MONDAY, 9/16 through FRIDAY, 9/20: Street Sweeping

September 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The City of Falls Church will begin sweeping streets the week of September 16. Street sweeping reduces the volume of pollutants entering local streams through the City’s 900 storm drain openings. The City contracts with Reilly Sweeping to provide Citywide street sweeping services.

The schedule, subject to change due to weather, is as follows:

Monday, September 16 and Tuesday, September 17: residential areas south of Broad St.

Wednesday, September 18: commercial areas and municipal parking areas

Thursday, September 19 and Friday, September 20: residential areas north of Broad St.

Residents are asked to move vehicles off of residential streets scheduled for sweeping between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.Parked vehicles impede the street sweeping equipment, resulting in less efficient and effective service.

For more information, visit or contact the Department Public Works at 703-248-5176(TTY 711),

SATURDAY, 3/16: Affordable Housing Expo at MEH

March 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2013 Northern Virginia Housing Expo, showcasing affordable housing opportunities throughout the region, will occur Saturday March 16 from 10am-2:30pm at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School.  The Expo is hosted by Fairfax-based nonprofit AHOME in cooperation with the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA), the City of Falls Church, the City of Alexandria, the counties of Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun, and the Towns of Herndon and Manassas. Read more

City Council Schedules Hearing on South Washington Planning Changes

February 27, 2013 by · 3 Comments 

February 27, 2013

Editor’s Note: Actions taken by the Falls Church City Council are reported by the City Clerk in a “Legislative Update” typically published within a few hours of adjournment of a City Council meeting. Video and minutes (3 hour and 31 minutes) from this Council meeting are now available online. Other materials including agendas, working materials, past minutes, and the schedule of upcoming meetings are available from City website.

Amongst other business and after comments by a number of citizens, City Council voted 7-0 on first readings to refer to committees resolutions that would change the designation of over 2 acres of land on South Washington St. from “business” to “mixed use” on the City’s Future Land Use Map and grant a special exception for residential development and height.  Public hearings will be held on March 13, 2013. Read more

SATURDAY, 4/27: South Washington Street Community Forum

February 24, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

A community meeting on the South Washington Street Small Area Plan will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2013, from 9 – 11 a.m. at the Columbia Baptist Church, 103 West Columbia Street, in the Fellowship Hall. The City encourages feedback on what we heard about community desires for development and redevelopment within the designated planning area.

The City will present potential redevelopment opportunities, how ideas expressed at the kickoff meeting were incorporated into the South Washington Street Small Area Plan, and next steps. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions following the presentation.

Attendees are encouraged to walk, bike, or use the parking lot behind Columbia Baptist Church. Entrances to the parking lot are off of North Maple Avenue and from southbound on North Washington Street. Enter the building through the double glass doors closest to North Maple Avenue. After entering the building, the staircase is on your left and the elevator is on your right, just around the corner from the entryway. Take the stairs or the elevator to the second floor. The Fellowship hall is across the corridor from the elevator shaft and on your left after exiting the stairwell.

Please RSVP or 703.248.5040 so the City can provide sufficient seating.

New Mixed Use Building Appears Likely to Rise at Broad and West

February 16, 2013 by · 5 Comments 

Falls Church Times Staff

February 16, 2013

A developer is poised to formally announce plans to build a new, mixed-use four-to-six story building at the northeast corner of Broad and West streets, the Falls Church Times has learned.

The corner, which now houses a Sunoco gas station, 7-11 convenience store, and the popular Mike’s Deli at Lazy Sundae, among other businesses, had been slated a few years ago to become the new home for a Capital One bank branch. But that was nixed by City officials, who refused to allow an exception to permit a drive-through that the bank demanded.

The drive-through wasn’t the City’s real objection, though; what they really objected to was that an enormous commercial parcel in a prominent location at a major intersection was going to get only a small, single-story structure, instead of a larger building that would bring in more tax revenue, sources have said.

Now, City officials seem likely to get their wish, but it’s not clear just how quickly this project will move forward. City officials aren’t talking, and multiple people in a position to know declined to comment until the unnamed and unknown developer formally submits a proposal to City planners.

One commercial real estate agent, asked what she knew about the proposal, said, “I don’t know anything. I can’t talk about it.” Asked which it was, she responded, “Both!”

Another agent with multiple commercial listings in the city, when asked what he knew, said: “Why would you think I would know anything about it?”

John Shreve, who owns the land where the project would be built, also didn’t respond to a request for comment.

But other sources confirmed the basic outlines of the proposal. It would be a similar building to many others either under construction or proposed and working their way toward City approvals.

Examples of such buildings include Northgate, at 472 N. Washington Street, which is well under way, and a proposal known as The Reserve at Tinner Hill, which would rise where Saab dealer International Motors now stands on South Washington. Another example is the proposed Harris Teeter project, at 301 West Broad.

Like those examples, the new building would have a first floor earmarked for retail stores, and apartments or condos on several floors above.

