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A rendering of the proposed development outside the West Falls Church Metro station (via WMATA)

Metro anticipates reducing the parking capacity at its West Falls Church station by over 700 spaces in order to accommodate a planned redevelopment of the property between I-66 and Haycock Road.

Under review by Fairfax County, the project would replace the Metro station’s surface parking lots with 24 acres of mixed-use development, including up to 900 residential units, 110,000 square feet of office, and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

Working with private developers known collectively as FGCP-Metro LLC, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has proposed eliminating a south parking lot off of Falls Church Drive and reducing the number of bus bays and Kiss & Ride spots at the station.

“Proposed changes are intended to promote transit-oriented development, increase Metro ridership, enhance bicycle and pedestrian access to the station, and modernize transit facilities,” WMATA says.

Park and Ride

Taking out the south parking lot will reduce the station’s park-and-ride capacity from 2,009 to 1,350 spots, according to an environmental evaluation by the consultant WSP.

The evaluation found that demand had dropped from an average of 1,500 vehicles per day when the Silver Line opened in 2014 to 850 per day in 2017. Prior to the pandemic, the average rebounded to 950 in 2018 and 1,100 in 2019.

The West Falls Church Metro station’s existing parking lots (via Google Maps)

About 1,350 to 1,400 spaces are projected to be sufficient to meet parking demand through 2045, the report says. The station’s existing 1,200 garage will be retained, while construction on the office and multifamily residential buildings planned on the north parking lot won’t begin for another 10 years.

At that time, Metro will “reassess” whether to keep as parking or give the developers permission to redevelop it, on the condition that private garages for the new buildings include 150 to 200 spots for commuters.

“Several factors could affect commuter parking demand, including post-COVID changes in commuter travel patterns, the planned openings of Silver Line phase 2 and the I-66 toll lane project, and efforts by Metro to manage parking demand,” the evaluation says, noting that FGCP-Metro will construct approximately 700 parking spaces. Read More

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The startup plans to add 117 jobs to the county (via Google Maps)

An artificial intelligence startup is expanding its headquarters in West Falls Church by investing $1.4 million and creating 117 new jobs.

Enabled Intelligence, Inc., a company that provides secure data labeling services to enable artificial intelligence operations, will add more than 10,000 square feet of space to its current offices at 6400 Arlington Blvd, just outside Seven Corners, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced today (Wednesday).

Unclassified space is also planned.

“We are excited to expand our operations here in Virginia,” Enabled Intelligence Inc. CEO Peter Kant said. “Our Fairfax County home is close to our federal customers, and we are able to draw on the highly qualified Virginia workforce of high-tech neurodiverse professionals and military veterans.”

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority worked with the state’s economic development partnership to secure the project for Virginia.

Here’s more from what state and county leaders had to say about the expansion:

“I am pleased to once again see a major technology innovator expanding its operations in Fairfax County,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay. “This growth in AI applications from a company that also capitalizes on the tremendous workforce diversity of our County is a perfect example of how next-generation companies headquartered here are leading the way.”

“We are honored to have Enabled Intelligence expand their presence here in Fairfax County,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA). “The opportunities they offer to our diverse populations is extraordinary, and their efforts shine as a bright example of the true spirit of inclusion, upon which we continue to build our thriving business community.”

“Accelerating the transition of start-ups is one of my administration’s goals, and the expansion of businesses such as Enabled Intelligence in Fairfax County is key to our economic development strategy,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “We are proud to support this homegrown Virginia business and remain committed to fostering a business climate and training a workforce that supports our corporate partners of all sizes.”

Photo via Google Maps

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Fairfax County Fire and Rescue engine (file photo)

Updated at 8:35 a.m. on 9/7/2022 — The second occupant in yesterday’s house fire — identified as Patricia Stodrl, 67, of Falls Church — died last night, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department announced.

Earlier: A kid died at the hospital this morning (Tuesday) after a house fire in the West Falls Church area, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported.

