Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now this week.

  1. EXCLUSIVE: Reston Town Center’s Vapiano at the Center of Alleged International Money Laundering Scheme
  2. As Needs Evolve, Reston Association Struggles to Handle Covenants Workload, Property Inspections
  3. Report: Amazon Moves to Acquire Herndon Property
  4. UPDATED: In Democratic Primary, Former Fairfax County Planning Commissioner Wins Hunter Mill District Seat
  5. JUST IN: Bulova Suggests Possible Legal Recourse Against Comstock’s Campaigning Restrictions at Reston Station Plaza

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

If you would like us to follow-up with you about your tip, please include your contact information. In recent days, we have received tips with incomplete phone numbers and email addresses.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

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Op-Ed: On Reston National Golfcourse

This op-ed was submitted by Walter Alcorn, a former Fairfax County Planning Commissioner who recently won the Democratic Primary for Hunter Mill District Supervisor. 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. 

Recent reports that the Reston National Golf Course has been acquired by two Baltimore area real estate developers, Weller Development and War Horse Cities, have placed many Restonians on alert.  The fate of the golf course has been a hot button issue for the community since 2012 when the previous owner attempted to assert its right to develop the course without an amendment to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan.

Weller Development and War Horse have stated that they “are focused on building relationships and working with the communities we serve, and we look forward to being part of the Reston community for years to come.” I’ll take them at their word, but these new owners, and the Reston community, should understand that if elected to the Board of Supervisors whether I would consider even initiating any possible change to the Comprehensive Plan will be guided by two simple principles.

First, any proposed amendment must, as a threshold matter, have the support of the Reston community, and particularly the support of the homeowners and communities adjacent to the golf course. These residents would be most directly affected by any proposed development. They bought their property with the expectation that it would remain a golf course, as called for in the Comprehensive Plan, and those expectations deserve to be respected. In addition, there also must be support from the broader community (e.g., golfers and users of trails through the course).

Second, I don’t believe that the quality of any business decisions made by the property owners are relevant to land use decisions of the Board of Supervisors. If the new owners paid a speculative premium for the property hoping to find a path to development, and if they are unable to secure community support for such development, in my view that is simply the risk of being an entrepreneur in our free market system.

The Reston National Golf Course has been a part of the fabric of Reston since the community was founded in 1964. I understand the concerns of residents in protecting Reston’s open space for recreational, environmental and livability reasons. And with the current Comprehensive Plan designation arrived at unanimously by the task force formed to draft the Plan only a few years ago, I do not support changing the Plan’s designation that this property be a golf course. At some point in the future if the new owners of the golf course can devise a plan which garners clear and broad community backing (including neighboring communities) I would support initiating a process to consider changing the Comprehensive Plan. If not, they should accept the fact that they bought a golf course and look at how to involve more of the community in the lifelong sport of golf.

Photo via Walter Alcorn

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Del. Ken Plum: Special Session on Gun Violence

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Virginians are lovers of history, including this Virginian as regular readers of this column know. This year Virginia is celebrating 400 years since the first representative legislative body met at Jamestown. Virginia is the Mother of Presidents. Virginia is for lovers of all kinds of things!

One bit of history that continues to loom large in Virginia’s psyche these days with as little mention as possible from the state apologists is the prevalence of gun violence in the Commonwealth. Twelve years ago the campus of Virginia Tech was the scene of the largest mass murder of its time. While other mass murders have occurred since then, VA Tech through no direct fault of its own continues to hold the record for the most people killed on a college campus.

Virginia last week made history again. Virginia Beach was the scene of the biggest mass murder so far this year. A dubious distinction that we would least like to have. Virginia lost 1,028 people to gun violence in 2017, and as the Governor described it, that is almost three people a day; that is more deaths than those due to vehicle accidents.

For Governor Ralph Northam and for me and countless other Virginians, we long ago have had enough. As Governor Northam said in a press conference which I took part in last week: “No one should go to work, to school, or to church wondering if they will come home. But that is what our society has come to, because we fail to act on gun violence. I will be asking for votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers.”

The laws he is seeking to get passed have been introduced in the General Assembly during its regular sessions without success. In a special session called by the Governor that will be held on July 9, only bills intended to end gun violence will be considered. And the Governor requested that “members of the General Assembly engage in an open and transparent debate and that the bills brought before the legislature are put to a vote by the entire General Assembly.”

