After (literally) years of back and forth, JBG has finally won approval from Fairfax County to redevelop the Fairway Apartments complex into an 805-unit development. The Board of Supervisors approved the request earlier in the week, at the same meeting it recommitted itself to funding the second phase of Metro's Silver Line. Together, the two projects paint a picture of where Reston may be headed.
Up until the bitter end, Reston residents and county officials expressed concerns about a variety of issues, most recently the amount of workforce housing included in the project. But ultimately, approval came with a whimper, not a bang:
The vote had been postponed at a March 20 BOS meeting, where Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins asked the supervisors to defer decision pending further review of the developer's plan for workforce housing.Which they didn't at first, though to be fair they now have. JBG also gave up plans for a 15-story mauvescraper, ugly parking structures, ground-level retail that could have competed with Lake Anne Plaza, taller townhouses -- and, of course, the infamous yet delicious Texas Donut design. Most of these changes came due to a fairly tenacious push by the Reston Design Review Board, which approved the project in principle back in February, winning concessions that other groups -- cough cough Reston P&Z cough cough Fairfax County Planning Commission cough cough -- did not.
However, the issue of workforce housing - developer JBG has pledged 12 percent of the 805 units - did not come up as a development condition on Tuesday.
What was mentioned was a reduction in loading area spaces, underground storm water management and pavement changes. Also not listed were developer proffers, which could be valuable contributions to improve Reston recreational facilities.
Because the redevelopment is not a rezoning, JBG is not required to provide any certain level of workforce housing.
That this is a sign of things to come can be seen by other actions taken by Fairfax County, which is currently seeking bids to redevelop its Crescent Apartments property on the other side of Lake Anne in an attempt to jumpstart the long-stalled redevelopment plans there. Here's what Supervisor Cathy Hudgins had to say about the Fairway approval:
"This plays a major role in the redevelopment of Lake Anne," Hudgins, a longtime resident of the Lake Anne neighborhood said at the March 20 meeting. "We needed a larger participation of residents in order to provide the synergy in redeveloping Lake Anne village Center. The density being provided is part of the plan. The most important part - people will be able to continue to live in Lake Anne with the same commitment that was made in the beginning of Reston."We're supportive of higher density redevelopment in the places in Reston where it makes sense. But the Fairways project shows how important it is to stay on top of proposals as they slowly work their way through the pipeline.