Ariake burglarized - Police seek to deter drag racing on Little River Turnpike - Superintendent to develop new school calendar amid debate over religious holidays

Planning Commission rejects new flagpole rules - Two Wakefield Park tennis courts could be repurposed for pickleball - Pohick Stream Valley Trail construction to begin this week

Welcome to Braddock Buzz, where we’re working to build community through hyperlocal news. Contact us with news, tips, and feedback at braddockbuzz@gmail.com, and please reach out if you’re interested in advertising opportunities.

Thank you to our sponsor, Realtor Jennifer Mack, whose column this week looks at the characteristics of the millennials driving the housing boom. Reach out to Jennifer with column suggestions or real estate questions at jennifer@jennifermackproperties.com.

Crime

Ariake burglarized: 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.”

Police seek to deter drag racing on Little River

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. 

In a virtual town hall last week, Mason Police Commander Shawn Adcock detailed several steps his officers are taking to crack down on an activity that is both extremely noisy and dangerous:

  • Officers will begin enforcing a “no trespassing” policy at the former Kmart shopping center on John Marr Drive, which has been a meetup spot for the racers, as the Annandale Blog reported. The property owner is “fully supportive,” Adcock said, explaining that he is “going to sign a letter with the police department to allow us to enforce trespassing on the property.”

  • The Mason District’s traffic safety officer is working to install new signs in the area with “very stern verbiage” saying the police “will not tolerate reckless driving.” 

  • The Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney has designated a special prosecutor to work with police to build cases against the drag racers. “As we investigate these incidences, we have a special prospector we can consult with,” Adcock said. “They have our full support in prosecuting anybody that we identify as recklessly driving on the roadways or causing any damage to property within the shopping center.”

Adcock noted that stopping drag racing is difficult, especially since car meetups often happen spontaneously. He asked for members of the public to help by notifying police as soon as they become aware of dangerous activity. 

He also added that any police response needs to take safety into account—and this sometimes means avoiding high-speed pursuits. “Some of these car racers, or people that are there, may become antagonistic to police, which is concerning for us, because I don't want police officers pursuing and causing even a more dangerous roadway condition for our community,” he said. “We have to take into consideration the traffic pattern and the number of people there.”

In their statements, both Adcock and Capizzi referenced a new state law that bars police from making traffic stops solely on the basis of loud exhaust systems or defective equipment, among other offenses now considered secondary. “Obviously, reckless driving on the roadways, racing, anything endangering the community, are some of the things we can absolutely take action on,” Adcock said.

County News

Planning Commission says stick with special permits for Accessory Living Units: 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 for getting 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.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hold a hearing on zMOD tomorrow at 4 p.m.

Tysons Reporter has more on the issue here.

Commission rejects flagpole amendment: The Planning Commission also 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.”

County eyes Kings Park library renovation: 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 these in the graphic below. The plan also lists “future projects” that fall outside the five-year window—which 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.”

Here are the Braddock District construction and renovation projects funded in the five-year roadmap:

Schools

Superintendent to develop new school calendar amid debate over religious holidays: 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.

Parks

Two tennis courts at Wakefield Park could be repurposed for pickleball: The Park Authority is considering repurposing platform 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.

Pohick Stream Valley Trail construction to begin this week: Construction will begin as soon as today on the next segment of the Pohick Stream Valley Trail between Burke Station Park and Hillside Road, the Park Authority announced. Contractor AP Construction will create about 2,200 feet of 8-foot-wide asphalt trail, along with a fiberglass bridge, with construction set to wrap up by the end of the year.

“This connection will provide increased access to recreational facilities and the Virginia Railway Express Rolling Road station,” the Park Authority said. “It will serve both pedestrians and cyclists and create approximately 2 miles of fully accessible continuous stream valley trail from Burke Lake Parkway to Hillside Avenue for persons.”

News in Brief

  • Virginia is expected to begin receiving 69,000 doses per week of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, adding to the existing supply of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires just one dose—in contrast to Pfizer and Moderna, which require two.

  • The Northern Virginia Swimming League plans to return to competition this summer after canceling the 2020 summer season due to the pandemic, the Sun Gazette reports.

  • Fairfax County Public Libraries will reopen for interior express services starting March 22, allowing 30-minute visits. Curbside pickup will also continue.

  • The Park Authority will host a meeting March 23 to present and gather public feedback on its draft Dog Park Study, which concluded that the county should construct at least one new dog park by 2025.

  • As other community colleges struggle amid the pandemic, Northern Virginia Community College expects record enrollment this fall—which President Anne Kress credits to extensive outreach to low-income families, among other factors, The Washington Post reports.

Real Estate

Sponsored Content

Jennifer Mack column: Who’s driving the housing boom? Meet the millennials.

First, a quick thanks to everyone who attended our seller seminar last week! We hope you came away with lots of great information on the state of the market and the listing process. Those who attended should expect an email with a quick survey, and your gift cards are coming in the mail! Our next virtual seminar is scheduled for Monday, May 3, at 7 p.m.

As we discussed in the seminar, the housing market remains extremely competitive, to say the least. We’re seeing bids of $100K or more above list price not get accepted in this market. Homes in Burke, Fairfax, and Annandale are routinely settling in the $900K+ range. This leaves many buyers and sellers wondering, who exactly is buying these properties? How do buyers have hundreds of thousands of dollars for a down payment plus a probable appraisal shortfall or even cash to buy a home in this area? 

The answer is millennials. Adults born in 1981-1996 currently represent 38% of home buyers. Many of them, especially in this area, saved money diligently for years to be able to afford a home. For some, they are skipping the traditional "starter home" in favor of going all in on a home they plan to stay in for 20 or more years directly after renting. They have waited to purchase until they have "formed households" and gotten a handle on their student debt. These buyers want to be responsible and are very focused on their goals. Many are willing to put it all on the line for the home where they want to raise their families—and will not compromise on factors such as proximity to good schools, parks, and nature.

