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by Katherine Berko — June 20, 2017 at 5:00 pm 35 Comments

A public space activist group is trying to fight increased density in Reston.

Reclaim Reston, a grassroots organization comprised of Reston residents, on Monday asked the Fairfax Board of Supervisors to issue a moratorium on proposed zoning ordinance amendments from the county’s Department of Planning & Zoning, as well as on approval of any development projects that haven’t yet been submitted.

“Many of the members of the public who have already signed the Reston Moratorium petition have expressed concerns that the things that attracted them to live in Reston, such as ample parks, trails and recreation facilities, quality schools, and reasonable commute times, are at risk as new development proceeds apace,” said Bruce Ramo, a member of Reclaim Reston.

The proposed zoning amendments would change the population density cap in Reston’s Planned Residential Community District, bumping the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s PRC from 13 to 16. It 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.

Reclaim Reston fears that the proposal would harm the safety, health, well-being and property values for citizens in the area. Ramo explained that he recognizes the County’s priority is economic development, but said other things are suffering because of this hyper focus.

“The engine driving greater density is far more powerful than that for the schools, parks, roads and other infrastructure needed to support the new residents and to maintain the overall safety and quality of living for the existing population,” Ramos said.

The DPZ says the current limitation of 13 persons per acre in the Reston PRC “cannot support the amended Master Plan.” It says an increase to 16 persons per acre would allow for up to 18,737 more people in the long term, beyond the current cap.

Reston’s PRC District is currently at about 11.9 persons per acre.

The letter from the group to the county states the following:

“We believe that it is critical for the Board of Supervisors to invoke a temporary moratorium on both zoning changes for increased density in Reston, and approval of new Reston development projects (not yet submitted to the County), pending a firm plan linking planned growth and infrastructure funding.”

When asked if Reclaim Reston is willing to comprise with the County and increase the population cap incrementally, Ramo said no.

“A moratorium means a moratorium,” he said. “Keeping the community’s hand on the spigot of density is the best means currently available to us to assure that that the County complies with the requirement of the Reston Master Plan for phased development and infrastructure.”

People in agreement with Reclaim Reston can sign the petition online.

by Dave Emke — June 8, 2017 at 2:45 pm 39 Comments

Boston Properties’ plans for a 28-acre site between the W&OD Trail and Sunset Hills Road would provide a connection between the Reston Town Center Metro station and RTC itself.

According to the latest edition of The Fairfax Newsletter, the 3.94 million-square feet of mixed-use development that is proposed for the site would include up to 1.69 million square feet of residential space, up to 1.67 million square feet of office space, up to 509,000 square feet of hotel space, and up to 185,400 square feet of retail/restaurant space. Construction would take place on nine blocks, in two phases. A 1.56-acre central area — designed to “invoke the successes” of places like the Mosaic District — is also proposed for the property.

A pedestrian bridge is proposed over Sunset Hills Road to connect the property to the future Metro station, with a “Gateway Plaza” that may include retail and a “noteworthy restaurant.” In addition, extension of Library Street from Reston Town Center to Reston Gateway is proposed; however, that would require approval from both the county and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, as it would cross the W&OD Trail.

The property currently is the home of two office buildings, Reston Corporate Center I and II, which would be demolished to make room for the new development.

The site, a portion of which is currently being used as a parking area for Metro construction, is part of the Reston Planned Residential Community (PRC) District. Under a proposed amendment to the PRC zoning ordinance, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors could approve the development to include population density in excess of 50 dwelling units per acre, which is the current cap.

The plans for the property call for between 1,502 and 1,688 units.

Images via Boston Properties

by Dave Emke — June 2, 2017 at 1:30 pm 13 Comments

At its meeting last week, the Reston Association Board of Directors discussed requiring compensation for use of an aerial crane for construction on Colts Neck Road that would extend over RA property.