According to the department, units were dispatched to a fire at a single-family house in the 6600 block of Barrett Road just west of Sleepy Hollow Road at 1:44 a.m.

Seeing “heavy fire” coming from the back of the house, responders found two occupants and a dog and got them out. One of the occupants, identified as a juvenile, died at a hospital, and the dog also didn’t survive.

The other human occupant remains hospitalized in critical condition, FCFRD spokesperson Ashley Hildebrandt told FFXnow.

Hildebrandt confirmed that both people were female, and the juvenile who died was “an older kid.”

“Fire investigators are conducting their investigation to determine cause,” Hildebrandt said.

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Fairfax County police car with lights flashing (file photo)

A man taking a nap in his vehicle in Merrifield earlier this month awoke to the startling realization that he was being carjacked, the Fairfax County Police Department reported on Friday (July 15).

According to the department’s recap for the week of July 8-14, a man was recently arrested in a neighboring jurisdiction for the carjacking, which occurred in the 8500 block of Lee Highway around 8:01 p.m. on July 10.

“The victim was asleep in the passenger seat of his running 2021 Toyota Camry,” the FCPD said. “While he was asleep, a man got in the car and drove away. When the victim awoke, the man implied he had a weapon and ordered the victim out of the vehicle.”

Last week, the McLean District Station also handled an assault case in West Falls Church that allegedly involved a vehicle and a handgun being fired.

The incident started around 10:57 p.m. last Tuesday (July 12) at the intersection of Monticello Drive and Labella Walk with two people getting into an argument while driving:

The man demanded the victim to get out of his vehicle while displaying a handgun. When the victim refused, the man parked the vehicle and assaulted the victim.  When the victim continued to refuse to get out of the vehicle, the man pulled the victim out of the vehicle while discharging a handgun. The man then left the area in the vehicle.

The FCPD says the individual pushed out of the vehicle was treated for injuries not considered to be life-threatening.

“This does not appear to be a random act,” the department said.

Overall, the FCPD received a total of 8,224 service last week, including 183 for domestic situations, 194 stemming from people experiencing mental health crises, and 572 for vehicle crashes.

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Fairfax County police badge (via FCPD/Facebook)

The Fairfax County Police Department will release video footage this afternoon (Friday) of a recent incident in West Falls Church where officers pointed their guns at a person who was filming them.

Police Chief Kevin Davis will host a press conference at 2:30 p.m. It was announced almost exactly one hour after the Fairfax County NAACP released a statement urging the FCPD to immediately release all body camera and vehicle dashboard camera footage related to the gun-brandishing incident and fatal shootings in Springfield and McLean.

“We are troubled and deeply concerned by what appears to be a shift to a more aggressive style of policing in Fairfax County — a style that time and time again, leads to needless deaths,” the civil rights advocacy organization said. “Calling law enforcement for assistance should not be a death sentence, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, physical or mental ability, age, or gender.”

The FCPD released an audio recording on Wednesday (July 13) with the 911 dispatch call for the West Falls Church incident, which occurred outside an IHOP on Saturday (July 9).

Video of the encounter went viral on social media, just days after an officer shot and killed 26-year-old Jasper Aaron Lynch during a mental health crisis call at a house in McLean on July 7.

One week earlier, a 37-year-old man later identified as Christian Parker from Reston died at a hospital on June 30 after a confrontation with three police officers at Springfield Town Center. Two of the officers fired their guns, killing Parker, who was wanted by police for allegedly firing a gun in his home four days earlier.

There have been four police shootings in Fairfax County so far this year, including one in Lorton on Feb. 15 and one of a man reportedly armed with a bow and arrow in Chantilly on Jan. 6.

However, based on FCPD records, Parker and Lynch were the first people killed by FCPD officers since Herndon resident Mohammad Azim Doudzai was shot in January 2017. A dog was also euthanized after being shot by an officer in July 2019, and in October 2019, a man died after an officer fired his gun during a hostage situation in Burke, but police said the fatal wound appeared to be self-inflicted.

