Commentary: Addressing Citizens’ Density Concerns

Commentary: Addressing Citizens’ Density Concerns

My thanks to the many concerned citizens who have worked to share your thoughts regarding Reston’s future. My goal has always been and will continue to be identifying what is best for Reston and continuing Robert Simons’ vision for a “Planned Community” where people can live, work and play.

The proposed amendment to the Planned Residential Community (PRC) Zoning Ordinance for Reston that is currently under consideration is designed to implement the recently adopted Comprehensive Plan for Reston. Fairfax County’s Planning and Zoning staff is recommending that the maximum persons per acre be increased from 13 up to 16, with 16 persons being appropriate for full implementation of the Plan’s recommendations.

The plan approved in 2015 was specifically written to protect the existing stable residential communities and reinforce the preservation of Reston’s two golf courses. In addition, it provided opportunities for additional growth in some areas planned PRC.

These potential growth areas include the Village Centers, the St. Johns Wood apartments, the retail area north of Baron Cameron where the Home Depot is located, Reston Town Center North, portions of the Reston Town Center and a few other PRC parcels located in the Transit Station Areas.

At the Feb. 13 meeting, several issues were discussed. In particular, both Reston Association (RA) and the Coalition for a Planned Reston (CPR) requested a response from Fairfax County’s planning staff to the specific recommendations contained in letters from both groups. I will acknowledge that the response was slow in coming; but a commitment was made to respond and the planning staff did so in a detailed and thoughtful manner. It is unfortunate that CPR and RA declined to meet on April 2 to discuss the staff’s response and to outline next steps and the process going forward.

As you may recall, Hunter Mill Planning Commissioner John Carter suggested that we all roll up our sleeves and work to resolve the issues before us and it was decided that addressing key issues in small group settings would be pursued. My support for this approach has not changed. I would like to propose that we meet, as soon as possible, to establish a set meeting schedule, to have these in depth issues discussed.

Moving forward, I have asked Goldie Harrison of my staff to reach out to RA, CPR and County planning staff to schedule a meeting to discuss the process going forward, followed by work sessions with small groups focused on topics such as infrastructure implementation, transportation, schools and parks.

As was evident again this year at the Founder’s Day celebration, Reston is a special place that we all love and I am confident that we can all work together to resolve the issue of the maximum density allowed in the PRC zoned area and the concerns of the community regarding the Reston Master Plan.