Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Friday, July 30, 2010

Notes from RTF Vision Committee Meeting, July 28, 2010, Tammi Petrine

John Carter, Chair
Sandy Smith, Fred Costello, Joe Stowers, Kohann Williams, Bob Simon, Patti Nicoson, Terri Phillips, Guy Rando, John Lovaas, John Bowman, Art Murphy, Judith Pew, Susan Mockenhaupt, Dave Edwards, Dick Stillson, Tammi Petrine

John Carter: opening remarks:
• Thought TC sub-committee’s presentation was extremely impressive.

• Introduced revised planning principles and opened discussion. Because there were several areas of concern, John asked for panel to review principles and send him re-writes so that principles can be approved by the next meeting and presented to the sub-committees for inclusion in their reports to the Task Force.

• Interesting discussion on “meaningful community participation” being involved with the review of development and the staging of redevelopment ensued. John Lovaas tried to suggest an independent P & Z but was contested by Simon, Williams and Nicoson that the principles should be general and not that specific.

• Lots of discussion on the need for a frequent, free, continuous, community-wide circulator bus service if traffic is to be manageable; Terri Phillips discussed the TC sub-committee’s insistence on a circulator system within TC also.

• Bob Simon discussed what a Village Center should be:
1. No one-story buildings; all mixed use
2. All buildings organized around a hard surface plaza/ gathering place
3. Community or civic building present in some form.

Tonight’s Subject: Environmental Concerns in the Dulles Corridor and Town Center
• John Carter had prepared a slide show with maps to illustrate the location of streams, wetlands, ponds, forests, pathways/trails and open spaces incorporated into the current Reston landscape.
• Bob Simon stated that Reston was going to be all urban and all of the “natural areas” except the nature center needed to be bulldozed and reformed to create a less nuisance-filled environment (no twigs, leaves, etc.) Settings should look good and “natural” without being natural. His hero is the landscape architect, Capability Brown who espoused and practiced this M.O.

MWAA: Judith Pew brought up a discussion from the TC sub-committee that indicated that MWAA was unaware of plans for any of the trans-tollway crossings planned in the revised master plan and stated that Fairfax Co. needed to notify them immediately where they are needed as pilings need to be set for them ASAP and can NOT be done later. Airport fees will pay for the pilings. Crossings identified were: Reston Parkway widening; Reston Heights/Plaza America; Soapstone extension; South Lakes Overpass and one pedestrian/bike bridge.

John Carter referred to Reston 2020’s Binder articles and recommended them as a reference for use by the Vision Sub-Committee. Dick Stillson reinforced by mentioning the content of the binders and referred panel members not having a binder to the 2020 web-site.

In closing panel comments, Art Murphy expressed concern that when the larger Reston community learns of the extent of the changes proposed for Reston, massive protests will result.

Note: John Carter is an exceptional group leader; warm, welcoming, inclusive and effective. He is to be commended.

An Analysis of the Rosslyn-Ballston Metro Corridor, Zigadlo and Costello, July 28, 2010

An Analysis of the Rosslyn Ballston Metro Corridor, Zigadlo-Costello, July 28, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

RTF WIehlle Avenue Committee Meeting Notes, July 28, 2010, John Lovaas

Meeting was hosted by Mark Looney at the Cooley, et al, corporate offices on 15th floor of Accenture building in RTC.

Attendance continues to grow at these meetings, especially developer community.
This morning, I counted 25 people (typical meetings used to run half that)--12 residents, 2 presenters, 1 DPZ staffer and 10 developers/lawyers.

Co-Chair Bill Penniman mentioned report being drafted by he and co-chair.

Kate Russo made presentation for Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority--the keepers of the W&OD Trail which meanders thru Wiehle area.
-45 miles long, follows former railroad tracks, is a regional park
-Used by pedestrians, bikes and horses, part paved and part gravel, 8-12 feet wide
-Its property is 100 feet wide
-Not only a trail, also route for power lines(permanent easement), a lot of fiber optic, gas and water in some places, especially at crossings.
-Proposed crossings for vehicles must go through lots of legal, regulatory hurdles-can take years and can get denied. Crossings for peds/bikes handled by staff, permitting more easily accomplished but there are criteria--besides design in tune with slopes, etc they want to allow for continued flow of their traffic, esp bikes, so are reluctant to have crossings too close to each other.
Several questions were asked, including,
-Would they be willing to widen paved part of trail in areas serving rail station area. Answer: yes, already doing it elsewhere.
-Would you be interested in co-located linear parks by the W&OD? Answer: Yes, but typically with 50 foot buffer for W&OD trail park.
-How about other green space, other amenities alongside trail? Answer: Yes, with buffer and with appropriate design consistent with W&OD.
-Do you have wishlist for places to be improved? Answer: Yes, Wiehle Ave heads list--a dangerous mess; Isaac Newton crossing also has some problems.

Some issues noted in some more urban areas, like parts of Vienna, Herndon, where there has been some encroachment, use of the park area for dumping, industrial storage, etc. Wiehle becoming a more urban setting, so watch this one.
Impression left that W&OD important to Wiehle area access and NVRPA willing to work with us...though trickier where multiple crossings are sought.

Penniman asked for suggestions from committee members for open space in Wiehle Ave. area.
-Mark Looney noted FC Park Authority requiring standard for urban parks, acres to residents and workers. He says they will sort of take care of this in normal project review/approval processes. Noted desirability according to FCPA of having a larger central green area. Looney sees only G3-, G-3 land bays big enough for this kind of green. Other smaller ones might be strips alongside W&OD, urban pocket parks in H-1, 2 and I-1,2.
-Lawyer with Cooley (?) mentioned possibility in Isaac Newton Sq. for larger green.
-Dick Kennedy--how about some attractive green, maybe a ballfield or playfields for kids, walkway along toll road from Reston Parkway, rooftop playfields? Maybe a rec center with athletic fields to serve office complexes?
-Penniman--how about active green central areas or active plazas perhaps ringed with restaurants, perhaps in G-3, G-4? Play areas also needed.
-Pew--walking park, trail to connect from Sunset Hills to Lake Fairfax Park?

