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The Fairfax Presbyterian Church wants to repurpose 1.6 acres of its parking lot for 10 townhomes for lower-income people.

It’s holding another open house tomorrow (Saturday) at 10 a.m. in its fellowship hall with a question-and-answer session about the proposed project, which requires Fairfax City Council to rezone the area.

The church is seeking to partner with three nonprofits and help house individuals currently making $79,700 or less as well as families of four with an income of $113,850 or less, targeting people in the 40% to 80% range of the area median income.

The church envisions offering a 30-year mortgage, but with land leased at $1 per year, it will remove some $100,000 to $300,000 in land costs that other homeowners might face. Building height and design would be comparable to nearby buildings on the eastern border of the property, according to an application.

The proposed project comes through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia, homeless services organization Homestretch and HomeAid Northern Virginia, which is tied to the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association.

“Eight units will be sold with a long-term ground sublease to income eligible Habitat NOVA families and two of the units will be sold to Homestretch for their Sacred Homes Program,” the church’s application says.

However, a representative of a local advocacy group for affordable housing says city staff seem to be catering to a handful of vocal opponents, thereby putting up roadblocks.

Judy Fisher said the city has required two traffic studies so far to understand changes from the pandemic, but then asked for a third traffic study. She said it’s creating hardship for the project, which has relied on pro bono work for the studies.

City spokesman Matthew Kaiser said the project’s application was received May 6, 2022, and is currently under its first round of review.

“There will be only one traffic study,” he wrote in an email.

But Fisher said the church decided to pursue the project five years ago, and the partnership submitted two applications in 2021, receiving staff comments.

“There has been what feels like not very good cooperation from the city,” she said. “It feels like obstruction.”

According to a church flier, it submitted a rezoning application last year in February and resubmitted it Oct. 27.

The flier says the church has committed up to $400,000 with the land to serve families needing affordable housing.

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Surface parking at the WillowWood Plaza in Fairfax is slated for major redevelopment (via Fairfax City)

The parking lots at WillowWood Plaza in Fairfax City may become the site of a future mixed-use development — a familiar storyline for parking nowadays.

Capital Real Estate, a Colorado-based real estate investment firm, is seeking the Fairfax City Council’s permission to redevelop existing surface parking with a 282-unit apartment building, 2,100 square feet of retail, 64 two-over-two apartment units, and a 375-space parking garage for existing offices.

If approved, construction would proceed in two phases: the first phase (10306 Eaton Place) would include the seven-story apartment building, retail and a 644-space parking garage. The second phase (10300 Eaton Place) would include the two-over-twos with 128 parking spaces and a 375-space parking garage.

WillowWood Plaza was developed in 1987 with four buildings owned by two different companies.

The developer needs a special use permit to proceed with the residential building, along with special exceptions for density and height. The project was discussed before the city council on May 10 in a pre-application briefing.

At the meeting, Councilmember Thomas Ross noted that the addition of housing would bring a significant number of people to the area, requiring additional traffic analysis for the development.

“The fact is that this is an area that doesn’t have a lot of housing,” Ross said, adding that there may be a need to signalize areas in and out of Eaton Place.

Councilmember So Lim said there may be additional opportunities to build more commercial space at the development, particularly since hundreds of units are planned. 

“I think they could definitely offer more retail space,” Lim said.

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Pulte plans to demolish the building to make way for offices and residential units (via City of Fairfax)

Pulte Homes is moving forward with a redevelopment of Breezeway Motel on Fairfax Boulevard.

The project will redevelop the aging property into a neighborhood with 40 townhouses, 20 two-over-two condominium units and open space. A new commercial building with roughly 10,000 square feet of space will replace the motel, which was built in the early 1950s.

The proposal was first submitted in the summer of 2018. After several rounds of revisions, the Fairfax City Council approved the project on March 8.

Macey Kessler, a spokesperson for Pulte, declined to comment on the project, including the development timeline.

“We do not have an update to share about the development at this time,” Kessler wrote in a statement.

The commercial building will be oriented to the intersection of Fairfax Boulevard and Walnut Street, according to application materials. The specific uses has not yet been identified. 45 parking spaces for the commercial building are planned.

Pulte plans to demolish the motel first, followed by the construction of town houses and the remaining residential components of the project.

Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh, the land use firm that represented Pulte during the rezoning process, called the Breezeway project “a catalyst for future redevelopment along the Fairfax Boulevard corridor.”

The firm said the redevelopment will bring road and infrastructure improvements, remove above-ground utilities, and result in “a substantial contribution” to Fairfax City’s affordable housing fund.