In its statement, the Fairfax County NAACP argued that police should speed up the release of video footage, given “the magnitude” of the recent gun-related incidents and their close proximity to each other. The FCPD’s policy is to make body camera and other videos public within 30 days of a use-of-force incident.

“We have received numerous calls and written communications from Fairfax County community members expressing their concerns, and in some cases, outrage. The community deserves answers,” the NAACP said.

Internal investigations into all three incidents are ongoing. The department recently updated its press release from the Springfield shooting to name the officers who discharged their weapons, Officer First-Class Daniel Houtz and Officer Ryan Sheehan.

“PFC Houtz is an eight-year veteran of the Franconia Police District Station and OFC Sheehan is a two-year veteran of the Mount Vernon Police District Station,” the release said. “Both officers were assigned to the Summer Crime Initiative Team. The department will release body camera footage and audio recordings of the 911 call for service within 30 days or when it no longer jeopardizes the integrity of the investigation.”

In a statement released Tuesday (July 12), Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk, who chairs the county board’s public safety committee, acknowledged the growing community concerns about the “series of high-profile incidents” involving the FCPD. His office will hold a virtual town hall next Thursday (July 21) with police officials, including Chief Davis.

“As community members work to process and understand the events of the past weeks, I remain completely committed to providing the transparency required to ensure trust between our community and FCPD,” Lusk said.

Photo via FCPD/Facebook

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A Fairfax County police car with lights flashing (file photo)

(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) A video has been circulating on social media showing two Fairfax County police officers pointing guns at a person who was recording as they appeared to arrest someone.

Police said they were responding to an incident at a Falls Church IHOP where they believed a weapon was involved.

In the video, county police department vehicles are shown with their lights on. As officers appear to arrest someone, one officer looks toward the camera and says “stop him.” Another officer approaches the person recording, points a gun at them and tells them to stay where they’re at. The person recording asks “Why you pointing the gun on me?”

When the officer responds, “Because you have a weapon,” the person asks what weapon.

She asks for him to get on his knees before another officer approaches with a gun drawn and shouts “Get on the ground.”

Note: The following video contains strong language and is not safe for work.

The Fairfax County Police Department said that three to four juveniles entered the IHOP at 6655 Arlington Blvd., around 7 p.m. Saturday (July 9) when one threatened the hostess while another lifted his shirt, revealing what appeared to be a handgun in his waistband.

The juveniles left but returned later, around 11 p.m., and tried to get the employee to go outside to the parking lot, police said.

“When officers arrived, the juveniles ran to a nearby parking lot, where officers detained two subjects and did not find a weapon,” the FCPD told FFXnow. “While detaining them, a third subject, who the officers believed to be involved, approached with something in his hands. Due to the nature of the call and not locating a weapon, officers ordered the subject to the ground at gunpoint.”

The department said the officers determined the person was holding a cell phone and filming.

The three were detained by police and later released to their parents, police said.

“The investigation has been assigned to a detective in our Criminal Investigation Division,” police said. “As with all pointing of a firearm events, the incident is under review.”

The department said a weapon was not recovered.

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in response to a tweet of the video that the findings of an investigation into the incident will be shared with the community.

“The pointing of a firearm prompts an internal review that will be monitored by the Independent Police Auditor who reports directly to the Board,” he wrote on Twitter. “Ensuring our officers are following departmental policies and the expectations of our community are of paramount importance.”

Independent Police Auditor Richard Schott confirmed to FFXnow that he will be monitoring and reviewing the police department’s internal investigation of the incident.

Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk commented to social media as well on the recent use of force incidents. These included two shootings where residents died after police shot them, one at Springfield Town Center two weeks ago and another at a McLean home last week.

“I share the concerns that I’ve heard from many in the community about both the nature of these incidents, as well as the frequency at which they are occurring,” Lusk wrote. “It’s important to acknowledge that the use of force by our police department — especially deadly force — with this level of frequency is not normal in our community. However, it is equally critical that we allow for a full investigation of the facts in each of these cases before determining if the force deployed was justified.”

