Email signup
Workers install solar panels on Reston Fire Station 25 (courtesy Fairfax County Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination)

Fearing that new interconnection rules from Dominion Energy could derail its carbon reduction targets, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has asked Virginia’s utility regulator to step in.

In a near-unanimous vote, supervisors authorized Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw on March 19 to send a letter asking the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to evaluate whether the new regulations create unnecessary hurdles for small renewable energy projects attempting to join the power grid.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity was the only abstention.

Dominion maintains that the new regulations are necessary to ensure grid reliability and the safety of field workers, but Fairfax County and other stakeholders statewide remain skeptical, contending that they make renewable energy projects more expensive and less feasible.

“In the Hunter Mill District, I have an elementary school [project] that has been complicated by this requirement,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said. “It’s gonna be coming to the Board of Supervisors here the next couple of months, but this is creating a real impediment to doing what we need to do.”

Cost added for dark fiber lines

Dominion says it updated its interconnection requirements in response to the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act, which increased the capacity limit for non-residential solar developments from 1 to 3 megawatts (MW).

As a result, Virginia experienced a surge in solar, wind and other renewable energy installations that generate over 1 megawatt looking to connect to the power grid. To accommodate more and bigger energy sources, Dominion began requiring smaller energy projects from 250 kilowatts (kW) to 3 MW to install a high-speed fiber optic communication line — known as “dark fiber” or “direct trip transfer” (DTT) — between the project site and the nearest substation in 2022.

Dominion spokesperson Aaron Ruby says dark fiber is “more reliable” than cellular communication, which is prone to receiving mixed or missed signals. This could lead to unnecessary power outages if a solar facility’s power is mistakenly cut off due to a weak signal.

In addition, if there’s an emergency, dark fiber can more reliably signal the power source to turn off, ensuring line workers can fix the problem safely.

“So, this is not an issue of being ‘pro-solar’ or ‘anti-solar,'” Ruby said by email. “It’s simply about having the same basic safety and reliability standards for all solar systems that connect to the grid. The standards for medium-sized systems (i.e., 250 kW-3MW) are the same standards that apply to all of our solar facilities. These standards ensure the reliable operation of the grid and the safety of our line workers when they’re out in the field.”

Ruby noted that Dominion has one of the largest solar fleets in the country, and solar will be “by far the largest source of new power generation in Virginia over the coming decades.”

Yet, Fairfax County officials argue that no other utilities in the region place the entire cost burden of installing dark fiber lines on developers.

“Our staff has gone and looked — we couldn’t find any other utilities in the region that require this level of cost and expense,” Walkinshaw said during the board’s March 19 meeting. “So, are they necessary? Other utilities have determined that they aren’t, and as to who bears the cost, given that there are benefits both to the new interconnection and the owner of that interconnection and everyone else who utilizes the grid…we would not accept that they are all necessary.” Read More

0 Comments
Fairfax County Courthouse (staff photo by James Jarvis)

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is considering using kiosks equipped with artificial intelligence to provide select legal information in a variety of languages.

The kiosks would feature a virtual assistant that could answer frequently asked questions using a closed-AI system (as distinct from open AI), according to Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk, who introduced a board matter on the kiosks at the board’s March 19 meeting.

“The distinction is that we will program the answers to frequently asked questions into the system using curated templates and language,” Lusk told FFXnow. “The AI program will not be creating its own answers.”

None of the questions are finalized yet, but they could help users identify forms and address other process-related queries. The virtual assistant would also be available online, and both resources would have accessibility features.

County and court staff are reviewing the kiosks and online AI program, and the board voted on March 19 to direct staff to finalize its review and report back. The county also plans to reach out to relevant nonprofits to assist in testing the kiosks, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said at the meeting.

The kiosks and online resource would be an “extension” of the self-help resource center that the county rolled out in October, according to Lusk’s board matter. Staff at the resource center can explain court operations, provide contact information for legal services and answer some general questions.

