Draft Reston Comprehensive Plan outlines future of development, but some questions remain

Reston Town Center on a sunny day (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

After more than 50 meetings, Fairfax County will present draft amendments to Reston’s comprehensive plan at public meetings this fall, advancing the first major update to the planning document since 2015.

The process kicked off in 2020 to determine how new development will impact the community, public infrastructure and growth-related issues. Reston has seen more than 50 rezoning applications since the last update in 2015, prompting concerns about growth management.

At a media briefing today (Wednesday), Hunter Mill District Alcorn noted that the update covers all of Reston, unlike previous plans that addressed only parts of it.

“This is one Reston. This is all of Reston,” Alcorn said.

The new plan will go to the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Nov. 2, followed by a vote by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 6.

A 31-member community task force approved draft recommendations on Aug. 28 after 58 public meetings. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn convened the task force after he took office in 2020.

Some controversial topics — like granting a developer more density for providing more community benefits — remain unresolved. A county-led subgroup is studying the issue, according to Alcorn. It’s unclear if the provision will make to to the final report.

Rather than broadly limiting, restricting or expanding development, the plan makes site-specific changes to a limited number of areas. 

In Town Center North, where land is jointly owned by the county and Inova, the plan suggests limiting residential development to Inova-owned property and a maximum of 1,000 residential dwelling units. In the same area, nonresidential development would be limited to 150,000 square feet. County-owned land would be reserved for civic uses with some retail.

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