Big changes coming to Fairfax Circle - Annandale native among five killed in Navy helicopter crash - Deer management program to run through Feb. 19
Supervisors approve 5-cent plastic bag tax - Walkinshaw spars with Trump’s EPA chief
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Realtor Jennifer Mack, whose column this week declares that the real estate market correction has arrived. Reach out to Jennifer with real estate questions and column ideas at email@example.com
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Early voting has begun: Early voting began Friday and will continue through Oct. 30 in the Nov. 2 election for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and House of Delegates. You can find information on where and how to vote here.
Big changes coming to Fairfax Circle: Fairfax City is considering major changes to Fairfax Circle, the “hamburger” roundabout where Route 50 meets Route 29, near Mantua. The changes will include improvements to the intersection itself, described in a recent report as accident-prone and confusing, along with a new vision for the surrounding area, which the city wants to develop into a “vibrant, walkable location featuring a mix of uses and a variety of mobility options.”
The new vision for Fairfax Circle was outlined in an “alternatives study” released by the city. The report describes the intersection as “sprawling, confusing to navigate, and intimidating” for pedestrians and bicyclists, with one of the highest rates of vehicle crashes of any intersection in the city. It’s one of the last remaining “hamburger” roundabouts in Virginia, which began phasing out such intersections in the 1970s. The report lists several potential alternatives, including a traditional intersection with a skew, a roundabout with grade separation, and a quadrant roadway intersection.
As part of its “2035 Comprehensive Plan,” Fairfax City has designated the area around the intersection for commercial and residential development. Citing the new Scout on the Circle development as a potential model, the city is looking to create a “vibrant, transit-supportive, mixed-use gateway,” which will likely require adding more side streets. A key goal of the project is to make the area friendlier for pedestrians and bicyclists, creating connections to nearby by trails and access to the Vienna Metro Station.
The project is still in the planning stage, with the intersection improvements set to begin in several years.
The public is invited to submit ideas and feedback here.
Supervisors approve 5-cent plastic bag tax: A 5-cent tax on plastic bags provided by grocery stores, convenience stores, and drugstores will take effect Jan. 1, following a 9-1 vote last Tuesday by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Arlington and Alexandria quickly followed suit, passing their own 5-cent bag taxes on Saturday, as WTOP News reported. The coordinated effort follows last year’s passage of enabling legislation by the Virginia General Assembly, which included a requirement that the revenue go toward environmental programs.
The Fairfax County measure was put forward by Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw, who issued the following statement after the vote:
Plastic bags are one of the most common items found during community cleanups of our parks, streams, and lakes. They damage aquatic ecosystems and the micro-particles of plastics created when they break down [and] make their way into our water sources. Plastic bag taxes are proven in jurisdictions across the nation. This measure will reduce plastic pollution and the modest funds collected will be reinvested into litter prevention and to providing reusable bags for low-income community members.
-Walkinshaw spars with Trump’s EPA chief: Ahead of the bag-tax vote, a high-profile witness spoke out in opposition: Andrew Wheeler, who led the Environmental Protection Agency under former President Trump. Wheeler, testifying in his capacity as a Fairfax County resident, called the tax “misguided,” adding: “One more tax in the name of the environment will not solve this environmental problem, but only further hurt low-income households across the county.”
As chronicled in E&E News, Walkinshaw did not pass up the opportunity to tangle with a national political figure. “Mr. Wheeler’s tenure at the EPA was a disaster from an environmental perspective,” Walkinshaw said at the hearing. “And I would recommend, for us on this board, if Andrew Wheeler says that we should turn right on an environmental issue, we should turn left. If he says that we should go down, we should go up. If he says that we should do ‘x,’ we should do ‘y.’ And that’ll help guide us, I think, tonight.”
WorkAway Solutions offers flexible coworking space in Ravensworth
Community mourns passing of Canterbury Woods, Woodson alum
Annandale native among five killed in Navy helicopter crash: A tragic message sent earlier this month to the Canterbury Woods Elementary School community:
We learned this week about the passing of a former CWES Cougar and child of a former CWES staff member, Lieutenant Paul Fridley. On Tuesday, August 31st, 2021, Paul lost his life in an MH-60S helicopter crash off the coast of San Diego, California with four other members of his squadron.
Some of our teachers remember Paul fondly from his elementary days at Canterbury Woods. After graduating from Woodson High School in 2011, he went to UVA and [joined] the Navy. His mom, Pam, served as a Cued Language Transliterator at our school.
