Vaccine dashboard gives residents a sense of their place in line - County opts out of statewide registration system - Woodson students create portraits for nursing home residents

Braddock Road improvements fall short in initial VDOT analysis - Students to begin returning to classrooms this week - School Board postpones decision on adding four new religious holidays

Happy Presidents’ Day and welcome to Braddock Buzz, where we recently finished the first season of “Bridgerton” and can only hope this newsletter provides a fraction of the entertainment that Lady Whistledown provides the residents of 19th century London. Keep the news, tips, and feedback coming to braddockbuzz@gmail.com, and drop us a note if you’re interested in advertising opportunities.

Big thanks to our sponsor, Realtor Jennifer Mack, whose column today explores how long this area’s extreme seller’s market can last. Jennifer will host a free virtual seller’s seminar on March 1 at 7 p.m., and the first 15 people to register will receive $20 gift cards to Foundation Coffee in the Fair City Mall. Register online here, or by emailing Jennifer at jennifer@jennifermackproperties.com.

Pandemic

Vaccine dashboard gives residents a sense of their place in line: The Fairfax County Health Department has released a Covid-19 vaccine dashboard that answers one of the top complaints from those who’ve registered so far: They have no idea where they are in the queue. While there’s still no way to find your exact spot on the waiting list, the new dashboard provides the registration date for those who are currently being scheduled for appointments, offering residents a sense of their place in line. Here’s a screenshot taken yesterday:

The county has also unveiled a new website where those on the waiting list can check their status and see the date they submitted their registration.

County opts out of statewide registration system: The Fairfax Health District has opted out of a statewide vaccination registration system set to debut tomorrow. The state is seeking to consolidate a hodgepodge of vaccine registries maintained by local health departments into a single, centrally managed list—with the exception of Fairfax County. Here’s how county Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay explained the decision to opt out in a statement to The Washington Post:

We invested a lot of resources into our registration system and worked out the kinks to ensure we continue to process more people than any other health district in the state. At this point, I am glad we can maintain our system that residents are familiar with to cut down on confusion.

Residents of Fairfax County—along with the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church and towns of Vienna, Herndon, and Clifton—should continue using the county registration system and should not re-register with the state.

The numbers: Fairfax County has so far administered 150,328 vaccine doses, an increase of 30,030 from last week, and 43,199 residents are now fully vaccinated with two doses, an increase of 17,024, according to the state’s vaccine dashboard. About 13% of the county’s 1.1 million people are now vaccinated with at least one dose.

Transportation

Braddock Road improvements fall short in initial VDOT analysis: An effort launched in 2014 to reduce congestion on Braddock Road between Guinea and Ravensworth roads has not been recommended for state funding in an initial Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) analysis—but local transportation officials say the fight is far from over.

The $150 million Braddock Road Multimodal Improvements project would adjust traffic patterns at intersections and add bike and pedestrian paths on both sides of the road. Fairfax County officials had sought funding in 2018 for the first phase of the project through a VDOT program called Smart Scale, but the project came up short when ranked against other projects based on the amount of congestion reduced for the lowest cost (among other factors).

Officials amended the project to make it more competitive and re-submitted it last summer—but have recently been informed it has fallen short once again in an initial staff analysis. The process isn’t over, though.

“The project was not selected for funding in the draft scenario,” said Jennifer McCord, a VDOT spokesperson, adding that the Commonwealth Transportation Board would hold public hearings before finalizing the list of funded projects in June.

In the staff analysis, Braddock Road barely missed the cutoff for funding. It was the 12th-ranked project from Northern Virginia, scoring 4.89, with 11 projects being selected. The project selected ahead of it, improvements to Route 294 in Prince William County, scored 6.08. Here are the Northern Virginia projects that made the cut:

So what’s next? The Smart Scale process is “not over yet,” said Robin Geiger, a spokesperson for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, adding that Braddock Road is “on the edge of being included in the recommended list.”

