Post Content
The county is considering ways to preserve dark skies around the observatory (via Fairfax County Government)

An effort is underway to preserve the dark skies around the Turner Farm Park Observatory in Great Falls.

To reduce light pollution in the area, Fairfax County is considering amending zoning standards for outdoor lighting within one-half mile of the observatory, which is located at the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Springvale Road.

The observatory has several telescopes and a former National Defense Mapping Agency observation tower. Since the spring of 2018, the facility has served more than 3,700 people with educational programming.

Changes would largely impact residential development — roughly 500 properties — surrounding the observatory.

So far, county staff indicate that residents appear split about possible changes to the zoning rule. An official proposal expected in the winter of this year.

“Comments received in support of additional regulations expressed that the amendment would be an important and valuable step in protecting dark skies and the use of the observatory,” staff said in a memo. “Comments in opposition indicated that additional regulations are not needed, and concerns were expressed about several issues, including safety and security, and whether additional regulations within ½ mile of the observatory would be meaningful, given the overall light pollution of the area.”

The county held a public meeting on the issue on Monday (Sept. 19). Residents and community organizations offered feedback on the existing conditions near the observatory and possible changes that could affect properties within a one-half-mile radius of the observatory.

Representatives for the Fairfax County Police Department noted that proper lighting is a deterrent for criminal activity, but overnighting and uplighting are not required to facilitate a safe environment.

The Great Falls Citizen Association held the first official public meeting on the issue on March 24. The association has historically supported efforts to preserve the area’s dark skies.

“Because this proposed amendment involves a unique set of circumstances, GFCA is in the process of evaluating the County’s preliminary concepts on the amendment and considering its impact on the community, following two Town Hall sessions GFCA hosted,” Peter Falcone, a spokesperson for the association, wrote in a statement.

The observatory is also working toward becoming an official urban night sky place from the International Dark Sky Association.

0 Comments
About 279 people in Great Falls have lost power after a storm on Aug. 30, 2022 (via Dominion Energy)

More than 200 people in Great Falls have lost power, and a key road may be closed for hours after a rain storm this afternoon (Tuesday).

According to Fairfax Alerts, Beach Mill Road will be closed to traffic in both directions for at least six hours at the Springvale Road intersection due to downed power lines.

Dominion Energy has 279 customers in the area without power, according to its outage map.

The outage has been attributed to a broken pole, and crews are currently on the scene assessing the damage, though as of 6:30 p.m., there is no estimated time of restoration yet.

The storm otherwise appears to have had minimal impact in Fairfax County. Dulles International Airport reported 56 mph wind gusts, but less than a half-inch of rain was recorded in most areas, the Capital Weather Gang reported.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Lewinsville Park basketball courts in McLean (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

McLean Police Shooting Not Justified, Family Says — The parents of Jasper Aaron Lynch, who was fatally shot four times by a Fairfax County police officer during a mental health crisis call on July 7, said in a statement that the police “could have, and should have, handled this far differently.” Their comments came after the county police department released footage of the encounter. [WTOP]

Bailey’s Crossroads Car Dealership to Expand — “The Radley Acura dealership on Columbia Pike near Route 7 in Bailey’s Crossroads will undergo a major expansion. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning application Aug. 2 by Radley Management LLC to build a three-level parking garage with 307 spaces and an enclosed customer service drop-off addition.” [Annandale Today]

New Metro Safety Issues Raised — “Metro needs to inspect, clean, and protect Metrorail station rooms that house equipment that detects when trains are on tracks and helps the system avoid crashes, the agency’s safety oversight body said in a report released Thursday. The report further said that Metro had failed to follow through on inspections after the issue was raised in March.” [DCist]

County Pension Fund Doubles Down on Crypto — “Fairfax County, Va.’s $6.8 billion pension fund, the Fairfax County Retirement Systems, has received approval to invest $70 million across two crypto yield farming funds…The $1.8 billion Fairfax County Police Officers Retirement System has made a series of crypto investments in the past alongside the Fairfax County Retirement Systems” [CoinDesk]