Co-chairs collecting ideas, will try to put together for later discussion or in draft report?

Co-Chair handed out 6-page document with 5 color-coded maps to provide a framework for discussion, he said. [Hope this handout is distributed on county website--all need to see this.] The document in bullet items says in its introduction: Location: Build up density between Sunrise Valley and Sunset Hills, prioritizing the parcels within the quarter-mile from Wiehle Ave, while respecting established residential communities south of Sunrise Valley and north of Isaac Newton Square.
High density closer to the station, tapering down as you move away.
--Key Premise: an urban TOD
--Identity: urban mixed use TOD emphasizing residential, education, retail and non-retail attractions.

Then, the document presents "strawman" by 'landbay sub-units; showing current zoning (ranging from 0.35 to 0.5 F.A. R.s); current Comp Plan TOD allowed (ranging from 0.7 to 1.5 F.A.R.); Proposal A -Penniman (ranging from 1.0 to 2.5) and Proposal B-Andy, developer co-chair (ranging from 1.5 to 5.0). The attachments are the colored maps of the station area and they provided focus for some lively conversation. In particular, the map labeled "All Incentives" was displayed on a big color screen laying out the Wiehle area broken down into 17 land units, color coded by FAR. Four land bays are marked 5.0; three are 4.0; six are 3.0; three are 2.0 and one little straggler out in the far southeast woods where the others can't see him is marked 1.5. It makes the RTC folks look like pikers!

Andy introduced the FAR map as the basis for a discussion of what he said were "aspirational FARs". I asked who aspired to such astronomical numbers. He said they reflected what developers/landowners would like to obtain if they could negotiate the right package, i.e., offer the incentives to be accorded those levels of development. He went on to list some of what they might provide if offered such FAR incentives--e.g., street grids, library, high quality design, first design--which he said could be key by offering to come in and build early mixed use and cooperate (?) on infrastructure, minimum levels of open space (?), educational and cultural venues and so on if the FAR price is right!

- What about the infrastructure, other requirements to make such dizzying intensity workable? What is the subcommittee assuming about what will be required? Shouldn't those assumptions be spelled out in your report?
I think they agreed they should.
-What about the role of the public sector? Are there no public goods, things and services essential, to modern urban living that the public sector still provides? Is this really all the package deal, developers and the developed as it were?
Bill Penniman noted this was a tougher question... the state of Virginia does nothing in transportation, for example. Unclear how to address that...
-This is not real. Please explain how you will make this function? The road network doesn't function adequately now!
Hard to answer...

Mark Looney said the way it works is these are landowner/developer "expectations" by land bay. We work out what the community would like to see and where that meets the expectations. Then we've got what is wanted; only then can you assess what you need to support it.and make the whole thing work.

-what provision made for workforce, affordable housing? Essential, especially in this community. Don't see it anywhere in outline, or list of what developers would be willing to do in exchange for high density incentives. Bill Penniman--well, there is a county policy. Plan would have to meet that standard. How would it, and is that really adequate for Reston.

This discussion left me with a whole new concept of development planning in Fairfax County. It is a negotiation between skilled attorneys and the community. Doesn't sound right somehow.

Right around here, discussion and time ran out. To be continued.

Next meeting 7:30 AM Wednesday, August 4, likely at new RA offices, but will have to confirm. Agenda: Peter Lawrence Co., owners of Isaac Newton Square will present to Subcommittee, discussion of land bays and FARs.


RTF Herndon-Monroe Committee Meeting Summary, July 26, 2010, John Lovaas

It looked like this morning's meeting was going to be a nonstarter. By 8:10 only two TF members and a couple of us community types were present. But, a few more straggled in and a meeting was held.

Nick Bauer and co-chair Greg Riegle noted that they had sent around a draft report to Subcommittee members, but that only one person had responded. They couldn't decide if it were the summer heat, vacation season or a dull report that accounted for the non-response. At Greg's suggestion, they decided to release the draft for the wider community to look at--County rep said it would be posted on county site for all to see by the end of today.

Discussion that followed was more general, bounced around from issue to issue.
Greg Riegle suggested that as next draft is written--by he and Nick starting this week, in time for next meeting, they should not get into recommending FARs (floor area ratio), a measure he found not the most useful. He asked County DPZ rep Sandi Smith how DPZ felt about getting away from FARs. She seemed to agree partially, asking if maybe FAR ranges might be an alternative.

Fred Costello noted that the existing comprehensive plan, in fact, specifies FARs by land unit. It was also noted that the Town Center group is using FARs by land unit, and using them as a basis for considering developer incentives for residential building, e.g. Greg said he wondered if sticking with the spirit of plan goals, while specifying building heights, setbacks (not open space....) mightn't be more meaningful. Polo Fields rep expressed preference for great specificity. No formal conclusion that I heard on this. Guess we'll know when we see next draft.

Brian Moll, who represented JBG developer, returned to subject of access to huge parking structures near station. Said he, of course, did not favor access from middle of Sunrise Valley stretch fronting Polo Fields, but since options were limited to Sprint site area on east and pedestrian path on west (from Monroe Street), maybe it was time to re-open the question of the "wetlands" which are not really wetlands, but an old proffer. Surely, this "wetland" could be re-located elsewhere. The Chair corrected him--it is a wetland area--and others around the table did not want to re-open this question resolved much earlier in favor of protecting the Sunrise Valley Wetlands Park. He thought this matter needed further study.

The Chair indicated that the report would likely discuss possible station southside access and connectivity alternatives without designating a preference.

There was some discussion of the question of balance of residential to commercial development given the desire to limit the growing traffic congestion to the extent possible.

Brian Moll argued against including requirements for certain ratios of residential to commercial construction given the fact that at times the market is not in need of new residential, so commercial makes sense in spite of plan ratios. Counter argument was noted that perhaps rather than making no plan requirement to move toward balance, it would be better in fact not to proceed to build excessive commercial (as happened in RTC which now has 10 to 15 to one commercial over residential ratio, when 1:1 would approximate optimal), in the short term i.e. until residential market improved rather making eliminating potential for future balance by filling available with commercial.

