Tysons, VA

Update 10/28 — The new parking district will relieve overparked residential streets near the Scotts Run Nature Preserve, not the Scotts Run development in Tysons East. According to Robin Geiger:

As you can see from the area of impact shown on the map above, this permit district is not in the Tysons East district and will have no impact on multi-family development. The permit district will instead provide relief to residents of communities adjacent to Scotts Run Nature Preserve, whose streets have been heavily impacted by the increased number of visitors to the park.  You also indicated that guests could receive temporary passes for no more than two weeks.  That also is not true.  Permits and visitor passes are available only to residents of the permit district. 

Earlier: Be careful where you park near Scotts Run, because some of those spots could soon become residents only.

New residential developments are coming in to Tysons East even as other developments, like the Capital One complex, are expanding or being added. To stem off future conflicts, the Board of Supervisors is set to review this afternoon whether to implement (public hearing item for 4:30 p.m.) a parking district for the Scotts Run District.

Residential parking districts can be a mixed bag, with residents secure in their parking but adding difficulty to finding parking for guests — back in a time when people could have friends over at their house. The Scotts Run Residential Permit Parking District document noted that guests could receive temporary passes for no more than two weeks.

The new district will be designated District 48 and would not be available to residents of new multi-family developments.

“One transferable visitor pass per address shall be issued in the name of a bona fide resident of said address,” the document said. “However, visitor passes shall not be issued to multifamily or townhouse addresses, which have off-street parking provided.”

Image via Fairfax County

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With road fixtures, building renovations, and other uncertain town repairs and purchases, Town of Vienna leadership met to discuss future capital improvement projects.

Town Manager Mercury Payton, hosted a forum with several directors to discuss what major projects Vienna can expect to see in the near-future.

“Basically, our CIP [Capital Improvement Plan] is a long-range plan that talks about how we look at scoping out and planning for our long-range projects… everything from our road projects, to structures and buildings and everything in between,” Payton said. “We like to plan those out years in advance and make sure that we’re thoughtful about those projects.”

Payton outlines a few capital improvement projects that the Town of Vienna can expect over the next few years, including:

The panel of directors consisted of Vienna’s Directors of Finance, Public Works, Recreation, and Economic Development Manager. The town attorney and police chief were also present.

Marion Serfass, the director of finance, described recent capital improvement projects as, “projects like road improvements, sidewalk improvements, storm-water improvements, the town green, the community center renovation and other buildings. Generally, to be a capital project or to be considered for a capital project, it’s a big long-term project like that and has to cost at least $5,000 and many of those projects cost a lot more than that.”

The process of choosing which projects to fund also consists of a budget committee and strategic planning.

“We do the CIP every fall and every spring,” Serfass said. “We put out a call to directors… what sort of projects do they think they need to help improve the delivery of town services and help with the infrastructure of the town. And then we take in all those, the budget committee gets to look through those, department heads make their case about why this project is important, how it fits into the strategic plan. In the meantime, the finance department is forecasting the meals tax revenues because we borrow money for capital projects, we pay it back with our meals taxes, so we don’t want to exceed what we can comfortably pay back in our meals taxes, plus leave a cash reserve.”

Residents of the Town of Vienna were also asked to provide insight about possible repairs or construction their communities may need.

“I would encourage them to reach out to their council people,” Serfass said. “Our website is www.viennava.gov and our council members’ emails are there, under ‘town council’.”

Photo via Town of Vienna/Facebook

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Your days of parking your boat and camping trailer in the Idylwood neighborhood may be numbered.

If advertisement for a public hearing coming up on Tuesday, Oct. 6, is approved tomorrow, the Board of Supervisors will consider a potential ban on certain large vehicles in Idylwood — a residential neighborhood south of Tysons, sandwiched between I-495 and I-66.

According to County documents:

Fairfax County Code Section 82-5B-2 authorizes the Board to establish a CPD for the purpose of prohibiting or restricting the parking of the following vehicles on the streets in the CPD: watercraft; boat trailers; motor homes; camping trailers; and any other trailer or semi-trailer, regardless of whether such trailer or semi-trailer is attached to another vehicle; any vehicle with three or more axles; any vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating of 12,000 or more pounds, except school buses used on a current and regular basis to transport students; and any vehicle of any size that is being used in the transportation of hazardous materials as defined in Virginia Code § 46.2-341.4.

The ordinance would not apply to vehicles parked to discharge passengers, utility generators mounted on trucks, or vehicles parked for less than 48 hours to load up for a trip.

The new parking district is the result of a petition from residents of Idylwood.

