Flash Flood Watch in Effect for Ida — The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch and Hazardous Weather Outlook for Fairfax County that will be in effect today (Wednesday) through tomorrow morning, as the remnants of Hurricane Ida pass over the region. The county advises avoiding flooded streets, moving valuables from basements, and making sure storm drains and gutters aren’t clogged. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]
Alcorn Denies County/Golf Course Development Deal — Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn told the citizens’ advocacy group Rescue Reston that Fairfax County is not aware of any deals to redevelop one of Reston’s two golf courses. A Rescue Reston board member said his group had been told a development deal was “in the works with the county,” which Alcorn denied. [Patch]
Eagerness and Uncertainty Mix in High School Football’s Return to Reston — “By 6 p.m. Friday, the only remaining evidence of that afternoon’s thunder and rain were shallow puddles dotting the back parking lot at South Lakes High School in Reston…It was time for a football game. This matchup between the Seahawks and Robinson was one of about 50 games played across the D.C. area last weekend — the official return of fall football.” [The Washington Post]
RA Announces Labor Day Weekend Pool Schedule — The North Shore, Ridge Heights, Lake Newport, and Glade pools will all be open from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 4-5) and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday (Sept. 6). While the summer pool season is coming to a close, the North Shore and Ridge Heights pools will remain open through Sept. 19. [Reston Association/Twitter]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Monday, May 17
- One Loudoun Carnival (5-10 p.m.) — After taking a break in 2020 due to the pandemic, One Loudoun’s annual carnival is back. Open nightly through the end of the month, the event features rides, games, and of course, the requisite funnel cake.
Tuesday, May 18
- Questions About Demographic Change (6-7 p.m.) — Have questions about the latest Census results and the demographic changes that it’s reporting? Come ask George Mason University Associate Professor of Policy and Government Justin Gest in this virtual question and answer session organized by Fairfax County Public Library.
Wednesday, May 19
- Ravel Dance Company presents “Coppelia” (5 p.m.) — The Ravel Dance Company in Reston is finally heading back to the stage with a performance of the comedic ballet “Coppelia.” While there remains no live audience, the performance will be videotaped and presented digitally through invitation only.
Thursday, May 20
- Brian Boome in conversation with Jason Reynolds (8 p.m.) — Politics & Prose presents a talk between authors Brian Boome and Jason Reynolds, who will discuss his new book, “Punch Me Up To the Gods.” Reynolds is a D.C.-area native who has won awards for his young adult fiction, and Boome is presenting his memoir about his experiences growing up in Ohio.
Friday, May 21
- Dinner at Dusk (6 p.m.) — Have the perfect date night at the Key Bridge Boathouse in D.C. The evening starts with a one-hour paddle, followed by dinner and live music along the shores of the Potomac River.
Saturday, May 22
- Hole in One (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) — Go for a hole in one at the newly renovated Jefferson District mini-golf course in Falls Church. The course is hosting an open house for all to check out those immaculate greens. Play, put the ball in the hole, and get a goody bag as well.
- Movies in the Park (7:45 p.m.) — Take in the 1988 John Candy comedy “The Great Outdoors” outdoors. Join the Reston Association for the latest installment in their “Movies in the Park” series. Bring a blanket, your mask, and the family to Lake Newport Soccer Field to catch a flick outside.
Sunday, May 23
- Turtle Trek (1:30-3 p.m.) — In honor of World Turtle Day, go in search of turtles that call Reston home. Meant for all ages, the day will end with a hike to the turtle habitat at Lake Audubon.
Photo via Linnaea Mallette/Public Domain Pictures
One of the world’s largest golf management companies, Troon, has acquired Reston-based Indigo Golf Partners, formerly known as Billy Casper Golf.
The Reston company owns and operates more than 160 golf courses, country clubs, and resorts in 29 states.
“Troon aligns with our commitment to quality service and has a complementary course portfolio making it the right company for us to join. We are confident in growth ahead for Indigo and appreciate the dedication and commitment of all team members and partners who have made our great company what it is today.” Peter Hill, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Indigo Golf Partners, wrote in a statement.
