Vienna Restaurant Requires Vaccinations to Eat Indoors — The Latin American restaurant Blend 111 announced on Friday (July 30) that, effective immediately, indoor dining will be limited to people who are fully vaccinated with unvaccinated people still free to eat outside. Patrons are asked to confirm their vaccination status when reserving an indoor table, but at some point, proof may be required. [Blend 111]
Police Arrest Spa Worker for Sexual Battery — “On July 29, 2021, officers with the Vienna Police Department executed a search warrant at the Green Spa located at 111 Church St. NW. Concurrent with the search warrant, officers arrested Hongsub Song, a/k/a ‘Greg’ for the sexual battery of a female client and for performing unlicensed massage. Mr. Song was held at the Fairfax County adult detention center without bond.” [Vienna Police]
Kennedy Daughter Wins Court Case over McLean Urn — “The daughter of Robert F. Kennedy has won a federal legal battle to claim a six-foot-high urn planter from the front yard of ‘Hickory Hill,’ the family’s former home in McLean, Va., after a judge ruled that an agreement made in 2010 by the estate’s new owner to relinquish it was binding, even though he made it under the mistaken belief that the urn was a family heirloom.” [The Washington Post]
Inova Proposes Adding Behavioral Health Capacity — “Inova Health System filed a letter of intent with the Commonwealth of Virginia last week to build 20 additional inpatient behavioral health beds at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital…If approved, the completed project will increase behavioral health capacity at IMVH to 50 beds, a 67 percent increase over the current capacity.” [Inside NoVA]
Vienna Firefighters Participate in Cancer Study — “Several VVFD firefighters, along with other volunteer firefighters from @ffxfirerescue, are taking part in the National Firefighter Cancer Cohort Study and had their first blood draw this morning…Our participation will play a small part to determine risk factors & develop cancer prevention & risk reduction strategies.” [Vienna Volunteer Fire Department/Twitter]
Almost 7,000 people in Fairfax County still have no electricity after a thunderstorm took out trees and wires late last night (Wednesday).
According to PowerOutage.US, 6,920 Dominion Energy customers in the county are experiencing a power outage as of 9:10 a.m. Dominion’s outage map shows that, while there are scattered outages farther south, the vast majority of those without power are in McLean and Falls Church.
Crews are working on and investigating many of the reported outages. The estimated time of restoration is noon to 5 p.m. for those in the Langley and Scott’s Run area and 6-11 p.m. for the many outages in McLean southeast of Route 123 and West Falls Church.
“Our plan includes all resources engaged w/ over 50 bucket trucks,” Dominion spokesperson Peggy Fox said on Twitter. “Stay away from downed lines — assume energized.”
Storm Damage Power Outage Update:
9009 customers out—down from 27,000.
Estimated Restoration Times from 5 PM to 8 PM tonight.
Our plan includes all resources engaged w/ over 50 bucket trucks.
Stay away from downed lines—assume energized. pic.twitter.com/ZN0puAt0eb
— Peggy Fox (@PeggyDomEnergy) July 29, 2021
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department warns that people should stay away from any downed wires. Fallen trees can be reported to 9-1-1 if it is a life-threatening situation or the Virginia Department of Transportation if they are impeding roads, though removal of trees on private property is the owner’s responsibility.
According to the National Weather Service, more storms are expected to hit the D.C. area this afternoon and evening, with the possibility of flash flooding and even a tornado.