The request by Atlantic Realty Companies is for an aerial crane that it says is needed for the placement of the garage and building structure elements at the Hunters Woods at Trails Edge construction site (2222 Colts Neck Road). The crane’s arm would extend over a portion of RA common area north of the site, the former home of the United Christian Parish church.

The request to provide the easement in-kind was originally part of the meeting agenda’s consent calendar, but it was removed for further consideration. When the topic came up, Director John Mooney spoke up.

“That we would help something like this out is, I think, totally appropriate,” Mooney said. “But in my experience, local municipalities charge a fee for this species of temporary construction easements. I think that we as Reston Association should be equally diligent to seek that.”

Prior to moving to Reston last year, Mooney was senior assistant county manager in Arlington.

No live loads would be carried over the RA property, just the aerial arm of the crane. The arm would be above the tree canopy and would not impact the ground area or trees, ARC says. RA would also be added as an additional insured property on ARC’s insurance policy.

CEO Cate Fulkerson and Sherri Hebert, board president, asked what the going rate for such an agreement would be. Mooney said the formula to determine the charge would involve the land value of the parcel in question and the length of time for which it would be used. A representative for ARC said the aerial crane would be in use for about nine months.

“We’ve granted numerous easements to the Reston Association for trails, for restoration of the stream, with no compensation,” said the ARC representative at the meeting. “We think we’re trying to be a good friend and neighbor and we really request the same thing in kind.”

When it is complete, the IntegraCare facility will have 210 senior-living units — including 90 independent living units, 81 for assisted living, 24 for memory care and 15 for special needs.

Approval of the easement was tabled and discussion was moved to executive session.

Image via Reston Association

by Dave Emke — June 1, 2017 at 2:45 pm 14 Comments

The future status of the Reston Regional Library was frequently brought up by attendees of a community meeting Wednesday regarding Fairfax County’s plans for the Reston Town Center North development.

Project coordinator Joan Beacham, of the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, said both the library and the Embry Rucker Shelter will be demolished to make room for the first stage of development. DPWES hopes that construction on the project will begin in 2022.

“We want to make sure everyone understands this is a long-term development,” she said. “Things aren’t going to happen right away.”

What is planned to happen when work does begin, Beacham said, is the transfer of the library and the shelter into temporary facilities. The temporary library, she said, would top out at 6,000 square feet — a figure that caused great concern to residents, as the current library is about five times that size.

“The Reston library has over 1,000 people a day that go to it,” said Dennis Hays. “We’re talking about 1,000 Restonians a day who will not have a [full-sized] library to go to for an indeterminate amount of time.”

Hays and other residents suggested the Request for Proposals for development ask applicants to commit to building the new facilities before demolishing the existing ones. The new library, Beacham said, is planned to be 39,000 square feet and exist on the first one or two floors of a new high rise at the same location. The new shelter, planned to be more than twice the size of the current one, is proposed for a similar “urban form” layout.

In the redevelopment, the 50-acre area — bounded by Baron Cameron Avenue, Town Center Parkway, New Dominion Parkway and Fountain Drive — would be realigned into nine parcels, which would then be rezoned into urban blocks. The first two parcels slated for redevelopment are Blocks 7 and 8, which include the library and the shelter.

“We feel in order to move forward with 7 and 8, temporary facilities will be required,” Beacham said. “This is the way that public facilities are repaired and replaced all over the county — it’s not just a situation with Reston.”

Both Beacham and Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said replacing the library and shelter is a priority of the project, as they are outdated facilities in need of additional capacity.

In total, Blocks 7 and 8 are planned to include:

  • 360-420 market-rate residential units and 30 county-supportive housing units
  • 174,000-244,000 square feet of private retail development
  • 28,000 square feet of office space for nonprofits
  • the 39,000-square foot library
  • a 25,000-square foot shelter

Future plans for other blocks in RTC North include the development of a 90,000-square foot recreation center by the Fairfax County Park Authority, replacement of the North County Human Services Center, and a 6-acre central green space among 10 total acres of open space. Redevelopment of the whole area is expected to take more than a decade.

