News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fairway to Heaven: Fifth Attempt at Apartment Complex Redevelopment Approved by Reston P&Z

sideways fairway.jpeg

The (slightly) slimmed down proposal to redevelop Fairway Apartments has cleared its first hurdle, as the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee voted 10-1 this week to recommend approval. Fifth time's the charm! Although in this case, "approval" doesn't necessarily equate to "a rave review."
"This is a marked improvement," said Chairman Arthur Hill of the current proposal. "It is a reasonable use of the property -- not an outstanding one, but a reasonable one."
At this point, we think JBG will take "reasonable."
The current proposal consists of two five-story mid-rise buildings, one multi-family four-story building and 59 townhouses for a total of 804 units.

"This is still more density than currently exists," said John Schlichting, executive development officer for JBG. "But it will be more density coupled with larger green space."
That's definitely true -- those 804 units will replace the 348 existing apartments. But the proposal has been scaled down from the original 951-unit proposal that county planning staff resoundingly trashed last summer. Depending on your perspective, the original mauvescraper has either been eliminated or put on its side, and JBG has now included provisions for more open space.
JBG proposes to incorporate more than 38 percent of overall open space in the new complex, including two centrally located wooded areas, enhanced pedestrian connectivity and more than 47,000 square feet of preserved tree canopy. "High density can be experienced in a positive way," Schlichting said.
Also back in the proposal -- after JBG got dinged for shamelessly removing it in previous iterations -- are provisions for some affordable housing.
According to Diane Blust, president of the Fairfax Coalition for Smarter Growth, Fairway's 348 apartments currently are considered "relatively affordable" and replacing them with high-end units will eliminate "desperately needed affordable housing in the Reston area."

Alex San Andres, development manager for JPG, said that 12 percent of the proposed new complex's 673 multi-family units, or about 80, will be rent-controlled apartments reserved for "work force housing." He added an additional seven units will be reserved as "affordable dwelling units" to meet county housing requirements.
Good for them. Others expressed concern about the traffic impact.
"The massive scale of this project is just not Reston-like," said Richard Newlon, a member of the Reston Design and Review Board, who was in the audience of the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting. "When density impacts livability, that's when you have a problem," he said, referring to the hundreds and possibly thousands of residents who would inhabit the 804-unit complex.

JBG representatives said a traffic-impact study would be conducted once the site plan for the project is filed, pending its approval by the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning.

"That's all well and good," said audience member John Bowman of the Reston Citizens Association, "but the traffic impact of your units will not end at the doorstop of the complex. Reston already has seven failed intersections due to increasing traffic."
The Fairway proposal now goes before the county's planning commission in July. Although each new iteration of the redevelopment plan has chipped away just enough housing units and added back in just enough green space to move the needle, we'll give JBG credit for at least responding. Now it's up to the county to decide what to do about the additional traffic impact, and hopefully their response won't be some variation on "keep clapping." What could possibly go wrong?


  1. This is a terrible idea.

    North Shore Drive cannot take the influx of all that extra traffic especially at the intersection of temporary road.

    The impact to the already crowded school across the street and the congestion generated by the AM dropoff and PM pick up will cause a quagmire.

    Lastly, I fell very bad for the people who have homes on Hook Road. The towers will dominate the landscape and they will loose privacy from the higher story units overlooking them.

    The only foreseeable upside us that maybe some of the DINK* yuppies that move into the new units will figure out that you can walk to Lake Anne from there and patronize local businesses.

    * Double Income, No Kids

  2. Is there a list with all the new lovely high rise buildings that will be built in Reston.

    - Fairway Apartments
    - Plaza Americana
    - Spectrum (aka Macaroni Grill plaza)
    - Reston Station (Reston metro)

    There is talk of changes at Lake Anne

    Have I missed any?

    What kind of increased road support is planned? The Metron goes east to west. It does not go north to south. You need cars to go to and from the metro.

  3. Hello schmoe,

    Crescent Apts are approved via comprehensive plan amendment for redevelopment at 900 plus units replacing those there now. That's across the street from Lake Anne. There will be multiple high-rises. No plans are on the table yet.

    There is an approved apartment building (RAJ) behind (kiddy-corner) the library. There will be new apartment buildings directly west of Plaza America recently approved (Oracle). Infill development.

    There are approved plans for high-rises at ParcReston, just north of Temporary Road on Reston Parkway. I think the developer wants to change the plans to allow cheaper apts rather than high-end condos.

