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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

DPZ Conceptual Land Use Plan Map for Reston TOD Area, May 25, 2011

This map was used as the basis of extensive discussions at last week's RTF Steering Committee meeting.  It is not clear what kind of densities or mixes are expected in each of the several areas identified on the map. 

05-25-2011 Reston TOD Area Land Use Concept Map--DPZ

Welcome aboard: Ray LaHood enters the Silver Line squabble, Editorial, Washington Post, May 30, 2011

AT MIDDAY ON WEDNESDAY, just over a dozen politicians and officials, mostly Virginians, will troop into Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s office, hoping to rescue Metro’s Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport. What’s at stake is one of the largest public infrastructure projects in the country, now in jeopardy of coming unraveled in an increasingly bitter feud over costs and financing. Mr. LaHood, having recently rescued another major project , the modernization of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, from a similarly venomous impasse, has offered to mediate.

That’s a promising sign, and not just because of Mr. LaHood’s deftness as a go-between. Just as important, he has a critical say in the disposition of federal transportation loans, which could be the key to resolving the Silver Line standoff.
Click here for the rest of this WaPo editorial.

COMMENT:  This editorial, like most other recent news and opinion pieces about Phase 2 of the Dulles Metrorail plan, focuses on the tail (the $300 million cost margin between above and below ground station) and not the really ugly dog of Dulles Metrorail cost allocation.  The two key issues are:
  • Whichever station option is picked at Dulles, MWAA is paying a small fraction of the cost of the rail service to the airport at a quarter-billion dollars.  The above ground option costs $600 million, the MWAA-selected mid-lot underground station costs $925 million, and the original beneath-the-terminal station costs more than $1.4 billion.  If MWAA pays for the line and station on its property, it can build any station it wants without burdening the whole of northern Virginia.  
  • Dulles Toll Road (DTR) riders will stuck with the bulk of the bill, driving today's two dollar tolls to more than $19 each way according to recent MWAA statements.   There is no reason for DTR users to be stuck with this bill, especially when most of them will not be able to use Metrorail to reach their destinations.  Many of them will divert to other local roads to travel to work, shop, or entertainment, and our local roads are already clogged.  Of course, the only people not represented at the table when this deal was cut were toll road users.  Local pols, more concerned about protecting their budgets, pawned the burden off on their own residents.
 A new arrangement must be made for payment of construction of the Dulles Metrorail line, and it must begin with MWAA paying its fair share and DTR users not paying the bulk of the tab. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Opinion: Airport must pay its fair share of rail cost, Fairfax Times, May 27, 2011

The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority's decision to build an underground Metrorail station at Dulles Airport is worthy of the "outrage" expressed by Fairfax and Loudoun counties and other Virginia officials.

For MWAA, this was self-serving because they are expecting the commuting public primarily through the Dulles Toll Road to pay the bulk of the extra $330 million.

It is important to note the main beneficiaries of the rail station at Dulles Airport are tourists, airport employees and business people who travel to the airport none of whom are paying tolls that are financing the project. Passengers traveling to Dulles Airport currently use the free airport access road.

If the airport really wants an underground station, there are many potential options for the airport to contribute: Charge fees for travelers at Dulles. . . .
Click here for the rest of this commentary by Michael Grant, Reston, VA.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Merli: Airports Authority makes mess of Dulles Metro station project, INSIDENOVA.COM, May26, 2011

By Scott Lamar
When Forrest Gump uttered that im­mortal phrase, “Stupid is as stupid does,” he could have been talk­ing about the Metropolitan Washington Airports Au­thority.

In fact, it’s downright breathtaking how utterly baffling such a powerful body could be when it recently voted to spend an extra third of a billion dollars on an underground Metrorail station at Dulles.

This, despite the sentiments of virtually everyone else involved in the mammoth construction project at the county, state and federal levels — not to mention key Silver Line proponent Rep. Frank Wolf.

An aboveground Dulles station would serve the same purposes, and save tons of money and construc­tion time. Who doesn’t know that? That’s rather obvious to everyone except this silly authority, which is, sadly, charged with representing the region’s air-travel needs in such matters.

Curiously, the culprits in this instance are the non-elected officials who hold seats on the authority and who otherwise could have been conveniently drummed out of office in the next election. . . .
 Click here for the rest of this article.  

