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.”There 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