The office in Reston will continue to support managed clubs in the Troon family, including OB Sports and Troon Golf. The company has offices in Reston, along with others in the United States, and one in Dubai.
“Peter Hill and I have been good friends for many years,” said Troon Founder and Executive Chairman Dana Garmany. “While we have been friendly competitors over time, we’ve always shared a mutual admiration for each other’s company.”
Wheelock Communities is still courting ideas for the redevelopment of Hidden Creek Country Club amid community consternation and angst on the future of the 159-acre golf course.
The developer, which bought the golf course in October 2017, is considering redeveloping the club into a large public park with an unidentified number of residential units. The plan is in its initial stages as Wheelock continues virtual meetings with stakeholders.
Steve Coniglio, a regional partner for the mid-Atlantic region at Wheelock, says that while he is aware of differing opinions and concerns about the golf course, he welcomes a transparent community discussion.
“Let’s get all of the people who care and let’s get them into a room and let’s figure this out. What’s the right answer for Hidden Creek?”
So far, the develop is considering creating seven neighborhoods with a “broad spectrum” of affordable housing, according to its website. A 100-acre public park will include recreational facilities like an indoor tennis and pickle ball court, senior fitness area, and a playground. The developer also plans to add between two to four miles of public trails, a new trailhead off of Sunset Hill Road connecting to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, and new landscaping and stormwater management features.
Reston’s two golf courses — Hidden Creek and Reston National — have been bought by developers seeking to redevelop a portion or most of the properties into housing. But a grassroots efforts led by Rescue Reston, a grassroots advocacy group, staved off the development proposal at Reston National several years ago.
The community advocacy group is hoping to do the same with Hidden Creek. Recently, the group stepped its advocacy efforts after Wheelock concluded meetings with stakeholders by urging attendees to encourage Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn to support their plan.
The Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan states the golf course should remain a golf course. An amendment to the plan would be required for Wheelock to proceed with any plans.
Alcorn told Reston Now he has no plans to initiate a change to the comprehensive plan to allow development to proceed.
“I have long and consistently stated – including during last year’s supervisor election, and since – that unless and until communities surrounding the golf course indicate their desire to initiate a change the Comprehensive Plan I will oppose any such change. It is also not within the scope of the current review of the comprehensive plan for Reston,” Alcorn said.
Rescue Reston has since renewed advocacy to preserve Hidden Creek. Over the weekend, volunteers placed bright yellow flags urging residents to save Reston’s golf courses.
“From its inception, the planned community of Reston was designed to have concentrated open space and concentrated development. It also was based on diversity of socioeconomic households,” wrote Connie Hartke, Rescue Reston’s president, in a statement.
Lynne Mulston, chair of Rescue Reston North Committee, added that Wheelock appears to pitch its public park concept to the community without offering more details on the housing component of the project.
“Wheelock spends more time discussing an additional five miles of pathway
(to add to Reston’s existing 55 miles plus Reston’s existing access to the W&OD trail, the Gerry
Connolly Cross County Trail and nearby paths in Lake Fairfax Park) than time spent focusing on the housing lots they will sell off to individual homebuilders.”
An official proposal with the county has not been filed, nor is it clear when the proposal may be submitted, Coniglio said.
Coniglio says turning the golf course into a public park with a housing component is a win-win situation. While the number of residential units has not been finalized — up to 1,000 has been pitched — Coniglio says the units will likely vary from single-family homes to duplex units.
“It’s a pretty good trade when you’re looking at transitioning from a private country club with a limited number of services to becoming a public park that’s really for all. That’s really in the spirit of diversity and inclusiveness that is Reston.”
Athletic fields, basketball courts, picnic shelters, playgrounds, and other amenities will be open, but with the following restrictions in place:
Athletic Fields – Athletic fields will open for organized and permitted use based on the governor’s and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines pertaining to use of athletic fields.
Basketball Courts – Outdoor courts will open, but users must stay 10 feet apart.
Volleyball Courts – Outdoor courts will open, but users must stay 10 feet apart.
