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Friday Morning Notes

by Dave Emke — March 24, 2017 at 9:00 am 46 Comments

Morning Notes - Winter

Report: Golf Course Could Sell for $25-$35M — Real-estate news website GlobeSt.com reported earlier this week that it hears anyone who buys Reston National Golf Course for that price and gets approval for development might be looking at a $200 million windfall. [GlobeSt.com]

Mobile DMV Service Coming to Reston — DMV 2 Go, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ mobile service, will soon visit Reston. DMV 2 Go is a handicapped-accessible full-service office that provides all DMV transactions. The mobile DMV will be at the North County Government Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 3-6. [Virginia DMV]

Independent Panel to Study Metro’s Woes — Former U.S. transportation secretary Ray LaHood will take charge of a panel to examine Metro’s governance and long-term financial needs. Meanwhile, Metro’s general manager says the system needs major work to fix its “unsustainable cost model.” [Washington Post]

South Lakes Lacrosse Team Kicks Off 2017 — The Seahawks’ boys lacrosse team won its conference and advanced to the state tournament last year. They started the 2017 season with a 16-3 win over Fairfax last week, and though they dropped their second contest to Stone Ridge, they still have big dreams. [South Lakes Athletics]

  • Donald

    Reston Board and new board members wake up! The developers’ attorneys have very deep pockets.

    You are about to face this community’s biggest challenges.

    And Hidden Creek isn’t going to be too far behind.

    “GlobeSt.com asked Mark Anstine, ARA Newmark’s executive managing director for land services, for comment and he declined to answer except for this rather bold and sweeping statement: “We think it is the best residential development opportunity with the highest return potential of any property currently on the US market.”

    One reason for Anstine’s extreme confidence could be Reston National’s zoning, which dates from the 1970s and could be argued to be ‘by right’ — an almost forgotten zoning regulation that means a plan for development needs only to receive administrative approval as opposed to political approval.”

    • Drip

      Not sure you should look to the RA to “wake up” and be constructive. They lost their credibility by forcing the Tetra albatross on our heads that removes any tangible influence RA may have garnered. By throwing all their “open space” eggs into the Tetra fiasco, RA and to a lesser extent Rescue Reston yielded a lot of clout that could have been used on the golf course.

      • Donald

        Regardless, the board is our legal representation. It must be prepared.

        • Drip

          RA is a homeowners association; not government. It might be more prudent to put pressure on Ms Hudgins, our pro-development county supervisor, than to look to RA to do anything.

          • Donald

            Reston Association is the legal corporation that governs the land as directed in its deed and governing documents. Your house, and everyone’s house, on RA covenanted land, is subject to that deed.

            Yes, going to Hudgins is prudent, but likely too late. Our local politicians have allowed Pandora’s Box to be opened. It’s a fait accompli. Rezoning, redevelopment and new development will impact Reston’s covenanted land directly.

            The RA board is your representation. It best get prepared for some long days and nights.

            Donald

          • Reston South

            Donald, your still wrong on this one. Fairfax Board is our “representation” in this matter. RA has absolutely no power when it comes to how something is zoned. I would just hope that the RA board continues to support Golf Courses as open space (which I am sure they would)

          • Donald

            Point Taken. But, an affected party representing over twenty thousand households is a statement in itself.

            Reston Association has already taken on certain fights, demonstrating their clout as a Planned Residential Community district (PRC in the County’s zoning parlance.).

            I suspect this, and future RA boards, will feel the wrath of the community if they just ignore the rezoning and redevelopment applications and defer to the County’s best judgement.

            Personally, I would expect more.

            Donald

          • Conservative Senior

            Do you think RA members would have approved all the apartment developments along Sunset Hills, Sunrise Valley & Wiehle? The RA board does not have our best interest in mind.

          • Donald

            Unfortunately, those properties are associated with non-PRC land, and are not subject to the RA Deed and Governing Documents. The best Reston can do is influence.

            With regard to PRC designated land, those properties are subject to the RA Deed and Governing Documents. I speak of the likes of Reston National GC, Hidden Creek CC, our Village centers like South Lakes, North Point, etc.

            Have you seen the county plans associated with the South Lakes and North Point Village Centers?

            This and future boards need to educate themselves, stay in front of these items, and speak at ALL hearings. Otherwise the board will be in reactionary mode, and will likely lose the opportunity to negotiate.

            If the developers do get away with rezoning our deeded land, we should at least be granted significant remediation and proffers.

            Donald

          • Conservative Senior

            Do you have the link for county plans for South Lakes & North Point?

          • Donald
          • John Farrell

            Sup. Hudgins wants RA to stay out of land use issues.

          • Donald

            Yes, agree. As I stated, “our local politicians have allowed Pandora’s Box to be opened. It’s a fait accompli. Rezoning, redevelopment and new development will impact Reston’s covenanted land directly.”

            I pray I’m wrong.

            Regardless, what’s the harm getting better informed, gathering intelligence, and getting better organized. By December 1941, the commanders of Pearl Harbor learned that lesson the hard way.

            Donald

          • John Farrell

            Nothing wrong with getting better informed, gathering intelligence and getting organized.

            Fear mongering and unfocused rabble rousing down blind alleys burns activists out.

            Effective advocacy requires discipline and rigor.

          • Donald

            I agree wholeheartedly.

          • Conservative Senior

            Hudgins is useless. She loves her office, staff , developers & position but has done nothing for us. Ask about the $100K Transportation Impact Study that she headed many years ago but did nothing. Now Wiehle is gridlocked.

