Autumn Evening at Washington Plaza, Lake Anne,

Autumn Evening at Washington Plaza, Lake Anne,
Photo by Rodney Solano, Reston, hat tip Reston Patch

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Agenda: Committee for Dulles, Economic Development & Transportation Sub-Committee Meeting, November 3, 2011


COMMITTEE FOR DULLES
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT / TRANSPORTATION SUB-COMMITTEE

MEETING NOTICE

Committee for Dulles Office
45969 Nokes Boulevard, Suite 100
Dulles (Sterling), VA 20166

AGENDA
November 3, 2011, 8:00 AM


1.      Commuter Options – Elaine Curl, The Convention Store, and Tom Black

             2.      Status of Funding for Phase II – Patty Nicoson, DCRA, Update on Funding Proposal from Secretary   of Transportation Ray LaHood and the positions of MWAA, Virginia, Loudoun and Fairfax Counties
 
3.      Status of Planning Efforts in Herndon, Fairfax, and Loudoun for Rail – All

4.      Seminar on Phase 2 of Rail – Part II – Fairfax Stations – Dennis Drinkard

5.      Other Business

6.      Upcoming Meetings and Speakers

7.       Economic Development – Updates of county economic development:
·        Loudoun County – Buddy Rizer
·        Prince William – George Harbin
·        Fairfax County -- Rodney Lusk



Upcoming Meetings:            
  • December 1, 2011 – Phase I Update – Sam Carnaggio, at Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Offices, 1593 Spring Hill Road, Suite 300, Vienna, VA 22182 (Tysons Corner)
  • January 5, 2012 – Planning ED & T schedule for 2012 and Updates on Status of Rail and Dulles Projects


Agenda: Reston Planning & Zoning Committee, November 21, 2011

UPDATE (November 13, 2011):   The first agenda item--expanding the childcare center--has been dropped from this month's agenda.  Here is the text of a brief message from Arthur Hill, Vice Chairman, RP&Z, on the matter:

Item #1 on the November meeting agenda has been removed.

Item #2 concerning the RTC application will be the only item on the agenda.


Note:  This month's agenda includes consideration of a proposal to replace the Town Center Office  Building at the corner of Reston Parkway and Bowman Towne Drive with a 23-story, Class A office and retail building.  Check the agenda below for additional details. 


THE RESTON PLANNING AND ZONING COMMITTEE
MEETING AGENDA
Monday, November 21, 2011 – 7:30 pm
Community Room
North County Government Center
12000 Bowman Towne Drive, Reston

1.      Luis and Carla Marty of 1307 Deep Run Lane, Reston, have filed a Special Exception application (SE 2011-HM-010) to increase the number of children in their childcare operation from seven (7) to ten (10) children. The property is located at Tax map 012-3((04)) (6) 0046. The Planning Commission public hearing is scheduled for December 15, 25011@8:15 p.m.

2.       RTC Partnership, LLC has filed a Planned Residential Community (PRC) Plan to remove the current office building known as the “Town Center Office  Building” at 1760 Reston Parkway, and redevelop a 23 story, Class A mixed use office and retail building. The building will consist of approximately 413,700 square feet of office uses and approximately 5,200 square feet retail and restaurant use, with a Floor Area Ratio of 4.08. Parking for the proposed building will feature both below and above grade parking spaces. The above ground portion of the parking garage will sit atop retail uses and will be screened with a context sensitive façade treatment that will be harmoniously in the office structure.
Structured parking would be 1084 and 24 surface spaces
The office building will have a LEEDS silver design for energy efficiency.

3.      Committee discussion of any other business, new or old, and approval of previous meeting minutes.
                      
4.      Approve next meeting date and adjourn.

Agenda subject to change without notice by order of the Chairman, David Vanell, (703) 904-9299, or Arthur S. Hill, Vice Chairman, (703) 264-1178.



October 30, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Video: Clean and Green in NYC: Meet Battery Park City, Dawn Productions

In addition to the many environmental initiatives discussed in this Battery Park City development effort, the money line at 4:35 in this video:

"More than 30% of our space is devoted to parks and gardens, and that's the way it's going to stay no matter what."
James Gill, Chairman, Chairman, Battery Park City Authority

Clean and Green in NYC: Meet Battery Park City from Dawn Productions on Vimeo.
If it can be done in New York City--and the Wall Street area at that--why can't this be done in Reston's TOD areas???

Open Space & Natural Areas: A Different Perspective

Especially presented on a dreary, cold, rainy, sleeting, snowing, and freezing October Saturday evening.  Full screen viewing in HD is strongly recommended. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Housing the Region's Workforce: Policy Challenges for Local Jurisdictions, Center for Regional Analysis, GMU, October 25, 2011


This week, the Center for Regional Analysis (CRA) at George Mason University released its final report on housing the Washington Metropolitan area's workforce over the next 20 years using a jobs-driven approach.   Its bottom line is that the area can expect more than one million new workers and "even the conservative estimates of housing need (in this report) reflect rates of new construction that are far greater than the pace of housing construction  recent past and are greater than the amount of housing called for by many local jurisdictions’ comprehensive plans."