There was brief discussion of the community meeting in Herndon last week kicking off their study of future for the north side of H-M station. VHB (which is assisting the Town of Herndon) consulting firm apparently had some success seeking community opinions as to initial preference for future development. Nick noted that the anticipated large numbers in favor of no additional development in station area did not materialize. Most seemed to want to talk about possibilities that would make sense for the community with the new station. Arthur Hill argued that in fact, the subcommittee should not make a lot of recommendations for major change on the southside H-M area, because he did not believe that much would happen until the future plans for the Herndon, northside became apparent.

To see work on the Herndon study, go to

NEXT: Co-chairs working on a revised draft set of sub-committee recommendations to the Task Force, and distribution of existing draft to interested outsiders would begin. Next meeting, Monday, August 9, at RCC/HW.


RA Letter to RTF Regarding Reston's Essential Elements, July 13 2010

071210 Reston Assn. Letter to Task Force re Reston's Essential Elements

Friday, July 23, 2010

Draft RTF Herndon-Monroe Committee Recommendations, July 21, 2010

Draft Reston Herndon-Monroe Station Recommendations--7-21-10

Column: When Business as Usual Becomes Irresponsibility, John Lovaas, Reston Connection, July 21, 2010

The Progressive has followed the work of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force closely for over eight months. One learns a lot about the challenges facing our community in this process. Some challenges are being addressed. The response to others is pre-emptive surrender.

A classic example is transportation planning for the Wiehle Avenue Station area. Several months ago, during a Saturday “community meeting” sponsored by the County, a resident stood up and asked what was being done to solve the already bad congestion in the to-be station area. He lives on Inlet Court just off Wiehle about one mile north of the station area and said it currently takes about 20 minutes inching along to cover the distance. What will happen, he asked, when the rail station opens as the end of the line for three years and planned development is built? Silence from the assembled county officials, until one piped up “people in the area are just going to have to learn to walk more!” Said in jest maybe? But, no other response was offered.

At a recent meeting of the Task Force’s Wiehle Avenue Subcommittee, a senior Fairfax County transportation official briefed on plans for the station area. His report focused on the RMAG (Reston Metro Access Group) recommendations. RMAG, he noted, had recommended scores of modest improvements totaling about $104 million, of which only $4.5 million has been made available to date, an amount he said would have little impact on the F (for failure) rated intersections at Wiehle and Sunset Hills and Wiehle at Sunrise Valley. When asked by Subcommittee Co-Chair Bill Penniman what impact the RMAG recommendations would have if the full $104 million were available now, the County response was, “very little” and it would not change the F rating. His remarks were followed by silence and a few stunned expressions. Then the meeting went on. It remains to be seen if the Subcommittee or the Task Force will delve more strenuously into this pending disaster than the County has. The F rating, we were told, means a failed intersection, one unable to handle projected load. Our Fairfax County “leaders” accept this without batting an eyelash. Full speed ahead. Business as usual in Fairfax. Irresponsible, I say.

Behind this failure in part is the reality of our self-crippled public sector — unable to address modern infrastructure needs because politicians are unwilling to raise the revenue (tax) needed or cut existing budgets sufficiently to fund essential needs. For example, the state of Virginia is providing Fairfax County a total of $1900 for all its secondary roads for the coming year—not enough for one new traffic light. Fairfax complains but doesn’t act.

A Progressive salute goes to St. Clair Williams and Cathy Lewis, Fairfax County analysts who reviewed the JBG Fairways redevelopment proposal, thoroughly condemned it and recommended denial by the Board of Supervisors. Now it is up to Commissioner de la Fe and Supervisor Hudgins to decide. Bets?

By John Lovaas
Reston Impact Producer/Host

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Metro's Silver Line possibly delayed? Washington Post, Virginia Politics Blog, July 20, 2010

The construction of the first part of Metrorail's Silver Line into Northern Virginia has been unofficially delayed by three months but officials say their schedule is not falling off the tracks -- yet.

December 2013 has been the target date for when passengers would be able to ride Metro an additional 11.5 miles into Fairfax County, to Tysons Corner and the eastern edge of Reston.

The second phase of the Silver Line, slated for 2016, would extend to Dulles International Airport in Loudoun County and beyond.

The $3.27 billion first leg of the Silver Line, to Wiehle Avenue in the median of the Dulles Toll Road, is funded by a federal grant, a special tax district for commercial land owners in Tysons Corner, contributions from Fairfax County and revenue from fee increases on the Toll Road.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is overseeing the Silver Line construction, is now projecting Metro's doors will open March 4, 2014 -- a 90-day delay from the official start date in December 2013. . . .

Click here for the rest of this story.

RTF Vision Subcommittee Official Summary, July 14, 2010

Vision Subcommittee Meeting
Reston Master Plan Special Study Committee

Date: July 14, 2010
Time and Place: 7:00 to 8:50 p.m. North County Government Center

John Carter (TF, Sub-committee Co-Chair)
John Bowman (TF)
Fred Costello (TF)
David Edwards (TF)
Kathy Kaplan
John Lovaas
Patty Nicoson (TF Chair)
Bill Penniman (TF)
Judith Pew (TF)
Guy Rando
Dick Rogers (TF)
Joe Stowers
Heidi Merkel (FC DPZ)
Sandi Smith (FC DPZ)

The following notes summarize the discussions during the meeting.

Item No. 1: Introduction

All meetings are open, and all are welcome.

Item No. 2: Administration
Meeting will be held on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. The Reston Task Force web site will have the most recent dates, places and times. The next meeting will be on July 28, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the North County Government Center.

Item No. 3: Briefing-Transportation

Joe Stowers suggested additional tools may be needed to adequately address transportation capacity. The transportation capacity analysis should address the impact of balancing jobs and housing, a fine grained network of streets and linkages, reduced parking requirements, and transportation management goals on providing facilities (e.g. roads and schools) needed to serve the recommended land sues.

A sketch of a proposed, overall network of streets was presented for the transit corridor area. Revisions and enhancements will be discussed in August after the subcommittees for each transit center complete initial work.

