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A Diminished RCRC on Horizon

As property owners at Lake Anne Village Center consider their next move, the Reston Community Reinvestment Corporation will play a diminished role.

Letters to about 150 developers have been sent out by the county’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) requesting comment about revitalization at the Lake Anne Village Center.

In the letter, developers are asked to contact the county’s revitalization office to provide comments about the design results from the charrette and future development at Lake Anne.

"The Office of Revitalization is interested in knowing the pros and cons of this option from a developer’s perspective," says the letter, referring to option E developed at the charrette.

"Furthermore, the community has expressed that an affordable housing component be part of any development at Lake Anne. If you would like to provide comments addressing these issues on the future development of Lake Anne, please contact Ayanna Brown," the letter says.

LAST WEEK, July 14, the Reston Community Reinvestment Corporation (RCRC) met to discuss the next steps in Lake Anne’s redevelopment with the letter’s author, Harry Swanson, deputy director of revitalization and real estate at HCD. RCRC has represented many of the owners or representatives of Lake Anne properties, which include Lake Anne Condominium, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Washington Plaza Baptist Church, Millennium Bank, Reston Association, "E" Block, the Association of School Business Officials International, the Fellowship Square Foundation, 24-7 Mercado and the Mark Winkler Company.

At the meeting Swanson presented some options to property owners in how they could proceed with development, which included becoming a limited liability corporation (LLC), a community development authority (CDA) or a business improvement district (BID).

Each option would give the property owners greater authority to hear proposals from developers.

Property owners are interested in forming a more formal organization, like an LLC, to deal with developers as a group, helping ensure that any future development is consistent with the community’s consensus. According to the minutes of the previous RCRC meeting on June 9, property owners have "recently begun to form such an organization."

The meeting also involved discussions about the possibility for Lake Anne to receive money from the capital improvement program via bond referendum.

THE MEETING MARKED a turning point for the future of RCRC, which has been the only group representing property owners.

At the meeting last week, Kurt Pronske, RCRC president, said that the RCRC’s job is done, except for helping secure money from the Investment in Communities Program (ICP) to help Lake Anne revitalization. "We’ve done our job," he said.

In January of 2004, the county Board of Supervisors officially recognized RCRC as the organization representing the Lake Anne revitalization area.

For eight years now, RCRC has worked to facilitate joint public and private efforts to improve the Lake Anne Village Center.

Just two months ago, RCRC requested and secured $30,000 from the county to hold the Lake Anne revitalization charrette.

RCRC has consistently facilitated Fairfax County’s effort to help give an economic boost to the Lake Anne Village Center, which the county Board of Supervisors named a revitalization area in 1998.

RCRC’s efforts helped bring in an outside consultant to assess the economic needs of the village center. When the economic report was issued in March, the RCRC also supported the series of focus groups that followed.

Being a nonprofit group, RCRC may continue in the future to funnel grants for public-use purposes, such as public parking. If the property owners move forward as planned and establish a formal group, like an LLC, then that group — not the RCRC — will be the locus of Lake Anne revitalization.