Voting in the 2018 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 5 through April 2. This week, we will continue posting profiles on each of the candidates.

Featured here is John Pinkman, who is facing six other candidates for two at-large seats for a three-year term. The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. With the exception of minor formatting edits, profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words. 

How long have you lived in Reston? What brought you here?

I have lived in Reston for 40 years. After reading an article in the NY Times I visited Reston around 1970. The townhouses lining Lake Anne, the only lake in town at that time, were 2×4 sticks just being framed. I returned in 1978 looking for a permanent home for the family. I arrived on the weekend of the Reston Festival at the Lake Anne Plaza. It was such a joyous international community event with such diversity. I immediately fell in love. Still am.

What inspired you to run for the board?

Five years ago I co-founded Rescue Reston. Working closely with the county and RA, as we fought to defend open space, we realized that working together was more beneficial than organizing opposition separately. As successful as we have been, I believe we need a greater unification of community action. We need to unite the Reston Spirit. We face external challenges to the culture we have built for 50 years. The proposed senseless development is foreign to how Reston historically has grown. Take your profits and run, is not how we became Reston. The integrity of “let’s build what’s good for the long term benefit to the town” is how we thrived together. Now we see irresponsible growth expressed in “what can we get away with”. It looms in the future and on the bottom lines of external sources.

What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?

I see concerns as opportunities to share a vision of uniting a positive and cohesive future.

  1. Protecting Open Space preserves the very identity of Reston as a planned community.
  2. Maintaining our nature standards and planning for the future of Parks and Recreation amenities protects our property values and quality of life.
  3. Public Safety – Many years ago Reston was a safe community. The police use to say it was because the criminals couldn’t find their way out of town after burglary! It’s naïve to think that that is still true today. Although RA does not have responsibility for public safety we should increase our cooperation with police and fire first responders to raise awareness and use our best efforts to work with them in crime prevention and home security.  The term “first responders” is meaningful – they respond. Their main mission is to respond to emergencies. It is our job, our mission, to work with them to enhance the term  “prevent”.

What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

We need to create an Annual Leadership Summit between neighborhood leaders and RA. We need to listen to each other’s needs and challenges. Listening shows respect. Conversations give birth to solutions.

As a professional baseball instructor and coach for 36 years I understand the need to create a unifying Reston Sports Council. The athletic community shares one goal – teaching children athletic values that they can use off the field, court, or pool to become excellent citizen leaders. Working together we can support the growth of individual sports, parks and facilities. Sharing excess capabilities and assisting each other’s needs for expansion helps everyone. Unifying safety standards is in everyone’s best interest. As Reston residents age in place, we need to learn how to provide social sports as well as we have understood competitive youth sports for decades.

Finally, I support and believe it is vital, to create a member survey that would assess the needs of the community as to parks and recreation use. It is important to learn from Restonians their needs as together we determine the future of Reston. Community leadership is creating a vision and listening to the people you serve.


How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?

During my 36 years as a coach and professional instructor I have learned that successful coaches are team builders. Creating a winning team begins by building trust. Trust begins with sharing information and the truth. Communicating what the team has in common and the joint vision for the future generates action. Teams that are apathetic or confronted with individuals, who present a unique self-interest, do not endure.  In the context of a community, town or city, there are varying and very local challenges to neighborhoods. Whether faced with a success or threat, leaders must recognize that any one issue may affect us all.

When evaluating a player or creating team strategy a coach must consider one skill or one game at a time. Observe, analyze, provide or obtain information, then if necessary make changes for improvement. The process is reasonable and objective. The integrity of the team or community is exposed in the process. As we live together and work together we all seek improvement and with the assistance of each other the community succeeds.

Click here to view video statements or read candidate statements submitted to RA. 

Photo by Reston Association


Ray Wedell’s resignation from the Reston Association Board of Directors with eight months remaining in his term has left the remaining Board members with a decision to make.

Four RA members have submitted statements of candidacy to fill the remainder of the At-Large term, which lasts until April’s election. Directors are scheduled to hear from the candidates at their Thursday meeting and make a decision on which one should join them.

