Master Plan Task Force Finishes Initial Draft

Group has spent more than three years envisioning Reston's future. Is it any closer to a final vision?

After working for three years to envision a Master Plan for Reston in the 21st Century, the Reston Master Plan Task Force has a first draft of its proposal completed.

For Phase 1 of the Master Plan (which concentrates on business centers and areas closest to the upcoming Silver Line Metro stations), the task force recommends: 

* Longterm planning, not just the next 15-20 years.

* Development should be transit-oriented, with bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly features and highest density closest to the Metro.

* Every proposed development should meet minimum performance standards and proffer measures so that the public benefits from the new addition and that potential harms are mitigated.   

* Tall buildings and an urban pattern of development should be near the Metro stations at Wiehle-Reston East and Reston Parkway. However, there should also be open space, including preserving the wetlands near the Herndon-Monroe station and other natural areas; building a large park in the North Town Center area a continuous linear green space – a grand green boulevard –along Sunrise Valley Drive.

Patty Nicoson, Chair of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force, says her group is as eager as anyone to get the Master Plan completed. She says the delay has been due in part to a county staff report that included a number of density of proposals that needed to be discussed by the task force.

"I am as frustrated as the rest of the task force," she said. Nicoson added that the task force has also been meeting in smaller groups to discuss vision as well as the three future Metro stations.

Click here to see the entire draft report.

The report does not have specifics that some Restonians have been expecting. The report does not metion density and FAR (Floor Area Ratio) numbers or the ratio of business to residential.

"The draft is remarkably vague about providing essential public infrastructure and amenity issues such as schools, parks, recreation," said Terry Maynard of advocacy group Reston 2020. "The implication  - and in some cases stated intent -  is that the community beyond the Phase 1 TOD areas should absorb these."

Maynard also said that the lack of FAR specifics is likely intentional "because there is such a huge gap in what the developers vs. what the community wants."

Nicoson says the report is "very much a work in progress" and FAR numbers will come when when the committees work with all traffic analysis scenarios.

"We are trying to produce a report that projects a vision to the community for the next 50 years," she said. 

The Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force was appointed by Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in late 2009 to review the Reston Master Plan and Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan as Metro prepared to open here.

The first Silver Line Metro station, at Reston-Wiehle East, will open in December of 2013.

The main question presented to the task force is "how Reston’s Master Plan and the County’s comprehensive plan should be modified in order to maximize public benefits from the arrival of Metrorail and to recognize the many changes that have occurred in the nearly 50 years since Reston was founded?"

The task force will later look at Phase 2, which will concentrate on the individual village center areas. Phase 2 but both projects are behind schedule.

Reston 2020 is seeking comments from the community on the report. To add your thoughts, click here.


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John Lovaas January 09, 2013 at 02:05 PM
This process sounds like the Fiscal Cliff debacle, except this has taken three and one-half years! But, like the Congressional product, the Hudgins Task Force does little but kick the can down the road.
Arielle Masters January 09, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Darn, had too much to say - it doesn't fit here :-< It's on my Google+ page but not 100% public.
Karen Goff January 09, 2013 at 04:30 PM
Arielle, you can divide your thoughts into several posts if you want. You could also email to me as a letter to the editor.
Terry Maynard January 09, 2013 at 06:13 PM
Arielle-- As the Reston Citizens Association rep to the task force, I would really like to see what you have to say. If you don't share here on Patch along the lines Karen suggests--a great way to reach out to all Restonians--please e-mail me your thoughts which I would be happy to either share with the community on the RCA Reston 2020 blog (http://www.reston2020.blogspot.com/) as a post or use as background as I try to represent the community's views at the task force's meetings. Your call. In any case, I'd really like to see your ideas. Thanks for your consideration. Terry
Terry Maynard January 09, 2013 at 06:35 PM
...and, of course, I forgot to give you my e-mail address: terrmayn@yahoo.com Terry
Walter Hadlock January 09, 2013 at 09:51 PM
The irony is this same issue of Patch includes an article "Supervisors Approve Spectrum Redevelopment".
Arielle Masters April 12, 2013 at 01:05 PM
Sorry - those messages to me didn't get through. I came across them by accident just now, while searching for something else. Some suggestions: 1) pedestrian access and roads. As noted after the Patch article about redeveloping the International Center - which I think is a great idea - any construction and redevelopment should make sure traffic gets better or at least doesn't get worse in the affected areas; improvements such as overpasses and tunnels should be implemented to encourage people to walk and bike. Be proactive and encouraging: create walking and biking paths that are shortcuts compared to the driving routes and which go to areas of interest - shopping centers, Metro, work centers. 2) schools. As I commented on a different other article, development should not be allowed until school effects are considered. Any new or re-development that will bring more students to a school district should be required to incorporate school improvements - paid for by the developers whenever possible - so as not to hurt education for those already in the system in that area. 3) green space and its use. The golf courses are great, for those who golf (my family doesn't) or for those who enjoy driving by and seeing open green space (we do). In the winter, they provide good sledding hills. Make sure to also add parks for the kids and dogs. South Reston needs at least one dog park of its own.
Arielle Masters April 12, 2013 at 01:11 PM
A specific concern I have about the Reston Metro station by Wiehle is that traffic is already bad crossing Wiehle. Once the actual Metro starts up at Wiehle, traffic across the Wiehle bridge is going to be even more of a mess than now since the Metro parking is only on the north side. Those of us coming from the south - whether taking Metro or just driving past, like to go to SkateQuest or the Reston post office or from that side of Reston to Lake Anne - don't seem to have any option other than to wait on the Wiehle bridge or to come in past Plaza America. Building a 267 crossover at Soapstone, as has been suggested elsewhere, is a GREAT idea and would mitigate this significantly. It should be done as soon as possible. Building a parking lot for Metro and commuters on the south side of the Reston station really should have been included in the initial station plans; see if there's a way to get it done now anyway. Is there a business that will lease part of its parking lot? Is there a bit of empty land (ha!) where a lot could be built nearby enough that people would have a short walk from there to the station, or could there be a shuttle bus that loops between that parking and the station?


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