Meet "Sara," a barista at the Starbucks at the ever-gritty and authentically urban Reston Town Center, who is in the running to be a finalist on America's Next Top Model, which is apparently a reality teevee show that does not involve starving on some island or having a serial business failure with a bad toupee as a "boss."
"Sara" isn't the first Restonian to seek fame and fortune this way, but we wish her the best just the same. You can help by voting for "Sara" through the end of the day at this link. She's identified as Gallery 15, Photo 15.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Meet "Sara," a barista at the Starbucks at the ever-gritty and authentically urban Reston Town Center, who is in the running to be a finalist on America's Next Top Model, which is apparently a reality teevee show that does not involve starving on some island or having a serial business failure with a bad toupee as a "boss."
Following in the footsteps of an exciting visit from a delegation of Brazilian builders of suburbs, Reston was again host to an international contingent of designers who want to learn the secret sauce of a place where one can live, work, play and get involved (tm). (Hint: It's honey BBQ sauce, with just a soupcon of Russet Brown.)
This time, it was representatives of Jeollonam-Do province in South Korea, where plans are in the works for an "Innovation City" and a "Happy Village," which is what they came to our beige community to learn more about. Obviously, they've never read the comments section on this filthy "web log," but otherwise we can totally see the connection with happiness. Anyhoo, our favorite correspondent, The Peasant From Less Sought After South Reston, managed to unearth some details about the Happy Village on the Internets. From what we could gather, the Happy Village concept mostly involves taking traditional rural homes and connecting them to water and sewer. But don't take our word for it -- take a gander at this helpful illustration!
Who wouldn't want to abandon their "busy and dry lives?" Plus, the Internets tell us that the cost of living in the Happy Village is significantly lower than in the rest of Korea, apparently in part because of the cutting-edge "green" construction in which people simply use their arms to create roofs above their heads. We're sure the DRB-san would approve, the end.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Reston Real Estate: The High-Low Game, Where Dream Appliances and Quick Access to 'Fx City' Can All Be Yours, If the Price is Right
Hey gang! It's almost spring, which means it's an even better time than usual to BUY BUY BUY as much Reston real estate as you can
leverage get your mitts on. And it also means it's time once again to play everyone's favorite "on-line" game of real estate wheeling and dealing, the High-Low Game (tm)!
On the high end of the spectrum in this go-around, we have this lovely home on Harborside Cluster overlooking Lake Thoreau. There are no pictures, but for a mere $1.399 million, who needs them? Can you really place a subjective image on equity, anyway? Besides, wait until you hear what this home includes:
Wonderful all brick 1st floor bedroom home on a waterfront lot. This home has been completely updated with the latest in technology. Lge. kitchen with beautifl cabinets, Miele appliances, refrig with built in t.v., water faucet over gas stove. enlarged master bedroom..a dream of a master bath with steam shower, soaking tub.That's right... it has a refrigerator with a built-in TV. We'll say it again: A REFRIGERATOR WITH A BUILT-IN TV. Who needs to see pictures of the house when you've got a REFRIGERATOR WITH A BUILT-IN TV? Just imagine -- you can watch Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous whilst noshing on cold cuts and hardboiled eggs during those late-night fridge raids, your equity growing with each and every bite! Awesome.
On the other end of the price spectrum, this townhouse on Emerald Heights Court is the least-expensive non-condo thingy in Reston. At $120,000 for three full baths in an end-unit "close to reston pky and fx city pkwy," it's a steal! Especially since you won't have to rub shoulders with the peons stuck on Fairfax County Parkway the next time you need to go to Fairfax City to return a library book or pay a speeding ticket or something. The Fairfax City Parkway is reserved just for discerning homebuyers like you! Plus, you can take the $1.27 million you saved from not splurging on the first property and put TV-enabled refrigerators in every room of the house, plus still have enough cash left over for, wedunno, a hot water heater with a built-in 8-track.
Well, that's just about all the time we have for this edition of the High-Low Game (tm). Until next time, keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the ARMs!
A sewing machine caused an accidental fire Thursday that has displaced 16 residents of a garden apartment complex near Forest Edge Elementary.
The fire, which started in a bedroom in a second floor apartment at 1602 Becontree Lane, caused smoke damage to two other apartments. Our BFFs at Patch have some exciting photos of some hawt hook-and-ladder action, if you're into such things. Some sweet steampunk clip art of a sewing machine is a bit more our speed, but maybe that's just us.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
An analysis of the development potential for air rights over the toll road, completed last week, determined that the commercial real estate market isn't presently strong enough to warrant the millions of dollars of extra investment the idea would require. The analysis concluded that the strategy ought to be shelved "until the regional economic market and business conditions are more favorable."Our BFFs at Reston 2020 have links to the actual study if you're morbidly curious, but the bottom line is that building the foundation now would cost $34 million, but waiting until later will nearly double the cost to $60 million. But no worries, because the current political climate will ensure that free funding for all sorts of valuable projects will be readily available
The study was commissioned by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority after multiple developers -- before the recession began -- inquired about building a deck over the toll road to accommodate new development adjacent to the planned Reston Parkway Metro Station, near the intersection of the toll road and Reston Parkway. The findings were reported to the authority's board of directors last week and the board is expected to act on them this spring.
