RA will get more information on and consider the rezoning application that will go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission for decision on April 26. If recommended for approval by the county, the plan then goes to the Board of Supervisors.
The RTC Partnership is seeking to demolish the existing five-story "Reston Times" office building and construct a 23-story, 418,900 square foot mixed-use office building, to include office (413,700 SF), retail uses (2,600 SF) and/or an eating establishment (2,600 SF).
The proposal has been scheduled to go before the Planning Commission twice in the last month, but has been postponed. It has already been given conceptual approval by RA's Design Review Board and the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee.
The plans for the building—which include a high-density Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 4.08)—have been met with resistance and criticism from local groups committed to planning principles and smart growth for Reston.
Members of the Reston Citizens Association's Reston 2020 advocacy group say the proposal "violates many of the Planning Principles adopted by the Reston Master Planning Task Force on 15 March 2011."
"It is the wrong building in the wrong place," Reston 2020 said on its website. "This proposal places a 23-story office building in the midst of the proposed Lerner Spectrum development." The Spectrum plan, which calls for a mixed use community, embodies many of the Task Force’s principles.
Reston 2020 says a building of this density should not be located far from the future Reston Parkway Metro station, which will be more than a half-mile away.
"The proposed building would be one of the highest in Town Center, containing over 1,500 office workers in a 4.05 FAR development. Yet it is over one-half mile from the future Town Center station. The Planning Principles say that the 'highest densities will be within approximately one-quarter mile' from the future stations. The principles also indicate development will be stepped down from the immediate station area."
"The pending application, which would locate an approximately 2,000-worker job center beyond a half mile from the Town Center Metro Station - defies Transit Oriented Development," ARCH members said in remarks to the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee.
ARCH urges developers and the planning committee to consider current office vacancy rates in Reston.
"We are very concerned that citing a major employment center more than a half-mile from the transit center will siphon office demand away from the immediate transit center," ARCH members said.
ARCH also said that anything that impairs the ability to redevelop areas closest to the Metro stations will increase traffic and could depress Metro ridership, which in turn would pass off increased costs to taxpayers.
Both Reston 2020 and ARCH recommend that the proposal be amended to be in keeping with Reston's planning principles.
However, Richard Wealen, managing partner of RTC Partnership, says the features of the tower—a contemporary design by Reston's Polleo Group—will make it a desirable location, despite nearby office vacancy rates.
Plans for the building include five floors of retail and parking and 18 stories of offices above that.
There are plans for an outdoor 38,000-square-foot terrace and green roof on the sixth floor. Developers hope to also build outdoor seating from a restaurant on that floor.