Item No. 4: Principles for the Reston Master Plan
A draft of the Planning Principles was presented for discussion. Subcommittee members identified specific suggestions to improve the overall Planning Principles. The following items summarize the suggestions:

--Complete the document as soon as possible to provide timely recommendations to the other subcommittees and the Task Force
--Add a preamble to the principles that includes a discussion of the original principles for Reston
--Relocate the principles for the environment near the front of the document to provide additional emphasis
--Emphasize the principles that are special to Reston
--Add information on safety
--Support the information on balance of land use and public facilities
--Establish significant setbacks and a step down of development between the transit station areas and the adjacent residential neighborhoods
--Provide additional cross streets though the transit station areas to connect both sides of the Dulles Toll Road
--Add the potential for future air rights development over the Dulles Toll Road
--Emphasize staging of land use with public facilities
--Revise the description of the Town Center Station Area to include the following:
- Metro South
- Urban Core
- North Town Center
--Require buildings to activate streets and avoid the use of parking lots and structures at street level of buildings
--Include a principle concerning the review process with strong emphasis on participation by residents
--Augment the description of affordable housing
--Augment and strengthen the description of a bus system including shuttle buses
--Strengthen the section on the business environment
--Improve the integration between the village centers and the transit station areas

Item No. 5: Next Steps

The next meeting will focus on the review of the environment based on the maps and information from Fairfax County and the 2020 Report information. Participants should examine the web site and be prepared to provide recommendations. For a comparison, participants could also read the recently approved Tyson’s Corners Task Force Master Plan and examine the recommendations for the environment.

Participants should also look at the Reston Comprehensive Plan to examine how the recommendations of the Vision Committee could be incorporated into the final amendment to the Comprehensive Plan.

The next meeting will be 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at the North County Government Center (see web page for final information).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reston Town Center Committee Summary, July 20, Dick Rogers

Process issues: Thursday morning will be a special meeting of the committee, at 7:30AM (morning!) if I got it right. Robert hopes to put forth a revised NTC draft.

There was some committee sentiment that the timetable should be adjusted to give the committee more time--many significant issues not discussed. Otteni said a formal decision on this should be made Thursday. Otherwise, Robert still plans public comments AM 27 July and presenting to the TF night of 27 July.

Robert hopes to have extended discussion of open space issues on Thursday and has invited Sandi Stallman of FCPA. (Stallman is pushing for more active open space playfields to be put in place.)

Substance: Air rights. Robert had a phone discussion with the MWAA planning man. What MWAA is studying is putting in pilings/supports now for an air rights platform. The platform would come much latter. They still are trying to get someone in Thursday from MWAA.

Doug Pew said that at his trails meeting, the news was that Metro plans to shut all station accesses when Metro is closed. Supposedly this decision is made at the "highest level" in metro. Tysons, like Reston will be cut in half at night. In this connection, the RPway station designer apparently will be part of the WMRAA party on Thursday--he is supposed to finalize a station design by mid-August.

James Campbell Co presented their tentative plans for TOD development in E-4 west adjacent to the station. Commercial on DTR, residential in back, retail all over. They sounded pretty responsible and were taking into account the issue of access from points south and west of them.

Civic uses: Robert Goudie said he was "dead set" against the Committee specifying civic uses. That should be left up to the Community. This was in the context of a performance center in BP land. Some discussion that south side developers adjacent to the station might be required to kick in $ toward this to get a 5 FAR. BP apparently is hoping someone else would build the "public amenity."

Density: Much of the meeting was a rambling discussion of density and residential-commercial ratios. The various material sent around (Maynard, Stowers, Costello) has made Robert skittish on this issue; he sticks with a 1 to 1 ratio and said repeatedlyd that no one had sent him "proof" that more residential would work or was part of TOD approaches. His developer allies on the sub-com, however, deserted him and were actively pressing for more flexibility. By 4 to 1 they wanted a tiered structure--a FAR of 3 would need be only 30% residential going up to 1 to 1 for a 5. Stowers was not present to argue his case.

Comments on Draft Reston Town Center Committee Report, Terry Maynard, July 19, 2010

(The draft report is posted below at this link.)


I want to thank you for sharing your draft paper on Reston Town Center with the community. It reflects a lot of good work by a lot of dedicated people, and you should all be proud of the contribution you are making to the future of Reston.

I think the product you ultimately produce will become a model for the other TOD committees and, therefore, I want to comment early on and personally in the hope that some members of your committee will have the opportunity to review these remarks before you meet early tomorrow morning and other Task Force members can understand what Reston’s residents (at least this one) think are important.

If I were to make an overarching comment it would be this: While the report covers all of Reston Town Center in many ways, it omits some important topics and lacks specificity about priorities in others. If the report is finalized as it is, I am afraid it will provide the Task Force insufficient guidance as to what the proposed Comprehensive Plan language should say, leaving open debates on many important topics that will have to be re-hashed. Although I know there are those who benefit from this vagueness, I would urge you and the committee to take the more difficult course of making those key decisions early on rather than kicking the can down road—a ubiquitous Washington practice.

Let me just list some of the topics that seem to be omitted in this draft:
• Building an elementary school
• Not building a police station as proposed by FCPD or building it differently (not to mention the fueling station)
• Building a performance center—large or small or not at all
Many metrics, including the percentage of land dedicated to open space, retail, institutional, natural areas, and other land uses—at least at the level of reasonable ranges for further refinement in Task Force discussions.

I know others will have more to offer in this regard that will lengthen your “to do” (or at least “to consider”) list.

My remarks below track through the draft—and the most important one may be the first.

p. 2—Re 1:1 (sq. ft.) Residential:Non-Residential: I believe this thinking is bad planning and I can find no authoritative source that describes this relationship as anything like a “best practice.” This includes Federal studies by DOT, HUD, FTA; think tank reports by Urban Land Institute, Institute for SmartGrowth, Brookings, Heritage, even Cato, and others; city/county planning departments of TOD-intensive communities including Vancouver, Portland, Montgomery County, and Arlington County; and academicians starting with Robert Cervero (who largely developed the concept of TOD and continues to be its leading researcher and proponent).