Phil Sunderland, vice president and general counsel for the airports authority, said it was encouraging to know that the deck didn't need to be built right now in order for air rights to be an option in the future.Oh, well. We were tots excited about dining at a Cheesecake Factory overlooking snarled traffic on the Toll Road, but we'll settle for one overlooking snarled traffic on Sunset Hills instead.
"If we do not do something today, it does not mean that we are dead in the water 20 years from today," he said.
Sunderland compared building a deck speculatively to the authority buying $34 million worth of land, which might qualify as a good investment in some stages in the real estate market, but not at this point. "The conclusion was that the market is probably not going to be there," Sunderland said.
Speaking of which, thinking about the space over the Toll Road is a good time to remember we're going to need some more fancy bridges to keep our North Point-to-Hunters Woods runs at
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Did you notice that on Saturday, the sky above Reston seemed bluer, the grass greener, and the earth tones more earth-toney? Well, maybe that's because the RA had a special homecoming for a whole slew of its former presidents, who returned to reminisce about the days of old.
Sharing their insights about what they regard as their biggest accomplishments and challenges were Bernard O'Reilly (1970), Frederick Naef (1971), Monroe "Mike" E. Freeman Jr. (1988-89), Joe Caravella (1996-98), Mary Ellen Craig (2000-01), and Rick Beyer (2004-05).... Also sharing their remembrances and thoughts at the luncheon were Reston founder Robert E. Simon, former RA executive director Jerry Volloy and current RA executive director Milton Matthews. Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D) also stopped by briefly.The RA has had 26 presidents in the last 47 years, and the former presidents shared some good times.
Naef also remembered that executives from Gulf Reston, which had taken over development of the community, frequently could be seen transporting potential investors in limousines.We'd settle for a rickshaw ride to Lake Anne.
RA meetings also were more social -- staged by a fireplace, starting with cocktails and then followed by wine and brandy.Can't imagine that. Despite past divisiveness, there was little debate about what has been Reston's wackiest and most costly blunder.
Others, like former RA executive director Vicki Wingert, remembered more "adversarial times," and Craig recalled a board where politics, "with a capital P," was the primary modus operandi.
With the coming of Metro and its attendant mixed-use development, a number of the former RA leaders worried about repeating what they regard as a major past mistake: Not coming to an accommodation that would have brought Reston Town Center into RA. Town Center remains a separate entity with its own governing association.Fortunately, one of the few concessions that Reston and the county were able to squeeze out of Comstock was the promise that residents of its awesome development at the Wiehle Metro station will become RA members. Hopefully that will set a precedent for the rest of the awesome development to come -- even if that means the Cheesecake Factory will have to submit to the new sign review process, the end.
"That was one of the greatest failures of RA," Freeman said.
"We need to open that Pandora's box again," Caravella suggested.
"It cost [the community] millions and millions of dollars ... to say to Reston Town Center, 'Go your way,'" Simon added, calling the move a "fool decision."
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
This Thursday, the Reston Association will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to DRB guidelines. Unlike the last time, the proposed changes for this go-around seem pretty minimal, except maybe for the rules governing rain barrels, which apparently have proven too small for our monsoon-like climate. According to a Secret Restonian Wikileaks Operative, who somehow infiltrated the "World Wide Web" to review the documents:
In keeping with the supersizing of America, we can now all have rain barrels the approximate size of that Hurley dude on "Lost" played by Jorge Garcia. For planning purposes, here's a handy guide to the size of the newly permitted rain barrels.Said barrels would also have to be placed in the back of a house per the new guidelines, so some of us will have to find another item to prop up our decorative wagon wheels. Also, be sure to "soften" their appearance with some plants or decorative clumps of leaves or whatnot:
Also, the DRB is proposing deleting language that says the board will only review the text of signs for "possible obscene or illegal messages." It's not clear whether that change would give the DRB the right to review all signage text or if they're getting out of the sign-reading business, so we'd hold off on making those signs for your basement massage parlor/poker lounge/meth lab until that's cleared up, the end.
Please to be enjoying this "You Tubes" video of Bob Simon speaking at the Reston Museum's Black History celebration this past weekend. Reston is not that very old, so it's remarkable to think that when Simon started this earth-toned real estate development, it was arguably the first in Fairfax County to welcome people of all races. That's something of which we can be justifiably proud.
Monday, February 21, 2011
JBG has postponed the planned presentation of its (slightly) scaled down proposal to redevelop Fairway Apartments until April. That's when Reston's P&Z committee will get a gander at the lower and slightly smaller proposal, which has been scaled down from 900 to 810 units, with no building more than five stories tall. Hopefully they'll use the extra time to come up with lots more drawrings like this:
Been dying to share an insightful comment but afraid that this filthy "web log's" draconian new commenting system will lead you to accidentally have your words linked forever with your email@example.com address? Fear not. We're here to help you set up a throwaway account for commenting. You don't even need to supply an email address.
