Confidential Restonian Operative "The Paper Army" shares this exciting photo of
Or alternately: Microwaved beef burritos!
After demonstrating its ability to repel tornadoes, 7-11s, and international grocery stores, The benighted Tall Oaks
Stucco Wasteland Shopping Center may soon have a new anchor tenant, the first since Compare Foods closed way back in ought-eleven.
Confidential Restonian Operatives tell us in not-so-hushed tones that Gold's Gym is apparently soon to announce that it will occupy the village center's anchor location. Which makes sense, given it was most recently home to "Susie de Los Santos," whom we'll admit appeared to have rather good muscle tone. And some of our fellow Restonians sure do seem to enjoy lifting heavy objects.
Before you strap on that mid-80s Loverboy headband, always remember and never forget: earlier rumors had claimed that Dollar General was eyeing the same spot, though Herndon ultimately wound up winning that highly desirable consumer demographic with its own upscale emporium. And before that, there was a frantic letter-writing effort to convince Bloom to set up shop. Neither came to fruition, but who knows? Maybe the third time's the charm.
The entire sordid tale of a North Reston cluster meeting gone very, very bad is a must-read. Here are a few snippets from the Patch article to whet your appetites.
9. "Illegal use of gas" is a felony. (The police should set up checkpoints outside of On the Border.)
8. "You can't always get people on a board to agree, but you can get them to agree to disagree and come to a compromise."
7. (no relation to the Virginia congressman with the same name)
6. The animals he was trapping were feral cats who were causing property damage and health risks to the neighborhood.
5. The couple - who can often be seen around Reston with their trained parakeet, Cody, who shows off his skills by donning a Superman cape and riding around in a remote-control Jeep - did neighborly things.
4. "I believe that the most interesting part of this story is how our board sat silently, enabling such escalation to occur."
3. Reston Association says that the Purple Sage incident was the first time a cluster meeting resulted in violence and criminal charges. RA CEO Milton Matthews says that RA does not get involved in internal affairs of individual clusters as they are under their own governance.
2. Even with his resignation, the residents voted him out anyway, 31-3.
1. "The neighborhood smells like cat pee."
The American Press Institute is closing down today as part of a merger with the Newspaper Association of America Foundation -- which itself was once headquartered next door. So much for Reston's legendary Newspaper Row.
Apparently, it's not clear what will become of API's awesome modernist Bauhaus building on Sunrise Valley Drive, which is one of Reston's original office buildings. But we'd like to step in and offer to keep it functioning as a site dedicated to journamalism -- or at least "web logging," which is the next best thing.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors have deferred action on two major projects affecting Reston, the Fairway Apartments redevelopment proposal and Phase 2 of Metro's Silver Line.
The Fairway Apartments proposal, which finally won DRB approval last month after developer JBG agreed to more significant changes to its plans for the 804-unit development, was put on ice after Supervisor Cathy Hudgins asked for more time to get information on workforce housing provisions from the developer.
After a public hearing Tuesday on the proposal to redevelop Fairway Apartments, Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins asked the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to defer decision pending further review of the developer's plan for workforce housing.And, as you may recall, they initially didn't, so some added scrutiny is probably not the worst idea in the world. Hudgins said that ensuring workforce housing is important to ensure that "people will be able to continue to live in Lake Anne with the same commitment that was made in the beginning of Reston."
The issue will come before the Board of Supervisors again on April 10, after Hudgins can speak with developer JBG. JBG's current plan includes that 12 percent of the proposed 804 units be devoted to affordable and workforce housing.
Because the redevelopment is not a rezoning, JBG is not required to provide a certain level of workforce housing.
"Rail is necessary for the long-term economic health and development of Fairfax County," said Mark Ingrao of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. "It is our responsibility as a community to finish what we started."Both projects will come back to the Board on April 10.
Hanley also supported Fairfax County's involvement. "Historically, this has been the most popular transportation project in the region," she said. "This board and previous boards have voted a number of times to keep the train on track to Dulles, and I hope tonight you will do it again ... All of Fairfax County will benefit."
But many residents who live in the Dulles corridor are concerned about drastic toll increases to the Dulles Toll Road, disagreeing with current plans to have vehicle tolls shoulder more than 50 percent of the Phase II cost. According to a Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) report, a one-way trip could increase from $2.25 to $4.50 in a year, and to $6.75 by 2018.
Terry Maynard of the Reston 2020 committee called the current funding format "grossly unfair," urging the board to put any decisions on hold until a better funding scheme can be found.
"To do otherwise is imprudent, impractical and unjust,” he said.
Tammi Petrine, also with Reston 2020, agreed.
"The use of wildly excessive Toll Road revenues to fund Metrorail construction is unjustified and risky," she said.
John Kenney, owner of the MVC Couples Boutique, said a 33-foot driveway is at the heart of a heated dispute between him and officials behind the Dulles Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority project.We have a humble suggestion of our own. We know a relatively traffic-free spot far from the maddening crowds and construction of Tysons that just might be perfect for an establishment of that ilk, the end.