Commentary: Nine Lives, Del. Ken Plum, Reston Connection, May 27, 2011

The Dulles Corridor Silver Line Metrorail Extension has had many hear-death experiences through its planning to construction. Reaching agreement among the various funding partners at the federal, state, and local levels and the private sector and community seemed at times to be nearly impossible. . . .
 Click here for the rest of Del. Plum's commentary.

Notes on the RTF Steering Committee Meeting, May 25, 2011

                                       27 May 2011
                                       R. Rogers

     Summary: Although the meeting was supposed to focus on a “flexible planning formula” virtually all of it was devoted to discussion of a DPZ map outlining suggested development for the entire Reston TOD area. Many questions were raised about the map, and it reopened old but never answered questions about overall population density and jobs-household balance.  As a result, DPZ will provide more data at the next SC meeting.

     Attendance: 9 out of 12 present.  Also several TF members and Fred Selden, who has become a regular.

Announcements: Chairman Patty Nicoson briefly noted the turbulence about Metrorail Phase 2, but said it was “unimaginable” that it would not go to Dulles.

     She noted activity on the Tyson’s front. This triggered comments, particularly by Mark Looney about the confusion created by the fact that the county had not tested the proposed grid against traffic needs; this was now leading to questions about what should be required. He said this was producing questions by “first re-developers” about what was required of them re the grid, and talk of condemnation of property for a grid of those not developing sooner (note implications for Reston implementation).

     A new report by Herndon consultants was briefly noted. It reduces the TOD area but sticks with a FAR of 4.5, which is viewed as needed to promote development of a kiss and ride.

DPZ Conceptual Land Use Map
     Virtually the entire meeting was taken up with discussion of a DPZ “conceptual land use draft” map of the Reston TOD areas (not yet accessible on county website). The map introduced categories called “transit station mixed use” (immediately adjacent to the stations) and “residential mixed use” outside them.

     It triggered much discussion about what was actually meant by the categories. For example, staff said that the “residential mixed use” areas would be “primarily” residential.  There was discussion about whether the map related to new development or existing uses as well (much of which is office in the “residential mixed use” areas).

     John Carter noted that too much was being implied in too simple map.

     The map then triggered a renewed discussion about the  20 year time frame being used by DPZ.  Many SC members think this too short and some of the sub coms based their recommendations on longer periods.  Fred Selden noted that although FC had gotten the State to give Tyson’s planning a 40 year horizon, DPZ had not asked this for Reston.  He also noted you cannot reasonably predict public infrastructure over a 40 year period.

     This then triggered discussion about the uncertainties implied by using the GMU 2030 “high” forecast plus 20% as a basis for planning.   The duo of John Cater and Robert Goudie said the TF should be planning for what it wants, not what GMU forecasts.

     Eventually it was decided that DPZ at the next meeting should come back with considerable data to show the existing and proposed density and residential-commercial balance in each TOD area, comparing the GMU projections with the possibilities laid out by each of the sub coms.

Comment: Fred Selden during the discussion made several comments indicative of DPZ uneasiness with the density and balance recommended by the TF sub coms.  He noted that under present zoning, there is too much commercial and it needs to be balanced by more residential.  He also said that the TF needs to look at transportation options in view of the likelihood of more congestion.  Again more residential may be needed, he thought, accompanied by parking restrictions in new development (which he noted developers generally do not favor). The DPZ “‘draft map” also implied much more residential than the sub coms, particularly TC, had projected)

“Flexible Planning”
     Although the meeting was supposed to focus on this and a DPZ handout had a proposed a sample flexible framework for H-2 on the south side of Wiehle station, there was virtually no discussion of this.

     However, two visitors, TF member Fred Costello and lawyer Andrew Painter from Walsh Colluci did raise this in the public comments period.

     Costello urged that the TF not lose local control of density to DPZ and a remote county process. He said that right now what is emerging is “half a plan” since it does not include traffic infrastructure.
     Painter re “flexible planning” said:
     --FARs in a plan provide predictability.
     --a “performance based” flexible option needs to be tied to specific FAR increases.

     SC meetings at AM 1 June and PM 7 June and a TF mtg to review SC work on 14 June (see FC website for details.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Va. officials wary of MWAA offer on Dulles Rail, Washington Examiner, May 26, 2011

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, trying to ease outraged Fairfax and Loudoun county officials, has offered to pay more money toward an underground Metro station at Washington Dulles International Airport.
  The proposed deal is the first offered to resolve the disputed placement of the station. In April, the authority voted to build an underground station at a cost $330 million more than an aboveground option. Loudoun and Fairfax officials, whose taxpayers are on the hook for funding the project, reacted immediately and angrily.

