In her January 2019 Hunter Mill Highlights newsletter, our supervisor makes a number of gross misstatements regarding the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force (RTF) she created. Here are some of the lowlights:
- The letter says, "Counties, cities,and town must provide a comprehensive plan detailing transportation plans; a system of community service facilities: parks, sports playing fields, forests, schools, playgrounds, public buildings and institutions, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, community centers, waterworks, sewage disposal or waste disposal areas; areas for urban renewal; measures managing sustainability of groundwater and surface water; affordable housing, power corridors, and broadband infrastructure. In short, it is a guide for decision-making about virtually every aspect of the natural and built environment."
This is simply not true. The Reston plan does NOT detail any infrastructure plans except, in a few cases, county goals for various types of infrastructures. For example, the discussion of parks and playing fields is limited three green blobs on a map and a call for twelve ballfields, three minimum. Yet the county standard for urban parks calls for more than 80 acres of parkland and the facilities standards call for more than 60 ballfields of all types to meet the planned population of 92,000 in Reston's urban areas. Similarly, the county identified a need to provide schools for 2,900 new students in its 2014 version of the Reston plan, but did not increase that number at all when it increased the potential residential development from 28,000 DUs (59,000 people) to 44,000 DUs (92,000 people) in 2015, increasing student yield by another 2,900 students in 2015. And so it goes. The attention to infrastructure is dismal.
- The very next sentence says, "And for six years the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force considered those requirements and offered recommendations." Like Pinocchio’s nose, this duration just keeps growing in county publications! The task force held its first meeting on December 1, 2009; it submitted its final report in January 2014. It did not meet thereafter. That's four years and two months the task force took to study and report on the Dulles Corridor station areas (“Phase 1” of the re-planning effort). “Phase 2” of the Reston planning effort, looking at Reston beyond the Dulles Corridor, comprised only four county-directed community meetings and an open house; there was no task force.
- The newsletter goes on, "Much of what we see in the Transit Station Areas (TSA) and in Reston today is a direct result of the 2006-2008 Reston Metrorail Access Group (RMAG) management plan and recommended strategies to manage future traffic conditions, feeder bus systems, pedestrians, and bicycles." The RMAG report was excellent. It was even approved by the Board of Supervisors. Unfortunately, while there has been a lot of "planning" paperwork, there has been virtually no funding to build the transportation capabilities it recommended. For example, a decade after the RMAG's report, the recommendation to build a bridge across the Dulles Corridor extending Soapstone has received only preliminary study-level funding. In fact, the county doesn't plan for it to be completed for another decade, a probably optimistic scenario--and no funding has been committed to its construction or even acquiring the land to allow its construction.
- Supervisor Hudgins adds, "Density close to transit, careful planning, and compromise are all elements of a healthy community, and that's exactly what's happening in Reston. Suburban sprawl is simply not part of this plan." Grossly inaccurate! There has been no "careful planning" of development in the urban areas, just pro forma county reviews of development applications and approvals of numerous exceptions and waivers inconsistent with the Reston plan. And the county claims the suburban areas of Reston, all zoned PRC, and nominally planned to remain "stable" could see a quadrupling and more of density in its village centers and a doubling of density in several other county-designated Reston "hot spots" under current county planning.
To read such inaccurate summaries coming out of our supervisor’s office is indeed disheartening. As we enter a supervisor election year, it is even more important than ever to educate ourselves and PROTECT Reston’s planned community status.
The supervisor’s push for an increase in Reston’s (suburban) PRC population cap up from 13 to 15 people per acre is a terrible idea, given that much work remains to be done to bring accurate information and robust public input into the equation. Soon the Board of Supervisors may vote on this proposed zoning change. All citizens should let Supervisor Hudgins and every other supervisor know what you think in every way possible. Write, email, and attend the Planning Commission hearing on this vital matter on January 23, 2019, at the Fairfax County Government Center, 7PM sharp.
IF we don’t stand up for Reston now as a planned community, it will be lost forever.