Two juveniles charged in October’s Audrey Moore vandalism - School Board to decide whether to resume in-person learning - Vaccines resume for FCPS teachers, staff

Walkinshaw launches podcast - Supervisors reject mixed-use development in western Annandale - Who would qualify for affordable housing at the Fairfax County Government Center? 

Welcome to Braddock Buzz, where we’re looking for a second regular sponsor to help support this newsletter. If you’re a local business owner looking to grow your brand, contact us at braddockbuzz@gmail.com.

Big thanks to Realtor Jennifer Mack, who introduced herself to new subscribers in a video posted last week. In today’s sponsored column, Jennifer discusses simple steps sellers can take to prepare their homes for market. Reach out to Jennifer with column ideas—or if you’re considering buying or selling a home—at jennifer@jennifermackproperties.com.

Two juveniles charged in October’s Audrey Moore vandalism: Two juveniles have been charged with burglary in the October break-in and vandalism at the Audrey Moore RECenter, the Fairfax County Police Department said in a statement to Braddock Buzz. As of last week, arrests were still pending. The next step will be for the juveniles to get court dates. 

The police department does not release the names of juveniles charged with crimes.

The burglary occurred the night of Oct. 13 and caused “mayhem,” as Park Authority spokesperson Judy Pederson said at the time, citing “broken windows, damaged and destroyed equipment, holes in doors and walls, and heavy objects thrown into the pool.” The RECenter was closed the next day and roped off with yellow tape as police collected evidence and staff cleaned up the “tremendous mess,” as Pederson described it.

Featured Photo

A blue snowman sprouted up yesterday in front of the Wakefield Chapel. Children went sledding and threw snowballs as the area was blanketed with several inches of snow.

To the disappointment of many, FCPS announced there would be no snow day from virtual instruction, though extracurricular events and other in-person activities are canceled today.

Schools

School Board to decide whether to resume in-person learning: The Fairfax County School Board will decide tomorrow whether to resume in-person learning this month on the phased timeline proposed by Superintendent Scott Brabrand. In a virtual town hall last week, Braddock District School Board Member Megan McLaughlin said she was “hopeful” the board would approve the phase-in plan—and even said she was pressing Brabrand to accelerate it.

“I am very hopeful that at least a majority, if not a strong majority, of the board will share the perspective of our governor and recognize that it is essential that we continue to move forward with this effort to return students to in-person learning,” McLaughlin said. She was emphatic that in-person learning not be contingent on vaccinations.

“Waiting for both teachers and students to all get vaccinated before we resume in-person learning simply doesn't follow the science,” she explained. “Study after study is showing that with strong mitigation practices we can begin reopening our schools. It's essential that we really start to return our students to in-person learning, for those who can and need that.”

Brabrand’s proposed timeline is here:

Vaccines resume for FCPS teachers, staff: We sent a news alert last week after Inova Health System announced the cancellation of all first-dose vaccination appointments, including for teachers and other FCPS employees. This was a consequence of Fairfax County learning it would receive less vaccine than expected from the state, and the state learning it would receive less vaccine than expected from the federal government.

Superintendent Brabrand has since sent an update to teachers and staff saying Inova and the county will work to begin rescheduling appointments.

“We know this will not completely alleviate the continued challenges of vaccine availability,” Brabrand said. “The situation remains very fluid, not just in Fairfax County but across the Commonwealth and the nation. We continue to ask for your patience.”

Pandemic

Half of vaccines to go to those 65 and older: Gov. Ralph Northam has announced new guidelines for vaccinations in response to the ongoing shortage, as explained in a blog post from the county:

While local health districts are allowed flexibility in how doses are administered, roughly half of the available supply each week will be used for people 65 and older. The other half will be allocated for people eligible in the other categories, including individuals 16-64 with a high-risk medical condition; frontline essential workers (such as teachers, childcare staff and public safety employees); and people living in correctional facilities and homeless shelters.

The Virginia Department of Health expects to receive 105,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine each week and distributes those on a per capita distribution to jurisdictions. Based on our population, the Fairfax Health District currently receives 13,600 doses per week. The federal government has indicated that supply to states may increase soon by approximately 16%, but that has not happened yet.