Dog Parks – Dog parks will open with users urged to maintain social distancing.
Marinas – Marinas will open for rentals at lakefront and riverfront parks.
Mini-golf – Miniature golf courses will open at all locations, except Jefferson District Park (due to construction).
Restrooms – Permanent outdoor restrooms and portable restrooms will open systemwide. We encourage visitors to bring hand sanitizer since these facilities are often without running water.
Picnic Shelters – Shelters within parks will open for permitted use with 50% capacity of regular occupancy limits, not to exceed 50 people.
Playgrounds – Playgrounds will open systemwide including Clemyjontri Park and Chessie’s Big Backyard at Lee District Park. There is no special cleaning; visitors should use at their own risk and must adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Currently, recreation centers and other Fairfax County Park Authority facilities remain closed, including nature centers, pools and historic sites. The county is expected to allow more openings when the state enters phase three.
FCPA staff have begun implementing the changes at several facilities. Implementation of the latest openings could take several weeks.
In the Town of Herndon, dogs and playgrounds opened today, but restrooms and basketball courts remain closed. No special cleaning will be conducted of any playgrounds in the town or the county.
A man who visited Christ Church in Georgetown where a rector tested positive for coronavirus defied a two-week self-quarantine recommended by D.C. Mayor Bowser.
According to a FOX 5 DC report, the man, who is from Silver Spring, spent Monday “playing golf in Reston…. albeit at a distance from his friends.”
Roughly 550 parishioners were in self-quarantine through Monday (March 9) after the rector tested positive for the virus. A 39-year-old man who is also from the church also tested positive.
At a county meeting earlier today, the county’s health director urged residents to exercise caution when going outdoors.
Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Braband also outlined two different scenarios for school closures in the event of the spread of the virus into local schools.
Closures could be targeted to specific schools or closed entirely if recommended by the state health commissioner due to high rates of absenteeism.
Photo via Unplash
This op-ed was submitted by Doug Britt, who was honored as a 2019 Volunteers of the Year for his efforts to guide Reston into becoming a member of the Biophilic Cities Network. Mr. Britt is a Virginia Master Naturalist and currently serves as an At-Large Director of Reston Association and is a member of RA’s Environmental Advisory Committee.
For years golf courses have been stereotyped as environmentally unfriendly amenities. But times are changing the way they are being managed. Overall Virginia has 37,000 acres of open space devoted to golf courses, and many of them are providing valuable wildlife habitats in otherwise urban settings. Reston’s two courses are prime examples. Deer, fox, groundhogs, chipmunks, and grey squirrels are often observed during daylight hours. More secretive or nocturnal mammals such as voles, mice, flying squirrels, coyotes, possums, raccoons, and skunks use the wooded margins of the roughs during the late evening hours. The golf course ponds harbor various species of turtles, frogs, toads, and salamanders. Birdwatching around the golf course margins can be very productive: more than 100 bird species have been observed from the two Reston courses. A pair of red-tailed hawks have fledged several young at Hidden Creek Golf Course each of the past several years, bald eagles occasionally stop over, and the peregrine falcons that nest at Town Center are occasionally seen hunting along the fairways. Bluebird populations around the courses have been increasing and Hidden Creek Country Club is the only community nesting site in Reston for purple martins.
More and more courses in Virginia are applying best management principles to reduce chemical applications and to minimize irrigation needs. For example, the Virginia Golf Course Supervisors Association (VGCSA) established a Golf Course Nutrient Management Plan in 2017 designed to minimize fertilizer, herbicide, and pesticide use. This year approximately 99% of Virginia golf courses have adopted this Plan. Most Virginia golf course supervisors are also using a comprehensive “Environmental Best Practices for Virginia Golf Courses Manual”. Audubon International has initiated a certified Cooperative Sanctuary Program for golf courses, and 29 Virginia courses have so far met the rigorous standards for program certification, including Reston National Golf Course, which just received its re-certification.
