Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Friday, March 4, 2011

Notes on the RTF Steering Committee Meeting, March 2, 2011

                                          R. Rogers
                                        2 March 2011

 Summary:  The committee spent most of the time on the 1:1 sq ft residential-commercial balance proposed for Town Center.  There was a general endorsement of it but the critical issue of density (FAR) was not resolved. Heidi Merkel suggested that the areas that will be redeveloped should be the most important ones close to the station.

     Attendance: Nine present. Melissa Jonas observed as a rep of the Herndon Planning commission.

     Admin: Patti Nicoson, chairperson, noted that she and Heidi Merkel, DPZ Staff, had met with reps of the potential Reston children science museum (Gary Crumb if I have it right). Property owner reps said the amount of (free?)improved space they are looking for is a lot.

     Patti passed out a “good behavior” sheet ginned up by the Perspective Group consultants, who will help facilitate the TF. (On FC website--“keep an open mind”, avoid trying to “win”.) One member asked if he had missed a fight at previous meetings.

     Public comments: Dick Rogers raised the issue of the DPZ Staff question of a “uniquely” Reston urban design that would emphasize natural features (Checklist Version 3 p 15-16). Heidi said she is still pondering how Reston’s character can be accommodated in the county urban design guidelines. John Carter and Bill Penniman endorsed the idea of more tree canopy.


     Outlying developments such as Fannie Mae, Plaza America and Woodland Park were discussed. Heidi said she was concerned that too much residential development in these areas would undercut the market for residential in the TOD areas.

     On Wiehle, Heidi suggested laying out park guidelines more clearly.

     Town Center balance: There was extensive discussion of residential-commercial balance in Town Center (“Mix of uses” in version 5 of checklist). There was a general consensus in favor of the 1:1 sq ft residential balance advocated by the TC committee but the overall issue of density was not resolved. (1:1 sq ft really involves 4 jobs for each residential unit).

     --Some argued that density was linked to balance because high density is needed to get residential redevelopment of commercial properties.

     --Bonus FAR incentives for more residential was discussed.

     --The concept of trading off residential and commercial among different property owners was advocated by some.

     --The need for a longer time vision than 20 years was noted.

     --There was discussion about where in the TC TOD area no change is expected.

     Robert Goudie briefly acknowledged that Joe Stowers and 2020 have argued for more residential development but stuck to the TC version of why this was undesirable.

     Heidi said she thought it important to “become comfortable” with the idea that some areas will not change.  She thought we need to provide incentives to encourage change in the areas closet to the station. She thought it would not be possible to do broad brush development across big areas and that some redevelopment will have to be contained. (Comment: This implied significant restraint on TC development.)

     The discussion concluded with a consensus that this is a challenging subject and that more discussion is needed.

     TC North: There was brief discussion about 1 to 1 balance in this area too.

     TC South: Doug Pew called for more discussion next week on this area. He thinks road access is too limited for the development being proposed.

     Next time: Tuesday night March 8 at the Reston Museum (check place).

     Intention is to discuss balance at Wiehle and Herndon. Heidi also called attention to changes in the TC and HM character statement in Version 5 and said she hoped for approval next week.

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