First, please to be clicking here. You'll see a page that looks like this:
Pick a clever username and a password, then scroll down and click on the agree button. You'll see there's also a place to supply an email address, but that's optional.
Once you're done, you'll need your fancy new "OpenID URL" (circled in distinctly non-DRB red in the picture above). Then come back to this web log, and comment away! Once you're done typing in your insightful and trenchant comment ("Hudginz Section 8 Lake Anne z the lamest RTC iz a realer downtown than NYC" etc. etc.), pull down the tab where it says "Comment as" to OpenID and paste your new URL there, as seen in the illustration below. And you're done!
Now that wasn't such a chore, was it?
Friday, February 18, 2011
School Spat, Billion Dollar Deals, and an Easier Way to Find the Shadowood Pool: A Ridiculously Belated Walk Through Reston News
- While we were busy trying to figure out how to log into our own comments section, Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins has apparently gotten into a protracted battle with Fairfax County school officials over its so-called "zero-tolerance" discipline policy. First, Hudgins and one other supervisor moved that county staff "engage Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) and community organizations in a discussion about how to help students and parents turn a FCPS disciplinary action into a learning experience." Fairfax County School Superintendent Jack Dale responded publicly, charging that the motion "demonstrated a serious misunderstanding of FCPS policies" and asking that "all members of the Board of Supervisors learn more about FCPS’ practices and policies before making public statements that are misinformed and damanging to our students, families, and community." Then Hunter Mill School Board member Stuart Gibson weighed in, pointing out that "in more than 15 years on the School Board, I have never seen any student expelled for writing on a desk" -- good to know! -- and that "every decision I have made reflects a judgment about the student’s conduct, and not a judgment about whether or not they are a “good kid.”
All of this finger-pointing has been amusing to some, but let's not forget that it was sparked by the suicides of two county students -- including one from South Lakes High School -- who had gone through the FCPS discipline process. Someone should be taking a good look at what's going on, and that look should probably transcend just the discipline process.
- Speaking of big messes, Hudgins was also recently elected chair of the Metro Transit Authority. She even got a fancy cake!
- Sad news: Dave Edwards, who was just awarded the Reston Citizens Association citizen of the year award, has died at 73. An urban planner, Edwards had been involved in planning for South Lakes High School and the Reston Community Center, and had stayed involved in various Reston and RCA committees, most recently playing roles in the Master Plan task force and Reston 2020. He'll be missed.
- The Dish Network bought DBSD North America, a bankrupt Reston company we never heard of for $1 billion -- with a "b." They're welcome to make us an offer! Also, Serco won a $1.4 billion contract from the U.S. Navy to, we don't know, strap bombs to dolphins, or maybe strap dolphins with bombs strapped to them to whales.
- The Shadowood pool won't be renamed anytime soon, despite petitions from nearby residents asking for it to be changed to "South Lakes Area Pool." Which makes sense, because if people were to ask us where the South Lakes Area Pool is, we'd probably tell them, "next to Shadowood." Meanwhile, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a "concurrent processing request" for the Dogwood pool, meaning it will be renovated by next May. The plans include a "total rebuild of the pool and bath house, a zero-depth entry splash element, a three-lane lap pool and a diving well." If people ask us where that pool is, we'd probably tell them "sort of near that pool that almost got its name changed."
- Yay, old skool astronaut and rapper Buzz Aldrin celebrated his 81st birthday at his namesake school.
- Is Reston firm LightSquared going to make our fancy GPS machines stop working? The Washington Times thinks so, though there's a soupcon of a chance that the Times just might be trying to make the president look bad. Those wacky journalists! While they may or may not be ruining our GPS navigation, Reston-based MERS has allegedly done such a good job of screwing up the mortgage processing system that they've apparently asked people to stop foreclosing on crappy vinyl-sided exurban McMansions in their name.
- Hey, some lucky couple won a wedding at Reston Town Center! Now word on whether the second prize was a funeral at Tall Oaks.
- Alvarez LeCesne of Reston won $200,000 in a Powerball drawing. We think he needs to invest some of that cash in the highly lucrative "web logging" industry. Also, Earl Stafford, chief executive of Reston-based financial services firm The Wentworth Group LLC, has donated $100,000 to Virginia State University. Assisting low-income students is a worthy cause, to be sure, but so is supporting independent community "web logging" (cough cough).
- A dentist, an investor, and a floral designer walk into a
outdoor mallgritty urban core. Not a setup for a joke, but Reston Town Center's newest tenants: the Dentistry practice Smiles, investment firm Charles Schwab and Mayflowers Floral Design Studio.
- Finally, this may quite possibly be the only game using Google Maps that's actually worse than ours. You've been warned.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
With all candidates now officially certified and one incumbent dropping out of the race, the slate of candidates for the 2011 Reston Association Board of Directors now appears to be complete. And we've got pictures! And official statements!
At-large board member Richard Chew said Monday he had withdrawn his name from the election, citing "family commitments." That leaves a whopping five candidates running for the at-large seat: Jason Carlo, Sridhar Ganeshan, Andrew "Andy" Sigle, John George, and Donovan D'Souza.