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by Dave Emke — May 31, 2017 at 4:00 pm 19 Comments

Thompson Hospitality is looking to put a hotel in the Lake Fairfax Business Park, adjacent to its company headquarters.

According to the latest edition of The Fairfax Newsletter, the food-service company has plans to put a 98,500-square foot hotel on Business Center Drive. The company moved its headquarters to the business park after purchasing a two-story office building there in 2011.

The proposed hotel would be on 4.82 acres. The site is currently zoned I-4, but an application has been filed to rezone it.

The Lake Fairfax Business Park is off Sunset Hills Road, east of Wiehle Avenue. Thompson’s property is on the western side of the park, which also houses the National Wildlife Federation, Freddie Mac, Sodexo, Lifetime Athletic and more businesses.

The Fairfax Newsletter reports that Thompson is proposing a four-story, 138-room hotel that “will provide rooms and small-scale meeting spaces for business travelers that will help serve the office uses surrounding the Property.” It would be constructed on what is currently a large surface parking lot.

The property is within the Wiehle-Reston East Transit Station Area, in a portion recommended for office use.

by Dave Emke — May 30, 2017 at 2:45 pm 21 Comments

Nearly four dozen major redevelopment projects have been proposed in Reston in the past two years, and residents need to be aware of how much change that means for the community.

That was the message of Larry Butler, Reston Association’s senior director of parks, as he addressed directors during their meeting Thursday. Butler shared information about some of the largest potential redevelopments that remain on the horizon. Butler’s information came from a map that was provided to him recently by the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning.

“When I received it, I was fascinated,” Butler said. “Some of these, most people have not seen.”

Butler specifically shined the spotlight on five projects outlined on the DPZ map.

  • Reston Gateway Commons, to be bordered by Town Center Parkway, Sunset Hills Road and the W&OD Trail. The 23-acre plot, proposed for development by Boston Properties, is between the future Reston Town Center Metro station and RTC itself. In the pre-application process, Boston Properties is proposing 3.94 million square feet of residential and retail, along with a 1/3-acre park. It could have as many as 1,688 dwelling units.
  • Campus Commons, located on the south side of the Dulles Toll Road near the southeast intersection of Wiehle Avenue and Sunrise Valley Drive. The rezoning application, which is in process, would add four new residential buildings and four parks. This could add up to 1,100 dwelling units on the 11.6-acre property.
  • A major property assemblage on Association Drive, near the intersection of Sunrise Valley Drive and Soapstone Drive. This 23-acre plot, which is in the pre-application phase, is rumored to be sought after by grocery chain Wegmans. The design shared by Butler with the board shows a grocery store on the south side of the property, bordering Sunrise Valley Drive, among its numerous retail and residential buildings. Butler said nothing has formally been submitted to the County on the project, but “there are clearly discussions going on that there’s a general concept plan that has been drawn up for this.”
  • The redevelopment of Isaac Newton Square. Butler said the proposal remains in the pre-application phase and there is no preliminary information available yet.
  • Reston Crescent, located in the northwest corner of the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive. Currently going through the County approval process, the 36-acre property — which Butler called a “monster development” — would be redeveloped to add up to 2,260 dwelling units, 1.18 million square feet of office space, up to 125,000 square feet of retail, and potentially a 160-room hotel. Six parks are also included in the plan from developer Brookfield Properties.

A total of 44 redevelopment proposals appear on the map provided by DPZ.

“The main point to highlight is there is a lot of activity going on,” Butler said.  “This gives you an idea of the volume of activity that is happening here in Reston.”

As director of parks, Butler noted that the revised Comprehensive Plan calls for three fully lighted athletic fields near the TSAs — something absent from the redevelopment proposals.

“In none of these have we seen a ballfield,” Butler said. “I think we need to drum up a little interest in this … to define locations on some of these major assemblages where these things can occur.”

