North Point Residents: ‘Find Another Place’ for 500+ New Homes

by Karen Goff August 5, 2016 at 11:30 am 12 Comments

Revised footprint for St. Johns Wood/Credit: Bozzuto

North Point-area residents packed a Reston Association meeting room Thursday to point out a long list of issues they have with plans to redevelop St. Johns Wood apartments.

Project developer Bozzuto has made several changes to its redevelopment plan for the 14-acre garden apartment complex over the last two years. The newest one calls for turning 250 units in nine garden-style buildings into 467 units and 46 townhouses.

That’s scaled down from the starting point for 625 units in 2014 and then 511 units and 51 townhouses in an amended plan earlier this year.

It’s still too much for a quiet, suburban-style residential neighborhood, residents said Thursday. They said the plan looked like “Inova Fairfax Hospital,” or a “VCU college dorm with a facade like the Mosaic District.”

“This is way too large,” said area resident Gary Fogel. “It is twice what is there now. If you told me 100 more units, that makes sense. But doubling it? That’s insane.”

Bozzuto reps say the complex at Reston Parkway, North Village Road and Center Harbor Road was identified for high density as far back as when Reston was first planned in 1964. The idea was to have critical mass around Reston’s village centers, said Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins.

“Basically, it has been underdeveloped,” Hudgins told the crowd. “The only place you will see density [growth] is near the village centers.”

However, the Reston Master Plan update in 2014 brought down the density allowances farther from the Metro. That’s why Bozzuto reworked St. Johns Wood, which is more than a mile from the future Reston Town Center station, from 46 dwelling units  per acre to 39 units per acre and now 36 units per acre.

The developer also has changed the facades of the townhouse to have cleaner lines and has scaled the buildings from six stories to five to rise no higher than the current tree line.

That’s still to much change for the character of the neighborhood, says Susanne Andersson-Tosado, who has organized a petition protesting the plan.

“This design is not in compliance with the [Reston] Master Plan,” she said. “The Master Plan says buildings should fit in to the natural area and character of the surrounding areas. This is clearly not in line with that.”

“We have to go back to the drawing board,” she said. “This does not fit the criteria. ”

Traffic and parking also concern residents. The Virginia Department of Transportation says Bozzuto cannot build an entrance to the development from Reston Parkway because that would have too much impact on a major road. So entrances and exits would be on Center Harbor and from North Village Road.

Andersson-Toasado and several other speakers pointed out that North Village runs through Browns Chapel Park and has a speed limit of 10 miles per hour, which makes it a terrible access road for a development of this size.

Attorney Brian Winterhalter, representing Bozzuto, said density is needed to support Reston’s village centers. He mentioned the demise of Tall Oaks, which sits mainly empty and will soon be redeveloped into a mostly residential neighborhood. He said that village center’s demise was partly due to not enough residents to shop there.

Stephen Canner, a North Point-area resident, said that is a poor comparison.

“The North Point Giant is thriving,” he said. “They don’t need any more support. This project does not belong in our neighborhood. Find another place.”

While the project is scheduled to go before the Fairfax Planning Commission on Sept. 29, that hearing is likely to be postponed until at least October, Winterhalter said.

Meanwhile, Reston Association says it will review comments from Thursday’s meeting into a “comments document,” which will be sent to the developer, Reston Planning & Zoning Committee, the Fairfax County Department of Planning & Zoning and the RA Design Review Board.

Photo: Overhead look at massing of new St. Johns Wood/Credit: Bozzuto

See the presentation featuring new information from Bozzuto in the document below.

SJW – Community Meeting 8.4.16 by Karen Goldberg Goff on Scribd

  • Reston Realist

    I’m really getting annoyed with the these Maryland interlopers coming to Reston to take advantage of Fairfax County’s pro-growth environment. Saying that NorthPoint shopping center needs the residential density to support the businesses there is emblematic of how little they understand of the community they are exploiting. I am all for development – but when it gets to the point where your trying to stuff 10 lbs of S*** in a 5 lb bag… it’s gone too far.

  • Greg

    The 1-percenters who live up that way got clout.

    • arlene krieger

      Yes, it’s a one percent thing but we can fight them.

  • 30yearsinreston

    Cathy Hudgins is a shill for developers
    How much did they contribute to.her election ?
    She and Bulova are a disgrace
    RA book of comments will go straight into.the trash
    They may as well save our money

    • Arlene Krieger

      Yes I believe this is the main problem Hudgins and Bulova are on the payroll. I will go out of my way not to vote for them and actively support other candidates. But this is what we need to put an end to this. Volunteers with expertise who can put forward documents that support throwing this plan verboard. We need lawyers and other professional who can debunk the claims of Hudgins and Bozzuto. We are Reston North Poit Citizens against the Bozzuto plan at St Johns Wood. WE will be at Starbucks tomorrow morning trying to collect more petition signatures. If you want to help us please contact me at [email protected]. We need to form a committee and figuree out where we go from here. It would help our cause if we had some politically connected folks on our side.

  • 30yearsinreston

    Anybody see that hideous block Bozzuto are building by the metro station ?
    You think the API bunker was bad ?

  • Nyla J.

    Hey Bozzuto, I hear there’s a pretty awesome townhouse cluster near the future Soapstone connector that would love to be bought out and bulldozed. Call me.

  • LakeNewportLady

    Comparing North Point to Tall Oaks is laughable. Clearly they have never been to either. North Point has very little vacancy and there are always people there. Tall Oaks has always been a ghost town except for the lovely Pho place.

  • Concerned Reston Resident

    How many more large apartment complexes does Reston really need?

  • Reston Roulette

    I love this game! The “not in my backyard” wheel of misfortune has been spun something like 4x now and ONLY the golf course has survived. The plans will be modified again but more units than residents want will be created. It would be really nice if a place looking for redevelopment actually was the target of our developer friends. Looking at you Lake Anne/Cameron Crescent!!

  • Bríghid Veronica NiMhurchu

    Come to Hunter Woods….would love to sell my TH for redevelopment!

    • Greg

      These things may soon happen. The details are foggy in my brain, but I recall a smaller townhouse cluster along North Shore Drive that arranged to sell to a developer. Might it have been the cluster on Clubhouse Ct?


Subscribe to our mailing list