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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The Site-Specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) submission has been withdrawn by its nominator, county planner David Stinson said at a virtual meeting last night (Tuesday) to discuss requested land use changes in east Reston and along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While the withdrawn application wasn’t discussed at yesterday’s meeting, some attendees said in the chat that safety and vehicle speeds have indeed been a concern on Crowell Road.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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A developer hopes to subdivide 1800 Creek Crossing Road in Wolf Trap into three single-family lots (via Fairfax County)

A single-family house in the Wolf Trap area could be razed and replaced with three smaller homes under a development plan filed earlier this month with Fairfax County.

Caliber Development is seeking to rezone the 1.14-acre site at the corner of Creek Crossing Road NE and Ridge Lane so it can be subdivided into three lots that will range from roughly 14,700 square feet to over 16,200 square feet in size, per the submitted plan.

The developer says that layout more closely matches the surrounding residential neighborhood than the existing 49,829-square-foot house did.

“The proposed application will facilitate a modest but high quality residential redevelopment in conformance with the [Fairfax County] Comprehensive Plan that will align with the density and development pattern of the surrounding subdivisions,” McGuireWoods land use planner Mike Van Atta wrote in a Nov. 10 statement of justification for the project.

Built in 1982, the house was sold by its former resident to a company called DB Creek Crossing LLC for over $1.3 million in March. Caliber then purchased it for $1.4 million on Oct. 7, according to Fairfax County property records.

Driveways for the new houses would be located on Ridge Lane, but the developer says it plans to provide 5-foot-wide sidewalks along both streets. The Creek Crossing sidewalk would come with a right-of-way dedication in place of an on-street bicycle lane.

“Construction of a bike lane at this time is not appropriate until a safe bicycle route is constructed along adjacent portions of Creek Crossing Road,” the application says.

According to Caliber, the redevelopment would reduce the lot’s impervious surfaces and exceed tree preservation and canopy requirements, with a commitment to planting native species. The plan shows a total of 29 trees with 5,600 square feet of canopy.

A site visit by the consultant TNT Environmental Inc. found several species designated as invasive or noxious in Virginia, including English ivy, porcelain berry, mimosa and Japanese honeysuckle, the plan says.

The application says invasive species will be removed by hand where possible “until the plants noted above are no longer in abundance or until bond release, whichever is later.”

The county hasn’t officially accepted the rezoning application for review yet.

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The Dulles Toll Road exit to Trap Road (via Google Maps)

Two people died in a moped crash on the Dulles Toll Road near the exit to Trap Road last night (Wednesday).

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police responded to a report of a single-vehicle crash with multiple injuries in the toll road’s westbound lanes at 9:40 p.m., MWAA said in a statement to FFXnow.

The arriving officers found a moped and one person who was dead in the roadway. A second person was transported to a hospital with critical injuries and later died, according to MWAA.

Police have identified the man found dead at the scene as 23-year-old Nyjell Dae Quan Lewis from D.C. The person who died at the hospital was 20-year-old Kia Renee Hobbs from Suitland, Maryland, according to the authority, which says she is “presumed to be a passenger on the moped.”

“The Dulles Toll Road was closed during the crash reconstruction,” MWAA said. “The case is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed. With the investigation ongoing, we can’t answer any further questions at this time.”

Though MWAA has characterized the incident as a single-vehicle crash, scanner watchers told FFXnow that a car was reportedly involved. An MWAA spokesperson said they “can’t confirm additional details.”

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department also responded to the crash but deferred to MWAA police when asked for information.

The Dulles Toll Road crash was one of two fatal incidents reported in Fairfax County yesterday.

At 11:24 a.m., Fairfax County police and fire personnel were dispatched to the Route 50/Sully Road interchange in Chantilly after a car drove into a light pole. The driver — identified as Arjen Weiss, 62, of Chantilly — was transported to Reston Hospital, where he died.

“Detectives from our Crash Reconstruction Unit determined Weiss was driving westbound on Lee Jackson Memorial Highway on the ramp to northbound Sully Road,” the Fairfax County Police Department said. “His vehicle left the roadway for an unknown reason and struck a light pole. Detectives believe alcohol and speed were not factors in the crash.”

There have now been eight traffic fatalities reported in Fairfax County this month, including four pedestrians and two people who died in a one-car crash on Route 7 in Tysons last week.

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Fairfax County firefighters respond to a house fire in the 1700 block of Fox Run Court in Wolf Trap (via FCFRD)

Five Wolf Trap residents lost their home, at least temporarily, due to a large fire on Tuesday (Oct. 11).

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units were dispatched to the 1700 block of Fox Run Court at 4:35 p.m. after a neighbor in the area noticed smoke and fire on a house’s exterior, prompting them to call 911, according to a report published yesterday (Wednesday).

“Prior to arrival on scene, several units noted a large column of smoke in the general area,” the fire department said. “Units arrived on the scene of a two-story, single-family home with heavy fire from the rear and one side of the house.”