The resource center launched to assist county residents who are representing themselves in court. The new resources could help residents who aren’t able to travel to the center, which is located in the Fairfax County Courthouse (4110 Chain Bridge Road), though no kiosk locations have been selected.

“Personally, I feel it could be beneficial to be placed in government facilities that are remote from the Fairfax County Government Center and the Fairfax County Courthouse,” Lusk said by email, citing the Gerry Highland Government Center (8350 Richmond Highway) or Franconia Governmental Center (6121 Franconia Road) as examples. “We know that people live great distances from the Government Center and Courthouse, which limits the accessibility of these services.”

The board matter passed unanimously, despite a public meeting notice issue that McKay said left some board members without the opportunity to see the kiosks. Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik also said she was concerned about making sure the kiosks were fully vetted before they’re implemented.

The topic will come to the board’s health and human services committee for additional discussion, though the board didn’t specify a date. The committee’s next meeting is currently scheduled for June 4.

Testing the kiosk with actual users and not rushing the process will be important, McKay said, adding that the county should also plan to reach out to the state about support for the program.

“What we don’t want to do is just rush in and further complicate and frustrate people where there’s a misinterpretation and they’re getting the wrong documents that they need to help their case,” McKay said.

0 Comments

Eighty new affordable homes for seniors have become available just east of George Mason University.

Located at 10055 Braddock Road, Ilda’s Overlook Senior Residences serves individuals aged 62 and over with incomes at or below 60% of the area median, developer Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) said in a press release.

Erickson Senior Living chose APAH as its affordable housing partner in 2019 for the redevelopment of the former Northern Virginia Training Center, which closed in 2016.

The developers broke ground on the $31.5 million development in late 2022. The development was primarily funded through Low-Income Housing Tax Credits awarded by Virginia Housing, along with loans from various other public and private entities.

The completion of Ida’s Overlook furthers Fairfax County’s progress toward its goal of adding 10,000 affordable homes by 2034. Earlier this month, officials announced that approximately 4,000 affordable homes have been built, are in the planning stages, or are currently under construction.

“The delivery of Ilda’s Overlook puts us at almost 1,000 new, affordable homes delivered since January of 2020,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in the release. “By the end of the calendar year, we will be close to 1,500 new homes. This is great progress and  demonstrates that affordable housing belongs in all corners of Fairfax County, and across all generations.”

The new apartment complex’s name — Ilda’s Overlook — pays homage to a community established by two formerly enslaved blacksmiths, Moses Parker and Horace Gibson. After the Civil War, Gibson bought 5 acres of land near Guinea Road and the Little River Turnpike that developed into a vibrant, integrated neighborhood.

The community took on the name of Gibson’s daughter Matilda, who was nicknamed Ilda, according to APAH.

“One of APAH’s core values is racial equity, and we lead with this lens. It’s exciting to honor local history while we build for the future and strive for a more inclusive region,” APAH President and CEO Carmen Romero said in the release. “Ilda’s Overlook is thoughtfully designed for independent seniors to age in place, foster social connections, and build a sense of community.”

Ilda’s Overlook features a range of amenities, including in-unit washers and dryers, free Wi-Fi access for all residents, communal gathering areas, a fitness studio, wellness suites and community gardens. Additionally, the development is equipped with rooftop solar panels.

“Ilda’s Overlook Senior Residences provides much needed affordable housing for older
adults in the Braddock District,” Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw said in the release. “This beautiful property is one of many recently opened or under development across the County — all with the goal of improving the availability of high-quality affordable housing to older adults.”

0 Comments
Fairfax County Public Library (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fairfax County’s next budget could give its public libraries a little more spending money for books.

At the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (March 19), Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn proposed allocating an additional $500,000 in the upcoming fiscal year 2025 budget to Fairfax County Public Library’s book collection.

