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An electric vehicle charger at the Sully Community Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Reston Association is charging up to potentially take part in Fairfax County pilot to get more homeowners’ associations (HOAs) on board with improving access to electric vehicle chargers.

The pilot program, Charge Up Fairfax, would facilitate EV charging by residents in multi-family housing, especially HOAs and condominium associations, by circumventing technical and financial challenges linked to installing stations.

“This program aims to assist HOAs with the installation of publicly available shared charging stations,” said Cameron Adams, RA’s director of covenants administration, in a recent Reston Today video.

The program would also provide support to multi-family communities to install charging stations in common areas. The county would work with HOAs and other groups to install stations in publicly accessible locations that they own.

In the first phase of the program, the county will work with HOAs to identify possible locations and survey the community. This exploration phase will be followed by reviewing by data gathering and community engagement, after which a contractor and equipment will be selected.

Grants would be structured to reimburse communities up to $5,000 for the installation and upkeep of the charging stations. Some communities may be eligible for up to $10,000.

RA expects to hear back from the county on how it can apply to take part in the pilot in the spring, according to Adams. Installation could begin in July — a move that is entirely dependent on funding.

The county’s Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination is seeking $830,000 in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to move forward with the project. The grant application was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at a Jan. 24 meeting.

At a Nov. 9 meeting with the county last year, RA members provided feedback on their EV needs and discussed the program. RA’s participation in the program has been proposed since at least late September, when county staff discussed the pilot program with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The program follows the passage of state legislation that establishes the right of electric vehicle owners to access charging stations. The bill, passed in 2020, bars home and condominium owners from prohibiting the installation of stations under certain conditions.

Still, many challenges remain, including the cost-inhibitive nature of installing and maintaining stations, as well as stringent local regulations on their installation and use.

RA was among the first HOAs in the country to establish design guidelines for electric vehicle charging stations, following a 10-month process in 2021, according to Adams.

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Fairfax County is no longer considering a proposal to allow more housing in Wolf Trap’s Crowells Corner neighborhood.

The Site-Specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) submission has been withdrawn by its nominator, county planner David Stinson said at a virtual meeting last night (Tuesday) to discuss requested land use changes in east Reston and along Hunter Mill Road.

The proposal had requested an increase in density for six parcels totaling 10 acres on Crowell Road to one to two dwellings per acre, up from under 0.5 dwellings per acre as currently designated in the county’s comprehensive plan.

Submitted by Panthea Mohtasham, a local real estate agent, the application suggested either closing off Crowell Road in front of the new development, or rerouting it around the north side of the houses.

“As the Community and Fairfax County have grown, traffic has increased, safety concerns have become more acute,” the application said. “The Nominator’s proposal would permit restructuring of the road to increase safety for current residents, provide access to existing and future residences, and encourage commuters to adhere to safe speeds along Crowell Road.”

The first option would’ve turned the road into a private street, adding a gated entry after the driveway to Oakcrest School and eliminating the current connection to Browns Mill Road in favor of a cul-de-sac.

The second option would restructure Crowell Road with multiple turns, encouraging slower traffic compared to the existing straight segment, according to the application.

However, the road is a key link to Vienna and Reston for existing residents as the only direct connection between Hunter Mill Road to the west and Beulah Road to the east other than Route 7, according to community members.

“This would be a horrible decision that would block access to schools, the metro, the Toll Road, grocery stores, doctors, the hospital and numerous other devastating impacts,” a Crowells Corner resident said on Nextdoor. “In addition — a large number of homes would be effectively blocked in any time a large rain fall floods Brown Mill and people must go to Hunter Mill to go around. This is a safety and environmental problem and it must be made clear this proposal cannot move forward in any way.”

While the withdrawn application wasn’t discussed at yesterday’s meeting, some attendees said in the chat that safety and vehicle speeds have indeed been a concern on Crowell Road.

