News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fairway to Heaven: Online Petition Seeks to Do What the DRB and County Planning Commission Haven't

sideways fairway.jpegAs it continues to sail towards approval by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the Fairways Apartments redevelopment proposal is facing a new challenge: an online petition.

The petition drive is sponsored by Sustainable Reston, a project of the Fairfax Coalition for Smarter Growth, which calls the Fairways redevelopment proposal "a knife in the back of true Transit Oriented Development." Tammi Petrine writes in a letter to Lake Anne residents:

Where common sense would dictate that this dense a development should not be built at this location, unfortunately there are "sinews" running throughout the Reston community that loosely connect the village centers that have been zoned HIGH DENSITY PRC (Planned Residential Community).
All we know is that "sinews" sound a lot less appetizing than a good old Texas donut. But there's more!
In most areas of residential Reston, high density was not built but nonetheless the zoning remains intact. Because Virginia is a "Dillon Rule" state, the owner of any property can build to the top zoning allowed despite the inappropriateness of this development to the rest of the "as built" community and despite the fact that infrastructure does not exit to support the population that the new development will bring to the community.

Now the proposal will be put before the Fairfax Board of Supervisors for vote in Sept. With the approval of its P & Z Com. in hand, it is highly likely that this project will be approved. Next the project will come back to the RA DRB for approval. As you can see, this puts the DRB between us and disaster not only in this instance but for all of the "sinews" properties in Reston on both sides of the toll way. If the DRB denies the plans formally, the developer may quite possibly file a court case against the DRB.

This would be very costly for all of us as the financiers of RA but also, with the courts propensity in VA to protect landowners under the Dillon Rule, the verdict may well go against RA meaning that our community deed would be broken.

Fairway is the first of many possible breaches of our sensibly planned community and is a test case for developers who want to cash in on our beautiful Reston. To prevent floods of developers from coming in to purchase any underdeveloped "sinews" high density zoned property and upset our planned community's balance, it is imperative that you support this and other protests to influence the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to deny its approval and end the process there before it can come to the local RA level.
That last point is critical, especially given the potential for a court challenge affecting Reston's ability to have a say in projects of this nature, as the letter points out. As of Monday morning, the petition has 34 signatures.


  1. They might actually get a few signatures if the petition site didn't require a $2 donation to complete it.

  2. Does anyone know how much JBG donated to the local campaigns?

  3. I'd like this to work, but given that the Fairfax planning commission approved Fairways after seven Reston groups spoke against it, I'm not optimistic.

  4. The $2 donation is optional and appears after you sign the petition.

  5. Please, please, please, remember this when you vote in November. Hudgins is up for re-election. When you all just maintain the status quo, this is the kind of representation you get!

    I NEVER vote for her, but being a conservative in Reston is enough to make anyone feel that resistance to stupid development is futile!

  6. Oh, Anon 2:14:

    Somebody has to run against Hudgins. The Republicans are not running a candidate. You should ask them why. It's not too late for an independent candidate to run, but time is running out.

  7. "The Republicans are not running a candidate. You should ask them why."

    LOL, ya think it's because they realize it's a hopeless effort in an overwhelmingly Democratic area?

  8. Okay, Restonites, the Convict has started his listening his campaign. If it came right down to it, would you rather have me or Hudgins on the Board given what you know about my positions?

  9. Run, Convict, Run!

    Actually, I don't know what your positions are. I just like the idea of a convict running.

  10. Are you formerly of DC, 4:19? Based on your statement, I'm guessing that you would have voted for Marion Barry. Who can ever forget that classic line, "Gawddam bitch set me up."

    First up, NO GROWTH IS SMART GROWTH. Given half a chance, I'll urinate on any developer's application that brings more people to Reston. I would like to start with JBG's application for the redevelopment of Fairway. From where I'm sitting, Garden Apartments Rule.

  11. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonAugust 16, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    I second Anon 4:19's motion. Not sure what your physique is like, Convict, but if you've put on even just a few extra pounds, we already have (with apologies in advance) a ready-made winner of a slogan for you.

    "Vote for Pudgy, not for Hudgy!"

    No? OK, how about "I stand by my Convict-ions"

    Run as an independent. Run as a Libertarian. Run as a Trotskyite. But just run. Run, Convict, Run!

  12. Petrine's letter is so full of inaccuracies it undermines her credibility.

    Two examples: It's the Planning Commission not the P&Z Com. RA has a P&Z Committee.

    Dillon's Rule has very little to do with the zoning case and absolutely nothing to do with DRB as it applies to local government and not HOA's.

  13. Actually, Mr. Goodman, the P&Z Committee is NOT an RA entity, it is appointed by Supr. Hudgins. It comprises members from several Reston civic organizations.

    Also, the Dillon Rule is very important here. The Fairway Apts. area has a high-density zoning allocation under the flawed "sinew" concept in the original Reston master plan. Because of the Dillon Rule, this zoning gives JBG "by right" legal authority to build a rather preposterous number of units at Fairway Apts. Moreover, the County can't reduce that level of zoning in virtually any case.

    The only countervailing legal authority is the Va. HOA Act that gives HOAs an amazing set of authorities (which many of us have probably seen exercised in our neighborhoods). Among those, under the RA covenants (to which JBG has subscribed by virtue of its ownership in the Reston Planned Residential Community (PRC) area), are RA's design guidelines and the authority of its DRB to review and approve proposed changes in residential design, including appropriateness to a neighborhood.

    It is my hope that the DRB will say "NO" to JBG's preposterous proposal on its many design flaws in the likelihood that it has that opportunity following a BOS approval of the design.

  14. terry

    We both agree that P&Z and Plan Com are two different entities.

    If JBG has a "by-right" to build a "preposterous number of units," it wouldn't be before the PC and BOS, it would have just filed a site plan which is reviewed administratively.

    In the PRC the density is still subject to approval of a CDP &FDP, meaning it's not a guarantee aka "by-right". Dillon's rule has nothing to do with any of that. It's a function of the PRC district regulations.

    As Reston's covenants predate the Va HOA act, nothing in the act can reduce the power of RA or the rights of property owners. The Declaration is the superior authority regarding RA matters.

  15. WHo cares? JBG can just hire one or all of the DRB as "consultants" and get whatever plan they want passed.


(If you don't see comments for some reason, click here).