Braddock Buzz

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A reader emailed us last week saying she’d heard the post office in the Ravensworth Shopping Center might be closing—a c...
04/01/2021

A reader emailed us last week saying she’d heard the post office in the Ravensworth Shopping Center might be closing—a concern possibly prompted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s announcement of nationwide service cuts as part of a new 10-year USPS roadmap. We asked around and determined there are no plans to close the facility, at least for now.

“While there are no immediate plans to close the Ravensworth Post Office, customers and Congress are fed up with DeJoy’s service cuts and record delays,” said the Braddock District’s congressman, Democrat Gerry Connolly. USPS spokesperson Felicia Lott also confirmed there are no plans to shutter the facility “at this time,” and a representative for the shopping center noted the lease extends until 2026.

“I hope that branch isn't closing,” said the reader whose email sparked our inquiries. “As far as I can tell, it gets a steady stream of customers every day.”

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Framebridge, the custom framing company launched in 2014 and headquartered in D.C., has opened a new store in Mosaic. Th...
03/31/2021

Framebridge, the custom framing company launched in 2014 and headquartered in D.C., has opened a new store in Mosaic. This is Framebridge’s sixth physical location, with the others in Atlanta, D.C., New York, and Maryland. The Mosaic store’s capacity will be limited because of the pandemic, but appointments can be made online. The address is 2910 District Avenue #165.

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The owners of Fair City Mall are in discussions with the City of Fairfax about bringing several new tenants to the shopp...
03/30/2021

The owners of Fair City Mall are in discussions with the City of Fairfax about bringing several new tenants to the shopping center at the intersection of Route 236 and Pickett Road. The proposed new tenants are: HomeGoods, to replace A.C. Moore; Sierra, to replace Bed Bath & Beyond; and Big Blue Swim School

No announcements have been made, no timelines or opening dates have been publicized, and representatives for Fair City Mall declined to comment, citing “confidentiality agreements.” We reached out to Sierra and HomeGoods, both of which indicated they weren’t ready to discuss their plans. “At this time, HomeGoods has not announced a new store in the Fairfax area,” said spokesperson Hannah Bramhall. Added Sierra in an unattributed statement: “Generally speaking, it is our practice not to announce store openings until close to an intended opening date.”

But the property owners have filed documentation with the City of Fairfax’s Architecture Review Board seeking to change the storefronts to accommodate the proposed new tenants. Renderings also indicate a Burlington coat store could be coming to the former Best Buy location, though Burlington is not mentioned in the text of the proposal.

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Sponsored message:Looking for a neighborhood swim club that offers premier swim & dive programs, youth and adult tennis ...
03/29/2021

Sponsored message:
Looking for a neighborhood swim club that offers premier swim & dive programs, youth and adult tennis instruction and an awesome social calendar that has something for every member of your family?

A limited number of memberships at Wakefield Chapel Recreation Association are still available. Visit wakefieldchapelrec.org to join today!

We are excited to announce that Braddock Buzz has reached 1,000 subscribers! Thank you to all of our wonderful readers -...
03/25/2021

We are excited to announce that Braddock Buzz has reached 1,000 subscribers! Thank you to all of our wonderful readers -- YOU are the community that makes the Braddock District so special ♥

Back in September, we reported that the county had postponed by at least six months a public hearing on the successful p...
03/24/2021

Back in September, we reported that the county had postponed by at least six months a public hearing on the successful petition drive in the Canterbury Woods neighborhood to move from private to county trash pickup. Now that six months have passed, we checked with the county on the status of the hearing. The answer: It remains delayed, with no sign of the process getting back on track anytime soon.

“The Sanitary District petition process is still on hold,” said Charlie Forbes, an official with the county’s Solid Waste Management Program. “There’s been no word on when the hold will be lifted.”

The county has previously offered several reasons for the delay, including the pandemic and a national shortage of commercial truck drivers that would make it difficult to add new routes.

Last June, the 517 homes of Canterbury Woods reached the 55% threshold of “yes” votes to move to county trash, recycling, and yard waste. But for the petition to take effect, it would need approval by the Board of Supervisors, following the public hearing process that has been put on hold. In Truro, some residents have also voiced dissatisfaction with the two private collectors, American Disposal Services and Republic Services. Truro residents are considering launching their own petition drive—but they’re waiting to see whether the Canterbury Woods effort gets the green light.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending three feet between students in most circumstances. Th...
03/23/2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending three feet between students in most circumstances. This is down from six feet, which FCPS leaders had cited as the main roadblock to reopening to full-time in-person instruction. In a message to parents, Superintendent Scott Brabrand called the new guidance “very encouraging,” promising to huddle this week with principals and health officials, as The Washington Post reported.

“We will be proposing next steps once we have completed a thorough review,” Brabrand said.

With most teachers vaccinated and enrollment now down more than 5% from last year, there will be tremendous pressure on Brabrand to return to full-time instruction five days a week. The advocacy group Open Fairfax County Schools, which claims to represent over 2,300 FCPS parents, said in a statement Friday: “There are no more excuses.”