“We have children on this road who play and cars honk at us for checking our mail, pulling in and out of our driveways, etc,” commenter James C said, stating that residents have contacted the county and state about reducing the speed limit. “This is not a Nascar race track. This is our family road. We’ve almost gotten Tboned coming out of our drive 1 too many times.”

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a plan amendment in 2018 that realigns Sunset Hills Road to create an intersection with Crowell at Hunter Mill Road in the hopes of easing traffic congestion in the area.

An SSPA nomination that would develop the south side of that intersection remains up for consideration, along with other Reston proposals. A virtual meeting on applications for Tysons will be held at 7 p.m. tonight (Wednesday).

Map via Google Maps

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The Reston location appears to have closed (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Flippin’ Pizza, a pizza chain that serves New York-style pizza, appears to have closed its Reston location.

The business was located at 1110 South Lakes Drive in Suite 11130-F. It was closed when FFXnow passed by last Thursday afternoon (Jan. 26), despite posted operating hours of 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays.

The company did not return requests for comment. A listed phone number and email were not functional. 

Flippin’ Pizza has many other locations throughout the country, including locations in Fairfax and Falls Church. Items on the menu include pies, pizza, and calzones.

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Police blocked off southbound Route 29 at Centrewood Drive after a fatal pedestrian crash in November (via VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter)

The Fairfax County Police Department is doubling down on traffic enforcement and awareness efforts after a rise in pedestrian fatalities last year.

At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors safety and security committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday), Police Chief Kevin Davis stressed that the department is focusing on education and enforcement, with pedestrian safety as a primary mission.

The police department recorded 24 pedestrian fatalities last year, a five-year high — though there were fewer pedestrian-related crashes overall (153) than in 2018.

That count doesn’t include crashes on state highways, which are reported by Virginia State Police, or on the Dulles Toll Road, which is enforced by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police. Per state data, Fairfax County had a total of 192 crashes involving pedestrians, 32 of whom were killed — by far the most since at least 2010.

Deputy Chief of Police Bob Blakely said the rise in pedestrian fatalities is “very concerning.” The police department is also reminding officers about prevention and awareness by refreshing training, reminding officers and sharing information internally, he said.

“Our number one coal it to reduce crashes. If we reduce crashes, we reduce fatalities,” Blakely, adding that it’s not to write tickets.

Fairfax County police data for crashes involving pedestrians in recent years (via Fairfax County)

Each month, the police department hopes to focus on specific traffic safety initiatives with targeted public-facing campaigns and awareness months around the year.

The police department will resume Road Shark — in which officers are assigned to high-traffic areas for enforcement — on June 4 through June 18.

Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk asked the department to consider focusing on more pedestrian-safety campaigns throughout the year.

Davis noted that while overall crashes are lower now than in 2018 and 2019, the number of citations rose by 6,000 between 2022 and 2021. In line with national trends, the FCPD saw significant dips in the number of warnings, citations and crashes during the height of the pandemic.

The department issued roughly 115,000 citations in 2018 and 2019 compared to between 49,000 and 56,000 in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross encouraged the police to provide information about the consequences of speeding and disobeying traffic laws.

“People think it’s a black hole, that nothing happens,” Gross said.

Davis said that it can be easy to raise awareness about high-profile incidents and more challenging to provide information on how individuals were adjudicated.

Law enforcement and county officials hope the addition of speed cameras — a pilot program that will begin this year — will help reduce speeds in highly problematic areas.

“This is going to really effect behavior in those localized areas,” said Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn.

But Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw said that part of the solution may lie in pursuing societal change: limiting the speeds at which vehicles can operate.

Reflecting on how seat belt usage factors into crash injuries and deaths, Walkinshaw said state and local officials should monitor some federal efforts and technologies that control the speed of cars.

“There is not reason that cars need to be traveling more than 100 miles per hour,” Walkinshaw said, adding that electric vehicles can be even more problematic with high speeds and performance.

He conceded that he may not be very popular amongst the car hobbyist crowd.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said high speeds in low-speed areas continue to be problematic.

“That’s the area where I have so much concern,” Palchik said.

