One of the oldest neighborhoods in southeastern Fairfax County is holding its birthday party this weekend, despite the likelihood of rain.
Jefferson Manor near Groveton is celebrating its 75th birthday tomorrow (Saturday) with a block party that will include food trucks, music, beer, a kids’ zone area, and a magician. Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk and Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay are both expected to attend.
Held on Monticello Road between Fairhaven Road and Edgehill Drive from 4-7 p.m., the block party is expected to draw about 300 attendees, even with the potential for dicey weather, Jefferson Manor Citizens Association President Derek Cole told FFXnow.
“We started the block party in 2017 just to celebrate how tight-knit our community was,” he said. “The turnout that we get speaks volumes to the community participation that we have.”
Consisting of about 550 semi-detached duplex homes, Jefferson Manor was built in 1947, as thousands of veterans returned home from World War II for jobs in the military and government.
Then covered in dairy farms, Fairfax County was a perfect place to build a home and settle with a family near enough to the urban core. Between 1940 and 1960, its population sextupled, growing from about 41,000 to nearly 249,000 people in just two decades. Those new residents needed homes fast.
A D.C. developer named Clarence W. Gosnell began buying up land across the county, including about 80 acres near Old Town Alexandria from S. Cooper Dawson, the co-owner of the well-known Penn-Daw Hotel.
Gosnell immediately went to work on the land, naming the neighborhood and the surrounding streets after president Thomas Jefferson.
“Gosnell was one of the developers who was able to put up housing quickly and affordably,” Tammy Mannarino, a local historian who recently presented at a Jefferson Manor Civic Association meeting. “And he did that by having them be partially prefabricated.”
Gosnell’s company built and installed 12 to 16 homes a month in the neighborhood, a rate only exceeded by how quickly the homes were being sold, The Washington Post reported in 1947.
“Every time they released a section of Jefferson Manor, it sold out,” Mannarino said. “They almost couldn’t build them fast enough.”
Homes were directly marketed to veterans, with Gosnell often advertising the starting price of $8,750 — about $114,000 today — as something “you can afford.”
Amenities soon sprang up to serve the budding neighborhood. Mount Eagle Elementary School (then called Penn Daw School) was built in 1949 to accommodate the new families.
However, as was the case in many county neighborhoods, there were restrictions on who could buy the homes.
The original contracts to purchase a Jefferson Manor home all contained a discriminatory covenant precluding anyone “not of the Caucasian Race” from occupying, using, selling, renting, or being given the home. The only exception was for “domestic servants.” Read More
A new county-supported study is recommending pedestrian and bike-friendly improvements in the Huntington Metro corridor, including more crosswalks, wider sidewalks, additional lighting, and increasing shared-use paths.
At a virtual meeting tomorrow (Sept. 14) night, a Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) study – “Huntington Metrorail Active Transportation Study” – will be presented to the public that looked into the pedestrian and biking conditions within the Huntington Transit Station Area (TSA).
The Huntington TSA covers an area bordered by North Kings Highway to the south, Huntington Avenue to the north, Telegraph Road and Jefferson Manor Park to the west, and Richmond Highway to the east.
As the study points out, the area is continuing to grow in density.
“The Huntington TSA has been transitioning from low density to mid density for decades and will continue to become denser,” it reads while providing a list of new developments and projects that will contribute to the growing population in the years to come.
While considering all future conditions and projects up to 2045, the study concluded generally that the corridor is “uncomfortable” for pedestrians and bicyclists. That’s due to a prevalence of narrow sidewalks, lack of bike lanes, high speed of traffic, and the far distance pedestrians have to go to cross major roads.
“Almost all of the analyzed roads were deemed highly uncomfortable for pedestrians… due to narrow sidewalks, large crossing distances, and high speeds,” reads the study. “It is also worth noting that areas around community resources such as Mt. Eagle Elementary School and the Huntington Community Center are also highly uncomfortable due to sidewalk quality and a lack of pedestrian scaled lighting.”
Three intersections are particularly worrisome due to the crossing length exceeding 400 feet.
These include Huntington Avenue between Biscayne Drive and Foley Street, North Kings Highway between Telegraph Road and Jefferson Drive, and North Kings Highway between Fort Drive and Fairhaven Avenue.
