The McDonald’s in Bailey’s Crossroads is a step closer to making some big changes, thanks to the blessing of the Fairfax County Planning Commission.
The commission voted unanimously on May 17 to recommend approval of several upgrades to the site at 5603 Leesburg Pike, including the addition of a second drive-thru lane and a 1,300-square-foot expansion.
Mason District Planning Commissioner Daren Schumate said that, after multiple deferrals of the vote, McDonald’s sufficiently addressed issues flagged by the commission and staff at a March 15 public hearing.
Schumate said the fast food company agreed to green building requirements and additional landscaping in response to the county’s concerns. The company also shifted a handicap parking spot slightly to avoid a tree that was near the spot.
“With that, it looks to me they’ve done good job of addressing concerns,” Schumate said.
However, the company did not agree to add a sidewalk that would connect the site to another property, because they argued it was out of the scope of the project. Staff concurred with the applicant, which has committed to providing a 10-foot-wide trail along Leesburg Pike.
Moving forward with the expansion would require the demolition of an adjacent office building, according to the application. The building was built in 1960.
An additional lane and ordering station is proposed with a median separating the lanes. Customers would enter the drive-thru area along the northwestern corner of the building and circulate clockwise to reach the drive-thru. The exit point is at the northeastern corner of the restaurant, according to the application.
To accommodate the expanded drive-thru, the company plans to redesign the parking lot. Existing parking spots on the eastern property boundary along the northern building facade would be removed to make space for a new sidewalk along Carlin Springs Road. The trash collection area would also be relocated further west of the parcel.
The applicant is seeking a 16% reduction in the number of parking spots required. Instead of 56 spaces, the applicant intends to provide 47 spaces.
The company also plans to install fully transparent windows, along with an outdoor seating area with chairs and tables at the front entrance of the building.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the application tomorrow (Tuesday) to determine whether it’s ultimately approved.
The site that currently hosts the Bailey’s Crossroads McDonald’s was originally home to the very first Roy Rogers. McDonald’s also recently moved to refresh its restaurant at 6729 Arlington Blvd, which is its oldest franchise in Fairfax County.
The work of Reston’s master planner James Rossant is on display at George Mason University through June 30.
The exhibit, “Cities and Memory: The Visionary Architecture of James Rossant with Poetry by Juliette Rossant,” displays the work of Rossant alongside poems that reflect on his art by his daughter, Juliette Rossant.
Rossant, who died in 2009, was an architect involved in the New Towns movements in the U.S., which sought to address issues related to urban overcrowding, air pollution and decay.
Rossant and his partner, William Conklin, developed the master plan for Reston in the early 1960s in an effort to create a suburban community that harmonized with urban amenities in park-like settings, according to GMU.
“Rossant’s plan proposed an organic mix of housing types and densities, green spaces, public sculpture, and mixed-use buildings, along with cultural facilities, schools, and churches,” the exhibit organizers said in a press release. “He believed that architecture could — should — be both beautiful and serve to build a better society.”
The exhibit features work from 1972 to 2009. Here’s more from the university on the exhibit:
The artworks in this exhibit range from 1972 to 2008 and give us insight into Rossant’s prodigious imagination and the fantastical processes that underpin his subsequent architectural creations. His subjects vary widely, from modernist portraits to imaginary cities to pastoral landscapes. Uniting them is Rossant’s deep commitment to realizing utopian ideals and visions. As described by architectural critic Joseph Giovannini, James Rossant’s drawings “fly off the grid, off the wagon of rationality, into a surrealism and humor of imagination liberated from the right angle and architectural propriety. […] These are temperamentally joyous drawings, propelled by curiosity and a spirit of exploration.”
His daughter’s poems act as responses to her father’s paintings. Her book — “Planet of the Blue Flowers” — will be published later this year by Finishing Line Press.
