News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, February 19, 2010

On the YouTubes: Reston Master Plan Discussions, in Convenient Video Format!

Who doesn't want to wind down after a long work week with a 57-minute video about land use issues? Fortunately, the folks at Comcast uploaded this nifty discussion about the Reston Master Plan to the Internets, so those of us without a Comcast machine at home can still listen to host John Lovaas discuss the master plan with Dick Stillson, John Bowman, Kathy Kaplan, Guy Rando, and Terry Maynard of the Reston 2020 Committee. The real star, though, is the lifelike backdrop of Lake Anne Village Center, minus all the gang tagging. You can also read this fancy "news-paper" article about how Reston 2020 and the RA are going to provide input into the process even after the Official Task Force With a Ridiculously Long Name We're Not Going to Retype (OTFWRLNWNGTR) told them to pound sand (in a nice way, of course). Happy Friday!


  1. We can only agree with John that we need to keep a eye on this.

    Earlier I had posted the email regarding our meeting to collect food. I had then neglected to say the time and place and that would be this Sunday Feb 21 between 12 to 3 at Issac Newton Square. I have no way of knowing if this will be sent by the RA and how many candidates will be there but I at least will be there to collect food and talk about Reston.

    So often people have extra items taking up space but not used for one reason or another. They eventually get outdated and have to be discarded. This will be a good way to clean out the cupboard of such items and help someone less fortunate.

    Candidates for the current Reston Association will be on hand to help with the donated items and to answer any questions citizens may have regarding their campaigns.

    There is an acute need at FACETS for food for the homeless during this sever winter weather we've been having. Particularly in need is :Pop-top soups and pastas- Crackers - single serve packs - Peanut butter & jelly- Canned tuna & chicken Bottled water, Juice boxes, Granola bars/healthy snacks, Cereal, Canned fruits & vegetables, Spaghetti and sauce.

    Please do not donate any perishable items or items that have expired their shelf life.

    There is also a need for a heavy duty van with which to transport the donated items to FACET headquarters or possibly Reston Interfaith FACET 's sister organization. Please contact Rod Koozmin at 703 945 0171 or any of the candidates regarding this.

  2. We need to do a lot more than keep an eye on the master planning process. People need to do the reading, attend meetings, write their county supervisor. Reston is facing changes that will alter our community forever.

  3. Rod, are you sure this isn't an official RA event?

  4. The indoor pool at Reston Community Center pool is equipped with boom boxes for the water aerobic classes. In order to save the center the expense of buying new batteries the boom boxes are connected with power cords. But they are perfectly safe explains the staff and nobody has ever gotten electrocuted. To prove it Executive Director Lila Gordon is looking for volunteers to stand in the pool while a live wire is dropped in the pool. To volunteer write Lila at

  5. Is that an offical Reston Association sponsored event?

  6. I am not the Restonian! I was contacted by one of the other candidates last night who was told that I was the Restonian by yet another candidate! This is not true I would like to set the record straight.

    How did Clark Kent prove he was not Superman? I wished I wrote as well as the Restonian but alas I am not the Restonian.

    I do believe in a free press and think that today the Restonian is our free press.

    That's not to say that the Connection and the Observer and the Fairfax are not free press but they are limited in what they can get out.

    Speaking of the Connection did you see the current one? On the last page?

    I really think I make a strong presence. Joe mentions his support of nature house as a referendum and David Robinson mentions his "fresh perspective and passion and persistence." Of course I'm prejudiced but I just don't think that they make that persuasive of a argument. And I don't know why there is only three canidates.

    Now it is true that I emailed all of the other candidates and tried to get them to post here and maybe that's what made some think that I was myself the Restonian. Of course some have their own ways of reaching the public.

    Maybe the Restonioan can think of some way to prove, having recently appeared in voice anyway on 88.5 FM radio, that he is not me.

  7. There's really no way to prove it, but I'll say for the record that Rod and I are not the same person. This blog is not connected to any RA candidate's campaign, and I don't expect to make any endorsements.

    Again, I'm not Rod. Or Robin Smyers. Or Bob Simon. But I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

  8. What!? Crap! I was told that Restonian was written by Garrison Keillor who moved from his prairie home to North Reston a couple of years ago, at exactly the same time this filthy blog started. Is that not true?!

  9. In his dreams! Rod as the Restonian---I think not.

  10. Hi Rod: I'm glad that your parents mainstreamed you from an early age. The End.

  11. "Again, I'm not Rod. Or Robin Smyers. Or Bob Simon."

    But you have to admit there's a whole lot of alliteration going on there. enough for at least two haikus.

    Rod's Sharpening
    Robin Smyers
    Bob Simon


  12. Hey, 1:43. At least Rod's parents had him mainstreamed. What's your excuse?

  13. Thinking generallhy about urban planning and the new master plan I'm thinking that we may very much want a viable Master plan but what in the world makes us think we will ever have a successful Master plan?

