Tuesday, July 26 is a good afternoon to make the trek over to the Government Center at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax.  Both the Tall Oaks redevelopment and the Sekas proposal for bulldozing the American Press Institute building and replacing with townhouses and condominiums are on the agenda for the Board of Supervisors. The times are listed on the agenda but are subject to change depending on how the items move along:  http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/government/board/meetings/2016/july-26.htm.

Tall Oaks Public Hearing

Scheduled time: 3:30 p.m.

Message from RCA Board Member Lynne Mulston

The issues that remain are:

  • Trees, large mature trees along North Shore in front of the housing thereby maintaining Reston’s “look and feel;”
  • Operations Analysis that includes traffic patterns, re-striping of intersection, etc.;
  • Preserving what is left of retail; and
  • Ensure that the community area with the step down seating and fountain is maintained and open to the public through an easement agreement (or other mechanism).

Please consider speaking at the upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting and make your voices heard by registering to speak with the Board of Supervisors office at 703-324-3151.

The former headquarters of the American Press Institute (API), Reston, Virginia (RZ/FDP 2015-HM-012 Sekas Homes, Ltd.)

Scheduled Time: 4:30 p.m.

RCA Board Member Connie Hartke sent the following email to the Board of Supervisors on 7/24/2016:

To:  ClerktotheBOS@fairfaxcounty.gov

Re: The former headquarters of the American Press Institute (API), Reston, Virginia (RZ/FDP 2015-HM-012 Sekas Homes, Ltd.)

Dear Chairman Bulova, Supervisor Hudgins, and all Supervisors,

I toured Miami Beach’s Art Deco District Sunday morning, the famous area that was designated as a U.S. historic district in 1979. I have enjoyed seeing these beautiful buildings for the decade that I’ve been visiting Miami Beach. I had no idea until this morning that one woman started the movement to save these beauties from the bulldozer. As I learned the history from my tour guide, I was struck by a similarity to our situation in Reston with the API building.

In 1975 these art deco buildings were less than 50 years old, much like Reston’s Marcel Breuer-designed API building. It seems this may be why it was overlooked by Fairfax County when it should have been identified as a potential heritage resource.*  The “50 year rule” seems to be a rule of thumb in many jurisdictions, but fortunately for Miami Beach and for Reston, it is not law.

In Miami Beach it was a woman named Barbara Capitman who is credited with saving the fabulous collection of art deco buildings, sometimes literally chaining herself to buildings in attempts to stop the bulldozers. She eventually succeeded, and as a result, this area is known world-wide and has contributed greatly to south Miami Beach’s revitalization.

The American Press Institute building in Reston needs a second look. Should it be designated as a heritage resource? Could it be repurposed as the Reston Regional Library or some other use? I ask the Board of Supervisors to allow the time to fully explore these options. This is a resource whose potential should be fully considered before bringing in the bulldozers.


Connie Hartke
2201 Quartermaster Ln
Reston, VA  20191

*Any development or ground disturbance in this sector (Reston), both on private and public land, should be preceded by heritage resource studies, and alternatives should be explored for the avoidance, preservation or recovery of significant heritage resources that are found. In those areas where significant heritage resources have been recorded, an effort should be made to preserve them.”
— Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan, 2013 Edition, Area III; Reston (Page 49) and Upper Potomac Planning District, UP5-Greater Reston Community Planning Sector (Page 97), Amended through 10-20-2015
From the Comprehensive Plan: Heritage Resources “Countywide Objectives and Policies”
Objective 1: Identify heritage resources representing all time periods and in all areas of the county.
Policy a. Identify heritage resources well in advance of potential damage or destruction.
Policy b. Conduct systematic countywide field surveys to locate and document unrecorded heritage resources and to update information on resources identified in past surveys.
—        POLICY PLAN, Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan, 2013 Edition, Heritage Resources (amended through 4-29-2014) Page 3