Three Major Reston Projects Head to County Board for Approval Next Week

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider three major mixed-use developments in Reston next week.

If approved, the vote, which is scheduled for Tuesday, June 25, would bring hundreds of additional residential units, as well as office space and retail to Reston’s Transit Station Areas.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission gave all three proposals a green light in previous weeks.

On the southwest corner of the intersection of Dulles Airport Access and Toll Road and Reston Parkway, Reston Crossing developers seek to build up to 1,194 residential units, 890,000 square feet of office space and 50,000 square feet of retail in a seven-building development project. Overall, the project would have up to 2 million square of development.

Developers for two other projects are requesting modifications to previously approved plans. Halley Rise, a 31-acre site previously approved by the county, could see some changes in the eight development blocks proposed on the 4.2 million-square-foot development. The project is located on the northwest corner of the intersection of Sunrise Valley Drive and Reston Parkway. Currently, grading is underway for the first phase of the development.

The developer seeks to shuffle the makeup of hotel, residential and retail uses throughout the eight blocks of proposed development. Overall, the intensity of development will not change.

Similarly, the team behind Reston Heights (11830 Sunrise Valley Drive) is seeking to reduce the amount of office space that was previously approved by the county.

Renderings via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Fairfax County Planning Commission Denies Plan for 13-Story Building

The Fairfax County Planning Commission struck down a plan to bring a 13-story building with 58 residential units near Reston Regional Library.

During a meeting yesterday (Wednesday) night, Commissioners noted that the plan by NS Reston would exceed the density and guidelines allowed for the area, which is known in planning jargon as “Part 5.”

In a report, county staff noted the property has been “marketed as a park for over 20 years.” Staff also stated that the plan was not in conformance with Reston’s comprehensive plan.

Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter said that the commission cannot simply approve plans that do not conform with land use and density requirements. If the parcel is to be developed, it should be consolidated with the Reston Regional Library parcel to the north.

“I can’t imagine that we just disregard the comprehensive plan,” Carter said.

NS Reston is seeking to build a 180-foot residential structure on the site with a partially underground parking garage. An urban park will include public art, a wall bench and a recreational lawn.

John Hart, the commission’s vice chairman, stressed that it is within the purview of the commission to assert that a development area is too small and that maintaining the location as open space is too important to allow development at the intensity proposed.

John McGranahan Jr., the applicant’s representative, said that the development history on the site was complicated.

Despite this, McGranahan said changes between recent approvals of the comprehensive plan indicate that the proposal could be allowed.

He also disputed the way the county calculated whether or not Part 5 would be pushed beyond its development capacity if NS Reston’s plan was approved.

The project is located on the north side of New Dominion Parkway roughly 300 feet west off of Fountain Drive.

The developer did not indicate if they will appeal the decision.

Renderings via NS Reston/Fairfax County Government

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Planning Commission Hearing to Tackle Herndon Development Changes

Four proposed condominiums near Woodland Park Crossing are headed to the Fairfax County Planning Commission for a public hearing next Wednesday (June 12).

NVR, Inc. had received approval previously for the development of a 210,715-square-foot, multi-family building with 148 dwelling units on the site of a larger, 1.6 million-square-foot, mixed-use development.

Now, the developers want to covert the multifamily homes into four, five-story-tall condominiums totaling 185,000 square feet with 96 units for Block C.

The new plans for Block C in the Woodland Park East development would include three public open spaces and one private open space.

The rest of the development includes:

  • Block A: residential townhomes
  • Block B: residential townhomes and two-over-twos
  • Block D: multi-family building
  • Block E: offices and large urban park

Planning Commission staff recommend approval of the development, according to the staff report.

Development plans via Fairfax County, map via Google Maps 

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Tishman Speyer’s Reston Crossing Project Heads to County Board for Approval

Tishman Speyer’s plan to redevelop two office buildings — Reston Crossing I and II — into a major mixed-use project with up to 2 million square feet of development got a green light from the Fairfax County Planning Commission last night (Wednesday).

A vote by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is set for June 8.

The project, Reston Crossing, is located at the Dulles Toll Road and Reston Parkway near the future Reston Town Center Metro Station.  It is neighbored by the Reston Crescent, an approved mixed-use development that is the future home of Wegmans.

The New York-based developer plans to build seven high-rise buildings that are up to 20 stories tall around open space on the 14-acre site. The plan also includes up to 1,003 residential units.

