Tysons, VA

The McLean Project for the Arts is looking for artist submissions for its upcoming festival in October.

MPAartfest is a free one-day festival in McLean that features a juried fine art show and sale. Attendees can enjoy the work of visual artists, along with mini art galleries, live music, food from local restaurants and activities.

The McLean Project for the Arts wants interested artists throughout the mid-Atlantic region to apply by June 15. Artists will keep 100% of the sales, according to a press release.

To apply, artists will need to submit an application with a $35 fee. If selected, the artists will pay a $350 participation fee.

While the festival is free, donations and funds raised during the event support MPA exhibitions and programs.

The festival returns to McLean Central Park (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd) on Sunday, Oct. 4.

Photo via McLean Project for the Arts/Facebook

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It might look like it’s getting torn down, but the Safeway Fuel Station in McLean is really getting a makeover.

The gas station at 1698 Anderson Road has been listed by Patch as one of the cheapest places to get gas during the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We are planning a remodel [and] expansion of the fuel center to provide more offerings,” Beth Goldberg, a spokesperson for Safeway’s parent company Albertsons, told Tysons Reporter.

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Happy Friday. Here are the latest stories about the Tysons area that the Tysons Reporter team has been reading:

Non-Coronavirus News:

McLean Student Nabs State Pageant Title — “McKenzie Watt, the 9-year-old daughter of Philip and Andra Watt of McLean, has been awarded the title ‘Little Miss of Virginia’ 2019-20 and moves on to national competition.” [Inside Nova]

Religious Broadcaster Wants Tysons-Based Tegna — “Phoenix investment firm Najafi Cos. is teaming with a faith-based broadcaster in Texas in an effort to buy Tysons-based Tegna Inc.” [Washington Business Journal]

New Format for Vienna Candidates Debate — “The Vienna town government will record and repeatedly broadcast an audience-free Vienna Town Council candidate debate to be held April 2.” [Inside NoVa]

Coronavirus News:

FCPS Prepping for Distance Learning — “If FCPS schools cannot reopen as scheduled on April 14, our plan is to begin distance learning either online, or by learning packets at that time. Over the next two weeks, we will begin distance learning training for teachers and give teachers the opportunity to plan and prepare for distance instruction and reconnect with their students. ” [FCPS]

COVID-19 Hurting Little City Restaurants — “The hospitality industry in Falls Church and beyond is being hit especially hard with the public ramping up its social distancing effort and authorities implementing new restrictions on restaurant and bar service in an effort the prevent the spread of COVID-19.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Tysons CEO Slams Social Distancing — “Michael Saylor, the CEO and founder of Tysons technology firm MicroStrategy Inc., called social distancing measures enacted to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus ‘soul stealing and debilitating’ and stated the company would not close any of its offices around the world unless legally required to do so.” — [Washington Business Journal]

McLean Group Helping At-Risk People — “Unlike most of her peers, senior Sophie Howery has been spending her time off to help fight the spread of the virus. To do this, Howery created the Fairfax County Community COVID Aid Project, hoping to help support those who may be at risk of contracting the coronavirus.” [The Highlander]

How Will COVID-19 Impact the Local Economy? — The Stephen S. Fuller Institute at George Mason University’s recent report says that “the Washington region’s economy will also contract in the last three quarters of 2020, primarily because of decreased consumer spending and lost productivity.” [Washingtonian]

 

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UPDATED 03/23/2020 — Now includes information from Holy Comforter Episcopal Church and the Wesley United Methodist Church.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, places of worship around the Tysons area are going digital for people who are self-isolating or quarantined.

Many of the centers are closed to the public, but a few are still holding events for regular attendees. Here’s what Tysons Reporter has found in the area.

McLean

The McLean Baptist Church decided to cancel all of its services except for an upcoming live-streamed ceremony on Sunday (March 22), according to its website. People interested in watching can email the pastor to request a link to the church’s Vimeo. The digital service will begin at 11 a.m., according to the announcement.

Saint Luke Catholic Church pointed followers to a televised Mass Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on WDCW-50, according to the church’s website.

The McLean Islamic Center announced on its Facebook page that it will be closed until further notice due to concerns over the virus. The announcement added that anyone associated with the center in need of help can reach out for support through email.

The Lutheran Church of McLean announced that it will not hold a service on Sunday (March 22). The website added that staff will update the website as the church makes further updates to its policies.

Vienna

Our Lady of Good Council, a Catholic Church in Vienna at 8601 Wolf Trap Road, will be open for people to participate in the stations of the cross and certain prayer services, according to the church’s website. However, Mass is canceled.

The prayer services will take place Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. until noon for prayer groups of 10 people or less, the website said.

Stations of the cross will be available for self-guided tours from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Fridays.

New Song Church in Vienna will be hosting live streams of its services every Sunday at 10:30 a.m., according to the center’s website. People with questions about the live stream can call 703-972-6688.

Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Vienna invites people to a short prayer at 12:10 p.m. every Wednesday for the next few weeks, according to a spokesperson.