Incumbent Hunters Woods/Dogwood board member Cheryl Beamer is being challenged by Victor Van Rees. Also, Amanda Andere is running as the apartment owners' candidate, a position we quite frankly never knew existed, most likely because our vast real estate holdings are primarily concentrated in Farmville-related assets.
Which candidate called Reston "tennis town?" Who, in a 60 Minutes-like admission of wrongdoing, admitted he was not very good at the Sport of Suburbanites? Which one used the word "ire?" Who committed the first MAJOR GAFFE of the campaign by failing to complete the Reston slogan "live, work, and play" with "get involved?" You too can find out by seeing the exciting photographs and official position statements that follow "after the jump," as those of us in the "web logging" business like to say.
Monday, February 14, 2011
You know, we would have posted this exciting video of alleged Redskin Albert Haynesworth dropping by the Reston Police station to be charged with misdemeanor assault stemming from an alleged road rage incident when it actually happened over the weekend, but we were feeling kind of sick.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to contribute to this weekend's discussion about the recent troll eruption. Without exception, your comments were extremely thoughtful, and we've reluctantly decided to experiment with requiring registration to comment on this filthy "web log," at least through the RA election season.
To answer a few questions: Fake or funny aliases are not just welcomed, they are encouraged. (You can create a throwaway Gmail address or a fancy AIM handle -- hello, 1998! -- to set up a new alias; there are a number of other options as well). Since this filthy "web log" is powered by
a ZX-81 which is in turn powered by a 9-volt battery Blogger, we don't have any access to the contact information you provide to set up your profile using one of these third-party services. (This is what our own profile looks like.) And as those who have e-mailed us directly in the past can attest, we hold all correspondence and contact information we receive directly in the utmost confidence, with the possible exception of those nice folks in Estonia who keep asking us for new contacts to help build their multilevel marketing empire. Or those friendly people from third-world countries who are just looking for a trustworthy soul to help them transfer one-fifth of their nation's treasury to a random checking account.
So thanks to everyone who takes the time to clear this annoying hurdle, just so they can post some snarky comment about red mulch or fanciful concrete bollards. And again, be excellent to each other.
Friday, February 11, 2011
We now have a clearer picture of what is shaping up to be a competitive race for two seats on the RA Board.
Two current Reston Association Board of Directors members will be running for re-election for the Hunters Woods/Dogwood and at-large spots this spring.Yes, that dulcet-toned Andy Sigle, who's hosted our favorite gonzo viral YouTube videos for years, is running. It also appears that, at least for for now, Beamer is running unopposed, though another Hunters Woods/Dogwood challenger, Victor Van Rees, is awaiting approval by the RA election committee pending petition signatures. Two others running for the at-large seats, John George and Donovan D'Souza, are pending a statement of candidacy and petition signatures, respectively, before the elections committee approves their candidacies.
Board members Richard Chew (at-large) and Cheryl Beamer (Hunters Woods/ Dogwood) will seek another three-year term on the RA Board. Also in the race: Jason Carlo, Sridhar Ganeshan and Andrew Sigle (all at-large).
Competitive elections are always good things. But it puts this filthy "web log" in a bit of a bind, as last year's elections didn't exactly bring out the best in all of our commenters -- or, it should be said, all of the candidates and their supporters out in the world beyond our earth-tone dotted domain. But it's a trend that appears to have already begun to repeat itself. As one of our commenters astutely noted, we have met the troll, and it is us.
No one's ever going to mistake this "web log" for some sort of Junior Achievement project. But it shouldn't be a dumping ground for unsubstantiated personal attacks, either. And maintaining this site anonymously doesn't exactly put us in the best position in the world to lecture anyone about civility and personal responsibility, though we actually give both a lot of thought before going ahead and posting some inane comment about RA Headquarters having child labor cubbies for the 93rd time just the same.
So we're trying to come up with an approach that will keep things from getting too ugly from now until April without having to unplug the VIC-20 that powers Restonian World Headquarters' commenting system from the Internets. Does that mean requiring registration for comments? We're sure the flood of newly registered people with names like Peter Stubig and Oliver Clothesoff would think twice before associating their good names with something inappropriate. Besides, we think the comments, 99 percent of which are posted anonymously for convenience as much as any other reason, are usually the only interesting thing to read on this "web log." So we're torn.
Let us know what you think in the comments. And be excellent to each other.
Has all the recent talk about "road diets" gotten you hungry for some open asphalt? Well, Rt. 7, the commuter route to Reston that does not currently have a fancy train being built in its median, is about to get supersized. Well, maybe:
Route 7 (Leesburg Pike), will be expanded by one lane in each direction from Tysons Corner to Reston Avenue, thanks to $10 million in funding from the state of Virginia, Dranesville Supervisor John Foust says.Don't plan on your double-shift Crystal Koons-to-Reston Zoo commute exceeding Mach 2 anytime soon, though. That $10 million is just enough for some fancy "engineering studies" to see how much the road could be widened through the seven-mile stretch from Tysons to Reston. And not everyone's thrilled by the idea:
"In my opinion, it is critical that Route 7 be widened from Tysons Corner to Reston to handle existing and projected traffic to and through Tysons Corner," Foust said in an e-mail. "When the Tysons Corner Comprehensive Plan was approved, I had that project added to the list of transportation funding priorities in the plan."
