(This article was updated at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 6, to add official information about the cafeteria’s occupancy limit.)
After being postponed last month because of a huge turnout at Lake Anne Elementary School, the next public meeting on a proposed Fairfax County zoning ordinance amendment for Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) district has been rescheduled.
The meeting is slated for Monday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive).
The Sept. 25 meeting at the LAES elementary school was called off after a large number of people — estimated at more than 400 — showed up to oppose the plan. It was to be the fourth public meeting on the proposal, which would bump the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) District from 13 to 16. (The density is currently about 11.9 people per acre.)
The PRC District does not include any of the fast-growing Transit Station Area property surrounding the Wiehle-Reston East and Herndon Metro stations, nor does it include most of the property in the Reston Town Center Metro station TSA south of the Dulles Toll Road.
The ordinance amendment would also allow for the Board of Supervisors to be able to approve individual developments in excess of 50 dwelling units per acre in TSAs within the PRC and when in accordance with Comprehensive Plan recommendations. Those areas that would be marked for possible major residential development include all of Reston’s village centers.
Citizen activists warn that the combined effect of these changes could see the population of Reston tripled by 2050.
The SLHS activities office said Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office requested a space that would be able to accommodate around 650 people. The school’s auditorium was unavailable for the meeting, the activities office said, because of scheduled theater rehearsals. That space has fewer than 600 seats anyway, according to SLHS officials.
The school’s gym also was not an available or acceptable option, Hudgins’ office said.
UPDATE: This information was later made official. (Full article)
We have received numerous messages from readers today regarding information they’ve seen about a proposed date, time and location for the rescheduled public meeting on Fairfax County’s proposed zoning ordinance amendment for Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) District.
Representatives from both South Lakes High School and Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office tell us that information (Monday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. in the SLHS cafeteria) was inadvertently released publicly before it was confirmed by all necessary parties. It is subject to change.
We will print a full story on the rescheduled meeting when information deemed official is provided. Thank you for your patience.
Reston residents argue that a zoning ordinance amendment proposed by Fairfax County would cause the community to become too overpopulated to manage.
That makes what happened at a scheduled county meeting to discuss the topic Monday night particularly ironic.
After hundreds of Restonians crowded into the cafeteria at Lake Anne Elementary School for the forum, Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and staff from the Department of Planning and Zoning told them the meeting would have to be postponed until a larger venue could be booked.
“It is a safety issue and a code violation [to have so many people in the cafeteria],” Hudgins said to a chorus of boos from the crowd, many of whom were wearing yellow-shaded Reclaim Reston and Rescue Reston T-shirts. “You did come out and that’s important, and I’m glad that you did, we appreciate that.”
The proposal from the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning would bump the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) District from 13 to 16. (The density is currently about 11.9 people per acre.) The PRC District does not include any of the Transit Station Area property surrounding the Wiehle-Reston East and Herndon Metro stations, nor does it include most of the property in the Reston Town Center Metro station TSA south of the Dulles Toll Road.
The ordinance amendment would also allow for the Board of Supervisors to be able to approve individual developments in excess of 50 dwelling units per acre in TSAs within the PRC and when in accordance with Comprehensive Plan recommendations. Those areas that would be marked for major residential development include all of Reston’s village centers.
Citizen activists warn that the combined effect of these changes could see the population of Reston tripled by 2050.
According to signage displayed in the cafeteria at Lake Anne Elementary School, the fire code caps the number of occupants of the cafeteria at 210 when tables and chairs are present, as they were Monday night. Estimates of attendance for the meeting ranged from 350 to over 400.
