News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, March 8, 2010

The 8 Emails the RA Sent Us This Weekend Are Nothing Compared to All the Letters About the Proposed Comstock Wiehle Metro Development

new wiehle.jpgThanks, RA, for sending us all eight copies of the weekly Upcoming Events e-mail over the weekend.... each more exciting than the last! At least there was some interesting stuff to promote (newcomers night on Thursday, a special presentation on "What Does the Master Plan Special Study Mean to Your Neighborhood?" on Wednesday night at the Nature House, and something called "Dancing Wind" which reminds us of the last time we had too many microwave burritos, etc.)

The eight e-mails didn't mention that the RA Board will meet tonight to consider sending a letter to the Fairfax County Planning Commission about Comstock's awesome proposed Wiehle Avenue Metro development. A draft of the RA letter suggests extending Soapstone Drive over the Toll Road to one end of the project -- which makes sense, given the fact that the only two bridges across the Toll Road are crowded enough as it is, even before they add shiny new buildings and parking garages and whatnot. The draft RA letter also calls for a fancy ramp into the parking garage right off the Toll Road, more work with adjacent property holders so the area is developed in some sort of consistent way, and the provision of county incentives to prod Comstock into including more than the required amount of affordable housing. Also the RA is worried about stormwater collection, but they could always just add a big long metal pipe to Lake Anne so it can help run that awesome RELAC air-conditioning system. That's what developers might call a "win-win."

But we digress. The RA isn't the only group with a twitchy e-mail finger of late. Reston 2020's Terry Maynard sent county officials a letter calling the Wiehle proposal "ghastly" and "a farce of the county's stated goals for TOD development," urging county planners to send Comstock back to the drawring board. And if you think that's a less than positive review, Kathy Kaplan and Guy Rando's letter calls the proposal "immoral" for including such limited open space when starting with a "completely blank site." Here's our favorite line:

Comstock has said it will try to attract world-class retail to the plaza, such as Gucci. This plaza will be so drab and unhealthy we doubt they could drag in a kiosk with WalMart costume jewelry to the site.
Ouch! Another letter from John and Fran Lovaas takes Comstock to task for not responding to earlier critiques:
They seem to believe that they have the county and ultimately our community over a major barrel with a sole source PPEA deal and tight timelines to meet a train coming down the track. The Reston community has no power to alter Comstock's plans. So, we must look to Fairfax County to act on our behalf and demand excellence in the plans for this site.
There's also a Tuesday evening meeting about the broader Reston Master Plan and how it relates to Wiehle development, held by the fancy task force with a long name we're too tired to even come up with a wacky acronym for (FTFWALNWTTTECUWAWAF). That's at 7pm at Lake Anne. All we can say is that if the RA Board votes to send their fancy letter along to the county, here's hoping they don't accidentally send it eight times.


  1. Don't forget Wednesday at the nature house at 7:00. I hear some of the 2020 crew are gonna come with John Lovas. And I'm going to be there also to learn more of the work of the so as to avoid having to hear Milton Mathew and Cate Fulkerton go on about how to be a board member at the Canidates "orientation."

    Out today I'm meeting more and more citizens tell me they already voted and they voted for ....they look at the photo on the literature and look at me and say I already voted for you!

    I'm getting when I talk to people a LOT of negitive feelings about RA.

    But I am prepared to lead the RA from a negative mental attitude to a positive mental attitude! And I am the only candidate that can!

    The whole concept of having two way communication in Reston is exciting to many Restons I have talked to. Reston will never be the same after we have it. It will not be my positive attitude but Reston's positive attitude.

    Today if you buy a toaster you have the oppertunity to comment on it. Why not in Reston about the RA?

    If elected to preside over RA There will be no "messages from the President" but there might be some emails from Rod, a lot of them probably.

    It will be my hope to have shorter more orderly meetings using strict Robert's Rules of Order. I've been to to many meeting where some one cute will literally dominate the meetings (RCA, PTA, South Lake Band and they often wonder why they can't keep volenteers) with cute talk back and forth and nothing is accomplished or a lot less is accomplished. Let the person speaking stand up while speaking- That will accomplish a lot for brevity and to shorten the meeting.-Rod Koozmin Canididate for the at large position.