No one was home when the fire started outside the house, accidentally ignited by fire pit ashes that had been “improperly discarded,” FCFRD said. Firefighters got the blaze under control in about 15 minutes, and no related injuries have been reported.

However, the house’s five occupants were displaced, and the fire resulted in approximately $293,750 in property damages.

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The Virginia Chamber Orchestra started performing at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens during the pandemic (courtesy Virginia Chamber Orchestra)

The Virginia Chamber Orchestra is tuning up for a fall concert series at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Wolf Trap.

The “Music in the Gardens” series will kick off at 3 p.m. this Sunday (Sept. 4) with “Viva Violas!,” a showcase of that oft-overlooked member of the string family.

A quintet of performers from the professional, Northern Virginia-based orchestra will play for an hour at Meadowlark’s Korean Bell Pavilion. The advertised program features pieces by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Anton Dvorak, and more:

  • Viola Duets from the Renaissance
  • Charles De Beriot: Two Duets
  • Telemann: Concerto for Two Violas
  • Dvorak: Allegro from Quartet in F Major, Op. 96, “American”
  • Mozart: Andante and Allegro from Viola Quintet in C Major

The series will continue throughout the month with a guitar quintet on Sept. 11, a viola duo with double bass on Sept. 18, and a clarinet quintet on Sept. 25.

All concerts take place from 3-4 p.m. and are free to attend, though Meadowlark’s $6 admission fees are in effect. The park has a $3 discount for people aged 6-17 and 55 and older, with kids under 5 getting in for free.

The Virginia Chamber Orchestra first teamed up with Meadowlark for the “Music in the Gardens” series in fall 2020, when concert venues remained closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Audiences were so large and enthusiastic that the Virginia Chamber Orchestra is continuing them with both a Spring and a Fall series in 2022, even though traditional concert venues have reopened,” the VCO previously said in a press release.

The series’ spring iteration started May 15 and concluded on June 26.

Long based at Northern Virginia Community College’s Ernest Center in Annandale, the VCO relocated to Capital One Hall in Tysons last year as it celebrated its 50th anniversary season.

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The ramp from northbound Hunter Mill Road to Dulles Toll Road East (via Google Maps)

Updated at 7 p.m. — Hunter Mill Road has fully reopened after this afternoon’s crash, per Fairfax Alerts.

Earlier: Northbound Hunter Mill Road has been closed at the Dulles Toll Road in the Reston/Wolf Trap area after two vehicles collided this afternoon (Wednesday).

A driver told FFXnow shortly after 3 p.m. that there had been an “accident” on the eastbound ramp to the toll road, and they saw fire trucks and ambulances in the area.

The Fairfax County Police Department confirmed that it has officers on the scene of a two-vehicle crash “involving a dump truck that flipped over” near Hunter Mill the toll road, also known as Route 267.

“No injuries were reported,” the FCPD said. “…Drivers are asked to use an alternative route as they work to clear the road.”

As of 4:09 p.m., all northbound lanes remain closed, with congestion building around the toll road, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s traffic information map.

Police said they currently don’t have an estimate for how long the closure will last.

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Drivers to and from eastbound Route 7 at the Lewinsville Road intersection will be detoured this weekend (via VDOT)

By this time next week, the intersection of Route 7 and Lewinsville Road in the Wolf Trap area will have a whole new look, but drivers must endure some inconveniences before the result of the makeover is revealed.

The median that currently facilitates traffic between eastbound Route 7 and Lewinsville will close at 7 p.m. on Friday (Aug. 26), requiring drivers to take an extended detour through Tysons, the Virginia Department of Transportation says.

Signs will be erected to guide drivers through the detour, which will go from Route 7 to Westpark Drive with a northward turn onto International Drive and Spring Hill Road.

“All residences, businesses and other public facilities will remain accessible via the signed detour route,” VDOT said in the news release.

The new Lewinsville Road will open to westbound Route 7 drivers, who can turn right at the McLean Bible Church intersection.

The detour will remain in place through 5 a.m. on Monday (Aug. 29), but the median will reopen to some movements at 6 a.m. Sunday (Aug. 28):

  • Drivers on LewinsvilleRoad/Brook Road will be able to turn left onto eastbound Route 7, turn right onto westbound Route 7, and go straight across to McLean Bible Church at the old Lewinsville Road intersection.
  • Drivers from McLean Bible Church at the old Lewinsville Road intersection will be able to turn left onto westbound Route 7, turn right onto eastbound Route 7, and go straight across the intersection to Lewinsville Road/Brook Road.
  • Drivers from McLean Bible Church at the new Lewinsville Road intersection will be able to turn right onto eastbound Route 7.
  • Drivers on westbound Route 7 will be able to turn left into McLean Bible Church at the old Lewinsville Road intersection.

