Vienna will help pay for the project to build a modernized Patrick Henry Library and accompanying parking garage.
The Vienna Town Council passed a motion yesterday (Monday) to pay $663,000 to Fairfax County for RRMM Architects to design a new library and parking structure.
The town and county agreed in 2020 to partner on the demolition and construction project, divvying up costs. A development agreement caps the town’s design costs at $850,000 (or 30% of the design costs) and 19% of construction costs, not to exceed $4,200,000.
“In the end, we get a new library, which Fairfax County pays for, and we get parking, which we pay for,” Councilmember Chuck Anderson said at the town meeting yesterday (Monday). “That’s actually not a bad deal.”
While parking will be reserved for library purposes during the day, the garage will have 209 total spots available to the general public for non-library uses when the library is closed, according to Anderson.
The project calls for replacing the 13,800 square-foot building, which was last renovated in 1995, with a 21,000 square-foot library, creating a modern branch with a larger children’s section that could be ready by 2024.
Andrew Jinks, a transportation engineer with the town, helped the town partner with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to provide $2.3 million.
Town spokesperson Karen Thayer says that amount is considered part of the town’s share in the project, and it’s still working with NVTA to develop a commuting option from the library to D.C.
The project’s fixed construction cost is $17.2 million. Voters approved a $90 million bond referendum in 2020 for four library projects, including $23 million for Patrick Henry.
The meter is running out on free street parking in Tysons.
Fairfax County shared plans on Tuesday (Dec. 14) to eventually install curbside parking meters throughout the area, with a managed parking program that could expand to other parts of the county, if successful.
Initially, the program will focus on the Tysons core, where a study identified 1,272 spaces along 22 miles of curb space on public roads surrounding the Greensboro, Spring Hill, Tysons, and McLean Metro stations.
While many details of the plan are still being worked out, including meter rates, county officials say it will encourage more turnover around the Metro stations and address complaints from businesses about commercial vehicles occupying spaces for extended periods of time.
However, drivers might be reluctant to pay for a resource that they’re accustomed to getting for free, as Reston Town Center learned a few years ago.
Metro also doesn’t have dedicated garages for its Tysons-area stations, with the idea that most people will travel using transit, but for local residents, getting to the stations means walking or cycling across congested, often unsafe roads.
How do you feel about the idea of paying for street parking in Tysons? Is it necessary for an increasingly urban and populous area, or does it seem like more of a hassle than it’s worth?
Photo via Mr.TinDC/Flickr
Parking meters are coming to Tysons streets.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors expressed support yesterday (Tuesday) for staff’s recommendation that the county introduce managed on-street parking to the Tysons core, potentially paving the way for the practice to expand to other areas later.
“I definitely support this,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said at the transportation committee meeting. “I think this is an important step towards managed public parking, which I think will have a role in the future in Tysons and other places, I’m sure, around the county.”
Currently, the county doesn’t charge for on-street parking, allowing drivers to leave vehicles for unlimited amounts of time.
That has become a particular problem in Tysons, according to a two-year review that the Fairfax County Department of Transportation concluded in December 2020. The study found that commercial vehicles often take up spots for days, even weeks at a time, in addition to low parking turnover near Metro stops and other issues.
The review also examined Reston, but staff said they aren’t recommending any changes there at this time, citing the limited amount of public, curbside parking available in the area. FCDOT did not return Tysons Reporter’s request for further clarification by press time.
Paid parking isn’t new to the Tysons area, but it exists mostly on private streets and property, such as Avenir Place near the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority also has a metered surface parking lot at that station.
The Mosaic District in Merrifield has limits on how long people can park on the street and in some garage spaces, but parking remains free.
FCDOT senior transportation planner Henri McCartney said that, after examining jurisdictions that have parking programs in place, county staff found an average rate of $1.50 per hour.
The county could secure a third party to install and manage parking meters, conduct enforcement, process citation fines and schedule appeals.
“We do need to move forward with this,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said, adding that it would make sense to work with a third party that drivers might already use when parking elsewhere in the D.C. region.