    For some reason the spell checker is not working so there may be a few mispellings. It's not how I spell but how I smell and I smell a rat in RA!

  2. Rod, stop it please. My brain can't take much more of this.

  3. Rod...

    1. Please stay on topic;

    2. If we want to read your off-topic comments, we would go directly to your blog;

    3. Please understand you are not helping your cause by hijacked this beloved blog.


  4. Emails from Rod? Quite a few of them?

    Wow if ever there was a reason to hope your campaign goes down in (figurative) flames, this is it.

    The prospect of three years worth of your rambling and incoherent drivel clogging my in box makes me shudder.

    Vote JOE! Say NO to Rod's SPAM attack!


  5. Rod, I believe you are wrong on several fronts here. For one, not a single person could read your comments and mistake you for positive, you've been anything but positive. You are also incredibly random in your thought process, not a terrific asset to leadership; nor is your total disregard for this space with your off topic rantings. The whole package points to a kind of narcissistic arrogance that wouldn't lead anyone reading this to feel confident in your skills as a leader. I think that 2:12 is correct, post to your own blog and please leave this one to people who want to discus the topic at hand.

  6. On the topic of the Comstock plan, I'm not sure how I feel about what was proposed but the very emotional and as always inflammatory opposition to it reminds me of the republican insistence that nothing in the health care bill is usable and that it must all be scrapped in favor of a blank sheet of paper; the way to make sure that NOTHING happens. It's all so very exhausting.

  7. "Also the RA is worried about stormwater collection.."

    They have a culvert running alongside Sunset Hills on the other side of the street from Long & Foster bldg.

  8. Annie,

    Have you seen the site plans for Comstock Wiehle? Have you read the VDOT Chapter 527 traffic impact analysis? It's on the internet. Guy Rando and I have made many concrete and constructive suggestions to improve the site plan. Our opposition is not emotional or inflammatory.

    Bob Simon, our founder, wrote to P&Z and the Task Force the day before yesterday, "I believe serious consideration should be given to this Rando-Kaplan letter." Not emotional or inflammatory.

    Kathy Kaplan

  9. Restonian writes: "But we digress. The RA isn't the only group with a twitchy e-mail finger of late. Reston 2020's Terry Maynard sent county officials a letter calling the Wiehle proposal "ghastly" and "a farce of the county's stated goals for TOD development," urging county planners to send Comstock back to the drawring board. And if you think that's a less than positive review, Kathy Kaplan and Guy Rando's letter calls the proposal "immoral" for including such limited open space when starting with a "completely blank site." Here's our favorite line:

    Comstock has said it will try to attract world-class retail to the plaza, such as Gucci. This plaza will be so drab and unhealthy we doubt they could drag in a kiosk with WalMart costume jewelry to the site."

    I guess I'll have to wait and see what things sound like once they hit the emotional and inflammatory levels.

  10. If they build it as designed, there will be lots of emotion.

    Nobody will be able to drive north on Wiehle, south on Wiehle, east on Sunset Hills or west on Sunset Hills.

    Total gridlock will be good for emotion.

  11. Yup --- that's matthew's and symers' million-dollar website in action -- overtime action at that.

    What a colossal waste of money!

    The rejected-by-the-Columbia-Association "CEO" matthews, who allegedly "earns" more than two hundred and fifty thousand of your annual assessment dollars in compensation, who is more interested in letting everyone know that he is a self-titled "CEO" than behaving like an effective manager.

    And the incompetent "president" smyers who feeds his ego day after day.

    What a pity and waste on the poor RA dues-payers.

  12. Here we go again --- more brutalist (READ: UGLY) architecture, more open sewers (READ: LAKE ANNE) and more congestion on the already dangerous and over crowded pothole-filled road (READ: WIEHLE).

    BTW-- how's that new grocery store at Tall Oaks doing?

    Are they are the 25% or 50% doing out of business sale markdowns?

