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Fairfax County police car lights (file photo)

Updated at 8:15 p.m.All Route 28 lanes have now reopened, but a man remains hospitalized, and police are continuing to investigate the crash.

Earlier: Two people have been transported to the hospital, one with life-threatening injuries, after a two-vehicle crash on Route 28 in Chantilly.

All three northbound lanes at Westfields Boulevard have been closed, as Fairfax County police officers investigate the incident, which occurred before 5 p.m. today (Monday).

The Fairfax County Police Department advises drivers to avoid the area. As of 5:50 p.m., there are about 2 miles of delays, with traffic backing up to I-66, according to the Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination.

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The bakery Shilla recently opened a new shop on Metrotech Drive (via Shilla/Facebook)

One of Chantilly’s core shopping centers is getting a jolt of life with the arrival of a few new businesses, including a recently added bakery.

Notably, Shilla Bakery & Cafe opened a third location in the Sully Place Shopping Center late last month. The traditional Korean bakery first opened in 1999 and has since expanded to three locations, including a spot in Tysons. The bakery opened at 13938 Metrotech Drive on April 25.

EggHolic, a fast-casual restaurant that sells Indian street food, also plans to open sometime this year in the Lotte-anchored shopping center (13951 Metrotech Drive), which occupies 500,000 square feet at the Route 50 and Centreville Road intersection.

As its name suggests, most of its menu items involve eggs in one form or the other.

The business is rapidly expanding to other locations across the country, including Ontario, New Jersey and Maryland. It already has locations in Illinois, Kentucky and Texas.

The vegan restaurant serves items like cheese katori — two boiled eggs filled with spices and cheese — and specials like lack — shredded green bell pepper cooked with cheese and eggs. The complete menu is available online.

Cousins Bhagyesh and Lay Patel launched the business three years ago in Chicago. The business did not immediately return requests for comment on exactly when it is expected to open.

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Mike Halpern appears on “Wheel of Fortune” (courtesy Carol Kaelson/Wheel of Fortune, Califon Productions)

A former Chantilly little league coach has another title: “Wheel of Fortune” winner.

Mike Halpern won $122,903 in cash and prizes during his appearance on the TV game show yesterday (Monday), an outcome that he mostly kept secret even from his family and friends.

“I wanted them to be surprised,” he said. “They had a little bit of a hint of the fact that I didn’t completely bomb.”

With over half the letters missing in the final puzzle, Halpern guessed a two-word phrase that won him $100,000, leading him to make a snow angel in the prize confetti that rained down around him.

Talking with host Pat Sajak at the beginning of the episode, Halpern said he was a baseball coach with Chantilly Youth Association Little League for 14 seasons. He coached both of his sons there, too.

“I loved being on the field, and it was great to watch them grow up,” Halpern said on the show.

Halpern filmed his appearance in Culver City, California, near the Los Angeles Airport on March 23. He arranged a watch party at Mustang Sally Brewery in Chantilly, which found a way to open on a closed day for them.

Early in the game, both of his competitors lost their prize earnings with a spin and mystery wedge that led to bankruptcies. One contender lost her earnings twice.

Halpern also won a $9,003 trip to Aruba, which he’s never visited before.

A regular viewer of the show since he was a kid, Halpern and his wife decided to share the news of his appearance on the show with their two teenage sons by creating a “Wheel of Fortune” puzzle on a piece of paper. The boys took turns guessing until they revealed the answer: “I got picked to spin the wheel.”

The family also helped him prepare.

“We would pause every night’s episode before the bonus round,” Halpern said. “They would watch it. I would…leave the room.”

To complete the simulated experience, one of their sons set a 10-second countdown with a timer on his iPhone.

At the brewery watch party, Halpern’s friends also released confetti cannons to help recreate the experience.

“I knew what happened, but like, no one else in the entire place had any clue,” Halpern said.

When Sajak opened the envelope with the prize, the Chantilly watch party lost its mind.

“It felt like a dream,” he said. “It was just awesome.”

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Morning Notes

Wolftrap Creek in Vienna is high during a rainy Saturday (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Amazon Plans Chantilly Data Center — “Amazon.com Inc.’s data center arm is working to develop a new data center facility in Chantilly, with plans to invest nearly $36 million into the project, according to Fairfax County records. The vacant property located at 3980 Virginia Mallory Drive is part of Amazon’s 46.4 acres in Avion Parkway, which the company bought for $55.9 million in 2021.” [Washington Business Journal]

Rappelling Stunt Supports Fairfax County Nonprofit — “On Thursday and Friday, about 80 people, including two local elected officials, a Washington Post reporter, and a member of the D.C. Divas women’s football team, dressed in full pads and uniform, rappelled down the side of the Crystal City Hilton to raise funds and awareness for New Hope Housing.” [The Washington Post]

County to Choose COVID-19 Memorial Site by September — “The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is positioning the county as one of the first localities in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. to build a permanent pandemic remembrance. The Fairfax County Park Authority recently submitted a memorandum to the board, summarizing project details, including design considerations, the project timeline and next steps, including the memorial’s location.” [WTOP]

