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Lots of Testimony, But No Golf Course Zoning Decision

by Karen Goff — January 21, 2015 at 3:05 pm 1,738 89 Comments

The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals heard more than five hours of testimony concerning the future of Reston National Golf Course on Wednesday, but opted not to make a decision. The BZA will make a ruling on the subject on April 15.

At issue: The zoning appeal of RN Golf, the owners of the 166-acre public course in south Reston, who say the land can be considered residential. RN Golf, a division of Northwestern Mutual Insurance, has been asking the county of the land status since 2010.

The appeal is in a response to a 2012 ruling by the Fairfax County Zoning Administration that said altering the planned use of the golf course at Sunrise Valley and Colts Neck Roads would require a comprehensive plan amendment.

The county recently issued a staff report that upholds the 2012 ruling.

That inquiry has been met with significant citizen pushback. More than 300 members of Rescue Reston, the citizens advocacy group formed in response to the initial 2012 appeal, showed up at the Fairfax County Government Center clad in signature yellow/green shirts and carrying signs supporting keeping Reston’s open space open.

Also in attendance — and among the people testifying Thursday — were attorneys for Rescue Reston and Reston Association.

The day included lots of details about zoning filings and Planned Residential Community (PRC) documents, including many details on how and when the original 1971 zoning documents were located since 2012.

“When [Reston] was zoned, and now, there are only five categories [for land use],” said Frank McDermott, attorney for RN Golf. “Residential, neighborhood center, convenience center, town center or village center. It has to be one of those categories. There is no such things as PRC golf course or PRC open space. Our position this was and is PRC residential.”

After RN Golf’s side gave a long saga of trying to locate the original documents — which took them through Fairfax County file rooms and Reston Association records, among others — McDermott argued that at least two of the the 1971 documents located came from George Mason University’s planned community archives.

McDermott said without coming from the county with official government stamps, the documents are not valid.

“You must be persuaded you be persuaded [by Fairfax County zoning] to respect and give greater dignity to unapproved plans from an unapproved source,” said McDermott.  “They call these the approved development plans. There is not one iota of evidence that they are the approved development plans.”

McDermott also said there is no such thing as permanent open space, even though the 1971 documents list it as such.

“There is nothing common about the golf course,” he said. “It is privately owned, and frankly, residents who live by the golf course, who, by their own statements, go out and run on the course, they are trespassing. It is not common, open space. It is private.”

Residents who testified wholeheartedly disagree. They said they purchased homes on the golf course with the understanding they would have a view of the rolling greens or wooded areas, which also add a value premium to their home value.

“What concerns me is that my family, as well has hundreds of others, would stand the lose the views we paid premiums for,” said Jay Szlamowicz, who lives on Weybridge Lane. “Allowing home construction in Reston without changing the master plan would invalidate the concept of planned community. This is what makes Reston great and we can’t allow a greedy company to destroy that.”

Realtor Ray Wedell said homes on the course have already been impacted by the chance of redevelopment. He pointed out that townhomes on Indian Ridge sold quickly for an average of about $500,000 in the first half of 2014. In the second half, no contracts were ratified. By the end of the year, when the BZA application was reinstated, five Indian Ridge homes lingered on the market

Other residents took issue with the process RN Golf has used in getting to the appeal. The company purchased the course for $5 million in 2005. Residents said if it had redevelopment plans in mind, it stands to make a great deal of money — and how could it be that the owners did not know what they were purchasing?

Reston is  in the second phase of changes to its Master Plan. Residents and RA and Rescue now attorneys questioned why RN Golf did not file an amendment request, since that is the proper procedure for changing zoning in a PRC.

John Pinkman, founder of Rescue Reston, said talk of missing files is a diversion from the real issues.

“When you have a weak position, you create a diversion,” he said. “That diversion is the rabbit hole of suspicion, such as where did docs stamps come from? If you look at the spirit of the community, no one would think of that. I don’t know if there is anyone here in 1971 who said in 40 years there will be a subway here and we have to create the documents to create a loophole.”