  13. Drinking again, anon 8:02?

  14. anon 9:16: Don't you have your own ideas instead of attacking another?

  15. LOL at 9:16.

    8:02: I was at Tall Oaks during Snowmageddon (livin' large at El Manantial) and they hadn't even opened yet. Are they already going out of business?

  16. I'm excited about kick bikes. Kick bikes are the high tec adult versions of the aluminum scooters that came out about ten years ago. Instead of small wheels kick bikes have large pneumatic bicycle tires. I read about them in the current Time magazine when it came in Saturday and ordered it Sunday($189 includes shipping). It should come in Wednesday. The action of kick bikes are said to be good for older joints and in fact are used in rehabilitation. What's more it's said to make you feel like a kid.

    Campaigning for the Reston Association, a kid called me yesterday to ask if they could open up more places where kids could use roller boards. I said sure. I'm for doing things that are fun that don't cost anything. We ended up talking about these kick bikes. I think they will be come the hottest new craze in Reston which has fifty miles of pathway trails that are ideal for kick bikes. It'll get everyone off the TV and computer and into the streets. See me Wednesday on my new kick bike! (google kick bikes)

    I regret for the fastidious reader who expects to just see one topic and considers it "hijacking" to enter another topic and is upset by this. Other for ems have "off topic" areas , The Restonian is after all free and limited in that respect. We should not be limited in freedom to post in Reston.This might make a interesting topic if we could enter it that way. There are other electronic frameworks that would allow for this (I encourage the Restonian to explore them) and one of my campaign themes is we need more two way communication in Reston. Anonymous but you all know who I am.

  17. Interesting stuff about kick bikes. I'm wouldn't be that upset about off-topic posts, except that it takes a lot longer to get through a thread that has a ton of stuff that has nothing to do with it. Some of the posts are indeed interesting like the one above, but they make reading things in an organized way next to impossible.

    Part of this is because this site is a BLOG. It's meant as a place for the owner to post about things and people to comment on those things. It's not meant as a completely open forum. If people want an open forum to talk about anything under the sun, there are a couple of options that I know of. There's a Reston-Herndon Freecycle Cafe Yahoo Group (although I'm not sure that political debate would be tolerated there, at least you can talk about non-caustic issues), and there's also a large bulletin board which has a NOVA section, albeit not Reston-specific: If those don't satisfy you, maybe we could come up with our own forum somewhere at least initially that is free and Mr. Restonian can link to us (and we can of course link within posts here if we want).

  18. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)March 9, 2010 at 8:02 AM

    Here's my take on things:

    1.) I agree with Annie. Ms. Kaplan, while I appreciate you've reached out to me numerous times in the past via e-mail to keep me updated on your activities with Mr. Rando and Reston 2020 in general, I must shake my head to see such juvenile and inflammatory remarks about this proposal. Do I like it as-is? No. However, very rarely will a developer get it perfect on the first stab or second attempt at a proposal. Feedback should be more cooperative, not abrasive. Just because you and some other "long-timers" want Reston to blow up Reston Town Center and devolve back into the way it was in 1968 with Bob Simon break-dancing near Lake Anne doesn't mean the rest of us do as well. Like it or not DC is now flirting with NYC to be the nation's economic engine, and hundreds of thousands of people will be moving here in the coming years to capitalize upon that. Do I want them to all move to Reston? Of course not. However, some WILL, and we NEED to prepare for that. You can't put up a "Great Wall of Reston" to halt any new development, and that is what I see many of these NIMBYs doing at master planning meetings. Height restrictions? WHY? Isn't cramming more people in fewer buildings overall a GOOD thing to preserve our open space? As I said the other day while apartment-hunting in Arlington I faced worse traffic on Reston Parkway than I did in the Ballston-Rosslyn Corridor, and Arlington has roughly four times the population of Reston. Their community is designed with mass transit, cycling, and the pedestrian in mind. Reston likes to PRETEND that it is, but to anyone who isn't blind-sighted we can very well see it comes up very short in those regards with its lack of bike lanes, sidewalks, streetlights, curbs, rail, late-running buses to Metro, etc. I'm really tiring of several groups proclaiming that they know what's best for Reston. How can you make such an assertion? I may be new and young, but I'm not stupid. Some of my ideas are probably unpopular, but not all should be cast aside by the NIMBYs.

