Reston, VA

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has officially OK’d the sale of a one-acre parcel of land to Comstock, the developer of Reston Station.

Last week, the board approved the sale of the land for roughly $3 million., in addition to a density transfer of roughly 147,690 square feet to the plaza area near the county-owned Wiehle-Reston Station East garage.

The sale of the land, which is valued at roughly $10.8 million, also includes other conditions.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins noted that keeping the land has no value for the board. The parcel will be incorporated into Reston Station.

County officials estimate the transfer will bring in additional rental stream from Comstock, which currently pays an annual base rent of $2.9 million. The rent is expected to increase as more phases of the mixed-use development project move forward.

The agreement also includes a requirement to allow campaign and voter registration activities on the plaza.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Retiring Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and two other local election officials are being honored by George Mason University for their leadership.

Hudgins, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova and retiring Prince William County Supervisor Marty Nohe were selected for the university’s inaugural Regional Leadership Awards.

The award is administered through the Schar School of Policy and Government.

“It is our pleasure to present these long-serving public officials with our first-ever awards,” said Schar School Dean Mark J. Rozell. “It’s a small way to recognize the effort each of them has contributed to making Northern Virginia among the most successfully governed regions in the country. These awards are well-deserved.”

The retiring elected officials will be recognized at a dinner on Nov. 18.

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Developer Norton Scott is considering its options after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected an appeal to build a $50 million condominium building at its Library Square property.

The board rejected the appeal in late October after the developer protested the Planning Commission’s denial of the project due the project’s lack of connectivity with the future extension to Library Street and what county planners said is a lack of available density in the area.

Norton Scott proposed to build a 13-story condominium building with 58 for-sale units at the 0.8-acre site. The developer came forward with the by-right plan after a previous proposal by Norton Scott and MRP Realty to redevelop the site and surrounding properties was rejected by the county due to its high cost.

Mike Scott, a developer with Norton Scott, told Reston Now the company “disappointed” the county rejected the appeal.

We firmly believe the by-right use to bring 58 luxury condominiums to the Reston Town Center would fulfill an unmet need to provide for-sale housing aimed at professionals as well as baby boomers wishing to downsize and remain in Reston.  The building height and density met all the zoning requirements and were in keeping with the adjacent Paramount condominium and the approved project on the Winwood Child Care Center site.   Given the Board’s decision, we are exploring our options on moving forward,” Scott said.

At the Oct. 29 meeting, county planners said the project lacks a needed connection with the future extension of Library Street.

Residents, including representatives for the Paramount, an apartment building next to the site, said the project’s scale was overwhelming for the area.

Jean Werner, a member of the Paramount Task Force, said the developer was attempting to “shoe horn” a building in the site, raising concerns about how people would get in and out of the proposed building.

Springfied District Board of Supervisor Pat Herrity abstained from a vote on the project, which he said posed a difficult property rights decision.

“I’m not buried into the details of Reston,” Herrity said.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, who has been involved in decision-making for previous proposals in the area, concurred with the concerns of residents and county planners.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Hudgins Reflects on 20 Years as Supervisor — Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, who has been a supervisor for 20 years, fears Reston has lost its welcoming spirit for newcomers. [Washington Business Journal]

CoreSite Announces Opening of New Data Center — “With over 100MW of expected capacity for the Reston Campus Expansion, and the multi-cloud capabilities of the CoreSite platform, we are in a position to deliver the maximum degree of scale, operational flexibility and performance throughout the entire lifecycle of customers’ digital transformation journey,” writes Juan Font, CoreSite’s senior vice president of general management. [Data Economy]

County Offers Held to Prevent Opioid Overdoses — “According to the latest statistics from the Virginia Department of Health, there were 324 fatal overdoses caused by opioids in January-March of 2019 in the commonwealth. Unfortunately, those are the highest first-quarter numbers ever recorded. Twenty-two occurred in Fairfax County.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Jay Westcott

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins voiced disapproval against the Trump administration’s proposed shelter for migrant children in Northern Virginia.

Hudgins joins other Northern Virginia elected officials — including Fairfax County Board Chairwoman Sharon Bulova — who spoke out against the proposal.

“It doesn’t like it its is appropriate and it is certainly not representative of the community we live in,” Hudgins told Reston Now.

