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Tour Guide for Revitalization

Founder’s Day walk explains plan recommendations.

After the Founder’s Day reception at the Reston Museum, the community’s founder Bob Simon took the public on his annual walk around Lake Anne. This year’s walk, however, had more purpose to it as Simon explained his interpretation of the latest recommendations for the Lake Anne comprehensive plan amendment.

"Anything that is going to be built will have to be sensitive to the existing buildings," said Simon. Kurt Pronske, the president of the Reston Community Reinvestment Corporation — the community group involved in revitalization efforts — took residents on a walk to four spots at Lake Anne Village Center. First, the residents stood near the site of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

"This is a nice pedestrian alley leading to nowhere," said Pronske about the entrance to the Washington Plaza, next to Jasmine Café. He said the plan recommendations include text that would make pedestrian connections to the plaza from other areas of the village center.

"This promenade was designed to be the grand entry" to the plaza, said Patrick Kane, a long-time Reston resident, and a planner by profession, "But the grand entry to whom? You have to have people living there," he said about the area where a residential tower of at least 14 stories is recommended to go.

The walk continued to the opposite end of the plaza, stopping just short of the Lake Anne office building, which houses the Laurel Learning Center. The plaza was not visible from the site. Simon said any future development on the site would not impact the ambiance of the plaza. "Think of what nonsense that is," he said.

Pronske said any new building at the site would enhance the plaza, not destroy its ambiance.

The walk continued to the center of the plaza, close to the bronze statue of Simon. Pronske explained if a person stood at the plaza and looked north, towards Baron Cameron Avenue, that person would not see any buildings he or she does not see now. "If sitting on Bronze Bob’s lap, the building at Crescent Apartments would have to be 28 stories high for you to see it," said Pronske. He said a part of the building opposite of the Heron House would be seen, but would not affect the ambiance of the plaza.

Simon said that looking north from that spot, a person might see parts of future buildings, but that they would be in the distance and would not impact the plaza.

"The integrity of this plaza is totally ensured," said Simon.

THE WALK CONTINUED to the corner of Village Road and North Shore Drive, by the entrance to the parking lot at Lake Anne Village Center. Pronske explained that the ASBO building would be removed to open up the plaza to Baron Cameron Avenue, in order to bring people to it. "That’s Planning 101, and that building’s got to go," he said.

Simon explained there would likely be two residential towers on either side of Village Road, the road leading from Baron Cameron Avenue into Lake Anne Village Center. "If I were still running things they would be joined," said Simon, so that people coming into the village center would have to pass under a gateway. Simon added: "Just take a look at how far the plaza is."

Reston resident Nancy Davis clarified that the current proposal does not consist of building ideas and plans, but guidelines for future building. "That’s what the assignment was," said Simon, who praised the consultant recommendations for the plan amendment and design guidelines.

"We’re designing the bookends," said Pronske.

While the guidelines are meant to guide development over the next 40 years, Simon acknowledged that any future development would happen much sooner than that. "I would be very disappointed if this didn’t get built out in nine, 10, years," he said.