The work will be on display in Mason’s Fenwick Gallery during Fenwick Library’s business hours. The Conklin Rossant firm donated the Reston architect’s work to the University’s Special Collections Research Center.
A new tea spot is opening soon in Herndon’s Worldgate Centre.
Sharetea, a franchise that specializes in tea drinks, is expected to open soon at 13043 Worldgate Drive, according to signage posted at the door.
The business kicked off in Taiwan in 1992. It currently has more than 300 locations across 13 countries.
Virginia has three locations in Fairfax, Falls Church and Chesapeake. The business didn’t immediately return a request for comment from FFXnow.
Items on the menu include a variety of milk teas, fruit tea, blended ice beverages, and tea mojitos.
It replaces 1,053-square-feet of space previously leased by Pivot Physical Therapy.
The shopping plaza — which is anchored by Worldgate Athletic Club & Spa and AMC Theaters — has one 921-square-foot vacancy, according to the property owner’s website.
The organization has kicked off a community survey to gather information on how it should approach the planning process for future and current parks and recreation needs.
The survey is open through June 30 and is available to all. The survey is anonymous and takes roughly 15 minutes to complete.
“One of RA’s missions is to optimize the use of land and investments related to leisure opportunities for our members,” Reston Association said. “A planning process is conducted roughly every 10 years to ensure that our parks and recreational facilities and programs are optimally meeting both the current and future needs of our residents.”
Mike Leone, a spokesperson for RA, said the board is expected to hear the results of the community survey at when it meets in September.
The survey is intended to determine current use of parks and recreation programs and facilities, future uses, and what kind of new facilities and programs should be considered in the future.
The survey is available online. Survey stations are also planned at RA ballfields, community events, courts and pools.
(Updated at 1 p.m. on 5/15/2023) Reston Farmers’ Market — a staple of Lake Anne Village Center — has officially landed in Reston.
The farmers market, which launched in late April, boasts the highest-ever number of vendors this year, according to John Lovaas, founder and co-market manager.
“We have 34 vendors (up 5 from last year),” Lovaas wrote in a statement. “In addition we have a Compost collection contractor, and stands for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) managed by Cornerstones, and Fairfax Master Gardeners who provide a wide range of advice to home gardeners.”
Sponsored by the Fairfax County Park Authority, the market also allows SNAP beneficiaries to receive an up to $20 match.
Even as it boasts a record number of vendors, the market faces some parking restraints this year.
Lovaas said parking is a constraint “made more difficult” by the new Lake Anne House, which provides what he said was “inadequate parking for its 240 apartments.”
Additionally, construction work on new townhouses next to the senior housing community has complicated some efforts.
“Thankfully, there is abundant parking available just the other side of Baron Cameron Avenue from the Market and in the parking lot behind the Lake Anne Baptist Church on the Plaza,” Lovaas said.
The church, which is officially called the Washington Plaza Baptist Church, is located at 1615 Washington Plaza North.
Musicians also perform on a weekly basis at the farmers market, which is held every Saturday to December from 8 a.m. to noon.
This year’s new vendors are:
- Bites by Sam-sweet & savory pies
- Cocoi-Philippine donuts, sweets
- Coulter Dairy Farms-certified Organic
- Pho From Home-Frozen Vietnamese Soups
- Poppi’s Hot Sauces
Here’s more from Reston Association on the parking changes:
Construction of new townhomes on North Shore Drive across from the Reston Farmers Market will begin shortly, making parking even more challenging. However, nearby there are two sizeable parking lots that provide alternative parking options for market attendees.
One is up behind Lake Anne Baptist Church on the Plaza. To access this lot, take the first left turn off North Shore Drive after you go through the traffic light at the entrance into the new Lake Anne House assisted living building coming from the Farmers Market. After the left turn, go straight ahead up the hill into the parking area.
