News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, November 14, 2014

Caddyshackpocalypse Again: Reston National Golf Course Rezoning May Be Back From The Dead (Updated)

Oh nos
Our BFFs at Reston Now bring us the least welcome news in recent memory:

The quest to rezone and possibly redevelop Reston National Golf Course may be taking shape again.

The attorney representing RN Golf Management, which owns the public golf course, has asked the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals to put the issue back on a meeting agenda as soon as possible.
The company had put earlier plans to appeal the golf course zoning on hold back in July 2013, but, as we pointed out at the time, lots of other projects that were "postponed indefinitely" in county parlance wound up being built anyway.

The zoning appeal is basically a way to see if the land, which is currently zoned and designated in the original Reston Master Plan as open space, could be used for residential development. The property owner, a subsidiary of giant Northwestern Mutual Insurance, made it clear from the get-go that this isn't an academic question.

The proposal has a wide range of opponents, including county planning staff and elected officials, the Reston Association, the Sierra Club and the grassroots group Rescue Reston, which greeted this unwelcome news with an announcement titled "The Beast Returns."

Rescue Reston anticipates the zoning appeal will be heard by the county Board of Zoning Appeals sometime in January or February. They write:
This is an interesting time for the owners of RN, which includes the majority owner Northwestern Mutual, to again take up this battle. Reston is in the midst of Phase II of its Master Plan revision, and though it is only a guideline, text has been specifically added regarding the two golf courses that are an integral part of Reston:

“The Reston National (Tax Maps 17-4((11) 4A, 26-2 ((2)) 8, 26-2 ((5)) 4) and Hidden Creek Country Club (Tax Maps 17-2 ((24)) 1 and 17-4 ((10)) 2) golf courses are planned for private recreation use, more specifically to remain as golf courses.” (page 48 of working plan draft text dated September 5, 2014)
Are they trying to ram this through before this second phase of the Master Plan is formally approved? Nah, that would be cynical, and not befitting the high standards and ethics of an.... insurance company. Right?

In any event, this is apparently what's been happening sub rosa while we've all been busy putting stickers on flip charts, the end.

Update: The Reston Association issues its own statement, repeating its opposition to redevelopment, arguing that the current golfing uses are profitable, and saying it is even willing to buy the golf course property itself. Not bad for just an extra eight bucks a year, right?

Update to the Update: BZA hearing is scheduled for Jan. 21. Meanwhile, the Reston Citizens Association reiterates that the golf course must remain open space, and Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins issues a statement saying she supports the position of county zoning officials that the course is open space.


  1. Hardly a surprise. Goodbye Reston, hello highrises.

  2. The redevelopment of Reston Heights was such a smashing success, why not try the same bound-to-fail plan across the street!

  3. Developers acting like developers is neither surprising nor unexpected. Insurance companies acting like developers, however, is a different story.

    Hey, Northwestern Mutual, why don't you stick to making money the old-fashioned way: collecting premiums and denying claims?

  4. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonNovember 14, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Nice graphic, Restonian. The only thing that could improve it would be having just the middle finger on the hand extended, so as to show what Northwestern Mutual thinks of Reston.

  5. How about a five hundred foot tall statute near the golf club to commemorate the Fairfax Board of Supervisors for their dedication to principles of unlimited socialism and the unlimited free market for their developer friends?

  6. Dang! I called it to the month! Pull in your horns. Wait 'till Rescue Reston has run out of steam/funds. Cross some palms with silver. (All on the QT of course.) Then cue the bulldozers!

    Ms. Hudgins, iffen' I don't see immediate and adamant opposition, my usual contributions to the Democratic party will go to Rescue Reston. And then some!

    1. Rescue Reston has steam and funds. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and subscribe to newsletter to stay informed about upcoming actions.

    2. Go Connie, go. Show them what a Trappe gal can do!

  7. Here we go again! It will get approved (or bulldozed) as usual.

  8. All the supervisors have to run for their seats next year. Timing isn't so bad.

  9. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonNovember 17, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Two points about our supervisor's role in all this.

    As I understand it, when there is an issue before the Board of Supervisors that specifically affects one district, board members tend to defer to the opinion of their colleague who represents the district in question.

    Second, having said that, should Ms. Hudgins be present at a public meeting about Reston National, someone needs to hold her feet to the fire with a simple question:

    "Ms. Hudgins, a simple yes or no answer please. Do you support keeping Reston National as permanent open space that will not be developed?"

    No equivocating, no language about "supporting the planning process". A simple declarative yes or no answer.

  10. Highly doubt that will happen. She won't give a straight answer.

  11. The good news here is that RA is making noises about buying out NW Mutual if necessary. With low interest rates and a location next to Metrorail, it's not a bad buy. Hopefully this step of the appeal process is simply an extortion endgame toward a tidy exit (from NW Mutual's perspective) in an investment that did not pay off: "buy our golf course, RA or investor to be named, or we keep threatening development forever."

  12. Let's jam as many condo units and townhomes as we can on the golf course...all the liberal Reston town planner/sustainable development/smart growth types will LOVE it! That's just the sort of thing they are into these days.
    Smart growth has a way of biting you in the backside. Payback is a bitch, isn't it?


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