The four applicants are:

  • John Bowman, a two-time former candidate for the Board. Bowman is a past member of the Reston Citizens Association Board of Directors, a founding member of Reston 20/20 and a current member of RA’s Multimodal Transportation Advisory Committee.
  • Moira Callaghan, vice president of the Reston Citizens Association. Callaghan also served on the FY2017 Budget Task Force for Fairfax County Public Schools.
  • Ven Iyer, who was an At-Large candidate for the Board in the 2017 election. Iyer also was up for vote to join the Board earlier this year following the resignation of Eve Thompson; however, the Board chose to appoint Sridhar Ganesan instead.
  • John Pinkman, a co-founder of Rescue Reston and a member of its Board of Directors.

Each of the candidates’ full applications can be viewed in the Board packet for Thursday’s meeting.

Wedell resigned from the Board on Sept. 1, citing in his statement that his “successes have been outweighed by the frustrations.” He had served on the Board since 2015 and was also on the Board Operations Committee, which is responsible for reviewing and setting board agenda items each month.

The seat will be one of four on the nine-member Board up for vote in next year’s election.


Wednesday Morning Notes

Wexton, Democratic incumbents celebrate Election Day victories — Local voters also turned out in numbers the surpassed recent midterm elections. The Fairfax County Office of Elections estimated a 69.7 percent turnout for the general election, up from 45.7 percent in 2014. [Fairfax County Times]

DMV2Go in RTC today — The wireless office on wheels will offer DMV services today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the pavilion. Services include driver’s license and ID card applications and renewals, driving records, decals and more. [Reston Town Center]

Reston Association budget hearing, assessment increase proposal tomorrow — RA will hear comments from members about its plans to increase assessments by $11 at a hearing tomorrow (Thursday). [Reston Association]

Robert Sapolsky to speak at CenterStage tonight — Sapolsky, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, will speak tonight. His lectures touch on topics like stress, baboons, the biology of individuality, memory aggression and schizophrenia. Tickets are sold out but the box office will maintain a waitlist today for any returned tickets. [Reston Community Center]

Photo by John Pinkman


Voting for Reston Association’s elections begins today, launching a month-long voting period that would dramatically alter the nine-board Board of Directors.

A total of thirteen candidates are vying for four open board seats. Paper ballots will be mailed today and online voting will open at 5 p.m. on RA’s website.

All votes must be cast by April 2. Results will be announced on April 10 at 7 p.m. during RA’s annual members’ meeting at 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive.

This year, four candidates — Travis Johnson, Sridhar Ganesan, Tammi Petrine and John Bowman — are running on a slate, a choice they said was driven by shared positions on the Tetra purchase and a plan to increase Reston’s population density.

In mailing distributions, four other candidates — Colin Meade, Aaron Webb, Andy Sigle and current South Lakes District Director Julie Bitzer — are running as the “Alliance for a Better Reston.” In mailing distributions, they say they are committed to “implement[ing] Bob Simon’s original vision” for the community.” The alliance’s endorsements include Eve and Rick Thompson, Cheryl Terio-Simon, Bill and Betsy Keefe and others.

A breakdown of candidates with links to their profile statements is below.

At-Large Candidates (Two seats for a three-year term)

At-Large Candidates (One seat for a one-year term)

South Lakes District Candidates (One seat for a three-year term)

Voter turnout for Reston Associations hovered just under 20 percent of eligible voters last year. With contested elections for every open board seat, RA’s election committee hopes for more voter engagement this year.

Photo by Caren Anton


Candidates for an at-large seat on Reston Association’s Board of Directors called for tighter fiscal controls and better community engagement at a forum Monday night.

All seven candidates running for the three-year position struck similar positions on financial stewardship and balancing current facilities and programs with future programs as Reston’s braces for major population growth.

Calling himself “Reston’s advocate,” Derrick Watkins, an aircraft mechanic who moved to Reston four years ago, said RA must facilitate transparent discussions and invest more time in community engagement.