John McBride, RA’s land-use attorney, said it is impressive to see so many developers willing to invest in the community; however, he added, Restonians need to make sure they remain informed on each application and remain engaged with Fairfax County throughout the approval process.

“It’s a lot of work to get up on these applications, [but] public input is so important,” McBride said. “You are listened to by senior County staff and all of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors members and planning commissioners only when you do your homework [and] you’re reasonable.”

None of the properties highlighted by Butler in the proposal lie within the purview of Reston Association, meaning any meeting with the Design Review Board by a developer would be as a courtesy only.

Map courtesy Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning via Reston Association

by Dave Emke — May 30, 2017 at 11:30 am 26 Comments

The Reston Association Board of Directors is asking Fairfax County for another opportunity for residents to learn more about a proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would increase Reston’s population density cap.

At its meeting Thursday, the Board adopted a resolution calling for the public meeting, which would be the fourth on the topic. A meeting last week was scheduled to be the last hosted by the County and Supervisor Cathy Hudgins on the subject; however, numerous residents in attendance expressed their displeasure with the meeting’s open-house format, which they claimed was designed to limit public input.

The first two meetings were held May 3 and May 15, a time frame that has led residents to ask why the County is rushing the issue. The County seeks 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.

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. It 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.

Staff from the DPZ say these changes are necessary in order to ensure the community can grow in accordance with changes made to the Comprehensive Plan in 2014 and 2015. Residents, however, question the motives of making such a swift change to the density cap and have concerns about its effect on Reston’s infrastructure, open space and more.

During the board’s meeting, land-use attorney John McBride addressed directors on the county’s proposal. McBride said the “virtually unprecedented pace” of zoning applications in Reston is a “tribute to what a great community this is.” However, he added, public scrutiny and input is important on each application as growth booms.

“Although these changes to the current regulations are very limited — two little areas, two sentences — they are also very important,” McBride said. “More residents of Reston should become aware of these changes and should become engaged in the County’s zoning text amendment process.”

At the May 24 meeting on the amendment proposal, Cathy Belgin of the county DPZ’s Zoning Administration Division said staff would consider holding a fourth public meeting, potentially at some point in June. Residents have also been encouraged to submit their feedback through a form on the DPZ website.

In its resolution, the RA Board goes on record saying it does not currently support the proposed changes to the ordinance. In addition, the resolution states that the Board “does not condone Fairfax County staff withholding any information and not fully answering questions from the Reston community.”

Map courtesy Fairfax County

by RestonNow.com — May 26, 2017 at 10:15 am 10 Comments

This letter was submitted by Reston resident Bruce Ramo. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now. We publish article and opinion contributions of specific interest to the Reston community. Contributions may be edited for length or content.

Too much, too soon.

This is the crux of the community’s concern with the proposed zoning amendments, which were the subject of a community meeting with Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins on May 24.

  • Too much emphasis on promoting economic growth, without firm commitments for the infrastructure to support it.
  • Too much willingness to give legal priority to the quantitative possibilities of increased density presented by the Master Plan, without addressing the qualitative conditions of the Plan’s Vision Statement and Planning Principles.
  • Too much form over substance in engaging the public in three quick presentations rather than collaborating to develop a balanced approach for the future growth of Reston.
  • Too much hubris in assuming that the County’s evaluation and analyses of the impact of increased density, without a willingness to consider other thoughtful analyses of the impact to roads, safety, schools and recreational facilities.
  • Too much commitment to the County’s internal work plan for modifying the zoning ordinances.
  • Too much emphasis on getting it done now instead of getting it done right.

Each day, many of us pass a dangerous portion of Wiehle Avenue near Sunset Hills Road where a pedestrian bridge is slated to be built someday. The area is the gateway between the Planned Residential Community of Reston (PRC) and the Metro station area with its thousands of new apartments and townhouses.

The missing pedestrian bridge is a symbol of all that is wrong with the County’s zoning amendment and the manner in which it would facilitate growth without the infrastructure to support it.