FCPD says it also hopes to work with Fairfax County Public Schools to provide educational resources to new and future drivers in classrooms.

Photo via VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter

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Morning Notes

A dusting of snow on trees (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Redevelopment Proposed in Bailey’s Crossroads — “Several community members who attended a Fairfax County Planning Department presentation on a proposal for a major mixed-use project on the Food Star site in Bailey’s Crossroads said the county should address the immediate problems in that area first. Those problems include crime, litter, traffic, weeds in the median, safety and trash issues at Skyline Park, and the lack of safety for pedestrians.” [Annandale Today]

Lorton Man Charged With DWI in Alexandria — “A 23-year-old Lorton man was charged with driving while intoxicated after allegedly crashing into four cars in Old Town. The crash occurred near the intersection of S. Patrick Street and Gibbon Street at around 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21. Three people suffered minor injuries and went to the hospital, and the driver was released later that day.” [ALXnow]

No Safety Threat After Alleged Sexual Assault — Frost Middle School Principal Anthony Harris said in a letter to families on Monday (Jan. 30) that “there is no reason for concern about students’ safety” after one student reported that she had been sexually assaulted in a bathroom on Jan. 12. Fairfax County police are still investigating, but said there is “no apparent threat” to students or the general community. [WTOP]

County Prosecutors Share More Bond Data — “Fairfax County’s top prosecutor says his office is now recommending fewer people sit in jail for minor and nonviolent crimes — and he has the data to prove it. The data, released Monday morning by the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano, is a follow-up from data released in October.” [DCist]

GSA Seeks to Offload Groveton Property — “The General Services Administration is holding an online auction for a 10.5-acre site in Alexandria that features an empty, 110K SF office building surrounded by parking lots and green space. The bidding process began in late December, and the agency expects to close the auction in late February.” [Bisnow]

Tysons Tech Company Explores Sale — Cvent, a Tysons-based company that provides software to support in-person and virtual events, “is exploring a sale that could value the cloud-based event-software provider at upwards of $4 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.” After going public in 2021, the $3.3 billion company has seen its shares lose nearly half their value from an early 2021 high. [Wall Street Journal]

Vienna Opens Parking Survey — Vienna’s public works and economic development departments have launched an online survey to gather information about the town’s current and future parking needs. Open through Feb. 28, the survey is part of a supply-and-demand study that will help inform the town’s ongoing zoning code update. [Vienna Voice]

Construction Concludes on Fort Belvoir Water Project — Construction is mostly finished on a main water line replacement along Richmond Highway that serves Fort Belvoir, according to American Water Military Services Group General Manager Wes Casa. In the works since July 2021, the project “involved replacing a 3,100-foot-long section of 24-inch potable water pipeline that had reached the end of its useful life.” [On the MoVe]

GMU Delivery Robots Celebrates Fourth Anniversary — “It was January 2019 when George Mason University became the first college campus in the United States to offer autonomous food delivery through Starship Technologies. Now Mason and Starship are celebrating four years of autonomous robot deliveries.” [GMU]

It’s Wednesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 42 and low of 32. Sunrise at 7:16 am and sunset at 5:31 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A&J Restaurant in Annandale (file photo)

Seven restaurants in Fairfax County are part of this year’s Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants list.

The restaurants that earned a coveted spot include:

The highly anticipated list was published by the regional magazine for the first time since 2020. That year, nine local restaurants made the list, including several that reappeared this year: A&J, Elephant Jumps, Mama Chang, and Marib.

A&J Restaurant at 4316 Markham Street is no stranger to these types of accolades. The two-decade-old Annandale dim sum eatery was on the 2020 and 2019 lists as well, and last summer, it won a RAMMY for its brunch.

“We are excited to be included in the 100 Best again. Since we opened in the mid-90s, the Best Bargains issue featured us every year. 2019 marked the first time we were included in the 100 Best,” a restaurant spokesperson told FFXnow via email. “There are many outstanding restaurants in Fairfax County. It is great to see The Washingtonian highlight some hidden gems in the suburbs.”