State Sen. Janet Howell, D-Reston, was key to getting the funding for the seven-mile expansion, Foust said.
Some in the area said the corridor is stressed enough with the Dulles rail construction and the finished product may take away the need for a wider road.We're not ones to talk, but is there any chance that "Paris Goodnight" is a real name?
“I'd prefer to wait until metro is in place and see what they does to the traffic,” said Richard Henry, a Great Falls resident.
But still others, like Paris Goodnight, said prolonging the road project will just make Tysons Corner a construction zone for longer.
“I don't know why we're not doing it at the same time we're going everything else. It's just yucky here,” said Goodnight, a Vienna resident.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
It's that time of the month already? February's exciting video edition of Reston Today begins with Andy Sigle nonchalantly strolling into the echo-filled foyer of Reston Association Headquarters, his dulcet tones booming as he deftly avoids all the foreclosure notices.
Next up is Ellen Graves, who tells us more about the upcoming Reston Association Board of Directors elections. We get some lovely visuals of Andy standing in an empty meeting room -- a stunning visual metaphor reminding us all that representative governance is merely made up of "empty seats" unless derived from a mandate by the electorate, or maybe just an acknowledgement that the RA foyer was too echo-filled to keep filming there. Either way, we still don't know the full slate of candidates for the election. Where's Wikileaks when you need it?
But we digress. Then Andy goes "on location" to a snow-cleared pathway, where we learn that RA uses "Canadian-made Bombardiers" with "Ford engines" to put the hurt on the snow. Then in a scene chillingly unlike the penultimate scene of Fargo, we watch the RA's Mike McNamara almost get run over by one of the aforementioned Bombardiers with a
sling "seven-foot" blade (forward to 2:39). We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Never trust the Canadians -- even the ones from Reston.
Finally, we learn that the aquatics department is "looking for you." At first, we thought it was about that incident with the candy bar, but turns out that comment wasn't directed just at us, but rather to anyone interested in lifeguarding for the summer. That's a relief!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Meanwhile, in the Anti-Reston: Revised Solicitation Law Solves Immigration Issues Forever, So Long As Everyone Stands on a 'Utility Strip'
Meanwhile, in our tolerant neighbor to the west, the Herndon Town Council had a busy evening last night, staying up until well after 1am discussing the finer points of utility strips, curbs and gutters. Planning for that newfangled shiny underground train we hear is coming round these here parts? Haha, no, it was actually all about the usual
fear of the other anti-soliciation nonsense.
The Herndon Town Council voted 4-3 to pass a revised version of the June 8, 2010 street solicitation ordinance on Tuesday night.Now that we know it's okay to hawk Girl Scout cookies on a "utility strip" (whatever that is), Tolerance Town's longstanding and roiling debate over immigration is finally over. Right?
The original street solicitation ordinance, passed last June, prohibited people from soliciting goods and services in public highways, including the grassy strip between the property and the sidewalk, the sidewalk, utility strip, curb and gutter, roadway and median.
The revised version passed last night reduces the enforcement area to the road itself and the median, said Town Attorney Richard Kaufman. The ordinance will no longer apply to sidewalks, utility or grassy strips.
Another change is that the ordinance applies to all streets equally, including streets with on street parking, though it exempts private streets... Other changes included taking out language that suggested what enforcers of the ordinance should look as an act of soliciting, and a note addressing that events such as Herndon Festival are allowed because of town permits and are unaffected by the ordinance, Kaufman said.
Vice Mayor Lisa Merkel said the issue has been brought up at nearly every public hearing in the past seven months and she wanted to address it now so the council could close the issue for good. She said after Tuesday night she had no plans to address the ordinance, 287(g) or other day labor issues again.Or maybe not:
Councilman Bill Tirrell said he is sick of people throwing out the race card every time there’s a disagreement. He said if residents are here illegally “this should be a cold harbor for you. Go home. This is not your country.” He said they should let their governments care for them the way they want the United States government to care for them.Those "outside agitators," Virginia New Majority -- which has been painted as a nefarious, ACORN-esque pro-union Fifth Column, in spite of the fact that supporting undocumented day laborers would actually be bad for unions -- had planned to rally before the council meeting. With their nefarious plot exposed, perhaps they should now lobby to have the entire town classified as a utility strip, with the possible exception of the parking lot of the Elden St. 7-11, the end.
Before a final vote, Mayor DeBenedittis commented on his thoughts on the issue. “The intent of this is and always was public safety,” he said. “We would not be discussing this, we would not have put it on tonight’s agenda if it weren’t for an outside group of agitators who came to our town to divide. And to do so and to get folks out, I believe they had to mislead people. I think it’s a mistake to change this ordinance at this time.”
That is all.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The rumors were true: JBG will bring a redesigned plan for redeveloping the Fairway Apartment complex to the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee on Feb. 21. And according to our BFFs at Reston 2020, the mauvescraper is history.
