A zoning ordinance amendment being suggested by Fairfax County could result in Reston’s population increasing threefold by 2050, community advocates say, and local residents are being encouraged to speak out against it.
Reston 20/20, Reclaim Reston and the Reston Citizens Association presented a community information session on the County’s proposal Wednesday, attended by more than 100 concerned Restonians. The goal of the event was to help residents learn more about what the amendment means and to prepare them for a fourth public meeting on the proposal, being presented by Supervisor Cathy Hudgins at 7 p.m. Monday at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive). The first three meetings on the proposal, held in May, were not seen as adequate by many Restonians who attended them.
“Community participation is vital and must be continuous,” said Dennis Hays, Reston Citizens Association president, during the presentation. “I don’t believe just sitting and having someone tell you what they’ve already decided is participation.”
The proposal from the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning would bump the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) District from 13 to 16. (The density is currently about 11.9 people per acre.) The PRC District does not include any of the Transit Station Area property surrounding the Wiehle-Reston East and Herndon Metro stations, nor does it include most of the property in the Reston Town Center Metro station TSA south of the Dulles Toll Road.
The ordinance amendment would also allow for the Board of Supervisors to be able to approve individual developments in excess of 50 dwelling units per acre in TSAs within the PRC and when in accordance with Comprehensive Plan recommendations. Those areas that would be marked for major residential development include all of Reston’s village centers.
If the zoning ordinance were to go into effect, Hays said, it would be akin to the genie being let out of the bottle for development all over Reston.
“Once it’s a zoning ordinance, it’s done; it’s over; there’s not much we can do, ever,” he said.
According to numbers presented by Terry Maynard, co-chair of Reston 20/20, the proposed changes combined with high-rise development in TSAs could result in Reston’s overall population increasing to more than 177,000 by 2050. John Mooney, representing Reclaim Reston, said that even by conservative estimates, this would increase peak-time traffic in the community by nearly double if infrastructure needs are not addressed concurrently.
In addition to a lack of adequate streets to accommodate the increased population, Maynard said the lacking infrastructure would also include a deficit in schools and parks. Concerns about police staffing, fire coverage and more were also brought up by other residents.
“You don’t put that cart before the horse,” said Bruce Ramo, of Reclaim Reston, which has organized a petition effort in the attempt to get the county to stop new development proposals and zoning changes until infrastructure needs are addressed. “That’s why we’re saying what we’re saying here tonight: Let’s step back and do it right.”
PRC Zoning Ordinance Amendment Info Session Tonight — Reston 20/20, Reclaim Reston and the Reston Citizens Association will present the forum tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). This is being held in advance of the fourth public meeting on the proposal, being presented Monday by Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and County Planning and Zoning staff. [Reston Now]
Site Lists Top Places to Eat in Reston — Eater’s list includes 10 locations within Reston Town Center, but it also branches out to Lake Anne, South Lakes and more. [DC Eater]
Copperhead Spotted on W&OD Trail — The venomous snake was spotted last week on the trail near the Luck Stone Quarry overlook in Ashburn, serving as a reminder to be watchful when out in nature. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]
Dulles Day Festival is This Weekend — The 25th annual open house event at the airport Saturday will include a 5K/10K on runways, a festival on the airfield, and the plane-pull competition. [Dulles International Airport]
Another Brewery Coming to Route 28 Corridor — Rocket Frog Brewing Company is looking to open in Sterling early next year. This is on the heels of Ono Brewing Company opening recently in Chantilly. [The Burn]
File photo by Audrey Lawson
Three community advocacy organizations have combined efforts to plan an informational forum about Fairfax County’s proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would increase the density cap in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) district.
Reston 20/20, Reclaim Reston and the Reston Citizens Association will present the forum Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). This is being held in advance of the fourth public meeting on the proposal, being presented by Supervisor Cathy Hudgins at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25 at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive).
The proposal from the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning would bump the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s PRC from 13 to 16. (The density is currently about 11.9 people per acre. The ordinance amendment would also allow for the Board of Supervisors to be able to approve individual developments in excess of 50 dwelling units per acre in TSAs within the PRC and when in accordance with Comprehensive Plan recommendations.
“We will share with you why these changes are being proposed and the impact on our open space, traffic, schools and other public facilities. We invite you to ask questions, and share your views and concerns,” reads an invitation being distributed for the forum. “Let’s come together to ensure we can continue to say ‘Reston is a planned community,’ and NOT ‘Reston was a planned community.'”
Information was first shared by the county with the community in three public meetings in May. At May’s meetings, residents expressed their concern that the county was trying to rush the amendment through the approval process. They were especially upset when the third meeting was held in an open-house format rather than as a question-and-answer session.