Korean barbeque restaurant Honest Grill opened in 2021 in the Centreville Square Shopping Center and immediately got the attention of the magazine’s critics.

Restaurant manager Kevin Yoo told FFXnow that Honest Grill’s inclusion is “a testament to the hard work and dedication of the staff, and a reflection of the restaurant’s popularity among Washington DC foodies.”

Yoo also noted that the county has a “thriving food scene” that’s attracting a “growing local community of culinary innovators,” as evidenced by the restaurants that made this year’s list.

Aracosia, which opened about three years ago in McLean, serves Afghan cuisine and is owned by a Kabul native. Elephant Jumps on Arlington Blvd near Merrifield is regarded as one of the best Thai restaurants in the region.

The famed French establishment L’Auberge Chez Francois has been in Great Falls for close to 50 years. Springfield’s Marib is perhaps the centerpiece of a booming Yemeni food scene in Northern Virginia, while Mama Chang is one of several very popular area restaurants by former Chinese embassy chef Peter Chang.

Elsewhere, Arlington County placed four restaurants on the 2023 list. Plus, the magazine included a number of restaurants in Alexandria and Falls Church City included as well.

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Jos. A Bank has permanently closed in Reston Town Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Jos A. Bank has officially closed its doors in Reston Town Center.

A primary care practice — One Medical — will take over the former location of the men’s clothing store (11930 Democracy Drive).

One Medical is a membership-based, tech-integrated primary care practice that offers virtual care and in-person visits. The company says it aims to reinvent the healthcare experience by providing quick access to medical care. Other locations offer 24/7 virtual access to appointments.

Amazon hopes to purchase One Medical’s parent company, 1Life Healthcare, Inc. The company has 188 clinics in 29 markets across the country, including one in Fairfax and Tysons.

A spokesperson for Boston Properties confirmed that the company’s lease ended today (Tuesday). Jos. A Bank, which was established in 1905, specializes in suits and has more than 180 retail locations. It still has other local locations in Fairfax and Leesburg.

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Wegmans is officially opening its doors to the public tomorrow (Wednesday) in Brookfield Properties’ new Halley Rise development.

The 85,000-square-foot grocery store is located at 11950 Hopper Street and will officially open at 9 a.m.

Most of the store’s 425 employees were hired locally, according to the company.

Katie Sullivan, the store’s manager, told FFXnow that the Reston location is unique because it was adapted to an urban-focused environment.

“This store is unique in that it’s an urban-style Wegmans in a mixed-use development. We’ve automated the shopping experience at this store, with a unique layout that is built for the urban environment,” Sullivan told FFXnow.

The Reston location also has a self-serve coffee bar — the first in any other Wegmans store in the state. A Burger Bar is also available through the company’s online ordering app.

The store has the traditional restaurant section, which is a staple of the Wegmans’ brand. Items on the menu include fresh sushi, pizza, salads, sandwiches, packaged subs and other prepackaged meals.

In celebration of its opening, the grocery store has committed $20,000 through donations and event partnerships in the Reston area.

Parking is accessible in a structured parking garage below the grocery store. Residential units tower above the grocery store, which is accessible from the Reston Town Center Metro station.

Wegmans Food Markets, Inc has 109 stores along the East Coast, including ones in Fairfax, Chantilly and Capital One Center in Tysons.

The grocery store is an anchor tenant of Brookfield’s development, which will transform a 36-acre office park near the Metro station with 3.5 million square feet of housing, retail, offices and open spaces. Up to 1,500 residential units, 250,000 square feet of retail, and 1.5 million square feet of office space are planned.