On the opposite side of Baron Cameron Avenue from Lake Anne Village Center & the Farmers Market, there is parking straight ahead by the RA tennis courts, and off to the right by the Browns Chapel and the baseball field. There is a crosswalk with a signal light on Baron Cameron for a safe walk back to Lake Anne.
Frequenters of Reston Town Center can expect more sip-and-stroll-style events this year.
At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (May 9), the board approved Reston Town Center Association‘s request to increase the number of licenses it has per year for designated outdoor refreshment areas.
RTCA can now host up to 50 events — up from 16 — this year through additional Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) licenses.
The organization’s president, Robert Goudie, told the board that the request came after an overwhelmingly positive response to sip-and-stroll events at the town center last year.
RTCA patrons can expect at least 12 Darden and Friends jazz events in the spring and fall, sip-and-stroll events on the first Saturday of the month, and the return of Reston Concerts on the Town.
Goudie said RTCA pilot-tested the sip-and-stroll concept last year. Physical barricades will also be added to designate the area — a move that Goudie says goes above and beyond what is required by law.
“We don’t want to turn Reston Town Center into a constant pub for all,” Goudie said.
The board voted unanimously in favor of the proposal.
Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity lauded the effort as a major placemaking initiative.
“That’s all I could think when you were talking,” Herrity told Goudie.
(Updated at 3 p.m.) The Herndon Town Council voted unanimously this week to reduce the town’s real estate tax rate for the first time in more than a decade.
At a meeting on Tuesday (May 9), the council approved a decrease of the rate from $0.265 per $100 of assessed real estate property value to $0.260 per $100 of assessed value.
“This council’s vote to lower the tax rate is acknowledgement of the higher cost of living many of our citizens are experiencing,” Mayor Sheila Olem said. “Real estate assessments are up. The cost of groceries, utilities, gas — all are up. Our aim in adopting this tax rate decrease is to offer some relief to our citizens in these economic times.”
The half-cent cut is a change from the proposed fiscal year 2024 budget submitted last month by Town Manager Bill Ashton II, who suggested keeping the tax rate flat.
But under the newly adopted budget, water and sewer rates will increase by roughly 1.5% due to higher treatment and commodity costs, according to the town.
The town is also positioning itself to absorb the town’s rising contribution to capital costs associated with water sewer treatment. Other taxes and fees remain unchanged.
Overall, the $62.2 million package represents an 8.6% spending increase over last year.
It also includes market rate adjustments (MRA) to boost employee salaries, particularly for sworn officers of the Herndon Police Department.
“The council’s adopted budget also authorizes a significant market rate adjustment for sworn officers of the Herndon Police Department, giving the town parity among nearby jurisdictions, all of which are competing for qualified law enforcement candidates,” the town said.
According to a town spokesperson, the details for the police MRA increase “are not final,” but non-sworn town employees will get a 1% bump this July, followed by a 2% increase in January 2024.
The adopted budget will be available online by July 1, when the new fiscal year begins.
Fairfax County’s zoning ordinance has officially been modernized — for good this time.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the code overhaul known as zMod on Tuesday (May 9) even after overwhelming opposition at the public hearing. The readoption took effect immediately.
Tuesday’s proceedings echoed the board’s consideration of the same plan in 2021 — a vote that the Virginia Supreme Court voided in March. The court ruled that the approval violated open meeting provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act because it came during a virtual meeting.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said the modernization of the ordinance — which was last updated in 1979 — was long overdue and corrected parts of the document that were discriminatory. McKay said issues that triggered a response in the community will remain on the county’s radar.
“We will continue to monitor those as we have been,” he said.
The board approved a follow-on motion to allow additional opportunity for review at a Fairfax County Planning Commission work session in June — particularly for concerns about allowances for data centers in some areas of the county.
McKay noted earlier in the meeting that zMOD limited where data centers are allowed, banning them from residential districts, but the county has approved nine data centers since the overhaul was first adopted.
Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith said the planning commission will revisit issues raised at Tuesday’s public hearing as part of a zoning ordinance work program.
Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust conceded that, while the ordinance was not perfect, it should still go through.
“It’s without hesitation that I support adoption,” he said.
Concerns dominating the hearing — losing stable neighborhoods, lack of transparency, detrimental environmental impacts, doubts about county staff’s intentions, and the scope of the overhaul — were similar to criticisms made in 2021.
Some residents revived arguments that eased rules for accessory living units (ALUs) and home-based businesses (HBBs) would destroy the character of stable neighborhoods.
Others said the latest push for zMod was ushered in without transparency and public comment.
Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross said staff “should be celebrated, not castigated” for its work on the zoning revisions, a process that began in 2017.
Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity abstained from the vote.
“It was supposed to be a reorganization,” Herrity said. “It ended up being more than that.” Read More
A data analytics and intelligence firm is the latest tenant to sign a lease at Comstock’s massive Reston Station project.
Babel Street will lease 10,200-square-feet of space at 1900 Reston Metro Plaza. The company offers advanced data analytics and intelligence for government and commercial clients with an aritificial intelligence-enabled platform. It’s currently located at 1818 Library Street.
Comstock is “thrilled to welcome Babel Street to our roster of tech and IT security office tenants at Reston Station,” the developer’s Chief Operating Officer Timothy Steffan said in a statement.
Having recently signed several new retail and experiential brands including VIDA Fitness, Puttshack, and Ebbitt House, the first ever expansion of the iconic Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C., we continue activating the Reston Station neighborhood to be a dynamic mixed-used and transit-oriented neighborhood that provides exciting dining, fitness, and entertainment options for our growing list of corporate office tenants and residents alike.
Babel has other offices in Tokyo, Tel Aviv, London, Canberra and Ottawa.
Roughly 3,000 additional residences are planned at the mixed-use neighborhood, including 420 units currently under construction. Two hotels are also planned, along with a flagship VIDA Fitness and Spa facility, Puttshack, and Ebbitt House — the first expansion of the Old Ebbitt Grill brand.
The development’s tenants are Founding Farmers, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse and Starbucks.
Some Restonians are calling on Fairfax County to invest more funds into transportation safety upgrades in local schools, particularly within the South Lakes pyramid.
In a March 30 memo to the Fairfax County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, Hunter Mill District School Board Representative Melanie Meren flagged specific, problematic areas that may need more crossing guards, signage or physical upgrades and a comprehensive evaluation of crossings and bus stops.
“The safety of our students and community members is paramount and as you know all-too-well throughout Fairfax, residents have experienced transit-related deaths, incidents and close-calls,” reads the memo, which was first reported by WTOP.
Their hope is that concerns and considerations will be incorporated or inform the ongoing update to Reston’s comprehensive plan. A document resulting from over-two-year-long effort is expected to go before the Board of Supervisors later this year.
Tentatively, a staff report on the draft comprehensive plan created by a task force assembled by Hunter Mill District Walter Alcorn is expected sometime this month.
In a statement to FFXnow, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay emphasized that bicyclist and pedestrian safety is a top priority of the county.
The Board of Supervisors takes the issue of traffic safety seriously, especially pedestrian and bicycle safety. Which is why we have committed $100 million for infrastructure improvements, $25 million of which has already been allocated. We have launched a speed camera pilot program that in 30 days issued over 1400 warnings to drivers and is expected to issue many more once all potential violations are processed. We are exploring our options with red light cameras and other types of photo enforcement as well.
Reston Association’s Multimodal Transportation Advisory Committee (MTAC) has scheduled a virtual town hall for 6:30 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday) to discuss pedestrian safety near Reston schools.
“As Reston’s citizen advisory committee on various forms of transportation modes throughout the community, MTAC would like to hear from members on their experiences, concerns and suggestions about transportation in Reston,” RA said in a newsletter last Friday (May 5).
A breakdown of the concerns raised by Meren is below: Read More