Wesley United Methodist Church is hosting weekly online services, according to a church spokesperson. Links and video recordings can be found on the church’s website and Facebook page.  They are also seeking online donations to help community members in need. Services will begin at 11 a.m. throughout the week.

Falls Church

The Falls Church Anglican has also suspended in-person events but has digital sermons.

Christ Crossman, a United Methodist Church, also canceled in-person gatherings, but people can take part in Zoom sessions, which is a type of conference call software. The events will take place on Sundays at 10 a.m. and people can get online by entering the church’s phone number (7035324026) when prompted to enter the “Meeting ID.”

Photo via Aaron Burden/Unsplash

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(Updated 3/17/2020) Across the Tysons area, event organizers are canceling events due to concerns over COVID-19.

Unlike our usual weekly planner, our staff rounded up events around the area that have been delayed or canceled or postponed over health concerns for attendees.

The events listed below have all been canceled:

  • March 16: McLean Citizens Association event with FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand
  • March 16: paving program meeting at Coates Elementary School
  • March 17: Storytime at Mosaic
  • March 18: Providence District Paving and Restriping
  • March 19: The Bachelor Live on Stage Shopping Party (postponed)
  • March 21: Family Fishing Rodeo in Vienna
  • March 21-22: Vienna Photo Show
  • March 28: Prom Dress Give-Away in Vienna
  • April 3: Old-Fashioned Egg Roll and Flashlight Egg Hunt events in Vienna
  • April 4-5: Art Blooms at Mosaic (postponed)
  • April 4: Town Clean-Up Day in Vienna
  • April 6: Cherry Hill Ice Cream Social in Falls Church
  • April 7: Storytime at Mosaic
  • April 11: East Egg Hunt in City of Falls Church
  • April 23: McLean Kitchen and Garden Tour

A meeting on plans to extend the I-495 Express Lanes has been postponed to April.

Did we miss an event? Let us know in the comments below or on our social media accounts, and we will update the list.

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Happy Friday! Here are the latest stories about the Tysons area that the Tysons Reporter team has been reading:

Inova Announced New Hospital Visitor Policy — “Inova Health System announced changes… effective at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 12. The health system changed the policy ‘to protect the health and safety of our patients, their families and staff from the spread of COVID-19.’ The restrictions apply even to visitors who are healthy.” [Patch]

Vienna Officials Praise Low Rate for Bond Sale — “Vienna officials on March 10 issued $34.5 million in general-obligation bonds that will pay for public improvements, including a new police station. The town accepted an interest-rate bid of 1.86 percent from J.P. Morgan Securities, as well as a $3.1 million premium, which is a bonus offered by the investment firm to the town.” [Inside NoVa]

Little League Suspend Activities — The McLean Little League is suspending all activities, while the Vienna Little League “has suspended all activities through April 6, 2020.” [Twitter, Facebook]

Immigrants Contribute Billions to NoVa Economy — “A new report on the impact of immigrants in Northern Virginia found they are injecting $57.7 billion into the local economy — accounting for more than a quarter of the region’s $224.9 billion gross domestic product.” [Inside NoVa]

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meeting in McLean on the plans to extend the 495 Express Lanes is being rescheduled to a date in April, the Virginia Department of Transportation said.

The meeting was originally set for tonight (Thursday) at Langley High School.

VDOT announced the meeting’s postponement this morning, after saying yesterday that it would be live streamed and filmed.

Several residents raised concerns about the meeting earlier this week, worrying that it could increase the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

VDOT is planning to present the results of the 495 NEXT environmental study and traffic analysis, along with hearing feedback and questions from the public.

Currently, the 495 Express Lanes Northern Extension project — a.k.a. 495 NEXT — would extend the 495 Express Lanes north from the I-495 and Dulles Access Road interchange up to the American Legion Bridge and add two new tolled express lanes in each direction.

“The meeting will be rescheduled for April,” VDOT said. “Details will be provided next week.”

People can submit comments either online, by email, by mail or at the future meeting.

Image via Google Maps

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It’s been almost five years, and Sweet Leaf in McLean is still working to resolve a zoning violation caused by too few parking spots.

The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals decided today (Wednesday) to defer Sweet Leaf’s appeal of its zoning violation for at least the 14th time.

“It’s been a long time, but we’ve been working through this process,” Sweet Leaf co-founder Andre Matini told the board today.

The restaurant has been operating in violation of the zoning code since late 2015, county staff said today.

Over the last few years, zoning changes have affected the cafe, which was originally slapped with zoning violations in 2015 following a complaint about a lack of parking.

One of the zoning violations is now “moot” after the Board of Supervisors adopted changes to the zoning ordinance in 2018, staff said.

When those changes were made, however, the cafe’s other zoning violation became more challenging to fix.

The cafe was incorrectly issued a non-residential use permit (non-RUP) for retail sales but not for food, staff said.