The proposed amendment would allow even more development throughout the PRC and elsewhere, but where is the pedestrian bridge? Where are the other new or improved parks, roads, schools and paths to service the higher density? Why is the County pressing to facilitate more growth in Reston, but not balancing the growth with near-term action to make that growth safe, convenient and sustainable? Why is Supervisor Hudgins content to tell Restonians that infrastructure is not her job, as she did [Wednesday] night?

This is the essence of the community’s challenge to the proposed zoning amendment. The County’s approach simply enables far too much development too soon. Please urge the County Planning Staff and Supervisor Hudgins to step back, table the proposed zoning amendment, and work with the community on a more sensible zoning plan to support the future growth of Reston.

by Dave Emke — May 25, 2017 at 11:30 am 16 Comments

The open-house format for third public meeting on a proposed change to the population density cap in Reston’s Planned Residential Community District was not met favorably by Restonians.

The Fairfax County Department of Planning & Zoning came to Lake Anne Elementary School last night to once again address citizens about the proposal, which would bump the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s PRC from 13 to 16. It 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.

When they heard Wednesday’s meeting would not feature further public discussion of the plan, but rather the opportunity for attendees to ask individual questions of staff around the cafeteria, residents were displeased.

“Why can’t you change the format?” a resident shouted. The remark was echoed with calls including “It’s our meeting!” and “You work for us!”

Fred Selden, the director of the county DPZ, said staff believed the format would be a better opportunity for residents to ask specific questions about the plan. He said that at previous meetings, residents who spoke were spending a lot of time straying from the issue at hand.

“There have been opportunities for people to ask questions and also opportunities for people to make statements,” Selden said. “Quite frankly, a lot of the questions did not deal with the zoning ordinance that’s being proposed.”

Residents argued that if comments aren’t being made in front of the whole group, they aren’t useful to the overall discussion of the plan. Staff eventually agreed to a short period at the end of the meeting to reconvene and share thoughts.

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by RestonNow.com — May 22, 2017 at 10:15 am 19 Comments

This is an op/ed submitted by Terry Maynard, co-chair of the Reston 20/20 committee. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now.

Reston’s population is a key factor in the County’s high-speed drive to raise the density limits in our Planned Residential Community (PRC) zoning ordinance from 13 to 16 persons per acre across Reston to accommodate growth laid out in the new Reston Master Plan. It argues that Reston is at 12 persons per acre right now, including existing and approved development and we need to create more headroom for growth. Specifically, its “calculated estimate” of Reston PRC population, including approved plans but excluding affordable dwelling units, is 74,192 people.

Not even close on Reston’s current population — including the non-PRC areas of Reston.

The Past

The County was even badly wrong back in 2006 when it adjusted the zoning ordinance household factors — the average number of people living in each type of housing (single-family, townhomes, multi-family — garden and elevator). At that time it put Reston’s “calculated” PRC population at 64,227, roughly 10,000 fewer people than it calculates today.

Then reality set in.

In 2010, the US Census put Reston’s population at 58,404 in 25,304 occupied dwelling units, including such non-PRC areas as Deepwood and much of the Reston station area corridor. That’s a population density of 9.4 persons per acre of Reston PRC, nearly 40 percent below the current density limit of 13 persons per acre –hardly a driver for raising the overall population density ceiling.

The Present

The American Community Survey, the US Census’ official mid-decade estimate of population and other data, then put Reston’s population at 60,112 in 2015. Other unofficial sources tend to have even lower estimates of Reston’s population.

So why is the County claiming the much larger “population calculation” of 74,192 people in the PRC, which is most, but not all, of Reston?

The key reason is that the County includes the population of  developments that have been approved, but not yet built. In fact, many approved proposals have been on the books for a decade or more, including Colts Neck independent living (former Hunters Woods United Christian Parish now under construction), Reston Excelsior Oracle and Boston Properties Property #16 (under construction).