Angela Woolsey and Brandi Bottalico contributed to this article.

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The Nottoway Nights summer concert series will return to Vienna in July, along with a new Global Dance & Music program in West Falls Church (courtesy Office of Supervisor Dalia Palchik)

The Fairfax County Park Authority’s annual Summer Entertainment Series is back, and this time, West Falls Church has been invited to the party.

The inaugural Global Music & Dance program will launch at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday (July 6) in the parking lot of the Graham Road Community Building (3036 Graham Road), Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik announced on Tuesday (June 28).

“This new program will highlight local international arts groups, with a focus on dancing,” Palchik said in a board matter, directing county staff to start advertising the scheduled concerts.

The festivities will kick off with swing dancing from the Silver Tones Swing Band before showcasing a different style of music, from polka to klezmers and mariachi dancing, every Wednesday in July and August.

Global Music & Dance joins the long-running Nottoway Nights concerts in Vienna to form the newly named Providence Presents series:

Nottoway Nights — Thursday evenings, 7:30-8:30 p.m, Nottoway Park (9601 Courthouse Road)

  • July 7: Voices of Classic Soul (R&B, Motown)
  • July 14: Project Locrea (world music)
  • July 21: King Soul (Southern soul)
  • July 28: Seth Kibel & The Kleztet (jazz, swing)
  • Aug. 4: The Seldom Scene (bluegrass)
  • Aug. 11: Cathy Ponton King (roots, blues)
  • Aug. 18: Yellow Dubmarine (Beatles tribute band)
  • Aug. 25: Billy Coulter (roots rock, pop)

Global Music & Dance — Wednesday evenings, 7:30-8:30 p.m., Graham Road Community Building (3036 Graham Road)

  • July 6: Silver Tones Swing Band (swing dance)
  • July 13: Fraternidad Folklorica Cultural Morenada Bolivia (Bolivian dance)
  • July 20: Violin Dreams (klezmer music)
  • July 27: Mariachi Los Amigos (mariachi dance)
  • Aug. 3: The Continentals (polka music)
  • Aug. 10: El Tayrona (Colombian dance)
  • Aug. 17: Centro Cultural Peru (Peruvian dance)
  • Aug. 24: Caiso Steel Drum Band (Caribbean music)

The park authority partners with the district supervisors’ offices, the Fairfax County Park Foundation, and sponsors every summer to provide free entertainment across Fairfax County.

Underway since June 3, this year’s programming has been broken up into 11 series at 18 different venues and includes 180 live performances, along with drive-in movies at the Trinity Centre in Centreville. A full roster of events can be found on the park authority’s website.

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Improperly discarded smoking materials caused a West Falls Church apartment fire on Sunday (May 29) that damaged 11 units, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said.

Around 2:51 p.m., crews from the county and Arlington County Fire Department responded to the 2900 block of Dover Lane and saw fire visible from the third-floor balcony, according to a press release.

There were three people in the apartment at the time of the fire, which a neighbor saw on the balcony and alerted the building occupants to, the release said. Everyone evacuated before the fire department arrived.

Due to the hot temperatures that day, and the location of the fire, the City of Fairfax Fire Department also responded.

“Crews were able to bring the fire under control quickly,” the release said. “There were no civilian or firefighter injuries reported.”

The fire caused about $158,500 in damage and displaced “multiple people,” according to the FCFRD. Smoke alarms did not go off because of the location of the fire.

The local American Red Cross says it assisted 11 families in the wake of the fire.

“Trained disaster workers provided emotional support and financial resources for essentials like safe shelter, food and clothing,” said Ashley Henyan, a spokesperson with the National Capital and Greater Chesapeake Region Red Cross. “Volunteer teams also assisted with replacing medications or medical assistive devices — according to need. In the days and weeks ahead, Red Cross caseworkers will follow up with impacted families as they continue down the road to recovery.”

Henyan says families and individuals affected by this or any other disaster can call 1-800-RED-CROSS for assistance.