Those same officials are now balking at the authority's recent offer, saying the promise of extra cash is not enough to ensure future Dulles Toll Road rates are kept in check. . . .

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Agenda: RTF Steering Committee Meeting, May 25, 2011 (Tonight), 7 PM, North County Government Center

Co-Chairs’ Steering Sub-Committee Meeting
North County Government Center, 12000 Bowman Towne Drive

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 – 7:00-9:00 p.m.


7:00 p.m.       Administrative Items Patty Nicoson, Chair

7:05 p.m.       Public Comment

7:10 p.m.       Staff Update on Flexible Framework
         Draft Land Use Concept Map
         Development Level Zoning Target

8:55 p.m.       Next Meeting
         Date:  To be discussed
         Location:  TBD

9:00 p.m.       Adjourn, Patty Nicoson

Virginia panel to grill board on Dulles project, Washington Examiner, May 24, 2011

A Virginia House committee will grill the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority next month over its decision to build an underground Metro station at Washington Dulles International Airport despite objections from state and local officials who would have to pay for it.
  Del. Joe May, R-Loudoun, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, is scheduling a meeting for mid-June to question the board's decision and look more broadly about how the authority conducts its business. . . .

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

For Reston 2020's  notes on the first Virginia House Committee hearing (March 17, 2011) concerning MWAA's governance and the projected cost of Phase 2 of Dulles Metrorail, please click here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

RCA Resolution Opposing JBG Fairway Apartments Re-Development Proposal, May 23, 2011

To:  Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
      Fairfax County Planning Commission

Dear Board and Planning Commission members,

Attached please find a resolution passed unanimously by the Reston Citizens Board of Directors at its regular monthly meeting last night, May 23, 2011, opposing County approval of JBG's current proposal for re-developing the Fairway Apartments complex on North Shore Drive.

As noted in the brief resolution, the JBG proposal violates a number of both new and long standing Fairfax County and Reston community standards.  The proposed increase in density far exceeds that of the neighborhood and DPZ's own recommendations made last year and is not tied to any TOD area, village center, or other higher density area.  The proposal provides little or no infrastructure relief for this more than doubling of dwelling units, which--from a traffic perspective--will add to congestion and is especially dangerous given the presence of an elementary school across the street.  Despite the huge increase in dwelling units JBG proposes, the Fairway Apartments proposal does not offer adequate workforce, much less affordable, housing in a neighborhood that was once entirely affordable housing.  Finally, the proposal is broadly incompatible with Reston's goal of achieving architectural excellence, offering a 500' unbroken facade on one building, a "Texas doughnut" for another, and three-story townhouses in a neighborhood of two-story homes, among other design flaws. 

In short, the JBG proposal endorsed by Reston's Planning and Zoning Committee on strictly legalistic grounds offers less that either the County or the community expects for re-development in this residential neighborhood and in Reston generally.  We hope that you will find these arguments compelling and will reject JBG's current re-development proposal for Fairway Apartments. 

On behalf of the RCA Board,

Terry Maynard
South Lakes District Representative
Board of Directors
Reston Citizens Association

cc:  Reston Citizens Association Board of Directors
      Reston Association Board of Directors
      Association of Reston Clusters & Homeowners Board of Directors
      Reston Planning & Zoning Committee
      RA Design and Review Board
      Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force
      FC Department of Planning and Zoning
      FC Department of Transportation
      Reston Connection
      Reston Patch
      Fairfax Times
      Restonian Blog
      Go Reston Blog

bcc:  RCA Reston 2020 Committee
        Sustainable Reston
        Save the Glade

Approved RCA Resolution on Fairway Apartments

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dulles Metrorail In Flux, The Bond Buyer, May 19, 2011

