Nearly 100 Tall Oaks-area residents answered a recent survey on the future of their village center, saying they want more than 10,000 square feet of retail, among other tweaks to what is being planned for the ailing village center.
JAG, which purchased Tall Oaks late last year, wants to build 150 residential units and up to 7,000 square foot of retail on the site of the nearly empty 70,000-square-foot village center at Wiehle Avenue and North Shore Drive.
Sixty respondents to the citizen survey said they liked “Citizen Option 1,” which adds retail up to 10,000 square feet and opened up space in front of Tall Oaks Assisted Living. Thirty-three responses were in favor of Citizen Option 2, which also added up to 10,000 square feet of retail, as well as more parking.
Overall, 83 percent of respondents chose a citizen option over JAG’s option, says group rep Sherri Hebert, the president of the Bentana Woods Cluster Association.
“Although not a scientific research study, the results further validate the thoughts and concerns of the residents of Reston,” says the group’s report.
Hebert has also written a letter to county officials outlining the citizens’ furstration.
“Developing this land into a gem of Reston and a model for other village centers is critically important to Reston’s future,” she said. “To create another housing cluster would set the wheels in motion to dissolve the uniqueness of Reston and its village centers, increase traffic and decrease the character of the neighborhood and lower the quality of life of the residents. All of these factors would ultimately lead to a city without personality or distinction and lower property values. ”
The group’s main conclusions:
- Require a minimum of 10,000 square feet of retail. The retail that is currently operating successfully at Tall Oaks, to include Paisanos, Paradise Nails, Fur Factory, Pho 75, Vocelli, Kumon Learning, and Tall Oaks Veterinarian easily fill the square footage. They have expressed interest to stay and have been successful for years in the village center.
- Require community green space/meeting space in a village or plaza-like setting.
- Require adequate parking so overflow parking isn’t along North Shore or it becomes impossible for customers to park for the retail services.
- Require a traffic study and feasibility of an exit onto Wiehle westbound.
- Require design of housing and retail building fit into the community and the Reston nature feel.
- Push for LEED certifications, green roofs, reuse of rain water, etc.
- Consider building above retail if needed.
- Require plaza/village space, multi-generational gathering space.
JAG has not yet submitted any formal permits or plans for Tall Oaks. After an April meeting where the concept was not well received, it did make changes to double the retail space (from 3,500 to 7,000 square feet) and add open space.
“We don’t know if Jefferson Apartment Group is open to changes, but we need to have our desires known and data can speak louder than words,” says the citizens group.
See a final report from the citizens below.