Some Virginia courses have established “pollinator gardens” around their tee boxes to attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. More than 50 individual butterflies comprising a dozen different species were observed feeding on flowers around a single tee box at River Bend Country Club this summer. Other Fairfax County courses are participating in the “Monarchs in the Rough” Program, where the host plants for monarch larvae are planted to attract these iconic butterflies. Other County courses are cooperating with the Virginia Bluebird Society to create blue bird trails (Kingsmill Golf Course reported that it had fledged more than 200 bluebird chicks on its three courses this year). Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria has 6 on-site beehives to help pollination; moreover, they sell the honey produced in their pro-shop.
Heavily treed golf courses such as Hidden Creek also provide substantial environmental and human health benefits. The trees contribute significantly to carbon capture and storage, air pollution removal, oxygen production, stormwater retention and erosion control. They also are effective in lowering energy costs by cooling surrounding buildings in the summer and reducing wind chill in the winter. Research on the human physiological, psychological, and spiritual benefits of contact with nature (and urban forests in particular) are showing diverse positive effects, including reduced blood pressure and stress hormone levels, lowered obesity, and increased cognitive performance.
Proper turf management on golf courses also builds healthy soil microbial communities and encourages large earthworm populations that create biopores that oxygenate the soil and facilitate stormwater retention and groundwater recharge.
In 2018 Reston was designated a member of the prestigious Biophilic Cities Network – a network of progressive cities around the world that purposefully connect their residents with nature in significant and extraordinary ways. Reston was clearly designed to do just that by its founder’s (Robert E. Simon’s) guiding principles, its 55 miles of walking, hiking, and biking paths, and its 1300 acres of open space and natural areas. Reston’s golf courses have the potential, if managed wisely, to be very valuable environmental assets. They should be another extension of the way Reston connects its people with nature where they live, work, and play.
Photo by Reston Association
Launchbox — the TopGolf inspired golfing experience at 1757 Golf Club’s driving range — is offering the first hour of play for free this Friday through Sunday!
Imagine playing golf with real golf balls and never losing one in a space where pace of play is never an issue. With just a touch of a screen you can be instantly transported to holes on world-famous golf courses like Pebble Beach. Not to mention fresh food prepared by an executive chef and a cocktail menu at your fingertips.
No, this is not something from the mind of a mystical golf movie-script writer. It’s not really something you can get at a purely golf entertainment center like TopGolf or sitting down at a fancy downtown restaurant.
It’s more like an eclectic combination of all these pleasantries and it’s made possible through the magic of TopTracer cameras — the same technology used to show ball flight paths on TV tournaments.
Launchbox has been around for a year, and to celebrate they’re offering the first hour in a bay for free with contests and giveaways. The resident Long Drive Tour Pro will be having a competition where you can try to out hit his 9 iron to win a prize, and the club will be releasing their own beer!
1757 partnered with Brew Republic Bierworks in Woodbridge to create an exclusive Hazy Session IPA. This weekend will be your first chance to taste Swing Easy IPA, and the owner of Beer Republic and their Brewmaster will be on hand Friday from 3-6 p.m.
Some members of Hidden Creek Country Club, a 163-acre private country club, are vexed about “deplorable” conditions at the 163-acre private country club, which could be redeveloped into a 100-acre grand park with residential housing.
Issues with maintenance and upkeep of the club, which was established in 1963, have become a flashpoint in the public debate about whether or not redevelopment of the property, which was purchased by Wheelock Communities for $14 million in October last year, is warranted. Some worry maintenance issues signal ownership is unwilling to explore an option on the table: maintaining the country club in its traditional form.
A mid-September letter signed by 104 members demanded that management increase the number of staff, fix bathrooms, improve routine maintenance, fix a broken beverage cart and host a meeting to reiterate the company’s commitment to the club so long as the golf course remains a golf course and membership dues are collected.
In a letter responding to members, Wheelock said it is committed to maintaining the club and golf course, noting that the company has invested more than $300,000 in upgrades to the Roanoke Grill, tavern, Fairway room, lobby, and locker rooms. An additional $200,000 was invested to continuously repair the facility. Company representatives also noted that they will continue to keep the club’s membership informed and involved in discussions about the club’s redevelopment — discussions which several members have been a part of since Wheelock purchased Hidden Creek.
