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The development team behind four parcels of land on Rock Hill Road in Herndon want to see more housing on the nearly 24-acre site near the Innovation Center Metro station.

DWC Holdings and Origami RE Growth GP have filed a Site-Specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) — an ongoing process for exploring changes to Fairfax County’s comprehensive plan — to increase the amount of housing on the site.

“Given the uncertain future of the office market, the proposed amendment is essential to ensuring the development of the property in a manner that achieves important county goals and capitalizes on the region’s substantial investment in the Silver Line,” the Oct. 21 application said.

Currently, the county’s plan calls for one of two options for the site: either a mixed-use development with housing, offices, hotel and retail uses, or a project with all of the above except residential uses.

The applicants want to go with the first option, increasing the site’s development intensity. That would up the floor area ratio (FAR) within a quarter-mile of the Metro station from 2.8 to 5.0 and 1.6 to 2.5 FAR within a half-mile of the station. In total, the change would mean a 3.75 FAR for the property.

The development team also wants eliminate the county’s desired proportions for the mix of uses on the site — a move they argue is “critical” to enhance the “flexibility” of the property and maintain a development that encourages rail ridership.

“The proposed amendment will not only support the County’s important place-making and transit ridership goals, but also provide additional, much needed housing opportunities,” the application states.

The proposal suggests that county and Virginia Department of Transportation officials explore vacating their existing Innovation Avenue right-of-way to “seamlessly” integrate the development into the Metro station.

The proposal also says a “significant” but unspecified number of affordable or workforce dwelling units would be included.

The proposal is one of several moving through the SSPA process. The county plans to host a series of community meetings on the applications.

Of the 75 proposals the county received in the fall, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors selected 70 to move to the screening phase.

At 13, the Hunter Mill District has the most accepted proposals, most of which expand residential development in transit-oriented areas.

Residents can also submit comments online.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will review the nominations in public workshops next month and in March. The nominations will move forward for formal study in a Comprehensive Plan Amendment Work Program.

A board vote is anticipated in the spring.

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A walkway over Sunrise Valley Drive leads to the Innovation Center Metro station (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A cycle path to the Innovation Center Metro station is circling closer to construction.

Roughly $4 million in federal funding was secured for the project, which will include a cycle path from Sunrise Valley Drive to Innovation Metro Station, Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced yesterday.

Funds were designated in the fiscal year 2023 appropriations bill, a $1.7 trillion spending package that must be adopted by midnight tomorrow (Friday) to avoid a partial federal goverment shutdown.

The upgrades are part of the county’s Active Transportation Program, which covers non-motorized methods of travel and aims to reduce vehicle traffic.

The changes to the four-lane boulevard, which also has additional turning lanes at various intersections, would connect to existing bicycle and pedestrian paths, notably the Fairfax County Parkway Trail, FFXnow previously reported.

“This project will provide significantly improved access to several Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail Stations and high-density transit-oriented development near the Metrorail Stations and activity centers,” said a statement breaking down the funds designated for Northern Virginia.

Other projects also fit the bill in Fairfax County.

Among them is a neighborhood job and entrepreneurship research center for teens and young adults in the county’s community centers. The centers will offer teens and young adults career readiness skills, job training and leadership programs, according to the release. That project is expected to cost $2.1 million.

In Springfield, the Northern Virginia Community College’s Medical Education Campus will receive $2.2 million to grow its nursing program. Funds will also go towards buying computerized manikins and other technology to supplement clinic training for nursing, respiratory therapy and EMS students.

Other cyclist-related improvements include $1 million for bicycle and pedestrians upgrades near the Vienna Metrorail Station in Oakton. The project is targeted to the area near the station and Oakton High School.

A complete list of secured funds is available online.

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A major mixed-use development near the Innovation Center Metro station could see some tweaks, if Fairfax County approves changes requested by developer Pomeroy Companies.

The applicant behind Aurora Station at Dulles is seeking more flexibility in the previously approved residential makeup in eight planned land bays on nearly 21 acres of the 39-acre property, which is bounded by Frying Pan Road, Sunrise Valley Drive and Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.

Overall, nearly 1.6 million square feet of residential development is proposed at 13710 Frying Pan Road in Herndon, along with 438,000 square feet of non-residential uses, according to an application submitted on Dec. 9.

Specifically, the developer wants to swap the previously approved land use for one area currently approved for an independent living facility in Land Bay C with 50 residential units. The square footage allotted for that facility would then be shifted to another area — Land Bay F.

Pomeroy is also seeking more flexibility for Land Bay B, whose upper area was approved for 64 townhouses while the lower was approved for 24 townhouses or one multifamily building. Now, the company wants the option of another 93 side-by-side townhouses or 98 stacked townhouses for the upper area and three multifamily buildings for the lower area.

