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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 71 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.”

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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

by Dave Emke — September 13, 2017 at 2:45 pm 41 Comments

In a letter recently provided to Reston Association, the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning gives more information about what areas could see “additional residential development” if a proposed zoning ordinance amendment is approved.

A map attached to the letter (pictured at left and available in more detail within the document) shows two dozen locations outside the Reston Transit Station Area where planned residential growth is envisioned by the County. These areas are mostly within or proximate to Reston’s village centers.

The proposal from the county is to increase the limit on people per acre in Reston’s PRC District from 13 to 16. This would allow for 18,737 more people beyond the current cap in Reston over time, DPZ officials say. Reston’s PRC District is currently at about 11.9 persons per acre.

The amendment would also allow for the Board of Supervisors to be able to approve individual developments in excess of 50 dwelling units per acre in Transit Station Areas within the PRC and when in accordance with Comprehensive Plan recommendations — the details of which are broken down in the letter to Reston Association.

Included among the figures provided by the County for these growth areas are an additional 3,097 units at Reston Gateway, 2,143 units at Reston Town Center’s urban core and 2,370 units at Reston Town Center North. These numbers are determined by “the estimated number of dwelling units recommended by the Comprehensive Plan within Reston’s PRC zoned land, for those areas where growth is recommended to occur,” according to the document.

Also included on the list of potential future residential units are 1,212 at North Point Village Center, 1,209 at Hunters Woods Village Center, 724 at South Lakes Village Center and 220 at Lake Anne Village Center. The provided figures also include 465 units at St. Johns Wood, 360 at Charter Oaks and more.

A total of 14,103 “planned units” are plotted, along with 8,189 that already exist or have been approved.

After three public meetings on the subject in May, the County will hold a fourth Monday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive).

Prior to that, however, a trio of community advocacy groups — Reston 20/20, Reclaim Reston and the Reston Citizens Association — have scheduled an information session about the proposal. That event, open to all Reston residents, is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

The DPZ had originally hoped to bring the proposed amendment before the Board of Supervisors in July, followed by a Planning Commission public hearing in September and the Board public hearing in October. It now has those projected dates pushed back to November, January and February, respectively.

by Dave Emke — September 11, 2017 at 4:30 pm 20 Comments

Three community advocacy organizations have combined efforts to plan an informational forum about Fairfax County’s proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would increase the density cap in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) district.

Reston 20/20, Reclaim Reston and the Reston Citizens Association will present the forum Wednesday, Sept. 20, 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 by Supervisor Cathy Hudgins at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25 at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive).

The proposal from the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning would bump the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s PRC from 13 to 16. (The density is currently about 11.9 people per acre. 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.

“We will share with you why these changes are being proposed and the impact on our open space, traffic, schools and other public facilities. We invite you to ask questions, and share your views and concerns,” reads an invitation being distributed for the forum. “Let’s come together to ensure we can continue to say ‘Reston is a planned community,’ and NOT ‘Reston was a planned community.'”

Information was first shared by the county with the community in three public meetings in May. At May’s meetings, residents 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 DPZ had originally hoped to bring the plan before the Board of Supervisors in July, followed by a Planning Commission public hearing in September and the Board public hearing in October. It now has those projected dates pushed back to November, December and January, respectively.

For more information about the Sept. 20 informational meeting, contact members of Reston 20/20, Reclaim Reston and/or the Reston Citizens Association.

by Dave Emke — August 18, 2017 at 10:15 am 4 Comments

It’s official: Restonians will have another opportunity next month to share their thoughts about a proposed zoning ordinance amendment for Reston’s Planned Residential Community district.

Fairfax County’s Department of Planning and Zoning will hold a fourth community meeting on the topic Monday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive), according to information provided this week by Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office.

This follows up on three meetings that were held in May on the proposal from the county DPZ, which would increase the limit on people per acre in Reston’s PRC District from 13 to 16. This would allow for 18,737 more people beyond the current cap in Reston over time, DPZ officials say. Reston’s PRC District is currently at about 11.9 persons per acre.

The amendment would also allow for the Board of Supervisors to be able to approve individual developments in excess of 50 dwelling units per acre in Transit Station Areas within the PRC and when in accordance with Comprehensive Plan recommendations.

At May’s meetings, residents 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 DPZ had originally hoped to bring the plan before the Board of Supervisors in July, followed by a Planning Commission public hearing in September and the Board public hearing in October. It now has those projected dates pushed back to November, December and January, respectively.