The numbers: Fairfax County has so far administered 90,845 vaccine doses, an increase of 33,143 from last week, and 14,314 residents are now fully vaccinated with two doses, an increase of 8,173, according to the state’s vaccine dashboard. Nearly 8% of the county’s 1.1 million people are now vaccinated with at least one dose.

Development

Supervisors reject mixed-use development in western Annandale: The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors last week nixed a proposal to build a 575-unit mixed-use development in western Annandale, off Little River Turnpike between Hummer Road and Woodland Road, the Annandale Blog reports. The proposal was stripped from the county’s Comprehensive Plan work program for 2021 because of “significant community opposition,” said Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross.

Who would qualify for affordable housing at the Fairfax County Government Center? During last month’s meeting of the Braddock District Land Use and Environment Committee, members discussed Walkinshaw’s effort to turn excess parking lots at the Fairfax County Government Center into an affordable housing complex. The move, now under consideration by the Board of Supervisors, would open up about 3.5 acres for development, managed by the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority. 

At issue during the land use committee meeting was who would qualify for the affordable housing units—and would they actually go to those most in need? We posed this question to Walkinshaw, who responded:

While it is still very early in the process, I expect the project to be similar to the Residences at Government Center, which serves families earning a range of incomes up to 60 percent of Area Median Income.

This translates to about $75,600 for a family of four.

Braddock District News

Walkinshaw launches podcast: Supervisor Walkinshaw has launched a podcast, Braddock Voices, which will feature interviews with his constituents and interesting people in the county at large.

In the first episode, Walkinshaw interviews his two predecessors, former Braddock Supervisors Sharon Bulova and John Cook. They discuss the backstories behind several ongoing projects, including Braddock Road improvements and the dredging of Lake Accotink, and how they approached tough decisions during their time in office. At the end, Walkinshaw asks them to name their favorite park and favorite hidden gem in the district. Cook’s are Kings Park Park and the Wakefield Chapel, where Walkinshaw notes you can see “the best sunset in the Braddock District” (with the exception of Lake Accotink). Bulova’s favorites are Royal Lake Park and Fairfax Villa Park, where she says you can “feel like you’re off in the Shenandoah mountains—it’s just beautiful.”

You can catch the first episode on YouTube or SoundCloud, and be notified of future episodes by subscribing to Walkinshaw’s newsletter.

Woodson Crew sells Valentine’s Day chocolates: The Woodson High School crew team is selling handmade Valentine’s Day chocolates to raise money. The team “is powered by the all-volunteer WTW Crew Boosters Association,” says the fundraising website. “Our fundraising efforts are critical to the success of the team every year. … Each gift helps us bring in new equipment for the team from a new boat down to a set of oars or an erg for winter conditioning.” The chocolates are from Cameron’s Coffee and Chocolates, which works to create employment opportunities for young adults with intellectual disabilities. You can support the fundraiser here.

News in Brief

  • With the retirement of Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler, former Chief David Rohrer will move back into the role on an interim basis during a nationwide search for Roessler’s successor. Rohrer was the county’s police chief from 2004 to 2012 before being promoted to deputy executive for public safety. In a story about the search for a new chief, The Washington Post says the Fairfax County Police Department “stands at a crossroads.”

  • The Planning Commission has delayed a decision on the Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project, or zMOD, after more than 40 people spoke out about the new rules during a commission meeting last week, the Annandale Blog reports. Most of the speakers opposed provisions that would make it easier to create an Accessory Living Unit within a home, saying this would increase population density and hurt the character of neighborhoods.

  • Area lawmakers are asking the Biden administration to select Northern Virginia as one of more than 100 proposed mass vaccination sites to be run by FEMA, Washingtonian Magazine reports. “Our localities are eager and ready, and they have the capability to vaccinate thousands more people than they currently have vaccine supply for,” said the three lawmakers, Democratic Reps. Gerry Connolly, Don Beyer, and Jennifer Wexton.

  • The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has formally adopted a policy barring county employees from sharing the immigration status of residents with federal immigration authorities unless required by law, The Washington Post reports. The move was in response to reports that undocumented immigrants have avoided seeking help during the pandemic out of fear of deportation.

  • Fifty-five FCPS students have been nominated for the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, including several from high schools in the Braddock District: James M. Laun of Robinson and, from Woodson, Margaret B. Berberian, Nathaniel G. Close, Alexandra D. Cooper, and Eun Gi Choe.

