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Op-Ed: Are We Reston? Or Rosslyn?

by RestonNow.com February 9, 2018 at 10:15 am 54 Comments

Money Magazine has rated Reston as one of the best places to live in the country. Nothing new here. Reston has long been ranked among most desirable locations to live, work and play.  As the magazine notes, “Robert E. Simon mapped out a vision of a community that upheld open space, recreational facilities and aesthetic beauty.”  Further, Money explains, Reston “offers a woodsy atmosphere that includes expanses of parks, lakes, golf courses and bridle paths.”

Of course, Money’s brief report doesn’t capture all of Reston’s attractions, like the fact that we have always been a big hearted community that welcomes everyone, that we value development when it is appropriately supported by infrastructure and that preserving a quality of life for our children and grandchildren is more important than the passing obsessions of the day.

Perhaps more interesting than which communities are considered great places to live is to look at the sort of communities not on the list.  You will search in vain for a Ballston, a Tysons, or a Rosslyn – and yet these are the models for what our County officials want us to become.

A show of hands – does anyone think that advocates of massively increased density in Reston care about your family’s quality of life? Anyone?

Reston has been a planned community for over fifty years.  And for more than fifty years Reston has generally delivered on its promise of being a great place to live.  Ballston and Tysons have many attractions – I have friends who are quite happy in both places – but they aren’t Reston.  Nor do they want to be.  And that’s fine.  Let Tysons be Tysons – but let’s let Reston be Reston. 

If you care about keeping the “planned” in our planned community, support the efforts of the community groups working to make sure Reston is on Money’s lists in 2023, 2028 and beyond.  Please go to https://plannedreston.wordpress.com  from more information.  It’s your future.

Dennis Hays
President, Reston Citizens Association

(Editor’s note: If you wish to submit an op-ed, email [email protected])

  • 30yearsinreston

    Is turning it into a slum

    • John

      You’ve lived your whole life in a bubble of you think Reston is turning into s slum.

      • John

        If* excuse me

      • Greg

        Perhaps you’re the one in the bubble? Cruise down Glade between Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive. Or, on South Lakes between Reston Parkway and USGS.

        If that’s too much, cruise through Shadowood. Quickly, though.

        • Why do you bother?

          So for you, anythingotherthanwhite = slum.

          I’d like to introduce you to some REAL slums.

          • Greg

            Grow up.

            Your assumptions make you nothing more than the first three letters of that word. Congratulations.

        • ah

          Just because these are lower income nieghborhoods with lots of minorities doesnt mean its a slum. Robert E Simon wanted Reston to be a place for people of all socioeconomical statuses and those people in those neighborhoods are proud restonians and appreciate having the opportunity to live in such a nice town. And yes, I do know some of these people. Please do not judge them or their neighborhoods and dont think that they dont visit this website because of their class.

          • 30yearsinreston

            Robert E. Simon wanted to sell houses
            All the rest is BS

          • Greg

            Exactly. What’s more, what was idealistic, realistic or both 60 years ago does not necessarily apply or work today.

          • OneReally

            Amen. I wish we would stop with the Sainthood campaign. He was just making to made a buck like the rest of us.

          • Greg

            You are the one making judgments. And shame on you for doing so.

          • ah

            Dude..whatever.

          • ah

            Okay, so why do you consider these places slums that you should only pass through quickly? What are the common characteristics?

          • Greg

            Open your eyes and read. I never said they were slums. For shame.

          • ah

            Ok. So why fo you suggest that we cruise through those neighborhoods quickly? Just wondering.

          • Greg

            No one is judging but you.

    • Why do you bother?

      I’m from a place with REAL slums. If you think diversity = slum, there’s something really wrong with you.

      Oh, wait…

    • Arlene Krieger

      Just wait and see what happens when all these new building are not filled. Slum it will be. Seen it happen before with run away development. This is all about the quick buck at Reston’s expense.

  • Donald

    “Ballston, a Tysons, or a Rosslyn” are a neighborhood, or an unincorporated census-designated place. Reston is a census-designated place, yes incorporated. All have one thing in common — the county and developers control their fate.

    Perhaps it’s time to dust off the discussion of Reston becoming a city in the Commonwealth.

    Donald

    • 30yearsinreston

      Queen Hudgins would be displeased

      • Donald

        I would agree. But Reston could be a very well organized political voice.

        Donald

  • Mike M

    Rosslyn. Next question, please.

  • Fact

    To offset the hidden costs of Metro its imperative Reston contribute their fair share of county and state taxes; this cannot be done without increasing density and approving development at a massive scale.

    • 30yearsinreston

      so why isnt Falls Church overdeveloped

      • ?

        Why did 60 million buffalo die in 15 years

        • Mike M

          Uncontrolled immigration. Next question, please.

  • OneReally

    We’re turning into Rosslyn. Oh man, I miss theTom Sarris Orleans House. Wish there was something like this in the area.

    • Donald

      The Orleans House was one of the best. Loved that place.

      Donald

      • John Higgins

        I found Orleans House a bit too “too” for my plebeian tastes. But I loved Sarris’ diner-like joint right behind it. Was it the Chuck Wagon?

        • Donald

          I think it was the Covered Wagon.

    • 30yearsinreston

      I miss the crab shack on the HoChiMinh trail

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Can we have a recall vote for the folks who represent us? How much longer does Hudge have in office?

    When I run, the biggest plank in my platform will be “No More Development”.

    • Mike M

      You will be more than a day and a dollar short. Repeteme, “Done deal.”