Map courtesy Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning

by Dave Emke — July 13, 2017 at 1:30 pm 9 Comments

Three meetings in May to discuss a proposed zoning ordinance amendment for Reston’s Planned Residential Community district did not satisfy residents upset about the plan.

A fourth meeting, though, is on the horizon.

Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins has announced that the county Department of Planning and Zoning will hold another public meeting on the proposal. A tentative date of Sept. 25 was reported.

The proposal from the county DPZ would increase the limit on people per acre in Reston’s PRC District from 13 to 16. This would allow for 18,737 more people beyond the current cap in Reston over time. Reston’s PRC District is currently at about 11.9 persons per acre. The amendment would also allow for the Board of Supervisors to be able to approve individual developments in excess of 50 dwelling units per acre in Transit Station Areas within the PRC and when in accordance with Comprehensive Plan recommendations.

The PRC District does not include any of the TSA property surrounding the Wiehle-Reston East and Herndon Metro stations, nor does it include most of the property in the Reston Town Center Metro station TSA south of the Dulles Toll Road. This was pointed out by several individuals who spoke during May meetings, saying that this means the population and density estimates provided for the PRC District would in reality be much higher in Reston as a whole.

Restonians who attended the May meetings expressed their concern that the county was trying to rush the amendment through the approval process. They were especially upset when the third meeting was held in an open-house format rather than as a question-and-answer session.

“The County and the community need to understand the implications for Reston of the zoning ordinance amendment and quite possibly amend it so that it is consistent with Reston’s vision and planning principles,” said Terry Maynard, co-chair of the Reston 20/20 committee and an outspoken opponent of the proposal, at one of the meetings. “This will take time, not the headlong rush the County and Board [of Supervisors] seem to be in to get this amendment passed with three public meetings in three weeks [in May].”

The Reston Association Board of Directors adopted a resolution at its May meeting asking the County to give more time and consideration to the community’s voice.

The original plan for the DPZ was to bring the plan before the Board of Supervisors this month, followed by a Planning Commission public hearing in September and the Board public hearing in October. It now has those dates pushed back to November, December and January, respectively.

Map courtesy Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning

by RestonNow.com — June 28, 2017 at 10:15 am 21 Comments

This letter was submitted by Reston resident Bruce Ramo, of Reclaim Reston. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now. We publish article and opinion contributions of specific interest to the Reston community. Contributions may be edited for length or content.

Last week, Reclaim Reston, a grassroots citizens group of concerned Reston residents, asked the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to issue a moratorium on proposed zoning amendments that increase density limits and the approval of new development applications not currently in process.

Our group, Reclaim Reston, and the many friends and neighbors with whom we have discussed the proposed zoning amendments to increase density in Reston, recognize the County’s priority is economic development. We welcome compatible re-development in Reston and the new and diverse neighbors that it will bring.

However, we think that the County’s push for greater density will overwhelm the current plans and funding for the schools, parks, roads and other infrastructure needed to support new and current residents. Fairfax County Superintendent Cathy Hudgins has been emphatic in asserting that Restonians should simply accept the fact that infrastructure will lag population. We should not allow that to happen to Reston.

The re-development process for Reston and the other portions of Fairfax County is a labyrinth frequently navigated by large developers in lockstep with their high-end legal counsel and County staff. One needs no more than a random peek at one of the news bulletins posted by the County to understand the symbiotic relationship of developers and the County.

For example, last fall the County announced approval by the Board of Supervisors of a relatively modest project called “Lofts at Reston Station” that will consist of 12 town homes and a 32-unit apartment building on a 1.58 acre-site near the Wiehle Metro stop. Here is a portion of the County’s statement (emphasis added):

As the second largest office market in the county, Reston features many low-density, suburban office parks are ripe for redevelopment. We reworked its land use plan two years ago to encourage more mixed use development and housing near the rail stations.

The Lofts join other approved and proposed development around Wiehle.

Under construction now, Reston Station will erect 1.3 million square feet in homes, offices and shops with direct access to the station.

The self-congratulatory tone of the announcement is a “tell” for Fairfax County’s insatiable appetite for greater density in Reston and corresponding higher tax revenue for the County. Reading through the Staff Recommendations and approvals for this and other projects you will see numerous zoning exceptions and modifications as well as developer-friendly calculations. For example, the County frequently approves modifications of open space requirements, reductions in required parking spaces and setbacks, or deviations from the tree preservation targets.

