Residents of several neighborhoods in South Reston are getting organized and ready for a fight in order to keep green space.
The homeowners are responding to the news that the owners of the golf course will go before the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals in October as part of an effort to determine the zoning for the 166-acre course.
The county said that any changes would have to go through the county master plan, as well as the Reston Master Plan and Reston Association.
To see RN Golf Management LLC's appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals - as well as other documents pertaining to this issue - click here.
While plans for any redevelopment have not been confirmed, residents are getting ready for a battle.
At a meeting of Golf Course View Cluster Association residents on Tuesday, homeowners said they fear that RN Golf Course Management will have legal precedent to remove the land's golf course designation, making the land ripe for redevelopment into medium-density residential units (about 44 people per acre).
Neither RN Golf Course Management nor Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins returned requests for interviews on Wednesday.
"This is a detailed legal battle and is not political in nature," said John Pinkman, a resident of the cluster for 20 years. "I am advised that the most prudent method of preventing this from happening is legal research and action; not phone calls to supervisors, political entities, or petitions. We need to quickly raise funds directly from homeowners to hire specific land use attorneys. "
Pinkman says home values - as well as the promise that Reston is a good place to live, work and play - are issues.
"It is reasonable to assume if we do not take this action, the price of our homes will be dramatically affected and overall real estate values will be degraded when the homes are no longer located on or near a golf course," he said. "Not to mention the effect on the quality of the life you intended to lead when you purchased your home."
Another nearby resident, who asked her name not be used, says she fears that the golf course owners will lay claim that the open space already is zoned residential - and then they can go ahead and built hundreds of homes.
"That is what is scary," she said. "We have to be concerned about what is going to happen to the neighborhoods."
The golf course is about two miles from the Wiehle Avenue Metrorail stop, set to open in late 2013. That does not put the land inside the quarter-mile zone slated for highest-density transit-oriented development, but residents said they feel it still will be a target for developers.
Pinkman said he hopes hundreds of residents will attend the Oct. 24 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting to speak out.
"As a planned community, Reston has an implied, but non-legal, covenant with its residents," he said. "We moved here with implied guarantees of a specific lifestyle and promise to maintain a geography of lakes, golf course, and open space. We pay for those amenities in higher real estate values. If a major component of that plan can be completely destroyed and redeveloped without any consequence or conscience what is to say that the other supposedly protected open spaces will not fall to the same fate?"
"The same evidence cited in the RN Golf Management, LLC redevelopment plan could establish an authoritative precedent which may be used to justify other major redevelopments such as filling in the lakes or paving over other open space."
Pinkman says this is not just an issue for homeowners near Reston National.
"This issue does not only affect Golf Course home owners," he said. "If this redevelopment succeeds it invalidates the total concept of our planned community. Who would trust an investment in this highly priced real estate market if the future homeowner could not depend upon the ability of Reston to keep its word?"
Reston Association President Ken Knueven says RA will be in touch with members whose properties may be affected by any golf course redevelopment. He says he encourages them to attend the Oct. 24 BZA hearing, as well as the next RA Board meeting in Sept. 13.
Want to get on the homeowner mailing list as the issue progresses? Contact John Pinkman and John@pinkman.us.