Amid Concern, Campus Commons Continues to Court Approval of Local Planning Committee

New York-based TF Cornerstone will return to receive the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee’s blessing for its plan to redevelop nearly 12 acres of land near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station with two residential buildings and a new office building.

The proposal, Campus Commons, has attracted criticism from nearby residents and led to the formation of a citizen-led advocacy group called Rescue Sunrise Valley.

Although the developer addressed several concerns, a representative of Rescue Sunrise Valley, said residents are not satisfied with the developer’s attempts to scale back the development and improve the safety of a planned crosswalk on Wiehle Avenue. The committee did not recommend the project for approval Monday night.

“They have not adequately engaged the community not have they adequately addressed the community’s concerns,” the representative told Reston Now. “We sincerely hope TF Cornerstone will defer further requests for approval and commit to working with the community properly.”

If approved, the proposal would redevelop two 1980s office buildings with two multi-family buildings with 629 units. A new 14-story office building with more than 26,000 square feet of retail is also planned on the site,  which is located east of Wiehle Avenue, between Sunrise Valley Drive and the Dulles Toll Road.

Ken Houle, vice president of TF Cornerstone, said the company has made several changes in response to community feedback:

A specific proffer to construct a grade separated crossing of Wiehle Ave

A commitment to engage all stakeholders in a study to determine the preferred grade separated solution, coupled with a financial commitment of $1.5MM to implement that solution if it differed from our proposed solution

Significant modifications to the building heights, lowering both the residential tower on the Toll Road by 44′ and the office building at the corner of Wiehle and Sunrise Valley by 48′

Modified the building façade on Sunrise Valley Drive to respond to architectural preferences raised by the Upper Lakes residents 

Increased the size of the community playground by 22% with a commitment to include accessible play equipment

Modified the design to incorporate a community amphitheater space in the 1 acre corner park

Committed to work with an independent arborist and Fairfax County to study trees for potential preservation, coupled with an existing commitment to provide 150% of the required tree canopy in the new development featuring native species trees.

Committed to work with the Upper Lakes residents to accelerate signal timings of existing traffic lights, install a new traffic light at Upper Lake, support Upper Lakes residents in the application of resident only street parking district, and to fund and implement a future traffic calming program for Upper Lakes

Given the fact that many residents remain concerned about the scale of the project, Houle said TF Cornerstone will continue a dialogue with stakeholders to “ensure this project delivers the future that Reston envisioned with the adoption of the Reston Comprehensive Plan.”

The plan that is proposed is in conformance with the comprehensive plan and has been recommended for approval by the Fairfax County Planning staff.”

Houle added Campus Commons creates a “premium park” that breaks the “mold of development surrounding the metro station of high-rise towers on the prominent corners.”

In a Sept. 11 staff report, the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning staff recommended approval of the proposal. The Fairfax County Planning Commission is set to take up the plan on Sept. 25, followed by a vote by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 15.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government, photo via Rescue Sunrise Valley

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Fairfax Officials Question Budget Implications of Police Body Cameras

Fairfax County officials want to take a closer look at the costs linked to adding body worn cameras to the county’s police department.

After studies observing the impact of police officers wearing body cameras while on duty, several members on the Board of Supervisors came out in support of the new proposal draft. As body worn cameras get closer to receiving the board’s approval, two supervisors want more information to determine the fiscal impact of the project.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity kicked off the discussion of the body worn cameras at the Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday (Sept. 17) by asking what the fiscal impact would be.

The program would cost about $6.2 million by fiscal year 2022, Deputy County Executive for Public Safety Dave Rohrer told the board.

“That includes the Commonwealth Department of Information Technology, the police officers, the cameras, the storage and equipment,” Rohrer said. “It’s an all-in number.”

Braddock District Supervisor John Cook said that if Board of Supervisors approves the action items on the body worn cameras at the meeting next Tuesday (Sept. 24), he will request a report on how it could affect the budget for the Public Defenders’ Office.

Cook noted that the presentation about the pilot program included information about costs for the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Photo via Fairfax County Police Department

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IHOP to Open in Herndon Centre in October

IHOP, an American pancake house restaurant chain that specializes in breakfast options, is opening next month in Herndon.

The restaurant is expected to open in Herdon Centre, which is located at 474 Elden Street, on Oct. 14, according to a company representative.

The Herndon location will have 168 seats and will bring 75 jobs to the area. Hiring for positions is on-going. Interested applicants can apply in-person at the Herndon Centre.

Meanwhile, signs for LA Fitness have gone up. Sprouts Farmers Market is also expected to open in October. MOD Pizza has not announced an opening date yet.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Pet of the Week: Rhett

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Rhett, a white and black adult male available for adoption locally.

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

Rhett is an adorable young man. He loves people.

He also loves to romp and wrestle with other cats. He will be happiest in a home with another kitten or young cat who also likes to play and wrestle. This handsome young man is about 7 months old.

Are you and Rhett 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 eight 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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Gas Leak Caused by Crash with Construction Excavator

Sunrise Valley Drive was closed yesterday (Tuesday) near the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride garage, causing major back-ups in both directions.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority says a construction excavator hit a gas line and caused major back-ups in the area. The incident happened yesterday afternoon.

Crews worked last night to install a temporary fix to reopen the eastbound lanes. The accident also caused delays on the Fairfax Connector.

All service has resumed to normal.

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Following Amazon’s Move, Jurisdictions Band Together to Form ‘Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance’

Ten jurisdictions from Northern Virginia are banding together to form the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance.

The regional partnership formalized earlier this week after successfully joining together to bid on Amazon’s requests for proposal for their second headquarters two years ago. Several jurisdictions partnered to create the first Northern Virginia regional brand, which features the slogan,”Innovation lies here.”

The following jurisdictions are set to take part in the alliance:

  • Alexandria Economic Development Partnership
  • Arlington County
  • City of Fairfax
  • Fairfax County Economic Development Authority
  • City of Falls Church
  • Fauquier County
  • Loudoun County
  • City of Manassas
  • City of Manassas Park
  • Prince William County Department of Economic Development

After Arlington successfully won the bid, regional partners said the idea for a regional authority gained traction. Companies are increasingly attracted to areas that can provide regional workforce, transportation, and livability assets, according to the NVEDA.

Here’s more from the newly-formed alliance:

Building a robust, recognizable regional brand for Northern Virginia will propel our communities to the top of site selection lists that will generate new leads, resulting in more business investment.

The local economic development leadership has also been encouraged to collaborate by local and statewide leaders. Over recent year, Northern Virginia elected and appointed leaders have been working across borders and aisles to tackle affordable and workforce housing, transportation, education, and other challenges facing our region, collaboratively.

At the state level, Stephen Moret, who took the helm as President & CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership in 2017, has supported the telling of regional stories, providing additional resources to regional groups throughout the Commonwealth.

Photo by Jay Westcott

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Absentee Voting Begins This Friday — Absentee voting for the general election in November begins on Friday, Sept. 20, at the Fairfax County Government Center. An additional nine satellite absentee voting locations will open on Thursday, Oct. 17. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston’s Place as a ‘Radical Suburb’ Tonight at Reston Community Center Lake Anne – “Author Amanda Hurley speaks about her book Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City. American suburbs were once fertile ground for utopian planning, communal living, socially conscious design and integrated housing. Hurley’s talk will discuss and compare Reston with other communities.” [Reston Community Center]

Walk to School Day Set for Oct. 2Students and employees are encouraged to bike or walk to school and work on October 2.  Parents are encouraged to accompany their children to school, and to work with their school and PTA or PTO to assemble bike trains or walking groups for the event.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo by Jay Westcott

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