Earlier this month, the General Services Administration issued a pre-solicitation notice stating that the government is seeking 110,000 square feet of space for up to 14 years in Arlington, Fairfax Loudoun or Prince William counties.

Hudgins also noted that shelter for unaccompanied children may not meet the needs of the children they house.

“It seems like we should be trying to restore family structure,” Hudgins said.

The proposed shelter could house roughly 440 children.

Virginia currently has shelters for unaccompanied immigrant children in Bistow and Staunton.

File photo

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At a public meeting on Monday (July 29), local police turned to the community for help as it investigates a suspicious death that happened behind Hunters Woods Plaza in late June.

Local law enforcement and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins met with the community Monday night to discuss the ongoing investigation.

Jose Lorenzo Guillen Mejia, 24, of Reston, was found dead near a walking trail on Sunday, June 24 near a wooded area between Hunters Woods Plaza and Breton Court. Mejia was found with trauma to his upper body and was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Remember, the information you have, regardless of how trivial it may be, could be the critical link in solving this case,” according to handouts distributed during the meeting.

Police encouraged anyone with information about the incident to contact the Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800. Tips can be submitted  by calling 1-866-311-TIPS or by texting “TIP187 plus the messages CRIMES.”

Photo via handout/FCPD

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Five Democrats are running for the seat of Hunter Mill District Supervisor after Cathy Hudgins, the current supervisor, announced plans to retire earlier this year. This week, Reston Now will publish candidate statements for each of the candidates.

Statements, which are in question-and-answer format, are published in the order in which they are received. With the exception of minor formatting edits, profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had the opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words. Stay tuned for a stand-alone article on the candidates’ positions on the recent sale of Reston National Golf Course.

What inspired you to run for this seat? 

I decided to run for the Hunter Mill Supervisor’s position because I feel that the wishes of the community have too often been ignored, and that the developers have been allowed to gain too much power. I believe it is imperative that our local supervisor reflect the wishes of the people of Hunter Mill, and stand up to those who go against the people’s wishes. The developers have been the largest aggressors against what the people of Hunter Mill have wanted in my opinion.

In Reston we have seen a massive proliferation of high rises that much of the community has been against. This is on top of the fact that many more have already been approved, and have not broken ground. There will be little the new supervisor can do to stop those that have already been approved meaning the situation is already worse than it may currently appear. I want to make sure that going forwarded that any new development passes two litmus tests.

Does it have the approval of the community, and will it be truly beneficial? If not the developers should not have their way, and I would stand up to them to protect our great community. The issue of the paid parking in the Reston Town Center is another example of the developers excessive power with Boston Properties having created a significant problem at the center of community. I am running because I want this to end and the will of the people be implemented.

What are the three biggest concerns you have for Reston? What do you plan to do address them? 

My three biggest concerns for Reston are the issue of development that does not reflect the communities wishes, the situation of paid parking at the Reston Town Center, and making sure that all of our schools receive the proper resources to succeed. In Reston Town Center, the fact that Boston Properties was able to obtain complete ownership has caused significant problems for our community. The introduction of the paid parking program has been devastating.

Since its introduction, the amount of people who go to Town Center has declined drastically with many still refusing to outright go anymore. As a result of this many businesses have been forced to leave with those who remain having significant cuts to their profits. I want to bargain with Boston Properties to get contractual obligation with the county that ends the Paid Parking situation. Boston Properties wants numerous things from the county ranging from zoning changes, regulations, taxes and more. This leaves a wide range of room to get a deal that will see this awful policy end.

When it comes to education I want to see that our schools are fully funded, our class sizes are reduced, and that our teachers are paid better. Fairfax County already has a very good education system, but it can be much better. If we make sure our schools are not overcrowded and receive the necessary resources we will see major improvement in our education system going forward.

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It’s been a quiet two months since the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to indefinitely defer the consideration of the hotly debated Planned Residential Community district proposal in early March.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and the county’s planning staff plan to discuss future steps in an internal meeting by early May, according to a legislative assistant for the Hunter Mill District. The office deferred questions on the proposal and next steps until discussions have taken place and new leadership for the Planning and Zoning Department are updated about the process thus far.

