Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Notes from the RTF Meeting, September 13, 2011

                                         R. Rogers
                                      22 Sept 11

Reston 2020 Highlights from 9/13 RMPTF Meeting

     The 2020 highlights were a discussion of an alternative scenario for the transportation test and a vote on what to submit for examination.

     Heidi Merkel outlined the results of the earlier Steering Committee meetings on what would be submitted for a transportation test and for comments by county agencies. See the3 county website for the latest version

An Additional Residential Test

     Heidi noted that consideration was being given to a test of a higher residential limit per the comments made by Tammi Petrine at the previous TF meeting.  She said DPZ had found the money to do such a test of an increased residential component.  However, a key issue was whether this assumed only residential development over an extended period of time instead of more commercial development as well.  She asked “is this remotely realistic” and said that it was “hard” to justify that scenario.  This was still being discussed in DPZ.

     Robert Goudie commented that one could not create ”the kind” of residential in Town Center that 2020 wants and keep TC as a major regional center.  Peter Otteni also raised concern and said that “we needed to talk about the second scenario.”

     (Comment: During the discussion no statistics were presented about what exactly an increased residential test would involve and why it would preclude additional commercial development.  No one challenged the Goudie view that more residential would destroy TC as a regional hub.)

     (Comment:  The residential-focused scenario provided by Reston 2020 and documented in “Reston TOD Planning:  More Balance, Less Density Needed,” would have allowed a 49% increase in all non-residential development, including a 44% increase in office space, over the next 20 years (see Appendix A, p. 23). The DPZ scenario would allow non-residential development in the TOD areas to increase by 96%--nearly double—in the same timeframe.  If Ms. Merkel suggested that Reston 2020 was proposing little or no commercial development in Reston’s TOD areas, she was wrong or, worse, disingenuous. TDMaynard)   

A Vote

     Gerry Volloy raised whether the “‘test” proposal would be submitted to the TF for a vote. (Comment: He did not seem to imply that either of the substantive proposals should be voted on, just that the TF should not be completely relegated to obscurity but have some sort of role).  After hesitation on the part of the Chair and some discussion on whether a vote was really needed, Mike Cooper of Brandywine REIT made a motion that “it” be placed before the TF for a vote.  During a confused discussion, John Carter and Fred Costello in low key made the point that the residential alternative should also be considered.  Cooper said his motion assumes one proposal would be tested.

     There was a unanimous vote to submit “the proposal” for a test.

     (Comment: This vote was as irregular as the previous TF vote on “principles.”  No effort was made to determine who was eligible to vote, and the “motion” was not read out.  What the motion exactly said is unclear to this observer and whether it will be invoked at some latter point as precluding a test of the residential alternative is unclear.)

     At the end of the meeting Heidi made that statement that money were available for a third test. She did not clarify what DPZ had in mind re this.

Next TF Meeting

     Heidi said there would be a kickoff meeting on Wed 16 Nov of Phase 2, which will examine Reston’s village centers and residential areas.  This meeting would discuss objectives, time frame and approach.  At that time the composition the TF will be set out. (Comment: If that process sounds confusing it is because it is!)

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