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Board of Supervisors Clash Over Community Input for Proposed Zoning Changes

by Catherine Douglas Moran December 4, 2018 at 1:00 pm 16 Comments

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors disagreed about community input on contentious proposed zoning changes, before authorizing public hearings early next year on the changes at their meeting today.

The proposal, which would increase the population density in Reston, has sparked a backlash from community groups, including the Reston Association, Coalition for a Planned Reston and Reston 2020.

County planning officials have argued that the change is needed to put into action Reston’s Master Plan, which allows for future growth over the next 40 years.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust vented frustration at the Dec. 4 meeting that Reston residents have not heard back from the county regarding the public hearings for the zoning proposal.

In response to Foust’s concerns, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said that locals have had plenty of opportunities to get the desired information.

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

“Yes, there are some questions that people have,” Hudgins said. “Those questions have been answered before or are not relevant to this.”

Hudgins stressed that consideration of the proposed zoning changes is moving forward because of the work, including 13 follow up meetings since May and regular meetings with the Reston Association, already done.

Hudgins praised the “noble” staff for answering community questions.

Braddock District Supervisor John Cook said that verbal responses from staff to locals are not enough, adding that the community would benefit from written questions and answers available online.

“I don’t think it’s enough to have oral questions,” Cook said. “Not everyone can get to public meetings.”

Cook added that community input must have limits. “It’s fair to have a cut off date for questions,” he said.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission has 100 days from the referral — the staff report published Dec. 4 — to take action on the zoning proposal. The Board of Supervisors authorized public hearings on the zoning changes for 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 and at 4:30 p.m. on March 5.

“The clock starts today,” Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay said.

  • Drip

    Am I reading this correctly that other supervisors, most notably the Herndon supervisor, are advocating for Reston residents and their concerns, while Cathy Hudgins is arguing to cease any further input from Reston residents–her own constituents?

    • Sean Heare

      She feels (as she has said in at least two meeting I attended) that the developers of reston town center are also her constituents and that they have a disproportionate say in the process. Why that is I leave others to explore.

      • Mike M

        It really is fascinating. Some have argued that she is not corrupted, just misguided. I find that hard to believe. Her bias against her constituents is plain. For whom does she work?

        • cRAzy

          She’s doing what Czarina Bulova has told her to do.

  • meeting @ 9:30am

    hiring full time activists. inquire within

  • Conservative Senior

    She is not representing us & is so arrogant. She needs to be replaced. Paid $95K for doing nothing. Somebody please run against her!

    • cRAzy

      Regrettably, she’s not “doing nothing;” she’s actively destroying the planned community of Reston. Disgusting!

  • Terry Maynard

    Let’s be clear: All the questions posed to the county were offered at the small group meetings in August, including the few the county has been answered. It was agreed to by the small group reps on both sides that these questions would be answered before proceeding with any legislative action. Supervisor Hudgins also committed to that agreement. Fairfax County has had nearly four months to answer them all of them, yet has not answered most of them. The community reps (CPR & RA) have answered all the questions they agreed to address.

    You tell me who was disingenuous in the discussion described above.

  • Not Represented

    Thank you so much Mr. Foust!

    Thinking back to residents fighting to save the public golf course – which is also certified wildlife habitat – from developers, Hudgins never ever said she backed the residents and thought it was outrageous to develop Reston’s green space. She attended a rally and only said she “supported the process!” She has no empathy for or commitment to people whose property values would plummet, no empathy for wildlife, no concern for the environment. She does not fight for us.

    • Not Represented

      Rotten English, sorry. “She never ever said she backed the residents or said that she thought it was outrageous to develop Reston’s green space.”

      Still not good but what I intended is clearer.

  • Mason Bushnell

    Thank you to all the people who are fighting this on behalf of Reston residents. I’m still waiting to hear the plan to handle more students in our schools, more traffic on our roads, more public services needed, etc. No plans yet? At the meeting I attended a few months ago, several people asked: “Why the hurry to increase the population cap now?” We’re not close to hitting the current population limits, so what is the urgency to push this increase forward?

  • obxers

    Cathy Hudgins cares nothing about her constituents. Never has. Baffles me she still holds the position.

  • Pat

    Thank God for Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust and apparently a couple of ethical Fairfax County Supervisors. I had lost hope and thought that all of Fairfax County was run by government machine pigs like Hudgins and Bulova. Thanks for a little hope in my life. I am tired of radical oppression, road diets and striping and lack of planning for an infrastructure that would support the massive increase in population that is being sold to the highest bidders in Reston.

  • Greendayer

    Rhetorical question – Why are Foust and Cook the ones supporting reasonable debate (ie responses to the Reston citizens) and not Hudgins?
    And who voted for Hudgins?
    There are 100 days to act. The Democratic process seems to have failed as the local government rep has become non-responsive.

  • Malcol6

    The Coalition for a Planned Reston, Reston 2020 and the Reston Association have raised concerns with the proposal, expressed that the exemptions being given to developers with proposals that do not conform to the Reston Master Plan, and a lack of infrastructure to support an increased density.

    Supervisor Hudgins appears to seek to ignore that with limited land/space, supporting infrastructure planning must occur in advance of and in conjunction with, not following private development. Infrastructure execution occurs in conjunction with and following. She has continually deferred discussion of these in the public meetings; the county staff has NOT answered the 23 questions in a coherent and useful way.

    The other County Supervisors should rebuke her publicly going forward. She might get the message.

    • Greg

      Good luck with that. None of those organizations have any (more) standing than any other citizen to do more than raise concerns. Hudgins will arrogantly listen but promptly ignore them (unless they push her socialist agenda of more taxes, bigger government, and more social/free housing) and the rest of the supervisors will demur as they always do. Don’t believe us: read her annual messaging on budgets. Her concerns are always for the takers; never for the givers; and she never fails to say that she hasn’t taken enough. It’s pathetic: has Hudgins, the teacher, never taught the lesson of the golden goose? Or remember what Marion Barry did to DC?

      RA has wasted millions of dollars on lawyers, planners, studies, and who knows what else and has gotten absolutely nothing but more ugly and unplanned development, “workforce” housing, useless charettes and meetings, road diets and ever more bike lanes and “sharrows” that the bicyclists are now admitting are unsafe. Not one inch of new road pavement one square inch of school space or one more street light in the black hole of Fairfax County aka Reston.

      And, as we all know, there has never, ever, not even once, been enough infrastructure built anywhere in Fairfax County.

      Be glad and celebrate that you have been gifted a $6 billion (and growing) heavy rail system with three Reston stations. NO ONE “raised concerns” during the years, no decades, when it was planned. That billion-dollar system carries fewer than 7000 riders a day and will cost many billions more to operate and maintain.

      Too bad we blinked, for now we are stuck with ever-increasing tolls on a road that was to have been paid for and made free by 2007; $50 tolls to travel 10 miles into DC; and ever increasing property taxes on residential property that may be depreciating (perhaps rapidly as we head into the next recession) property values.

      We’ve even been told by the county that we can’t rent parts of all of our property to pay for the ever-increasing taxes. BOHICA.

      Hudgins is on her glide path to obscurity and retirement. There is great urgency for her, more so than ever now that Bulova is stepping aside, to get as much as she can as fast as she can. You will be muted. You will be marginalized. You will be ignored.

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