Montgomery planning chief to step down

Montgomery Planning Board Chair Francoise Carrier said Friday that she will not seek reappointment by the County Council when her four-year term expires in June.

Carrier heads the five-member panel that reviews all zoning and land-use matters, making recommendations to the council on both specific projects and overall policy. The board also oversees the county’s park system and evaluates proposals for historic designations for buildings.

It’s a portfolio that makes her job one of the hottest seats in county government, and Carrier has been at the center of numerous bruising zoning and development battles, including a series of land-use master plans, a blueprint for a bus rapid-transit network, an amendment to the master plan for Clarksburg and a rewrite of the zoning code.

— Bill Turque

Recount is likelyin Va. Senate race

The State Board of Elections voted Friday to certify Del. Lynwood W. Lewis Jr. (D-Accomack) as the winner of a Senate special election by just nine votes, and his Republican foe made it clear he would ask for a recount.

Lewis and Republican Wayne Coleman, owner of a Norfolk shipping company, squared off Tuesday in the contest to fill the seat of Lt. Gov-elect Ralph Northam. The outcome of the race, and the Jan. 21 special election to succeed Attorney General-elect Mark Herring (D), will determine which party controls a Senate that had been split 20-20.

Lewis’s edge of nine votes — 0.04 percent — entitles Coleman to ask for a government-funded recount. Lewis led by 22 votes on Election Night, but his margin narrowed as local election boards canvassed their results.

— Ben Pershing

Two sinkholes mar morning commutes

Two sinkholes interrupted Northern Virginia commuters Friday morning.

One was created after a water main burst along Route 50 in the Seven Corners area of Fairfax County, authorities said. The incident prompted police to close the right lane of Route 50 eastbound near the ramp that leads to Route 7 towards Baileys Crossroads.

As crews were digging to deal with that break, another leak appeared about 20 feet away, expanding the sinkhole, said Jeanne Bailey, a spokeswoman with Fairfax Water.

The second sinkhole developed about 6 a.m. near 17th and North Harrison streets in Arlington County. A county firetruck got stuck in it, and it took 45 minutes to pull the truck out.

Deputy Fire Marshal Brian McGraw said it appeared that a water main had been leaking underground for some time. When the firetruck went over it, that was “enough for the wheel to go through the pavement,” he said.

— Dana Hedgpeth