The vendor would be responsible for implementing the plan, overseeing day-to-day operations, and collecting revenue from the meters and parking citations that will go to the county, according to FCDOT staff.
Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust noted that the Tysons area also runs into problems with the limited amount of parking around its four Metro stops, none of which have dedicated, public garages. McCartney said the county is looking at ways to have longer term parking available so Metro riders could park nearby.
As part of the possible changes, McCartney suggested that the parking program include payment kiosks, signage limiting how long a vehicle could park in a spot, and a variety of ways for people to pay, from an app to text messaging or calling a number.
To develop the program, FCDOT will request one-time funding of $100,000 in the county’s next budget to hire a traffic design consultant, who would help determine what streets will be affected, possible hours of operations, and other factors.
“Since this is the very first implementation of managed parking in the county, we believe that we need the expertise of a consultant to…help us get it right,” McCartney said.
Anticipated recurring costs include $120,000 annually for a new transportation planner, with additional positions potentially needed if the program expands, and $250,000 annually for the parking services vendor. Staff hope that the parking revenue will eventually cover the program’s costs.
Any changes are still years away. The county’s tentative timeline for implementation has staff bringing a full managed parking plan, including meter rates, to the Board of Supervisors for its endorsement in the fall of 2023.
Photo via Google Maps
Vehicle manufacturers at Tysons Corner Center can now let customers purchase a car on-site and drive away with it.
Under the approved plan, Tysons Corner Center can allocate 30 parking spaces each to up to eight different vehicle manufacturers for vehicle storage and sales. The designated spaces will account for 240 out of the roughly 11,000 spaces available at the mall.
Tenants are prohibited from using the spaces to provide vehicle services, and the mall has committed to limiting loading activities to outside its operating hours, so they won’t disrupt customer traffic, Fairfax County Zoning Evaluation Division Director Tracy Strunk told the board.
“No outdoor display is going to be permitted. That’s one of the development conditions,” said Brian Clifford, a land-use planner with DLA Piper who represented Tysons Corner Center at the hearing. “At the moment, we only have two [tenants], but we asked for eight total just for the sake of flexibility, and there’s nothing that could limit another manufacturer from coming.”
According to Tysons Corner Center’s rezoning application, Tesla was allowed to have six designated parking spaces, including two electric chargers, to store vehicles when the county permitted its showroom in 2012, but customers couldn’t make purchases directly from the showrooms.
Instead, customers order a vehicle, make a deposit, and have the car delivered to them at a later date, according to Clifford.
He says allowing on-site vehicle sales will put Tysons Corner Center “at the forefront of the vehicle sales industry,” allowing the showrooms to offer a standard car dealership service but in an environment similar to other mall retail stores.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission recommended on Nov. 17 that the supervisors approve the mall’s application, a decision also supported by county staff.
Lucid Motors is also planning to open a store and service center at Tysons Galleria. That proposal got the planning commission’s approval on Oct. 20 and was later granted by the Board of Supervisors on Nov. 9.
Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said she believes the addition of auto sales at Tysons Corner Center will add to the mall’s vitality.
“I did get a chance to swing by on the opening day of the Lucid location recently — very enthusiastic public, very well-displayed,” Palchik said. “I look forward to seeing more of these electric vehicle sales coming to our county, especially Tysons.”
Dozens of parking spots at Tysons Corner Center could soon be filled with new electric vehicles waiting for buyers.
Manufacturers Tesla, Lucid Motors, and future tenants could eventually use some of the mall’s parking spots to store and sell vehicles, pending final approval from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission recommended approval of the amendment to the mall’s development plan following a public hearing on Wednesday (Nov. 17) to let the mall use up to 240 spots for eight businesses.
Vehicles would be prohibited from “outdoor display,” and there’s no service component involved, according to a representative for the mall, Brian Clifford, a senior use planner with the global law firm DLA Piper.
That contrasts with Lucid Motors’ plan to convert part of the former Macy’s space at nearby Tysons Galleria into a service center. The Board of Supervisors approved that special exception request on Nov. 9.
“We really envision this looking, feeling, functioning, much more like almost every other retail space we have in the mall today, rather than what we think of as kind of the large-scale, typical car dealership,” Clifford told the planning commission.