The company's resubmitted proposal has been reduced from more than 900 units to 810 units, with no building more than five stories tall. Some of the parking, originally planned for garage structures, will now be underground. At this point, it's not clear what other changes have been made, or whether this will be enough to allay the raft of concerns the original proposal raised among virtually every local organization and county planners. It would be nice if JBG found a clever way to maintain the amount of open space in the earlier proposal, even though eliminating the mauvescraper suggests more units will be spread out across more space (one of the benefits of building up, instead of out). Guess we'll find out soon enough!
Comstock Selects Contractor for Wiehle Metro Garage, Hinting That Project Might Finally Begin At Some Point Soon
Comstock Partners has selected a contractor to start work on the fancy Wiehle Metro parking garage it says will "form the foundation for Reston's first transit oriented development." However, the groundbreaking is still scheduled for sometime in the "spring of 2011," meaning no one has committed to an actual date.
The Reston Station Metro Facility will be constructed substantially underground and will include a commuter park and ride facility, a transit bus depot, 2,300 commuter parking spaces, and several hundred parking spaces for the retail portion of the mixed-use development to be constructed above the Reston Station Metro Facility. The mixed-use development planned by Comstock will include office, retail, residential and hotel uses in multiple buildings surrounding a public plaza which will be connected to the Metro rail station currently under construction in the median of the Dulles Toll Road.Sweet! Is the Cheesecake Factory an "upscale retail establishment" or a "convenience oriented retailer?"
Planning is underway for the buildings that will rise above the Reston Station Metro Facility, which will include office, retail, residential and hotel uses. The Reston Station Plaza, located directly above the Reston Station Metro Facility and adjacent to the Silver Line Metro Station, will form the core of the greater Reston Station area, and will include civic spaces dedicated to public activities throughout the year. Among the first buildings expected to rise above the Reston Station Metro Facility is a residential tower. Additional initial uses are expected to include restaurants, cafés, upscale retail establishments, and convenience oriented retailers.
No matter. In case you were wondering, James G. Davis Construction is the lucky contractor that gets to build this inspiring parking garage. No word on where they're sourcing the fanciful concrete bollards.
Monday, February 7, 2011
The Reston Association hosted a talk on the area's growing coyote population on Friday, and our favorite correspondent, The Peasant From Less Sought After South Reston, was there:
Who knew? Coyotes bear a STRIKING resemblance to the idyllic 1950s suburbanites best portrayed by Ward and June Cleaver!If Reston's amalgamation of coyotes are currently only at Stage 3 of the seven-step scale of coyote aggressiveness, we wonder what the remaining stages might look like:
It's Friday night in our mauve wonderland, and Reston's wildlife aficionados are out in force. While the terminally hip and edgy pour into our gritty urban core for some swinging cougar action at Jackson's, more than 50 coyote fans tiptoe through the tulip poplars to pack the Nature House for a Coyotes 101 lecture by Shannon Pederson of the Wildlife Society. Dressed in coonskin cap and deerskin breeches, The Peasant From Less Sought After South Reston craftily infiltrates this audience, one so overloaded with baby boomers as to be the stuff of a BiCO nightmare.
Snark aside for half a paragraph, we laud Ms. Pederson for providing a very informative, useful lecture that stresses the fact that coyotes are clever, are adaptable, and are here to stay. "Think of them as bears," she advises, when it comes to common-sense practices for co-existing with them, i.e., don't let cats and dogs roam outdoors, don't leave pet food outside, and don't even think of feeding them, as some nitwits apparently do. Restonians will sleep better knowing that on the seven-step scale of coyote aggressiveness, we are only at Stage 3, where they are seen mid-day but not yet chasing spandexed cyclists fleeing for their lives down the Lawyers Road velodrome.
As for the coyote lifestyle, well, humans could do worse than emulate their traditional family values. When the young 'uns are at home, Ward Coyote is hard at work every day to put food on the table. June Coyote, resplendent in her string of pearls as she cleans the den (get it?), looks after Wally Coyote and his younger brother. But when June exclaims, "Ward, I'm worried about the Beaver!", we suspect she is referring not to their mischievous younger son Theodore Coyote but rather to their orthodontically-challenged neighbor by the Glade stream valley whose unkempt dwelling is bringing down local property values and just begging for a surprise visit by an RA covenants inspector.
With coyotes spotted everywhere from the environs of Lake Anne and Lake Newport up north to the Glade down south (14 sightings in all), audience members are eager to learn how to identify them. Some hilarious confusion ensues on how to distinguish a coyote from a fox. Easy -- if the critter is wearing a skeleton costume and prancing through our gritty urban core, it ain't a coyote!
The best news of all comes at the end of the evening's session and warms The Peasant's heart. Not only will coyotes eat those WMD (weapons of mass defecation) Canadian geese -- they will also hunt the hordes of antlered invaders with names like Bambi and Thumper, thus helping to stabilize our population of four-legged terrorists who have been conducting jihadi raids on The Peasant's garden of earthly delights. We can only conclude that this coyote invasion is sounding better and better by the minute!
