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Reclaim Reston Getting Nowhere With Development Moratorium Request

by Katherine Berko — July 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm 11 Comments

Reclaim Reston is upset with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, who they say are ignoring their urging to slow down development.

The grassroots activist group wrote to the Board of Supervisors last month, asking for a moratorium on proposed zoning ordinance amendments from the county’s Department of Planning & Zoning and on approval of any development projects that haven’t yet been submitted.

After receiving no response in over three weeks, the group is not happy.

“By silently thumbing their noses at the legitimate concerns of the Reston community, the Board of Supervisors sent the unambiguous message that they hold all the cards and view the Reston residents as powerless to interfere with the Supervisors’ cozy relationship with developers,” group member Bruce Ramo wrote to Reston Now.

An online petition Reclaim Reston set up in support of the moratorium has nearly 700 signatures.

Reclaim Reston is urging the Board of Supervisors to control development and ensure that planning and funding for infrastructure such as schools, roads, bridges, parks and other recreational facilities, remains in sync with the influx of new residents.

When asked by Reston Now about Reclaim Reston’s request, Hudgins provided the following statement (presented as written):

I recognize that good economics time, particular the last two years, provides more economic opportunity for new development. This does not mean the support for that development will not occur. While it would be great if all the planned transportation projects were already built, however, infrastructure improvement depend on those developing the land and a blending of federal, state and county funding. Three new Reston north/south crossings and three new rail stations scheduled to open in Reston and Herndon area, will relieve much of the traffic that travel today to Reston and Wiehle stations on many primary Reston arteries. I am working to build these sooner than planned.

My pledge is the outcome of future growth will more than conform to Reston’s planned community. Bob Simon believed people should be concentrated around Villages. Today’s village comes in a more urban form with the support of transit, retail and parks, in addition to housing. Mr. Simon voted for the Comprehensive Plan. I hope the outcome will meet his and your desires when we see it completed.

Ramo, though, says that the board’s silence on Reclaim Reston’s call for a moratorium shows that the County will go forward with its plans no matter what, leaving potential infrastructure problems to be resolved at some future time.

“Fairfax County has every intention of moving forward to convert Reston to the County’s cash cow, regardless of what it means for the education of our children, or the quality of life, safety or environment of our community,” Ramo said.

  • Umust B Kidding

    “Three new Reston north/south crossings and three new rail stations
    scheduled to open in Reston and Herndon area, will relieve much of the
    traffic that travel today to Reston and Wiehle stations on many primary
    Reston arteries.”

    To the contrary, they will all bring more traffic and more congestion, otherwise the County wouldn’t be improving these and other streets (some of which will will only enable more development and traffic) and accepting a lower level of traffic service as satisfactory.

    Just more County BS.

    • 40yearsinreston

      Just more Hudgins BS and justification for doing nothing
      Her philosophy is ‘maybe later’

    • Greg

      The three north-south crossings, if they are ever built, will be years, if not decades, away.

  • John Farrell

    State Code and Va. Supreme Court decisions both prohibit zoning moratoria.

    So what’s Reclaim Reston’s next idea?

    • Jenny G.

      Thanks. This should have not come as a surprise. Ugh, where to begin…

    • Donald

      Agree. While I applaud grass roots efforts, and stress they will be critical providing the needed checks and balances in Reston, they need to do their homework.

      Donald

    • cRAzy

      Those laws/decisions don’t mandate that the County INCREASE allowable density, however. Not doing something is not a moratorium. In this case, it’s just a wise decision and, therefore, will not be done (watch the double negative there) by the Board of Supervisors.

      • John Farrell

        BOS isn’t require to approve any application.

  • Tammi Petrine

    I commend Reclaim Reston and Mr. Ramo for bringing to the public’s attention that Catherine Hudgins, OUR Hunter Mill supervisor, intents to further degrade our standard of living in Reston by insisting that our PRC Cap needs to be changed to allow more development than is now permitted. IF her complaint and argument is that the current cap does not align with the current master plan, let her realize that the master plan is a VISION that is malleable and will be restudied soon. Hell, developers aren’t following it in the Corridor as they pack in residential with very little retail if any in areas ‘requiring’ 50/50 or 25/75 commercial/residential split. Why should the PRC (old Reston) have strict rules but developers get exception after exception wherever they dain to operate?

    Restonians can only hear so many times that Virginia’s system does not allow for infrastructure to be built BEFORE development. STOP the presses, folks. The real issue is that THERE IS NO money in the ‘near future’ (decade at least) to do anything remotely reasonable to accommodate what has ALREADY been built in the Corridor and RTC areas, let alone packing in MORE development around Reston than our PRC Cap now allows. With dire financial stresses on the county already, why is the BOS (Board of Supervisors) stirring the pot?

    From many of us, ‘Boo Hoo’ to the wealthy developers who want to charge ahead and get their plans approved without any recognition that the Reston Community is already suffering due to new development. At what point does the community become less attractive, unlivable and less valuable? Frankly, I am concerned for those of us already invested in Reston. What about us? Have we been living here and conducting business for free all these years? Shouldn’t our elected Board of Supervisors be OUR champions as our community living standards slip to untenable levels?

    We should suffer for a few greedy developers to make even more profit? Check this: They wouldn’t even pay for the transportation infrastructure grid of streets and intersection improvements made necessary by their development so 2 months ago the BOS, without residential referendum, created a new tax service district to force new corridor and RTC residents to pay for stuff that could easily have been financed by huge developer profits. Where do the advantages to developers end and community wishes get prioritized?

    Hudgins seems not to realize that the very community features that served her and her growing family so well in the preceding decades are now disappearing as we are forced to smash our kids into over-crowded schools and our cars onto gridlocked roads. Instead of celebrating Reston’s fine design and livability, the county, led by Hudgins, seems to want to destroy it by increasing our community density.

    The reality is WE HAVE NO MORE SPARE LAND WITHIN RESTON. We don’t want our PRC (Planned Residential Community) to be URBAN. We are a suburb. We want to remain a suburb. We do NOT want to be Arlington or Alexandria or Tysons or DC.

    Why are we so much against more Density?
    Answer: because it is bankrupting our county and ruining our PLANNED community.

    Residential increases have to be balanced by also increasing retail and commercial. County tax receipts/income vs. county expenses (schools, police/fire, water/sewer, roads/bridges, social services, rec/parks, etc.) are a huge issue For every residential unit constructed, the county sustains a net loss after RE taxes to pay these bills are collected. For retail and commercial, the county has a net gain. This is not rocket science. So if we have developers who want to increase the county’s budget problems by building more homes, why would the BOS encourage that by making zoning rules looser? To do so defies common sense.

    Another issue is that once all available land in corridor and non-already developed communities is taken up with budget-draining residential, where will any future commercial opportunities be located? We know that being a majority BR community is no good for anyone so we need to work together with developers and BOS to figure out how best to achieve goals for a sustainable future for all.

    Restonians, please make your displeasure known to Supervisor Hudgins and CC your comments to the rest of the BOS so that she cannot hide her community’s revolt against raising the PRC Cap.

  • Guest

    Dead Men Tell No Tales.
    ———————————-
    So why are we still invoking That Dead Guy who had the Reston development taken away from by him (by Mobil Land Company) after he initially botched it? Simon’s endorsement of the denser-than-ever new Reston gives me cold comfort when I see what the community is turning into. Hudgins should stop playing the coward and stop hiding behind a dead guy’s words.

    • John Farrell

      It was Gulf. He hadn’t botched it. And the maximum density had stayed unchanged from 1965 until 2010.

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