News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, August 28, 2015

On the YouTubes: DRB Drones Or Harmless Hobbyists? You Make The Call

When we first started suggesting that the DRB was developing an army of drones to automate the enforcement of design covenants, people laughed. Someone even made it a wacky April Fool's "joke." But check out this chilling video footage, acquired at great personal risk (we're allergic to cat videos on YouTube), and see who's laughing now.

Is this a hobbyist showing off the capabilities of his/her drone, or an official test run in the target-rich environment of Lake Anne and its aging housing stock? Notice how the drone, while at a high elevation, focuses on the roofs of houses, presumably while infrared scanning technology is comparing the paint on the metal roofs to an internal database of approved colors. Also, notice the attention it pays to the one boat plying the waters of Lake Anne, whose coordinates it is presumably sending to the RA's feared boarding parties. Who knows, maybe its sophisticated array of sensors can even pick up the heat trails of people surreptitiously smoking within 50 feet of official RA facilities. We don't see the missile launch on this video, but maybe that wasn't included in this prototype, the end.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Indecision 2016: It's Sanders, In an Earth-Toned Landslide

The presidential election's more than a year out, but here at Restonian Election Central, we're ready to call it. Based on a scientific sampling of the one (1) campaign sign we've seen out and about in our earth-toned community and Reston's longstanding history as an archipelago of liberalism in a reddish Virginia, we can confirm that Bernie Sanders has locked up 100 percent of the crucial Reston vote*.

"Inquiring minds want to know: did we beat the Deep Red People's Nuclear-Free Zone Republic of Takoma Park to the punch?" asks Confidential Restonian Operative "Bern Notice," who supplied this cellular telephone photo of Reston's only campaign sign on Sunrise Valley Drive.

Go ahead and get your free monies and college educations now, folks, because the people have spoken.

* (estimated margin of error of +/- 100 percent)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Haters Gonna Hate: New Silver Line Commercial Sparks Animosity Among Blue and Red Line Riders

To help celebrate the one-year anniversary of our favorite E-ticket ride to the wonders of Tyson's awesome elevated cornhole arena, Metro released this, yet another in its series of commercials bragging about the reliability and time-savings of taking mass transit to that bomb-strapping-to-dolphins job downtown. Predictably, this didn't sit well with riders of Metro's Blue and Red lines, both of which arguably have seen service diminish with our shiny new line (although the other lines were first to get the fancy new Metro trains -- which, just as predictably, have caused problems of their own). Just as well -- that's left us high-roller Silver Line riders plenty of time to Guess the Stain in our own increasingly decrepit rolling stock while stuck between stations somewhere under Arlington.

Let the battle begin!

Haters gonna hate. What they're not going to do is get to work on time, the end.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Words To Live By

Good advice. Between this gentleman and some unpleasantness at the South Lakes Safeway last week, it's been a fairly pervy couple of weeks in Reston. We'd blame it on the Metro, as people do, but it seems to be a common rite of spring, if not summer, round these here parts, the end.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Snubbed: Reston Again Bested In Best Places To Live List By Stripmall-Centric Yet Pleasantly Earth-Toned Vienna

It's a good thing Kasey Kasem is no longer with us, as the dulcet tones of him intoning "falling out of the countdown" would be too much to bear now that we've learned that Reston was completely snubbed by Money magazine's annual list of milquetoast edge cities best places to live this year.

Our favorite earth-toned community peaked at #7 back in ought-twelve, dropping three big notches to #10 last year. It isn't the first snub of late by Money. In past years, we've been bested by our satanic Maryland doppelganger, cloverleaf intersection Centreville, and tattoo parlor and pawnshop-intensive Manassas Park (or "the MP," as the kids probably don't call it). And let's not forget our neighbor to the east, Vienna. Vienna, which once again bested us, coming in at #48 this year. Here's what Money has to say about that assortment of monochrome brown strip malls and McMansions:
As Tysons undergoes a major transformation from being a mostly commercial area to one with a healthy mix of commercial and residential living—Fairfax County projects Tyson’s population could soar from 21,803 people today to more than 100,000 by 2050—Vienna is bracing for potential overcrowding, higher living expenses, and increased traffic in an area already known for brutal congestion. The shift could also raise housing costs, which are the town’s main drawback; the median sale price now exceeds $660,000.
And these are good things? Also we thought our houses were going to be the ones that doubled in value!

