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by Fatimah Waseem April 18, 2018 at 12:00 pm 67 Comments

To the dismay of some area residents, a series of upgrades — including an amphitheater, fire pit and ping pong tables — are being considered for South Lakes Village Center (11120 South Lakes Drive).

The project by village center owner Chevy Chase Land Company is intended to activate space at the edge of Lake Thoreau between Cafesano and Red’s Table.

But residents near the center and merchants worry the new space will become a magnet for youth from Langston Hughes Middle School and South Lakes High School. The project would also increase noise — a concern that already rattles some residents as sound travels down the lake.

Reston Association’s Design Review Board deferred a decision on the project Tuesday night to allow the development team, which includes engineering firm Kimley-Horn, to revise the plan. The DRB could consider updated plans at its next meeting.

Mary Sapp, president of the Lakeport Cluster Association, said the project would increase noise levels, raise safety concerns due to unsupervised teens, and increase the chance of vandalism of the plaza’s “very attractive features.” Sapp said three of the cluster’s 11 bollard lights were destroyed, three were knocked over and two Safeway carts were thrown into the lake from the dock over the last 15 months.

We assure you that Lakeport Cluster is not ‘anti-students’; a number of our residents have children (or grandchildren who visit often), and several are actively involved with South Lakes High School,” Sapp wrote in a statement to the DRB.

Charles Foster, a Lakeport Cluster resident, called the project an “unprecedented experiment in Reston” that would attract 3,400 young adults within walking distance, creating an environment that “ allows anyone at any time to engage in any type of activity.”

Upgrades include an amphitheater, new lighting, a chalkboard wall, outdoor ping pong, lounge and plaza seating area and outdoor ping pong. A new, back-lit sign is also proposed for the center.

Gil Blankespoor, a resident in the Lakeport Cluster, questioned how the property owner will maintain the upgraded site.

“We know Chevy Chase Land’s heart is in the right place. They did a fabulous job last year with the new landscaping, and their plan is to build community activities. But what they propose is in the wrong place — far too close to residential developments,” Blankespoor said.

The development team said they were open to removing the gaming features of the site, including ping pong tables, in order to allay community concerns. DRB members also suggested removing outdoor cushions, which could end up in the lake, and adding more shaded trees.

In response to concerns about attracting area teens, Michael Casey of Kimley-Horn said the plaza was open to “all generations” and should not exclude any demographic. By design, the commercial plaza is placed next to residential development, he said.

“This is what community is,” he said.

Given the “brutal reality” of the retail world, activating the space is necessary to ensure the long-term viability of the center, said Tom Regnell, president of Chevy Chase Land Company.

“We are interested in that very long-term view,” Regnell said.

Photos via handout

by Fatimah Waseem March 27, 2018 at 10:15 am 4 Comments

Upgrades to the Pony Barn Pavilion, located on the corner of Steeplechase Drive and Triple Crown road, could be complete as early as this summer if Reston Association’s Design Review Board approves the project on April 9.

The latest proposal is a scaled-back version of initial concept plans originally pitched and approved in 2015. Proposed upgrades — on and off RA’s drawing board for years — include a concrete pavilion floor, information kiosk, asphalt parking lot, grill, water fountain, lighting improvements, an ADA-accessible trail and a screen structure for the bathroom.

Previous plans, formulated with the direction of the member-led Pony Barn Working Group, included an ADA playground, an observation deck, a butterfly garden and additional pathways to access the pavilion.

Chris Schumaker, RA’s capital projects operations manager, said the design proposed in 2015 would have required a major site plan because it exceeded the 2,500-square-foot disturbance limit and storm management — factors that drove the project cost beyond “acceptable limits.”

“The 2018 design is narrower scope with only a 2,300 square foot disturbance and therefore does not require a major site plan and the expenses that come with it,” Schumaker said.

The total cost of the project is expected to hover around $241,000, including $171,237 approved by the board late last year.

RA first approved $30,000 for the renovation project in 2013 and later allocated $350,000 for a major renovation project. Funds were locked up in 2016 when RA frozen major capital projects as it navigated the controversy over the Lake House purchase.