Meanwhile, the BZA brought up several examples of approved Reston projects that did not have to go through the comprehensive plan amendment process despite negative staff reports from the zoning administration. Among them: The 23-story office tower planned for Reston Parkway and The Hamilton, the residential towers currently under construction across from Reston Town Center.

  • Rodney Dangerfield

    It is astounding that neighboring people believe they own that course. If there is no official record in the County files, then McDermott is 100% correct. I am also curious if Bob Simon had a view on this matter … as he is usually very outspoken (for or against) something relating to the history and future of Reston.

    • Karen Durishin

      Nobody believes they own the golf course (a bit of hyperbole there, no?) but there are Fairfax County trails that zigzag through the golf course and often bisect with the golf cart paths. They are clearly marked and are used frequently/routinely by those living adjacent to the RN, and occasionally by running groups. Those trails would be another loss to the community.

      • Dexter Scott

        I bet the developers would happily leave those trails there in exchange for building high rises on the course.

        • Adrian Havill

          Too bad they won’t get the chance.

      • Na

        There are posters in this thread who believe they own the course!

      • Greg

        So, is your concern footpath easements or redevelopment?

        • Adrian Havill

          The footpath easements are real. When the attorney for the developer claimed at the hearing that citizens walking on or through the golf course were “trespassing” he stirred up a hornet’s nest. He was also lying.

    • Guest

      Rodney–Like your namesake, your comment gets no respect.

  • Mike M

    “When [Reston] was zoned, and now, there are only five categories [for land use],” said Frank McDermott, attorney for RN Golf. ” Residential, neighborhood center, convenience center, town center or village center. It has to be one of those categories. There is no such things as PRC golf course or PRC open space. Our position this was and is PRC residential.”

    Sounds really weak and legalistic. So, . . . it’s not there as a Golf Course and a golf course is residential. Hmmmn. The impact on the community certainly differs be it a Golf Course or “Residential.”

    • LaurieTD

      Not only is the argument legalistic, it is one with which many lawyers disagree — notably, the staff attorneys for the Board of Zoning Appeals. RN Golf wants to ignore the Reston Master Plan and the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan, but all PRC zoning designations must be interpreted in the context of that plan, which lists the golf course as Open Space (defined as recreational use).

      • Greg

        “…interpreted in the context of that plan,…” Assuming you mean those plans, but even if you don’t, interpretation in some context, especially when legal eagles are involved, is about as imprecise and dangerous as one can find.

        • LaurieTD

          The Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan incorporates the Reston Master Plan by reference, so there is a single set of terms that apply to Reston. “Open Space” is defined in the plans.

    • Dexter Scott

      Well gosh when two sets of lawyers have a showdown, the arguments do tend to get a little “legalistic”. =)

      • Mike M

        Not if the arguments are strong.

  • Bob

    “’There is nothing common about the golf course,’ he said. ‘It is
    privately owned, and frankly, residents who live by the golf course,
    who, by their own statements, go out and run on the course, they are
    trespassing. It is not common, open space. It is private.'”

    Actually, Reston Association bike paths go through the golf course. That means you can run through the golf course without trespassing.

    • Greg

      If your assertion concerning “bike” paths is true, it does not necessarily mean that one has unfettered access to ALL of the golf course, including running anywhere on the course.

      In any case, the property is most definitely privately owned.

      • LaurieTD

        Of course it is privately owned, but people on RA paths or other public easements are not trespassing.

        • Greg

          Do such easements exist? Where may one find the details if the do exist?

          I assume we are not concerning the public paths / sidewalks along South Lakes Drive adjacent to the golf course, and the VDOT easements thereto, but rather something that passes through the golf course.

          • LaurieTD

            The existence of easements through the golf course was mentioned at the hearing, but I do not know their location or extent. I believe you could search the land records at the courthouse for that information.

          • indianridgebrave

            The easements are on the Reston Association maps they give to residents. The easement trails have signs on restrictions golf carts. They are designed to allow scenic walking without being in the range of gold balls.