“The Club Management is in close contact with us on an ongoing basis. We are aware of the punch list items of needed repairs for the clubhouse as well as maintenance needs for the golf course,” the letter states.
Eric Levin, the club’s general manager, told Reston Now that management was aware of issues flagged by members and was working diligently to address them prior to receiving the letter. This year’s summer weather was also the “most extreme” in many years, leading to poor playing conditions, Levin wrote in an email.
“We have been working tirelessly to rectify the issues outlined. The owners have invested over $500,000 to this point in 2018 with another $200,000+ scheduled over the next few months on both the Clubhouse and the Golf Course,” Levin wrote.
Steve Coniglio, Wheelock’s local partner, declined to comment on a request from Reston Now, noting that he did not believe it was appropriate to turn the issue into a public matter.
“As a private country club, I am happy to provide this information to our members,” Coniglio wrote in an email.
Some members, many of whom have been a part of the club for more than 10 years, are still not satisfied. As stated in the letter, they have threatened to post negative reviews on social media about the golf course, absent progress on maintenance and staffing issues.
One member, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to preserve membership status, told Reston Now that conditions are the club have dipped to a new low.
“People think they’re not putting any money into this golf course. There’s a business case that you can’t support a country club in this economic environment. But there are half a dozen golf course communities that are thriving and commanding just enough money. That can happen here too,” the member told Reston Now. “There are some really good employees and people who work there. We want this place to thrive.”
The letter, which was obtained by Reston Now by a signatory, highlights issues like downed trees, irregular moving, inconsistent trash collection, downed and dead trees and poorly maintained bathrooms. It suggests hiring at least four employees to help with maintenance.
“We want so badly to take pride in Hidden Creek. We see it as our home away from home. We would much rather post positive reviews… before we recommend Hidden Creek to the world, we need the conditions to improve,” the letter states.
Although the company has not filed formal development plans with the county, Wheelock is exploring redeveloping the private country club into a 100-acre public park with amenities and an undisclosed number of residential units.
Redeveloping the property would require a number of changes to county planning documents, which designate the property for private recreational use. Rescue Reston, a grassroots group which successfully fought against the redevelopment of Reston’s other golf course, has committed to opposing any redevelopment plans.
Photos via Hidden Creek Country Club member
A developer’s plan to rezone and redevelop Hidden Creek Country Club from a private golf course into a 100-acre public park with between 600 to 1,000 residential units drew passionate opposition from residents Thursday night.
Wheelock Communities, which purchased the golf course in October last year, presented its conceptual plan for the 160-acre property to Reston Association’s Board of Directors. A formal development plan has not been submitted to the county and would require the county to rezone the property. Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan restricts Hidden Creek Country Club as a private recreational use, specifically a golf course. RA also passed a resolution in 2016 that states Reston’s two golf courses are reserved for golfing only, although the approval of the project and required rezoning is determined by the county.
Steve Coniglio, a regional partner with Wheelock, pitched the concept to RA’s board as an environmentally-friendly move that would serve unmet public space needs in Reston and provide for-sale housing stock at a variety of undisclosed affordability levels. Wheelock, which led several work group sessions with area stakeholders about its plans, would also restore several degraded streams on the site and end Lake Anne water rights exclusive to the golf course, creating a community gathering space with input from residents.
In a flashback to its defense of Reston National Golf Course, which was threatened by development several years ago, Rescue Reston, the grassroots organization that seeks to preserve the golf course and push back against unplanned development, challenged Wheelock to sell the site to another owner who can preserve the golf course and help it rebound.
“They throw in their version of a ‘park’ to misdirect and divide us,” said Lynne Mulston of Rescue Reston, adding that Wheelock’s plan makes “insulting assumptions” about Reston. A survey of area residents conducted by Rescue Reston this year found that nearly 97 percent of the 454 respondents want to preserve the golf course for private recreational use.
