Reston Spring

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

County to Issue Garage Bonds, Washington Post, Fairfax Briefs, January 28, 2010

Fairfax County Times Staff

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved issuing up to $110 million in bonds to help pay for a 2,300-space underground parking garage and related facilities at the future Wiehle Avenue Metro station in Reston.

The bonds would support a public-private partnership with developer Comstock Partners the board approved in June.

Comstock plans to build apartments, shops and office space in a 980,000-square-foot complex above the garage. It will build the parking and kiss-and-ride areas and bus bays for the county.

The county expects to recoup the estimated $90 million cost of the parking garage over time through parking fees and Comstock's lease of the property.

For other items from this brief, click here.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thank You DPZ

No, that's not a mis-statement nor a sarcastic remark.

I want to thank the DPZ for its timely posting of information on the timing and topic of the next meeting of the Reston planning task force as well as laying out a timetable for when additional materials may be expected.

It is important that all those interested in the future of Reston have timely access to the information the planning task force has. In this way, we can all make informed and constructive contributions to this important planning process.

In the event, readers here do not want to go to the County webpage for that information, here it is for you:

Next Meeting

Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 7 PM

Subject: Overview of Transportation Current Plan Recommendations

Location: To be determined

Agenda: Draft to be posted Feb. 5, 2010

Presentation: Will be posted Feb. 7, 2010

Handouts: Posted as received

If one clicks further into the website to the two-year schedule for the task force, one finds what will probably be the core agenda items and related handouts.
Transit-Oriented Development Overview Presentation(s)
* Montgomery County, MD experience
* Arlington County experience
* Reston Metro Access Group
Task Force Discussion of Guiding Planning Principles

I look forward to the presentations and discussion. And thanks again to the DPZ for keeping us informed in this timely manner.

Terry Maynard
Reston, VA

Anonymous Posting Now Allowed

Having received feedback that a number of readers are having trouble posting comments on the Reston2020 blog, I have changed the permission settings to allow fully open, even "anonymous" posts. Registering somewhere is no longer required.

This decision carries a risk that a small number of people will choose to abuse the opportunity by posting irrelevant or, worse, indecent comments. It happens routinely on blogs. We don't want those. We do want any contributions that advance the discussion, no matter what the point of view.

To reduce the risk of inappropriate comments, I will "moderate" the discussion. This means I will see the comments before they are posted. That may lead to a delay of as much as a few hours for which I apologize in advance. I assure you, however, I will NOT make any decisions based on the point of view, just whether the comment is relevant, constructive, and decent.

Again, I welcome full article contributions on the many matters surrounding Reston planning. Please send them to me at and I will post them with only the same constraints as on comments--relevant, constructive, and decent.

Please join the dialogue.

Terry Maynard
Blog Administrator

Reston Master Plan: Strawmen and Sympathy, Restonian, January 29, 2010

How much fun was the Reston Master Plan meeting earlier in the week? The "strawman" was propped up by county officials and then copy-edited, and three different groups shared their own visions of Reston's future.

For the rest of Restonian's pointed take on the Tuesday community meeting, click here.

Residents Tackle First Topic of Reston Master Plan Study, Reston Observer, January 29, 2010

By Leslie Perales
Observer Staff Writer

Reston residents had the opportunity to provide their opinions on which planning principles should be focused on during the Reston Master Plan special study Tuesday night at Langston Hughes Middle School.

For the rest of this extensive article, click here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Upping Building Heights, Expanding Green Space, Reston Connection, January 27, 2010

JBG brings latest Fairway Apartments plan to DRB.

By Mike DiCicco

Ben Tompkins, an attorney representing JBG Companies, credited the Reston Association’s Design Review Board (DRB) with much of the plan for the Fairway Apartments redevelopment that he and JBG representatives were presenting to the board last Tuesday, Jan. 19. It was JBG’s third appearance before the group since proposing a redevelopment of the aging townhouse-style apartment community last summer, and Moll said comments from the board, the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee and the public had resulted in a design that pleased county staff, at least initially, although no official staff report had been issued.

The developer still plans to replace the 346 apartments that currently occupy the 19-acre neighborhood with 940 units....

Click here for the rest of the article.

Notes and Comments on the January 26 Reston Task Force Community Meeting, Terry Maynard

On January 26, 2010, the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force held a community workshop on guiding planning principles in the Langston Hughes cafeteria. Most of the task force members were there, county staff led the discussion, and some 100 or more Restonians participated. The meeting went pretty much according to script, and some interesting insights provided along the way. This note tries to capture the essence of the meeting. Please excuse what is a long and winding post.

Task Force Chair Patty Nicoson briefly opened the meeting, welcoming the audience and introducing the agenda before turning the microphone over to Heidi Merkel, County DPZ senior planner, to lead the meeting.

Ms. Merkel began by making an overview presentation on the purpose of the meeting—to capture public ideas and express preferences about Reston’s prospective planning principles—the whats and whys of putting together such a document, and the staff’s own “strawman” Reston planning principles. Those are all captured in the presentation just below.

Developing Planning Principles for Reston DPZ 012610

Citizen Group Presentations

Following Ms. Merkel’s presentation, representatives from three community groups were offered the opportunity to present their group’s ideas for the Reston planning principles. Kathy Kaplan, representing a citizens group comprising herself and Guy Rando, Reston architect, began not by presenting their plan (posted here), but by walking through some small, but extremely meaningful, proposed changes in the county’s “strawman” planning principles. Jerry Volloy, Chairman of the ARCH Board, walked through ARCH’s planning principles as they were spelled out in ARCH’s draft issues bulletin (see here) and approved by the ARCH Board. Dick Stilson, co-chair of the Reston 2020 Committee, presented his commentary on the committee’s work (see here), highlighting the theme of implementing the prospective changes in an orderly way.

Kathy Kaplan’s presentation was noteworthy for dissecting the wording of the county “strawman,” especially language that equivocated or has a special—even peculiar—meaning in the development world (see below). Some of her proposed editing was fairly obvious, for example, dropping the phrase “to the extent possible” from the idea of preserving open space, a classic equivocation. Others were more subtle like deleting the word “enhancing” from the principle of preserving stability in Reston neighborhoods. She reported that, to developers, “enhancing” means adding commercial and retail space into existing residential neighborhoods. The phrase “in proximity to” in the principle regarding existing uses also would foster such an outcome and she proposed it be deleted. She also proposed adding specific clarifying language to the county’s principle on natural and structural beauty in Reston, which would more likely assure the desired outcome. Below is a copy of her edited version of the county “strawman.” One final note on Ms. Kaplan’s presentation: She said that adoption of the 20 proposed “APR nominations” or modifications to the Comprehensive Plan would add more than 20,000 dwelling units to the Dulles Corridor (23,413 units by one detailed count). By her calculations, this would require the County to provide 74 acres of additional parkland to meet its own stated requirement of providing .00148 acres of parkland per person.