In its key findings, the report concludes that
  • Housing supply.  The Washington DC region needs to add 731,457 net new housing units between 2010 and 2030 if each jurisdiction provided enough housing to accommodate all of its future workers.  "If the new jobs added in the local jurisdictions have the same in-commuting rates of current jobs, the housing need is 348,282 new units. This low estimate implies that a half a million new workers will commute to their jobs from places outside the region, creating unsustainable levels of traffic congestion over the next two decades." (emphasis added)
  • Housing mix.  "The housing demand forecasts suggest a need for 283,677 single-family houses (single-family detached and townhomes) and 447,780 multi-family units. Thus, over 60 percent of the new housing units needed in the region over the next two decades will be multi-family while less than 40 percent will be single-family.  The region’s current housing stock, by contrast, is 67 percent single-family and 33percent multi-family. There will need to be substantial changes in builders’ approaches to new home construction and local governments’ policies for guiding residential development in order to accommodate this needed housing growth. (emphasis added)"
  •  Home ownership.   "There will be a shift in the homeownership (sic) rate for future residents of the Washington DC region. Currently, the region’s homeownership rate is 64 percent. However, only 55 percent of the new workers to the region over the next 20 years will live in owner occupied housing units, while 45 percent will rent."
  • Home pricing.  "The region’s new housing must be priced so that it is affordable to new workers. . . the region will need a substantial amount of ownership and rental housing with relatively moderate prices and rents. Based on the housing need forecasts, more than two-thirds of owner-occupied units need to be priced below $400,000. More than half of new renters will need housing with rents less than $1,250 a month. Thus, in order to keep new workers living within the region, there is a need for relatively smaller and more moderately priced housing in the decades to come." 
It concludes with these policy implications:



This jobs-driven housing forecast is itself a strong voice for residentially-intensive TOD area development in Reston and other areas of the region that have strong mass transit capabilities, especially Metrorail.  It argues essentially for at least a balance of residents and employees in Reston's TOD areas--as RCA's Reston 2020 Committee has argued for months--especially including Reston Town Center.  

The dilemma this report proposes is the conflict between GMU CRA's specific forecast for development along the Dulles Corridor presented to the Reston Master Plan Task Force last year--which foresaw a greater demand for commercial than residential development in each of Reston's three TOD areas--and this new, more normative forecast.  In essence, the new GMU report argues for what housing policies in the area should be for the next 20 years versus the earlier forecast that largely was an extension of development of the way that it has been.

The question becomes do we want to build Reston as a model for a 21st century planned community, or stick with the development patterns of the past that have led to our current traffic and quality of life problems as well as the export of housing (and economic activity) out of the region?

Below is the full report.

Housing the Regions Workforce, George Mason University,  Oct 2011-GMU Final Report

Herndon Vote on Metrorail Station Area Re-development Postponed

An article in today's Fairfax Times reports on the decision of the Herndon Town Council to defer a decision on whether to proceed with the planned re-development around the prospective Herndon-Reston West Metro station until December and have an intervening hearing.  The consultant on the project noted three constraints on the proposal:
  • limited road access (only two principal access points--east & west)
  • a Dominion Virginia Power easement running through the area
  • the presence of stable, residential communities along the north side.
According to the report, a number of residents expressed their concern about the impact of the proposed re-development on their neighborhoods, although others supported the plan.

This conceptual drawing presented by the consultant suggests the view Restonians may well see across the toll road at the Herndon-Reston West station, since there is little planning to re-develop the Reston side of the station area in the next 20 years. 

Rendering by Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. According to redevelopment plan being considered by the Herndon Town Council, taller buildings would line the Dulles Toll Road nearest the Herndon-Monroe Metro station, and building heights would taper off as they approach residential areas.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Indoor Tennis Court Proposal Goes to RA Board on October 27, 2011

The Reston Association (RA) Board of Directors will consider a $3.8 million proposal--requiring a $4.4 million in financing--to build a five court indoor tennis complex at Lake Newport during its meeting this Thursday evening, October 27, 2011.   If the Board endorses the proposal, it will go to a community-wide referendum for approval in 2012. 


The financial details are available in an October 5, 2011, Reston Patch article, but have not yet been posted on the RA website.  In brief, this presentation offers three options--two bank loans and private bond financing (which RA has never done)--that would add between $4-$5 to annual RA assessments. 

