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Reston Town Center North’s Future Needs, Process Gets a Look

by Karen Goff — September 21, 2015 at 9:30 am 5 Comments

Years from now, the 49-acre area from Baron Cameron Avenue to Reston Town Center could be a vibrant mix of residences, community spaces and services, including a new public library and recreation center.

But first, the parcel needs to be reorganized, rezoned and re-imagined.

Fairfax County on Saturday held the second of what will likely be many community engagement and information sessions about Reston Town Center North.

A land swap between the county and Inova is in its final stages of approval and a Request for Proposals (RFP) has been put out to developers for the first phase of redevelopment, which would include the Reston Regional Library and the Embry Rucker Community Shelter.

County officials said the first round of RFP was mainly a call for developers to see who had the finances to take on redevelopment. An RFP later this year will call for specific plans.

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the goal right now is to get community input about what the needs will be for Reston in the decades to come.

“How can we keep that vision alive in Reston?” she said. “I look at that swath of land as an asset that has been given to us. We have been able to acquire it and put it to use. What our are needs in the future? If we look at it as an extension of Reston Town Center, what do we do there?”

Saturday’s presentation included information from the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services, which offered a look at Reston’s number of people living in poverty (5 percent); in need of affordable housing (35 percent of renters spend more than 30 percent of monthly income on rent); and in need of county services.

They underscored the need to include a new human services facility to replace the current one in the Town Center North area.

Andrew Miller, Project Coordinator of the Public-Private Partnerships Branch of the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, said development will likely take more than 10 years.

The goal now is to realign the land — some owned by the county (eventual blocks 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 in the graphic above) and the rest (eventual blocks 2, 4, and 6) by Inova. Then there will be rezoning for the individual parcels when it is decided what to do with the land.

“We need to hear from the citizens what services are needed,” he said.

Citizens attending the meeting spoke up about adding a nursing home to replace Cameron Glen, which closed in 2014 and ensuring the library gets proper attention. They also met in small groups to offer feedback on what the area needs.

Some key points made by Miller:

Density will stay about the same (FAR .9), with higher density allowed in the parcels closest to the Reston Town Center.

The first two parcels slated for redevelopment will be the Reston Regional Library and Embry Rucker Shelter. Both buildings are about 30 years old and in need of replacement, he said. County voters also authorized a bond in 2012 that puts $10 million towards a new library.

Both the library and shelter would likely move to temporary locations for one to two years during construction. There is a chance that the now-empty Cameron Glen Care Center, located in Parcel 6 of RTC North, could serve as a temporary shelter, he said.

Phase 2 of redevelopment would include county-owned blocks 1, 3, 5 and 9 of RTC North. The county would like to see a new Health and Human Services building on that land, as well as housing and retail. Other ideas put forth: a performing arts center, a fire station and transitional housing.

There will be a town green in the center of RTC North. The Fairfax County Park Authority also has the rights to 90,000 square feet, where it would likely build an indoor recreation center.

Parcels 2, 4, 6 (bordering Fountain Drive close to the Spectrum, which is also slated for a major redevelopment) are owned by Inova and already hold Inova’s Emergency Care Center and Sunrise Assisted Living. In between those two buildings is the former Cameron Glen parcel.

Development consultant Dave Sittler, representing Inova, said Inova has no current plans for changes on its parcels. He said Inova’s goal right now is to help complete the land swap so RTC North can go from a patchwork of parcels to an organized grid of blocks.

There will be a public hearing at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting regarding the county-Inova land swap, with further public hearings to come in the future, officials said.

  • vdiv

    “But first, the parcel needs to be reorganized, rezoned and re-imagined.”

    No it doesn’t, the trees and the squirrels are just fine imagining harmony with no people around.

  • concordpoint

    But first, The County needs to address the Open Space covenant that they have violated for over 30 years (most recently with the new police station). Failure to divulge this to RFP bidders and the public show’s the County’s true colors.

  • eileenminarik

    “The first two parcels slated for redevelopment will be the Reston Regional Library and Embry Rucker Shelter. Both buildings are about 30 years old and in need of replacement,” I have friends in Italy who live in houses and apartment buildings that are over 300 years old. Why can’t we build to last or at least just renovate and perhaps add on to our existing buildings?

  • Chuck Morningwood

    If Reston truly wants to do something unique, why don’t we tear down these buildings and put in a forest, like it was up until the mid- to late-’70’s.

    • Barry Cohen

      Thats probably not going to happen….

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