UPDATED: Task force reviewing previous plans that say Reston’s population will double

(Update 5:00 p.m.) The soon-to-be-completed Reston Comprehensive Plan study is reviewing previous plans from 2014-2015 that say the Reston’s population is slated to more than double in the coming years, according to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn.

Reston was home to an estimated 66,000 people in 2019, according to Fairfax County, which projects the population to jump to about 71,000 people by 2040. The existing comprehensive plan makes room for up to 157,000 people to eventually live in Reston — a 138% increase from 2019.

However, the RCP community task force is reassessing that number to see if it still remains appropriate.

“It’s definitely been an area of discussion for the task force,” Alcorn said at a briefing with local reporters on Friday (March 26). “The task force is making sure…the [RCP] infrastructure will be sufficient to manage that, both in terms of residential but also office workers and retail.”

Alcorn also noted that this population hike will have a notable impact on transportation and school capacity, elements that are continually part of the task force’s discussions.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a review of the Reston Comprehensive Plan in January 2020, and the task force formed in May. The goal of the review is to analyze potential changes to the plan, which was last adopted in 2017 and guides future planning and land use decisions for the area.

The process was expected to take 12 to 18 months, but the pandemic may end up delaying the study’s completion by a few months. Alcorn said they are looking to wrap up by the end of the summer.

Chaired by Alcorn, the task force is made up of 32 members, including representatives from Reston Association, Save Our Sunrise, Reston Community Center, and Southgate Community Center.

In relation to anticipated population increases, the task force is also examining land use and areas where density might need to come down. Alcorn specifically noted Hunters Woods, South Lakes, and North Point village centers.

There’s also talk of having developers “earn” requested density by making commitments related to environmental impact and equity.

“How can new development, and the economic activity that comes with that, [make] connections…with underserved communities, communities in the Reston area that have not had the opportunity to fully take advantage of prosperity that comes with new development?” Alcorn said.

In terms of environmental footprint, Arlington County offers a similar exchange to developers, allowing extra density if they promise buildings will earn green building certification.

Alcorn noted that Reston could end up being a model for the rest of Fairfax County with what they are finding out from this study.

“Reston is exactly the right place to start these discussions in Fairfax County, given Reston’s history and Bob Simon’s principles,” Alcorn said.

The task force’s next meeting will take place on April 12.

Photo via Reston Association/Facebook

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