News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, January 11, 2008

'Reston Heights': Back in Reruns

The awesome Reston Heights development and its 2,800 parking spaces of gridlock-inducing fun will have to wait a bit longer: Fairfax County Supervisors deferred a decision on the project until Jan. 28.

Hunter Mill district Supervisor Cathy Hudgins recommended the deferral because she said there had been a few last-minute changes to the proposal that needed further review.

Ben Tompkins, who represented The JBG Companies at Monday's board meeting, said the project would provide a "much-needed amenity basis for south Reston," and that the developer plans to pursue Leadership in Energy and Environment Design Silver status, which is earned by "green" buildings that meet specific energy efficiency requirements.
"Much-needed amenity basis" must be developer-speak for "another awesome restaurant like Chili's." But what about traffic?
However, three of the four residents who spoke at the public hearing said they had concerns about traffic problems the development would create along Sunrise Valley Drive. Reston resident Marie Huhtala, who ran unsuccessfully for the Hunter Mill district seat on the board last year, said the Reston Heights project would generate thousands of new trips each day on the already-congested Sunrise Valley Drive.

Nancy Murphy, a member of the Hunters Green Cluster Association, which is located near the proposed project, said her neighbors are not against the construction, but they are concerned that the density would overwhelm Sunrise Valley Drive. "The road is not equipped to handle this type of traffic," she said. Murphy suggested a 30 percent reduction in the density of the project would be better for the surrounding area.
Here's the problem: Given its proximity to both the Fake Downtown(tm) and the future Metro station, this project should be dense. It also should have some sort of awesome pedestrian access to both, to keep some of those 2,800 parking spaces free for Loudoun County residents who consider dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, or whatever "upscale" dining options come with this project, a trip into the big, scary city. And speaking of dining, here's one last thing to worry about:
In addition, David Ho, who owns the Popeyes restaurant that is adjacent to the proposed development, shared his concerns about the possible effect the construction could have on his business, and Tompkins said they would work with Ho to alleviate any of his concerns.
Here's an issue we can all get behind: They're already razing the Chili's. We can't afford to lose Popeye's, too.

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