  • Adrian Havill

    So a major university’s archives given to it by Reston Association isn’t valid because it’s from a university’s records even though they couldn’t find it in the county’s files? So why should GMU bother to keep archival materials if not for these moments? Best efforts prevail here, Bottom line: the RN greedists didn’t do their due diligence when they bought the land back in 2005. Did they really believe they could buy 166 acres in the middle of Reston for five mil and then rezone it ten years later by hiring a gang of suits with county connections? Let’s hope not.

    • LaurieTD

      I believe the purchasers of RN Golf knew they were buying a golf course plus the option to roll the dice to see whether they could get past the zoning restrictions. Their legal arguments are weak, in my opinion.

      • Ron Hayes

        I sure hope you are right – those of us who live in Reston bought at a premium with the belief that unbridled development could not happen in our planned community. The golf course needs to stay !

      • Mike M

        They knew that state law and the Fairfax County cronies tend to rule in their favor. Given the amount of money that could be involved don’t out anything past the County officials, or the developers. Here’s the deal: Tell Bulova and Hudgins their party is over if the sale goes through. If you can’t do that, if they can still count on your votes, then hang up your yellow shirt and forget about it.

        • Bill

          Great point Mike. We all know the Northwestern Mutual woo the supervisors through whatever means at their disposal. We really only have the power of the vote here. Let’s make it clear to Susan Bulova and Kathy Hudgins that we vote, and that this is a HUGE issue for us.

          • Adrian Havill

            Sharon Bulova. Cathy Hudgins.

    • Rodney Dangerfield

      Using terms like “greedist” just proves that you somehow think you own it over the property owner’s rights. As for the deal they made, investors often make opportunistic acquisitions based on what the future might bring, and at great prices. What they paid should not be viewed as a evidence, or a bad thing. Remember, too, the timing in 2005 as the market was starting its decline for the next 7-8 years …

      • Adrian Havill

        Were you there? I was.Don’t think you were.

        • Greg

          Where you there when RN did its due diligence?

          • Adrian Havill

            It was clear from the testimony today that RN did not do any “due diligence” when they bought the property but simply relied on the title insurance company.

    • Ray Well

      Exceptional post, Adrian.

  • Dexter Scott

    “we can’t allow a greedy company to destroy that.”

    This right after the guy whines about his home value decreasing. Sounds like the company doesn’t exactly have a monopoly on greed.

    • Adrian Havill

      Was there for six hours today, Dex. Looked all over for you and judging by your pix, you would have been hard to miss. Whine is a bit of a pejorative, don’t you think?

      • Dexter Scott

        Ming has a Galaxy to run, and after hours instructs his Minglets in the ways of Galactic Overlordship while providing them with chicken nuggets and coloring books.

    • A

      Dexter enough libertarian nonesense

  • Bill

    The idea that the course can be plowed in and replaced with high rises violates the spirit of a “planned community.” We all bought homes surrounding a beautiful golf course, and we payed a premium for it. This development would not only diminish our quality of life, but would do deep harm to the value of our homes, which for many of us is a good chunk of our retirement nest egg. It would be like emptying money out our 401ks.
    If the county allows this development, they will be allowing us to be robbed of what we purchased in good faith, and will be sacrificing us on the altar of growing the tax base.

    • Rodney Dangerfield

      All of you keep coming back to this theory that you own it … terms like “robbing us of our nest egg”. If the land was owned by an HOA or dedicated to the County or RA, or otherwise covered by a conservation easement, you would all be right, but this is private property owned by an investor. They have property rights that are superior to the general public, and even the adjacent property owners, UNLESS you find something clear and definitive that confirms your theory. It isn’t that hard a concept. Put yourself in their shoes … and imagine your neighbors ganged up to take away a right you thought you had to use your own land.

      • LaurieTD

        At the time of purchase, this language appeared in the chain of title: this property is “Recreational Open Space and may not be subdivided, built upon, altered, or modified except after an amended final plan has been approved.” The buyer was on notice that use of the land was restricted.