There are also no official bike lanes in the Huntington TSA.
To rectify these issues, the study recommends a number of fixes and solutions.
At the intersections with long crossing lengths, it’s suggested that “high visibility” crosswalks be added with crossing warning signs and pedestrian refuge islands.
There are also suggestions for implementing for a number of roads the concept of “Slow Streets,” where traffic speeds are lowered and entry points are closed to traffic to create a safer space for pedestrians.
In terms of costs, the study notes that “improving sidewalk quality” is a lower-cost option than adding new or widening sidewalks. The highest cost options are changing road diets, adding new bike and pedestrian facilities, like shared use paths, or subtracting traffic lanes.
Overall, the study recommends potential options for individual streets with a focus on lower and medium-cost options.
For example, on Monticello Road in the Jefferson Manor neighborhood, the recommendation is to fix the “cracked and failing” sidewalk and widen it to 8 feet in some places plus adding more lighting. On North Kings Highway, the recommendations include new traffic signs telling traffic to stop for pedestrians, restricting truck traffic with signs, a new crossing location at Fairhaven Avenue, and a high-cost option of removing traffic lanes on Jefferson Drive.
Besides this study, a number of other planned infrastructure improvements are found in other county-supported plans, including a 10-foot wide path along N. Kings Highway and Huntington Avenue, narrowing travel lanes on N. Kings Highway to allow for wider sidewalks, installing more barriers, lights, and crosswalks, and installing a beacon crossing signal in front of Mount Eagle Elementry School.
Throughout the county – and region – car crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists have continued to be a major and tragic problem. In July, a woman was killed by the driver of a car who hit her while she was crossing an eight-lane section of Richmond Highway included in this study.
There have been 10 fatal crashes involving pedestrians on Richmond Highway since 2017.
Shuttles, increased capacity, and an extension of the Blue Line are among the changes Metro will make to help riders when the Yellow Line shuts down this weekend, a closure that will last eight months.
Starting this Saturday (Sept. 10), the Yellow Line bridge and tunnels will close until May 2023 for long-overdue repair work. Construction will also be done to connect the new Potomac Yard station to the main rail system so that station can open this fall.
Both projects will result in a months-long shutdown of the Yellow Line, which runs through Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County. Parts of the Blue Line will also be closed through Oct. 22.
While this will undoubtedly inconvenience many local riders, Metro hopes to mitigate the impact of the construction and shutdown, which will happen in two phases.
During the first phase, which begins Saturday (Sept. 10) and lasts through Oct. 22, all six Blue and Yellow Line stations south of Reagan National Airport will be closed, as the Potomac Yard construction is completed. Those stations include Braddock Road, King Street, Van Dorn Street, Franconia-Springfield, Eisenhower Avenue, and Huntington.
Metro will offer seven free shuttles will be offered during this time. Options include local, express, and limited-stop shuttles that cross the Potomac River.
The local shuttles will stop at all Metro stations and be available during all Metrorail operating hours.
- Blue Line Local: Between Franconia, Van Dorn Street, King Street, Braddock Road, and National Airport stations every 10-20 minutes
- Yellow Line Local: Between Huntington, Eisenhower Avenue, King Street, Braddock Road, and Crystal City stations every 10-15 minutes.
Express shuttles, which will stop at the Pentagon and at the end of each line, will be available from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.
- Blue Line Express: Franconia-Pentagon Express service between Franconia and Pentagon stations every six minutes.
- Yellow Line Express: Huntington-Pentagon Express service between Huntington and Pentagon stations every six minutes.
Limited shuttles, which will take riders into D.C., will be available during weekday rush hours only.
- VA-DC Shuttle 1: Between Crystal City, Pentagon City, Smithsonian, and L’Enfant Plaza stations every 12 minutes
- VA-DC Shuttle 2: Between Pentagon, Smithsonian, and Archives stations every 12 minutes.
- VA-DC Shuttle 3 (former 11Y route): Between Mt. Vernon, Alexandria, and Potomac Park stations every 20 minutes. Peak direction service only.
