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Reston Town Center North Redevelopment Again Up for Public Feedback

by Dave Emke — May 15, 2017 at 10:15 am 88 Comments

Proposed redevelopment of Reston Town Center North will be the topic of a community meeting hosted by the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services along with Supervisor Cathy Hudgins later this month.

The upcoming meeting will be held in the cafeteria at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive) from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, May 31. DPWES is scheduled to provide a brief presentation about the Town Center North-Mixed Use Area, including the Request for Proposal process for the Reston Regional Library and Embry Rucker Shelter.

According to the DPWES:

“Located midway between Tysons and Dulles International Airport, future Reston Town Center North is part of a quickly urbanizing area in northwestern Fairfax County. The Board of Supervisors envisions redeveloping the property from a collection of irregularly-shaped parcels, which are incompatible with Reston Town Center and surrounding development, into a vibrant urban, mixed-use environment that complements Reston Town Center and surrounding development.”

DPWES says the redevelopment would allow for the creation of a central green space open for public use; mixed-use development compatible with adjacent Reston Town Center; a walkable community connected to surrounding communities, Reston Town Center and public transportation; an expanded library to serve a growing population; upgraded delivery of human services; and affordable housing provided for workforce.

As part of the redevelopment, the area would be realigned into nine parcels, which would then be rezoned. A 2.6-acre public park is proposed for the center of the development. The first two parcels slated for redevelopment are the library and the shelter, which will be fully replaced. The Fairfax County Park Authority also has rights to build a 90,000-square-foot recreation center in the area, and the North County Human Services Center would also be replaced.

Redevelopment of the whole area — bounded by Baron Cameron Avenue, Town Center Parkway, New Dominion Parkway and Fountain Drive — is expected to take more than a decade.

The county last held a community meeting on the proposal in November 2015, shortly after a land swap was completed between the county and Inova, which also included Reston Towne Green, a five-acre parcel, being transferred from the Park Authority. Comments shared by community members during the meeting included suggestions about the locations and amenities of the library and shelter, as well as concerns about parking and open space.

Maps courtesy Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services

  • anonti

    Bring it on. Would love more places I could walk to instead of an intractable auto sewer up that way.

    • Mike M

      Intractable is where we are headed. You are free to move to Manhattan if you like.

      • anonti

        Heh. This is what’s happening no matter what either of us posts on the internet. Feel free to move to Wyoming. Good luck finding a job.

        • Mike M

          It’s “happening” because it has been enabled and on ridiculous terms. Heck! The County swapped land to enable it. In the past they have considered putting housing on what is now school property and other silly proposals. Discussion in places like this spread awareness and shamed them out of executing. The notion that anything man-made is inevitable is silly. Still it’s a theme in both developer wish lists and County “analyses.” Both seem to dovetail uncannily. For example, from above, “Reston Town Center North is part of a quickly urbanizing area.” This is nothing but an attempt to induce self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s nothing but words. And it’s certainly not representative government at work. The story line that says we have to increase density without sensible plans for infrastructure or move to Wyoming is fiction. Sure, the jobs are here. So let’s keep the best of both worlds instead of converting the value of that to current residents into something that shifts into the pockets of developers.

          • anonti

            The developers are responding to demand. The demand is coming from real people who have something constructive to contribute to our economy. The obstructionism and complaining, presumably not so much. Is it inevitable? No. It can be blocked by government interference telling people what they can and can’t build. Should government interfere in this way? No, they shouldn’t.

            If it weren’t for government interference limiting what could and couldn’t be built or buying up land in the first place, none of this would need to be “enabled” at all; it would’ve just gotten done. If this is going to be your posture, I sure hope you don’t consider yourself a free-market capitalist.

          • Mike M

            I do. When the government gives up land and enables one sector of non-residential parties to benefit at the direct expense of the residential parties, the government is in fact interfering in the marketplace. The government is also not serving the interest of the resident voters. I am opposed to that. If developers were forced to compensate the community for the increased costs that their development imposes on a proportional basis, then I’d be OK with it, and it would proceed only on a sustainable basis. Theses developments add requirements for schools, roads, public safety, sewers, etc. When the “analysis” is done by those who stand to gain immensely from the development, there is conflict of interest. The interests of the voters are ignored. I hope you don’t call yourself an upholder of democracy.

