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by Dave Emke October 25, 2017 at 10:15 am 76 Comments

Hidden Creek Country Club, one of Reston’s two golf courses, is now under new ownership.

According to an email sent by the country club to its members Tuesday, real-estate developer Wheelock Communities purchased the club earlier this week from its previous owner, Fore Golf Partners. According to the email, signed by Fore Golf CEO Charlie Staples:

Wheelock owns properties along the East Coast and in Texas that range from private golf clubs to large master-planned communities, to luxury waterfront condominiums and urban mixed-use projects. They look forward to becoming part of the highly respected Reston community.

Fore Golf will continue to manage the club for the new owner, according to the email, and club memberships will be unaffected by the change in ownership.

In the email, it is announced that Wheelock plans to invest more than $300,000 in upgrades to the club. This is to include upgrades to the club’s dining and events facilities, the lobby, and the locker rooms. A new fleet of golf carts is also expected to arrive in December.

More “potential changes” are listed, though:

Over the next few years, Wheelock will be working in partnership with the club members and the Reston community to explore potential changes to the property that could provide the Reston community with additional public amenities, environmental benefits and new housing choices.

It has long been feared by community advocates including Rescue Reston that both Hidden Creek and Reston National Golf Course will become the sites of residential development as Reston expands. A specific question about Hidden Creek’s future came up during Monday’s community meeting about potential changes to Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) district. Fred Selden, director of Fairfax County’s Department of Planning & Zoning, said any developer that wishes to build residential units upon Reston’s golf courses would have hurdles to overcome.

“One of the things that the plan that was adopted in 2015 did was explicitly call the golf courses as planned for golf courses and to remain as golf courses,” Selden said. “I can only speak to what kind of development can occur. It’s planned for a golf course. If somebody wants to develop it in some other fashion, they have two options: They have to prove that they have some kind of property rights to build, or they have to come in and request a change to the Comprehensive Plan.”

The new ownership team is offering Hidden Creek members the chance to meet them for the first time next week.

by Fatimah Waseem October 24, 2017 at 1:30 pm 13 Comments

During its meeting Thursday, the Reston Association Board of Directors will consider what they heard during Monday’s county meeting on a proposed zoning ordinance amendment for Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) District and discuss its options.

According to the agenda for Thursday’s meeting, the Board will hear a presentation from land-use attorney John McBride and Larry Butler, RA’s senior director of parks, recreation and community resources. The Board will be asked to consider the following motion:

Move to direct RA staff, in coordination with Land Use Counsel, to work with Fairfax County staff, including testifying at Fairfax County’s public hearings, to amend the proposed Comprehensive Plan Guidelines for Building Repurposing to only allow for the conversion of office to residential uses in buildings located within one half mile of the Reston Metro Stations.

The plan from the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning would bump the overall limit of people per acre from 13 to as much as 16. The current density rests at 11.9 people per acre. Changes would not apply to Transit Station Areas (TSA), which are located along the central east-wise spine of Reston.

The zoning change could also open up Reston’s village centers to possible major residential development. The proposal allows the Board of Supervisors to approve developments above 50 residential units per acre within the district’s TSAs — so long as the projects comply with the area’s master plan that guides development.

The planned discussion follows a spirited public meeting Monday where hundreds of residents voiced strong opposition to the proposal.

In addition, the Board will discuss several budget items during the meeting.

Directors will consider approving nearly $295,000 in improvements to North Hills Tennis Court (1325 North Village Road). Changes include resurfacing clay courts, adding bathroom access and replacing lighting, fencing and a water fountain. Residents voiced support for the upgrades at a community input session in mid-October. The Board says putting the projects back into the budget will not impact the 2018 Repair & Replacement Reserve Fund (RRRF) appropriation or the annual assessment rate.

The Board will consider a move to add $104,000 to remove trees from Butler Pond. The project is necessary in order to comply with a state law that prohibits woody vegetation on dams to prevent dam failure, according to the board’s agenda packet. The project would increase the annual assessment for next year by 49 cents.