“The Library continues to be one of the most popular services provided by the county and our Library branches are a vital hub of community information,” Alcorn said in his board matter. “…We continue to face issues with meeting the demand for library materials even with the digital formats.”

County Executive Bryan Hill presented a proposed budget on Feb. 20 that increases FCPL’s funding by $410,027, partially offsetting a $1.2 million jump in personnel-related costs with cuts to the system’s operating expenses.

Planned reductions include eliminating a vacant management position, shifting to black-and-white public copiers instead of color ones, adjustments to the number of computers at each branch based on usage, taking over data storage from a third-party vendor and making FCPL’s quarterly magazine digital-only.

Overall, the county is budgeting just under $35 million in expenditures for the library system, most of which ($22 million) goes toward day-to-day operations at its 23 branches.

Alcorn noted that the county’s funding is supplemented by contributions from the nonprofit Fairfax Library Foundation and the Friends groups that support individual branches. The Friends of Reston Regional Library, for instance, donated $100,000 earlier this year to boost the children’s books collection county-wide.

However, funding for books and other materials remains inadequate “to meet the needs of our residents,” who sometimes have to wait months or even more than a year for popular items, he said.

With increased demand for popular and new materials, the Library must balance a proper allocation of limited resources for those items with the needs for materials in support of K-12 students, and ensuring that materials are updated, available in print, large print, audio and digital copies and in multiple languages. Additional funds to the collection budget will ensure that we are providing the resources our community demands from our Library and decrease the wait times so that people can access those resources in a timely fashion.

The Board of Supervisors agreed unanimously on Tuesday to add Alcorn’s proposal to its list of items to consider incorporating into the budget, which includes $3.83 million in not-yet-allocated funds.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity also asked county staff to find out why FCPL is only devoting about 10% of its budget to purchasing materials and whether that guidance comes from the county, the library’s Board of Trustees or the state.

“I think we do need to clearly invest in our library collections,” Herrity said. “It’s something our citizens like. It’s a basic public service we need to promote.”

Town hall meetings on the proposed budget are currently underway, with the Franconia District holding the next one at 6 p.m. today (Friday). Public hearings are scheduled for April 16-18, and the board will mark up the budget, including determining whether to add items like the library funding, on April 30.

A final FY 2025 budget will be adopted on May 7.

0 Comments
Students hold trans rights and LGBTQ Pride flag signs at a rally in 2023 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Students are getting organized in response to a lawsuit challenging Fairfax County Public Schools for its LGBTQ-inclusive policies.

The Pride Liberation Project, a student-run group that advocates for LGBTQ+ rights in Virginia, will host a rally “against anti-trans hate” outside Luther Jackson Middle School in Merrifield at 6 p.m. today (Thursday). The demonstration will precede the Fairfax County School Board’s meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.

“I’m really hoping that Fairfax County and our school board will stop this attempt to hurt and degrade my fellow students,” Laura Troung, a senior at Falls Church High School, said. “LGBTQIA+ students are already disproportionately facing the youth mental health crisis in addition to bullying and harassment at schools and this is just adding salt into the wound.”

Represented by America First Legal, a right-wing legal group led by former Donald Trump advisor Stephen Miller, an unnamed high school student sued the school board on March 4 over its policies dictating that students be treated in accordance with their gender identity.

In her complaint, the student says being “compelled” to address classmates by the name and pronoun that matches their gender identity violates her religious beliefs as a Roman Catholic. She also argues that the policies discriminate on the basis of sex because of her discomfort with using the same bathroom as transgender girls.

Students with the Pride Liberation Project, however, describe FCPS’ regulation 2603 as critical to creating a safe, welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Transgender youth whose peers affirmed their identities, including by using their correct names and pronouns, reported significant reductions in symptoms of severe depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts in a 2018 study conducted by University of Texas at Austin researchers.

In contrast, reported school-based hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people have soared since 2015, particularly in states with laws that restrict the rights of transgender students or prohibit education on gender and sexuality, according to the Washington Post.

