If there’s an area that represents the opposite of the sleepy, village-style Lake Anne, it’s the Reston Town Center. Like we did with Lake Anne, Reston Now has used the Fairfax County’s Historic Imagery Viewer to put together aerial views of Reston Town Center as it has developed over the years.
Like much of Reston, aerial photography of the site up to 1960 shows open forest or farmland. However, while the rest of Reston started being developed and growing throughout the 1960s, the Reston Town Center would remain forest until the Mobil Land Development group began construction in 1988.
Photography from 1990 shows the very beginnings of the town center — a handful of central buildings at the main square surrounded mostly by parking lots to the west.
Throughout the 1990s, more buildings are constructed at the northern end of the site, but it isn’t until around 2002 that the Town Center fully expands to the Fairfax County Parkway in the west and the Dulles Access Road in the south.
A big park of this expansion is the creation of the West Market neighborhood at the western edge of the development. In 1993 the open pavilion, currently an ice-skating rink, was built and in 2000 the 18-story One Freedom Square and 16-story Two Freedom Square west of the main plaza were constructed.
From 2002 to 2017, most of the new development is filling out the spaces between the larger developments. Throughout the 2000s a parking garage and additional office and high-rise residential buildings were also constructed.
Much of the newer development is concentrated at the southern part of the Town Center along Sunset Hill Road, near where the Reston Town Center Metro station is scheduled to open in 2020.
Before we head off into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.
- Pottery Barn Set to Close in Reston Town Center in January
- Paid Parking Under Consideration for Reston, Tysons
- Reston Then and Now: Lake Anne
- Lotte Plaza Market Opened in Herndon Centre Last Friday
- ‘Elden Street Tea Shop’ Set for Grand Opening This Week in Herndon
If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.
Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.
A little more than half of Reston’s capital projects were finished this year, with the renovations of the North Hills tennis courts among the uncompleted projects.
Senior Capital Projects Operations Manager Chris Schumaker presented the Capital Projects 2018 Report to the Reston Association’s Board of Directors at the meeting last night (Dec. 13).
Forty-six of the 84 projects slated for 2018 were finished, including the Hook Road community engagement project, Lake Audubon dredging and the 2019 Reserve Study.
Schumaker said that rain and “difficult weather” delayed several projects. The tennis courts faced a “stumbling point” when a tree fell on the courts, he said.
By a 3-2 vote in late October of 2017, the board approved up to $295,000 in improvements for North Hills tennis courts in response to concerns about limited lightning in the evenings and major cracks that run along the court.
The irrigation system and court grades require a “significant modification” to ensure proper operation and quality of play for the next 30 years, along with lighting design changes.
The project jumped from an originally estimated cost shy of $300,000 to a new estimate just under $400,000. Schumaker said that the current cost estimated happened in the latter half of the third quarter.
The board debated on moving $95,500 of unused money from the Repair & Replacement Reserve Fund in the 2018 capital budget for the tennis courts.
RA At-Large Director Ven Iyer said that not sticking to the budget sends the wrong message and makes the RA look fiscally irresponsible.
Caren Anton, who represents Hunters Woods and Dogwood, said that using the money “is a no-brainer.”
“It’s unfortunate that the extent of the renovation was not identified accurately at the beginning,” Anton said. “The funds are there. I think it’s imperative that we take care of this to make the courts safe and more attractive to the senior tennis players.”
The board authorized the $95,500 and also authorized $52,300 from CAARF capital funds to pay for a small equipment lift, deep tine aerator and “winterization” pool covers for Ridge Heights and Shadowood facilities.
The 2018 projects cost an estimated $3.1 million and the projected carry-forward totals $2.25 million.
Photos via Reston Association/YouTube
For those interested in arts or crafts, there’s plenty to do around Reston this weekend.
The Greater Reston Arts Center will host a grand opening tomorrow of the new exhibit STRETCH, featuring work of artists responding to the prompt “if you could do anything, what would that be?”
Five local artists were selected to display work in the new exhibit.
The opening reception from 5-7 p.m. is free and open to the public. The exhibit will run until Feb. 9.
Tomorrow (Dec. 15)
Workshop: Handmade Holiday Ornaments (9:30-11 a.m.) — The Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market Street) will be hosting a class on building creative holiday ornaments. Tickets are $10 for Reston residents or $20 for non-Restonians.
