Tysons, VA

McLean local Dr. John Kim dedicated his life to his work as an electrical engineer. Now, he hopes to connect aspiring engineers to the field through a newly published memoir.

In Pursuit of Science and Technology” explores topics ranging from Kim’s work in physics and engineering to his journey of faith and illness to his life traveling through four different global capitals — Tokyo, Pyongyang, Seoul and D.C.

Kim said there were two main inspirations behind the book — the first being his six grandchildren. He wanted them to tangibly have his stories and studies. The other was sharing his studies.

“I want to leave something behind me of all the things that I have done in science and technology,” said Kim. 

He noted his target audience is young people going into the science and technology field, saying his message is to show them what it’s like to pursue this field. He elaborated on the differences between education and real-world experience and how important it is for young people to get both.

“If you go to engineering school today… that’s something where they teach you how to do it. But that’s not everything in a private corporation,” Kim said. 

Kim focuses much of the memoir on his work as an electrical engineer towards furthering science and technology while discussing different topics as well. For example, he shares the time he spent working on military advancement and how he advised people to cultivate business opportunities on the engineer career ladder, according to his synopsis. 

He also includes stories about the time he spent working with Howard Aiken, the “father of the digital electromagnetic computer,” according to his synopsis. 

Kim also addresses personal adversity. He lived in Tokyo during World War II, Pyongyang while trapped by the Iron Curtain and South Korea during the Korean War. Additionally, he surmounted a battle with cancer about 15 years ago. 

The process of creating his memoir was long. He didn’t plan it, but after he made the decision after he retired in 2013, he collected letters, reports, technical and scientific writings from journals and 144 pictures of his family and colleagues. The editing process took four years, said Kim.

This book is available for purchase online and in-stores.

Photo courtesy John Kim

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A power outage is affecting hundreds in McLean just south of Scott’s Run Nature Preserve.

The outage stretches from Georgetown Pike to Route 694, just west of I-495. Dominion Energy’s power outage map says that 466 customers are impacted.

The outage was caused by the storm that hit the D.C. region today, according to Dominion.

The energy company expects power to be restored between 3-8 p.m.

Map via Dominion Energy

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A newly proposed senior living community in McLean aims to promote aging in place.

Tri-State Chain Bridge Road wants to build 33 townhouse-style units on just over 3 acres on the north side of Chain Bridge Road near Westmoreland Street. The townhomes would be for seniors ages 60 and up.

Lori Greenlief, the land use planner with McGuireWoods who is representing the applicant, said that the proposal fills a need for senior living in McLean, noting that several options in the area are multi-family, four- to seven-story buildings.

Roughly 15% of the units will be affordable, and all of the units would be designed for aging in place with one-level living and options for an elevator and live-in caregiver suite, according to a document from the applicant to the county. The proposed community would also have a 3,600-square-foot amenity building for gardening classes, on-site physical therapy appointments, a fitness center and more.

Tri-State Chain Bridge Road said that the proposed independent living community is about one-fourth of a mile away from McLean’s downtown area.

More from the applicant:

Supported by the 50+ Community Action Plan Initiatives for housing and the well-documented need for senior housing in the Policy Plan of the Comprehensive Plan, this community will offer area residents the opportunity to remain in the McLean/Great Falls area and age-in-place in a purpose-built community designed for seniors.

The community will provide the array of amenities and services desired by the older adult population with homes designed to allow residents to age-in-place. Both the 50+ plan and the Comprehensive Plan highlight the need for options for seniors and the attached product proposed in this application will provide an alternative to the multi-family independent living lifestyle.

The focus of this community will be to create an atmosphere where residents will be able to interact for weekly or daily dining, classess, and a myriad of recreational and educational activities, with like-aged and like-minded people who are dealing with similar lifestyles and issues. At the same time, they will have the freedom to own their own space.

This community will be a safe space in that if there arises a need for added security, such as a pandemic, residents will be able to insulate within the community in their own homes but stay in community. This type of community will become more and more important as our seniors adapt to the “new normal.”

