Outlook: Reston Master Plan Takes Shape

Outlook: Reston Master Plan Takes Shape

Village Center updates, national golf course appeal mean big decisions.

Lake Anne Village Center may see construction begin this year.

Lake Anne Village Center may see construction begin this year. Photo by Reena Singh.

Restonians may see their ideas become resolutions on paper this year.

Community leaders are saying residents can look forward to new village center plans, the beginnings of a new Lake Anne Village Center and a decision on whether Reston National Golf Course wins the appeal on residential zoning.

Northwestern Mutual and the owners of the Reston National Golf Course appealed the Fairfax County Planning and Zoning staff’s decision that the course cannot be used for anything other than recreational open space. The county Government Center filled with hundreds of Rescue Reston’s supporters at the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting on Jan. 21 rebutted the appeal.

“Generally, the public view is that the golf course has to be maintained,” said Reston Citizens Association President Sridhar Ganesan.

Many supporters stayed for nearly the entire six hour meeting to hear that the board wanted more information from the county’s staff - including a certified document that stated what the Reston Master Plan does - that the area is off-limits to any development except recreational open space.

“Our members look forward to a positive outcome, and to being able to continue to enjoy the golf course as an integral part of our community,” said Rescue Reston Vice President of Legal Affairs David Burns.

The BZA plans to announce its final decision on April 15.

For Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins - and the Reston unit of the Fairfax County Police force - this means a newly renovated office.


Photo Contributed

Cathy Hudgins.

“The building, built during the time of my predecessor, Martha Pennino, has outlived its capacity for our police, the supervisor's office and the community,” she said.

She said construction at the North County Government Center at 1801 Cameron Glen Drive will be done soon. While she did not mention a completion date, she hinted that it will be ready “early” in the year.

“Soon as we unpack the boxes, we look forward to inviting you to that Open House. Until then, we will keep packing,” she said.

A HANDFUL OF COMMUNITY MEETINGS took place last year between county Planning and Zoning representatives and Reston residents to determine how Phase II of Reston’s Master Plan - which focuses on all the village centers except Lake Anne - will look in the future. On Thursday, the community will meet with the county representatives again - this time to be presented a working draft of the plan.

“The amount of time we’re spending on it is much simpler than the first half of the master plan,” said Hudgins. “We wanted to make sure there was comfort and guidance for the neighborhoods and the village centers.”

The community will have the chance to have questions answered during the meeting as well as send comments to the county about the working draft until the second week in February.

Because the staff report for the planning commission needs to be submitted two weeks in advance of the meeting, the community will have only two weeks to send in their feedback about the working draft.

“We hope that we’ve had enough conversations that the changes won’t be significant,” said county Planning and Zoning representative Richard Lambert.

That draft, released in December, can be found at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/reston/documents.htm. All other updates on community meetings concerning the master plan can be found at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/huntermill/.

Some have spoken out against how quickly the county hopes to bring Phase II of the master plan to life. However, Reston founder Robert Simon - the man who the community is named after - felt the opposite.


The future of Tall Oaks and most of the other village centers will be decided with Phase II of the Reston Master Plan.

“The major factor in all of this is speed,” said Simon at a community meeting in November. “Everything takes much longer than it used to. What you get now is an eight to 10 year gap, like with Lake Anne, for example.”

The fate of Tall Oaks Village Center has been under a cloud of mystery after it was bought by Tall Oaks Development Company, LLC in December. In the past several months, nearly every business in the shopping center has vacated, leaving the area looking much like a ghost town. According to Lambert, the new owner submitted an all-residential plan to Reston Planning and Zoning Committee - which was denied.

“It was not in accordance with the plan, the definition of a village center,” he said.

Hudgins said she encourages the new owner to bring their ideas to the community so concerned members can have input in the future of Tall Oaks.

“Every village center doesn’t need to be the same, but there needs to be a sense of retail, open space,” she said. “Rather than saying ‘we’re going to build something,’ let’s bring those ideas out to the community.”

LAKE ANNE VILLAGE CENTER is going through its own changes with Lake Anne Redevelopment Partners, LLC to breathe life into the community’s original village center. According to the developer’s website, Phase I of construction, which includes the redevelopment of Crescent Apartments and creation of affordable housing, is scheduled to begin this summer.

The five phases of the village center’s construction are expected to last up to 12 years.

Ganesan said that while a decision to build Reston Community Center’s indoor recreation center is not in the immediate future, the cost continues to concern him.

“While the projected expenses are $8.8 million, about $6.1 million is expected to come from the Small Tax District number five (Reston), so effectively, we keep funding the operations of RCC, which operates at a significant deficit every year,” he wrote in an email.

He noted that Fairfax County Park Authority funds recreation centers in other communities and hopes they can fund a significant portion of RCC’s proposed center.

Ken Knueven, Reston Association president, said the organization, which represents the community’s citizens, plans to continue to fight for the best interest for the residents. This includes sustainability in neighborhoods and the new village centers.

“We want to make sure any new developments are aligned to our sustainability principles,” he said.

However, he noted that any changes, whether a hinderance of growth, can be met with hesitance from the community.

“There’s a lot of trepidation in our community that sees this growth,” he said.

Another area of growth he hopes to see is with transportation: 2014 brought the Silver Line Metro to the community, but he wants to see public transportation better serve Reston residents - not just those coming in from D.C. More specifically, he wants to make sure residents have better access to the Metro and the village centers.

“We’re going to have to make sure any redevelopment that takes place is in alignment with our guiding principles,” he said.