This letter to the editor by RCA Board member and Task Force Alternate Dick Rogers was published in this week’s Fairfax County Times.
The planning process for a new Reston has moved slowly over the last four years but now is reaching conclusion. If you think Bob Simon’s initial vision for Reston was worthwhile, you should be paying attention at this point.
There are positive elements in the new plan, particularly its stress on mixed residential and commercial redevelopment around the Metro stations. It promises to bring in 40,000 new residents and 60,000 new office employees to the already congested areas around the new stations.
Reston Association and the Reston Citizens Association have each made extensive comments on the plan to Fairfax County to support sensible redevelopment. Unfortunately, some of their points have been dismissed and most have been ignored by a county apparently bent on getting more tax money from the property owners.
The plans for parks and recreation are inadequate for the population proposed. No specific parks areas are laid out and the assumption seems to be that many of the recreation needs will be met by RA using facilities its members have already paid for. Although the county originally called for 25 ball and soccer fields, this has been cut back to 12. And only three are planned for the station area!
The proposed plan and its flexible and unpredictable density have given headaches to transportation planners. VDOT has provided a 16-page critique of the transportation plan and warned it could lead to “failing levels of (roadway) service many hours of the day.”
The plan calls for a number of road improvements including three new crossings of the Dulles Toll Road. But the County record on delivering on such promises is not good. Four years ago a major study was done on how to improve access to the Wiehle Metro Station. But now we are faced with no convenient access from South Reston and the Soapstone crossing, called for in the study, is years away from construction.
To add insult to injury, the plan leaves unclear who is going to pay for all the promised infrastructure. In the similar case of Tysons Corner redevelopment, a 4 cent tax per $100 assessed value was levied on all residents — and this will go to 8 cents in the future. Is that the future of Reston, when the development community stands to make windfall profits?
Find out for yourself what this means to you. The last planned meeting of the task force working on the Master Plan is on Oct. 29 at RA Headquarters.