And as for those developer-friendly calculations, how realistic are the estimates of the number of students to be added by each development? According to those calculations a 500 unit multi-family high-rise will yield only 57 students, elementary school through high school. Such calculations are the basis of the developers’ proffers to “offset the impact of new student growth” at approximately $12,000 per student. Lower calculations of the number of new students reduce the developers’ costs and increase the likelihood that the citizens of Reston will be stuck with over-crowded schools and the tab for school expansions.

Similar developer-friendly calculations by the County also understate the impact to existing infrastructure, such as roads and parks, as is well documented in the recent report by the Reston 20/20 Committee (The Proposed Reston PRC Zoning Amendment: The County’s Rush to Ruin Reston). Also, keep in mind that the developers do not pay their promised “proffers” until the issuance of the first “Residential Use Permit” when their projects are suitable for occupancy. Thus, the funds to help fund infrastructure are not available to the public until new residents are moving in, essentially guaranteeing that the supporting public infrastructure will lag far behind the impact of the higher density.

The sharp increase to the Reston density cap being pushed by the County planning and zoning staff would empower the County to keep approving developer-friendly re-development applications without reasonable attention to the infrastructure needed to support the new residents. Restonians can push back by signing the Reclaim Reston petition to insist that the County keep development and infrastructure more closely aligned.

by Katherine Berko — June 20, 2017 at 5:00 pm 35 Comments

A public space activist group is trying to fight increased density in Reston.

Reclaim Reston, a grassroots organization comprised of Reston residents, on Monday asked the Fairfax Board of Supervisors to issue a moratorium on proposed zoning ordinance amendments from the county’s Department of Planning & Zoning, as well as on approval of any development projects that haven’t yet been submitted.

“Many of the members of the public who have already signed the Reston Moratorium petition have expressed concerns that the things that attracted them to live in Reston, such as ample parks, trails and recreation facilities, quality schools, and reasonable commute times, are at risk as new development proceeds apace,” said Bruce Ramo, a member of Reclaim Reston.

The proposed zoning amendments would change the population density cap in Reston’s Planned Residential Community District, bumping the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s PRC from 13 to 16. It 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.

Reclaim Reston fears that the proposal would harm the safety, health, well-being and property values for citizens in the area. Ramo explained that he recognizes the County’s priority is economic development, but said other things are suffering because of this hyper focus.

“The engine driving greater density is far more powerful than that for the schools, parks, roads and other infrastructure needed to support the new residents and to maintain the overall safety and quality of living for the existing population,” Ramos said.

The DPZ says the current limitation of 13 persons per acre in the Reston PRC “cannot support the amended Master Plan.” It says an increase to 16 persons per acre would allow for up to 18,737 more people in the long term, beyond the current cap.

Reston’s PRC District is currently at about 11.9 persons per acre.

The letter from the group to the county states the following:

“We believe that it is critical for the Board of Supervisors to invoke a temporary moratorium on both zoning changes for increased density in Reston, and approval of new Reston development projects (not yet submitted to the County), pending a firm plan linking planned growth and infrastructure funding.”

When asked if Reclaim Reston is willing to comprise with the County and increase the population cap incrementally, Ramo said no.

“A moratorium means a moratorium,” he said. “Keeping the community’s hand on the spigot of density is the best means currently available to us to assure that that the County complies with the requirement of the Reston Master Plan for phased development and infrastructure.”

People in agreement with Reclaim Reston can sign the petition online.

by Dave Emke — May 30, 2017 at 11:30 am 26 Comments

The Reston Association Board of Directors is asking Fairfax County for another opportunity for residents to learn more about a proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would increase Reston’s population density cap.

At its meeting Thursday, the Board adopted a resolution calling for the public meeting, which would be the fourth on the topic. A meeting last week was scheduled to be the last hosted by the County and Supervisor Cathy Hudgins on the subject; however, numerous residents in attendance expressed their displeasure with the meeting’s open-house format, which they claimed was designed to limit public input.

The first two meetings were held May 3 and May 15, a time frame that has led residents to ask why the County is rushing the issue. The County seeks to bring the plan before the Board of Supervisors in July, followed by a Planning Commission public hearing in September and the Board public hearing in October.

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. It 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.

Staff from the DPZ say these changes are necessary in order to ensure the community can grow in accordance with changes made to the Comprehensive Plan in 2014 and 2015. Residents, however, question the motives of making such a swift change to the density cap and have concerns about its effect on Reston’s infrastructure, open space and more.

During the board’s meeting, land-use attorney John McBride addressed directors on the county’s proposal. McBride said the “virtually unprecedented pace” of zoning applications in Reston is a “tribute to what a great community this is.” However, he added, public scrutiny and input is important on each application as growth booms.