County Meeting on PRC Zoning Ordinance Amendment Tonight — Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and staff from Fairfax County’s Department of Planning & Zoning will host a community meeting tonight at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive). They will discuss a proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would increase the cap on density in Reston’s Planned Residential Community, among other changes. [Reston Now]
SLHS Football Suffers First Loss of Season — The Seahawks were upset Friday night by the Centreville Wildcats, 30-14. Statistical leaders for SLHS included running back Spencer Alston (6 carries for 58 yards, 3 catches for 35 yards, 1 TD); running back Albert Mensah (13 carries for 29 yards); and punter Evan Matthes (56.3-yard average on 4 punts). South Lakes is now 4-1 on the season and next plays Oct. 6, homecoming, against Langley. [South Lakes Athletics]
Fairfax County Home Prices Rise — County home prices were up $20,000 in August compared to the same month last year. The median sale prices in August 2017 was $505,000. [Reston Patch]
Car Tax Due Date Coming Up — The deadline for vehicle owners to pay their bill is Thursday, Oct. 5, and residents are being reminded not to wait until the last minute. [Fairfax County]
Reston Man Named to State Commission — Khurrum H. Khan of Reston, president of OurKare of Herndon, has been appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to Virginia’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Commission. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Herndon Officer Participates in ‘Rodeo’ — Senior Police Officer Ron Eicke participated in the recent Mid-Atlantic Police Rodeo, along with other police representatives from across the region. [Herndon Police/Facebook]
Residents looking for a place to leave items for Hurricane Harvey relief can do so at Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive).
According to a statement from Hudgins:
Like you, I am in shock from seeing the devastation Hurricane Harvey has brought to the people of Houston and its surrounding counties. In an effort to help those victimized by this storm, my office [at] the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive Reston, VA) will act as an American Red Cross Drop Off Center from September 5th until noon on September 15th. I ask that items are dropped out during our normal business hours, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM, and are not left in the lobby which may interfere with Police operations.
Hudgins said items that are being sought include new or gently used clothing, shoes, household items and kitchenware. In addition, she said, “there has also be a large cry for unused underwear for those of all ages and diapers.”
“I thank you for your generosity and support of your fellow human,” Hudgins said.
For a full list of items that can be accepted, follow this link.
Reclaim Reston is upset with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, who they say are ignoring their urging to slow down development.
The grassroots activist group wrote to the Board of Supervisors last month, asking for a moratorium on proposed zoning ordinance amendments from the county’s Department of Planning & Zoning and on approval of any development projects that haven’t yet been submitted.
After receiving no response in over three weeks, the group is not happy.
“By silently thumbing their noses at the legitimate concerns of the Reston community, the Board of Supervisors sent the unambiguous message that they hold all the cards and view the Reston residents as powerless to interfere with the Supervisors’ cozy relationship with developers,” group member Bruce Ramo wrote to Reston Now.
An online petition Reclaim Reston set up in support of the moratorium has nearly 700 signatures.
Reclaim Reston is urging the Board of Supervisors to control development and ensure that planning and funding for infrastructure such as schools, roads, bridges, parks and other recreational facilities, remains in sync with the influx of new residents.
When asked by Reston Now about Reclaim Reston’s request, Hudgins provided the following statement (presented as written):
I recognize that good economics time, particular the last two years, provides more economic opportunity for new development. This does not mean the support for that development will not occur. While it would be great if all the planned transportation projects were already built, however, infrastructure improvement depend on those developing the land and a blending of federal, state and county funding. Three new Reston north/south crossings and three new rail stations scheduled to open in Reston and Herndon area, will relieve much of the traffic that travel today to Reston and Wiehle stations on many primary Reston arteries. I am working to build these sooner than planned.
My pledge is the outcome of future growth will more than conform to Reston’s planned community. Bob Simon believed people should be concentrated around Villages. Today’s village comes in a more urban form with the support of transit, retail and parks, in addition to housing. Mr. Simon voted for the Comprehensive Plan. I hope the outcome will meet his and your desires when we see it completed.
Ramo, though, says that the board’s silence on Reclaim Reston’s call for a moratorium shows that the County will go forward with its plans no matter what, leaving potential infrastructure problems to be resolved at some future time.
“Fairfax County has every intention of moving forward to convert Reston to the County’s cash cow, regardless of what it means for the education of our children, or the quality of life, safety or environment of our community,” Ramo said.
Three meetings in May to discuss a proposed zoning ordinance amendment for Reston’s Planned Residential Community district did not satisfy residents upset about the plan.
A fourth meeting, though, is on the horizon.
Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins has announced that the county Department of Planning and Zoning will hold another public meeting on the proposal. A tentative date of Sept. 25 was reported.
The proposal from the county DPZ would increase the limit on people per acre in Reston’s PRC District from 13 to 16. This would allow for 18,737 more people beyond the current cap in Reston over time. Reston’s PRC District is currently at about 11.9 persons per acre. The amendment would also allow for the Board of Supervisors to be able to approve individual developments in excess of 50 dwelling units per acre in Transit Station Areas within the PRC and when in accordance with Comprehensive Plan recommendations.
The PRC District does not include any of the TSA property surrounding the Wiehle-Reston East and Herndon Metro stations, nor does it include most of the property in the Reston Town Center Metro station TSA south of the Dulles Toll Road. This was pointed out by several individuals who spoke during May meetings, saying that this means the population and density estimates provided for the PRC District would in reality be much higher in Reston as a whole.
Restonians who attended the May meetings expressed their concern that the county was trying to rush the amendment through the approval process. They were especially upset when the third meeting was held in an open-house format rather than as a question-and-answer session.
“The County and the community need to understand the implications for Reston of the zoning ordinance amendment and quite possibly amend it so that it is consistent with Reston’s vision and planning principles,” said Terry Maynard, co-chair of the Reston 20/20 committee and an outspoken opponent of the proposal, at one of the meetings. “This will take time, not the headlong rush the County and Board [of Supervisors] seem to be in to get this amendment passed with three public meetings in three weeks [in May].”
The Reston Association Board of Directors adopted a resolution at its May meeting asking the County to give more time and consideration to the community’s voice.
The original plan for the DPZ was to bring the plan before the Board of Supervisors this month, followed by a Planning Commission public hearing in September and the Board public hearing in October. It now has those dates pushed back to November, December and January, respectively.
Map courtesy Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning
Some Reston Association members have strong feelings about the community’s relationship with Fairfax County — and specifically, Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins.
“In terms of what Reston looks like, what Reston feels like — she’s moving Reston away from it,” Stephen Canner said. “We don’t want that.”
Canner was speaking to RA Board directors and CEO Cate Fulkerson during an informal feedback-gathering meeting Thursday evening at RA Headquarters. Canner and others expressed their displeasure with how they feel Hudgins and other members of the County Board of Supervisors are allowing developers to take over Reston.
“They’re moving us in a different direction, trying to make us look like Arlington,” Canner said.
Victoria White, Hunters Woods/Dogwood District director, said Board president Sherri Hebert and vice president David Bobzien have been having weekly meetings with Hudgins to try to facilitate more communication. Eric Carr, At-Large director who moderated the meeting, said it’s the start of a conversation to try to improve Reston’s standing with the County.
“One of the underutilized resources we have is our ‘soft power,'” Carr said. “We don’t have any legislative power, we’re not a municipality, but boy, can we be annoying — in a good way.”
Carr said it is important for Reston Association members and the Board to stay vigilant in letting the County know the problems Reston citizens have with new developments and other legislation. Some members also expressed displeasure with what seem to be futile attempts to get their opinions heard during county meetings, citing particularly the recent public meetings on the Planned Residential Community zoning ordinance amendment.
John Mooney, At-Large director, harkened the St. John’s Wood public meetings — which resulted in the project being deferred indefinitely — as he reminded residents that their well-formed and -organized thoughts on specific plans do matter.
“You have to have the community involved on policy level issues and zoning ordinance issues, but you also have to have communities get really informed, bust their butts understanding what’s going on in particular projects,” he said. “You have to have those two levels of citizen interactions … for political change to happen. It can’t happen with just one line of attack or one line of engagement.”
Mooney said that in addition to the meetings taking place between RA Board leadership and Hudgins, there are staff-to-staff meetings and other interaction going on with the County. Members in attendance said they’d like to know more about how those conversations are progressing.
Members continued on to say it is difficult to learn any information about what is happening within Reston Association, because of a lack of communication and what they view as a confusing website. Most agreed they get more information from local media and from Nextdoor than they do from RA itself. Carr agreed that work needs to be done to better reach members.