Showers and thunderstorms are expected this afternoon and evening. Some of the storms may be severe with damaging wind gusts. An isolated tornado is also possible. Isolated instances of flash flooding may also occur due to heavy rain. For the latest: https://t.co/5RyZgoXicj pic.twitter.com/XOB2L8cDTM
— NWS Baltimore-Washington (@NWS_BaltWash) July 29, 2021
Plastic Bag Tax Public Hearing Scheduled — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors authorized a public hearing for 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 to gather community input on a proposed five-cent tax on disposable plastic bags. If the ordinance is approved, Fairfax County would be the second locality in Virginia to adopt a bag tax. [Fairfax County Government]
Tysons Partnership Funding Approved — The Board of Supervisors approved $250,000 in Economic Opportunity Reserve funds for the Tysons Partnership, which will use the money to support branding efforts, install a mural on the former Container Store property, and position itself for long-term financial health. The board nominated the organization for up to $1 million in EOR funds in December. [Sun Gazette]
McLean Area Is a Hotspot for Rich Politicians — Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates both call Fairfax County’s most affluent zip codes home, with Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe living in a $1.1 million McLean mansion and Republican Glenn Youngkin boasting a $1.7 million estate in Great Falls. More notably, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich says he moved to McLean because he and his wife saw “an alcoholic” sleeping on the ground in Old Town Alexandria. [The Washington Post]
Vienna Restaurants Up for RAMMYs — The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington tweaked its 2021 RAMMY awards to recognize how the industry adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finalists include Clarity (Outstanding Covid-Safe Redesign), Caboose Brewing Company (Prime Pandemic Patio Scene), and Taco Bamba (Standout Family Meal Packages To-Go). The latter two categories will be open for a public vote from Aug. 2 to Sept. 2. [Patch]
Pedestrian Killed in McLean Crash — “Crash Reconstruction detectives are responding to Chain Bridge Road and International Drive in McLean to investigate a fatal crash where an adult male pedestrian was hit by a car. The driver remained at the scene.” [FCPD/Twitter]
Man Arrested for Falls Church Stabbing — According to Fairfax County police, a man was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after being stabbed during an assault by four men in the 3000 block of Graham Road on July 19. A Maryland man who attempted to run when officers arrived on the scene has been arrested and charged with assault by mob. [FCPD]
FCPS Student Data Breach Reported — Fairfax County Public Schools released confidential student information, including email addresses and identification numbers, as part of a Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act records request. An FCPS spokesperson says the school system is “in the process of tightening its processes and increasing training opportunities in the handling of data to ensure this cannot happen again.” [Fairfax County Times]
Traffic Calming Changes Coming to McLean — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to approve a series of traffic calming measures in the McLean area when it meets tomorrow (Tuesday). With a total cost of $65,000, the changes include the installation of speed humps, removal of a speed table, and placement of edge-line striping on Kimberwicke Road. [Sun Gazette]
Registration Opens for McLean 5K — The McLean 5K Run will back in person on Oct. 2 for its 13th year, and online registration is now open through 8 p.m. on Sept. 30. The annual event is hosted by the McLean Community Center and will benefit the McLean Community Foundation. [Supervisor John Foust/Twitter]
McLean Drivers: Expect Delays on Georgetown Pike Starting Monday — “Georgetown Pike (Route 193) between Swinks Mill Road and I-495 (Capital Beltway) will have one lane of alternating traffic in each direction via flagging, weather permitting, Monday, July 26 through Wednesday, July 28 between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day to replace a stormwater pipe at the Saigon Road intersection, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.” [VDOT]
Founders Row II Proposal Modified — Developer Mill Creek presented revised plans for a second phase of its Founders Row project to the Falls Church City Council on Monday (July 19). Changes since it was first proposed in March include reductions of the height and number of rental residential units and the addition of “more street-level retail and amenities to please its neighbors.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Former Container Store to Host Tysons Block Party — The Celebrate Fairfax! Festival has been canceled for a second consecutive year, but the nonprofit that organizes it is returning next Friday (July 30) with a block party to kick off its 40th Anniversary Series. The event will go from 3-7 p.m. outside the former Container Store at 8508 Leesburg Pike with live entertainment, refreshments from Caboose Brewing Company, and more. [Celebrate Fairfax/Facebook]
(Updated at 11:35 a.m.) 302 people in McLean are without power after a tree fell and took out some utility wires on Spring Hill Road overnight.
Dominion Energy spokesperson Peggy Fox says the fallen tree broke one pole and two cross-arms, bringing down four spans of wire.
Spring Hill Road has been closed between Georgetown Pike and Old Dominion Drive so that crews can work to address the downed pole and restore power, WTOP reported.
According to Dominion’s outage map, a crew is currently assessing the damage caused by the tree, and the estimated time of restoration is between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., a timeframe confirmed by Fox.
Big repair project on Spring Hill Rd due to tree falling on wires overnight:
4 cross-arms & 1 pole broken.
4 spans of wire down.
300 customers without power.
— Peggy Fox (@PeggyDomEnergy) July 21, 2021
The Spring Hill Recreation Center (1239 Spring Hill Road) is temporarily closed due to the ongoing power outage, according to the Fairfax County Park Authority.
“Summer camps have been relocated to the school next door,” the park authority said on social media. “Indoor classes are temporarily canceled. Outdoor classes are being held as scheduled, but check with your instructor.”