The applicant recently submitted the proposal to the county, which will get reviewed by county staff. Once accepted, the county website will add the scheduled hearing dates for the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

So far, Tri-State Chain Bridge Road has reached out to the surrounding neighborhoods and the McLean Citizens Association (MCA), Greenlief said.

Scott Spitzer, the chair of MCA’s Planning and Zoning Committee, told Tysons Reporter that the committee is currently evaluating the application.

Winnie Pizzano, the president of the Stoneleigh Homeowners’ Association, told Tysons Reporter that she has heard support for the project from her board, which oversees 134 townhomes.

“It’s obviously needed given the demographic is so much older in McLean than anywhere else,” Pizzano said, adding that it will be a good alternative to assisted living for people looking to downsize.

Greenlief noted that the proposal is in its early stages and that there is plenty of room for citizen input. Some aspects of the proposal are still getting figured out, like specifics around what “60+” will mean, Greenlief said.

People who want to provide feedback can contact Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, Greenlief at McGuireWoods and Tri-State Chain Bridge Road. Once a staff coordinator is assigned, people will also be able to reach out to the county staffer.

Map via Google Maps

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McLean Man Found Dead in Potomac River — “A body found Tuesday night in the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland near Great Falls has been identified as a McLean resident.” [McLean Patch]

What a COVID-19 Surge Could Mean for Metro — “Metro expects to bring rail service to 90% of pre-pandemic levels by Aug. 16, but if a new surge of Covid-19 cases should plunge the region into a second wave of shutdowns, the system would likely follow suit, Paul Wiedefeld, general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said Thursday.” [Washington Business Journal]

Virtual Option Pushed for Falls Church Public Schools — “Out of an abundance of caution in the midst of the current Covid-19 pandemic, F.C. Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan changed his mind this week and now wants everyone to stay home this fall when classes are due to resume Aug. 24.” [Falls Church News-Press]

School to Be Named for Late Rep. John Lewis — “The Fairfax County School Board on Thursday voted to rename Robert E. Lee High School after the late U.S. Congressman John R. Lewis. The new name will be effective for the 2020-21 school year.” [Inside NoVa]

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The coronavirus pandemic is posing new challenges to a McLean restaurant’s years-long efforts to add two more parking spaces to meet Fairfax County regulations.

Before the pandemic, Sweet Leaf Cafe and its landlord, Juliano Properties, were working to submit the required parking information to county staff earlier this year before, Juliano’s attorney told the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals today.

Sweet Leaf (1359 Old Chain Bridge Road) temporarily closed after Gov. Ralph Northam ordered restaurants to close their seating and issued a stay-at-home order in March, and now the restaurant and landlord face financial challenges, the attorney said.

The Board of Zoning Appeals again delayed the restaurant’s and landlord’s appeals of the zoning violation after county staff said that the pandemic is putting a financial strain on the restaurant.

Most of the discussion today about the appeal rehashed the nearly five-year-long effort to resolve the restaurant’s zoning violations.

In late 2015, the restaurant got hit with zoning violations following a complaint about a lack of parking. A zoning ordinance update a few years ago addressed one of the violations, but still leaves the restaurant non-compliant with the parking requirement, which is based on the building’s square footage. Currently, the restaurant has 12 of the 14 required parking spaces.

Sweet Leaf’s Co-Founder Andre Matini told the zoning board in March that finding the additional two parking spaces has been challenging.

Now, the new financial hurdles are also impacting the situation.

“We have not been able to front that cost,” the attorney said today about the engineering firm Juliano hired to assess the parking situation. “We need time for the resources to be mustered.”

St. Clair Williams, a county staffer, said that once the engineering firm submits information, the rest of the process should be “fairly smooth.”

The zoning board, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust and county staff have said they don’t want to force the restaurant to close. At the same time, county officials have expressed frustration this year about how long the compliance process is taking.

“I think 15 times in four years on one case — something isn’t working,” James Hart, a zoning board member, said today.

