Reston, VA

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. 

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