The only sources I’ve seen supporting this spatial equality are developers and their associates, primarily because it is less risky and more profitable to build and sell/lease office space than residential space, not because of consideration of community values or TOD effectiveness. Nonetheless, I’m not sure this assessment applies in the WDC area given the recent GMU CRA forecast for the 2030 Group that there will be a housing shortage in the metro WDC area over the next 20 years as new housing is built in the distant exurbs with adverse consequences for the metro business economy. Either the availability of housing, reduced cost of transportation, and amenities Reston can provide will make Reston urban living more attractive than West Virginia or we are really dealing with flawed regional development theories.

The fact of the matter is that we need balance in Reston to keep (or improve) it as a place to “live, work, and play.” That requires a balance in the drivers of building a successful community—which is PEOPLE. The space they occupy is a means to an end. People “live, work, and play” in spaces, and those spaces ought to be allocated to serve a balance in their activities in the most effective way possible, not the other way around. The third “play” element of that includes retail, dining, cultural, open, and natural spaces, the metrics of which this report does not address—and yet they will all be important to a successful Town Center and Reston as a community.

Your 1:1 spatial relationship would mean that twice as many people would work in Reston Town Center as live there if we continue to assume 4 people work and 2 people live in one housing unit in a 1,000 GSF space. I have suggested at least a 2:1 Residential:Office space relationship so the number of people living and working in Reston are roughly equal. I would recommend a 2.5:1 Residential:Office to balance the burden in public transit and private commuting on Reston’s streets as Joe Stowers has proposed. Please note this is an important difference in points of view in terms of the drivers of community success—a balance of people and purposes. If we have the larger number of local residents my formulation(s) propose:
• Businesses in the Reston Town Center area will have much more walk-in business while still sustaining levels of drive-in shoppers.
• Commuter traffic on Reston’s main arterials, especially around RTC, will have balanced peak period traffic rather than being overloaded in one direction or the other.
• The greater the residential representation, the more successful Metrorail and other public transit is likely to be as—like in Arlington—RTC residents shift their travel habits.

What my formulation(s) does/do not address is non-office, non-residential development in the ratio, which may be included in your “non-residential” phraseology. This may offer a bridge between to the two positions because we all want Reston Town Center to have a robust retail, open space, parks, and natural environment and it should also have a viable county government center. So, if the committee is comfortable with stating that the non-residential space includes all these other uses, and those other uses account for half of the non-residential space (so that the residents and office workers are equal), then I’m willing to amend my view. If this is what the committee intends, it needs to be explicit.

In short, this concept would mean something like the following: Developing a space of 200,000 square feet at an overall FAR 3.0 (600,000 GSF) would allow 150,000GSF of office space, 300,000GSF of residential space, and 150,000 SF of space for other non-residential uses per above (with say, not more than 50% (75,000GSF) for business purposes, lowering effective FAR to about 2.8). The result would be an equal number of workers and residents and an abundance of retail and public spaces. I think such an approach would better address all Restonians’ needs.

Top of P. 3—You leave open the FAR and height issues, and omit the necessary tapering of densities away from the Metro station as well as the need for lower densities beyond the 1/2-mile limit of the TOD area (specifically, North Town Center). Tapering is essential for effective TOD. Without tapering, it’s just development. This must be dealt with in the context of your specific recommendations about FAR levels.

I am less concerned about height limits, but I would recommend that incentives be used to garner extra height about 200’ (slightly higher than Comstock’s tallest planned structure at Wiehle). The two incentives I would recommend are:
• An increase in height based on the depth or capacity of underground parking for a building.
• An increase in height based on the percent of ground-level space devoted to open space, parks, and/or natural areas.
These incentives would offer an opportunity for both improved design and a better pedestrian environment.

P. 4—North-South Connectivity—You have left the issue here (and on p. 5) of a connector bridge/tunnel across the DTR from Halley-Town Center Pkwy hanging. It will be an essential connection for Reston as its population doubles and RCA Reston 2020 believes it should be build in the 2020-2030 timeframe to handle expected increases in traffic. It can not be delayed nor certainly treated as casually as this report addresses the matter. With peak period traffic projected most conservatively (by MWCOG under the current Comprehensive Plan) to increase about half in the next 30 years and possibly double per Reston 2020’s transportation report for the Task Force, we absolutely must increase north-south connectivity across the DTR moat.

PP 4-5—Grade-separated pedestrian-bicyclist routes—The death of a Reston teenager crossing Reston Parkway within the last two weeks highlights the need for grade-separated transportation routes for pedestrians and bicyclists around Reston Town Center, but this topic is not even mentioned in the draft report. The Reston 2020 transportation report highlighted specifically the need for such access to Reston Metrorail stations (beyond the specific bridge to the Metro station) across major arterials, including Reston Parkway, Sunrise Valley Drive, Sunset Hills Drive, and Town Center Parkway. These must be included in your recommendations or we will have more pedestrian fatalities and fewer people walking and biking in the TOD area.

PP 7-8—Open Space—A lot of nice talk about what could be done, but no particulars on priorities or scope. This needs to be fleshed out an address the standing draft planning principle for 25% open space in some detail.

I have already covered the ratio, FAR, and height issues above.

I appreciate the effort your committee—especially you—have extended so far. You have the basis for a highly useful report to the Task Force in my view, but several substantial additions and changes to be made.

I wish you the best in completing this important task.

Terry Maynard

Monday, July 19, 2010

If Tysons wins office tenants, which market loses? Washington Post, July 19, 2010

By Jonathan O'Connelll
Monday, July 19, 2010

If commercial real estate in an evolving, soon-to-be Metro-accessible Tysons Corner begins to win office tenants, which other local markets will lose out?

Tysons real estate is still cheaper than that in most Northern Virginia areas that already have Metro. Asking lease rates for Class A office space in Tysons averaged $33.37 per square foot in the second quarter, well below Eisenhower Avenue ($38.57), Crystal City ($39.17) and anything in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor ($39-$45), according to CB Richard Ellis.

But experts say it isn't the closer-in Metro suburbs -- or locations in Maryland and D.C. -- that will be losing out if Tysons begins landing more deals, it's the other neighborhood markets in Fairfax County.

