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Reston National Golf Course Saga Returns to Court Friday

by Karen Goff November 5, 2015 at 10:30 am 9 Comments

Golfers at Reston NationalAdvocacy group Rescue Reston, Reston Association and other parties concerned about the future of Reston National Golf Course will head to Fairfax County Circuit Court for a hearing this Friday at 2 p.m.

It’s the next step in a years-long battle over whether the 166-acre public course is open and recreational space or can be developed as residential by owners RN Golf Management.

Here’s the backstory:

In 2012, the owners of Reston National Golf Course asked Fairfax County if the course at Sunrise Valley and Colts Neck Road could be considered residential. Fairfax County Planning and Zoning said no, it’s open and recreational space. After several postponements, RN Golf filed an appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).

In January, the Board of Zoning Appeals heard arguments from both sides. The BZA ruled in April that the owners could redevelop without getting a comprehensive amendment, which could ease the path to redevelopment of the land.

There have never been any specific plans filed for the golf course’s future — and just because they don’t have to get a comprehensive plan amendment does not mean that whatever is in store would get approval from the Fairfax County Planning Commission, the county board of supervisors or Reston Association.

The golf course site is also a wildlife habitat, as well as a serene backdrop for hundreds of homeowners whose properties overlook or back to the rolling greens and wooded trails.

But parts of the course are less than a half-mile from Metro’s Wiehle-Reston East station, which makes it a prime space for redevelopment in a rapidly changing Reston.

Says Rescue Reston:  “The outcome of this hearing will affect all properties abutting or near the golf course. Home and business owners stand to lose scenic views, privacy and substantial value and will face years of construction trucks, dirt and noise in their backyards, and worsening congestion on local roads. Our community may lose 166 acres of wildlife habitat and scenic beauty. All of Reston faces the loss of control over its future.”

Rescue Reston says if the judge rules in their favor Friday, RN Golf, a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual Insurance, “will have a much harder time achieving its goal of transforming this treasured open space into anything other than recreational open space.”

Land use attorneys not affiliated with the case say this type of hearing is standard procedure on the way to scheduling more court dates and that this issue could go all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court eventually.

Read the most recent filings on the part of the petitioners on Rescue Reston’s website.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    I think that would make a great site for to drill a couple of exploratory fracking wells. Let’s keep America (and Reston) energy independent!

  • Nyla J.

    “The golf course site is also a nature preserve,” Huh? I wish we would all stop pretending like the golf course is “green” or natural. The pesticides required to keep it “green” are anything but and the gas powered little carts and constant maintenance vehicles do not make this space what I would consider a preserve or natural space.

    • Beth

      Nyla, when it comes to golf courses, I’d normally agree with you. But in this case, besides being Audubon certified, there’s extremely rare fringe (old farm) habitat around at the edges of course – and much more. During a recent Rescue Reston golf tournament fundraiser, a two-hour nature hike was led by a naturalist, botanist, etc. Our own natural resources manager was there. It’s incredibly rich habitat.

      Once I even stumbled across comments on a website in Colorado where people had commented on how Reston National was the exception to the rule of how environmentally unfriendly many courses are. I believe that nature walk will be given again – has has in the past as well. You might want to contact the Rescue Reston board or staff at the Nature House to see when.

  • reston is changing

    posting this from the courtroom. doesn’t look good for rescue reston.

    • Karen Goff

      The hearing is at 2 p.m.

      • reston is changing

        busted! karen, please don’t let the facts get in the way of a good joke!

  • clambj

    Nyla, Reston National is a Audubon certified course. Most golf courses strive for that today. These golf course environmental disaster accusations are late by about 20 years. Another myth in a long line of what I call the Caddy Shack effect.

    • Nyla J.

      Which is better than the Weekend at Bernie’s effect, but still not exactly environmentally sound. They paid a fee and got a certification. Bah.

  • RestonRick

    Breaking news – court dismisses RN Golf’s case; a win for the preservation of open space! – from Rescue Reston’s Facebook page!

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