What impressed this observer was the sense that the three citizen group presentations were extremely consistent, yet constructively complementary. ARCH’s proposal tended to focus on the look and feel of the Reston result after development—a thematic focus on vision such as higher density around rail stations, but lower at the mid-point between. Reston 2020’s proposals focused on implementation issues, including orderly phasing of development and infrastructure and trading off density in one place for another. The Kaplan-Rando plan was highly focused on specific metrics. All the presentations sought to preserve and protect Reston’s existing neighborhoods, preserve if not expand Reston’s open space, and positive steps to improve infrastructure—especially transportation—in concert with development. Blended together, the proposals could probably weave a clear, powerful, and comprehensive set of planning principles that well represented the interests of Reston’s citizens.

Ideas, Questions, Answers, and Polling

After the community group presentations were completed, Heidi Merkel opened noted that two DPZ staff members were keeping track of both additional ideas for the planning principles and ideas for consideration further along in the task force’s deliberations. She opened the floor to ideas, questions, and answers. Here are a few notes from I caught as key discussion points:
* In a discussion that covered both the preservation of open space and residential neighborhoods, a question arose as to whether RA or clusters could turn over (sell, rent) parts of their property to developers.
** Per Milt Matthews and Jerry Volloy, RA would have to have a successful referendum to transfer property to another party. This happened with the Stonegate Community Center proposition; it failed in the recent Reston Community Center at Browns Chapel proposition. Correction: An alert reader has pointed out that the community center is at Southgate, not Stonegate. Also, she points out that the Browns Chapel proposition actually never went to a referendum. It did not emerge from the community discussion phase in the face of local opposition.
** Joe Leighton, RA Board member and head of his cluster organization, said that clusters could transfer their common property to others if the cluster boards and the RA Board approved such a transaction.
** Ms. Merkel said that the county tries to preserve stable neighborhoods, but it cannot interfere if clusters want to alter their arrangements as a group, such as a collective decision to sell their properties to a developer.
** Frank Selden, Chief of the County Planning Staff, thought we were focused a little far into the planning details at this point. In the course of explaining his concern, he noted that no property could be down zoned (or down planned) without a compelling public purpose. I noted that this suggested we could expect only higher density, FARs, DUAs, etc.
* A question arose as to what studies have been done that show that Metro can handle ridership from Transit Oriented Development (TOD). Ms. Merkel suggested this was a good topic for discussion at an upcoming task force meeting on transportation. Joe Stowers noted that a number of such studies have been done and they indicate that Metro needs to make adjustments, such as more eight-car trains, etc.
* Several people raised concerns about different aspects of the transportation issue:
** One resident said is it dangerous for pedestrians to cross the two bridges available across the Dulles corridor because, in the process, they must walk across essentially interstate entry and exit ramps. He added that we also need more connections across the DAAR, such as a link between Mercer condominiums and Plaza America, which would be easily walkable.
** Another citizen noted that we need all-day, everyday, frequent bus service with routes nearer all of Reston. In her case, it was a 20-minute walk to a bus stop, and the buses were extremely infrequent.
** A third person wondered if we need to target a “level of service” for Reston’s streets as part of the development effort. He pointed to a concern captured in a recent AEI article titled, “The War on Suburbia.”
* A broader discussion on the infrastructure question focused on whether or how much emphasis we could include in the Comprehensive Plan under review to the implementation of supporting infrastructure before or during development. Several people cited legal cases in which Virginia courts ruled that developers could not demand that the county provide infrastructure before development, that the county couldn’t prevent development because of a lack of infrastructure, etc.
* A citizen suggested that, in addition to thinking of Reston as a place to “live, work, and play,” we needed to think about Reston as a place where people may remain after they die.
* One resident asked if we didn’t need to think about additional taxation for Restonians to cover the improvements we could expect. Another citizen responded that there should be no additional taxes or tolls placed on Restonians as part of the changes in the Reston Master Plan.
* Task Force Chair Patty Nicoson thought we ought to consider principles around more educational opportunities in Reston, more public art as suggested by IPAR, and an effort to reduce air, water, and noise pollution.
* Mr. Stowers also suggested that we needed a more urban community. We should look for a quantitative balance in land uses between office and residential to best minimize traffic.
* Bob Simon, following up on Mr. Stowers’ remarks suggested that we may be making too much of this urban vs. suburban issue. “Community is the best thing and density makes community…Some people think living alone on 160 acres is community, but that’s isolation…We should have as much of it (density) as we can afford… Density is community.” (I don’t share this view, unless one considers Mumbai, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Hong Kong as exemplars of community. My view is that one of characteristics that makes Reston a great community is that it has opportunities for all lifestyles over a lifetime. Indeed, with its more than 1,200 acres of natural area, Restonians can approach that notion Mr. Simon says some have of community in isolation. To me, that means Reston must be both suburban and urban in a way that all gain quality of life from the experience.)

The meeting closed with a polling exercise. All of the proposed planning principles were presented on large boards around the room. Everyone was given nine “dot” stickers they could place on any principle in any list that they thought was important. Ms. Merkel indicated that the Planning Staff would collect the boards, count the results, and use them in moving forward with the Reston planning principles. Over about 15 minutes, the more than 100 people attending participated in the task, and the evening ended at about 9PM.

From this writer’s perspective, the dominant theme principles coming out of the community meeting based on the group presentations, the ensuing discussion, and a macro-scan of the "dots" on the boards seem to focus on
--preservation and protection of existing residential neighborhoods,
--developing infrastructure—especially transportation infrastructure—before or as part of development, and
--preserving and expanding Reston’s open space and natural areas.
I would expect the county tabulation of the preference poll to show similar areas of interest as reflected in the “dots,” possibly spread across all four of the principle proposals laid out during the evening.

As always with this blog, I welcome comments below or to me at that correct or add to this review of the meeting.

Terry Maynard
Blog Administrator
Reston 2020 Committee

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Letter: Reston Future Begins Now, Robert E. Simon, Reston Connection, January 26, 2010

To the Editor:

In his column "Master Plan-Lines Are Drawn," Reston Connection, Jan. 20-26 John Lovaas once again impugns the integrity of those with whom he disagrees. Mr. Lovaas says, "Let’s face it: developer and Fairfax County interests lie in a plan maximizing new construction, the developer for profit, the resource-strapped county to broaden its tax base." It is impossible to have a rational discussion with someone who insists on such a premise. And it is really difficult to see Mr. Lovaas embracing any change.

Is it inconceivable that developers and county officials might have the community’s best interests at heart? And isn’t it true that they are much more familiar with the financial realities and construction and zoning issues than the average citizen? Have we not been told that the Washington metropolitan area will experience population growth of some 2,000,000 people over the next 20 years? Can anyone believe that a reasonable share of that increase will not devolve to our county and to Reston? Be sure that if we don’t plan to locate future residents where it is in our best interest to have them, unmanaged growth will occur and likely in a manner that is destructive to our community fabric.

In presenting a RCA "Reston 2020" alternative to the County Task Force that has only just begun its work, according to Mr. Lovaas, Mike Corrigan contended that developers are over-represented on the County’s Task Force. The fact is that of the 40 appointed Task Force members and alternate members, only 11 are developers; and of these, five are Reston residents. (Although I have retired, I included myself as one of the 11.) In view of the mission, it could be said that we developers are under-represented — certainly not over-represented.