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Morning Notes

A cyclist on a trail in Reston (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

See Vienna’s Ilia Malinin Win Ice Skating Title — Ilia Malinin, an 18-year-old Marshall High School student, became the U.S. men’s figure skating champion on Sunday (Jan. 29), even after missing the quadruple jumps planned in his free skate program. Known as the “Quad God,” he became the only skater to ever land a clean quad axle in competition last fall. [WTOP]

Flu Activity Still Higher Than Usual — “Among children ages 0-17 years, influenza-like illness (ILI) activity in Fairfax remains higher than usual. While visits to emergency departments and urgent care centers for ILI are lower than they were in the late fall, pediatric flu activity is still above average and respiratory illnesses continue to circulate in the community.” [FCHD]

Man Sentenced in Skyline Overdoses — Michael Vaughn, a 28-year-old man from Dumfries, was sentenced to 30 years in prison yesterday for distributing fentanyl that resulted in six overdoses during a party at the Skyline apartments in Bailey’s Crossroads in 2021. One person died after overdosing on the drug, which was mixed with cocaine. [U.S. Attorney’s Office]

Arrest Made in Fairfax City Carjacking — “City of Fairfax Police arrested a 31-year-old Maryland man early Sunday morning for a carjacking that occurred in the parking lot of a local convenience store, according to a release. Officers were called around 2:40 a.m., to the 7-Eleven located at 3910 University Drive for the report of a carjacking in progress.” [Patch]

Residents Skeptical of Possible Rollins Drive Closure — In response to ongoing safety issues, the Virginia Department of Transportation has proposed temporarily closing Rollins Drive at Fort Hunt Road so it can add a pedestrian refuge in a crosswalk. But many attendees at a recent community meeting opposed the project, suggesting other options such as a four-way stop or allowing right turns only onto Fort Hunt. [On the MoVe]

Public Art Projects Planned in Vienna — “A sunrise mural later this year may grace a tan-brick wall at the Vienna Community Center, and three other Vienna Public Art Commission projects also appear to have the Vienna Town Council’s support…If the Council grants its assent, the commission likely could begin painting the wall in September or October.” [Sun Gazette]

County Appoints New Code Compliance Director — “Gabriel M. Zakkak has been appointed director of the Department of Code Compliance (DCC). He succeeds Jack Weyant, who retired this month…The Department of Code Compliance investigates neighborhood quality of life complaints involving most zoning, noise, property maintenance, building, fire, blight and grass.” [Fairfax County]

County Libraries Introduce Learning Tablets for Kids — “Launchpads are now available for checkout at 23 FCPL branches! These are durable, kid-friendly learning tablets with pre-loaded apps, stories, and videos and are designed to give kids the tools to learn the way they learn best.” [FCPL/Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Light rain in the morning and afternoon. High of 51 and low of 34. Sunrise at 7:17 am and sunset at 5:29 pm. [Weather.gov]

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An FCPS employee gets vaccinated against COVID-19 at an Inova clinic in January 2021 (photo by Karen Bolt/Fairfax County Public Schools)

Fairfax County is looking for artists to contribute to a COVID-19 memorial.

The project is spearheaded by ArtsFairfax, the county’s official arts agency, after planning started nearly a year ago.

“The selected artist/team will design, fabricate, and install a permanent work of art that will commemorate the suffering of people in the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the heroism of the people who responded to the emergency,” ArtsFairfax said in an email.

The memorial commemorates the approximately 1,743 deaths from Covid in the Fairfax Health District, where there have been approximately 264,451 cases. The district includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church.

“This scale of disease and its impact to the communities of Fairfax County, as well as the impact to a County workforce that responded to the public health emergency, are worthy of memorialization,” ArtsFairfax said in a release. “The County has identified a location for a significant public artwork that will commemorate the suffering of people in the pandemic as well as the heroism of the people who responded to the emergency.”

The memorial will be located at the center of the plaza at 12055 Government Center Parkway.

The application is open to all artists living and working in the area — meaning anywhere between Richmond and Baltimore, according to the release — and eligible to work in the U.S.

A $200,000 artist fee includes design, materials, fabrication, insurance, travel, packing, shipping, installation and a maintenance plan for the artwork, the release said.

Admission opened on Jan. 23. An online information session is scheduled for Wednesday (Feb. 1) at 3 p.m. The application deadline is April 12.

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