Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Sunday, February 28, 2010

News: It Takes More Than Stores to Build a Winning Town Center, Washington Post, February 28, 2010

By Katherine Shaver and Miranda S. Spivack
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 28, 2010

When Rockville Town Square opened in summer 2007, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) praised the 12 acres of shops, restaurants and condominiums as a way to revive the aging suburb. Officials visualized people living above stores, eating lunch at sidewalk cafes and walking to the Rockville Metro station.

Nearly three years later, that vision is still taking shape. On weeknights, the after-work crowd streams into Gold's Gym. On weekends, the Gordon Biersch restaurant is packed. But the large space leased to the Superfresh grocery chain remains vacant; eight of the 46 storefronts have changed hands; and some of the restaurants are struggling. The development was designed to meet a demand for pedestrian-friendly suburbs with an urban feel, but it opened just as the economy soured.

The ability of the Washington area's suburban town centers to weather the recession will have long-term effects on life in the counties ringing the District. . . .

For the rest of this excellent, wide-ranging article on Metro-area renewal, click here.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Reston 2020 Blog: 1,000 Unique Visitors--and Counting

Today, the Reston 2020 blog passed the 1,000 mark in terms of unique visitors. That's 1,000 different people--"first-time visitors" based on an internet "cookie"--who have visited the blog in the four weeks since we began counting these things. (The blog actually launched in late December.)

The rapid growth in blog readership is a testament to the importance the people of Reston attach to the ongoing Reston Master Plan Special Study. Its recommendations will affect the lives of the more than 60,000 people who live here now and the more than 100,000 who are likely to live here decades from now under a new plan to guide Reston's development.

For those who are not familiar with this blog, it attempts to post all information publicly available--and occasionally not publicly available--about the Reston planning effort, a one-stop shopping site for information on Reston development. This includes related issues such as the Tysons Corner planning effort and possible County changes in bus or bicycle policy. And it is open to all points of view as attested to its posting of some critical letters written by Robert E. Simon, our founder, for the local newspapers.

We will endeavor to keep this blog as complete and diverse a discussion of Reston development as possible. If you have information that you think bears on Reston's future development, please send it to me at With your permission, we will post it for all Restonians to see.

...and thank you all for caring about Reston.

Terry Maynard
Reston 2020
Blog Administrator

CANCELED: Reston Task Force Meeting, March 2, 2010

As announced in the waning minutes of last Tuesday's Reston Task Force meeting and confirmed at this morning's Community meeting of the Task Force, the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force meeting scheduled for March 2 to discuss the Herndon-Monroe Station TOD area has been canceled.

No information on re-scheduling is available yet.

AGENDA: Reston Task Force Community Meeting, 9AM, February 27, Langston Hughes

We regret the delay in posting this agenda, but it has not yet--less than an hour before the scheduled meeting--been made available to the public. We obtained this copy of the agenda from a member of the task force, who received it mid-afternoon Friday, .

Terry Maynard
Reston 2020


February 27, 2010
9:00 a.m.

Langston Hughes Middle School, Cafeteria, 11401 Ridge Heights Road

9:00 a.m. Welcome
Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, Hunter Mill District

9:05 a.m. Meeting Objectives
Heidi Merkel, Department of Planning and Zoning

9:10 a.m. Brief Overview of Reston Master Plan Special Study
Heidi Merkel

9:30 a.m. Overview of Town of Herndon Transit Station Study
Kay Robertson, Town of Herndon Department of Community Development

9:40 a.m. Background re: Herndon-Monroe Station Area
Heidi Merkel

10:00 a.m. Community Brainstorming Activity regarding future station area character

11:00 a.m. Reporting of results of Brainstorming Activity

11:25 a.m. Next Steps

11:30 a.m. Adjourn

Friday, February 26, 2010

Birders Concerned about Herndon-Monroe and Sunrise Valley Wetlands Impact

Dear Birdwalkers,

I try not to clutter up your inboxes with non-birdwalk messages, but Sunrise Valley Wetland needs people to stand up and speak for its preservation. This park is a regular stop on our circuit of monthly Reston birdwalks. Most of you know that it is a federally mandated wetland mitigation project. In other words, it was created as a trade-off for the destruction of wetlands during the construction of Reston Town Center. According to the deed, the property is supposed to remain a wetland in perpetuity. I have just learned, to my surprise, that the Army Corp of Engineers and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality can set aside that deed at their discretion if they receive what they deem to be adequate compensation or if they decide some other land use has a higher value to the community.

Sunrise Valley Wetland has the misfortune to be located right next to the planned Herndon-Monroe Metro Station. The county planners are calling for high density development within the 1/4 mile radius of the station and that puts the park at risk. Apparently there is already at least one developer who his sights on the property.

If this concerns or worries you at all, please plan to attend a meeting this Saturday, Feb. 27, at 9:00 AM at Langston Hughes Middle School, 11401 Ridge Heights Rd. in Reston. The Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force will be accepting comments from the public on what we would like development around the station to look like and any other issues we want raised in connection with the coming of rail to Reston and Herndon. I doubt the members of the Task Force are birdwatchers, and I doubt if they even appreciate what a natural resource we have in Sunrise Valley Wetland. This is our chance to tell them. Sunrise Valley Wetland will need all the support we can give it in the upcoming discussions.

Thanks for your consideration,
Carol Hadlock

EAC Recommends Reston TF Protect Sunrise Valley Wetlands Natural Area

The Sunrise Valley Wetlands Natural Area is within the ¼ mile circle around the future Herndon-Monroe Metro Station slated for high density development. This beautiful wetlands is a federally mandated mitigation site developed to offset previous destruction of natural areas in Reston. There exists, within its relatively small 15.75-acre area, multiple ecosystems of open water, marsh and upland forest that attract a wide range of wildlife, including birds, turtles, frogs, dragonflies, butterflies and small and large mammals. The site is used regularly by Reston Association naturalists for public outreach and education programs.

New York has Central Park, Washington D.C. has Rock Creek Park… The Sunrise Valley Wetlands has the potential to become a great model future development in our County, namely the preservation of a significant natural area (as opposed to just open space) within a high-density developed area. Reston has always been a leader in suburban and semi-urban design: Let’s save the Sunrise Valley Wetlands and maintain our leadership in this vital area.

Come to the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force meeting on Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 9:00 at Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston to voice your support for the preservation of this signification community resource.

Diane Blust, member Reston Citizens Association (RCA) Sustainable Reston Initiative, and Reston Environmental Action (REACT)

Below are REACT's recommendations to the Reston Task Force on preserving the Sunrise Valley Wetlands Natural Area.

REACT Recs to RMPSS Task Force--Sunrise Valley Wetlands

Herndon-Monroe Metro Redevelopment Has Birders -- Wait For It! -- Crying Fowl, Restonian Blog, February 26, 2010

Aside from our musty, snow melt-inundated basements and the muck-filled lakes, who knew Reston had wetlands? Apparently, the birders do, and they're not happy about the proposed Wiehle, er, Herndon-Monroe Metro station development (Ed note: we can't read). What's got their -- wait for it -- feathers ruffled?

Read the rest of this post here.

Buspocalypse Now: Proposed Budget Cuts Would Eliminate 7 Reston Routes, Reduce RIBS Service, Pedro Vera's Web Log, February 25, 2010

Cutting bus service is not the answer to easing congestion, according to Pedro Vera, nor is it consistent with transit-oriented development (TOD). It raises questions about the County's credibility in justifying TOD in Reston on the basis of reduced auto use.

If you think the current 10-cent fare surcharge imposed on Fairfax Connector riders is bad, just wait! Under the just-unveiled proposed Fairfax County budget for the upcoming fiscal year, Fairfax Connector would eliminate seven Reston routes and scale back service on all RIBS routes. . . .

Who's to blame for this mess? According to Fairfax County, the airports. . . .

For the rest of this pithy post, click here.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bridge Placement Focus of County-Town Meeting, Reston Observer, February 26, 2010

By Leslie Perales
Observer Staff Writer

The Town of Herndon hosted an interjurisdictional meeting on Feb. 19 on the Center for Innovative Technology/Route 28 Metro station and related development.

The meeting, which included representatives from Fairfax and Loudoun counties and the Town of Herndon, focused heavily on where to construct a bridge connecting the transit-oriented development on the north side of the Dulles Toll Road to areas south of the toll road.