“Putting students in school five days a week now will provide important data and information to prepare for a quick and successful re-opening next fall,” the group said. “It will give families still on the fence about whether to return to FCPS confidence that FCPS is capable of the task and that it can be trusted to follow through. And, most importantly, it will provide immediate relief and key academic and emotional supports to many FCPS students who are struggling, and whose families cannot adjust their lives around a partial in-person hybrid option.”

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The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is moving forward with the design of a new customer service center on Braddock...
03/20/2021

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is moving forward with the design of a new customer service center on Braddock Road just east of Burke Station Road, according to the latest edition of Supervisor James Walkinshaw's Braddock Beacon newsletter. The site, now used for motorcycle training, was purchased by DMV in 2015 with the intent to build a new service center to replace the one at Fair Oaks Mall.

Here’s more on the new facility via Walkinshaw, who says he’s requested that DMV host a virtual town hall and is disappointed that, so far, nothing has been done to solicit community input:

"The new customer service center will be 15,435 square feet, with 20 teller windows, one overflow/testing window, and three information windows. All windows will be outfitted with clear plastic partitions, and lobby seating will be arranged to allow for adequate social distancing.

The DMV will continue to use the appointment system that has been in place since May 2020, allowing control over customer flow. When it opens, the office will staff 9 windows to accommodate 350-400 appointments per day on weekdays and half that on Saturdays. When it is appropriate to increase the number of open windows, the DMV anticipates operating at 75 percent capacity, which would result in 600 appointments per day on weekdays and 300 on Saturdays. The parking lot will accommodate not only customers and employees, but also road skills testing. That will avoid sending cars onto Braddock Road for that purpose."

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The Park Authority is looking to convert two platform tennis courts at Wakefield Park to pickleball to meet increasing d...
03/19/2021

The Park Authority is looking to convert two platform tennis courts at Wakefield Park to pickleball to meet increasing demand for a sport that’s surging in popularity—but this falls short of an earlier proposal put forward by pickleball advocates. The Park Authority’s plan would repurpose platform tennis courts 12 and 13, which are in poor condition and rarely used, at a cost of $140,000, paid for with dedicated park renovation funds. Construction would begin in the late spring and last three months.

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The Board of Supervisors last week deferred a decision to overhaul the county’s four-decade-old zoning rules until March...
03/18/2021

The Board of Supervisors last week deferred a decision to overhaul the county’s four-decade-old zoning rules until March 23. The Planning Commission had previously approved the Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project, or zMOD, but with tweaks to the most controversial elements, including rejecting a proposal to streamline the approval process for Accessory Living Units.

“Our decision to defer the vote on zMod is to make sure we get it right,” Chairman McKay said in a statement. “We received a lot of testimony today and a Planning Commission action just last week which needs to be reviewed by Board members. Modernizing the ordinance is way overdue to make our ordinance simpler, easier to understand, and in better alignment with our surrounding jurisdictions.”

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The Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations is encouraging neighborhood civic groups to ensure their resident...
03/17/2021

The Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations is encouraging neighborhood civic groups to ensure their residents have the resources they need to get Covid-19 vaccinations. In a letter to member groups, Federation President William Barfield said that Fairfax County has done an “outstanding” job implementing its vaccination program--but there still may be knowledge and transportation gaps for some residents.

“The Federation believes that its member citizens associations are in a good position to address this gap by providing neighbor-to-neighbor help to those who may be struggling to get vaccination appointments because of technical challenges or because they have limited transportation to vaccination sites,” Barfield wrote. The Federation is working with member associations to establish a network of neighborhood volunteers, “Neighborhood COVID Navigators,” to help residents schedule and attend vaccination appointments.

In a flyer distributed to member groups, the Federation notes that county residents can reach the Health Department call center at 703-324-7404, TTY 711, for help scheduling appointments or arranging transportation.

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D.C. resident Kwasi Crichlow, 27, has been arrested for his alleged involvement in multiple overnight burglaries targeti...
03/16/2021

D.C. resident Kwasi Crichlow, 27, has been arrested for his alleged involvement in multiple overnight burglaries targeting minority-owned businesses in the area. Police are investigating at least 16 burglaries that occurred since late January, including the March 3 burglary of Ariake Restaurant on Little River Turnpike, but their statement only ties Crichlow to three of the incidents, which all occurred the night of Jan. 28 in Annandale:

Naz Food
Kogiya Korean BBQ
Han Gang Korean Restaurant

Detectives continue to investigate Crichlow’s involvement in other burglaries and do not believe he acted alone. Anyone with information regarding the incidents is asked to call the Mason District Station Criminal Investigation Section at 703-256-8035.