County Board Sides with American Legion After Neighbor Complaints — “The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) voted 4-1 April 27 to overturn the zoning administrator’s ruling that American Legion Post 270 in McLean improperly was operating as a banquet-and-reception hall. Surrounding residents have complained about noise, loitering, late-night events and parties lasting until the early morning” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

FCPD Traffic Campaign Yields Citations — “On Tuesday [May 3], officers from our Traffic Division wrote over 100 citations and warnings during our extra enforcement campaign in the Annandale area. This campaign runs through May 22 and is geared towards making our roads safe for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.” [FCPD/Facebook]

Afghan Refugees Look for Jobs in Tysons — “Job seekers, like 21-year-old Mohammad Fasih Yaqoobi, had the chance to meet with more than 30 employers hiring for roles at all skill levels. In Yaqoobi’s case, the fair represented an opportunity to provide for his family, who have already lived a lifetime of unimaginable circumstances.” [NBC4]

Chapel Road Closed in Clifton Starting Today — “Chapel Road (Route 641) between Water Street and Yates Ford Road (Route 612) will be closed to through traffic, weather permitting, Monday, May 9 through Wednesday, May 11 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day to replace a stormwater pipe, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.” [VDOT]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 60 and low of 42. Sunrise at 6:03 am and sunset at 8:10 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A planned development near Westfield High School includes 154 townhouses that are for sale (via Fairfax County)

A plan to build 154 townhouses on a property surrounded by industrial uses and bisected by transmission lines opposite Westfield High School in Chantilly is drawing scrutiny from the Fairfax County Planning Commission.

At a meeting last night (Wednesday), some commissioners called the proposal by K. Hovnanian Homes at Gallery Park inappropriate for the area.

Providence District Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner said the applicant was attempting to putting a “square peg in a round hole” and struggled to understand why county staff recommended approval of the application, which requires the site at 15014 Northridge Drive to be rezoned from industrial use to residential.

“We don’t have more industrial uses than we need in the county and here we are taking an industrial use and creating a residential island in the middle of industrial use,” Niedzielski-Eichner said.

Other commissioners expressed concern about the transmission lines that cross over the entire property.

The applicant’s attorney, Kenneth Wire, noted the presence of the high school contributes to the sense of community, suggesting that the development would not be on an island.

He also said the developer worked closely with the community, Dominion Energy, and Washington Gas to design the development so that the road network aligned with most of the transmission lines.

“The center of a community is often a school,” Wire said, adding that some buyers may not be perturbed by the presence of transmission lines above.

Staff said the development was appropriate for an area — known in planning jargon as Land Unit J — that could have up to 4,000 additional residential units.

“It’s really just the beginning of the evolution of Westfields,” Bill O’Donald of the county’s zoning department said.

The proposed townhouses are “strategically organized” around the power lines to include open spaces like grilling pavilions, fitness stations, play costs, and a playground, according to the application.

By county standards, 12% of the units are considered affordable, and roughly 3.5 acres of open space is planned. Trails will also be provided along Stonecroft Boulevard and Northridge Drive.

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A rendering of a veterinary hospital that has been proposed in Chantilly (via Fairfax County)

A veterinary hospital could take up a one-acre vacant site at 4700 Centreville Road, right next to the Westone Plaza shopping center in Chantilly.

A one-story building with 3,200-square-feet is planned on the largely wooded area, along with 41 spaces for surface parking. Access to the site would be provided through the existing shopping center.

A public hearing on the application before the Fairfax County Planning Commission was deferred from this past Wednesday (April 20) to April 27.

County staff encouraged the applicant to ensure that a missing trail link between Poplar Tree Road and Stonecroft Road is added. Staff asked the applicant to build the missing connection to complete the trail system in this area.

Although a hospital is proposed, the applicant noted in submission materials that the building could be used for other purposes “to respond to market demand as needed.” Other options include retail, offices, rental services, an instruction center, or a private school.

In an April 7 report, staff noted that other possible uses “complement the existing uses in the shopping center.”

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Lidl is coming to McLean, with Big Buns and Matchbox Pizza in tow (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on McLean’s upcoming Lidl.

The grocery store is on track to open this summer, the company says, putting the project slightly behind previous projections of a spring opening.

“Opening a beautiful, brand new store has many components,” a Lidl spokesperson told FFXnow. “…The D.C. area is our home and we can’t wait to introduce customers to the high quality experience we offer.”

Located at 1330 Chain Bridge Road, the McLean Lidl will be smaller than the Safeway that it’s replacing, which closed in April 2021. The additional space has been subdivided to make room for three other tenants.

Two of the spaces have been leased by Big Buns Damn Good Burgers and Matchbox Pizza, which were expected to arrive in the second quarter of 2022 — between April 1 and June 30. Thompson Hospitality, the group that owns both restaurants, didn’t return FFXnow’s inquiry by press time on whether that timeline is still likely.