The DPZ had originally hoped to bring the plan before the Board of Supervisors in July, followed by a Planning Commission public hearing in September and the Board public hearing in October. It now has those projected dates pushed back to November, December and January, respectively.
Dreams of the issuance of a special Reston license plate have fallen flat, and now those who applied will be getting their money back.
In 2006, Reston’s Dan McGuire began a campaign along with the Reston Citizens Association to garner enough support to get the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a Reston-themed license plate. Special license plates are eligible to be issued for any group that receives at least 450 prepaid $10 applications, as well as authorization from the General Assembly.
Virginia offers more than 250 unique varieties of license plates.
The design for Reston’s special plate, which featured the “Live, Work, Play” motto, was by Doug Fuller. Though McGuire and the RCA campaigned for the plates for several years, the effort fell short. McGuire died in 2013.
Tuesday, the Reston Citizens Association announced it will refund all residents who signed up. RCA says it will be sending notifications to all applicants, letting them know they have a refund coming. Any funds that are unable to be returned by Oct. 1 will be donated to a local charity.
Moira Callaghan, vice president of RCA, said 83 applications were prepaid. She said any future effort to create a Reston specialty plate would have to be “an entirely new campaign.”
“The best course of action [right now] is to refund these applicants and possibly start over,” she said.
For more information, contact Callaghan at [email protected].
Photo of Dan McGuire courtesy Shamus Ian Fatzinger/Fairfax Times
After Monday’s Reston Citizens Association meeting, the group’s Board of Directors walked away with a new leader.
The RCA appointed Dennis Hays as the president of its Board of Directors, succeeding Sridhar Ganesan. Ganesan stepped down from his position on the Board after being appointed to serve on the Reston Association Board of Directors, as both an At-Large member and treasurer.
“I am excited to work with a proven network of community leaders who are drawn from the heart of the Reston community,” said Hays in a press release. “As Reston grows we need to work with the community and build a coalition of voices to preserve the ideals Reston was founded on.”
On the Board since 2014, Hays was recently re-elected to serve another three-year term. In addition, Hays is the chairman of Fairfax Library Associates, serves on the Friends of Reston Regional Library board and is a former president of the Reston Runners.
In addition to Hays’ appointment, Moira Callaghan of the North Point District was elected as vice president and Izzy Santa of the South Lakes District was elected to the Board. Joe Leighton of the South Lakes District was re-elected as treasurer; Nick Georgas, At-Large, was re-elected as secretary; and Connie Hartke, Hunter Woods district, and Hank Schonzeit, Town Center/Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District, were re-appointed to their seats.
There are still two vacant board seats that need to be filled: an At-Large (one-year term) seat and a North Point (three-year term) seat. If you’re interested in applying, contact [email protected].
The Reston Citizens Association elections will be held June 7-22. Four district seats and two at-large seats on the group’s Board of Directors will be chosen.
“This upcoming year is going to be another exciting one for RCA, as we continue to focus on educating and engaging the community and reflecting their voice,” said Sridhar Ganesan, RCA president. “New development, re-development, transportation and other Reston infrastructure, open spaces and other issues like Reston Town Center pay parking have been at the forefront for Reston and RCA during the last two months and will continue to be important for the people that live here.”
The six seats up in the 2017 elections are for three-year terms as the Hunters Woods District, the Town Center/Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District, the South Lakes District, the North Point District and an At-Large seat, as well as a one-year term in an At-Large seat to replace a director who resigned in 2016.
Anyone wishing to run for a seat must:
- be a Reston resident
- live in Small Tax District 5
- be 18 years or older
- vote in designated precincts/polling places within Reston districts
The Reston Citizens Association says it wants Boston Properties to give the money it is collecting from paid parking at Reston Town Center — a number the group projects to be $8 million annually — back to the community.
In a Tuesday statement, RCA says it has attempted to engage with Boston Properties for more than a year in the effort to “find a compromise that would allow the Town Center to retain its character while respecting [BXP]’s development rights.” Further, the Citizens Association challenged Boston Properties to — if paid parking is here for good — commit the revenue to “community betterments and activities that benefit Reston.”
“RCA makes this call because of the misinformation and untruths that [BXP] provided to RCA. From the very beginning, knowing how central the cellphone app would be for the paid parking experience, RCA asked many questions regarding how the App would work. Despite the assurances that were given to RCA that the ParkRTC App would provide a very user-friendly experience, today it is clear this is patently not true.”
In its statement, RCA says the paid-parking system is “confusing, contradictory and [the] subject of great frustration for users.” The citizens’ organization says it stands with merchants and others who are calling for the system to be scrapped or significantly overhauled.
