Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Thursday, July 15, 2010

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.

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