RA Rep Hopes Citizens Ease up on Retail Pleas for Tall Oaks

by Karen Goff May 13, 2016 at 11:30 am 38 Comments

Tall Oaks animation rendering/YouTube

Reston Association Lake Anne/Tall Oaks Director Sherri Hebert says the community should move on from the idea that extensive retail will return to Tall Oaks Village Center.

Tall Oaks owners, Jefferson Apartment Group (JAG) showed the community a third version of its redevelopment plan this week. The plan calls for about 150 townhomes and condos, with a parklike entry, public art, a children’s play area and exercise stations.

JAG also plans about 8,500 square feet of retail and services, up from about 3,000 and 7,000 in previous versions. It does not include plans for an anchor grocery store, which a recent market analysis said would not thrive in that spot. The current grocery anchor space has been empty since 2011.

However, residents at public meetings in the comments on Reston Now and social media continue to clamor for the return of an anchor store.

“As much as people want to fight for [more retail], Fairfax County did a market analysis and then did a peer review. The fact of the matter is [the mostly residential plan] is a done deal and we would be smart not to waste our energy on fighting it.”

Herbert said she thinks the latest Tall Oaks design “is on the right track,” but she she does have a few concerns about the highly urban style of the buildings. Tall Oaks is nestled among mostly 40-year-old residences and wooded areas.

“These centers are not urban and not supposed to be,” she said. “This has to be a neighborhood.”

Here is a message she sent to Tall Oaks-area residents urging them to share their thoughts on the plan at upcoming meetings:

As a cluster president and a resident of the Tall Oaks community, I hope you had the opportunity to attend the JAG briefing on Tuesday night to hear the latest news regarding the Tall Oaks Village Center.  If you did not attend, all the briefings are available on the Reston Association website.

There are TWO VERY IMPORTANT MEETINGS NEXT WEEK!

  1. Monday the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee (P&Z) is meeting at the North County Government Center at 7:30.  They will be VOTING on the Tall Oaks proposal.
  2. Tuesday night at 7 pm the Full DRB will hear Tall Oaks as well, seeking conceptual  approval on the site plan.  This meeting is at RA.

If JAG get’s the thumbs up, it is an easy meeting with the County in July.

If you have concerns or want to voice your opinion, these meeting are important to attend.  IN ADDITION, sending letters, emails, and/or making calls to Supervisor Hudgins is critical.  Below is her information:

There were many issues surfaced during the Tuesday night meeting but what was alarming to me was the developer’s comment that Fairfax County and Reston citizens were giving conflicting guidance and of course, they were following county guidance.

One example was around the design and lack of set back off of North Shore.  It is not consistent with the Reston-way nor does it fit the design of adjacent neighborhoods, which is a principle outlined in the comprehensive plan.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to see a line of townhouses every time I turn onto North Shore.  A line of mature trees would be nice.  The Village Center is not intended to be URBAN, it is part of a neighborhood.  If people want the URBAN-feel, they have lots of choices.

I am sure you have other perspectives and I hope you will make them known to the supervisor.

Don’t let the county dictate what is right for RESTON.

I hope to see you next week at the meetings and please remember to contact Cathy Hudgins to let her know what is important to you!

Thanks for reading,

Sherri

(Editor’s note: The project can move forward no matter what Reston Planning and Zoning says as they are an advisory group without real power. The process includes a Fairfax County planning and zoning staff report and then a public hearing with the county planning commission, which is scheduled for July 14. The the planning commission recommends the project, it would go to the county Board of Supervisors for final approval shortly after that.)

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