The Virginia Department of Education’s model policies directing schools to treat students based on their “biological sex” spurred protests and school walkouts across the state in September 2022, including ones organized by the Pride Liberation Project.

Students also rallied outside Luther Jackson Middle School last year after FCPS pledged not to adopt the state policies.

“The fact that so many of my friends and teachers respect my pronouns and my name is life-saving to me,” Moth DiNizzo, a McLean High School junior, said. “I know that they care about me and trust my own self-perception. It’s wonderful and I want everyone to experience that same joy of being known and trusted.”

The planned rally comes shortly after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors designated March 31 as Transgender Visibility Day. The International Transgender Day for Visibility was created in 2009 to celebrate the lives and achievements of the transgender community.

At its meeting on Tuesday (March 19), the board approved the proclamation 9-0 with Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, the board’s only Republican member, away from the table.

Supervisors said the designation is an important acknowledgement of the county’s diversity and their commitment as elected officials to support all residents.

“We have an obligation to do everything we can not just to protect [the LGBTQ+ community], but to use our voices to stand up and support them and to make sure that the rest of our community sees that that’s what their government is doing,” Chairman Jeff McKay said. “Regardless of what’s happening in Richmond, we will always stand up and fight to protect every single person in this county.”

0 Comments
The office building at 8221 Old Courthouse Road in Tysons will be converted into apartments (via Walter L. Phillips Inc./Fairfax County)

Another Tysons office building is set to be transformed into housing.

After a public hearing on Tuesday (March 19), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a proposal to convert the three-story office building at 8221 Old Courthouse Road into 55 multi-family apartments, including six workforce dwelling units.

About 70% of the apartments will have one bedroom, but some two-bedroom units will also be provided, according to Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh land use attorney Robert Brant, who represented the property owner and developer, a Dittmar Company affiliate, at the hearing.

While the existing 45,000-square-foot building will stay intact, the development will bring pedestrian and streetscape improvements to Old Courthouse and Lord Fairfax roads, including new sidewalks, landscaping and crosswalks at the intersection.

The plan replaces about 90 parking spaces with open space, including a publicly accessible, 7,840-square-foot pocket park and a private, 8,400-square-foot outdoor space for residents. Amenities available to the public will include 6-foot-wide walkways, pergolas, benches and bicycle racks, while the private space will provide movable seating, tables, grill stations and stormwater facilities, such as a rain garden.

“We were very focused on the green space, and I believe the homeowners or renters would want that as well,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said of the county’s negotiations with the developer.

However, the trade-off of parking spots for green space has left some area residents concerned that traffic for the new apartments will spill into their neighborhoods and disrupt travel to and from nearby Freedom Hill Elementary School.

Dittmar agreed to retain 66 spaces in the existing parking lot and add striping for eight spaces on Lord Fairfax Road, meeting the county’s minimum requirement.

One homeowner’s association sent a letter to the board on Feb. 21 worrying that the apartment residents will compete for parking currently used by parents when dropping off and picking up their kids, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said.

At the public hearing, one resident whose daughter walks to Freedom Hill said she’s concerned about increased traffic and safety at the Old Courthouse/Lord Fairfax intersection. Claudia Stein, who lives on Lord Fairfax Road across from the site, urged the developer to keep at least 30 more parking spaces.

“There is always more demand for parking than anticipated,” Stein said. “The apartment residents and guests will be forced to park on the street in the neighborhood, which will take away parking from existing residents.”

Residents have also been advocating for the county to close a gap in the sidewalk on the west side of Lord Fairfax Road, Stein said. As a temporary measure, the gap has been filled with gravel, but vehicles sometimes park on the gravel, forcing students and other pedestrians into the road.

After confirming the location of the sidewalk gap, supervisors said they can’t compel the developer to address it, since it’s not on their property. Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik confirmed that her office will work with Stein to see what can be done by the county.