The proposal, which would have increased the maximum allowed population acre in PRC  from 13 to up to 15 people, was put on hold on March 5 at the request of Hudgins. She said she wanted to work with the community to address concerns about the redevelopment of village centers, managing growth with infrastructure improvements, and misinformation in the community.

County officials will likely examine the future of Reston’s village centers before reconsidering the PRC proposal — a plan suggested by the Fairfax County Planning Commission. Hudgins also concurred with the suggestion.

No other information about the future of the proposal was released as the county takes “a short breather,” the legislative assistant told Reston Now.

File photo

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Statewide tornado drill today — Don’t be surprised if your neighbors act there’s a tornado, because there’s a statewide drill starting at 9:45 a.m. [Reston Now]

Reston makes the list — Find out which Reston developments made the Washington Business Journal’s “Best Real Estate Deals” roundup. [Washington Business Journal]

Hudgins interview — Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins might be stepping down from her Fairfax County Board of Supervisor’s role, but locals can still expect to see her around Reston. Hudgins answered some questions about development, One Fairfax and more. [Inside NoVa]

Photo courtesy @thoroughly.adorable.millie/Instagram

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At Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ request, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors agreed yesterday (March 5) to speed up the review process for proposed changes to the development bringing Reston its first Wegmans.

The proposed plans would adjust the grid of streets and accelerate construction of the streets to coincide with the opening of the grocer in June 2020, Hudgins said.

The applicant is not proposing any significant changes, Hudgins said, adding that expedited processing of the zoning applications and the road site plans concurrently will help construction start.

Known as Halley Rise, the nearly 4 million-square-foot mixed-use development will be adjacent to the Reston Town Center Metro Station, occupying the northwest corner of the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive.

The county staff will now expedite scheduling the public hearings on the zoning applications.

The board also approved directing the Land Development Services to accept and review site plans to speed up the application prior to the board taking them up.

Rendering via Halley Rise website

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ motion to “indefinitely defer” the consideration of a proposed zoning amendment.

The zoning ordinance has been a hotly debated issue among Restonians.

It would have increased 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.

“There are those in the community who do not support this change to the PRC density because they do not support redevelopment of the village centers and are concerned about future growth in Reston,” Hudgins told the board before the vote. “There is also concern that this PRC amendment will somehow support residential development on one or both of the two golf courses in Reston.”

Hudgins also said that misinformation has plagued the push to update the zoning ordinance and thanked the staff for their work educating the community.

“I had hoped that we could have found a way to provide the necessary zoning tool to implement the adopted Reston Plan,” Hudgins said.

Hudgins said that she will work with staff and community representatives to outline a process and timeframe to reexamine the plan for the village centers before reconsidering the PRC amendment — the Planning Commission’s suggested solution.

The vote came shortly after noon on Tuesday (March 5) during the board’s meeting.

Chairman Sharon Bulova told Hudgins that she understands the PRC amendment has been difficult for her and the Reston community.

“This is not easy, and I know that folks have asked for the opportunity to maybe step back and try to revisit the process that will allow things to move forward in a way that has more community engagement and more community support for a path forward,” she said.

Photo via Fairfax County 

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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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This month marks the beginning of Fairfax County’s fiscal year 2020 budget process. Locals in the Hunter Mill District can attend a town hall in Herndon on the first Saturday of March to get more information on the proposed budget plan.

Projections expect the county’s revenue to grow by 2.9 percent, generating more than $156 million in additional revenue for FY 2020, according to the county.

The town hall is set to take place from 8:30-11 a.m. on March 2 at Frying Pan Farm Park Visitor Center (2709 West Ox Road).

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, County Executive Bryan Hill and Fairfax County Public Schools staff will give the presentations, according to Hudgins’ newsletter.

After coffee and a conversation starting at 8:30 a.m., the elected officials and county staff will be available to answer questions.

The next steps in the budget process include posting the proposed tax rates, followed by public hearings in April held by the county’s Board of Supervisors.

The FY 2020 fiscal year begins on July 1.

Image via Fairfax County

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins used her newsletter this month to give a glimpse into her “difficult decision” behind her decision to not run for re-election to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Hudgins, who is nearing the end of her fifth term, was first elected to the board in 1999. Her retirement announcement came during the Board of Supervisors meeting last month, adding to the list of supervisors who have also said they are leaving.