Updated at 3:15 p.m. on 8/18/2022 — Paul Malone, 52, of Alexandria was arrested and charged with yesterday’s shooting in Huntington. Police currently don’t believe he knew the victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified yet. A handgun was found near the scene, police say.
Earlier: A 33-year-old man was shot just before 2 p.m. today (Wednesday) near Richmond Highway in Huntington, Fairfax County police say.
Officers were called to the 2000 block of Huntington Avenue and found a man with gunshot wounds to the upper body, Fairfax County Police Department Second Lt. James Curry said at a media briefing. The victim remains hospitalized with injuries considered life-threatening.
According to Curry, officers were told that a potential suspect described as a Black man wearing a yellow hat, black shirt and gray pants was seen walking away from the scene. Told that the man was possibly headed to a nearby motel, police began a search of the area that included K9 units and helicopters.
Police said at 2:43 p.m. that they had a suspect in custody. Curry confirmed that the suspect is the man who was described, and he was taken into custody without incident.
“We do not believe that there is any apparent further danger to the community, and we are continuing our investigation,” Curry said. “We hope in the coming hours we’ll have a better idea of what exactly occurred.”
Witnesses at the Huntington Gateway development told FFXnow that they saw a man and woman with a baby fighting. When they became aggressive towards each other, multiple people attempted to intervene, including employees from the shopping center’s Planet Fitness and nearby office buildings.
The man repeatedly told people to back off until the couple was approached by a person at a bus stop on Huntington Avenue, who shot the man, according to witnesses.
Curry said police have preliminarily determined that the two men “got into some sort of dispute” in the roadway, but it’s not clear yet if they knew each other and, if so, what their relationship was.
The FCPD is still advising the public to avoid the area. Huntington Avenue is closed between Richmond Highway and Blaine Drive. The closure is expected to last for “several hours,” according to a public information officer.
Noting that there were “a lot of witnesses” in the populated area, some of whom may have left before police arrived, Curry said anyone with information about the incident can contact FCPD detectives at 703-691-2131.
The suspect is in custody. Huntington Ave is closed between Richmond Hwy & Blaine Dr while officers and detectives continue to investigate. Please avoid the area.
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) August 17, 2022
Matt Blitz contributed to this report.
Metro is waiving fares on a local bus line and parking fees at several stations starting next month because of upcoming construction.
On Sept. 10, all Blue and Yellow stations south of the DCA Metro station will close for two major projects to complete the new Potomac Yard Station and repair the Yellow Line bridge and tunnel. The closure is expected to last six weeks, until Oct. 22.
The Metro Board of Directors voted late last week to waive all fees for the duration of construction at the three stations with parking lots — Van Dorn Street, Huntington, and Franconia-Springfield. This is to allow riders to use the free shuttle service that’s being offered.
At the Franconia station, parking fees, including those for non-riders, will be waived until early summer 2023, when the Yellow Line bridge rehabilitation is expected to finish. This is to “encourage use of the Metrobus or Virginia Railway Express, transit alternatives available at Franconia-Springfield.”
The board also did away with fares on the bus rapid transit Metroway-Potomac Yard Line through Oct. 22.
While the waiving of the $4.95 parking fee and bus fare will save riders money, it will cost Metro nearly $611,000 in lost revenue, per the report.
Expected to open to riders in late fall, the Potomac Yard Metro station in Alexandria will serve both the Blue and Yellow lines. In September, new tracks will be constructed to connect the station to the main tracks along with performance and safety testing.
The Yellow Line Tunnel and Bridge rehab project will shut down the line for longer. That work is expected to take eight months, so the Yellow Line won’t operate again in Virginia until at least May 2023.
In June, Metro announced several alternative methods to get commuters where they need to go. That includes free shuttle service and increased Blue Line service for the first six weeks.
Then, on Oct. 22, all the Blue Line stations will reopen, and service will extend to Huntington until May 2023.
Fairfax County’s first medical cannabis dispensary is opening today (Wednesday) in Huntington.
There will be an official ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by local lawmakers on Aug. 4, a company spokesperson told FFXnow.
The company will also open a store in Fairfax City at 10521 Fairfax Blvd, likely in September. Another one in Arlington is due later this year, and there are plans for a Woodbridge dispensary in 2023.
