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Letter: ‘No Other Parking Site Will Sensibly Benefit’ Lake Anne

by RestonNow.com — November 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm 8 Comments

Lake Anne PlazaWritten by Cheryl Terio-Simon. Submit your letters to the editor to [email protected].

Five years ago, Reston Association’s initial efforts to restore the streams and watershed damaged by erosion met with irate concern from many about the loss of trees necessitated by that project.  Today, it is generally acknowledged that the short-term loss of some trees was necessary to benefit the greater system, and the project areas are deemed beautiful.

The Lake Anne community redevelopment project has a similar goal, the long-term restoration of Reston’s first — and some say only — village center.

Lake Anne Village Center is symbolic of the vision that created Reston. Bob Simon’s seven goals describe a balance of the need for housing for all, diversity within a community, amenities, and beauty–structural and natural.

Lake Anne Development Partners has been selected to lead this redevelopment at least in part because of the sensitivity that they and their architects have shown to the original vision.  Its plan provides for much needed diversity in housing as well as the promise of revitalization of the Village’s retail and commercial base. In a truly mixed-use community the commercial and residential sectors are interdependent.

Looking at the total site, the unused and neglected 1.01-acre RA parcel under consideration by this RA Board is essential to make this redevelopment work.  No other parking site will sensibly benefit the existing and new portions of the plaza with so little disruption to the residential community.

Reston Association owns and maintains 1,350 acres of open space, one-seventh of the total land in Reston.  This controversial 1.01 acre, which is hardly the gem of RA’s properties, is 0.0751 percent of the total acreage.  And this percentage is not lost in the exchange; a slightly larger parcel is being swapped which will provide a needed green buffer next to Baron Cameron at the Crescent property.  Additionally, not all the trees on this site will be removed for the parking structure, and RA will be receiving other significant proffers in the exchange.

I hope we all can achieve some perspective about what is important here.

While we can all agree that the preservation of natural beauty has made Reston a unique place to live work and play, what is at stake here is an opportunity to restore the total Reston vision.

I hope we can see the community for the trees.

Cheryl Terio-Simon is a Lake Anne resident and the wife of Reston founder Robert E. Simon. 

  • Tammi Petrine

    Guy Rando, a LA resident and architect has presented an alternative plan that totally spares the grove of old trees on RA property. He has used info from previous Fairfax County parking studies so the viability of his plan has been vetted by the county. He hopes on Thursday @ 6PM to present the alternative to RA board and Reston citizens. Yay!!! Perhaps this can be a win/win for everyone. Most important is that we are NOT destroying our environment so that all Restonians, new and old, can enjoy historic Lake Anne and what makes Reston so unique – our partnership with nature.

  • NotaGG3

    Why should we listen to a member of the 1% who will benefit from this “deal”? The stream restoration did not enrich one element of the community to the detriment of the whole.

    • John Hunter

      An an aside comment, I’ve heard a couple of negative comments from folks about LARCA (Lake Ann Reston Condo Association). It should probably be mentioned that most of the Lake Ann Plaza area is owned by them so of course it stands to reason that they would make money out of this deal. Not sure why that is a bad thing though. Their residents and business owners are going to be putting up with a large majority of the hassle (noise, dirt, traffic, and loss of business during construction so it would make sense that they eventually make money off the deal. If that bothers folks then I guess they are not for the revitalization as a large park of that revitalization is in LARCA space. And no I do not live in Heron House or any LARCA owned properties.

      • NotaGG3

        Why should they make money at the expense of other members of RA? What benefits will the rest of us receive from this swap? Even higher increases in RA dues for upkeep of the weedy ditch by a busy road that we get in the swap? Higher medical bills for our children whose asthma and other health problems spike with the increased pollution caused by rampant development and loss of the lungs of our planet, the trees?

        • John Hunter

          So what would the answer be for you? To not revitalize because it will be more people and thus more pollution?

  • John Hunter

    I happen to agree with the author. As someone who lives in one of the townhouses on Lake Anne but definitely not a part of the “1% who will benefit from the deal” we need a parking lot that is on the plaza side of North Shore where a person parking their car can actually see the plaza when they walk out of the parking area. Part of the current problem is many people don’t even know that the plaza is here because they park on the backside of the buildings. Many times my wife and I have been out walking and people pull up in cars asking us where Lake Anne is and they are right next to it. So far all the other options I’ve seen have not addressed this except for the proposal by Guy Rando however I’m not in favor of that either. Currently the proposed piece of land that RA would be giving up is a mess. Yes it has pretty trees but within those trees are beer bottles, Pipes coming out of the ground with exposed wires, and cardboard from where people are using as bedding. So far the people I’ve talked to that live right next to the parcel are for it. I suspect the meeting on Thursday will be lively.

    • NotaGG3

      So, we should clear-cut all of our treed areas in order to eliminate vagrants? Some of us actually get out and collect trash in our own neighborhoods–you might try this, too.

  • Rational Reston

    As someone who lives along Snakeden Branch, the short term loss of trees and displacement of wildlife and disruption of the ecosystem has not produced any greater benefit to the system with maybe with exception to the coffers of RA and the contractors. The area, which was once a great area to walk is now just an area of overgrown weeds rife with bugs and standing water (put there by design despite the fact that mosquitoes carry disease). As such, it’s very hard to take the rest of this opinion from the ivory towers of Reston with anything but cynicism.

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