Now in her 20th year on the board, Hudgins used the newsletter as an opportunity to share her priorities for a “vigorous” year, including renewable energy and Silver Line Phase 2’s progress.

Here is her full note:

Dear Hunter Mill Friends,

On Jan. 22, during the first Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting in 2019, I was struck by the thought: I am beginning my 20th year as Hunter Mill Supervisor with the mixed emotions of excitement and joy in serving the community and the reality that even good things must end. At that moment, I felt compelled to speak and share my intention not to seek reelection to be the Hunter Mill District representative. Believe me it was a difficult decision and an equally difficult announcement. However, I do intend to have a vigorous 20th year and continue to enjoy the kind of work that we’ve been able to do with this board.

One thing that will greatly contribute to a vigorous year is an improved public transit system, connecting the Metrorail system to Dulles International Airport and points in Loudoun County. I am excited to share that the first trains rolled along the Silver Line Phase 2 tracks around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The test train traveled from Wiehle-Reston Station to Innovation Station at a speed of about 15 mph! There is an interesting story behind that spectacular speed. Because the third rail is not yet electrified for this test, the trains were pushed by a small diesel locomotive. Once the rail polishing phase — necessary to remove rust that can accumulate on unused rails — is complete, additional trains, equipped for Safe-Braking and Control-Line Communications trials, will begin the “dynamic testing” process. This is required before the rail line begins commercial operation.

This testing work, is a significant milestone and will continue for several months before public service commences in 2020.

Another area of significant relevance and impact is the environment. In 2017, the BOS adopted an Environmental Vision “to promote and encourage energy efficiency and conservation efforts and renewable energy initiatives by county employees, employers and residents.” In 2018, the board adopted an Energy Strategy for county operations with the goal of
reducing “fossil fuel consumption through the application of innovative concepts & technologies.” In 2019, the BOS is raising awareness of its achievements already made — two Solarize campaigns conducting free on-site solar assessments that led solar panel installations, totaling 398 kW — and the county commitment to a third campaign in the spring of 2019. With the assistance of the SolSmart program, we will do just that. SolSmart is a national designation program for solar friendly communities, their commitments, and their accomplishments.

Moreover, Fairfax County is committed to improve solar market conditions, making it faster, easier and more affordable for residents and businesses to install solar energy systems. Currently, the county is considering the creation of a local Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program. Depending on the ordinance language, a C-PACE loan
could finance energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on industrial, commercial, agricultural, multi-family and non-profit/religious properties. So as you can surmise, it will be another busy year.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge that representing the Hunter Mill District continues to be challenging and thrilling and I am looking forward to a dynamic 2019 indeed. It is an ongoing honor to serve and I fully intend to continue being engaged with the work of the community.

— Cathy Hudgins

File photo

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins says there’s a clear need around Reston for new streetlights.

Hudgins believes residents are currently dissuaded from taking pedestrian paths through Reston because the sidewalks are poorly lit, she said during a discussion about new lighting across Fairfax County in an Environmental Committee Meeting today (Tuesday).

“There are dark skies in parts of Reston, but now there is a greater demand for light,” said Hudgins. “Now, people are walking [around Reston] and there are no lights.”

The topic of streetlights in Reston emerged from a discussion of Fairfax County’s arrangement with Dominion Energy to begin replacing existing lights with LEDs. Fairfax County will be responsible for the costs to convert functioning streetlights, though any that are damaged or fail prematurely will be converted to LED at no cost to the county.

“If the poles get hit by trucks, that’s on Dominion,” said Kambiz Agazi, environmental and energy coordinator for Fairfax County. “I’m not suggesting we go out and hit these poles, but if a snow plow hits the poles, Dominion will cover the cost of replacing them.”

While Agazi said the county would reduce $1.4 million in annual costs if all of Fairfax’s 58,000 streetlights were replaced with LEDs, some of that savings would be offset by the cost of adding new streetlights throughout Reston. Hudgins said more research needs to be done on how many lights would be needed and what advantages it would bring to the community.

Streetlights are not a new topic of discussion in Reston. In 2017, the Reston Association’s Environmental Advisory Committee expressed concerns that increased lighting could have an adverse effect on wildlife.

Agazi said staff will begin working on a report on the possibility of adding streetlights to Reston.

Photo via Fairfax County

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