Finally, I apologize for any intemperate remarks I made at the meeting that may have offended. While not an excuse, I am wildly impatient for there to be movement toward revitalization. Discussions began with regard to revitalization more than 10 years ago during good economic times. Delays in any real movement toward revitalization find us now in economic times that make revitalization more difficult. While organizations such as the Reston 2020 group have every right to make their views known to the County Task Force and the community at large, it feels very much, to me at least, like another delaying tactic of the kind that has kept anything meaningful from happening to date. I certainly hope I am wrong.

Robert E. Simon
Reston Founder

New Vision for Tysons Takes Shape, Fairfax Times, Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Key issues in process to transform area over next 40 years still unresolved

by Kali Schumitz | Staff Writer

Plans that could usher in a new era for Fairfax County's largest business district are nearly complete. However, key aspects of the process that would turn a vision of Tysons Corner on paper into a reality of high-rises and pedestrian-friendly streets have yet to be resolved.

Fairfax County planning staff released a third draft of a land-use plan for Tysons Corner last week. The final plan will guide the transformation of the area over the next 40 years.

For the rest of this article, click here.

Draft Tysons Corner Guiding Planning Principles & Framework, January 14, 2010

The draft guiding planning principles and framework for Tysons Corner below, dated January 14, 2010, has been provided to the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force as a background handout in its preparation of planning principles for Reston.

Tysons Planning Principles & Framework--DRAFT--January 14, 2010

Proposed Planning Principles, David Edwards, January 20, 2010

The attached proposed planning principles were submitted by David Edwards, Reston, VA, for consideration by the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force.

Planning Principles--David Edwards, January 20, 2010

URGENT: Come to Tonight's Community Workshop on Reston Development Planning Principles

I am writing you this morning to request that you take time to attend and participate in this evening’s critical Community Workshop of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force. The meeting is at Langston Hughes Intermediate School at 7 PM.

The purpose of this evening’s meeting is to generate and prioritize ideas for planning principles that will guide the task force’s planning process. The agenda includes presentation of the county’s draft strawman planning principles, as well as the presentation of alternative planning principles by local groups. This will be followed by a period in which some sense of prioritization of the principles will be generated.

This meeting is the first substantive step in the task force effort and it must reflect the views of the diverse Reston community. If you have an interest, idea, or concern about Reston’s future, including density, transportation, parks & recreation, business development, environment, diversity, or any of a number of other matters, this is the best opportunity you will have to make a case. Moreover, if the process of identifying planning principles is not done well, it could start the task force Reston development and redevelopment off on the wrong path for decades to come.

More important than any particular direction the task force takes, it is imperative that the task force see and understand that Restonians care about the future of the community. Only a large number of people willing to take the time to participate in a community workshop like this will show that Restonians care. If few people participate, the task force may discern that Restonians do not care and they will set off on a course of their own choosing.

Here are some key links to documents for this evening’s session:

1. The agenda

2. The county draft strawman planning principles

3. The Reston 2020 Committee proposed planning principles

4. The ARCH draft proposed planning principles

5. The Rando-Kaplan proposed planning principles

6. Other background material handouts for the meeting, including the Tysons Corner planning principles, the Comprehensive Plan Suburban Areawide Recommendations, and the Lake Anne Areawide Plan.

Please come to this evening’s community workshop. Please participate in the task force’s planning process. And please share this information with your family and friends. This is your first best chance to help shape Reston’s future.

I look forward to seeing you there this evening.

Terry Maynard
Blog Administrator
Reston 2020 Committee

Citizens' Master Plan for Dulles Corridor Development, Guy Rando & Kathy Kaplan

This proposal by Guy Rando and Kathy Kaplan, Reston, VA, provides a set of concrete metrics to use in defining the scope of future development in Reston's Dulles Corridor. It will be presented to the Reston task force at tonight's community workshop meeting.

Citizens' Reston Master Plan, Dulles Corridor

Monday, January 25, 2010

Agenda & Materials for the Community Meeting of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force, January 26, 2010

7:00 – 7:05 p.m.  Administrative Items    
7:05 – 7:10 p.m.  Overview of Bob Simon’s goals 
7:10 – 7:20 p.m.  Presentation of Strawman document  
7:20 – 7:50 p.m.  Presentation of group principles  
• Kathy Kaplan’s Group 
• Reston 2020  
7:50 – 8:10 p.m.  Guided Discussion of ideas to be discussed in principles 
8:10 – 8:50 p.m.  Prioritization Exercise 
8:50 – 9:00 p.m.  Next Steps 
9:00 p.m.   Adjourn  

The County webpage including this agenda (here) also includes links to the following documents:
--Tysons Guiding Principles
--Suburban Center Recommendations
--Lake Anne Areawide Plan Text
--Strawman Principles (see previous entry on this blog here)

County Staff Draft Strawman "Reston Guiding Planning Principles", January 25, 2010

The following is the text of a an e-mail plus the attachment that the County planning staff forwarded to leaders of several Reston civic groups participating in the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force at 3:06PM, January 25, 2010.

Good afternoon,

I'm contacting you as a representative of a community group that forwarded to our office a document with proposed planning principles for discussion at the community meeting tomorrow evening at Langston Hughes Middle School's cafeteria.

We plan to have copies of your documents at tomorrow's meeting available for attendees to review. We've also set aside time in the agenda (starting at about 7:15 p.m.) for a representative from your group to give an overview of your proposed principles. Each group will have up to 10 min. for their presentation.

Staff has also prepared a "strawman" planing principles document to create a bridge from Mr. Simon's goals to future plan recommendations that will be more specific in nature. That strawman is attached for your information and will be available on the study website later this afternoon.

The presentations will be followed by an opportunity for discussion of additional principles or planning concepts that are not captured in the strawman or the other proposals we've received to date. We'll then be asking the meeting attendees to vote for those concepts/principles that they feel are most significant for additional development.

Thank you for your contribution to this important community discussion.

Revised Draft Strawman Principles (01/25/10)

Is the Reston Planning Task Force Violating Virginia Law?

If one digs around in the Fairfax County website for the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force webpage and then follows the link to the “Community Workshops and Task Force Meetings,” one can find out that the Reston Task Force is having a “community meeting on guiding planning principles for Reston” in the Langston Hughes Intermediate School cafeteria tomorrow, Tuesday, January 26, at 7PM. According to that posting, the agenda is “to be posted Jan 22.” It has not been posted yet. Moreover, there is no notice of the meeting on the County’s public meeting calendar. And, as of this Monday mid-afternoon writing, no agenda or other materials have been posted for tomorrow evening’s meeting and Task Force sources indicate they have not received meeting materials either.

Here is what the Virginia Freedom of Information Act law says about public meeting notifications and agendas (2.2-3707):

C. Every public body shall give notice of the date, time, and location of its meetings by placing the notice in a prominent public location at which notices are regularly posted and in the office of the clerk of the public body, or in the case of a public body that has no clerk, in the office of the chief administrator. All state public bodies subject to the provisions of this chapter shall also post notice of their meetings on their websites and on the electronic calendar maintained by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency commonly known as the Commonwealth Calendar. Publication of meeting notices by electronic means by other public bodies shall be encouraged. The notice shall be posted at least three working days prior to the meeting. Notices for meetings of state public bodies on which there is at least one member appointed by the Governor shall state whether or not public comment will be received at the meeting and, if so, the approximate point during the meeting when public comment will be received….

