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by Dave Emke October 25, 2017 at 10:15 am 76 Comments

Hidden Creek Country Club, one of Reston’s two golf courses, is now under new ownership.

According to an email sent by the country club to its members Tuesday, real-estate developer Wheelock Communities purchased the club earlier this week from its previous owner, Fore Golf Partners. According to the email, signed by Fore Golf CEO Charlie Staples:

Wheelock owns properties along the East Coast and in Texas that range from private golf clubs to large master-planned communities, to luxury waterfront condominiums and urban mixed-use projects. They look forward to becoming part of the highly respected Reston community.

Fore Golf will continue to manage the club for the new owner, according to the email, and club memberships will be unaffected by the change in ownership.

In the email, it is announced that Wheelock plans to invest more than $300,000 in upgrades to the club. This is to include upgrades to the club’s dining and events facilities, the lobby, and the locker rooms. A new fleet of golf carts is also expected to arrive in December.

More “potential changes” are listed, though:

Over the next few years, Wheelock will be working in partnership with the club members and the Reston community to explore potential changes to the property that could provide the Reston community with additional public amenities, environmental benefits and new housing choices.

It has long been feared by community advocates including Rescue Reston that both Hidden Creek and Reston National Golf Course will become the sites of residential development as Reston expands. A specific question about Hidden Creek’s future came up during Monday’s community meeting about potential changes to Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) district. Fred Selden, director of Fairfax County’s Department of Planning & Zoning, said any developer that wishes to build residential units upon Reston’s golf courses would have hurdles to overcome.

“One of the things that the plan that was adopted in 2015 did was explicitly call the golf courses as planned for golf courses and to remain as golf courses,” Selden said. “I can only speak to what kind of development can occur. It’s planned for a golf course. If somebody wants to develop it in some other fashion, they have two options: They have to prove that they have some kind of property rights to build, or they have to come in and request a change to the Comprehensive Plan.”

The new ownership team is offering Hidden Creek members the chance to meet them for the first time next week.

by Dave Emke October 24, 2017 at 11:30 am 224 Comments

Several hundred Restonians packed South Lakes High School on Monday night to hear explanations from county staff about a proposal to increase the community’s density cap — and several dozen took the opportunity to make their voices heard.

Nearly two hours of sometimes fiery public comment was part of the meeting (video), where representatives of Fairfax County’s departments of planning and zoning, parks, transportation and more addressed questions about the proposal to increase the overall limit on people per acre in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) District from 13 to as much as 16.

John Mooney, of Reclaim Reston, estimated more than 900 people attended the meeting. The nearly 650 seats in the SLHS cafeteria were filled, and the room’s perimeter was lined with standing attendees. A few dozen residents watched the meeting from an “overflow room” in a nearby lecture hall. Many in attendance were wearing yellow shirts to show their unity, and some of those people purchased those shirts from a Reclaim Reston vendor table set up at the school’s front door ahead of the event.

A major point of contention brought up by several of the speakers is the appearance that the county is forgetting about those who currently live in Reston as they work to appease developers, Metro and others outside the community who would benefit from increased growth. Residents spoke of diminished quality of life and increased problems with issues such as increased traffic and lost green space if the community builds out to the 16 people-per-acre level at the high end of the proposal for the PRC district.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said hearing comments from some residents that they don’t want to see any more people move to Reston and that they want to halt development altogether “chills” her.

“I feel concerned to say that Bob Simon was a developer and Bob Simon developed the plan that [the county is] implementing,” said Hudgins, who was interrupted numerous times during her remarks by murmuring and shouts from the crowd. “I really, really want to think about what kind of Reston we are, and I’ve been here 48 years. It was a place that said, ‘Hello, you’re welcome, please come.'”

The PRC District does not include any of the fast-growing 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. Citizen activists warn that the combined effect of these changes could see the population of Reston tripled by 2050.

An increase to the density cap would not guarantee any development; rather, staff said, it would ensure the opportunity that future development requested can be considered.

Referencing a speaker who said she had recently moved to Reston, Hudgins asked the crowd if people such as her should only be allowed to move in when someone else moves out.

“If it’s a yes to that, that means that no growth comes to Reston ever again,” Hudgins said, which was met with applause by many in attendance. “I can tell you, if that’s what you believe, it is not Bob Simon’s dream that you’re talking about.”

