What’s Happening in Reston in 2016?

What’s Happening in Reston in 2016?

Circuit Court Judge Michael F. Devine issued a ruling Friday, Nov. 6 that was considered a victory for preserving Reston National Golf Course.

Circuit Court Judge Michael F. Devine issued a ruling Friday, Nov. 6 that was considered a victory for preserving Reston National Golf Course. Photo by Ken Moore.

Reston National: The Next Round

Reston National Golf is ready to play another round.

RN Golf (partially owned by Northwestern Mutual) claims by right development in the matter of the land use designation of Reston National Golf Course and filed notice of its appeal of fall’s County’s Circuit Court decision to the Virginia Supreme Court.

“May the Force be with us,” said Connie Hartke, of Rescue Reston. “As we expected. RN Golf, backed by the deep pockets of Northwestern Mutual, knows the legal option is their only near term chance of success, so they are going for it.”

The County website describes by right development as projects that are permitted under their current zoning and do not require any legislative action by the Board of Supervisors or the Board of Zoning Appeals. “They are approved administratively and do not require public hearings. Our Fairfax County Supervisors, Attorneys and Zoning Administrator adamantly disagree. Reston, like two other areas in Fairfax County, is a Planned Residential Community District which is unique and misunderstood by outside speculators,” says Hartke.

The owners of Reston National Golf Course hope to build housing on the land in the future, but a recent county circuit court ruling will require them to go through the usual zoning process to do so.

Circuit Court Judge Michael F. Devine made a ruling that protects Reston National Golf Course from being developed, at least until the owners of a golf course navigate the proper channels to seek a land use change, or continue to appeal its case.

Judge Devine granted Fairfax County Attorney Laura Gori’s motion for summary judgment filed by Fairfax County, meaning the Circuit Court vacated and voided the April 15, 2015 county Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) decision concerning the Reston National Golf Course.

“The circuit court ruling on Friday, Nov. 6, is considered a defeat for the owner of the golf course and is significant because any redevelopment of the course must now be preceded by the filing of specific plans with the county, which will then be compared with the ‘Development Plans’ approved in 1971,” said John McBride, Reston Association’s legal counsel.

“These plans are in the county zoning files and clearly limit use of the land to a golf course, open space and driving range. Any change to these approved plans will require amendment approval by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The golf course owner had sought to avoid this requirement for a plan amendment by seeking by-right use status for a number of residential and other uses.”

Reston National’s attorneys argued in Circuit Court that the owners want clarification for what is permitted on the property.

“There is a significant cost to submit a PRC plan that could be dead on arrival,” said Scott D. Helsel, attorney for RN Golf, tallying a $100,000 application fee and half a million dollars necessary for engineering, environment, sewer and stormwater plans to be able to submit an application,

“That’s an expensive way to find out an answer to the question we want an answer to,” he said.

Lake Anne Redevelopment Dies?

Reston was caught off guard in December when developers pulled out of a massive, visionary, grand redevelopment of Lake Anne.

One of the biggest questions of 2016 is what will be next for Lake Anne’s revitalization plans following the termination of the contract between the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Lake Anne Development Partners LLC.

“LADP indicated that serious market obstacles exist, and that the initial deal negotiated with the County may not be economically viable at this time,” according to county documents.

“I fear the outlook for Lake Anne revitalization is not good,” said longtime Lake Anne resident and advocate John Lovaas. “Certainly, we face at minimum, two-to-three years additional delay. Worse, it is difficult to imagine a project of the high quality of LADP’s plan emerging from the ruins, and harder yet to imagine one with anywhere near the generous affordable housing components.”

Plans to renovate apartments and commercial plaza had been approved by the Board of Supervisors in March, “after years of debate and discussion.”

The plan for Lake Anne called for 1,037 new mixed-income residential units, more than 110,000 square feet of new retail including a 15,800-square-foot boutique grocery, 82,454 square feet of office space, an amphitheater with outdoor movie screen, an expanded plaza with community gathering area, multiple public parks and additional trails, underground parking and more.

Lake Anne turned 50 years old in 2014, the year Bob Simon, Reston’s founding father turned 100.

“Lake Anne is still taught today as a case study at almost every American architecture and urban-design program,” said Michael E. Hickok, architect of a massive redevelopment proposal approved by the Board of Supervisors in the spring. “To say it was ahead of its time is an understatement.”

Cathy Hudgins, Reston's representative on the Board of Supervisors, was not happy about the situation before the holidays.

"We'll have to reassess," Hudgins said. "Lake Anne is an asset. Crescent is an asset. We'll have to build upon what we still have."

"The Crescent community has been on edge," she said.

Residents of the Crescent Apartments, who would have had to move for the Lake Anne plan to go forward, were anxious about the timeline, and it was time to let them know that they could stay put because the deal would not go forward at this time.

The Crescent apartments had developed significant vacancies associated with the planned redevelopment, but will now begin leasing again soon.


About 500 people filled Lake Anne Plaza in September for a candlelight vigil to remember and celebrate Simon’s gift to and of Reston. Reston’s founder, Robert E. Simon, died Sept. 21, 2015 at 101. Simon’s last speech before the Board of Supervisors concerned his vision for plazas to be prominent for all the Village Centers. “It is very important for Tall Oaks to become a real village center and as a precedent to the other village centers, all of which are shopping centers.

Bob’s Vision

Reston’s founder Robert E. Simon died at his home at Lake Anne in Reston on Sept. 23. He was 101 years of age. Tributes were offered throughout the fall and early winter.

How will Reston maintain and implement Simon’s vision for Reston’s growth in the future?

