by Connie Hartke
The Reston Citizens Association has 7
founding principles
.  The first and
last apply to our thoughts about the Lane Anne Land Swap:

  • Fostering man-made and natural beauty
  • Being a financial success as a community

The Republic/Lake Anne Development Partners have an
excellent plan for Lake Anne revitalization, and RCA very much supports revitalizing the village center.  The problem: underground
sewer pipes and a stormwater culvert were discovered in the middle of the spot
where Republic Land Development was going to put underground merchant
parking.  They can still put some parking
there, but are 120 spaces short.
The previous Reston Association CEO agreed in principle to
the proposed land swap, which runs counter to the RA Board’s adopted policy “Environmental
Considerations for Future Development and Redevelopment within Reston
.” It
is also contrary to Fairfax County’s comprehensive plan specific to this land.  From page 162 of Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan, 2013
“Tree preservation and/or tree cover should be a key condition of
redevelopment in this Land Unit, in accordance with guidance in the
Environmental section of the Fairfax County Policy Plan. The existing tree
canopy in this Land Unit should be preserved to the greatest extent possible.”
Kevin Munroe has
given a very clear and detailed review of the value of the RA parcel in his article
on Reston Patch
He is well qualified, having previously worked 11 years for RA as
an Environmental Resource Specialist plus 2
years with the Audubon Society of Northern VA as their Staff Naturalist and
Program Coordinator, and the last 7 as the Manager of Huntley Meadows Park.  He suggests near the end of his article that
“Parking lot designs can always be tweaked and re-oriented – if clearing a
Reston Association natural area was taken off the table as an option, a
creative solution would be found.”  We

this land swap proposal was brought to the table now under the current
leadership of CEO Cate Fulkerson, we believe this would only be an option of
last resort. Unfortunately it has moved beyond her control to a vote of the RA
Board of Directors.  RCA urges the RA
Board to defer the land swap proposal to allow time for alternative parking
options to be fully explored.  Since RA
and Republic are both working against a County-imposed deadline to start
construction, we propose that the County’s deadline be extended to allow time
for this exploration.

Cities across
America are investing in planting projects trying to get what we already have on this RA parcel. If this stand of trees is leveled for a
parking lot, which is so clearly counter to all that is Reston and the County
Comprehensive Plan
, then what precedent does this set for Reston

Reston Association and Fairfax County have an ethical
obligation to exhaust all resources for alternative parking to save these