A long-awaited project to lessen congestion at an intersection near the American Legion Bridge in McLean is nearing completion.
The Virginia Department of Transportation expanded the intersection by 550 feet to include a left turn and right turn lane, as well as an option for traffic to go straight into the nearby neighborhood. The renovations also include an area where law enforcement can safely pull over traffic.
Crews worked on the three-month-long project at the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Balls Hill Road over the summer. Politicians gathered Thursday morning (Aug. 22) to survey the scene and celebrate the project.
Allison Richter, a VDOT liaison for Fairfax County, attended the event and said that people in the nearby neighborhood struggled to get home when others were trying to turn onto American Legion Bridge or onto the freeway. The addition of turn lanes is expected to ease traffic around rush hour, she said.
Richter said that this was part of a $500,000 project to improve traffic flow in the area, which should be completed in the next couple days. She also said that roughly $250,000 of the funds came from Fairfax County while the remaining $250,000 came from an operations safety budget.
“This is one of the rare occasions we meet at this intersection on a happy note,” Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust told the gathering. “This has been a challenge to deal with the intersection and try to meditate the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods from the American Legion Bridge and back up on the ramp.”
Crews are still working to repair Kirby Road, which is still closed due to flooding damage, he said, adding that the floods completely rerouted the river, which now flows underneath the road.
The city needs to get permits from the Army Corps of Engineers to fix the damage.
“There is only so much we can expedite,” Foust said, adding that he believes that the residents have been patient with the process.
As for the road crews, “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen VDOT so focused,” Foust said.
Just in time for #backtoschooll! VDOT crews completed improvements incl a dedicated left-turn lane to help ease congestion at Balls Hill Rd & Georgetown Pike in McLean. Take a look! Thanks to our partners @fairfaxcounty @FairfaxCountyPD @johnfoustva @kmurphyva @BarbaraFavola! pic.twitter.com/es74W6OVfJ
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) August 22, 2019
A controversial for-profit therapy program got a win in a Fairfax County zoning official’s letter.
Newport Academy, a therapy program for teens with mental health or addiction problems, wanted to open two treatment facilities — one along Davidson Road and another at 1318 Kurtz Road in the Salona Village neighborhood.
While the planned treatment facilities have received widespread community backlash, Newport Academy has hinged its claim on the two locations being by-right uses — a use that won’t require approval by the Board of Supervisors.
Fairfax County Zoning Administrator Leslie Johnson issued a letter yesterday (Wednesday), saying that the Kurtz Road facility is a group residential facility based on her review of Newport Academy’s revised license application.
Johnson’s letter notes that Newport Academy is no longer planning to open a facility at the Davidson Road properties.
“Newport Academy has instead filed a revised license application with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to operate a single Mental Health Children’s Residential Service for up to 8 female residents ages 12-17 to be located at 1318 Kurtz Road,” the letter said.
More from Johnson’s letter to the legal counsel for Newport Academy:
Your August 5 letter did not fully respond to my questions, but you did indicate that at the time of admission a resident is expected to stay between 45 and 90 days, with the average stay between 45 and 60 days. You note that Newport Academy is not a drug rehabilitation facility and does not provide detoxification services; no individual who enters treatment with Newport Academy is currently using illicit substances.
Further, you state that no staff will live at the Kurtz Property, but you did not indicate how many non-resident staff will be on site at any one time. You stated that my request for such information is solely within the purview of VDBHDS. (We have requested and received this type of information from other providers of residential mental health and disability services as part of similar use determination requests.) Based on a review of the license application for the Kurtz Road property, it appears that at least 8 staff members will be on site from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm. You indicate that mornings will typically be set aside for academics and individual therapy, afternoons for group therapy (including music therapy, life skills counseling, yoga, meditation and other fitness activities) and evenings reserved for additional study and therapy as needed. Meals will be eaten in a family-style setting, and residents are engaged in programming and under staff supervision from the time they wake up until they go to sleep, with “awake” supervising staff on site 24 hours per day.
With regard to parking, you note that the Zoning Ordinance does not limit the amount of parking on a residential lot, but that the driveway can accommodate up to 8 vehicles, not including the 3-car garage… It appears that the property currently complies with these provisions. However, any future paving or expansion of the driveway within the front yard could conflict with this provision. Finally, you indicate that Newport Academy will take appropriate actions–through the use of a shuttle, off-site parking, and other means as necessary–to minimize the number of vehicles (whether staff or visitors) parked at the property at any given time.
The facility will need to be licensed by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
Johnson noted that the determination is not a written order or notice of a zoning violation and that it can be appealed to the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals.
Image via Google Maps
New speed humps are coming to the windy Bellview Road in McLean next month.
Known for its cut-through traffic use, the two-lane road runs from just north of Wolf Trap to Georgetown Pike, bisecting Old Dominion Drive along the way.
