by Terry Maynard, RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Despite the threatening weather last evening [1/29/2015], more than 90 people attended the community meeting to discuss the second draft of the Phase 2 (suburban area) of the Reston Master Plan.  Among those in attendance were County officials Cathy Hudgins and RCC Director Leila Gordon in addition to planning and transportation staff personnel.  A number of residents were wearing their neon yellow “Rescue Reston” t-shirts.
The first 45 minutes or so were devoted to the Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) presenting the changes in the second draft.  (Their presentation will be linked here when it is posted on the Fairfax County website.) Questions were taken during the presentation.
  • One questioner repeatedly asked why the Reston on Foot and Bike plan was not incorporated into the draft plan, merely referred to. 
  • Another questioner wondered whether the draft plan fixed the language issues surrounding the Reston National Golf Course, and it does (but it may be too late). 
  • A third questioner, noting plans to incorporate the Hunt Club area into the Reston plan, noted that Civil War era graves have been found on the site and why the plan did not reflect that historic fact and the need for its protection.  DPZ was not aware that graves had been confirmed there, which would require that the area be protected. 
  • There were also several questions about transportation issues. 
Supervisor Hudgins left the meeting near the end of the DPZ presentation, not waiting to hear the questions and concerns expressed by those in attendance.
A question and answer period ensued.  Some of the key topics raised in that were:
  • Controlling Village Center redevelopment.  Several people expressed concern about language in the latest draft that does not constrain redevelopment of Reston’s Village Centers.  Terry Maynard read a prepared Reston 2020 statement concerning the issue, noting that no defined limits on density are defined nor are Village Center boundaries prevented from expanding.  Given the history of adverse consequences from sloppy planning and zoning language (RNGC, the redevelopment of Town Center Office Building), Reston 2020 proposed that the plan include no language on redevelopment unless it had specific constraints.
  • Stop tearing down garden apartments.  The draft Reston Master Plan allows the redevelopment of Reston’s garden apartments, which are the only place most young adults can afford to live in Reston.  Their replacements would be high-rise buildings which, because of their construction costs, drive rents or condo sales prices into the luxury level.
  • Protecting Civil War grave sites.  A person linked to the Hunt Club effort to document these grave sites noted that six graves of a pro-Northern family have been confirmed and the effort continues to further define the scope of the cemetery.  A spokesperson encouraged the DPZ to show some curiosity about this significant find—“Reston’s first family”—before proposing language that might let the nine-acre area be developed as a residential neighborhood.
The group meeting closed about 8:30PM with the opportunity for individuals to ask questions of the staff planning and transportation members in attendance.