“It just seems like a great opportunity for our [department of transportation] to work with the property owner to maybe make an improvement in the future,” McKay said.

In response to the concerns about traffic, Brant told the board that shifting the property from office to housing will reduce parking demand and vehicle trips, which are projected to drop by 75% during the morning rush hour and 77% in the evening rush hour.

For some supervisors, the big sticking point was the developer’s commitment to only meeting the county’s minimum — 2% of parking spaces — for electric vehicle charging stations. That amounts to just two of the 66 provided spaces.

“I literally got sent an article yesterday about how electric vehicles and gas-powered cars are starting to level out in cost,” Dranesville District Supervisor Jimmy Bierman said. “If you want this building to be good for residents 10 years down the line, you’re going to need more than 1.32 spaces, so please provide more.”

McKay suggested that the developer consider pre-wiring some spaces so they can support EV chargers “in the future if the demand is there.”

Dittmar is “willing” to look at providing more EV charging stations, Brant said.

“We’ve had discussions internally about how more and more electric vehicles are on the road these days,” Brant told the board. “More residents want that as an amenity, so there’s a chance that, once we get into the construction phase of this, there will be an opportunity to add more. So, that’s something the applicant will consider.”

0 Comments
CoreSite’s Reston data center campus (staff photo by James Jarvis)

Amid a surge in digital storage demand in Northern Virginia, Fairfax County is drafting stricter zoning regulations to enhance oversight of data center projects.

On Tuesday (March 19), the Board of Supervisors directed staff to update the county’s zoning laws to include new data center development criteria, such as increased residential buffers, size limits, energy efficiency standards and a mandatory noise study in the site plan.

“The increasing demand for data centers and the increased understanding of their potential impacts reveal a need to consider strengthening our current regulations,” Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith said, emphasizing the “urgency” of the new rules sought by the board.

Potential changes include new requirements for data center developments to receive a special exception in zoned areas where they are currently allowed by right, meaning they can be built without county board or planning commission approval or public hearings.

Last year, the board requested research, findings and recommendations from county staff on possible new guidelines for data centers, including ways to mitigate their environmental impact, criteria for locating facilities and the approval process for data centers.

The report presented to the board in January found that, while data centers bring advantages such as high-paying jobs and significant tax revenue, they have also encountered resistance from residents worried about the noise, greenhouse gas emissions, and high energy usage of the facilities.

At a land use policy committee meeting on March 12, the county supervisors signaled that they support staff’s recommendations for amending the zoning ordinance with higher standards.

Northern Virginia remains the world’s leader in data centers with 51 million square feet of space, per a recent JLL report. Fairfax County has roughly a third of the square footage of neighboring Loudoun and Prince William counties, the region’s epicenter of development.

Supervisors noted that there’s been significant community pushback against large projects like the recently approved Digital Gateway in Prince William. At Tuesday’s board meeting, Mason District Supervisor Andres Jimenez said the county needs to make sure “we’re putting data centers where they belong.”

“We have very few [data center projects] on the horizon that we know of, but it’s important that we get the protections right and the guidelines right, and the quickest way to do that is to get these zoning ordinance amendments approved,” Chairman Jeff McKay said.

The county staff recommendations

In terms of land use and site design, staff suggested that developers secure special exception approval from the county before constructing data centers in most commercial and industrial districts.

Staff also recommended that, in industrial districts where data centers are permitted by right, the county could proactively implement height and size limitations, along with minimum distances for equipment, such as generators, from residential zones.

Due to the swift pace of data center development, staff also advise collaborating with utility providers, including NOVEC and Dominion Energy, to evaluate how future development might affect energy demand. Read More

0 Comments
Reston Community Center at Lake Anne Plaza in Reston (staff photo by James Jarvis)

In the nearly 60 years since it was founded, Reston has become host to a variety of community and public entities with often blurred lines and responsibilities.

To provide clarity, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn wants Fairfax County to develop an inventory of Reston’s community-level services and infrastructure, including who is responsible for what services and infrastructure and how they are funded.

