RA: Let’s Reconsider Tall Oaks in Master Plan

Empty anchor store at Tall OaksReston Association’s Board of Directors says perhaps Tall Oaks Village Center should be re-envisioned as something else — maybe a convenience center instead of a full scale village center.

The board’s comments came in a mark up of the Reston Master Plan Phase II draft plan. The board made a series of tweaks and changes it hopes Fairfax County planners will keep in mind as it formulates a Master Plan for Reston’s village centers and neighborhoods as the community heads into its second half-century.

On Oct. 20, county planners held the second in a series of community meetings to obtain priorities and feedback on the draft proposal. The Oct. 20 meeting concentrated on the village centers — what works, what doesn’t and what should be considered for the future.

The focus groups seemed to agree — Tall Oaks has been failing for years. With storefronts sitting empty for years and no new ones opening, it may be time to rezone some of the land to something else keeping some of Tall Oaks a “convenience center” or a mini village center.

Reston Association agrees.

From notes issued by RA to the county planners:

Reston was originally planned with Village Centers serving as the focal point of activity for the surrounding neighborhoods.

FOUR of the five existing village centers – Lake Anne, Hunters Woods, South Lakes and North Point (Tall Oaks is crossed out) are planned to continue to serve this purpose in the future. They are planned to allow currently approved intensities and to densities to remain but are envisioned to also accommodate some more intense vertical use redevelopment in the future to fully achieve the goal of being vibrant centers of activity.

Other suggestions from the document:

Senior housing and universal design residences are encouraged to be located within the village centers.

Tall Oaks is the smallest of the five Village Centers. Consideration should be given as a re-designation of this center as a smaller convenience center.

Other opinions of note from RA’s comments:

Reston has, since its inception, been envisioned to be a place to live, work, play and get involved. The overriding goal of the Plan is for Reston to continue to evolve in a sustainable manner over the next four or five decades. … As Reston evolves, it is important to respect and continue the characteristics that have helped define Reston from its inception.

As Reston’s population increases, added capacity should be achieved through development of land and/or facilities to meet the demands (not needs) generated by the development or redevelopment.

Protect the headwater areas and other environmentally sensitive areas through the implementation of innovative stormwater management practices and Reston Association’s stream restoration/preservation program.

Increase senior housing, ensure opportunities are provided for adequate senior housing designed to suit a range of age, income and health needs.

Wherever possible, missing connections in the pedestrian and bicycle networks should be rectified with new sidewalks, bike lanes (shared or separate) or trails.

Should the Hunt Club property be redeveloped residential, it should be part of Reston Association.

The Lake Newport Convenience Center designation should be deleted and the land is planned for office use at the existing density to maintain character.

To see the entire document, visit Reston Association’s website.

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