An open letter to Supervisor Catherine Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill)
Dear Supervisor Hudgins:
I would like to submit some comments to you regarding the County/Comstock Wiehle Reston Station plan.
Careful inspection of the documents from Fairfax County Zoning Evaluation reveals that there is only one dedicated turning lane southbound along Wiehle Avenue into the station. There is only one dedicated turning lane eastbound along Sunset Hills Drive turning onto Comstock Metro Center Drive, a narrow driveway that also serves traffic to surrounding office buildings including the Kaiser medical building.
One does not have to be a traffic engineer to understand the implications of having limited entrances to the station during rush hour. Traffic will back up along Sunset Hills from the Comstock Metro Center Drive entrance. Traffic will back up southbound along Wiehle and westbound from Sunset Hills waiting to enter Reston Station Boulevard. The station traffic will produce gridlock in the area streets and will probably impact intersections on the other side of the Toll Road as well as along Sunrise Valley Drive.
At the current time, VDOT’s review of the Chapter 527 TIA resubmitted by Gorove/Slade Associates has not been posted on the Landtrack Web site. However, the previous 527 indicates serious problems with traffic at the station under the current plan from Comstock.
There is another issue of great importance and that is regarding the covenants and restrictions in place for the Reston Center for Industry and Government which are held by Reston Association as the second part of the Deed of Dedication of Reston which was granted by Fairfax County.
According to the lease agreement signed by Comstock Partners and Fairfax County, that lease agreement is null if the RCIG deed is not vacated by April 2010.
According to the deed it requires signatures of owners of 90 percent of the area of the RCIG to be amended, not the 66 2/3 percent stated by Patti Nicoson at the yearly ARCH board meeting.
I do not believe the RCIG can be vacated without a vote of the homeowners of the Reston Association. When individuals buy properties that come under the deed of Reston, they do not buy all the property rights. Certain of those rights are retained by Reston Association in order to administer the covenants and restrictions. Since Reston Association is none other than the collective body of homeowners, vacating the RCIG deed will require the release of those rights by a referendum of those homeowners.
When Robert Simon wrote the two deeds he wrote them so they could not be broken or dissolved. Those deeds are airtight. They cannot be unmade from without. Only a vote of the homeowners of Reston Association can unmake either deed since the rights to all properties governed by Reston Association reside with the homeowners.
I do not believe the homeowners will vote to vacate a deed that guarantees 50 percent open space next to their homes, especially along Sunrise Valley Drive. That open space provides grace and beauty to our community. The deed can and should be amended to allow residential units in the RCIG to allow for transit-oriented development. Reston Association must retain architectural and design control over all new development in the RCIG through the Architectural Review Board. All new residential properties will need to come under the Reston deed and be part of Reston Association and be subject to DRB review.
The legal mechanism to block nullification of the RCIG deed can be engaged by Reston Association or any single Reston homeowner in the Fairfax county courts.
My suggestion is that the part of the County/Comstock plan that pertains to the underground parking garage be separated from the rest of the station plan and be allowed to move ahead at the present time in order that it be complete when the Silver Line is operational. The residential/commercial part of the Comstock plan needs to be halted and evaluated by the Dulles Corridor Special Study Task Force with the other 20 APR nominations.