News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

JBG Sends Postcards, Holds Meetings About Proposed Fairway Apartments Complex

fairway.jpgIf you live within the range of where shadows will fall from the two 10-story buildings The JBG Companies are proposing to build as part of a mixed-use complex on the site of the current Fairway Apartments near Lake Anne, you probably got a "post-card" in the mail informing you about two community meetings JBG is holding about the project. The first of these was held last week, and here is an account from an anonymous attendee:

There were about 20 - 25 neighbors who were not happy with the plan. They were disbelieving that 940 units would not impact the traffic on North Shore. (That's about 1,500 additional people and their cars). Some people were upset that 1.6 parking spaces [planned for each residential unit] were inadequate.
That's okay -- people can just park their second car (or really, just their 0.4 of a second car) at the elementary school across the street! Other folks complained about the lack of tot lots and whatnot in the site plans, as well as the view from their own homes.
The people next door didn't want to look out their townhouse windows and see a parking garage and they did not want the light from that parking garage shining in their windows in the night. One man wanted them to say there would be no net loss of open space. They couldn't respond to that because most of the open space will be under cement or asphalt. They had not done an analysis of traffic impact along Fairview Drive.

There will be two 10 story towers in the west half of the development, 8,000 sq ft of retail you can see from North Shore Drive.

They repeated over and over that they were only in the preliminary stages of planning.

They showed more illustrations of the plan than at the P&Z meeting. On the west side the three story townhouse units right next to North Shore were quite modern and I thought very attractive. There are only about 32 of those; however. The East part of the development is very "urban" and heavy, old-fashioned, 1940s architecture. One member of the audience absolutely hated it and was very vocal about it.
When JBG presented the project to the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee earlier this month, it claimed that their fancypants "traffic studies" (maybe some guy named Elmer stting in a folding beach chair at a traffic light, counting cars) showed the complex, with its 940 units, would have no impact on traffic, with only 141 to 264 new "peak hour trips." That's plausible, assuming the financial meltdown sluggish economy continues and none of the residents of the proposed 940 units have jobs or anything more pressing to do than drive to the 7-11 for Super Big Gulps during non-peak hours, we guess. Some 12 percent of the new units will be affordable housing, which is less than the current 200 apartment units.

P&Z members asked JBG to come back in September with a less "intense" plan for the site; they also have a date with the Design Review Board sometime this week. JBG's next community meeting will be at 7pm on June 30 at the Lake Anne Community Center. The company actually has a decent track record at listening to community concerns, so it'll be interesting to see what comes of all this input. Maybe they should just try to build a fun and not-at-all controversial rec center/juice bar on the site instead and be done with it, the end.


  1. The Convict in Gulag 4June 16, 2009 at 1:22 PM

    For those of you who don't know, LAES is an English optional/full day ESOL... I mean, a Spanish immersion language school. As such, much of the student body is drawn from outside of its boundaries. Hence, there are a disproportionate number of illegal... umm, er... I mean, soccer moms dropping off and picking up their anchor babies... Doh, I meant, bambinos. In the 15 or so minutes before and after the beginning and ending of school, North Shore Drives is overwhelmed. On top of this, the beginning of school is during the morning rush hour precisely when all of that development traffic is going to want to exit onto North Shore and Fairview.

    Based on this alone, this project is not right for that location because there's just too little road capacity through there. Think of the poor speed bumps. Children. I meant, children.

    Now, on the other hand, if they really want to build such a complex without spending a ton of money on road infrastructure, they should look to areas that already have four lane roads with easy access to major thoroughfares. We have plenty of such space in the Gulag, like on Colts Neck Road, South Lakes Drive, Soapstone Drive and Glade Drive, which is not four lanes now but could probably be repainted for four lanes (or maybe two car lanes, two bike lanes and a center "take your life into your own hands" turning lane), not to mention an extensive mass transit system for all of the Green residents that such a development would attract. In fact, if they didn't want to have to go through serious rezoning efforts, they should look at certain existing high density "garden style" housing that are aging and ready -- aching -- for redevelopment, namely Winterthur, Shadowood and Stonegate. In order to replace the lost "affordable" housing, the developers could offer additional "affordable" units based on their infrastructure and zoning savings.

    This would also have the added benefit of reducing crime in the Gulag. Sure, some of the miscreants... I meant, residents will be displaced, but the remainder will have a much larger pool of Green residents upon which to model their behavior and, as the whim strikes, to victimize. Alas, we would miss the weekendly visits from the FCPD helicopter, but this is a sacrifice that we would be willing to make in the name of progress.

    However, if JBG were to decide to put in a rollerdrome in Fairview, whether or not its the part of some mixed use development or even a new Taj Ma-rec-center we would not be opposed to that because our Roller Derby community is atrociously underserved.

    Bring Roller Derby to Reston.

  2. Actually, why doesn't JBG build this monstrosity at Brown's Chapel Park. That makes as much sense as the proposed rec center...and it has the benefit of dumping traffic on to nearby Baron Cameron for easy escape to Herndon.

  3. At least that guy who spins the Fairway Apts sign on the corner of North Shore and Temporary will be gone.


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