In a minor procedural twist in the legal travails of Northwestern Mutual's ongoing efforts to rid Reston of the inconvenient scourge of open space, a Fairfax County Circuit Court judge denied a request by developer RN Golf to delay the official issuance of a November court ruling that was kinda sorta bad news for fans of midrise condo developments and Scooby-Doo plot twists.
All of this is very confusing for those of us who don't watch enough of the judge shows on the teevee, so fortunately our BFFs at Rescue Reston were able to explain it in more detail:
Earlier this week RN Golf asked the Court to delay issuance of its order implementing that decision for at least three months so as to permit RN Golf more time to consider alternative strategies, a request which was denied today by Judge Devine..."Delay" seems to have been the strategy to date, so this isn't the worst precedent to have on the books. It's actually pretty good news.
With today’s ruling the Court requires that RN Golf, should it wish to pursue development, file a PRC plan with the Fairfax County Zoning Administer to determine compliance with existing zoning rules.
The Court heard arguments today against RN Golf in three particular areas:
• Over the past four years RN Golf had consistently pursued tactics of delay and previously sought five additional unexplained delays of a hearing on the BZA appeal which it had filed.
• No PRC plan currently exists to be considered. Further delay was unwarranted.
• A judgment allowing needless delay would set a precedent for future delays in other cases. The courts would be flooded with cases if every time an entity lost, they appealed for further delays of the court’s ruling.
The ruling means that RN Golf must now appeal the November ruling to the Virginia Supreme Court, which they, with their deep pockets, could obviously do. Otherwise, they'll just have to go through regular zoning channels to propose any plans to develop an awesome off-hours storage facility for midcareer IT workers, which, as we've said in the past, isn't necessarily a bad bet either for a motivated developer. But at least these machinations will be (slightly) more out in the open, and less about waiting for the next legal challenge. But until that happens, we'll just have to wait and see what RN's next move might be.