Bills related to gun violence that have been introduced in the regular session including my bill to require universal background checks have been routinely referred by the Speaker of the House to the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee where they are sent to a subcommittee of six members. The members of the subcommittee are appointed by the Speaker of the House, four of whom have perfect voting records of opposing any gun safety legislation. My background check bill and the approximate 15 other bills related to preventing gun violence were defeated on a predictable vote of 2 to 4 with limited discussion or debate. Yes, that’s right. Four members who are buddies with the NRA get to make the decision of 140 elected members of the General Assembly!

It is time for Virginia to make history again by leading the nation in doing the right thing to end gun violence. Voters, please pay close attention to how your elected representatives vote!

File photo

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Poll: How Would You Rate Your Experience with Reston Association’s Covenants Process?

Reston Association’s covenants department is working on ways to streamline the way it handles daily activities and spend more time on neighborhood inspections.

At a meeting on Thursday, June 13, RA’s Design Review Board and Board of Directors will meet to discuss possible changes to its current operations.

As we head into the work session, we want to hear about your experiences with RA’s home resale and covenants process. We are accepting responses via email at [email protected].

Also, readers are welcome to share how their experiences with the covenants process has been in the poll below.

Photo via Jill Silton

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Op-ed: Wheelock’s Grand Scheme for a Grand Park Doesn’t Sell

This op-ed was submitted by Lynne Mulston, vice president of Reston Citizens Association, chair of Rescue Reston’s North Course Committee, and a member of Hidden Creek Country Club. 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. 

What doesn’t Wheelock understand about the Reston community’s response to their plans to develop Hidden Creek Country Club?

The focus groups that were held last year should have sent a clear message that the majority of the participants want the open space golf course at Hidden Creek to remain as such. One focus group participant said, “You [Wheelock and Swaback] don’t get it. We already have our park and we don’t pay a cent for it.”

The members of Hidden Creek — many of whom are long-term residents of Reston, have chosen to raise their families here, paid their taxes to Fairfax County including the added Small Tax District #5 assessments for the pleasure of living here, joined Hidden Creek for its amenities including swimming, tennis and golf, a sport that you can play well into your retirement years. In fact, there are numerous senior members (70+ years of age) at the Club which also serves as the home course for McLean High School’s golf team.

I was shocked recently when I received photos of a display that Wheelock Communities has set-up in a member event room just off the Tavern Bar and Grill. Every inch of wall space is covered with posters, presentations, and pictures of the plunder of Wheelock’s vision to turn 164-acres of open space that Gulf Reston originally dedicated to the people of Reston.

Here are just a few of the details of Wheelock’s proposal for HCCC’s development:

  • 100+ acres and 8-10 tennis courts would be dedicated to Fairfax County Park Authority. That’s right! The open space that the Reston community pays NOTHING to maintain, would go the FCPA which our tax dollars fund. IOW, Restonians would now be tasked to pay so that Wheelock can make a profit by further densifying Reston despite that fact that the Reston Master Plan has always said both Reston golf courses shall remain open space!
  • Reston was originally planned with two permanent 18-hole golf courses to offset significant overall community density elsewhere. Now Wheelock wants to reduce the cumulative open space requirements by developing choice portions of the course. 650 homes would be placed on the open space that Robert Simon envisioned. Vehicular traffic on a proposed new road system would significantly add to the congestion we’re already experiencing. Our already overcrowded schools would be further stressed.
  • Fairfax County is planning to build a new 4-acre storm water management pond on the southern portion of HCCC to fix past development mistakes which result in flooding north of the Dulles Toll Road. Pursuant to this plan and Wheelock’s inability to develop land in this area due to it being a pipeline and floodplain, plans are to convert a huge part of the present course to other recreational amenities managed by the FCPA. The issue is if this is allowed, we taxpayers will pay in perpetuity for what now is ecologically precious open space.
  • Wheelock is promoting a false narrative that when golf course use is eliminated, draining water from Lake Anne will cease. Claims that Hidden Creek takes 150,000 gallons of water per day from Lake Anne are erroneous. At first glance, this sounds like a lot of water but let’s look at the FACTS:
    • The lake covers 27.7653 surface acres with an average depth of 13 feet. This means that the volume of the lake is 117,615,560 gallons.
    • Hidden Creek monitors the pond near Temporary Road and North Shore Drive regularly. Only when needed does Hidden Creek draw water from Lake Anne.
    • At maximum capacity, Hidden Creek’s pump can only pump 179 gpm. They rarely use it at that rate, but if they did, it would take 2.5 days to draw down the lake 1-inch.

It’s clear that Wheelock is betting their $14 million investment could net a return of $250 million; their investors are relying on their success. It’s up to us to show them why Reston was a poor choice for their exploitations. Vote for candidates who clearly state their intent to protect Reston’s golf courses. Save our community!