(more…)

by Dave Emke October 23, 2017 at 2:45 pm 6 Comments

During its meeting last week (video), Reston’s Design Review Board gave its stamp of approval to plans for exercise equipment, playground equipment, site lighting, site signage and more for the future mixed-use redevelopment of Tall Oaks Village Center.

The commercial design of the property was also approved, with an alteration requiring faux windows in the retail tower be made of a reflective surface. In the design presented to the DRB last week, the faux windows had been proposed to consist of recessed EIFS.

The lone affected party to speak during the meeting was Mary Elyn McNichols, co-owner of Tall Oaks Assisted Living. While giving her overall approval to the plan, McNichols requested that some amount of exterior seating around the development’s stores be made handicapped-accessible.

In the landscape plan, the developers were asked by the DRB to find more locations to plant trees where possible.

One place were developers said they have already increased plants and trees is between the development’s 2-over-2 townhouses and the assisted-living facility, which was done at the facility’s request to create more of a buffer. The exercise station plans for the development were also designed after discussion with the assisted-living facility, developers said.

In addition to the development’s landscape plan, the garage doors and lighting were tabled for a future meeting, along with sliding doors and windows.

The redevelopment will include approximately 5,800 square feet of office, 8,500 square feet of retail and 156 residential units.

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.

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.

by RestonNow.com October 23, 2017 at 10:15 am 28 Comments

At a panel event last week, developers said that filling the thousands of new rental units coming to Reston’s Metro corridor is proving to be a “bumpy road.”

Commercial real-estate news source Bisnow hosted a “Fairfax County State of the Market” event last week, at which representatives of several top area developers spoke about the boom in development in Reston and Tysons. According to Bisnow’s report, the areas are currently in a state where supply is outpacing demand.

“In Reston we’re a little sick, but Tysons is in hospice in terms of the glut of apartments,” said Greg Trimmer, JBG Smith executive vice president of development, according to the Bisnow report. Trimmer is reported to have said that apartment rents in Reston are flat — and in some cases slightly negative — due to the amount of new multifamily construction.

JBG Smith is involved in numerous residential projects around Reston, including the next phase of the RTC West project, which would include 700 dwelling units in two towers. It also has a stake in the 1831 Wiehle project, which would bring in about 1,500 new residents. In addition, Fairfax County has approved JBG Smith’s plans for about 500 more residential units and more at the Commerce Executive Park; however, the developer may be looking to unload that property.

Trimmer is reported to have said that Reston is positioned well to be a residential success, but that it is currently experiencing a “blip.”

“In the long term we’re set up well, but right now we do have a bit of a problem,” Trimmer is reported to have said.

Comstock CEO Chris Clemente is reported to have agreed, saying that the 450-apartment BLVD has not leased as quickly as expected. He says the hope is that will change once the full Reston Station development begins to take shape.

“I think a lot of that has to do with the lack of understanding of what this neighborhood here is going to be,” Clemente is reported to have said. “The new residential buildings will benefit from that lifestyle that only comes when you have a more complete environment.”

Comstock’s additional plans include 460 more residential units where the Sunset Hills Professional Center currently stands.

Mike Henehan, Bozzuto’s senior vice president, also spoke on the issue during the forum. He is reported to have given similar comments about the glut of new apartments and the supply surge in Reston.

Bozzuto is currently leasing apartments at its new 421-unit Aperture building.

“There is still some rent growth in this market,” Henehan is reported to have said. “It certainly doesn’t keep up with construction costs and some of the other costs, so I think there will be a little resistance there over time.”

File photo of Bozzuto’s Aperture apartments under construction, August 2016

by Dave Emke October 23, 2017 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

Meeting on PRC Zoning Ordinance Amendment Tonight — The latest community meeting on a proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would increase the density cap in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) district is tonight at 7 p.m. at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive). [Fairfax County]

Review: ‘Aida’ is ‘an Explosion of Color and Sound’ — According to a reviewer, the new Reston Community Players show features “action and comedy elements, along with the flashy set and costume design, [that] will keep young and old enthralled to the end.” [DC Metro Theater Arts]

Crash Shuts Down Reston Roadway — A collision at Fairfax County Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive affected traffic this morning. The road was reopened as of about 8:20 a.m., according to the Fairfax County Police Department. [FCPD/Twitter]

Stream Restoration In Progress — In its latest “Reston Today” video dispatch, Reston Association shares information about a restoration project currently underway at Brown’s Chapel Park and Vantage Hill. [Reston Association/YouTube]

Reston Solar Firm Plans Large Farm — SolUnesco (1818 Library St.) has proposed a 400-acre, 60-megawatt solar farm along in Orange County. [(Charlottesville) Daily Progress]

by RestonNow.com October 20, 2017 at 2:45 pm 50 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.