    2.) My idyllic Reston? Expanding Reston Town Center into a Ballston-like atmosphere surrounded by preserving our existing residential neighborhoods. Tear down the suburban-oriented Spectrum Center (and the surface parking lot across from Chipotle in RTC) and replace with mixed-use projects that will help to keep places like Parc Reston, Fairway, The Sycamores, Charter Oak, etc. intact. We can even move Barnes & Noble, Harris-Teeter, Best Buy, and Office Depot back INTO one of the new buildings (see Columbia Heights in the District). Expand Soapstone over the toll road to better link South Reston to the rest of the community. Re-examine our trail system to see if better connections can be made to upcoming rail stations (i.e. it would be a pain to walk to the proposed Wiehle station now from Charter Oak). Add a floor onto the library. Mandate that all new developments do have SOME element of green space to them, but we also have to be a bit more realistic than what some of the NIMBYs want. I point to the Spectrum @ Falls Church as a prime example of an attractive mixed-use complex that isn't too dense and is one of the "greenest" buildings around. Get rid of any stupid ideas to limit building heights. As I said the fewer new buildings to house more people, the better, no?

  19. BiCO -- you're spot on...

  20. Annie--

    You do your own argument a dis-service by comparing with admittedly dysfunctional partisan politics. There's certainly nothing partisan in the points quoted by Restonian.

    Maynard's argument is based on a line-by-line comparison of the proposal with the County's policy.

    Kaplan's letter focuses on the lack of vision and incompatibility of the Comstock proposal with Reston values--like lots of open space, world-class architecture, etc.

    I'd recommend you click on the links and read what these people have to say.

  21. I'm not saying that the Rando/Kaplan team don't have valid points, I'm saying their delivery doesn't facilitate discussion, which is dysfunctional and of course it's partisan--they have a position and they support it with emotion--I believe that is the definition of partisan. I do apologize if the reference to behaving like a Republican was offensive.

  22. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)March 9, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    Anonymous @ 8:30 AM: Thank you, but I don't believe I'm "spot on." I do think that SOME of my ideas ARE valid and worthy of consideration, though, but sadly too many write me off because:

    1.) I'm young (because we all know our youth should be seen and not heard).
    2.) I'm new here (why is someone who has lived here 30 years automatically "better" than someone who has lived here 1 year?)
    3.) I'm pro-developer (No. I'm just not ANTI-developer. There's a difference, and sadly most in Reston only see developers as evil when that's not always the case).

    I'll maintain that I have yet to hear one valid reason to impose height restrictions on buildings here. In DC the argument is to preserve the sight-lines of the monuments, which I can understand, since DC actually has more of a European feel to it. However, unless taller buildings in Reston would somehow interfere with flight paths to/from Dulles I don't see what harm can come from taller buildings here. If Reston's share of the potential influx of 2,000,000 new residents into Metro DC might be, perhaps, 30,000, then why not try to cram 20,000 of those into new high-rises in an even denser Reston Town Center in hopes of preserving as many existing residential neighborhoods as possible? There's so much wasted space in and around the town center already---the low-profile Spectrum Center, that large surface parking lot across from Chipotle, the low-rise garage across from Potbelly/Obi Sushi, etc. You can easily fit thousands of new residents onto all of that land alone, let alone any space available near to the proposed Reston Parkway Metrorail station. I don't want to see Fairway Apartments, Charter Oak, Parc Reston, The Sycamores, etc. all hit the wrecking ball, and if we continue to push for infill in the immediate town center area then that likely won't happen. I would like to see Lake Anne's huge surface parking lot tastefully redeveloped to house perhaps 2,000 new residents to help breathe new life into existing businesses there and to spur new business growth. There's so many ways we CAN welcome new residents here AND make our community better simultaneously. Growth doesn't have to be bad (i.e. Ashburn). Growth can be GOOD. Comparing us to Arlington again, let's turn Reston Town Center into Ballston-Rosslyn and keep surrounding neighborhoods (like Cherrydale, Waverly Hills, Buckingham Village, etc.) intact. Why is that such a bad idea?