“He was a good friend and liked everyone. We at Cornerstones feel blessed to have worked with him,” said Kerrie Wilson, of Cornerstones. “Everyone is going to benefit from the legacy he leaves. … He has been an inspiration to all of us for so long.”

In 1961, Simon purchased a 6,750-acre parcel of land in Northern Virginia, located 18 miles from D.C., even though at the time it was in the middle of nowhere. Fairfax County was then the fastest growing county in the country and nearby Dulles International Airport was being built.

Simon decided to develop Reston into a New Town, a large-scaled development that includes all functions of a well-rounded community — residential, commercial, industrial, cultural, recreational and civic. The team first developed Lake Anne and the more traditional Hunters Woods simultaneously. The first families started moving into their homes in November 1964.

Simon gave his last public speech before the Board of Supervisors this summer when the grand plan for the redevelopment of Lake Anne was approved. He reminded the Board of Supervisors of the excitement of Reston at the beginning.

“The opening in 1965 of Reston to the public involved 227 townhouses and 60 high rise units and a smattering of retail. Not a big deal,” he said before the Board of Supervisors on June 2. “However, to our amazement, it turned out to be an international phenomenon. Nationally front page in newspapers, the Times, the Post. Feature articles in Life, Look, Fortune. A Japanese reporter was sent over with a translator to interview me.”

“Over the years I’ve tried to analyze what happened to that little development. I think what happened was that it was reintroducing into the United States a gathering place called a plaza,” he said.

“I felt very disheartened, having been fired in ‘67,” he said. “My successors didn’t appreciate what the plaza was and the consequential result of the Village Centers were not plazas, gathering places, important social venues but [instead they were] strip centers, shopping centers,” Simon said before the Board of Supervisors adopted the second phase of the Reston Master Plan on June 2.

“My hope is that during the next 50 years, all of those village centers will be destroyed and replaced by plazas surrounded by density,” he said. “For the plazas to work they need the density to support the individual stores.The plazas are not in competition with other plazas let alone with the town center.”

Simon wants his vision of a plaza, like Lake Anne, to be prominent for all the Village Centers.

“It is very important for Tall Oaks to become a real village center and as a precedent to the other village centers, all of which are shopping centers.

So the concept of plaza is of a hard surface area where people people can gather surrounded by local stores and by relatively dense residential units,” said Simon. “I hope that’s what we get for Tall Oaks and for thereafter for the other village centers.”

Public Hearing with Plum and Howell

Del. Ken Plum (D-36) and Senator Janet Howell (D-32) will hold their annual General Assembly pre-session public hearing on Thursday, Jan. 7, 7:30 to 9 p.m., at the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne Plaza. No registration is needed; “just show up and share your views with us,” according to Plum.

Plum posts a weekly e-newsletter at www.kenplum.com, where he has also posted a survey for voters to give opinion on issues that will be relevant to this year’s General Assembly.

Talk to the General Assembly

The Fairfax County delegation to the Virginia General Assembly will hold a hearing for public comment on the upcoming 2016 session on Saturday, Jan. 9, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax.

The Virginia General Assembly will meet for 60 days in Richmond beginning Jan. 12.

Residents who want to sign up in advance to speak at the hearing should contact the Office of the Clerk to the Board of Supervisors at 703-324-3151, TTY 711, by noon on Friday, Jan. 8.

Reston Town Center North

Advocates for the Reston Regional Library, police and Embry Rucker Shelter want to ensure that Reston meets the needs of all residents with state of the art facilities.

According to the Reston Association:

“The Fairfax County Department of Purchasing and Supply Management released a solicited public-private partnership request for conceptual phase proposals for the redevelopment of the Reston Town Center North parcels in late June.

“The county seeks to enter into a public-private partnership to redevelop the existing Embry Rucker Shelter and Reston Regional Library as Phase 1 of a mixed-use development proposed for the overall Reston Town Center North area. The mixed-use development will include affordable housing, public services and private development. The area under review is denoted on the accompanying map as Blocks 7 and 8.”


The Lake House, in a photo from last winter, was purchased in July 2015 for $2.6 million, and has been an ongoing source of controversy.

RA Purchases Tetra Property

Reston Association CEO Cate Fulkerson has said that the Tetra property may be ready for the community to use by spring 2016.

Reston Association (RA) bought the 3.47 acre Tetra property, 11450 Baron Cameron Ave., for $2.65 million in July. Two months earlier via referendum, association members voted to approve the purchase the property for community and recreation use.

“The Tetra Property purchase represents a historic moment for our association. It is the first time in RA’s history that property has been acquired to protect against over development, to enhance green space and to increase community and recreational use opportunities for members,” said Reston Association Board president Ellen Graves.

“Members will not see an impact to their assessment fee from this purchase until 2018 at the earliest,” she said.

The property, which sits between RA's Lake Newport Tennis Court complex and part of the RA’s Brown Chapel Park, creates a continuous band of 98 acres of common area property or parkland.

Route 7 Widening

Throughout January, teams from the Virginia Department of Transportation will meet with Amberwoods, Bradley Oaks, Lockmeade, Locust Hill homeowners and Shouse Village homeowners association as well as the Towlston Meadow Community Association about plans to widen Route 7.

VDOT cancelled its two day Public Information and Open House Meeting scheduled for Jan. 8 and 9, but information meetings and hearings are tentatively planned for later in the winter and spring.

The $265 million project would widen 6.9 miles of Route 7 in 2021, increasing from four to six lanes between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.

VDOT hopes for approval of the design from the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board in the summer of 2016.

Safety accessing the road remains a major concern to neighborhoods along Route 7 corridor.

See www.ConnectRoute7.org.