Photo via Lynne Mulston

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Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now this week.

  1. EXCLUSIVE: Reston Town Center’s Vapiano at the Center of Alleged International Money Laundering Scheme
  2. Fairfax County Police Investigating Mob Assault in Reston
  3. Pool Closures Continue as Reston Association Looks to Hire More Lifeguards
  4. Funds Approved for Makeover of Reston Parkway Intersection
  5. JUST IN: Big Buns and matchbox Coming to Reston Station by 2020

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

If you would like us to follow-up with you about your tip, please include your contact information. In recent days, we have received tips with incomplete phone numbers and email addresses.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

0 Comments

Reminder: Send Reston Now Your Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor

Have thoughts about Reston Now’s coverage of Reston, Herndon and Great Falls? Want to share your opinions about local issues?

Reston Now welcomes letters to the editors and op-eds of specific interest to the Reston, Herndon and Great Falls community.

The key difference is that an op-ed can be an opinion piece about a local issue, while a letter to the editor responds directly to a Reston Now story.

Please email it to [email protected] You are also welcome to contact us with your idea for feedback before submitting it.

While there is no word limit, we suggest under 1,000 words. Contributions may be edited for length, content and style/grammar.

Reston Now does not publish op-eds relating to a specific candidate running for political office — either from the candidate’s team or opponents.

Thank you to everyone who has submitted op-eds and letters to the editor already.

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Del. Ken Plum: Renewing My Job Application

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Later today I will be renewing my application with voters in the 36th legislative district to keep my job as their representative in the Virginia House of Delegates. My campaign kick-off reception will be from 6 p.m to 7:30 pm at The Lake House of Reston at 11450 Baron Cameron Avenue, across the street from the entrance to Lake Anne. All are welcome to attend this free event with special guests former Governor Terry McAuliffe and House Democratic Leader Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41st).

A question I have gotten every odd-numbered year I have run for office since 1973 is what got me interested in working for the people as an elected representative in the House of Delegates of the Virginia General Assembly. As clear an answer I can give is to explain that history was always my favorite subject in school. A field trip to Jamestown when I was in fourth grade really piqued my interest. I came to learn that otherwise ordinary people we studied about shaped our history through their service in government and in the community. At that very young age I started dreaming about serving in the legislature and went on to study history through graduate school to prepare myself to serve. Since my election in 1981 I have been in office continuously making me now the longest serving member in the House of Delegates.

We hear calls for “term limits,” but Virginia has a very definitive term limit system. To be a member of the House of Delegates one must stand for election every two years and win a plurality of votes in the district to stay in office. This is my 20th such re-application to continue the work I have been doing. While I clearly have a lot of experience, I offer an informed vision for the future of the Commonwealth as my strongest asset.

It is not certain yet if I will have an opponent in this year’s election. Even if I run unopposed, I still intend to campaign in a way that takes advantage of voter interest to talk about the advances we have made in the Commonwealth and the miles we still need to go. My efforts will not be confined to my district as I will be campaigning in other districts on behalf of level-headed, socially progressive, and morally strong candidates who can contribute to a majority in the House of Delegates to accomplish needed changes that I write about almost weekly in this column.

Join me this evening if you can. I want to be able to tell you directly how honored I am to work for you and how earnest I am in reapplying for the job. Please be in touch with me at [email protected] with your questions and concerns.

File photo

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Poll: What Do You Think About the New Location of the Herndon Festival?

Since late last week, festival-goers had the chance to enjoy the annual Herndon Festival at a new location.

The festival left its home in downtown Herndon — which was slated to be a construction site by the time the festival came around — for the Northwest Federal Credit Union this year.

Construction is expected to begin soon after plans for downtown were approved in mid-May by the Town of Herndon’s Heritage Preservation Review Board.

It’s unlikely the festival will return to its home in downtown Herndon.

The redevelopment of the town’s core likely will not have enough open space to make the festival happen.

Here’s some more information from the Town of Herndon:

“Once the redevelopment project is complete, town staff will assess what new events or activities will be appropriate and attractive to the community. The Herndon Festival, as we know it today, likely will not return to the downtown area, due to the loss of the open space to host the carnival and considerable number of vendor, sponsor and volunteer booths required.”

Nonetheless, Reston Now wants to know which location you prefer for the festival. Let us know your thoughts below.

Photo via Town of Herndon

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Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now this week.

