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Life after the Charrette

After a 10-month slow down, RCRC begins to build momentum on Lake Anne revitalization.

There is $5 billion worth of development going on at the seven revitalization areas in Northern Virginia, Kurt Pronske told fellow board members of the Reston Community Reinvestment Corporation (RCRC) last week.

“And you know how much of that is in Lake Anne,” said Pronske, president of RCRC, referring to the fact that there is no redevelopment going on in the Lake Anne Revitalization area.

Fairfax County designated the 40-year-old Lake Anne Village Center a revitalization area in 1998, yet the aging commercial and residential core of Reston has yet to see any money invested.

Last summer, revitalization seemed to be on the fast track after the county helped fund a series of focus groups and the Lake Anne Revitalization Charrette.

But the RCRC board, charged with leading the effort to coordinate revitalization at Lake Anne, proceeded slowly the past 10 months waiting to review a final charrette report, which has yet to be released. In addition, the board may have felt marginalized as a group of property owners late last year began to consider the formation of a limited liability corporation (LLC) to facilitate talks with developers.

WHILE AN LLC remains a possibility, RCRC has begun to regain its momentum from last summer. At its monthly meeting last Thursday, April 13, RCRC learned of some encouraging news.

In the next week, the county will release a request for proposals to secure technical assistance to help establish development principles for the revitalization area — something RCRC has urged for the past several months. During the process to establish development principles, community stakeholders will again have an opportunity to provide input, according to county officials.

Once the RFP is sent out, it will take about a month and a half before a consultant is selected.

The selected consultant may also help with filing an “out- of-turn” amendment to the Planning and Zoning Commission to expedite redevelopment at Lake Anne.

IN THE MEANTIME, RCRC has still had to contend with a much delayed report from the consultants who facilitated the charrette held last June.

Since RCRC’s last meeting, three board members were allowed to review the original charrette report, which was submitted by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission three months ago but is still being revised to accommodate comments from the county. County officials expect the official report will be released this week.

“It’s a slightly amplified version of what is posted on the web,” said Rick Thompson, an RCRC board member who reviewed the original report submitted to the county. He added that the county’s recommended changes focus on punctuation and grammar.

“Was it a clear expression of the community?” said Howard Green, RCRC board member.

Besides some factual errors and extension of the facts, “there wasn’t much editorializing,” said Thompson.

There was some question whether or not the report had enough substance to be consequential. “It will be an extension of the focus groups,” said Pronske.

Yet the board seemed to agree that the charrette served its purpose. “By airing revitalization issues and trying to reach consensus, I think it was successful,” said Lee Rau, Redevelopment and Housing Authority Commissioner (Hunter Mill).