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Arborist: Most Trees in Land Swap Will Be ‘Just Fine’

by Karen Goff — November 25, 2013 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Lake Anne PlazaLake Anne Development Partners (Republic Development) says work is already underway on a preservation plan to “safeguard and strengthen the trees that will remain undisturbed on an estimated 30 percent of the property” where a new parking garage is planned for a redeveloped Lake Anne Plaza area.

The developers also said an arborist reports that pruning and other tree care now will ensure that “80 to 90 percent of the trees we want to preserve will be just fine.”

The parking garage is being planned as part of a land swap that was approved 6-2 by the Reston Association Board of Directors on Thursday. RA will give the developers 0.7 acres of wooded land adjacent to the current Lake Anne Plaza parking lot. LADP will give RA 1.1 acres of land off of Baron Cameron Avenue and hundreds of thousands of dollars in improvements to improve sustainability and pathways in Reston.

LADP was chosen by Fairfax County in August to redevelop the aging Crescent Apartments’ site, as well as areas surrounding Lake Anne Plaza. They need RA’s wooded parcel to build a 120-space parking garage, which is crucial to revitalizing the retail area at Lake Anne.

Republic CEO David Peter said on Thursday the company investigated 11 other Lake Anne-area sites for potential parking and found none of them as suitable as the RA land.

RA’s decision was met with outrage by many citizens who spoke at Thursdays meeting. They said preserving mature trees should take precedence over development. After the decision, Diane Blust, chair of RA’s Sustainability Committee, resigned her position.

In a statement, LADP thanked RA for its “thorough, thoughtful review and approval of the proposed land exchange. There was a lot to be considered, and we appreciate the balanced process the Board afforded all stakeholders.”

The statement continues:

We are at least three years away from construction on the exchange parcel, but work is already under way on a preservation plan to safeguard and stregthen the trees that will remain undisturbed on an estimated 30 percent of the property, perhaps most importantly many of those that ring Washington Plaza.

Leading arboricultural consulting firm Zimar and Associates, which has done preservation work at the World War II Memorial and Monticello, has already visited the site and made recommendations on a years-long root pruning plan, immediate pest protection and irrigation and moisture monitoring that will improve the health of the trees and ensure a high level of success. “I’m very confident that 80-90 percent of the trees we want to preserve will be just fine,” says company founder and noted arborist Don Zimar.

Additional environmental safeguards will include capturing 100 percent of stormwater runoff from Lake Anne Village Center and the nearby Crescent Apartments—runoff that currently is discharged into Lake Anne without treatment, to reduce pollutants. Lake Anne Development Partners will also provide additional funds in escrow to the RA board for adding and preserving tree canopy.

Lake Anne Development Partners is committed to an exciting and sustainable revitalization that will respect and renew the Lake Anne Village Center not only for the existing merchants, but for all of Reston.

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  • NotaGG3

    Let me get this straight–LADP’s arborist (not an independent arborist) tells us that 80 to 90 percent of the 30% of trees in the entire upland forest to be taken from RA members will probably survive. How stupid and gullible do these people (trust me, I wanted to use another word) think we are?

  • Sue Beffel

    The headline, referring to the quote, “… 80 to 90 percent of the trees we want to preserve will be just fine,” is misleading at best. The key phrase here is “we want to preserve.” Based on their maps, they (LAPD) only want to preserve a very narrow fringe of trees — and their arborist hopes to preserve 80% of those, recognising that construction and changing the soil and drainage will cause many to die. Read carefully, it doesn’t promise much. I’m afraid that Reston Now is pretending to be balanced while serving as a spokesperson for LAPD.

    • Karen Goff

      Not at all biased. The quote from the arborist was compelling. It is not up to me to break it down whether it is correct or not.

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