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.
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
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
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
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
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
Before its meeting tonight, Reston’s Design Review Board will have another one-hour work session with the developers of the proposed Kensington Senior Living at 11501 Sunrise Valley Drive.
Following a work session with the DRB in May, Kensington has made the following changes to its plan to reduce the project’s size:
- Eliminated an entire floor of the building, resulting in a 2-story building
- Reduced the overall mass of the project by about 30 percent, from 91,000 square feet to 65,000 square feet, resulting in an approximate FAR of 0.83
- Narrowed the width of the building toward the south of the site, resulting in an additional setback to the nearest townhomes of 20 feet
- Reduced the unit count by 23 percent from 91 to 70, and the bed count by 26 percent from 130 to 96
Previous designs for the proposal featured as many as five stories.
The facility would be at the site of the current Good Beginnings School. The property has not yet been sold, with the deal contingent upon the plan’s approval.
At the May work session, residents of the Wethersfield Cluster expressed their concerns about lowered property values, privacy and architectural compatibility. Kensington says it “has considered and is working through different architectural styles, and it “plans to present more detailed building elevations” during tonight’s session.
The documents that have been provided prior to tonight’s session are available here.
The discussion is scheduled for 6 p.m. at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). The DRB’s regular meeting will begin at 7.
Image via Moseley Architects
Representatives of Bozzuto Group again brought a presentation about redevelopment of St. Johns Wood to Reston’s Design Review Board during a work session Tuesday.
Again, DRB members expressed the same concerns — too big.
Tuesday’s one-hour session was the latest in a long series of meetings about the proposed redevelopment of the North Reston residential community. After the project was deferred in April, the redevelopers brought new sketches to the DRB as they continue to work toward adding dwelling units to the property.
The previous proposal that had been brought for consideration featured featured 481 multifamily units within two buildings on the 14.3-acre North Point property. Two options presented by architectural firm KTGY at Tuesday’s session reconfigured the buildings and brought the number of units down to 441 or 454.
One option features a street between the two buildings, while the other has a central tree grove.
After the 20-minute presentation, members of the DRB panel shared their thoughts. The massing of the project remained a major hangup for the group, as it was in April and before. Members of the DRB asked if there is any way the developers can lower their threshold for the number of units they need on the property.
“You might have chopped off a unit here or a unit there, but these are still 450-whatever-plus units,” said Richard Newlon, DRB vice chair. “If we’re going to get anywhere with this, we have to talk turkey here and say ‘Where’s your cutoff point?’ If 450 is absolutely the smallest you can make it and still make a profit out of this project, then we’ve got a real problem.”
Some members of the panel said they would be more comfortable with the proposal if the developers would consider breaking the massing into several smaller buildings, such as what is currently on the property. Rohit Anand, of KTGY, said that may not be feasible, considering the use of parking structures in the property plan.
“People want parking in proximity to their home, and these schemes provide that,” Anand said, adding that creating smaller parking garages for each unit is also not desirable.
Brian Winterhalter, of Cooley LLP, representing Bozzuto, asked the panel if they could make a determination on what is more important to address — the height of the buildings or the overall footprint.
“It seemed like your concern was that you would prefer it to have less footprint,” Winterhalter said. “There’s only so much we can do in terms of narrowing the footprint and reducing the height at the same time.”
In response, DRB members said the concern was more about scale and overall size, not specifically about height or footprint. Winterhalter later said if some specific parameters of acceptability could be provided by DRB, the developer could begin moving in that direction.
Ken Kneuven, DRB lay member, said someone will have to break before an agreement can ever happen.
“One side or the other is going to have to give,” he said, imploring the developer to figure out how much it can do to move toward more common ground. “Otherwise we’re going to have another workshop and another workshop and continue to waste your time [and ours].”
The work session was recorded and will be made available on Reston Association’s YouTube channel this week.
DRB Meets Tonight — A work session about the St. Johns Wood redevelopment will precede the regular meeting of Reston’s Design Review Board tonight. [Design Review Board]
Cooper’s Hawk Job Fairs Today and Wednesday — Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant (12130 Sunset Hills Road) plans to open next month, but it must hire more than 200 people before then. Its last two hiring events will be today and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, at 12100 Sunset Hills Road Suite 130. [Reston Now]
Former SLHS Coach Takes Over at U. of Arizona — Matt Blamey, who was the head lacrosse coach at South Lakes High School for seven years, was named last week as the new head coach of the University of Arizona’s men’s lacrosse program. [CollegeCrosse.com]
Proposed Zoning Changes To Be Discussed — Fairfax County is hosting an open house Wednesday night at the Herrity Building (12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax) to discuss proposed zoning changes including those to short-term rentals, e.g. Airbnb, and rear-yard coverage such as patios. [Fairfax County]
Loudoun County Shoots Down Metro Tax — The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously last week on a resolution to oppose a one-cent regional sales tax. County staff have put together an “alternative capital funding scenario” to the tax. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]
Photo courtesy Richard Hernandez
After being deferred “indefinitely” in April, the proposal to redevelop St. Johns Wood is again showing signs of life.
Reston’s Design Review Board will meet with representatives of the Bozzuto Group for a work session Tuesday evening. The discussion is scheduled for 6 p.m., prior to the start of the DRB’s regular meeting, at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).
According to Mike Leone, Reston Association communications director:
“The work sessions are an opportunity for the Design Review Board members and the applicants to discuss and suggest revisions to a set of proposed plan. Unlike the full DRB board meetings, it is an informational meeting that allows everyone to ‘roll their up their sleeves’ and work together on ideas. The Design Review Board does not render any decisions at these sessions; therefore, no minutes are taken. The applicant does provide notice to the adjacent property owners and affected parties, so the work sessions are held as an open meeting so members can observe the sharing of new ideas and plans.”
Leone said RA has requested new drawings for the plan from the applicant but hasn’t yet received them.
The most recent redevelopment proposal from Bozzuto featured 481 multifamily units within two buildings on the 14.3-acre North Point property, where there are currently 250 multifamily units in nine buildings. At a work session with DRB in April, just days before the plan was deferred, both DRB members and residents spoke out about what they see as an imposing development being planned for a residential neighborhood.
“How do you insert this relatively high-density anomaly into an existing setting, an existing neighborhood that doesn’t have anything like this at all, and [the development] obviously scares people?” DRB member Neal Rosenberry said at that meeting. “It’s literally scary to think of this thing landing in that neighborhood up there.”
Leone said the work session will be recorded and the video will be available on Reston Association’s YouTube channel later this week.
After a lengthy discussion during its meeting Tuesday (video), Reston’s Design Review Board deferred voting on approval of landscape, architectural elevations and other aspects of the Tall Oaks Village Center redevelopment.
In their presentation, representatives of Jefferson Apartment Group described their plan for the residential portion of the redevelopment, which will include multifamily residential buildings, two-over-two condominiums and townhouses for a total of 156 residential units.
“One of our main goals with these schemes was to continue to provide diversity, not only in the number of different housing types proposed, but to really give each housing type its own identity while still maintaining a very consistent theme throughout the site,” said a representative of architectural design firm KTGY, emphasizing that the development’s architecture would be “innovative and of its time, but still respectful of its surrounding context.”
KTGY said the two multifamily home buildings in the plan directly relate in scale and density with the adjacent Tall Oaks Assisted Living facility, while the two-over-two buildings and townhomes would have “more of an appropriate relationship to the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Members of the DRB, however, were concerned by the fact that all residential buildings within the development would be four stories tall, creating what some called a “cavernous” feel.
“There’s a sense of walking through a valley,” said lay member Bruce Ramo. “It seems very un-Restonlike, particularly in the context of where it is sitting, not in a transit area.”
DRB members also expressed concern about what the townhomes would look like as drivers approach the development from North Shore Drive.
“To me, as I turn onto North Shore Drive from Wiehle into this new Tall Oaks Village Center environment, I feel a little disappointed to see brownstones,” said W. Neal Roseberry, DRB vice chair. “I kind of would want to see, personally, something that’s Reston in a contemporary way.”
Roseberry said the proposed design of the townhouses would be like a “little piece of West Market” at Tall Oaks.
Richard Newlon, another of the committee’s vice chairs, agreed.
“From three years ago, May of 2014, our interest has always been to try to keep North Shore looking more Restonlike [with] a more natural buffer,” he said. “Please, pay attention that. That’s a key element.”
