Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Monday, November 30, 2020

The major changes to the county zoning ordinance proposed by zMOD are about to go the Board of Supervisors.

If YOU Live in Fairfax County -  Your Neighborhood WILL Be Affected by the Proposed County Zoning Changes.

Below is a link to the ZONING REVISIONS DRAFT county staff has prepared for the Board of Supervisors (BoS). The BoS will vote to approve or disapprove the Draft for advertisement at its 12/1 Board Meeting. This action will start the clock for public hearings beginning in January with approval in March. Our concern is that phase I of the Zoning Modification Ordinance (which will be law) has mission creep from the original plan to "to make the regulations easier for all stakeholders to understand, and to remove inconsistencies, gaps, and ambiguities that have found their way into the Ordinance since initial adoption of the current Ordinance in 1978."  Please note that whatever changes are adopted by the BoS that favor less control of  development can not be undone in this Dillon Rule state.

A change like this needs MORE citizen involvement than normal - not LESS as this is getting because of COVID-19.

The Draft revision includes major changes with no enforcement protocols and no public hearings!  It would allow:

  • Market-Rate Accessory Apartment Units (ALU) in single-family homes with NO public hearing. The existing requirement that the Accessory/Apartment Unit go through a public hearing and be occupancy-limited for an aged or differently-abled family member would be abolished.
  • Home Based Businesses (HBB), many traffic generating, with NO public hearing. Each HBB could have signs totaling 12 square feet.
  • The original home can have a home-based business and SO COULD THE SECOND UNIT. So you could get both a duplex AND two home-based businesses in one single-family home. No public hearing per case means neighbors have no say if the businesses generate traffic/parking problems.
  • Certain neighborhood commercial areas 'by right' uses to expand and include hookah bars; such new uses may or may not be compatible with the presently existing commercial uses(restaurants, health clinics, child learning establishments, etc.) or adjacent residential neighborhoods. Again, there would no longer be a public hearing for each or any case.

BACKGROUND: The County has been working on 'zMOD' (Zoning Modernization) for several years and during that time staff has met with various formal citizen or industry groups across the county, but MOST citizens and residential taxpayers have NO idea about how profoundly these proposals have the potential to alter neighborhood character.

  • Apart from Springfield Supervisor Herrity's pre-pandemic meeting at Clifton Town Hall, no other Supervisor has held an 'Open Town Hall' on any of the proposed changes. Hunter Mill Supervisor Walter Alcorn is holding a Neighborhood Town Hall on 11/30 to discuss the proposal; importantly, he has made a point of underscoring the highly debatable proposals for Accessory Apartment Units and Home Based Business. Sully Supervisor Kathy Smith has scheduled an informational meeting for citizens in early December; but unfortunately for citizens, the Sully meeting is AFTER the Board makes its 12/1 decision on advertising this Draft.
  • Apparently, no environmental groups such as Sierra or Audubon have been asked for comments. We need their insight prior to any 'Final Draft' status.
  • There is a 30 page summary at the beginning of the 700+ page ZMOD Draft. 'Concerned Citizens’ could plow through the Draft, or download the document as a searchable Word or PDF Search for keywords that matter to you. Unfortunately, this Draft doesn't contain an Index (!!) nor simple charts or graphics that lay out the changes. No redline versions have been made public, footnotes are meant to explain changes.
  • CITIZENS HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD PRIOR TO THE BOARD TAKING AN OFFICIAL POSITION ON THIS DRAFT ORDINANCE. But we need to request our right be honored.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

1.    EMAIL the Board of Supervisors and the Chairman’s Office TODAY. ASK that THE VOTE TO CONSIDER ADVERTISING THE ZONING DRAFT/Administrative Item #3 BE DEFERRED UNTIL 2021 AND AFTER CITIZEN TOWN HALLS ARE HELD IN EACH DISTRICT.  bos@fairfaxcounty.gov, chairman@fairfaxcounty.gov, ClerktotheBOS@fairfaxcounty.gov

This is our County. Citizens should have direct input into how County land-use regulations will change. There is a Webpage and a Facebook page for zMOD, but nothing beats direct communication with our elected officials.

2.    The revisions will change the fabric of our everyday lives. Not all of them are bad, but neither are they all 'neutral or better.’ Let's make sure citizens are consulted before these changes are officially rolled out. Hunter Mill District Supervisor's Town Hall tonight at 7 pm can be watched live on this YouTube channel OR Hunter Mill District residents and others may actively participate following the information here.

LINK TO the EXECUTIVE SUMMARY followed by 700+ page Revised Zoning Code: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning-development/sites/planning-development/files/assets/documents/zmod/proposed-ordinance-annotated.pdf

LINK TO ADMINISTRATIVE ITEM 3 for the December 1 Board of Supervisors Meeting: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/boardofsupervisors/sites/boardofsupervisors/files/assets/meeting-materials/2020/board/dec01-board-package.pdf

Monday, August 17, 2020

Lake Thoreau residents petition RA to clean-up and sustain their lake after huge algae bloom. Pease sign the petition.

Support Lake Thoreau Clean-up & Long-term Health

33 people have signed this petition. Add your name now! 

Lake Thoreau Community 14 Comments

Since 1970, Lake Thoreau has been a vibrant and important watershed for the Reston community. It brings functional value as a storm-water management tool, enriches the environment, provides a habitat for wildlife, a recreational space for residents and a public arts venue, among many other valuable forms of enriching the community.

Since 2015, the lake has had various issues beginning with shallow coves in need of dredging to maintain the lakes storm-water management function, and even since that was addressed in 2018, the lake has experienced various blooms of algae issues and infestations of hydrilla.

The community has been patient allowing the Reston Association time to fix the issues and create a long term plan, but the community, after many attempts to become educated and informed, offering assistance and support and trying to engage in a two-way dialog with Reston Association staff, can no longer wait while we see our wildlife die, the lake develop into a dangerous place for the citizens and as we become increasingly concerned about it's long term health and mismanagement.

Join others in the community on our quest to return Lake Thoreau to a vibrant, thriving, functional and recreational community facility.

Ask the RA Board to immediately:

  • Appropriate funds to clean up the dying hydrilla from the lake this week
  • Setup a community meeting before the end of the month to address our additional concerns
  • Establish a public and transparent Working Group for Lake Thoreau
  • Take responsibility and hold people accountable for the mismanagement of this important community resource.
All RA members may help in this community initiative by signing the petition.  And please feel free to add your comments to others' on the petition.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Reston continues to outperform the county and state in its management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Snapshot.  A look at COVID-19 data in Reston as of July 29, 2020, shows that our community is faring better than Fairfax County as a whole in its handling of the pandemic.  Reston has fewer cases per 100,000 people, lower positivity in testing, and a higher share of the population tested than the county as whole as of that date.  Within Reston, central Reston (Baron Cameron to the Dulles Toll Road) is the relative “hot spot” with 1,346 cases/100,000 persons, yet its case growth and positivity rates have been relatively good.

In fact, Fairfax County is lagging well behind the state in managing COVID-19; in particular, tests positivity results are about 50% higher for the county than for Reston, Virginia, or the United States and the county’s number of cases per 100,000 persons is about 27% higher than both the state and Reston.   The one spot of good news at the county level is that the recent rate of increase in the number of cases, like Reston’s, is about have the growth rate of the state and the US.

Here’s is the data we have compiled as of that date:

Trends.  What this snapshot does not capture is trend in these COVID-19 variables over time.  In the two-month period that we have been tracking COVID-19, all data have improved for all variables we have measured. 

·       PCR Tests Administered:  Reston had only a testing rate of 3.4% in late May while Virginia’s testing rate was at 3.2% and the US rate was at 4.8%.  No data was available on Fairfax.  Clearly, Virginia and its sub-units were lagging in testing even at a time the country as a whole was weak in testing.  Now, even lagging Fairfax County has achieved 10.7% testing rate.

·       Testing Positivity.  In late May, Reston’s positivity rate stood at 21%, well above the state rate (15%) and the national rate (11%).  Now, except for Fairfax County, those rates have dropped to 8%.  The target goal to control COVID-19 is about 5%. 

·       Daily Percent Increase in COVID-19 cases.  The downward trend in new cases daily has maybe been most remarkable.  In late May, Reston’s percent daily increase was 1.8%.  Fairfax County’s rate of increase was 1.6%, Virginia’s was 2.0%, and the nation’s was 0.8%.   Reston and Fairfax County have cut their rate of increase by about half over the last month as shown in the graphic above, Virginia has seen some increase, and the nation’s rate of increase has doubled—largely due to the re-opening of the economy. 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

League of Women Voters warns of fraudulent absentee ballots being sent to Virginians, including in Fairfax County.

From: League of Women Voters of Virginia <communications@lwv-va.org>
Date: August 5, 2020 at 7:39:47 PM EDT

Subject: Important information for erroneous mailed ballot application
Reply-To: League of Women Voters of Virginia <communications@lwv-va.org>

 

 URGENT ACTION ALERT!

 

PUBLIC EDUCATION NEEDED

VOTE BY MAIL BALLOT APPLICATIONS ERRORS BY OUTSIDE GROUP

 

We have received reports from members who received an absentee ballot application that was pre-filled out. Unfortunately, in many areas, the enclosed envelopes have the wrong voter registrar's office return address. Fairfax City people received envelopes addressed to the Fairfax County registrar.  The same error was made with Roanoke City and Roanoke County voters. There may be problems in other parts of the state as well. A group called the Center for Voter Information (also known as the Center for Voter Participation) mailed vote by mail applications to residents of Virginia.

This is also causing concerns because some people already requested their ballot and are now wondering why they got this.

Needless to say, this is something registrars should not have to be dealing with at this time.

Please use all of your social media and traditional outlets to reach the public to alert people. If they receive this ballot application in the mail, they need to double-check the return address on the envelope for their completed application--or better yet, use it as an opportunity to go on the official Virginia Board of Elections portal to request a ballot.

https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation

Voters should be reminded:

  • that absentee ballots will be mailed starting September 18
  • the deadline to register to vote is October 13
  • the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is October 23
  • Election day is November 3. 
For more information contact – Janet Boyd voterservices@lwv-va.org

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

CPR: Help Stop Fairfax County from Over-Development

Dear CPR members,

At a Fairfax Co. Planning Commission hearing on 7/15, a newly formed, county-wide citizen’s’ group, ACT 4 Fairfax, refuted obvious health and safety issues impacting new residential development in flight path of Dulles Airport.  Only a massive public outcry will stop this travesty. Let the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission know YOU are watching!
There is an issue in the Sully District that affects all of us county wide. It concerns me because it sets a precedent for ignoring environmental safeguards meant to protect citizens. The issue is that the county has not yet addressed (adopted) the 2019 Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) Noise Contour Map, which has been sitting in the Board of Supervisor’s Land Use Committee since March 2019, nearly 17 months.   Instead the County is using a 27-year-old Noise Contour Map from 1993 to evaluate applications for development around Dulles Airport. 
The process of not using the most current, science-based, objective data to evaluate applications for large-scale development is disturbing and could easily happen in any district in Fairfax County.  Fairfax County needs to use the best available data when evaluating an application, in order to pursue development that is best for the residents of Fairfax County and the environment.
Please email Fairfax County and let them know that the most current scientific data should be used to evaluate all applications throughout Fairfax County and specifically that the Boulevards at Westfields, application RZ/FDP2019-SU-010, PCA 78-S-063-10, PCA 81-S-076, should be deferred until the 2019 MWAA Noise Contour Map is approved and can be used to evaluate the application.
You can email your concerns to the Clerk to the Planning Commission at plancom@fairfaxcounty.gov.  The Planning Commission hearing on this issue is scheduled for Wednesday, July 29th.  Please reference the above application number and state that you would like to have your email distributed to all the Planning Commissioners. Also, please email your concerns to the Clerk to the Board of Supervisors at clerktotheBOS@fairfaxcounty.gov and do the same thing.
Fairfax County needs to have meaningful processes in place to evaluate applications for development and these processes need to be based on the most current and reliable scientific data.
Tammi Petrine, Member
ACT 4 Fairfax
Accountability | Cooperation | Transparency in Fairfax County
A Countywide, Nonpartisan, Volunteer Association of Residents

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Audit of LARCA shows major discrepancies in its accounting practices.

Writing in this week's Reston Connection, John Lovaas, the Independent Progressive, lays out a series of discrepancies discovered by Ernst & Young in its audit of the Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association (LARCA) for the last three years.   After laying out the details, he ends with the comment, "Next-All await the outcome of the Commonwealth Attorney’s investigation!"

We thought you should know the full story.  Below we present present the full presentation received by the LARCA Board so you can assess for yourself the competence and legality of the decisions made by LARCA management.   It does not look good.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

COVID-19: The First Week of NOVA Re-opening


After just one week into the Phase 1 re-opening of northern Virginia businesses, the number of new cases of COVID-19 is increasing at a faster rate than the preceding week.  In fact, the rate of case increases is up 22% in Reston (from 1.8% to 2.1% per day) and Fairfax County’s new case rate increased by more than twice that—48%.  Virginia’s overall case rate, including those counties that opened two weeks earlier, increased 33%.  Worst, the nation’s COVID-19 case rate increased by 59% over the last week.

In Reston, the number of reported cases grew from 420 to 487 over the first week of the county’s re-opening, significantly less than the rate of growth in the county.  Overall, Reston’s number of cases per 100,000 people remains 27% below the county rate, but the county’s case rate per 100K people remains nearly twice that of the state and the nation—very poor.

With only 4.2% of its population tested Virginia remains well behind the nation in testing rate, but Fairfax County (4.7%) and Reston (4.8%) are performing better on this metric.  Nationally, 5.7% of the population has been tested for COVID-19.