“The General Assembly is still in session, so we don't know exactly how much money will be allocated for transportation,” Geiger said. “The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will send a letter of support as part of public comments to the [Commonwealth Transportation Board] as they are deciding on what projects to fund. Ultimately they will decide on this year's Smart Scale funding in June.”

If Braddock Road doesn’t end up on the list, Geiger explained, the project will be submitted for funding through a separate program run by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. Meanwhile, $5 million has been allocated to continue with design.

Schools

Students to begin returning to classrooms this week: In-person learning will resume tomorrow for select career prep and special education classes, and then continue under the phased timeline approved earlier this month by the School Board. Wakefield Forest Elementary School Principal Sharyn Prindle said in a message to the community that 60% of WFES students had opted to return to in-person instruction under the hybrid model, which provides two days of in-person learning each week and two days virtual to allow for social distancing.

“While we are very excited so many families are ready to be back in the building, this does mean we have hit the maximum capacity on some classrooms and grade levels for shifts to in-person instruction,” Prindle explained. “These caps are to ensure we are able to maintain the recommended 6ft social distancing in classrooms.”

School Board postpones decision on adding four new religious holidays: The School Board has pushed to next month a decision on whether to approve a task force’s recommendation to add four new religious holidays to the school calendar, The Washington Post reports. Here’s more from the Post:

A board-appointed task force has called for giving students four additional days off to observe Jewish holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Hindu festival Diwali and the Muslim celebration Eid al-Fitr. The school system currently gives its 186,000 students nine days off for holidays each year.

The school board met earlier this month to discuss the recommendations and had planned to vote on a final 2021-2022 school calendar. But then it postponed the vote until next month — with some board members signaling they preferred adopting a calendar that did not include the four new religious holidays.

In a letter sent to the board Tuesday, seven D.C.-area faith groups — all of which sent representatives to serve on Fairfax’s Religious Observance Task Force — wrote that the delay had caused “deep disappointment [for] thousands of Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Sikhs” in the county.

The full letter from the seven faith groups is here.

Woodson students create portraits for nursing home residents: Members of the Woodson High School National Art Honor Society recently reached out to a local senior living facility to create art that the residents could share with their families. The residents submitted photos that the students then turned into portraits, as you can see in the samples below. “It’s nice to know that everyone put so much effort into this and it’s going to be appreciated once the elderly residents see it,” one student said about the project on the Woodson Morning Show.

News in Brief

  • The Department of Education has opened a civil rights investigation into FCPS over allegations the school system declined to provide in-person instruction to students with disabilities during the pandemic even as in-person childcare was available to other students, WUSA9 reports.

  • The Braddock District collected 14,730 pounds of food valued at more than $24,000 during the first “Stuff the Bus” food drive of the year, according to Braddock District Supervisor Walkinshaw. The food has been donated to ECHO, a local food pantry.

  • County residents spoke out for and against proposed zoning changes for flags and flagpoles during a Planning Commission hearing last week, the Annandale Blog reports. Among the new rules would be a 25-foot flagpole height limit for single-family homes.

  • The Fairfax County Police Department has completed Phase 2 of its body-worn camera program, equipping 218 officers from the Franconia and McLean police districts with cameras. The next step is to deploy cameras to officers from the Fair Oaks, West Springfield, and Sully districts.

Events

  • Tuesday, Feb. 16, 7 p.m.: The Braddock District Land Use and Environment Committee holds its February meeting. Dial-in instructions will be posted on the Braddock District website.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 17, 7 p.m.: Braddock District School Board Member Megan McLaughlin discusses the FY22 schools budget at a virtual meeting hosted by the Braddock District Council. Zoom link here.

  • Sunday, Feb. 21, 9 a.m.: Friends of Lake Accotink Park (FLAP) holds its monthly park cleanup and garden weeding event, starting at the Lake Accotink Marina. More info here.

  • Monday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m.: Braddock District Supervisor Walkinshaw hosts a virtual town hall to discuss the vaccine rollout with Fairfax County Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu. The town hall will be available on Channel 16’s live stream, along with Walkinshaw’s Facebook page and YouTube account.

Real Estate

Sponsored Content

Jennifer Mack column: How long can the seller’s market last?