Images via JAG/KTGY
Silver Line Delays Have Steep Price Tag — A series of delays that has pushed the opening of the Silver Line’s Phase 2 back to 2020 will cost $95 million. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority disclosed that number in a presentation prepared for its Wednesday board meeting. [WTOP]
Design Review Board Meets Tonight — Among the topics to be discussed at tonight’s meeting of Reston’s Design Review Board (7 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters, 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive, as well as live on RA’s YouTube channel) is the redevelopment of Tall Oaks Village Center. [Reston Association]
Zoning Open House Coming Up — Fairfax County will hold an open house Wednesday, July 26 to talk about proposed zoning changes that may affect local communities. Among the topics to be discussed are potential changes to the rules about short-term rentals, such as Airbnb; rear-yard coverage, such as patios; and more. [Fairfax County]
Herndon High Grad to Play at Georgia Tech — After completing his bachelor’s degree in economics in three years while playing basketball at Lehigh University, HHS grad Brandon Alston has transferred to Georgia Tech to play out his final two years of sports eligibility. [Georgia Tech University]
Developers of the new residential community at Tall Oaks will present their plan to Reston’s Design Review Board during its meeting next week. The developers will seek approval of their plans for landscape and lighting, as well as site amenities and architectural elevations.
Tall Oaks Village Center was purchased in 2014 by McLean-based developer Jefferson Apartment Group (JAG). In 2016, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors took an unprecedented step when it unanimously approved JAG’s proposal to rezone, rebuild and transform the smallest of Reston’s village centers.
The plan is to build 156 homes, community space, 8,500 square foot of retail and about 6,000 square feet of office space in the location. JAG has provided an animated virtual tour of the plan.
The 70,000-square foot center was 86 percent empty by the time the redevelopment was approved. Jefferson had conducted a market study that showed attracting a new retail anchor was not an option. Remaining businesses at the village center are in the process of deciding where to go once the redevelopment begins. The last remaining restaurants will all be out of their space by the end of the year.
The DRB meeting will be Tuesday, July 18 at 7 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). The public is invited to attend.
Renderings via Jefferson Apartment Group
Reston Association is searching for members of the community to volunteer for a number of committees.
Members are needed for the Covenants Committee, Fiscal Committee and Elections Committee, as well as the Design Review Board. Residents appointed to a committee must serve for three years, unless otherwise stated.
The Covenants Committee oversees property values by ensuring that their physical appearances are properly maintained. The committee does this with the help of the Use and Maintenance Covenants, which are outlined in the Reston Deed of Dedication. According to RA, the covenants “were developed, in part, to ensure that properties are kept in good repair, acceptable in appearance and substantially similar to their original condition. The covenants require that the property, and any improvement or alteration, be kept in good condition so that it does not have a detrimental or adverse effect on other properties in the community.”
RA members who live in the Hunter Woods/Dogwood district are encouraged to apply for this committee.
The Fiscal Committee is responsible for RA’s monthly financials, draft budgets and annual audits. According to RA, it “advises the Board of Directors on the sound fiscal management of Reston Association’s resources.” People with financial backgrounds are particularly encouraged to apply.
The Elections Committee is primarily in charge of the annual Board of Directors elections, when three board members are elected each spring. Members of this committee do not meet as regularly as other committee members.
The Design Review Board is in charge of supervising the exterior alterations made to properties in Reston. Members use the Reston Association’s Design Guidelines when inspecting the various properties. There is one current opening on the DRB, for a 20-month term through March 2019.
Anyone interested in a position must apply by July 14 at 5 p.m.
In a work session Tuesday (video), Reston’s Design Review Board and Kensington Senior Development made progress on the latter’s plan to put a 91-unit assisted-living facility at 11501 Sunrise Valley Drive.
A re-worked sketch for the proposed facility presented to the DRB at the session pushes the building farther away from nearby townhouses on Approach Lane, part of the Wethersfield Cluster. Where previous proposals had the building within 50 feet of the nearest residence, the new configuration leaves about 80 feet.
The proposal also caps the building at three above-ground stories over one level of underground parking. The center portion of the building would have only two above-ground stories, with a rooftop garden accessible from both sides.
Previous designs for the proposal featured as many as five stories.
“This seems to me to be progress,” said Richard Newlon, DRB vice chair, who was very critical of previous plans. “I think this is going in a direction that is going to be just better.”
The facility would be at the site of the current Good Beginnings School. The property has not yet been sold, with the deal contingent upon the plan’s approval.
Several residents of the Wethersfield Cluster spoke during the session, expressing their concerns about lowered property values, privacy and architectural compatibility.
“The sentiment of the community is that the mass and height of this building is inappropriate at this location so close to a residential community,” said Stephen Cerny, president of the Cluster Association.
DRB members remained skeptical of how the facility would be viewed from Approach Lane and from the adjacent Sunrise Valley Convenience Center. They implored the developer to bring more detailed exhibits to future meetings to address those issues.
While DRB was happy with the effort to move the building farther away from the nearby townhouses, retaining more tree buffer in the process, they asked the developer to explore whether inching even closer to the Sunrise Valley Drive side of the property would be possible.
Screencap via Reston Association/YouTube