Last week, Jackson’s restaurant filed a lawsuit against Boston Properties regarding the implementation of the paid-parking system. Other merchants within the Town Center say they are likely to do the same, and they continue to organize events to shed light on their displeasure.
The Citizens Association says it is willing to continue to work with Boston Properties on any mutually acceptable agreement that can be found.
“[BXP] has in the past been a good and generous manager of the Reston Town Center and can be this again. RCA stands ready to work with [BXP] to address its legitimate concerns about commuter parking while at the same time preserving the open and welcoming character of the Town Center that has made it such a centerpiece of our community and the greater region.”
RCA is seeking candidates to run for three-year terms on the board. The deadline to file is May 13. There are four director seats up in 2016: Hunters Woods District Director;Town Center/Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District Director; South Lakes District Director; and North Point District Director.
The Reston Citizens Association (RCA) is a non-profit serving the 60,000 citizens who live in Reston.
“Rapid development and how it could affect Reston’s infrastructure, open spaces, and quality life have been at the forefront for Reston and RCA in 2015-16. The future of Tall Oaks Village Center, St. John’s Woods, Reston Regional Library and Reston Town Center North redevelopment are just a few of the development planning activities that RCA has actively participated in and helped the community stay abreast of the updates and potential impacts to the Reston community,” RCA President Sridhar Ganesan said in a statement.
To run for a director seat, you must live in Small Tax District 5, be a Reston resident, be 18 years or older, and vote in designated precincts/polling places within Reston districts. Find an application on RCA’s website.
Send your completed application to [email protected] by May 13.
In other RCA news, RCA held its Citizen of the Year Award ceremony on Sunday, honoring Rescue Reston for its work to protect open space in 2015.
The annual Citizen of the Year Award traditionally honors an individual who has contributed to the quality of life in Reston, helped others in need and acted with the goals of Reston in mind, without thought of personal benefit or recognition, RCA says.
RCA chose Rescue Reston for its defense of Reston National Golf Course as open green space in a drawn-out legal battle of more than four years. RN Golf, the owners of Reston National, recently dropped their legal appeal in the effort to see if the course could be developed as residential.
“Typically, RCA has awarded the honor to an individual from Reston, but chose Rescue Reston for 2015 because it greatly represents the things that make Reston very unique — strong community involvement and passion for core founding principles such as preserving open green space and having ample recreational facilities within the community,” RCA President Sridhar Ganesan said in a statement.
“Thousands of citizens united behind the Rescue Reston cause, which resulted in a great public common good for Reston. Being an association of, by and for the citizens, RCA is proud to honor this organization that represents a citizen-led movement,” he said.
Rescue Reston will be honored at the annual RCA Award Ceremony on Sunday, April 24 at 6 p.m. at the Reston Community Center Hunters Woods.
Del. Randy Minchew of (R-Loudoun) has filed a bill that would lift a longtime moratorium on towns and jurisdictions with populations of more than 40,000 transforming into cities. The law was enacted in 1987 and is set to expire in 2018.
Minchew’s bill is mostly aimed at Leesburg, which has town status and whose residents often complain they are double-billed by county and town taxes.
So what does this have to do with Reston? Passage of Minchew’s bill into law could resurrect the movement to make Reston a town.
That movement has been dormant the last several years, but was a hot topic — particularly among members of the Reston Citizens Association — about a decade ago.
With about 60,000 residents Reston, which is a Census-designated place but neither a town nor a city — would be among the largest towns in Virginia.
In 2005, RCA held a series of community meetings and collected more than 600 signatures asking for a state referendum on becoming a town. There were also similar citizen efforts in 1980 and 1988.
Since some Reston residents pay Fairfax County taxes, Reston Association assessments, cluster dues and Small Tax District 5 taxes, town status would save Restonians money, RCA said at the time.
The most recent effort did not receive broad support from Reston Association, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors or Del. Ken Plum or Sen. Janet Howell. (more…)
RCA is a nonpartisan community group representing the citizens of Reston. It usually holds annual elections, but RCA by-laws state that if only one candidate files, then RCA can appoint that candidate to the post.
The two directors joining the RCA board for the first time are Lynne Mulston (Town Center/Lake Anne/Tall Oaks) and Geoff Lewis (At-Large). Mulston has been a resident of Reston since 1968 and is the founder and principal of a consulting firm. Lewis is an architect with DBI Architects and is involved Reston Runners and the Initiative for Public Art – Reston (IPAR),
RCA’s reappointed sitting At-Large directors (three-year terms) are Annmarie Swope, Nick Georgas and Yavuz Inanli.