          • 30yearsinreston

            She loves ‘ charettes’

          • 30yearsinreston

            Hudgins is a useless drone
            She is a shill for the developers who contribute to her election

          • John Farrell

            Hudgins raises almost no money for re-election. Check out VPAP for a list of her contributors.

    • John Farrell

      You know that Globe.St is a broker vanity publication, right?

      • Donald

        Mr. Farrell,

        Yes, and the same can be said about many of the publications in the industry. In my opinion, most industry publications have become what you call “vanity” publications. It does not change the need of our community being better prepared.

        Donald

  • Constance (Connie) Hartke
    • Donald

      It may be conjecture, but the developer community has three strong traits:

      Patience
      Resources
      Influence

      Be prepared to endure some arduous times.

      Donald.

      • John Farrell

        As one who works with developers, they are not interested in wasting time or resources on wild goose chases.

        When the politics are against a development proposal, the smart ones move on. There are too many other opportunities to make money without beating ones head against the wall.

        • Donald

          Yes,

          And many of those opportunities are right here in Reston. Are you satisfied with how the Reston Association is handling the land use matters it is going to face in the future? Are Reston Association’s existing land use attorneys and experts doing a good job?

          Donald

          • John Farrell

            There are a quite a few opportunities in Reston that don’t require an amendment to the recently approved Comprehensive Plan and a rezoning that Sup. Hudgins has already stated she would oppose.

            Since McBride was a central force in the Tetra debacle, how could any sane person say yes.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    Time for Reston to become an official town so it can make rules about open space use that actually hold up against developers.

    • Donald

      Arielle,

      A worthwhile conversation for sure, but unfortunately futile regarding pending rezoning events taking place over the next year or two.

      Donald

  • Donald

    Question to the community:

    Should Reston become a bona fide “City” in the State of Virginia?

    Donald

    • Greg

      Should have been the plan from day one. Too late now.

      Also, one need look no farther than the towns of Herndon and Vienna to see what crappy downtowns and poor infrastructure they have and for increased taxes.

      • Donald

        Excellent points, so a definite no?

        • Greg

          The best benefits would be getting rid of the Reston Association (by far the best), Hudgins, and including the Reston Town Center into Reston. We might get better and more street lighting, better road maintenance, trash and recycling, fewer bike lanes, and whatever additional taxes we have to pay would be deductible to those who pay them and itemize their expenses. For those reasons, I could be convinced to vote yes.

          I don’t see the benefits of a separate police force as Herndon has or planning staff for that matter.

          And for those who resist change, I doubt that town status would do much to arrest or slow it. Zoning runs with the land and cannot be easily or rapidly changed.

          I also doubt town status would kick Ken Plum out.

          • Donald

            You bring up an interesting point. If Reston did decide to become a city or town, how would the transportation corridor, and RTC be handled? RA does not control those entities.

            Donald

          • Greg

            A (Virginia) town can be formed from any area with a defined boundary (whatever that means) having a population of 1,000 or more. The method for forming towns is the same as for cities, petitioning the state legislature to grant a charter. As of 2014, there are 191 incorporated towns in Virginia, all of which are located within and subject to the county’s government in which they are located.

            As to being an independent city, Reston would be free of Fairfax County and could do as it wished, but would likely have to provide for all of its schools, fire and police services and road maintenance (as does Falls Church).

            In either case I believe that RA and RTCA, would both be dissolved and their deeds would likely be extinguished. The clusters and condos would remain as is with their governing documents intact but for any references to either RA or RTCA.

            An interesting aside — there are 41 independent cities in the US and 38 of them are in VA.

          • Donald

            Great update Greg. Thank you.

            Donald

          • Jenny Gibbers

            Could Reston, if incorporated as a town, hold a municipal bond sale and buy the golf courses?

          • Donald

            Jenny,

            I am not an expert in this area, but, yes it is my understanding, municipal bonds are one of many forms of debt financing available. In actuality, I believe Reston Association would be able to issue bonds as well.

            Donald

          • John Farrell

            Yes

          • Greg

            As a city, definitely, but even as a town, I don’t see why not. Keep in mind that as a town, Reston would still be under Fairfax County’s dominion.

          • John Farrell

            All cities in Virginia are independent of any county unlike most of the rest of the country where cities remain part of a county.

            A city of Reston could contract with FCPS to operate schools for Restonians. That what the Fairfax City does.

            A city could also contract with a county for police, fire and other services.

            RA could convey its land and facilities to a city.

          • 30yearsinreston

            Kicking Plum out would be a bonus

    • John Farrell

      Well, first, it’s the Commonwealth of Virgnia.

      Second, becoming a city would require a charter from the General Assembly.

      Our delegate, Ken Plum, and our state senator, Janet Howell, do not support that idea. Without their support, a charter bill is going nowhere.

      Fairfax County would fight that bill to the death. Cathy Hudgins would support the County in that effort.

      • Donald

        Mr. Farrell, I agree, it could be insurmountable. But, I also believe anything is possible if properly presented and negotiated. There is always a value proposition that makes sense to our politicians. It just takes a great presenter with a great dowry.

        Donald

        • John Farrell

          I have a bumper sticker on my car supporting a city charter for Reston. Happy to give you as many as you’d like.

          • Donald

            Thank you,

            I stopped driving years back.

            Donald

      • Donald

        Thank you for the “state” clarification, I do that all the time. My age, my apologies. I’ll edit now. Mr. Farrell, you remind me of a mathematics professor I had way too many decades ago (said smiling).

        Donald

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