Sridhar Ganesan, former president of the Reston Citizens Association, drew from his experience as a current treasurer and director on the board, touting accomplishments like lowering assessments this fiscal year and leading the establishment of internal controls.

He hopes to reduce legal costs and employee costs while engaging in an “honest discussion” of services and programs the community desires. “I want to finish what I started eight months ago,” he said.

In contrast, Ven Iyer, president of a small technology business who took a hardline stance at the forum, said the board was operating in a “dogmatic mode” and needed to eliminate wasteful spending.

He said he wants to be the “voice to the families of Reston” by stopping wasteful spending, unwanted increases in assessment bills and invasive development projects. Among other examples, he criticized RA for decisions like a $100,000 website redesign that he said provided a “terrible user experience.”

Aaron Webb, who previously served as president of the Lakeside Cluster board and often cited his commitment to Reston’s core principles, said he wants to find ways to ensure development and amenities are available at the same pace. “Let’s not get the people here first and then get the venue,” he said.

Similarly, Travis Johnson, who touted nearly 20 years of experience in the public and private sector, said RA cannot “make investments randomly. “Every project that the board approves should have a clear middle and end,” he said.

Part of the challenge is staving off the “external greed of developers,” said John Pinkman, who has lived in Reston for 40 years and co-founded Rescue Reston, a grassroots organization. He hopes to protect and enhance property values, with the ultimate aim of uniting the “Reston spirit.”

“The bottom line really for me is that I really appreciate the $10 that we saved in our assessment, but I’m not sure i’m ready to sacrifice my home value to save that $10 a year,” he said.

Colin Meade, a sales executive who frequently reiterated his commitment to children’s programming and families, said RA must find ways to collect non-assessment dues. “I’m running for me and my family,” he said.

Read More


Public forums to engage with the 13 candidates vying for seats on Reston Association’s Board of Directors are slated for the end of the month.

There are 11 candidates are running for three at-large board seats and two candidates are running for the South Lakes District seat in an election that could dramatically alter the makeup of the board.

The at-large candidates’ forum for candidates seeking a three-year term is set for Monday, Feb. 26 from 7-9 p.m. at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). The forum for South Lakes candidates and at-large candidates seeking a one-year term is set for the next day at the same time and place. A tentative rain date is set for March 1.

The breakdown of candidates is as follows:

  • Two at-large seats (three-year term): Aaron Webb, Colin Meade, Derrick Watkins, John Pinkman, Sridhar Ganesan, Travis G. Johnson and Ven Iyer
  • At-large seat (one-year term): Andy Sigle, David Ballard, John Bowman, Ray Wedell
  • South Lakes District seat (three-year term): Tammi Petrine and Julie Bitzer

The voting period for the election is March 5 through April 2. Results will be announced on April 10 at the annual members’ meeting at 7 p.m.

Stay tuned for candidate profiles on Reston Now in the coming weeks. Information on each candidate is available on RA’s website.

File photo.


Virginia Tech’s soccer team inked a deal with a South Lakes High School senior this week.

Kahlil Dover signed a national letter of intent on Wednesday to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

His love for soccer jumped from a family backyard to local clubs where he refined his skills under coaches Ken Duffy, Ben Mork and Kevin McKenna.

For the last two years, he played with Braddock Road Youth Club (BRYC) in Springfield. Under the guidance of coaches Chris Jennings and Brian Welsh, Kahlil said he was pushed to “rise to the next level.”

Dover earned All-Conference Honorable Mention honors last year. With Braddock Road Elite 99, he won a U.S. Youth Soccer National League National Championship, scoring the game’s final goal. He also helped a BRYC team advance to the finals of the 2017 Virginia State Cup.

He said he was especially thankful for his family, friends and coaches. His younger brother and sister “essentially lived on the soccer field since the first weeks they were born,” he said.

During high school, I’ve enjoyed kicking for South Lakes football under Coach Trey Taylor, swinging a golf club under Coach Carol Molesky and playing soccer under Coach Marty Pfister and Coach Fred Kyle. Coach John Pinkman and Steve Baldwin were very helpful to my family and me in navigating college sports recruiting.