  23. BiCO... I believe most agree with you -- I certainly do. There are more choices now as to where one can live. Reston is now in a competitive siuation with other communities. We need to attract more people (not millions or hundreds of thousands), more business, and more interest here. Otherwise we will become that neighborhood people drive thru -- nothing more. Lake Anne needs the new development as you describe, otherwise the last businesses there are going to have to ultimately shut down... sad.

  24. BiCO, it's funny as I read your comments I'm reminded of the old saw "the older you get the more you realize you DON'T know." In other words, I think a lot of your ideas make sense, but as with a lot of younger folk (and I know I was like this when I was your age), your level of passion sometimes gets to a point where I sense you believe you have the answers and those who disagree with you are doing it for petty and idiotic reasons. Your constant slur of "NIMBY" alludes to this. If you were a bit less abrasive and actually tried to put yourself in others shoes, you might actually realize that everyone's a human being with their own valid points of view.

    Your youth does not make your points less valid, and I don't think people have made that claim. However there are a couple of items that you fail to understand. One is the level of "invesment" that people perceive of residents here. Since you are not a home owner as of yet, you don't have an investment in Reston the way us homeowners do. In fact, that lack of investment is playing itself out right now in your impending move to Alrington! While you still have a right to speak your mind here, people will perceive your comments as simply that - comments. Your desire to spout your opinion about something you feel you know something about, rather than a desire to actually better a community which you have made a COMMITMENT to live in for a long haul.

    Second, the experience thing. No one is saying someone who's lived here 30 years is "better" then you, only that they have the historical knowledge of this place that you don't. This gives them some perspective that you don't have. Does this mean they will necessarily make better decisions or have better opinions than you? Not necessarily, but it is still something that they have which can help in the overall understanding of where this community has been and where it should go and why. Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it, as someone said (Churchil?).

    In conclusion, BiCO, I think if you spent half the time you do complaining about why you are a victim, why your ideas aren't taken seriously, why this thing or that thing about Reston sucks (RTC, lack of sidewalks, traffic, housing price, etc., etc. ad nauseum) and attacking people who don't agree with you as "NIMBY's," I think you'd be taken a lot more seriously.

    All those Anonymous folk who do similar things to you and worse I would lambaste just as much but because they don't even have the courage to create a profile for themselves let alone reveal their own identity, it's impossible to tie one of these posts with another the we can with yours.

    If it wasn't obvious already, I think you just need to lighten up a bit. Recently HKCD said "don't let the door hit you on the way out" followed by what I thought was a pretty nice send off that made that first sentence (to me) seem like a joke. You didn't take it as such, but as simply an attack. I think part of the problem here is that some people have a dry sense of humor and others (as yourself) seem to have NO sense of humor. Please learn to take things a bit more lightly, ESPECIALLY online, where it's hard to guage the seriousness of a statement about anything. I generally give people the benefit of the doubt and assume the BEST intention, not the worst. Am I naive? I don't know, I've been using the Internet now for about 18 years, and was on local BBS's ten years before that! So I actually have some perspective, but if you choose to throw that out as invaluable because you don't have this, then that's up to you, but BiCO, hopefully in a few years when you do get some perspective yourself, you will come back here and be able to communicate in a less shrill and more productive manner - that is if you ever decide to come back to Reston...

  25. I'm with BICO. Smart development could enhance our lives and community. Putting our heads in the sand will probably lead to poor development ala Tysons.

  26. "how's that new grocery store at Tall Oaks doing?"

    Heh, every time I go in there, there is a new grocery store. Tall Oaks: the plaza where grocery chains go to die...

  27. Edwards said the fact that the plaza will not see very much sunlight once the development is fully built out, which Comstock could take up to 20 years, is not appealing. He said it is possible it will be a place people will only want to pass through when running from one building to another, and not a place where people will want to spend time. He said it is a severe problem that both the county and developer have been made aware of many times.


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