One of Northern Virginia’s oldest Boy Scout troops at risk of losing charter with AUMC - Supervisors to vote Oct. 19 on collective bargaining - George Mason finalizes master plan

Plan to improve county-run trash service due in December - Supervisors approve Kenilworth II development - D1 Training hosts launch event in Pinecrest Plaza

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One of Northern Virginia’s oldest Boy Scout troops at risk of losing charter with Annandale United Methodist Church

Other local troops’ charters also at risk over rift stemming from proposed sexual abuse settlement

Local Boy Scouts are at risk of losing their charters because of a national rift between the scouts and the religious organizations that sponsor individual troops. The rift stems from the Boy Scouts of America’s proposed $850 million settlement with tens of thousands of alleged sexual abuse victims—a settlement that would shield the Boy Scouts from further legal liability but doesn’t appear to extend that protection to sponsoring organizations.

As of last week, several local troops had either lost their charters or were set to lose them at year’s end, but the agreements are now back in place through March because of a deal reached Wednesday between the Boy Scouts and the United Methodist Church. The deal is intended to buy more time for both sides to “resolve important issues affecting chartered organizations, including a favorable release for chartered organizations for any Scout abuse claims,” says a joint statement from the Boy Scouts and United Methodist leadership.

Prior to the deal, Troop 150 of Annandale United Methodist Church had been set to lose its charter, which would have been a sad milestone for a troop that notes on its website it has been continuously re-chartered for over 93 years. Troop 150 is “the oldest continually operating Troop in Fairfax County and among the oldest in Northern Virginia,” the website says, adding: “Throughout the long history of Troop 150, our sponsors have been organizations associated with Annandale United Methodist Church.”

Scout troops are extremely dependent on their chartering organizations because the troops themselves are not legal entities—they’re owned and operated by their sponsors, similar to a church youth group.

Other local troops are also grappling with the possible loss of their charters if the Boy Scouts and its church partners cannot resolve their differences before the current deal expires in March.

At Burke United Methodist Church, the governing body is expected to meet soon to determine the next steps for its three scout troops: Cub Scout Pack 1347, Scouts BSA Troop 1347B for boys, and Scouts BSA Troop 1347G for girls. “We are still collecting information to better understand the chartering organization’s liability in issues involving BSA troops that we would charter,” said Rev. Dr. Jason Snow of Burke UMC. Added John Vanden Berghe, the church’s chartered organization representative: “If Burke UMC does not renew the charters, those units will need to find a new organization to charter them. We’re all hopeful that things will be resolved in a manner that will allow Burke UMC to continue its relationship with the scouts.”

Meanwhile, Troop 1525 of St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church is “taking steps to find new chartering organizations in case nothing new is negotiated” by the March deadline, according to a parent who’s involved with the troop. “The church has been very supportive and positive with the troops that it charters,” said the parent, who asked not to be identified.

On its website, the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church posted an FAQ document explaining its dispute with the Boy Scouts. The document says church leaders are “disappointed and quite concerned” that chartering organizations were not included in the proposed settlement with the roughly 84,000 men who say they were sexually abused by scout leaders when they were children.

The document, posted before church leadership had reached the deal that extends current charters through March, encouraged individual churches to end all existing charters and instead move to “facilities use agreements” that would have shifted legal liability to the scouts. “It is essential that The United Methodist Church in Virginia and nationwide reevaluate our relationship with the Boy Scouts,” the document says.

In a statement, Aaron Chusid, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America’s National Capital Area Council, said the organization was “committed to ensuring that all families who want to participate in the Scouting program continue to have the opportunity to do so.” He added: “Already this year over 3,200 boys and girls have joined Cub Scouts–more than joined in all of last year–and we look forward to working with all of our chartered partners to provide an outstanding program for young people in our community.”

In its FAQ document, the United Methodist Church implores its members to “pray and pray fervently for the survivors of child sex abuse and their families.”


County Government

Plan to improve county-run trash service due in December: Public works officials are expected to present a plan in December for improving trash service for the 10% of households that have county-run waste pickup, Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw tells us. 

