The Fairfax County Planning Commission is slated to revisit on Thursday the amendments to the county master plan that will affect development around Reston’s transit stations.
The planning commission held a public hearing in November, in which it heard testimony from dozens of Reston residents, developers and business owners on the future of Reston. It also, of course, has had nearly two months to go over the 183-page comprehensive plan amendment.
At its Thursday evening meeting, the planners will decide whether to recommend sending the plan to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for final approval or advise more changes. The plan is tentatively scheduled to go before the Board of Supervisors on Jan. 23.
Meanwhile, Development-watchers Reston2020 point out that county planners have made changes to the language throughout the plan amendment. Some of the the biggest criticisms from the citizens’ group is that the changes say bonus density would be allowed more than one-quarter of a mile from Metro stations and no limits on building heights.
After four years of work, the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force recently completed the comprehensive plan amendment — a massive document outlining everything from density around three Metro Silver Line station’s to street patterns to recreational facilities. Dozens of citizens spoke at the public hearing with a variety of opinions on the plans.
One of the main points of the plan: where to put the people. The plan calls for ratios of 50 percent commercial/residential within one-quarter mile of the Metro stations at Wiehle-Reston East, Reston Parkway and Herndon-Monroe. In the half-mile range, the ratio should be 75 percent residential, 25 commercial.
The concept of implementation — just how the plan will be executed, who will pay and other details — came up often in citizen testimony at the public hearing.
“Planning without implementation is empty,” said Reston Citizens Association President Colin Mills. “It is not just a planning issue, it is a political issue. We support having a single entity responsible for implementation issues.”
Planning commission member James Hart reminded Mills, and the people assembled a the public hearing on Nov. 13, that implementation specifics don’t need to be in place as the new Reston will evolve over 30 years and planning will get more specific when variables such as developer proffers, population growth and economic climate are known.
“The comprehensive plan regulates nothing, ” he said. “In Virginia, we are under the Dillon Rule. It is probably inappropriate to put things in the plan like specifics if they have no force of law. The plan is intended to be a general guide. If we bear that in mind a lot of what is in this plan looks a lot better.”
After years of discussion and 10 drafts, the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force‘s comprehensive plan amendment will finally go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission Wednesday at 8:15 p.m.
The comprehensive plan amendment will guide Reston’s planning through the next 20-30 years, as it prepares for huge growth as a transit oriented community. The Planning Commission will decide whether to recommend the plan to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
The plan allows for a variety of densities, with the greatest densities close to the upcoming Metro Silver Line stations at Wiehle-Reston East, Reston Parkway and Herndon-Monroe. But does it allow for enough green space, traffic flow and other areas of concern? Reston 2020, the Reston Citizens Association group that examines development, recently gave the plan amendments a grade of “D.”
“We felt that the plan was seriously lacking in many areas, most notably parks and recreation, transportation, and implementation,” RCA President Colin Mills wrote in an opinion piece on Reston Now two weeks ago.
Want to peruse the complex, 183-page document yourself? Visit the Department of Planning and Zoning website.