The Fridley family has been an integral part of the Canterbury Woods community for decades and still live in the neighborhood. Paul is survived by his wife, Sarah.
A fundraiser set up by the HSC-8 Spouses Club to support the Fridley family is available here.
Deer management program to run through Feb. 19: The annual Deer Management Archery Program began Sept. 11 and will run through Feb. 19. You may have noticed signs like the one below cropping up in local parks and along trails:
Here’s a statement from the county explaining the rationale for the program:
The archery program began in FY 2010 and is part of an integrated Deer Management Program to reduce and stabilize the white-tailed deer population in Fairfax County in [an effort] to minimize safety and health hazards and other impacts related to an overabundance of deer. These impacts include deer-vehicle collisions, potential spread of diseases, and environmental damage attributed to deer that can impact the ecosystem. The program was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2000 and is recognized as a safe and efficient method of deer population control by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.
Because of its proven track record of safety, archery is a preferred deer management method in Fairfax County. Archery is a compatible use with residential areas and community parks, allowing for deer population management in urban and suburban areas. Since Virginia began tracking hunting injuries in 1959, no bystanders have been injured by an archer hunting deer anywhere in the Commonwealth. The Fairfax County Deer Management Program is conducted on approximately 100 properties countywide. Last year, 823 deer were harvested through the use of archery by hunters in the county program. The archery program accounted for 94% of the total deer harvests in the Fairfax County Deer Management Program.
More info here.
Kids Give Back to host fundraiser Oct. 16: The organization Kids Give Back, which provides volunteer opportunities for children, is hosting a fundraiser Oct. 16 from 12-3 p.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church off Little River Turnpike. The event is called “The Costumes for Kids Fall Volunteer Festival.” Tickets are $10/person, and activities will include a volunteer project, face painting, a DIY costume station, and more. You can purchase tickets here.
News in Brief
For the second straight year, the Oak Hill Plantation House will not be open to the public because of the pandemic. A virtual tour was offered on Saturday and can be viewed here.
Lake Braddock Secondary School sent a letter to parents about vandalism in the bathrooms, including missing soap dispensers—which appears to be a national trend promoted on the social media site TikTok, reports NBC4 Washington.
FCPS is looking to provide livestreamed or recorded classes for students whose in-person learning is paused due to COVID-19, reports FFX Now.
Over 60 Afghan refugees have enrolled in FCPS, including several at Annandale High School, reports NBC4 Washington. “We have social workers, parent liaisons, and we have counselors all here, and ready to support students that come in,” said Meredith Hedrick, Annandale’s English as a Second Language department chair.
The NCAA has placed George Mason University’s athletic department on a one-year probation for improperly awarding scholarships to 18 athletes, The Washington Post reports.
Jai Cole has been named executive director of the Fairfax County Park Authority, succeeding Kirk Kincannon, who retired this year. Cole comes from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Montgomery Parks, where she was chief of the park planning and stewardship division.
Jennifer Mack column: The market correction has arrived
With home prices surging, many would-be buyers have been hoping for a market correction.
From what I’m seeing, that correction has arrived.
Starting about the third week of July, I could feel a slowdown and that has continued through August and into September. The August statistics reveal this to be true across Fairfax County (and in many other areas, as well).
From July to August, the average days on market for homes in the county increased over 30% to 17 days. I expect that, starting with September closings, we will see lower average prices. This is in line with normal seasonal fluctuations, but I think there are additional factors at play. We had a lot of sellers enter the market late after seeing the high prices their neighbors were getting in the spring. By the time their houses were prepared to go on the market, it was simply too late in the season, with demand leveling off. They will not get the spectacular results that the spring sellers saw. Still, I do see accurately priced homes in excellent condition receiving multiple offers. Realistic, well-prepared sellers continue to be rewarded with strong contracts.
Additionally, many buyers decided to pull out of the home search at some point in June or early July, as they were tired of bidding wars and losing out on so many homes. Many renewed their leases or decided to stay in their current homes. Some will re-enter the search once they see prices coming down, along with other signs that the market is slowing, such as the increase in the average number of days on market. Others may take a longer break.
For sellers who "missed the boat" last Spring, I recommend preparing to go on the market as early as March 1. My team is currently scheduling advance photos sessions for spring sellers so they have some photos to post of their yards looking better than they will in the winter. We can take interior photos whenever a seller is ready and hold everything until we feel the market heating up and be ready to go on the market at the prime time to capitalize on pent-up buyer demand from the winter.
Jennifer Mack has more than 16 years of experience in the real estate industry, with her team servicing Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 703-672-0038.
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