“We have an extensive site, but we’re not reaching you the same way other avenues of information are reaching you,” Carr said.
Mike Leone, RA’s communications director, said he is working to increase Reston Association’s presence on Nextdoor to push more news out to the community more efficiently. Attendees were also encouraged to sign up for RA’s email bulletins and other local newsletters.
Ribbon Cutting for Clothing Store — Scout & Molly’s (11944 Market St.) hosted its official ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday morning. Among attendees were Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, representatives of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and more.
Summer Meals Program Starts Today — The Free Summer Meals for Kids Program provides free, healthy meals to children ages 5 to 18 at designated meal sites in Fairfax County. [Fairfax County]
Officials Talk Metro, Fields, More — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and more addressed the Vienna Town Council recently to give updates on the Silver Line, placement of athletic fields and more. [The Connection]
Kids Can Earn Prizes for Reading — Kids who complete the summer reading adventure at any Fairfax County library by Sept. 2 can win a coupon book with dozens of free and discounted fun treats like ice cream and miniature golf. [Fairfax County]
Image courtesy Powers Brand Communications LLC
The Fairfax County Department of Planning & Zoning will host a community meeting next week to discuss proposed zoning ordinance changes that could increase the residential density limit in Reston.
The current zoning ordinance limits residential density in Reston’s Planned Residential Community District, which encompasses most of the community, to an average of 13 people per acre. The Comprehensive Plan for Reston was updated by Fairfax County in 2014 and 2015, guiding redevelopment in Reston’s Transit Station Areas, Town Center and village centers.
The community meeting will be held Wednesday, May 3 at 7 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive).
A representative for Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office said the county DPZ is reviewing data to determine what changes to the ordinance may be necessary to accommodate for the growth approved by the changes to the plan. The meeting May 3, as well as a Reston Planning & Zoning Committee meeting May 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the same location, are opportunities for the community to share their thoughts, she said.
Map courtesy Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at their meeting Tuesday morning marked up the proposed FY2018 budget, and the current real estate tax rate remains.
Upon approval of the budget, the real estate tax rate will remain at the FY 2017 level of $1.13 per $100 of the assessed value of the home, as proposed by the county executive. (The average Reston real estate assessment has gone down by 0.33 percent in 2017.) Board chairman Sharon Bulova said the stable rate “ensure[s] Fairfax County continues to be an affordable place to live for seniors and families.”
At the board’s Feb. 28 meeting, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill District) supported an amendment that would have raised the advertised real estate tax rate to $1.15 per $100. The amendment, introduced by Supervisor Kathy Smith (Sully District), failed by a vote of 7-3, with Supervisor Daniel Storck (Mount Vernon District) casting the third vote in favor.
Changes in the marked-up $4.1 billion budget include:
- an additional $1.7 million in funding for Fairfax County Public Schools above the amount in the county executive’s proposed budget, for a total transfer of $2.17 billion (52.8 percent of the budget)
- just under $2 million and 18 new positions to support the second year of the county’s Diversion First initiative, which helps divert individuals with mental illness from jail into mental health treatment
- more than $13 million in reductions and nine position eliminations, resulting from agency reductions and continued savings in fuel and retiree health expenses
The marked-up budget was approved by an 8-2 vote of the Board, with Smith and Storck dissenting.
The board is expected to officially approve the budget May 2, and it will go into effect July 1.
Developer Bozzuto is deferring “indefinitely” its application to redevelop St. Johns Wood, according to information sent out by Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office Thursday afternoon.
Hudgins’ office says the community meeting on the project that had been scheduled for Tuesday is being canceled, and a representative for the supervisor said it is her understanding that “all meetings” regarding the proposal are off the table.
The plan was scheduled to go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission on May 25, following additional meetings with Reston’s Planning & Zoning Committee and Design Review Board on May 15 and 16. Meetings with the P&Z Committee and DRB this week featured many comments against the project from North Point residents, and the DRB in particular was critical of many elements of the project.
Brian Winterhalter of Cooley LLP, the commercial real-estate attorney representing Bozzuto, said at Tuesday’s DRB meeting that his team would follow up about scheduling a work session with the Design Review Board. However, he expressed disappointment with how the process was progressing.