The zoning board unanimously voted to delay consideration of the appeals to Nov. 4.

While Sweet Leaf did not have a representative at the meeting today, the landlord’s attorney and Williams assured the zoning board that the restaurant will be OK with the delay to November.

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After delays due to the pandemic, the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals approved changes that will allow a McLean church to expand its child care offerings.

The St. Thomas Episcopal Church (8991 Brook Road) wants to add a child care center that will be open from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekdays along with the current nursery school. The church would like to have up to 99 kids on-site at any one time.

“What we’re trying to do is modify the conditions to bring a nursery school that was approved almost 25 years ago to modern standards and to meet the expectations of what families are looking for in 2020 for child care,” a representative for the church said.

Currently, the zoning ordinance limits the church to having its nursery school divided into morning and afternoon sessions with 50 kids max per session and hours from 8 a.m.-3 pm.

The church representative said that there is barely any need for a mid-day drop-off, saying that parents need all-day daycare.

More from the staff report:

The proposed child care center will operate within the same building as the existing nursery school, and no exterior renovations are proposed as part of this application… In a nursery school, children aged 2-5 years old are limited to four hours of care per day, while children 5+ years old are limited to six and one-half hours of care per day. In a child care center, there are no time limits on the number of hours of care per day.

The nursery school/child care center will continue to have a maximum enrollment of up to 99 students at any one time. The children will be aged from 2 years through 5 years…  The applicant indicates that the nursery school/child care center facility will serve both parishioners and residents of the surrounding community. The facility will have 10-15 staff members…

Staff with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) raised concerns with the impact that additional vehicles would have on the afternoon peak hours of operation at the intersection of Lewinsville Road / Brook Road / Leesburg Pike…

Staff with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) estimates the intersection improvements will be completed by the end of 2022, with the construction of sound walls, streetscape, and lighting continuing to 2024… [The] applicant has agreed to, a development condition restricting the number of students to 50, for either three (3) years or until the intersection reconfiguration is complete — whichever occurs first.

The BZA was originally going to consider the changes in May, but the application was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the agenda.

The church has undergone three expansions, according to county documents. If the church proceeds with a fourth construction phase, the church would be able to offer up to 325 seats in the main area of worship and the parking spaces would increase from 70 to 90, county staff said.

“The final Phase 4, which includes a significant expansion of the main sanctuary, has not yet occurred. The Church has indicated that while they have no immediate plans to construct Phase 4, they wish to maintain their right to do so in the future and propose no changes to the previously approved layout as part of this amendment,” according to county documents.

The church currently has a fenced, 25,000-square-foot playground.

On Wednesday, the zoning board approved the proposed changes to allow for the child care center.

Image via Google Maps

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The McLean Project for the Arts (MPA) is debuting its first online exhibit this week. 

Called “SHIFT,” the exhibit will open on Wednesday, July 15, with an online reception from 7-8 p.m. The exhibit will explore concepts of change or exchange in the paradigm, position, dreams, environment, perspective and more.

“So much has changed in our world in the last few months, in ways both personal, political and global,” Nancy Sausser, MPA’s director of exhibitions, said.

The exhibit, juried by Henry Thaggert and Sarah Tanguy, will feature 48 artists from the mid-Atlantic region, according to a statement from the group. The works displayed in the exhibit were chosen from more than 250 submissions, according to Sausser. 

Artists were asked to answer the question, “How has your world been affected by this ‘SHIFT’ in our lives?”

The exhibition will be available from July 15-Aug. 27.

