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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Reston 2020 E-mail to the Fairfax County Federation of Community Associations, February 12, 2011

The following is the text of an e-mail Reston 2020 sent to the officers of the Fairfax County Federation of Community Associations (FCFCA), an organization representing the scores if not hundreds of community associations through the county.  We specifically thanked the FCFCA for featuring this blog in its latest blog and took exception its characterization of an upcoming presentation to FCFCA by Mr. Goudie that the Town Center Committee's model of re-development was a good one.  

Sent: Saturday, February 12, 2011 11:00 AM
Subject: The RCA Reston 2020 Committee and Reston Planning

Dear Fairfax Federation Officers,

As a member of the Reston Citizens Association (RCA) Board of Directors, an FCFCA member organization, and co-chairman of its Reston 2020 Committee, I would like to thank you for your recognition of the Reston 2020 blog Reston 2020: Citizens Shaping Reston’s Future
in your latest newsletter. 

The Reston 2020 blog is at the center of a major citizen effort to make Reston a better planned community in the 21st Century.  Readers of the blog--all 6,500 of them-- will find an extensive, if not quite exhaustive, archive of over 500 posts and other research and reference materials there about the ongoing process of revising Reston’s Comprehensive Plan by the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force.   The posts include Reston 2020 comments, task force news, press articles, letters, photos, studies, and other materials that we try to post on a near real-time basis to keep the community informed of the task force’s ongoing effort.  The right-hand column provides a guide to key reference and research information and links to Reston, transit-oriented development, and other planning materials, including an index of post topics.  The most significant of these links may be to the 18 major reports the RCA Reston 2020 Committee prepared for the task force since spring 2010.  These reports cover everything from vision to infrastructure and implementation issues, including virtually all of the issues addressed by your several topical committees—environment, transportation, education, and land use specifically—as well as several of the areas addressed by your liaison officers.

Noting that your principal speaker this coming week will be Mr. Robert Goudie addressing “Reston Metro Station — An Example of Good Re-Development Planning,” I believe it is important to state that Reston 2020 deeply disagrees with this characterization.  Indeed, we were so disappointed in the report of the task force committee that Mr. Goudie leads that we presented our alternative version to the task force in early December 2010 based on a major report we prepared.  The report, called “Planning World-Class Transit-Oriented Development in Reston Town Center:  The Community’s Alternative Vision,” and the presentation are available via the blog.
The key driver in our move to create, publish, and present an alternative vision was that we believe the overall job and residential growth and mix called for in the task force committee report are much too large for Reston to absorb over the next twenty years.  Within this overarching criticism, three key substantive flaws stood out:
  • The report pays insufficient attention to the public infrastructure necessary to accommodate the influx of workers and residents it proposes, particularly their impact on public schools and transportation.
  • The report pays insufficient attention to needed public amenities expected in Fairfax County, much less a premier planned community, including open space and cultural facilities.
  • The report pays limited attention to the core principles of transit-oriented development, especially the need for a robust mix of uses within the TOD area that exploit the opportunities to reduce congestion growth.
This Reston 2020 Committee comprises any Restonian who wishes to volunteer his or her time to attend its meetings, participate in its discussions there, or—more ambitiously—help in the preparation of the committee’s many reports.  As you may see in looking at the contributors to its various reports, many scores of residents care deeply about Reston’s future and are willing to make an investment to assure a better “place to live, work, and play.”  At the moment, we are busy monitoring, critiquing, and contributing to the activities of the task force’s Steering Committee, working with other Reston civic groups to draft a proposal for a revamped task force to address Phase II of the effort (examining Reston’s village centers and residential areas), preparing a workable implementation proposal for the task force’s consideration, and other activities. 

We have been engaged in this effort now for nearly two years and intend to continue through the completion of the Reston planning process at least.  While it has been hard work for all of us, Reston’s citizens believe strongly in Reston’s historic vision as a diverse, environmentally-friendly, successful planned community, and we are committed to both preserving the great resources we possess while adapting to the opportunities created by a more urban, rail-linked 21st Century  Reston. 

Again, thank you for letting people know about our effort and our blog.  Please feel free to share this e-mail with your membership.  If we can be of any further assistance to FCFCA, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Terry Maynard, Co-Chairman
Reston 2020 Committee
Reston Citizens Association

FCFCA Committee Chairs, Representatives, & Liaison Officers
RCA Board of Directors

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