The County, via its proposed zoning density increases, and developers are already planning for Reston’s Village Centers to become nearly two to three times as densely populated as Arlington County’s major Ballston Transit Station Area (TSA).

The result is astounding given that Ballston is rightly a high-density mixed-use transit-oriented development area served by two Metro lines while Reston’s Village Centers are nowhere near Metro.  Moreover, the recent year-long Reston transportation development effort (RNAG) revealed that Fairfax County explicitly doesn’t plan to enhance local bus transit to serve the Village Centers or our TSAs.

Fairfax County data and US Census 2010 data for Ballston show that, with the exception of Lake Anne Village Center, where a redevelopment plan is already in place, the number of dwelling units (homes) per acre will potentially be at least twice as dense as in Ballston. Moreover, because Fairfax County anticipates a fraction more people in each household, the potential number of residents per acre runs better than two and one-half times that experienced in Ballston.   

At the risk of repeating ourselves, Reston’s Village Centers are intended to be neighborhood-serving gathering places. They are not meant to be transit station areas without the “transit.” According to US Census data, Ballston is the most populous area in Arlington County and the fourth most densely populated (people per acre). The notion that TSA residential densities should be applied in Reston’s Village Centers is preposterous and contradicts everything that the Reston Master Plan says about their development.

The current Reston Master Plan calls for the following in any Village Center redevelopment: “Enhance Village Centers as vibrant neighborhood gathering places; advance excellence in site design and architecture; strengthen connectivity and mobility; [and] protect and respect the surrounding residential neighborhoods.”

Any notion that residential density in excess of 100 people per acre is consistent with these objectives is ludicrous.  

If you don’t want your neighborhood Village Center to be blown up and replaced with one or more 12- to 14-story high-rise apartments or condos, please come to the community meeting on the Reston PRC zoning ordinance on Monday at South Lakes High School. Bring your friends and your children for a major civics lesson on local government. Learn, question, and challenge what you hear. It is our Reston and we must act to protect it by showing our revulsion with this absurd zoning ordinance proposal.  

Terry Maynard, Co-Chair

Reston 20/20 Committee

by Dave Emke October 20, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Chamber: Effort To Woo Amazon ‘Start of Something Great’ — Jim Corcoran, president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, says the partnership between Loudoun and Fairfax counties to try to bring Amazon’s new headquarters to Herndon can be “a model for our economic growth,” no matter what the company decides. [Washington Business Journal]

Metro: Fare Evasion is Serious Issue — Metro says its efforts to ensure no one gets on trains without paying has helped curb serious crime on the system by 20 percent. [Metro Transit Police/Twitter]

Early Metro Hours Sunday for Marathon — Trains will begin rolling Sunday at 6 a.m. to help participants in the 42nd annual Marine Corps Marathon. Extra trains will also be running on the Blue and Yellow lines. [WMATA]

A Look at Mixed-Use Developments in Fairfax County — Earlier this week, Bisnow took a look at several large developments in the works in the county, as it says “developers are increasingly turning the county into a walkable, mixed-use environment.” Included in the profile are several Reston developments, including Reston Station and Tall Oaks. [Bisnow]

Police Warn of Criminals Targeting Garage Door Openers — Police departments in Loudoun and Prince William counties are urging residents to keep their garage door openers out of sight as criminals are stealing them from cars and using them to gain access to homes. Police in Reston have previously warned of similar crimes. [WTOP]

by Dave Emke October 18, 2017 at 10:15 am 25 Comments

Citing the great interest the community has shown in the topic, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office has announced additional arrangements for Monday’s meeting on a Fairfax County proposal to increase Reston’s density cap.

The meeting, scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive), will be streamed live on Fairfax County’s Channel 16. In addition to being available online, that channel can be found on Comcast, Verizon Fios and Cox cable services on channel 16, as well as through digital television (with QAM tuner) on channel 34-16.

To accommodate for parking difficulties at the school, the county will also be offering a pair of shuttle buses from the parking lot at the Human Services building (1850 Cameron Glen Drive) to the school. The first will leave and 6 p.m. and the last will go at 6:30. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, and each trip can take 39 riders.

