News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Caddyshackpocalypse Now: Alcorn Says Reston Isn't Biting on RNGC 'Vision,' So Developers May Return to an Older Tactic

Hunter Mill Supervisor Walter Alcorn announced yesterday that he's heard from the neighborhoods around Reston National Golf Course, which despite being choked by invasive plants and lacking basic amenities such as saladaries and axe-throwing establishments apparently haven't bought into the new vision proposed by RNGC's owners, even with the grassroots study group open bars and whatnot. Ungrateful peasants! Give us a sweet pie chart/map combo and some good governing blockquote, Sup. Alcorn:

The numbers speak for themselves. Therefore, as with Hidden Creek, I do not support changing the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan’s current designation of this property as a golf course and consider this matter closed.

Alcorn's statement follows a similar rebuff on the other side of the Toll Road two years ago, when developer Wheelock attempted to sell its own neighboring clusters around Hidden Creek Golf Course on the vaporware notion of a "Grand Park" in exchange for a bunch of new development. 

This is also a great time to remind folks why a different developer and others were willing to invest $255 a vote for what would ordinarily be a nearly meaningless seat on a county board of supervisors, because of... reasons.

But all this isn't over, not by a long shot. Give us some sweet by-right blockquote, BFFs at Patch:

In an Aug. 30 Facebook Live interview with Patch, Steven Siegel, a partner with Weller Development, said the owners would pursue their existing zoning rights if they were unable to obtain Alcorn's support for a change to the comprehensive plan.

A portion of the golf course is zoned medium density residential and the golf course itself has by-right ancillary uses, according to Siegel.

"That could be anything from a hotel and conference center to support the golf use to a two-level golf experience range with food and beverage and entertainment options, where we can do a really special golf experience and keep a championship nine-hole course," he said.

The by-right argument is something RNGC's previous would-be developers tried to take all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court before backing off and finding a greater fool new buyer. But sticking to uses closer to the original land designation—in other words, a golf course—seems sort of like a different argument, at least to those of us who have passed the prestigious Grenada and Lower Antilles Bar exam. Could we see a 99-story "golf clubhouse" full of condos justified by a ground-floor storefront where some minimum wage flunkie hands out golf clubs? Would razing 9 holes of the golf course be okay so long as the new streets upon which 5-over-1s will be built have names like "Duffers Lane" and "Chip Shot Court"?  (We've already seen brutally honest street names for new builds across the Toll Road.) Or would a miniature golf course/axe throwing establishment surrounded by midscale chain retail and endless surface parking meet the by-right requirements?

No word on what all this means for South Reston's criminally low "walkability scores" and invasive plant crisis, but we're guessing we've heard about them for the last time, the end.

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