The move was approved with no fanfare at a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting today (Tuesday).

Alcorn said it is important to ensure that community-level services and infrastructure are sustainable.

“Last year, the Board of Supervisors approved the Reston Comprehensive Plan Amendment that will help guide our community growth into the future,” Alcorn said in the board matter. “With that process now completed, the next step is Plan implementation, and a review of Reston’s community-level services and infrastructure is an important step in Plan implementation.”

In some cases, organizations have assumed responsibilities above and beyond state requirements, such as cutting grass in and along Virginia Department of Transportation-owned streets, Alcorn noted.

Organizations that will be part of the inventory include Reston Community Center, Reston Association, Reston Town Center Association and the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee.

“As you can imagine, roles and responsibilities of these organizations are not intuitive to many residents, even for residents who have lived in Reston for decades,” Alcorn said, describing the collection of groups serving Reston as an “alphabet soup.”

Below is the full directive from Alcorn, which was unanimously supported by the rest of the board.

Board Matter
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn
March 19, 2024

Inventory of Reston Community-Level Services and Infrastructure

Background:
As our community approaches the 60th anniversary of the founding of Reston, the time is right to take stock of the community infrastructure that by many accounts, including a recent article in The Economist, has created a very successful community within Fairfax County. Reston currently has several important community organizations that are dedicated to creating a cohesive community experience. These organizations perform essential community-level services such as maintaining the trails and open space, providing camps for our kids, operating recreation facilities of all types, and hosting places for the community to gather. And in some cases, these organizations have assumed additional responsibilities as the Commonwealth of Virginia has devolved some of their responsibilities such as keeping the grass cut in and along VDOT rights of way.

These organizations now form a veritable alphabet soup in Reston – nonprofits like RA, RTCA, the YMCA, and county operations like RCC, FCPA, and NCS. And this does not even include advocacy and advisory groups like RCA, Reston P&Z, and the CHCCAC. As you can imagine, roles and responsibilities of these organizations are not intuitive to many residents, even for residents who have lived in Reston for decades.

For Reston to be the success the next 60 years it has been in its first 60, these community-level services and infrastructure must be sustainable – including financially. Last year, the Board of Supervisors approved the Reston Comprehensive Plan Amendment that will help guide our community growth into the future. With that process now completed, the next step is Plan implementation, and a review of Reston’s community-level services and infrastructure is an important step in Plan implementation.

Motion:
Therefore, I move that the Board of Supervisors direct the County Executive’s office to coordinate with the Hunter Mill District office to develop an inventory of Reston community-level services and infrastructure including those noted above, and to include who is responsible for those services and infrastructure, and how they are funded.

0 Comments
Fairfax County police vehicle with lights (file photo)

The Fairfax County Police Department touted the county’s status as the safest jurisdiction of its size following the release of its year-end crime report.

The report — which is based on violent crime rates among participating agencies evaluated by the Major Cities Chief Association — shows that Fairfax County’s rate is the lowest among jurisdictions of comparable size. Homicide offenses, sex offenses, burglaries, and robberies all declined between 2022 and 2023, according to the report.

“The central message conveyed in this report is clear — Fairfax County stands as the safest large jurisdiction in America. Through data-informed enforcement strategies, FCPD played a pivotal role in reducing violent crime rates,” FCPD wrote in a press release.

At a safety and security committee meeting before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on March 12, Police Chief Kevin Davis said that all 17 murders last year were solved. Homicides were down 23% over the previous year.

FCPD also stepped up the number of traffic summonses, issuing nearly 40% more in 2023 than in 2022 for violations like speeding, reckless driving, and hands-free violations.

Theft of motor vehicle parts was a major focus this year. The number of thefts decreased from 1,516 in 2022 to 875 in 2023, a trend observed in the FCPD’s mid-year crime report.

