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Early Discussions on the Future of Hidden Creek Country Club Begin

by Fatimah Waseem July 27, 2018 at 1:30 pm 46 Comments

Redevelopment options for Hidden Creek Country Club (Handout via Reston Association)

In early discussions about the future of Hidden Creek Country Club, members of the Reston Association’s Board of Directors and community advocates stood firm against the redevelopment of the golf course as its new owner, Wheelock Communities, contemplates future redevelopment options.

Since purchasing the golf course in October last year, Wheelock has held three work group sessions with community groups and nearby residents to discuss plans for the site. At its last meeting, the real estate developer of master planned communities pitched four options, including a no-build alternative. Discussions are preliminary.

Concerns about future redevelopment intensified when Wheelock Street Capital, an affiliated company, purchased Charter Oak Apartments in partnership with local investment firm Canandaigua & Pratt Holdings in February. The apartment is next to the golf course.

At an RA board meeting Thursday night, members reiterated that Reston is a two-golf course community. Reston’s Master Plan emphasizes the importance of preserving Reston’s golf courses for private recreational use and an RA resolution commits to ensuring Reston is a golf course community and opposes any attempts to create a roadway between American Dream Way and Isaac Newtown Square through the property.

Sherri Hebert, an RA board member, said Wheelock has pitched ways redevelopment could improve public accessibility through additional walking paths and make it more environmentally friendly. Hebert said the club is already “a community diamond” and that the future of golf is strong.

“They’ve even used Bob Simon and his vision to take about this is to be envisioned as something different, which I personally find insulting,” Hebert said.

The discussion harkens back to Rescue Reston’s defense of Reston National Golf Course, which was threatened by development plans several years. Connie Hartke, president of Rescue Reston, a grassroots group formed in 2012 in response to threats against the golf course, said the group is prepared to step up opposition against future development plans.

“This is not the time to concede an inch of open space,” Hartke said, noting that more planned development is on the horizon.

RA’s board plans to discuss the issue with representatives from Wheelock at a board operations committee meeting in September and a later board meeting that month as well. RA board president Andy Sigle described Thursday’s discussion as preliminary.

Sridhar Ganesan, an RA board member, said Wheelock has stated the cost of making improvements to the golf course raises questions about the future viability of the site. Ganesan said he hopes to see an analysis by Wheelock to determine how that conclusion was reached.

Wheelock issued the following statement late Friday afternoon:

When Wheelock Communities purchased Hidden Creek Country Club in October
2017, we immediately recognized the special character of Reston and the need to
include the community in exploring all the possibilities for the future of the golf
course. With that idea and Bob Simon’s Founding Principles of Reston in mind, Wheelock
engaged the community by establishing a Focus Group to gain the perspective
from a broad-based group of approximately 20 Reston residents. The Focus
Group, which has not yet concluded its work, began without preconceived
notions about the future of the property.

This story was updated on Monday (July 30) to include Wheelock’s response.

Handout via Reston Association

  • Tom Mccauley

    Help me here. Does the ultimate decision on development rest with the Board of Supervisors? Is it codified that Reston be a two golf course community?
    I am confused who has final say. If it is the BOS, perhaps RA has say, focus groups, community meetings abut having a sole golf course, but money (tax revenue rules…..never known the BOS say no to money

    • 30yearsinreston

      Doesnt matter which entity it is
      Hudgins calls the shots and is trading the Golf Courses for a few ‘workforce housing’ apartments
      Unless she is recalled, the fight is over

      • Tom Mccauley

        Thank you for the info. It is a shame. I am still getting used to the many cars parked along Soapstone…..overflow from Shadow Wood.

        • 30yearsinreston

          Make sure your doors are locked and dont go out at night
          Its a muggers paradise

          • Fred

            You could always move

          • D.B.Anderson

            Stop. Just stop. Stop dogging on those people. They have every right to be there. You’re being classist and racist. Knock it off.

        • Greg

          You will see more and more of that in more parts of Reston as density increases.

          • Tom Mccauley

            Greg and 30 years, thank you both.

        • Soapstone vet

          Lived here since 1984. There’s been parking along Soapstone ever since. Not a new phenomenon. BTW many of the cars parked on Soapstone come from Rolling Green & Greenwatch Way on the far side of South Lakes; not just Shadowood.

      • Bert W

        Why doesn’t someone run against Cathy Hudgins? Can she be recalled? What is the process? Who do we contact?

        • 30yearsinreston

          She can be recalled
          Look it up
          1. Get the required # of signatures and go from there

          • Bert W

            The reasons for recall include:
            Neglect of duty
            Misuse of office
            Incompetence in the performance

            She surely is not representing the interests of Reston residents, so I think any would apply.