Reston is at the top of the list of Tysons competitors, experts say. The submarket features a walkable, urban design, also has Metro coming and at about $29 per square foot is cheaper than Tysons. Reston filled about 200,000 square feet in the first half of 2010, besting Tysons's 175,000 square feet, according to Scott Homa, Jones Lang LaSalle's research manager. Homa said Reston and Merrifield, another Fairfax County neighborhood, have the most to lose when Tysons wins. . . .

For the rest of this article, click here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Draft Reston Town Center Development Report, Robert Goudie, July 12, 2010

Please note that the Reston Town Center Committee will meet to discuss this report on Tuesday, July 20, at 7:30AM (MORNING!) at the the Market Street Clubhouse. It plans to present its final report to the Reston Task Force at its July 27 meeting.

The draft report, among other things, calls for densities of FAR 5.0 with incentives (per Dick Rogers' notes on the meeting as posted below). If you are concerned about this or any other aspects of this draft report, please:
--Post a comment here.
--Send an e-mail to Robert Goudie at, copy to me at
--Attend the 7:30AM meeting this Tuesday
--Make your views know at the July 27 Reston Task Force meeting.

Terry Maynard, Blog Administrator

Reston TC Metro Draft Committee Report

RTF Town Center Meeting Summary, July 13, 2010

Procedural: The committee increasingly feels under the gun to complete its report for the 27 July TF mtg. they will meet 0730-1000 next Tuesday and may then have an interim mtg. On 27 July AM they plan to spend half the mtg hearing comments, including from the public, and then revising.

Substance: Chairman Robert Goudie had prepared a draft report he shared at 8:30PM the preceding evening on the North Town Center area which almost nobody had a chance to read. One key point was incentives for more density:
--support for building a grid
--adequate open space
--distinctive design
--appropriate mix of residential and non-residential.

The Committee continued to wrestle with the south side, wondering how to get developers to do the right balance of residential and commercial (1 to 1) and how to provide incentives to get cooperation between parcel holders. There was some talk of 5 FARs near the station with 30 story buildings and 3.5 elsewhere.

Tishman/Speyers again expressed resentment that they are being forced to deal with Brookfield, which they said is "being empowered to control everything."

Some discussion about how far West to extend the TOD--perhaps as far as the storage buildings in E-1.

RTF Wiehle Committee Meeting Summary, July 13, 2010

Next week the Wiehle Committee will continue discussion of density, what kind of incentives can be offered to encourage mixed use, and what sort of flexibility should be built into the process to give property owners room to maneuver.

A new street grid map was distributed.

The committee devoted the entire meeting to a good discussion of general issues. Bill P went around the table to solicit opinions from each.

Hard to summarize such a complex discussion, but there seemed to be agreement on dense mix use development in the four quadrants around the station, bus access to the south side of the station from South Reston (not in current plans), a pedestrian underpass under Wiehle on the south side, extending the grid to Lake Fairfax business center and a high residential component.

There was a general consensus that Isaac Newton should be heavily residential, possibly with some major athletic fields included in it. However, one member raised the possibility of a major shopping center there(most do not see Wiehle as a destination shopping area).

Some disagreement about whether the priority for Wiehle and the Sunrise/Sunset should be to keep traffic moving or to be pedestrian friendly.

One cautioned that at Tysons too high a price has been put on residential such as requirements for a high percentage of affordable housing.

Some discussion of parks/open space. A suggestion for a green band along an expanded W&OD trail and better links to Lake Fairfax Park. Mark Looney suggested bonus density if active recreation parks are provided with the alternative being a $ contribution to improvements in adjacent Lake Fairfax Park.

Looney also raised the issue of the down side of a Soapstone extension on the North side. Some active businesses are there including the health care offices.

Summary prepared by Dick Rogers, RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Summary of Meeting with FC Fire Department Planning Officials, June 16, 2010

FCFD Planning Officers --Revised

Thursday, July 15, 2010

RCA Letter Supporting Denial of Fairway Apartments Redevelopment Plan, July 14, 2010

Reston Citizens Association

P. O. Box 2851

Reston VA, 20195

July 14, 2010

Dear Commissioner De la Fe,/Frank

Reston Citizens Association cannot support the Fairways re-development plans in any way. What we support is the staff report which recommends denial.

Yours sincerely,

Marion Stillson


c c Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

Fairfax County Planning Commission

Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force

Reston Association Board of Directors

Reston Association Transportation Advisory Committee

Reston Association Design Review Board

Reston Planning and Zoning Committee

Reston Citizens Association Board of Directors

RCA’s Reston 2020 Committee

Statement to Planning Commission on Fairway Apartments Redevelopment, David Edwards, July 15, 2010

Planned Residential Community (PRC) Plan (PRC A-502-2)

Fairways I and Fairways II Redevelopment

July 15, 2010

Mr. Chairman, Commissioner de la Fe, Members of the Planning Commission:

My name is David Edwards. I live at 11701 Blue Smoke Trail in Reston.

When it was adopted in 1964, the original Reston Master Plan designated a number of areas rather vaguely as appropriate for “high density” development. Some of these areas were eventually actually built as “high density”. Most were not, however.

The North Shore Drive neighborhood in Reston which is the subject of tonight’s application was not. The old original Reston Master Plan not withstanding, this neighborhood, with North Shore Drive as its primary collector street, and most of the associated infrastructure of the neighborhood was actually built as “medium density” in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and has remained a stable and well-maintained medium density neighborhood for the last forty years. The currently proposed redevelopment before you tonight proposes to superimpose high-rise multifamily development upon an established medium density neighborhood of townhouses, detached units and low density garden apartments.

This is contrary to the very basic Reston Planning Principle that seeks to retain and reinforce established stable and viable residential neighborhoods. This dramatic change should not be permitted.

Fairways Apartments are located 0.6 to one mile from the nearest daily shopping areas. They are more than a mile from the nearest employment or civic activity destination, and more than a mile from the closest planned Dulles Rail station. In short, while these distances might be appropriate for weekend pedestrian exercise, the Fairways Apartments are in fact an automobile-oriented community during the week. This is not a pedestrian-oriented community.