When he’s off the soccer field, Kahlil plans to study business and criminal justice.

SLHS rescheduled an official signing for other students this week. A new date has not been announced.

Photo via Margaret Perry


Thirteen Restonians are vying for four seats on Reston Association’s Board of Directors in this year’s election.

The nine-member board is up for a major shake-up this year. Eleven candidates are running for three at-large board seats and two candidates are running for the South lakes District seat for a three-year term.

All races are contested. A breakdown of the candidates, who were certified earlier this week, is below. Seven candidates are running for two at-large seats with three-year terms:

  • Aaron Webb
  • Colin Meade
  • Derrick Watkins
  • John Pinkman
  • Sridhar Ganesan (appointed as treasurer due to board vacancy)
  • Travis G. Johnson
  • Ven Iyer

Four candidates are running for another at-large seat for a one-year term:

  • Andy Sigle
  • David Ballard
  • John Bowman (current at-large director)
  • Ray Wedell

Tammi Petrine is challenging Julie Bitzer for the South Lakes District seat.

Voting opens on March 5. Results will be announced on April 10.

The nine-member board consists of eight directors, who are elected for three-year, staggered terms by members, and one director elected by apartment owners. Four of the eight directors are district-level representatives while others are elected by the membership at-large.

Reston Now will publish candidate profiles in the coming weeks. Submitted candidate statements are available on RA’s website. Candidates are listed in alphabetized form.

For more information, email the elections committee at [email protected] or call 703-435-6530. Information is also available on RA’s website, including an elections calendar.


This letter was submitted by Reston resident John Pinkman, a member of the Rescue Reston board of directors. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now. We publish article and opinion contributions of specific interest to the Reston community. Contributions may be edited for length or content.

On Monday, Oct. 2, Rescue Reston will hold its third annual golf fundraiser on the course that Northwestern Mutual would like to turn into thousands of housing units. All fundraisers are directed toward the legal defense. Will NWM stay in town and make a commitment to our community, as did Mobil? I don’t think so; if there were a door, you would hear NWM slam on their way out! See ya!

Through my work with Rescue Reston, I have criticized myself for the inability to create a sense of loss throughout the community that we would experience if we lost the open space the golf course provides. I was hard on myself — until I learned how few Restonians voted in the Reston Association Board elections. Way less than 10 percent, I’m told.

I understand apathy; I expect it. However, Reston was not built on apathy. Thousands of people have worked hard to create the community we thrive in today. It costs more to live here because of the discipline of the way we choose to live. As a result, we have succeeded. The manner in which we built this town has yielded consistent national recognition. It’s a special place.

When I was young, I lived in Houston. They exuded pride in having no zoning regulations. The out-of-control pace of development stretched the city’s boundaries in Texas-size growth. That is, until the housing bust plummeted values and the recent rains came. You could build a million dollar home and see a 7-Eleven store spring up on one side and an oil rig on the other. I don’t remember even a neighborhood in Houston, let alone a sense of community.

When I first saw Reston in the late ’60s, I instantly felt a sense of community. When I returned in 1978, I walked into the Reston Festival at Lake Anne and instantly decided — this is home. There is not a day I walk through the plaza without recalling that celebration of Reston in ’78.

We have lived here for 40 years, 25 in a home on the golf course. We have worked so hard to buy our home and invest in Reston as we raised our three kids and now seven grandkids. As have thousands of others, we have contributed to our neighborhood and community. The beat goes on; our children and their spouses are all teachers making an impact.

Let me be clear; our family is far from unusual. Other families also have a long legacy and have done much to make Reston what it is. Why do 90 percent of people who live here care so little about its future as to ignore their right to choose the leaders who guide that future? Are they too busy? Got to get the kids to soccer? “All I care about is driving on these nice roads, seeing the trees and kicking back. I’ll let someone else take care of the future.” Apathy.

