A residential development project that’s stalled for years and would run along Hidden Creek Golf Course is moving forward.
Project leaders with Golf Course Overlook LLC and Golf Course Plaza LLC say they could demolish an office complex that housed a Montessori school, law offices and more.
“We get excited for each and every new development and measure of progress that we come across each day,” said Curt Adkins, vice president of Golf Course Overlook, which is based at the site (11480 Sunset Hills Road).
All of Golf Course Plaza’s tenants have vacated and a crew involved in the project remains at the site.
“We were asked to leave,” attorney JohnPaul Callan of The Callan Law Firm said, noting his office moved to Sterling. “It was probably about two months ago.”
A county database says a demolition permit for the property was processed in March but the permit’s “date issued” status is listed as not available. The county’s Land Development Services department wasn’t immediately able to address a Reston Now message seeking clarity on the matter by the time this article published.
The project was submitted to the county in 2016, put on hold in 2017 and downsized in 2019.
The project has called for constructing a 300-unit residential complex that’s nine stories tall. A rendering shows the project with rectangular building wings meeting into a center that has floor-to-ceiling glass walls on each level for that section.
A hauler or hauling companies to remove the debris could be picked in six weeks, Adkins said.
The developer plans to submit a building permit soon.
(Updated at 2:30 p.m. on 5/19/2021) Reston Association staff is recommending that four pools be “seriously considered for repurposing” due to low usage.
Pool usage will be discussed at a joint work session with the RA board and Recreation Facilities Working Group on Thursday (May 20), along with budgetary recommendations based on findings that the working group presented in late February.
Two decades of data that RA CEO Hank Lynch will present at the work session show that Golf Course Island, Newbridge, Tall Oaks, and Shadowood pools all have lower usage compared to RA’s 11 other pools.
As a result, staff recommends that RA consider “repurposing” the facilities. Tall Oaks and Shadowood are both currently closed for ongoing capital improvement projects.
With pools now open for the 2021 season, the staff recommendations come on the heels of a year-long evaluation by the recreation facilities work group that found a number of decades-old facilities are in need of work and repairs.
The group noted in its report that funding for these capital projects may not be sustainable without a significant increase in members’ annual assessment.
Over the next decade, RA is scheduled to spend about $40 million to operate, maintain, and address capital improvement needs on its 15 pools and more than 50 tennis courts, according to Thursday’s work session presentation.
When asked to comment about what could happen to these specific pools, RA spokesperson Mike Leone told Reston Now in an email that their fate has yet to be determined:
The Facility Working Group’s work session is simply the start of the process. During the work session participants will review the Recreation & Facilities Working Group findings and recommendations on RA’s recreation facilities and the long term operational, maintenance and capital costs for such facilities. ‘Repurposing’ of some facilities may be a consideration and any decision to do so down the road, will require significant community input and discussion, involve RA’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee and would be the decision of the Board of Directors.
When asked if “repurposing” could mean the potential closing of those pools, Leone demurred.
“‘Repurposing’ could mean reimaging the space for a different type of amenity or use of interest to members,'” he wrote.
In general, pool usage has dropped by about 37% over the last decade, according to the work group’s data. Every pool except for Dogwood and Glade has seen a decrease in usage since 2010.
The four pools that have seen the least frequent usage as of 2019, Golf Course Island, Newbridge, Tall Oaks, and Shadowood were all built between 1969 and 1976, making them three to four decades old. It has cost about $9.6 million in total to maintain and operate them over the last 10 years.
In total, RA has spent about $33 million on pool maintenance and operations since 2010.
Budgetary concerns and lower usage aside, a number of community members told Reston Now that they want those four pools to remain open, saying they value their neighborhood pools and believe that recent usage statistics alone do not tell the full story.
Golf Course Square Cluster Association President Elmer Reinhardt says that 400 units would be affected by the repurposing or closing of the Newbridge pool.
“Newbridge pool is the only pool in Reston that you don’t have to cross a through-street to get to it,” he said. “The children can walk to that pool without ever crossing a highway, and we think that’s important.”
A resident of the community for more than 40 years, Reinhardt says he believes the recent lower usage has more to do with the population being cyclical.
“We’re seeing a huge influx of young families into our neighborhoods now and those are the ones that use the pools,” he said.
He argues that it would be shortsighted to make a decision to repurpose or close certain pools based just on recent data.
“[The demographics] change every 10 to 15 years. One year, you’ll only see wheelchairs being pushed on the sidewalks and, the next, only strollers,” he said.
RA has recently renovated several of their pools, including an ongoing and much-discussed $3.5 million facelift for Lake Thoreau. This spring, Glade pool’s slide was resurfaced, and new lighting was added.
The presentation suggests that a “seasonal indoor racket sports facility should be considered,” along with amenities sought by new RA members.
Currently, a conversation about pools is currently not on the agenda for the RA Board of Directors meeting on May 27, Leone confirms.
However, there remains a possibility that it could be added to the agenda prior to the meeting, and members can discuss it during the meeting’s comment period if they wish.
Photo courtesy Reston Association
After last-minute amendments amid the threat of a deferral, the Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved a proposal to replace an office building with 300 residential units Thursday night.
The commission voted to approve the application by Golf Course Overlook LLC to rezone Golf Course Plaza — which is on the west edge of Isaac Newton Square and next to Hidden Creek Country Club. Despite a motion to approve the proposal by Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter, members took a ten-minute recess to amend the proposal, which was fast-tracked by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a vote this month.
Among other changes, members sought to clarify language that the developer would contribute up to $40,000 to the Fairfax County Park Authority if its commitment to an off-site public park fell through. The proposal preliminary calls for a partnership with Dominion Energy and local officials.
Other changes include a provision to install protecting netting or other features to protect the development from stray golf balls.
Carter said the proposal incorporates several patches of improvements to both sides of the Washington & Old Dominion trail, helping create what he said was a “linear park” in Reston.
“I think this is a new marker on the trail,” he said.
The impact of additional traffic on Sunset Hills Road was flagged as a concern by some residents.
“Sunset Hills is just a nightmare,” said Gray Wells, who lives on North Shore Drive. “Do we really need another 300 units when the others are sitting empty?”
Mark Looney, the developer’s land use attorney, said traffic analyses show the development would generate an additional 16 vehicles during peak hours. The developer plans to add a left turn lane on Sunset Hills Road at the entrance of the development. The road is currently undivided and has no dedicated turn lanes.
The building is expected to have nine stories. A three-story garage with 554 parking spaces is planned underneath the east and central portions of the building.
With the commission’s approval, the proposal now heads to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a vote on September 24.
At the meeting, “road from nowhere” — a road depicted in the Reston Master Plan between Isaac Newton Square and American Dream Way — came into focus. Residents reiterated concerns that the road appeared in the plan without community input or prior notice.
Carter suggested deleting the conceptual road from the plan — a process that would require a comprehensive plan amendment. Building the road would require the approval of multiple property owners.
“The chances of that being built are almost none,” Carter said.
Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government