The Snow Shoveling Story Remains the Same

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
February 10, 2016

It’s been a constant battle over the years to get City businesses to clear their sidewalks of snow as required by City ordinance. And problems on that front cropped up again following last month’s historic blizzard.

Many businesses, even some small, understaffed businesses, did good work getting through the prodigious amounts of white stuff that fell, thereby helping City residents and visitors return to their normal life routines, but others did little or nothing, despite having repeatedly been told over the years what their responsibilities are.

And even more odd, some of the worst offenders were the deep pocketed national chains, which surely can afford to hire contractors to handle the task.

Rite Aid, for example, didn’t even touch its West or Ellison street sidewalks. West was covered with a huge amount of snow that had been plowed on to it, but that just makes the task more urgent, since it truly was impassable. In previous years, Rite Aid’s store managers have been informed about the requirements.

West End Shopping Center was... [Read more...]

The Little City May Be Home to a Little Different Climate

By William Henneberg
Special to the Falls Church Times
February 6, 2016

Falls Church City is small, a virtual micro-city compared to the neighboring large counties. But within its narrow confines, our micro-city also may house a small and somewhat rare weather feature known as a “microclimate.”

The National Weather Service defines a “microclimate” as “the climate of a small area…that may be different from that in the general region.” In other words, a microclimate is present when weather patterns exist that are unique to a given area.

The most well-known microclimate type is the “urban microclimate,” which is caused by pavement, buildings, and dense development, and leads to what is known as the “urban heat island effect.” In the Washington area, this explains why the weather station at Reagan National Airport consistently reports warmer observations than the more vegetated suburbs only a few miles away (particularly at night). In Falls Church, too, the climate of the more urbanized areas (warmer) differs from that of the green spaces (cooler) and that is where this analysis begins:... [Read more...]

West Street 7-11 Hit By Robbers

January 28, 2016

Falls Church City Police are seeking information about two men who entered the 7-11 convenience store late on Jan. 27 and robbed the business while restraining an employee.

Two suspects, described as black males, entered the store about 11:24 pm, held an employee, and took money, although no weapon was used other than physical strength. They left on foot on West Street and headed towards West Broad Street. No injuries were sustained by the victims.

The suspects were wearing dark jackets with hoods pulled over their faces, dark pants, and gloves. Photos were not initially available, but are now, and can be seen on the City’s web site. The only photo showing both assailants can be seen at this link:

Police do not believe this is connected to recent business robberies in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 703-248-5053.

 Read More →

City, Schools Ask For Sidewalk Help, Patience, and Courtesy

January 27, 2016

The City of Falls Church continues recovery efforts from the historic blizzard. Many more days of hard work are ahead for Public Works, neighbors and businesses. Compassion, courtesy and understanding are key while the community strives for normalcy. Updates will continue to be made to the City’s website,, Facebook (CityOfFallsChurchGov) and Twitter (FallsChurchGov).

Neighborhood Sidewalks
Neighbors are organizing to clear sidewalks and school bus stops. The City’s website has a list of tips and things to consider for neighborhood snow removal, Snow should be shoveled into yards, not roads or sidewalks. Keeping fire hydrants and storm drains clear are also important for emergency personnel and drainage.

Commercial Sidewalks
Businesses are faced with the same challenges as the neighborhoods: mass amounts of snow in a small space. The City government is working to clear sidewalks at public buildings (like the library) and parks. We anticipate completing that by the... [Read more...]

Around Town

SUNDAY, 4/19: Citizens for a Better City Annual Meeting

All are welcome to join Citizens for a Better City (CBC) on Sunday, April 19th for their Annual Meeting & Cocktail Reception at Falls Church’s Hilton Garden Inn, 706 West Broad Street.


Reception begins at 5:00 PM with drinks & light hors d’oeuvres followed by our meeting at 6:00 PM.


Cocktails including 2015 dues $30 per person


You may pay at the door or in advance. Make your check out to Citizens for a Better City and mail to CBC, PO BOX 6080, Falls Church, VA 22042


Parking... [Read more...]

April 9, 2015 | Leave a Comment

City Issues Updates on Snow Situation

January 24, 2016

The snow has stopped, but crews continue to work around the clock to clear roads. The City asks for patience from the community as we work together to get back to normal.

Plowing Update

The City’s Public Works crews continue to clear Snow Emergency Routes as first priority. They have plowed one lane on most residential streets and will be working through at least Monday to clear more. Crews communicate and work with emergency responders in case of calls to residential streets.

We ask the community to be patient as crews manage this historic blizzard. The crews face several challenges, including disposing of mass amounts of snow and avoiding vehicles and pedestrians. You can help by staying off the roads.

Snow Emergency Still in Effect: Stay off the Roads

Although the snow has stopped, we are still in an emergency mode. The Snow Emergency Routes must remain open for emergency vehicles, so parking is still restricted on those roads. Visit for the list of streets.

It also is critical... [Read more...]

City Requests People Stay off the Roads

January 23, 2016

Please stay off of the roads. City crews are working very hard to clear the mains roads, also known as snow emergency routes. Plowing operations are hindered by motorists and pedestrians using the roadway.

Please do not drive. Several cars have gotten stuck on the roads, and crews had to plow them out. If you have an emergency and need immediate assistance, please dial 9-1-1.

Also, please note that commercial property owners must not plow snow and ice onto city streets or sidewalks. Police are out patrolling the neighborhoods to ensure that cars, pedestrians, and private company plows are adhering to these safety precautions. Additionally, commercial property owners are required by ordinance to clear the sidewalks on all sides of their property.

Please set your expectations for plowing. Snow Emergency Routes get first priority. Residential streets will not start to be plowed until Sunday and Monday. Crews communicate and work with emergency responders in case of calls to residential streets. Thank you for your patience and understanding as... [Read more...]

Shooting, With Multiple Victims, Outside State Theater

January 18, 2016

A late night concert at the City’s State Theater ended violently early this morning, as three people were shot while the crowd filed out of the facility around 1:45 am, police say.

Several shots were fired on Park Place and in a parking lot behind the 100 block of North Washington Street. Although it’s not clear, that presumably refers to the City’s parking lot behind the businesses on the east side of Washington.

Police say they already were on the scene, presumably to provide crowd or traffic control, but were unable to identify or catch the shooter. He was described only as a slender male about 5’8″ tall and wearing dark clothing. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Falls Church City Police at 703-241-5053.

The three victims apparently were not seriously hurt. Two drove or were driven to a hospital in Frederick, Maryland, and the third was said to be “transported” to an unidentified hospital, presumably by police or ambulance, but that’s not clear in the information... [Read more...]

Mason Row Wins Unanimous Council Approval

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
January 12, 2016

In the end, it was anti-climactic.

More than three years after Spectrum Development first approached Falls Church City planners with their idea to build a mixed-use project at Broad and West streets, a unanimous City Council approved the controversial project on a 6-0 vote late Monday night.

The unanimity was somewhat unexpected, and one possible vote against it didn’t materialize because long-time project critic David Snyder chose to abstain from the vote due to a conflict of interest. He said he has retained some members of Spectrum’s development team in a zoning issue he has before the City, and didn’t want his vote to be seen as having been influenced by that situation one way or the other.

Still, the unanimity of the other six councilors was surprising in its own right. But more than one Councilor said the project had improved considerably in the last few weeks, and Marybeth Connelly said she would have been a “no” vote if the vote had been held in the fall, before those changes were made.

Ms. Connelly lauded the rejection of the project by... [Read more...]

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