          • South Lakes Curmudgeon

            She’s not running for re-election next year. Her anointed successor is Walter Alcon. Focus on him.

          • 30yearsinreston

            I dont trust her to leave the public trough
            Alcorn, who did such a great job with Tysons, isnt getting my vote if he runs
            His only redeeming action is that Tysons hasnt been turned into a high rise residential
            slum

          • Ann S

            A lot could happen in one year. Focus on both of them.

    • Greg

      Yes, the ultimate decision with everything in Reston development-wise sits with the BoS. Reston is an incorporated part of Fairfax County.

      At most, the Reston Association has influence over design, siting, lighting, landscaping and related design considerations.

      • D.B.Anderson

        It’s a shame that the effort to become a town failed.

    • Constance (Connie) Hartke

      Tom, amending the Comprehensive Plan does come down to a vote by the entire Board of Supervisors, and if we stay united and LOUD, we can win. As recently as April 23 of this year, Supervisor Hudgins wrote in a letter to the Coalition for a Planned Reston: “The plan approved in 2015 was specifically written to protect the existing stable residential communities and reinforce the preservation of Reston’s two golf courses.” The County needs to keep hearing from this community that the Open Space of the 2 courses must not be compromised. Please read the latest FAQ from Rescue Reston under the Updates at rescuereston.org.

      • 30yearsinreston

        What will it take for you to realize that negotiating with Hudgins in the hope that she will help is useless
        You will have a better chance of protecting the open spaces if you take off the gloves and push for her impeachelment
        The talking has not worked
        Time for a new approach

  • FLEABttn

    Option #4 looks good.

    • Greg

      I am sure that’s the goal; the others are lipstick. Especially option 1.

  • Alf

    Option one is the only one! The institutional developers are very profitable and don’t care about our award winning community built over decades with care. They only want more, more and more money!

  • Constance (Connie) Hartke

    We are very disappointed that the Wheelock consultants have not come up with any ideas for redeveloping in their already built areas of the clubhouse, tennis area and parking lot.

    For those interested, this link starts with my comments for Rescue Reston (5 minutes), followed by Lynne Mulston’s comments. Lynne is the Chairperson of RR’s North Course Committee: youtu.be/HMU7Cm8SyxA?t=20m33s

    The RA board discussion of the Hidden Creek Country Club Update starts at youtu.be/HMU7Cm8SyxA?t=50m10s.

  • restonista

    I’m sorry but I live by the golf course and not one person has knocked on my door, sent me a mailer or tried calling to ask me join the coalition against development on this golf course. I know it is the same for my neighbors. I’m sure Rescue Reston or Coalition for Reston is working hard but how are they recruiting the voices needed against such development? If I didn’t read RestonNow, I wouldn’t even know of these groups and their efforts.

    • Reston Resident

      The same is true for me. And I am willing to help in any way I can.

    • 30yearsinreston

      They are supposedly going to go to HOA’s and ask them to talk at their meetings
      Their approach of going through organized channels and all talk and no action never works

      • restonista

        The homes where I am are not part of a cluster.

    • Constance (Connie) Hartke

      Please subscribe to the newsletter at RescueReston.org. Also contact the North Course Committee if you’d like to volunteer to help with the door knocking that will be coming up – email can be found on the contact page. Also let them know your street or what cluster you live in as volunteers have gone to quite a few of the surrounding clusters to present what we know. Perhaps you would organize that for your cluster or street if non-cluster? We are an all-volunteer grass roots organization.

  • Tower of Babble

    The golf course is totally mismanaged – I never see anyone play there.

    Lets build something.

    • cRAzy

      How about a new clubhouse with new management?

    • 30yearsinreston

      Thats because the fees are extortiant

    • OneReally

      You would actually have to look.

  • Off_He_Goes

    Where is option #5? Dissolve country club, plant trees, create park space.

    • 30yearsinreston

      The cupboard is bare
      It was cleaned out for the Lake White Elephant
      Besides, if it doesn’t have ‘workforce housing’ Hudgins wouldnt agree with it

      • guest

        That is not an RA property. RA has no say in what they do with the land their company purchased. If trees are planted it will be at their expense. RA can only give advice and hope they will accept some of their input. As far as “workforce housing” many teachers, city/county workers, and blue collar workers benefit from it in this high cost area. Its very hard for a new teacher out of college making under $50,000 a year while paying back student loans to afford to live in this area. I also know paramedics that also benefit from it. So “workforce housing” is not at all a bad concept. Instead of attacking “workforce housing” you should be attacking the need for building all this office space and high rise apartments around here. I say if they’re going to build it there might as well be space for those that work hard in this area, but can’t afford to live in this area. These workers still pay rent, just under market value, so its not a handout like other programs. You should do some research on it

        • Greg

          “These workers still pay rent, just under market value…”

          Then who pays the difference?

