To the Editor of Reston Patch,
My wife and I attended the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force meeting last night. We were very disappointed in the outcome.
Before walking into the room, we picked up a Reston Master Plan Report Card prepared by the RCA Reston 2020 Committee for The RCA Board of Directors. The report gave the Urban Parks, Recreation, Culture portion of the Master Plan an F grade. We were very concerned about the limited acreage and implementation issues. A spokeswoman for Rescue Reston expressed her concern in the very brief open forum.
Robert Simon proposed a change to the plan that included identifying the specific open spaces that will be created. He had prepared a written document outlining his suggestion and sent it to the task force. Others complained that the plan called for less than half of the acreage per resident than Fairfax County recommends.
The task force noted that it will be a challenge finding locations for the proposed open space, especially within the areas near the proposed stations. The representative from the County Park Authority explained that they planned on less space because the existing fields could be lit at night and use artificial turf.
She said that this would increase the use of these spaces, so Reston didn’t need the 25 fields that the Fairfax County guidelines call for. Instead the plan called for 12 fields. Discussions continued about the issues with lighting fields in residential areas, the number of fields and some questioned whether fields that were lighted until late at night would actually be used during those hours.
Then a couple of the developers on the task force recommended watering down the standard, suggesting that the minimum 20% set-aside for open spaces was excessive and that various spaces, usually not considered as open spaces, be counted as open spaces, e.g. sidewalks, streets that could be closed to traffic “once a year”, and paths to adjacent open spaces.
The task force then voted to change the “minimum” 20% language to a “goal” of 20%. Effectively, this changes a minimum to a maximum and further watered down the “UrbanParks, Recreation, and Culture” portion of the Master Plan.
Reston is known for its open spaces but it seems like this plan fails to ensure that these cherished resources will be available at anywhere near the current level in the future.
— Hank Schonzeit
Editor's Note: I'm sure you'd agree that Hank Schonzeit — whether you share his views or not — has written a thoughtful, comprehensive letter. Patch is in the hiring process for a new Reston editor, which makes contributions like Hank's all the more valuable to your neighbors.
Thanks to Hank for the contribution. You can share your views and news, as always, by posting on our Boards, listing your Event or starting your own Blog. If you need a hand, contact Greg.Hambrick@Patch.com.