Top photo via dave_7/Flicker, map via Fairfax County

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Fairfax County and the Town of Vienna are moving forward with plans for public parking as part of the redevelopment of Patrick Henry Library.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement with the Town of Vienna on Tuesday for a design and construction agreement.

The redevelopment aims to replace the aging library, which is one of the oldest and busiest of the county’s libraries, according to county staff. Meanwhile, Vienna officials are looking to increase public parking along Maple Avenue.

The redevelopment of the library, which is operated by the county and located in the town, will include a public parking structure. Three ideas were proposed for the number of parking spaces.

The chosen option would have two levels of structured parking with 125 spaces for the library and 84 for the town. The county’s fall back option would offer only 90 surface parking spaces, according to county staff.

The project is included in the FY 2021-2025 Capital Improvement Program. County staff said that the partnership between the town and county on the redevelopment will help meet both localities’ needs in a “more cost-effective manner.”

More from the county:

The project design is scheduled to commence in January 2021 with construction completion at the end of 2024, contingent on the approval of the 2020 Library Bond Referendum. The library project will be designed to meet the pending Green Building Policy updates for LEED and energy performance improvements.

The Town’s contribution for the design phase will not exceed 30% (with a cap of $850,000) of the total design costs, which will be paid to the County in a lump sum after appropriation from the Town’s 2020 Bond Referendum, and prior to the start of the design phase. In addition, the Town will be responsible for 19% (with a cap of $4.2 million) of the total construction costs for a 2-level structured parking garage, payable in three equal payments to the County starting in calendar year 2022.

The upcoming fall 2020 Library Bond Referendum includes $23 million in library bond funding for the Patrick Henry Library. This bond amount is sufficient to address the County’s cost share for the design and construction of the library and either Option A or B1 for the parking structure.

Now that the agreement has been approved, the county and town can move forward on figuring out how to jointly fund the project.

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Fairfax County planners support proposals to construct a mixed-use building — rather than two residential towers — over a parking podium in the Scotts Run development.

The developer, Cityline Partners, is looking to have the newly proposed 25-story building contain roughly 450,000 square feet of residential ground floor area and 15,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor. The building would have 447 residential units, according to the staff report.

Cityline also wants to modify the parking podium by adding retail along with the above-grade parking, according to the staff report. Proffers limit the parking to 80 feet, and the developer plans to stay within the allotted height range, the report said.

“With the use of glass and masonry, the podium is designed to suggest occupied space rather than a parking garage,” the report noted.

The proposals would tweak some aspects of the Scotts Run development, which will span approximately 40 acres near the McLean Metro station. The overall development will add retail, office and residential spaces along with a new grid of streets.

While the county’s planners support the proposal, the staff report noted ways the developer could improve the project’s aesthetics, like “additional attention to architectural features, such as canopies.”

More from the staff report:

Staff continues to recommend that the applicant refine the vertical banding on the building façade to create a continuous line between levels and further compliment the backlit podium treatment in order to accentuate the impression that those levels are occupied space and de-emphasize that they are structured parking.

The staff reported noted that the change from two towers to one building would not significantly impact Tysons’ skyline.

” Staff believes that the proposed changes do not present any substantial land use issues and the proposal remains in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan,” the report said.

The Planning Commission will consider the proposed changes on Wednesday, July 8.

Image via Fairfax County

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The Vienna Town Council has a full agenda — from the upcoming budget to solar panels to public parking for Patrick Henry Library’s renovation — for tonight’s meeting.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the items the officials will consider.

Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Budget, Tax Rate

The Vienna Town Council will consider adopting the proposed $41 million budget and real estate tax rate of $0.2250 per $100 of assessed value for FY 2020-2021.

The town staff and officials revised the budget due to challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, expecting lower revenues and “a return to more normal circumstances by Dec. 31,” according to town documents.

The changes included decreasing the General Fund by $2.5 million.

Parking at Patrick Henry Library

The councilmembers are set to vote on a design and construction agreement with Fairfax County for the public parking included in Patrick Henry Library’s renovation.

In the agreement, the town would contribute funds for the design and construction of the parking spaces with options to terminate the agreement if the town decides to not move forward with the parking spaces.

More from the town documents:

The design costs for the Town are now capped at the lesser of 30% of the total design costs or $850,000, as compared to draft agreement with the lesser of 35% of the total design costs or $1,000,000. The construction costs for the Town are now capped at the lesser of 19% of the total construction costs or $4,200,000, as compared to the draft agreement with the lesser of 25% of the total construction costs or $4,500,000.