      • Biker Sherlock

        Your premise that owners of private property can do with it what they will is naive at best. I own my property and am far from free to do with it as I like. Zoning regulations exist for a reason. Simply stating that it “is private property owned by an investor” ignores the whole implemented concept of zoning regulations. I’m pretty sure my neighbors would “gang up” on me if I decided to build a pink dildo shaped mansion on my lot – as rightfully they should. “Private property owner” is not a carte blanche for unadulterated development Rodney… No respect Rodney, no respect

        • Rodney Dangerfield

          I did not suggest that it was total carte blanche, and I do acknowledge zoning laws, properly enacted and uniformly administered. As a neighbor (not directly next to it, though) I would love to see the golf course remain for its aesthetic quality.

          That said, the idea that a casual reference to the master plans of Reston, without specificity, does not necessarily constitute a legal restriction. All of the people running around with torches and pitch forks are trying desperately to make it so (and understandably, as it goes to their OWN property values vs. those of the investor who bought the golf course). Even LaurieTD’s comment about what was reportedly in the chain of title only refers to a final plan amendment … that is far different than the assertion that the County Master Plan for Reston would have to be updated, and then a PRC Amendment (basically, rezoning), a DPA and PCA would have to be approved by the politicians who are entrenched against it.

          Good planning evolves over time, particularly, as here, where it was organically created from the wilderness (first use). At some point in the future of the Earth, that golf course will no longer make sense, particularly as it is so close to Metro. The issue is whether those investors’ property rights include the right to redevelop it into something else, under the clear, unequivocal record. The opponents put on a valiant case, to be sure, but I agree with another post, that this will likely be decided by the Supreme Court of VA at some point, several years down the road.

          • Biker Sherlock

            I agree it will unlikely be a golf course at some point in the future. We probably disagree as to what point in time that is. Were you at the hearing? Staff presented part of a substantial set of documents in which the designation Permanent Open Space was clearly evident and officially acknowledged. That’s hardly a casual reference.

            Northwestern’s case picks at errors made 40 some years ago made by someone who was probably being paid minimum wage to put papers in boxes and store them. It was pretty clear at the hearing that semantics prevail over logic in this proceeding. While that may be in the letter of the law, any observer would agree that it was not in the spirit and evidence presented.

    • Greg

      Did you do your due diligence when you bought your property? Did you read all of the Reston deed when you purchased it? Did you read all of the covenants and development rights and easements attached to the RN property? Very little of the planning behind Reston has held the test of time and most of those plans are at least 50 years old. Times and plans change.

      • Biker Sherlock

        yet this all seems to hinge on an error and a stamp from over 40 years ago… RN (and you?) do not want a logical zoning interpretation as it applies to Reston today, they are looking to twist words from the 70’s to develop decades later. Times may change, man’s motivations do not. Fill in development is a cash cow Greg. A cow Greg. A cow.

        • Rodney Dangerfield

          Whether or not it is a cash cow is irrelevant.

          The opponents are trying to twist after-enacted plans to interpret the original approvals for the golf course, and the Phase 2 Master Plan is trying to clean up the record to make it so.

          • Greg

            Correct. And Biker’s interpretation of an error may not be how the courts interpret what may well be a fact. After all, none of this discussion, hours of testimony, many billable attorney hours and opinion-setting-forth would be happening if things were clear and sorted out.

            As to cows and motivation, you may not recall what most of Reston was before a Capitalist man called Simon came along and, mostly in secret, amalgamated lands for “fill-in development.” It was mostly woodlands, large estates, and, yes, cow farms then. The changes have been happening on these lands regularly since the early 1960s.

          • Mike M

            So, . . . never say no to change?

            Glad you feel that way because I am going to buy property adjacent to your and establish a sewerage treatment plant. Change, dude. Don’t question it. Right?

          • False Analogy Much?

            Because a sewage treatment plant is just like a mixed use development.

          • Mike M

            Traffic stinks. Get it?

          • False Analogy Much?

            Is there a lot of traffic at sewage treatment plants? Or is that just when you want to use the drive-thru?

          • Mike M

            Sorry False, I realize that not everyone has an IQ above 90 and I should explain things better for them. So here you go:

            If you think the developer has the right to do anything with his property that he likes and the neighbors should just hush up, ask yourself how you’d swallow it if I built a big smelly sewerage treatment plant next to your house. You’d be ticked because that smelly plant would seriously affect your quality of life and the value of your property. Traffic and the sudden injection of a throng of population can also affect your quality of life and property values.It’s why we have zoning laws in this country.