The upcoming traffic calming measures will add seven speed humps along the road.
“The speed humps on Bellview will be installed in coordination with planned repaving, which is expected to take place the third or fourth week of September,” Jennifer McCord, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation, told Tysons Reporter.
Another McLean road will also undergo traffic calming measures.
In July, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved two speed tables, longer, flat-topped version of speed humps, for Youngblood Street.
Youngblood Street connects a residential area in Chesterbrook Gardens to Westmoreland Street.
“[The Fairfax County Department of Transportation] is finalizing plans for installation, and will then send to the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services,” FCDOT spokesperson Robin Geiger told Tysons Reporter. “The timeline for completion could be fall 2019.”
Vienna Man Arrested After Chase — “State police arrested a Vienna man early Wednesday following a high-speed chase and crash in Shenandoah County.” [Inside NoVa]
Billions for Booze — “The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority has reported annual revenue of more than $1 billion, up $71.8 million over the previous year.” [Inside NoVa]
Tysons Company Growing Quicky — “Inc. Magazine compiled the 2019 list of companies based on the percent of revenue growth from 2015 to 2018. Qualifying companies must be based in the U.S. and be privately held. The 12th spot belonged to Urgently, a global mobility and roadside assistance app.” [Tysons Patch]
Falls Church Candidate Drops Out — “Thomas Cash, a candidate for one of three contested Falls Church City Council seats up for bid this November, announced [Friday] that he is dropping out of the race.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Rep. Wexton Joins “Play Date” in McLean Park — Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) joined families “Aug. 9 at Clemyjontri Park in McLean as part of a ‘play date’ organized by Little Lobbyists, an advocacy group dedicated to supporting and sharing the stories of families with children who have complex medical needs.” [Fairfax County Times]
Grocery Store Scales Back Hours — “Touting its 24-hour service when it opened three years ago in the middle of downtown Falls Church, the Little City’s Harris Teeter will no longer be open for all-hour grocery shopping starting next week.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Little Leaguers Interrogate Nats Player — “The Washington Nationals’ Trea Turner met with Falls Church Kiwanis Little Leaguers Thursday and fielded some questions from the young players that were surprisingly hot to handle in an event aimed at boosting Fall Ball participation.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Falls Classes Available in McLean — “Registration is now open for McLean Community Center’s (MCC) fall session classes and activities.” [McLean Patch]
MPAartfest is returning to McLean in October with a long list of artists set to perform.
Hosted by the McLean Project for the Arts, the free festival is a one-day juried fine art show and sale that features the work of visual artists, along with mini art galleries, live music, food from local restaurants and activities. MPAartfest returns Sunday, Oct. 6.
Here’s the hour-by-hour breakdown on who’s playing:
- 10 a.m. — Djangolaya will kick off MPAartfest with gypsy jazz
- 11 a.m. — Takoma Park-based fiddler, banjoist, singer and scholar Jake Blount will perform with composer Clara Delfina
- noon — Great Guitars featuring three guitarists will take the stage
- 1 p.m. — Bumper Jacksons will bring jazz rhythms and country swing harmonies
- 2 p.m. — DC-based outfit Black Masala will perform Balkan, gypsy, klezmer sounds
- 3 p.m. — Artist Caz Gardiner will bring a 60’s-infused soul-pop sound
- 4 p.m. — Blues Alley Youth Jazz Orchestra, a 15-piece youth swing big band, will close out the festival
The lineup was curated by radio host Ken Avis, according to a press release from the art organization.
While the festival is free, donations and funds raised during the event support MPA exhibitions and programs.
MPAartfest will take place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in McLean Central Park (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd).
Photo courtesy McLean Project for the Arts
(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) Construction crews hit a gas line, causing a gas leak in McLean this morning (Wednesday).
Units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and the Arlington County Fire Department responded to the outside gas leak in the Franklin Park neighborhood at North Nottingham Street and Virginia Avenue around 10 a.m., according to a Fairfax County fire department tweet.
“Workers struck a 2-inch gas line,” the tweet said, adding that the leak did not affect nearby homes.
“Situation currently under control. Crews awaiting gas company,” the tweet said.
About 30 minutes later, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue tweeted that the leak had been stopped.
— Fairfax Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) August 14, 2019
Map via Google Maps
The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals is set to determine this fall whether or not a contentious for-profit therapy program for teens can open in McLean.
Newport Academy’s plans to turn its three purchased homes (1620, 1622, and 1624 Davidson Road) into a treatment facility got derailed after the county’s zoning administrator said the facility is not a by-right use.
While the zoning administrator added that the facility would require approval from the Board of Supervisors, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust has previously said that he would oppose the facility if it was brought to the county board for a vote.
Newport Academy is looking to appeal the ruling, and now the zoning issue is set to go before the Board of Zoning Appeals on Oct. 30, BZA staff told Tysons Reporter, adding that people interested in the case should check a week or two before that date to confirm it will still take place.
