News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Guess they'll have to do fundraising door-to-door

Let's give the Oakcrest school, a small Catholic girls school that's moving to Reston from McLean, a big Reston welcome!

The Oakcrest School may have gotten more challenges than it bargained for with its recent land purchase in the Reston-Vienna area, where it hopes to expand.
Hmm. That doesn't sound good. Schools are nice. Uniforms are always cute. What could possibly be wrong?
Seeking to expand, the school purchased 23 acres of land on Hunter Mill Road between Reston and Vienna in November for about $15 million.

The school's possible problem can be traced back to to the man from whom it bought the property – aspiring developer John Thoburn.
Oh, right. That John Thoburn, the chap whose battle with Fairfax County over the parcel of land bordering Hunter Mill Road and the Toll Road ultimately cost him more than $125,000 and 30 days in jail.
Although Oakcrest has met with the Defense League and enjoys a good relationship with its McLean neighbors, Hunter Mill Defense League Board member Steve Hull says he and other Hunter Mill residents see Oakcrest's plans as another strategy by Thoburn.

"The school represents a more intense use, and he can use that to say he should be allowed a more intense use on his own property," Hull said.

Although Hull can point to worries about increased traffic and safety as coming simply from the school's own plans, he admits the greater attention of Hunter Mill Road residents will be on what those plans could mean for Thoburn's remaining property.

"John's motives have been clear from the beginning; everything John does is to set precedent and drive up the zoning and density on his property," Hull said.
Those of you who weren't here during the go-go, IPO-and-Boxter crazed ought-one era (Careerbuilder rocked!) might be wondering what Thoburn did to land himself in the klink:
County officials acknowledged it was rare to jail someone over a zoning matter, but they said Thoburn, 43, had failed to plant the required number of trees and shrubs on the driving range.
That, and the fact that he kept threatening to build a massive housing development, basically out of spite, on the empty parcel of land if he didn't get his way. But there's more!
Another zoning regulation allows a "snack food concession." Yet Fairfax County issued a zoning violation for selling hot dogs and Cokes. They say we can sell pre-wrapped roast beef deli sandwiches, but not microwave hot dogs. We can sell Coca-Cola in a bottle or can, but not in a cup.
Wow. Those students better not sell pre-wrapped snacks at football games, or they'll be trading one set of uniforms for another.

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