Additionally, the Board will vote on a move to fund $60,000 for a business process audit, which would increase the annual assessment rate by $2.85.

The Board will also hold a public hearing on the budget during the meeting.

At its Thursday meeing, the Board will also consider the appointments of members to the Hook Road Working Group. The Hook Road Recreation Area is slated for comprehensive upgrades as part of a pilot project that aims to improve facilities at once instead of completing upgrades over time and as needed. The working group is tasked with making a proposal to the Board on the project’s scope by early next year.

A meeting on the project is planned for Thursday, Nov. 2, at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.). Two other meetings took place this month.

The names of individuals under consideration have not been made available.

Other issues on the agenda for the Thursday’s meeting include:

  • The appointment of Charlie Hoffman to the Design Review Board as a lay member, to fill a vacant seat through March 2019. Hoffman also serves on the covenants committee.
  • The appointment of Mike Martin to the elections committee through October 2020.

The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). The meeting will also be streamed on Reston Association’s YouTube channel.

by Dave Emke October 24, 2017 at 11:30 am 224 Comments

Several hundred Restonians packed South Lakes High School on Monday night to hear explanations from county staff about a proposal to increase the community’s density cap — and several dozen took the opportunity to make their voices heard.

Nearly two hours of sometimes fiery public comment was part of the meeting (video), where representatives of Fairfax County’s departments of planning and zoning, parks, transportation and more addressed questions about the proposal to increase the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) District from 13 to as much as 16.

John Mooney, of Reclaim Reston, estimated more than 900 people attended the meeting. The nearly 650 seats in the SLHS cafeteria were filled, and the room’s perimeter was lined with standing attendees. A few dozen residents watched the meeting from an “overflow room” in a nearby lecture hall. Many in attendance were wearing yellow shirts to show their unity, and some of those people purchased those shirts from a Reclaim Reston vendor table set up at the school’s front door ahead of the event.

A major point of contention brought up by several of the speakers is the appearance that the county is forgetting about those who currently live in Reston as they work to appease developers, Metro and others outside the community who would benefit from increased growth. Residents spoke of diminished quality of life and increased problems with issues such as increased traffic and lost green space if the community builds out to the 16 people-per-acre level at the high end of the proposal for the PRC district.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said hearing comments from some residents that they don’t want to see any more people move to Reston and that they want to halt development altogether “chills” her.

“I feel concerned to say that Bob Simon was a developer and Bob Simon developed the plan that [the county is] implementing,” said Hudgins, who was interrupted numerous times during her remarks by murmuring and shouts from the crowd. “I really, really want to think about what kind of Reston we are, and I’ve been here 48 years. It was a place that said, ‘Hello, you’re welcome, please come.'”

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. Citizen activists warn that the combined effect of these changes could see the population of Reston tripled by 2050.

An increase to the density cap would not guarantee any development; rather, staff said, it would ensure the opportunity that future development requested can be considered.

Referencing a speaker who said she had recently moved to Reston, Hudgins asked the crowd if people such as her should only be allowed to move in when someone else moves out.

“If it’s a yes to that, that means that no growth comes to Reston ever again,” Hudgins said, which was met with applause by many in attendance. “I can tell you, if that’s what you believe, it is not Bob Simon’s dream that you’re talking about.”

(more…)

by Dave Emke October 23, 2017 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

Meeting on PRC Zoning Ordinance Amendment Tonight — The latest community meeting on a proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would increase the density cap in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) district is tonight at 7 p.m. at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive). [Fairfax County]

Review: ‘Aida’ is ‘an Explosion of Color and Sound’ — According to a reviewer, the new Reston Community Players show features “action and comedy elements, along with the flashy set and costume design, [that] will keep young and old enthralled to the end.” [DC Metro Theater Arts]

Crash Shuts Down Reston Roadway — A collision at Fairfax County Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive affected traffic this morning. The road was reopened as of about 8:20 a.m., according to the Fairfax County Police Department. [FCPD/Twitter]

Stream Restoration In Progress — In its latest “Reston Today” video dispatch, Reston Association shares information about a restoration project currently underway at Brown’s Chapel Park and Vantage Hill. [Reston Association/YouTube]

Reston Solar Firm Plans Large Farm — SolUnesco (1818 Library St.) has proposed a 400-acre, 60-megawatt solar farm along in Orange County. [(Charlottesville) Daily Progress]

by RestonNow.com October 20, 2017 at 2:45 pm 50 Comments

This is an op/ed submitted by Terry Maynard, co-chair of the Reston 20/20 committee. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now.

The County, via its proposed zoning density increases, and developers are already planning for Reston’s Village Centers to become nearly two to three times as densely populated as Arlington County’s major Ballston Transit Station Area (TSA).

The result is astounding given that Ballston is rightly a high-density mixed-use transit-oriented development area served by two Metro lines while Reston’s Village Centers are nowhere near Metro.  Moreover, the recent year-long Reston transportation development effort (RNAG) revealed that Fairfax County explicitly doesn’t plan to enhance local bus transit to serve the Village Centers or our TSAs.

Fairfax County data and US Census 2010 data for Ballston show that, with the exception of Lake Anne Village Center, where a redevelopment plan is already in place, the number of dwelling units (homes) per acre will potentially be at least twice as dense as in Ballston. Moreover, because Fairfax County anticipates a fraction more people in each household, the potential number of residents per acre runs better than two and one-half times that experienced in Ballston.   

At the risk of repeating ourselves, Reston’s Village Centers are intended to be neighborhood-serving gathering places. They are not meant to be transit station areas without the “transit.” According to US Census data, Ballston is the most populous area in Arlington County and the fourth most densely populated (people per acre). The notion that TSA residential densities should be applied in Reston’s Village Centers is preposterous and contradicts everything that the Reston Master Plan says about their development.

The current Reston Master Plan calls for the following in any Village Center redevelopment: “Enhance Village Centers as vibrant neighborhood gathering places; advance excellence in site design and architecture; strengthen connectivity and mobility; [and] protect and respect the surrounding residential neighborhoods.”

Any notion that residential density in excess of 100 people per acre is consistent with these objectives is ludicrous.  

If you don’t want your neighborhood Village Center to be blown up and replaced with one or more 12- to 14-story high-rise apartments or condos, please come to the community meeting on the Reston PRC zoning ordinance on Monday at South Lakes High School. Bring your friends and your children for a major civics lesson on local government. Learn, question, and challenge what you hear. It is our Reston and we must act to protect it by showing our revulsion with this absurd zoning ordinance proposal.  

Terry Maynard, Co-Chair

Reston 20/20 Committee

by Dave Emke October 18, 2017 at 10:15 am 25 Comments

Citing the great interest the community has shown in the topic, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office has announced additional arrangements for Monday’s meeting on a Fairfax County proposal to increase Reston’s density cap.

The meeting, scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive), will be streamed live on Fairfax County’s Channel 16. In addition to being available online, that channel can be found on Comcast, Verizon Fios and Cox cable services on channel 16, as well as through digital television (with QAM tuner) on channel 34-16.

To accommodate for parking difficulties at the school, the county will also be offering a pair of shuttle buses from the parking lot at the Human Services building (1850 Cameron Glen Drive) to the school. The first will leave and 6 p.m. and the last will go at 6:30. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, and each trip can take 39 riders.

See the full announcement from Hudgins’ office here.

Next week’s meeting was scheduled after a planned meeting last month at Lake Anne Elementary School was called off when a large number of people — estimated at more than 400 — showed up to oppose the plan, which county officials said breached the fire code.

The occupancy limit for the SLHS cafeteria is 668 when tables are present, though it can hold up to 1,280 if the several dozen large tables are removed.

