Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wiehle Sub-Committee Meeting Notes, October 27, 2010, Dick Rogers

Process: The sub-committee will meet next Wed morning at the COMSTOCK conference room on Sunset Hills near Wiehle (address on county website). Coffee will be served! All courtesy of COMSTOCK's Maggie Parker.
    Among other things the sub-committee will discuss Fannie Mae/old distillery property on SH.
    (Note and comment: This was the first Wiehle mtg since 9/22.  Although the chairs hoped to get through with only one more meeting, that sounds optimistic to me.)
    Plaza America:  Adam Schulman of Atlantic Realty and Jared Wilcox, architect, came to present preliminary AR plans re Plaza America.  They are thinking of adding, in phases, 5 stories of residential (with underground garage) to PA over the existing retail. They would keep the existing retail parking. 410-430 residential units; wood frame construction, pool outside/internal gym.  In response to questions it was clear they had not thought how this might fit into Wiehle-RTC redevelopment. Sub-com members brought up an extension of Wiehle Station Drive into PA and walkway links to Metro. However, AR appeared flexible.(Comment: It was not clear to me if this represents existing CP/zoning or whether they wanted more.)
    Station name: The sub-committee will join the station name change discussion. Reston East/Wiehle was one suggestion.
    Balance/Density: To stimulate more thought on balance and density, a series of 8 tables were passed out showing different residential and office balance ratios at different FARs. For example, with FARs at the high end (up to 3.5) and a more than 1 to 1 residential vs commercial mix , there would be 23,000 residents and 53,000 workers. This would be an increase from 0 residents and the current 26.400 jobs.
    (Comment:  The tables for various reasons were hard for most to follow. I suggest "numbers guys," like Terry Maynard and Fred Costello, eyeball them on the county website.)
    The tables triggered a somewhat meandering discussion on density and balance.  there was some support on the sub-com for no more than a 1 to 1 sq foot balance.  There was a lot of discussion about how to phase in development to encourage building near the station rather than cherry picking of sites.
    There was also discussion about how to fit long term development into a 20 year time frame.  As someone noted, buildings going up soon will last for 50 years so you need to get it right at the beginning rather than counting on periodic adjustments in the plan.
    The 26 Oct RMPTF presentation on transportation had had an impact on several who were concerned about Wiehle gridlock. Mike Corrigan pointed out that under the current plan standards--no traffic degradation--redevelopment would be a non-starter. As he has done before, Mark Looney made the point that TOD development to him implies an acceptance of increased congestion and slower travel in urban neighborhoods. One member said let us realize traffic will not get better; our job is to prevent it from getting a lot worse.

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