Spring Hill RECenter is temporarily closed due to a power outage. Summer camps have been relocated to the school next door. Indoor classes are temporarily canceled. Outdoor classes are being held as scheduled, but check with your instructor. pic.twitter.com/SeeB6jgFeD
— Fairfax County Parks (@fairfaxparks) July 21, 2021
A plan to overhaul McLean Central Park has won over the support of the McLean Community Center (MCC), but the organization recommends Fairfax County make a few changes to help alleviate safety concerns raised by some locals.
The MCC is a county-run and taxpayer-financed program that offers activities, classes, shows and more for McLean adults and children.
In a letter to the Fairfax County Park Authority, the 11-member MCC Governing Board highlighted three parts of the plan that will help improve programming at the park: an amphitheater, an accessible drop off point, and public art.
In its letter, the MCC says it currently utilizes the park for several activities, including a Sunday Summer Concert Series that brings music and performances to the park gazebo, but the gazebo is too small to fit the kind of programming that it wants to provide.
“While the MCC regularly provides programming at the current park gazebo, this facility is small and does not provide scalable space for current and future programming,” the MCC said. “The MCC Board supports the development of a sustainable amphitheater space furnished with technical equipment, public seating, and accessible and environmentally sustainable restroom facilities.”
The MCC says there are an average of 150-275 participants in the free Sunday Concert Sessions, though sometimes that has been as high at 450 people. The board requests that the amphitheater be designed with that capacity in mind.
The existing gazebo also has no technical infrastructure and inadequate electricity, the MCC says, which causes the organization to incur a $2,000 cost in labor per-event. The MCC also has a modular sound system valued at $87,000 that needs replacing every five to seven years.
The MCC says the overhaul proposed by the county would help the park better serve as a community gathering place.
“The lack of accessible outdoor performance and cultural space in the McLean area limits the nature of cultural exchange and dialogue,” the MCC said. “The countywide Strategic Plan prioritizes cultural and recreational opportunities. The improvements to the [McLean Central Park], including the Amphitheater, support these goals and the ability to bring all generations together.
The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) had shared earlier concerns that turning the park into an attraction could create problems for nearby residential neighborhoods. The MCA also expressed skepticism that there is a need for a large ampitheater.
In a June letter to the park authority, MCA President Rob Jackson cited possible pedestrian safety issues, suggesting the county should study traffic impact and mitigation alternatives and have a professional conduct a parking study.
In its letter, the MCC Board recommends “expedited” construction of a pedestrian bridge across Dolly Madison Boulevard “to provide safe and sustainable pedestrian access and reduce traffic and congestion.”
“A bridge would serve as a physical connector and embody the vision of the McLean Central Business District expressed by the version of the McLean Community Business Center Plan approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on June 22, 2021,” the MCC said.
The public comment period for the McLean Central Park plan has been extended to July 30.
PIVOT Grant Application Deadline Today — This is the last day for hotels, restaurants, and other local businesses affected by the pandemic to apply for COVID-19 relief funding from Fairfax County’s PIVOT grant program. The application portal will close at 11:59 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]
COVID-19 Mostly Spreading Among Unvaccinated People Now — “From December 29 to June 25, 99.7 percent of new COVID-19 cases have occurred among unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Virginians, according to VDH. Those residents made up 99.3 percent of hospitalizations and 99.6 percent of deaths over the same time period.” [Virginia Mercury]
McLean Nonprofit to Raffle Off Nats Memorabilia — “The McLean area branch of the American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) used-book sale, its annual charitable fund-raiser, has been postponed again due to lingering effects of COVID-19. Instead, the group will hold a substitute fund-raiser featuring [Washington Nationals pitcher Max] Scherzer memorabilia, along with a request for contributions to support education and local scholarships for women.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
Help Clean Up Nottoway Park This Weekend — “Join us at Nottoway Park on Saturday, July 10th, to celebrate Latinx Conservation Month, and help manage invasive plants, visit some sheep, and learn how to care for plants. Nottoway Park is located at 9537 Courthouse Road in Vienna, VA.” [Palchik Post]
A long public process that started with one of Tysons Reporter’s very first stories ended Tuesday night (June 22) when the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan intended to revitalize McLean’s stagnant downtown.
The Community Business Center plan breaks McLean into certain areas where greater density will be allowed in exchange for certain public amenities, with the density gradually decreasing from that new epicenter out towards the existing neighborhoods.