Photo courtesy McLean Project for the Arts

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Falls Church Development Moving Forward — “With the Falls Church City Council’s first in-depth public look at the detailed special exception site plan for the 9.77-acre mega-West End development project Monday night, an undertone arising from the Covid-19 pandemic’s ‘unbelievable headwinds’ suddenly facing it in these extraordinary times was in the background for the three-hour discussion.” [Falls Church News-Press]

List of Local PPP Loan Recipients — Patch has lists of local businesses in Vienna, McLean and Tysons that received loans of $150,000 or more. [McLean Patch, Vienna Patch]

Local Leaders Respond to DeVos’s Criticism — “U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos had some criticism for Fairfax County Schools’ virtual learning during the pandemic and reopening plan for the fall. Leaders from the school system, the largest in Virginia, responded in defense of the plan providing only virtual learning or a mix with two days of in-person learning.” [Patch]

Pandemic’s Impact on Local Dentist — “As coronavirus restrictions in response to the pandemic ramped up in mid-March, dentists like Dr. Nicole Van closed their offices for all but emergencies. Since reopening, the dentist’s office experience looks different from pre-pandemic times.” [Patch]

Photo courtesy Hilde Kahn

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(Updated 11:30 a.m.) The McLean Project for the Arts is among the recipients of $50,000 grants from the National Endowment for the Arts CARES Act to help with the financial fallout from the pandemic.

Thirteen other arts organizations in Virginia were awarded the funding, according to a press release from the arts organization.

“This grant provides critical support as we continue to adapt our visual arts programming and carry out our mission during and beyond this COVID-19 pandemic,” Lori Carbonneau, MPA’s executive director, said in the press release.

MPA shared with Tysons Reporter how the grant will be used:

The funding will help us have the resources to reimagine our programming in this new environment. For example, this coming Wednesday, July 15, we will open our first online juried exhibition, SHIFT. We’ve also been actively expanding our MPA ArtReach programming, distributing these weekly art activities to ArtReach community partners, who, in many cases, are struggling with the digital divide of lacking easy access to technology and wifi. Finally, the grant will help us continue to provide our online art classes and art camps, and will support our upcoming (virtual!) MPAartfest coming this October.

The NEA said it received more than 3,100 eligible applications and ultimately awarded the grants totaling $44.5 million to 855 organizations across the U.S. Only arts organizations that had previously received NEA funds were eligible.

“To review the applications, the agency used more than 200 application readers and panelists to review and score each application using the published review criteria,” according to the NEA.

The grants will support staff salaries, fees for artists or contractors and facilities costs, the press release said, noting that arts and culture sector employs more than 5 million people.

Photo by Ian Williams on Unsplash

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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.

I have heard from so many clients and friends that would have otherwise drew a hard no in the sand about having a pool in their backyard, that the pandemic has changed their opinion on that.

Many are now considering either installing a pool or moving to a home that has a pool existing. I don’t blame them — with the run on blow up pools from Amazon and Target, you’d think we’d have a shortage on water now, not toilet paper!

If you’re thinking of building a pool, here are some basic concepts to think about:

Town of Vienna

  • Don’t forget that 25% lot coverage which applies to the deck of the pool, HOWEVER, coping/surrounding walkways of under 5 ft from the edge of the pool will not be counted towards the lot coverage
  • Pools must be at least 10 ft from any side or rear lot line, and is measured from the edge of the actual pool; also must be at least 20 ft from any alley line
  • Can only be in the rear yard
  • A permit is required through the Town

Fairfax County: Vienna and McLean

  • Require a building permit, plumbing permit and electrical permit
  • Pool can be in rear or side yards, and lots that are over 36,000 sq. ft. can even have the pool in the front yard
  • Mechanical pool equipment must be contained within 10 ft of width, and at least 5 ft from any lot line
  • If you have well and septic, you’ll need at least 20′ from them for the pool

What do you think about having a pool now? With these blistering heat days, coupled with 45 minute times slots at the public pools, would you consider installing a pool now?

Now, the age old question of resale value.

Most people think if you have a pool, it’s a deal breaker for many people. I think maybe that’s true, but you’ll also find a group of buyers who want the pool. And honestly, if the pool is old and needs work, it might be cheaper to just fill it in than deal with upkeep. I’ve told clients before, you build a pool to enjoy it, not to sell the house. It’s not like a kitchen renovation where you’re adding value. Someone else will come in and love the pool too.

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