Reston Town Center Winterfest (10 a.m.-9 p.m.) — The all-day Winterfest celebration at the Reston Town Center will include a carousel at the ice skating rink, face painting, a gingerbread man and more.
Balloon Twister (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) — A balloon show will be held in the Reston Regional Library, open to the public and for all ages. Balloon artists will be creating hats, giant birds and other creations as part of a holiday celebration. The library will also be hosting an open house from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. the same day with light refreshments, music and entertainment.
Christmas from Ireland (2 p.m.) — The Irish musical group Lúnasa will be hosting a performance at the Reston Community Center blending spoken word, dance and traditional Irish music. The performance is sold out, but those interested in the show are encouraged to come to the box office at 1 p.m. to see check and see if extra tickets are available.
Sunday (Dec. 16)
From Here to There (7 p.m.) — The Reston Community Center will host an opera performance by mezzo-soprano and Restonian Elizabeth Bishop. Tickets are $15 for Reston residents or $20 for non-Restonians.
Photo via Greater Reston Arts Center
Updated at 5:00 p.m. — Corrects the spelling of Laurie Dodd’s name and the time of the Planning Commission meeting on Jan. 23.
Reston Association’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to continue its opposition to a proposed zoning amendment, which would increase Reston’s population density, at last night’s meeting.
The proposal would increase the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district — Reston’s primary zoning district — from 13 persons up to 15.
After an executive session to consult with the land use counsel, Vice President Sridhar Ganesan said that the current density at 12.46 people per acre is a “very inaccurate population estimate.”
“A lot of slack is built into the current density,” Ganesan said. “I believe the director of the Planning and Zoning Commission told us –some of the members on the board — they are trying to recalculate the population estimate in Reston, and they don’t have an accurate estimate just yet.”
Given the wiggle room in the current density and the outrage from many community members, Ganesan said the PRC density level should not increase.
County planning officials have argued that the change is needed to put into action Reston’s Master Plan, which allows for future growth over the next 40 years.
President Andy Sigle said that the homeowners’ association is still working through “reams” of data and information in support of the zoning proposal from a series of emails on Dec. 11 from Fairfax County.
“We have a concern that the wrong number on this PRC density will overwhelm the infrastructure proscribed in the Reston Master Plan, so it’s important that we get the right number,” Sigle said at the meeting.
The board also approved setting up a work session for RA’s board prior to the Planning Commission’s Jan. 10 workshop on the amendment.
Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors clashed over community input on the proposed zoning changes at their Dec. 4 meeting, before authorizing public hearings on the proposal.
Hudgins said at the Dec. 4 meeting that locals have had plenty of opportunities to get the desired information. “Yes, there are some questions that people have,” Hudgins said. “Those questions have been answered before or are not relevant to this.”
Meanwhile, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust and Braddock District Supervisor John Cook argued for more community input.
Residents expressed frustration and disapproval to RA’s board last night (Dec. 13), pointing to a lack of community input to the county’s board and insufficient infrastructure to support increased density in Reston.
Laurie Dodd, a resident for the last 23 years, criticized Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins for asking to schedule hearings on the zoning proposal without following through on promised community engagement.
“It is disturbing to me to see other supervisors in Fairfax County speak up about the right of residents to be heard more than our own supervisors had done,” Dodd said.
The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing about the zoning proposal at 7 p.m. on Jan. 23, followed by the Board of Supervisors’ public hearing at 4:30 p.m. on March 5.
The Planning Commission must say “yea” or “nay” to the proposal by March 15, according to county rules.
Secretary John Mooney urged Restonians to stay informed and engaged. “Please attend the county meetings,” he said.
Photo via Reston Association/YouTube
This story has been updated
“Nothing in your hands. Obey commands.”
The Fairfax Police Department has released a short video via Facebook Live giving instructions on what to do if you find yourself in an active shooter situation.
Lt. Brian Ruck, a police officer from the Franconia District, said most shootings are over in around 10 minutes, ending either in “self termination” or law enforcement intervention. Ruck said most shootings are a single shooter, though law enforcement often gets reports of a second shooter in the chaos as a shooting starts.
Ruck encouraged people to follow the “Run, Hide, Fight” policy recommended by the Fairfax County Police Department.