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The Board of Supervisors has approved a maximum property tax rate for the next budget year of $1.15 per $100 in assessed...
03/15/2021

The Board of Supervisors has approved a maximum property tax rate for the next budget year of $1.15 per $100 in assessed value. This is the same as the current rate, but would represent a tax hike for most homeowners because of rising property values. County Executive Bryan Hill had recommended cutting the tax rate by a penny, to $1.14--and even that would have increased the average homeowner’s tax burden by $224, since real estate assessments are up 4.25% over last year.
The board giving itself more room to maneuver will likely come as welcome news for county county employees hoping for a raise. Hill’s proposed budget would keep pay flat for all county employees, including teachers, for the second year in a row--which he’s framed as a necessity given the pandemic’s toll on the economy.

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The county has released its latest five-year investment roadmap, known as the Capital Improvement Program, covering fisc...
03/12/2021

The county has released its latest five-year investment roadmap, known as the Capital Improvement Program, covering fiscal years 2022 through 2026. The list of projects in the Braddock District is unchanged from the previous roadmap—you can see theses in the graphic below. The plan also lists “future projects” that fall outside the five-year window—and these include an $11 million renovation of the Kings Park Community Library, slated for the 2026 bond referendum.

The library, constructed in 1971 and last renovated in 1993, is the county’s busiest community library, with circulation “comparable to a small regional,” the plan says, explaining that “the high usage results in greater wear and tear.”

“Carpets, furniture, and staff areas are worn and dated, and the HVAC is not efficient or effective,” the plan adds. “Renovations are required to upgrade building systems and infrastructure that are well beyond the end of their life cycle and meet current and future operational needs of the Library System.”

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The Planning Commission last week approved a major overhaul of the county’s four-decade-old zoning rules—but with tweaks...
03/11/2021

The Planning Commission last week approved a major overhaul of the county’s four-decade-old zoning rules—but with tweaks to the most controversial elements. The Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project, or zMOD, had sought to streamline the process to get a permit for an Accessory Living Unit, often dubbed a “mother-in-law suite,” within a detached home. But the commission rejected this—and instead recommended keeping the current “special permit” process, which requires a public hearing before the Board of Zoning Appeals.

The commission did, however, recommend striking a requirement that Accessory Living Units only be approved if someone in the home is 55 or older or has a disability.

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The Park Authority is considering repurposing tennis courts 12 and 13 at Wakefield Park for pickleball, according to Bra...
03/10/2021

The Park Authority is considering repurposing tennis courts 12 and 13 at Wakefield Park for pickleball, according to Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw’s latest newsletter. The courts are in poor condition and haven’t been used for tennis in many years, the newsletter says.

The move comes amid a nationwide surge in demand for pickleball, with Fairfax County currently analyzing the results of a survey conducted earlier this year.

Walkinshaw and the Park Authority will hold a virtual meeting on the issue April 8 at 7 p.m.

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Fairfax County police are stepping up patrols and installing new signage to deter drag racing on Little River Turnpike, ...
03/10/2021

Fairfax County police are stepping up patrols and installing new signage to deter drag racing on Little River Turnpike, which has become an almost nightly frustration for those who live nearby, according to officers with the Mason and West Springfield police stations. “We’re aware of the community concerns and are increasing patrol efforts among our officers,” said PFC Anthony Capizzi, the crime prevention officer with the West Springfield station.

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The Planning Commission rejected an amendment that would have restricted the height and number of flagpoles that people ...
03/09/2021

The Planning Commission rejected an amendment that would have restricted the height and number of flagpoles that people can have in their yards or outside their businesses, WTOP reports. “This was a solution looking for a problem,” said Planning Commission Vice Chairman John Ulfelder. “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”

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The School Board has directed FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand to develop a new 2021-2022 school calendar after the bo...
03/09/2021

The School Board has directed FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand to develop a new 2021-2022 school calendar after the board failed to reach agreement on whether to add four additional religious holidays, as The Washington Post reports:

"The order came after hours of debate, during which board members weighed the pros and cons of adding four religious holidays — Jewish celebrations Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Hindu festival Diwali and the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr. The idea of giving time off for these holidays was first proposed by a board-appointed task force last year.

The board called on Superintendent Scott Brabrand to develop another calendar option that addresses a list of concerns including “inclusivity” and “student wellness,” with a vote to finalize the calendar scheduled for March 18.

The board also directed the superintendent to consider granting students two “floating holidays” every year that they could use to earn excused absences for religious rites or observances."

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The Ariake Japanese restaurant at 8708 Little River Turnpike was burglarized last week, according to police. The inciden...
03/08/2021

The Ariake Japanese restaurant at 8708 Little River Turnpike was burglarized last week, according to police. The incident occurred at 1:46 a.m. Wednesday, when “three people forced entry into the business and took property and cash.”

Last month, the Fairfax County Police Department announced an investigation into “a series of overnight commercial burglaries” targeting minority-owned businesses in Annandale, Falls Church, Springfield, and Alexandria. The department held a meeting Feb. 16 with Korean business owners to discuss “forging new partnerships and increasing communication to combat burglaries in the area.”

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