Spectrum Center is a major example. The Board gave final approval to this redevelopment in January 2013, but the developer — Lerner Enterprises — said then that redevelopment may not take place for many years, even decades. Indeed, the strip mall from Staples to Not Your Average Joe’s is still operating at capacity. Among other features, the redeveloped Spectrum Center is approved to include more than 1,400 dwelling units (almost 3,000 people).

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by Dave Emke — May 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm 12 Comments

(This article was edited at 4:45 p.m. with comment from Wegmans.)

Upscale grocery store Wegmans is looking to expand into Reston, the Washington Business Journal reports.

According to the report, sources tell the WBJ that the Western New York-based chain is looking at a 23-acre property on Association Drive, near the intersection of Sunrise Valley Drive and Soapstone Drive. The several owners who own pieces of the property have banded together to offer the assemblage for sale, the WBJ previously reported.

That location is only about a half-mile west of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, in an area that is seeing a huge amount of residential and retail development.

There are more than 90 Wegmans stores in six states, ranging from Massachusetts to Virginia. The nearest current locations are in Sterling (Dulles 28 Center) and Fairfax.

Among factors that may burden any deal for the property is the planned Soapstone Connector, which would cut through the property. The grocery chain is also considering property close to the future Herndon Metro station at Fairfax County Parkway, according to the report.

Wegmans requires a large footprint — approximately 15 acres — for one of its stores.

In response to an inquiry from Reston Now regarding the report, Wegmans media relations coordinator Valerie Fox said the following:

On our website is a list of sites where we have announced plans to build a store. There are always many rumors about other new sites, but we don’t comment on rumors or speculation. We open just three or four stores each year and our new store growth is concentrated in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.”

The site shows two future locations in Fairfax County:

  • A Chantilly location, at Route 28 and Westfields Boulevard, is scheduled for a 2018 opening
  • A Tysons location, near I-495 at Route 123, is listed as a “future site”

by Dave Emke — May 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm 8 Comments

Groundbreaking on redevelopment of the Tall Oaks Village Center is getting closer, but it is still at least half a year away.

According to information provided recently from the office of Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins:

“Supervisor Hudgins received notice from the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services that the Site Plan for the Tall Oaks development has been accepted. The Plan number is 009550-SP-003-1. It generally takes about 3-4 months for review if all of the stars align and then bonding process begins for the project. At the earliest, it will probably be about at least six months before the groundbreaking would actually occur.”

The village center was bought in December 2014 by McLean-based developer Jefferson Apartment Group. Plans to redevelop the property into a mixed-use community were approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in July 2016.

The plan will redevelop 7.14 acres of the approximately 18-acre village center. It includes approximately 5,800 square feet of office, 8,500 square feet of retail and 156 residential units consisting of:

  • 70 condos in two four-story buildings
  • 42 apartments in units that are stacked two-over-two spread across four buildings that have exteriors designed to look like townhomes
  • 44 four-story townhomes

Green or open space will make up 36 percent of the development. Jefferson has provided an animated virtual tour of the plan.

Located on a dead-end of North Shore Drive off Wiehle Avenue, Tall Oaks Village Center struggled for many years before the redevelopment proposal arose. Its longtime anchor tenant, Giant Foods, closed in 2007 and further vacancies followed quickly afterward.

The 70,000-square foot center was 86 percent empty by the time the redevelopment was approved. Jefferson had conducted a market study that showed attracting a new retail anchor was not an option.

Rendering courtesy Jefferson Apartment Group/Reston Association

by Dave Emke — May 17, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

In a work session Tuesday (video), Reston’s Design Review Board and Kensington Senior Development made progress on the latter’s plan to put a 91-unit assisted-living facility at 11501 Sunrise Valley Drive.

A re-worked sketch for the proposed facility presented to the DRB at the session pushes the building farther away from nearby townhouses on Approach Lane, part of the Wethersfield Cluster. Where previous proposals had the building within 50 feet of the nearest residence, the new configuration leaves about 80 feet.

