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Fairfax Planners Have Quick Guide to Village Center Ideas

by Karen Goff — November 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm 20 Comments

CVS at South Lakes Village Center Before you attend Saturday’s Reston Master Plan Phase II meeting, take a look at what residents had to say at the last meeting, on Oct. 18.

Fairfax County has taken the feedback and condensed it into a pros-and-cons packages for each of Reston’s village centers.

See the entire pros-and-cons summary here.

Fairfax County planners are in the process of obtaining community feedback about Reston’s neighborhoods and village centers. This will help guide planning in the event that Reston — which is expected to grow with the arrival of Metro — wants to expand or re-renvision its village centers and surrounding neighborhoods.

There is a “strawman” working draft as a guide, but the county welcomes community feedback before there is a final version. Fairfax County planning staff says it hopes to have the final Phase II document drafted by mid-2015.

Whatever changes — if any — are incorporated into the plan will not be a regulatory document and any structural changes will have to eventually go through the Reston Association’s Design Review Board, as well as county planning and zoning and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Saturday’s meeting, at Aldrin Elementary School at 8:45 a.m., will further discuss the village centers, particularly alternate sues for the half-empty Tall Oaks Village Center, as well as the future of the Baron Cameron retail area at Reston Parkway and Baron Cameron Avenue.

Photo: South Lakes Village Center

  • John Farrell

    As should have been expected, the staff has cherry-picked citizen comments to re-enforced their preconceived agenda.

    What citizen uses the phrase “vertical mixed use development”?

    Let’s be clear tomorrow morning: Reston does NOT want high-rises at its Village Centers!

    • TheKingJAK

      I’ve also noticed completely erroneous as well as contradictory statements, some of which involves inapplicable copypasta. Furthermore, some of the suggested improvements appear to have been pulled from thin air. It’s disappointing whenever coherency suffers, and citizens are left confused as a direct result of such. I often wonder how much someone is actually paid by the tax payers in order to organize these random, circular thoughts. Good grief, I’d love it if Reston was already its own town or city with proper representation.

  • east297

    Why not hi-rises? Dense occupancy will support the centers. Hunters Woods, Lake Anne, Tall Oaks currently “just hanging on”.

    • vdiv

      Because they turn into slums within a decade and no money and will can fix that. Look at the Heron house at Lake Anne with concrete falling off everywhere, HVAC system from hell, hideous brutalist BS and old helpless people stuck living in there with no hope.

      Want high-rises? Go to Tyson’s Corner or better yet Moscow.

      • east297

        Really! Maybe they used poor products in building Heron House as evidenced by the concrete fountain at Lake Anne that has been restored multiple times.

      • Kent

        Heron House, and much of the original construction at Lake Anne, was done with substandard concrete. It’s been a known issue for a long time. It’s not a lack of maintenance, it’s a problem with the original construction.

    • John Farrell

      Hunters Woods is not “just hanging on.” There are more empty store fronts in North Pointe.

      Lake Anne has already been replanned for luxury high-rise together with Crescent and Fairways apartments.

      There are no places in Reston for the few Millennials who have a job to find housing on what little they are being paid.

    • TheKingJAK

      I think you should check into other factors aside from density: The economy has gone through quite a downsizing, rental rates have gone up at multiple village centers, and with all this talk about rebuilding village centers an element of uncertainty has been added. Combining such factors you will naturally witness issues. Businesses like stability, and if you keep shaking things up you’ll eventually have trouble keeping them around. As for Lake Anne, look at how dense the surrounding area already is. It’s not a matter of density, it’s simply a matter of economic realities and age. Lake Anne could most likely use a revitalization, so long as it doesn’t destroy but simply enhances what’s already there. For the record, though, Lake Anne really pops during the Farmers’ Market. I’ve witnessed visitors pouring in from all over the place, and ultimately having to drive down North Shore, Moorings, etc. in order to find parking spaces.

      • Mike M

        There is also the possibility that the rents are high because the owners are gaming the County. As I understand, they only pay taxes on what they have occupied, so it may well be in their interest to keep the lower rent district properties unoccupied while the wrangle for redevelopment on their terms.

  • Janet

    It’s the off season for housing, but searching Redfin I see 12 homes under $200K. How much more affordable can you get than that? Sorry, you can get granite countertops with your second house.

    • John Farrell

      Wow out of 4,000 houses in Reston you found 12 @ that price.

      And South Lakes graduates 400 kids a year, so

      Problem solved!

      • Kent

        No, Janet found 12 under $200K out of 309 currently for sale, not 12 out of 4,000. That’s about 4 percent. That may not translate perfectly to Reston’s full housing stock, but if it’s anywhere near representative, it’s pretty good compared to the rest of Fairfax County.

        • John Farrell

          Forget percentages. And a comparison to a jurisdiction that has pursued an exclusionary land use regime for 50 years is not persuasive.

          400 kids graduate South Lakes every year (and not all of Reston’s kids go to SLHS, North Pointe goes to Herndon). If they all marry each other (which they don’t), that’s a need for 200 dwelling units that they can afford on what they going to make. 12 houses under $200,000 is not going to satisfy that housing demand.

          High rise is so expensive to build it has to be luxury housing.

          Reston needs more 3-4 story “stick built” garden apartments to provide starter homes for its young people.

          • Mike M

            Are you social engineering, John? I am not understanding your point about the South Lakes graduation rate. What is the connection?

    • TheKingJAK

      Far too often it seems that affordable housing is just a code word for subsidized instead of the touted blue collar middle class. Under $200k is amazing for the D.C. Metro, though.

      • Mike M

        I’ll be straight, King. It means subsidies and Democratic voters. The cost of these subsidies is very high indeed. My neighborhood has more than it’s share of these units and in my experience subsidized housing translates into lower quality of life for neighbors, higher crime, run down units, pit bulls, nutty parties, litter . . . the gamut. You have to wonder too at who gets selected for these Democratically conceived gifts.

  • Pepper

    The draft plan makes no mention at all of the abundant affordable market rate housing in the vicinity of Hunters Woods (i.e., The Springs and Winterthur apartments) that are home to many working class families.

    • Greg

      The county staff is ignoring the actual housing market conditions around Hunter’s Woods Village Center. In addition to those apartments, many nearby condos and townhouses are used as rentals. Nowhere else in Fairfax County is affordable housing more widely available.

      • Juno

        Who the Hell is getting these brand new “affordable dwelling units”? Where are they advertised? What are the chances it’s a giveaway for county staff’s family and friends?

        • Mike M

          A most excellent question. There is a pat superficial answer that doesn’t really answer the question. Let’s see if you get a response.

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