Fairfax County proposed adding a bridge connecting Rock Hill Road south to Sunrise Valley Drive in 1993 and in 1997 it was added to the county's comprehensive plan. The bridge can no longer be constructed as planned though because of where the Metro station will be built. . . .

For the rest of this article, click here.

REMINDER: Reston 2020 Committee Meeting, Friday, January 26, 7PM, RA HQ

This is just to remind everyone who wishes to come that the RCA Reston 2020 Committee will be meeting Friday evening, February 26, at 7PM, at the RA Headquarters Conference Room.

Our updated agenda is as follows:

1. Status and direction of Community Working Groups

2. Preparation for the TF Community Meeting on Herndon-Monroe TOD area, including brief presentation of draft application of TOD policy to Reston, and Polo Fields Association concerns

3. Developing a community outreach communications strategy

4. Other business, including land use attorneys on constraints on common land sales and "by-right" development

All Reston citizens are welcome to attend and participate. This is an "open meeting" in the truest sense of the phrase.

Terry Maynard
Reston 2020

News: Dulles Bridge Proposal Creates Conflict Between Counties, Developers; Leesburg Today, February 25, 2010

By Erika Jacobson Moore
(Created: Thursday, February 25, 2010 4:08 PM EST)

Plans to build a bridge over the Dulles Toll Road to provide another route for north-south traffic is generating friction between Loudoun and neighboring Fairfax County, as the counties and the Town of Herndon meet to try and decide where to move the planned bridge and make room for construction of a Metro rail station.

The plans for a bridge to connect the north and south sides of the toll road east of Rt. 28 have been in place on Fairfax's Comprehensive Plan since 1997, but after realizing the potential conflict with the Metro station, county staff recommended moving the bridge further west to link Sunrise Valley Drive on the south with three possible touchdown points on the north. . . .

For the rest of the article, click here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

RCA President Remarks and RCA Board Statement on Task Force Inhibiting Public Participation, Reston Task Force Meeting, February 23, 2010

I’m Marion Stillson, the publicly-elected President of RCA, the Reston Citizens Association. RCA was founded in 1967 to promote and protect the founding goals of Reston. All of the founding goals will be impacted by the actions of the Task Force (TF). I am also a regular member of RCA’s Reston 2020 Committee.

Supervisor Hudgins stated her intent to involve the maximum number of citizens in the work of the TF. We are disappointed that actions and inactions of the TF and the County’s Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) have inhibited the ability of Reston citizens to contribute. My statement provides some key examples, which I will highlight here.

1. Most of all, the County DPZ has failed to deliver an Existing Conditions and Current Plans Report, promised by the end of September 2009. We understand that the DPZ is underfunded and shorthanded and we admire the professionalism with which they act nevertheless. We also understand that the DPZ expects to publish this Report before the TF makes any decisions. But ordinary citizens who want to grapple with its implications need more time than that.

2. The TF has failed to utilize those citizens who participated in Supervisor Hudgins’ Reston Land Use College in September, 2009. Early in February, TF Chair Nicoson rejected Reston 2020 Committee’s offer to organize them into working groups at no taxpayer cost.

3. The DPZ has consistently failed to publish TF meeting agendas and related materials in a timely manner, denying citizens the opportunity to understand what will be discussed and to plan their own participation. Today’s meeting was, as late as yesterday, advertized as taking place in two different venues. A journalist went to the wrong place in January because of a last-minute change of venue.

4. Finally, the TF and DPZ have failed to inform affected residents in and around areas that will be discussed in either their informational or community meetings. RCA’s Reston 2020 Committee had to inform residents of Polo Fields, close to Herndon-Monroe TOD area, that their area will be discussed at the February 23 and 26 meetings of the TF.

Thank you.

Marion Stillson
President, Reston Citizens Association

Reston TF Inhibits Citizen Participation

Draft RA Board Letter to Planning Commission Regarding Wiehle Metro Station Development Plan

This draft letter to the Fairfax County Planning Commission from the RA Board of Directors discusses RA concerns about the plans for development at the Wiehle Avenue Metrorail station area. The letter will be discussed and voted on at the RA Board meeting on February 25, 2009.

RA Draft Letter to FXCO on Wiehle Avenue

Letter: An Advice to ‘Density Deniers’, Robert E. Simon, Reston Connection, February 24, 2010

To the Editor:

Once again, I find it necessary to counter misleading characterizations in your Opinion column [“No Plan for Quality, Character of Affordability,” Reston Connection, Feb. 17-23, 2010]. This problem is embodied in the following quote: “On the one side we have the maximalists (Bob Simon and the developer interests) who chant density, density, density. The other side is no more growth or no-change absolutists.”

That I have repeatedly and consistently advocated completing Reston in accordance with the 1963 adopted Master Plan is relevant to this discussion, but more importantly will be my attempt, once again, to put this nonsense about developers and density to bed. Developers develop to meet market demand, to build what people want to buy or rent. Some people dream of owning a house on several acres in a neighborhood that is zoned for a minimum lot size of two acres. Other people like to live in a high rise apartment building for the pleasure of having close-in neighbors to relate to. There are developers to satisfy these extremes and everything in between. Zoning provides potential customers with a good idea of what their environment will be if they become buyers. Before signing up, a buyer should familiarize himself with the zoning provisions for any areas that he feels need be compatible with his personal comfort zone, being prepared to see such areas developed to the fullest extent permitted under the existing zoning provisions. It is bad manners, to say the least, for a resident to lobby to prevent development that a developer has “by right” to develop.

We are being told that developers (evil, of course,—aren’t they all?) are planning to increase density on the periphery of Lake Anne Village Center and on the site of the Fairway Apartments. The demagogues are stirring up neighbors to oppose these outrages. Suggestion for demagogues and neighbors: Why don’t you study the current county planning documents. You will find that for both projects, the densities proposed are those provided for in the current planning documents that date back to 1963. The reason that higher-than-average-for-the-whole-community densities were prescribed for village centers and for Town Center was because such densities define the character of these centers. It was assumed that there would be demand for housing in these centers from people who find community in urban living. That Lake Anne Village Center and Town Center have become models for planners and developers throughout Europe and Asia as well as the USA should be sufficient to persuade the density deniers to subside.

Bob Simon
Reston Founder

Letter: Open Space as Breathing Room, Robert E. Simon, Reston Connection, February 24, 2010

To the Editor

These days, people promoting superior land use planning have “open space” as their shibboleth. They importune their volunteer representatives, as well as their elected representatives, to hold out for what they consider to be a minimum acceptable percentage of open space. They apply this percentage indiscriminately to the 1,700 acres of Tysons Corner, and to the 30 acres of Lake Anne Village Center. All this without a common understanding of what open space can mean, of the variety of amenities it furnishes.

I suspect that Reston’s prime promoters have “nature” in mind when they rally for open space — trees, grass, as well as natural areas. Well, as a big fan of open space, I think of it as simply the space between buildings, breathing room. If any development is prohibited on 70 acres of a community, you can have a nature center — on 24 acres, you can have a lake. Create a wide paved boulevard with trees in wells and benches, as in many a European city. Open space? I think so.

May I suggest that we do away with relying on a predetermined percentage of “open space” (whatever that may mean) as a criterion for judging the merits of any proposed site plan. Each site plan should be judged on its own and, equally importantly, on its relationship to its immediate and its extended surroundings. Does it represent a pleasant place to work and/or live in, and, beyond that, is it compatible with its neighborhood and does it contribute to the goals of the entire community in which it is located?

Bob Simon
Reston Founder

Can Counties Bridge Divide? Herndon Connection, February 23, 2010

Landowners’ dispute causes inter-county sparring over bridge placement in proposed developments.

By Mike DiCicco
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Proposals for three developments on the border of Fairfax and Loudoun counties, just north of the planned Route 28 Metro Station, have prompted unprecedented cooperation between the politicians and staffs of two counties, as well as the town of Herndon, which the developments would neighbor. However, a dispute between landowners is now causing friction between Fairfax and Loudoun.

At the second meeting of an interjurisdictional panel with representatives of the three localities on Friday, Feb. 19, members of the two boards of supervisors sparred over whose property a proposed bridge over the Dulles Toll Road should land on. The bridge was the main topic of the meeting.

