Please to be enjoying this subtle cartoon about the recently revived efforts to challenge the zoning of Reston National Golf Course to open the door for development. Fortunately, our BFFs at Rescue Reston held a press conference this week to explain things.
Here's the video from the press conference, which actual members of the press actually attended. (Journalists hate press conferences, so that's a big win.)
The resulting news coverage repeated one of the few public comments from the managers of the golf course, which is itself owned by insurance giant Northwestern Mutual.
RN Golf Management’s legal representative, Frank McDermott, has said repeatedly through this process that the company is seeking clarity on the property’s zoning.Which is why it's spent countless thousands of dollars on lawyers -- out of idle curiosity. Which is why we hired geological experts to drill under Restonian World Headquarters to see if it was suitable for a
“The owner of Reston National is asking for confirmation of the zoning that applies to the property so it can understand the property rights that apply,” McDermott said in November. “It has proposed no change in the zoning of the property and has filed no plans for its redevelopment.”
But we digress. During the press conference, Rescue Reston officials shared their own interpretation of what's happening.
Rescue Reston founder John Pinkman said RN Golf tried to slip its case back in over the holidays, when no one would be looking.That's for sure.
“The timing of the appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals is suspicious,” he said at a press briefing on Wednesday. “From day one, this secret project has hoped to slide through the appeal process without involving Reston residents. Now they come again, trying to push this appeal through during the holiday season, hoping that few would notice. Well, that didn’t work.”
Pinkman says he believes Lerner Enterprises, owners of, among other properties, Dulles Town Center, North Point Village Center and the Washington Nationals baseball team, is the developer that seeks the golf course property. Lerner has had no comment.
“Respectable developers have in the past come to directly affected residents in clear transparency,” he said. “Northwestern Mutual’s strategy is quite the opposite.”
To its credit, the Reston Association, which participated in the press conference, is holding firm to its opposition to any changes to Reston National, even offering to buy the golf course to preserve it as open space (though if people don't want to spend a couple of thousand bucks for a bocce court, getting a multimillion-dollar purchase approved might be a little dicey). That aside, RA President Ken Knueven made the right point about why it's important to oppose the redevelopment of Reston National, whether you like golf, or golf course views, or open space, or not:
"If it doesn’t follow the master plan, then we are no longer a planned community. If we are no longer a planned community, we are no longer Reston.”Well put.
Rescue Reston is holding a rally at 2pm Saturday at Langston Hughes Middle School to rally support ahead of the Jan. 21 Board of Zoning Appeals hearing, which it is also urging residents to attend. Rescue Reston has pointed out the hearing is at an inconvenient time for most folks, but we'd say it might be worth taking the morning off work.