The RFP for the project is available online.

Photos via Reston Association handout

by Fatimah Waseem February 2, 2018 at 9:00 am 8 Comments

Reston Association Seeks Members for Design Review Board – Land planners, landscape architects and architects are eligible for three volunteer positions on the board. Members are appointed by RA’s Board of Directors. The application deadline is Feb. 28. [Reston Today]

South Lakes High School’s Addition Officials Opens — The school’s  40,000-square-foot addition opened for classes on Tuesday. Crews will remain on-site for several weeks to work on punch-list items and finish exterior work. [SLHS]

Red Kimono Opens in downtown Herndon — The restaurant, which offers authentic Japanese & Korean food, opened on Jan. 27. It is the only business of its kind in the town and has one of the best head sushi chefs in the area, according to a recent article. [The Connection]

Reston Camp Expo Draws Nearly 500 People – The Jan. 27 expo hosted by Reston Community Center featured “hundreds of out-of-school activities and summer camp programs.” [The Connection]

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

by Fatimah Waseem December 8, 2017 at 10:15 am 1 Comment

New interpretive signs could come to some of Reston’s 52 meadows next year.

Friends of Reston, a non profit organization, has received a grant from the Chesapeake Bay License plate Fund for the creation of new interpretive signs that provide information about measures to support the health of the Chesapeake Bay. The signs will include information about the environmental benefits of wildflowers and native grasses, reducing stormwater runoff and feeding wild life.

RA is seeking the approval of the Design Review Board to install the signs, which could be ready as early as March.

According to its website, Friends of Reston is a non profit organization established in 1999 to support RA’s work for charitable, education and scientific purposes.

Photo via RA

by Fatimah Waseem December 1, 2017 at 10:15 am 33 Comments

A plan to bring an assisted-living facility to11501 Sunrise Valley Drive continued to draw ire from nearby residents Thursday night.

At a public hearing before the Fairfax County Planning Commission, residents argued the 70-unit building, which would replace Good Beginnings School, a childcare facility, was incompatible with the surrounding residential area south of Sunrise Valley Drive.

The proposal by Kensington Senior Development calls for a two-to-three story building roughly 65,000 square feet — more than eight times larger than the current structure. The plan also includes a parking garage.

The developer’s representative, Mark Looney of Cooley LLP, said the developer scaled back the plan significantly after several iterations with Reston’s Design Review Board earlier this year. The latest plan reduces the overall mass of the project from 91,000 to 65,000 square feet, including a reduction of 21 units and 34 beds, attempts to create a more residential-style building and eliminates one floor of the building, he said.

Despite these revisions, residents said the project was too large and too overwhelming for the south side of Sunrise Valley Drive, an area they said was intended to remain largely residential and offer a hard break between high-intensity, high-density land uses in other parts of the community.

Jane Anthony, a resident of the Wethersfield Cluster since the late 1970s, said the project was more appropriate for the Dulles Toll Road Corridor where it would not “disturb the peace” of a long-standing residential community and infringe on the privacy of a commercial convenience center near the site.

“It is shoehorned into a very small area… growth is good but not at the expense of the quality of life of residents,” she said.

Others said the project did provide adequate buffering between a townhouse community on Approach Lane that faces the site. Lynwood Patin, a resident who testified in opposition to the plan, said the plan was “intimidating and overbearing,” providing clear “visual access over privacy fences on Approach Lane.”

Looney, however, said residents have not yet accepted the developer’s offer to enhance landscaping and buffering on the street opposite of the site. He also said the privacy concern “works both ways” for nearby residents and those in the living facility.

“The applicant wants to be a good long-term neighbor to them,” he said.

Others like Stephen Cerny, president of the Wethersfield Cluster Association, said the project wholly violated the spirit of Reston’s Master Plan by overwhelming a small site in an area that he said was intended to remain a “status quo” area on the south side of Sunrise Valley Drive.

James Hart, an at-large member of the committee, however, said the plan did not contain any specific guidance that the building was too large or incompatible with the area. The county’s zoning allows the developer to seek a special exception to permit a medical care facility, which is classified as an allowed institutional use, he said.

Looney also noted that the land’s by-right uses could also allow for a more intense, high-density residential development than what Kensington Senior Development has proposed.

The Planning Commission will continue to hear the case in the upcoming weeks. A decision on the petition was deferred Thursday.

Photo via handout

by Dave Emke October 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm 12 Comments

During its meeting last week (video), Reston’s Design Review Board heard a presentation about the large number of covenants requests Reston Association staff handles, and how they can be better handled in the future.

Cate Fulkerson, RA’s CEO, and Anna Varone, RA’s director of covenants administration, informed the panel of RA’s plans to add a post-project approval inspector position to help make sure approved requests are being checked into in a timely manner.

“After you all have made decisions on an application, within a six-month time period, staff is supposed to go and inspect to make sure that what is [to be] done is actually being done,” Fulkerson told DRB members. “A lot of the issues that we have after the fact, after you’ve made a decision — it could be 18 months, it could be two years, it could be 10 years, it could be 20 years after the fact — is that applicants have put things in on a property that is not what you approved.”

At its September meeting, the RA Board of Directors approved the new position as part of the second draft of the 2018 budget. The position is estimated to add $55,885 (salary and benefits) to the budget, which would have a $2.65 impact on the assessment rate.

Decisions about budget items have not been finalized, as the full 2018-2019 budget is slated to be approved by the board in November. Public hearings on the budget are planned for Thursday and Monday nights.

Fulkerson said the new position would just be the latest in a number of changes being made within the covenants administration department as well to help tackle the large volume of inspections that need to be done. These include the digitalization of property files and internal reorganization that has helped the department direct more focus on ensuring “quality interactions” when dealing with members, Fulkerson said.

“[We want] to prevent from going to court, prevent from putting a lien on somebody’s home,” Fulkerson said. “We would much rather have a conversation and get them to understand the important of following the guidelines.”

According to information provided by Varone, the covenants administration department had handled as of Sept. 20 more than 7,900 cases this year. These included more than 5,800 covenants violations, of which about 35 percent were design violations. The department currently has six employees who are primarily responsible for handling inspections, complaints and applications.

Varone and Fulkerson both said the number of cases is increasing year-to-year and the staff is having a hard time keeping pace.

“[Our ability to] meet the expectations of the members is slowing down, because we’re getting way too much volume,” Varone said. “Based on the Deed, we’re supposed to provide approval or a decision … within 30 days. Based on the volume and backup that we have, we’re teetering on not being able to meet that 30 days.”

Fulkerson requested a work session with the Design Review Board prior to its November meeting to discuss how processes could be addressed to help staff better handle the large number of requests it receives.

“This is a partnership,” she said. “I want to collaborate with you all to put those changes in place, because it affects the way we do these meetings going forward.”

Fulkerson said the discussion would include, among other topics, whether DRB’s four different types of meetings can be consolidated to help speed up the process.

The DRB agreed to schedule the work session for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14.

by Dave Emke October 23, 2017 at 2:45 pm 6 Comments

During its meeting last week (video), Reston’s Design Review Board gave its stamp of approval to plans for exercise equipment, playground equipment, site lighting, site signage and more for the future mixed-use redevelopment of Tall Oaks Village Center.

The commercial design of the property was also approved, with an alteration requiring faux windows in the retail tower be made of a reflective surface. In the design presented to the DRB last week, the faux windows had been proposed to consist of recessed EIFS.

The lone affected party to speak during the meeting was Mary Elyn McNichols, co-owner of Tall Oaks Assisted Living. While giving her overall approval to the plan, McNichols requested that some amount of exterior seating around the development’s stores be made handicapped-accessible.

In the landscape plan, the developers were asked by the DRB to find more locations to plant trees where possible.

One place were developers said they have already increased plants and trees is between the development’s 2-over-2 townhouses and the assisted-living facility, which was done at the facility’s request to create more of a buffer. The exercise station plans for the development were also designed after discussion with the assisted-living facility, developers said.

In addition to the development’s landscape plan, the garage doors and lighting were tabled for a future meeting, along with sliding doors and windows.

The redevelopment will include approximately 5,800 square feet of office, 8,500 square feet of retail and 156 residential units.

The village center was bought in December 2014 by McLean-based developer Jefferson Apartment Group. Plans to redevelop the property into a mixed-use community were approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in July 2016.

Located on a dead-end of North Shore Drive off Wiehle Avenue, Tall Oaks Village Center struggled for many years before the redevelopment proposal arose. Its longtime anchor tenant, Giant Foods, closed in 2007 and further vacancies followed quickly afterward. The 70,000-square foot center was 86 percent empty by the time the redevelopment was approved.

by Dave Emke October 17, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Reston’s DRB Meets Tonight — Among items on the Design Review Board’s agenda are specific aspects of the upcoming redevelopment of Tall Oaks Village Center. [Reston Now]

Children’s Art on Display at RCC — The mixed media exhibit “The World in the Eyes of Children” is on display at Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road) until Nov. 5. [Reston Community Center/Instagram]

Body Camera Pilot Program Proposed by FCPD — If approved by the county Board of Supervisors next month, officers in the Mason and Mount Vernon districts may begin the 90-day program as early as February. [Fairfax Times]

New School in Herndon To Be Discussed — The Hunter Mill Land Use Committee will meet tonight at 7:30 p.m. at McNair Elementary School (2499 Thomas Jefferson Drive, Herndon). To be discussed is a proposal from the Fairfax County Board of Education to construct a new three-story school building on the site. McNair Elementary currently serves grades K-6. In the plan, the existing school would serve K-3 and the new building would take grades 4-6. [Hunter Mill Highlights]

Seahawks Up One in Post Poll — Following their 44-0 win over Washington-Lee last week, the South Lakes High School football team settles in at No. 13 in the area rankings. They had been ranked No. 14 the previous week. The 6-1 Seahawks return home Friday night to play McLean. [Washington Post]

by Dave Emke October 12, 2017 at 4:00 pm 8 Comments

At its meeting Tuesday night (agenda), Reston’s Design Review Board will discuss specific plans for the residential and commercial aspects of the upcoming Tall Oaks Village Center redevelopment.

The project was last brought before the DRB in August, at which time the general landscape and architecture plans for the project were approved. Next week, the developers will be looking for approval of several other aspects of the plans, including the final landscape plan, the comprehensive sign plan, the lighting plan and material specifications.

Included in the final landscape plans is exercise and playground equipment, as well as a putting green. Site furnishings up for discussion include artistic bike racks and custom bus shelters. Three entry signs and a directional sign will be considered as well.

See the full residential presentation from applicant Jefferson Apartment Group and architect KTGY here.

The redevelopment plans call for 156 homes (a mix of townhomes, 2-over-2 townhomes and multifamily buildings), community space, 8,500 square foot of retail and about 6,000 square feet of office space. The end result will be the first such overhaul of one of Reston’s original village centers.

The 70,000-square-foot center was 86 percent empty by the time the redevelopment was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in July 2016. Jefferson had conducted a market study that showed attracting a new retail anchor was not an option.

by Dave Emke September 20, 2017 at 4:15 pm 19 Comments

Despite statements from local residents to the contrary, Reston’s Design Review Board says a proposed senior-living facility on Sunrise Valley Drive will be an appropriate addition to the community.

During their meeting Tuesday (video), the DRB voted 4-2 to give conceptual approval to the Kensington Senior Living project, pending final architectural drawings. The facility would be constructed at 11501 Sunrise Valley Drive, which is the current home of Good Beginnings School.

After previous designs for the property were for a building of up to 91,000 square feet and five stories, the developers have brought their proposal down to about 65,000 feet and two stories. However, residents of adjacent Wethersfield Cluster say they have concerns that even a two-story building will result in their privacy being disturbed.

“I can still see sight lines from the second floor into our first-floor rooms,” said Thea Kreinik, of Approach Lane. Kreinik and other residents said having the building so close to their properties would also have a negative effect on their property values.

Following comments from numerous residents about the use of the property, which is outside the DRB’s purview, vice chair Richard Newlon said he doesn’t agree with their assertions that an assisted-living facility is a bad fit.

“You have room there to build 30 townhouses, something like that,” Newlon said. “The residents of this facility are not going to be driving in and out all the time, the parking is underground, there’s not going to be a lot of traffic outside, [and] people in this type of facility are probably not going to be out in that backyard playing volleyball and making a lot of noise.”

One resident who spoke following the Board’s discussion said the “better this than that” mentality does not sit well with the community.

“The impression I’m getting from the Board — your kind of thinly veiled comment to us — is, ‘Suck it up with this old-folks home, or you’re going to get something worse,'” said Lisa White, of Wethersfield Court. “That’s not making me feel comfortable.”

The issue of lighting from the facility affecting nearby residents was also brought up, and the developers were told by DRB to “be cognizant moving forward” to address the issue.

Residents of the cluster who attended the meeting and spoke out against the project let their displeasure be known as they exited the room following the vote.

“I hope all of you [who voted for it] get one on your doorstep,” one member could be heard telling the Board following the passage of the motion.

The Kensington Senior Living facility is planned to include 96 beds within 70 units. It still must receive additional approval both locally and at the county level.

by Dave Emke September 20, 2017 at 11:30 am 31 Comments

A 12 inch-by-12 inch sign reading that “Hate Has No Home Here” can stay in the Orchard Green Cluster, Reston’s Design Review Board says, despite the cluster president’s stance that it should be removed for its political nature.

During their meeting Tuesday (video), the DRB rejected an appeal of an August ruling by a three-member panel that the sign is OK for display as long as it is no bigger than one square foot. That came after the Orchard Green Cluster board had asked for a 2 foot-by-3 foot sign displaying the message to be removed.

Tuesday night, Orchard Green Cluster President Dan Pennington told the full DRB that the ruling should not have been made based on the sign’s size, but rather on the political nature of its message. According to Reston Association’s rules for small yard signs, temporary political signs up to 2 feet by 3 feet are allowed to be displayed, but must be removed “no later than one week after announcement of election results.” Orchard Green Cluster’s board voted on the sign, displayed in the yard of resident Rikki Epstein, at their June meeting and “voted to request its removal under the general RA Signs rules.”

“Fundamentally, what you’ve done for our cluster is establish a design guideline that anybody can put up a 12-by-12 [sign], regardless of content [and] regardless of quantity, [with] no limitation and no content issues,” Pennington said to the DRB said. “It’s an untenable standard going forward for our cluster. … I would say it’s a misreading of the rule.”

Pennington suggested that if this sign is allowed to remain indefinitely, another resident could put up numerous one-square-foot signs reading “Trump is President: Get Over It” with each sign displaying only one letter of the message.

“Do you have a limiting principle?” Pennington asked the DRB. “This is a political sign and it should have been adjudicated under the political-sign standard and not the 12-by-12 standard.”

DRB members, along with their legal counsel Wil Washington, said there was no misreading of the rule when the panel informed Epstein she could display a 12- by 12-inch version of the sign, as the size rule overrides the political rule. They also said Pennington’s example of numerous signs with one letter each was hyperbolic, as the rules refer to “the sign” in the singular form.

“The content [of the sign] is irrelevant — the regulations say what they say,” said Nick Georgas, landscape architect member of the DRB. “I don’t think it’s this board’s job to determine what the content of that one-square-foot sign is.”

Pennington said his cluster board is working to pass its own rule that signs of any kind not be allowed, except for home-security signs and “other minor exceptions.”

“We simply don’t want signs in our cluster,” Pennington said.

Image via Hate Has No Home Here website

by Dave Emke August 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm 3 Comments

The long journey toward a permanent building for Martin Luther King Jr. Christian Church (11400 North Shore Drive) is a little closer to its conclusion.

After discussion during Tuesday’s meeting of Reston’s Design Review Board (video), approval was given for the site plan for the 6,000-square-foot building. The new structure will be located on the opposite side of the parking lot from the current, temporary church building. The project still needs to go through the county approval process, along with further local approval.