Fairfax County staff presented three options for the traffic and pedestrian overpass, which it considers essential to the transportation network that would support the new developments. All three alternatives would take off from Sunrise Valley Drive at the point where it veers from an east-west route to a north-south alignment. . . .

For the rest of this article, click here.

Drawing Courtesy Dulles World Center
This rendering shows a possible layout for Dulles World Center and the CIT development.

County Press Release on Task Force's Herndon-Monroe Station Area Community Forum, February 27, 9AM, Langston Hughes

Reston Master Plan Study Community Forum on Feb. 27

Feb. 17, 2010
OPA 044/10

News Highlights

* Public can offer input on future land use near Herndon-Monroe Metro station.

More Information

As part of the Reston Master Plan Special Study, the public can offer input about the character for the area south of the future Herndon-Monroe Metro station at a community forum on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 9 a.m. The event will be held at the Langston Hughes Middle School cafeteria, 11401 Ridge Heights Road, Reston.

It is envisioned that future development in this area should take advantage of its proximity to Metro while preserving nearby neighborhoods.

The Reston Master Plan Task Force is currently evaluating the existing land use recommendations for the Dulles Corridor. This includes the areas around the future Wiehle Avenue, Reston Parkway and Herndon-Monroe Metro stations, as well as the Reston Town Center. The task force was appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

For more information or reasonable ADA accommodations, contact Sandi Smith, Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning, at 703-324-1239, TTY 711 or


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reston Task Force Chairman Letter Blows Off Proposed Community Advisory Groups

In a letter to members of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force, Chairman Patty Nicoson blew off the RCA Reston 2020 Committee's proposal to create Community Advisory Groups to help the panel cope with the tough issues it is addressing. As reported in January:

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

As an alternative, the chairman proposed the following:

I would like to create a subgroup of the task force to help with designing communication strategies, as well as opportunities for engaging the community. Let's call it a Communication/Community Engagement subcommittee. This group would be made up of task force members and invite the participation of others such as the representatives of Reston Association, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, and the Reston Town Center Association. . . I think that we should wait on appointing any additional formal groups until such time as we feel a given issue needs to be explored in greater depth.

It is not unnoticed that the chairman specifically excluded two leading Reston-wide citizens civic organizations, the Alliance of Reston Clusters and Homeowners (ARCH) and the Reston Citizens Association (RCA), both of which include a significant number of Restonians who are not members of Reston Association. Moreover, two of the three organizations she identifies for this "engagement" subcommittee represent business interests whose members sell things in Reston, but may or may not be residents here.

The undated (the filename indicates "020510"--presumably the date), unsigned, unofficial letter goes on to suggest, "Let’s discuss this further at our next meeting." That meeting is this evening at the RCC--Lake Anne. It's not on the agenda, but who knows what topics will actually be discussed.

As for the RCA Reston 2020 Committee, I am proud to say that the committee will proceed with its groups comprised of Reston citizen volunteers. They will study the issues that are central to potential changes in the Reston area's Comprehensive Plan and provide reports and, if briefings if allowed, to the task force. The reports will be focused, balanced, and comprehensive, and fill a vacuum left by the inability of an overworked and understaffed DPZ to provide the support the task force and Restonians deserve. If the task force cares about the implications of its Comprehensive Plan recommendations, it will use these reports in its future deliberations.

Below is the full text of the chairman's letter.

Nicoson on TF Communications Strategies

Terry Maynard
Reston, VA

When a Bicycle Isn't a Transportation Device, NBC Washington, February 22, 2010

Fairfax supervisors disagree over new bike plans

Updated 12:30 PM EST, Mon, Feb 22, 2010

Getty Images

So… it’s all play and no work for bike riders.

“I don’t believe a bicycle is a transportation device,” Fairfax County Supervisor John Cook (R-Braddock District) said during a transportation committee meeting. “I think it’s a recreation device. The big problem is people don’t want to ride their bike in the rain or get sweaty before work.”


Cook's comments clash with Reston’s plan to add new bike trails. . . .

For the rest of this article, click here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

AGENDA: Reston Planning & Zoning Committee Meeting, 7:30 PM, March 1, 2010

UPDATE: On January 21, in an e-mail to P&Z members and others, Arthur Hill, Vice Chairman, noted that the Comstock Wiehle Metro station area proposal will be the only agenda item for this meeting.

Monday, March 1, 2010 – 7:30 pm
Main Conference Room, Reston Association Building
1930 Isaac Newton Square

1. Wiehle Avenue Metro Station Project: This will be reviewed by this committee again, with emphasis on the current and proposed traffic infrastructure and entrances and exits to the garage area, any changes in the approach roads i.e. Sunset Hills and Wiehle Avenue, and in depth discussion of the PDC zoning ordinance. We hope to have representatives from the County speak to these issues; requests will be made to the Supervisors office concerning the attendance of such County personnel. To be presented by Atty. Ben Tompkins.

2. Fairways Apartments: Further review of the redevelopment proposal. The existing apartments consist of 346 dwelling units; the new proposal calls for 940 units. To be presented by Atty. Ben Tompkins.

3. Committee discussion of any other business, new or old, and approval of minutes of previous meeting.

4. Approve next meeting date and adjourn.

Agenda subject to change without notice by order of the Chairman, David Vanell, (703) 904-9299, or Arthur S. Hill, Vice Chairman, (703) 264-1178.

February 17, 2010

Official Meeting Summary: Reston Master Plan Special Study Community Meeting, January 26, 2010

Reston Master Plan Special Study
Community Meeting

January 26, 2010, 7:00 PM
Langston Hughes HS cafeteria.

Approximately 100-110 community and task force members

Heidi Merkel, senior planner with the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning, presented an overview of the purpose of the meeting – “to capture public ideas” and “express preferences about Reston’s prospective planning principles”.

Bob Simon's original 1962 goals were used to introduce the concept of principles and as foundation for further discussion.

Simon's goals focused on the following:
• variety of leisure options
• housing options
• phased development that provided for community amenities throughout the development life cycle
• housing for all stages of life and income levels
• living and working in the same community, etc

Heidi Merkel presented an example “strawman” drafted by staff. The “strawman” example is a tool to begin discussion. The “Strawman” included the following principles:
• Preservation of the long-term stability of Reston
• Transportation network that supports the planned land uses
• Connectivity throughout the community
• Housing diversity
• Wide range of mobility options, etc.

Jerry Volloy (representing the Alliance of Reston Clusters and Homeowners) presented the group's position paper on planning principles:
• Study should determine how much development is possible versus how much is best for the community.
• Development should be well planned
• Transportation improvements should be in place before development occurs, etc

Kathy Kaplan (representing the Citizens’ Master Plan Group) presented the groups planning principles:
• World class design
• Building height limits
• 33 1/3 percent open space
• Parkland provided for residents on site by developer
• Complete separation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic
• Cleaned water and clear air standards, etc

Ms. Kaplan also proposed changes in the county’s “strawman” planning principles. An edited version was provided to the public.

Dick Stillson (representing the Reston 2020 Committee) presented the groups planning principles
• Planning must be for the whole of Reston
• Phased development
• Excellence in planning design in architecture
• Consolidation of parcels within land sub units
• Require transportation improvements that support development
• Confine higher densities to the Reston Center for Industry and Government, Reston Town Center and the village centers, etc

Upon completion of presentations, the floor was opened to community discussion and suggestions for additional principles to be considered.

Question: Can RA or clusters turn over (sell, rent) parts of their property to developers

Answer(s): RA would have to have a successful referendum to transfer property to another party. Clusters could transfer their common property to others if the cluster boards and the RA Board approved such a transaction. Fairfax County tries to preserve stable neighborhoods, but it cannot interfere if clusters make a collective decision to sell their properties to a developer.

Note: Fairfax would not downzone a property unless it has compelling public purpose.

Question: What studies have been done that show that Metro can handle new demands from Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

Answer(s): Good topic for discussion at an upcoming task force meeting on transportation. Studies have been done and can be made available.

Other suggested principles:
• connectivity across bridges
• expanded bus coverage
• “level-of-service” for Reston’s streets as part of the development effort
• Reston as a place where people can “grow old and die”
• no additional taxes or tolls placed on Restonians
• more educational opportunities in Reston
• more public art

A polling exercise was conducted as the last step of the community meeting.

