RA Will Fight Zoning Appeals’ Golf Course Decision

Reston National Golf CourseReston Association’s Board of Directors says it will appeal the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals’ recent ruling that could allow developers to forge ahead without a comprehensive plan amendment.

The owner of the golf course, RN Golf Management, appealed the county zoning office’s 2012 answer that the 166-acre course is zoned open and recreation/community space. The case was heard by the BZA in January at a Fairfax County Government Center packed with supporters of Reston’s open space.

On April 15, the BZA overruled “the zoning administrator to the extent she says a comprehensive plan amendment is a precondition [to development].”

That leaves open the possibility that residential development could occur at the course at Sunrise Valley Drive and Colts Neck Road. That would affect golfers, of course, but also hundreds of homeowners who purchased nearby because of golf course views and nearby open space.

The RA Board voted unanimously (At-Large Director Jeff Thomas was absent) at a special meeting Monday to go ahead with the appeal to the Circuit Court. Citizens advocacy group Rescue Reston is also preparing an appeal, and on Tuesday the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors also voted unanimously to fight the BZA decision.

The deadline for the appeals is Friday.

“The decision reflects RA’s position that any redevelopment of PRC zoned land within Reston, including the Reston National Golf Course, must be reviewed and compared to the existing zoning development plans, and any proffers or conditions attached to the development plans,” RA said in a statement.

“This review and comparison is mandated under Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance Section 16-202 with the purpose of protecting the Reston community from unplanned changes to the development pattern previously approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. If the redevelopment is not in substantial conformance with the approved development plan, then a development plan amendment must be approved by the Board of Supervisors.”

RA says that during the three years of the Reston National situation, county staff did not find copies of the three development plans, which include the Reston National Golf Course and surrounding residential communities.

“A zoning determination for the golf course was issued in June 2012 without these three development plans being available,” RA said. “Because they were unavailable at that time, the golf course owner appealed to the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), seeking a “blank check” for residential redevelopment of the golf course.”

The missing plans were a big discussion during the six-hour January BZA hearing. RA says while the BZA did not provide a “blank check” to the landowner in its decision on April 15, it also “did not confirm that the three development plans later found by county staff in the zoning archives are, in fact, the approved development plans. As such, RA will be appealing the BZA decision.”

Ads RA: “The primary purpose of appealing the BZA decision to the Circuit Court is to have the court confirm that these are the official approved development plans which, until and unless amended, govern the use and development of the golf course, as well as the residences surrounding it. These development plans clearly show golf course and open space uses.”

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