“The options proposed for Land Bays B and C of the approved development further the application’s conformance with the Comprehensive Plan recommendations for the Property and will implement the County’s vision for development in the Dulles Suburban Center,” Scott Adams, a land use representative from McGuire Woods, wrote in a Dec. 9 statement.

Notably, the application doesn’t propose any increases to the development’s maximum densities under the original rezoning. In total, the plan calls for a little over 1,000 residential units, retail and commercial development.

First approved in 2019, the conceptual development plan was one of two developments that Pomeroy had in the works at the Innovation station. The developer also partnered with CRC Companies on an adjacent One Sunrise Valley project, which could add up to 1.5 million square feet of residential and retail development as well as the site for a new, public elementary school.

The Aurora application has not yet been accepted for review by the county.

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The cold and rain didn’t dampen enthusiasm for the opening of Metro’s long-awaited, $3 billion Silver Line Phase II.

Yesterday marked the much-anticipated public opening of the 11.4-mile extension of the rail line from Reston into Loudoun County. Along with six new stations, this marks the first time that locals can take a train to Dulles International Airport.

Over multiple ribbon-cutting ceremonies throughout the chilly, wet November day, local officials touted the debut of the line as a “game-changer” and a “new era” for western Fairfax County and the D.C. region as a whole.

“It really is the establishment of a new identity for the Dulles corridor,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said at the new Reston Town Center station. “Now, what we’re going to see is the Dulles corridor tied together with transit in a way that was really never anticipated…We are in a new era.”

Riders, too, recognized what this could mean for the region and their daily travel.

“It’s going to change my life,” Raj Paradaar told FFXnow while riding the extension’s first passenger-filled train heading westbound. He lives in Ashburn and works near the Reston Town Center station, so he plans to ride the Metro most days.

Inside the Innovation Center station, commuters came and went, including a United Airlines flight attendant headed to work at Dulles. He lives in an apartment building across the street from the new station, along with a number of other flight attendants, FFXnow was told.

“That’s where we live,” the United Airlines flight attendant said pointing outside. “And that’s where we work…Honestly, taking a train is just much easier.”

Other riders said the extension won’t significantly affect their day-to-day habits, but they agreed it will make getting to the airport simpler.

Franconia resident Terry Rice, clutching luggage, happened to have a trip to Italy scheduled on the extension’s opening day. While planning, she realized that Dulles Airport was now only a train ride away.

“It may not change my life, but it’s going to make my life much easier,” Rice said.

During yesterday’s ceremonies, officials tried to make clear that the Silver Line extension’s impact is anticipated to go beyond simply being a link to the airport, reiterating a message that many have been saying for years.

“We have within our grasp…the ability to completely reinvent, reimagine [this corridor] as mixed-use development, as transit-oriented development, as environmentally friendly, as improving quality of life, as reducing carbon emissions, and as restoring choices for people who live in Northern Virginia,” said newly reelected Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11) at a ceremony outside of the Innovation Center station. Read More

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The new Herndon Metro station (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Add another Silver Line Phase II ribbon-cutting to the list, with the Town of Herndon planning its own celebration on Wednesday (Nov. 16).

On the extended rail line’s first full day of service, the town will celebrate with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Herndon Metro station. The event is scheduled for 8 a.m. at the entrance of the station at 585-A Herndon Parkway.

Newly re-elected Mayor Sheila Olem, State Senator Jennifer Boysko, and Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust are all scheduled to speak. Members of the Herndon Town Council are expected to be in attendance as well.

The ribbon cutting will also feature music from the Herndon High School band.

This ceremony is just one of several events coming next week to commemorate the opening of the long-delayed, three billion-dollar Silver Line Phase II.

On Tuesday (Nov. 15), the line will officially start running following an opening ceremony at Dulles International Airport. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is expected to be in attendance as Silver Line Phase II officially starts services at the Washington Dulles International Airport station.

Metro will be giving away “Wonka-style ‘Silver Tickets‘” as well as pennants to commemorate the opening.

Then, at 2 p.m., the Fairfax County Department of Transportation will hold its own ceremony at the Innovation Center station. Another ribbon-cutting will follow at the Reston Town Center station at 3:30 p.m.

After opening day, the Town of Herndon will have its own celebration the next morning on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

FCDOT is also planning a family day at the Innovation Center station from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19. Attendees will be able to learn about the transit, walking and bicycling options at the station while enjoying music, food trucks and other activities, according to an event flyer.

Free parking for that event will be available in the station’s garage.

For riders who want to be on the inaugural train, the first eastbound train going to D.C. is expected to depart the Ashburn station at 1:54 p.m. However, the deadline to nab a ticket by entering Metro’s social media and email contest is fast approaching at 5 p.m. today.

The first full-length westbound trip traveling from Largo to Ashburn is scheduled to depart Downtown Largo at 12:51 p.m., arriving at Wiehle-Reston East at 2:02 p.m. before proceeding on the new section of the line.

