Representatives of Rescue Reston, the grassroots group aimed at keeping Reston National Golf Course as open space, have determined that Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance is part of the ownership group that may be seeking to develop the golf course into residential units.
A land records search shows that the 2005 investor group that purchased the 166-acre golf course is is RN Golf Management, which is part of RestonOaks Golf LLC, which is part of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company of Wisconsin, says Rescue Reston executive director John Pinkman.
"We feel it is important for our community to know who is calling the shots," Pinkman said at a news conference at Reston Association headquarters. "Northwestern Mutual is a huge company with many facets."
Rescue Reston was formed in August after it was learned that RN Golf Management filed an appeal with Fairfax County Zoning last spring to determine if the golf course could be residential. After the county said it was not - and any changes to make it so would involve a change to the county master plan - the owners filed an appeal, which will be heard by the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals on Oct. 24.
Pinkman said that Rescue Reston embarked on the records search because it seemed odd that RN Golf Management, a "thriving, profitable recreational enterprise, would then decide to build homes."
"It seemed to us that there were investors behind the golf course who were not specifically associated with the course," said Pinkman. "We wondered why that entity was hidden."
Pinkman is encouraging concerned residents to write a letter to Northwestern Mutual CEO John Schlifske, though he adds that he is not sure that Schlifske knows anything about the project.
Reston Patch is trying to get comment from Northwestern Mutual.
Pinkman also announced that Rescue Reston will hold a rally on Saturday, Sept. 29 at the corner of Sunrise Valley Drive and Reston Parkway, in front of the golf course.
The rally begins at 4 p.m. with entertainment in the parking lot of National Realty.
He is also encouraging supporters to write to the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals in support of the zoning administrator's determination that the golf course land is open space and not residential.
"I don't think we have even begun to engage the community," said Pinkman. "The developers may say they are 'just checking,' but no one is just checking unless they have really serious plans."