The plan, which would amend the Comprehensive Plan for the areas surrounding three Silver Line Stations (Wiehle-Reston East, Reston Town Center and Herndon), was unanimously approved by the county's Planning Commission Jan. 9.
Currently, the area is known as the Reston-Herndon Suburban Center, but the plan's approval would replace that with contiguous Transit Station Area plans.
"Each Transit Station Area is proposed to have mixed-use Transit Oriented Development (TOD) that is planned with the highest intensities located within a half mile of the Metro stations. Much of the area outside of the TODs are proposed to maintain their existing character, uses and intensity," reads the draft amendment.
The Reston Master Plan Special Study was authorized in May 2009 by the Board of Supervisors, and consisted of more than 40 members, including the Reston Association, the Reston Citizens Association, the Reston Community Center, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee, as well as commercial property owners and residents.
In addition to development around each station, the amendment provides "recommendations for creating a multi-modal transportation system, fostering environmental stewardship, providing urban parks and recreation facilities and schools. Further guidance is proposed to address urban design with an emphasis on creating a high-quality urban environment that is highly walkable."
As the amendment has moved from the Planning Commission to the Board of Supervisors, it has come under fire from members of the community who say they feel that the plan does not ensure that many of Reston's core principles will be followed as future development unfolds.
The Reston Citizens Association has expressed numerous concerns about the plan, most notably:
- A guarantee of a minimum 20 percent open space. Earlier drafts of the plan has 20 percent open space as a minimum requirement, the current version lists is as a "goal." The RCA said they would also like to see a 20-acre or larger "central park" in the Reston Town Center North area.
- The "gross and growing inaccuracy of the assumption" that workers will require 300 gross square feet of office space each. The RCA says that most information source indicates a much smaller number, under 200 gross square feet, which leads to fears that as many as twice the amount of workers will be present compared to assumptions made in the amendment.
- The amendment does not meet the county's Urban Parks Framework, which would call for a minimum of 12 athletic fields as part of redevelopment. Instead, the amendment calls for a minimum of three fields, and says that nearby fields (many of which are already used to capacity) can meet the needs that come with increased density.
- The report also mentions a large indoor recreation center to be located in the Wiehle-Reston East area, which the RCA says "was never discussed by the task force, and we are amazed to find it in this draft task force report."
- Language requiring new construction to be reviewed by the Reston Association or Reston Town Center Association's design review entities was removed by the Planning Commission.
The Reston Association has issued their own position on the matter, many of which echo the RCA's points.
Terry Maynard, co-chair of the RCA's Reston 2020 Committee, has submitted a statement to the Board of Supervisors, where he says "this draft plan does not achieve that vision in many critical ways, largely because the voices of the community have not been listened to inits preparation.Even the joint voice of Reston’s three major civic organizations has so far gone largely ignored."
Connie Hartke has posted her letter to Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova on her Patch Blog, where she says she believes that the current plan does not adequately plan for the increased traffic that will come with redevelopment.
"Please don’t approve this Comprehensive Plan as it stands currently," she writes. "It is not balanced and the RCA analysts and others have repeatedly offered language to the Plan to resolve this. Send it back and demand better for Reston."
The public hearing is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28 in the Board Auditorium, located at 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax.
Interested parties can sign up here to speak at the public hearing.
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