News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Caddyshackpocalypse Now: Reston National Golf Course to Be Redeveloped? (Updated)


The owner of Reston National Golf Course has sent Fairfax County a letter asking for a routine clarification of the zoning for the 160-plus acre property--and, oh yeah, just for giggles, "the potential for redevelopment of the property to uses other than a golf course," according to the response from county zoning officials. Will fanciful concrete bollards and midrise condos become new hazards?

Our legal specialty is pet divorce, not zoning, but we think that it's safe to interpret the planning staff's response to the idea of potentially rezoning the golf course as at least somewhat tepid. Here's part of the letter:

Check it.jpg
It goes on like this for a couple of pages. But really, the property owner would just have to go through the same approval process as other redevelopment projects, only working against the fact that the current use of the property isn't existing office or residential space. But then there's the cold hard reality of property values: How many 18-hole golf courses are within a half-mile of Metro stations in the DC area? And Confidential Restonian Operatives have told us that the idea of redeveloping the course has come up during previous master planning meetings. Of course, during those same task force meetings, there's been a call for at least 54 acres of additional open space to accommodate all the growth in the area, not less of it.

The RA appears to have been taken by surprise by all this activity, according to our BFFs at Patch:
Reston Association President Ken Knueven says he only recently heard about the inquiry, but the Board of Directors will look into the matter.

"Any time we look at any redevelopment, we are also going to adhere to what we consider essential Reston and protecting green space," he said.
Of course, no redevelopment plan has been proposed (at least not yet). And there may be a perfectly innocent reason for the request for zoning information. Maybe Reston National just wants to build a really bitchin' snack bar:

Update: The property owner has appealed the original determination by county zoning officials and has filed a request for the Board of Zoning Appeals to "reverse the Zoning Agent's determinations and direct that the County be required to accept a properly filed and complete PRC Plan application as the next step in redevelopment of Subject Property for residential uses." (PDF here). A hearing has been scheduled for October, so it looks like the property owners weren't just asking about the zoning designation to settle a bet in the clubhouse.

The Reston Association issued a press release stating it "has been made aware" of the review process initiated by the golf course owners and is "researching the history of zoning for the golf course property and what our options might be." The RA release states:
Knowing this matter would have significant impact on the community, we will keep them informed of what we have learned. This includes a letter to all RA property owners that border the golf course, making them aware of our research, the events and a scheduled hearing before the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals on Oct. 24.

We will also be discussing the issue at our next board meeting on Sept. 13 and encourage you to attend.
Members of Golf Course Cluster are also weighing their options.
"This is a detailed legal battle and is not political in nature," said John Pinkman, a resident of the cluster for 20 years. "I am advised that the most prudent method of preventing this from happening is legal research and action; not phone calls to supervisors, political entities, or petitions. We need to quickly raise funds directly from homeowners to hire specific land use attorneys. "
Sounds about right.

The Washington Examiner weighs in with an article. The golf course's owners and their attorneys have still not publicly commented on what plans, if any, they have for the property.


  1. "Any time we look at any redevelopment, we are also going to adhere to what we consider essential Reston and protecting green space,"

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!!!! That's a good one.

  2. Aw man, you missed a great opportunity to put the Rex Ryan GD snack video up there with that new snack bar development proposal whatever. "Let's go have a g-d-smoothie!"

  3. The feds are talking about turning Oak Ridge into a national park, so surely there will be nothing controversial about turning a trash de blanc golf course into a nuclear waste dump of overpriced condos.

    The following is reposted from the Reston National Golf Course's web site. I've provided some late-breaking mad max developer translations of their language.

    Reston National Golf Course is among Northern Virginia's favorite classic golf courses. Designed by the legendary Ed Ault and proudly managed by Virginia-based Billy Casper Golf, Reston National is a great place to learn, practice, and play golf.

    [A 'classic' golf course is, of course, a golf course that poor white Northern Virginias that make less than 100K per year play at because they can't afford to be a member of the Trump National in Loudoun County. Reston National is a 'great place to learn, practice and play golf', which mostly means that adult-sized children play there because they would be booted off the Trump National course for impeding play.]

    Home to the Mid-Atlantic's best Nike Golf Learning Center, our golfer development programs are among the nation's best. A 150-seat, covered outdoor patio is the ideal setting for golf outings - making Reston National among the area's best venues for hosting your golf

    [Ah, so NOW we know who's really behind this conspiracy to redevelop the golf course: Nike. A 150-seat outdoor patio is also available at Lake Fairfax, which is where the REDEVELOPERS of the Reston National Golf Course will suggest the dirty riff raff that has the need for a 150-seat outdoot patio go for their future hillbilly dysfunctional family outdoor gatherings that might feature such activities as bobbing for pigs feet.]

    Conveniently located in the heart of Reston, just off the Dulles Toll Road midway between Dulles Airport and the Washington Beltway, Reston National is easily accessible from anywhere in the greater Washington D.C. area.