The proposal from the county 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 county’s Department of Planning and Zoning says the change to the density cap is necessary to make way for growth that is expected after Reston’s Master Plan was updated by Fairfax County in 2014 and 2015 to guide redevelopment in Transit Station Areas, Town Center and village centers.

“A full buildout would not necessarily ever be reached, and if it even approaches that point, it wouldn’t do so quickly,” said Cathy Belgin of the county DPZ’s Zoning Administration Division, of the potential population growth, at a meeting in May. “But staff feels it is important, because the Master Plan takes a long look forward in time, that the regulations should be aligned accordingly for there to be the opportunity.”

More information about the proposal is available at Fairfax County’s website.

File photo from Sept. 25 meeting

by Dave Emke October 4, 2017 at 1:15 pm 6 Comments

(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 occupancy limit for the SLHS cafeteria is 668 when tables are present, though it can hold up to 1,280 if the several dozen large tables are removed.

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.

(more…)

by Dave Emke October 4, 2017 at 12:25 pm 7 Comments

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.

by Dave Emke September 29, 2017 at 10:15 am 19 Comments

A pair of reoccurring themes emerged as members of the Reston Association Board of Directors shared their opinions about Fairfax County’s proposed zoning ordinance amendment on Reston’s Planned Residential Community density.

The Board must be bold in the fight against the County, and infrastructure plans need to be in place before any density increases can be considered.

At Thursday’s meeting, eight members of the Board each shared their personal thoughts about the proposal to increase the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) District — which does not include most of the community’s Transit Station Areas — from 13 to 16. The plan would also give the County Board of Supervisors the ability 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, and citizen activists warn that the combined effect of these changes could result in the population of Reston tripling by 2050.

Cathy Hudgins, Fairfax County supervisor from the Hunter Mill District, had scheduled an informational meeting on the proposal earlier this week, at the suggestion of the Reston Association Board. However, that meeting was postponed because the size of the turnout from the community caused concerns about the fire code at Lake Anne Elementary School’s cafeteria.

(According to Hudgins’ Sept. 28 newsletter: “At this time, a new, larger location for the next public meeting on the Reston PRC has not yet been scheduled. An announcement will be made as soon as details are confirmed.”)

Excerpts of each of the directors’ statements are shared below. To hear their comments in full, check out the video from Thursday night’s meeting.

(more…)

by Dave Emke September 27, 2017 at 4:00 pm 2 Comments

At their monthly meeting, the Reston Association Board of Directors will share their opinions on Fairfax County’s proposed zoning ordinance amendment on Reston’s Planned Residential Community density.

According to Mike Leone, RA’s communications director, it is expected that each member of the Board will share his/her thoughts during the meeting, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

Upward of 400 Restonians showed up at Lake Anne Elementary School’s cafeteria Monday night for a county-hosted public meeting on the subject, which was postponed because of concerns about the fire code.

In a statement to Reston Now, Board President Sherri Hebert said the following:

I want to thank the community for showing such a strong commitment to protecting Reston. We will stand with the community to protect Reston’s interest. RA requested the fourth meeting with the County and we will follow up with the Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s office to ensure that meeting is rescheduled. At Thursday’s RA Board meeting, Board members will share their individual opinions on the topic but the Board will not be ready to take action until after the fourth meeting takes place.

As referenced by Hebert in her statement, Monday’s meeting was scheduled after the RA Board adopted a resolution at its May meeting calling for it, following three county forums on the topic earlier that month. Restonians who attended the May meetings on the subject 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 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.

The agenda for Thursday night’s meeting of the RA Board of Directors also includes:

For those unable to attend, the meeting will be livestreamed on Reston Association’s YouTube channel.

by Dave Emke September 26, 2017 at 10:15 am 69 Comments

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.

(more…)

by Dave Emke September 25, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

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]

by Dave Emke September 22, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Deadline for RA Board Candidacy is Today — Anyone interested in being considered to fill the At-Large seat vacated by Ray Wedell needs to submit a statement of candidacy by noon today. The remaining term on the seat runs through April. [Reston Now]

Silver Line Was Single-Tracking This Morning — An arcing insulator at the Rosslyn Metro station early this morning caused single-tracking on the Orange, Silver and Blue lines. [WUSA]

‘Safety Stand-Down’ Slowed Metro Thursday — Riders experienced woes Thursday morning on the Metro as maintenance inspections of 7000-series rail cars were temporarily suspended, raising union concerns and leaded to fewer available cars. [WTOP]

Letter: Redistricting Needed After 2020 — John Lovaas, of Reston, says residents need to get involved in the fight to end gerrymandering and “take back our democracy.” [Fairfax Times]

Full Presentation from Wednesday’s Community Meeting — The full PowerPoint presentation from Wednesday’s forum to discuss the potential ramifications of a zoning ordinance amendment that would raise the cap on population density in Reston has been made available. [Reston 20/20]

by Dave Emke September 21, 2017 at 11:30 am 73 Comments

A zoning ordinance amendment being suggested by Fairfax County could result in Reston’s population increasing threefold by 2050, community advocates say, and local residents are being encouraged to speak out against it.

Reston 20/20, Reclaim Reston and the Reston Citizens Association presented a community information session on the County’s proposal Wednesday, attended by more than 100 concerned Restonians. The goal of the event was to help residents learn more about what the amendment means and to prepare them for a fourth public meeting on the proposal, being presented by Supervisor Cathy Hudgins at 7 p.m. Monday at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive). The first three meetings on the proposal, held in May, were not seen as adequate by many Restonians who attended them.

“Community participation is vital and must be continuous,” said Dennis Hays, Reston Citizens Association president, during the presentation. “I don’t believe just sitting and having someone tell you what they’ve already decided is participation.”

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.

If the zoning ordinance were to go into effect, Hays said, it would be akin to the genie being let out of the bottle for development all over Reston.

“Once it’s a zoning ordinance, it’s done; it’s over; there’s not much we can do, ever,” he said.

According to numbers presented by Terry Maynard, co-chair of Reston 20/20, the proposed changes combined with high-rise development in TSAs could result in Reston’s overall population increasing to more than 177,000 by 2050. John Mooney, representing Reclaim Reston, said that even by conservative estimates, this would increase peak-time traffic in the community by nearly double if infrastructure needs are not addressed concurrently.

In addition to a lack of adequate streets to accommodate the increased population, Maynard said the lacking infrastructure would also include a deficit in schools and parks. Concerns about police staffing, fire coverage and more were also brought up by other residents.

“You don’t put that cart before the horse,” said Bruce Ramo, of Reclaim Reston, which has organized a petition effort in the attempt to get the county to stop new development proposals and zoning changes until infrastructure needs are addressed. “That’s why we’re saying what we’re saying here tonight: Let’s step back and do it right.”

(more…)

by Dave Emke September 20, 2017 at 9:00 am 7 Comments

PRC Zoning Ordinance Amendment Info Session Tonight — Reston 20/20, Reclaim Reston and the Reston Citizens Association will present the forum tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). This is being held in advance of the fourth public meeting on the proposal, being presented Monday by Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and County Planning and Zoning staff. [Reston Now]

Site Lists Top Places to Eat in Reston — Eater’s list includes 10 locations within Reston Town Center, but it also branches out to Lake Anne, South Lakes and more. [DC Eater]

Copperhead Spotted on W&OD Trail — The venomous snake was spotted last week on the trail near the Luck Stone Quarry overlook in Ashburn, serving as a reminder to be watchful when out in nature. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

Dulles Day Festival is This Weekend — The 25th annual open house event at the airport Saturday will include a 5K/10K on runways, a festival on the airfield, and the plane-pull competition. [Dulles International Airport]

Another Brewery Coming to Route 28 Corridor — Rocket Frog Brewing Company is looking to open in Sterling early next year. This is on the heels of Ono Brewing Company opening recently in Chantilly. [The Burn]

File photo by Audrey Lawson

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