          • anonti

            If there weren’t demand, there’d be no incentive for developers to pour huge amounts of capital into construction. The new residents, not the developers, are the ones who drive the construction as well as the new services they’ll need. Stop blaming developers for capitalism, and start blaming the new residents if you want to blame someone.

            And then don’t blame them either. They’re going to be paying far more taxes into the coffers to pay for the service expansion than existing residents are, just because there’ll be way more than them.

          • The Constitutionalist

            How will the new residents be paying more taxes? I highly doubt the $250,000 condo owner will be paying more in taxes than the rest of us.

          • anonti

            Perhaps an individual condo household is paying less (though it’s not a given), but they’ll be paying more per capita (since these are probably smaller families on average) and far more per square foot of land (since a couple dozen of these condos fit on land that’d support a single detached house).

          • The Constitutionalist

            I don’t think there’s a whole lot of ‘perhaps’ to my argument. If you own a $250,000 condo, you DO pay less in property taxes than the majority of Reston homeowners.

            Taxes per square inch doesn’t really matter.

          • anonti

            Property taxes aren’t everything. There’s any number of other federal/state taxes that make its way back to the local government. Taxes per square inch certainly matters, since land control is one of the few true duties of the local government jurisdiction, and optimizing revenue for the land in this way is good business sense.

            And those condo-dwellers may well be much wealthier than the average house-owner. That shouldn’t be doubted.

          • Mike M

            Anonti, many a development has failed to fill. Don’t count on the new residents until they show up. Also, don’t give them a vote either.

          • anonti

            If they fail to fill, then you don’t have to worry about the infrastructure being strained. You win and developers lose. So, again, why complain?

          • Mike M

            Because I don’t want empty buildings and I don’t want full buildings without the infrastructure.

          • anonti

            You should worry about your own property and not worry so much about what’s on somebody else’s.

          • Mike M

            Well, I own a stake of the roads and if I am impacted by other factors, then I do have a say. One avenue is through my freedom of speech (which seems to make you very uncomfortable) .

          • JoeInReston

            The idea that local government and the people in an area should have no say in the development activities that go in the area is absurd. Am I misreading your message?

          • anonti

            Existing residents can do whatever they want on their own property, barring an extraordinary need that justifies eminent domain of their property (and even then only with just compensation).

            No, I don’t believe existing residents should get to tell a developer what they can do with property they’ve legally acquired.

          • The Constitutionalist

            What happens when the externalities of redevelopment negatively effect the neighboring citizens?

          • anonti

            Those neighboring citizens take personal responsibility for themselves and either adapt to the new situation, or cash out and move elsewhere. If you own a quarter-acre lot in an area that can suddenly support a ten-story building, you come out on top. Most of these houses are about due for a gut-reno anyway, since they probably need one every 30 years or so (50 years tops). Nothing to whine about IMO.

          • JoeInReston

            anonti’s post in a nutshell – Residents that are borne the external costs brought about by neighboring development need to stop whining and take personal responsibility for it.

          • The Constitutionalist

            Take responsibility for what? How is anything brought on by someone else, to negatively affect my life, my fault?

          • JoeInReston

            from dictionary dot com ….
            responsible – answerable or accountable, as for something within ONE’S power, control, or management

            Yes indeed, how can you be responsible for actions that you can’t control. The verbal gymnastics in the explanation rebuts itself.

          • anonti

            You took a risk when you bought property that changes in the surrounding area would negatively affect you (in the form of a hit on your particular non-money value judgements). You have to mitigate those problems yourself. Honestly, if you took a government-insured 30-year fixed mortgage and many years of mortgage interest deductions, you barely even took the personal risk in the first place. The government gifted you a house, and now you’re demanding the government preserve everything around it the way you’d prefer regardless of what economic sense it might make.

            I guess it’s true about this stuff breeding dependency in people.

          • The Constitutionalist

            You’re making some wild assumptions about me, my friend, none of none of them are rooted in reality.