All of the proposed planning principles were presented on 4 boards in 4 corners of the cafeteria. Attendees were given nine “dot” stickers to express their preferences regarding which principles in any list that they felt was important.

Planning Staff collected the boards and will analyze the results to present to the Task Force at a future meeting.

Official Meeting Summary: Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force Meeting, January 12, 2010

Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force
Meeting Summary

January 12, 2010, 7:00 PM.
Reston Community Center at Lake Anne, 1609-A Washington Plaza, Reston

Meeting began at 7 PM with Chairman Patty Nicoson asking members to reintroduce themselves due to the addition of several new members subsequent to the initial Task Force meeting.

Public Comment Period (7:10)
Limited to 2 minutes/person.
• Kathy Kaplan & Guy Rando compared Reston’s core development with Arlington’s Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and commented they want more roads and connections like R-B corridor has.
• Dick Stillson (Reston Citizen’s Association member, Reston 2020 Committee co-chair) suggested “working groups” to assist the Task Force. As outlined, the working groups are not under the authority of their respective affiliated civic groups. He suggested this would allow serious input (from wider citizenry) to assist the Task Force.
• Joe Stowers discussed his work regarding urbanizing Reston. He pointed out that only the Reston Town Center has been designed from the outset to be an urban place.
• Rob Whitfield would like the Task Force to understand the full context of what’s going forward at the Wiehle Avenue Transit Station (public-private rezoning case).

Administrative Items (7:20)
• Review of revised Task Force schedule.
• Bob Simon expressed concern that the schedule does not adequately address revitalization in Lake Anne Village Center’s. Heidi Merkel (Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning) recommended that follow-up on Lake Anne should be with County’s Office of Community Revitalization and Reinvestment.
• Heidi reviewed the details of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and its influence on the Task Force’s work. This was followed by discussion among the Task Force regarding the constraints. There was concern from several Task Force members that their interaction with the wider community and civic groups might be negatively impacted by FOIA rules. They suggested that Heidi have the County Attorney’s office provide a 1-page guidelines sheet on FOIA rules for the Task Force.

Overview of Existing Comprehensive Plan Recommendations (7:50)
• Heidi gave a PowerPoint presentation on existing Comprehensive Plan Recommendations. It included:
. o Classic Planning Process
. o Task Force’s Charge
. o Trends-Future Growth
. o County’s Comprehensive Plan’s Organization
. oo Policy Plan
. oo Transit-Oriented Development Guidelines
. oo Area Plans

Work Groups (9:10)
• There was discussion among the Task Force of a proposal by several Reston civic groups to offer their idea for “Community Work Groups” to facilitate the work of the Task Force.
• The Chairman asked Task Force members for their opinions of the concept. After hearing from all members who wished to comment, the Task Force discussed some pros and cons of creating such groups.
• Several of the Task Force members stated the inclusion of work groups is a essential to obtaining real and serious input from the community as well as taking full advantage of the varied expertise within the community.
• Many Task Force members expressed opinions that the work groups are unnecessary or would not work. The constrained schedule was cited as one of the reasons that several TF members felt the work group concept should not be adopted at this time. They referred to the duration of the Tysons Study as something to avoid. Additionally, several members of the Task Force noted that there are many opportunities for public input and that the panel is composed of many experts/professionals who were appointed by the supervisor to represent the community.
• No decision was made on the Work Groups idea.

Upcoming Meetings (9:45)

• Heidi outlined what will be covered at the upcoming “Planning Principles” meeting on 01-26-10.
• Mark Looney suggested that the suggested Work Groups and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce (the group he’s representing) and any other interested groups could meet before the next meeting and analyze what was presented about the County’s current Comprehensive Plan as well as Reston’s founding planning principles. He offered to lead this effort in order to keep the idea of the Work Groups viable if the Task Force decides to adopt the proposal.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:55 PM.

Fairfax supervisors clash over bike plans, Washington Examiner, February 21, 2010

By: Brian Hughes
Examiner Staff Writer

Transportation or recreation? A debate about the purpose of bicycles will shape how Fairfax County residents reach new Metro stations in coming years.

"I don't believe a bicycle is a transportation device," Supervisor John Cook, R-Braddock District, said during a transportation committee meeting. "I think it's a recreation device. The big problem is people don't want to ride their bike in the rain or get sweaty before work."

Transportation officials have identified $12.7 million in pedestrian and bicycle projects for the Reston area -- intended to improve accessibility to the planned Wiehle Avenue and Reston Parkway Metro stations, part of the transit extension to Washington Dulles International Airport. . . .

For the rest of this article, click here.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Critical Upcoming Reston Task Force Meetings on Transit-Oriented Development and Transportation

The Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force is having two very important meetings this coming week on Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), transportation, and the Herndon-Monroe Metro station TOD, the first of the three Reston area TODs the task force will address. The key drivers for the creation of TODs is that officials and planners believe that building these high-rise, high-density, mixed-use development around transit stations can ease the impacts on energy and the environment--a controversial position in some quarters--while raising tax revenues without increasing taxes.

The meetings are important because:

* The population growth in the three Reston area TODs alone could add anywhere from 20,000 to more than 60,000 people living in Reston depending on assumptions about family sizes and the number of high-rise dwelling units. Obviously, this kind of growth has implications for school rolls, transportation, and a number of other factors and is largely in addition to the increased density authorized for the Reston Planned Residential Community (PRC), which could also add some 30,000 people over time.

* The number of jobs in high-rise office buildings could rise by some 80,000 to well over 100,000 from the TOD development. This, too, could have serious implications for traffic congestion even with Metrorail.

* These identified TOD areas--a 1/2 mile ring around the station platform--also include already established and stable residential neighborhoods as well as some parks and natural areas. It remains unclear how they may be affected by TOD development, including that at Herndon-Monroe Metrorail station.

It is important to attend both meetings:

* Tuesday, February 23, 7PM, at the RCC-Lake Anne: This will be an informational meeting on transportation, TOD, and the Herndon-Monroe Station area. Speakers from the County as well as Montgomery and Arlington Counties and the Reston Metro Advisory Group (RMAG) will be making presentations. This meeting should provide important background information for concerned citizens about TOD and its application in the Reston area. The complete agenda is here.
* Saturday, February 27, 9AM, location to be determined (probably SLHS or LHIS): This will be a community meeting on the Herndon-Monroe Station according to the latest available schedule. In general, this will be an opportunity for people to present their ideas, interests, and concerns, probably through some mediated processes. No agenda has been posted yet, but the meeting may also speak to general TOD and transportation issues. I will update this post when the County provides additional information.

An easy way to access information on this blog about TOD and Transportation is to look at the "Labels" section of the sidebar, basically a topical index of the items on the blog with links to the related blog posts. You may also want to go to the County's webpage on the Reston planning effort to check for information on these important topics.

And please be sure to tell your friends and family in the Reston area about these meetings. Reston is our community and we need to shape its future so it serves us all well. I look forward to seeing you at these two important task force meetings.

Terry Maynard
Reston 2020

Column: No Plan for Quality, Character or Affordability, John Lovaas, Reston Connection, February 17, 2010

The early conversations of the Reston Master Plan Task Force offer little prospect for either the character or exciting innovation which marked the original Reston as a special “New Town.” Discussion to date revolves around one major issue absorbing the Task Force — quantity, i.e., how much new development and redevelopment should be allowed and under what rules. On one side we have the maximalists (Bob Simon and the developer interests) who chant density, density, density. The other side is more no-growth or no-change absolutists. I exaggerate, but not much.

A side issue is: Who should be allowed to play in the Master Plan game? The Task Force nominally represents the community, but in fact tilts sharply to the developer clan-county bureaucracy establishment which usually guides land-use decisions hereabouts. Others seek to establish more of an equilibrium in the process, giving Reston’s special brand of just plain residents a voice at the table equal to that of the established powers.

Sadly, with all the energy focused on the more versus less debate, there has been little conversation about the quality of what will come to our special place. . . .

For the rest of this column, click here.

Fairfax County planners take heat for proposed Tysons Corner parking limits, Washington Business Journal, February 19, 2010

- by Tierney Plumb Staff Reporter

Fairfax County planners hit some more opposition to its proposed zoning changes affecting the number of parking spaces allowed for new Tysons Corner developments under the area’s new land plan.