Photos courtesy of @xthefirephoto 

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Morning Notes

Verizon truck drives through water while turning from Baron Cameron Avenue to Reston Parkway after rain (photo by Ed Schudel)

Fairfax County Rescue Dog Dies — “We regret to announce the passing of #canine Phayu after a long illness. An 8-year veteran, he deployed worldwide including to quakes in Haiti & Nepal, and hurricanes in the Bahamas & USA. We thank Phayu for his service and extend condolences to his family and our #K9 section.” [Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Team/Twitter]

County Firefighters Deliver Free Shoes to Kids — “The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department along with Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue on Thursday gave away more than 300 pairs of new shoes to children and families in need. The giveaways were held at Gum Springs and Lee District community centers in Alexandria.” [ABC7]

Route 28 Lanes Closed for Skewed Sign — A Route 28 sign for the Willard Road exit in Chantilly got knocked out of place during the morning rush hour yesterday (Thursday). Crews had to block off two southbound lanes for almost five hours while they addressed the situation, which required a removal of the sign pole. [VDOT/Twitter]

Free School Meals to End This Fall — “For the past two years, the federal government has provided no-cost meals to all public school students without the need to complete the annual Free and Reduced-Price Meal application. The extension of the no-cost meals benefit to all students is expected to expire at the end of this school year, meaning families must submit an application and be approved to be eligible for free and reduced price meals for the 2022-23 school year.” [FCPS]

McLean Rec Center to Close Tomorrow — “Spring Hill Rec Center will close June 4 through 7 to address electrical maintenance issues. This project was planned for August but has been moved up to ensure continuous site operation and safety.” [Supervisor John Foust/Twitter]

Herndon Man Charged With Assault — A 43-year-old man faces aggravated assault and burglary charges after Herndon police say he allegedly “entered a home in the 600 block of Center Street without permission on May 23 and assaulted one of it occupants.” The man is currently being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. [Patch]

Asian Fusion Eatery Joins Tysons Biergarten — “RollBär, an Asian fusion restaurant, opens TODAY at @shipgarten! Shipgarten, a new pop-up located at the future site of Scotts Run’s ‘Taylor’ block, launched last Thursday with the reopening of #TysonsBiergarten.” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

The St. James Plans Maryland Expansion — After unveiling a performance club at Reston Town Center in April, the Springfield-based sports complex announced yesterday (Thursday) that it will bring a similar facility to downtown Bethesda this winter. The new club will be smaller than The St. James’ flagship site, which is the largest athletic facility in the region, but it will include a Vim & Victor Café. [Washingtonian]

Charcoal Chicken Restaurant Coming to West Falls Church — “Super Pollo Charcoal Chicken is moving into the spot vacated by DC Steakholders at 6641 Arlington Blvd…Juan Carlos Hernandez, manager of the Barcroft Plaza Super Pollo expects the new place will open in two to three months.” [Annandale Today]

It’s Friday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 75 and low of 63. Sunrise at 5:46 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Eastbound Route 50 is closed at Westmoreland Road after a crash and fuel leak (via VDOT)

Eastbound Route 50 is completely closed in the West Falls Church area, as Fairfax County police and firefighters clean up a vehicle crash and fuel leak.

According to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, there was a two-vehicle collision near the intersection of Westmoreland and Summerfield roads. A person with a minor injury has been transported to a hospital, department spokesperson William Delaney says.

There was also a “small gas leak from gas tank of one vehicle,” according to Delaney.

All eastbound lanes on Route 50, also known as Arlington Blvd., have been shut down, along with one westbound lane that has been blocked off to accommodate the emergency response vehicles. Traffic going west is creeping by in the right lane.

Delays now stretch back to I-495, according to the Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination. A detour for eastbound traffic has been put in place, and drivers should follow police directions, according to a Virginia Department of Transportation traffic camera update from 9:05 a.m.

Delaney says it’s currently unclear how long the road closure will last. The FCPD advises avoiding the area.

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