The Fairfax County Planning Commission recommended on Wednesday (Sept. 27) that the Board of Supervisors approve a proposal to allow residential development at 6626 South Van Dorn Street. Most community members who spoke at the preceding public hearing voiced support for the proposal — a change of pace from the vocal opposition that greeted previous redevelopment plans.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors first requested county staff to consider an amendment to the county’s comprehensive plan in 2015. At that time, the proposal would’ve allowed up to roughly 275 residential units and up to 70,000 square feet of retail uses.
However, feedback from the community, including “comments related to the proposed density being too high, too many dwelling units proposed and also opposition to retail uses on the site,” led to a series of changes, according to county planner Aaron Klibaner.
“The first iterations included both residential and retail uses, and then later transitioned to all residential,” Klibaner said. “The proposed density has steadily decreased, beginning at 16 dwelling units per acre in 2015 down to 10 dwelling units per acre.”
The latest concept also includes affordable housing units and allows consideration of “a consolidated open space in the form of a publicly accessible community park,” he added.
The updated proposal also ensures connections for pedestrians and cyclists to Kingstowne and guidelines to protect the preservation of trees.
Resident Kenneth Bailey opposed the plan, saying his son is now on his school’s golf team because of Rudy’s, which opened last year and offers recreational golf and entertainment. However, he said he understood the benefits of the proposal.
“I’m still going to say my position on behalf of my son and…all the other young people that could benefit from a place like Rudy’s,” Bailey said. “I mean, I get it. We need housing. Sure. There’s not enough housing in Northern Virginia.”
Aaron Wilkowitz, vice president of YIMBYs of Northern Virginia’s Fairfax County chapter, said he supports the updates for several reasons,t the most prominent being the development of more affordable housing.
“Every single home matters. Every new unit matters to driving down prices and making Fairfax County affordable for everyone,” Wilkowitz said.
Paul Wagner, a Kingstowne resident, commended staff for incorporating suggested changes since the plan was first introduced.
“What was on the table with 275 units in that property was worrisome to me and my family,” Wagner said. “What we have on the table now seems much more reasonable to me. It’s a plan that has been considerate.”
After the 2015 and 2021 versions of the amendment petered out, Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk revived the redevelopment effort on Dec. 6, 2022, reporting that it had secured resident support, including from the Kingstowne Resident Homeowners Association, “as a result of extensive community outreach and engagement.”
If the Board of Supervisors approves the amendment after its scheduled public hearing on Oct. 24, the project is expected to be undertaken by developer EYA, the Washington Business Journal reported last week.
(Updated at 9:05 p.m.) Local police are investigating an armed robbery that took place last night (Wednesday) at Hidden Creek Country Club in Reston.
Police arrived on the scene at around 8 p.m. to investigate the incident. No injuries were reported.
At least one suspect reportedly displayed a handgun, a spokesperson for the Fairfax County Police Department told FFXnow.
“This incident is still an active investigation, and no other information can be provided at this time,” the spokesperson wrote in a statement.
According to the county’s police scanner, six juveniles were seen near the 15th hole on the golf course. A female individual reportedly displayed a hand gun.
The juveniles were reportedly seen attempting to steal golf carts, according to the scanner.
Earlier this month, police confirmed that several golf carts were stolen from the golf course at 1711 Clubhouse Road and later recovered.
FCPD did not provide any additional information about the incidents.
With autumn just over the horizon, Capital One Center has lined up an expanded roster of events, vendors and musicians for its fifth Perchfest.
The biannual weekend festival will return to The Perch (1805 Capital One Drive) in Tysons on Sept. 15-17, marking about two years since it launched in 2021 to celebrate the skypark’s opening.
In addition to the usual live entertainment and lawn games, the upcoming festival will feature a mini golf tournament called the Perch Putt Open to benefit Miriam’s Kitchen, a D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness that will serve as the event’s charity partner.
“Each year the program grows,” Meghan Trossen, head of Capital One Center’s public affairs, said of Perchfest. “We are thrilled to team up with Miriam’s Kitchen, which has served our community for over 40 years to end chronic and veteran homelessness in the DC Metro Area.”