Staff from the ordinance administration branch of the Department of Planning and Zoning met with the public Thursday evening at the Fairfax County Government Center to talk about the draft zoning ordinances, marking one of the final times the public will be able to chime in on the transformative land plan for Tysons Corner.

For the rest of the article, click here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

AGENDA: Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force Meeting, 7 PM, February 23, 2010, RCC--Lake Anne

February 23, 2010 
Informational Meeting  
Reston Community Center at Lake Anne 
7:00 p.m.  Public Comment Period    
7:15 p.m.  Administrative Items  ‐  Patty Nicoson, Task Force Chair 
7:30 p.m.  Overview of Existing Comprehensive Plan recommendations related to Transportation  
Leonard Wolfenstein, Department of Transportation 
7:45 p.m. Transit‐Oriented Development (TOD) Presentations  
• Montgomery County experience  
John Carter, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning  
• Arlington County experience  
Robert Brosnan, Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development  
• Reston Metro Access Group (RMAG) Report 
Rick Stevens, Fairfax County Department of Transportation 
8:30 p.m. Overview of Herndon‐Monroe Area 
 Faheem Darab, Planning Division, Dept. of Planning and Zoning 
9:25 p.m.  Upcoming Meetings  ‐  Heidi Merkel  
9:30 p.m.  Adjourn  ‐  Patty Nicoson

AGENDA: Reston 2020 Committee Meeting, 7 PM, February 26, RA HQ

The Reston 2020 Committee will meet at RA Headquarters on Friday, February 26, at 7PM. The current agenda items are:

1. Progress report & discussion on organizing Community Working Groups

2. Preparation for Task Force Community Meeting on the Herndon-Monroe Metro Station area (at 9AM, Saturday, January 27, Langston Hughes Intermediate School)

3. Improving outreach to the public

4. Other business.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Offering Residents a Voice, Reston Connection, February 17, 2010

RA, RCA push their way into Reston master planning process, encouraging citizen participation.

By Mike DiCicco
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Reston Association and other groups have pushed since last fall to have citizen advisory groups included in the Reston Master Plan Special Study process, which is being guided by a task force appointed around the beginning of December. "Well, the plan didn’t fly. The task force didn’t agree. But that didn’t stop us," Dick Stillson, co-chair of the Reston Citizens Association’s Reston 2020 Committee, said at an RA Board work session Saturday morning, Feb. 13. . . .

For the rest of this story, click here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

County Bibliography--Reston Master Plan Special Study

The following bibliography for the Reston Master Plan Special Study was made available to Task Force members on February 17, 2010.

Reston Master Plan Special Study

County Resources

Department of Planning and Zoning:

The Reston Master Plan Maps, UP5-Reston Community Planning Sector, and the Transit Station Areas in the Dulles Toll Road Corridor of the Comprehensive Plan

Go to:

Click on Area III, then click on “Upper Potomac”

• Go to Pages 3 & 4 for the …
“Major Objectives” of our planning district (UP5-Reston):
o Preserving stable residential areas
o Limiting commercial encroachment into residential neighborhoods
o Establishing a clearly defined “edge” between commercial & residential
o Encourage pedestrian access to retail areas
o Preserve significant heritage resources, etc.

• Go to Pages 20-69 for the …
“Reston-Herndon Suburban Center and Transit Areas:
o Concept for Future Development (page 20)
o Protecting Existing Low Density Residential Areas (page 21)
o Pedestrian / Bicycle Access in Transit Station Areas (page 23)
o Transit-Supportive Development & Redevelopment in the Dulles Corridor (page 25)
o Land Unit Recommendations (pages 27-63)
o Urban Design Guidelines for Transit Station Areas (pages 63-69)

• Go to Pages 117-123 for the Reston Master Plan Maps as amended in January 1989.

The Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) goals of the Comprehensive Plan

Go to:

Click on the “Policy Plan” then click on “Land Use” then go to pages 11 & 33-38

Planned Residential Community (PRC) Regulations of the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance

Go to:

Click on #6 under Articles “Planned Development District Regulations,” and go to
Part 3, 6-300 “Planned Residential Community District” (pages 16-23 to 16-35)

Click on # 16 under Articles “Development Plans,” and go to Parts 2 & 3, 16-200 & 16-300 (pages 16-3 to 16-20)

For a copy of the original Master Plan of Reston (1962)
Go to:

Department of Transportation:

Reston Metro Access Group (RMAG) April 2008 report on the “Wiehle Avenue / Reston Parkway Station Access Management Plans”

Go to:

Park Authority:
Urban Park Standards


• COG 2050:

• Center for TOD website:

ULI Publications

• Dunphy, Robert et al (2003). “10 Principles for Successful TOD”

• Dunphy, Robert (2005). Developing Around Transit: Strategies and Solutions That Work. Urban Land Institute

• McAveay, Maureen. Developing Around Transit and Planning For Growth [Power Point Slides]. Retrieved from Fairfax County website:


• Cevero, Robert et al (2009). Are TODs Over-Parked? University of California Transportation Center Research Paper No. 882. Retrieved from University of California website:

• Zimmerman, Maria (2006). Taming Traffic Through TOD [Power Point Slides]. Retrieved from Reconnecting America website:

Reston Master Plan Study Community Forum on Feb. 27, OPA, Fairfax County

Feb. 17, 2010
OPA 044/10

News Highlights

* Public can offer input on future land use near Herndon-Monroe Metro station.

As part of the Reston Master Plan Special Study, the public can offer input about the character for the area south of the future Herndon-Monroe Metro station at a community forum on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 9 a.m. The event will be held at the Langston Hughes Middle School cafeteria, 11401 Ridge Heights Road, Reston.

It is envisioned that future development in this area should take advantage of its proximity to Metro while preserving nearby neighborhoods.

The Reston Master Plan Task Force is currently evaluating the existing land use recommendations for the Dulles Corridor. This includes the areas around the future Wiehle Avenue, Reston Parkway and Herndon-Monroe Metro stations, as well as the Reston Town Center. The task force was appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

For more information or reasonable ADA accommodations, contact Sandi Smith, Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning, at 703-324-1239, TTY 711 or

Administrator comment: Please note that the task force will also hold an informational meeting on the Herndon-Monroe Metro station area next Tuesday, February 23, 7PM, at the Reston Community Center--Lake Anne. In this session, County and possibly other speakers will provide background on planning, policies, and practices as they apply to this area. This will be useful information for Saturday morning's community forum that follows.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

RA "Planning for the Future" Blog Reports on RA Progress, February 13, 2010

Paul Thomas, a member of the RA Board and administrator of the "Planning for the Future" on RA's website, reported on the Saturday, February 13, meeting he had with leaders of RA's key committees in the planning area. The meeting had two key purposes:

--Tasking the committees with preparing analyses of the challenges, solutions, and opportunities facing development around the three Metro station areas

--Generating ideas for how to reach out to the community both now and in the future.

All the details of that meeting are available by clicking here.

Restonian Blog Picks Up on Reston 2020 Efforts to Address Key Planning Issues

In his own inimitable style, Restonian at the Restonian blog points out some of the issues the Reston 2020 Committee is wrestling with and its outreach for citizen participation in Commmunity Working Groups to address key Reston planning issues.

Here's how he starts:

What, with the snow and the snow and the snow and the digging out from the snow, it's been a while since we've touched on the Reston Master Plan. As long speculated, the official and succinctly named Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force has opted not to formally incorporate the community work groups proposed by Reston 2020. So it will trudge onward....:

As another late, great blogger, er, journalist used to say, "And now for the rest of the story...Page 2" Read the Restonian's full remarks here.

Draft Planning Principles for Reston Town Center, WATCH

The Working Alliance of Town Center Homeowners (WATCH) has developed a set of draft planning principles focused on their vision of Reston Town Center that are scheduled to be finalized on February 24. As the principles state, "Reston Town Center should retain the unique character that makes it an admired model globally and a vibrant and relevant alternative to other developed or developing neighborhoods in the immediate region."

The full document is available below or by clicking on the title above.

RMP Town Center Principles--WATCH

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"Reston Impact" Discussion of Reston Planning with Reston 2020 Members, February 9, 2010

John Lovaas, host of Reston Impact, discusses with Dick Stillson, John Bowman, Kathy Kaplan, Guy Rando, and Terry Maynard of the Reston 2020 Committee the ongoing planning of Reston's future. The hour-long discussion was first presented on Comcast's Reston Channel on February 9, 2010.

