News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, December 4, 2009

Reston Master Plan Meeting: The Rest of the Story

air rights fun.jpg

If it's another illustration depicting hot building-over-Toll-Road action on this site, you know we must be about to talk about the new Reston Master Plan. So here goes!

More than 100 people, including a few of the regulars on this filthy "web log," attended Tuesday's master plan kickoff meeting. Here's the official mainstream media account.
The last time the master plan was reviewed, county officials were planning on a number of phases of transportation alternatives to take shape, starting with bus rapid transit by the end of the decade, Merkel said. Now that the phased transportation plan has skipped straight to the rail phase, many of the plans the county had on file are obsolete, she said.

[Fairfax County senior planner Heidi] Merkel said by focusing on providing more housing in Reston's core it will help reduce the need for changing the surrounding neighborhoods and village centers that are already stable. She said because many of the areas jobs are in Reston Town Center, more high-density housing close to those jobs should be considered.

The Reston Master Plan Special Study will include a series of community meetings including workshops, as well as a task force that will meet to discuss the plans. Community workshops will focus on specific sites, such as the future Herndon-Monroe, Wiehle and Reston Town Center metro stops, and the Reston Parkway area. The special study will first focus on the areas Metro is coming to, before focusing on the village centers and Reston's outlying areas, Merkel said.

The task force is comprised of members of community organizations such as Reston Association, Reston Citizens Association, Reston Community Center, Reston Community Reinvestment Corporation, Reston Town Center, Western Alliance for Rail to Dulles and a number of area residents. Also on the task force are representatives from landowners and developers, such as JBG Companies and Boston Properties.

In 2008 many developers proposed rezoning land parcels or amendments to the county's comprehensive plan in the Hunter Mill and Dranesville districts, Merkel said. The county has set aside about 21 proposals so they can be looked at and considered as a whole to determine how they will fit together and affect other areas of Reston once the special study is finished, she said.
Sounds pretty cut and dry, right? Fortunately, our regular commenters were there to provide... the rest of the story. Here's one account from a regular commenter who asked to remain anonymous:
I think it is imperative that we be allowed to have citizen representation with advisory groups. RCA, ARCH and RA are ready to set up such groups. There are over one hundred Reston residents who finished the Land Use College who are able and willing to lend their talent and expertise to this endeavor. I am concerned that a task force that will meet once a month will not have an adequate amount of time to develop planning guidelines for the Dulles Corridor worthy of our community by next June. The redevelopment of the Ballston-Rosslyn corridor took years. Local residents actively participated in the decisions regarding the changes to Arlington.

Heidi Merkel said the task force will develop a criteria that will be used to determine which neighborhoods are redeveloped. I don't feel that having Patti Nicoson, who is president of the Dulles Corridor Rail Association, and who represents the interests of the property owners in the Dulles corridor is an appropriate choice to chair the task force. I would much rather see someone else chair the task force. Having a preponderance of developers, their attorneys, and pro-growth individuals on the task force is not likely to produce a planning document most Restonians will be willing to live with.

I think it is very important for Restonians to pay attention to this process and speak out at the community meetings. Speaking at the community meetings may be the only venue we have to voice our opinions about the changes Cathy Hudgins wants to bring to Reston.

Another commenter had an extra bit of excitement -- Bob Simon helped him take his jacket off!
Can we get DOUBLE bonus points if we both attended AND met Mr. Bob Simon? This gentleman sat behind me and helped me to take off my leather coat when it got stuck on me as I flailed my arms around like a chicken with its head cut off. :-)

The meeting was VERY well-attended; nearly every seat was occupied. I found the PowerPoint presentation to have been a bit on the boring side, especially since we were mostly being read things we either already knew or could easily glean from the materials we were given. I was saddened to see I was probably the only one there under 25---apparently Reston either has no youth or is home to youth that don't care about the community's future.

Ms. Marion Stillson's husband [Dick] aired some excellent points:

1.) Why are the Dulles Corridor & Reston Town Center being reviewed separately from the rest of Reston when projects considered for one will directly impact the other?

2.) How can civic-minded citizens get involved?

There was one man a few rows ahead of me who I think runs a public access television show. He looked to be upset that he was skipped over when he had wanted to ask a question, but then again, as Heidi Merkel pointed out, he has asked numerous questions in the past and should let someone "new" get a chance.

A well-spoken gentleman who emigrated to Reston from the U.K. 8 years ago asked if the non-PRC areas would be absorbed into the PRC. Heidi said no.

Overall while the event was a bit of a bore everyone behaved themselves. There were no hysterical comments about the ills of rail, the bogeyman coming to bulldoze their clusters, etc. Very well done!
Another commenter had this to say:
The mental image that comes to mind of 95-year old Dear Leader helping 23-year old BiCO escape from his entangled leather coat (with BiCO by his own admission flailing around like a decapitated chicken)is priceless.
The next meeting is at 7pm Tuesday at RCC's Lake Anne center. Be sure to bring your coat.