“These dates do sometimes change, although I do not believe that will be the case for this hearing,” staff wrote.
It is unclear what will happen to Newport Academy’s proposed group home at 1318 Kurtz Road, which was not addressed in the zoning administrator’s ruling.
McLean Firefighters Save Hawk — “Recently, Tower 401, McLean, A-Shift was called to assist [Fairfax County Animal Protection Police]. Hawk was entangled in netting. Lt. Roose and Tech Crabtree took MAPPO Lugo up in tower bucket to access hawk who was able to free hawk and transport to vet. Hawk is back in wild!” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Twitter]
Becoming a City — “While the end date for Tysons’ transformation plan may be 2050, cities are dynamic things.” Greater Greater Washington dives into the challenges Tysons will face as it continues to grow. [Greater Greater Washington]
McLean Crash Kills Driver — “A person is dead after a single-car crash that has closed a section of the GW Parkway on Sunday morning. The crash happened around 5:45 a.m. in McLean. The driver, who was the only occupant in the vehicle, died at the scene.” [Fox5]
Falls Church Book Store Closing — “Hole in the Wall Books, the cozy used book shop located within a faded blue house on Broad Street, will be closing up shop for good at the end of the month, concluding a 40-year run in the City of Falls Church that brought the right amount of reliability and eccentricity to make the store into an institution.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Filling Mad Fox’s Void — “The City of Falls Church’s economic development team confirmed [last week] that finding a replacement for the recently-closed Mad Fox Brewing Company is ‘an absolute strategic priority for the City’ and… another brewpub operation, a small chain, is showing a keen interest.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Unfinished McLean Mansion for Sale — “Greater Washington’s second most expensive house on the market isn’t even a house yet.” [Washington Business Journal]
Training for Mass Shooting Scenarios — ABC7’s Tim Barber has details on how Fairfax County’s police and fire train together for mass shooting scenarios. “The training starts with a radio call, with lights and sounds are added for effects.” [ABC7]
McLean Bank Teams Up With Another Bank — “Founders of VisionBank (In Organization) have agreed to join Old Dominion National Bank to help bolster the bank’s mission to provide a true community banking experience to growing numbers of businesses and individuals throughout the Washington, D.C. metro area.” [Cision]
The Virginia Department of Transporation is looking to secure an emergency contract for one of two McLean Roads undergoing long-term repair.
The 1300 block of Kirby Road and Swinks Mill Road by Scott’s Run are still closed due to severe storm damage from July 8 flash flooding. VDOT has said that both roads will stay closed for several months.
In an update yesterday (Thursday), VDOT said that it wants an emergency contract for bridge and road repairs at Kirby Road.
As for Swinks Mill Road, VDOT tweeted today (Friday) that reconstruction of the road’s bridger starts Monday (Aug. 12).
VDOT also provided information on the progress this week for both roads:
Kirby Road at Pimmit Run (VA-695)
- Structure and bridge crews removed debris from Little Pimmit Run and Pimmit Run.
- Soil boring cores and test results were completed.
- Survey work and underground utility location is complete.
- Design plans are being finalized for an emergency contract.
Swinks Mill Road at Scotts Run (VA-685)
- Crews removed asphalt and guardrail debris from Scotts Run.
- Soil boring cores along with results were completed.
- Survey work and underground utility location have been completed.
- Bridge design plans are complete.
- Repairs will be performed by VDOT structure and bridge crews, who will begin work once ordered materials are received.
“Coordination with external agencies is ongoing to ensure efficient repair of damaged utilities, including coordination with federal/state permitting agencies to relocate Little Pimmit Run to its previous stream alignment,” according to the press release.
Kirby and Swinks Mill roads weren’t the only ones damaged — VDOT said that “extensive repairs” were made to 12 McLean-area roads right after the storm.
Good News! Work to reconstruct the Swinks Mill Road bridge begins Monday— and Kirby Road isn’t far behind! https://t.co/WgpybIc0R3
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) August 9, 2019
Photo 3 via VDOT
Fairfax County police are investigating a robbery at the T-Mobile store in downtown McLean.
The incident took place around 7:30 p.m. last night (Wednesday) at 1400 Chain Bridge Road, according to a police report.
Police said that five people stole merchandise and assaulted an employee in the store.
“The suspects are described as black, in their teens,” police said.
In a separate incident last night, police said that someone was assaulted in the 7900 block of Tysons One Place right by Tysons Corner Center shortly before 7 p.m.
More from FCPD:
While taking trash to the compactor area of a building, the victim found a man already in the room. Without warning the man began to cut the victims arm with a knife. The victim did not require medical treatment and the injuries were described as superficial.
Police are still looking for the man, who police described as “a black man with dreadlocks, in his 20s, 5’8″ and very skinny. He was last seen wearing all black clothing with holes in his jeans.”