            This isn’t a discussion about how things should be if there was no oversight over our economy and we lived in a perfect little world where Keynesianism didn’t exist, but we don’t. We live in a community where we expect, for whatever reason, that our interests, the interests that fuel this community as it is right now, will be upheld. That’s what our elected ‘leaders’ are supposed to do – uphold our expectations. That doesn’t mean that if it makes economic sense that the county is supposed to do it. It means that if the community wants something done, the county does it. If the community doesn’t want something done, the county doesn’t do it. As personal economists, we do what we perceive makes us better off. I perceive I will be better off if I am not subject to the externalities brought on by redevelopment. Therefore, until my perceptions change (for right or wrong) I will argue against redevelopment.

            Don’t get me wrong, I would wager – without any risk – that I am many times more pro-free-market than you are – you can feel free to peruse the archives of this website to see for yourself. I have stated many times that many of the issues in Reston are caused by our refusal to allow the free market to run its course, that just isn’t how this all works.

          • anonti

            Elected leaders have to weigh pragmatic realities of governance with the desires of constituents, both those active in online blog comment sections and those who aren’t. The system is fairly efficient; if the will of the community were as uniform and logistically feasible to implement as you’re implying. And even if it were, democracy can’t get you everything a constituency wants. A constituency may well want to bring back segregation or slavery, but they aren’t allowed to, because it would take away others’ rights. Building on land one legally owns is a right too.

            I’m not interested in looking at your comment history. But you’re sitting here trying to use government to rob others of profit and use of their property using a government vice. The fact that you’re free-market when you think it’s convenient for you and not when it isn’t doesn’t make you more free-market than me.

          • The Constitutionalist

            No. Building on land you own is not a right. That is why this process exists. You’re advocating for exactly the same thing that I am just for the other party. I am trying to keep my property value (my profit) and my livelihood (my utility) from being robbed.

            Again, it isn’t about the free market. This ISN’T the free market. If it was, we wouldn’t be discussing this. This is a discussion about maintaining a certain quality of life. It’s a zero sum game for some of us. If the developers win, we lose.

            Do you even own property here? If not, you have no skin in the game and what happens is of no consequence to you.

          • The Constitutionalist

            Money isn’t the only influencing factor in economic decision making.

            Perhaps owning a million dollar property in Reston, surrounded by other million dollar properties, brings me more utility than a million dollars.

          • anonti

            Individuals can optimize those values all they want, but I don’t think it’s the government’s place to be enforcing them.

          • Why do you bother?

            At that point, we are FUBAR.

          • Mike M

            OK (so, here we go again) I should be able to build a sewage treatment facility adjacent to your house on one side, a tannery on the other, and a pig farm to the back side? What say should you have in that?

          • anonti

            None. I took the risk when I invested in property. Chances are, I can more than make back my money on the home by selling it for a similar industrial use anyway. Industrial buyers have deeper pockets than middle-class house purchasers anyway.

          • Arielle in NoVA

            WRONG attitude. If it was just about making money by selling your house and moving elsewhere, then there wouldn’t be communities anywhere. Why bother investing the time and energy to build (not develop, BUILD) an area into a place people want to live if they’re going to want to move every couple of years because of new developments? Nobody would put in the effort.

          • Mike M

            Well! Actually, if you look at the history of sprawl in the US, this is what happens. Cities get overdeveloped, people move. The tax base is strained. Quality of life goes down. More people move, . . .

          • vdiv

            Doesn’t make it right and thankfully it does not happen everywhere.

          • anonti

            Heh. That’s not because places get overdeveloped. It’s because laws changed to make segregation harder without populating farm counties that were jurisdictionally separate. DC is far less densely populated than many places in the world, after all.

          • Mike M

            Nope. It’s when development and population outstrips the infrastructure and quality of life drops.

          • Jenny Gibbers

            Troll. Ignore.

          • Mike M

            Nope! There are zoning laws and they are but one tool government can use to ensure residents have a say in defining their community. There are also proffers and other tools. They came about for a reason.

          • anonti

            The government has many tools and levers it shouldn’t have. They don’t magically solve the housing/transportation problems that need to be addressed if we’re going to keep growing the regional economy.