  1. That hanging gardens Jetsons Village Center is not going to unify north and south Reston, but rather it will be a barrier.... kinda like that thing that Reagan told the Berlin people to tear down.

  2. What's with all the mold???


  3. It wouldn't attract many federal agencies or DoD/DHS contractors.

  4. The drawing is for Tysons, not Reston.

  5. If The Lord of the Rings trilogy were set in the 23rd century, this would be a pretty good rendition of the Tower of Gondor...with the attacking orcs arriving by Metro on the Silver Line, of course.

    Let's see, keeping in this "train" of thought, so to speak, Bob Simon could be Gandalf, Milt Matthews could be Sauron, Ken Plum could be Saruman, and Cathy Hudgins could be...?

  6. Someone at the library asked me today what would happen to the library when the train station is built. I looked blank and he informed me that the train station will be where the library and government center are. Ummmm....really?

  7. Oh darn, I hit send before I added that the only thing I know about anything about Reston is stuff I learn from the COMMENTS on Then I got a piece of paper and wrote down the blog address for him. Hopefully he'll read, learn, comment, and come up with really creative ideas that no one at RA will listen to anymore than the ones already floated here. (But it is fun to float them)

  8. Put the train station where the library is? Hadn't heard that one. I thought it would be on the Toll Road just west of Reston Parkway, but I guess they could run a tunnel underground and bring it to Town Center. It would make more sense to bring it to the Town Center.

    Bob Simon can't be Gandalf. He is set on having the town redeveloped with a doubling of our population so there will be a bigger monument here to his name. That's not very Gandalfian. Nah, Bob Simon is Saruman.

  9. Or move the Wiehle Avenue Station where they plan to extend Soapstone Rd across the Dulles Toll Road. With the Reston Parkway station relatively near, they could build a city within Reston modeled after Crystal City with stores, offices, and homes above and below ground. They could then extend American Dream Way to North Shore Drive to connect Greater Lake Anne. It would also move the urban perimeter away from the Lake Fairfax Park that's just off of Wiehle Avenue.

  10. I believe Cathy Hudgins would be Shelob. Entirely self-interested, but basically in the pocket of those who she thinks are most likely to feed her (in this case, the developers ie, the orcs).

  11. I hope this design takes into account jet-packs and flying cars, which should be here any day now since 1940.

  12. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)December 5, 2009 at 8:08 PM

    I've been quoted as part of a Restonian blog update! Wow! My life is complete! I didn't even have to get me one of those them there fancy newfangled Twitters! Facebook suits me just perfectly! :-)

    I don't think developing OVER the toll road will serve as a "barrier" between North Reston and South Reston any more than the current multi-lane and often-congested monstrosity already does. Been to Boston before and AFTER the "Big Dig?" The change has been amazing. Urban green space serving to help reconnect once fractured neighborhoods. I envision the same for the newly-created space over the Toll Road---new mixed-use developments that will have enough plazas, pedestrian amenities, and green space to better "link" the two halves of our community.

    As someone from what I guess would be "East Central Reston" I hated to admit this, but I almost got lost trying to find South Lakes High School (my GPS couldn't locate it, and I thought I was headed WAY too far down South Lakes Drive). Working in Tyson's Corner and taking the bus to the West Falls Church Metrorail station to frolic in DC I've never before had any particular need to journey into South Reston (besides a yummy trip to Chili's long ago in which I had an awesome time with some library folks!) It's funny when I tell people I live in "Charter Oak", and they scratch their heads since we're a very large complex that I assumed people would have heard of. Then when I tell them "North Shore Drive" some STILL are dumbfounded, even though this is a major artery. Just how many of you have actually spent an hour on some random day to actually meander through the community, especially on bike or foot, and see just what is around? Heck, I didn't know we had a Popeye's Chicken here until the night after the meeting at South Lakes when I saw the lights for it on the side of a building on my way up Reston Parkway!

  13. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonDecember 5, 2009 at 9:37 PM


    Welcome to Less Sought After South Reston! If you liked Chili's and Popeye's, you'll LOVE an excursion to our REAL high-end retailer, the 7-11 on Soapstone 100 yards or so south of South Lakes Drive. Just watch out for all the Bud Light cans and bottles strewn about as you weave in and out of the vans and graffiti-adorned box trucks haphazardly parked on the side of the road.

    On a more uplifting note, you should wait for a nice day to either bike or walk the Glade Stream trail from Twin Branches to just before Reston Parkway. It's a really nice stretch. You can even see the much-talked about streambed restoration project in progress and then cut north to Glade to see the new Nature House.

