News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, October 20, 2017

PSA: Monday's Rescheduled Overcrowded Meeting on Overcrowding Likely To Be Overcrowded

For nonagorophobic lovers of low-density land use regulations, South Lakes High School will be the place to be on Monday evening.

After Fairfax County's first attempt to hear public input on its proposal to turn Reston into Manhattan Tysons Ballston, only with fewer bridges and bike overpasses and more paid parking, turned into an unintentional Alanis Morrisette tribute last month, county officials are try, try, trying again to hold a public meeting at 7pm Monday at South Lakes High School in the cafeteria, which apparently holds more people than the school's gym and will keep ugliness like this from happening again:


But fear not, silly rabbits! Apparently an overflow room has been set up as a contingency (we hope they call it the "Herndon room"), giving latecomers all the fun of watching public access teevee at home with the all after-hours ambience of a high school classroom. Can't wait!

Also, because irony is dead and nothing means anything anymore, apparently the county is worried about parking at the high school. So it's running shuttle buses to South Lakes from the North County Government Center -- one at 6pm, the second at 6:30pm. Knowing how traffic crossing the Toll Road is at rush hour these days, we'd plan on taking the earlier one if you want to get there on time.

So what is this all about, besides wearing cool matchy-matchy T-shirts? We tried to developmentsplain things a while back, complete with this helpful annotated map:

Apparently the Wegmans is going to be on the other side of town, but otherwise it's a stunningly accurate portrayal of all the places that development could happen -- to the tune of an additional 22,292 housing units already approved or in the pipeline. Our BFFs at Reston 20/20 argue that the zoning changes could add nearly 13,000 residents to our existing village centers alone. Members of the Reston Association Board of Directors have said they oppose the proposed change, and the Reston Citizens Association has come out with a statement which gets at the heart of the matter:

The County's present proposal to significantly increase the overall population of Reston without providing adequate infrastructure is harmful to the interests of present and future residents of Reston and to the County itself.

The Reston Citizens Association strongly encourages the County to withdraw its proposal and identify a way to balance infrastructure needs before proposing any increased density to ensure Reston will be a successful community for another fifty years and beyond.

We're not convinced the worst will come to happen -- 177,000 Restonians by 2050! Four times the density of Ballston! Dogs and cats on the same underfunded, smoke-filled Metro cars! -- because the region's overall strapping-bombs-to-dolphins economy seems to be a bit..... uncertain these days, and those fancy neon-bedecked mauvescrapers aren't exactly leasing themselves.

At the same time, the county has given us no confidence that they have the best interests of the people who live here (or will move here) in mind, either. Maybe if they'd just throw us a frickin' bridge or two before opening the floodgates, we'd feel a bit more confident their comprehensive zoning deliberations don't resemble those scenes in old Bugs Bunny cartoons where a character's eyes are replaced with old-timey cash register signs.

Hopefully the public hearing will result in county officials actually hearing what people in Reston have to say, and not just devolve into farce (as seems to be the hawt new trend for public meetings in our community of late, the end).


  1. And scheduled during a Redskins game, too! Don't know if there's anything to the rumor about buses being parked at SLHS to dissuade turnout (everyone loves riding shuttle buses), but that bit of scheduling seems.... unfortunate.

  2. I never go to these things, but I went to SLHS and I wore yellow. As did nearly everyone else. The nice people from the county told us what we want. But everyone attending felt differently. Hudgins and co. said that we need more people on metro, and she closed with a stock impassioned plea for workforce housing. The parks person told us that she was actively making sure that we had enough parkland as we develop, to much laughter. And we had to wait over 20 minutes until the first invocation of Bob Simon's wishes, later than expected. But what was tonight's conclusion? Hudgins wagged her finger by hinting that this crowd was anti...something. Were we being anti-Restonian? NIMBYs and the developers recognize that they have overdeveloped, which translates to a recognition that more pigs at the trough will shrink the amount of food available to each pig.And yet she persisted! We need to increase our density, described in terms of avoiding some future debacle, while attendees see the density cap as a final failsafe. I admire Hudgins' willingness to tell this audience that they just don't get Reston. They just don't understand what it is to be in Reston. Wow, what stunning arrogance.

  3. The object of the increase in the population cap is not Metro ridership but additional tax revenue.


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