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Morning Notes

A Virginia Department of Transportation truck at the intersection of Route 1 and Popkins Lane in Groveton, where traffic signals were flashing (staff photo by Brandi Bottalico)

Metro Leaders Step Down — Metro General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld and Chief Operating Officer Joe Leader resigned, effective immediately, last night (Monday) after the transit agency pulled 72 operators for failing to recertify. Wiedefeld had been set to leave on June 30 but says he wanted to “provide a more timely transition to Interim General Manager Andy Off.” [WMATA]

Mosby Woods Residents Split Over Possible Street Renamings — “The increasingly diverse neighborhood named after Confederate army battalion commander John S. Mosby…is another battleground, with the [Fairfax] City Council set to decide in June whether nine streets in Mosby Woods should be called something else.” [The Washington Post]

Pipe Replacement to Disrupt Wolf Trap Area Traffic — “Lawyers Road (Route 673) just south of Carhill Road will have one lane of alternating traffic in each direction via flagging Tuesday, May 17 through Wednesday, May 18, between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day to replace a stormwater pipe…Through traffic will be detoured via Garrett Street, Trott Avenue, Vale Road, Hunter Mill Road and back to Lawyers” [VDOT]

Police Share Details on I-95 Crash — “The woman who died in last week’s fatal three-vehicle crash on Interstate 95 in Springfield, Virginia, was identified Monday by Virginia State Police….Speed and driver distraction are being investigated as contributing factors in the crash.” [WTOP]

Herndon IT Company Bought for $4.2B — “Herndon information technology contractor ManTech International Corp. (NASDAQ: MANT) said Monday morning it has agreed to be acquired by D.C. private equity powerhouse The Carlyle Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CG) in an all-cash transaction valued at $4.2 billion.” [Washington Business Journal]

Decision Nears on Lake Accotink Dredging — Fairfax County will make a final decision “in just weeks” on how to address sediment build-up in Springfield’s Lake Accotink. The options currently on the table would transport the sediment to a nearby industrial park or pipe it to Wakefield Park, where it would then be taken to a quarry via I-495, raising environmental and traffic concerns. [ABC7]

Reston Association’s Pool Season Underway — “Our Pools season has officially started! Check out these scenes from opening weekend at North Shore and Lake Audubon! Thanks to all who came out! We’re ready to have an amazing summer at the Pools!” [RA/Twitter]

Bear Sightings Might Become More Common — “Due to warmer weather, bears are beginning to move throughout the county. Be safe by securing your trash cans and bird feeders, reducing the likelihood of on of our hairy friends popping up in your community.” [Pat Herrity/Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Clear throughout the day. High of 73 and low of 58. Sunrise at 5:56 am and sunset at 8:18 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A new steak and seafood spot opened its doors this month in Old Town Fairfax.

Draper’s Steak & Seafood opened at 3936 Old Lee Highway last Wednesday (May 11).

The Fairfax City Economic Development Authority lauded the business when they officially opened after a soft opening a week earlier.

“Go see the magic yourself! Cheers to Draper’s future success and lasting partnership,” the authority wrote in a social media post.

The restaurant offers items like traditional steaks with a variety of cuts, lobster, salmon, rockfish, and puttanesca.

The business is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4-10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 4-11 p.m. The restaurant is closed Sunday and Monday.

Draper’s Steak & Seafood did not immediately return a request for comment from FFXnow. It’s established by the Parry Restaurant Group, which is behind other restaurants like Duke’s Diner and 23rd & Main.

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Morning Notes

The Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Police Make Progress on Hannah Choi Murder Case — Fairfax County detectives believe they know the location of the man suspected of killing his ex-girlfriend and dumping her body in a Maryland park, according to Police Chief Kevin Davis. He says the department anticipates apprehending Joel Mosso Merino, who has been on the run since March, “in the very near future.” [WTOP]

Circuit Court Officially Adds First Female Judge of Color — “Tania M.L. Saylor, the first woman of color to serve as a Fairfax County Circuity [sic] Court Judge will be presented her official commission on Friday, May 6, at 4 p.m. in Courtroom 5J of the Fairfax County Courthouse. The public is invited to attend the investiture ceremony.” [Fairfax County Government]

Key FCPS Official Named Fairfax City Superintendent — “The City of Fairfax School Board didn’t look far when picking its next superintendent. The board on Monday offered Jeff Platenberg the role. Platenberg currently works for Fairfax County Public Schools as the assistant superintendent for facilities and transportation services.” [WTOP]

Locally Owned Coffee Shop Opens in Newington — “Two neighbors who live close to the Landsdowne shopping center are now the owners of a new coffee shop. The locally owned Coffee In opened a few weeks ago and will celebrate its grand opening this Saturday at 6432 Landsdowne Centre Drive.” [Patch]