            Don’t feel bad. I have worked with people like you. Take Kyle, for example. I could ask Kyle, “Kyle, should we blow up that bridge?” Kyle would say, ” Well, we could use explosive X or explosive Y.” And I’d say,, “Kyle, SHOULD we blow up THAT bridge.” And Ole Kyle, he’d say well we could plant explosive charges here and there or just here. And I’d say, “Kyle, IF WE BLOW up this bridge, does it serve our over all purposes?” Kyle would then employ his incredulous blank stare and I would apologize for hurting his brain.

            Some folks just don’t get jokes, and they don’t get analogies. And that’s OK, brother.

          • Biker Sherlock

            I think you misunderstand my use of ‘fill in’ or ‘infill’ development. It is when you develop unused or open space WITHIN an already developed community. It’s highly profitable. Starting Reston on woodlands is not considered infill development.

            Infill makes it very desirable since it is the only new development on new lots you could create withing an existing community. The fact that it is a cash cow is very relevant. We would not be having this discussion otherwise. Northwestern would not have purchased RN if this was not a possibility (however remote) in their minds.

            I’m not saying profit motivation is bad or surprising. I am saying that this development is not in Reston’s best interest. I have yet to hear you or Rodney make that case. Instead you seem to be trolling on a lower semantic level, which is pretty much what this hearing felt like to be honest.

          • Greg

            I understand what infill development is. It’s relevant to the context of the time, and what is now Reston was not just woodlands in the 1960s. Irrespective of those facts, the golf course is a massive chunk of land, not small parcels here and there, so it’s not likely to be developed by filling in this or that lot. It will be a major redevelopment if it happens.

            As to what’s best for Reston — that’s entirely subjective. The supervisors almost always favor that which creates more taxable property for their needs and developer contributions toward their campaigns. This is supported by the fact that all levels of government have, for decades, advocated for bringing Metro to Reston — something that does not retard growth and (re)development — and that similar transportation projects have been a top, if not the top, priority of government for deades.

            As someone else pointed out, RTCA members may wish for more high-income residents, and RR wants to keep a golf course. The parcel’s ownership clearly wants to make money and likely has little interest in other than maximizing its gain.

            RA’s stake is less apparent, but it’s clear it has somehow managed to take a position (for all of Reston) against change.

            As to semantics, I agree with you and believe the matter will be settled in the courts some years hence.

          • Biker Sherlock

            The golf course is the only “new” land which could be made available for new development in the direct vicinity of the Wiehle Metro station. The new BLVD development has shown how lucrative providing residential units in this area can be. To me, that makes it infill development over three parcels (the golf course).

            That being said, please don’t mistake the opposition to this particular development as an opposition to development in Reston in general. Some are all to quick to lump folks into one basket or the other. As a long time resident, I’ve seen Reston grow with new developments. In my opinion some are better choices than others. RTC , for example, should be high density and is progressing along that route.

            This case is more about a balance between development and open space. Reston offers and advertises a certain lifestyle (probably RA’s stake you are looking for), which seems of no concern to the supervisors. As you pointed out, they are more likely to be driven by tax revenue basis. If it is indeed about maintaining a balance, then most certainly it is about what is best for Reston as it is currently defined and understood by the residents.

            Change that definition/perception and all bets are off. Our motto should probably also be modified to “Work, Live, Pay” at that point.

      • Bill

        This is so obtuse I had to laugh out loud when I read it! “Times and plans change.” Thanks for that stunning argument! There is an established process for plans to change, and Northwestern Mutual is attempting to circumvent that process. Everyone did their “due diligence.” Even Northwestern Mutual. They’ve known all along that this development was not allowable, but are attempting to buy land in our community, change the rules of the game, then profit at everyone else’s expense. I’m a red-meat loving capitalist, but this is just deceitful and wrong.
        As for the instigators, I can’t imagine what in the world you are trying to accomplish by throwing these inflammatory anti-Reston arguments in the comments of a pro-Reston site, but please, do us all a favor and go back to trolling on sports blogs and political sites.

