Dear Fellow Restonians,
As RCA’s representative to the Reston master planning task
force, I want to bring you up to date on this four-year effort that is nearing
a destructive result for Restonians’ quality of life in December.
RCA has been an active and positive contributor to the
Reston master planning process since its beginning, and enthusiastic about the vibrancy
urbanizing the Dulles Corridor could bring to Reston.  We have participated in every meeting.  Through RCA’s Reston 2020 Committee, we have presented
more than a dozen well-researched studies for the task force on planning topics
we believe are important.  And we have
met with County staff along the way.  Presenting
the goals and concerns of Reston’s citizens has been challenging, but we have
done so in good faith in the belief that the right Comprehensive Plan would
serve Reston well.   
Last November, the task force arrived at a development
”—that appeared to dis-satisfy everyone about equally.  It would not allow as much development as
developers would like, especially office space, yet it offered only 5% less
overall density than the previous lead scenario (“Scenario
”).  We believe the scenario still
puts too much emphasis on traffic generating office space and does not address phasing
issues (matching development with infrastructure improvements) generated by 40,000
new residents and 30,000 new employees. 
Over last winter, County staff conducted a series of “impact
analyses,” assessing what the population and workforce growth would mean for
Reston.  The results on issues of concern
to Restonians were not surprising, but are of deep concern:

  • We will need one, possibly two, new elementary schools
    in the Metro station areas, according
    to FCPS
    .  We will also need an intermediate
    and high school, probably located near Rt. 28 where even greater growth is planned.  The implication is that upper school
    boundaries in Reston will shift westward.
  •  We will require more than 100 acres for
    additional parks and recreation facilities, largely playing fields, to
    meet station area growth needs according
    to FCPA
    , even against the low expectations of the County’s Urban Parks
    Framework.   (You may read our critique of the framework in
    response to the third draft of the Reston
    Comprehensive Plan
    .  The County responded
    that it thinks its framework is fine.) 
    The latest draft infers that Reston Association should shoulder the space
    and facilities burden, not the station areas despite the fact that the Urban
    Parks Framework includes, “urban scale parkland integrated into developments….” 
  • The huge traffic increases at gateway
    intersections along the Corridor would mean average rush-hour delays up to four
    minutes at each intersection according
    to FCDOT
    .  While some roadway
    improvements could be added, most potential Plan relief from gridlock would
    come from shifting people to buses, walking, and biking, as well as traffic
    demand management (TDM) techniques that limit parking and driving in the
    station areas.
This spring, County staff began to draft the Comprehensive
Plan guided by Scenario G and the impact analyses.  The initial drafts addressed overarching
guidance for the Reston community, including the vision and planning principles
the task force agreed upon two years ago.  
Then things went downhill. 
By the
fifth and first complete draft plan (103
), presented to the task force three weeks ago, the draft language was
so bad that RCA decided to make a strong statement critiquing it at last week’s
 task force meeting.  The following is from that four-page
. . . At
this point the draft language has no spine or muscle to achieve the goals and
limits it professes. 

The latest
draft, even more than its predecessors, includes numerous weasel words and
phrases that undermine achievement of the planning goals of Scenario G, such as
extending the TOD walking distance by five minutes in direct contradiction of
County TOD policy. 

  • It omits or
    minimizes vital details for critical planning elements, such as phasing,
    implementation, financing, and incorporating parks and recreation to serve
    future residents and employees in the transit station areas.
  • It
    overlooks opportunities that would serve the longer term development of the
    station areas, including moving now to acquire air rights along the Dulles
    corridor and calling for a recreation center in one of the station areas.
  •  It
    generally calls upon the current Reston community, and specifically Reston
    Association, to provide space and financing for amenities that serve station
    area residents and workers without any commitment that the new residents would
    become members of RA. 

statement concludes, “. . . this draft
plan states that what the developers and County have is theirs; what Reston has
is negotiable if not outright takable.”
 It states that RCA will be
unlikely to support this plan and that it will seek community support in improving
I ask you to
read RCA’s statement, our detailed
critique of the latest draft
, and even the latest plan draft.  The draft plan, if approved, will “guide”
future development of Reston and is woefully inadequate in protecting the
60,000 people who live here.  The
completed Comprehensive Plan draft is scheduled to go before the Planning
Commission (
on October 30 and the Board of Supervisors Board of Supervisors ( on December 5.  If you share our deep concern, we urge you to
contact the County staff lead (,
task force chairman Patty Nicoson (,
and even Supervisor Hudgins (
with your thoughts now before this plan becomes our future.   
Representative to the Reston Task Force
Member, RCA
Board of Directors

RCA Reston 2020 Committee