Reston Impact "Reston master plan 2020" from Comcast Channel 28 on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tysons Land Use Task Force White Paper (Draft), January 25, 2010

Over the last 45 years, Tysons Corner has developed from farmland to the 12th largest commercial business district in the United States, and now, it is poised to begin its greatest transformation ever. With the expectation of MetroRail within three years, Tysons Corner has potential to transform from a sprawling suburban office center into a vibrant urban center with a rich mix of uses.

Extraordinary consensus was reached within the Task Force among frequently competing interests on a vision for Tysons. There is an understanding and commitment to the concept that the vision holds together only as a whole and that its many projected benefits cannot be achieved without density and incentives for redevelopment.

The Tysons Task Force vision includes substantial increases in density, a doubling of jobs, a grid of streets, a mixed-use urban center with a five-fold increase in residents, housing for moderate income workers, aggressive energy and environmental
commitments, parks and open spaces, protection for surrounding communities, and a shift from cars to a complete multi-modal transportation system friendly to pedestrians and to bicycles.

It will take the next several decades and beyond to fulfill Tysons’ potential, but decisions made in the months to come are critical. Now is the time to “get it right”.

Click on the title or below for the complete document.

Draft Tysons Land Use TF White Paper--012510

Tysons Planning for Transportation Failure, Rob Jackson, President, McLean Citizens Assn., Comments to Tysons Corner Committee, January 27, 2010

The following is an extract from McLean Citizens Association (MCA) President Rob Jackson's remarks on planning for transportation failure in the Tysons Center area to the Tysons Corner Committee, Fairfax County Planning Commission, on January 27, 2010. The balance of his remarks focused on whether MCA members on the Tysons planning panel spoke for MCA.

The Vision (for Tysons redevelopment) was allowed to reach and exceed the point of transportation failure, and so does the final proposal before the Committee. We find transportation failure to be an unacceptable result. Extensive studies by the county and its consultants clearly demonstrate that, even with rail, mixed-use development, and aggressive traffic demand management, single occupant vehicles will continue to be the primary means of transportation to, from, and around, Tysons Corner. And more density means higher traffic volumes. That is why the staff recommended enormous increases in roads to accommodate the expected surge in car and truck traffic. Indeed, the county has released information indicating the Dulles Toll Road would need to be expanded by three interchanges and five more traffic lanes, just for Tysons’ density to increase by only one-third. Yet, despite these and other costly road expansions, the transportation network would fail once Tysons is built to 84 million square feet. That constitutes planning for failure. Moreover, as we all know, the final proposal before this Committee, 113 million square feet (before bonuses), would permit growth well beyond the point of transportation failure. That would be a dangerous result, harmful to everyone in Fairfax County.

Also, unlike the Route 28 corridor where commercial landowners are paying for 75% of the full costs for the transportation infrastructure in exchange for density increases, we have not seen “a single cent” actually committed by the Tysons landowners benefiting from increased density. Instead, we hear mumbles about creative financing, special districts, promises of massive new tax revenues and, of course, amenities. We do not want “amenities,” but rather, adequate public facilities that are funded largely and directly by those landowners who will benefit from more density.

The final proposal is also objectionable because it ignores existing county policy, which, in turn, encourages individual landowners to do the same. For example, the county’s TOD policy provides that density is to be concentrated within a “¼ mile radius from the station platform with density and intensity tapering to within a ½ mile radius from the station platform.” Nevertheless, the final proposal measures distances from the station entrances, which extends density beyond where county policy would permit. Similarly, the same TOD policy expects workforce housing to be located “on-site or, if an alternative location can provide a substantially greater number of units, in adjacent areas within the TOD.” Yet, the final proposal would seemingly permit workforce housing to be located outside the TOD, in areas beyond walking distance from rail. This defeats the goals of TOD and encourages more automobile traffic. What purpose do county policies serve when they can be ignored to the detriment of the public interest?

This “loose” attitude about existing conventions will encourage landowners to ignore policies that interfere with maximizing density. Indeed, this has already occurred with the Georgelas demonstration project. Despite the strong, repeated emphasis on the construction of a connected grid of streets, Exhibit C to the demonstration project filing shows unconnected, doglegged streets that will not provide the intended benefits, but will apparently permit larger buildings. For all the Task Force’s talk about wanting to see its “Vision” implemented, it sure seems that it is “business as usual.”

The county should approve further density at the four new rail stations, but only at the four stations, within the TOD areas, as defined by existing policy. There must be adequate public facilities added concomitantly with all new density, and those facilities must be funded largely and directly by those landowners who will benefit from more density. Triggers, as discussed in my December 2008 testimony to this Committee, must also be added to the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance. The county must not approve density levels that would result in transportation failure by assuming “miracles happen.”

Friday, February 12, 2010

INVITATION: Reston 2020 Committee Looking for Working Group Volunteers

Enclosed for your information is an invitation from Reston 2020 Committee Co-Chair Richard Stillson to participate in the planning for Reston's future. As noted, the Reston 2020 committee is creating several working groups to look at key Reston development issues to assist the ongoing Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force. Here are the details:

The Reston 2020 Committee is a committee of the Reston Citizens Association which monitors land use planning in Reston. Currently, we are most involved with monitoring and helping the Task Force of the Reston Master Plan Special Study. As a way to better educate ourselves and provide a way for many people to participate in the planning process, we are forming working groups concerning several important areas that the Task Force will be considering. These are:

• Transportation;
• Environment;
• Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities;
• Residential and Urban Design, and Livability.

We hope the groups will read studies concerning their topics that have been done on other areas, beginning with the Tyson’s Corner Planning Task Force, invite outside experts to obtain their views, and organize field trips to inspect and better understand the areas affected by the planning. They will work closely with the advisory committees of the Reston Association who are working on similar topics. They will prepare brief written reports and presentations on what they learn and provide the Task Force with their views.

We hope that you may be interested in participating in one of the groups. They will meet at least once per month and will be chaired by a member of the 2020 Committee. It will require some commitment of time and effort over the next several months but it will be well worth it to be able to contribute to the planning process. Please e-mail me by February 19 if you are interested and state which of the groups you would like to join. Thank you.

Dick Stillson
Co-Chair, RCA’s Reston 2020 Committee

A New Sunrise at the Herndon-Monroe Station, GMU School of Public Policy, TPOL Program, December 2007

This is an extract from the Executive Summary of the report. The full report is embedded below.

(Using a) model, the study team developed three distinct options for development and transportation infrastructure in and around the Herndon-Monroe Station area. First, projects and activities planned through current planning efforts conducted by local and regional governments and the Commonwealth of Virginia are investigated en-masse, and used here as the control alternative. In comparison with that option of maintaining and implementing the current baseline plans, two additional alternatives posit increases in the density of development and also a more focused use of transportation-related infrastructure to facilitate Transit-Oriented Development.

The first such option – dubbed by the study team as the Maximum Development Option – projects the changes in land use and the number of vehicular trips generated by establishing a Floor-to-Area Ratio (FAR) of 2.5 for retail and commercial buildings and an average of 30 residential dwelling units per acre, in order to encourage more dense development near the Herndon-Monroe Station. Meanwhile, the second alternative – termed the Mid-Range Development Option – factors similar changes under a less-dense scenario of 0.9 FAR and 7-12 residential dwelling units per acre. These projections offer concise visions for two different ways of utilizing land near the Station that offer a stark contrast to those anticipated in current plans. Additionally, a detailed re-invisioning of transportation infrastructure is offered by the study team that applies to both options.

Lastly, based on the research conducted on the background of the Herndon area and concept of Transit-Oriented Development, and integrating the group’s original work on land use data, forecast projections and the development of alternatives, this study presents a set of four issue areas that are crucial to leveraging the opportunity of the Herndon-Monroe Station:

1) Identify a Vision for the Herndon-Monroe Station

Finding: No uniform vision has been adopted for the surrounding community, incorporating existing land use characteristics.

Recommendation: It is recommended to the localities and Metro, to maximize the opportunity of the rail investment through establishment of a vision with increased density in development and improved communication between stakeholders.