    • Arlene Krieger

      Agree, agree and agree again with Chuck all the rest is Bull.

  • Tammi Petrine

    Dennis, thank you for one of the best stated letters expressing the hopes and feelings of most Restonians. For those of us passionate in our love for our planned community and its founding principles, THANK YOU!

  • EliteinReston

    Those “best places” lists are fun to read but they do not always give a complete picture. [By the way, see Arlington as no. 15 on this recent “best places” list that does not include Reston].
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2017/10/13/most-liveable-americas-50-best-cities-live/761013001/
    Years ago, Arlington faced the same crossroads as Reston. City leaders could either “let Arlington be Arlington” or adapt to the profound changes taking place within the region, in particular the coming of Metro. The re-invented Arlington is a model of smart growth planning in the U.S.. Reston is at a similar juncture with the coming of Metro. Instead of bashing a wonderful community like Arlington, where some of our kids, co-workers and friends live, it would be more constructive to see what worked there (high density near transit) and what didn’t. Like it or not, Fairfax County planners have kind of done that for us. Whatever your point of view on that plan, you have to appreciate that our population is growing and needs places to live, work, shop and eat. We have something other communities envy: a rail line through our community close to a four-runway international airport. Soon we may have Amazon’s second headquarters nearby. I too love the Reston of 31 years ago when we moved here and am nostalgic for those simpler times. But I recognize that communities in the D.C. area are dynamic. There’s no reason why we can’t also love what Reston will become.

    • Mike M

      “. . . you have to appreciate that our population is growing and needs places to live, work, shop and eat.”

      Not only do we not have to appreciate it, but we could have controlled it if we held Hudgins and Bulova accountable. None of this was manifest destiny. We did not have to allow our population to increase. That is the original sin. Here is the follow-on:

      ” . . . places to live, work, shop and eat.”
      Oops! You forgot roads, schools, emergency services, pedestrian/vehicle traffic management. With current “plans” we will have none of this unless we all pay a huge, heretofore unaddressed extra burden.

      Who really benefits? That is the question. I think some people anticipate a gain and they will be bitterly disappointed.

      • EliteinReston

        If we built a wall around Reston, and made Herndon pay for it, we’d still have a population increase. People procreate. It happens. So you have to plan for that growth.

        • Mike M

          Sorry, but you were referring to development, not indigenous growth. That is the issue here. People also die or retire and move. Births are not the problem. I think you know that.

    • Greg

      I agree with nearly all of what you note; however, Arlington is a county and not a city. Albeit smaller in land mass and with 1/5 the population of Fairfax, but it does have some control over local things including roads that Fairfax doesn’t have.

      Arlington did several things right — insist that the metro be buried and densely redevelop above and near the buried line while preserving some of the older parts of neighborhoods while accommodating measured and mostly thoughtful redevelopment therein.

      Arlington has a more cohesive board and stuck with its vision for 40+ years.

      Reston is nothing but an unincorporated part of Fairfax County and has virtually no authority to oversee anything but the exterior designs of buildings. At that, it mostly fails and focuses on petty harassment of homeowners’ changes while neglecting aging and decaying parts of Reston and approving ghastly eyesores like the VY property.

      All that being so, could Reston fo better as a self-contained town or city? Not so sure if one looks to Herndon or Vienna. Even Fairfax city’s redevelopment has been choppy and slow with silly (and wasteful) things like gas lights on the streets but ugly overhead wires that it failed to bury, congested main roads through the heart of it, and the mess called the Fairfax County courthouse and jail complex that is so difficult to access.

      • Donald

        Reston is incorporated. For what it’s worth.

        • Anonymous

          Evidence would be helpful to demonstrate in what way you think Reston is incorporated. Maybe RA is technically a corporation, but there is no incorporated city government of the type common throughout the U.S.

        • Greg

          No it isn’t. “Reston” doesn’t exist. The Reston Association does exist and it may be incorporated. Even if it is, it has no standing with the county over land use or anything else.

          • Donald

            Agree. The only point I was trying to make is RA as a non stock corporation, 501 (c)4. Our governing documents dictate how we govern ourselves as well as how our manage our properties both private and common.

            Donald

          • Greg

            And RA has failed at doing even that — despite millions spent on legal fees and administration.

            The costly HOA/POA governance model — especially with revolving door, unpaid directors and overpaid staff — has failed. It’s time for the area called Reston to find a better way forward. Before it’s too late.

          • Donald

            Agree again. As I shared earlier on this thread, perhaps it’s time to truly organize and look to “city” status within the Commonwealth. As I recall, Fairfax County, itself, considered this.

            Donald

  • Why do you bother?

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • Chkitout1

    District Supervisor, Democrat unopposed, State Representative, Democrat unopposed, Congressman, Democrat unopposed. BUILD, BABY BUILD!!! Reston, you made the bed, sleep in it.

    • JoeInReston

      Did Reston make the bed? Doesn’t appear that Reston had any choice in who made the bed.

  • RoadApples

    I am a 21st Century Guy:
    I am anti-Nimby-ism and look forward to Reston becoming a mini-Manhattan.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Simons vision

      • Greg

        He was, afterall, from Manhattan.

    • cRAzy

      So, rather than imposing your singular will on Reston, why don’t you move to Rosslyn or Manhattan. Enjoy!

      • RoadApples

        Since we have lived on Lake Audobon since 1983; we will not be leaving.
        That being said; that does not change my previous post as stated.

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