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During a community meeting earlier this week (video) on a future Hook Road Recreation Area capital project, residents provided their thoughts on what should — and should not — be done at the park.

Hook Road Recreation Area was selected by RA’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee as the pilot project for “full-facility enhancement” after multiple facilities were evaluated in 2016. The idea is to take a facility that has pieces of replacement work in the plans in the capital reserve study and, instead, consider comprehensive work to upgrade the facility all at once.

Tuesday’s meeting was a kickoff to the project, sharing information with the community and beginning the process of gathering input. In between tense moments at the meeting, many residents of the community said they appreciated the effort Reston Association is undertaking to engage the community from the very start of the process.

“We all know, living in Reston, things change,” said John Pinkman, of Rescue Reston. “Things have to improve if we want to keep our property values as high as they are, [so] I really encourage this process.”

Dan Pennington, president of the Orchard Green Cluster Association, asked for clarification on what has been identified by Reston Association staff as “aging components” of the park that require attention. Garrett Skinner, RA’s capital projects director, said everything at the park falls into that category.

“Nothing has been replaced — in terms of the tennis court, the ballfields, the multipurpose court — since 1975,” Skinner said. “Many of these features are all kind of due for rehab around the same time, and this will be a good opportunity to look at everything as one facility instead of the previous methodology for us, [which was] just to fix little things as they’re needed.”

Concerns about parking and restroom facilities at the park are among those that have been brought up in one way or another regarding the project. Upgrades to facilities including the baseball field have also been mentioned by community members.

At Tuesday’s meeting, design consultant Dewberry was introduced to members, and its representatives shared information about the studies that have been done so far and how community input will be used as the project continues to be studied and eventually decided upon. A representative of PRAC also shared information, as did Skinner.

The question was raised of whether the fact that $50,000 has already been allocated from the Repair & Replacement Reserve Fund to develop plans for Hook Road means a “very large” project is being envisioned.

“What you saw tonight from Dewberry, all of that work, that’s where we allocated that $50,000 — all the data gathering, all the community input, all the research they’re doing,” said Sherri Hebert, president of RA’s Board of Directors. “There is no design [yet]. It could be anything from a small little thing to whatever the community wants. There’s nothing out there yet.”

Saying the current RA board is “very conservative” when funds are concerned, Hebert said a large-scale project is not anticipated.

“What will be different this year is an iterative process between the Working Group … and the Board,” Hebert said. “It’s not going to come back with this big project. … Nothing will be a surprise with the community.”

The Hook Road Working Group will be tasked with making a proposal to the RA Board on the project’s scope early next year. Applications for the group are currently being accepted, and interviews will take place in October.

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The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals heard more than five hours of testimony concerning the future of Reston National Golf Course on Wednesday, but opted not to make a decision. The BZA will make a ruling on the subject on April 15.

At issue: The zoning appeal of RN Golf, the owners of the 166-acre public course in south Reston, who say the land can be considered residential. RN Golf, a division of Northwestern Mutual Insurance, has been asking the county of the land status since 2010.

The appeal is in a response to a 2012 ruling by the Fairfax County Zoning Administration that said altering the planned use of the golf course at Sunrise Valley and Colts Neck Roads would require a comprehensive plan amendment.

The county recently issued a staff report that upholds the 2012 ruling.

That inquiry has been met with significant citizen pushback. More than 300 members of Rescue Reston, the citizens advocacy group formed in response to the initial 2012 appeal, showed up at the Fairfax County Government Center clad in signature yellow/green shirts and carrying signs supporting keeping Reston’s open space open.

Also in attendance — and among the people testifying Thursday — were attorneys for Rescue Reston and Reston Association.

The day included lots of details about zoning filings and Planned Residential Community (PRC) documents, including many details on how and when the original 1971 zoning documents were located since 2012.

“When [Reston] was zoned, and now, there are only five categories [for land use],” said Frank McDermott, attorney for RN Golf. “Residential, neighborhood center, convenience center, town center or village center. It has to be one of those categories. There is no such things as PRC golf course or PRC open space. Our position this was and is PRC residential.”

