News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fairway to Heaven: Not With a Bang But a Whimper, Redevelopment Project Finally Approved By Fairfax County

sideways fairway.jpeg

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.

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.
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.

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.


  1. This is a massive fail by Hudgins - got hardly any workforce housing, got absolutely no recreation proffers even though 1,000 new market level people will be added according to FCPA staff memo.

    Hudgins had every right to simply vote this mess down and didn't.

    What gives, Cathy?

  2. Hey Chuck -- don't you recognize "synergy" when you see it?

    1. Oh, that's right we're synergying the working folks right out of Reston;

      to be replace by more yuppies and DINKs driving BMWs.

      Fabulous, why didn't I think of that?

  3. Hopefully this appalling development will never be built, and the current Fairway Apartments can be updated and renovated for regular working people and their families.

    Reston should continue to welcome diversity and people of all income levels, as it was planned to do when we moved here 40 years ago. We need to work together to keep Reston as the caring community it is meant to be.

  4. Fairfax County Supervisors have seldom met a developer they didn't like. Hudgins seems to have a lock on the liberal tree-huggers, senior-citizens living in subsidized housing, and other "good" democrats who don't mind reaching into other people's wallets to keep reston "nice". Personally, I will be moving out soon enough, and I am ready to live somewhere where I can choose the color of my own house and trim without interference from the nosy RA.

  5. Let the project go forward as proposed! Enough of this "Reston is for everybody" stuff. The lake Anne revitalization has been studied to death. here is a genuine proposal ready to go forward, now. Enough delay! I am glad that this project will finally be BUILT!

  6. To all the other Anonymous ppl: Most of us could care less if the building is there or not. I personally have no dog in this fight-- and I have lived here for 15 years!---why the heck do you all think that you do?...another Anonymous

  7. Maybe it's the sign of times and an opportunity for the county to start selling the properties owned by the FCHRA. They can't manage them well, become a nuisance to the neighborhoods where they exist, depreciate property values and become a maintenance black-hole to the county’s budget. Perhaps they can learn from Arlington County. They don’t own one single unit and all they do is supply vouchers. That means there’s no property management involved at all.

  8. Fairway is not owned by the county

  9. Fairway isn't, but Crescent Apartments are. That's the property the county's directly attempting to redevelop.

  10. Apples and Oranges

  11. And so the Rape of Reston begins. The developers have gotten over on Board or Stoopidvisors and Reston Assholciation was completely impotent in this matter.

    If you dolts really think any of your fancy schmancy plans for TOD are going to be heeded by the greedhead developers, then you are only deluding yourselves.

    The only Smart Growth for Reston is No Growth.


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