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!
Former Associate Member, Reston PZ Committee