After RN Golf’s side gave a long saga of trying to locate the original documents — which took them through Fairfax County file rooms and Reston Association records, among others — McDermott argued that at least two of the the 1971 documents located came from George Mason University’s planned community archives.

McDermott said without coming from the county with official government stamps, the documents are not valid.

“You must be persuaded you be persuaded [by Fairfax County zoning] to respect and give greater dignity to unapproved plans from an unapproved source,” said McDermott.  “They call these the approved development plans. There is not one iota of evidence that they are the approved development plans.”

McDermott also said there is no such thing as permanent open space, even though the 1971 documents list it as such.

“There is nothing common about the golf course,” he said. “It is privately owned, and frankly, residents who live by the golf course, who, by their own statements, go out and run on the course, they are trespassing. It is not common, open space. It is private.”

Residents who testified wholeheartedly disagree. They said they purchased homes on the golf course with the understanding they would have a view of the rolling greens or wooded areas, which also add a value premium to their home value.

“What concerns me is that my family, as well has hundreds of others, would stand the lose the views we paid premiums for,” said Jay Szlamowicz, who lives on Weybridge Lane. “Allowing home construction in Reston without changing the master plan would invalidate the concept of planned community. This is what makes Reston great and we can’t allow a greedy company to destroy that.”

Realtor Ray Wedell said homes on the course have already been impacted by the chance of redevelopment. He pointed out that townhomes on Indian Ridge sold quickly for an average of about $500,000 in the first half of 2014. In the second half, no contracts were ratified. By the end of the year, when the BZA application was reinstated, five Indian Ridge homes lingered on the market

Other residents took issue with the process RN Golf has used in getting to the appeal. The company purchased the course for $5 million in 2005. Residents said if it had redevelopment plans in mind, it stands to make a great deal of money — and how could it be that the owners did not know what they were purchasing?

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Former Reston Citizens Association President Colin Mills at Rescue Reston rally/Credit: Rescue Reston

By Ryan Goff

More than 300 Reston residents, many clad in bright yellow Rescue Reston T-shirts, spent Saturday afternoon gathering support of the preservation of open space.

Rescue Reston was formed in 2012 in response to Reston National owner RN Golf’s inquiry as to the status of the golf course’s zoning. RN Golf, a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual Insurance, believes it has the right to residential development there.

Fairfax County Zoning said in 2012 that the 166-acres is open/recreational space. After many postponements, RN Golf is finally getting a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing. That hearing will take place Jan. 21, and Rescue Reston wants as many citizens as possible to attend.

Rescue Reston founder John Pinkman, a longtime golf course-area homeowner, says the issue affects everyone in Reston.

“The issue unites everyone,” he said. “Democratic or Republican, liberal or conservative. It doesn’t matter what your background is, but what your backyard is.”

The rally, which took place in the cafeteria of Langston Hughes Middle School, included a number of speakers presenting the reasons why the golf course needs to remain open space.

At the entrance to the cafeteria, Rescue Reston provided a variety of materials for the community — bright yellow T-shirts, flyers, yard signs, and a large land use map of Reston.

At the far end, Mack.Johnson, a local band, played the thematically fitting Big Yellow Taxi — Joni Mitchell’s anthem about paving paradise and putting up a parking lot.

The presentation began with a recap of the situation so far by Rescue Reston President Connie Hartke.

Hartke talked about the upcoming hearing, presenting the parties on each side of the debate in a “Home Team vs. Away Team” chart. The mention of Lerner Enterprises, the development company speculated to be behind the push to rezone the golf course, elicited groans and boos from the assembled crowd.

Hartke encouraged everyone to come to the hearing on the Jan. 21, wearing the yellow shirts as a show of community involvement and support. Hartke says that the community needs to “leave a lasting impression, not only now but to any future landgrabbers.” Read More


Jan. 21 could be a red letter date for Reston’s future.

That’s the message Rescue Reston — the citizen group aimed at protecting Reston’s open space — is trying to impart as the owners of Reston National Golf Course finally get their Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals hearing.