Ganesan, who represents Reston’s North Point District, was re-elected as president and John Hanley, Hunters Woods District director, was re-elected as RCA’s Vice President. Joe Leighton, South Lakes District, was re-elected as Treasurer and Nick Georgas as Secretary.
For more info on RCA visit www.rcareston.com.
After Phase 2 of the Reston Master Plan was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors last week, Reston 2020 and the Reston Citizens Association have decided to part ways.
Reston 2020, which was formed by RCA members six years ago to advocate for citizens concerned about the Master Plan process and other development activities, says it will also suspend major activities for now.
RCA’s Connie Hartke says many groups have jumped from RCA into independent organizations. Among them: Reston Planning & Zoning, which is now under Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office, and Sustainable Reston.
“The RCA Board of Directors thanks the Reston 2020 Committee for the invaluable contributions and their tireless efforts on behalf of Reston,” she said. “The RCA Board wishes the Reston 2020 Committee continued success and look forward to collaborating with it on issues of joint concern to ensure Reston continues to remain a premier community in the Washington, DC Metro area where people wish to live, work and play. ”
In addition to focusing on Master Plan issues, Reston 2020 offered analysis, white papers and testimony on, among others, the Dulles Toll Road, Metro’s Silver Line, Fairfax County Public Libraries, the new Reston Community Center, the recent Tetra purchase by Reston Association and Reston development in general.
Reston 2020 said the decision to temporarily suspend activities “is driven by the fact that Reston 2020’s core mission has been completed and those few committee members who have worked extensively on the Reston Master Plan and other Reston 2020 issues are exhausted. ”
“This does not mean closing down the committee,” says Reston 2020. “Reston 2020 will accept and review ideas on community development topics and issues Restonians think it ought to pursue, proceeding on those that have a broad community impact.”
There are five seats up for election to the citizens advocacy group this year: the Town Center/Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District Director and four At-Large Director positions.
To run for Town Center/Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District Director seat, you must live in Small Tax District 5, be a Reston resident, and vote in designated precincts/polling places within Reston districts: Reston I, Reston II, Reston III or Cameron Glen precinct or Forest Edge Elementary or Lake Anne Elementary schools. The elected director for this position will serve for one year.
The At-Large Director positions are open to residents of anywhere in Small Tax District 5. All of the At-Large Directors seats are three-year terms.
RCA elections will take place June 7 to 22.
The RCA application is available on the Reston Citizens Association website. The completed application must be received by RCA by May 23 by email or by mail (2033 Approach Lane, Reston, VA 20191).
The annual RCA Citizen of the Year Award honors an individual who has contributed to the quality of life in Reston, helped others in need and acted with the goals of Reston in mind, without thought of personal benefit or recognition.
Stillson, an attorney who served as RCA’s president from 2008-11, has been a leader on community issues such as diversity and accessibility for the disabled.
As president of RCA, she founded three committees: The Reston Accessibility Committee; Reston 2020, which monitors Reston development; and the Environmental Committee, which morphed into Sustainable Reston.
She also has served on several Fairfax County committees; as a county election officer and held many state and national leadership positions with the American Association of University Women.
The ceremony is Thursday, April 16 at 7 p.m. at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods.
The public is invited to the ceremony free of charge, but should RSVP on the event site.
Photo: Marion Stillson/Courtesy RCA
The Reston Citizens Association has opened nominations for the 2014 Reston Citizen of the Year Award.
Each year, the Reston Citizens Association Board selects one person from the pool of nominations submitted by Reston citizens. Nominations are due by Friday, Feb. 20.
The tradition of honoring the Reston Citizen of the Year was reintroduced in 2008 as a way to spotlight the work of dedicated citizen volunteers and civic activists who work tirelessly behind the scenes, providing them the recognition and appreciation they have earned through their hard work and dedication to the Reston community.
Here’s what it takes to be a candidate for RCA’s Citizen of the Year:
- The nominee has been a Reston resident for at least five years.
- The nominee’s actions are consistent with the goals of Reston, and of RCA.
- The nominee’s actions have contributed to the quality of life in Reston.
- People in need of help have benefited from the nominee’s actions.
- The nominee’s deeds were done without thought of personal benefit or recognition.
- The nominee is not currently serving as an elected public official or a member of the Board of a major community organization (RA, RCA, or RCC).
The Reston Citizen of the Year will be honored at a special reception in the spring of 2015.
Past RCA Citizen of the Year honorees include Sen. Janet Howell, Rev. Embry Rucker, Reston Association CEO Cate Fulkerson and library activist Kathy Kaplan.