“It’s a bad swing that takes Reston out of bounds,” Mulston added.
Rescue Reston members, clad in yellow shirts, also said Wheelock’s plan leaves many unanswered questions, including who will maintain and pay for the park and pedestrian access. The group also said Wheelock’s plan is not driven by environmental stewardship because residential development would require tree removal and contribute to stormwater runoff.
“Open space today, tomorrow, forever,” said Rescue Reston’s president Connie Hartke.
But Coniglio said the golf course is struggling to court members for dues-only membership, forecasting an uncertain future for the golf course. “Everyone says make it better, but it’s a business and its about cash flow,” Coniglio said.
The company spent around $500,000 for capital improvements to the golf course this year and future expenses to maintain the golf course are only expected to rise, he said.
“Yes, it’s a golf course today. That’s absolutely true. But is the golf course the best use of the land as it relates to the rest of the community? I don’t think it necessarily is,” Coniglio said.
RA board members pushed Wheelock for more information, including market analyses, on how the developer determined the golf course’s current use was unsustainable.
“Why would I join a club if the press tells me you’re going to close it?” said RA board member Julie Bitzer, adding that Wheelock’s vision for the property fails to acknowledge Reston’s golf course heritage.
Wheelock’s vision for the property includes between 600 and 1,000 residential units with a mix of townhouses, villas, and multi-family units. Coniglio said the developer designed the project “backwards” by focusing on open, public space. The residential component of the project would generate between $300,000 and $500,000 in yearly revenue for RA.
“We started with the open space, we started with the stream and the environment and that’s why we don’t have a plan with streets and boxes here for you,” Coniglio said, noting that the development would be designed so that it transitions smoothly to surrounding areas.
RA board member Ven Iyer said it was unfair to neighboring residents who could see their backyards jump from a private to public use.
Wheelock’s presentation is below:
Rescue Reston’s presentation can also be found below:
Photo via YouTube
Wheelock Communities, the owner of Hidden Creek Country Club, will discuss its future plans for Hidden Creek Country Club, one of two golf courses in Reston that could be slated for redevelopment.
After a series of focus group meetings with community stakeholders, the company, which has contemplated adding a residential component to the golf course since it purchased the property last year, plans to create a 100-acre “grand park” open to the public. The plan also includes a residential component, which could include a mix of housing types and housing for seniors and generate between $300,000 and $500,000 in yearly Reston Association dues.
The company has not submitted official development plans or a rezoning application to the county. Reston’s Master Plan states the golf course is designed for private recreational open space and an RA resolution commits to ensure Reston is a two-golf course community.
A zoning ordinance change would be required for the project to move forward, if proposed. At a focus group meeting last month, the company said it could build between 500 and 2,000 housing units on the property. Its partner company, Wheelock Street Capital, purchased Charter Oak Apartments, which is next to the golf course.
A recreational village in the grand park would “accommodate people’s pursuit of physical betterment,” according to presentation materials submitted to RA. A representative of Wheelock will provide an update about development plans to Reston Association’s Board of Directors on Thursday (Sept. 27). The recreational village would serve as a “modern sports and fitness center of excellence.”
Between 2.5 and 3.5 miles of trails would be added to the grand park, as well as recreational amenities like indoor tennis, a garden of remembrance, a playground, a splash park, and a dog park. The company is also contemplating renovation of the Temporary Road Recreation Area and restoring between 3,000 and 5,000 feat of degraded streams. The park would connect with the Washington & Old Dominion Trail and other nearby destinations like Reston Town Center and Lake Anne Village Center.
Rescue Reston, a grassroots group that seeks to preserve Hidden Creek Country Club as a golf course, will offer its response to Wheelock’s presentation at the Thursday meeting. The group was created when Reston National Golf Course was threatened by development several years ago. The development plan was later abandoned in that case.
In previous meetings, members of RA’s board have expressed strong support for maintaining Hidden Creek Country Club as a golf course.
The meeting will be live-streamed on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on RA’s YouTube page.
