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Votes

Topping Off in '07?

What do they say?

After generating a lot of debate in 2006, the density cap issue will certainly be one of the main talking points in Reston in 2007. Here is what some of Reston's public figures have to say about the Reston density cap leading into 2007.

Jennifer Blackwell, president, Reston Association Board of Directors:

"It is certainly a complicated matter, and once it is reviewed we can take a public position," said Blackwell about the density cap issue. RA's Planning and Zoning Committee reviewed and voted to recommend to the RA Board of Directors a Fairfax County staff proposal to keep the density cap at 13 people per acre, change the process developers go through to build in Reston and change the formula calculating Reston's population. Blackwell said the RA Board would wait for the Environmental and Transportation Committees to review the proposal before taking a public position. She said the issue is on the county level. "We will see what RA's role can and will be, and what members will want us to do. We can be a large voice," said Blackwell.

Catherine Hudgins, supervisor, Hunter Mill District:

"I do want to keep looking at it [before taking a position]. It is important that it's first and foremost understood by the community," said Hudgins about Reston's density issue. Debating the density cap is a way for Restonians to see where the future of the community lies, and where the most appropriate places to build new developments are located. Hudgins said she is in favor of a more stringent review of developments by the Board of Supervisors and the county staff. She is also in favor of a community review of developments. Hudgins said the county staff's proposal to change the approval process for developers allows a lot more scrutiny of their plans than currently exists.

Marion Myers, chairman, Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce:

"I think it's important we're having this conversation," said Myers about Reston's density cap issue. She said that population factors needed to be revised in order for the formulas to be based on current census data. As far as building up Reston in the future is concerned, Myers said nobody wants to see the character of Reston disappear with more development. "I don't think anybody wants to see our little clusters and neighborhoods taken apart," she said. An appropriate place to add more residents would be in transit-oriented neighborhoods, so that the rest of the community does not bear the burden of new transportation needs. Myers added that the area around Lake Anne does need more residential build-up, which will in turn work towards helping the economic revitalization efforts in that part of Reston.

Bob Simon, founder of Reston:

"Increased density will mean better amenities. The community needs to be assured that the density will go where it belongs," said Simon. The areas he considers suitable for more residential development are the Reston Town Center, the village centers and the area around the proposed Wiehle Avenue station. "That will get rid of all of the opposition [to higher density]," said Simon. He added that the building around Reston Town Center should go all the way out to Baron Cameron Avenue, where the Home Depot store is. The rebuilding of the Spectrum Center to higher density works towards Simon's vision for that part of Reston.

Simon is especially interested in building up the Lake Anne Village Center through the revitalization process, which is related to the density issue for entire Reston. "Opposition [to higher density at Lake Anne] would disappear if individual clusters would be ensured they won't be affected by it," said Simon.