When Reston was all open fields and woods in the early 1960’s, the definitions that still remain with the Plan had different meanings to us older residents. We had no real concept of the implications of Dulles Rail. We had no concept of the Reston Center for Industry and Government actually becoming Reston’s true Urban Core in concert with the Town Center. Today we view these transit-oriented, mixed use core areas as exactly where Reston’s “high density” should be located, not super-imposed upon some quiet residential areas that were built as much lower density, totally residential neighborhoods 40 years ago.

The Fairways garden apartments, and a dozen other stable medium density residential neighborhoods that the old Reston Plan arbitrarily designated as “high density” forty years ago, must be re-evaluated in the context of 21st century situations and attitudes. The Reston community is currently undergoing a deep, soul searching process to modify the old Plan. High density, transit-oriented, mixed use urban core development will be permitted by the Reston community in proper locations that were never anticipated in 1964. However, stable, well maintained existing residential neighborhoods will be preserved as they were originally built. This may not be as originally envisioned when two-dimensional plans for green fields and wooded areas were first planned for the bull dozer in 1964.

Members of the Commission, help us to plan for high density, transit-oriented mixed use urban development in Reston in the locations we approve of in the year 2010, but sustain and protect existing as-built stable lower density residential neighborhoods regardless of what an old concept Plan envisioned in 1964.

Send the proposed Fairways redevelopment plan back to the drawing boards one more time. Do not approve it.

Density: Where It Belongs and Where It Doesn't, Guy Rando, July 11, 2010



In October 2008, at a meeting hosted by Supervisor Hudgins regarding the revision of the Reston Master Plan, Bob Simon made the following statement:

All the new development can be accommodated in three areas—Town Center,
the Village Centers, and in the corridor. The remainder of Reston should be left as it is.

At the RMPSSTF Vision Subcommittee meeting on June 23, 2010, Bob Simon made the following statement:

Say where you want Reston to be urban. The suburban areas stay the same.

You need to stick to the concept of where density should go and where it should not go.

Reston’s residential neighborhoods are to be left intact and not redeveloped.

The redeveloped areas should contain 25% open space as defined by the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance, Section 20-300 (Definitions). See page 3 below.

What is to be avoided with future development in Reston is the repetition of the development plan at the Wiehle station area by Comstock in which the only open space is in shade most of the year and that open space is used as a vehicular circulating route. In addition, inadequate amenities for the residents are provided by Comstock. This has to be rectified to a human pedestrian environment.

There was and is no architectural reviewing body to oversee the project. There was no oversight by Reston Association’s architectural review board. This has to be rectified. The county has approved the first county dump in Reston.

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

Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance, Section 20-300 (DEFINITIONS )
OPEN SPACE: That area within the boundaries of a lot that is intended to provide light and air, and is designed for either scenic or recreational purposes. Open space shall, in general, be available for entry and use by the residents or occupants of the development, but may include a limited proportion of space so located and treated as to enhance the amenity of the development by providing landscaping features, screening for the benefit of the occupants or those in neighboring areas, or a general appearance of openness.
Open space may include, but need not be limited to lawns, decorative planting, walkways, active and passive recreation areas, children's playgrounds, fountains, swimming pools, undisturbed natural areas, agriculture, wooded areas, water bodies and those areas where landscaping and screening are required by the provisions of Article 13; provided, however, that the area required for interior parking lot landscaping shall not comprise more than twenty-five (25) percent of the total required open space. Open space shall not include driveways, parking lots, or other vehicular surfaces, any area occupied by a building, nor areas so located or so small as to have no substantial value for the purposes stated in this definition. Within a residential subdivision, open space shall be composed of only those areas not contained in individually owned lots. For the purpose of this Ordinance, open space shall include and be qualified as LANDSCAPED OPEN SPACE, COMMON OPEN SPACE, DEDICATED OPEN SPACE, and USABLE OPEN SPACE, all as defined herein.
- OPEN SPACE, COMMON: All open space within the boundaries of a given lot that is designed and set aside for use and enjoyment by all residents or occupants of the development or by the residents or occupants of a designated portion of the development. Common open space shall represent those areas not to be dedicated as public lands, but are to remain in the ownership of a homeowners association or of a condominium in accordance with the provisions set forth in Part 7 of Article 2.
- OPEN SPACE, DEDICATED: All open space within the boundaries of a given lot which is to be dedicated or conveyed to the County or an appropriate public agency, board or body for public use as open space.
- OPEN SPACE, LANDSCAPED: That open space within the boundaries of a given lot that is designed to enhance privacy and the amenity of the development by providing landscaping features, screening for the benefit of the occupants or those in neighboring areas, or a general appearance of openness. Landscaped open space may include, but need not be limited to lawns, decorative planting, flower beds, sidewalks/walkways, ornamental objects such as fountains, statues and other similar natural or artificial objects, wooded areas, and water courses, any or all of which are designed and arranged to produce an aesthetically pleasing effect within the development. Landscaped open space may be either COMMON or DEDICATED OPEN SPACE as defined herein.
- OPEN SPACE, USABLE: That open space within the boundaries of a given lot that is designed for recreational purposes, to include but not to be limited to such uses as ballfields, multi-purpose courts, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, play lots and playgrounds, boating docks, walking, bicycle or bridle trails, and shuffleboard courts.
See also, for example, Zoning Ordinance, Section 2-309 Open Space

RTF Wiehle TOD Committee Summary , July 8, 2010

Process: Bill Penniman hoped to get in a 45 minute discussion of issues but the presentations took up most of the morning. He hopes next meeting will be devoted to TF discussions on various land bays. However, they are still trying to get in contact with various "stakeholders" including Fannie Mae, NOVA, and the Lawrence family, owners of Isaac Newton.