F. At least one copy of all agenda packets and, unless exempt, all materials furnished to members of a public body for a meeting shall be made available for public inspection at the same time such documents are furnished to the members of the public body.

Please note that, as of mid-afternoon Monday, the date, time, & location (new today) of tomorrow’s meeting has been posted on the Task Force website, but even there it is buried and not “in a prominent public location” either physically or digitally. Also, as of this morning, the notification is not posted on the County’s public meetings calendar as “encouraged” by the state law and consistent with County requirements. Clearly, full notification was not given “at least three working days prior to the meeting.”

Given that tomorrow evening is suppose to be a meeting to receive community thinking on planning principles to guide Reston’s future development, the absence of details on both substance and process denies citizens as well as the Task Force the opportunity to prepare for the meeting. What background materials, if any, will the Task Force (and presumably the public) receive to understand the role of planning principles in the plan amendment process? How will the Task Force receive community inputs? May we expect a series of community speakers, a bunch of focus groups, polling of proposals, or something else?

In contrast to the apparent lack of effort to make Task Force meetings known, the Reston 2020 Committee, which welcomes Task Force member participation, has complied with state law and county policy in providing the county timely advance notice of its public meetings (which is all of them) for it to post on the County public meeting calendar. The committee does this so that Task Force members who may wish to attend can do so and remain in compliance with the Virginia FOIA law.

So, while a citizens group has made substantial effort to be inclusive, the public and apparently the Task Force itself are not receiving timely and adequate notification of the Task Force’s meetings, their purpose, and their agenda. This may not mean that the Task Force is violating the letter of Virginia’s FOIA law, but it is certainly not consistent with keeping the public fully informed in a timely manner. At the minimum, this situation leaves the Task Force open to criticism for not being more open and forthcoming.

Terry Maynard
Reston, VA

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Meeting: Community Meeting of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force, January 26, 7PM, Langston Hughes Intermediate School

The next meeting of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task will be at Langston Hughes Intermediate School on January 26 at 7PM according to the latest task force schedule.

The meeting is scheduled to be a community meeting on "Guiding Planning Principles for Reston." As of this writing, the County has not released a specific agenda for the meeting, although the County's webpage on meeting information says the agenda would be published on Friday, January 22, and the meeting will be at a place to be determined.

We strongly encourage all Restonians to attend this meeting to learn about the planning effort and make their interests and concerns heard through whatever mechanism the meeting provides.

Reston 2020 Committee Proposed Planning Principles for Reston Master Plan Special Study

After weeks of preparation, coordination, and collaboration, including several drafts, the Reston 2020 Committee, with the approval of the Board of Directors of the Reston Citizens Association, submitted the committee's proposed planning principles to the Reston planning task force on January 22 for its consideration at next Tuesday evening's community meeting (January 26, 7PM, Langston Hughes Intermediate School).

The proposal (see below) lays out nine principles that the committee believes should guide the task force's thinking as it reviews and revises the County's Comprehensive Plan for Reston. The nine principle topics and key points are:
1. Comprehensive Planning--"must consider the Reston community as a whole"
2. Excellence in Planning, Design, and Architecture--"held to the highest standards of excellence and innovation"
3. Infrastructure and Transportation--"must be planned and funded in concert with approved development projects, and must be completed concurrently with that development"
4. Density--"Higher densities... should be confined to the RCIG, Town Center, and the various Village Centers."
5. Reston Urban Core (RUC)--"must be developed into an integrated, dynamic and vibrant urban center"
6. Existing Residential Neighborhoods Outside the RUC--"re-development of existing residential neighborhoods must maintain the essential character of the neighborhood as defined by the current residents."
7. All Ages/All Families--"(Reston) must continue to accommodate people of all ages, physical abilities, economic circumstances, and families of all sizes and at all stages of family life."
8. Open Space--"at least 25% of all future developed and re-developed land must be reserved for open space"
9. Natural Areas--"must not be developed, and should be extended to the extent possible"

In a commentary on the Reston 2020 Committee's proposed planning principles, Dick Stilson, co-chair of the committee, said the following"

Many of the principles in the committee’s “Planning Principles” paper are already incorporated in the county Comprehensive Plan. In general we think the Plan is good, although it must be updated with the coming of Metro and other development that will affect the community. That, of course, is what the Task Force is charged to do. There are, however, several ideas contained in our paper that we think are important that are not in the current Plan. We think they should be discussed and considered by the Task Force for inclusion in the Plan.

1. Planning must be for the whole of Reston. This is completely consistent with the Comprehensive Plan but not with the program of the Task Force. We understand the timing problem of the Special Study, but we think it is very important that the Task Force consider the whole of Reston, even while concentrating on the RCIG and the Town Center. For example, in planning for the RCIG and the Town Center, the Task Force should take into account the effect of their recommendations on traffic in the rest of Reston, and how developments that are currently planned in the rest of Reston, such as the Lake Anne and Fairway Apartments redevelopments, will affect the RCIG and the Town Center.

2. Public and private development should be phased to ensure that the goals of mixed use and transit oriented development are achieved. The current Comprehensive Plan requires development in the Town Center to be mixed use, specifying in several sub land units percentages of residential and commercial development. Yet, except in the urban core of the Town Center (D4), mixed use development has not occurred, and the sub land units tend to be concentrated areas of office space or residential housing. This could be avoided by phasing allowed development and not allowing particular projects until there are additional projects in the relevant sub land unit which would achieve the objective of mixed use. We understand that this is not in the purview of the Department of Planning and Zoning, nor can the Comprehensive Plan require phased development. We feel, however, that a strong statement concerning phased development would be beneficial in pushing the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors in this direction.

3. A corollary to #2 is that public sector development should be phased with private development. The key here is transportation. Development that adversely affects traffic should be postponed until the traffic mitigating infrastructure is at least financed and construction is planned. In general this goes beyond small improvements in infrastructure financed by proffers. For example, the RMAG recommendation for an additional crossing of the Dulles Toll Road at Soapstone is not likely to be financed by proffers, nor is the underpass of the Dulles Toll Road between the Town Center parkway and Edmund Halley Drive.

4. Another corollary of #2 is our suggestion that planning and zoning should be more closely coordinated than at present. In Maryland, apparently, changes in plans and changes in concomitant zoning occur at the same time and are thus closely coordinated. This seems to us to be sensible and that the Task Force should consider such a principle.

5. The current Plan encourages the consolidation of parcels within land sub units. We strongly agree and such a policy would be consistent with our idea of phasing development. In addition, we feel that a system of allowing developers to trade densities within land sub units would also be sensible as long as it is controlled, for instance by building height restrictions, and that the overall planned density within the sub units are maintained.

6. Conserving stable residential neighborhoods is a principle that is already mentioned in the Plan as a broad objective. We certainly agree with this objective. We have suggested, however, expanding this broad objective to include the policy that any residential redevelopment must strongly take into account the views of current residents and adjacent neighborhoods. This should be the case for rental as well as privately owned properties in a development. An example might be Fairway Apartments. The opinions of the current renters should be polled and considered before approval of the redevelopment. In this case, it is particularly important since the income mix of people likely to buy into the proposed redevelopment may be quite different than that of the current residents.

