close.

Much of the process involves consolidating a wide array of residential classifications — like dormitories, fraternity/sorority houses, rooming/boarding houses, etc. — into a single use, like “residence hall.” Servants quarters and housing for tenant farmers in Fairfax are now grouped together as “caretaker quarters.”

But the regulations also add new zoning uses to the code as well, like electric vehicle charging or solar collection systems.

At the meeting, staff said part of the new zoning would include extensive modifications to accessory dwelling unit (ADU) zoning. These are dwelling units designed as separate from the primary residence.

Currently, all ADUs require a special use permit, but under the new regulations, an administrative approval could be obtained if the unit is located entirely within the main residence — like a basement separate from the main house.

The zMOD process is scheduled to be presented as a consolidated draft to the Board of Supervisors in July. Work is expected to continue on the zMOD process throughout 2019 with public hearings on the final draft in spring and summer 2020.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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