Fairfax County Begins Moving Forward Proposed Reston Zoning Changes

by Catherine Douglas Moran November 19, 2018 at 3:45 pm 46 Comments

Fairfax County is expected to move forward with proposed zoning changes for Reston that would increase the population density.

After 17 months of public engagement, the county’s Board of Supervisors is anticipated to authorize public hearings on the zoning changes for early next year at its Dec. 4 meeting, the county announced Monday (Nov. 19). The meeting will not be an opportunity for public input, the statement said.

The proposal would increase the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district — Reston’s primary zoning district — from 13 persons up to 15. The current density is roughly 12.46 people per acre.

“This 13-persons per acre limit has remained unchanged for several decades and does not accommodate the future residential growth anticipated in the Reston PRC near the future Silver Line Metrorail stations,” the statement said.

The proposal would also up the limit of 50 dwelling units per acre to 70 in the transit station areas planned for mixed-use development. This would mainly affect the Reston Town Center Transit Station Area, according to the statement.

County officials began small workgroup sessions hosted by the Coalition for a Planned Reston, a grassroots organization and Reston Association in July to discuss the controversial plan.

County planning officials have argued that the Reston PRC zoning change is needed to put into action Reston’s Master Plan, which allows for future growth over the next 40 years, especially around the Silver Line Metrorail stations.

Last September, Reston 20/20, Reclaim Reston and the Reston Citizens Association encouraged Restonians to fight the County’s proposal, which then had the bump on the people per acre in the PRC District from 13 to 16.

Coalition for a Planned Reston sent a letter Aug. 1 to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins to urge her to continue suspending further action on the zoning amendment while discussions were ongoing between the Reston community and Fairfax County staff.

Reston Association sent two letters last year to Hudgins. The first one expressed opposition to the amendment as currently proposed, and the second letter included a list of actions that should be undertaken before the amendment is considered any further by the county.

“Many believe that such increases would create an unsustainable burden on Reston’s infrastructure,” the Reston Association said in an April 11 statement. “Simply, we want to ensure adequate infrastructure to account for the increased growth, including, but not limited to, adequate schools, roads, parks, athletic fields, and natural areas, while protecting the Reston vision.”

Photo via Fairfax County 

  • Dennis Hays

    This action is contrary to – in fact in direct violation of – the agreement the County and CPR/RA entered into at the start of this process. At that time, and now, CPR/RA has asked only that the County answer the community’s questions about the County’s intention to massively increase the population density of Reston without a plan to provide needed and required infrastructure to support such growth. We held four small group meetings over the summer and developed a mutually agreed upon set of questions each side should answer. CPR/RA has provided the information we were requested to develop. However, although we have been working collaboratively with County staff, we haven’t yet received the vast majority of the information promised.

    Perhaps this is a case of staff not knowing what their leadership committed themselves to. If so, the County need to withdraw its motion and live up to its promise to engage the community.

    Dennis Hays
    RCA – CPR

    • 30yearsinreston

      You have got to be asleep
      The county works at Hudgins direction
      It is laughable to think that they do not know what Hudgins and Bulova want
      Since she has made it clear on numerous ocassions, They know exactly what she wants

  • 30yearsinreston

    Another Hudgins victory
    More freehouses except for those who get up in the morning and have to go to work
    Again, she must be recalled

    • Joyce W

      So how do we start the process?

      • Steve Patz

        Well you have to find enough people who elected her to do what she’s doing and now don’t want her to do that……so….I guess good luck?

      • 30yearsinreston

        Get involved and start a petition
        Out neighbors in Loudon have done something similar in the past

  • John Lovaas

    Indeed, Mr. Hays has it right.
    The good faith dialog between senior County planning staff and the Reston community (the Coalition for a Planned Reston and Reston Association) apparently is being abandoned by Supervisor Hudgins and the Board of Supervisors with no explanation to the community.

    This is a slap in the face to all Restonians and is unacceptable.
    As Dennis says, the County must withdraw this motion and continue and complete the productive engagement that is underway.

    • 30yearsinreston

      The “good faith dialog”has never worked with Hudgins or FCBOS led by Bulova
      Look at her track record

      Fire Hudgins and then you may see change, but its probably too late

  • Robert Mowbray

    The zoning changes should contribute to the implementation of the recommendations (especially those related to storm water management) of the State of the Environment Report reported on below.

  • David Rogus

    This despite virtually unanimous and clearly expressed opposition by the citizens of Reston. This represents a total defiance of the citizens’ rejection of this move and demonstrates an incredibly arrogant disregard of district constituents and a breaking of faith with them – the people who elected her and whose interests she is bound to represent – by Supervisor Hudgins.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Wake up – Hudgins has never represented Reston or her constituents
      She is deaf to everything but her agenda – more urban slums are the result

  • Steve Patz

    I don’t see how increasing density a bit is a bad thing?

    • vdiv

      Ok then, the county can gut down your domicile and build a 2+2+2+2+2+2 “mid-rise” rat-infested, perpetual leaks and black mold broom closet brutalist tower.


      • Steve Patz

        I’ve not seen any plans for anything close to what you describe. Do you always go to extremes to describe what you fear?