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The final piece of a massive mixed-used project near the Innovation Center Metro station is officially on track for approval.

At a Fairfax County Planning Commission meeting on Nov. 2, the commission unanimously gave developer DSVO Dulles approval to complete the development of just under three acres of mostly undeveloped land at 2310 Dulles Station Blvd.

The proposal is the last remaining undeveloped portion of the larger 58-acre Dulles Station development.

The applicant’s land use representative Mike Van Atta, a land use planner with the firm McGuireWoods, said the proposal was an “appropriate end-cap” for the overall development.

The plan includes a mixed-use apartment building with 510 units and seven stories. roughly 21,000 square feet of open space is proposed on the site, which would be flanked by townhouse-style units on either side of pedestrian mews. Retail is proposed on the ground floor of the building.

“It’s also the final piece of the puzzle for the completion of Dulles Station,” Van Atta said.

The developer elected to move forward with one of two separate development options for the building, which was previously approved in 2017 for either a mid-rise or high-rise building. The latest proposal favors a mid-rise building.

The approval came after discussion about the implication of the development on area schools.

Braddock District Commissioner Mary Cortina asked staff and the developer to examine if and how the county school system is prepared to handle students generated by the overall project, adding that the latest approval could bring at least one classroom full of elementary school students to the system.

“It would be good to know that we’ve committed to take a look at where we stand elementary school-wise,” Cortina said.

Hunter Mill District Commissioner John Carter also questioned why the development plan calls for single ramps instead of double ramps for pedestrians as they enter and exit the development.

Referring to challenges with pedestrian connectivity at The Boro in Tysons, Carter said that single ramps don’t do an efficient job of managing traffic.

“It sends people right out to the intersection with no regard to which way the traffic is coming,” Carter said.

He conceded that, while this was a “small point,” the overall application was “well worked out.”

Dranesville District Commissioner John Ulfelder noted that the overall application was consistent with previous approvals, the county’s zoning ordinance, and comprehensive planning documents.

“I like the straightforward applications. This one is,” he said.

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Nearly 500 affordable apartments could come to Dulles Greene Drive (via Google Maps)

Developer Peterson Companies is seeking Fairfax County’s permission to build hundreds of affordable apartments near the innovation center Metro station.

The Fairfax-based company would construct 500 units on its own land and a county-owned parcel at 13500 Dulles Greene Drive, according to county documents.

The proposal is through the Site-specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) process, which is used to review proposed changes to land use designations for specific sites in the county’s comprehensive plan. The process for applications — known as nominations — is currently underway.

At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting last week, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust pushed a board matter that confirm the board’s consent for the application — which is a required part of the SSPA process since the proposal involves land owned by the county.

The board will formally vote on its consent of the application on Dec. 6.

Foust emphasized that the board’s vote was not an approval of the project, noting that the applicant “understands that this motion will not prejudice the consideration of the nomination in any way, and that the consent of the Board should not be construed as a favorable recommendation.”

Currently, the comprehensive plan calls for a commuter parking facility in the immediate area, but Foust noted that a 2,100-space commuter parking garage has already been developed on the south side of the Dulles Toll Road.

The project would be surrounded by the Dulles Green apartment community to the north, Reflection Lake to the east and the toll road to the south.

Some portions of the county-owned parcel are in resource protection areas.

Applications materials requested by FFXnow were not immediately available, according to the county.

A county spokesperson said that no zoning action has been filed for the project yet.

“We anticipate an SSPA proposal was submitted,” Crystal Santos said. “Staff is currently reviewing [the] submission.”

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A 356-unit, seven-story apartment building is taking shape near the Innovation Metro station. 

Makers Rise, which is on just under 4 acres of land at the intersection of Dulles Station Blvd and North Side Street and South Side Street, is set for completion in July 2023.

With the expected launch of phase two of the Silver Line this fall, the development team, which includes real estate company Crimson Partners, is hoping to implement new signage and way-finding tools in the area.

Originally, the developers didn’t anticipate including the residential development in any comprehensive signage overhaul. But they now say the current, nearly 20-year-old signage is not appropriate “for the use, scale and quality of the mixed-use building,” according to application materials submitted on Aug. 9.

The Property contains multiple street frontages yet is located along a neighborhood-scaled street that carries limited vehicular traffic, and as such demands high quality and high visibility signage, which is proposed in this package,” the application states. “The anticipated opening of the Innovation Metro Station heightens this need as new potential residents, retail patrons, and visitors begin to utilize this transit-oriented development.”

The building also includes 5,600 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space.

Makers Rise (2311 Dulles Station Blvd) is one of the first buildings that will be constructed as transit-oriented development near Innovation Center Metro station.

The sign proposal includes changes related to the building, retail, parking and loading. 

