News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Planning Meetings on the 'Future of Reston' Begin Dec. 1

00000126_1ver2.jpgIt's surprising that a filthy "web log" that focuses so extensively on breathtakingly stupid criminals and mocking arbitrary design regulations would attract serious, impassioned debates about development and the long-term outlook for our favorite beige community. Go to the comments section on any silly post, though, and chances are you'll find a mixture of opinions about redevelopment, ad hominem political arguments, and thinly veiled racist screeds. Well, at least the comments about redevelopment are often well thought out!

As Metro's awesome Silver Line slouches towards Bethlehem Ashburn, Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins is holding a series of those nice "town hall" meetings people seem to enjoy so much to discuss revisions to the Reston Master Plan, which, depending on your perspective, could create a blueprint for mixed-use development around mass transit -- or a dystopian nightmare of high-rise buildings, no open space, and dogs and cats living together:

What will the Reston community be like in 45 years? Will the community be able to retain its amenities and quality of life? What will traffic be like? Where will the future businesses, homes and roadways be located? Will the open spaces remain?

The answer to those questions begin on December 1, 2009.

With the coming of metro, there’s a special county planning process that will affect the way that Reston community will develop over the next 30 to 40 years.

Because you care about our community, you will want to make the time to attend two important meetings, hosted by Fairfax County Supervisor Catherine Hudgins and the county department of planning and zoning.

Kickoff Meeting: Tuesday, December 1, 2009, 7 p.m., at South Lakes High School, 11400 South Lakes Drive, Reston. This meeting, co-hosted by my office and the Department of Planning and Zoning, will cover 1) description of the study approach, 2) description of the study schedule, 3) discussion of the review process for deferred APR items, 4) introduce Task Force, 5) release current conditions report, and 6) discussion of general planning principals for Reston.

Task Force Meeting: Tuesday, December 8, 2009, 7 p.m. at Reston Community Center at Lake Anne, 1609A Washington Plaza, Reston. On the agenda is 1) discussion of task force policies, procedures and ground rules, 2) presentation of special study scope and schedule, and 3) overview of task force responsibilities.
Might not be the worst idea in the world to attend one or both of these meetings. We'd leave the funny signs at home, though.


  1. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)November 25, 2009 at 10:30 AM

    I already received two e-mails about this on account of my prior participation in the Land Use College. One was a level-headed message from a county planner and one was a rather "apocalyptic" message from the RCA sent by Ms. Marilyn Stillson. I do plan to attend Tuesday's meeting to at least giggle inwardly at the 70-year-old people crying in the fetal position on the floor afraid that streetlights and sidewalks will turn our community into a festering sewer like Arlington, Georgetown, or Bethesda. PANIC!!! AHHHH!!!

  2. It's Marion Stillson.

    All the open space you seem to enjoy is at ground zero. There's a lot at stake here.

    But never fear, you will not remain an ignorant 22-year-old forever.

  3. The letter Restonian quoted from (What will the Reston community be like in 45 years) came from Reston Association. It seems they have finally pulled their heads up out of the sand and decided to act like they are protecting the homeowners' interests.

  4. Oh, and elderly-hating BiCO here's a quote from my father-in-law, "You're older a lot longer than you are young."

    Remember that. It will come back to you, I predict, when you are mid 50s.

  5. I went to a meeting last week for a zoning proposal for the land around the planned Route 28 rail station. The developer was proposing a high-rise building project that was projected to bring in 3,000 workers and 1,000 housing units. With a straight face, he estimated that this would only result in an additional influx of 500 car trips each day and that no additions to the existing roads needed to be made. Contrary to BICO and other pushovers, somebody has to take the other side on these issues because the costs and the problems will just be pushed onto the long-term residents if they can get away with it.

  6. Anon 8:25:

    In Cathy Hudgins' worldview of the new Reston,
    we won't be driving our cars. We will all be walking or biking. That is the only way the added density can be absorbed here and in the New Tysons.

    This worldview allows the developers to make maximum profit and the county to take in maximum revenue. What happens to us is not their concern.

    It is not a workable solution. I hope you come to the meeting December 1.

  7. Anon 12:44
    What is so wrong with walking and biking?

    A walkable grocery shop in Lake Ann would be tots awesome.

  8. Where I live it's a mile and a half to the nearest grocery store. I do not feel safe on Reston's paths or sidewalks alone.

    For many, many years I telecommuted from home. Some weeks I never left the house. I feel like I did my bit for the environment. I want to be able to choose to drive my car to the grocery store, to go visit a friend, to pick up a grandchild after school. I haven't been able to ride a bike in twenty years so that is not an option.