Rick Stevens presented a summary of the RMAG report on Wiehle station. Limited funding means that only essentials will get done. They are prioritizing these outward from the station area. Soapstone was put in the maybe in 2020-2o30 time frame.
The surprise to many (including some TF members and me) was that there are no plans to have buses from south Reston drop people off on the Southside. South Reston and other Southside buses will have to cross the Wiehle bridge and left turn into the station.
The planned southside bus bays are on MWAA land off the DTR. They will be for buses from Loudoun and shuttles from HM parking. The reason for this, Stevens said, is that the land adjacent to the station platform drop down on the south side is privately owned. One TF member suggested that this will make a perfect proffer from Vornado, which would profit from commercial retail in connection with a Southside bus drop off.
Other presentations included a review of the immediate COMSTOCK traffic plans. This included the results of a traffic study that showed that Comstock and metro parking alone will "only" increase traffic by 20%. Apparently no one has broader traffic projections for all the Wiehle TOD being discussed.
Doug Pew delivered an effective review "observations from McDonald's" about traffic issues. This included among other things the need for sidewalks along Sunrise Valley, the need to move McDonalds and other fast food restaurants out of their current location, which bogs down traffic along Wiehle and the lack of access to Lake Fairfax Park created by private holdings.
The committee also heard from Bernstein, which holds 10 acres in F-3. No firm plans but they are thinking 50% residential.

RTF Town Center Committee Summary, July 6, 2010

Reston TC 7-6-10 Meeting Summary

Boston Properties South TC Straw Man

Summary by Dick Rogers, Reston 2020 Committee:

Process issues: Mark Looney raised the issue of what the TC sub-com might do re the TC urban core. He noted many properties were aging and that some were only 2 stories. RG essentially said there was not time to get into this.
RG noted the difficulty of doing any vision statement on TC Metro North and South comparable to the TCN. Looney suggested just doing concept points and submitting them for discussion. Robert said he would try drafting something (There are only three meetings left)
Rob (NFI) from the Reston Town Center Assoc submitted a map of the TC area showing how NTC has been left out of the RTCA (Spectrum is in as are apartments (Reston Landing) on the North side of BC. He did this to show why NTC should be in the RTCA viz RA. Joe Leighton will distribute at the RA mtg on Thursday.


The Committee heard from Peter Otteni of BP regarding its plans. These are much along the lines Peter O discussed earlier at the TF mtg and an earlier sub-com. Big development, FAR of 5, hotel, podium with garage below, major plaza. One element is the extension of Explorer Street over the WOD which is in the current plan. Discussion centered on additional links to TC including the Library street extension, which BP envisions as pedestrian/bikes. Some wanted additional vehicular links. (See separate comments about a performance center there and air rights)
Some lamented that nothing is planned in conjunction with the kiss and ride bus bays.
(I raised the issues of how buses might move from the existing bus station to Metro but this was not addressed)

Southside. Heard from Bernstein Co which owns a 5 acre parcel in E-3
This led to considerable discussion of the overall nature of south side. There seemed to be less unanimity then in previous meetings about the nature of this area. The heavy residential TOD mixed use concept was kicked around with some talking about a more commercial area and solid offices along DTR.
The problem of USGS/GSA was noted. Some concern that USG will use the site for a heavier concentration of government offices, making the south side more commercial than previously envisioned.
A Frederic Rothmeyer, a Dutchman with MRP consulting with some property owners, introduced some useful ideas, one of which was a strong east-west street about 800 ft south of the DTR.

RTF Herndon-Monroe Committee Draft Minutes, June 28, 2010

H-M 6-28-10 Draft Meeting Minutes

RTF Town Center Committee Summary, June 29, 2010

TC 6-29-10 Meeting Summary

RTF Wiehle Sub-Committee Meeting Summary, July 8, 2010

Process: Bill P hoped to get in a 45 minute discussion of issues but the presentations took up most of the morning. He hopes next meeting will be devoted to TF discussions on various land bays. However, they are still trying to get in contact with various "stakeholders" including Fannie Mae, NOVA, and the Lawrence family, owners of Isaac Newton.

Rick Stevens presented a summary of the RMAG report on Wiehle station. Limited funding means that only essentials will get done. They are prioritizing these outward from the station area. Soapstone was put in the maybe in 2020-2o30 time frame.
The surprise to many (including some TF members and me) was that there are no plans to have buses from south Reston drop people off on the Southside. South Reston and other Southside buses will have to cross the Wiehle bridge and left turn into the station.
The planned southside bus bays are on MWAA land off the DTR. They will be for buses from Loudoun and shuttles from HM parking. The reason for this, Stevens said, is that the land adjacent to the station platform drop down on the south side is privately owned. One TF member suggested that this will make a perfect proffer from Vornado, which would profit from commercial retail in connection with a Southside bus drop off.
Other presentations included a review of the immediate COMSTOCK traffic plans. This included the results of a traffic study that showed that Comstock and metro parking alone will "only" increase traffic by 20%. Apparently no one has broader traffic projections for all the Wiehle TOD being discussed.
Doug Pew delivered an effective review "observations from McDonald's" about traffic issues. This included among other things the need for sidewalks along Sunrise Valley, the need to move McDonalds and other fast food restaurants out of their current location, which bogs down traffic along Wiehle and the lack of access to Lake Fairfax Park created by private holdings.
The committee also heard from Bernstein, which holds 10 acres in F-3. No firm plans but they are thinking 50% residential.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summary of RTC Meeting, June 22, 2010

Reston TC 6-22-10 Meeting Summary

Summary of RTC Meeting, June 15, 2010

Reston TC 6-15-10 Meeting Summary

RTF Herndon-Monroe Committee Creates Webpage on County RTF website

The Reston Task Force's Herndon-Monroe Station Area Committee has created a dedicated webpage on the County's task force website. You can keep up to date on its activities at this link:

Proposed Reston Infrastructure Improvement Escrow Fund, Dave Edwards, June 20, 2010

Proposed Reston Infrastructure Improvements Escrow Fund

Vision Presentation to Herndon-Monroe Committee, John Carter, June 23, 2010

Monroe Station Presentation--John Carter, 6/23/10

Brookfield Properties Straw Man for Reston Parkway Station South, presented to RTC Committee

Brook Field Straw Man for Reston Parkway Station South

RA Board Letter to Supervisor Hudgins Regarding Fairway Apartments, June 25, 2010

062510 Letter Fairway Residential Development