  14. BiCO,

    Try Cafesano in South Lakes Shopping Center.
    Come south on Wiehle, left at Sunrise Valley, right at South Lakes, right into the shopping center. Very nice restaurant right on the lake. RA sells maps for $2.50 at their headquarters at Isaac Newton Square. All the paths are listed and the common areas are detailed. Parks, too.

  15. Soapstone isn't so bad as Peasant is making it out.

    The Buttermilk Trail is one of my favorites. Also love the trail down the east side of Twin Branches. Do check out the new Nature House and the paths behind it on Glade Drive. The new bldg is a big improvement over the bathroom and broom closet that was there before.

  16. anon 9:21- cafesano may be the best restaurant in Reston, if you go for the casual. Great pizza. Great kebabs. Great chocolate cannoli. And you can look at the lake while you eat.

    Incidentally, it's a real haven for people with kids who want a casual place that has actual good food. It's always very lively, so no one bats an eye at a noisy toddler, and there's lots of stuff for little ones to look at.

    No, I don't work there. I just want it to do well so it stays around a long time!

  17. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonDecember 6, 2009 at 10:10 AM

    Re Anon 8:17's review of Cafesano:

    Mrs. Peasant and I heartily concur in this thumbs-up rating of Cafesano. Great Mediterranean-style food (Italian, Greek, and Lebanese), and we've always had a good meal the many times we've eaten there. But don't just take The Peasant's word on this; based on readers' reviews, Cafesano is ranked 4th out of 61 Reston restaurants on

    And per Anon 9:46's comment, no, Soapstone really isn't bad at all, but I stand by my comments about the trash around 7-11. I have volunteered several times for the annual Potomac Watershed clean-up, and I can state from direct observation that the amount of trash in the woods, the Snakeden branch, and the shoulder of the road increased in direct proportion to the proximity of the 7-11.

  18. The Convict in the GulagDecember 6, 2009 at 10:33 AM

    Or you can take the trail from Soapstone between South Lakes and Glade. You can start your bucolic walk at the 7-11 and wonder why there are no sidewalks with so much housing to the north and south. Heading west, you pass the Children's World day care center and then immediately, you'll recognize that you are in the Shadoweed environs by all of the trash strewn along the path and woods. Eventually, you'll wind up by that other jewel of South Reston, Winterthur, which we Gulashniks affectionately call, La Casa del MS-13. From there, you're next stop is the vaunted Hunter Woods Shopping Center with it's community art display rendered by PhatBoy. No stop at HWSC is complete without a the haute cuisine at BK's!

    Continuing your trek, you are about to enter the stretch known as Merdur Row. Tour guides are conveniently located at the benches just below Rite Aid and usually sipping cool, refreshing Tall Boys.

    As you venture along Merdur Row, you pass by the Springs, also known as Punjab on the Parkway for its sizeable Indian community. The air is always filled with the stench,, scent of curry and cumin.

    Your trek ends at the scenic Stonegate apartments, also known as Thugs End. Note that Stonegate is Reston's ideal neighborhood, complete with all of its own amenities: police sub-station, social services office, pool and community center. It's its own self-contained microcosm that fully embodies life in the Gulag!

  19. Wow!
    I was reading this about to comment how great I think Cafe Sano is as well and to agree that it is perhaps the best restaurant in Reston (price quality selection) when lo and behold Convict lays out yet another racist rant.

    What a douche.

  20. Developing over the toll road creates neither a barrier or unifier. Like Arlington, Reston can be many different things to many peoples. It doesn't have to be the skyscraper Arlington in all places as some would wish. It can be the multi-faceted community where people carve out their neighborhoods with their own unique identities, not the cookie-cutter crap that some people think needs to be erected everywhere.

  21. The Convict in the GulagDecember 6, 2009 at 6:37 PM

    I may be a douche, ass-non at 11:34, do you dispute the truth of any of my statements?

  22. Convict is a racist douche bagDecember 6, 2009 at 9:06 PM

    The truth is you are a racist douche bag.

  23. And back to restaurant reviews...BiCo, since you've said your discretionary income is limited, you should give your e-mail to Cafesano. They send GREAT coupons. Right next to it is Lakeside Inn, which while pretty uninspired in menu, does offer decent fare and has a 'frequent' program that gives great discounts. And specials each night, like on Thursday BOGOfree Fajitas. Plus, the view of the lake is just perfect. Perhaps you'll even see an escape canoe. (just kidding). Seriously though, the only problem with the SL shopping center is the parking is inadequate, but it isn't as awful as Lake Anne, and the offerings are much better.

    Another good place on the south side although not TECHNICALLY in Reston is Fox Mill Shopping Center where you'll find a Glory Days Grill, 5 guys, Radio Shack, Starbucks and other assorted merchants.