See the full announcement from Hudgins’ office here.

Next week’s meeting was scheduled after a planned meeting last month at Lake Anne Elementary School was called off when a large number of people — estimated at more than 400 — showed up to oppose the plan, which county officials said breached the fire code.

The occupancy limit for the SLHS cafeteria is 668 when tables are present, though it can hold up to 1,280 if the several dozen large tables are removed.

The proposal from the county 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 fast-growing 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 possible major residential development include all of Reston’s village centers.

Citizen activists warn that the combined effect of these changes could see the population of Reston tripled by 2050.

The county’s Department of Planning and Zoning says the change to the density cap is necessary to make way for growth that is expected after Reston’s Master Plan was updated by Fairfax County in 2014 and 2015 to guide redevelopment in Transit Station Areas, Town Center and village centers.

“A full buildout would not necessarily ever be reached, and if it even approaches that point, it wouldn’t do so quickly,” said Cathy Belgin of the county DPZ’s Zoning Administration Division, of the potential population growth, at a meeting in May. “But staff feels it is important, because the Master Plan takes a long look forward in time, that the regulations should be aligned accordingly for there to be the opportunity.”

More information about the proposal is available at Fairfax County’s website.

File photo from Sept. 25 meeting

by RestonNow.com October 16, 2017 at 2:45 pm 73 Comments

This is an op/ed submitted by Dennis Hays, president of the Reston Citizens Association. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now.

It seems like every day, a major new development project in Reston is announced. And it seems like every day, traffic gets a little worse and schools and athletic fields get a little more crowded.

Is there a connection here? Well, of course there is.

Reston, since its founding, has excelled and prospered as a planned community. And the plan has been that development and the requisite infrastructure would go hand in hand. The problem is not (always) new development; the problem is that new development calls for a corresponding investment in roads, bridges and underpasses, schools, playgrounds, storm drainage, additional open space and, yes, trees — and this isn’t happening.

Economists often point to a phenomenon called “the Tragedy of the Commons” — the observation that when individual users of a commonly held resource are free to maximize their personal benefit at the expense of the larger community, they will generally do so. The “commonly held resource” in this case being the unique and special nature of a Reston where one can Live, Work and Play in harmony with nature. In a perfect world, everyone — the County, the developers and residents of Reston alike — would work together to grow Reston while preserving those things that make this community what it is.

Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world.

The County and the developers want to dramatically increase the population density of Reston. They are naturally driven by, and give priority to, a desire for tax revenue and profits respectively. Not bad things in themselves, of course, unless they come at the unwarranted expense of others — which, in this case, they do.

That leaves those of us who live and work here as the ones with both the most to gain and the most to lose as decisions about our future are made. In the coming weeks a number of key issues — ranging from whether to triple the density of Reston, to what kind of library we will have, to how crowded our schools will be — are to be acted upon. As individuals, we have scant ability to ensure infrastructure is given equal priority to development. But this is Reston, and Reston being Reston, we have a vast community of engaged citizens with a deep commitment to balance and fairness and a future we can proudly pass on to our posterity.

Three weeks ago, over 400 individuals turned out for the County’s fourth attempt to justify the density increase — only to have the meeting canceled because we far exceeded the room’s capacity. Now the meeting has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23 at South Lakes High Schools. The County will draw upon the full-time lawyers and urban planners we as taxpayers pay for to tell us what they say is in our best interest. On our side we have — each other. We need everyone who believes in defending the Commons to attend this meeting.

As Margaret Mead observed, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

by Dave Emke October 16, 2017 at 1:30 pm 6 Comments

At its meeting tonight (agenda), Reston’s Planning & Zoning Committee will hear presentations on three major upcoming projects.

Two projects are scheduled to be voted upon at the meeting:

  • Renaissance Centro 1801 LLC — Currently the 1.51-acre home of a three-story office building, 1801 Old Reston Ave. has been proposed by property owner Renaissance Centro as the site of a 20-story high rise with up to 150 living units. Of those units, 126 would be market-rate and 24 would be workforce dwelling. This project has a Dec. 6 hearing scheduled with the Fairfax County Planning Commission.
  • Kensington Senior Development LLC — Currently the home of Good Beginnings School, 11501 Sunrise Valley Drive is proposed as the new home of a senior-living facility. The 65,000-square-foot building would include 96 beds within 70 units. This project has a Nov. 30 hearing scheduled with the Fairfax County Planning Commission.

