Opinion: Commentary: What to Look Forward to in Hunter Mill District in 2019?

Opinion: Commentary: What to Look Forward to in Hunter Mill District in 2019?

As I reflect over the last year serving as the Hunter Mill District supervisor, I am proud of what we have accomplished and look forward to bringing to fruition several projects next year. With your community involvement, our 2018 strategic planning efforts have been remarkable; 2019 will be our year to finalize the objectives with realized goals. Let’s take a look at what we might expect.

In Fairfax County, there is still a buzz generating new organizational vigor with new County Executive Bryan Hill, new Deputy County Executive for Human Service Tisha Deeghan, and new Fire & Rescue Chief John Butler. On the horizon, revitalized energy flows between the Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County School Board. We are working together on matters of budget and community programming to unify services delivery rather than piecemeal implementation.

Great expectations at the Park Authority: Work will wrap up on the Sugarland Run Stream Valley Park trail improvements. This project has involved repaving of 12,000 linear feet, or nearly 2.1 miles of trail beginning at Kingstream Circle to Dranesville Road. Even more, the Park Authority is investigating improvements or restoration to the stream crossing that had been washed out in this section.

For seventeen years, my office, partnering with formerly Reston Interfaith, now Cornerstones, has successfully run the Coat Closet. The 2018/2019 winter coat drive is currently in progress. It runs until to March 14, 2019. The overwhelming support by individuals, companies, organizations, and congregations is responsible for its success of serving the needs of our community.

WITH THE OPENING of Phase Two of the Silver Line drawing closer daily, both the Reston Town Center and Herndon-Monroe stations are nearly complete. Even if weather may delay the opening celebration of Phase Two. it is near. The addition of two stations in the community will give everyone a more convenient, green way to travel while giving our visitors the chance to stop by without a car. The presence of the Silver Line stimulates a vibrant economic foundation, making Reston and Tysons very attractive residential and business opportunities. The extension of the Silver Line through Reston Town Center will help alleviate traffic while reinforcing Reston’s reputation as a place where people can work, live, and play.

Let’s not forget the Library events and highlights for the coming year. While some of the libraries’ programs respond to new trends, others help people to keep up and catch up. At all times the programs target the public as a whole … in job searches, language instruction, teen and school age students and continuing early literacy programs. Once the initial introduction period concludes, the programs continue and become regular offerings.

In this list I have targeted the adult programs, but all the children's programs, so well attended and counted on, continue.

  • Knitting programs at Reston and Patrick Henry teach knitting skills and share projects.
  • Author events, like the Reston-hosted author David Baldacci in December, sponsored by the Friends of the Reston Library, continue in February with crime fiction novelist Walter Mosley speaking.
  • Continuing programs for all ages at Reston Regional and Patrick Henry with ESL, Computer coding STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics), STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Mathematics), Book Clubs, Story Times
  • You might want to consider a fascinating new program. The Memory Depot is a do-it-yourself (DIY) station, which enables you to digitize material, including VHS video cassettes; photographic prints, negatives and slides; scrapbooks and other documents, and audio cassettes are coming soon.

Please note all library programs are free and timely. We have an incredible staff of professionals assure good times ahead for the reading public.

In a different vein, think about a plan for the entire Fairfax community addressing housing needs over the next 15 years. The Communitywide Housing Strategic Plan evolved from a partnership between the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC). Together, county staff, nonprofit leaders, stakeholders, members of the business community, and the real estate industry developed 25 specific strategies to address the coming housing needs.

In Phase 1, these 25 short-term strategies have been implemented without major policy changes or significant sources of new revenue.

Phase 2 includes longer-term strategies for developing new tools, policies, and resources to support the production, preservation and access to affordable housing. Since October 2018, a Phase 2 Affordable Housing Resources Panel has been reviewing existing housing needs projections for 2033

IN THE FIRST QUARTER of 2019 and in time to be included in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget guidance, the panel reports to the Board of Supervisors and recommends realistic affordable housing goals regarding future housing needs.

After a host of community meetings and small group work sessions, the Board of Supervisors authorized the public hearings for the proposed Planned Residential Community (PRC) Zoning Ordinance Amendment. Existing language has governed the development in Reston for more than 40 years. With the approval of the Comprehensive Plan amendment in 2015, there has been a need to synch both documents to sustain our evolving community. The goal is to guide community maturation over the next 40 years to continue the initial vision for the special place called Reston.

Fairfax County, partnering with Inova Health Care Services (Inova), is looking to create a transit-oriented development adjacent to Reston Town Center. The Comprehensive Plan has identified eight parcels among the entities for redevelopment. The County has identified several benefits for the proposed redevelopment including the expansion of the Reston Regional Library, upgrading the delivery of human services and the provision of affordable housing for the workforce. Currently, there is a proposed rezoning pending to establish the grid of streets, with future planning and procurement options under evaluation.

One final point, may I remind us that in this era of rapid changes, all of us are affected. In the last 19 years Reston has grown remarkably to more than 62,500 residents. There have been extensive changes in the policy and legislative arena, the environment, technology, and local business that we must acknowledge and embrace.

Borrowing from Mr. Shakespeare, the past is prolog; simply put, we have a lot of work to do ahead in 2019. Frankly, I am looking forward to the next adventure.