Millennials tend to be highly educated, earn high salaries, and stand to inherit more from their families than any other generation. They’re looking for homes that will accommodate working from home as well as growing families. As wealth creation continues to grow and the cost of capital declines, we don't see an end to the need for homes for this segment of the population.

Jennifer Mack has more than 15 years of experience in the real estate industry, with her team servicing Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. Contact her at jennifer@jennifermackproperties.com or by calling 703-672-0038.

New listings

4239 Worcester Dr, Fairfax | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,288 sf | $649,900

10517 Arrowood St, Fairfax | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,848 sf | $739,000

4227 Holborn Ave, Annandale | 5 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,728 sf | $889,900

7711 Lafayette Forest Dr #31, Annandale | 2 beds, 2 baths, 1,130 sf | $328,000

9521 Harrowhill Ln, Burke | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,260 sf | $650,000

4918 Althea Dr, Annandale | 5 beds, 3 baths, 2,464 sf | $695,000

10128 Red Spruce Rd, Fairfax | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,710 sf | $725,000

4910 Eland Ct, Fairfax | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,200 sf | $649,500

5619 Flag Run Dr, Springfield | 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,940 sf | $560,000

10403 Headly Ct, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 2,967 sf | $710,000

5695 Summer Oak Way, Burke | 3 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,320 sf | $407,000

7800 Dassett Ct #7, Annandale | 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,475 sf | $334,900

5484 Signal House Ct, Burke | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,439 sf | $799,900

4951 Americana Dr Unit F, Annandale | 1 bed, 1 bath, 624 sf | $170,000

5027 Cliffhaven Dr, Annandale | 3 beds, 3 baths, 2,252 sf | $499,900

4440 Stark Pl, Annandale | 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,334 sf | $699,500

4704 Declaration Ct, Annandale | 5 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,112 sf | $725,000

5637 Bellington Ave, Springfield | 3 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,010 sf | $549,990

4608 Braeburn Dr, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3 baths, 1,653 sf | $549,000

5918 Oakland Park Dr, Burke | 5 beds, 3.5 baths, 3,702 sf | $890,000

4305 Americana Dr Unit 201 (G), Annandale | 1 bed, 1 bath, 616 sf | $179,900

4958 Sabra Ln, Annandale | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,768 sf | $799,000

7912 Foote Ln, Springfield | 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,844 sf | $569,888

5638 Fort Corloran Dr, Burke | 5 beds, 4 baths, 1,596 sf | $700,000

9704 Rustburg Pl, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 2,204 sf | $745,000

5035 King Richard Dr, Annandale | 5 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,191 sf | $620,000

7752 Donnybrook Ct #112, Annandale | 1 bed, 1 bath, 616 sf | $195,000

6048 Meyers Landing Ct, Burke | 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,688 sf | $469,888

4436 Chase Park Ct, Annandale | 3 beds, 3.5 baths, 1,496 sf | $484,990

5260 Signal Hill Dr, Burke | 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 3,443 sf | $774,900

7717 Rowan Ct, Annandale | 4 beds, 3 baths, 2,486 sf | $649,999

5413 Long Boat Ct, Fairfax | 3 beds, 3.5 baths, 1,430 sf | $499,900

4402 Medford Dr, Annandale | 4 beds, 3 baths, 2,558 sf | $749,000

9300 Jackson St, Burke | 4 beds, 2 baths, 1,304 sf | $560,000

5703 Wigfield Way, Burke | 4 beds, 3 baths, 2,744 sf | $618,000

Recently sold

7841 Heritage Dr, Annandale | 4 beds, 3 baths, 2,200 sf | 3 days on market | $575,000

4820 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale | 5 beds, 2 baths, 2,040 sf | 1 day on market | $755,000

5609 Herberts Crossing Dr, Burke | 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 3,174 sf | 1 day on market | $801,500

5553 Macduff Ct, Fairfax | 3 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,220 sf | 3 days on market | $435,000

5563 Macduff Ct, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 1,220 sf | 5 days on market | $460,000

5504 Lakewhite Ct, Fairfax | 3 beds, 3.5 baths, 1,288 sf | 3 days on market | $470,000

5410 Tripolis Ct, Burke | 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 1,796 sf | 2 days on market | $600,000

4800 Jennichelle Ct, Fairfax | 6 beds, 3.5 baths, 3,131 sf | 3 days on market | $880,000

9420 Hermitage Dr, Fairfax | 5 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,240 sf | 2 days on market | $684,000

5056 Head Ct, Fairfax | 3 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,287 sf | 4 days on market | $450,000

10519 Earlham St, Fairfax | 5 beds, 3 baths, 2,632 sf | 1 day on market | $752,501

4700 Parkman Ct, Annandale | 3 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,529 sf | 5 days on market | $380,000

5112 Cliffhaven Dr, Annandale | 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 1,496 sf | 4 days on market | $503,000

10714 Ames St, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3 baths, 2,418 sf | 5 days on market | $676,000

5743 Nordeen Oak Ct, Burke | 3 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,320 sf | 4 days on market | $391,500

5457 New London Park Dr, Fairfax | 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,290 sf | 4 days on market | $463,000

9107 Fox Lair Dr, Burke | 5 beds, 3 baths, 1,137 sf | 1 day on market | $586,000

4225 Alex Ct, Fairfax | 4 beds, 4.5 baths, 3,859 sf | 4 days on market | $800,000

9905 Mosby Rd, Fairfax | 5 beds, 6.5 baths, 6,914 sf | 5 days on market | $1,297,291