Church representatives said they would like to keep the current building — a prefabricated double-wide structure — in place even after the new building is completed. They said the extra space would be required until an addition could be added to the new building.

However, Design Review Board members balked at that idea.

“I work with churches regularly, and I know every church out there would want to hold onto that building,” said Neal Roseberry, DRB vice chair. “Frankly, it’s our job as the Review Board to say, ‘Hey, it was temporary when it was approved over 10 years ago; it needs to come down now because you’re finally building your permanent church.’ That’s my position at least of why we should help you do what you said you were doing originally.”

The church is located between the Crescent Apartments and the Northgate Condominiums. DRB told the church representatives there needs to be more communication between them and their neighbors in regard to the development. Andrew Ivovich, representing the Northgate community, spoke during the meeting regarding the lack of communication.

“It’s much clearer what you’re proposing at this meeting … [but] I do, however, wish that it was presented with a little more time for us to review,” Ivovich said. “I’m glad you met with some of the community members, [but] we have not heard from you. We are your neighbors too, so we would love to sit down and meet with you guys.”

Ivovich, along with DRB members, shared questions about removal of trees and retention of a vegetative buffer.

“I think the site plan as you presented it is much more modest, [with] much less tree removal,” Roseberry said. “The landscaping along the path and paying attention to North Shore Drive is probably the biggest weakness in what’s still there.”

In addition to removal and replanting of trees, a portion of Reston Association’s Blue Trail would need to be moved for the construction. Larry Butler, RA’s director of parks, said there has been “good discussion” about those plans. He added that there is an RA easement that will need to be re-routed for the work.

The future addition to the proposed building, for which they are asking permission to clear space ahead of time, is also included in the church’s plan. Mel De Gree, representing the church’s building project, said it is hoped that it would be added within five years of the building’s construction.

The Design Review Board approved the plan as presented, with several conditions. Among those are the development of an updated landscape plan and meetings with the community members. Results of those conversations, along with other provisions from the DRB, are to be presented at a future meeting.

The full presentation packet provided to the DRB during the meeting can be downloaded from the Board’s website.

Illustration via Waldon Community Architects

by Dave Emke August 16, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

The goal is to keep the tall oaks in Tall Oaks.

That’s what representatives of developer Jefferson Apartment Group and architects from KTGY told Reston’s Design Review Board during their meeting Tuesday (video). JAG is working toward ironing out the details of the future redevelopment of Tall Oaks Village Center, approved by the county last year.

At a meeting between the parties in July, members of the Design Review Board told the applicants about their concern regarding how the new development — which will include multifamily residential buildings, two-over-two condominiums and townhouses for a total of 156 residential units — would look from Wiehle Avenue. This month, the developers said they listened.

“There obviously are some constraints, so we’re being more surgical in how we place our trees in order to get the desired look,” said Mike Medick of KTGY.

In order to preserve the sight line from the North Shore Drive/Wiehle Avenue intersection to the southwest corner of the site, Medick said architects have moved entrance walkways and pushed them closer together to allow for the planting of seven large canopy trees. Medick said those will include red, white and pin oak trees.

At planting, the trees will be 16 feet tall. In a decade, they will be about 22 feet tall — reaching the third floor of the townhomes behind them. When they are fully grown, Medick said, they will fully conceal the development from the intersection.

“We’re comfortable that given this planting scheme … we can still get this natural feel for the frontage of North Shore [Drive],” Medick said. “[This will] emphasize again that theme that is so important here, the namesake of the project, the tall oaks.”

Grace Peters, land planner and landscape architect member of the DRB, said she would like to see more down elsewhere on the property to increase tree cover.

“I would appreciate it if the applicant could look into providing additional landscaping where possible [and] save more trees as much as they can,” Peters said.

The developers also responded to comments provided by the DRB last month regarding architectural elements of the buildings themselves and the design of site amenities. The changes were met with mostly positive comments from the DRB, with continued comments about small details.

“We’re faced now in Reston with jumping away from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s architecturally, and I think this effectively does that,” said Richard Newlon, DRB vice chair. “I think you guys have come a long way. I’m relatively satisfied with these [buildings] at this point.”

