Reston 2020 Meeting Minutes: Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011
The meeting was convened at 7:30 pm at LA RCC by Co-Chair Terry Maynard. 15 members were in attendance. Special thoughts were expressed for our member Dave Edwards who was unable to attend. In addition, birthday wishes were expressed to Dick Rogers who is the most prolific Task Force committee meeting attendee of 2020!!!
Implementation was the first item of discussion and was presented by Dick Stillson. 2020 has been grappling with the issue of indentifying a viable method of financing infrastructure improvements in advance of development so that our community does not suffer erosion of reputation and quality of life issues unacceptable to current Restonians as well as commercial and residential newcomers.
Various vehicles were discussed again; specifically TIF or Tax Increment Financing where a portion of the increased taxes collected from Reston businesses and new residences would stay in Reston to fund the debt load on new infrastructure improvements and CIP or Capital Improvement Program, the county’s list of desired improvements that are funded in order as funds are available. The group decided to definitely get some of the necessary improvements on the list, but was realistic that the long wait required would be unsatisfactory in most instances.
Of specific concern is the extension of Soapstone Drive north over the toll way to a connection with Sunset Hills Road. Without this vital link in our transportation network, Reston will experience grid lock during extended rush hours once Metro arrives at Wiehle in three short years.
Reston 2020 decided to write a paper detailing some specific recommendations and alternatives for financing Reston’s new infrastructure to the County Executive, the Board of Supervisors, and other officials. The author of the paper will be Dick Stillson with assistance from a new committee. Offering to staff that committee were: Stillson, Rob Whitfield, Terry Maynard, Joe Leighton, and Tammi Petrine.
One committee suggested starting the process by identifying exactly what we need in the way of improvements for Phase 1 of Metro. Secondly, a committee member stated that the custom of Fairfax Co. of letting developers off the hook for paying for infrastructure improvements has to change as that puts the county and the affected community in the position of not being able to get enough money fast enough to build the necessary facilities and transportation improvements.
A committee member suggested talking to Len Wales, the county debt manager to get some insight into how that process works and to explore possible remedies.
The Steering Committee of the task force was the next item of discussion on the agenda; discussion was guided by Terry Maynard and Dick Rogers.
The first concern for 2020 was how the Steering Committee got the authority to edit the Vision Committee’s work. Dick Rogers stated that Heidi Merkel, DPZ, and Patty Nicoson, RTF Chairman, had clarified that the SC’s role was to decide the vision or character of the three station study areas for what will be presented to the Task Force.
One member suggested that the county staff may already be trying to write the language for the Vision Committee’s planning principles for the entire master plan for presentation to the Task Force. This is a difficult but critical process.
2020’s largest concern is the enormous amount of proposed development in the Dulles Corridor when all of the numbers are added together. The total approaches the density proposed for Tysons Corner in the next 20 years under DPZ’s “Scenario A,” and much higher if the Town Center Sub-committee’s recommendations are accepted. Because the numbers have never been presented en total, 2020 proposes to write a brief paper doing just that. This document including graphics will be prepared by Terry Maynard and will be presented to the whole task force. Members of the Task Force need to understand what they are proposing for the overall plan.
A committee member offered to send all 2020 a copy of HR3202 which deals with urban development and is important to understand in the context of proposed development.
The Herndon/Monroe Area was the next topic of discussion and was presented by Paul Darmory, a resident of Polo Fields. The H/M committee is stymied by the current refusal of the Town of Herndon to take responsibility for any Metro parking and/or adequate access to the station area from the north Herndon side of the toll way. The result of this posture by Herndon is to put 100% of the burden Metro with all of the parking and traffic congestion on Sunrise Valley Road with will effectively barricade Polo Fields residents in their neighborhood and restrict the flow of traffic on this critical Reston access artery.
2020 views the H/M study area as best suited for a mixed use TOD area of residential, commercial and supporting retail with a highlight feature being the existing wetlands with added walkways and amenities. Doubling of the existing garage as currently proposed by the county is unacceptable and would negate the possibility of a vibrant TOD area in the opinion of 2020.
At the very least, 2020 would like to see the funding for the extra garage space be spent instead on a garage-only access road paralleling the toll road and extending from Ffx Co. Pkwy on the east to Monroe St. on the west. This would allow Polo Fields and other E/W commuters to use Sunrise Valley during rush hours.
The current Herndon impasse is very frustrating and John Carter mentioned several issues that should be considered when thinking of a solution to this dilemma. What does Herndon really want to accomplish with development around Metro? Is the original old town area of Herndon going to remain its core or are they going to move it to the new development area? If it is moved, Elden St. will become the bypass. The current Town Council seems split with longer-term members wanting the old town to remain the town center and new members favoring a focus on the newer Metro area.
Another Herndon Metro access problem is that a newer building stands square in the way of easy access to the Metro station. In discussing a possible solution to the Polo Fields / H-M area viability issue in the face of overwhelming traffic congestion, Tammi Petrine suggested presenting a plan to the Herndon Town Council for Herndon to purchase the area in proximity to the Metro station for a huge parking structure that could accommodate both Metro commuters from the north and new Herndon commercial development employees. The funding for the garage could be paid by parking revenues and also provide the town of Herndon with a nice income-producing instrument. This would seem to be a win/win for both Herndon, its citizens and the Reston development plan. The only problem might be a loss of expanded parking revenue for Metro due to maintaining the current number of spots in the south garage. Nonetheless, with the number of parking spots being built further west in Phase 2 and bus service from outlying lots, it is hoped that this issue may be ameliorated.
The last issues discussed briefly were the Fairway Apartments Project and 2020’s planning for Phase 2 of the Master Planning exercise. Tammi Petrine led this portion of the program.
The Fairway Project is still on indefinite deferral per the county DPZ. When new plans are presented, 2020 will again examine them for suitability.
Phase 2: Marion Stillson, president of RCA asked for and received a meeting with Supervisor Catherine Hudgins in early Dec. to discuss Phase 2. In attendance at that meeting were 9 community reps including folks from RCA, 2020, RA and ARCH. The idea was presented to CH to change the composition of the TF for Phase 2 to reflect the interests in the study area and to better address the scope and structure of the TF so that the work can be better managed. Supervisor Hudgins was amenable to a change of task force membership, and it was agreed that RA/ RCA 2020 and ARCH would create and present a memo outlining our views and including a list of potential members for the Phase 2 task force. This memo has been drafted by 2020 and presented to both RA and ARCH for revision. CH has also been sent a note stating the current status of the memo indicating a final iteration will be sent to her shortly.
The meeting was adjourned by Terry Maynard at 9:45PM.