News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tysons Corner City Set to Rise Phoenix-Like From Ashes of Car Dealerships

tysons cityscape.jpg
Behold the cosmopolitan flair and sophistication of "Fairfax County's downtown," which has been given the green light to become an even more awesome urban center, including -- we hope -- the construction of a gilded, 20-story tall statue of Crystal Koons.
Fairfax County officials on Tuesday approved a landmark proposal to allow the transformation of Tysons Corner from a sprawling, auto-dependent office park into a vibrant, walkable city.

The Board of Supervisors voted 8 to 2 after a six-hour public hearing on new building rules and a 20-year blueprint for Tysons, its most significant land-use decision in recent years. The proposal permits Tysons to become a city of office and residential towers with sidewalk cafes, boutiques and manicured courtyards. It also calls for energy-efficient buildings, affordable housing, park space and a new street grid to filter local traffic. A planned circulator bus system would ferry riders among future Metrorail stations, offices and shopping malls.

"Tysons is a downtown. While it may not be a municipality, it will be a community," Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill), whose district includes the employment hub, said before the vote. "Tysons is not going to be an auto-oriented environment. It's going to be walkable for the people who live there and for the economy."

The biggest hurdles have yet to come. Excluding the rail system, officials have yet to identify a way to fund about $1.5 billion in road and transit improvements needed through 2030.

The public hearing was the culmination of five years of planning. The county was under pressure to adopt a final land-use plan because the four Metro stations are slated to open in 2013.
The "good" news is that time constraints brought about by Metro actually pushed the supervisors to approve the more desirable option -- as opposed to what happened when the county started feeling the heat to approve the Wiehle gulch Metro development.

What's pathetic interesting is the new definition of "low-income housing."
The Tysons plan calls for 20 percent of housing to be devoted to those who make $51,350 to $123,240, or 50 to 120 percent of Fairfax's median household income of $102,700. In exchange, developers would be allowed to build 20 percent more units.

Lynne J. Strobel, a land-use lawyer with Walsh Colucci Lubeley Emrich & Walsh representing several Tysons Corner developers, urged supervisors to cut the lowest tier of workforce housing, for those earning 50 to 60 percent of the median household income in Fairfax. That would include annual incomes of $51,350 to $61,620. Starting salaries for teachers and police officers in Fairfax County range from $44,000 to $49,450.
Yeah, who wants those icky teachers or police officers as neighbors? All that chalk dust, handcuffs, etc. We're just happy that people who make the paltry sum of $123,240 are finally being designated as undesirables in need of special accommodations to afford their 800-square-foot "condominium" overlooking a shopping mall, the end.


  1. Where's that commenter who talks about affordable housing like it's akin to letting the crackhouse move next door? They need to take a read of those last two paragraphs before they speak.

    This is what's going to happen to all the Reston Metro development, too. Affordable/workforce housing is "generously" put on the table at the outset, and slowly cut back at the end until the project's finished and there's nothing but full market-rate occupancies.

  2. Wait, what does the starting salary of teachers and police officers have to do with anything? Is it the position of the County that its rookie teachers and cops are entitled to live in Tysons?

  3. I think they should divert the Potomac River through Tysons so they can build a nice waterfront esplanade with cafes and walkways.

  4. $51,350 for household income. That doesn't sound like a household of a teacher and a policeman. Even $123,240 is going to be a tight squeeze if the cop is pulling down some good OT.

    Make it mostly rental housing. Then Tysons Corner would have a much higher percentage occupied by people who chose to live there due to its proximity to their job.

  5. So the teachers and the cops won't be able to afford a place there unless their spouse/partner is also working in a job that generates at least that much. How is that different from current trends?

    What's more of a concern is how the extension of this line will make it even easier for more of the "of no fixed address" people who are arrested in the Gulag area to grace our lovely community. You know, the ones who are 'crashing' with friends in the Gulag?

    So . . . how about we subsidize the cops living in those neighborhoods in Reston where crime has been on an uptick? Or does that make too much sense?

  6. concrete supports for the elevated line coming along nicely near the 123 exit in McLean

    problem here is the minute the free parking goes because the train and high density have arrived, a lot of the Tyson's employers will be heading to Loudoun, and will re-create the existing Tyson's around the Dulles Town Center mall

  7. My starting salary, with an MA and PhD, was a LOT less than $44-49K. Dopey me. I shoulda become a teacher or policeman...

  8. Heck, and if you had taken the first option, you would get an 8 week summer vacation, a 1 week spring vacation and a 10 day winter vacation or, if you had taken the second option, you could retire at half-pay after 25 years of service.

    But, then, if you had done that, you would be missing out on all of the joy of riding the bus and the train downtown shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of humanity.

  9. Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin WoodsJune 25, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    Tysons Corner = Baby Boomers' worst mistake EVER!

  10. I thought you were our worst mistake EVER.

  11. Amongst the 'Hoods in Colvin WoodsJune 26, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    Nice way to avoid culpability for damning my generation with the BILLIONS of tax dollars it will take to fix YOUR planning mistakes.

  12. Okay! Inter-generational warfare breaking out again. And what a surprise at who fired the opening volley.

    BiCO, I'm sure the irony escapes you, but you are acting EXACTLY like the Baby Boomers did in the 1960s by blaming everything bad on the previous generation. And 30 years from now, your kids are going to blame you and your fellow Millennials for everything wrong in the world. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Can we hereby issue a proclamation making BiCO an honorary Baby Boomer?