The hearing is at 9 a.m. at Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Pkwy. Rescue Reston is encouraging all residents to attend the hearing to show their support at protecting Reston’s open space. The group will also hold a rally Saturday at 2 p.m. at Langston Hughes Middle School.

The issue: RN Golf, the subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual Insurance that owns the 166-acre public course, says the course is planned residential. A 2012 ruling by the county said it is zoned open, recreational space, and to change the status would involve a comprehensive plan amendment.

RN Golf disagrees and is appealing. The hearing was originally scheduled to take place tw years ago, but was deferred several times before it was put on hold indefinitely in the summer of 2013. In November, the case reappeared on the docket.

Rescue Reston founder John Pinkman said RN Golf tried to slip its case back in over the holidays, when no one would be lo0king.  Read More

2 Comment

Rescue Reston flyerOpponents of rezoning and redevelopment at Reston National Golf Course are gearing up for another round.

After 18 months of relative quiet, RN Golf (a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual) is again preparing for a Fairfax County’s Board of Zoning Appeals hearing on reclassifying the 166-acre public golf course as something other than open recreational space.

The hearing is Jan. 21 at 9 a.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center.

Rescue Reston, the grassroots group formed when the golf course rezoning issue first came up in the summer of 2012, is hard at work rallying opposition to rezoning.

On its website, the group has a countdown clock to the number of days, hours and minutes to the BZA hearing. It has distributed Christmas-themed flyers portraying Northwestern Mutual as both the ghost of Christmas past and Scrooge, as well as the developers of “Pottersville” — the darker, drunker alternate reality of Jimmy Stewart’s Bedford Falls in It’s a Wonderful Life.

“Northwestern Mutual has launched the most serious attack on the heritage of Reston we have witnessed in the 37 years we have lived here,” Reston Rescue founder John Pinkman wrote to golf course-area neighbors recently.

“If this destruction of open space and the concept of the planned community is allowed to proceed, the door will be open for extreme change in neighborhoods throughout Reston. NWM HAS NO COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNITY; except that is, to make as much profit as they can and then leave.”

To generate community support for the upcoming BZA Hearing, Rescue Reston has planned a Rally to Save open space for Jan. 10 at 2 p.m. at Langston Hughes Middle School. The group hopes as many residents as possible will attend the Jan. 21 hearing to show their support.

The group held rallies back in 2012, when RN Golf first filed the appeal with the county after an original inquiry came back that the course was zoned open space and to change it, the owners could have to go through the rezoning process.

RN Golf has asked for the appeal because it wants to be able to rezone without going through the process.

The BZA hearing was postponed about a half dozen times in 2012 and 2013 before RN Golf deferred it indefinitely in July 2013.

Since then, the Reston Master Plan Comprehensive Amendment, approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2014, states the two Reston golf courses should remain as community assets in the face of nearby development.

Both Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Reston Association have spoken in opposition to the rezoning.

RA says it would even consider purchasing the land to prevent development.

“It is RA’s stance that these golf courses are integral to the active lifestyle of its members,”  RA president Ken Knueven said in November when the new hearing date was announced.

Photo: Rescue Reston flyer/Courtesy Rescue Reston


Colin Mills/File photoWhere has this year gone?  I look at the calendar and see that it’s November, and yet it feels like 2013 just got started.  The sands have been flowing through the hourglass faster than usual this year.

One reason for that, I know, is that we’ve been dealing with so many major issues in Reston this year.  The coming of the Silver Line and the associated revision of our Comprehensive Plan has been the biggest one, but looking back, it’s amazing how much we’ve taken on this year: The battle over the Reston National golf course.  The proposed new RCC rec center. The Beta Plan and the future of our County libraries.  The Lake Anne redevelopment. And those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head.  No wonder 2013 hss seemed to pass in the blink of an eye.

One advantage to the way we’ve been flying through the calendar is that it’s now time for one of my favorite events: RCA’s Citizen of the Year award. We’re now accepting nominations for the 2013 award. Read More


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