The Town has included funds for the design phase of this project in the 2020 CIP. The intention is to fund the construction phase of the project, at least in part, with transportation grants related to commuter parking. The Town currently is in the process of applying for grants.

The county’s Board of Supervisors also needs to vote on the agreement.

Solar Panel Push

Vienna officials will decide whether or not to approve offering Solarize NOVA this year.

The program, which informs residents and businesses on how to purchase solar energy, first arrived in the town in 2015 and is run by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and the nonprofit Local Energy Alliance Program, according to town documents.

“Since 2015, 29 Solarize contracts have been signed in Vienna for over 230 kW of power. Vienna is the highest zip code for solar kW within the Solarize NOVA campaign,” according to the documents.

The dates for the program are still being finalized, but people can expect the campaign to run from June to September.

COVID-19 Challenges

Vienna officials will also consider re-adopting an emergency ordinance that makes it easier for businesses to use outdoor space.

The ordinance lets Town Manager Mercury Payton allow temporary waivers of zoning regulations to businesses so that they can operate outside.

“Under normal circumstances, business owners would be required to pursue a formal process-delaying their ability to reopen and impeding support for [the] revitalization of the local economy in Vienna,” according to town documents.

The meeting is set to start at 8 p.m.

Image via Town of Vienna

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When Metro kicks off its summer work tomorrow (Saturday), drivers can find free parking at three Orange Line stations in the Tysons area.

The free parking will be available at the West Falls Church, Dunn Loring and Vienna stations during the shutdown. The West Falls Church station’s parking will be cut in half, but the other two stations won’t have capacity limits, according to the project’s website.

People who have reserved parking spots will still be billed for their spots, the website said.

The East Falls Church station will be closed for the summer work and won’t offer any parking, although the Kiss & Ride will allow pick-ups and drop-offs.

For cyclists, bike racks and lockers will still be offered at the stations during the summer work, except for at the East Falls Church station where some racks have been moved.

All Orange and Silver line stations west of the Ballston station will be closed starting tomorrow. The work, which is expected to last through the fall, includes platform reconstruction on the Orange Line and the connection of the upcoming stations to the Silver Line.

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

Tysons Auto Group to Offer Luxury Hybrid Speedsters — “Tysons-based Exclusive Automotive Group has since updated its plans to include sales and service of both Karma Automotive and Koenigsegg vehicles. This will be the first presence for both in the D.C. area.” [Washington Business Journal]

Affordable Housing Spike Expected — “Fairfax County could soon more than double funding for its affordable housing loan program, with local leaders starting work on a new budget that would offer up more than $45.7 million to power affordable development.” [Washington Business Journal]

McLean Falls on Richest U.S. Places List — “The next Virginia town on the list was McLean at 30 with an average household income of $293,323. McLean fell from 25th place last year, although its average income rose from $283,992… Rounding out Virginia towns on the list was Wolf Trap at 47, down from 42 in last year’s ranking. The average household income increased from $261,610 to $265,175.” [Patch]

Falls Church Concerned About Upcoming Metro Parking Closure — “Falls Church’s Assistant City Manager Cindy Mester will be on an urgent conference call with WMATA officials and her counterparts in Arlington and Fairfax Friday in an effort to mitigate the impact on neighborhoods in the City of Falls Church of WMATA’s plans, announced less than two weeks ago, to close the parking lots at the East and West Falls Church Metro stations months ahead of the closing of the stations for platform repairs over the summer.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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Come March 15, some or all of the parking options will be closed at three Metro stations in the Falls Church and Vienna area.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced on Friday that pre-construction ahead of summer work will impact parking at three Orange Line stations.

While the summer work on the Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church and East Falls Church stations doesn’t start until May, the parking changes are set to start on March 15.

“Due to the stations’ location and extreme space limitations, construction crews will need to utilize surface parking lots to stage heavy equipment and tons of material,” according to a press release from WMATA.

Here are the planned changes:

  • surface parking lots at the East Falls Church, West Falls Church and Vienna stations will be closed for seven to nine months
  • parking at the Dunn Loring station will not be impacted
  • Kiss & Ride lot will remain open for pick-up and drop-off only at East Falls Church station
  • West Falls Church station parking garage will remain open
  • Vienna station Parking Lot 1 will be temporarily closed beginning March 15
  • Vienna station’s parking garages and Parking Lot 3 will remain open.

The changes mean that parking won’t be available at the East Falls Church station.

Metro expects that the parking will fill up at the West Falls Church station before 7 a.m., according to the press release.

“Vehicles parked in closed lots after 12:01 a.m. on March 15, 2020, may be subject to towing,” the press release says.

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