Loudoun County Weighs Pullout

Thursday, May 19, 2011

WASHINGTON — Loudoun County, Va., is looking at the possible impact of withdrawing its funding for the Washington, D.C., Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport.
The county board told its staff Tuesday night to study how ­pulling out would affect the rail extension and the airport’s ­operation.
Loudoun Board of Supervisors chairman Scott York says the project is beginning to “derail” because of what he sees as intransigence at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority in negotiating lower costs.
“This group seems not to care where the money’s coming from and seems hell-bent on ignoring the cost for their little wish-list,” he said.
The part of the “wish list” that has supervisors of Loudoun and neighboring Fairfax County fuming is an underground station at the airport estimated to cost about $330 million more than an above-ground station.
Robert Brown, chairman of the MWAA’s finance committee, said “we continue to be very optimistic that we can find a solution.” He said the underground station was in the design and funding plans which Loudoun and Fairfax counties signed at the beginning of the project.
Loudoun County is expected to pay 4.8% of the cost, neighboring Fairfax County has committed to financing 16.1%, and the airports authority is scheduled for 4.1%. The rest would come from federal and state funds and tolls. The project is being built in two stages and the fighting is over phase two. None of phase one is in Loudoun County so it has no funding role.
The MMWA has issued $1.3 billion of bonds in two offerings for its stage-one financing and plans more borrowing later this year or early in 2012. The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority has issued $205.7 million in bonds, slightly more than half its $400 million phase-one contribution.
The original budget estimate for phase two, in 2010, was $2.5 billion. In September, the airports authority raised the cost estimate to $3.5 billion. Both Loudoun and Fairfax counties sent letters to the authority in April warning they might pull out. Loudoun has now taken that threat one step further. Board chairman York expects the staff report by the end of June, but intends to continue meeting with MWAA and Fairfax County officials in the meantime.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairwoman Sharon Bulova says “we fully intend to continue efforts to identify cost reductions to bring the Phase 2 estimate more in line with original estimates.”
The MWAA’s Brown listed several options under discussion, including a smaller rail yard at the end of the line at Dulles Airport. Design changes at stations and their accompanying parking garages could also save money.
In the current economy, Brown thinks construction bids will come in significantly lower than when the estimates were made. The borrowers are also benefitting from lower rates.
Leo Schefer, president of the nonprofit Washington Airports Task Force, says the continuing cost negotiations are what matter.
“A Loudoun pullout is probably irrelevant, because if the costs aren’t reduced, our fear is there would be no project,” he said. “And if the costs are reduced, we are hopeful that Loudoun County will remain in the project.”

Fairfax County Remains Committed to Dulles Rail, Fairfax County Press Release, May 18, 2011

May 18, 2011 – Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova said today that the county remains committed to Dulles Rail.  

"Fairfax County remains committed to a Dulles Rail project that will provide service all the way to the airport. While we have a disagreement with MWAA over their preference for a more costly airport station location, we fully intend to continue efforts to identify cost reductions to bring the Phase 2 estimate more in line with original estimates. This includes our continuing to urge MWAA to reconsider their underground station decision. The Rail to Dulles project is Fairfax County's highest transportation priority and must not fall short of its full potential."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Airport task force calls for Dulles rail cuts, Dr. Gridlock, Washington Post, May 17, 2011

The nonprofit Washington Airports Task Force on Tuesday recommended trimming up to $780 million from the ballooning cost of the second phase of Metrorail’s extension to Loudoun County.

Leo Schefer, president of the Dulles-based group, called funding of the estimated $3.5 billion project “the most serious crisis” since the White House’s decision to close Reagan National Airport for several weeks after 9/11.

“We’re very concerned at what is happening with phase two of Dulles rail,” Schefer said. . . .
Click here for the rest of this article.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Loudoun supervisors: Localities should have representation on airports board, Loudoun Times, May 17, 2011

by Crystal Owens

Localities should have more say in how the now controversial Dulles Metrorail Project is governed, Loudoun County supervisors said Tuesday.

In a move to support recently proposed legislation by U.S. Congressman Frank Wolf (R-10th) that would allow members of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority – the board that controls the project – to be removed at any time by the officials that sponsored them, Loudoun supervisors said they believe they, along with elected leaders in Fairfax County and the City of Arlington should have that same power.

Fairfax County and Arlington officials were included in discussions because of the locations of Metrorail and Reagan International Airport, which MWAA also governs along with Dulles Airport. . .

Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) said supervisors have always known that MWAA members would do what they wanted with the Dulles Rail Project without input from local officials, leaving Loudoun to “beg” for a decrease in spending.