The proposal has been in the works since 2014 and has seen numerous changes in that time. The current plan calls for 481 multifamily units within two buildings on the 14.3-acre property.
Winterhalter has not responded to requests for comment.
Meetings are on the agenda with Reston’s Planning & Zoning Committee on Monday night, and with the Design Review Board on Tuesday. The most recent informational meeting on the project, last month at the Planning & Zoning Committee, once again drew large community response opposing the plan.
That response from the community has been consistent since the project was first proposed in 2014. Bozzuto has made numerous alterations to the plan since, with the proposal made at March’s P&Z Committee meeting being the seventh iteration.
In addition, Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins will host a community meeting on the proposal later this month, featuring representatives from Bozzuto. That meeting will be held Tuesday, April 25, from 7-9 p.m. in the lecture hall at Langston Hughes Middle School (11401 Ridge Heights Road).
A Fairfax County Planning Commission hearing on the project is slated for May 25.
Reston National Golf Course has been advertised for potential redevelopment, but a lot would need to happen for that to take place, Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins is reminding constituents.
In a statement to media Monday morning, Hudgins said an interpretation of the property’s status made by Fairfax County’s Department of Planning and Zoning is “clear and concise.”
“According to the interpretation, the process is clear and concise and must be followed in order for development other than a golf course or open space to be considered for the property,” Hudgins said.
The interpretation of the golf course property by Fairfax County Planning and Zoning reads:
“Based on the previous approvals, the redevelopment of the property from a golf course to residential uses would first require an amendment to the Reston Master Plan which is part of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan, as well as obtaining both Development Plan Amendment approval and Planned Residential Community Plan approval from the Board of Supervisors.”
According to Hudgins’ office, the supervisor made the statement Monday in response to the recent advertisement of the property by developer ARA Newmark as well as a recent article on real-estate news site GlobeSt, which quoted specific rumored sale prices and development values for the property. Hudgins believes the characterization of the property as a “by-right, mixed-use development opportunity” could be misleading to some residents, who may believe its redevelopment to be “a done deal,” her office stated.
Activist group Rescue Reston, which fought against a previous attempt to redevelop the property, has stated it will “mobilize [its] allies and supporters as necessary to oppose any attempt to amend the Comprehensive Plan that would threaten our open space.”
Speaking to community business leaders Thursday in Herndon, Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the amount of development taking place within Reston’s Transit Station Areas has surpassed expectations and has positioned Reston as an economic driver for the county, region and state.
At the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce’s legislative panel event, Hudgins said she and others believed Tysons Corner would grow faster than Reston when their respective plans were first laid out.
“I think it’s the reverse of that now, and I think it’s the reverse of it because Reston is a very stable community,” Hudgins said. “[It is] a community well-established, different from this [transit-oriented] development but very much in concert with it.”
Hudgins showed her audience a map featuring the three Reston TSAs — encompassing the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station as well as the future Reston Town Center and Herndon stations — and pointed out more than 40 development projects that are in the works within those boundaries.
“This would not be happening if we had not approved the transit that is coming to the area,” she said. “It’s working.”
Hudgins said the Tax Service Districts that have been established in Reston and Tysons in order to help fund transportation improvements in the community were “a lot of work” to develop, but they represent a “success model” for the county. She said increasing public transit and making more walkable communities around the stations is “a creative, very smart way to approach how we develop and keep economic development going.”
“Many folks — not just millenials, but seniors — find it important to be able to live in a community where everything is at their fingertips,” Hudgins said. “[With transit-oriented development], they feel that there is housing that fits for them, there’s recreation that fits for them, and there are restaurants and the thriving other services that they need. They aren’t getting in their car. They want to be able to walk or take transit, and that’s what’s happening here.”
Hudgins said that when the Reston Plan was approved over 50 years ago, it said “Fairfax County would be wise if they would establish these areas, preserving more open space for single-family homes and others, but bringing these more dense areas to concentrate things.”
“Fifty years later, we’re getting there,” she said. “I think it’s going to be the story about how Fairfax County continues to thrive.”