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

by Fatimah Waseem September 18, 2019 at 3:30 pm 0

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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