The vehicles would be parked in lots by Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, and Nordstrom. Tenants such as Tesla and Lucid Motors would be able to store up to 30 vehicles each, a small percentage of the mall’s 11,000-plus parking spaces.
The changes would come as the county is exploring possible ways to update its rules for off-street parking, such as the number of spots required for businesses, with a Parking Reimagined initiative.
Providence District Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner described the planned change at Tysons Corner Center as “the spirit of Tysons’ continued evolution to a modern urban center driven by innovation, rebirth, repurposing, and resiliency.”
Construction could be on the horizon for a six-story condominium project that was approved for downtown McLean more than three years ago.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an interim parking plan on Nov. 9 that lets the existing three-story office building at 6707 Old Dominion Drive maintain its parking obligations while a rear lot is replaced with the new residential development.
Located along Lowell and Emerson avenues, which will be widened from four to six feet and paved with brick, the multi-family residential building will include a partially underground parking garage with 179 spaces across three-and-a-half levels, along with 18 surface parking spaces.
The new parking will serve both the development and the office building, which was built in 1980.
The parking plan will provide shuttle service from three parking locations with a total of 140 spaces:
- St. John’s Episcopal Church (6715 Georgetown Pike)
- St. Luke Serbian Orthodox Church (6801 George Pike)
- St. John the Beloved Roman Catholic Church (6420 Linway Terrace)
There will also be up to 32 spots available on site during the construction project.
As summarized by county staff, the plan also offers “incentives for tenants and patrons to utilize taxis, car-sharing services, Metrobus, and carpools and a program to ensure that construction workers park at an approved offsite location.”
Developer Benchmark Associates will be required to submit periodic reports to the county documenting parking activities and any issues or needed modifications to the plan.
Approved by the Board of Supervisors in October 2018, the project calls for a 94,000 square-foot building with 44 condominium units, 12% of which the developer has committed to making workforce housing.
Proposed amenities include a 3,850 square-foot roof terrace for residents with an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, seating, and an area covered with artificial turf. An outdoor plaza and art for the public are also planned.
According to Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust’s office, no further votes are needed from the Fairfax County Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors for the project, just county staff approvals for the site and building plans.
Benchmark Associates didn’t return messages seeking comment about the timeline of the project by press time.
Construction is anticipated to occur over a 12 to 18‐month period, according to the parking plan.
The Town of Vienna has moved one step closer to permanently implementing the outdoor dining rules for restaurants that have been lessened temporarily due to the pandemic.
During the COVID-19 era, nearly two dozen businesses in the town have expanded their outdoor dining capacities by using parking spots, thanks to the relaxed rules.
Last Wednesday (Nov. 3), the town’s Planning Commission held a public hearing and recommended streamlining the permitting process for outdoor dining. Instead of getting Board of Zoning Appeals approval and paying a $1,500 fee, a restaurant would get yearly permits through an administrative review (subject to the Board of Architectural Review) and a $100 application fee.
No one from the public commented aside from the town’s economic development manager, Natalie Monkou, who expressed her support for the change.
“We did as a town pull together all of our resources to be able to support our businesses…but it allowed businesses to survive in a safe way,” she said of the emergency policy changes amid the pandemic. “I also think we have to consider the future of outdoor dining and outdoor spaces.”
Monkou suggested the town help restaurants know whether they could winterize outdoor spaces with appropriate furniture, heating, and other investments.
How the Parking Formula Would Work
The changes to the town’s code would mean a typical business could go through the administrative process and use up to 20% of its minimum parking spots needed for dining.
So, if a business needed to have 10 parking spots, it could use two spots for a dining area. If a property had extra spots beyond that minimum, that parking could also be used for dining, too.
For businesses along Church Street, which are covered by a distinct zoning ordinance known as the Church Street Vision, use of parking spaces would be approved by Town Council. For all areas, the outdoor dining spaces would still have to be able to be removed easily.
Previously, the town approved the emergency, temporary relief on June 1, 2020 and has extended the measure repeatedly. The ordinance is slated to expire Dec. 7, 2021 but can be extended up to Dec. 31.