- Stage 4: Cutting in line at Starbucks, taking inappropriate amounts of time to consider beverage size options
- Stage 5: Using non-approved building materials in the construction of their dens (easily recognizable by the bed of white stones marking their entrance)
- Stage 6: Loudly demanding that any new cellphone towers be camouflaged to resemble giant fire hydrants; addition of a pup menu at the Macaroni Grill
- Stage 7: Staging a run for the RA Board on a no-to-foxes platform; then "going rogue" after losing and creating their own shadow DRB, dispensing violations at will.
Hey, good news! The top deck of the Herndon-Monroe parking garage, which has had its share of troubles in recent years and was recently closed due to ice, has reopened. Not bad for a mere 10 days after the last accumulating bit of snow had fallen, right?
Friday, February 4, 2011
Preliminary census data suggested that Reston's population actually shrunk over the past decade, from 56,407 to 53,759, which has led to some recent hand-wringing about whether growth projections for our beige community are all they're cracked up to be. But just picture a row of giant green circles popping up along the Toll Road, and it's pretty clear that the area is going to continue to grow. What kind of growth, however, still remains to be seen.
Update: One of our commenters crunches the numbers:
There is more of an interesting story in these census numbers. This latest data dump from the Census Bureau did not aggregate numbers for "Reston"; the latest official numbers for Reston we have are from the American Community Survey, which, as Restonian noted, showed a surprising decrease in the population of Reston from 2000 to (2005-2009 average).While Reston has always been home to a diverse population, the rest of the county -- and the region -- is catching up.
However, from the data in the Washington Post's fancy map, which are at the block group level, one can work out some rough numbers for Reston. I have taken the block groups bordered by Route 7 on the north, Hunter Mill Road on the east, Lawyer's Road and Fox Mill Road on the south, and Fairfax County Parkway on the west (going beyond the parkway south of the Toll Road and not so far near Route 7).
Within these boundaries, there were 57,909 residents in 2000 and 61,961 residents in 2010. The roughly 4,000 additional residents are almost entirely accounted for by the new highrise developments in and near Town Center that Restonian highlighted.
At the same time, within these boundaries there were 39,489 non-Hispanic whites ("Anglos") in 2000 and only 39,440 Anglos in 2010. As a result, the percentage of Anglos in Reston's overall population decreased from 68.2% to 63.7%.
This is not quite as dramatic as the decrease in Anglo representation in Fairfax County overall, which dropped from 64.4% in 2000 to 54.6% in 2010 (the county's Anglo population actually decreased by around 60,000 during this period). But it is symptomatic of a trend across northern Virginia - even Loudoun County has become much less Anglo. The only local jurisdiction where Anglo representation in the population increased is Arlington County (data are not available for areas on the other side of the Potomac, but American Community Survey data also suggest that the percentage of Anglos increased in the District of Columbia).
Alleged Redskins "defensive lineman" Albert Haynesworth has taken time away from his busy schedule of hanging out at various Reston Town Center hotspots to be charged with simple assault following an alleged road rage incident on Fairfax County Parkway this Wednesday.
The episode occurred Wednesday morning, and involved a 38-year-old man driving a 1994 Honda Civic and another driver, allegedly Haynesworth, both driving south on the Fairfax County Parkway, Broderick said. The driver of the Civic reportedly felt that a pickup truck following behind him was tailgating, and issued a "non-verbal hand gesture" to the pickup driver, Broderick said.It wasn't the first time Haynesworth has had driving-related problems. But we're sure Haynesworth's many fans on the Twitters will react to this news in the same supportive fashion as they've treated the fading superstar's other transgressions:
About 9:16 a.m., at the intersection with New Dominion Parkway, near the entrance to Reston Hospital Center, the two vehicles came to a stoplight. Broderick said the driver of the pickup truck emerged from his vehicle, had a brief exchange of words, and then struck the Civic driver.
She declined to be more specific about the circumstances of the assault.
The pickup driver then returned to his truck and drove away. Broderick said the Civic driver told police he thought his assailant might be the troubled Redskins player, who was suspended by the team for the final four games of the season for insubordination. Police investigated.
On Thursday night, Fairfax police obtained a warrant for simple assault. Broderick said police had been in contact with Haynesworth's lawyer, that Haynesworth was out of town and was making arrangements to surrender next week.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Along with a cupcakery and saladry, Reston's
In any case, the as-of-yet unidentified burgery will take the pace of Marvelous Market, which is now closed.
Meanwhile, almost-as-fancy-as-RTC North Point Village Center has become the subject of some muttering online because of a series of departures of tenants in recent months, including the learning center, Just Pets and the UPS store. Now, Blockbuster is apparently getting ready to vacate, as all the kool kidz use their Netflix machines, whatever they are, to watch the latest "Star Wars," or whatever's the new cool "movie" to come out on "video" these days. Is this the precursor to redeveloping the shopping center into some fancy mixed-use project with multiple burgeries, and maybe even a cupcakery?