7. We have suggested that portions of the RCIG, the largest area of relatively undeveloped land in Reston, be reserved for open space which could evolve into natural areas where possible. Consistent with the objectives of TOD, we would prefer relatively intensive development close to the transit stations, but still within the constraints of the Traffic Management Plan, but keeping substantial areas between the transit stations as open areas.

We realize that many of the above suggestions concern implementation. It seems to us, however, that planning without the consideration of implementation is empty. We see no reason why these implementing policies should not be written into the Plan.

Proposed Planning Principles for Reston Master Plan Special Study

Friday, January 22, 2010

Column: Master Planning—Lines Are Drawn, Reston Connection, January 20, 2010

My "cautious optimism" about the Task Force revising Reston’s Master Plan is fraying a bit. At last Tuesday’ meeting of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force, lines were drawn in the sand among members, and county staff discouraged communication with the community.

The main flashpoint exposing fissures in the Task Force was a proposal from Reston 2020, a group facilitating citizen participation in and support for the Task Force. The notion of citizen working groups had been endorsed recently by Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill). But, after the citizen proposal to create the groups was introduced by Task Force (TF) member Mike Corrigan, founder Bob Simon ripped into it calling it "asinine" and telling Reston 2020 to "go take a shower."

Click here for the rest of this important column.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Letter: Reston’s Future: Is It Here Now? Reston Connection, January 20, 2010

To the Editor:

Although Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) has established a task force to look at the "future of Reston," in fact a likely future is apparent now. JBG, a well-heeled and well- connected developer, is far along in gaining approval of a plan to demolish the Fairways Apartments across from the Lake Anne School and replace it with a big, up-market, high rise development.

The revised JBG plan presented at the Jan. 4 Reston Planning and Zoning Committee (PZ COM) meeting made some limited revisions in response to Committee and RA Design Review Board concerns. But the basic plan for a more intensive development remains. It will have at least twice the people and about three time the cars of the current Fairways (Fairways now has 345 units and 520 parking spaces; the new proposal is for 940 units and 1,500 parking spaces). And to respond to the interest in more open space and trees, one of the towers will now be 21 stories high.

Many believe that intensive development in Reston should be transit-oriented, located adjacent to jobs and concentrated near the Metro stations, along the Dulles corridor, in the Town Center and at re-developed village centers. But this proposal is isolated from those locations and is car dependent.

Through the magic of Reston numerology, the proposed density is apparently "legal." But the original Reston Master plan said high density development would be confined to 60 people per acre, about what Fairways has now. This means that the existing infrastructure — North Shore Drive, Temporary Road and neighboring schools, pathways and recreational facilities — were planned with smaller numbers in mind.

Although Fairways is currently reasonably priced, JBG says it has no legal responsibility to provide affordable housing. But it says it will voluntarily meet the county goal of 12 percent affordable housing.

The plan will obviously divert energy, dollars and potential future residents from Lake Anne. Yet some think its already approved redevelopment should be a Reston priority.

As to the future of Reston, one supporter at the Jan. 4 meeting said this plan will be a good model for the future of other Reston garden apartments. Ballston and Forest Hills, here we come!

Dick Rogers

Former Associate Member, Reston PZ Committee

Supervisor Hudgins' Newsletter Outlines Reston Planning Effort, January 2010

In her January newsletter to Hunter Mill District constituents, County Board Supervisor Cathy Hudgins devoted a full page (see below) to outlining the purposes, schedule, and membership of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force. The page also includes some important links on the County effort.

Hudgins Newsletter on Reston Task Force--0110

Continuing Delays in County Support to Reston Planning Task Force Effort

Yesterday, County staff reported that it is still compiling information for the Reston Existing Conditions report promised last year as part of the ongoing Reston planning effort. This report had been first scheduled for delivery in September 2009, prior to the launch of the Reston planning task force, then by December in the memorandum laying out a schedule for the task force effort (see enclosure, Appendix 3), and then again at the January 12 task force meeting. The report would establish a baseline of existing business, office, and residential structures currently in Reston. The document is essential in understanding the implications of the numerous changes expected to be proposed in the Comprehensive Plan by the Reston planning task force in the months ahead.

County planners say they have a good handle on the current residences and probably businesses & office space, but they are not finished researching and assessing what has been approved or what the current Comprehensive Plan allows. The latter assessments will provide greater clarity and confidence about what its coming according to County officials. The goal is to publish an "existing conditions and trends" report that would incorporate all this information and analysis.

Officials indicate the existing conditions and trends report will be available well before the Task Force starts making decisions. The task force's current schedule calls for it to decide on recommendations for the Dulles Corridor and Reston Town Center by this summer. Although the specific time frame for the release has not been established, staff expects to be able to inform the Task Force of its schedule soon.

In another area of planned County support for the task force, the County has not yet made available funding requested by the Department of Planning and Zoning to provide consulting assistance to the task force effort. Jim Zook, head of the DPZ, had requested between $200,000-$250,000 for these services in a memorandum in June 30, 2009, proposing the creation of the Reston planning task force. As outlined in the memorandum, the specific areas in which the County staff was seeking support included:
* jobs and housing forecasting;
* community participation and public outreach assistance;
* transportation analysis; and
* urban design assistance.
In the June memorandum, Mr. Zook stated, "Staff’s ability to conduct this study in the manner and time frame outlined in this memorandum is highly dependent upon the ability to call upon this outside consultant assistance." (p. 3, see enclosure below)

Reston citizens groups share the County staff's concerns about the issues raised in this memorandum. The three substantive topics on this list are among the topics identified in the Reston 2020 Committee's Community Work Group proposal, including working groups on transportation; environment; parks, recreation and public facilities; residential & housing; urban design and livability; and implementation and phasing. The Committee presented its proposal at the January 12 task force meeting. Similarly, the Reston Association Board of Directors recently approved a proposal to mobilize its committees, including Planning and Zoning, Design Review, Environmental, and Transportation, among others, to support the task force effort. The Task Force has not yet decided to work with these community groups.

According to County officials, although the DPZ does not yet have the funds requested for consulting assistance, there is some reason for optimism that some funding will be available in fiscal year 2011 beginning in July 2010. The funding request was generally focused on the 2011 budget proposal which will be out in a couple of weeks. Unlike many other departments, the DPZ only went through one round of budget cuts in the runup to this budget and it remains hopeful funding will be available. If the funds are forthcoming, DPZ will ask George Mason University to do a forecast of employment and residential growth for the Dulles corridor Metro station areas. It performed a similar task on Tysons Corner as part of the ongoing planning effort there. The County's Department of Transportation will use its inhouse staff and may call on some outside help if needed to address transportation issues.

County staff is concerned about the whole public communications effort associated with the Reston Task Force. Staff officials believe it is critical to have a strong communications effort, and the approved task force proposal called on the task force effort to encourage community input and participation. Nonetheless, according to County officials, we will have to wait and see how the public engagement is carried out. Some resources are available for communications outreach, such as inhouse facilitators, but the staff may need some assistance with public outreach. At this time, no decisions have been reached yet.

