New Greek Restaurant Set for Old Cosi’s Space

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
October 22, 2014

City diners will have some new options soon, including a traditional Greek restaurant, which is planning to open around the end of the year in the Broad Street space formerly occupied by Cosi’s.

Called Plaka Grill, the restaurant will be the second for the Vienna-based company, which has won high ratings from a number of online sites.

“Our claim to fame is that we offer real, traditional Greek restaurant,” said manager Andrew Scruggs in a telephone interview with the Times. “We try not to serve Italian or other Mediterranean dishes. The owner comes from a Greek family, his father was Greek, he studied in Greece, and he went to culinary school there.”

Indeed, a glance at the menu shows no Italian dishes, but Greek favorites like avgolemeno soup and soulvlaki with beef, chicken, or pork.

The original location has been in Vienna for seven years, and Mr. Scruggs said they are “looking forward to bringing a real piece of Greece to Falls Church City.”

Meanwhile, there are several other restaurant comings and goings of note. Hoang’s pan-Asian... [Read more...]

Mason Music Students Offering their Labor for Donations

Special to the Falls Church Times
October 21, 2014

Do you need help around the house or office? Do you have leaves that need raking before the vacuum truck drives by? Sign up now for a weekend date and time to have a minimum of two George Mason High School music students come to your home or place of business.

Students are offering their labor in return for donations toward their band and chorus competition in Orlando, Fla., in January.

For more information and to request help with a job, please visit the FCCPS Band Boosters website, at, or contact parent coordinator Sheila Frost at

 Read More →

FBI Joins Hunt for Falls Church City Bank Robber

October 21, 2014

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the hunt for a man who robbed a Falls Church City bank this morning and has released photos and a detailed description of the suspect.

The robber is described as a black male with unshaven facial hair, 6’2″ to 6’3″ tall, and 240 to 250 pounds. He was wearing a black stocking cap, sunglasses, gray long-sleeved t-shirt, jeans and black and white athletic shoes.

At approximately 9:48 a.m. Tuesday, this individual robbed the BB&T Bank located at 191 West Broad Street. The subject entered the bank, handed a note to a teller demanding money, and received an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the bank. He did not brandish a weapon.

As a precaution, all outdoor activity at Falls Church City Schools were cancelled or brought indoors immediately after the robbery was reported. Indoor activity proceeded normally without interruption, and police gave school officials the “All Clear” less than an hour later, school officials said.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for... [Read more...]

Forum on Mt. Daniel Referendum Set for Oct. 23

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
October 11, 2014

Falls Church City voters next month will be asked to approve a referendum authorizing City officials to spend $15.6 million to expand and renovate Mt. Daniel in order to alleviate overcrowding at the school and make it compliant with a variety of modern safety codes.

It’s a lot of money for a city with an $80 million budget, which is causing some angst among residents concerned that the cost will lead to a property tax rate increase next year. Some residents are suggesting voters reject it for that reason.

Officials haven’t said how it would be paid for, and it’s possible some of the $20 million gained from the sale of the City’s water system to Fairfax earlier this year could be used to defray the cost.

But no decisions have been made, and a tax increase or cuts in other areas of next year’s budget also are possibilities if the referendum is approved.

Under a City ordinance dating to the 1980s, voters will have the final say: any capital expenditure over $10 million must be approved by residents, and this one is scheduled to coincide... [Read more...]

Around Town

Forum on Water Sale Proceeds Set for Saturday

October 9, 2014

Falls Church City officials are seeking community input for how to use proceeds from the sale of the Falls Church Water Utility. The City will host a town hall meeting this Saturday, October 11, from 10 a.m. to noon in Council Chambers at City Hall.

City staff will present options for use of the proceeds, which are now expected to be in excess of $20 million. Summaries of the three proposals are available on the City’s website at

The public will be invited to ask questions at the Town Hall.

For those who cannot attend the Town Hall but would like to submit comments, please email Council via the City Clerk at

The meeting will be broadcast live on FCCTV and also on the FCCTV YouTube Channel at (

Parking at and near City Hall and Cherry Hill park is expected to be challenging on Saturday, due to this event, the Farmers’ Market, and Farm Day. Drivers are encouraged to utilize the two public parking garage options, especially the garage at Kaiser... [Read more...]

Gardner Arrested Again On New Sexual Battery Charge

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
October 1, 2014

Michael Gardner, the husband of former Falls Church City Mayor Robin Gardner, was arrested Tuesday morning at his home on a new charge of sexual battery of a minor.

The new charge, which relates to an accusation from 2009, is different from the accusations that led to Mr. Gardner’s arrest in 2011 and subsequent conviction in 2012. That conviction was overturned by the Virginia Supreme Court in June and a new trial on those charges had previously been scheduled for February 2015.

The new case began after two indictments were returned by an Arlington County grand jury on Sept. 29. That grand jury was impaneled after a young girl this summer told an adult that she was abused by Mr. Gardner on Nov. 1, 2009. The adult was a mandatory reporter, meaning he or she was required by law to relay the allegations of abuse to authorities.

Police say the new accuser is related to Mr. Gardner. He is being held without bond pending an appearance in Arlington County Circuit Court, which is scheduled for Oct. 6.

Mr. Gardner was first arrested by Falls Church City Police in... [Read more...]

Architect Presents Plans for Commercial Development, New High School

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
September 28, 2014

An architectural firm hired by Falls Church City officials has prepared four different drawings that show how a new George Mason High School could be relocated in order to allow for significant commercial development on the land housing the City’s middle school-high school complex.

That land, which was in Fairfax County until January of this year, became City land because of a boundary adjustment that was part of the deal to sell the City’s water system to Fairfax. That in turn opened up the possibility of selling some of it for commercial development, which could then be used to increase revenue to the City and help finance a new high school.

The firm, RTKL, presented the four drawings to City officials last week. Each drawing is quite a bit different from the others. But what they have in common is that a new high school would be built and the existing Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School, built in 2004, would be retained.

A new high school, which officials have been dreaming of and planning for some time, is controversial because of the high cost, estimated... [Read more...]

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Just what makes a Little City?

OUTSIDE THE BOX: Just what makes a Little City?

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
September 21, 2014

It isn’t exactly news that there is an ongoing concern about Falls Church City’s continuing urbanization. But the opinions on that topic took an interesting turn recently in the comments on the Times and elsewhere.

The commenters weren’t expressing some of the time-honored concerns with traffic or density or the impact on our small schools. Instead, they seemed to be more focused on how the City’s look and feel was going to change.

One commenter worried that a redevelopment of both Seven Corners in Fairfax County and the City’s new land where George Mason High School is located would affect our “village feel.” Yet another commenter looked at it in a completely different way, welcoming more density in order to generate more walkable amenities.

And that got me thinking: What make a Little City? More precisely, what makes THE Little City? I’m not repeating myself here; I’m asking what makes a small city generally, and also what specifically makes our Little City, so named by the consultant that several years ago came up with the Little City logo and... [Read more...]

More Page1 >>