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Weekend Discussion Topics

Before we head off into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. Wheelock to Discuss Redevelopment Plans for Hidden Creek Country Club
  2. New Expansion for RTC West Approved by County Board
  3. Comstock Resubmits Site Plan for Downtown Herndon
  4. Updated: Police Find Missing Endangered Man Last Seen in Reston
  5. Op-Ed: Wheelock Contemplates Grand Park, Open Space for All

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip. We’re also looking for photos of Reston submitted by readers.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

File photo

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Decision on ‘Midline’ Near Wiehle-Reston East Delayed

A decision on The Midline, a 1.8-million-square-foot development proposed near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station was delayed to Oct. 11 by the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Thursday (Sept. 27).

JBG Smith, EYA and Chevy Chase Land Co. are partnering to create a 17.5-acre development east of Wiehle Avenue and south of Sunset Hills Road with up to 1.2 million square feet of residential development, 260,000 square feet of office space and up to  250,000 square feet of retail.

The development team plans to design four blocks and has offered the county two development options. The first would include 1,058 residential units and 251,150 square feet of secondary uses and the second plan would include 1,098 residential units and 187,750 square feet of secondary uses.

The case is not yet docketed for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Frank de la Fe, Former Fairfax County Planning Commissioner, Dies

Frank de la Fe, a Reston resident who served on the Fairfax County Planning Commission from 2013 to 2017, died on Sept. 18.

Born in Havana, Cuba, de la Fe was first appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2001 and he was one of the architects behind bringing Metro rail to the Dulles Corridor. He grew up in Miami and became a U.S. citizen in 1958.

He worked for NASA in the 1960s and married Sarah Anne Prendergast in 1964. From 1969 to 1971, he created the Illinois State Bureau of the Budget and later established the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention. 

The de la Fe family moved to Reston in 1971 and de la Fe lived in the community for 47 years. He served on several local boards and committees, including Reston Association’s Board of Directors, Reston Soccer and Reston Interfaith, now known as Cornerstones. He was also chairman of the Fairfax County Park Authority.

His family issued the following statement following his death:

[We] are forever grateful that our parents chose to not only settle in Reston, but to fully embrace the vision for what the community could be – the hard work it would take to realize that vision. We learned the importance of service and a strong community. And, most importantly, we learned about family. Family you are born to and family you choose. The connections and friendships made in regency square, Reston soccer, swim team and St. Thomas are relationships and friendships that continue to this day…

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking individuals to send donations to the Fairfax County Park Foundation. 

He is survived by his daughters Catherine and Mary, son-in-law Dionicio and grandchildren Megan, Caitlin, and Juan.

Photo via Adams Green

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What’s Going On In Reston This Weekend?

Thousands of used books will be available for purchase at Reston Regional Library this weekend. The semi-annual book sale is open to all from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and between noon and 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Prices are 50 cents and above.

Although there will be plenty of books available for purchase, no children’s books will be offered at the sale. All proceeds go to the library for materials and programming.

Other featured events include the following:

(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.)

  • Enjoy family splash at the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods today. The pool will be open for a night of family fun from 7-9 p.m. The entry fee is $13 for Reston residents and $26 for all others.
  • Bring the family for a campfire program on Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. S’mores and other campfire treats will be provided. Registration is $7 for Reston Association members and $9 for all others.
  • Beginning this weekend, the work of Virginia-based artist Rahshia Sawyer will be on display at the Greater Reston Art Center’s satellite gallery at Signature. The exhibit will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • For teachers and poetry lovers, Scrawl Books will host a workshop on how to shake up the traditional classroom approaching to writing poetry. The workshop, which takes place on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m., is led by Ann Marie Stephens, contributing author to The Write Thing. If you swing by on the weekend, you can also write a postcard to your favorite banned author — an activity by the bookstore as part of Banned Books Week.
  • If you’re in Reston Town Center that day, you can also swing by the second annual Runway to the Cure from 6-11 p.m at the pavilion. Breast cancer survivors will take part in a fashion show and proceeds will benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
  • A new exhibit called “Green is the Secret Color to Make Gold” will be on display beginning Saturday and through Nov. 24. The art features DC-based artist Caitlin Teal Price. An opening reception is set for Saturday from 5-7 p.m. at GRACE.
  • South Lakes High School’s food pantry is also organizing a “Do It Your Way 0.5k” to raise money for the pantry on Sunday. The event includes sweets, entertainment and raffle prizes and will take place at Lake Anne Plaza at 4 p.m.
  • On Sunday, The Bad Plus, a musical trio, performs at Reston Community Center from 7-10 p.m. Tickets are $20 Reston residents and $30 for all others. The event is part of RCC’s Professional Touring Artist Series.
  • South Lakes High School will become the site for the seventh annual Perfect 10, a race in which participants can choose to run a 10k or a 10-miler. The event, presented by Fidelity Investments, is set for Sunday from 8-10 a.m.
  • But if you’d rather begin your Sunday morning with free yoga at Lake Anne Plaza, you can do so from 9-10 a.m. as well.