But the decrease in the theft of motor vehicle parts was offset by an increase in shoplifting, which rose from 5,799 incidents in 2022 to 8,156 last year. Additionally, 126 more vehicles were stolen in 2023 than in 2022.

Most cars that were stolen were either Kias and Hyundais, particularly in the Mount Vernon District, according to FCPD. They were often later recovered in D.C. or Prince George’s County.

Officers increased their presence in malls during the winter holiday season. Springfield’s Christmas anti-theft team recovered more than $100,000 of stolen merchandise last year compared to $30,000 in 2022, according to the FCPD.

Davis noted that organized groups appear to be targeted high-end merchandise in large quantities, later reselling the items on Facebook Marketplace.

“Everyone is jumping up and down about what we need to do to prevent, mitigate, and hold these really organized groups better accountable,” Davis said, adding that the problem appears to be region-wide.

A one-day symposium is planned in April for regional authorities to explore “innovative” solutions, Davis said.

The department also reported 472 assaults against its officers this year — an increase from 378 in 2022. Davis said 5% of all assault crimes were against law enforcement officers.

“It has our attention and we’re taking steps to mitigate it,” Davis said.

Overall, there were 1,161 assaults between 2022 and 2023, according to the report, although most offenses were not aggravated. Most assaults are “domestic in nature or involve parties known to each other,” the police department says.

“FCPD worked hard to combat this issue by placing over 34,000 criminal charges on over 23,000 individuals responsible for crimes in Fairfax County last year,” the FCPD said in a news release.

While pedestrian fatalities decreased in 2023, which had nine deaths, FCPD has launched a collaborative effort with local transportation officials and other community partners to review pedestrian fatalities and significant injuries. Between 2019 and 2022, 77 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes.

Most incidents happened at night, Davis said.

0 Comments

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved the transformation of Rudy’s Golf and Sports Bar in Kingstowne into 17 acres of single-family homes and public parks.

Last week, supervisors unanimously endorsed a proposal by Maryland-based EYA Development to redevelop the property at 6626 South Van Dorn Street. The roughly 17.4-acre site hosted the first Top Golf in the U.S. until the facility closed in early 2020 and Rudy’s opened in 2022.

The project will include 174 single-family homes, 18 of which will be designated as affordable, and several acres of public parks.

The approval comes nearly a decade after a more intensive version of the project was first proposed in 2015. Since then, the proposal has changed multiple times after facing public backlash over concerns about traffic congestion, compatibility with the neighborhood and stormwater management.

Following extensive public feedback, the number of homes in the plan was reduced from 275 to 174, and the idea for thousands of square feet of retail space was scrapped altogether.

Despite those changes, some community members and Franconia Land Use Committee representatives continued to speak out publicly against the proposal up until last month, when the Fairfax County Planning Commission voted unanimously to advance the plan.

Those who spoke during a January public hearing on a comprehensive plan amendment that would allow residential development at the site argued that the density remained excessively high and expressed concerns over traffic congestion and environmental effects.

However, EYA representatives addressed traffic concerns by presenting an analysis that showed traffic would reduce after redevelopment compared to if the property stayed the same. The developer also plans to construct a new underground detention vault and multiple bioretention facilities to control stormwater drainage.

With each successive vote, the number of people turning out against the project has declined. During the latest public hearing on March 5, only two people spoke — both of them in favor of the project.

“The developer of this proposal…has sought input from neighboring communities and environmental groups throughout this process, resulting in a well-designed plan that deserves support,” said Sonya Breehy, Northern Virginia advocacy manager for the Coalition for Smarter Growth.

Breehy also highlighted the critical need for more housing amid a region-wide shortage.

Board Chairman Jeff McKay highlighted the absence of opposition during the public hearing, attributing the positive outcome to the county’s patience and commitment to “get it right.”

“I, for one, am glad to say that we resisted many plans that would have been insufficient, certainly inferior to the plan that we see here today, as many people have acknowledged,” he said.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list