Wednesday, December 30, 2009
ARCH Lays Out Draft Principles for Re-planning Reston, Letter to the Editor, Fairfax Times, December 29, 2009
Planning future development in Reston no easy task
In response to efforts outlined for the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force, which was established by Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins to do the important work of planning for Reston's future development and growth, the Alliance of Reston Clusters and Homeowners has proposed a number of draft principles to guide the work of the task force.
The draft principles, developed by the ARCH Issues Committee and Board of Directors, were derived from ARCH member input provided in the past year and are contained in an ARCH Issues Bulletin as follows:
ARCH acknowledges that increased commercial and residential development in the greater Reston area may be inevitable. But that development must be well planned and supported by all necessary infrastructure (public facilities and transportation - vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian), lest it degrade Reston's quality of life and its world-renowned special character. Fundamentally the task force should distinguish between how much additional commercial and residential development might be possible versus how much would be appropriate, define the latter as the limit, and then identify what infrastructure improvements need to be undertaken to support that level of development.
The task force should update the facilities and transportation exhibits to the Reston Master Plan (including adopting the unfunded recommendations of the Reston Metrorail Access Group [RMAG, April 2008 Study]). The Reston planning documents should then be amended to require that what have been identified as necessary infrastructure improvements to support specific new development must be put in place before or concurrently with that new development.
Reston's open space and recreational amenities are vital to Reston's quality of life. With increased growth comes demand for additional open space and, potentially, recreational amenities that must be identified and incorporated in the Reston planning documents. We accept that innovative solutions may be required (such as elevated parks or plazas).
In addition to open space and recreational amenities, Reston's world-renowned and unique character rests in part on its encouragement of environmentally sensitive development, public art and affordable housing for our teachers, nurses, police, firefighters, service industry and professional support staff, and others essential to the Reston work force. Accommodating these interests should remain important in defining the future growth of our community.
Reston's existing residential neighborhoods outside the RCIG (Reston Center for Industry and Government), Town Center, and Lake Anne (per its approved redevelopment plan) should essentially remain stable at their as-built densities.
The task force should promote innovative architectural designs for the Reston Metro stations - especially for the Reston Town Center station. These are critical gateways into this unique community and they should reflect that uniqueness.
Because the task force must deal with many issues in a short time, it must be efficient and focused. Nonetheless, it should provide for a suitable level of transparency and opportunity for broad community awareness and input.
During the next month, ARCH will coordinate the Issues Bulletin with its members, culminating with a meeting at 7 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Hunters Woods Reston Community Center to take further input and finalize the communiqué.
Gerald R. Volloy, President,
Alliance of Reston Clusters and Homeowners