File photo

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Plan to Redevelop Hidden Creek Country Club Draws Opposition

A developer’s plan to rezone and redevelop Hidden Creek Country Club from a private golf course into a 100-acre public park with between 600 to 1,000 residential units drew passionate opposition from residents Thursday night.

Wheelock Communities, which purchased the golf course in October last year, presented its conceptual plan for the 160-acre property to Reston Association’s Board of Directors. A formal development plan has not been submitted to the county and would require the county to rezone the property. Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan restricts Hidden Creek Country Club as a private recreational use, specifically a golf course. RA also passed a resolution in 2016 that states Reston’s two golf courses are reserved for golfing only, although the approval of the project and required rezoning is determined by the county.

Steve Coniglio, a regional partner with Wheelock, pitched the concept to RA’s board as an environmentally-friendly move that would serve unmet public space needs in Reston and provide for-sale housing stock at a variety of undisclosed affordability levels. Wheelock, which led several work group sessions with area stakeholders about its plans, would also restore several degraded streams on the site and end Lake Anne water rights exclusive to the golf course, creating a community gathering space with input from residents.

In a flashback to its defense of Reston National Golf Course, which was threatened by development several years ago, Rescue Reston, the grassroots organization that seeks to preserve the golf course and push back against unplanned development, challenged Wheelock to sell the site to another owner who can preserve the golf course and help it rebound.

“They throw in their version of a ‘park’ to misdirect and divide us,” said Lynne Mulston of Rescue Reston, adding that Wheelock’s plan makes “insulting assumptions” about Reston. A survey of area residents conducted by Rescue Reston this year found that nearly 97 percent of the 454 respondents want to preserve the golf course for private recreational use.

“It’s a bad swing that takes Reston out of bounds,” Mulston added.

Rescue Reston members, clad in yellow shirts, also said Wheelock’s plan leaves many unanswered questions, including who will maintain and pay for the park and pedestrian access. The group also said Wheelock’s plan is not driven by environmental stewardship because residential development would require tree removal and contribute to stormwater runoff.

“Open space today, tomorrow, forever,” said Rescue Reston’s president Connie Hartke. 

But Coniglio said the golf course is struggling to court members for dues-only membership, forecasting an uncertain future for the golf course. “Everyone says make it better, but it’s a business and its about cash flow,” Coniglio said.

The company spent around $500,000 for capital improvements to the golf course this year and future expenses to maintain the golf course are only expected to rise, he said.

“Yes, it’s a golf course today. That’s absolutely true. But is the golf course the best use of the land as it relates to the rest of the community? I don’t think it necessarily is,” Coniglio said.

RA board members pushed Wheelock for more information, including market analyses, on how the developer determined the golf course’s current use was unsustainable.

“Why would I join a club if the press tells me you’re going to close it?” said RA board member Julie Bitzer, adding that Wheelock’s vision for the property fails to acknowledge Reston’s golf course heritage.

Wheelock’s vision for the property includes between 600 and 1,000 residential units with a mix of townhouses, villas, and multi-family units. Coniglio said the developer designed the project “backwards” by focusing on open, public space. The residential component of the project would generate between $300,000 and $500,000 in yearly revenue for RA.

“We started with the open space, we started with the stream and the environment and that’s why we don’t have a plan with streets and boxes here for you,” Coniglio said, noting that the development would be designed so that it transitions smoothly to surrounding areas.

RA board member Ven Iyer said it was unfair to neighboring residents who could see their backyards jump from a private to public use.

