To the Editor:
I was impressed by your very comprehensive story on Sunrise Valley Park [“Area Residents Seek Protection for a Sanctuary,” Reston Connection, April 7-13]. The Master Planning process for Reston has revealed a very strong desire to keep the wetlands intact where they are today. There has been some hint that the property owner may wish to move the wetlands to another location because of the proximity of the property to the Metro. I hope the last few weeks have been an indication of the difficulty in achieving this goal against public opinion.
I would like to suggest a win-win situation. The developer should transfer the wetland portion of the property to the Reston Association. This should be done as a charitable donation. That will reduce corporate income taxes. By transferring land ownership, they would reduce the size of their land holdings eligible for property taxes. The Reston Association is exempt from property taxes.
The Reston Association is skilled at maintaining parkland. Sunrise Valley Park would become more accessible to the public. RA could maintain the present pathway system without seeking permission from the property owners. The property owners have permitted RA to place some signs on the property and to do limited maintenance on the pathway system.
Your readers might be interested in a book by Charles A. Veatch called the "Nature of Reston." This consists of a number of beautiful nature photographs, some of which were taken in Sunrise Valley Park.
The public has shown a great interest in the park. I hope that interest can be turned into action.
R. Douglas Pew