“It’s a decision based model,” said Ruck. “Every situation is different, dynamic and complex. Unfortunately [we] can’t give viewers an exact answer to what they should do.”
If possible, Ruck says anyone in an active shooter situation should do their best to flee the area.
“Running away from the bad situation is ideal,” Ruck said. “But they may have to hide if they can’t. Barricade the door. The last phase is fight. If you have to fight for your life, that’s what you need to do.”
Even once the police arrive, that isn’t always a guarantee of safety. In November, security guard Jemel Roberson was killed in Chicago by police who mistook him for the shooter. Ruck said it’s important to when police show up to empty your hands, show them to police officers and obey commands.
“Get on the ground and have nothing in your hands,” said Ruck. “Expect them to shout at you and have weapons drawn. People see that and it’s traumatic, but officers are going in with intention of stopping a threat… Nothing in your hands. Obey commands.”
If you’re hiding, Ruck says to remain in hiding until the police come and find you.
In the meantime, Ruck encouraged people to be aware of escape routes, hiding spaces, and potential weapons around them.
“Play the ‘what if’ game,” said Ruck. “If I had to fight for my life right now, what around me could I use to defend myself? How could I get out of here? What’s an alternate exit? Not just at work, do it at home with your kids.”
Ruck also encouraged anyone who knows of someone who shows signs of mental distress and might become violent to contact the police. Ruck said a common misconception is that police’s only response is to arrest the person in question. Ruck said police could also help respond to a mental crisis and get the person to care they need.
“We’re told frequently afterwards that people saw the signs, that there was someone exhibiting certain symptoms,” said Ruck. “These people were projecting this and no one called… if you see something, say something.”
Candle making workshop for kids — Bring your kids to the Walker Nature Center to learn where wax comes from and how to dip a pair of candles. Kids can decorate their candles while parents enjoy music and food. The event goes from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.and costs $12 for Reston Association members/$16 for non-members [Reston Association]
Free Reston and Fairfax Encore Chorales concert — The two chorales will perform holiday classics and seasonal favorites at United Christian Parish (11508 North Shore Drive) tonight at 7:30 p.m. [Encore Creativity for Older Adults]
Looking to donate to some local organizations? — This roundup has more than three dozen suggestions for Northern Virginia nonprofits to donate to, including Cornerstones in Reston and Touching Heart in Herndon. [Connection Newspapers]
Nigerian American sues Dulles Internal Airport, Reston Hospital Center — Ikechukwu “Ike” Owunna alleges he was subjected to more than 12 hours of alleged racial profiling, false imprisonment and other violations at the airport and battery and medical neglect en route to Reston Hospital Center. The hospital was dismissed in November, but the hospital employees could remain defendants in the battery allegations. [The Washington Post]
Photo via Marjorie Copson
(Updated at 8:58 a.m.) Police are searching for a man who robbed the Sunoco in Herndon yesterday night.
A man wearing a mask entered the gas station at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 12) and displayed a handgun to the cashier, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.
The man then took an unspecified amount of cash and fled the gas station at 13470 Coppermine Road.
Police said there were no injuries.
“The suspect was described as a black man, about 6 feet tall, and 200 pounds,” according to the report.
Image via Google Maps
This story has been updated
If Reston’s lakes have seemed a little low to you lately, don’t worry, you’re not crazy.
The Reston Association is running its annual dive inspections on all the dam spillways across each of the local lakes. The water level of the lake has been lowered by two inches today and yesterday to accommodate the inspections.
According to Nicki Bellezza, watershed manager for the Reston Association, the association contracts with firms to provide dive inspections every year to examine the concrete risers and spillways to make sure everything is functioning properly.
“During one inspection we noticed a small leak that we were able to repair at Lake Thoreau last year,” said Bellezza.
Restons lakes are not natural, but are artificial reservoirs built in the latter half of the 20th century to support the increased water runoff from new developments.
“The lake spillways allow water to tumble over into a large pipe, similar to a bathtub drain,” said Bellezza. “The structures also have gates that, when opened, allow us to lower the water level in the lake. We do not normally operate the gates unless we need to do inspections or for routine maintenance.”
The main challenge facing the lakes today, according to Bellezza, is corrosion of the spillways due to the age of the infrastructure. Bellezza said the Reston Association will review the results of the dive inspections and make decisions moving forward about future improvements to the lake infrastructure.
Photo via Twitter