    There will be multiple 17 and 19 story buildings built at Reston Station at Wiehle road.

    JBG has new plans submitted for mixed-use high-rises west of the Sheraton. Where the big parking lot north of Popeye's is now.

    Minimal changes are in the plans to support people walking and biking to Reston Station at Wiehle. The Soapstone extender which will go cross over the Dulles Toll Road is not planned to be built until 2035. That's the only planned north-south crossing of the Toll Road.

    Once the Wiehle station and Town Center stations are built, north-south traffic in Reston will come to a standstill at rush hour.

    Our fearless leaders have told us to walk. I don't think they plan to walk.

  4. Thanks anon 3:39pm, sounds like we should rename Reston to Resballston.

  5. Resballston - Live, work, play, sit in traffic.

  6. for Schmoe--

    Re: What kind of increased road support is planned?

    At a briefing in December, FC's DOT noted a few lane additions to be made along Sunrise & Sunset to ease TOD-area traffic. Nothing significant planned along North Shore where LAVC, Fairway Apts, ParcReston, and others will go dense.

    The FCDOT spokesperson said, "Traffic will be worse in 2030...." (No sh*t!)

    Other than that, nada!

    Enjoy your walk or bike. Sell your car.

  7. These developments are clearly done to increase the quality of life.

    Yes, the quality of live per capita will go down significantly, but there will be so many new Resballstonites that the overall GQP (gross quality-of-life product) will go up.

    Also expect to increase over the next 20 years: developer revenues, campaign donations, and crime.

  8. You know, most of you live within a half mile of a feeder bus route. This is what you will need to plan on taking to Wiehle Ave Station. The more people who get in their car in the morning, the less anyone can do to improve transportation. Rush hour is rush hour is rush hour.

    Also, how can you expect nothing to change given a Metro station being built? This should be viewed as an opportunity. Granted, those developers have the opportunity to rake in cash and do not have the same personal stake in this as we do. But low-density development doesn't seem to have panned out in this country.

    Just a couple of thoughts. Seems like this area is going to get more crowded regardless and at least some people are trying to make sure it gets done right.

  9. I think if Restonites knew the true extent of the traffic problems coming our way they would not approve of the new developments.

    Yes, the new metro is certain to bring about changes. I don't have a problem with building up areas near the metro. Sure, add a new plaza surrounding the metro station with multiple high rises. Sure, add some more high rises near the Reston Town Center. But the high rises in Fairway, Crescent Apartments, Lake Anne, and ParcReston do not benefit Restonites. They lesson the quality of life by making it difficult to get around Reston.

    Many of us are in Reston because we didn't want the mega density that DC and Arlington offers.

  10. I'm all for the Metro, but putting in all of those extra housing units only adds to the sprawl. Increased housing here is and extra transportation capacity is going to increase the development pressure in Illegalsville and That County To The West Of Us.

    In the end, JBG only cares about Reston to the extent that Reston adds to the bottom line of their developments. Just look at their plan for Fairway. As you see from this plan, there is no planning for the surrounding areas. And their conduct has been to try and shoehorn in the largest possible number of housing units, which adds to their bottom line, instead of protecting greenspace, which adds to quality of life. The first concern of JBG and all of the other developers isn't quality of life for Restonians; it's about quality of life for their shareholders.

  11. What sort of crack are those idiots on?

    SHORTAGE of affordable housing in Reston? There's more section 8 here than we need or want -- and a grossly incompetent housing "authority" stuffed full of six-figure-income bureaucrats, who fail miserably in their fiduciary duties to the tax payers, in their abominable attempt to manage government-owned units.

    "Workforce" housing? The cops don't want to live here -- that's been proven over and over again -- too much section 8 for them!

    Traffic is going to get worse? Give me a break! We have hudgins' billion-dollar broken-down metro coming to town, so all will be perfectly pleasant as everyone merrily skips and hop-scotches down the patchwork of (missing) sidewalks to get to the stations.

    Oh, and let's not forget hudgins' favorite thing to do -- put the roads on diets so we have even fewer lanes -- and still no sidewalks -- but lots of room for (invisible?) bicyclists!

  12. Terrible idea?

    It's the best idea yet -- and, no, the RA (cess)pools will not be crowded and, no, no one will want to smell Lake Anne itself on their way to try to find something to eat at the Brutalist eyesore from a failed regime.

    The DINKs will, of course, walk to the Macaroni Grill and enjoy delicious wholesome food among a plethora of modern shopping experiences rather than being depressed at the selecction of musty old books, recycled clothes and other flotsam that some attempt to market at the Brutalist mecca.

    That is if the DINKs can manage to cross Reston Park(less)way without getting killed at the hudgins' memorial unpainted and unlit crosswalks.

    But why risk death when one can drive there and park conveniently -- the smart DINKs will surely do so.

  13. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonApril 23, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    How do you spell ass backwards?


    Alternate spelling: N-O-R-T-H-E-R-N V-I-R-G-I-N-I-A

    Before putting in several thousand new housing units, how about having the infrastructure in place -- roads especially -- to handle it? Reston Parkway is already at a virtual standstill during rush hour, and Wiehle Avenue isn't much better.

    "Native" made the point that most of us live within a half-mile of a bus route that can take us to the Wiehle Avenue Metro station. That's true, and that may be helpful for the commute of someone working in Tysons, Arlington, or the District, but it does absolutely nothing for the enormous number of intra-suburban commuters in Fairfax and Loudoun. If I live in Reston and work in Fairfax City, for example, I can drive in 25 minutes. Or I can take a bus to Metro, take Metro to Vienna, and take a CUE bus from there to Fairfax City for a commute twice or even three times as long. Convenience is going to win out every time for most people unless gas goes up to something like $8 a gallon.

    The only way you will get people to live and work in the same place is for a company that buys or rents space in a mixed use development to actually buy apartments in that development to sell to their employees. Totally off the wall and impractical, of course, but that's actually hopw things were done in the former Yugoslavia.

    I also recently referred to the ex-Yugoslavia when talking about Lake Anne's architectural style. When I have to start comparing NoVa to the workers' paradise created by Marshal Tito, that's when you know we're in trouble.

    At this rate I may have to change my screen name to The Peasant From The Less Sought After South Slavs.

  14. Dobro pozhalovat v Gulag, Tovarish Krestyanin.
    (Welcome to the Gulag, Comrade Peasant.)

  15. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonApril 23, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    Hvala lijepo, Drugarski Zatvorenik u Gulagu -- Seljak iz manj zheljana Juzhna Restona

    (Thank you very much, comradely Convict in the Gulag -- The Peasant from less sought after South Reston

    This "filthy web-log" now a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

  16. Troll 12:33 and Troll 12:44,

    (Un)welcome back, as soon as the Restonian removes the registration requirement, you emerge from the dark recesses of the interwebz like the cowardly Anon cockroach(es) you are.

    It was nice while it lasted Restonian, and you should bring back the registration requirement.

    Until you do, your filthy web-log is again broken by a pair of (or one) troll(s) who derail everything into diatribes against section 8 housing and Cathy Hudgins and has an irrational hatred of Lake Anne.

    While the site is fun, it is not that fun and Patch has been doing a better job lately so keep your trolls Restonian. I'll be removing my bookmark.

  17. "The only foreseeable upside us that maybe some of the DINK* yuppies that move into the new units will figure out that you can walk to Lake Anne from there and patronize local businesses."

    Nope. Not gonna happen until there are some shops and restaurants at Lake Anne that don't SUCK. I live within walking distance, and I never walk there because there is nothing to walk to, just a vast concrete wasteland.

    "how can you expect nothing to change given a Metro station being built?"

    Yeah, why should we CURRENT RESIDENTS expect our lives to improve? This is all about improving the quality of life of hypothetical future residents, or something!

    My personal dream is that they evict everyone from Fairway, tear the apartments down, and then the developer runs out of money before he builds his high-rises.

  18. Colvin Run's proposal has been on hold for years for re-development awaiting the Master Plan.

    All of this ignores, of course, that the majority of the current traffic problems in Reston are from those just driving through . . .

    Has Wiehle gotten any better in the morning since the Park & Ride has shut down?

  19. Traffic on Wiehle has actually noticeably improved since the P&R shut down. Of course, that will change once the bigger garage opens in a few years.

  20. Reston - really extra slow traffic often notmoving.

  21. Sounds like Reston should be renamed Restop.

  22. GOOD RIDDANCE Hickory Cluster Knuckle Duster!

    May you and Hudgins and your commie pinko WAY left of liberal buds donate your untaken property taxes to the section 8 slumlords and keep your filthy stinking hands out of our wallets.

    I will be spening mine on a wonderfully delicous meal at Macaroni Grill and will splurge on a bottle of good wine to toast your long delayed and eagerly anticipated departure!

    Adios muchacho!


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