2) Establish a Continuous Transit, Bicycle and Pedestrian Network

Finding: The transit, pedestrian, and bike network is discontinuous with minimal infrastructure and a low level of service.

Recommendation: Improved amenities for other transportation modes are recommended with priority over vehicles.

3) Limit Parking Availability

Finding: Parking is a major feature of transportation and parking needs will change with construction of the Herndon-Monroe Metro station.

Recommendation: The building of additional parking structures is recommended at the station site; however, parking should be limited to encourage an increase to walking, biking and economic development.

4) Utilize Zoning and Proffering Mechanisms to Reduce Roadway Network Impacts

Finding: The existing road network does not provide for alternative route selection to reach destinations and congestion occurs during peak periods in the area.

Recommendation: Increased density of development will increase demand on surrounding roadways. Additional infrastructure, in addition to ITS is recommended.

A New Sunrise at the HerndonMonroe Station

AGENDA: RA Board/Committee Leadership Meeting, February 13, 2010, 9 AM, RA HQ

9:00 am Welcome & Update
Paul Thomas, At-Large Board Director
The purpose of this Board Work Session is to discuss with the Association's Committee & Board Leadership the community input process for the Reston Master Special Study.

9:15 am Member Comments

9:30 am Why Reston Association Committee & Board Input is Needed
Paul Thomas, At-Large Board Director

9:45 am What Is Needed From You

- RMP Schedule of Meetings
- Work Product Template (below)

Overview of Issues
[include a brief narrative description of issues in the relevant study area that the committee feels are important.]

Challenges & Solutions
• [list challenges in bullet format. Be sure to include suggested solutions to challenges]

Other Opportunities
• [list specific situations in the relevant study area that provide opportunities for making Reston a better place.]

10:10 am Community Outreach Plan
- What steps should RA take to reach out to the broader community?
- How should RA and its Committees provide input to the RMP Special Study Task Force?

10:30 pm Adjourn

All times are approximate.

CANCELLED: P and Z Meeting, Monday, February 15, 2010

Art Hill, VC of the P and Z Committee has sent this e-mail regarding Monday's scheduled P and Z Committee Meeting:

The Reston Planning and Zoning meeting scheduled for February 15th has been canceled.

The Metro Wiehle Avenue station matter will be heard Monday, March 1st, at our regular meeting, 7:30 PM, Reston Association Main Conference Room.

Item 1, the Excelsior Lerner housing proposal is scheduled to be heard at our April 5th meeting.

Arthur S. Hill
Vice Chairman
Reston Planning and Zoning Committee

Letter: Critique of Comstock Wiehle Station Proposal, Guy Rando & Kathy Kaplan, February 11, 2010

February 11, 2010

Fairfax County Planning Commissioners
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
Reston Association Planning and Zoning
Reston Association Board of Directors
Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force

Re: Comstock Wiehle Reston Station, RZ/FDP 2009-HM-019


The following letter presents our concerns with the Comstock Wiehle Reston Station proposal as submitted in the January 14, 2010 CDP/FDP and Proffer Statement. At the end of this letter you will find 3D views produced from images provided by Comstock.

The lack of public space and open space, the capacity of the current transportation system to absorb the proposed increase in traffic, a lack of connectivity to nearby trails and other pedestrian pathways, and the negative impact on the surrounding community leads us to the conclusion that this development should be rejected as designed.

There is a clear discrepancy between the amount of development proposed in the Comstock Wiehle development plan and that which can be calculated by observation of the CDP/FDP, the illustrative booklet, and exhibits. The CDP/FDP lists nearly1.3 million sq ft of development, yet calculating the footprints and proposed building heights produces an amount of 3.5 million sq ft. While the area of parking structures may not count towards FAR calculation, they should be added into the total development numbers.

The RCIG covenants and restrictions were administered by Reston Association, a clear indication that RA retains property rights. Those property rights belong to the homeowners of Reston. The deed cannot be vacated or nullified without the permission of the homeowners who own those property rights. It also appears that stripping the lands of Town Center from Reston Association was a violation of the deed. Those lands were part of the Deed of Dedication of Reston and Reston homeowners were never allowed to vote to relinquish Town Center as part of Reston Association.

There is essentially no open space in the Comstock proposal. Human beings require open space. Open space is a requirement for development in Fairfax County’s guidelines. In Block 1 of the proposed development there are 1,000 sq ft of open space and most of that is sidewalk. That is unacceptable.

Sandy Stallman, Manager of Fairfax County Park Planning Branch, states that for 444 residential units there must be 0.00148 acres of parkland per person, or 1.43 acres. That parkland must be on site. Reston Association homeowners are not required to provide parkland for residents of new developments in the corridor. Comstock is responsible for providing parkland for new residents.

The vehicular and pedestrian plaza in the center of the development is about the same size as Lake Anne Plaza. Through the center of the plaza two lanes of traffic will circulate constantly. The exhaust fumes will be trapped in between the 17 and 19 story buildings and the connected above-ground parking garages and a carbon monoxide chamber will be created poisoning people in the plaza. In addition, the plaza will be in shade most of the year, creating a wholly dismal, unhealthy, and claustrophobic environment not suitable for any sort of community event.

The land Comstock Wiehle Station will be built upon is public land owned by Fairfax County. However, areas of that land that will be set aside for residential recreation will be private and not open to the public. This is not a reasonable use of public land.

The Proffer Statement dated January 14, 2010, states that Comstock “shall establish” their own community associations. Residential properties in the RCIG need to come under the umbrella of Reston Association and be subject to the Deed of Dedication of Reston with the Design Review Board in control. The residents of Reston want all new development to fall under Reston Association.

The January 14, 2010, Proffer Statement limits the lifetime amount of fines to be paid by Comstock because of failure of the TDM program to $200,000. That is the limit of Comstock’s liability. That means if traffic is not sufficiently mitigated by their TDM measures, we will have to live with the traffic congestion and wait until such time that VDOT can afford to make road improvements. VDOT Chapter 527 TIA reports that there will be unsatisfactory delays of traffic along Wiehle and Sunset Hills Roads from the traffic associated with Comstock Wiehle Station and the area will be gridlocked.

Under the terms of the CDP/FDP Comstock is under no obligation to build anything beyond the below-ground parking garage until the “market dictates.” The residential building will not be built until Phase 5, almost the last phase. In the January 14, 2010 Proffer Statement the residential component has been reduced from 40% to 37.5%. The county’s comprehensive plan calls for transit-oriented development in the station area. There is no TOD without an adequate residential component. Residential units should be increased, not decreased.

Comstock will get all the benefits from this development. The community will get no benefits from this development. Were new TOD buildings placed over the Toll Road using air rights, as proposed in the Reston-Herndon Suburban Center and Transit Station Areas of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan (page 30), the area of the park and ride could be the site of parks and recreational facilities set over a green roof above the underground parking garage. That would produce a more acceptable living environment for the residents at Comstock Wiehle, a number including density bonus that could be over 1,300 people.

At the current time Comstock Wiehle Station is not subject to review and evaluation by the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force which has been charged with planning redevelopment in the Dulles Corridor. Because of its size and density it should be included with the other APR nominations deferred to Special Study by the Task Force.

Comstock Wiehle Station as a template will begin the transformation of the Dulles Corridor into a Great Wall resembling Hong Kong. Comstock Wiehle Station cannot be supported by current infrastructure. It violates the Deed of Dedication of Reston. It does not belong in this internationally renowned planned community.

Comstock Wiehle Station development proposal does not fulfill measurable community criteria for quality of life, open space, and clean air and should be rejected.

Please see the 3D images on the following pages of this letter.


Guy L. Rando
Urban Designer and Landscape Architect
1512 Inlet Court
Reston, VA 20190
(703) 437-3456

Kathy Kaplan
Poet and Naturalist
11223 Leatherwood Drive
Reston, VA 20191
(703) 476-0516

Full document with graphics:
Comstock Wiehle Site Proposal Letter--Rando & Kaplan--021110

Thursday, February 11, 2010

CANCELLED: Tonight's Special RA Board Meeting

The special RA Board meeting scheduled for tonight has been canceled. The Reston planning issue before it will be considered at the next regular Board meeting, February 25, which will begin a half hour early, per this message sent last night:

After speaking with staff, we have decided to cancel tomorrow's Special Board meeting and BAC.

