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'Worst Plan' Proposed

County: JBG will likely attain approval for 600-unit building with commercial and retail space, eventually.

County staff says JBG Companies’ most recently proposed project to build a high-density mixed-use building near the Sheraton Hotel in Reston is not only ugly, but will soon be rejected.

“It is the worst plan most of us have ever seen,” said Barbara A. Byron, Fairfax County’s director of zoning evaluation, earlier this month. During a meeting on Oct. 4, Byron said county staff has dubbed it the “boomerang.”

The project, which only requires approval from the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, includes plans for 600 residential units combined with extensive commercial and retail space.

The 10-acre site will boost density to 120.5 people per acre and allow for three acres of open space.

County officials said the project will be rejected initially, but added that it is only a matter of time before JBG attains approval after making modifications to its plan.

THE DEVELOPMENT, which was submitted to the county in July, will take up some of the last remaining residential units allowed under the density “cap.”

For the past several months, the community has been involved in a heated debate on future density in Reston after finding out in February that the maximum allowable density of 13 persons per acre was fast approaching.

Since then the county has pushed for the ordinance to be amended, recommending changes that would allow greater density to the tune of 3,800 additional high-rise units.

AT THE FIRST community meeting hosted by the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee on Oct. 4, county officials talked about JBG’s proposed development, arguing it was an example of “by-right” development.

Staffers warned that Reston’s residential areas currently built at low- to medium-density, but zoned high-density, could soon be threatened by redevelopment — with no legislative oversight.

For this reason, according to Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, the county has proposed a change to the Planned Residential Community ordinance to require development approval from both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.

The second community meeting on density, held Tuesday, Oct. 24, occurred after the Connection went to press. To see coverage of the meeting, visit www.ConnectionNewspapers.com.