Fairfax County issued commercial interior alteration permits for Matchbox and Big Buns on March 30.

The third space — a 2,357-square-foot suite that could be expanded by another 2,112 square feet — remains available for lease, according to a brochure from real estate broker H&R Retail.

Originally started in Germany in 1973, Lidl now operates over 11,200 stores around the world, according to its website. That includes four stores in Fairfax County, with the most recent one opening in Merrifield last summer.

While the McLean location appears to be the next one up, construction began in December on a 30,000-square-foot store in Lorton (9001 White Spruce Way). When contacted by FFXnow, Lidl indicated that it has not set a timeline for opening yet.

Lidl also has plans for a store in Chantilly, specifically at the Chantilly Crossing Shopping Center, according to county permits issued for a wall sign on Dec. 8. Marketing materials suggest the store will take over a currently vacant lot adjacent to Lee Road.

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Route 50 traffic waits at a stoplight at the Lees Corner Road intersection (via Google Maps)

An online survey looking at ways to improve congestion and reduce crashes on Route 50 in Chantilly closes Monday (April 11).

The Virginia Department of Transportation is reviewing potential intersection improvements on a 1-mile segment between Chantilly Plaza and Plaza Lane, including at Lees Corner and Stringfellow roads.

The survey focuses on whether a left turn should be removed for westbound Route 50 traffic onto Lees Corner Road, among other changes.

The study is also considering removing a left-turn lane for eastbound Route 50 traffic onto Stringfellow Road.

The review is part of a Strategically Targeted Affordable Roadway Solutions (STARS) study, an effort by VDOT to tackle short-term and affordable projects.

The study is expected to be completed this spring or summer. VDOT will then work with Fairfax County to identify funding to make improvements happen.

An initial study looked at nearly 2 miles of Route 50 between Route 28 and Stringfellow Road. A final report was delivered in March 2021.

The study carries an overall cost of $450,000, split between $317,000 for the first phase and $133,000 for the second, current phase.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

The Tysons skyline (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Electrical Event Caused Chantilly House Fire — “Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the electrical panel box located in the basement. The cause of the fire was an electrical event involving wiring in the electrical panel box.” [FCFRD]

Sheriff’s Office Donates Ballistic Vests to Ukraine — “Due to the dire situation in Ukraine and the scarcity of body armor, the Sheriff’s Office and our Supply section, led by 2nd Lt. Kim, are proud to be able to donate 110 ballistic vests for the Lift Up Ukraine campaign. We hope our equipment will help protect the lives of Ukrainians as they defend their country from the Russian invasion.” [Fairfax County Sheriff Facebook]

Historic Egg Roll in Vienna — From 5:30 – 7 p.m. today, Historic Freeman Store and Museum, 131 Church St., SE, will hold an egg roll. “Families and children 12 and younger are invited to enjoy an old-fashioned egg roll, games, story time and more! The event is presented by Historic Vienna, Inc. and the Town of Vienna. For more information email Lily Widman or call 703-255-6360.” [Town of Vienna]

Lake Accotink Carousel Closed — “Due to maintenance issues, Lake Accotink Park’s carousel will not be open this weekend. However, mini-Golf will be open for normal operations. Also, the lake is now available for private boating.” [Fairfax County Parks]

Some Now Eligible for Second Booster — This week, the FDA authorized, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended, a second booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for people who are at least 50 years old; those between 18 and 49 who received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine as both their primary dose and booster dose; and those who are 12 years old and older whose immune system is moderately or severely impaired based on disease or medications they are taking. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

FCPS Highlights Program — “For some FCPS families, the children aren’t the only ones practicing their instruments each night. The FCPS Parent Orchestra, started four years ago, is a chance for parents to learn how to play, connect with their child’s learning, and create new friendships.” [FCPS]

It’s Friday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 63 and low of 40. Sunrise at 6:54 a.m. and sunset at 7:33 p.m. [Weather.gov]

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A plan to bring 144 townhomes to Westfields will head to the Fairfax County Planning Commission this spring.

The developer K. Hovanian at Gallery Park filed a rezoning application in mid-May of last year to move forward with the project, which it says “will introduce meaningful residential while defining the entrance into Westfields.”

Known as Northridge, the property is located at 15014 North Drive in Chantilly, right across the street from Westfield High School. It is one of the last undeveloped parcels in the Westfields community.

The area’s current zoning reflects the need for suburban, surface-parked office and light industrial uses. But the market did not seem to favor that zoning, according to the developer. The planning commission will consider the proposal on May 4.

“As has been the situation with many suburban, non-transit-oriented office parks, the market for additional office/light industrial never emerged for this property and it has remained vacant,” the developer said in a statement of justification.

The project was designed to navigate a large number of overhead power transmission lines around the site.

“Other uses, such as office or light industrial, would have a difficult time accommodating this constraint,” the application notes.

Driveways will be able to fit two vehicles, and open space features are planned, including fitness stations, a trillion pavilion, playground, and other play courts.

Roughly 12% of units will be marketed as affordable.

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