        • Greg

          Your opinion is no more or less valid than mine, except for your allegation that “[t]hey’ve known all along that this development was not allowable.” Do you work for them? Do you have personal knowledge or experience to so assert? Those are inflammatory, instigatory statements at best.

          And knowing and understanding what one is buying, especially for those who allege their residence is their nest egg, is about as direct as can be. Far from “obtuse.”

        • Ray Wedell

          Amen, Bill.

      • Mike M

        I started and I am still reading and I can see that it is so uninformative that you need a court of law to interpret it. So much for your due diligence blaming.

        • Greg

          It’s not blaming; rather, it’s asking an honest question. Can’t fault only one side of a position,

          Regardless, it’s highly likely that, regardless of the position one takes, this matter will be resolved at the VA Supreme Court.

    • Bah

      The golf course does not exist to create value for you, but for its owners. Whatever value you gain, you get as a “free ride” because they exist; you certainly did not pay a premium to them for it. They have no obligation to suffer economic loss in order to preserve value for you.

      • Ray Wedell

        NWM bought this property in full knowledge of restrictions. They bought it cheap due to the restrictions. I assume you would chastise them for not doing “due diligence?”

        • Bah

          It remains to be seen if those restrictions actually exist, and if so, are unalterable. But that’s beside the point. NWM may or may not be allowed to redevelop their property, but their supposed obligations to people like Bill can have no bearing on that decision, because no such obligations exist. Property owners should stop whining about what NWM “owes them”, because it owes them nothing.

    • Ray Wedell

      True words Bill. And it is the basis of my comments at the hearing yesterday. I realize that a NWM mole may be trolling this entire thread with what my good friend, John Pinkman, termed yesterday as “diversionary tactics” .But we all know the re-zoning effort would be a disaster to Reston as we know it. And, yes, your property values would drop, maybe plummet. The overall fall out from that in the entire Reston community would be widespread. Please hang in there and keep fighting the good fight.

  • Greg

    Why did the Reston Association have attorneys (more than one?) present? How much did this cost RA members? What standing do RA attorneys have to testify?

    • LaurieTD

      Anyone who wanted to testify was permitted to do so.

    • Adrian Havill

      As I recall, no RA attorneys spoke. Only Cate Fulkerson, who is the CEO of RA and who believes that RA has a vested interest in this issue.

      • Karen Goff

        That is incorrect. John McBride, RA atty, testified at the end.

        • Adrian Havill

          Oh, right. Thanks.

  • Greg

    Was anyone from the Reston Town Center Association present or testify?

    Also, compliments (if they are permitted in the comments) to our reporter. Excellent!

    • LaurieTD

      I do not recall hearing any live testimony from Reston Town Center Association.

    • Karen Goff

      thanks! Also, no one from Reston Town Center Assn spoke.

    • anonymous

      Reston Town Center is owned by a group of developers. RTC Association is completely separate from separate from Reston Association. They operate under their own set of rules (i.e. non-public entity unlike RA). Why on earth would they speak against additional population density that would bring in shoppers and diners to their properties?

      If you ain’t against the NWM action, you’re for it….

      • Greg

        Thank you. I am aware of what the RTCA is, but there may be others who are not and others who may not share or agree with your opinions.

        The irony, of course, is that Reston Town Center is not part of what is traditionally regarded as Reston. (If my understanding is correct, the strips of land on both sides of the Toll Road are not RA or RTCA members either),

        More to the point, and if your opinion is accurate or correct or both, the bifurcated interests between the two associations may well conflict as Reston continues to evolve and grow.

  • clambj

    I was my understanding that due to its designation of open space, the owners were allowed to operate a golf course on this property as long as there was an easement, giving residents the right to access the paths along the course. Is this information incorrect? I believe I’ve seen signage stating such while playing there. I think the signs state to keep a look out for pedestrians.

  • jvb11

    I strongly suspect that Fairfax County will likely come down on the side of the residents, not Northwestern, based on the politics of the situation. Northwestern will then appeal, which will wind through the county court and then go through the appeals process (to the Supreme Court of Virginia) unless Northwestern bows out before then. Looking at recent cases, it looks to be about a 3 year timeframe from a Fairfax decision to a final ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court.