The tournament is open to event sponsors and anyone who buys spots for four people at $500. Noting that there are only a few sponsorships remaining, Trossen says interested participants can register by contacting her directly at email@example.com.
The Perch Putt Open will kick off the weekend’s festivities from 3-7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15.
For those not participating in the mini golf tournament, this fall’s Perchfest will still offer a new attraction in the form of a Shop Made in VA pop-up market showcasing apparel, home goods and other products from local artisans.
The full schedule is below, though Capital One Center says it’s subject to change depending on the weather:
Friday, September 15th
- 3-7 p.m. — Perch Putt Open, Tysons community vendors on the Great Lawn
- 4-6:30 p.m. — Starting Early at Starr Hill Biergarten
- 7-10 p.m. — Run for Cover at Starr Hill Biergarten
Saturday, September 16th
- 12-12:45 p.m. — Free “Sweat Sesh” fitness class from Body Fit Training (BFT) on the Great Lawn
- 12-2 p.m. — Free Flowing Music Experience at Starr Hill Biergarten
- 12-7 p.m. — Shop Made in VA and Tysons community vendors on the Great Lawn
- 2:30-4:30 p.m. — Texas Chainsaw Horns at Starr Hill Biergarten
- 3-6 p.m. — Four Roses (Wren’s private label) barrel release party
- 5-7:30 p.m. — Sidemen Band at Starr Hill Biergarten
- 8-10:30 p.m. — Kleptoradio at Starr Hill Biergarten
- DJ/MC afterparty with Captain/2nutz at Starr Hill Biergarten until closing at midnight
Sunday, September 17th
- 10:30-11:15 a.m. — FitCoach Caroline HIIT Workout at Starr Hill Biergarten
- 11 a.m.-5 p.m. — Tysons community vendors on the Great Lawn
- 12-2 p.m. — The Vandalays
- 2 p.m. — Pie-eating contests sponsored by Wegmans and Capital One Center
- 2:30-5 p.m. — NovaKane at Starr Hill Biergarten
Coming from Wren, the Japanese restaurant in The Watermark Hotel, the Four Roses barrel release party will require separate registrations. More details on that particular event will be coming soon, Capital One Center says.
Perchfest is free to attend, but advance registrations through Eventbrite are encouraged.
In the past, the festival has drawn about 15,000 people over three days, according to Capital One Center. The most recent edition in May offered a preview of three restaurants — Sisters Thai, Stellina Pizzeria and Ox & Rye — coming to the mixed-use development, though now, they’re not expected to open until next year.
A family entertainment center in Chantilly is officially under new ownership.
Creepy Greens Entertainment, LLC has taken over Mini Monster Golf and is now fully operational.
An application submitted to Fairfax County seeks permission for a special permit so the new owner can provide laser tag, arcade expansion, and a kitchen and cafe area that is currently unused.
“The previous owners of the store were granted this special permit and the new owner, Creepy Greens Entertainment Inc., hopes to retain it,” the application says. “No additions, expansions, or use case changes are planned.”
A company representative told FFXnow that the application before the county was necessary in order to “reflect the new ownership.”
The special permit plan aims to maintain the existing character of the area, according to the application.
The facility is open in the fall and winter Monday through Thursday from 2-9 p.m., Fridays from 2-10 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 10 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.
In the spring and summer, the hours will be Monday through Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m., according to the permit application.
Developers are seeking permission to redevelop Reston’s two golf courses through a process where Fairfax County considers land use changes to its comprehensive plan.
The county is currently considering dozens of nominations throughout the county for the Site-Specific Plan Amendment process, including the redevelopment of Reston National Golf Course and Hidden Creek Country Club.
Currently, the county’s comprehensive plan states that both areas are planned for private recreation uses — more specifically as golf courses. For years, community organizations like Rescue Reston have vehemently opposed the redevelopment of both golf courses.
Weller Development and War Horse Cities, the owners of Reston National, want to convert the “obsolescent golf course” into a 100-acre open space conservancy with an 8-acre linear park and a “mixed-use village.” The concept is not new and was initially floated several years ago.