It would seem to be an attractive location for retailers and residents alike. Retailers would be situated at a very visible corner near one of the busiest intersections in town. Broad Street, of course, is heavy all day long, and West Street sees steady traffic, especially at rush hour.

Meanwhile, residents considering living there might appreciate the walkability of the location — less than a mile to the West Falls Church Metro Station and immediate access to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, which runs mere feet from the proposed project’s rear.

A new mixed-use building is in the works for the Broad and West intersection.

Despite those advantages, the project also would add density and traffic to the already-congested intersection, and potentially put more pressure on the already-burgeoning City schools, depending on the size and quantity of the residential units.

Smaller units are not as attractive to families with children, and that’s what many developers, who see demand for small, more affordable units, have been proposing. For example, 70 percent of the units at the Tinner Hill project are slated to be just one bedroom, which would draw almost no new students. It’s unclear how many units are being proposed in this case, or what their size would be, so it’s difficult to evaluate the impact on the schools at this point.

It’s also a bit early to assume any retail stores are already in the fold for this project, but one source told the Times that Bank of America already has expressed interest in the space. The huge bank’s only other City location is 1.5 miles away on North Washington, across from Northgate. However, the source who confirmed for the Times the basic outlines of the proposal said he hadn’t heard anything about the bank’s interest.

Multiple sources also said they understood that improvements to the congested Broad-West intersection would be part of the proposal and that some preliminary ideas already have been bounced around between the developer and City planners. However, it could not be learned what those proposals are.

The busy intersection is especially heavy in part because it’s what traffic engineers refer to as an “offset” intersection, in which northbound West Street is located further southeast than southbound West Street, which would create a potentially dangerous situation if both sides were allowed to proceed at the same time.

As a result, northbound traffic currently has a green light and a left arrow first, followed by the southbound traffic. That creates a longer light cycle for the intersection, backing up traffic more than it otherwise might. A possible change, therefore, would be a realignment of West Street to eliminate the offset.

Like the Harris Teeter proposal down the street, this project also would mean the loss of a local favorite. At the Harris Teeter, it is Anthony’s Italian Restaurant. As of Friday, 873 people had signed an online petition urging the city to help save Anthony’s. Ultimately, the decision is out of the city’s hands, although officials certainly could encourage the developer to find a way to incorporate Anthony’s into the new project.

In the case of the Broad and West project, it would be Mike’s Deli at Lazy Sundae, a popular spot, especially on hot summer evenings when people line up for the store’s ice cream.

Worrying about that loss may be getting ahead of ourselves, however, as this proposal has a long way to go before it ever becomes a reality.

City Property Assessments up 2.9 Percent – Individual Assessments Coming Mid-February

Monday, January 28, 2013

The total taxable assessed value for all properties in the City as of Jan. 1, 2013, is $3,324,120,300 ($3.3 billion), a 2.9 percent increase from January 1, 2012. The City plans to mail assessments for 2013 in February, so property owners should receive the notices on or after Tuesday, Feb. 12. Updated assessment information will be posted on the City website Monday, Feb. 11. Individual assessment information will not be available until after the mailing.

Overall residential real estate values increased 3.1 percent over the last year. Single family home values increased by 3.5 percent, townhomes increased by 3.6 percent, and residential condominiums had varying changes.

Overall commercial property values increased 1.6 percent since January 2012. The real estate value of multi-family apartments increased 5 percent, large office buildings are up 0.2 percent and large retail properties are up 3.9 percent. The value of City hotels remained flat.

As set forth in the Virginia Constitution, real estate is assessed at 100 percent of fair market value. The City’s Office of Real Estate Assessment calculates property value annually using mass appraisal techniques that are standard in the real estate assessment industry.

Real Estate Taxes and Public Hearings

The notice of assessment is an appraisal of the fair market value of the property; it is not a tax bill. Property tax payments will be due in two installments on June 5 and Dec. 5; property owners will receive bills prior to these dates.

The real estate tax rate will be determined on April 22, 2013, when the Falls Church City Council adopts the Fiscal Year 2014 Operating Budget and Capital Improvements Program and sets the tax rate. Public hearings on the Fiscal Year 2014 Proposed Operating Budget will be held on March 25, April 8, and April 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers (300 Park Ave.). To see the complete budget schedule, visit

Assessment Appeals

Individual assessments will be mailed in February. After evaluating the assessment, homeowners wondering if their assessment is correct should ask the question, “Would my home sell for the assessed value if I put it on the market?” If the answer is “yes,” the assessment is probably accurate. If the answer is “no,” contact the Office of Real Estate Assessment at 703-248-5022 (TTY 711).

Deadlines for assessment appeals are Friday, March 15, 2013, for an Office of Real Estate Assessment review and Friday, July 5, 2013 for a Board of Equalization review. More information about the assessment review process is available online at

Homeowners Voice Concerns About H-T Project

December 1, 2012 by · 44 Comments 

Falls Church Times Staff

December 1, 2012

Winter Hill homeowners were out in force last Thursday evening to hear a briefing on the proposed Harris-Teeter store and apartment complex at 301 W. Broad St.   Many in the standing-room-only crowd did not like what they heard.

