News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fairway to Heaven: Could Redeveloped Apartments Become A Haven for Senior Citizens?

shuffle.jpegA representative of Reston for a Lifetime and the Reston Citizens Association's Reston2020 has written Fairfax County Superintendent Cathy Hudgins a letter suggesting that JBG change the focus of its Fairway Apartments redevelopment to senior citizens. Doing so, Tammi Petrine argues, would "flip the script on JBG from villain to hero."

In her letter, Petrine argues that a focus on senior citizens would eliminate traffic concerns (albeit frustrate North Shore drivers stuck behind cars going 5mph with their left blinker on) and meet the growing demand for senior housing. She adds that JBG would likely profit from the shift, as senior housing typically commands higher sales prices and attracts people who still amazingly have cash in the face of the global economic meltdown have sufficient savings to qualify for mortgages. Even the workforce housing requirements could be used to provide housing for the caretakers.

Instead of clogging traffic, seniors could use golf carts to get to and from the Macaroni Grill and other points of interest, according to our BFFs at Reston2020, who cite an AARP report suggesting that such low-speed vehicles should be accommodated in aging communities.

Given JBG's threats to litigate their way to approval, we're not exactly holding our breath. A public hearing on the project by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has been deferred until Jan. 10; if approved then, JBG would return for another showdown with the DRB. So we'll just have to wait and see if they buy into this concept of an earth-toned Sun City.


  1. Petrine lives down off Lawyers Road. I have no idea why she cares what gets redeveloped in my neighborhood.

    In fact, Reston2020, The Coalition for Smarter Growth, and even the Reston Association are sorely underrepresented from the core older part of the 20190 zip code, with the most vocal proponents of squelching the Fairways redevelopment coming from North Point or far south below South Lakes.

    They don't have my needs at heart. They have no interest in maintaining a liveable community which meets my demographic. If they think Fairways should remain entirely "affordable," then they should propose the same affordable housing next to Lake Newport or off of Twin Branches Drive.

    Stick to your own back yard, folks.

  2. We all have a stake in what Reston winds up looking like. Even if we don't live right next to Lake Anne, we'll still have to deal with the added traffic, longer wait times at the Macaroni Grill, etc., that a giant development there would bring.

    Remember Save Brown's Chapel? You could make a case they wound up being successful because they expanded their reach beyond the folks in the North Point neighborhoods immediately behind the park and started a broader conversation about how Reston should protect all of its remaining open space.

  3. @9:10AM,

    I don't think these groups are advocating that Fairways be redeveloped as affordable housing. If you read the letter, they're making the case that higher-end condos with senior amenities might sell at higher prices than generic higher-end condos.

  4. Ms. Petrine's letter is focused on two key Reston housing needs: Housing for seniors and the handicapped. It does not mention affordable or workforce housing, which are also needed.

    Her proposal is intended to alleviate a major problem that will be created by the addition of about 600 new dwellings at Fairway Apartments: The inability of North Shore Drive to handle the traffic. So far as I have heard, this is an almost universal complaint of people in the area. Housing people who don't drive--or drive less, especially during peak traffic periods--is one way to reduce that prospective problem.

    More broadly, RCA's Reston 2020 Committee does not oppose re-development of Fairway Apartments, as Tammi's letter clearly demonstrates. Indeed, RCA's Board has passed a resolution that encourages higher development of the right types in the right places at the right densities. I think a re-developed Fairway Apts. that achieves Ms. Petrine's goal would meet all three of those criteria. I would add that I hope Fairways re-development could be done with much greater sensitivity to the environment and architectural creativity than JBG has so far represented.

  5. What reality are you living in, Terry? Adding more people to an area is going to demonstrate "...much greater sensitivity to the environment...", especially if we're talking about low income population? I don't care if those folks drive golf carts only or don't drive at all, there's going to be more pollution there, not counting the pollution created during demolition and construction.

    More people (of any stripe) means more traffic of some sort. More traffic means more pollution. More old folks and poor means more predators in the neighborhood. More old folks means more county funded services in the area, which means higher taxes.

    And, CLSID (9:10), some of us from the wrong side of the toll road don't want to see the re-development of Fairway as a good thing, especially if it means more people. So far as I'm concerned, if Reston needs more "affordable housing", let them spread the joy into North Point. Or better yet, into Vienna. There seems to be a paucity of affordable housing in both of those places. Doesn't The Gulag and Middle Earth have more than its fair share already?

    No, if you really want to turn Reston into a full-life cycle community, the JBG plan should be scrapped and the area turned into a Funeral Home and graveyard, maybe with a Colubarium overlooking the 9th hole water hazard. Because, after all, you can be conceived in Reston, be born in Reston, go to school in Reston, slave your entire life away in Reston, spend your geezerhood in Reston and even die in Reston. What you can't do is find your final resting place in Reston, unless that includes spending an eternity on in an urn on your widow's fireplace mantel.

    (Wow. I think I need to get the dosage on the meds checked again.)

  6. I don't see why North Point residents would be proponents of more density at Lake Anne. This just means more traffic between them and all of 20190, including the toll road, the metro station, and most importantly, Macaroni Grill.

    Is there really any Reston resident that is a proponent of more density, other than around the metro station? Might as rename Reston Parkway to Reston Parkinglot.

  7. Actually, I think it is a great idea. I'm a 30plus year Restonian. Parents are 89 and 90. Just visited Ashby Ponds in Loudon County and wish we had something this nice in Reston!


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