Most of the parking on the site will be underground. Open light wells called “oculi” will allow pedestrians in the parks to look down onto the parking level.

An office building that is between 10 to 16 stories in height would be the first to be constructed if the project is approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The first phase of construction will also include a crossing plaza, a retail plaza and a retail gallery.

Patches of open space totaling 7.4 acres are sprinkled throughout the site. For example, Halley’s Steps is a pocket park designed to transition to Edmund Halley Drive, which runs parallel to the property. A 1-acre “ribbon garden” is also planned, providing a connection from Reston Parkway to the Metro Station.

The two office buildings on the site — Reston Crossing I and II — and surface parking will remain untouched until the second phase of development. The office campus was built in 1998 and is largely undeveloped thus far.

Details of Reston Crossing are below:

  • Building 1: Up to 390,000 square feet of office and up to 15,000 square feet of retail
  • Building 2: Up to 130,000 square feet with between 89 or 144 residential units
  • Building 3: Up to 290,000 square feet in a residential-only building with between 144 to 322 units
  • Building 4: Up to 510,000 square feet with office and retail use. The building could have up to 22 stories — the tallest of all the buildings
  • Building 5: Up to 245,000 square feet with up to 261 residential units and some retail
  • Building 6: Up to 230,000 square feet with up to 244 residential units and some retail
  • Building 7: Up to 205,000 square feet with up to 222 units and 5,000 square feet of retail

Tishman Speyer also plans to work with the owners of Reston Crescent to construct a road used by both sites. A third southbound land along Reston Parkway will be added before the first residential building permit for the second building is issued.

The company also plans to dedicate a right-of-way to the county on Edmund Halley Drive and install a traffic signal offsite between roads A and C, which are depicted in renderings above.

The Planning Commission also approved tweaks to Brookfield Properties’ Reston Crescent project next door to Reston Crossing last night.

John Carter, the Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner, said the changes were not substantial and did not change the density of the project.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Planning Commission OKs Prince Towne Development

The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved Prince Towne LLC’s plans to replace four single-family homes near West Ox Road with nine single-family homes Wednesday night.

The plan for the 4.9-acre site, which is on the north side of West Ox Road and east of Fairfax County Parkway, heads to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a vote in the coming weeks.

Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter said several “magical” improvements helped address critical stormwater management and drainage issues on the site.

Carter said the county worked with the applicant to reduce setbacks on the western property line, preserve more trees, and install an underground stormwater management system.

The community has struggled with poor drainage systems in the past, with most water pooling to the center of the community.

The commission also worked with the applicant to tweak elements like the relocation of a driveway by 18 feet and the deletion of a retaining wall.

“What we’ve done in the last six weeks is to work on the layout,” Carter said.

The applicant also plans to install a new street — Prince Towne Court — that will intersect with West Ox Road.

A final vote by the Board of Supervisors has not been scheduled yet.

During the Wednesday meeting, the commission once again deferred a decision on a plan to remove 215,000 square feet of office space from Reston Heights (11830 Sunrise Valley Drive). A dispute about easement access with neighboring property owners, among other issues, stalled the vote.

Carter said the commission needed more time to resolve several issues. A vote is scheduled for May 22.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Missing Reston Man Found — Steven Stoller, 59, went missing on Monday when he left Bethesda, Maryland. He was located safe and unharmed on Tuesday, according to police. [Montgomery County Police Department]

Comscore Expands into West and Southern Africa — The Reston-based company is expanding its box office measurement services to nine African countries, including Nigeria and South Africa. Company executives say the move can capture the effectiveness of the African film market — one of the “most remarkable cultural developments in recent decades.” [Comscore]

Planning Commission Vote on Prince Towne and Reston Heights Development Proposal Tonight — The panel is expected to vote on scaling back already approved plans for Reston Heights, a mixed-use development already in progress on Sunrise Valley Drive. A vote is also expected on plans for single-family homes on the north side of West Ox Road. [Fairfax County Planning Commission]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Plan to Increase Density of Single-Family Development Moves Forward

Prince Towne, LLC is seeking the county’s approval to replace four single-family homes on the north side of West Ox Road with nine single-family homes.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will vote on the proposal tomorrow.

The new homes will front a new public cul-de-sac street with sidewalks on both sides. The new street, called Prince Towne Court, will intersect with West Ox Road, according to the development plan.

The applicant has proffered that 0.5 percent of the projected sales price of each unit will go toward the county’s Housing Trust Fund. The developer also plans to contribute $61,310 to Fairfax County Public Schools because the development will generate five additional students.

Planning and zoning staff recommended approval of the project, which they said “is similar to the adjacent residential development as well as surrounding residential areas.”

The Planning Commission will vote on the proposal tomorrow night. A decision on Reston Heights, a mixed-use development at 11830 Sunrise Valley Drive, is also expected.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Cell Tower Proposed on Herndon High School Property

The county is considering a proposal to bring a new telecommunications facility with a 124-foot monopole and a fenced 91-by-35 foot compound to Herndon High School.

Milestone Communications Inc. is working with Fairfax County Public Schools to build the telecommunications facility on school property and lease space to wireless providers in the county, according to an application accepted by the county on April 4.

If approved, the monopole and compound would sit on the north side of the football field, just west of the visitors’ bleachers and between two existing stadium light poles. Spring antennas will be located on a platform on top of the monopole and a six-foot tall rod will extend from the tower.

It’s not the first time Milestone has worked with FCPS to build a cell tower. The company has similar projects at South Lakes High School and Herndon Middle School. Len Forkas, the company’s president said the company is committed to informing the community about the project in a transparent manner.

“We’re super excited about being able to improve services and we look forward to the whole process to obtain necessary approvals,” Forkas told Reston Now.

The compound area will be closed off by a 10-foot tall chain link fence in an attempt to create “a solid visual barrier,” according to the application. To go forward, the county must rezone land designated for general public use to the proposed public use of telecommunication facilities.

“The proposed use is benign and will not generate noise, light, dust, glare, vibration, fumes or odors. The traffic generated will be very minimal. The proposed use does not present a threat to the public health, safety or welfare and will not impact radio, television or telephone reception. It will have no negative impact upon the air and water quality, nor will it impact any existing environmental features on the subject property,” according to the submission.

Forkas also said football fields are ideal locations for cell towers because they already have tall lights.

The company says the new facility is necessary to boost coverage along Dranesville Road, Wiehle Avenue, the Fairfax County Parkway and residential communities around the high school site. Currently, Sprint’s coverage in the area is “weak,” according to the application. The tower will also accommodate up to five telecommunications carriers.

The administrative office of FCPS has approved the location on the site, according to the application.

A hearing before the Fairfax County Planning Commission is set for Oct. 2.

Photo of equipment on Lake Braddock High School property via Len Forkas

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Reston P&Z Committee to Take Up High-Rise Condominium Proposal Along New Dominion Parkway

(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) The Reston Planning and Zoning Committee will start considering a new high-rise residential development along New Dominion Parkway at its meeting tonight (March 18).

NS Reston LLC wants to add a multi-family condominium building on a 36,553-square-foot parcel on the north side of New Dominion Parkway and directly south of the Reston Regional Library.

This will be NS Reston LLC’s first meeting with the committee, according to tonight’s agenda.

The Fairfax County Planning Committee will hold a public hearing on the proposal on May 16.

The committee is also set to vote on the Reston Crescent project — more commonly known as Halley Rise. The Fairfax County Planning Committee will then take up the proposal with a public hearing in May.

The Reston P&Z Committee will also hear an update on the redevelopment plan for Isaac Newton Square that would convert the office buildings into a mixed-use project.

A hearing for the county’s Planning Commission has not been scheduled yet, according to the Reston P&Z Committee agenda.

Tonight’s Reston P&Z Committee meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the North County Government Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive).

Image via Google Maps

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Planning Commission Advances Great Falls Assisted Living Facility

The Fairfax County Planning Commission supported a plan to add an assisted living facility in Great Falls at its meeting last night (March 14).

The 62-unit assisted living facility would be run by IntegraCare at 1131 Walker Road — right above Leesburg Pike and close to Colvin Run Mill. Verity Commercial is partnering with IntegraCare for the development.

The 33,429-square-foot-facility aims to fill a growing need in the community — about 35 percent of the Great Falls population is age 55 or older, according to Verity Commercial.

The new facility would also serve the local community in another way. “One of the problems in Great Falls is we have a limited amount of meeting space,” Dranesville District Planning Commissioner John Ulfelder said.

He requested that small groups have access to the facility’s meeting space when it is not being used for the facility’s programming.

The building’s design is meant to have an intimate feel, with short corridors and scattered communal areas.

The facility also plans to include a theater with a system for the hearing impaired, a demo kitchen and auto door opening where residents wear a bracelet that only lets them open their own doors.

Outside, a 10-foot trail along the front of the facility would connect to Colvin Run Road so that the residents may enjoy nearby eateries.

“It’s an outstanding proposal, an outstanding facility,” Ulfelder said.

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Herndon Home Childcare Center Takes Steps Toward Expansion

Updated at 3:15 p.m. on March 8 — Corrects how many kids residents in the county may care for and the permission needed. 

A home childcare center off of Frying Pan Road in Herndon wants to expand.

The childcare at 2472 Silk Court is open during regular business hours on weekdays and provides care for Reston and Herndon kids, according to county documents.

Residents in Fairfax County may care for up to four kids with a county permit, and residents who want to care for five or more kids need a state license, according to the Fairfax County Department of Family Services.

Madhuri Peddi is seeking a special exception that will allow care for up to 12 kids.

The county is expected to consider the special exemption request with a hearing on June 19.

Image via Google Maps

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Former Planning Commissioner Joins Democrats Vying for Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Seat

Former Fairfax County Planning Commissioner Walter Alcorn is the latest Democrat to join a crowded race to replace Cathy Hudgins as the Hunter Mill District Supervisor.

Hudgins revealed late in January that she won’t seek re-election to theFairfax County Board of Supervisors, joining a growing list of board members retiring, including current Chairman Sharon Bulova.

Alcorn, a self-described environmental professional, announced his campaign last Monday (Feb. 11). He is running on a broad platform that ranges from supporting revisions to Reston’s comprehensive plan in 2020 to reviewing school funding.

His top issues on his campaign website are the following:

  • growth
  • schools
  • community
  • environment
  • public safety
  • affordable housing
  • transportation

Alcorn has a mix of experience in the private sector and county government.

He is currently the vice president for environmental affairs and industry sustainability at the Consumer Electronics Association, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, he worked at Alcorn Consulting and at SAIC for about 10 years.

In 2015 Alcorn was appointed by Bulova to the county’s Park Authority Board. His term expired at the end of 2017. Prior to that, he had served on the county’s Planning Commission and worked as a policy aide in the Providence District supervisor’s office, Reston Now previously reported.

On the community level, he was a former president of the Herndon High School PTSA.

Alcorn has received endorsements from Bulova; Democratic State Sen. Jennifer Boysko, who used to represent Herndon in the Virginia House of Delegates; and U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who was the county board chairman before Bulova.

Alcorn plans to hold a campaign kickoff event on Saturday (Feb. 23) at 2 p.m. in the new community room at the YMCA Fairfax County Reston (12196 Sunset Hills Road).

Alcorn will face the three other Democrats — Parker Messick, Laurie Dodd and Shyamali Hauth — vying for the seat at the June 11 Democratic primary.

Photo via Walter Alcorn/Facebook

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RA to Weigh Developer’s Ask With New Path at Tall Oaks Redevelopment

The Reston Association’s Board of Directors is set to consider at its meeting Thursday night a developer’s request that the RA vacates its existing pathway easement at the Tall Oaks Village Center site.

Stanley Martin Companies currently is redeveloping the former village center into a residential community with townhomes and condominiums. Part of the new project will have a public green space next to commercial space and a new pathway.

Since the approved development plans require public access throughout the site, the developers now want RA to give up its existing easement because the planned path is located elsewhere.

“Since the original development of the Village Center, Reston Association has had a pathway easement through the site, starting at the underpass from Tall Oaks Pool, through the commercial area and extending to the northeast near the Tall Oaks Fellowship House,” according to the draft agenda.

Additionally, Stanley Martin has also said that the homeowners’ association for the site will take care of the new walkway, which takes away RA’s maintenance obligations. RA staff estimates that vacating the easement will result in long-term budget savings.

The board is also set to vote on a series of questions that will give the RA’s Governance Committee further guidance for changing the power structure of RA’s key staff.

The resolution before the board will address specifically RA’s legal counsel, chief financial officer, director of finance, controller, chief operating officer and the authority of the board’s chief executive officer. Currently, RA’s bylaws say that the chief executive officer controls personnel and compensation schedules, along with hiring and firing responsibilities.