The six story building, which would replace Anthony’s Restaurant and the old post office property, may provide a significant tax windfall for the city.  However, given the residents’ strong objections, the project clearly will face a struggle when it comes before the Planning Commission and City Council.

Ten Winter Hill townhouses are adjacent to the site and many others are in close proximity.  Owners of some of those homes and many other area residents objected to several features of the project’s design and how it will impact the neighborhood.

Many of their objections concerned the location of the access route for trucks and the loading docks for the grocery store and the apartments.  As designed, this alley will parallel the property line on the west side of the building.  Residents felt that it would be better to shift these features to the opposite side of the complex, where the noise and air pollution generated by vehicles would be away from their homes.

The residents noted that the building also would cast extensive shadows over their properties much of the day.   As proposed, the structure will be 83 feet high, which is 8 feet over the standard city limit.  This will require a special exception, which already has been filed.

Residents also were concerned that the combination of a supermarket and an apartment building would significantly increase traffic in the area and contribute to the neighborhood’s parking problem, long severe due to the lack of space in Winter Hill lots.  Attendees’ suggestions included a traffic signal at the intersection of Gundry Drive and Annandale Road and a special parking district with spaces reserved for area residents.

The city projects that the apartments will add only 34 additional pupils to its crowded schools, but some people were skeptical of this estimate.  Thirty percent of the apartments will be two bedroom units.  This is a much lower ratio than found in Pearson Square (401 S. Maple Ave.), which includes 133 two bedroom and 25 three bedroom apartments.

As now designed, the project’s ground level includes the 60,800 square feet Harris-Teeter store and an additional 3,110 of retail space.  Five upper floors will offer 294 multi-family rental apartments.  There will be 30 studio apartments, 176 one bedroom, and 88 two bedroom units.

The development also will include a three level underground parking  garage which will provide 586 spaces.  Parking on the first level  will be reserved for shoppers.  The residential parking ratio will be 1.33 spaces per unit.

Architect Doug Carter of Davis, Carter, Scott and Patrick Kearney of Rushmark Properties responded to the homeowners’ questions and concerns.  Carter, who was the architect of the Byron (513 W. Broad St.), welcomed the comments and stressed that the project process is in a very early stage.  Mayor Nader Baroukh, a Winter Hill resident, and Council member Johannah Barry attended the meeting but did not speak.

Information on the complex is available in five files at the city’s website.  Architectural elevations and conceptual floor and parking level plans are in Part 4.  Project specifications and a preliminary fiscal impact analysis are in Part 5.

This effort is the latest attempt to restart the City Center project, originally proposed in 2007 but set aside during the recession.  Attempts to approve a senior citizens apartment house at 350 S. Washington St. and an adjacent office and retail building failed in 2010.

In October 2012, the  City Council approved the sale of two city-owned lots in the 200 and 300 blocks of West Broad Street to a development company called Falls Church Development Partners, LLC, of which Rushmark is a member.   One lot, adjacent to the Burke and Herbert Bank, is technically owned by the City’s Economic Development Authority.  Together, the city is selling them for $4,322,000, a value arrived at in an appraisal done for the city earlier this year.

However, other issues must be resolved before the project can begin.  The developer won’t be able to close on the land until it applies for and receives a building permit.  The city also is including a performance requirement that would allow officials to buy the land back if the project is not started in 12 months or completed in 24 months of the sale.

Also, the city’s suit flied last year against City Center developer Atlantic Realty must be resolved.  Falls Church  sent a “notice of default” to Atlantic on March 2, 2011, arguing that the developer “failed to perform its obligations under the agreement” between the city and the developer.  Until the court declares that project null and void, the city cannot proceed in other directions with the land.

SATURDAY, 6/23: Washington Street Area Plan Meeting

June 19, 2012 by · Comments Off on SATURDAY, 6/23: Washington Street Area Plan Meeting 

A community meeting to kick off the South Washington Street Small Area Planning will be held on Saturday, June 23, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Columbia Baptist Church, 103 West Columbia Street, in the Fellowship Hall.  The purpose of the small area plan process is to determine community desires for development and redevelopment within the planning area.

For a map of the boundaries of the Small Area Plan, see The bold section in the center, outlined in red, is the parameter of the study area.

At the meeting, community residents, property owners, and other interested persons will receive a presentation that includes existing conditions and potential redevelopment opportunities. After a presentation on existing conditions, attendees wil

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l have the opportunity to ask questions and/or to provide comments and ideas on desired land uses, density, transportation, and environmental/open space features.

Attendees are encouraged to walk, bike, or use the parking lot behind Columbia Baptist Church. Entrances to the parking lot are off of North Maple Avenue and from south bound on North Washington Street (Route 29). Enter the building through the double glass doors closest to North Maple Avenue. After entering the building, the staircase and the elevator are in the hallway to the right. Take the stairs or the elevator to the second floor. The Fellowship Hall is across the corridor from the elevator shaft and the staircase.

Attendees are asked to RSVP to or 703-248-5040 so the organizers can provide sufficient seating.


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