Wednesday’s DRB / JBG workshop was interesting. Before the workshop began, I read my Oct. 22, 2011, letter to Cathy Hudgins (see link) citing the reasons a senior oriented development would make great sense and followed up with the stat from last the January 24 Reston Task Force meeting by Lisa Sturtevant of GMU that 60% of retirees stay in Fairfax Co. and probably that percentage is larger in Reston due to its unique flavor. I stressed the win/win philosophy of Reston 2020.
JBG stated that they can’t afford to keep going back to the drawing board and wanted some direction from DRB as to what would be approved. JBG’s John Schlicting was there and stated that he is retiring Feb. 1st. He introduced Greg Trimmer who was there with his project partner, Bailey who would be taking over from him.
Nothing majorly new was presented by JBG except contemporary façades on the buildings. DRB member Richard Newlon wasted no time in pointing this out. He is not subtle and put JBG on notice early on that he was disappointed. Other board members followed suit.
During a two hour discussion and back/forth, some on the DRB board gave passing thought to approving Texas Donut construction. Comments were made that those cheaply constructed buildings do not age well and are miserable mass housing options not suitable for the community-focused Reston landscape. Ed Abbott was particularly opposed to the Texas Donut and pointed out that when the DRB first met with JBG many months ago, it stated categorically that Texas Donuts were unacceptable structures for Reston .
Jennifer Byl was very concerned with the height at 3 ½ floors of the townhouses bordering the complex. I was thinking that wasn’t as important and may even help integrate the bigger buildings in the complex except for the units directly adjacent to the Clubhouse Cluster. Too tall townhouses would block their western light. Since there are only 8 of those units, not too many of the Fairways units might be affected if sited correctly.
At the end, I spoke up again and said to JBG, “Ditch the donut and pay attention to whom you are marketing. If it’s young and singles, you will want one type of development but if it’s seniors and handicapped, you will design to another style.”
I was trying to facilitate a win/win by having JBG realize that seniors wouldn’t want or need a Texas Donut which would’ve helped the DRB get the substantive changes it needs to approve JBG’s plan, but Mike Miller commented that the DRB wasn’t concerned with JBG’s marketing focus. Jennifer Byl did speak up in favor the senior concept, however.
What we need here is a classy development with superb architecture that will be welcomed with open arms and not devalue the neighboring properties by creating a traffic nightmare and overburdening of the surrounding infrastructure.
Another workshop is scheduled for February. I don’t know if the BOS meeting (to approve the JBG proposal) will remain as scheduled. That will be decided later. Clearly Supervisor Hudgins is mediating between the DRB and JBG regarding comments made by the DRB who felt they had been taken advantage of by JBG’s going to the county P & Z before getting concept approval from the DRB.
I spoke to Greg Trimmer after the meeting briefly as well as wishing the JBG architect good luck and telling them both to not even consider a donut as it would never be approved in Reston .
Co-Chair, Reston 2020