Events

  • Saturday, Feb. 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: There will be a Stuff the Bus food drive at several locations in the Braddock District and across Fairfax County. More info here.

  • Thursday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m.: A community meeting will be held on the Long Branch Central Watershed Management Area Project. County officials will provide an update, solicit input about the watershed condition, discuss the work plan to be developed this spring, and introduce some of the project partners. Meeting link here.

Real Estate

Sponsored Content

Jennifer Mack column: Simple steps to boost the value of your listing, even in a seller’s market

Even in today’s seller’s market, careful preparation can have a big impact on the offers a listing receives.

Some steps that might be necessary when buyers have lots of homes to choose from aren’t as important when inventory is low. Nevertheless, there are some steps sellers should take to boost the value of their homes regardless of market conditions:

  1. Neutral paint. If the paint is old then fresh paint is almost always a good idea. But don't pick a color without consulting a decorator or realtor—trends change quickly and the color needs to match other elements of the home. 

  2. Replace old carpet. If carpet is worn or stained, it is almost always a good idea to replace it with neutral color. The replacement carpet doesn’t need to be expensive—it just needs to look clean and inviting.

  3. Remove wallpaper. Chances are, most buyers will want to install new wallpaper. But removing existing wallpaper is expensive, and some buyers will avoid listings that have wallpaper in the photos. 

  4. Replace brass fixtures that are more than 10 years old. New light fixtures and ceiling fans can bring an updated look to an entire room for only a couple hundred dollars.

  5. Replace older commodes in bathrooms. Even in a bathroom that is not updated, a new commode and maybe a couple new fixtures can go a long way.

  6. Improve curb appeal. Landscaping, power washing, and perhaps a new front door handle set can go a long way toward making your home more welcoming. Having the exterior neat and tidy is important, as many buyers will drive by your house before deciding if they want to see the inside.

My goal is for sellers to get the biggest bang for their buck with the improvements they make to prepare their homes for market. Home buyers are looking for well maintained homes, but they don't necessarily need all the bells and whistles. I’m always happy to provide a free consultation with advice on what’s truly needed for market preparation.

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 to the market

4105 Hunt Rd, Fairfax | 7 beds, 6.5 baths, 6,484 sf | $1,695,000

7514 Davian Dr, Annandale | 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,282 sf | $685,000

10611 Battalion Landing Ct, Burke | 5 beds, 3.5 baths, 3,244 sf | $795,000

5553 Macduff Ct, Fairfax | 3 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,220 sf | $399,900

4305 Americana Dr Unit G, Annandale | 1 bed, 1 bath, 616 sf | $175,000

4351 Americana Dr #203, Annandale | 2 beds, 1 bath, 796 sf | $205,000

5910 Oak Ridge Ct, Burke | 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 2,705 sf | $760000

0001 Joseph Bristow Ln, Annandale | 4 beds, 3 baths, 2,049 sf | $629990

10011 Commonwealth Blvd, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3 baths, 1,409 sf | $700,000

9506 Babson Ct, Fairfax | 5 beds, 5 baths, 2,476 sf | $690,000

9615 Westport Ln, Burke | 3 beds, 3.5 baths, 1,757 sf | $479,000

5056 Head Ct, Fairfax | 3 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,287 sf | $449,950

5457 New London Park Dr, Fairfax | 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,290 sf | $459,900

9107 Fox Lair Dr, Burke | 5 beds, 3 baths, 1,137 sf | $525,000

9420 Hermitage Dr, Fairfax | 5 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,240 sf | $650,000

10664 John Ayres Dr, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3.5 baths, 4,200 sf | $749,000

10433 Heritage Landing Rd, Burke | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,770 sf | $750,000

5515 Flag Run Dr, Springfield | 3 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,940 sf | $549,888

4104 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale | 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,200 sf | $500,000

5527 Corot Ct, Fairfax | 4 beds, 3 baths, 1,187 sf | $625,000

4618 Gramlee Cir, Fairfax | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,976 sf | $699,000

8712 Clydesdale Rd, Springfield | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,748 sf | $679,000

4415 Briarwood Ct N #28, Annandale | 2 beds, 1 bath, 897 sf | $224,900

4004 Taylor Dr, Fairfax | 5 beds, 5.5 baths, 4,536 sf | $1,350,000