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Reston Planning Discusses Park and Ride

Members of Planning and Zoning Committee discuss issues likely to come before them this year.

At its first meeting of 2007, Reston Association's Planning and Zoning Committee discussed what projects and issues might come to its table in the new year. Many issues were discussed, but the proposed Reston South Park and Ride development took up most of the meeting's time on Monday.

The public private partnership development proposal for the site of the park and ride caught the eye of the Reston public when hundreds came to a Dec. 6 meeting, demanding to see the specifics of the proposal. They were denied, because the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (PPEA) protects the proprietary rights of the developer.

"As contentious as it is, it is [an issue] we cannot avoid," said Dave Edwards. He said the committee should look into how public-private partnerships can be modified to allow the public to know more about certain projects. "Somehow the procedure needs to be tweaked a bit," he said.

Chairman David Vanell agreed, saying the general public was probably not interested in details about the developer, but rather how the proposed development would look.

The committee members agreed to invite a member of the Fairfax County staff to come to a meeting and explain the process behind the PPEA. Arthur Hill said the committee had to know what the process was before addressing any specific projects.

THE COMMITTEE also discussed other issues, including Reston's density cap issue. Vanell, said he did not believe developers would buy out townhouse clusters to build up more dense residential areas.

"Look at the Merrifield area," said Edwards, rebutting Vanell's statement.

The committee also agreed that it should see development proposals on the periphery of Reston. Members remembered that in the past they used to review such proposals. "[Supervisor Cathy] Hudgins now has a planning committee that sees anything outside of Reston," said Bruce Wright. As far as specific projects are concerned, Hill said that within the next two months, the committee should review the proposal to redevelop the Spectrum center. "That is a very big proposition, and there are a lot of people there with very long leases," said Hill.

At the meeting the committee confirmed the appointments of five members whose three-year terms began on Jan. 1, 2007. The committee also appointed Tim Donohue as an associate member of the committee. The position of an associate member was created to encourage more community involvement. The committee will consider other candidates for more associate member positions. Associate members are not voting members, but if regular members are absent from meetings, associate members gain voting privileges.