Wheelock’s presentation is below:

Hidden Creek Country Club Presentation by Wheelock Communities by Fatimah Waseem on Scribd

Rescue Reston’s presentation can also be found below:

Rescue Reston North Course Presentation by Fatimah Waseem on Scribd

Photo via YouTube

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Friday Morning Notes

Family splash tonight at Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center — Drop-in for a night of family fun at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. The entry fee is $13 for Reston residents and $26 for all others. Groups of six or more must pre-register. [Reston Regional Library]

Off to the jungle — Reston’s Gin Dance Company has been invited to perform at the 18th DUMBO Dance Festival, a prestigious dance festival in New York City. It’s the second year the modern dance company will perform at the festival. [The Connection]

New school sexual misconduct policy — The Fairfax County School Board adopted a new policy yesterday that attempts to reform institutional cultures and address the underlying causes of sexual misconduct. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

A stronger second half — The South Lakes volleyball team is looking for a stronger second half. What does that mean exactly? [The Connection]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Police Investigate Indecent Exposure Incident

A man was spotted masturbating in a parking lot on the 13000 block of Woodland Park Road on Wednesday (Sept. 27), according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Police say the man is middle-aged and was driving a blue Subaru station wagon. The victim said he was walking through the parking lot to get lunch when he noticed a car at the back the parking lot that was still running.

When he walked near the car, he spotted the man and confronted him. The driver then sped away, police said.

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Volunteers Needed for Flavors of Fall on Oct. 6

Volunteers are needed to help put on Flavors of Fall, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce’s annual festival, which is set for Oct. 6.

Although most of the 200 volunteer positions are filled, organizers say there are some opportunities open.

Individual volunteers will receive a volunteer T-shirt and twelve Flavors of Fall tickets. The festival includes a full day of food, entertainment and fun in Reston Town Center. Corporate teams will also receive a featured slot on the festival’s website, selected event signage, and the event guide.

Interested individuals can sign up online. Volunteers serving alcohol or checking identification must attend a mandatory alcohol service training.

Anyone with questions should email Alicia Liddle at [email protected].

Photo via Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce

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New Exhibit with Floating Figures Featured at Signature

A new body of work will be on display at the Greater Reston Art Center’s satellite gallery at Signature (11850 Freedom Drive), the new residential building in Reston Town Center.

Virginia-based photographer Rahshia Sawyer‘s newest work, “What I Haven’t Told You,” that depicts figures floating in water and draped in gossamer silks.

GRACE issued the following description about the exhibit, which opens tomorrow (Sept. 28) and ends on Jan. 8.: 

…the artist endeavors to illustrate the tension between emotions expressed and emotions repressed.Sawyer received her MFA from George Mason University. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and she was included in the 2012 Inaugural Dublin Biennial.

She was the 2012 recipient of the Contemporary Talents Award from France’s François Schneider Foundation and received a 2016 Honorable Mention from the International Photography Awards and Prix de la Photographie (Px3). Her work is in the permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, François Schneider Foundation, and Radford University Museum.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. It is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A reception for the artist is set for Oct. 25 from 6-8 p.m.

Photo via GRACE

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Wheelock Affiliate Buys Fannie Mae Office Building

An affiliate of Connecticut-based Wheelock Street Capital has bought the office building on 11600 American Dream Way from Fannie Mae further expanding the companies footprint.

The news, first reported by The Washington Business Journal, expands Wheelock Communities’ footprint in Reston. The company purchased Hidden Creek Country Club, which is just next to the office building previously owned by Fannie Mae, in October last year.

The company hopes to convert the golf course into a public park with between 500 and 2,000 residential units. A formal development proposal has not been submitted to the county, but discussions are underway. A spokesperson for the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reston Now.

Wheelock Street Capital, an affiliate of Wheelock Communities, bought the Charter Oak Apartments, in February. The community is also next to the golf course.

WBJ reported Wheelock paid more than 90 million for the building. Fannie Mae plans to move to Reston Gateway, a major mixed-use project near the future Reston Town Center Metro station in 2020.

Photo via Fannie Mae

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Del. Ken Plum: Celebrating with Understanding

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now. 

Four hundred years ago next year will be the quadricentennial of important events happening in Virginia in 1619. Those events are not the rah-rah kind of happenings that are too often recognized with simple merriment. They are not examined for what we can learn from whence we came to understand how we got to where we are. The English established their first permanent colony in what became America in 1607; they did not “discover” America. There were an estimated 50,000 residents on the North American continent when the English bumped into the continent on their way to the riches of the Far East. The Spanish had visited the mid-Atlantic region decades before the English arrived but did not stick around since they found no gold or fountain of youth.

The indigenous people living in what the English named Virginia had a form of government in a confederation under the Great Chief Powhatan, an agricultural system, environmental protection, and a religion based on the natural spirits. They resented the people showing up in great ships and booming guns and taking land on which their forebears had lived for as many as 15,000 years. There should be no surprise that the indigenous people begrudged these illegal immigrants coming and taking their land and responded with what some people called savagery.

