Cafe Kindred Among Spate of New Independent Retailers Open in City

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
May 22, 2015

First in a series. Today, Cafe Kindred. Next: Lil City Creamery.

After four years of planning and more than a year of teasing its prospective customers with a tantalizing “Coming Soon” sign, Cafe Kindred finally is open in the new Northgate building on North Washington Street.

City residents, many of whom appear to appreciate the vibe of funky and offbeat alternatives to the big national chains, may find the new coffee shop to their liking. Decorated with old industrial equipment, audio records, and other items used in nontraditional ways, the owners have managed to take a brand new space in a new construction building and make it look like something that would fit in a redeveloping urban neighborhood in Washington or Chicago.

The shop also is the first independent coffee and espresso shop in the City, joining two existing Starbucks. But Cafe Kindred is attempting to be much more than a coffee shop, featuring homemade baked goods and confections, from croissants to cannoli, as well as sandwiches, salads, and hot breakfast items.

There is a bar... [Read more...]

City Rejects Unsolicited Bid for New Mason; Seeks Other Bids

May 15, 2015

The Falls Church City Council and School Board voted this week to reject a developer’s unsolicited bid to build a new George Mason High School in exchange for the right to build a dense retail and residential complex on the adjacent land.

However, the two panels also voted to immediately begin a Community Visioning process to gather broad input for the construction of a new Mason; expansion of Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School; and commercial redevelopment of up to 10 acres of the site. The firm Cooper Carry has been contracted to handle the Community Visioning project following a competitive proposal process.

The Council and School Board have returned the unsolicited proposal from Edgemoor Infrastructure and Realty, a private developer, concerning a public/private redevelopment of the school campuses, citing difficulty in revising the unsolicited proposal to meet the needs of GMHS and MEHMS under the existing guidelines of the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002. The contents of the unsolicited proposal will not be released.

Community... [Read more...]

Woman Assaulted on Jennifer Lane; Suspect Arrested

May 14, 2015

Detectives have arrested a man and charged him with abduction with the intent to defile.

The investigation began when a 28-year-old Falls Church woman reported that she was walking home from the West Falls Church Metro station in the 1000 block of Jennifer Street on Tuesday, May 12, around 11 p.m.

A man approached from behind, grabbed her, and covered her mouth with his hands. She struggled and screamed, which seemed to cause the suspect to let go and flee toward Leesburg Pike.

The victim immediately called 911 from her cell phone. Responding officers set up a perimeter and a suspect was quickly stopped and positively identified as the assailant. Police then arrested 28-year-old Elmer Moises Nieto Lara, of 2240 Pimmit Run Lane in Falls Church, in connection with the crime.

The victim did not require medical attention.

Anyone with information about Lara, or who may have witnessed this crime is asked to contact Crime Solvers electronically by visiting or text-a-tip by texting “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES(274637)** or... [Read more...]

Bike Master Plan Open House Tonight

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
May 13, 2015

Arlington has a bike plan to improve cycling mobility. So does Fairfax. Tucked in between them, Falls Church City is working on one, too, and residents can see it tonight from 6 to 7 at the Dogwood Room at City Hall.

The plan remains a work in progress, and the purpose of tonight’s open house is to allow City residents to voice their opinions on important details of the plan. Nothing is set in stone yet, and officials are anxious for input.

“It’s intended to be a quick planning exercise to identify what routes people want to use for bicycling and where Bike Share should expand,” explained City Transportation Planner Paul Stoddard.

Some of the routes may be obvious, such as West Street, but others may be less obvious. Should there be a bike lane on Sherrow or Pennsylvania? Little Falls? Columbia? These are some of the thoughts City officials are seeking.

And now is a good time, since Fairfax just adopted its bicycling plan last year, and Arlington, which already has extensive bike lanes and facilities, is planning on expanding its commitment to bike transporation... [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

Ceremony Officially Opens Thackrey Preschool

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
May 13, 2015

With the weather finally suitable for an outdoor ribbon-cutting, school and City officials on Tuesday night officially welcomed City residents to a ceremony for, and tour of, the new Jesse Thackrey Preschool on North Cherry Street.

Housed in the former Child Development Center, the building underwent a full renovation in 2014, and the property also received major stormwater management improvements. Those updates were detailed in a Falls Church Times article in December. Read that article here.

On Tuesday, Superintendent Toni Jones led the ceremony, and Keith Thackrey, son of the City School pioneer for whom the building is named, used huge scissors to cut the ribbon. Mayor David Tarter and several City councilors also were in attendance.

The City preschool had been forced to play musical chairs with locations because of capacity constraints before the new building was completed. Originally housed at Mt. Daniel, it moved to trailers at Thomas Jefferson Elementary and to Mary Ellen Henderson before opening in the new location in January.

 Read More →

Council Votes For 1 Cent Tax Rate Increase; Fully Funds Schools

April 29, 2015

The Falls Church City Council has approved an $83 million budget for the coming year that invests in infrastructure and fully funds the School Board budget request for City schools. The adopted budget includes a real estate tax increase of one cent from the current rate of $1.305 to $1.315 per $100 of assessed value.

“The fiscal year 2016 Budget and Capital Improvements Program (CIP) are the product of a great deal of discussion and hard work to meet the demand for outstanding government and school services,” Mayor David Tarter said after the vote on Monday. “The Council appreciates the input from the community throughout the budget process.”

In addition to approving the operating budget, the City Council approved the CIP with all but a few recommendations by the Planning Commission. The CIP will meet many critical needs, including:

City Hall and Public Safety Center renovations and expansion including parking structure;
Thomas Jefferson Elementary School HVAC replacement;
Library expansion, scheduled for FY2018;
George Mason High... [Read more...]

Organic Market Could be Third Anchor at Mason Row

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
April 24, 2015

A small grocery that emphasizes organic foods could be a third major commercial piece of the still unapproved Mason Row project at the corner of Broad and West streets, the Falls Church Times has confirmed.

It’s a long way from happening, and the project itself still needs final approval from the Falls Church City Council first. But Peter Batten of Spectrum Development confirmed in a telephone interview that his team is attempting to bring such a store into the big mixed-use plan that would cover more than four acres and run from West to the St. James Church.

If it happens, the grocer would join a Hilton Home 2 hotel and an 8-screen dinner theater as the other anchors in the proposal. Some 340 apartments also are part of the plan.

“An organic market is something we’re interested in,” Mr. Batten said. “We’re having preliminary discussions with a specialty organic market. It’s a matter of getting someone that can fit and working out arrangements and so forth.”

The names of the interested organic markets remain confidential, since no letter of intent... [Read more...]

For 2nd Year, Southwest Side Hit Hardest by Assessment Increases

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
April 24, 2015

The date when the City Council sets the property tax rate for the coming year is rapidly approaching in Falls Church City. But because a homeowner’s taxes are determined by both the tax rate and a home’s assessment, some will feel more pain than others.

And for the second year in a row, homes on what might be described as the City’s southwest side — an area roughly bounded by the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, West Broad Street, Thomas Jefferson Elementary, and the Fairfax County line — are being hardest hit by increased assessments, according to a Falls Church Times analysis.

That analysis, the accuracy of which was confirmed by City Assessor Ryan Davis, shows that homes in that part of the City are rising in assessed value by about 6 percent this year. That comes on the heels of an even bigger jump last year, when houses in the same location saw assessments rise by 10-12 percent.

To the extent that the assessments are an accurate reflection of market value — and in Virginia, they are required to be within 10 percent of that figure —... [Read more...]

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