In the wake of that convoluted \_(ツ)_/¯ ruling from the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals on whether Northwestern Mutual can convert the Reston National Golf Course into zillions of dollars' worth of midrise condo goodness, because property rights and freedom, basically everybody except the BZA, and maybe Northwestern Mutual, is appealing the ruling.
Even Fairfax County is appealing its own board. Give us some good blockquote, BFFs at the Washington Post "news paper":
Fairfax County’s board of supervisors Tuesday voted to fight a county board of zoning appeals decision that would allow the owners of a publicly available golf course in Reston to build homes there.Given the supervisors' historic love of development, it's encouraging to see the decision was unanimous.
The unanimous decision takes into the county Circuit Court a battle between local residents and an ownership group that wants to develop homes on the Reston National Golf Course — a popular spot for joggers and nature enthusiasts that sits a short walk from a new Silver Line train station.
“The Board is appealing the decision because the BZA erred as a matter of law when it did not uphold all of the Zoning Administrator’s correct decisions regarding the zoning regulations,” county spokesman Tony Castrilli said in an e-mailed statement. “The Board further authorized an appeal due to its objection to specific findings of fact incorporated into the BZA’s decision, as well as the BZA’s disregard for the Reston Master Plan and the approved development plans governing the golf course property.”
The Reston Association, too, has opted to appeal, as well as to generate some blockquote:
The decision reflects RA’s position that any redevelopment of PRC zoned land within Reston, including the Reston National Golf Course, must be reviewed and compared to the existing zoning development plans, and any proffers or conditions attached to the development plans. This review and comparison is mandated under Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance Section 16-202 with the purpose of protecting the Reston community from unplanned changes to the development pattern previously approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. If the redevelopment is not in substantial conformance with the approved development plan, then a development plan amendment must be approved by the Board of Supervisors.Bo-ring. If only there was a plot twist akin to a 1970s children's cartoon featuring a jive-talking dog!
In the Reston National Golf Course situation, county staff did not find copies of the three development plans, which include the Reston National Golf Course and surrounding residential communities. A zoning determination for the golf course was issued in June 2012 without these three development plans being available. Because they were unavailable at that time, the golf course owner appealed to the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), seeking a “blank check” for residential redevelopment of the golf course.You can read the RA's appeal here.
While the BZA did not provide a “blank check” to the landowner in its decision on April 15, 2015, it also did not confirm that the three development plans later found by county staff in the zoning archives are, in fact, the approved development plans. As such, RA will be appealing the BZA decision.
Rounding out the triumverate are our BFFs at Rescue Reston, which is also appealing the BZA ruling in circuit court. Rescue Reston is holding a webcast tonight to discuss the appeal and where things go from here; details are available here.
As long suspected, this process will be a long, dragged out one. But it's encouraging to see the county, the RA, and the community remaining on the same page. It's a good precedent, and one we hope continues.