Funds for Water to Historic Hall Approved — “The Fairfax County Park Authority Board approved a Mastenbrook Grant request from the Great Falls Grange Foundation (GFGF) in the amount of $20,000 to help install a municipal-connected water line to service the Great Falls Grange…The overall vision for this site is to serve the community as a self-supporting gathering place, a location for classes and a place to hold special events.” [FCPA]

Decision on Maryland’s Beltway Toll Lanes Coming — “With the U.S. Department of Transportation poised to issue its decision on an ambitious Capital Beltway and I-270 toll lanes plan, Montgomery County’s top planner accused state highway officials of running roughshod over Maryland law,” echoing similar complaints leveled by McLean residents over Virginia’s 495 NEXT project. [Maryland Matters]

Poll: What Does “Alexandria” Mean to You? — “One of the very first stories on ALXnow discussed…the distinction between the City of Alexandria and the areas of Fairfax south of Cameron Run sometimes referred to as Alexandria. This past week, two businesses opening this month — a cannabis dispensary and a metal supermarket — identified themselves as ‘Alexandria’ branches of their respective chains despite the fact that both are opening in Fairfax.” [ALXnow]

It’s Friday — Rain in the evening and overnight. High of 91 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:15 am and sunset at 8:17 pm. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments

Morning Notes

A popsicle melts at Capital One Center’s The Perch in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Dog Dies in Newington Townhouse Fire — Unattended cooking started a fire at a townhouse in the 6700 block of Red Bird Woods Court last Friday (July 15) that displaced one resident and caused approximately $93,750 in damages. County firefighters found a dog while searching the property that was given medical care but didn’t survive. [FCFRD]

Fairfax Nonprofit Helps Rescued Beagles — The Fairfax-based animal rescue group Homeward Trails is one of several shelters across the country helping the Humane Society find homes for beagles rescued from a Cumberland breeding facility. The nonprofit will place 1,500 of the dogs and has already received almost 1,000 adoption applications. [Washingtonian]

New Mental Health Crisis Hotline Available — “A new 9-8-8 crisis and support hotline is now active across the United States, including here in Fairfax County…Dialing either 9-8-8 or the existing [National Suicide Prevention Lifeline] number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will connect you to behavioral health care and support 24 hours a day.” [Fairfax County Government]

GW Parkway Rehab Could Bring Traffic Cameras — “WTOP has learned that an upcoming major rehabilitation of the George Washington Parkway’s northern section will lay the groundwork — literally — for live traffic cameras along a 7-mile stretch of the roadway running from the Capital Beltway to Spout Run. Ground was broken for the project on Monday.” [WTOP]

McLean Baseball Player Drafted by New York Mets — “Add one more significant achievement, and likely the best of all, in a season full of big accomplishments and recognitions for Nick Morabito. The McLean resident and 2022 graduate of Gonzaga College High School recently was chosen in the second round (75th pick overall) of the Major League Baseball draft by the New York Mets.” [Sun Gazette]

Great Falls Bank to Expand — “Three-year-old Trustar Bank in Great Falls has raised $18 million in fresh capital and intends to use the proceeds to help fund its expansion across the D.C. region. The private placement…could be a prelude to an eventual initial public offering for the $560 million-asset Trustar.” [Washington Business Journal]

Annandale Park Field Named After Advocate — “In action at their regular meeting on July 13, 2022, the Fairfax County Park Authority Board voted to name rectangular field 6 at Pine Ridge Park in honor of Wanda Rixon at the request of the Fairfax Women’s Soccer Association (FWSA)…FWSA and Rixon played an instrumental role in the effort to retain Pine Ridge Park as permanent park land.” [FCPA]

DMV Stops by Tysons Library Tomorrow — “Looking to renew your license, get the real ID and more? The DMV is visiting the Tysons-Pimmit Library. Registration is required and an appointment can be made here. Please note the DMV takes a lunch break from 12:30pm-1:30pm.” [FCPL]

It’s Thursday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 78. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments

Morning Notes

A summer sunset over the I-66 West exit ramp in Centreville (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

I-66 West Traffic Changes in Oakton Today — “I-66 West between Nutley Street and Vaden Drive will be shifted to a new, long-term configuration beginning during the early morning hours on or about Wednesday, July 6. When this traffic change is implemented, the two right travel lanes will be separated from the two left travel lanes by barrier…This temporary traffic pattern will remain in place for approximately two months, and is part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project.” [VDOT]