"For three years now, we've dealt with Metro just bullying us around and taking advantage of our parking lot," Kenney said.
Kenney alleges his business is taking a serious hit because of construction crews blocking nearly half of the drive to his doorstep, a portion of pavement he said is "private." Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority officials disagree.
Since the walls went up, employees have called police to try and have the crews removed for trespassing, but those efforts were fruitless.
Kenney said he has a court order from 1981 stating the driveway is private, but Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority say they have a right to use it while construction is underway. Both sides say they plan to let their lawyers handle it.
Hey, remember that time last April when an honest-to-goodness tornado whipped through Reston, felling trees in a telltale straight line but otherwise doing very little damage? So does Fairfax County, which posted a Where Are They Now? sort of reminiscence to its "web site," complete with this map:
“The tornado began in a parking lot along Sunset Hills Road where small limbs were snapped from a hardwood tree and a large limb was snapped from a softwood tree. It crossed Sunset Hills Road and entered the Hidden Creek Country Club golf course where it intensified and uprooted or snapped several hardwood and softwood trees. The tornado weakened slightly as it crossed North Shore Drive and Wedge Road where a few trees were snapped or uprooted. A few homes appeared to suffer minor damage from fallen trees. As it crossed Wiehle Avenue, the tornado intensified again snapping or uprooting numerous trees adjacent to Tall Oaks Village Center before weakening rapidly.”Actually, it's amazing how few buildings were in the tornado's path -- though if you look off Wiehle Avenue nearly a year later, you can still see the felled trees, right where the tornado left them. (We'll spare everyone the joke about the immeasurable amount of improvements that would have happened had the twister veered to the right and struck the then-as-now empty grocery store in the Tall Oaks Shopping Center, the end.)
Dulles Toll Road rates are expected to rise sharply over the next few years. Tolls for a one-way trip that now costs $2.25 could increase to $4.50 as early as next year, according to a consultant’s report for the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, which operates the toll road and is supervising construction of the Silver Line. By 2018, tolls for that one-way trip could rise to $6.75.Our BFFs at Reston 2020, in fact, just released a fancy "fact sheet" detailing the fact that as many as 9,800 more
The increased rates could drive down the number of trips from roughly 100 million a year to 75 million during that period, according to the report. Some residents say those drivers could end up on Route 7, Route 66, Route 50 and other secondary roads, such as Beulah Road and Georgetown Pike.
Terry Maynard, a Reston Citizens Association board member, said, “The big arterial roads are jammed at rush hour right now, and things are only likely to get worse.”
Officials at the Virginia Department of Transportation, however, aren’t as worried.See? Told you!
Hari Sripathi, the agency’s regional operations director, said drivers won’t abandon the toll road — even with higher rates — immediately.Or, as the Post helpfully points out, Fairfax and Loudoun could still back out of plans to fund Phase 2 of the Silver Line expansion, in which case the number of additional cars will be irrelevant because traffic in Reston will be utterly gridlocked by all the Loudoun cut-through commuters circling the parking garage in perpetuity in hopes of snagging an available space. We may have to reinstate our long-retired "Keep Clapping" mantra.
“People are not going to flood the secondary roads overnight,” he said.
Transportation planners said they will make changes to signals or turn lanes if secondary roads are becoming clogged. There are plans to enlarge part of Route 7 from Reston Parkway to Tysons Corner from four lanes to six, he said, which could help handle some additional traffic.
“Not everybody is going to use the arterial streets,” he said. “Some are going to leave their cars and use rail. Some are going to change their travel time or use carpools so that will spread the traffic.”
Charles M. Goodman Associates, A.I.A., is the prominent architect of the First Village hillside cluster. Groups of town- houses have been arranged around intricately paved terraces,which in turn are leveled into a wooded hilltop. The Goodman Houses overlook the Village Center and Lake Anne. Sharp changes in roofline, varying sizes, and contrasting textures accented by vivid colors contribute to a townhouse setting of great beauty. A variety of designs and facilities include 2, 3 and 4 bedrooms, rooftop terraces, balconies, playrooms, private studies, family rooms and recreation rooms. There is underground garage parking or carports for some models, large parking areas for others. Landscaped pedestrian paths, completely free of traffic, lead to shops in the Village Center, schools and recreation facilities. The Goodman Houses are an ideal application of contemporary townhouse design to a naturally wooded site.Not so sure about the "vivid colors," unless you consider brick and beige vivid, and the underground garage parking didn't work out so well -- it was demolished in the early oughts. But otherwise, Goodman's approach was replicated in many of Reston's later clusters, where the townhouses often were built with the same varied sizes and roofline changes (check out the "skinnies" in Waterview Cluster to see that concept taken to a particularly narrow extreme.) It's also nice to see that these townhouses continue to inspire what might be the most attractive examples of new development proposed for Reston.
Here's the latest on the Dogwood Pool renovations, which have been pushed back to a mid-summer reopening.