The DRB voted to approve the general architecture plan as presented, with stipulations that the rooftop units on condominium units be screened, that the application return with material and color palettes for final approval, and that the other comments presented during Tuesday’s meeting be considered as well.

The DRB also voted to approve the landscape plan, with a comment asking the developers to intensify landscaping along North Shore Drive, as well as in the middle and along the northern edge of the property, if at all possible.

Illustrations via Jefferson Apartment Group/KTGY

by Dave Emke August 15, 2017 at 11:30 am 16 Comments

The redevelopment of Tall Oaks Village Center will once again go before Reston’s Design Review Board during its meeting tonight.

In July, the DRB deferred voting on approval of the site plan for the project that will see Tall Oaks transformed into a mostly residential neighborhood. Plans call for 156 homes (a mix of townhomes, 2-over-2 townhomes and multifamily buildings), community space, 8,500 square foot of retail and about 6,000 square feet of office space.

In the presentation developers Jefferson Apartment Group and architects KTGY will present to the DRB (download), additional elevation maps are provided for the Board to consider. In addition, more detailed information about the common areas, tree buffer along North Shore Drive and more will be provided as requested by the DRB in July.

Among other topics on the agenda:

  • Plans for a new building for Martin Luther King Jr. Christian Church (11400 North Shore Drive) will go before the DRB.
  • The Board will consider a request for extension of the Colvin Run Stream Restoration project.

The DRB meeting will begin at 7 p.m. tonight at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

Images via KTGY

by Dave Emke August 2, 2017 at 10:15 am 335 Comments

Signs claiming “Hate Has No Home Here” have popped up around the community, but one has caused controversy at the Orchard Green Cluster.

Rikki Epstein, of the 11400 block of Orchard Green Court, went before a panel of Reston’s Design Review Board on Tuesday evening to appeal a ruling by her cluster association that her 24-by-18-inch sign was not appropriate for display in her yard.

Dan Pennington, president of the Orchard Green Cluster Association, provided an official written statement as an affected party in the case, saying the sign should not be permitted “based on the clear definitions of Political Signs and what is permitted under RA rules.”

[Epstein] is applying to have a Political Sign displayed on her property. The nature of the impasse is her belief that it is a general sign and not a political one.

As the cluster board we reviewed this issue at our most recent board meeting in June. We voted to request its removal under the general RA Signs rules.

The resident in question also confirmed that this sign was given to her by the Democratic Party at one of the Reston Farmer’s Market this year.

A cursory review of the sign’s web site and underlying organization clearly reveals a political bias despite lip service to the contrary.

The DRB panel denied Epstein’s request to overrule the cluster association and allow placement of the sign, she said, on the basis of its size. Reston Association’s rules for small yard signs say they must be no bigger than one square foot in size to be displayed without a permit. The size of Epstein’s sign is the standard size distributed by the Hate Has No Home Here project.

Temporary political signs, up to 2-by-3 feet, are allowed by RA to be displayed in support of candidates or ballot issues, but must be removed “no later than one week after announcement of election results.” Epstein contends her sign is “clearly not a political sign,” but rather “promotes just and inclusive communities.” She says she intends to appeal the decision to the full Design Review Board for review and consideration, and she will be obtaining a one-square-foot version of the sign to display in the meantime.

In her official statement to the DRB panel, she said:

In Reston, the “Hate Has No Home Here” signs have been distributed at numerous locations including the Lake Anne Farmers Market, as well as at local businesses throughout our community and are available for any individual or group to download the artwork for free. In light of the recent tragic hate crime that occurred nearby, it is more important than ever that our community demonstrates our support for one another and ensures that everyone feels safe.

According to “Another Way of Living: The Story of Reston, VA,” a video project, our founder Robert Simon dreamed of “another way of living” that valued community, nature, diversity and social equity. This innovative American planner set out to build a new kind of walkable suburban community that integrated citizens across racial, economic and religious divides. I have to believe that Robert Simon would embrace the “Hate Has No Home Here” project.

“Today I feel disappointed to be a resident of Reston,” she said in an email.

Image via Hate Has No Home Here website

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