Master Plan Task Force Finishes Initial Draft
Group has spent more than three years envisioning Reston's future. Is it any closer to a final vision?
After working for three years to envision a Master Plan for Reston in the 21st Century, the Reston Master Plan Task Force has a first draft of its proposal completed.
For Phase 1 of the Master Plan (which concentrates on business centers and areas closest to the upcoming Silver Line Metro stations), the task force recommends:
* Longterm planning, not just the next 15-20 years.
* Development should be transit-oriented, with bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly features and highest density closest to the Metro.
* Every proposed development should meet minimum performance standards and proffer measures so that the public benefits from the new addition and that potential harms are mitigated.
* Tall buildings and an urban pattern of development should be near the Metro stations at Wiehle-Reston East and Reston Parkway. However, there should also be open space, including preserving the wetlands near the Herndon-Monroe station and other natural areas; building a large park in the North Town Center area a continuous linear green space – a grand green boulevard –along Sunrise Valley Drive.
Patty Nicoson, Chair of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force, says her group is as eager as anyone to get the Master Plan completed. She says the delay has been due in part to a county staff report that included a number of density of proposals that needed to be discussed by the task force.
"I am as frustrated as the rest of the task force," she said. Nicoson added that the task force has also been meeting in smaller groups to discuss vision as well as the three future Metro stations.
The report does not have specifics that some Restonians have been expecting. The report does not metion density and FAR (Floor Area Ratio) numbers or the ratio of business to residential.
"The draft is remarkably vague about providing essential public infrastructure and amenity issues such as schools, parks, recreation," said Terry Maynard of advocacy group Reston 2020. "The implication - and in some cases stated intent - is that the community beyond the Phase 1 TOD areas should absorb these."
Maynard also said that the lack of FAR specifics is likely intentional "because there is such a huge gap in what the developers vs. what the community wants."
Nicoson says the report is "very much a work in progress" and FAR numbers will come when when the committees work with all traffic analysis scenarios.
"We are trying to produce a report that projects a vision to the community for the next 50 years," she said.
The Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force was appointed by Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in late 2009 to review the Reston Master Plan and Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan as Metro prepared to open here.
The first Silver Line Metro station, at Reston-Wiehle East, will open in December of 2013.
The main question presented to the task force is "how Reston’s Master Plan and the County’s comprehensive plan should be modified in order to maximize public benefits from the arrival of Metrorail and to recognize the many changes that have occurred in the nearly 50 years since Reston was founded?"
The task force will later look at Phase 2, which will concentrate on the individual village center areas. Phase 2 was supposed to get underway in late spring of 2012, when Phase 1 was scheduled to be completed, but both projects are behind schedule.
Reston 2020 is seeking comments from the community on the report. To add your thoughts, click here.
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