In order to qualify for the correct permit now, the cafe needs to have at least 14 parking spaces with an approved parking reduction — but it only has 12.

Getting the two extra spaces has been more challenging than expected, Matini said.

The county rejected a nearby church’s offer for diners to use its parking lot, Matini said. Now, another neighbor will let the cafe rent two spaces, he said, adding that county staff has been asking for more information.

If the parking reduction fails, then the cafe would need to decrease the square footage of the building.

One of the new changes to the zoning ordinance altered how the number of parking spaces is determined. The building’s square footage — instead of the number of tables at the food establishment — is now used to calculate the parking requirement.

So far, Land Development Services thought the information submitted for the parking reduction request has been “insufficient,” according to the staff report.

Fairfax County Zoning Administrator Leslie Johnson urged that the board make a “short deferral” to push the appellant to get all of the required information to county staff, who said there hasn’t been any recent progress on the parking reduction application.

“We’re not 100% sure how we would resolve the issue if everything is denied by the zoning office,” Matini said. “Obviously, we don’t want to shut down after all of these years in operation.”

The zoning board, staff and Johnson said they want to avoid a situation where the cafe would be forced to close. Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust has also said that he wants the restaurant to stay open.

To give the cafe and the county staff more time to get all of the required materials for the parking reduction application, the Board of Zoning Appeals decided to defer the case to July 22.

“It sounds like people are working hard to resolve this, but they quite aren’t to the finish line yet,” Chairman John Ribble III said.

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Updated  at 7:15 p.m. — Corrects James Hart’s name.

Fairfax County’s Board of Zoning Appeals is upholding a zoning determination that would allow a controversial teen rehab facility to open in McLean.

Newport Academy, a therapy program for teens with mental health issues, is looking to open at 1318 Kurtz Road, claiming that the location is a by-right use, which won’t require approval by the Board of Supervisors.

Last year, Fairfax County Zoning Administrator Leslie Johnson determined that the proposed facility in the Salona Village neighborhood is a group residential facility.

Several McLean residents submitted appeals to try to overturn the zoning administrator’s letter, arguing that the facility should be designated as a congregate or medical use facility.

At the Board of Zoning Appeals’ public hearing in January, the appellants raised concerns about noise, falling property values, safety risks and increased traffic. The board decided to defer the decision to allow for more time to consider the arguments.

Today (Wednesday), the board upheld the zoning administrator’s determination, but not without a lengthy discussion on the case, which several board members called “difficult.”

James Hart and Paul Hammack, Jr. — the two members who said the facility should be labeled a congregate or medical use facility — said that the zoning administrator looked at the predominant use of the facility rather than all of the uses.

“It’s difficult to apply a one-size-fits-all,” Hart said. “It is not exclusively one category or the other… It is a hybrid.”

Hammack said he agreed with Hart’s assessment, adding that the criteria for a group home “is not spelled out” like it is for a congregate or medical use.

The other board members had different reasons for backing the zoning administrator.

“I think that if you look at the definitions, the congregate use is talking about general care, and I don’t think this is general medical care,” John Cowherd said.

Thomas Smith, III said that the “difficult case” had compelling testimony on both sides, but that he ultimately found the zoning administrator’s determination more persuasive.

Hart’s motion to overturn the zoning administrator’s determination failed in a 2-4 vote.

The lawyer representing Newport Academy told Tysons Reporter in January that the company does plan to open the facility at Kurtz Road if the Board of Zoning Appeals upholds Johnson’s determination.

Previously, the rehab company decided to drop its plans to open another McLean location along Davidson Road, after the zoning administrator said it would be a congregate living facility.

While the vote today is a win for Newport Academy, the fight may not be over.

“We anticipate that whatever happens, this may be heading to court,” Hart said.

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Happy Friday! Here are the latest stories about the Tysons area that the Tysons Reporter team has been reading:

Tysons-Based TV Company May Be Acquired — “Signaling ongoing consolidation of the broadcast business, Gray Television has made an $8.5 billion bid for larger rival Tegna, according to Reuters, sending Tegna stock up by more than 30% in premarket trading Friday in what looks set to be an otherwise down market.” [Deadline]

New Coffee Spot Eying Tysons — “[The owner] says For Five is also planning to open a location in Tysons within the next three to four months.” [ARLnow]

Founders Row 2.0 Planned in Falls Church — “The Economic Development Committee of the Falls Church City Council got the news at its meeting last Thursday… that the 4.3 acre Founders Row mixed-use project now coming out of the ground at West Broad and N. West Streets may be augmented with a two-acre “phase two” right across the street.” [Falls Church News-Press]

McLean Student Finalist in National Portrait Contest — “McLean High sophomore Libby Eick, a Photography 2 student, was one of 15 finalists nationwide in the National Portrait Gallery’s 2020 National Teen Portrait Competition. Eick’s work was selected from among 629 entries around the U.S.  Her artist statement is below.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

New Store in The Boro — The Shade Store is now open in The Boro. [The Boro/Instagram]

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