Brookfield Property’s 36-acre Reston Crescent project will head to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for final approval on July 31.
Despite attempts to improve the developer’s commitment to affordable housing, the project, located on northwest corner of the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive, was given a green light by the Fairfax County Planning Commission on July 12.
Brookfield’s plan for affordable housing would include 258 workforce housing at 70, 90, and 100 percent of the area median income — a rate lower than the county requirement of 80, 100 and 120 percent. In exchange, the developer wants to reduce its contribution to the county’s affordable housing fund. It plans to provide $2.6 million.
The four-million-square-foot project is the future home of Wegmans. Up to 1,721 residential units, 1.9 million square feet of office space, a hotel and 380,000 square feet of retail are planned on the site. Two existing office buildings will remain.
Brookfield contends it should not have to offer contributions to the housing fund for two existing office buildings on the site which were approved before the current project was filed with the county. Affordable housing contributions are calculated based on the square footage of the project’s non-residential elements.
Hunter Mill District Planning Commission John Carter said he supported the developer’s plan because increasing the level of affordability for residential units helps renters who may not otherwise be able to afford rents at higher percentages of the AMI.
However, staff from the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning said the AMI levels being proposed are similar to current rents of comparable projects in Reston’s Transit Station Area.
“We didn’t feel that the county was really benefitting from the levels being proposed,” said Mary Anne Tsai, a staff coordinator with the county’s Planning Division.
John Ulfelder, the planning commissioner for the Dranesville District, said the commission’s discussion about affordable housing warrants a closer look at the county’s policy. Ulfelder said a frequent concern cited by millennials entering the workforce is the lack of affordability areas in Reston’s Transit Station areas.
“Who are we trying to help with the policy?” Ulfelder said.
Carter also noted the developer has committed to meeting county requirements for the road fund and an athletic field, which will include a practice field and 50 parking spaces at the intersection of the Dulles Toll road and Hunter Mill Road.
The developer’s plan, as proposed, would not sufficiently meet Fairfax County standards at the intersection where the development is planned, according to staff from the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.
Although Brookfield will alter the grid of streets and has committed to other road and traffic proffers, significant investment in other major improvements that will yield the greatest benefit — a more complex buildout of the grid of streets, the Soapstone Connector, and the Town Center Parkway underpass — is required to ensure the intersection has acceptable levels of service.
Handout via Brookfield Properties