Autumn on Lake Audobon

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Autumn on Lake Audubon, Photo by Alison Kamat

Friday, October 23, 2015

Date for Court Hearing on Reston National Golf Course Delayed until November 6, 2015

The following is the text of an e-mail sent out to the community by Rescue Reston concerning the RNGC case about to go before the Fairfax County Circuit Court.

 
Potential Redevelopment of Reston National Golf Course to be Heard in Circuit Court on November 6, 2015

In a procedural move, the hearing about potential redevelopment of Reston National Golf Course has been moved from October 23 to November 6, 2015.
In January of this year, more than 500 landowners and others concerned about the loss of this treasured open space rallied at the Board of Zoning Appeals hearing. In April, the BZA returned a decision that is now being challenged by Fairfax County, Reston Association and individual homeowners and clusters. These homeowners and clusters are represented by Randy Greehan of Greehan, Taves, Pandak & Stoner, PLLC, the Fairfax County land use firm that has counseled Rescue Reston since 2012.

Lawyers for all three groups have prepared multiple briefings to appeal the BZA’s decision that may have eased the path to redevelopment. If the "home team" wins in Circuit Court in November, the investor-owners of RNGC will have a much harder time achieving their goal.

The legal work has been substantial and you may view the brief filed for the petitioners on 9/3/2015 here:
http://www.rescuereston.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2015-09-03-Brief-in-Support-of-Petitioners-Motion-for-Summary-Judgment.pdf
 and the brief filed on 10/8/2015 here:
http://www.rescuereston.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Opposition-Brief-Appeal-of-4-15-15-BZA-Decision-RN-Golf-Corr-Copy-of-10-8-15_filing.pdf.

The key support required now to keep our golf course green (and to ever imagine it as a park or nature center) is to help pay the legal bills. This litigation requires experienced land use lawyers who will fight to maintain our community’s open space, and retaining those lawyers costs money.

Attorney Randy Greehan has given a generous discount on his hourly rate. Nevertheless, the bills are substantial. There is nothing at this time that supporters can do to help except DONATE to pay the bills. Easy ways to also contribute are listed on the right side of this email.

Background
 
 In 2012, RN Golf Management (partially owned by Northwestern Mutual), asked for an advisory opinion from the Fairfax County Zoning Administrator in support of its view that it was permitted to redevelop the golf course with residential housing. The ZA responded that this was not the case, and RN Golf subsequently appealed that opinion to the Board of Zoning Appeals In April 2015, the BZA issued a confusing decision, upholding parts of the ZA’s decision and overturning others.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Reston Association and individual landowners and clusters, which are supported by Rescue Reston, appealed the BZA’s decision to the Fairfax County Circuit Court. The court will consider two issues on November 6: (1) the motions of Reston Association, the County and individuals/clusters abutting the golf course asserting that the BZA lacked jurisdiction to hear RN Golf’s initial appeal to the BZA; and (2) RN Golf’s motion claiming that Reston Association and the individuals/clusters lacked standing to bring a challenge in the Circuit Court.

What are the Possible Outcomes?
 
 If (1) is granted by the judge, the cases will be dismissed and essentially we go back to ground zero as of 2012. BUT now that the County has located all the documents supporting the golf course property’s land use designation as permanent open space/golf course, which it did not have at the time that the ZA’s decision was appealed to the BZA, the likelihood that the BZA would reach the same result again in any future appeal is significantly diminished. This also means that RN Golf would be required to go through all the public legislative and administrative processes before any change to the golf course/open space uses could possibly take place. Such a move, however, would be unlikely because the Reston Master Plan specifically protects the two Reston golf courses as open space. Outcome 1 is a good thing!

In regard to motion (2), attorneys for RA and the landowners/clusters expected this move by RN Golf’s counsel. They filed briefs with the court in October disputing RN Golf’s positions and arguing why RA and the landowners/clusters are proper parties, in addition to the County, to challenge and get reversed the BZA’s incorrect decision.

Rescue Reston Needs Your Support!
 
We appreciate how generous the community has been in the past. However, this litigation is costly and the legal bill grows. We need more businesses and individuals to stand up as major donors so that we can continue our efforts to save our open space from unplanned development. Direct donations and participation in the items listed on the right are your calls to action.

Mail your donation to Rescue Reston, 2198 Golf Course Dr, Reston, VA 20191 or visit our donation page to pay by credit card.

 

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