The passage wasn’t without controversy, with prominent community groups like the McLean Citizens Association (MCA) continuing to oppose the plan.
“The MCA opposes the new comprehensive plan because of certain major deficiencies,” MCA representative Scott Spitzer said at Tuesday’s public hearing.
The MCA’s opposition to the plan focused on a few particular issues, like concerns about losing surface parking in favor of a push toward underground or on-street parking. The MCA also sought to have more language in the plan that would guarantee certain above-roof features.
Other speakers at the meeting were more general in their opposition.
“The Mclean CBC vision plan being discussed here today is awful,” said Dennis Findley, a McLean resident and an architect. “It’s just awful…It’s developer-incentivized talking points. It’s a nightmare dystopian vision for my beloved community.”
There was some back-and-forth between Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust and Paul Kohlenberger, president of the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce. Kohlenberger said his opposition to the plan as drafted was shared by every other McLean community-wide organization, though Foust later pushed back against that claim.
“We, like the others, have broadly supported the plan amendment process and support the aims of the process, and so does the broader community, but significant changes have been made since the task force stopped meeting in December,” Kohlenberger said. “Significant changes have undermined the plans ability to deliver the key benefits: multimodal connectivity, central gathering spaces, housing diversity, and stormwater management.”
In a tense exchange, Foust accused Kohlenberger of misrepresenting the views of other community organizations, stating that different groups have expressed different, sometimes incompatible demands.
“Everything you want is exactly what the organizations that have testified up to this point have said they don’t want,” Foust said. “You are on the outer limits…This is the reason it was so hard to get consensus.”
Other local residents expressed a concern that the McLean CBC plan would turn McLean into a new Tysons, saying they wanted to preserve the community’s “suburban character.”
Foust disputed that fear, saying that the proposed plan will provide more incentive for redevelopment in McLean than the existing comprehensive plan, which currently doesn’t allow enough development to justify the associated costs, but not to the extent allowed in Tysons.
“For many years, I’ve heard from residents who want a more pedestrian-friendly, vibrant downtown where we can celebrate a sense of place, where McLean residents can gather and celebrate community-focused events,” Foust said. “…We are not creating another Tysons. I believe this plan addresses each of the concerns and accommodates the goals set forth by the community.”
Ultimately, Foust led the Board in approval of the project.
“There’s strong interest in both directions,” Foust said. “We tried to find a middle and I think we did. There’s lots of misinformation out there…I think we have an excellent plan. It’s what the community wants, and not necessarily what certain organizations and individuals want. [But] doing nothing in McLean is not an option. Either we revitalize the business district or we continue to deteriorate and provide fewer and fewer community amenities. We see it year after year.”
The rest of the Board of Supervisors asked no questions and made no further comment on the plan. Chair Jeff McKay said he shared Foust’s sentiments regarding the necessity of the plan for McLean’s future.
“Often times we want the amenities, but folks don’t want any impacts, and ultimately we know that’s not possible,” McKay said. “So, we have to craft a plan that tries to balance the issues of revitalization with some real concerns from the community and when you do that, there’s often disagreement over how far one went at the expense of the other. The idea of doing nothing isn’t really acceptable.”
Inova Will Require COVID-19 Vaccinations for Workers — “Inova Health System is requiring all employees to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, making the Falls Church-based nonprofit the latest in the region to employ such a mandate. Inova, which counts 18,000 employees across the organization, notified staff last week of the requirement, which goes into effect Sept. 1.” [Washington Business Journal]
McLean Swimmer Qualifies for Summer Olympics in Tokyo — “After coming up short at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in 2012 and 2016, McLean native Andrew Seliskar has made the Olympic Team. The 24-year-old placed fourth in the 200-meter freestyle at Trials, earning a spot on the 4×200 meter freestyle relay team.” [WJLA-ABC7 News]
New Tysons Child Care Center Now Enrolling — After breaking ground on its new early childhood education center on Jones Branch Drive in March, Celebree School has opened enrollment for kids from infants through pre-kindergarten. The private school is also currently looking to hire teachers in preparation for its anticipated opening later this summer. [Celebree School]
Wolf Trap Announces More Summer Shows — “On Tuesday, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts announced the following new concerts: The Avett Brothers, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue with Michael Franti & Spearhead, A Tribute to Marvin Gaye featuring Raheem DeVaughn and Friends, and ABBA the Concert. The shows are part of the Filene Center’s 5oth anniversary season.” [Patch]