    Where in the world would we go to look for a successful model where there is urban growth?

    In my life and places I have been I can only think of Holland. The Dutch had gone through natural disasters and the ravishes of war and moved from being a agricultural country and increased in population in the fifties and emerged in the late sixties as a very pleasant country very much balanced out in terms of parks, transportation, layout of the old sections with apartments overlooking farmland.

    I just don't know where we would look for examples of urban growth in Northern Virginia. Annandale where I had lived back in the fifties is horrible and I think is the worse example of an urban center in Northern Virginia.

    Mclean where i had lived in the early sixties has absolutely nothing to show as a model of excellence as far as any sort of planning.

    I am left to look at Vienna which seems to have some pleasant areas as I sit in gridlock traffic when going through frequently.

    And all I can think of as successful locally is revitalization's of older sections of cities. I think the revitalization of the old part of Charlottesville is pleasant. The revitalization of the inner Harbor of Baltimore is pleasant allowing one to wander and find whatever one likes, if it's the old village of little Italy, the water, the diverse eating places. But they had a lot to work with initially.-Rod

  14. Rod, I notice you only mention Holand and places relatively close to us here in Reston. Have you visited other smaller cities in other parts of the country? I've mainly been to much larger cities, but there are certainly plenty of smaller cities throughout the country which have a good balance of things. Did you study urban planning at any point? I recall seeing at least one of the candidates mentioning they did but can't recall which one. Still, it sounds like your attitude is a bit hopeless, which seems odd for a candidate unless your position is that we should just stay static. Vienna in fact has been criticized for trying to freeze itself with lots of regulations intended to keep the old town feel, but in the end this has resulted (at least partly) in the gridlock you mention.

  15. Le Pigeon: Wow. We're through the looking glass.

  16. Rod:

    The best example of a redeveloped small city I have ever seen was Santa Barbara. The corridor of businesses that runs up the middle of the city has been extensively redeveloped over the past 40 years.

    They replaced an industrial area near the beach with a Convention Center. The strip along State street is very analogous to our Dulles corridor. A strip on each side of State Street was redeveloped with new commercial and retail. Also several beautiful large public plazas were added with spaces for retail.

    Lower State Street added lots of trendy bars and restaurants for tourists and the young people in town (and old fogies who enjoy the company of young people). It's the place to be on the weekends.

    The city fathers decided to preserve the character of the town. All new buildings have to meet strict architectural parameters.

    They also decided that residential neighborhoods were off limits. When they redeveloped the areas around the Arlington Rosslyn-Ballston stations, they decided to preserve residential neighborhoods there, too. That is not the plan in Reston.

    Santa Barbara has growth limits enforced by restrictions on new water hook ups so the density increase we see proposed for Fairway Apartments would be almost impossible to achieve.

    Will Reston survive? Will our woodlands survive? Will 30% of our neighborhoods be replaced with high-rise, mixed use developments as the county would like? Stay tuned. Come out to a few of the Task Force meetings and put your two cents in.

    Kathy Kaplan

  17. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonFebruary 21, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    Assuming both have been telling the truth, as I think they have, there actually is definitive proof that Restonian and Rod are not one and the same:

    Rod talks here of "Annandale where I lived back in the 50s", which puts his age as being in his fifties at a minimum.

    Restonian is described in his 2009 profile in Washingtonian Magazine (i.e., "our 15 minutes of fame") as a "38-year-old father of two"

    Do the math. Rocket science it is not.

  18. Rod the Restonian? I'm going to be nice and just say that's wishful thinking on Rod's part.

    Speaking of town planning good and bad -- has anyone noticed the new gun shop that opened smack-dab in the middle of downtown Herndon. Now there's some town planning for you.

    Guy L. Rando Kathy Kaplan
    Reston, Virginia

    February 11, 2010

    Fairfax County Planning Commissioners
    Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
    Reston Association Planning and Zoning
    Reston Association Board of Directors
    Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force

    Re: Comstock Wiehle Reston Station, RZ/FDP 2009-HM-019


    The following letter presents our concerns with the Comstock Wiehle Reston Station proposal as submitted in the January 14, 2010 CDP/FDP and Proffer Statement. At the end of this letter you will find 3D views produced from images provided by Comstock.

    The lack of public space and open space, the capacity of the current transportation system to absorb the proposed increase in traffic, a lack of connectivity to nearby trails and other pedestrian pathways, and the negative impact on the surrounding community leads us to the conclusion that this development should be rejected as designed.

    There is a clear discrepancy between the amount of development proposed in the Comstock Wiehle development plan and that which can be calculated by observation of the CDP/FDP, the illustrative booklet, and exhibits. The CDP/FDP lists nearly1.3 million sq ft of development, yet calculating the footprints and proposed building heights produces an amount of 3.5 million sq ft. While the area of parking structures may not count towards FAR calculation, they should be added into the total development numbers.