Planning Commission Chair Stephen Kenney directed staff to continue surveying businesses about whether a 20% threshold was being used still. He suggested while that amount was necessary at the start of the pandemic, it might be more than what’s needed at this point.
The commission’s vice chair, David Miller, suggested the ordinance last for a limited time frame each year, such as from April 1 to Oct. 1 or Nov. 1, noting how snow and other weather can limit patrons’ enjoyment outside.
The town council will hold a public hearing on the matter on Monday (Nov. 15).
The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.
We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Tuesday, Nov. 9
- On Deck with Mercury — 6-7 p.m. at Great Harvest Bread Co. (136 Church St. NW) in Vienna — For his monthly public forum, Town Manager Mercury Payton will be joined by other Vienna officials to talk about upcoming holiday events and how participating can help the town.
- David Ryan Harris with Justin Kawika Young — 7:30 p.m. at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. East) in Vienna — Accomplished guitarists share easy listening vibes. With Young’s multilingual singing and Harris’ performing ties to John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, and others, the show should delight listeners’ ears. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $15, plus fees, for general admission.
Wednesday, Nov. 10
- Parking Reimagined (Online) — 7-8:30 p.m. — Weigh in on the future of off-street parking in Fairfax County at this virtual town hall hosted by the Hunter Mill District Office, one of four scheduled town halls with additional dates planned. Community feedback will inform updates to parking rules in the county zoning ordinance.
Thursday, Nov. 11
- John Lloyd Young’s Broadway! — 8 p.m. at The Barns (1635 Trap Road) — Originally scheduled to perform at Wolf Trap a year ago, the Tony and Grammy Award winner brings together songs from several shows, including “Chicago,” “Dreamgirls,” and “Jersey Boys.” Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $37, plus fees.
Friday, Nov. 12
- Tea Okropiridze — 6-9 p.m. at McLean Textile Gallery (6819 Elm St.) — The art gallery holds an open house and reception to celebrate its new exhibit featuring the work of a Northern Virginia artist Tea Okropiridze, who specializes in tapestry, fiber art, and more. The exhibit opens Tuesday and runs through Dec. 7.
- The Blessing Tour — 7 p.m. at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road) — Grammy-nominated singer Kari Jobe and special guest Cody Carnes, both Christian musicians, bring “a full worship experience” to Tysons. Tickets start at $25.
Saturday, Nov. 13
- The Boro’s Gambit — 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sandlot Tysons (behind The Boro at 1640 Boro Place) — Watch Grandmaster Rashad Babaev, who lives at The Boro, play 30 games of chess at once. Proceeds benefit United Charities for Azerbaijan. Cost is $20 plus fees to compete. Free for spectators.
- 4th Annual Veterans Day Salute — 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Falls Church Distillers (442 S Washington St. Suite A) — After going online last year, the distillery’s block party is back in person with live music, alcohol tastings, food, and more. Tickets for food and alcohol are $5 each, and donations are encouraged to support partners Northern Virginia Veterans Association (NoVA Vets) and George Mason University’s Veteran Initiatives.
Sunday, Nov. 14
- McLean Antiques Show & Sales — 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — The final day of a weekend event features a variety of antique dealers. Proceeds benefit the high school arts-focused James C. Macdonald Scholarship Fund. Cost is $10 with a discount available. Free for children age 17 and younger.
