News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, October 26, 2012

Caddyshackpocalypse Now: The Waiting Game

caddyshack boom.jpg

Hey, golf fans! Time to put on the green jacket and see what's happening in everyone's favorite sport of kings and inappropriate land use. Just because the "quiet company" postponed its meeting with the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals until January doesn't mean that we can all head to the 19th hole for an earth-toned cocktail (we're partial to a Harvey Eggshell White Wallbanger ourselves).

Our BFFs at Rescue Reston have set up a fancy online petition, which they plan to present to the Board of Zoning Appeals. As of this morning, they had 380 signatures, so good on them.

Meanwhile, in a column, Rescue Reston alleges that the someday-to-be Macaroni Grill-razing owners of Reston Spectrum and the lead-blowing Nationals, the Lerner Co., is in cahoots with Northwestern Mutual Life to bring bollardy goodness to the golf course.
Several sources have indicated the golf course developer to be The Lerner Company, owner of the Nationals baseball team. Lerner has not publicly announced its involvement. But how perverse would it be that a premier sports entertainment company in the metro area is complicit in applying leverage to close down one of the premier golf courses and recreational amenities in Northern Virginia to construct medium to high-density housing?
John Lovaas argues that the delay is most likely a stalling tactic:
My suspicion is that they are taking a course of action often used by developers or a friendly supervisor when a proposal has caused considerable upset in the community. The idea is to delay for a few months, trusting that the intensity of the upset will dissipate. With luck, folks in the community will barely notice it when the deed is finally done. This was exactly the course taken recently by Supervisor Hudgins when she delayed a final decision on the proposed 23-story building on Reston Parkway, a project vehemently opposed by Town Center residents and three major community organizations. As in that case, there is a presumption here that the outcome favoring the large-scale development will not be well received in the community.

There is another, perhaps more wishful-thinking line of thought that contends Reston National’s case for a BZA reversal of the zoning official’s ruling is so weak that the corporates decided to delay in order to work further on the case or possibly even to rethink their position….

If they are only delaying in order to dissipate the tremendous community energy created by well-organized Rescue Reston with firm support from an increasingly effective Reston Citizens Association and the Reston Association, showing more independence under new leadership, that is a credit to all three organizations. But, as we saw with the RTC 23-story building proposal, delay can be effective, too.
Meanwhile, the Reston Association has produced a fancy memorandum discussing the potential impact of redevelopment of Reston National, assuming that development would yield 1,110 new units and 2,775 new residents. In a nutshell, the memorandum says that such development would be Bad for wildlife habitat, stormwater management, and demands on RA facilities, including pools and tennis courts.

One Fun Fact: much like Lake Anne is at the mercy of Hidden Creek Golf Course, which has land-use rights to drain water from the lake for irrigation even at the expense of users of the jet-age air conditioning system, Reston National can dip a bendy straw into Lake Audubon whenever it likes:
The water is used by the golf course to fill an irrigation pond. Under a different land use scenario, this right could be exercised to fill aesthetic features such as an ornamental fountain.
We can only imagine what such a "water feature" might look like:

Frankly, we'd be more concerned about swimming in Lake Audubon water.


  1. If every voting age member of the RA, RCA and Operation Rescue Reston's Aborted Golf Course were subject to questioning under sodium penthotal with a Gitmo waterboarding chaser we'd learn that all of them voted for Cathy Hudgins in her last election and will vote for her again in her next election.

    For example, we have this gem of a recent response from Colin Mills, President of the RCA:

    Good to hear from you, Jim. I don't share your cynicism about Supervisor Hudgins and our other elected leaders. Even if I did, however, I'd point out that these are the leaders we here. Supervisor Hudgins will be in office until at least 2015. Systemic change of the sort you describe would take years, if not decades. Which does not mean that getting more local control of development is a bad idea, but these proposals will be coming through sooner than that. We need a solution that we can implement sooner.

    And I'm not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Is my solution the perfect answer? No. But it's a step in the right direction.

    Dispatch from the front lines of the Cathy Hudgins Apology Tour.

    Word to ya momma, Collin. It's not Jim's cynicism you need to worry about. It's the cynicism of the owners of the Reston National Golf Course that have already bought the cnynical Cathy Hudgins off through this delay tactic.

    Rule #1 for Non-Change In The Reston Master Plan We Can Believe In...if you truly want to be the non-change in the Reston Master Plan you want to see in Tax District #5, then don't vote for and/or make apologies for a cynical politician that doesn't give a rat's ass what you or any other high income tree hugger thinks when it comes to the redevelopment of her empire.

  2. I'm a-feared that it's too late. The Missus and I have turned our eye towards a new-construction McManse in LoCo, and started researching the merits of turning our current property into a rental, especially since rents on a property like mine are now triple that of my current mortgage payment. How fitting it is that The Convict is transforming himself into The Slumlord.

    Anyone who thought that this high-density thingie was going to somehow magically stop urban sprawl is a naive fool.

  3. The Convict has the right idea--sell or rent out your current Reston palatial estate, and move out to Winchester or down to Harrisonburg! Heck with the higher-density hell that local planners (complicit with the real estate community--are there any other kinds of planners, after all?) want to foister upon us.
    Give us Density, then gimme shelter!
    To all you Bob Simon types, keep telling yourself it's all "Smart Growth", a wonderful catch phrase that is so overused that it is bereft of true meaning. Plan B for the Fortunate Few with Fairway Views around Reston National is to sell, sell, sell...and then move to Middleburg with their new-found wealth LOL!


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