Herndon Foster Mother Starts Nonprofit — The nonprofit Foster the Family “will show up to a foster home, within the first 24 hours, with dinner, clothes, PJ’s, hygiene products and all the supplies a child needs, saving the parents an emergency trip to the store, and helping the child feel comfortable in what can be a scary transition.” [ABC7]

McLean Church Builds Labyrinth — “Trinity United Methodist Church dedicated a labyrinth as its new Prayer Garden on Easter morning between worship services…The labyrinth is surrounded by plantings and benches with lighting to facilitate an atmosphere worthy of spiritual reflection and meditation. It is the most significant labyrinth in scope and size in the McLean area.” [Sun Gazette]

South County Students Send Letters to Seniors — “In Lorton, Virginia, 92-year-old Bernice Alexander reads from just one of the dozens of letters received at her senior living community. They were written by teenagers at South County High School, and some come with artwork, paintings and cheery posters, too.” [NBC4]

County Adopts Bill of Rights for Kids’ Sports — “The Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood & Community Services (NCS), along with the Fairfax County Athletic Council, is pleased to adopt the Children’s Bill of Rights in Sports. Developed by the Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program, this is a new resource designed to ensure that all children have a right to a quality sports experience.” [NCS]

It’s Wednesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 75 and low of 61. Sunrise at 6:08 am and sunset at 8:05 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The Hy-way motel near Fairfax Circle could become an affordable housing development (via City of Fairfax)

Hy-way Motel — an aging 12-unit motel just off of Fairfax Circle — is slated for redevelopment.

The Lamb Center, a daytime drop-in homeless shelter, and Wesley Housing, a Springfield-based affordable housing developer, have filed plans to redevelop the motel at 9640 Fairfax Boulevard into a five-story building with 55 residential units for low-income individuals, along with ground-floor office and retail uses.

The ground-floor space would be dedicated for Lamb Center staff and the organization’s city jobs program. It will also include parking and an entry lobby.

The second floor would house a property management office, a community room and six residential units. The remaining three floors would be set aside for housing only, with units ranging from 350 to 750 square feet in size.

Case managers will be on site to provide services to residents and roughly 15% of units will be accessible for people with disabilities.

Most units will be dedicated for low-income residents at or below 30% of the area median income, or roughly $27,000 for a single person. Case managers will work with tenants to developer skills training, manage employment, and formulate goals for securing income and maintaining housing.

In an application to Fairfax City, attorney Gifford Hampshire said the project would allow the center to continue “needed services” that help homeless individuals.

“The Lamb Center — Wesley housing partnership will reduce the number of people sleeping on the streets and in the woods, reduce the number of people cycling through emergency rooms and jails, and will provide housing not currently available in the city,” the application says. “Once housed, Lamb Center case managers will assist residents with accessing community services and resources, monitoring the quality and effectiveness of those services, and ensuring coordination of care.”

Preliminarily, staff noted that the proposal is generally not recommended in areas that are designed to be commercial corridors — especially residential mixed uses.

City staff also noted that the application provides only 18 parking spaces when 77 are required. Other issues include the need for a transportation demand management plan, more details on development standards, and the tightness of a proposed curb cut to the adjoining property’s curb cut.

The application is in the preliminary phases of the city’s approval process. So far, a pre-application has been filed. The project would require a special use permit to allow residential mixed-use in the area and a special exception to slash the number of required parking spaces.

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Morning Notes

The crowds returned for the first Taste of Vienna since the COVID-19 pandemic started (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Reminder: FFXnow Wants Your Input — FFXnow is conducting a survey to learn more about our readers and help shape future coverage. What kinds of stories interest you? Have strong feelings about the Tysons Reporter and Reston Now merger, or the length of our stories? Let us know before the survey closes after Sunday, May 15.

Former Falls Church Bicycle Shop Owner’s Mythology Unravels — “We’re not just talking about one man’s fabrications, but the ripples from those fabrications: a team of riders that allege abuse at [Nick] Clark’s hands, a series of embellished life events stretching back to the 1990s, ties with the political and military elite, alleged misrepresentations across multiple industries, and possible stolen military valour.” [Cycling Tips]

Police Thanked for Catching Victoria’s Secret Thieves — “The Fairfax County Police Department’s Tysons Urban Team (TUT) was recognized by executives from Victoria’s Secret on Friday for breaking up a retail theft ring. The thieves are believed to be responsible for the loss of more than $250,000 of merchandise from stores throughout the southern U.S.” [FCPD/Facebook]

Woman Who Sold Mantua Home With Squatter Speaks — “After days of speculation about the identity of the person living in the basement of a viral Zillow listing, the woman has come forward to tell her side of the unusual story. Last week, her Fairfax, Va., home…sold for more than $800,000 with the condition that it came with a person living in the basement who did not have a lease.” [WUSA9]

