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 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 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 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: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?
“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)
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.