See Jennifer’s video column introduction here:

We continue to see an extreme seller’s market in the Braddock District. Currently, there are:

  • 13 properties “coming soon”

  • 34 active listings

  • 140 pending

  • 88 sold homes in the past month

This means there’s just a 12-day supply of homes on the market. In other words, if no new listings were to come on the market, every home in the area would be sold within about 12 days. For perspective, a market is considered “balanced” when the supply of available homes represents about five to seven months of inventory.

Another metric that realtors pay attention to is “absorption rate”—calculated by dividing the number of homes sold in the last 30 days by the number of active listings. Housing markets with an absorption rate of more than 20% are considered to be seller's markets, while buyer’s markets typically have an absorption rate below 15%. 

The current absorption rate is a whopping 259%, based on the 88 homes sold over the last month. What would need to happen with inventory for this area to become a buyer’s market? Some quick math reveals that we would need to have 600 active listings to drop the absorption rate below 15%. 

Every day I get asked how long this market will last, with some sellers hoping it will continue long enough for them to ride out the pandemic before deciding where to move—and buyers hoping it will be short lived. Some analysts are predicting “the bubble” will burst, while other experts foresee the situation extending well into the future as millennials continue entering the housing market. 

All I can tell you for sure is that I have never seen a more challenging time to be a real estate agent representing buyers, while representing sellers is a challenge too as we navigate multiple offers, work hard to get the most money for our clients, and keep a transaction together until closing with many moving pieces.

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

4900 Asquith Ct, Fairfax | 5 beds, 3.5 baths, 3,199 sf | $739,000

4313 Pickett Rd, Fairfax | 4 beds, 4 baths, 1,092 sf | $749,000

4923 Americana Dr #105, Annandale | 1 bed, 1 bath, 624 sf | $180,000

5574 Hecate Ct, Fairfax | 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,622 sf | $444,900

4404 Island Pl #101, Annandale | 2 beds, 2 baths, 1,218 sf | $255,000

7706 Royston St, Annandale | 3 beds,  2.5 baths,  1,692 sf | $585,000

6024 Meyers Landing Ct, Burke | 3 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,538 sf | $447,500

4756 Pomponio Pl, Annandale | 4 beds, 3 baths, 1,322 sf | $649,900

10324 Steamboat Landing Ln, Burke | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,240 sf | $749,000

8260 Branch Rd, Annandale | 4 beds, 3 baths, 4,001 sf | $929,000

4345 Ivymount Ct #42, Annandale | 2 beds, 1.5 baths, 938 sf | $225,000

4953-J Americana Dr #212, Annandale | 2 beds, 1 bath, 776 sf | $219,999

Recently sold

5623 Summer Oak Way, Burke | 3 beds, 1.5 baths, 1,300 sf | 6 days on market | $365,000

5404 Backlick Woods Ct, Springfield | 4 beds, 5 baths, 5,217 sf | 2 days on market | $1,250,000

7728 Heritage Dr, Annandale | 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,349 sf | 4 days on market | $630,000

4704 Parkman Ct, Annandale | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,781 sf | 6 days on market | $380,000

5021 Harford Ln, Burke | 3 beds, 1.5 baths, 1,218 sf | 6 days on market | $415,000

9000 Ellenwood Ln, Fairfax | 5 beds, 3 baths, 3,612 sf | 4 days on market | $875,000

5523 Starboard Ct, Fairfax | 3 beds, 3.5 baths, 2,244 sf | 2 days on market | $546,000

5352 Anchor Ct, Fairfax | 3 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,042 sf | 2 days on market | $432,000

5455 Midship Ct, Burke | 3 beds, 3 baths, 1,732 sf | 6 days on market | $475,000

9509 Tregaron Pl, Burke | 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,928 sf | 3 days on market | $670,000

7429 Long Pine Dr, Springfield | 4 beds, 4.5 baths, 3,787 sf | 6 days on market | $728,000

9806 Laurel St, Fairfax | 5 beds, 3 baths, 1,638 sf | 6 days on market | $710,000