Click here for other details and links on the always on-top-of-it Restonian blog.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Virginia turns back toward the 1950s by weakening road connection standards, neglecting populated areas, David Alpert, Greater Greater Washington

Virginia took a huge step forward in 2009 to make its sure its new suburban areas included the connected street networks that made older suburbs less congested, safer to walk and bike, and cheaper for local governments to maintain. But it's making a U-turn as the Commonwealth Transportation Board threw out the new standards at a meeting last week.
Photo by La Citta Vita on Flickr
This step is just one of many from Virginia statewide agencies in recent days that decisively push toward a 1950s view of growth, one which neglects established communities and crumbling infrastructure in favor of brand-new sprawl in the farmlands which ultimately creates even more traffic.
State officials are giving the thumbs down to Metro, light rail and bus transit in favor of highway lane expansion, skipping small but significant improvements that help neighborhoods or key growth areas like Tysons Corner to instead spend billions on megaprojects that drive the region farther apart, and lose focus on key repair needs while weakening the street connectivity standards.
If you live in Virginia, please speak up at a hearing tonight at VDOT's (non-Metro-accessible) Northern Virginia office in Fairfax, or send in written comments.
 Click here for David's explanation of the Virginia decision and its consequences. 

What works in cities: Why placemaking requires passion even more than big budgets, YongeStreet

An article by Michele Bruche in YongeStreet--a Toronto online magazine on "all the things that create incredible demand for this place and keep it growing"--highlights the importance of public spaces and the community's role in their creation.  In this case, the place is Campus Martius Park in a renewing Detroit.  The article begins:
Before Detroit's Campus Martius Park opened in 2004, many of the historic buildings around it had emptied. Major department stores were vacant or torn down.

"Nothing was there," says Bob Gregory, president of Campus Martius Park. "It was not a very pleasant place to be."

To turn it around, the mayor's office established a task force that studied the best public spaces in the world and quizzed the locals on how they would use a new park. After a $20-million investment, the park started buzzing year-round with music, a bistro, and ice skating under colourful lights and a giant Christmas tree. The park has since attracted several new corporate headquarters, new condos and a whopping one million park visitors each year.

The strategy that built Campus Martius is called "placemaking," and it's a development approach gaining momentum across the continent. The strategy gives local residents and stakeholders a major voice in shaping new development. . . .
Campus Martius Park, Detroit, MI
. . . The state of Michigan, for example, is focusing on placemaking initiatives as part of its economic development strategy. "Economic development and community development are two sides of the same coin," Gov. Rick Snyder told the Michigan Legislature last winter. "A community without place amenities will have a difficult time attracting and retaining talented workers and entrepreneurs, or being attractive to business." (emphasis added)

Kent's son, PPS vice president Ethan Kent, says placemaking is striking a chord in the current economy because it's resourceful and builds on a city's existing assets. And the placemaking philosophy requires extensive public buy-in upfront, so officials can stand on safer ground politically. "Building convention centers and using tax incentives to attract big corporations or new business isn't working," Ethan says.  (emphasis added)
Click here for details on this placemaking effort and the role of Fred Kent in pursuing placemaking initiatives. 

Stop New Charges on Solar Power Installations, Chesapeake Climate Action Network


We need your help to protect the growth of solar power in Virginia.

Dominion Virginia Power has asked the state government to approve special charges for some customers who have installed solar panels. These "stand-by charges" would slash the cost savings of those who install large solar power systems on homes and businesses served by Dominion, essentially destroying the market for them.
 
Please submit a comment to the state government to protect the market for large solar power systems in Virginia.

This issue doesn't just concern consumers who own solar panels- it's important for anyone who wants to see Virginia transition to clean, renewable energy. If Dominion get its way, these charges will dramatically slow the growth of solar power in the commonwealth.
As you may expect, solar panels often generate more energy than is needed for any one building in the daytime and not enough energy at night. To address that issue, in Virginia, residents who install solar panels see savings on their electric bill from "net metering."

Under net metering, when a building's solar panels are producing more energy than is needed to power it, the extra electricity feeds into the utility grid, generating credit to offset the cost of electricity that must be bought when the solar panels aren't supplying enough, such as at night. This system helps to encourage the installation of solar panels on homes and businesses, which reduces the commonwealth's contribution to climate change and makes our air and water cleaner, while saving the consumer money.

The General Assembly recently increased the size of solar projects that could qualify for net metering, but it came with a catch: utilities would be allowed to impose an extra "stand-by" charge on these customers.  Utilities say these charges are necessary to compensate them for standing by with available energy at the times when the sun isn't shining. The legislature left it up to the utilities and regulators to determine how much the stand-by charges would be.

Now Dominion Virginia Power, which serves most Virginians, has proposed imposing stand-by charges that are so high that they would make it uneconomic to install these larger systems, essentially destroying the market for the very product the legislature sought to encourage.

Please submit a comment to the state government to protect the market for large solar systems in Virginia.

Thank you for all that you do!


Beth Kemler
Virginia State Director
beth@chesapeakeclimate.org