Search for Suspect in Hybla Valley Homicide Continues — “A year ago today, Tafari ‘Trey’ Nadhim was fatally shot in the 7900 blk of Janna Lee Ave. Detectives continue to seek answers for Trey’s family & friends. If you have any info about his death, please call 703-246-7800 or submit tips through Crime Solvers.” [FCPD/Twitter]

Springfield Man Allegedly Hits Pedestrian After Stealing BMW — “A Springfield man was charged with grand larceny after he stole a car from a gas station on Braddock Road on June 25 and then ran into a pedestrian after Fairfax County Police attempted to stop him.” [Patch]

County Sees Uptick in Unemployment — “With 609,431 county residents in the civilian workforce and 16,122 looking for jobs, Fairfax’s unemployment rate stood at 2.6 percent for the month, according to figures reported June 29 by the Virginia Employment Commission. That’s up from 2.2 percent a month before, although it remained well below the rate of 3.7 percent a year ago.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Photos: New Citizens Welcomed on July 4 at Mount Vernon — “On Monday, July 4, George Washington’s Mount Vernon was the site of a naturalization ceremony for 52 new US citizens, some of whom serve in the US armed forces. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen spoke, as did George Washington himself — well, the latest GW reenactor.” [Washingtonian]

Married FCPS Educators Help Ukranian Refugees — W.T. Woodson High School government teacher Lee Hedrick and Annandale High School ESOL Chair Meredith Hedrick recently traveled 18 hours to Poland to serve as volunteers for World Central Kitchen. They helped the nonprofit prepare and distribute meals to refugees at the border with Ukraine. [FCPS]

Great Falls Mansion Sold for $10M — “Innsbruck Holdings LLC on June 7 closed the sale of 576 Innsbruck Ave. in Great Falls, a 21,500-square-foot mansion, for $10.5 million…The Innsbruck mansion, also known as Alderley, has been through several owners since it was constructed in 2007, among them former AOL executive Richard Hanlon and James Carlson, the former CEO of AmeriGroup.” [Washington Business Journal]

It’s Wednesday — Rain starting in the afternoon. High of 85 and low of 78. Sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments

Morning Notes

People watch fireworks at Vienna’s 2022 Fourth of July celebration (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Springfield Motorcyclist Dies After Burke Crash — Becoming the sixth non-pedestrian killed in a vehicle crash this year, Nema Mirsaeedi, 31, of Springfield died yesterday after being thrown from his motorcycle in a crash with a car attempting to turn into a shopping center on Burke Center Parkway. The crash occurred at 6:39 p.m. on Sunday (July 3) and remains under investigation. [FCPD]

County Responds to Supreme Court Security Request — “Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley originally penned the letter, asking that state and local law enforce their respective picketing laws near the homes of Supreme Court justices…Fairfax County officials say they already received the letter and that their stance remained unchanged.” [WTOP]

FCPS Officially Has New Superintendent — “Michelle Reid, Ed.D. was sworn in as the superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools on Thursday, June 30, at Luther Jackson Middle School. Her term begins Friday, July 1. ‘It’s important for me to remember that learning happens best in community, and this is an amazing community,’ said Dr. Reid.” [FCPS]

Hiker Injured Falling Off Great Falls Ledge — “On Saturday, at 2:31 p.m., units were dispatched to 9200 Old Dominion Drive for an injured hiker. Hiker fell 40 feet down a steep rocky ledge. Crews fully immobilized and carried person out via stokes basket to Fairfax County Police Department helicopter. Transported with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.” [FCFRD/Facebook]

Fairfax History Commission Seeks More Resources — “Commission Chairman Cheryl Repetti, who delivered the group’s annual report to the Board of Supervisors June 28, asked supervisors to finance a full-time staff member and allot extra county staff hours to help fulfill the board’s requests of the commission.” [Sun Gazette]

South Lakes HS Stadium Closed — “Hey Seahawks…Our stadium is CLOSED while we make some improvements to it. The turf is being replaced & the bleachers are getting a minor upgrade. Should take a month. Thanks for your patience.” [South Lakes Athletics & Activities/Twitter]

