After the Fairfax County Planning Commission voted 12-0 at its Feb. 13, 2019 meeting to recommend that the Board of Supervisors deny approval of the controversial PRC Zoning Amendment, a surprise move occurred during the Supervisors meeting on March 5, 2019. The action would have increased the number of people per acre allowed, increasing density.
Although the agenda called for a public hearing on the Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment Re: Article 6 – Density Provisions for the Reston PRC District, Catherine M. Hudgins, Supervisor Hunter Mill District addressed the amendment earlier in the meeting.
Hudgins stated, "Madame Chairman, I move that the Board of Supervisors indefinitely defer consideration of the proposed Zoning Amendment for the Reston PRC District Regulations.” According to Robert's Rules of Order, a motion to "indefinitely defer" essentially kills the motion or consideration, in this case, the proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment. Hudgins has announced she will not seek reelection in November.
IN HER REMARKS, Hudgins said, "The Reston Plan, which had broad community support, strategically focused almost all potential future growth within the Town Center and the other two Metro station areas. New plan language was also added to protect Reston’s existing residential neighborhoods and its two golf courses and to establish a more stringent policy should future redevelopment of the Village Centers be considered.” Hudgins noted that the 13 persons per acre maximum density allowed in the entire Reston PRC District would need to be monitored and revisited in the future to implement the plan for Reston fully.
Hudgins said that a proposed solution of the Planning Commission was to "reexamine the plan for the village centers and then reconsider the PRC amendment. ... This will take time, and I will be working with staff and community representatives to outline a process and timeframe for this to happen."
Hudgins praised staff saying they had been dedicated to the project for a year and a half. She reminded all that respect and engagement with the staff must move to a higher level.
"I know this has been difficult for you and the Reston community,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova to Hudgins. She too thanked the staff who as Bulova said, "Worked very, very hard to respond to questions asked and information that has been requested. But this is not easy, and I know that folks have asked for the opportunity to maybe step back and try to revisit a process that will allow things to move forward in a way where there is more community engagement and support for the path forward." After the motion passed, the public hearing was canceled.
RESPONSES immediately poured in from the Reston community. The Coalition for a Planned Reston, stated, "[We] appreciates the decision of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to indefinitely defer the proposal to raise the population cap of Reston’s Planned Residential Community.” Coalition for a Planned Reston concurred with Hudgins that it was in the community's best interest to "re-examine the plan for village centers and other community areas and issues, and then reconsider the PRC.” Coalition for a Planned Reston acknowledged much work lay ahead to ensure residents' voices would be heard and "that the guiding principles of Reston are not pushed aside for short-term, self-interested gain."
Lynne Mulston, Reston Citizens Association Vice President and Chair North Course Committee, Rescue Reston, said, "The Reston community is thankful to Supervisor Hudgins for indefinitely deferring the Reston PRC ZOA. We are continuing to monitor any activity that would threaten our existing golf courses and open space."
Reston Association stated, "Representatives from Reston Association and local citizens groups who oppose the PRC proposal were planning to address the county supervisors during the public hearing portion of Tuesday’s meeting. RA’s stated position is that any potential change to the density cap must be done concurrently with the next review of the Reston Master Plan, which is due in the near future."
Mark S. Ingrao, president of Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce said, "We are obviously disappointed that the Board has not fully implemented the goals of the Reston Master Plan that was passed after multiple years of involvement by representatives of the entire community. We will continue to work within the existing framework to ensure that Reston continues to be a thriving and accommodating community for all people who want to live, work and recreate here. Supervisor Hudgins stated that she would be working with staff and community representatives to outline a process and timeframe to move forward. The Chamber will monitor that process."