FCPD Seeks Person Behind Clifton Starbucks Vandalism — “Officers responded to the Starbucks at 5748 Union Mill Road in Clifton for a burglary report on April 27, when someone broke the front window and stole a Progress Pride flag from inside and left. The following morning, officers responded to the same Starbucks for a similar incident.” [ABC7]

Metro Shares Plan to Electrify Bus Fleet — “Metro expects to purchase 12 electric buses and associated charging equipment this year as part of the Battery-Electric Bus Test and Evaluation Program. The buses will begin arriving late this year and go into service in 2023 out of the Shepherd Parkway Bus Division.” [WMATA]

Man Convicted of Killing Fairfax Couple Denied Parole — “The Maryland Parole Commission denied parole to Sifrit, in his first parole hearing, since being sentenced to 38 years in prison, after he and his then-wife Erika killed and dismembered Martha Crutchley and Joshua Ford, of Fairfax City, over Memorial Day weekend almost 20 years ago.” [WTOP]

Capital One Center Named “Best New Development” — The Washington Business Journal has given its “Best New Development” award to Capital One Center, which is bringing 1.47 million square feet of construction to the financial company’s Tysons headquarters. The Reston Gateway office high-rises in Boston Properties’ Reston Town Center expansion was named a finalist. [WBJ]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 76 and low of 60. Sunrise at 6:11 am and sunset at 8:03 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

At the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial in Lorton’s Occoquan Regional Park (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

SCOTUS Lets TJ Admissions Policy Stay During Appeal — With three justices dissenting, the Supreme Court denied the Coalition for TJ’s request to block the new admissions policy for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. The denial will let Fairfax County Public Schools use the policy to evaluate the incoming Class of 2026, as the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond considers the case. FCPS says the appeals court has approved its request for “an expedited schedule to resolve the legal issues involved in the admissions process.” [SCOTUSblog/Twitter, FCPS]

No Injuries in Turnpike Shopping Center Crash — The driver of a sedan that crashed into an empty storefront next to Kokee Tea in the Fairfax City shopping center on Saturday (April 23) survived unharmed, city officials said yesterday (Monday). Damages to the building at 9668 Main Street are estimated to be between $20,000 and $30,000. [City of Fairfax Fire Department, Patch]

Police Partner With DNA Lab to Solve Tysons Murder — “The young woman’s skeletal remains were discovered in 2001, near a drainage ditch behind an apartment complex in what’s now known as Tysons, Virginia — and Fairfax County police still have far more questions than answers…The crowdfunded effort with Othram Inc. and DNASolves would pay for cutting-edge testing…which isn’t currently available through the state labs.” [WTOP]

Pollen Plagues D.C. Area — “Pollen counts are way up again. Today’s tree count of 1,405.75 grains per cubic meter is the second-highest of the year so far. The highest value was recorded March 7, when the count topped 2,300. Intense pollen seasons are becoming worse and longer in a warming world.” [Capital Weather Gang]

Herndon Man Wins Lottery After Buying 30 Tickets — “A Virginia man collected a total prize of $147,500 when he bought 30 identical tickets for a single lottery drawing. Benjamin Shuler of Herndon told Virginia Lottery officials he bought 30 tickets for the March 28 Pick 4 night drawing, all bearing the numbers 0-8-1-6.” [UPI]

Tysons Pedestrian Bridge Moves in Place — The Virginia Department of Transportation has photos of a truss for the new pedestrian/bicycle bridge being built over I-495 at Tysons Corner Center. The bridge was put in place over this past weekend and is scheduled to open later this year, though it’s unclear when work on a second phase that will extend a shared-use path to Route 123 can begin. [VDOT/Twitter]

County Archaeologists Start Newsletter — “The Fairfax County Archaeology and Collections Branch (ACB) is launching an e-newsletter. The ACB identifies, documents, and interprets the material culture of Fairfax County to promote shared stewardship of cultural resources, nurture a deeper understanding of the past, and inspire future generations.” [Fairfax County Park Authority]

It’s Tuesday — Possible light rain in the afternoon and evening. High of 64 and low of 54. Sunrise at 6:18 am and sunset at 7:58 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Wawa will open a store in Fairfax City this summer (via Fairfax City Council)

Wawa is officially opening its 100th location in Virginia, and Fairfax City will be the beneficiary.

The gas station and grocery store plans to open up shop at 9700 Fairfax Boulevard.

A company representative tells FFXnow that details are scant right now, but the business seems to be on track for a summer opening.

“We’re tracking towards a late summer opening and excited to share that this location will mark out 100th store in the state of Virginia,” Alyson Mucha, a spokesperson for the company, wrote in an email.

The Fairfax City Council approved the project in January 2020. Plans include six fuel stations with 12 pumps on the west side of Spring Street and north of Fairfax Boulevard.

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