The RA is also scheduled to discuss the recent contentious PRC zoning ordinance amendment, which the county’s Planning Commission recently recommended that the county’s board deny, along with the monthly report from the treasurer.

The meeting starts at 6:30 at the Central Services Facility (12250 Sunset Hills Road).

Photo via Reston Association/YouTube

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Planning Commission Suggests County Board Deny PRC Proposal

Fairfax County’s Planning Commission finally weighed in on a controversial zoning ordinance proposal for Reston by recommending that the county’s Board of Supervisors deny the specific proposal, yet take steps to resolve PRC issues with the use of a taskforce.

The zoning ordinance would increase the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district — Reston’s primary zoning district — from 13 persons to any number up to 15, along with allowing residential development at a density of up to 70 dwelling units per acre in certain areas.

Vice Chairman and At-Large Commissioner James Hart, the main person leading the proposal, gave a lengthy speech before the commission voted and approved his motions on the proposal. “We are close to the PRC cap, but the level of pushback we have received has confirmed to me it’s the wrong way to do this amendment,” Hart said. “We owe it to the citizens to try.”

Hart added that inflexibility around the PRC cap “is highly problematic.” His vision for resolving the PRC issue involves recoupling the planned number of village centers and the density cap.

The Planning Commission approved all of Hart’s recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, which include directing the board to:

  • deny the zoning ordinance proposal at this time
  • withdraw authorization
  • direct staff to do a Comprehensive Plan amendment
  • establish taskforce with representatives from the community and industry to work on recommending a plan amendment to the board and Planning Commission

If the Board of Supervisors follows the Planning Commission’s recommendations, Hart said he sees two options for future development once the cap is hit on PRC: if applications want to be zoned as PRC, the staff can ask for incremental increases to the PRC cap on a case-by-case review with analysis of each application or applications will zone out of PRC and will need to come in as similar categories — such as Planned Residential Mixed-Use (PRM).

“Either way, those applications can continue,” Hart said.

Hart also tried to tackle the controversy surrounding the proposal, saying that “an unusual amount of misinformation and confusion” from freelance experts helped fuel the concerns. “All of that antidevelopment frustration was focused on this particular amendment,” he said.

He took the time to debunk some of that misinformation he had heard, which included saying that the proposal would not increase the density for Reston overall. He also pushed back on criticisms that said there are no plans for infrastructure to support the proposed PRC changes, reminding locals that because Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, the process of securing infrastructure requires an ongoing basis. “It’s rude to claim that nothing is being done,” he said.

Hart said that he wants to see locals stay engaged in the land use process, which he argued keeps the process grounded in reality. He also thanked the citizen groups and individuals who testified at public hearings and have sent in comments on the proposal.

The PRC decisi0n was the last one the commission tackled before the meeting ended shortly before 9 p.m. with a round of applause from the audience.

Photo via Planning Commission

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Meeting Seeks Input on Proposed Assisted Living Facility in Great Falls

Great Falls residents will be able to get their questions about a proposed assisted living facility answered at a community meeting tomorrow (Feb. 12).

The 62-unit assisted living facility would open in 2020 at 1131 Walker Road and be run by IntegraCare, according to the Great Falls Citizen Association (GFCA). The site is above the Leesburg Pike and close to Colvin Run Mill.

IntegraCare is seeking a special exception to the county’s zoning laws. For the exception to be granted, the plan must satisfy several zoning requirements, such as showing that the application aligns with the Comprehensive Plan. Public hearings are also required before the county’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust is holding the meeting in coordination with citizens association to give locals in the area the opportunity to ask questions and express their opinions on the proposal. County staff from the Fairfax County Department of Zoning Evaluation will be on hand to answer questions.

“Before deciding whether to approve deny the application, the Board of Supervisors will consider whether the proposed use is compatible with existing or proposed developments in the area,” according to Foust’s newsletter to his constituents, adding that the board “may impose conditions and restrictions to address any negative impacts.”

The community meeting, which will include a presentation by the applicant on revisions to their proposal, will start at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at the Great Falls Elementary School (701 Walker Road).

County staff reviewed the application and suggested approval of the special exception in the staff report released last week. The Planning Commission will consider the proposal at its Feb. 20 meeting.

Image via Google Maps, rendering via Great Falls Citizen Association

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