The proposal also caps the building at three above-ground stories over one level of underground parking. The center portion of the building would have only two above-ground stories, with a rooftop garden accessible from both sides.

Previous designs for the proposal featured as many as five stories.

This seems to me to be progress,” said Richard Newlon, DRB vice chair, who was very critical of previous plans. “I think this is going in a direction that is going to be just better.”

The facility would be at the site of the current Good Beginnings School. The property has not yet been sold, with the deal contingent upon the plan’s approval.

Several residents of the Wethersfield Cluster spoke during the session, expressing their concerns about lowered property values, privacy and architectural compatibility.

The sentiment of the community is that the mass and height of this building is inappropriate at this location so close to a residential community,” said Stephen Cerny, president of the Cluster Association.

DRB members remained skeptical of how the facility would be viewed from Approach Lane and from the adjacent Sunrise Valley Convenience Center. They implored the developer to bring more detailed exhibits to future meetings to address those issues.

While DRB was happy with the effort to move the building farther away from the nearby townhouses, retaining more tree buffer in the process, they asked the developer to explore whether inching even closer to the Sunrise Valley Drive side of the property would be possible.

Screencap via Reston Association/YouTube

by RestonNow.com — May 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm 14 Comments

Another developer has plans for residential units near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

The Washington Business Journal reports that a subsidiary of TF Cornerstone is looking to build several residential buildings on 11.6 acres at 1900 and 1902 Campus Commons Drive. That’s just east of the intersection of Wiehle Avenue and Sunrise Valley Drive, south of the Dulles Toll Road and about a quarter-mile from the station.

According to the WBJ report, the developer looks to add:

  • two high-rise residential buildings between 20 and 28 stories
  • a seven-story multifamily building
  • either 26 townhouses or a six-story residential building with 8,000 square feet of retail

In total, this could add nearly 1,100 residential units to the property.

The property is already the home of two six-story office buildings, which would remain. A rezoning application to convert the property to mixed use has been submitted to Fairfax County.

This is just another in an ever-growing list of residential projects proposed in the portion of the Transit Station Area east of Wiehle Avenue. Others include:

Numerous additional projects are also in the works on the west side of Wiehle Avenue and down the Sunrise Valley Drive corridor. In 2014, Fairfax County reworked Reston’s land-use plan to encourage such development in the area of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, as well as the future Reston Town Center and Herndon stations.

“In the future, the three station areas could become home to a total of 30 million square feet in offices and 28,000 housing units,” the county said in its announcement of the plan’s revision.

by Dave Emke — May 16, 2017 at 2:45 pm 20 Comments

The dozens of residents in attendance at Monday’s Reston Planning & Zoning Committee meeting were asked to raise their hands if they oppose the county’s plan to increase density limits in the Reston Planned Residential Community District.

The response was practically unanimous.

After hearing — many for the second time, after a May 3 meeting — the Fairfax County Department of Planning & Zoning’s presentation, numerous attendees spoke up to share their concerns. One of the most repeated was a thought about the seemingly short timeline of the county’s plan to amend the zoning ordinance.

“The County and the community need to understand the implications for Reston of the zoning ordinance amendment and quite possibly amend it so that it is consistent with Reston’s vision and planning principles,” said Terry Maynard, co-chair of the Reston 20/20 committee and an outspoken opponent of the proposal. “This will take time, not the headlong rush the County and Board [of Supervisors] seem to be in to get this amendment passed with three public meetings in three weeks this month.”

The third public meeting on the DPZ’s proposal is slated for Wednesday, May 24, at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive). The DPZ says it is hoping 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.

The DPZ says the current limitation of 13 persons per acre in the Reston PRC “cannot support the amended Master Plan.” It is planning to recommend the Board of Supervisors change that limit to 16 persons per acre. It says that would allow for up to 18,737 more people in the long term, beyond the current cap.

Reston’s PRC District is currently at about 11.9 persons per acre.

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