As we reported last Tuesday, that plan is now a prerequisite for expanding county-run service to Canterbury Woods and other neighborhoods that have petitioned to ditch their private trash haulers. The board had been expected last week to approve county-run waste collection for Canterbury Woods, but the vote was deferred because the county faces a severe shortage of commercially licensed drivers that has led to missed pickups in its current service areas.

“There’s no point in expanding and creating new districts if we can’t handle what we’ve got,” one Herndon resident testified at a board hearing last week, noting that the county hasn’t picked up his yard waste in over four weeks. Added Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross: “Adding this many households in January makes no sense. … The service is in a hole, and it needs to stop digging.”

Board approves Kenilworth II development over the objections of some residents: By unanimous voice vote last week, the Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning application from Christopher Land LLC to develop a 4.43-acre property just south of the Kenilworth community at Caprino Court and Braddock Road. The applicant is seeking to build 12 single-family homes, nine as part of the first phase.

Some residents of Penns Crossing oppose the plan because it would connect Banting Drive and Caprino Court to Braddock Road–causing concern that their neighborhood could be used as a cut-through. But board members said their hands were tied because of a state law requiring new streets to be connected to existing road and pedestrian networks to provide better traffic flow and access for emergency vehicles.


Sponsor Message

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Events

D1 Training hosts launch event in Pinecrest Plaza: The new D1 Training facility in Pinecrest Plaza in Alexandria is hosting a grand opening celebration today from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The celebration will feature “fun activities for kids and sports fans alike,” says spokesperson Katie Kissal, noting that it’s a perfect event for the school holiday. “The athletic training facility ‘soft’ opened about two weeks ago, and aims to help athletes of all ages prepare for their gameday, or achieve their fitness goals,” Kissal adds. You can find more information on the D1 website.

Fairfax City’s “Fall Crawl” set for Oct. 30: Fairfax City will host its third annual “Old Town Fairfax City Fall Crawl” on Saturday, Oct. 30, from 2-7 p.m. Ten restaurants are participating, offering “scary good bites” and special offers when a crawl passport is shown, according to a news release. Attendees will need to check in at the Old Town Plaza to get their passports. More info here.


News in Brief

  • George Mason University has completed its “master plan,” which calls for raising $10 billion over the next 10 years to overhaul its campuses in Fairfax, Manassas, and Arlington, reports Washington Business Journal.

  • The Board of Supervisors is set to vote Oct. 19 to allow collective bargaining by county employees. As The Washington Post reports, labor unions and advocacy groups are rallying against the measure, saying it doesn’t go far enough.

  • The Annandale Parade, which had been set for Oct. 23, has been canceled due to COVID-19 for the second straight year, the Annandale Blog reports. The parade has been an annual tradition since 1950.


Real Estate

Sponsored Content

Jennifer Mack column: 3 tips for fall buyers

As we covered last week, the market has shifted recently in favor of the buyer. Of course, there are still exceptions, but overall we are seeing fewer offers per home, longer days on market, and buyers able to retain more contingencies. This means it’s more important than ever for homes to be well priced and in excellent condition. 

I have three tips for buyers looking for new homes right now and wanting to take advantage of current market conditions:

  1. Tour homes mid-week, preferably Tuesday or Wednesday, before the weekend competition. If you write an offer mid-week, many sellers will respond before the weekend, giving you an advantage over buyers who only look at homes on the weekend.

  2. Monitor list prices closely and try to time a below-list-price offer right before a price change is expected. I can usually predict when a price change is coming and what the approximate amount of the change might be. Price changes usually bring renewed interest to a property, so if you wait until after an adjustment, you could find yourself in a bidding war.

  3. Monitor homes that are coming "back on market," as these sellers tend to be highly motivated. Often, homes fall out of contract for reasons that have nothing to do with the house itself, such as buyers getting cold feet or losing their financing. Keeping tabs on these homes is a great way to position yourself to be able to negotiate favorable terms. You can ask whether the house had a home inspection and whether you can review a copy of it prior to submitting your offer. Sometimes the agent is able to release these to you; other times they cannot because they don’t have permission from the former buyer who paid for the report.

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 jennifer@jennifermackproperties.com or by calling 703-672-0038.

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