Beyond/Hello is owned by Flordia-based Jushi and is one of four companies currently permitted to sell cannabis in Virginia. The company is legally allowed to operate six dispensaries in Northern Virginia.
The Huntington dispensary moved into the former home of Great American Steak & Buffet Company, which appears to have closed in 2020. The store is 9,600 square feet and has more than 50 parking spots.
It’s also just south of Alexandria, as Jushi CEO Jim Cacioppo highlighted in a press release:
We’re thrilled to open up our new dispensary in Alexandria — a town famous for its nationally recognized landmarks, rich history, vibrant arts, pristine waterfront and charming restaurants and boutiques. Beyond Hello Alexandria captures the best of our thinking and combines our digital and physical retail experiences with the flexibility and convenience of our express checkout services. In addition, Beyond Hello Alexandria is strategically positioned near the ‘Beltway’ with easy highway access, and is conveniently located within a 15-minute drive to approximately 400,000 people.
While retail sales of cannabis remain illegal in Virginia, the medical cannabis industry is expected to explode in the coming months after a new state law went into effect July 1, removing the need for patients to register with the Commonwealth. Now, patients just need a certification from a licensed medical practitioner to make a purchase.
Already, Beyond/Hello officials say they are seeing a significant increase in patient sign-ups in July compared to last month.
“Since the patient registration process requirement has been removed, the Company has seen a 2.3x increase in patient sign-ups in the first three weeks of July as compared to the entire month of June,” the press release said.
The developer of a mixed-use project near the Huntington Metro Station wants more of the same on land previously approved for office and hotel space: more residential.
CIA-2550 Huntington LLC is seeking Fairfax County’s permission to build an up to 200-unit, 7-story apartment building on the north side of Huntington Avenue. The roughly 6-acre area is already built out with The Parker, a 390-unit apartment building that was part of an application initially approved in 2012.
Now, the developer says the remaining 370,000 gross square feet of hotel or office space with retail does not meet market demand.
“Given the length of time that the subject property has remained vacant, it is clear that the approved uses are not economically viable,” says a June 15 application submitted to the county.
The proposal is in the initial planning stages and has not been formally accepted for review by the county.
Nearly a year ago, the county changed the area’s underlying zoning to allow residential with retail. Other conditions include the addition of an urban plaza at the corner of Huntington Avenue and Metroview Parkway.
Positioned on top of a garage, the building will also include retail on its first floor. But the developer determined that extending retail or office space to the second floor was not feasible “after retaining a consultant to prepare a study of market demand in the area.”
“The applicant believes that it will be highly unlikely, if not impossible, to find tenants for non-residential uses on the second floor of a building which does not have direct street access,” the application says.
The building will include a fitness center, lounge and courtyard.
“Individuals who patronize the businesses will be able to step out onto the plaza and enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal in a pleasant urban environment,” the application states.
Photo via Brookfield Properties
WNB Factory, a restaurant that specializes in wings and burgers, is expected to open two Fairfax County locations next month.
The business plans to open at Hunter Mill Plaza (2952 Chain Bridge Road) between Aug. 15 and 30, depending on final permit approvals, according to a company representative.
Joon Kim, a franchisee with the company, says the new location in Oakton fills what he says is a lack of good wing and burger spots in the area.
Our burgers are all never frozen Certified Angus Beef. Our chickens, chicken tenders, and chicken wings (23 flavors) are all natural, hormone free, cage free,” Kim told FFXnow.
The business also plans to open a location in Huntington sometime in the middle of next month. That spot will be located at 5952 Richmond Highway.
WNB has locations across the country.
The Fairfax County area’s first medical cannabis dispensaries are almost ready to make their debuts.
That store is set to start serving patients “within two to four weeks,” pending approval from the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, Chief Commercial Director Trent Wolveck told FFXnow.
The new dispensary will be located next to a car dealership at 5902 Richmond Highway. Set back a bit from the road, the building previously housed the Great American Steak & Buffet Company, which appears to have closed in 2020.
“This location was selected due to the proximity to the Old Town Alexandria and the 495 Beltway,” Wolveck said by email. “Also, our preference in Virginia is for stand alone single tenant properties. We get that here, along with over 90 parking spaces for patients.”