Reston Association had hoped that renovations, which had been slated to start in December 201, would be completed in time to open with the rest of the pools by Memorial Day weekend 2012. But it is now March, and the renovations have not yet started.In other words, RA's project has been delayed by arbitrary disputes over wording and language in someone else's review process?
"Much of the latest delay is with Fairfax County's review process," said RA Parks and Recreation Director Larry Butler. "We have had some back and forth with the County Attorney's office on some easement language, which is one of the last items we need to get final sign-off on the site plan. After the site plan is signed-off, we can then submit for our entrance permit from VDOT to start the work."
In just the past few weeks, we've seen firsthand the terrible consequences of not having an appropriate place to mourn our departed loved ones in Reston. Now, the Initiative for Public Art - Reston (IPAR) is moving forward with plans to "request expressions of interest and statements of qualifications and experience from consultants who are qualified to guide a citizen-based committee in the process and development of a program for a memorial garden as more fully described below."
As cited in the book entitled "Open Spaces, Sacred Places" by Tom Stoner and Carolyn Rapp which documents several existing memorial gardens, "The space might be considered to be 'sacred,' but in an inclusive way, not in the sense of religion or belief, but as a connection, a feeling that makes (one) sure that there is something more powerful going on than what can be seen, something stronger than the five senses."While a specific location for the memorial garden has not been selected, an IPAR committee has apparently made a number of suggestions.
Reston contains miles of pathways conducive to contemplation. Within these areas there are many benches and trees memorializing loved ones. However, as conceived, the proposed garden will become the missing centerpiece of this diffusely evolving pattern. It can be a concentrated memorial compressed into a vest-pocket urban oasis in an area recognized as a "center" by all residents of Reston.
Reston's Sister City was Nyeri, Kenya. Nyeri is a town of about 120,000 people that resides in the shadow of Mount Kenya. It's a former provincial capital, and as a result is home to a lot of government employees. (Just like us!) Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, is buried in Nyeri. They grow a lot of coffee and tea in Nyeri, some of which we may well drink right here. And Nyeri is noted for the lively entertainment of its pubs. (How the scene in a Nyerian pub compares to, say, Jackson's on a warm night is undetermined.)Please to be enjoying this postcard from Nyeri:
Though the overall project still requires review by the Reston Association of homeowners and the Fairfax County Planning Commission, RTC already has approval for a 418,000-square-foot office and retail building. Richard Whealen, managing partner of the ownership group, said the building’s distinctiveness should set it apart from other offices nearby, some starving for tenants.It's not bad looking, and we definitely find it encouraging that the same design firm is apparently working on the surrounding Macaroni Grill-razing Spectrum redevelopment. In a perfect world, both designs will integrate with each other for some awesome bollardy goodness and sidewalks and whatnot.
“Despite the fact that office vacancies are relatively high along the Dulles Toll Road corridor, the time is right for a high-end office tower in Reston,” Whealen said in a press release.
The plans have attracted increased attention because of the property’s prominent location on Reston Parkway at Bowman Towne Drive, where Fairfax County planners have called for a signature office structure. The building’s design, by Reston-based Polleo Group, is more contemporary than many other Reston buildings.
Polleo has designed residential projects such as the mixed-use Spectrum development in Reston and Kennedy Row, a multifamily residential project on East Capitol Street in the District.
The first five floors would consist of retail and parking, with offices on the 18 stories above. On the sixth floor, the developers plan an outdoor 38,000-square-foot terrace (and green roof) that they envision featuring outdoor seating from a restaurant on that floor.** cough cough cough Macaroni Grill cough cough **
“Hopefully these features will attract a high-end restaurant that could have both indoor and outdoor seating with a striking view of the Reston Town Center and surrounding properties,” Whealen said.
Whealen and his partners have not announced any financing or tenants for the building or a firm construction timeline, although RTC holds termination options for many of the leases in the existing building, giving the company flexibility to begin demolition.That could be a challenge, given the region's slowing demand for commercial space. Developers like to talk about attracting a global headquarters, but Accenture's decision to move from Reston to smaller space on a former car lot in Arlington suggests that grandiose trophy headquarters buildings may not be the wave of the future. Soon, CEOs could be sharing a windowless cube with their one remaining non-outsourced worker ("Earl," the guy who changes the light bulbs and can knock loose stuck candy bars in the snack machine in the breakroom). Then there are the homegrown companies like LightSquared... which at the moment doesn't need a lot of office space... or a corner office for its CEO. Um, oops.
We are very concerned that locating a major employment center more than a half-mile from the transit station will siphon office demand away from the immediate station area...[and] disincent owners of existing office buildings to... replace them with higher-density buildings that include significant residential space to better balance those parcels.Our BFFs at Reston 2020 go so far to call it "the wrong building in the wrong place."
Some argue that this site was originally envisioned as a “gateway” to Town Center. With the advent of Metro, which will be at the center of the new Town Center, this is an antiquated concept.Which makes sense in a way, given that the project was essentially approved back in 1978, before the idea of the Silver Line was a gleam in anyone's eye. Let's just hope that the resulting trophy building doesn't become a white elephant that impedes growth elsewhere in Reston.