    I like to have options in my life. I am not interested in having my county government take my options away.

    There used to be a very nice grocery store at Lake Anne. I'd like to see a community co-op grocery store there. We seem to have all the high-end grocery stores we need at the moment.

    So to answer your question, nothing is wrong with walking and biking. You want to live in a situation where you can't choose? I don't.

  9. Maybe when everyone switches to canvas bags to save the earth, walking to grocery stores will be feasible. But those things appear to be not much sturdier than paper or plastic bags.

    I don't think the revitalization plan calls for a substantial space that a supermarket would need. It doesn't seem to have a space comparable to that occupied by the Tall Oaks Giant which would be considered a small store nowadays.

  10. "Maybe when everyone switches to canvas bags to save the earth, walking to grocery stores will be feasible. But those things appear to be not much sturdier than paper or plastic bags."


    Canvas bag's flimsy and not as strong as plastic whaaat?!

    Why does everyone need to switch before you will buy a reusable sturdy bag to walk to the grocery store?

  11. All this talk about walking to the grocery store amuses me. Think about it. Who will be walking to the grocery store? Women--wives, mothers, girlfriends. Guys are going to walk to get groceries? Come on. They'll be sitting on the couch watching some enormous TV set or playing computer games and drinking beer doing their part to save the planet by waiting for dinner.

    I think this is a sexist plot to enslave women.

  12. I live in North Point (near the one and only visible, accessible, findable "village center" in Reston. Not much of a village and far from central, but let's not forget that "Reston" Town Center is not part of Reston!).

    I can walk to and from it, albeit on hideously dark and dangerous "pathways" that wander too close to too overgrown non-native vegetation. (Thanks to milton and smyers for all of that abominable maintenance and improvement of the RA common elements). In any event, the same Giant has been there since the beginning and it seems to be thriving. In and out they go at Tall Oaks.

    All that survives (hardly thrives) at Lake Anne are tax-payer and dues-payer funded entities aside from the few shops that restaurants). Now that Cameron Crescent will be packed with Section 8 recipients, all they will have to spend are food stamps -- so further down the poorly maintained (thanks again $200k milton and smyers) cesspool called Lake Anne goes the community....and let's not forget this is all AFTER Fairfax County spent a million of YOUR bucks to "restore" the Lake Anne Village Center, hold its charette and succumb to paralysis by analysis. The place has been a dump for decades -- it's time to DO and END the talk.

  13. Hickory Cluster knuckle dusterNovember 28, 2009 at 2:44 PM

    You can walk to the shopping center but you are too scared? Laughable.
    What is the crime on the pathways of Northpoint besides local teens smoking dope they bought from a dealer in Crescent apts?

    As for your screed against Lake Anne: I give you the middle finger salute because it is ill-informed and wrong. Millenium Bank has been there for ages, the used book store is an institution. Jasmine Cafe has been there for decades. Montmartre for nearly as long.

    The Community Center and The Reston Museum are not what keeps the center going.

    The rejuvination plan has not happened yet so your accounting for the money is also incorrect. Besides which the planning is for private developers to pay for most of it.

    Anyhow, on a nice summer evening I'll leave you to drive to Northpoint in your SUV (because you are too much of a wuss to walk) and sit inside the Starbucks and send your dollars off to Seattle, while you gaze out at a parkinglot. I'll take Lake Anne and sit in cafe Monmartre watching my children play in the fountain, as I did in my childhood, and gaze out on the beautiful plaza and watch the fountain on Lake Anne.

  14. The Convict in the GulagNovember 28, 2009 at 8:17 PM

    It seems that somebody is stuck in the middle ages. I'm male, I cook, I walk to the grocery store, I take care of the kid.

    If your stuck doing all of the domestic chores in your marriage, then you married the wrong the man.

  15. Lake Anne ManagementNovember 29, 2009 at 9:49 AM

    Hick, your kids aren't supposed to be playing in the fountain, or didn't you read the sign?

  16. Hickory Cluster knuckle dusterNovember 29, 2009 at 11:25 AM

    I ignored the sign as do all other freedom loving individuals who want to play in "Children's Fountain"

  17. Parents with children who play in the fountain should be alerted to the fact that the chemicals reach dangerous levels and are not monitored the way water is monitored in Reston's swimming pools.

    And Convict, my husband does the weekly grocery shopping, loads and unloads the dishwasher and takes out the trash. However, according to numerous studies, most men do not take up their share of domestic chores. And they won't be walking to the grocery store, either.

  18. Hickory Cluster knuckle dusterNovember 29, 2009 at 2:14 PM

    Anon 11:57
    Where is your hard science backing up your opinion?