Handout via RA
The “road from nowhere” is a household term among Restonians who are abreast of the day-to-day happenings in local development and land use. The conceptual road, which runs from the Isaac Newton Square property to American Dream Way, cuts straight through an open space resource that local grassroots groups are trying to protect from development: Hidden Creek Country Club.
There are no plans on the books to build the road. But the presence of the line in Reston’s Comprehensive Plan has some scratching there heads: Where did this road come from? And what does it mean for the golf course?
County officials say the road is entirely conceptual in nature, but could possibly be needed to improve connectivity if planned redevelopment happens in the Isaac Newtown Square area. The road could also relieve congestion at the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue by serving as an alternative route to Sunset Hills Road, according to Robin Geiger of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.
Geiger stressed the road has not been designed and if it is — whether through private development or through a public project — the community will have multiple opportunities to provide their feedback. The county will also work through the potential impacts to the golf course or environmentally-sensitive land in the area.
No development applications have been submitted for the Isaac Newton property to date. In May 2016, however, an application to develop a nearby three-acre site at 11480 Sunset Hills Road into an apartment building was indefinitely deferred.
But grassroots groups like Rescue Reston, which actively led efforts to stop the redevelopment of Reston National Golf Course and pledge to do the same for Hidden Creek Country Club, want the planned road connection removed from the comprehensive plan’s map. Its presence suggests the disruption of the golf course, which is one of two in Reston that the plan intends to protect.
In February, then-Reston Association CEO Cate Fulkerson requested that the county remove the line from the Reston Master Plan. Similar requests from community members surfaced again in recent workgroup sessions with county officials this month.
But county staff have remained reluctant to remove the road, noting that the conceptual road shows the intention of connecting the grid of streets with American Dream Way.
“As with any new roadway design, the county will work to minimize negative impacts on existing uses and the environment. In staff’s view, the planned road being shown as part of the conceptual street network does not negatively affect the viability of the Hidden Creek Golf Course,” Geiger said.
Despite assurances, some concerns remain, especially as Wheelock Communities engages with community stakeholders to determine the future of the golf course. No redevelopment plans have been formally proposed yet.
Photo via Google Earth
In early discussions about the future of Hidden Creek Country Club, members of the Reston Association’s Board of Directors and community advocates stood firm against the redevelopment of the golf course as its new owner, Wheelock Communities, contemplates future redevelopment options.
Since purchasing the golf course in October last year, Wheelock has held three work group sessions with community groups and nearby residents to discuss plans for the site. At its last meeting, the real estate developer of master planned communities pitched four options, including a no-build alternative. Discussions are preliminary.
Concerns about future redevelopment intensified when Wheelock Street Capital, an affiliated company, purchased Charter Oak Apartments in partnership with local investment firm Canandaigua & Pratt Holdings in February. The apartment is next to the golf course.
At an RA board meeting Thursday night, members reiterated that Reston is a two-golf course community. Reston’s Master Plan emphasizes the importance of preserving Reston’s golf courses for private recreational use and an RA resolution commits to ensuring Reston is a golf course community and opposes any attempts to create a roadway between American Dream Way and Isaac Newtown Square through the property.
Sherri Hebert, an RA board member, said Wheelock has pitched ways redevelopment could improve public accessibility through additional walking paths and make it more environmentally friendly. Hebert said the club is already “a community diamond” and that the future of golf is strong.
“They’ve even used Bob Simon and his vision to take about this is to be envisioned as something different, which I personally find insulting,” Hebert said.
The discussion harkens back to Rescue Reston’s defense of Reston National Golf Course, which was threatened by development plans several years. Connie Hartke, president of Rescue Reston, a grassroots group formed in 2012 in response to threats against the golf course, said the group is prepared to step up opposition against future development plans.
“This is not the time to concede an inch of open space,” Hartke said, noting that more planned development is on the horizon.
RA’s board plans to discuss the issue with representatives from Wheelock at a board operations committee meeting in September and a later board meeting that month as well. RA board president Andy Sigle described Thursday’s discussion as preliminary.
Sridhar Ganesan, an RA board member, said Wheelock has stated the cost of making improvements to the golf course raises questions about the future viability of the site. Ganesan said he hopes to see an analysis by Wheelock to determine how that conclusion was reached.
Wheelock issued the following statement late Friday afternoon:
When Wheelock Communities purchased Hidden Creek Country Club in October
2017, we immediately recognized the special character of Reston and the need to
include the community in exploring all the possibilities for the future of the golf
course. With that idea and Bob Simon’s Founding Principles of Reston in mind, Wheelock
engaged the community by establishing a Focus Group to gain the perspective
from a broad-based group of approximately 20 Reston residents. The Focus
Group, which has not yet concluded its work, began without preconceived
notions about the future of the property.
This story was updated on Monday (July 30) to include Wheelock’s response.
Handout via Reston Association
Full-Scale Terror Response Exercise Today — Fairfax County is one of six sites in the DC Metro area participating in a drill today “designed to prepare for the possibility of a complex coordinated terror attack in the region.” The county’s exercise site is the former Lorton Reformatory prison site. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]
Amazon to Move Into Herndon Office Tower — One Dulles Tower (13200 Woodland Park Drive) will be leased out by Amazon Web Service, the Washington Business Journal first reported. That building is just across the Toll Road from Amazon’s facility on Worldgate Drive. [Bisnow]
BXP First-Quarter Earnings Down from 2016 — Boston Properties, owner of Reston Town Center, announced Tuesday that profits are down 8.9 percent from the first quarter of 2016. Revenue fell 5.1 percent. In addition to the DC region, BXP has properties in Boston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. [Nasdaq]
Seahawks Soccer Team Ranked in Region — The South Lakes High School boys’ soccer team, 6-2-2 so far on the season, is ranked No. 8 in the Washington Post’s Metro region Top 10. The team next plays Thursday night at Hayfield. [Washington Post]
Golf Tournament Will Benefit Families of Heroes — The 47th annual HEROES Inc. golf tournament will be July 13-14 at Twin Lakes Golf Course in Clifton. The event benefits the HEROES scholarship fund, which provides financial aid and professional counsel to the surviving family members of law enforcement officers and firefighters who have been killed in the line of duty. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
(Updated Wednesday 3 p.m. to remove legal background info and add quotes from Hunter Mill Golf Park owner)
Hunter Mill Golf Park has closed its doors.
The driving range located at 1627 Hunter Mill Rd. on the Reston-Vienna line, actually quietly locked its gates in late January. But with the arrival of spring in recent weeks, the spot has been missed by are golfers looking to hit a couple buckets of balls at the large (100 tees) range.
The back half of the property was sold years ago to Oakcrest School, a private girls school, to build a new campus adjacent to the golf park site. Construction began over the winter and the new school should open in 2016, according to its website.
It took Oakcrest more than three years — from 2010 to 2014 — to gain Fairfax County approval for alternate access to the school via a driveway on Crowell Road.
Hunter Mill Golf Park had been in business since 1995. Its owner, John Thoburn, made news in 2001 when he was fined and eventually jailed, he said, for zoning violations including not planting enough shrubs and for selling illegal snack foods.
“I was surprised we stayed in business as long as we did,” Thoburn said on Wednesday. He said he had issues with county zoning and with neighbors for years, which made it hard to operate his business.
“I would have liked to have put netting up on the driving range,” he said. “[The county] turned us down on mini golf and on a par-3, 9-hole course. It costs $7 round-trip [on the Dulles Toll Road from the Beltway] to come here and hit a $10 bucket of balls. “
Meanwhile, the closing of the golf park is the latest in a series of golf news in and around Reston. Woody’s Golf Range in Herndon recently announced it would close in the fall. RN Golf Management, the owners of Reston National Golf Course will also find out next week whether their zoning appeal is approved.
RN Golf’s appeal was in response to a 2012 inquiry it made with the county, asking if the 166-acre public course can be considered residential. The county maintains its is open and recreational space and should remain so.
Photo: Hunter Mill Golf Park/Courtesy Yelp