On the Docket: Block 4 at Reston Town Center, RELAC at Lake Anne

Block 4 Residential Towers/Credit: Fairfax County The Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Wednesday night on the transformation of Reston Town Center’s surface parking lot to a mixed-use development.

Developer Boston Properties’ plans for the surface lot at Reston Town Center include two high-rise residential buildings as well as a park with a yoga area, public art and picnic areas. The 6.35-acre site, called Block 4, is currently a 251-space surface parking lot, the only remaining surface lot at Reston Town Center. The lot is currently zoned for up for 250,000 square feet of office space.

According to the county planning staff report, which recommends approval of the project, the 250,000 square feet of office density represents the last remaining non-residential density available under the proffered maximum 3.465 million square feet of non-residential development approved within Reston’s urban core.

The meeting is at the Fairfax County Government Center, 8:15 p.m. To sign up to speak, visit the Planning Commission website.

Boston Properties is seeking to move the office development to Block 5, where the current FedEx/Kinkos and Ann Taylor are now located, with additional office space above.

The plan calls for turning the three-story retail/office building, part of One Fountain Square, into a 17-story building with 276,788 square feet of office space and 7,800 square feet of ground-floor retail. The building would also have four levels of underground parking.

Block 4 and 5 development will flow into other approved high-density development nearby.

The Spectrum, a low-rise strip mall located just across New Dominion Parkway, has been approved for redevelopment into 774,879 square feet of non-residential use and 1,422 multifamily residential units in seven new residential buildings. The new area will feature a hotel, and Harris Teeter is the only retailer expected to remain under the current plan.

Additionally, part of the Spectrum will wrap around the planned 23-story office tower at Bowman Towne Drive and Reston Parkway. That building, which will contain retail and 18 stories of offices, was approved by the supervisors in 2012.

On Thursday, the Reston Association Board of Directors will hold a special meeting to discuss who can get an exemption from RELAC, the lake water-fueled air conditioning system that about 300 homes near Lake Anne are required to use.

Homes that have a RELAC system are bound by deed to use it unless owners can show a reason for a medical exemption. The RA board has been discussing changes to the RELAC policy since last year. It was slated to be revisited by February.

The board is likely to keep the requirements much as they are, with several changes regarding what constitutes a medical disability. One of the main changes includes adding a form that must be signed by a physician in order to get a temporary exemption.

Some RELAC users have expressed privacy concerns and take issue with being designated handicapped in order to gain an exemption.

“A resident [will now have] to be classified as ‘disabled’ under the The Federal Fair Housing Act  — whereas currently you merely need a medical need (as determined by a doctor),” says RELAC user Mike Pritchard.. “This greatly narrows the scope of medical waivers, and notably doesn’t include allergies. The waiver is tied to the residents ‘disability’, as opposed to the property. And, RA will have the right, at any time and as often as they choose, to verify the resident still has that ‘disability.’ ”

Photo: Rendering of Block 4 development/Credit: Fairfax County

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