Reston Spring

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Notes on the RTF Meeting, February 22, 2011, Terry Maynard

Notes on the
Reston Task Force Meeting
February 22, 2011

Public Comment

Marion Stillson, President, RCA, endorsed the Vision and Planning Principles statement prepared by the Vision Committee on behalf of RCA.  She thanked the Steering Committee for its contributions as well.  (See the text of her comments here.)

Rob Whitfield asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of Dave Edwards, long-time Restonian and major contributor to Reston planning.   Chairman Patty Nicoson noted that there would be a memorial service for Dave at the Universalist Unitarian Church on March 12th.

Administrative Items

Patty Nicoson--
  • Noted she had attended a Metrorail meeting looking at some new ideas, but they were costly and there few dollars available.
  • Attended the Jan. 31 Herndon planning meeting to discuss development around the Herndon-Monroe station.  Developers discussed the matter in the morning and the Town Council spent the afternoon discussing potential development.  In general, they leaned toward the FAR 4.5 option (vice 2.5) although they considerably narrowed the area for that level of development0.  They expressed concern about a triple left-hand turn into area parking and a number of bad intersections.
Heidi Merkel, DPZ staff, followed up noting that DPZ had met with the Herndon planning staff and chairs of the RTF Herndon-Monroe committee.  She noted that Herndon’s and the RTF’s timeframes were roughly the same for concluding their efforts.  She had no information on Herndon’s view of the station name.

Mike Cooper, RTF member, whose company also has interests in Herndon, noted that Herndon is taking a longer term view for its planning, in part because the area of interest already has a number of 4-5 story buildings. 

Heidi also noted that DPZ is developing an approach for Phase II (Village Centers and Residential Areas) of the RTF.  Staff had met with Supr. Hudgins for her inputs, and she thought the staff would have a preliminary schedule ready for the March 15th RTF meeting.

Patty Nicoson provided feedback from the Dulles Construction Committee of MWAA’s discussion of air rights over the Dulles Corridor.   An engineering analysis suggested that it was technically feasible to build needed foundations either now or in the future, and that there was insufficient economic return to justify that move now.  (See the analyses and recommendation here.)  It was also noted by MWAA’s legal counsel that MWAA does not have the authority to do work that does serve an “airport purpose,” and would need to seek federal legislative relief to correct that deficiency.  Committee members asked for a revenue perspective from developers on future air rights development.  The Task Force agreed to have the Chairman send MWAA a letter expressing their continuing interest in obtaining air rights for development over the Dulles corridor.

According to Patty, the schedule for Phase II of the Metro line will probably slip, although they have not officially acknowledged that slippage yet.  MWAA is looking at three alternatives for the station at Dulles airport.  She noted that Phase I of the Metro line has been 30% completed.
Patty noted that the Perspectives Group will help facilitate future discussions of the Task Force as it discusses needed decisions regarding Phase I (the TOD areas).
Heidi Merkel gave a presentation on the role of the Steering Committee.  She began by noting that the Task Force’s role was to guide the staff (DPZ) in the drafting of new Comprehensive Plan language.  She walked through its objectives, the use of checklist, etc.  (This is her presentation.)  Task Force member Dick Kennedy urged the Steering Committee to check back in with the Task Force regularly on its activities. 

Patty also summarized the work of the Steering Committee over the last two months.  (See Reston 2020 notes on these meetings on the blog.)

Bob Simon noted that the Village Centers (VCs) were receiving short shrift in the Vision and Planning Principles (V&PP) statement because the task force effort was divided into two parts.   He expressed concern that the V&PP statement mis-stated the importance of greater density in the VCs.   In response to a question from Peter Otteni, Task Force member, about how the Task Force could deal with the VC issue, John Carter (Co-Chair, Vision Committee) noted that it would be addressed in their report.  Heidi also noted that it was being given some consideration in the Steering Committee.  Patty noted that there was a door open to return to the planning principles based on the results of Phase II of the Task Force. 

Dick Kennedy noted that Gerry Volloy’s piece on governance sent to the Task Force was important.  He said he was not sure where it fits, but it needs to be addressed.  It has implications for open space, trails, etc.  He expects addressing the issue will be difficult because of the number of stakeholders, the legal ramifications, etc.  Patty noted the Steering Committee will address implementation mechanics.

Kohann Williams, co-chair of the Vision Committee, provided the backdrop for the V&PP statement, noting that they reached consensus on what was before the Task Force that evening.  She noted the intent to discuss the draft in detail tonight and vote on it at the March 15th meeting. 

Robert Goudie raised the concern that the brief statement about residential areas may not be sufficiently strong to meet Restonians needs to protect neighborhoods from encroaching growth.  There was a brief discussion of both protecting the rights of neighborhoods to decide their own futures so long as they did not affect the rights, values, and quality of life of their neighbors. 

John Carter, co-chair of the Vision Committee, followed up by noting the Vision Committee’s plans to wrap up its report. 

There being no additional discussion, Chairman Nicoscon adjourned the meeting about 20 minutes early.  The next meeting of the Task Force will be on March 15. 

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