This is an op/ed submitted by Terry Maynard, co-chair of the Reston 20/20 committee. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now. It was updated on Sept. 27 with an editorial comment about the validity of the claims therein:
UPDATE: Mr. Maynard has acknowledged making a serious error in comparing the planned density of Reston’s TSAs to the density of Manhattan. Specifically, Manhattan’s density is not 26,000 people per square mile, it’s 72,000 people per square mile. Thus, Reston’s TSAs are not planned to become as dense as Manhattan, but could be as dense or denser than all the other New York boroughs. For more information, see Mr. Maynard’s detailed correction and apology in the comments section of this op-ed.
In a February 5, 2018 letter to Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, the Coalition for a Planned Reston (CPR)–a partnership of the Reston Citizens Association, Reclaim Reston, and Reston 20/20–called on the Supervisor to consider a variety of amendments to the Reston plan and to defer the Board of Supervisors’ plan to officially authorize advertisement of the proposed zoning amendment on March 6.
Given county claims that it needs to move forward with the increased density proposed in the Reston PRC zoning ordinance from 13 to 16 persons per acre because the Reston plan calls for it, the CPR letter and its recommendations focus on managing Reston’s growth in a way that would eliminate the need to increase zoning density.
Among other features, CPR’s recommendations for managing growth call for:
- A maximum population cap in all of Reston of 120,000 four decades from now at a time when its current population is about 62,000. This contrasts with the current plan’s language that would allow 160,000-180,000 people to live in Reston.
- Limiting density throughout Reston–including the Metro station areas–to 60 dwelling units per acre (DU/A) and limiting redevelopment in the Village Centers to the mixed-use areas only at a “neighborhood-serving” 30 DU/A.
- The elimination of special interest language permitting the massive–and inappropriate–redevelopment of the Saint Johns Wood apartment complex.
- The removal of the road that appears on two Reston plan maps across the Hidden Creek Country Club, opening it to development and endangering its future as a major Reston open space.
A second key theme in CPR’s recommendations is to build in assurances that the supporting infrastructure–road and parks especially–keeps pace with development. This is particularly true of the county’s need to acquire space for parks, schools, and other key infrastructure elements. The failure of Reston’s infrastructure to keep pace with recent development so far, including the extremely long lead times for major capital projects, has been a great concern of many Restonians. Part of this includes assurances that proffers generated by development are used in Reston.
The CPR recommendations also focus on assuring that new development is accompanied by a strong commitment to affordable housing, generally calling for developers to provide an onsite allocation of 20 percent affordable housing for each new project.
As these proposals suggest, CPR is anxious to see Reston grow, but to do so in a manner consistent with its creation as a planned community with a grand vision and vibrant planning principles. We believe that Reston’s future ought to continue to be planned and managed, not merely left open to effectively unconstrained commercial development as the current plan allows.
We hope Supervisor Hudgins sees that our proposals are consistent with that legacy and, following up on a meeting of RA and CPR leaders this week, will defer official county action on the PRC zoning amendment proposal. Then we can work with her and county staff to enable Reston to remain one of the world’s great planned communities.
Co-Chair Reston 20/20 Committee Member
Coalition for a Planned Reston