Reston National Golf Course’s potential future may be decided on Wednesday. Will it remain as open space for golfers, joggers and countless neighborhood squirrels? Or will the owners prevail in the quest for a residential zoning designation and eventual development of housing close to the Silver Line Metro?
Three years after the county told golf course owner RN Golf Management the 166 acres in south Reston is zoned open space, the Board of Zoning appeals is slated to rule whether that holds or whether RNG can go forward with new zoning that bypasses the change process.
The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) will make a ruling on the issue at a meeting that begins at 9 a.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center. The meeting will be broadcast live on Fairfax County Channel 16.
The ruling comes after a January hearing in which the BZA heard more than five hours of testimony on lost land records, wildlife habitats, wooded views, and Reston’s founding principals. Members of Rescue Reston, an advocacy organization formed in response to RN Golf’s zoning inquiry and potential plans, packed the government center auditorium wearing neon yellow shirts in unity.
RN Golf maintains it should not have to go through the rezoning process to be considered residential.
“When [Reston] was zoned, and now, there are only five categories [for land use],” said Frank McDermott, attorney for RN Golf, said at the Jan. 21 hearing. “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.”
A county zoning staff report disagrees, as do many residents who have spoken out how they bought their golf course- area homes with the promise that they would always back to open space.
RN Golf, a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual Insurance, purchased the golf course in 2005 for $5 million. It first inquired on the zoning status in 2010. After the 2012 answer, RN Golf deferred taking additional action until last fall.
Leaders for Rescue Reston have said they will appeal if the BZA rules in favor of the golf course owners.
Reston National Golf Course/file photo