          • 30yearsinreston

            Bingo!

          • guest

            The term “workforce” is meant to connote those
            who are gainfully employed, a group of people who are not typically understood to be the target of affordable housing programs. Workforce housing, then, implies
            an altered or expanded understanding of affordable housing. Workforce housing is commonly targeted at “essential workers” in a community i.e. police officers, firemen, teachers, nurses, medical personnel. Some communities define “essential” more broadly to include service workers, as in the case of resort communities where one finds high real estate costs and a high number of low-paying service jobs essential to the local economy. The developer is given a tax incentive or break during development or each year based on the total “workforce” units.

          • Greg

            Again, no (distorted) lecture needed on the what — who pays for all of it is the question we keep asking.

          • guest

            Does this answer your question? I got this from the fairfaxcounty.gov site. An upfront tax break is given. So, I’m assuming the developers are charging so much for these luxury apartments. they absorb the cost after the tax break.

            HUD and Section 8 Housing are covered by the tax payers

            The term “workforce” is meant to connote those who are gainfully
            employed, a group of people who are not typically understood to be the
            target of affordable housing programs. Workforce housing, then, implies
            an altered or expanded understanding of affordable housing. Workforce
            housing is commonly targeted at “essential workers” in a community i.e.
            police officers, firemen, teachers, nurses, medical personnel. Some
            communities define “essential” more broadly to include service workers,
            as in the case of resort communities where one finds high real estate
            costs and a high number of low-paying service jobs essential to the
            local economy. The developer is given a tax incentive or break during development or each year based on the total “workforce” units.

          • Greg

            No, it completely obfuscates it.

            If the tax break is given, who pays for that?

            If the tax break is given up front, who pays for that?

            So, now we have some paying less tax and many others paying less rent. Who pays for that?

            Earning less rent, means the landlord pays less income tax. Who pays for that?

            And, of course, we have even more people living in the same space than, absent these tax breaks (upfront at that) and reduced rents, would otherwise be living there. Who pays for everything that causes? From more kids in schools, to more before and after school care, to more drivers, to more library patrons, to more park users, to more free school lunches, to eliminated personal property taxes and more? Who pays for all of that?

          • Michael G

            In many cases, I believe workforce units are somewhat smaller in size to be more affordable but not subsidized directly. While this may increase density, by enabling working people (retail workers, teachers, etc.) to live in the community, this should reduce traffic compared to requiring people to live out in West Virginia and remote counties and have long commutes to get to jobs in Fairfax County. Workforce housing enables people to live closer to work, likely reduces traffic, reduces emissions, and enhances quality of life. It supports the vision of Reston as a place with diversity of incomes and housing types where people can move throughout stages of their life – and maybe someday those in workforce housing will move to the more expensive housing. So, rather than asking who pays, a better perspective is to look at all of the benefits. As a growing county, Fairfax County has the right and responsibility to require developers to contribute to our community workforce housing just like developers should set aside land for parks. That park land area means less taxable land so might be seen as a ‘cost’ to our potential tax base but most of us would consider this a community benefit. I am thankful for this program.

          • Greg

            Stop deflecting. Who pays?

            “Benefits” are not free.

        • 30yearsinreston

          The point is that the developers dont have to build on it
          They need zoning changes to do so and Hudgins price is more ‘workforce housing’
          I suggest you do some more research on negotiating land use

          • guest

            No, actually I don’t. My comment was directed at you bringing up the Lake House in your last comment. The Lake House and RA have nothing to do with Hudgins. She is negotiating all this not them(RA). This is why I said RA can’t tell developers what to do with land they paid for. I just added the “workforce housing” part because its being painted as a bad thing, when it actually isn’t bad at all, its Hudgins and her need to agree with developers. So I just wanted blame placed where it should be placed instead of throwing people and programs that aren’t the cause of this under the bus

  • Conservative Senior

    Attached is an article that states the new owner of HCGC wants to make changes. Is this why the BOS wants ” the road to nowhere”? Plus at the October meeting @ SLHS, Mr. Selden was asked what he knew about the sale of HCGC…said he knew nothig. The next day the sale was shown in the RE Tax Records!
    https://www.restonnow.com/2017/10/25/hidden-creek-golf-course-sold-new-housing-choices-listed-as-possible-for-future/

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