The only other DC-area towns that made the list were all in Maryland -- some place called "North Laurel" (is that like "West McLean"?), Damascus, and Urbana (which isn't, especially.) All ranked higher than Vienna, and by way of illustration of their awesomeness in the eyes of the Money editors, we submit their dramatic photo of Anywhere U.S.A. Damascus, where even dreary clouds and drizzle aren't enough to obscure the even more dreary McMansions scattered haphazardly across a treeless field of desolate suburban nightmares dreams.

Wow. If that's what they were going for, we're shocked that Ashburn wasn't #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9 and #10, the end.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Talloakspocalypse Now: RA Dashes Off Strongly Worded Letter Focused On Open Space, Not Retail, in Village Center Redevelopment

"There has been much interest, discussion, dissatisfaction and disappointment among the Reston community" doesn't quite roll off the tongue like "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times," but as far as an opening line of a letter from the Reston Association, it ain't bad. Give us some good blockquote, BFFs from Reston Now:
Reston Association’s Board of Directors has sent a letter to county officials saying that the new plan for Tall Oaks Village Center “falls woefully short of meeting even minimum standards sought for a village center.”
Calling the redevelopment precedent-setting for Reston's other village centers, the RA's biggest issue with the proposal by Jefferson Apartment Group, which would replace the current shopping center stucco wasteland with about 150 townhouse and condo units and 7,000 square feet of retail, is the need for open space. They write:
The most significant issue in any redevelopment of a village center is the design, scope, and extent of a central plaza/public meeting area for the surrounding community.
Neighboring residents have also attempted to push for added retail above and beyond what developer Jefferson Apartment Group has proposed, but that issue was only mentioned by the RA in passing:
An amount and mix of commercial uses sufficient to serve the surrounding neighbors should remain.
Translation: No Wegman's.

 We confess to being a bit surprised that the RA has taken such a strong stand on open space at Tall Oaks, considering comments to the extent that maybe we don't need as many village centers any more. And Jefferson's plans look great for a new cluster, but considerably less awesome if we are to continue considering Tall Oaks a village center.

The newly approved second phase of the Reston master plan essentially gave a semi-official green light to redeveloping village centers into something more residential with neighborhood-scale ameneities (translation: again, no Wegman's). So there's definitely some gray area to what an appropriate amount of open space in a redeveloped village center might look like -- and obviously, any developer is going to push for the lower end of "appropriate." So good on the RA for making a fist about this, as opposed to threatening to board floating docks or whatever.

It's not clear what happens next. The master plan basically means that Tall Oaks' developer can do pretty much whatever it wants without going through a rezoning process, although specific plans (which have yet to be filed) still need to be approved by the county and, presumably, the DRB -- which has made a fist on development issues at times in recent years. We need all the help we can get to keep Reston at least somewhat Reston-like as the Metro boom (maybe) creates more tensions between new development and existing neighborhoods, so we need the RA to be consistent and clear with county officials. Here's hoping they continue to push on this.

 Read the full letter here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Caddyshackpocalypse Soon: Play Golf to Make Sure You Will Be Able To Continue Playing Golf Without Hitting Generic Midrise Condos

 Hey, remember that time a big faceless insurance company decided it wanted to redevelop the Reston National Golf Course into lots and lots of midrise bollard-studded goodness, and everyone decided to appeal a ruling from the Board of Zoning Appeals that centered around a Scooby-Doo plot point and whose final decision could only be described using the little-known legal annotation \_(ツ)_/¯?

Yeah, that was awesome. With the next date in court set for October 23, some fearsome political action group, calling itself the "Kids of the 13th Fairway," has released the new video you see above. Our BFFs at Rescue Reston also have a fancy new website, and to help cover court costs are hosting a fancy golf tournament on October 5 to be held -- ironically enough -- at RNGC. Might be a good time to hit the links to ensure you'll be able to continue doing so, at least without hitting the fancy glass-enclosed patios of the midrise condos that would otherwise rise from the fairways and, whazzitcalled, sand traps and whatnot. Otherwise, this is what a round of golf in Reston just might look like, minus the awesomely rad '90s jams: