News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fairway to Heaven: Proposal Elicits Best One-Liner in the History of the DRB

pink_sprinkled_donut.jpegDuring a heavily attended meeting last night, the Reston Design Review Board nearly voted to deny the latest iteration of the Fairway Apartments redevelopment proposal, but after a last-minute bit of lawyerin' by JBG and a split vote, the board ultimately opted to defer a recommendation on the 804-unit proposal. Presumably this kicks the can over to the Fairfax County Planning Commission, which will consider the project next month. But in the meantime, we can enjoy what will likely go down in history as the best comment about a design proposal to ever escape a planning official's lips:

DRB member Richard Newlon called the Fairway East multiunit building, which has a pool at its center, "at best a South Florida motel design."

"I don't know of anywhere in Reston where you have apartments looking directly out on a pool," he said. "It is the Motel 6 approach. Absurd."
Oh no he DIDN'T!

The revised redevelopment proposal was little changed from the one approved by the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee earlier this year, but we did learn that the increased green space at the center of one of the sections of the proposal will be called "Central Park," presumably after the one in New York City and not this one. DRB members acknowledged that the project had improved from previous iterations, but they and audience members still cited green space, traffic, the size of the townhouses, and the delicious Texas donut design of the multifamily buildings as concerns.

When it came time to vote, our BFFs at Reston 2020 explained how JBG's attorney earned his retainer last night.
After a polling of the panel, a unanimous vote to deny the concept of the project was imminent. Newlon made a motion to deny but before it could be voted upon, the JBG attorney jumped up and advised JGB to request a deferral.

This resulted in a spirited debate between Jennifer Byl and Neal Rosenberry of the DRB board regarding the merits of granting the deferral (Rosenberry) vs. voting for denial (Byl). The first vote to decide this impasse resulted in a tie. On the second vote, Richard Newlon capitulated and the vote for deferral passed, much to the disappointment of the majority of the audience.
In its presentation, JBG argued that increased density was part of the original plan for Reston and touted the fact that its proposal now includes more green space and 12 percent workforce housing. A representative of one neighboring cluster spoke in favor of the proposal, and there's no doubt that if there's going to be redevelopment -- and there will be, no matter how hard some people keep clapping -- an aging garden apartment complex isn't a bad place for it. It's clear, though, that after years of trying, JBG still has not won many people over to the idea of dropping 800+ units and 50-foot-tall townhouses into an existing neighborhood. Here's hoping that county planners keep that in mind as the project returns to them for consideration.


  1. If the new complex has a pool will any RA member be able to use it? Will these owners pay the annual Reston fee to use the community pools?

  2. The pools will be soley for the use of the residents of the new complex and not open to the entire Reston community.

  3. How ironic -- the same Richard Newlon who has been accused of talking from both sides of the board? Who has been vilified by some of the unhappy folks on Cutwater Court as a man without taste? Well, at least he knows a South Florida Motel 6 approach when he sees it! Double that man's DRB salary!

  4. Double a salary of $0 is still $0. People forget the folks on the DRB are volunteers. Doesn't mean they can't be criticized, but keep in mind there's plenty of other things he and the other members could be doing.

  5. Cops and Donuts all in one post. The only thing missing is the coffee.

  6. I'm going out on a limb here, 10:17, but nobody does anything for nothing, and they certainly don't do something that's really difficult and painful for nothing for very long.

    Maybe he has some other interest besides the altruistic one? Just conjecturing...

  7. I have always wondered about Newlon since he was hired to redo our entire cluster design guidelines, and they now require a specific P&L paint (and ONLY P&L paint) costing $50/gallon.

    Color-matching anyone?

  8. Many (if not most) clusters have paints that are exclusive to one manufacturer. In our cluster's case, the signature exterior shade actually has to be MIXED by combining two other gnarly colors by some place with a name like Bob-N-Earl's Paint Shack -- which, of course, is in Herndon.


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