When the new intersection fully opens at 5 a.m. on Monday, there will be a new, displaced left-turn lane for eastbound Route 7 drivers to access Lewinsville and Brook Road. The service road in front of McLean Bible Church will permanently close.

The new Lewinsville Road and Route 7 intersection (via VDOT)

The intersection was previously expected to open in the spring as part of the ongoing project to widen Route 7 from four to six lanes between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.

The intersection’s permanent configuration is scheduled to be completed on Oct. 25, with the overall Route 7 project on track for a July 31, 2024 finish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Musician Josh Lovelace will kick off the 2022 Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods season on June 21 (courtesy Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts)

School is out for the summer, but young kids won’t have much opportunity to get bored — at least as far as Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is concerned.

The park will launch a complete slate of family-friendly entertainment next week for the first full Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods season of the pandemic. The 2020 season was canceled, along with the rest of Wolf Trap’s summer programming that year, and last year’s lineup was limited to just six performances.

The seven-week season will open at 10:30 a.m. next Tuesday (June 21) with folk singer Josh Lovelace, who plays keyboard for the rock band NEEDTOBREATHE.

“After last year’s shortened season, we’re thrilled to welcome our new and returning families back to Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods for seven exciting weeks of performances,” Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts Director of Community Programs and Internships Cate Bechtold said in a statement. “This summer we’re proud to feature many diverse acts, from Xuejuan Dance Ensemble and Native Pride Dancers to D.C. favorites Uncle Devin and 123 Andres. Whether you are a fan of dance, theater, music or puppetry, there is something for everyone to enjoy!”

All performances will take place in the outdoor theater at 1551 Trap Road on Tuesday through Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m. through Aug. 6.

Tickets are on sale now through Wolf Trap’s website and at the Filene Center box office, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. A “Pick Three” promotion gives a $2 per ticket discount to anyone who buys tickets to three or more shows.

In addition to singers, the lineup features dance ensembles like the Maryland Youth Ballet, puppetry, theater, and to close the season, a bit of magic from the Amazing Max. The full schedule can be found on the Wolf Trap website.

The park’s main summer season at the Filene Center has been underway since May 28. Up next will be the indie-pop band Belle and Sebastian, who will make their Wolf Trap debut with the band Japanese Breakfast at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).

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Morning Notes

A Virginia Department of Transportation truck at the intersection of Route 1 and Popkins Lane in Groveton, where traffic signals were flashing (staff photo by Brandi Bottalico)

Metro Leaders Step Down — Metro General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld and Chief Operating Officer Joe Leader resigned, effective immediately, last night (Monday) after the transit agency pulled 72 operators for failing to recertify. Wiedefeld had been set to leave on June 30 but says he wanted to “provide a more timely transition to Interim General Manager Andy Off.” [WMATA]

Mosby Woods Residents Split Over Possible Street Renamings — “The increasingly diverse neighborhood named after Confederate army battalion commander John S. Mosby…is another battleground, with the [Fairfax] City Council set to decide in June whether nine streets in Mosby Woods should be called something else.” [The Washington Post]

Pipe Replacement to Disrupt Wolf Trap Area Traffic — “Lawyers Road (Route 673) just south of Carhill Road will have one lane of alternating traffic in each direction via flagging Tuesday, May 17 through Wednesday, May 18, between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day to replace a stormwater pipe…Through traffic will be detoured via Garrett Street, Trott Avenue, Vale Road, Hunter Mill Road and back to Lawyers” [VDOT]

Police Share Details on I-95 Crash — “The woman who died in last week’s fatal three-vehicle crash on Interstate 95 in Springfield, Virginia, was identified Monday by Virginia State Police….Speed and driver distraction are being investigated as contributing factors in the crash.” [WTOP]

Herndon IT Company Bought for $4.2B — “Herndon information technology contractor ManTech International Corp. (NASDAQ: MANT) said Monday morning it has agreed to be acquired by D.C. private equity powerhouse The Carlyle Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CG) in an all-cash transaction valued at $4.2 billion.” [Washington Business Journal]

Decision Nears on Lake Accotink Dredging — Fairfax County will make a final decision “in just weeks” on how to address sediment build-up in Springfield’s Lake Accotink. The options currently on the table would transport the sediment to a nearby industrial park or pipe it to Wakefield Park, where it would then be taken to a quarry via I-495, raising environmental and traffic concerns. [ABC7]

Reston Association’s Pool Season Underway — “Our Pools season has officially started! Check out these scenes from opening weekend at North Shore and Lake Audubon! Thanks to all who came out! We’re ready to have an amazing summer at the Pools!” [RA/Twitter]

Bear Sightings Might Become More Common — “Due to warmer weather, bears are beginning to move throughout the county. Be safe by securing your trash cans and bird feeders, reducing the likelihood of on of our hairy friends popping up in your community.” [Pat Herrity/Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Clear throughout the day. High of 73 and low of 58. Sunrise at 5:56 am and sunset at 8:18 pm. [Weather.gov]

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