The committee is also scheduled to hear an informational presentation on the CRS Sunset Hills LC project. Comstock Partners plans to convert the Sunset Hills Professional Center, a one-story office condo complex at Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue, into a mixed-use development featuring approximately 460 residential units and 40,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The project would also include two parcels to the east, known as the “Kfoury Parcels,” which would be developed to add approximately 300,000 square feet of office uses. Comstock also plans for an approximately 400,000-square-foot full-service hotel and 80 high-end residential units on another adjacent property. In total, the planned project includes about 1.24 million square feet of proposed redevelopment, exclusive of affordable-housing provision bonuses.

That project does not yet have a county hearing scheduled.

Tonight’s Reston P&Z Committee meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

File image of 1801 Old Reston Ave.

by Dave Emke October 13, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Golf Fundraiser Pays Legal Fees in Open Space Fight — Rescue Reston’s recent event at Reston National Golf Course raised money to go toward paying off the $153,000 in legal fees the group has incurred fighting its battle to protect the course from development. [Connection Newspapers]

County Celebrates High-Rise Construction Safety — “The cranes in Reston and Tysons are the most dramatic sign that parts of our county are changing into a more urban environment. Before these new high-rise buildings are built, years of planning go into making sure they are safe for the occupants and the community.” [Fairfax County]

Firefighters Support Breast Cancer Awareness — In an effort to heighten awareness in the fight against breast cancer, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department employees have been authorized to wear FRD-issued pink T-shirts while on duty from Oct. 9-23. The shirts are worn as a symbol of support and recognition for all those who have been touched by breast cancer. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Preparedness Event Slated for Saturday — The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management is partnering with numerous county agencies and other partners, such as the American Red Cross, to host a Preparedness Awareness Weekend (PAW) event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Providence Community Center (3001 Vaden Drive, Fairfax). [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Digital-Media Company Moves Into New Town Center Home — Intermarkets, a Reston-based digital-media company whose portfolio includes The Drudge Report and The Political Insider, is now headquartered on the 11th floor of Reston Town Center’s One Freedom Square. [Virginia Business]

by Dave Emke October 12, 2017 at 4:00 pm 8 Comments

At its meeting Tuesday night (agenda), Reston’s Design Review Board will discuss specific plans for the residential and commercial aspects of the upcoming Tall Oaks Village Center redevelopment.

The project was last brought before the DRB in August, at which time the general landscape and architecture plans for the project were approved. Next week, the developers will be looking for approval of several other aspects of the plans, including the final landscape plan, the comprehensive sign plan, the lighting plan and material specifications.

Included in the final landscape plans is exercise and playground equipment, as well as a putting green. Site furnishings up for discussion include artistic bike racks and custom bus shelters. Three entry signs and a directional sign will be considered as well.

See the full residential presentation from applicant Jefferson Apartment Group and architect KTGY here.

The redevelopment plans call for 156 homes (a mix of townhomes, 2-over-2 townhomes and multifamily buildings), community space, 8,500 square foot of retail and about 6,000 square feet of office space. The end result will be the first such overhaul of one of Reston’s original village centers.

The 70,000-square-foot center was 86 percent empty by the time the redevelopment was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in July 2016. Jefferson had conducted a market study that showed attracting a new retail anchor was not an option.

by Dave Emke October 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm 11 Comments

An approved plan for massive development of the Commerce Executive Park near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station may be at a fork in the road, the Washington Business Journal reports.

According to the WBJ, JBG Smith is marketing the 12-acre property Commerce Executive Park to prospective buyers. JBG Smith took ownership of the property — south of the Dulles Toll Road and at the northwest corner of the Sunrise Valley Drive/Wiehle Avenue intersection — from Vornado Realty Trust earlier this year as part of the recent merger of JBG Cos. and Vornado’s D.C. business unit, Charles E. Smith.

The three existing six-story office buildings would remain in the redevelopment plan, but the rest would be transformed into a live-work-dine-shop destination for those who want to be close to Metro and Reston’s busy business corridor. The new buildup would include towering buildings that would be among the tallest in Reston:

  • a 22-story, 275-foot-tall office building
  • a 24-story, 255-foot-tall residential building with up to 300 dwelling units
  • a 14-story, 165-foot-tall hotel with 175 rooms
  • a 7-story, 100-foot-tall residential building with up to 200 dwelling units

The plans also include a total of 1.5 acres of open space, with small parks, bicycle tracks and a promenade along the businesses, and would feature public art including a water feature.