The application says the development team could pursue a more intense development plan with more residential development, given its “substantial, longstanding zoning rights.”
“Repurposing the property to provide much needed community amenities, a range of housing and shopping opportunities, and permanent useable open space with covenants, so as to preserve that open space in perpetuity, better utilizes one of Reston’s premier assets,” the application says.
But the prospect has previously drawn backlash from community groups. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn also publicly stated that he would not support redevelopment, unless there is existing community support.
The owners say the golf course is the “very definition of underutilization,” averaging 95 people per day on an annual basis across its 168 acres.
“To remain a dedicated ‘golf course’ is counter to the vision set out by Robert E. Simon in his founding principles, as his was a uniquely inclusionary vision,” the application argues. “Far worse, this serves to delay or potentially forfeit a timely opportunity to accomplish key goals set out by Fairfax County leadership.”
The application proposes converting the golf course into a “village” with new houses and retail and permanent open space dubbed the Conservancy, joined by a linear park that could have nurseries for native plants, vegetable gardens, and pollinators.
The Conservancy is described as a “generational opportunity” to create publicly accessible open space with restored meadows, a performance pavilion, other pavilions, seating areas, community gardens, a dog park, waterfront pier, and new trees.
“Reston National Golf Course has been the focus of intense debate within the community going back more than a decade,” Steve Siegel, a partner at Weller Development, wrote in the application. “While this Owner respects and understands the perspective of Reston National’s immediate neighbors, we contend that, as wonderful as the game of golf is for the few who actually play it, a private pay-to-play golf course is the wrong use for this site in 2022 and moving forward.”
Wheelock Communities, the owner of Hidden Creek Country Club, also contend that the golf course “no longer contributes appropriate to the live, work and play principles on which Reston was based,” adding that the country club has roughly 500 members.
The application notes that a significant number of the club’s membership lives outside of Reston.
“The reality, therefore, is that the combination of weakening economics and competing country club and golf course options, together with ongoing and significant need for capital reinvestment not supported by current revenue, means the Country Club’s future in its current form is shaky, at best,” wrote Mark Cooley, a land use lawyer representing Wheelock.
Instead, the developer pitches turning roughly 100 acres of the property into recreational open space and adding residential units, which could include a range of housing types at several price points to address the “missing middle” of affordable housing.
In July, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors tweaked the SSPA process by allowing more frequent opportunities for nominations, new submission criteria with more information, and enhanced community engagement.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is expected to decide which nominations will move forward — and which ones will be killed — at a meeting on Dec. 6.
The first SSPA cycle kicked off in 2017 for the North County area followed by a second cycle in 2019 for the South County area.
In October, the county accepted nominations for all nine supervisor districts in the current SSPA cycle.
A complete list of other SSPA nominations for the Hunter Mill District is available online.
A new kind of tech-inspired mini-golf experience is coming soon to Comstock’s Reston Station.
Puttshack, which describes itself as an upscale and tech-infused experience with global food and drink signed a lease at 1850 Reston Row Plaza. The 29,000-square-foot lease is part of phase two of Reston Station’s development.
“With Reston Station’s line-up of emerging and established tech companies on site, the transit-oriented neighborhood was an immediate draw for our tech-driven mini golf concept,” Puttshack President Dave Diamond wrote in a statement. “Puttshack will become a must-visit destination for a one-of-a-kind experience encompassing mini golf, exceptional dining, and lively entertainment.”
Here’s more from Comstock on the lease:
Puttshack Reston will be a major entertainment destination for D.C. metro area residents and visitors alike. The more than 29,000 square-foot space will feature four highly competitive, tech-driven nine-hole mini golf courses powered by the brand’s leading patented Trackaball™ technology, which elevates the game experience by keeping track of your score for you as you play. Additionally, a new game component currently in the final stages of development will be featured in the space.
The game play is matched by an innovative, globally inspired dining menu and signature hand-crafted cocktails, as well as world-class hospitality with a high-energy, upscale vibe. The new play-filled, immersive indoor space will feature multiple bars in addition to private event spaces for exclusive parties and business outings.
The company has two locations in the country. Additional locations in Boston and Miami are opening later this month. Sites in Dallas, Denver, Houston, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scottsdale, St. Louis, and a second location in Atlanta are all anticipated to open next year.
Puttshack will open at Reston Station in 2025.
Weller Development Co. and War Horse Cities, the golf course’s owners, hired New City Enterprises to launch the study group more than a year ago in order to assess the current and future conditions of the golf course area.
The group’s work paints a stark picture of two Restons — North and South — the latter of which the group concludes strays from founder Bob Simon’s dreams for the planned community.
After meeting with residents and surveying available community resources, amenities and environmental conditions, the group concluded that the neighborhood surrounding the golf course and most of South Reston needs economic revitalization.
Greg Hamm, managing partner of New City Enterprises, headed the group, which included neighborhood participation and launched in May of last year.
“We kept in mind that Bob Simon was a developer, and the community came out of the idea that working together genuinely works best. So, we thought this small group, open air format offered the best way to create a comfortable environment, especially following the lockdowns,” Hamm wrote to FFXnow. “We engaged all the immediately adjacent neighbors, as well as the larger Reston community and had very good, civil discussions.”
The group identified a three-pronged approach for the future of the golf course and the area, calling for redevelopment of a portion of the golf course into a public open space for Reston.
The group describes the proposal as a “conservancy” that would be fully funded and governed locally. It also suggested new services, amenities, and housing near the existing infrastructure, along with vegetation, architecture, landscaping and views to create what could be called a “conservancy district.”
In a recent Patch opinion piece, Hamm described South Reston as an “amenity desert” compared to other areas in Reston, which are expanding and leaving legacy neighborhoods behind as phase two of the Silver Line aims to launch this year.
The group also said walkability in the area is below average, demanding the need for permanent and public open space.
With the work of the study group now complete, the next step is for the golf course’s owners to identify a plan going forward.
“With the completion of the Silver Line later this year, everyone should honestly gauge the costs of keeping ‘transit-oriented golf’ against its benefits, and then make the comparisons with the proposed alternatives,” Hamm said. “Then the ownership of Reston National, the county and community can begin the appropriate public process.”
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn has repeatedly stated that he would oppose redeveloping the golf course unless there was overwhelming support from the community.
Hamm says his group has worked with Alcorn’s office to share their findings along the way. That process comes as Alcorn’s workgroup completes its formal review of changes to Reston’s comprehensive plan, which currently states that Reston is a two-golf-course community.
Rescue Reston, a group formed in 2012 to protect Reston’s two golf courses and open spaces, has vehemently opposed any redevelopment of the golf course.
CitySwing, a golf facility designed for people of all skill levels, plans to open at Reston Town Center in the first quarter of next year.
The facility at 11897 Market Street will be the company’s second, joining a site in D.C.
Founder Tari Cash tells FFXnow that the company is excited to bring its unique golfing experience to the town center.
“Expanding our audience beyond DC allows us to include the corporate workforce, retail shoppers, conference-goers, and the fantastic golf community in Northern VA,” Cash said. “Our location, which opens onto the Pavilion, will give us the opportunity to be in the center of the vibrant RTC community.”
Cash founded the business in 2018 in order to address the lack of inclusion in the golf industry.
Here’s more from Cash:
My vision quickly expanded to build a company that addressed the lack of inclusion in the golf industry, when I learned that 4 black women had the police called on them for “playing too slow.” The personal growth and professional opportunities attributed to playing golf makes it much bigger than “just a game or activity”. It can be a pathway forward to change the trajectory of someone’s future. My intention for CitySwing is to create a safe space for people from disparate backgrounds to find common ground, and right now I believe we need this more than ever.
Patrons can rent simulators, with 30 minutes costing $45 and one hour costing $80 on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. After 5 p.m. on weekdays and on the weekend, prices rise to $60 for a half hour and $110 for one hour. Each studio accommodates up to six people.
Photo via CitySwing