Construction on the business appears to be mostly completed, with a glossy black, stylized sign in front.
Beyond/Hello’s Fairfax City dispensary is also on track to open within the next six to 10 weeks, barring state approval, Wolveck says. It will be at 10521 Fairfax Blvd. in a former Rite Aid building.
Wolveck says the location held a similar appeal as the Richmond Highway one, since it’s a standalone building with a large number of parking spots. The proximity to major roads and highways also was attractive.
“The property sits on highly trafficked Leesburg Pike and provides the best signage and branding opportunity of all of our Virginia locations given its position at the intersection of Leesburg Pike and Chain Bridge [Road],” Wolveck noted. “The Fairfax location is also just two minutes from I-66.”
Earlier this month, it became easier for Virginia residents to obtain medical cannabis. A new state law went into effect July 1, removing the need for patients to register with the Commonwealth to make a purchase. Now, patients simply need written certification from a licensed practitioner.
This loosening of regulations is expected to supercharge Virginia’s medical cannabis industry. As of April, only about 0.5% of the Commonwealth’s nearly 9 million residents were registered as medical cannabis patients. That’s far below the national average of 2% and Maryland’s rate of 2.5%.
Medical cannabis sales may catch fire in the coming months, but recreational sales remain banned in Virginia. While it is legal to possess and grow marijuana in the Commonwealth, an effort to create infrastructure for retail sales failed in the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year.
For the moment, cannabis retail sales won’t be allowed in Virginia until Jan. 1, 2024.
Beyond/Hello is continuing its expansion across Northern Virginia. The company is legally allowed to operate six dispensaries in Virginia, with its first two already open in Manassas and Sterling.
An Arlington dispensary is set to open in Clarendon along Wilson Blvd by the end of the year, while a Woodbridge location is aiming for an early 2023 start date.
The Arden in Huntington, set to be one of the county’s largest affordable housing complexes, is expected to be ready for residents this fall.
Construction work on the seven-story, 126-unit apartment building is expected to finish in late September with a move-in date shortly thereafter, perhaps as soon as October, Wesley Housing President and CEO Shelley Murphy tells FFXnow.
That’s only slightly behind the developer’s initial goal of completing the project by the summer. Murphy attributes the delay to “normal construction stuff,” like supply chain issues, material acquisitions, and permitting.
Wesley Housing is a nonprofit that constructs and manages affordable housing across the D.C. region, including a number in Fairfax County.
The nearly $60 million Arden is Wesley Housing’s largest housing complex and will be one of the most significant in the county when completed, though Dominion Square West in Tysons will top it for the number of units when finished in several years.
Back in March, Fairfax County revised its goal to have 10,000 affordable housing units by 2034.
Of the 126 apartments in The Arden, more than half will be two bedrooms, and the rest will be a mix of studio, single, and triple bedroom units. Housing will be available for those earning between 40% and 80% of the area median income.
There will only be one market-rate apartment available in the entire building.
The Arden will also house a new headquarters for Wesley Housing, with staff expected to move in by the end of the year, Murphy says.
Located at the intersection of Huntington Avenue and Biscayne Drive, the building is just a block from the Huntington Metro station.
“This is truly a transit-oriented development,” Murphy said. “We are less than 200 yards from the Huntington Metro station. Those are the highest priced [sites] and it’s often hard to do significant affordable housing that close to transit.”
The site previously hosted a 12-unit brick apartment from the 1950s that got demolished after redevelopment was approved in 2014. Initially, the site was zoned as a combination of market-rate apartments and commercial space.
However, when Wesley Housing acquired the property and began its project, the nonprofit committed it to affordable housing and got the site rezoned from commercial to office. It broke ground on The Arden in July 2020.
The eastern end of the county, including Huntington and the Richmond Highway corridor, continues to be targeted for redevelopment. Murphy says The Arden will provide convenient and accessible housing for those most in need in Fairfax County.
“There’s a lot of redevelopment in that area of Huntington. There’s a lot of market-rate apartments going up and it will continue to increase in density going forward,” Murphy said. “This is the one committed, affordable that’s in that part of the Huntington area.”