Despite overwrought trepidation that Reston would turn overnight into "another Manhattan," only with fewer polyglot hot dog vendors on street corners, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an awesome redevelopment plan to transform the sleepy area into a bustling urban core, assuming this wacky global slowdown subsides and developers become interested in projects more ambitious than cardboard boxes under freeway overpasses.
In all, the amendment allows the addition of a total of 1,495 to 1,655 residential units, 63,000 to 81,000 square feet of retail space and 225,000 to 235,000 square feet of office space to the Lake Anne Village Center area.Sweet! With a population of 8.3 million in NYC, Reston is right on track to become another Manhattan -- assuming 5,021.276 people move into each one of those 1,655 residential units. It could happen, folks!
The revised plan eliminates a wacky suggestion to raze buildings to let people zipping by on Baron Cameron Avenue see the lake, and rejiggers some of the commercial and affordable housing requirements, though the NIMBY folks will likely still be annoyed.
The commission reduced the amount of "non-residential development" allowed on the parcel where the Crescent Apartments stand, from 4,000 to 2,000 square feet or, under the "full consolidation" option, from 8,000 to 4,000 square feet.Of course, all these awesome plans await one thing.
The amount of non-residential development was reduced in order to keep new businesses in the development from drawing customers away from Washington Plaza. The purpose of the amendment is to bring more people to the historic plaza, where businesses have been dying off for lack of traffic.
The Planning Commission also removed language instructing that the Millennium Bank at the main entrance to the plaza be moved. The idea of moving the bank was to open up visibility to the plaza, but many, including the Architectural Review Board and Reston founder Bob Simon, opposed the move, saying the current design, with a narrow entrance leading to the open plaza and lake, was intentional and pleasing.
Also, the recommendation on civic uses became a prescription for "complimentary non-residential uses" and was expanded to include talk of a hotel and cinema. A call for "excellent design and architecture" and interactive public art was added to the urban design recommendations. Many other minor changes were also made.
The commission had also requested that staff work out a way for the burden of affordable housing to be shared more equitably. Originally, the proposal was to require that Fellowship Square, which provides housing for elderly citizens of limited means, retain all of its 240 affordable dwelling units. Little was to be added to the maximum number of dwelling units allowed on the Fellowship Square parcel unless the full consolidation was attained.
Before passing the amendment Monday, the Board of Supervisors voted to change the text to say the total number of affordable dwelling units at Lake Anne was to remain constant but could be redistributed among the various land parcels.
Now, Lake Anne only needs a developer, or developers, interested in working with the county on a rezoning to realize the new plan.Or maybe a certain homeowner association looking for space to build an awesome new headquarters, complete with a full complement of filing cabinets and whatnot?