“Although these changes to the current regulations are very limited — two little areas, two sentences — they are also very important,” McBride said. “More residents of Reston should become aware of these changes and should become engaged in the County’s zoning text amendment process.”

At the May 24 meeting on the amendment proposal, Cathy Belgin of the county DPZ’s Zoning Administration Division said staff would consider holding a fourth public meeting, potentially at some point in June. Residents have also been encouraged to submit their feedback through a form on the DPZ website.

In its resolution, the RA Board goes on record saying it does not currently support the proposed changes to the ordinance. In addition, the resolution states that the Board “does not condone Fairfax County staff withholding any information and not fully answering questions from the Reston community.”

Map courtesy Fairfax County

by RestonNow.com — May 26, 2017 at 10:15 am 10 Comments

This letter was submitted by Reston resident Bruce Ramo. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now. We publish article and opinion contributions of specific interest to the Reston community. Contributions may be edited for length or content.

Too much, too soon.

This is the crux of the community’s concern with the proposed zoning amendments, which were the subject of a community meeting with Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins on May 24.

  • Too much emphasis on promoting economic growth, without firm commitments for the infrastructure to support it.
  • Too much willingness to give legal priority to the quantitative possibilities of increased density presented by the Master Plan, without addressing the qualitative conditions of the Plan’s Vision Statement and Planning Principles.
  • Too much form over substance in engaging the public in three quick presentations rather than collaborating to develop a balanced approach for the future growth of Reston.
  • Too much hubris in assuming that the County’s evaluation and analyses of the impact of increased density, without a willingness to consider other thoughtful analyses of the impact to roads, safety, schools and recreational facilities.
  • Too much commitment to the County’s internal work plan for modifying the zoning ordinances.
  • Too much emphasis on getting it done now instead of getting it done right.

Each day, many of us pass a dangerous portion of Wiehle Avenue near Sunset Hills Road where a pedestrian bridge is slated to be built someday. The area is the gateway between the Planned Residential Community of Reston (PRC) and the Metro station area with its thousands of new apartments and townhouses.

The missing pedestrian bridge is a symbol of all that is wrong with the County’s zoning amendment and the manner in which it would facilitate growth without the infrastructure to support it.

The proposed amendment would allow even more development throughout the PRC and elsewhere, but where is the pedestrian bridge? Where are the other new or improved parks, roads, schools and paths to service the higher density? Why is the County pressing to facilitate more growth in Reston, but not balancing the growth with near-term action to make that growth safe, convenient and sustainable? Why is Supervisor Hudgins content to tell Restonians that infrastructure is not her job, as she did [Wednesday] night?

This is the essence of the community’s challenge to the proposed zoning amendment. The County’s approach simply enables far too much development too soon. Please urge the County Planning Staff and Supervisor Hudgins to step back, table the proposed zoning amendment, and work with the community on a more sensible zoning plan to support the future growth of Reston.

by Dave Emke — May 25, 2017 at 11:30 am 16 Comments

The open-house format for third public meeting on a proposed change to the population density cap in Reston’s Planned Residential Community District was not met favorably by Restonians.

The Fairfax County Department of Planning & Zoning came to Lake Anne Elementary School last night to once again address citizens about the proposal, which would bump the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s PRC from 13 to 16. It 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.

When they heard Wednesday’s meeting would not feature further public discussion of the plan, but rather the opportunity for attendees to ask individual questions of staff around the cafeteria, residents were displeased.

“Why can’t you change the format?” a resident shouted. The remark was echoed with calls including “It’s our meeting!” and “You work for us!”

Fred Selden, the director of the county DPZ, said staff believed the format would be a better opportunity for residents to ask specific questions about the plan. He said that at previous meetings, residents who spoke were spending a lot of time straying from the issue at hand.

“There have been opportunities for people to ask questions and also opportunities for people to make statements,” Selden said. “Quite frankly, a lot of the questions did not deal with the zoning ordinance that’s being proposed.”

Residents argued that if comments aren’t being made in front of the whole group, they aren’t useful to the overall discussion of the plan. Staff eventually agreed to a short period at the end of the meeting to reconvene and share thoughts.

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by Dave Emke — May 24, 2017 at 9:00 am 5 Comments

Pair of Meetings Set for Tonight — The third community meeting on the County’s proposed zoning ordinance amendment to increase the density cap in Reston’s Planned Residential Community District is tonight at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive). In addition, the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District meeting with RA Board Director Victoria White is tonight from 7-8:30 p.m. at Southgate Community Center (12125 Pinecrest Road).

RTC Rooftop Video Being Investigated — Boston Properties says it is working with police to investigate after a video posted to YouTube shows someone sneaking onto the roof of the One Freedom Square building at Reston Town Center. The individual is also seen in the video going into rooms that appear to be for staff only. [Reston Patch]

Sobriety Checkpoint Scheduled — County police will have a checkpoint set up within the boundaries of the Reston District on Friday night, from 11:15 p.m. to 2:15 a.m. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Pool To Be Closed for Four Days  — In an emailed announcement, Reston Community Center says the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center will be closed from Tuesday, June 6 to Friday, June 9 in order to conduct soil testing around the pool. According to the announcement, “this testing is necessary for proper maintenance and improvement of the aquatics center. The pool and spa will resume their regular schedule of rentals, classes and drop-in programs on Saturday, June 10. Reston Community Center Hunter Woods will remain open for non-pool activities during the closure.”

by Dave Emke — May 16, 2017 at 2:45 pm 20 Comments

The dozens of residents in attendance at Monday’s Reston Planning & Zoning Committee meeting were asked to raise their hands if they oppose the county’s plan to increase density limits in the Reston Planned Residential Community District.

The response was practically unanimous.

After hearing — many for the second time, after a May 3 meeting — the Fairfax County Department of Planning & Zoning’s presentation, numerous attendees spoke up to share their concerns. One of the most repeated was a thought about the seemingly short timeline of the county’s plan to amend the zoning ordinance.

“The County and the community need to understand the implications for Reston of the zoning ordinance amendment and quite possibly amend it so that it is consistent with Reston’s vision and planning principles,” said Terry Maynard, co-chair of the Reston 20/20 committee and an outspoken opponent of the proposal. “This will take time, not the headlong rush the County and Board [of Supervisors] seem to be in to get this amendment passed with three public meetings in three weeks this month.”

The third public meeting on the DPZ’s proposal is slated for Wednesday, May 24, at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive). The DPZ says it is hoping to bring the plan before the Board of Supervisors in July, followed by a Planning Commission public hearing in September and the Board public hearing in October.

The DPZ says the current limitation of 13 persons per acre in the Reston PRC “cannot support the amended Master Plan.” It is planning to recommend the Board of Supervisors change that limit to 16 persons per acre. It says that would allow for up to 18,737 more people in the long term, beyond the current cap.

Reston’s PRC District is currently at about 11.9 persons per acre.

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by RestonNow.com — May 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm 15 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.

Last Wednesday evening may have seen a watershed moment in Reston’s development, as about 150 residents confronted the County’s planning staff and Supervisor Cathy Hudgins at a community meeting on the Board of Supervisors plan that, in addition to other changes, would eliminate any limit on the density of residential redevelopment in Reston Town Center under the Reston Planned Residential Community (PRC) zoning ordinance’s “high” density area category, as long as those plans were consistent with the Reston Master Plan.

Power unchecked is power abused.  That is what Reston is looking at with the Board’s Reston PRC zoning proposal.

Moreover, increasing the zoned density of any property in Virginia creates a “by right” authority for developers to build at that density. It cannot be revoked by the Board, even if experience shows the density is excessive.

High density is a gift to developers that often costs residents increased taxes (such as the new station area Transportation Service District tax), traffic congestion, school crowding, environmental deterioration; reduced livability from overtaxed open space, park facilities and libraries; and greater demands on police, fire and emergency services.

A more specific look at the implications for Reston Planned Residential Community (PRC) areas of Reston Town Center as shown in the enclosed map highlights where those changes would occur. The PRC zoning area subject to this zoning amendment proposal includes virtually all of Reston Town Center north of the toll road, and the Reston Heights — Westin Hotel — area of the Town Center station area south of the toll road.

The Reston Town Center area of the zoning code does not explicitly use the high/medium/low residential designation used in the suburban areas. Instead, the PRC land use map calls for them to be related to transit station area mixed-use. Nonetheless, the “high” density limit of 50 DU/A has been used as the upper limit in RTC. Moreover, the Reston plan that theoretically limits development generally identifies “target” residential goals for each of the districts and subdistricts within the Town Center.

Only one of these districts with an explicit “target” number of DUs proposes an overall density greater than the existing “high” density limit the Reston PRC. That’s the area immediately next to the Metro station on the north side, where the plan’s “target” residential density would lead to 88 DU/A, with 2,600 units as laid out as a target in the plan.

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