          • Mike M

            Um, we were talking about the transportation problems these developments cause.

          • Why do you bother?

            You forget that our illustrious leaders (i.e., RA) are elected to represent us commonfolk in such matters.

          • John Farrell

            Except Sup. Hudgins doesn’t want RA involved in land use issues.

          • Why do you bother?

            The developers aren’t responding to demand. The developers are responding to “LOOK – a square inch that hasn’t been built on yet. MUST REMEDY!”

          • anonti

            Oh, you’re right. Developers must have a vendetta against their own money and seek to burn it on expensive zoning fights and construction expenses for fun. That is obviously how the world works.

          • Jenny Gibbers

            I dont think you lived here long enough to understand the community and the reason why they came here in the first place, the promise that was made.

            If you like unbridled development maybe look into Loudon Cty, its not a bad place all things considered.

          • Greg

            The irony is that for those of us who have lived here since the beginning, we displaced the farmers and rural residents at that time. No one complained about that change and “desecration” of woodlands and forests to build lakes and clustered housing.

            We were promised a lot of things, many of which didn’t work out well. RELAC; architecturally distinct properties that have not fared well over time; village centers that have failed; an industrial core and town center that were never part of Reston; and an HOA that is now widely regarded as out of touch and wasting millions of dollars pursuing unneeded and unwanted assets, outrageously over-compensating incompetent staff, maintaining underused assets and failing to adapt. We knew since the 60’s that train service would someday arrive at Dulles, and it’s almost there.

            We always knew and expected that development and change would occur, and they have. The process continues today after not much change in the decade from about 2005 to 2015.

          • Mike M

            Well, I think the farmers were not asked to subsidize the new development. I think they were compensated for their land.

          • anonti

            Farmers were subsidizing it exactly as much as you theoretically are. You think they liked the next farm over being carved up into little houses and asphalt ribbons? And there’s no point in even discussing the Natives before that.

            You’re being compensated for your land if you choose to sell it. That is all you’re owed. And even that’s more than you’ve really earned.

          • Mike M

            We disagree on that. When my taxes go up to accommodate the return on a developer’s investment there is a problem. When quality of life in my town goes down because my representation wants to convert it to developer profit, I have a problem with that. You haven’t refuted any of my points.

          • Jenny Gibbers

            I dont disagree but unlike most other places Reston was based on a good concept.

            You can knock the old man in many ways but Work Live and Play was the mantra and we should try to keep that alive.

            “DENSITY IS COMMUNITY” came long after and at that time calcification was already in progress.

          • Mike M

            I suspect he is not actually a resident but someone who believes he will gain financially from the development.

          • Nah

            Or maybe he just disagrees with the NIMBY whining.

          • Mike M

            You mean residents who don’t want to subsidize commercial real estate firms? Full disclosure?

          • Mike M

            No. They seek subsidized opportunities.

          • anonti

            You mean the subsidized opportunities you took when you got yourself a government-insured mortgage and got in the habit of driving a car around on “free” roads and storing it in “free” parking spaces? What goes around comes around.

          • Mike M

            I didn’t get in the habit of driving around. That was the way my world was built. We can agree the government should not be insuring mortgages, and they should be subsidizing development at our expense. We pay for our roads. The return on the investment (quality of life, freedom) go down when development is allowed to outstrip the capacity. Parking spaces are not free. They, and their maintenance are covered in the leases. Now you are siding with Boston Properties who decided they would impose a fee and an invasion of privacy and a silly app on their renters clientele. I THOUGH I SMELLED BP on you!

          • Why do you bother?

            Please. They know that if they build it we will come, and earn them many times the $$ they spent on those expenses.

            As long as parking is free, of course.

          • anonti

            Well you just described capitalism.

            I doubt the parking will be “free”. Or that the surrounding “free” parking lots can stomach the subsidy when people visiting nearby visitors keep trying to take advantage of it.

          • Max

            Sure the demand is coming from people who want to contribute to the economy, but not from people who want to be part of the community. As you can see high rise buildings are all apartments for rent at a high rate. Not condos or houses that people want to “live, work and play” Just “work and play. They are bought up by large companies to rent. The renters are what I call “transients”. They come in for the high paying jobs and then move on to other high paying jobs.