Joining the new settlers at the community they called Jamestowne in 1619 were an essential component of keeping a community thriving into the future — women. Just in time for the 2019 celebration, the Women’s Commission has construction underway for a monument celebrating the contributions of women in making Virginia thrive. Not a bit too soon!

Women were invited to join the men at Jamestowne to help start a new life in a new world. Not invited to join the white men and women were the enslaved Africans who were dropped off at Jamestowne without their consent and with an indentured servant agreement that could never be paid off. The enslaved Africans in 1619 were the first that would be brought to the colony to work in the tobacco fields and to do the hard labors without any of the benefits a new start in life was supposed to bring. The relationship between the white and black populations in Virginia was to dominate so much of the history of the state to the senseless killings of the Civil War and the complexities of race relations today.

In 1619 representatives of the plantations in the colony of Virginia met together in the mud-dab constructed church in Jamestowne to form a local government, much like a homeowner’s association, because the real power of governance continued to reside in London. That meeting is celebrated as the first meeting of representative government tracing its beginning in 1619 through the Revolutionary War, with a slight deviation of the Civil War, to today.

File photo

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Thursday Morning Notes

Weekend track work on Metro — Silver, Blue and Yellow Line trains are scheduled to run every 24 minutes on Saturday and Sunday. Largo Town Center Metro station will be closed. [WTOP]

Reston Association Board meets tonight — A vision for the future of Hidden Creek Country Club, one of two golf courses in Reston, will be unveiled by the owner. The developer plans to convert the golf course into a public park with residential development. [Reston Association]

Book sale begins for Reston friends — Members of the Friends of Reston Regional Library get first dibs on the Friend’s book sale today. The sale is open to the public on Friday and into the weekend. [Fairfax County Government]

Teen Advisory Board meeting tonight — The board will meet today to discuss how to make the library a wonderful place for teenagers. The board is open to volunteers between the age of 13 and 18. Volunteer hours are also offered for participation. [Reston Regional Library]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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‘Green is the Secret to Make Gold’ Exhibit Opens This Weekend

The Greater Reston Arts Center‘s newest exhibit opens this Saturday (Sept. 29) and features the work of DC-based artist Caitlin Teal Price.

Price’s work, displayed with the exhibit title “Green is the Secret Color to Make Gold,” explores the theme of daily routine and ritual. Her latest work offers depictions of objects, many of whom she collected with her son on walks they take together. The exhibition will also feature Price’s first large-scale drawings.

She received her MFA in photography from the Yale School of Art. Her work has been displayed at the National Portrait Gallery, the Fotografiska in Stockholm and the Photography Festival and Australian Center for Photography in Sydney. She also received a fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities in 2016 and 2017.

An opening reception, which is free and open to the public, is set for Saturday (Sept. 29) from 5-7 p.m. at GRACE. Price will discuss her work on Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art and she’ll return to GRACE to offer some comments on her work on Nov. 10 from 3-5 p.m.

Photos via GRACE

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Art Ideas Sought to Transform Colts Neck Road Underpass

It’s no secret that the Colts Neck Road underpass could use some sprucing up. Public Art Reston is looking for artists to create a site-specific artwork to enhance the inside and outside walls of the underpass.

Artists should capture the spirit of the Hunters Woods neighborhood, respond to the cultural diversity of the community and identify the underpass as a “civic facility” within the surrounding neighborhood, according to a description of the call to artists issued by the organization.

Public Art Reston also indicated the following:

The project will promote active use of the underpass that links residential areas, Hunters Woods Village Center, two schools, two senior facilities, and two community centers. At the Colts Neck Road underpass, public art will have the opportunity to enhance the community’s relationship to their infrastructure and encourage active transportation options such as walking and cycling. The artist will actively engage with community stakeholders to develop the concept of the artwork and will give workshops to students.  This project is an opportunity for infrastructure beautification, education, engagement, and inspiration. 

The project is in collaboration with Reston Association and Atlantic Realty Companies.

The deadline for entries is Oct. 26. Entries can be submitted online.

Photo by Public Art Reston

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Pet of the Week: Larry

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Larry, a domestic medium hair kitten available for adoption locally.

Here is what his friends at Little Buddies Adoption and Humane Society have to say about him:

Larry is a super-friendly kitten. Just so lovable!

He adores people. He is also exceptionally playful. He was about 3 months old the middle of September.

(Note: Little Buddies has adoption events every Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at Pet Valu in the North Point Village Shopping Center.)

Are you and Larry a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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