The building is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2023. As a result, temporary leasing banners are planned to attract prospective tenants, customers and residents. Artwork is planned along South Side Street near a public gathering space.

Once completed, the building will include a range of housing, from studios to two-bedrooms with dens. Co-working spaces, courtyards, a swimming pool, fitness center, pet spa, and club room are also planned, according to Arlington-based CBG Building Co.

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The proposed Rock Hill Road Bridge will connect Fairfax and Loudoun counties over the Dulles Toll Road (via Fairfax County)

(Updated at 10:40 a.m. on 8/8/2022) Planning for a new bridge connection between Fairfax and Loudoun counties over the Dulles Toll Road has officially begun.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously authorized a project agreement with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority on Tuesday (Aug. 2) for the $196 million project. The vote was conducted with no discussion.

Located at the intersection of Rock Hill Road and Davis Drive, the bridge would connect Sunrise Valley Drive over the toll road to Innovation Avenue in Loudoun County. 

A new four-lane road with bicycle lanes and a sidewalk on both sides is anticipated in an effort to provide direct connections with the Innovation Center Metro Station area.

“The project will provide additional capacity across the Dulles Corridor, reduce congestion and delay on Route 28 and Centreville Road, and improve accessibility and mobility to and within the area surrounding the Innovation Center Metrorail Station,” county staff said in a memo. 

Currently, the Virginia Department of Transportation is competing a feasibility study, which is expected to wrap up in early fall.

The study will include information on the conceptual design for the preferred design, cross section features, the bridge’s type, size, and exact location, as well as cost estimates and timeline. 

It’s too early to know when the project will officially begin construction, but that is likely years down the line.

Over the next few years, staff will identify ways to fund the project through various pools of money. For now, the project is partially funded with NVTA’s regional funds.

Tuesday’s vote simply secures a project agreement between the NVTA and the county by allocating $20.6 million for the project.

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Morning Notes

A speed limit sign for Route 123 by the Tysons Corner Metro station (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Look Out for Spotted Lanternfly — “While there are still no sightings of the spotted lanternfly in Fairfax County, it is getting closer, and experts are on the lookout for it. This summer the invasive pest was found in nearby Loudoun County…The insect feasts on more than 70 plant species, though its preferred host is the tree-of-heaven.” [DPWES]

FCPD Detective Destroyed Evidence of Rape — Fairfax County police are reviewing dozens of unsolved sexual assault cases after the victim of a rape in 1995 learned that a detective had destroyed all physical evidence in her case, including the rape kit. Police now say they believe the woman’s account and that her case was handled inappropriately, but she says the department needs “to somehow be held accountable.” [The Washington Post]

Longtime Fairfax Symphony Leader Dies — “William Hudson, a pianist and conductor who led the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra for 36 years, establishing it as a leading regional orchestra in the capital area, died July 12 at his home in Vienna, Va. He was 89. The cause was atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, said his former wife, Denise Battistone.” [The Washington Post]

Tysons Corner Center Owner Reports Retail Resurgence — “Macerich…noted that distress in the retail industry has slowed dramatically after a pandemic-spurred wave of closures in 2020…Macerich said its leasing activity in the second quarter reflected retailer demand at levels not seen since 2015.” [CNBC]

Vienna Police Share Results of Increased Traffic Enforcement — “After a noticeable increase in stop sign violations, the Town of Vienna Police Department had a directed enforcement initiative during the month of June…During the Stop Sign Enforcement Campaign, officers worked a total of 469 events utilizing stationary observation of stop signs, which generated 219 stop sign violations and 74 other violations.” [Vienna Police]

Local Meal Service Company Gets New HQ — MightyMeals, an overnight meal delivery company that grew out of a Franconia restaurant in 2015, has leased a 16,000-square-foot commercial unit at 7669 Limestone Drive in Gainesville for its new corporate headquarters. The space is seven times larger than its current 2,400-square-foot cooking prep warehouse in Burke. [Washington Business Journal]

Signs for Renamed Vienna Street in Place — “Vienna officials have replaced street signs on the former Wade Hampton Drive with new ones reading ‘Liberty Lane.’ The switch was done in early July ‘with little fanfare’ (as requested by residents), town officials said in the government’s monthly newsletter.” [Sun Gazette]

Bus Planned to Upcoming Innovation Center Metro — “OmniRide is hoping to take advantage of the forthcoming 66 Outside the Beltway toll lanes, and for the first time, its passengers could be getting one-seat trips to the Dulles area by the end of the year. The transit provider is hoping to start a commuter route that would take riders from Balls Ford Road to the Innovation Center Silver Line Metro stop in December” [Inside NoVA/WTOP]

It’s Wednesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 90 and low of 71. Sunrise at 6:13 am and sunset at 8:19 pm. [Weather.gov]

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