    • Greg

      Bike!

      • anonti

        Also hard to do in an auto sewer. Taking the bus and train too. Or even Ubering if you have to walk through a damn parking lot from the street. Everything sucks when a built environment caters to owned/parked cars. It just doesn’t make any sense to ever build things like that again and luckily people realize that.

        • Mike M

          It is where we live.

          • anonti

            It’s going to be where plenty more people live soon. And you’re going to adapt or not live here anymore.

          • Mike M

            More people? OK, then let’s be responsible about building the infrastructure. (You seem to miss the key points.)

  • 40yearsinreston

    Hudgins will probably give away most if it to a developer in return for a dog box apartment

    • Mike M

      What does she get out of these deals? Where is her payoff? I know it’s there. I want to see it. Honoraria at developer’s conventions?

      Honestly, she is behaving on these issues precisely as would the most decrepit Republican.

      • 40yearsinreston

        Who pays for her lunches ?

      • Steve Lucid

        lol @ Mike, everyone knows the Democrats are the biggest crooks…they want more government so that they can steal more in taxes, so they can personally siphon money from both tax dollars and the people who are there subjects.

        • Mike M

          We can generally agree on that, but it might be a closer contest than you think. I am really curious where she gets hers.

  • Social Engineers Unite

    Based on the most recent density proposed we should

    1. erase all buildings in the highlighted area

    2. build a biodome

    3. pump oxygen, natural sun and plantlife into the building

    Enjoy this greenspace one citizen at a time.

    lets discuss tonight

    Monday’s Reston Planning and Zoning (RP&Z) Committee meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the North County Government Center

    Thanks,

    • anonti

      You’d rather pave over more forest and mountains until there’s no untouched land left? Don’t pretend to love greenspace so much while advocating for that eventuality. Especially if you’ve yourself chosen to have kids, exacerbating the problem of where to put everyone.

      • The Constitutionalist

        Sarcasm is hard.

    • Why do you bother?

      Well, as long as we’re having a realistic conversation (hint: NOT)…

  • Hmmm

    I didn’t know the Embry-Rucker shelter and Sunrise assisted living were in the “redevelopment zone”. Are those facilities going to be replaced, or will all those people have to move somewhere else?

    • Mike M

      A silver lining! Except when you consider that Hudgins will probably move Embry-Rucker next to an established resident-owned neighborhood to help bring down property values.

      • Greg

        Pray to everything that she never, ever locates a shelter near a library. The bathroom in the library — OMG!

        • LOLZ

          Never forget the time I was taking a dump in there and the bums who were washing their foul bodies in the sink complained about the smell.

    • cRAzy

      I think they are moving them to Saint Johns Wood. ;^}

  • Arielle in NoVA

    The only reason it’s a “quickly urbanizing area” is because the FCBoS keeps “quickly urbanizing” it, in direct opposition to the wishes of a lot of longtime residents of Reston and the area around Reston. UGH.

  • Damon Feldman

    We should be sure that the community has access – particularly free parking for non-commuters, perhaps up to 3 hours.

  • Greg

    When are the junky auto repair shops / gas station at Old Reston and Sunset Hills going to be redeveloped?

    As well as that 100-year old Wiehle town hall building that been sitting vacant for decades?

    https://www.restonnow.com/2016/10/24/still-empty-after-all-these-years-restons-old-bowman-distillery/

    • 40yearsinreston

      They couldnt give away the old distillery stone barn
      Its now a cultural treasure

      • Jenny Gibbers

        They should make it a bike co-op, jobs for young people and those that need it incl volunteers.

      • Nah

        One man’s creepy-ass horror movie boarded-up building is another man’s “cultural treasure” I guess…

  • vdiv

    This will reach a boiling point and once again the victims will be the residents of Reston, not the faceless corporations. Here is something the RCC can offer as a class, Molotov Cocktails and Teargas Mitigation 101 😉

  • ???

    What are those townhouses on the corner of Bowman Towne and Town Center Parkway? Why are they on county land?

    • Greg

      Those are social / government owned / low-income housing. Nicer than the house we live in and pay taxes on.

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