News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Flower Power: RA Board Approves Environmental Guidelines for Future Development

flower-power_196.jpegThe Reston Association board approved last week a sweeping series of environmental considerations that will transform Reston into a tree-covered, self-sustaining paradise, only with more midscale retail than Woodstock or Haight-Ashbury or wherever.

Actually, the considerations for future development and redevelopment projects, which were written by the RA Environmental Advisory Committee, are well-thought-out and reasonable. Which, of course, begs the question of whether developers will pay attention to them at all -- or if they'll just threaten to sue the RA if it attempts to hold their feet to the fire.

Among the considerations:

  • Any new or redeveloped neighborhoods should include at least 33 percent open space. Does underground parking count as open space?

  • Infrastructure should support development "now and for future generations."

  • Reston's tree canopy, which was 38 percent in 2002, should grow to meet the countywide 45 percent goal by 2030 -- which should be no problem, so long as these count as trees.

  • Commercial buildings should be built to LEED Gold standards, while residential multifamily developments should be LEED Silver. Neighborhoods should be built to something called "LEED-ND" standards, which presumably means that you can't place an industrial smelter in your back yard.

  • Onsite energy generation should be considered where feasible. "RA should consider the sustainability value of such energy systems equally to the aesthetic and architectural criteria they already consider," the document states. Yay, we're burning our red mulch today.

  • As always, the Dreaded Scourge of Reston, invasive exotic plants, should be strictly verboten.

  • Any redeveloped project should be required to generate less stormwater runoff than the previous one. Which means you could build a 99-story mauvescraper in the middle of Lake Thoreau, and you'd be right as rain.

Good on the RA Board for approving these considerations. Here's hoping they, the DRB, and the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee actually try to uphold them.


  1. Does this mean that I'm going to have to put on hold my methane burning electricity generator project on hold? This could be bothersome because I've already got a drum of "leftovers" fermenting in the backyard. Well, maybe my neighbor's flower beds need fertilizing.

  2. Does this mean that it's open season on putting solar panels on my TH's roof?

  3. ... and world peace.

  4. I don't think that Whirled Peas is a legitimate color from the Official Reston Palette, Buffy. But thank you for playing.

  5. say boss, Restonian, the link connects to a document that says it's a RCA document not a RA document.

    Help us oh Obe Wan? We're so confused.

  6. Chuck -- The link goes to the RCA's Reston 2020 site, but I believe the document they posted is from the RA's environmental committee. The RA board approved it last week.

  7. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonOctober 23, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Does this new emphasis on green mean that backyards all over Reston will soon be festooned with the sight of ladies' unmentionables fluttering in the wind on newly-permitted outdoor clotheslines? Inquiring minds wants to know.


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