News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Reston Master Plan Task Force Meeting Tonight 'First and Maybe Last Major Opportunity' for Public Input

The awesome Reston Master Plan Task Force With the Awesomely Long Acronym as a Name (RMPTFWALAAAN) meets tonight, and the folks at the Reston 2020 committee are calling this "the first--and maybe last--major opportunity for you to listen or speak to the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force that is in the process of re-shaping Reston into an urban community."

Here's what Reston 2020's Terry Maynard had to say about the importance of the meeting, and the process writ large:

The focus of the open comment session will be to gather community inputs on what should be done in developing the Dulles Corridor area--roughly the area between Sunset Hills and Sunrise Valley drives--and Reston Town Center, especially the under-developed north area from Baron Cameron to Bowman Town Center drives.

The task force has spent months hearing County officials and outside experts about what exists in these areas and the opportunities for transit-oriented development (TOD). TOD calls for high-density, high-rise, mixed-use (residential, office, retail, & other) development around the coming Metrorail stations. This is your one opportunity to make a contribution before they move on to deciding what and how much may be built where over the next several decades along the Dulles Corridor and in Reston Town Center.

RCA's Reston 2020 Committee will be participating as a civic group. Its five work groups, covering such important issues as urban design and livability, environment, transportation, parks and recreation, and implementation, phasing, & financing, will be making very short presentations based on their months of research on these issues. The reports these work groups have submitted to the Task Force that back their brief presentations, they will be available on Reston 2020's blog (Reston 2020: Citizens Shaping Reston's Future) by Monday evening.

Reston 2020's experience has indicated that the Task Force will listen and consider the concerns of the community. First, the vast majority of the Task Force members are Restonians. Second, Reston's civic groups are adequately represented among the Task Force membership, including RA, RCA, ARCH, and the P&Z Committee. Most importantly, the Task Force has demonstrated an increasing openness to new ideas as it has progressed. If you have a concern or idea, I think they will listen to and consider your thoughts.

If you are invested in Reston as a place you plan to live for most of the rest of your life--and hope that maybe your children (or future grandchildren!) will live here too--I strongly urge you to attend Tuesday evening's meeting. The meeting will be held at the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne South Lakes High School and begins at 7PM. The meeting will give you the opportunity to hear other Restonians' concerns and ideas as well as give you an opportunity to share your own. If you wish to speak, be prepared to say what you want in three minutes because we expect many others will wish to speak as well. Your participation in a huge turnout would be fantastic for the Task Force and the future of Reston.
Along with Reston 2020, the Reston Association Environmental Advisory Committee and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce are expected to speak. Take note: the meeting is strictly BYOFCB (bring your own fanciful concrete bollards).

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Update: The location of the meeting was changed at the last minute to South Lakes High School, home to other level-headed discussions of weighty issues.


  1. Your brain is represented by the fanciful concrete bollard to the far left.

  2. At least my bollards are made of concrete. I wonder whether you have any at all.

    BTW, Eunoch-onymous, were you at the meeting last night?

  3. How does one achieve no growth?

    This isn't a State (Commonwealth) where the government can place a moratorium on development. Zoning can limit growth, but it's illegal to down zone a property owner to 0. Growth is going to happen if you like it or not. You can either try to guide the growth to the best of your ability or let the "free market" have its way.

  4. You're right in that growth can be managed. By not changing zonings, or requiring an off-setting zoning change. More or less freezing the zoning that we have in place would certainly limit the potential for the developers. That won't stop additional construction because some property is developed at levels lower than zoning (although, for the life of me, I can't name any), but it would certainly restrict the extent of that development.

    It's funny that, while we seem to be embracing the building the thousands of more housing units, it's almost impossible to get a permit to put an addition onto a house. It would seem to me that the existing population of Reston should be our priority, not the carpetbaggers.

    One last point. I was at Tuesday night's shindig. I was humored by the plans for TOD, the calls for fewer parking spaces, for new and improved pathways, bike access and bus routes, and yet, I was the only person there who seems to have ridden a bicycle, there were only one or two people that might have walked there and, from the fullness of the parking lot, there was probably nobody who rode the RIBS 2, which stops right in front of SLHS. The irony was rich in the room.

    Considering the number of people there who appeared to be older than me (aged 50), my question is, if you're trying to create a walkable community, when exactly are you planning on starting walking (or bike riding or bus riding)? Are you planning on waiting until geezerhood? Or is it, as I suspect, that these people secretly expect everybody else to use these transportation alternatives so that they can continued with the comfort and convenience of their automobiles?

  5. Oooh...there are a lot of parcels that have not developed to their planned potential. For instance, if you just take the Herdon-Monroe Area, 17 of 21 parcels are currently not built to their planned potential. I'm looking at the planned and existing FAR map for Wiehle Ave map now...just eye balling looks like over half of the parcels are currently under their planned potential.

    As for the age of those at the forget the timeline on's a 30 yr time horizon for any substantial redevelopment and redisign to occur. These people are planning for the next generation. Very few of the 55+ crowd will see the benefit of their efforts. Sure, they will see moderate redevelopment around north town center area...some around wiehle..but not the elaborate visions on display at Tuesday night's shindig.

  6. As far as getting permits. Those developers who will evetually rebuild will have to jump through hopes to build as well. You read everything that Comstock had to go through and they still didn't get everything they wanted...nobody got everything they wanted...except for the Rad 80s art.

  7. [T]here are a lot of parcels that have not developed to their planned potential. For instance, if you just take the Herndon-Monroe Area, 17 of 21 parcels are currently not built to their planned potential.
    But how are they currently zoned? Are they already zoned for the plan, or is it just that the plan reflects what somebody wanted long ago? Seems to me that, if I were going to sit on top of a property waiting for just the right time to build, I would probably want that property zoned at a lower potential than a higher potential. My thinking is that, whether or not this property is zoned, somebody is paying taxes and the higher the zoning on the property, the more valuable the property and, accordingly, the more valuable the property, the higher the taxes. If that property is an investment to me, I would want to reduce my carrying costs by reducing the zoning, especially since I can probably easily get the zoning changed in developer-friendly Fairfax county.

    As for the age of the group versus the timeline for development, that wasn't lost on me either. Still, it's a whole "Do as I say, not as I do" argument. Sure, younger folks now might walk, but they'll take cars just like the older folks. And if we're looking at a 30 year horizon, those younger folks are going to already be older folk who have already developed the habit of driving. If you aren't prepared to make the sacrifice yourself, then why would you think that your children would want to?


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