Photo via Justin Higuchi/Flickr
Woman Dies After Seven Corners Crash — Alexandria resident Maria Pascoe died on Oct. 15 from injuries sustained in a two-vehicle crash that occurred in Seven Corners at 9:27 a.m. on Sept. 29. Fairfax County has seen 14 non-pedestrian deaths from traffic incidents so far this year, compared to 10 over the same time period in 2020. [FCPD]
How to Celebrate Diwali Safely — The Fairfax County Health Department encourages people who celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, by gathering virtually, with members of their household, or outdoors. While festivities last for five days, Diwali itself takes place today (Thursday), with participants performing a Lakshmi Puja ritual to bring good health and fortune in the new year. [FCHD]
Spring Hill Apartment Building Sold — “Greystar sold the 404-unit Ascent apartment building in McLean for $150.5 million in a transaction that closed Oct. 1, according to Fairfax County records. An affiliate of Brookfield Properties was the buyer…Brookfield has begun marketing the property by its address, 8421 Broad, with rents that start at $1,900 a month.” [Washington Business Journal]
County to Hold Town Halls on Parking Changes — Fairfax County will hold four virtual town hall meetings starting on Monday (Nov. 8) to discuss its “Parking Reimagined” initiative, the first full review of the county’s rates and regulations for off-street parking in more than 30 years. The review will include an “extensive analysis” of parking supply and demand as well as local, regional, and even national trends. [Fairfax County Government]
Vienna Police Awarded for Saving Life — “About this time last year, George Hunt went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on Maple Ave. following a traffic accident, and these Vienna Police officers immediately provided CPR. With gratitude for their life-saving actions, Mr. Hunt presented certificates of appreciation to officers Kenny Smith and Chip McElhattan at last night’s Vienna Town Council meeting. Because of them, he says he was able to celebrate his 60th birthday.” [Town of Vienna/Facebook]
Electric vehicles are changing the automobile industry, including how it sells products to customers.
The sprawling dealerships that still line many major roads throughout Fairfax County will soon belong to the past, supplanted by smaller showrooms — or so Tysons Corner Center believes.
Property owner Macerich wants Fairfax County to allow vehicle sales at the mall using existing parking areas, seeking up to 240 spots to be made available for businesses. Applications submitted to the county in June for amendments to the site’s proffer conditions and final development plan suggest those spots would be used for storage.
“With over 11,000 parking spaces on-site at the Center, the maximum of 240 spaces represents approximately 2% of the total number of parking spaces available,” Brian Clifford, a senior use planner with the global law firm DLA Piper, wrote in the application.
Macerich is asking the county to allow vehicle sales at Tysons Corner Center for up to eight tenants, who would have as many as 30 dedicated spaces each in the mall’s parking decks.
Maurisa Potts, a spokesperson for the mall, said by email that the application is “simply to permit vehicle sales to take place out of retail showrooms.”
The shift comes as the retail market has been in flux and “exacerbated by the pandemic,” according to the application. Stores linked to malls faced particularly uphill battles amid shutdowns, with companies such as J.Crew, JCPenney, and Neiman Marcus part of a surge in bankruptcy protections.
Investment bank UBS noted last year, though, that online competition has been eating into profits of brick-and-mortar stores for years, and it projected that 100,000 stores would close by 2025.
Macerich’s application follows up on the rezoning approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2007 that established plans for mixed-use development around the now-open Tysons Metro station.
In the application, the property owner says permitting vehicle sales will allow the mall “to stay viable and keep up with market conditions” with the advent of electric vehicles. It argues that EV manufacturers have modernized the car-buying process and no longer require “acres and acres of asphalt filled with cars ready for customers to drive off the lot.”
Indeed, Tesla lets people request a test drive and even has a contactless way to do so. Customers order the vehicles directly through the company, which also operates the showrooms, unlike the industry’s standard of third-party dealerships selling manufacturers’ cars.
Tysons Corner Center currently has a Tesla showroom with six dedicated parking spaces, including two electric charging stations, located on-site in a nearby parking deck. The application says the county decided that could be considered retail sales, which was already permitted, as opposed to vehicle sales, since the vehicles are delivered to customers at a later date off-site.
Another electric vehicle manufacturer, Lucid, which focuses on luxury vehicles, is slated to open its own store at Tysons Corner sometime this year.
“Many car [manufacturers], including Tesla and Lucid, don’t even manufacture the vehicle until it is ordered and paid for (at least in part) by the customer,” Clifford also noted. “The showrooms themselves are smaller and given the long lead time between ordering the car and delivery of the vehicle, there is less need for a large inventory of vehicles on site.”
Vehicle service isn’t being considered with the application. Fairfax County Planning Commission is scheduled to weigh in on the application on Dec. 1, and the Board of Supervisors could do so on Dec. 7.