    The RCIG covenants and restrictions were administered by Reston Association, a clear indication that RA retains property rights. Those property rights belong to the homeowners of Reston. The deed cannot be vacated or nullified without the permission of the homeowners who own those property rights. It also appears that stripping the lands of Town Center from Reston Association was a violation of the deed. Those lands were part of the Deed of Dedication of Reston and Reston homeowners were never allowed to vote to relinquish Town Center as part of Reston Association.

    There is essentially no open space in the Comstock proposal. Human beings require open space. Open space is a requirement for development in Fairfax County’s guidelines. In Block 1 of the proposed development there are 1,000 sq ft of open space and most of that is sidewalk. That is unacceptable.

    Sandy Stallman, Manager of Fairfax County Park Planning Branch, states that for 444 residential units there must be 0.00148 acres of parkland per person, or 1.43 acres. That parkland must be on site. Reston Association homeowners are not required to provide parkland for residents of new developments in the corridor. Comstock is responsible for providing parkland for new residents.

    The vehicular and pedestrian plaza in the center of the development is about the same size as Lake Anne Plaza. Through the center of the plaza two lanes of traffic will circulate constantly. The exhaust fumes will be trapped in between the 17 and 19 story buildings and the connected above-ground parking garages and a carbon monoxide chamber will be created poisoning people in the plaza. In addition, the plaza will be in shade most of the year, creating a wholly dismal, unhealthy, and claustrophobic environment not suitable for any sort of community event.

    The land Comstock Wiehle Station will be built upon is public land owned by Fairfax County. However, areas of that land that will be set aside for residential recreation will be private and not open to the public. This is not a reasonable use of public land.

    Wouldn't all fit to see the rest of this document go to Rod's Sharpening Service or Sharpening In Reston

  20. dvd mom asks: Did you study urban planning at any point?

    My answer is no absolutely not.

    I did study landscape planning and was in landscaping for fifteen years and I will say this about landscape planning: You want to have some experience at it to do it well. I can see a difference between someone who's never gotten his feet wet so to speak and someone who has in their plan. Maybe experience would similarly be valuable in urban planning also.

    The absolute worse plan resulted when someone would go out to the nursery and buy a bunch of bushes and just plant them wherever seemed good at the time.

  21. "It also appears that stripping the lands of Town Center from Reston Association was a violation of the deed. Those lands were part of the Deed of Dedication of Reston and Reston homeowners were never allowed to vote to relinquish Town Center as part of Reston Association."

    If this is true, then the homeowners need to bring suit.

  22. I was told the RA Board gave up our rights to Town Center. I don't know how it happened or when. Was it when the reigning developer (Reston Land, Mobil or Gulf Oil) had the majority of seats on the RA board? I don't know. I do know it was not in the best interests of the homeowners.

  23. I watched last night as the Reston Citizens Association tried to phrase a comprehensive statement about the master plan in there off camera portion of there meeting. The Reston Citizens is a minority in the current climate: Well informed well meaning citizens trying to do something useful about the disaster coming like a freight train in the night.

    The components of the disaster are well known:

    The poorly designed expensive and accident prone Metro system coming to Reston. It will bring crime, congestion and traffic to Reston on a massive scale.

    The numerous properties owned by landowners who will want to develop the properties to there legal limits of there potential.

    The County who has a need for more tax income that such properties will generate.

    The lack of any central individual or entity to comprehend and effectively plan for all of this. Robert Simon and his planners had it relatively easy in this regard. All they had to do was come up with a plan to turn farm land unto a marketable product. The coming chaos is much more difficult to conceive and transform.

    The lack of a needed infrastructure and the lack of the money to pay for it. The RA and the RCC came up with a now defunct plan to build a massive recreation structure at Browns Chapel with fifth tax district income that would hopefully pay for it. Were they to come up with a plan to deal with the needed infrastructure instead it might of been more useful.

    The decline of our national and international economies is unmentioned in all of this. Spain, Portugal and Greece are now totally bankrupt. Other countries are rapidly heading in this direction. The bond markets have shattered. The second phase of economic disaster looms on the horizon. How can Reston and the jargon about the master plan reconcile to this broader picture?

    How will the Reston Association(which had previously been a stickler for it's profitable covenant administration to residents of Reston) who has recently abandoned covenant administration over the soon to be built (and horribly proposed designed for) Willie Station area be able to contribute some sort of statement to the county?

    How will we candidates who hope to be elected to a board seat on the Reston Association come up with some sort of rhetoric that will convince people that we have the solution or the potential to find them and convince people to vote for us? I don't really know but at least there is some therapy in trying to write this.-Rod

  24. Congratulations, Rod, on putting together a most coherent explanation of what Reston faces. Keeping hoping and keep writing. Because as grim as things look, there is hope.


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