UPDATE: The June 30, 2009, memorandum from Jim Zook, DPZ, originally found on the Reston Master Plan Special Study webpage on the County's official website, has been removed from that webpage. Nonetheless, it is available through a search of the County website as a public record.

Proposed Scope & Schedule for Reston Study--Zook--063009

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Map: Dulles Corridor Showing Areas of Proposed APR Nominations for Greater Development

The map below, from the County staff memo proposing the current task force effort, shows in darker yellow the areas of the Dulles Corridor in which developers have proposed easing constraints on construction in so-called Area Plan Review (APR) nominations. If approved, the proposals would authorize much greater development--greater density, height, & more living units, for example--than is currently authorized in the Comprehensive Plan, which already authorizes levels of development far greater than the current conditions.

Dulles Corridor APR Deferred Nominations

A Green Corridor, or a Corridor of Glass and Steel?, Kathy Kaplan, Reston

There were illustrations in Thursday’s Washington Post of one section of the new Tysons redevelopment project.

Development is also planned for Reston between Sunset Hills and Sunrise Valley Drive between Hunter Mill Road and Centerville Road. There are currently twenty development plans on hold for projects proposed for Reston. Most call for higher density. The changes to the county’s comprehensive plan which will guide redevelopment are being considered right now by the Dulles Corridor Special Study Task Force appointed by Supervisor Cathy Hudgins.

The county wants to urbanize Reston to create a commercial and residential mixed-use corridor similar to Arlington’s Rosslyn-Ballston and Tysons. Arlington has a complex grid of roads to move traffic in their station areas. Reston has only two north-south bridges that connect north and south Reston, Wiehle Avenue and Reston Parkway. Because of that restriction of roadway connectivity, we have been told by our County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Dulles Corridor Rail Association President Patti Nicoson that people will need to walk in a redeveloped Reston. Is this a workable plan? Imagine your life without the use of your automobile. Some of the basic assumptions about the level of density proposed for Reston need to be examined very carefully.

In addition to a Dulles Corridor with 20,000 additional residents, our shopping centers or “village centers” will also be redeveloped with much higher density to include 500 new residential units at the site of each shopping center. I was told by a planner at the county DPZ that the footprint of each shopping center will be expanded to absorb contiguous neighborhoods which will also be redeveloped at the higher density. We are being told to anticipate 40,000 new residents in Reston.

Urban designer and landscape architect, Guy L. Rando, and I have another vision of what Reston can become. In our “Citizens’ Reston Master Plan, Dulles Corridor—Specific Planning Principles” (attached below) we propose that much of the land in the Dulles Corridor be retained as green open space with trails connecting the entire corridor to the trails in Reston and also connecting to Town Center. At the current time under the Covenants and Restrictions for the Reston Center for Industry and Government (RCIG), open space of 50% is mandated. We are requesting that 33 1/3% of the corridor be retained as open space and that 20% be with soil bedded in the earth with native vegetation to create continuity with north and south Reston.

There is an excellent reason to retain this open space. The 40,000 new residents will need recreational parkland. Our developer, Robert E. Simon, Jr., provided us with open space and parkland when he developed Reston. The developers who redevelop the Dulles Corridor need to provide the new residents with parkland in the corridor itself.

There is no more open space in Reston. Reston Association Common Lands are the private property of the homeowners. Should our woodlands be clear-cut to provide parks for new residents who may not be added by deed to Reston Association? Even if they do become members of Reston Association, the only land available for recreational parkland for such a large number of people is in the corridor itself. By the county’s own guidelines each resident needs 0.00148 acres of parkland. 40,000 people will need 60 acres of parkland. There are 760 acres of land in the RCIG.

The riparian areas (our stream valleys) were put into protective easement when the Mitigation Banking Instrument was signed by Reston Association and the Friends of Reston to restore our streams. Those lands are permanently protected and under the jurisdiction of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Dept of Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency, and US Fish and Wildlife. These protected areas must remain natural and may not be altered. They may not be cleared for parkland.

Mr. Rando and I drove the entire length of the Dulles Corridor between Hunter Mill Road and Centerville Road. We drove in every office park north and south of the Toll Road. Much of the land is covered with only a thin layer of asphalt (parking lots) and it will be easy to return it to green space with parks, plazas, pathways that connect the entire corridor to serve the new residents of the mixed-use communities that will be built there.

Air rights development over the Toll Road itself should be encouraged to provide additional vehicular and pedestrian bridges from north and south, but a significant portion of the land of the Dulles Corridor itself needs to be returned to green open space and preserved.



(Please see Planning Principles by Robert Simon, Terry Maynard, Dick Rogers, John Lovaas, Gerald Volloy (Draft ARCH Issues Bulletin 2010-1), Mike Corrigan.


1. Measurable qualitative criteria based on community values and specific guidelines for the quality of life.

2. World class design. Example: Boston Properties in Boston—Prudential Center.

3. 33 1/3% open space (currently 50% under RCIG covenants) with 20% as soil bedded in the earth with native vegetation. Parkland will be provided for residents on site by developer.

Task Force to create a definition of open space that reflects the culture of Reston. Open space will not include cement sidewalks (except for plazas and pavilions), parking spaces, public roads, private roads, driveways, or roof areas of buildings. Open space will be green and open to the public. It will allow passive and active recreations. It will include bodies of water, i.e., ponds, streams, and unpaved or porous paved pathways.

Portions of green space in corridor will be naturescaped to provide natural areas for new residents and to provide a continuity of experience of nature throughout the entire community of Reston.

4. FAR 2.0 at station and over the Dulles Toll Road with air rights. 1.5 FAR for remainder of corridor. 50 units/acre high density.

5. No building height limits on the south side of Sunset Hills between Reston Pkwy and Wiehle or over the DTR with air rights. 22 story limit elsewhere in corridor.

6. Complete separation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

7. If RCIG deed vacated, then all properties come under RA DRB review.

8. Climate-controlled space with galleria, pavilion. Art trail in RCIG from stations directly connected to Town Center art trail and to existing trails.

9. Living green roof technology, cleaned water and clear air standards. Gold LEED standard.

10. Green buffer 150 ft wide along Sunrise Valley Drive adjacent to residential neighborhoods (counted as part of open space).

11. All parking will be underground.

12. All development plans include affordable and workforce housing. No redevelopment of existing residential neighborhoods in areas contiguous to stations.

13. School building standards uniform across district.

14. All transportation infrastructure must be adequate and in place before additional development commences.


Guy L. Rando
Reston, VA 20190

Kathy Kaplan
Reston, VA 20191

Friday, January 15, 2010

Revised: Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force Schedule, January 12, 2010

The County has updated its December 8, 2009, schedule for the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force. The new schedule is embedded below.

The new schedule incorporates several significant changes:

* The February 9 meeting will provide an overview of current transportation plan recommendations, transit-oriented development (TOD), and discussion of the Planning Principles. In the previous version of this schedule, the Task Force was going to hear and discuss an overview of the Herndon-Monroe area.

* The Herndon-Monroe area will be briefed on February 23, followed by a community workshop of this topic on February 27, with a NEW task force meeting to discuss the Herndon-Monroe area on March 2.

* The specific dates have been set for several community workshops on areas around several key locations, including the Herndon-Monroe workshop above. These are as follow:
**Herndon-Monroe area--February 27
**Wiehle Area--March 20
**Reston Town Center--April 17
**Reston Parkway area--May 22

* The June 8 task force meeting, originally labeled as a task force discussion of draft recommendations has been changed to "Public presentations/Comments."


Meeting: Reston 2020 Committee, Brown's Chapel, 7 PM, Monday, January 18, 2010,

The next meeting of the Reston 2020 Committee will be at 7PM, Monday, January 18, 2010, at Brown's Chapel. The meeting agenda includes:

1. Review of draft Reston Planning Principles paper.

2. Review draft presentation to the Task Force by R2020 Co-Chair Dick Stilson.

3. Discuss next steps on Community Work Groups.

4. Discuss broader role for Committee blog.

News: RCA Committee Provides Reston Master Plan Updates, Reston Observer, January 15, 2010

By Leslie Perales
Observer Staff Writer

The Reston 2020 Committee, created by the Reston Citizens' Association, announced the launch of its blog, an online journal, to keep the community updated on the Reston Master Plan process.

The committee, which partners with Reston Association and the Association of Reston Clusters and Homeowners, launched the blog "Reston 2020: Citizens Shaping Reston's Future" in December at . . .

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Correction: This article includes information from the blog launch press release sent to the Observer stating that the Reston 2020 committee "partners" with RA and ARCH. This error was made in the original Reston 2020 Committee release, not at the newspaper. A correction issued to the newspaper after the press deadline indicates that the Reston 2020 Committee is "working with other Reston civic organizations and leaders."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Minutes: Reston 2020 Committee Public Meeting, January 7, 2010

The RCA 2020 Committee, chaired by Dick Stillson, met on Thursday, January 7, 2010 at RCC Lake Anne. In attendance were Dick Stillson, Chair, Cindy Smethers, D.D. Rogers, Dan McGuire, Dave Edwards, Diane Blust, Guy Rando, John Lovaas, Kathy Kaplan, Marion Stillson, Rob Whitfield, Tammy Petrine, Terry Maynard, Mike Corrigan, Paul Thomas, Jerry Volloy, Terri Phillips, Herb Basik, and C.J. Basik.

The first order of business was a discussion of the committee’s proposal for Community Advisory Groups to be put before the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force (RMPSSTF). The county and task force preferred the term “working group” rather than “advisory group” and the name was changed in the proposal. Paul Thomas confirmed that the RA Board of Directors had tasked the various RA Advisory Committees to generate recommendations to the Task Force in the topics of the individual committees. The committee reviewed the draft document on working groups and decided to reduce the original eight groups to five: 1) transportation, 2) infrastructure and implementation, 3) environment, 4) parks, recreation and public facilities, and 5) urban design. All agreed that the pertinent RA advisory groups and the Land Use College participants would be logical organizations from which to begin to draw members and/or leaders for the working groups. After a wide ranging discussion on the /working groups, a subcommittee was formed consisting of Dick Stillson, Mike Corrigan, Dave Edwards and Terry Maynard to draft a paper on proposed working groups for presentation to the RMPSSTF at the January 12, 2010 meeting.

Secondly, the committee discussed the planning principles to be drafted and presented to the RMPSSTF. There was general agreement that the principles to be proposed by the committee would be based on Bob Simon’s original principles for Reston, but that they would need to be updated for the 21st century and spelled out in a bit more detail. Committee members were reminded that several documents with suggested principles language had been circulated to the membership: papers from John Lovaas, Dick Rogers and Terry Maynard, along with the ARCH statement of principles circulated by Jerry Volloy. John Lovaas, Dick Rogers and Herb Basik agreed to form a subcommittee to draft the new principles document.

Terry Maynard handed out copies of the draft Reston 2020 Blog and asked for comments, corrections and input. After a brief discussion of other methods of group communication/opinion gathering, the committee agreed the proposed blog would best fit our needs. There was general agreement we wanted the blog to be open to all members of the community and that we wanted individuals to be able to post comments to the blog. Committee members should communicate directly with Terry regarding input for the blog.

Terri Phillips raised the use of Twitter as a mechanism to spread the word about the work of Reston 2020 and the RMPSSTF. She will investigate this issue and report back to the committee.

The date and time of the next meeting will be announced via email, the committee blog, and the county website.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Reston 2020 Draft Working Group Proposal, January 11, 2010

Enclosed below is the text of the proposal the Reston 2020 Committee will be putting before the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force at its meeting this evening. The proposal calls for the creation of six Work Groups to assist the task force by:
• Researching previous Fairfax and other jurisdiction studies relevant to the issues assigned to them by the Task Force
• Working with outside experts to obtain their views on their assigned issues
• Organizing field trips to inspect and better understand the areas affected by the planning
• Performing other tasks assigned by the Task Force through its chair.

The six proposed Work Groups are:
• Transportation
• Environment
• Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities
• Residential & Housing
• Urban Design and Livability
• Implementation and Phasing

The Work Groups will prepare brief written reports and presentations on what they learn and provide the Task Force with their views. The Work Groups will enable the Task Force to achieve a level of understanding of the issues and the community views on those issues that would be difficult to obtain with the limited time and resources available to the Task Force members and the supporting county staff.

Each Work Group plan describes the initial issues the group will address. The Work Groups are expected to view these issues from the perspective of the overall impact of the revised Reston Master plan, while concentrating on the specific geographic areas considered in each Phase of the Task Force.

UPDATE: To be clear, this proposal was written by a small group of volunteers within the Reston 2020 Committee based on contributions from many interested Restonians.

Reston 2020 Draft Work Group Plan Jan 11 2010[1]

Monday, January 11, 2010

Summary Notes from Reston Focus Groups, July-October 2008, Fairfax County Department of Planning & Zoning

In mid-2008, the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) conducted a series of nine focal groups with Reston civic leaders about the Reston Master Plan as directed by Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and the Board of Supervisors. Virtually all Reston civic groups participated, including representatives from:
-- Alliance of Reston Clusters and Homeowners (ARCH)
-- Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce
-- Reston Association (RA) Board
-- RA Design Review Board
-- RA Transportation Advisory Committee
-- RA Planning and Zoning Committee
-- Reston Citizen Association (RCA)
-- Reston Community Center (RCC)
-- Working Alliance of Town Center Homeowners (WATCH)
The DPZ also took comments from residents who observed the focus group sessions.

The enclosed document, also available at the County's Reston Master Plan study site, provides a compilation of the comments made during those nine sessions. It is an important listing of what Restonians think about Reston and how its future ought to be addressed. It illustrates the range of issues and opportunities Restonians see for Reston's future and is good background for anyone participating in the ongoing Comprehensive Plan review process. The notes present an impressive understanding of Reston now and imagination, vision, and concern about its future.

Summary Notes From Reston Focus Groups 10-15-08 Draft

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force Schedule as of December 8, 2009

December 8, 2009: Organizational Task Force Meeting


January 12: Overview of Current Plan Recommendations

January 26: Second Community Meeting on Planning Principles

February 9: Overview of the Herndon-Monroe Area

Mid-February (date TBD): Community Workshop for Herndon-Monroe Area

February 23: Discussion of Herndon-Monroe Area

March 9: Overview of the Wiehle Area

Mid-March (date TBD): Community Workshop for Wiehle Avenue

March 23: Discussion of Wiehle Avenue

April 13: Overview of the Reston Town Center Area

Mid-April (date TBD): Community Workshop for Reston Town Center

April 27: Discussion of Reston Town Center Area

May 11: Overview of Reston Parkway Area

Mid-May (date TBD): Community Workshop for Reston Parkway Area

May 25: Discussion of Reston Parkway Area

June 8: Discussion of Draft Recommendations

June 22: Discussion of Draft Recommendations

Summer: Task Force to finalize report with recommendations re General Planning Principles and Dulles Corridor/Reston Town Center

September 14: Staff to outline approach re Planned Residential Community (PRC) zoned Residential Areas & Village Centers

October 12: Discussion of PRC zoned Residential Areas & Village Centers (tentative)

October: Publish staff report re Comprehensive Plan recommendations on Planning Principles and Dulles Corridor/Reston Town Center

November: Proposed Planning Commission public hearing and recommendations re Comprehensive Plan recommendations on Planning Principles, Dulles Corridor/Reston Town Center

December: Proposed Board of Supervisors public hearing and decision re Comprehensive Plan recommendations on Planning Principles, Dulles Corridor/Reston Town Center


(Details regarding the schedule for 2011 will be determined.)

Date(s) TBD: Community Meetings and Task Force Meetings re PRC zoned Residential Areas and Village Centers

Date(s) TBD: Planning Commission public hearing and recommendation re Comprehensive Plan recommendations on PRC zoned Residential Areas and Village Centers

Date(s) TBD: Board of Supervisors public hearing and decision re Comprehensive Plan recommendations on PRC zone Residential Areas and Village Centers.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Meeting: Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force, 7 PM, Tuesday, January 12, 2010, Lake Anne Community Center

No detailed agenda is yet available for this meeting. The scheduled topic for the meeting is "Overview of Current Comprehensive Plan Recommendations and the County's Transit Oriented Design Policy."

UPDATE: The following agenda was provided on the Task Force's agenda late on January 10.


January 12, 2010

Informational Meeting
Reston Community Center at Lake Anne


Public Comment Period

Administrative Items - Patty Nicoson, Task Force Chair
1. Review of Updated Schedule
2. FOIA Update

Overview of Existing Comprehensive Plan recommendations
Heidi Merkel, Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ)
Leonard Wolfenstein, Department of Transportation (DOT)

Discussion of Community Work Groups
Patty Nicoson

Upcoming Meetings - Heidi Merkel

1. January 26 – Community Meeting re: Planning Principles
-----a. Meeting Format
-----b. Objectives
2. February 9 –
-----a. Transit-Oriented Development Presentations
---------- i. Montgomery County experience
---------- ii. Arlington County experience
---------- iii. Reston Metro Access Group (RMAG) Report
-----b. Task Force Discussion of Planning Principles

Adjourn - Patty Nicoson

The Danger of Two High-Rise Walls & a Transportation Moat Dividing Reston

This article is cross-posted at See

The county task force charged with making recommendations on Reston’s future development, clumsily named the “Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force,” begins its work in earnest this month with 7 PM meetings on the 12th and 26th at the Lake Anne community center.

Despite its nominal focus on the master plan, the primary activity of the task force over the next six months will be to review the County’s Comprehensive Plan for the Dulles corridor and recommend changes. There appear to be two key drivers for this: some 20 proposed modifications to the Comprehensive Plan from developers calling for increased density, largely driven by a stated need to adjust for the coming of Metrorail. That said, a read of the tediously technical Comprehensive Plan shows that the current plan explicitly identifies dozens of times development limits (height, FAR, dwelling units per acre, etc.) appropriate for the arrival of Metrorail. All the 20 proposed plan modifications call for increases in these limits. Given the dominance of developer, property owner, and property manager interests on the task force, its mid-summer recommendations are likely to propose even more density and height for structures, destruction of open space, loss of tree cover, etc., but few road or other improvements.

The effect of implementing the task force’s likely changes, almost certain to be approved by the County Planning Board and Board of Supervisors since they created the task force, would be to cut Reston in half from east to west, isolating north from south. Restonians would eventually face two impenetrable walls of concrete, steel, and glass buildings 200’ and taller—some half again as tall as any standing in Reston—on each side of the Dulles transportation corridor. For the moment, the plan limits building heights to 140’ in most areas; however, no such limits exist in the area surrounding the Metro station areas. For example, the current Comstock plan calls for building as many as eight such monster buildings in the small area north of the Wiehle Metrorail Station ranging from 140’-235’ tall under the existing Comprehensive Plan.

The Dulles transportation corridor roadways will also likely expand from 12 to 18 traffic lanes in the years ahead, although this is not a concern of the task force. Current plans call for the widening of the Dulles access road to six lanes. Also, the preferred Tysons Corner “Strawman II” plan option calls for the addition of two eastbound and three westbound “collector-distributor” (CD) lanes outside the toll road as far west as Hunters Mill Rd--a design that resembles I-270 with its multiple express and separated local access CD lanes. Although not yet on the table, Reston will likely see two CD lanes each way alongside the current toll road to handle the anticipated traffic increases from intense Reston development. And Metrorail will run down the middle of this massive transportation moat. That’s 18 lanes of traffic and Metrorail in a 400’-wide trench.

In contrast, I believe that development along the Dulles corridor must drive the unification—not the isolation—of north and south Reston, integrating and complementing the Reston we already enjoy. In particular, development must include powerful attractants for all Restonians and others. These could include a major community recreation center, southward expansion of Town Center’s retail offerings, a major regional performing arts center near one of the Metro stops, and air rights for a public park some 100 yards wide spanning the transportation moat from Sunrise Valley to Sunset Hills, a mini-Central Park at Reston’s heart.

Additional roadways must also span the Dulles corridor transportation moat, more than the Soapstone extension to the Wiehle Metrorail station parking ramp under Comstock’s high-rise configuration. These would include at the minimum another similar road at the Reston Parkway Metro station and an extension of South Lakes Drive across the corridor. Otherwise, movement across and within the corridor will come to a virtual standstill despite public transportation improvements.

If you share my concerns about the current task force effort, please help all of us try to re-direct the task force effort. Attend the twice-monthly task force meetings—and speak out when afforded the opportunity. Work with your local citizens groups and their leaders—Reston Association, ARCH, and the Reston Citizens Association—who are working together and independently to bring constructive ideas to the task force. (Disclosure: I’m a member of the RCA Board, but these views are my own.) Contact Cathy Hudgins, our supervisor, who proposed the task force, or Kohann Williams, who represents Board Chair Sharon Bulova on the task force. In short, make your voice heard if you wish to see Reston’s share of the Dulles corridor developed as a model for an 21st century urban planned community rather than a Rosslyn on steroids.

Terry Maynard