While all five village centers will be part of discussions by the Task Force With an Unpronounceable Acronym this year, that seems doubtful anytime soon, given how far North Point is from the planned Metro stations. And Blockbuster has been shuttering hundreds of stores nationwide due to the aforementioned Netflix and those shiny silver discs we keep trying to put into our CD Walkman. And similar rumors started while the Tall Oaks
Update: According to our BFFs at Patch, who did some of that "reporting" thing we keep hearing about, the future burgery has been revealed as neither brgr nor Elevation Burgers, but Marvelous Market's own entry into the artisanal protein disc business. After the usual suspects denied involvement, we had been secretly hoping it was going to be a subversive, Banskyesque exhibit challenging our cultural ambivalence towards the food we eat. But we're good with some fancy breaded onion rings instead.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Can You Hear Me Now? Cell Phone Tower Proposed for Lake Newport Apparently Dead, But As Many As 30 Other Sites a Possibility
Hey, remember that time a company wanted to put up a tree carefully disguised as a cellphone tower at the Lake Newport pool complex? Yeah, that was awesome.
Anyhoo, we've heard that the proposal was dropped after the DRB essentially said it would not approve a tower at that location. What, were the fake leaves on the fake tree Hunter Green instead of Emerald Green? We may never know, but we're pretty sure this won't be the last time a company tries to plant (get it?) a fake tree/tower in Reston, as all the kool kidz want better reception for their mad tweets and whatnot on their fancy 4G phones, so the immortal words "zomg Jacksonz is teh lamerz tonite" can travel from Reston Town Center to Hunters Woods at the speed of light. Rad!
In fact, there's a Reston company that specializes in just this kind of fun -- Milestone Communications, which focuses on erecting towers at schools and in parks. They currently have what they call "stealth towers," which must be used to transmit signals to shoe phones, at a number of Fairfax County schools, including several at South Lakes. The company's president, Len Forkas, made a presentation to the Reston Association Board in December, identifying more than 30 possible sites in Reston for towers, which could earn the RA as much as $500,000 a year in revenue-sharing deals. The board suggested he make a similar presentation to the aforementioned DRB, which will likely pore over color swatches to see if the fake trunks are sufficiently "teal" or "russet-y," the end.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
A Reston man has been charged with unlawful filming after allegedly videotaping up a woman's skirt at Dulles Airport.
Airports Authority police began an investigation of 26-year-old David Solomon in June after a couple that had just flown into Dulles International Airport complained that it appeared a man had been following them and taking pictures. Solomon allegedly stayed particularly close to the woman as he followed them on every escalator. Then the couple saw a telephoto lens sticking out of the man's messenger bag.Charming.
The man wore an employee nametag from the Borders bookstore at the airport, so police were able to identify him quickly. Police also learned that Solomon had been accused of similar transgressions in the past.
Solomon had been convicted on three counts of unlawful filming for videotaping female students while he was at the University of Virginia in 2006 and 2007.
Investigators got a search warrant for the Reston townhouse where Solomon lives with his parents and seized cameras, flash drives, a laptop computer and a home computer. They found 700 videos in which Solomon allegedly aimed his camera up women's skirts dating to his days at UVA, police said. They also found 80 images of child pornography that investigators believe Solomon downloaded on to the computers. They even found a guide explaining how to get the best up-skirt shots.
Thanks to his prior conviction, Solomon could face a tougher punishment in the future. After that case, UVA campus police lobbied the State Legislature for a tougher law, and now a third unlawful filming offense is a felony.
Meanwhile, the leader of the trio of New York City burglars who targeted Indian homes throughout Fairfax County and Loudoun for gold heirlooms has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Dagoberto Soto Ramirez, 28, and his wife, Melinda M. Soto, 34, of Queens, admitted that they traveled to Fairfax and Loudoun counties from January to November of 2009, using online White Page listings to search for South Asian-sounding names.I wouldn't be waiting for one of those $200 checks anytime soon.
Melinda Soto acknowledged she would knock on doors during the day to see if anyone was home, and if not, she would sit in their rented car and monitor a police scanner while her husband and another man, Francisco Gray, 40, broke in and searched for gold and other valuables. About $600,000 worth of gold and other items were taken in 37 burglaries, authorities said.
The trio were arrested in the Clifton area in November 2009, but released after judges in Fairfax and Loudoun found no evidence in their car or hotel room tying them to any one burglary. Gray was then deported to Peru, and has not been located since.
Federal prosecutors picked up the case and last summer charged the trio with conspiracy to transport stolen goods across state line. The Sotos pleaded guilty, and Melinda Soto was sentenced last month to three years in prison.
Dagoberto Soto is a career criminal dating to age nine, prosecutors said in a brief. He faced a recommended sentencing range of 37 to 46 months, and U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema gave him the maximum.
Elanchevian Sivatnanam of Chantilly was one of the ring's victims, and he was disappointed with the sentence. He said the burglars disabled his home's electronic security system in May 2009 and made off with $92,000 worth of 24-karat gold handed down through his family, as well as passports and green cards.
The Sotos agreed to make restitution of $590,860, but in $200 monthly chunks to the 37 victim families. None of the stolen items was ever recovered.