    [The above should simply be restated to read: Conveniently located in the heart of the Reston-based law offices of Cooley LLP, just off the developer-owned Dulles Toll Road midway between the developer-owned corporate jets at Dulles Airport that are used to shuffle county supervisors and county planning and zoning staff back and forth from Vegas strip clubs, Reston National Enema Condos are easily accessbile from anywhere in the greater Washington, D.C. long as you're prepared to sit in 3 hours of barely moving traffic per mile of your commute home.]

  4. Rose By Any Other NameAugust 14, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    Oh yes...I see a manicured, green open space , punctuated by lush designer landscaping highlites, all undulating around and through luxury condominiums and expensive mid-rise garden apartments, complete with upscale amenties and maybe even a private tennis club? Nothing, of course, for the hoi polloi. What a redevelopment opportunity! Given the financial state of some golf courses in this country (poor) and a declining number of golfers overall(not hard to figure that one), who can blame the owners for at least considering the possibilities? Of course, my dog and cat both use the golf course as their private latrine, so I would have to finally train them both to use the bathroom...maybe the lawyers at Cooley LLP can get me deal?

  5. Biggest harrs on 5th Avenue, I'm told.

  6. Every time I turn around developers are trying to take land in Reston and re-zone it for greater density. The sad thing is we have to twist the arms of our elected officials to adhere to the very clear language of the county's comprehensive plan and actually do what the overwhelming majority of residents want.... Most of us who moved to Reston did so for the open spaces and planned nature of the community. Developers see dollar signs through converting low density to high density and Cathy Hudgins sees affordable housing unit quotas.

  7. Anon 8:44 is right.

    What do you get when you put together that combination of developers and Hudgins?

    Slumdog millionaires

  8. "This is a detailed legal battle and is not political in nature," said John Pinkman, a resident of the cluster for 20 years. "I am advised that the most prudent method of preventing this from happening is legal research and action; not phone calls to supervisors, political entities, or petitions. We need to quickly raise funds directly from homeowners to hire specific land use attorneys."

    Is John Pinkman a former member of Muammar Gaddafi's regime that holds a PhD in Political Strategery? I guess he's the one who advised dear ol' Muammar that the best way to prevent NATO jets from bombing his ass to bits was to engage in a 'detailed legal battle', rather than making political phone calls. Muammar learned the hard way that the land use attorneys that fly F-16s are bigger, meaner and badder than the land use attorneys that ride upon goats and still use quill pens, ink and parchment paper.

    If the Battle of Reston National Golf Course is to be defined as a war between land attorneys, then the Golf Course Cluster might as well pack it in and petition the UN for protective status before Cooley LLP slaughters their members.

    Somebody needs to tell John to grow up and and learn how to pick up the phone play hardball politics. The future of John's imperiled civilization depends upon him recognizing that this IS political in nature.

  9. "we need... to hire specific land use attorneys." Well, that may help (and I certainly appreciate what a knowledgable lawyer can bring to the table) but it will not win the battle. A full-frontal press on the Board of Supervisors and other county functionaries should be the very first step, but watch out for Cathy Hudgins, she will crumple like a cheap fender once she gets a promise of workforce housing or subsidized anything in her district.

  10. BOHICA, folks. The developer sharks smells Restonian blood in the water. You don't have to watch TLC in order to know what lies in store for us.

    No Growth is Smart Growth.

  11. Actually, Mean Daddy, a dual track approach is needed to make certain that this proposed rezoning is dead on arrival. There have to be preparations made to wage a legal battle while simultaneously waging a battle in the court of public opinion, i.e., the media and local elected officials. A mass demonstration against the project, held in front of Cathy Hudgins' Reston office, would be a sight to behold.

    "We're teed off,and we're not going to take it anymore."

  12. As long as I will still be able to get to Reston Kabob, I'm going to be reasonably happy.

  13. Just what exactly is Cathy Hudgins' job again? Who does she work for? I didn't vote for her and never will, because she clearly doesn't represent me and my interests. Who am I? Well, just someone who has worked his butt off to afford a nice single family dwelling in an area with great trails, pools and tennis courts. I'm also a conservative voter who will never be able to get enough of my neighbors to switch from their "progressive" party long enough to see what she is doing to ruin the Reston they and I wanted to live in. Is it progress to create more density, higher crime rates and less green space? DEPOSE HUDGINS!

    1. They LIE.
      High density is a goal of progressives. They will tell you they want to protect green space, but their real agenda is "stack and pack" population ever tighter in towns and cities and stop suburban spread with NO REGARD to the rights of land owners.

      As a fellow conservative voter, I have to tell you I think you haven't quite got what conservatives are all about.

      This golf course is privately OWNED. Either you respect the rights of citizens to use and profit from their land or I'm not sure just how conservative you really are.


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