    • Mike M

      I strongly suspect the County will enable the developers while trying desperately to cover the tracks and wipe the prints of the Zoning cronies and the Board of Supervisors. I predict Bulova and Hudgins will get all expense paid trips to Vail for “Smart Growth” and “Harmonious City Management” or some such bogus awards.

  • MJK

    Greg, what is your stake in all of this?

    • Greg

      None.

  • Ray Wedell

    I am a member at Hidden Creek CC, which is clearly understood to be private. Citizens walk on our golf paths occasionally, and occasionally cross our fairways as “short cuts”, and we consider it no big deal. For McDermott to make such a statement on “trespassing” at Reston National is a legalese reach from someone with no clue about our community and our way of life. It is a shame that NWM and those behind them are pushing in this direction, and the Reston community needs to remain totally focused on squelching the ludicrous re-zoning effort.

    • Greg

      Your “way of life” is that: yours. I am sure HCCC’s lawyers would advise you otherwise regarding trespassing for, among many other reasons, liability. If someone trips, falls, slips, gets hit by a golf ball, twists an ankle stepping on one, gets run over by a golf cart, etc, the club will be sued and will have to defend the case. The club is nothing more than its dues-paying members albeit shielded by the ownership entity. Nevertheless, the members pay the bills, including for insurance.

      To date, no one has come forth that actual, recorded RA easements exist on the RN property, so I may take a field trip to land records next week and see for myself. The map RA produces is not evidence that easements exist or existed.

      • Adrian Havill

        And yet, decade after decade, no civil suit has ever been filed against Hidden Creek for the reasons you concoct.

        • Greg

          Tomorrow’s another day and nothing here is concocted. Lawsuits like these are filed every day and settlements out of court happen even more often.

          Not to digress too far from the matter at hand, but let’s not forget that HCCC was involved in a nasty dispute with RELAC and others over property rights.

          In that matter (which was litigated, if I recall correctly), lush green turf prevailed over air conditioning as was wet forth in the property rights.

          • Anon

            Dispute over water rights

  • Jenny

    The Reston Master Plan is just that, a master plan, well conceived and executed to manage growth and maintain a high quality of life for its residents. Same for the County Comprehensive Plan. Non conformance with these plans should be cause enough to deny an application. BZA should uphold the plans.

  • Patrick Ohara

    why dont we let the people of Reston decide?I thought this was a democracy.Yes it,s private property,but the people of Reston should have some say in how the land is used.Tearing down this golf course would be like tearing down a landmark.Whats next?…the Reston International Center(black building near golf course)I mean thats been here ever since i can remember(i came here in 1973)Why do we have to destroy the real Reston to get this urbanized nightmare that the whiele Metro Station will bring. Restons Beuty lies in it,s trees,golf course,and clusters.Are we going to trade that away to urbanization.This is not what people came here for when Reston was built…thank you!

    • Greg

      The sooner that ugly black box of an “international center” is torn down, the better. The only things international about it were the Chinese restaurant and the occasional foreign film shown in one of the theatres.

      After all, it’s not a tree, golf course, or a cluster.

    • Anon

      Reston is a home owners association, not a government.

      • Greg

        It’s so, but very hard to believe based on the way RA acts.

  • prognosticator

    We can thank all the fools including Ken Plum who have repeatedly killed the idea over the years to establish Reston as a municipality. If Reston was a town or City, it would have the eminent domain authority to condemn the golf course, purchase it at FMV and then run it as a municipal course like Herndon, or better yet a park that everyone could enjoy. We can be sure the county would not act against its interests and do something like that to establish a park. Think of all the tax revenue the county is planning on. If you are so niave to think that your homes along the golf course wont wind up with an apartment block with the bare minimum set back, I have a bridge to sell you (the one that will be built across Wheile one day).

    But as other posters have pointed out, this will likely be decided in the courts. My prediction is that the property owner will win.

  • Constance (Connie) Hartke

    Fairfax County – sign the online petition at http://bit.ly/RescueReston

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