News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mauvescraper Now: Reston's Hellish High-Rise Future Begins

Fifth Earth Toned Element.jpeg

Not surprisingly, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to approve the 23-story mauvescraper proposed for the site of the Reston Times building on Reston Parkway, casting a deaf ear to the calls to reject it from the county's own planning staff and virtually every Reston-related citizens organization, including the Reston Association, Reston Citizens Association, and the Alliance of Reston Clusters and Homes (ARCH), which joined forces in a rare display of unity to oppose the project based on its height, lack of residential component, and distance from the future metro station.
The 23-story, 325-foot high-rise (including the penthouse) at 1760 Reston Parkway, proposed by RTC Partnership LLC, was a seemingly easy sell for the board, which supported it Tuesday in near unanimity. Supervisor Linda Smyth abstained “on the basis of ambivalence.”
RTC Night.jpgThere was lots of talk from the board about how classy the design was (which it kinda is). The reality, though, is that the decision was all but set in stone back in the 1970s, when an earlier county board approved redevelopment on the property with no height or density restrictions. Since the county may soon be entering a nasty ground war with another developer over "by right" development, maybe this board decided to save their gunpowder. At least that's the glass-half-full theory; the glass-half-empty theory would point to the vote and the long-delayed master plan process as evidence that the board wants development for development's sake and is only paying lip service to the idea of a sensible plan governing it. You know, you say "tomato," I say "we will not have to remain in the sameness of heights and density as a measure of world-class design." (Actually, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said that.)

To be fair, if you're going to have tall buildings, and you're not going to build them near the Metro station, the Town Center footprint's probably the best place for them, as opposed to, say, an established residential neighborhood. That was the argument made by Bob Simon, who spoke in favor of the project:
"The question is 'is this is good location?' said Simon. "It is a perfect location. Town Center starts at Target and goes to Home Depot. This building will be right in the center and will be appropriate."
Besides, the building will have bike lockers and spots for buses and whatnot, so it's totally transit-friendly. Right?
[The developer] also said the walk from the future Metro station will be 14 minutes. Tammi Petrine, representing the Reston Citizens Association, told the Supervisors one could only walk that fast if they were "part cheetah and part marathoner."
Nice! If land-use law was governed by snaps, we'd all be living in one-story yurts right now.

We don't think this is necessarily the end of the world the Reston ideal, given that this is the start of replacing a giant field of overadorned big-box stores that were never intended for Reston with something more appropriate. But we'd like to see a little more backbone from county officials about the battles that will matter, which we've learned are coming sooner than we think.


  1. I guess it would be rubbing it in to quote Sarah Palin:

    "Hey, RA, RCA and ARCH, how's that united fronty thingy workin' out for ya'?"

    Thank God that Reston's Three Amigos aren't in charge of negotiating with Iran...or are they?

    "we will not have to remain in the sameness of heights and density as a measure of world-class design." -- Cathy Hudgins

    That's funny. That's exactly what the Chinese said after Nixon visited them. Right after Nixon left the Chinese authorties decided to force Chinese mothers to produce taller and more dense boys and now today the taller denser basketball version of China owns firms that will finance this building in Reston. Maybe Cathy's on to something.

  2. Time for a recall vote on Supervisor Hudgins?

    1. Indeed it is, but she's so stuffed this non town with section 8 suckers, that she's got enough votes to keep her in office well into 2050 and beyond.

    2. Supervisor for Life Cathy "Baby Doc Duvalier" Hudgins!

  3. Isn't the average human walking speed 3mph? Which would make a half-mile walk 10 minutes not including cross-walk stops. So 14min sounds about right.

    While I feel like such a office-dense building there is awkward and there'll be traffic, it's hardly the end of the world. It's also a nice lookin' building. So sure, it's fine, whatever.

  4. "Isn't the average human walking speed 3mph?"

    "Listen up, ladies and gentlemen! Our fugitive has been on the run for ninety minutes. Average foot speed over uneven ground barring injuries is 4 miles per hour and that gives us a radius of... six miles. What I want out of each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area. Checkpoints go up at fifteen miles. Your fugitive's name is Doctor Richard Kimble. Go get him."

    Deputy Marshal Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones), "The Fugitive"

  5. Our fugitive's name is actually Cathy Hudgins. Despite all the uproar over the future of the Reston National golf course, NOT A SINGLE WORD on this topic from Her Royal Highness in her latest newsletter.

    She is not only tone deaf but, to quote the immortal American philsopher Archie Bunker, dead from the neck up.

    1. She's too busy holding meetings with has-been condos to write rhetoric (cogent or otherwise, redistributing wealth, spending money we don't have and raising tolls to keep the dysfunctional WMATA (Metro the 1st) and WMAA (Metro Jr.) alive.

  6. This is a cool Reston Skyscraper at its best.


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