The supervisor called MWAA a “deadbeat board” that’s “ripping the taxpayers of Loudoun, Fairfax and Virginia off.”

No labor agreement

Supervisors on Tuesday also agreed to draft a letter to the MWAA board officially objecting to a plan that would require a project labor agreement, or PLA, for Phase 2 of the Dulles Rail Project.
A PLA would add another $300 million in labor costs to the project, according to Loudoun Chairman Scott York (I-At Large). . . .
 Click here for the rest of this article.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wolf, Connaughton Warn About Impacts From Increasing Silver Line Costs, Leesburg Today, May 16, 2011

Alternative content

As was expected, much of Friday's annual State of Transportation breakfast hosted by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce focused around the future of the Dulles Rail project and the ongoing battle over the Dulles Airport station and the ever-increasing price tag of the Silver Line Metro project.
Both of the morning speakers-Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-VA-10) and Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton-promised the room full of business leaders, elected representatives and political candidates that they would continue to push until a positive resolution is found for Northern Virginia taxpayers and Dulles Toll Road users. Wolf in particular came out swinging against the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors . . . .
"Something has gone awry. The system has gone down," he said, pointing out that the deciding vote on the nomination of a new CEO for MWAA was cast by someone who had not been a meeting in two years and who was voting by proxy. He noted that every agency, organization and individual who looked at Phase 2 of the project agreed that the Dulles Airport station should be above ground to save money over MWAA's preference for an underground station
"There is no reason and no excuse for their insistence this station be underground," Wolf said. . .
Connaughton questioned what impact that would have to the surrounding road network.

"If 30 percent of traffic avoids the toll road because of higher tolls, where are they going to go?" he asked, answering quickly with the obvious answer-"to the already overburdened and congested roads in Northern Virginia," which will lead to increased wear and tear on those roadways.

"Then it ends up costing the state billions of dollars to make those improvements," Connaughton said. . . .
Click here for the rest of this post.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mixed-Income Housing Near Transit, CTOD, University of Maryland, September 2009

This report is one of a "(o)ne in a series of best practices guidebooks from The Center for Transit-Oriented Development," the University of Maryland center of excellence on TOD matters.

From the introduction:
 . . . (W)hile providing for a mix of incomes in communities in general is good, providing for a mix of incomes in walkable neighborhoods near transit is even better – for all of the reasons shown in the illustration to the right: Most importantly, in addition to the savings realized because housing is affordably priced, families living near transit can also own fewer cars – or no cars – and drive them less, which means significant savings on transportation costs. . . (It also) has the potential to reduce . . . greenhouse gas emissions, and to address the growing gap between rich and poor.
However, we must act now to ensure that the housing built in these locations provides for a mix of incomes or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will be lost. Changing demographics and concern about traffic has boosted demand for housing near transit and the supply is not keeping up with the increased demand. Because of this, and because developing in these locations is more time-consuming, difficult and expensive, most new housing is being built for the high end of the market, and many of the low-income residents who already live in these locations are being forced out.
All of this advances the Reston Master Plan planning principle objectives for Transportation, Environment, and Diversity.  

Mixed Income Housing Near Transit--CTOD--09/2009

Airports Board Concerned Over Proposal To Give State Leaders More Power, WAMU 88.5, May 13, 2011

Jonathan Wilson

May 13, 2011 - In Virginia, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board isn't thrilled with a proposal from Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) that would allow state leaders to more easily remove sitting board members.

The legislation Wolf introduced this week would make it easier for the governors of Maryland and Virginia, and the D.C. mayor, to replace members of the board that oversees Washington Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

It would also increase the size of the board altogether -- giving Virginia four more members of the body that oversees the airports and the project connecting Metrorail service to Dulles. . . .

. . . The Airports Authority board says Wolf's proposal is "concerning because of its potential impact on our organization and its mission." . . . 
 Click here for the rest of this article and an audio link.

Notes on the Reston P&Z Committee Meeting, April 18, 2011


Members Present:  Bruce, Cerny, Cupina, Donohue, Eckhardt, Hill, Kennedy, Murphy, Romeo, Traylor, Weber, and Wynands

Members Absent: Muhammed, Straits, Vanell, Walker, and Weissburg

Agenda Item:  Fairway Apartments (near North Shore Dr. north of Temporary Rd.)—Owner JGB Company’s presentation of a revised redevelopment plan.  New plan includes 804 units, a reduction of about 130 units from the previous proposal.  The 342 existing rental units on the site would be demolished.  This is the fifth revision of the Fairways redevelopment proposal.  Density of the overall development is decreased from 50 units per acre in the previous proposal to 43 units per acre.