      • Greg

        Heron House?

        • vdiv

          The first but not the last.

    • John Higgins

      Steve, I suppose that depends on what is “a bit” – and what is the consequence of the increase. When folks who understand this stuff talk about zoning, they speak in a language that’s foreign to me. Two additional people per acre doesn’t sound overwhelming. I have a vague idea of what area is “PRC”. So, how much is this “bit”? Well, when 16 people per acre was on the table, that enabled growth from 52,000 to 177,000 people within the PRC. It sounds like 15/acre reduces the projection (it’s not a cap, just a projection) to 134,000. That’s a dramatic increase; somewhat above what I would call a bit. What folks are asking is: where are the plans for roads, schools, parks, police, fire, and more to support this much growth?

      • Steve Patz

        Ahhh John you forgot to mention how your property values are gonna plummet.

        • Sean Heare

          It’s quality of life we are concerned with many of is intend to live here for the rest of our lives, so a dip in property price would be welcome tax relief. Extra traffic in the center of Reston without infrastructure and sacrificing green space isn’t.

          • taylor13

            But now you have the metro, so you don’t need roads.

          • 30yearsinreston

            Dont forget the bike lanes !
            Rickshaws are coming

          • cRAzy

            Just scooters!

          • 30yearsinreston

            if the property values dip, FCBOS just ups the rate
            Look at past history

          • Greg

            As you may be aware, property tax burden (that is, the gross amount you pay) has increased at least 26% over the past five years.

            Has your income increased that much?

            Many of us have seen both increases in our property value and in the tax rate. This is especially true for those owning single-family homes. Very few of them are being built in Fairfax County.

        • OneReally

          Actually my property value has skyrocketed! As folks go from condos and townhomes. There are only so many SFH to go around.

          This doesn’t mean I’m in favor of building on every little piece of dirt.

          Our broke A$$ metro and road infra doesnt support it.

        • Terry Maynard

          No one’s property values are going to plummet or skyrocket, except developers who will cash in on the huge increase in density.

          • Steve Patz

            someone has to sell something to somebody

      • Zoe

        I’m not sure I understand your math. Going from 13 to 15 is a 15% increase so 52,000 would increase to 60,000 not 134,000. That would be a 258% increase.

        • John Higgins

          Thanks for your comment. Your question is an eloquent example of how you and I (and almost everyone else) perceive the proposed change. If it were simply math, this might not be a big deal. It has to be viewed in consonance with other elements of Reston’s new zoning. Reston 20/20’s website has a ton of data and discourse of this. See the RestonNow article (linked via “fight” in the eighth paragraph above) for the source of my numbers.

          • Zoe

            So, just so we’re clear, your numbers combine the changes to the PRC zone with increased density in the transit station area (most of which is not zoned PRC), which was created quite a while ago in response to the announcement of the Silver Line.

    • Michael Gandolfo

      Because it is not. Just vocal people who resist change because they “lived here for years”.

    • OneReally

      I don’t see how leaving it “as-is” is a bad thing.

      Nothing forcing this area to be an edge city. Our road infrastructure isn’t built for it.

    • Mike M

      “Many believe that such increases would create an unsustainable burden on Reston’s infrastructure,”

  • 30yearsinreston

    A lot of restonians are like frogs sitting on a pot on a stove where Hudgins gradually turns up the heat

    They think they are warm and cozy but they are getting cooked

  • the density party

    storm water aside- as long a we can flush the water closets we are fine. besides we had the scooters on backorder and they finally went through – with the big wheels for the gold courses. dang the woonfers!

    (offer valid until 2020. limited to two scooters per household. additional restrictions may apply)

  • meyerweb

    Faisfax never met a developer bribe, but er, the campaign contribution, it wouldn’t sell out its residents form

  • EvilClaw

    So you build the silver line to get existing commuters to and from DC, then decide, we can up zone those adjoining corridors to get more ridership to help offset the costs. Talk about screwing up the greatest planned community of our time.

  • by design

    are we just building for the sake of building because i see a lot of vacancies. airbnb is not legal around here. so are we prepping for the invasion?

    • 30yearsinreston

      No, Hudgins wants more free houses
      This is the way to get them

  • Terry Maynard
  • Sam
    • Terry Maynard

      Very little. The zoning change will likely pass in January 2019, long before the elections, and–of course–at the end of a holiday period when few are interested in political action. And the change will be irrevocable under Virginia’s property rights laws. But we must try.

  • Thomas Stearns

    Supervisor Hudgins’ actions on the Reston density issue and her earlier mismanagement of the Reston Master Plan update process permanently stain her legacy in public office. The Reston community is not anti-development–we are in favor of development that respects our design principles and is supported by
    infrastructure that actually keeps pace with the arrival of new neighbors.

    If left to the will of Supervisor Hudgins, Restonians will suffer the loss of our planned
    community. However, the community will not simply shrug our collective shoulders
    and permit the Supervisor’s perfidy to prevail. Likewise, we will not permit
    another disciple of the developers to be elected (or re-elected) in 2019.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Fire her!
      She is turning Reston into an urban slum


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