According to the WBJ report, the fact that CBRE is marketing the properties for JBG Smith doesn’t necessarily mean a sale is imminent or will even happen at all.

by RestonNow.com October 9, 2017 at 11:30 am 60 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.

Restonians turned out in droves two weeks ago for a County-organized community meeting on its proposed Reston PRC zoning ordinance amendment. The essence of the proposed language change is to increase the cap on Reston’s population from 13 to 16 people per acre, but that ignores several other factors including station area development, affordable housing and “bonus” market rate housing for developers. The crowd was so large that Supervisor Hudgins was forced to cancel the meeting. Those hundreds of people were there because, contrary to what the County keeps telling the community, the proposed zoning change opens the door for an overall tripling of Reston’s population.

But that is only part of the story.

An important element of the zoning amendment proposal is the residential development it would not only allow, but is already planned, in our Village Centers. The Village Centers–North Point, Lake Anne, South Lakes, and Hunters Woods–are currently our neighborhood shopping centers and intended to be “neighborhood gathering places” in Bob Simon’s vision. They are where we buy our groceries, purchase our prescriptions, dine out in locally-owned restaurants, and meet many of our other family needs.

Here is what the Reston Master Plan has to say about the role of our Village Centers:

The general vision for Reston’s Village Centers addresses the fundamental elements necessary for any Village Center to achieve the desired goal of becoming a vibrant community gathering space. The Village Center general vision is an elaboration of the Reston Vision and Planning Principles. Recognizing that each Village Center faces unique circumstances, redevelopment proposals should take advantage of this to creatively interpret the general vision to provide a unique, vibrant community gathering space:

• Enhance Village Centers as vibrant neighborhood gathering places.
• Advance excellence in site design and architecture.
• Strengthen connectivity and mobility.
• Protect and respect the surrounding residential neighborhoods. . . .

(The) Central Public Plaza should (h)ighlight the Village Centers as neighborhood scale gathering places, in contrast to the regional scale gathering places in the Town Center or the community scale gathering places in the other TSAs.

In short, our Village Centers are meant to be our hyper-local “gathering places” to live, work, and play with our families, friends, and neighbors. Nothing in the whole section of the Comprehensive Plan on Reston’s Village Centers suggests they should be anything other than neighborhood serving and, indeed, the plan suggests the opposite.

But that is not what the proposed Reston PRC zoning ordinance would allow and, indeed, what is already being planned according to the County’s data. The county’s table of proposed redevelopment sites, which provides the county’s justification for raising the population cap, projects huge increases in dwelling units and population that are totally out of character and will overwhelm North and South Reston.

Approval of the PRC zoning amendment to raise the population cap to accommodate such growth will allow developers to add nearly 13,000 residents to our Village Centers, including new affordable and bonus market rate housing that could be added under the county’s rules but is not included in the county’s table. In the worst case example, North Point Village Center, the PRC re-zoning proposal shows a potential twelve-fold increase in dwelling units (DUs), an increase of nearly 1,700 DUs and 3,600 residents. At the low end of the spectrum is Lake Anne Village Center whose redevelopment plan has already been approved with a near tripling of the number of residents to more than 2,600. Across Reston’s four Village Centers, population would be allowed to nearly quintuple.

(more…)

by Dave Emke October 6, 2017 at 10:15 am 3 Comments

UPDATE: The Starbucks location opened Monday, Oct. 9.

Another new Starbucks will soon open in Reston.

Signs inside the future coffee shop at 12130A Sunset Hills Road, within the RTC West development, indicate that the new Starbucks will be ready soon. The storefront is attached to Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, which opened in August.

A spokesperson for RTC West developer JBG Smith said she could not provide an exact opening date for the Starbucks. An “opening soon” sign hangs inside, visible through the front windows. Several “Now Open” sandwich boards are also stacked inside, ready for deployment.

This will be the ninth Starbucks in Reston, joining locations at North Point Village Center, South Lakes Village Center, Hunters Woods Village Center, Reston Town Center, the Spectrum shopping plaza, Plaza America, Reston Station and inside Target.

Six additional restaurants are also planned for the development. Significant work has been done at the sites of the future Nando’s and Mezeh restaurants, which have been in the plans since April 2016. Other coming restaurants, which were announced earlier this year, include BGR The Burger Joint, Punjabi by Nature, The Black Squirrel and Honeygrow.

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