October Court Date Will Revisit Golf Course Ruling

by Karen Goff July 24, 2015 at 10:30 am 11 Comments

Golfers at Reston NationalReston organizations appealing a recent decision about the future of Reston National Golf Course will have a day in court this fall.

Reston Association, Fairfax County and advocacy group Rescue Reston, all of whom are appealing the 2015 Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) ruling on Reston National, will have a hearing on motions for summary judgment to reverse the decision in the Circuit Court of Fairfax County on Oct. 23.

The BZA ruled in April (following a January hearing) that golf course owner RN Golf Management would not need a zoning change in order to redevelop the 166-acre golf course from open and recreational space to residential.

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.

“We’re very pleased that our evidence will be heard at the Circuit Court level,” said Rescue Reston’s Connie Hartke. “A few weeks ago, RN Golf’s attorney tried to get this dismissed, saying that Reston Association and the petitioners who live around the golf course had no standing.”

“It is time to step up and help financially so that we can send our strongest message ever to the investor-owner, Northwestern Mutual (NWM), that it is time to STOP.”

The future of the golf course has been a matter of community and legal discussion since summer 2012. That’s when Fairfax County’s Zoning, responding to an inquiry from RN Golf, told the golf course owners that the space is recreational and developing it would require a comprehensive plan amendment.

After several years of delays and continuances by RN Golf Management, the company’s appeal was finally heard in a six-hour hearing in January. There has never been a redevelopment plan filed or made public by the golf course owners.

In the BZA’a April decision, board member Paul Hammack’s motion that “we overrule the zoning administrator to the extent she says a comprehensive plan amendment is a precondition [to development]” was unanimously approved.

Rescue Reston board member David Burns said at that time that the BZA ignored the law and rights of thousands of people in Reston.

“We believe the BZA has ignored not only the law and the property rights of the thousands who own property adjacent to the golf course, ” he said. “But also the will of the more than 6,000 supporters of Rescue Reston, and the thousands more members of the Reston Association, who respect the Reston Master Plan and oppose development of the golf course.”

A January county staff report also upheld the 2012 ruling.

Reston Association’s Board voted in May to also appeal the BZA ruling.

“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 at the time.

The missing development plans were a big point of discussion at the January hearing.

“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.”

RA said in May that 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.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Send Lawyers, Guns and Money…

  • Nimby Heaven

    Instead of.fighting the gold course perhaps the affected parties could make an arrangement with the owners so that the planned development could take place on and over existing properties rather than greespace. Because to be frank, the existing dwellings are poorly designed and built so perhaps trading in the property and/or exchanging it would make a whole lot of sense. Rome is a good example, it was built over at least four times so folks that have sentimental attachments can stay where they are.

    • Arielle in NoVA

      Redevelop Indian Ridge? That’s an intriguing notion. Golf Course Drive and
      Indian Ridge residents, please weigh in.

      • GB

        I can’t speak for the other clusters, but Hunters Green/ IRR are not in redevelopment condition. The house were well designed and well built.

        I do think that WaMu would probably have less resistance if they released the development plan. Most people I’ve spoken with on IRR aren’t opposed to loosing the golf course. They just want to maintain a good chunk of the open space. Since the golf course is huge it should be very doable to add town houses/condos/apartments and still keep lots of green.

        • pk

          There is already a traffic problem along sunrise valley due to the Metro, this is also part of the concern in overdeveloping this stretch of land. The international center is going to be redeveloped as well, adding many new condos to the general vicinity.

    • Mike M

      Sure! If I lived on Indian Ridge, I’d be delighted to have my house demolished and built over. And the developers, they would be pleased to forego their plans to develop all that empty space.

      • Ming the Merciless

        Let’s ask the owners of Parc Reston “garden condos” how much they enjoyed having “The Harrison” built in their backyard. No doubt it does wonders for your property value to have brand new “luxury condos” looming over your condo, blocking out the sun.

    • Commonsense

      What are you babbling about? Have you ever been in an Indian Ridge townhouse? Way cool designed by a leading architect, many have been renovated completely by their owners and the market price is around 525k. Where do you live snob? Probably with your parents.

      • Greg

        If they are so well designed, by a “leading architect,” why then have many been renovated completely?

        • Commonsense

          Because styles change over time, the bones are what you need to be cool as well as the window dressing. The developers can not force people out of their homes or afford a buyout. This is the dumbest proposition I’ve seen so far. The developers want open land to plop some overpriced condos on to appeal to millenials, but they won’t be as cool as Indian Ridge. And you will never get that.

          • Greg



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