Reston Spring

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Reston Spring

Friday, January 7, 2011

Notes from the RTF Steering Committee Meeting, January 4, 2011, Dick Rogers

Summary and Comment: The meeting clarified the role of the Steering Com (ST Com).  It will be the driving force to reconcile the various subcommittee positions, including the vision and density of each of the TOD areas.  It is to resolve big picture disagreements.  There was limited substantive discussion. The next meeting, on Tuesday evening, 11 January, promises to be more substantive, focusing on vision and "form " for each TOD area.

 Attendance was spotty.  Only 7 of the 12 ST com members (John Carter,Chair PattyNicosen, Peter Otteni, Mark Looney, Robert Goudie, Bill Penniman, and Paul Thomas).  Three members of the FC DPZ staff also attended.

Public attendance was equally sparse.  Notably, Goldie Harrison, from Supervisor Hudgins’ staff, was there.
ST Com Mission:  Heidi acknowledged that the mission of the ST Com had not been clearly addressed at its first two meetings.  She handed out a "mission statement" as well as a "check list" to clarify (both along with the agenda will be on the county website).

The mission statement made clear that the ST com will review the work of the station sub-coms "to see if they are consistent with" county TOD policy and to assess how they address key elements.
The key elements (also reflected in the "checklist") will include vision for each station, "form", location and mix of uses, intensity (presumably meaning density), transportation, and connectivity.

"The work of the ST com is to aid the TF in reviewing sub com recommendations and make decision about them."

The checklist envisions extracting key points from each of the sub-com reports to compare them.

Discussion: Basically, there was no dissent from this mission. There was discussion about which key elements to address first.  (John Carter suggested transportation but this was put down for later). It was decided that each sub-com will send to the DPZ staff their views on how their reports address the "key elements".  The staff will make up a comparative list for the next meeting, which will focus on individual station visions and "form" (the latter being how buildings relate to other buildings, open space, massing and height).

In addition, the ST com will review the overall Reston vision statement that has come out of the Vision sub-com.  (This statement is an annex to the 20 Dec ST Com agenda on the web site. It is vision statement # 1.) Goudie praised it and said that aside from "some edits" it will be fine; others thought there will be more disagreement.

Implementation: Patti Nicosen had attached a brief statement to the mission saying the ST com "will identify mechanisms to implement" recommendations. The consensus in the discussion was that this was too big an agenda for the ST Com and at best it could identify some issues. PN would like to get some sort of implementation statement in the final report.

Comment: Although there was not a lot of substantive discussion, the key issue alluded to under the surface was clearly the nature of density at the individual stations (see Goudie proposal to make Wiehle primarily residential). In addition, inconsistencies between the reports will come up.
There was discussion about how long all this will take.  Four more meetings were mentioned but members thought more would be needed.

There was some concern voiced that all this would not take us closer to specific plan language.  Heidi Merkel, DPZ, did mention in passing that the DPZ staff is working on "an outline" of a final plan report.

Future of the Vision Com.  I asked about this at the beginning, before John Carter had arrived.  Heidi was somewhat ambiguous, saying that the Vision Committee, which Carter chairs, still needs to look at the broader vision for the entire corridor. But she said the ST com was a better group to look at the visions for the individual stations.

Next meeting; Tuesday, 11 January, at 7 PM. Location TBD, but RA building seems likely.  Focus will be on the vision for each station and their "form."  In addition, overall Reston planning principles will be reviewed.

UPDATE:  Here is the charter for the Steering Committee as written and approved January 4, 2011.

Co-Chairs’ Steering Sub-Committee Mission Statement

DRAFT – 01/04/2011

The Steering Sub-Committee’s primary function shall be to review work products prepared by Task Force’s Station Area sub-committees to-date to see if they are consistent with the County’s adopted Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Policy and if and how they address the following key elements.  See accompanying checklist (not available) for further information about the elements below. 

* Articulate a Vision for each Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) area (defined by the TOD Policy as that area within ½ mile of the station platform) including addressing elements that assist in placemaking;

* Describe the desired form for the TOD area;

* Establish the preferred general location of uses within the TOD area;

* Identify the desired mix of uses to include housinig for a variety of incomes, life styles and age groups;

* Describe the relative intensity envisioned for the TOD area, as compared to the other TOD areas;

* Highlight opportunities and concerns related to improving the transportation network and transportation services to support the TOD areas; and

* Identify ways to improve connectivity, particularly for pedestrians and bicycles, along the rail corridor and between the rail corridor and the adjoining areas . 

Tthe Steering Committee may identify additional issues that need to be addressed including input that should be sought and prepare draft recommendations to bring back to the Task Force regarding additional input about these elements.  

The work of the Steering Committee is to aid the Task Force in reviewing Committee recommendations and make decisions about them.

In addition, the Steering Committee will identify mechanisms to implement these recommendations for Task Force consideration.

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