    And I for one walked regularly to the store when I lived in NYC and overseas when the grocery store was within a 5 min walk.

    So your opinions are somewhat not backed up by facts.

    (Alas the Harris Teeter is 20 mins from my house, so I drive and not to the HT too pricey! But if it were at Lake Anne, I would walk and pay the extra for that convenience )

  19. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)November 29, 2009 at 7:20 PM

    A community where townspeople are battling against plans to make the area more pedestrian- and cyclist-oriented? Only in Reston! Tuesday evening should be good! Heaven forbid some of us want this place to be one in which people could eschew their SUVs and WALK or BIKE (safely) to their daily needs. If that makes me a "pushover", then so be it. To those tell me "move to Arlington", give me the additional rent money I'd need to afford such a desirable community, and I'd be gone in a heartbeat!

  20. BiCO,

    There's no talking to you. You must have teflon for brains. This isn't about sidewalks and street lights.

  21. I just don't understand how Reston Town Center is "not part of Reston." (Anonymous 11/18 1:11pm)

    What did I miss here?

  22. It's great so many people care about their amenities and quality of life. Coming to these meetings would be a great way start retaining them.

  23. Reston Town Center is not part of Reston Association (our homeowners assn). It is part of Reston.

  24. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)December 1, 2009 at 9:30 AM

    "Elderly-hater?", "Teflon for brains?", "Ignorant?" I'll have to address this individually.

    1.) If anyone is "ignorant" here it would be those of you who don't realize that by building UP instead of OUT you can accommodate more people on a smaller land footprint, hence preserving more open space in the process. You can build underground parking garages beneath these high-rise mixed-use projects, and then the rest of the land can remain open. Is it better from a land conservation standpoint to fit 1,000 new people and a couple of businesses into a vertical mixed-use project on 2 acres of land or spread those 1,000 new residents across 250 acres of land with everyone having their own cleared 1/4-acre lot with a two-story detached home? I would gladly agree to be temporarily relocated if my own complex was purchased and razed to make way for a denser project that would reduce wasteful surface parking and generate more undeveloped space. Reston is special because of all of the open space and greenery it currently has, but that will be gone in the coming years if we adopt the Ashburn model of growth coupled with our projected population increase. If we seek to emulate Bethesda, Arlington, The District, etc. then we can welcome new neighbors while NOT grimacing as trees come down.

    2.) I'm not an "elderly-hater." I'm just tired of the gray haired "old guard" who have lived in Reston since 1968 thinking they "know better" than anyone who has moved here in the past few years and who serve to do nothing but oppose progressive ideas pitched by we newbies. What was Fairfax County's population in 1964? 400,000? It is thrice as large now and is going to be getting much larger. You can't hold onto the sprawling car-oriented development model of Reston forever when the county is nearly at full build-out and facing immense traffic and housing affordability woes.

    3.) "Teflon for brains?" How very mature of you. I had other people complaining about my own lamenting about Reston's lack of sidewalks and streetlights---two amenities ANY self-respecting community SHOULD have. There are more people in Reston who seem to want to widen roadways to cater to the automobile instead of narrowing them to make them more hospitable to pedestrians and cyclists. Wider roads encourage speeding and eventually become just as congested as the narrower roads they replaced. Narrower roads slow traffic down. The concept isn't that difficult. The Lawyer's Road "road diet" has been successful, and I hope that continues to happen throughout much of Reston. Pardon me for wanting us to trend towards sustainability instead of environmental recklessness.

  25. Hickory Cluster knuckle dusterDecember 1, 2009 at 10:22 AM

    BiCO you are not making your case persuasively.

    Grey Haired Old Guard?

    There are also those who have grown up in Reston and are not a transient tech worker who don't have any roots in the community. They also might take exception to those without strong ties to Reston that whine and moan about streetlights and sidewalks. And that those transient tech-workers should move to communities which they find more suitable rather than trying to change the community they are in to fit their needs.

    Reston does need to have more smart growth. That I'll grant you.
    Tons of high density housing is not the answer because the roads cannot accommodate the increased number of cars on the road.

    As we have seen on here time and again is that more people will equal more cars. Condo units are the worst offenders because you have roommates each with their own car packed into a denser area.

    Also Reston is built out, so any developments will not be in Snake Den.
    The only place to put more housing is to destroy existing housing like Crescent apts and Fairway, and Charter Oak.

    Go for a run around the lake and enjoy the beauty of Reston as it is before you go to the meeting and agitate to make our place called Reston into a simulacrum of Arlington or Bethesda.


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