For the BAC, please plan on meeting Monday, February 22nd at 6 p.m. to allow opportunity to reschedule the advisory committee interviews.
We hope this will allow more time for interested applicants.

We will set the Board meeting on the 25th to start at 6:30 p.m. to allow for the special items we were to meet on tomorrow night.

Staff will send out all appropriate notices, but wanted to let you know in advance. I do hope you are all staying safe during this trying time.
I hope Mother Nature decides to show some sunshine soon!!

Let me know if you have any questions.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

CANCELLED: This week's meetings on the Tysons Plan

The following e-mail was sent this morning regarding meetings scheduled this week to discuss the draft Tysons development plan:

Due to the inclement weather, Chairman Alcorn has cancelled the Tysons Committee meetings for this week. No new dates have been established at this time. Once they have been rescheduled, I will send another email.

Please stay safe!

Barbara Lippa
Executive Director
Fairfax County Planning Commission

Critics: Tysons Plan Too Dense, Lacks Infrastructure Triggers, SunGazette, February 8, 2010

by BRIAN TROMPETER, Staff Writer

The final draft plan for Tysons Corner redevelopment would allow too much building density, place affordable-housing units too far from transit areas and permit development before adequate infrastructure was in place, some civic activists contend.

McLean Citizens Association (MCA) board members on Feb. 3 lamented changes in the latest incarnation of the plan, which was produced by the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s Tysons Committee.

“They’re planning this thing to fail,” said MCA member Steve DelBianco. “Cumulatively, all these little particulars add up to why it’s going to fail.” . . . .

For the rest of this article, click here.

Monday, February 8, 2010

CANCELLED: Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force, February 9, 2010

Good afternoon,

The Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force meeting scheduled for tomorrow, February 9th, has been cancelled.

We were due to have the meeting at South Lakes High School because the RCC at Lake Anne was not available. Fairfax County Public Schools will be closed tomorrow and all activities planned for school facilities have to be cancelled as well.

We will attempt to reschedule at least some of the transportation and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) presentations that were on tomorrow's agenda for the next scheduled meeting, February 23rd.

I have cc'ed several of the community members who have been attending our Task Force meetings or attended the community meeting last month. Please forward this message to others who may be interested in the status of tomorrow' meeting.

Heidi Merkel
Heidi T. Merkel, AICP
Senior Planner
Planning Division, DPZ
direct: 703.324.1383

POSTPONED: Tonight's Special RA Board Meeting Moved to Thursday, February 11

The Special RA Board meeting, originally scheduled for this evening, has been postponed until this Thursday, February 11, at 7PM at RA HQ. Here is the agenda:

The purposes of the Special Meeting are to:

1. Receive a preliminary concept plan for an indoor tennis facility at Lake Newport Tennis Court Complex; and,

2. Approve a letter to the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force regarding new residential developments in the area current known as the Reston Center for Industry and Government (RCIG).

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Notes from Reston 2020 Meeting, February 4, 2010

The meeting of the Reston 2020 Committee was called to order at 7:05 PM. More than 20 committee members and other participants were present.

Agenda Item #1: Planning next steps for Working Groups

Dick Stillson, Reston 2020 co-chair, started by noting that it appears that the community will have to move forward on its own to support the task force because the task force has not further considered the Reston 2020 Community Work Group (CWG) proposal per a conversation with is chair, Patty Nicoson. She offered a deficient alternative of task force member-led special topic groups on matters peripheral to the task force’s primary agenda. In a conversation with Stillson Feb. 3rd, Paul Thomas, the Reston Association Board’s member of the Task Force, said that the RA Board had charged its key committees to support the task force through the RA Board. He suggested that Reston 2020 proceed with its specific studies and write papers to the task force, preferably endorsed by all three key Reston civic groups (RA, RCA, & ARCH). He added that RA’s committees could serve as advisory groups on important issues and everyone is welcome to contribute. He found that committees were not enthusiastic about this approach. The issue is whether Reston 2020 should act independently, coordinate, or join with the RA committees in their efforts.

An extended discussion ensued on how best to proceed in making the needs of Reston’s citizens known to the task force. Among the ideas were: setting up the CWGs using (among others) volunteers from among the Land Use College participants, need to integrate the various citizens’ proposed planning principles, public demonstrations, joining the RA efforts, seeking legal assistance to stop changes, etc. Some key points made in the discussion included:
• Time is of the essence. For largely administrative reasons, RA is having difficulty launching its efforts. When RA moves forward, Reston 2020 ought to try to coordinate efforts with them.
• The civic groups would be far more effective if they all worked together. They certainly shouldn’t disagree in public.
• It is extremely difficult to communicate with and mobilize Reston’s population to act. Two instances in recent memory where mobilizing the public was effective: Reston South Park N’ Ride and Brown’s Chapel recreation center proposal. Need to understand—and use—the techniques that made those efforts effective. The focal point for Restonians’ influence should be the County, which ultimately decides what happens.
• Even working independently, each Reston group could offer to endorse the proposal put forth by others. RCA President Marion Stillson has already made this offer on behalf of RCA.
• We do not have a sufficient legal understanding to move forward alone. Although we would be best served by working within the process, we need an attorney who knows land use laws and regulations (e.g.—does FAR include parking?) and is willing to provide pro bono assistance.

Actions: Those present moved, seconded, and approved in near unanimity the following motions:

1. Reston 2020 Committee will:
a. Create several Community Working Groups (CWG) that draw from Land Use College (LUC) participants and other volunteers. (Follow-up: Dick Stillson will contact LUC participants to seek volunteers to work on the CWGs and will be the process of identifying interim working group chairs.)
b. Ask each CWG to assign one person to attend and participate in each counterpart RA or other civic group committee effort—and encourage broader CWG participation. Other civic group committees would be encouraged to reciprocate by participating in each CWG.
c. Encourage the RCA Board to endorse other civic groups’ Reston planning positions, and it encourages other civic groups to reciprocate.

2. Reston 2020 Committee will integrate all available citizens’ proposed Reston planning principles for committee and RCA Board approval. (Follow-up: Davood Sagherian to draft over the weekend.)

3. Reston 2020 Committee will identify attorneys who may be able to provide pro bono legal assistance on land use matters. (Dan Maguire and Dick Stillson)

Agenda Item #2: Handling independent papers on Reston planning (e.g.—Dave Edwards’ draft transportation paper)

Dick Stillson noted that the committee had received an excellent draft paper on Reston transportation issues that, among other topics, addressed implementation issues such as phasing and financing of transportation requirements. Among its proposals is the creation of a tax increment policy to fund transportation needs. This would reserve for financing Reston infrastructure a portion of increases in property taxes due to development in Reston. A lengthy discussion followed concerning the financing arrangements. Still, the issue was how to handle this and other independently prepared papers. Dave Edwards noted that the paper was still a draft and intended primarily for the county Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. A key problem is that the task force is not addressing implementation issues.

Action: It was moved, seconded, and nearly unanimously approved to refer such papers to the appropriate working group for their consideration. (In this case, the appropriate working groups would be Transportation and Implementation.)

Agenda Item #3: Potential action regarding the Comstock Wiehle Station Area proposal

Dick Stillson introduced the topic of whether the Reston 2020 Committee should do anything about the Comstock Wiehle Station Area proposal and, if so, what. Notice was made of Terry Maynard’s paper on the proposal’s lack of fit with the proposed planning principles. All agreed that the proposal did not reflect Restonians’ values or expectations for transit-oriented development (TOD) along the Dulles Corridor. There was some question whether “FAR” included above ground parking, which basically doubles the density of the project proposal. It was noted that the matter would be before the February 8 (now postponed to February 15 due to snow) meeting of the Reston Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Committee, and that they are not pleased with the proposal. There was general agreement that Restonians should voice their concerns to the committee, the Planning Commission (meets on March 25 re the proposal), and subsequently to the Board of Supervisors.

Actions: The following were moved, seconded, and approved by those present:

1. The Committee would try to determine through pro bono legal counsel whether above ground parking counted as FAR in Fairfax County. (Dan Maguire)

2. The Committee would generate and compile alternative architectural ideas on how the site could be developed in a manner that met Restonians’ expectations. (Guy Rando)

A motion was made, seconded, and passed to adjourn the meeting at 9:40 PM.