  1. Exclusive: Reston Man Fires Gunshots Against Imaginary Kidnappers
  2. Annual Herndon Festival Kicks Off Tomorrow with New Location
  3. Reston Farmers Market Named Best Farmers Market in Northern Virginia
  4. Report: New Meaning Behind Rape Note Found on Herndon Homicide Victim
  5. Reston Association Grapples with Lifeguard Shortage for Pools

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

Photo via Town of Herndon

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Reminder: Send Reston Now Your Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor

Have thoughts about Reston Now’s coverage of Reston, Herndon and Great Falls? Want to share your opinions about local issues?

Reston Now welcomes letters to the editors and op-eds of specific interest to the Reston, Herndon and Great Falls community.

The key difference is that an op-ed can be an opinion piece about a local issue, while a letter to the editor responds directly to a Reston Now story.

Please email it to [email protected] You are also welcome to contact us with your idea for feedback before submitting it.

While there is no word limit, we suggest under 1,000 words. Contributions may be edited for length, content and style/grammar.

Reston Now does not publish op-eds relating to a specific candidate running for political office — either from the candidate’s team or opponents.

Thank you to everyone who has submitted op-eds and letters to the editor already.

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Del. Ken Plum: Mental Health Awareness Month

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Before we tear off the remaining couple of pages on the May calendar, I want to address the important recognition of May as Mental Health Awareness Month. While Virginia is credited with having the first mental health hospital, or asylum as they were called in the 18th century, the Commonwealth has had difficulty in recent times coming to grips with the enormity of the need and the provision of funds to respond to those needs. In fact Virginia is ranked 40th in the nation in mental health care according to the results of a national study of the issue. It took a state senator’s mentally ill son attacking his father with a knife to shock the state to greater action. That father now chairs the Joint Subcommittee on Mental Health Services in the 21st Century, or the Deeds Commission, that includes Sen. Janet Howell as a member and has made critically important recommendations on which the state has made significant progress.

Special thanks go to The Commonwealth Institute for documenting recent progress and remaining opportunities in behavioral health in a recent edition of The Half Sheet. The Institute, which is a nonprofit organization focusing mostly on human service needs, used the term “behavioral health” to be more comprehensive than “mental health” to include mental health services and supports such as substance abuse treatment. The Institute recognized accomplishments this past year to include a 21 percent increase in Medicaid reimbursement to encourage more licensed mental health professionals to accept Medicaid thus increasing access to services for people with low income. Additional funding for emergency opioid kits will expand the access to and availability of Naloxone, which is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The General Assembly also passed and the Governor signed my bill to expand the health care providers authorized to dispense Naloxone to make it more readily available.

Increased funding was provided to increase staffing at state mental health facilities that are struggling to keep up with demand. Funding was also approved to replace the aging mental health facility Central State Hospital. In addition, monies have been made available for transportation of persons needing mental health hospitalization from having to be transported by law enforcement.

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services indicates that there is a need for 5,000 permanent housing units for those who need supportive housing in the state. This year’s funding along with an increase last year will provide 1,300 units of supportive housing. Obviously, there is a severe need to do more in this area with a price tag of about $47 million.

Challenges remain to be addressed in providing greater access to programs and services for those who live in rural areas and to those who have experienced the trauma of having been exposed to the immigration and refugee system. A task force is looking at ways to increase the number of mental health professionals in the state.

Our awareness of mental health needs cannot end with the month of May. More needs to be done!

File photo

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Poll: What Improvements Should Boston Properties Make to RTC’s Common Areas?

Last week, we learned that Boston Properties plans to upgrade Reston Town Center’s common areas.

The company will pour in about $5 million to upgrade several areas in order to “soften existing spaces” and modernize the town center, according to a representative for CBRE, who represents the property in lease deals.

While Reston Now hasn’t heard back from CBRE, Boston Properties about what’s planned, we would love to know what kind of improvements our readers are most looking forward to.

Plans are still in the design phase, but the company has already hinted at what could be coming. No changes to parking systems are proposed.

RTC-goers, please let us know your thoughts below.

File photo

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Top Stories This Week

Vapiano at Reston Town Center

Before we head off into Memorial Day weekend, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now this week.

  1. Reston Town Center’s Vapiano is Temporarily Closed Again
  2. Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival and More This Weekend in Reston
  3. Town Center Parkway Underpass Targets Completion in 2032
  4. After Ownership Change, Future of Reston National Golf Course in Question
  5. Report: Facelift Planned for RTC’s Common Areas

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

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Reminder: Send Reston Now Your News Tips, Feedback

Want to get in touch with the team bringing you news about Reston, Herndon and Great Falls?

Send us your news tips, press releases and feedback to [email protected] or use our anonymous message form. Our news team does not have a phone line for inbound calls.

You can also reach us on social media — FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

For advertising inquires, please contact [email protected].

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