    Regarding people not recognizing your complex -- there are so many...and North Shore Drive goes around and around and around...but realistically, unless people have spent time up there for some other purpose (church or swim meets!), they may not know where on North Shore you mean. It's no different from the part of Reston that is above Baron Cameron on the E & W sides of Reston Parkway. I guess that's UPTOWN Reston in terms of location. But the point is that unless you've had reason to be up there, you might not be aware of the twists and curves of the streets.

  24. You might try the Herndon Cuisine web site if you're still having trouble finding places to eat. There are a lot of carryouts along Sunset Hills on the other side of Fairfax Parkway. If you're really strapped for cash, the China King carryouts in Herndon are probably the lowest priced in the area.

  25. I don't find anything particularly racist about Convict's statements. He's making fun of the different cultures that predominate in certain areas, according to his view, and others, I presume. There's nothing wrong with making fun of other cultures, just as long as we're okay with other cultures making fun of our own (which, undoubtedly, there's lots of material from which to grab). We're all different, culturally and individually, and everything can and should be laughed at as an elixir to the frustrations of living, laughter, as some of us know, being the best medicine. It breaks the ice. What makes the ice harden is both hatred *and* political correctness, which are two equally evil extremes.

    If everyone called everything as they see it, especially with non-hatred, and with a sense of humor, then this world would be better off. I recommend that the constant (always anonymous) accuser of racism check him- or herself for a while before making further accusations. Check your own inner thoughts and how they're reflecting your insides out upon your fellow beings.

  26. Le Pigeon - good post. I would add if that individual would not only do the self-check but also refrain from the juvenile insults, he/she might be able to step into the light and post openly. It could be that the individual has something useful to add to the dialogue, but everyone discounts his/her opinion because it is usually framed in such an irritating manner.

    It is so easy to take cheap shots as "anon"...

  27. The Convict in the GulagDecember 7, 2009 at 10:55 AM

    Thank you for insights, LP and SLM.

    Still, ass-non, you're quick to levy the accusation, but slow on providing the thoughtful commentary. If you think my post is racist, then let's start a discussion about how you think its racist, instead of just tarring me as a racist.

    I live right in the middle of all of this. These places are within easy walking distance for me and I walk this route on a fairly regular basis. I SEE THIS ON A WEEKLY BASIS.

    What about you, ass-non? Do you live in any of these places? Do you live in a cluster that even abuts any of these places? How often do you shop at HWSC or ride the RIBS 2 or set foot in Terraset Elementary, Langston Hughes Middle or South Lake High? How often to you participate in programs at the Stonegate Community Center? Do you ever use the Glade or Hunter's Woods Pool during the summer? When was the last time you ever stopped by the Fairfax County Department of Family Services just for a chat with the Medicaid or WIC applicants or attended a county health clinic at the Government Center, or even set foot in the Embry Riddle Homeless Shelter? Have you ever volunterred at the Juvenile Detention Center or the Less Secure Shelter?

    Or do you live in one of the distant clusters, sequestered far away from any of this business where you don't have to experience this reality, except when others don't seem to measure up to your idea of what 'egalitarian' means?

    I'm trying to do something about my world, ass-non. Besides making stupid accusations, can you make the same claim?

  28. here's the $2.50 Reston map for free:

  29. Le Pigeon and Southlakes Mom you guys are very polite, but that anonymous is an Fucking ASSHOLE.

    I support everything the Convict stated. This is coming from a latino (hint the name). All Convict statements are true. I used to live in Hunter Woods Sq right in the middle of all those neighborhoods and used to drink in those trails. I have a lot of stories about each area mention.

    There is some people out there the cant take the truth and think that everything is wonderland.

  30. I think tarring all the residents of Winterthur as MS-13 is racist, calling all the residents of Stonegate village thugs is racist and referring to the Indian community as "Punjab on the parkway" and calling their cooking a "stench" is also racist.

  31. Also, if you (like me) enjoy the smell of Indian food, you should check out Mayuri in the Hunter's woods shopping center. Another great (independent) Reston restaurant. And, imo, one of the best Indian places in the area. Has a terrific lunch buffet, too.

  32. Hey Asshole, I think you are a racist or a confuse man or woman. Convict didn’t say all resident in those areas are like that, he is just mentioning the small percentage of people that you here about over and over again. Don’t ignore it, open your eyes, they are there.

    The best Indian Restaurant is in Fairfax city behind the Hooters in route 50.

  33. The Convict in the GulagDecember 7, 2009 at 3:36 PM

    Give it up, Prunie. Ass-non is a troll. It knows that throwing around the "racist" label is going to get people's knickers in a twist. Just look at the lack of substance in the comment. Ass-non isn't interested in a real discussion on the realities of race in Reston; ass-non is interested in riling up the denizens with name-calling.

    Sticks and stone, ass-non. Sticks and stones.


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