Longtime McLean Postal Workers Retire — “[Scott] Arnold and his best friend in the Postal Service, Rob Receveur, both had served McLean for years, and this past week, both were celebrated as they hung up their mailbags…It’s hard to quantify Arnold’s legacy, but you can sense his effect by how the neighborhood’s residents have shifted their lives to remain close to him.” [The Washington Post]

Firefighter Adopts Rescued Kitten — “May 28, Tower 424 and Tech Austin Adams rescued kitten out of a tree. Kitten was very young. @FairfaxCountyPD Animal Protection took him to @fairfaxanimals. Tech Adams kept in touch. Thursday, he and his wife adopted kitten — now named Ash!” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Virginia Shares Data on Firearm Injuries — “The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) launched a new data dashboard on firearm injuries in Virginia showing the number and rate of emergency department (ED) visits from 2016 to 2022. The dashboard shows firearm injury data by year, health district, age group, sex, and race/ethnicity across Virginia.” [VDH]

It’s Tuesday — Rain in the evening. High of 84 and low of 71. Sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments
A ribbon is cut to mark the opening of Riverbend Park’s new maintenance facility (via Fairfax County Park Authority)

Riverbend Park in Great Falls debuted a new $1.3 million maintenance shop this week.

The Fairfax County Park Authority and other stakeholders celebrated the opening of the facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday (June 28).

The facility includes a maintenance yard for equipment and vehicle storage, along with a work area and the installation of a new septic field. It was funded by 2012 park bonds.

The site was formerly home to the former manager’s home, which was demolished.

The project team was able to drastically limit the number of trees that required removal at the site. At first, the team anticipated the removal of 100 trees, but only two were ultimately removed. Rain barrels and a cistern were also installed on the facility to collect rainwater.

The park is located at 8700 Potomac Hills Street.

0 Comments
Amazon wants to use a greenhouse in Fairfax County for plants at The Helix in Arlington (via Amazon)

The greenery proposed for Amazon’s second headquarters in Arlington is so extensive that the company needs a greenhouse to keep it going.

According to plans submitted to the county, Amazon hopes to convert Meadow Farms Nurseries and Landscapes (10618 Leesburg Pike) in Great Falls into a greenhouse to provide a “permanent operation to provide for the continuous maintenance of the extensive landscaping elements” at HQ2. The concept is called Project Wren.

The company’s second headquarters is being built in two phases. The first phase — Metropolitan Park — includes two 22-story buildings, and 2.5 acres of open space. The second phase — PenPlace — includes 3.2 million square feet of office space and about 94,500 square feet of retail.

Its signature building is “The Helix” — a glassy, twisting structure that is intended to be as green as possible in both color and nature.

“The greenhouse will help ensure a ‘Year Five on Day One’ experience for the interior and exterior horticultural program elements at HQ2,” the application materials say.

The company expects the project will require between five to 10 employees. In line with the delivery-based nature of the business, Amazon expects to have weekly and monthly trips from sprinter vans and tractor-trailers to box trucks to keep the facility operational.

The greenhouse — which would not be open to the public — would include hanging plants, full-size trees, and living green walls.

Although Amazon expects to retain most of the existing greenhouse, it needs the county’s blessing to add a new hoop house structure to store larger trees that do not fit in the existing 15,200-square-foot facility.

The company believes the structure does not significantly expand the approved greenhouse use for the site.

A spokesperson for Meadow Farms told FFXnow that the nursery, which is on Great Falls side of Route 7 near Wolf Trap, plans to close next month. The company will consolidate operations to its other locations in Leesburg, Herndon, Chantilly and Fredericksburg.

Amazon did not return multiple requests for comment from FFXnow over the last several weeks.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Ferris wheel at Viva Vienna 2022 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Governor Attends Vienna Memorial Day Ceremony — “Vienna residents joined Gov. Glen Youngkin and other dignitaries at the Town Green today to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. In his remarks, Rear Admiral Fred Kacher noted that for Gold Star families, every day is Memorial Day.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

West Falls Church Apartment Fire Displaces Residents — Assisted by Arlington and Fairfax City, Fairfax Count fire investigators are looking into a two-alarm apartment fire that damaged 12 units in the 2900 block of Dover Lane on Sunday (May 29). There were no reported injuries, but an “unknown number” of residents were displaced, including a dog. [FCFRD/Facebook, Twitter]

Transgender Woman Sues Fairfax County Jail — A former inmate at Fairfax County Adult Detention Center alleges in a lawsuit that she was housed with men and experienced harassment after officials learned she was transgender. The case is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. [The Washington Post]

Lack of Defibrillators Keeps Reston Pools Closed — “Due to supply chain delays, the following five RA pools did not receive new Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in time for Memorial Day weekend: Autumnwood, Ridge Heights, Hunters Woods, Golf Course Island, and Tall Oaks, according to an RA announcement.” [Patch]

Great Falls Pipeline Project Halted — “The Virginia Department of Transportation on May 24 issued a stop-work order for a Washington Gas pipeline-installation project on Georgetown Pike after receiving complaints from the Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA).” [Sun Gazette]

Woman Killed in Annandale Crash Was Community Advocate — “[Eileen] Garnett, 83, was a longtime advocate for revitalizing Annandale. On the day of the crash, she was with a group of county and state officials on an inspection tour of Annandale hosted by the Annandale Central Business District Planning Committee.” [Annandale Today]

“Above-Average” Hurricane Season Forecast — “NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including three to six major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).” [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Centreville Park Gets Lighting Upgrades — “The Fairfax County Park Authority will begin a basketball lighting upgrade project this week at Chalet Woods Park, located at 14912 Cranoke St., Centreville, in the Sully District. The project scope includes removal of the existing poles and fixtures, followed by installation of new poles, fixtures and a push button for basketball court lights.” [FCPA]

It’s Tuesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 90 and low of 72. Sunrise at 5:47 am and sunset at 8:29 pm. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Wall art by Starr Hill Biergarten at The Perch in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

County Board to Adopt New Budget Today — “Board of Supervisors set to adopt FY23 budget tomorrow, May 10. It fully funds @fcpsnews employee compensation and invests in priorities. $96 million balance to reduce real estate tax rate, increase affordable housing, parks, among others.” [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]

Lee District Gets New Community Center — Elected officials and community members gathered on Saturday (May 7) to cut the ribbon for Fairfax County’s new Lee District Community Center, which will provide recreation, educational workshops, and other programs to residents in the Buckman Road area on the west side of Richmond Highway. The center also hosts a workforce training and development center. [Neighborhood and Community Services]

Metro Reports Higher-than-Expected Ridership — “Ridership has already surprised their conservatively-estimated projection of 28 million rides by nearly 40% through the first three quarters of the fiscal year…The numbers bode well for the region’s economic recovery as tourism rebounds and more workers return to the office, but it is less welcome news for train and bus riders who are experiencing more crowded vehicles.” [DCist]

Great Falls Road Closure Starts Today — “Springvale Road will be closed for 48 hours starting Tuesday to allow VDOT crews to reconstruct the road’s approach to Route 7. During the closure, drivers on Springfield Road can access Route 7 by taking Georgetown Pike to the Utterback Store Road.” [Patch]

Mental Health Services Facility to Be Renamed — “Fairfax County officials on May 12 will celebrate the renaming and dedication of the former Merrifield Center as the ‘Sharon Bulova Center for Community Health’…Bulova served as chairman through 2019, when she retired after 31 years on the board.” [Sun Gazette]

Route 7 Bus Service Plan Inches Forward — “Plans to create a bus-rapid-transit, or BRT, line using Route 7 to connect Tysons to Alexandria continue to move forward, with the next installment to hire a consultant that will guide the next phases of the project.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Fort Hunt Teacher Reflects on Three-Decade-Long Career — “Reading Specialist Jill Norris joined the staff of Stratford Landing Elementary School in Fairfax County last August after a break from a 35-year career as a teacher. ‘To share my passion for reading and writing with kids and teachers,’ is what brings joy to Norris.” [ABC7]

It’s Tuesday — Clear throughout the day. High of 66 and low of 46. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:11 pm. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list