The meeting began at 7:32 pm.

John Schlichting and Alex San Andres represented JGB.  Also representing JGB were Bob Lawrence of Reed Smith and Matt Koirtyohann of Urban Engineering.
The plan eliminates the high-rise building included in the previous proposal.  The new plan includes two 5-story buildings (both on the west side of the development), one 4-story building (on the east side), and 131 three-story townhouses.  The 5-story building would provide underground parking.  Structured parking would adjoin the other two buildings.

Multifamily rental units:  673.
“For sale” townhouse units:  131.
Workforce housing units:  80.
Affordable Dwelling Units:  7.

Members asked a number of questions which elicited the following information from JGB—

Amenities:  Two tot lots.  Additional amenities are under consideration.

Open space:  42% on east side; 36% on west side.  Open space excludes streets and paved surfaces.

Developer will aim to meet LEED silver standard for the buildings and LEED ND gold for the development as a whole.

Permeable paving surface would be used in outdoor parking areas, but not in the driving aisles.

The heights of buildings nearest to North Shore Drive have been reduced and more green space would be created.  Density would increase towards the southeast corner of the site.

Construction schedule:  No earlier than spring 2013, perhaps spring 2014.

Existing residents would receive relocation assistance.

Mr. Kennedy referred to language in the Fairfax County staff report recommending denial of the previous application which stated that any proposed redevelopment of the Fairways site should aim for the midpoint of the maximum allowable density on the site (between an minimum of 20 du/acre and 50 du/acre).  Mr. Kennedy questioned why JGB’s new proposal lowered the proposed density from the previous 50 du/acre to 43 du/acre only, when the midpoint would be about 35 du/acre (which would produce about 658 units, some 146 units less than the revised proposal). 

In response, Mr. Schlichting stated that Fairfax County staff is satisfied with the revised proposal.

Audience comments focused on traffic concerns, particularly at North Shore Dr. and Temporary Rd., and the loss of affordable housing.

Richard Newlon of the Reston Association’s Design review board (DRB) said DRB has serious reservations about the revised proposal.  He cited the “massiveness” of the structures and the “unReston-like” length and arrangement of some of the buildings.  One of the multifamily buildings would be shaped somewhat like a donut where the residential units would surround an interior parking structure.  That building’s length would exceed that of a typical block in downtown Washington.

Mr. Newlon said although the DRB liked the location of townhouses at the perimeter of the site near North Shore Dr., the height of the 3-story townhouses would be too high for the location and would not fit in with existing 2-story townhouses in the immediate area.  In general, the design of the townhouses would be inconsistent with nearby townhouses in a number of ways, including in the placement of three parallel rows of units, a site design found nowhere else in Reston.

In conclusion, Mr. Newlon said the developer needs to rethink the density of the site.  The “livability” of Reston would suffer if the proposed development goes forward as currently designed, he said.

Mr. Cerny then read a letter from Diane Blust of Sustainable Fairfax urging P&Z to recommend denial of the proposal on the grounds that it would reduce affordable housing in Reston and create too much density at an unsuitable location.

Mr. Hill then introduced a motion recommending approval of the proposal subject to any requirements and/or suggestions from Fairfax County staff.  Mr. Cupina seconded.

Mr. Cerny said he would oppose the motion on two grounds:

1.      The proposal would result in a reduction of 255 units of relatively affordable rental housing when recent U.S. Census data suggests that Reston is becoming increasingly unaffordable to working families and young persons.

2.      The revised proposal still results in too much density at an inappropriate location.  The proposed density would be appropriate along the Dulles corridor, or within or in proximity to the Reston Town Center or a village center.  Even though the maximum allowable density at the site is 50du/acre, the surrounding area developed at a significantly lower density. 

The motion passed:  10-1.  Kennedy abstained.     

Minutes of the March 2011 meeting:  Hill motioned for approval; Kennedy seconded.  The minutes were approved by unanimous vote. 

No other business was discussed.
The meeting adjourned at 9:38 pm. 
Next P&Z meeting:  May 16, 2011, 7:30 pm, North County Government Center.  

Notes by Stephen Cerny