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Looking Toward a Sustainable Reston

Forum kicks off initiative to make changes for a better future.

Ideally, the Reston of the next 50 years will have fewer cars, more bikes, greener homes and more people buying local.

Those were some of the topics discussed on Saturday at Sustainable Reston's "Looking Back, Moving Forward," conference at

The event was the kickoff of a three-year initiative by Sustainable Reston. The group wants to move the community into the 21st Century "fostering stewardship of natural beauty and maintaining a vibrant, resilient economy."

The advocacy group's goal is to have 12 percent of Reston residents sign a pledge to make sustainable changes by April of 2012.

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins says the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force is highlighting sustainability as it looks toward the future. She points out that Reston was founded in the 1960s on principals of smart growth and community.

"[Founder] Bob Simon's seven principles all align with sustainability," she said. "Bob was so ahead of his time. The future will depend on a wide range of choices."

A Sustainability Champions Panel discussion at the event highlighted some choices individuals can make for a more sustainable community.

* Nicole Wynands, a program specialist for League of American Bicylists, outlined how Restonians can walk their kids to school, condense car trips, and consider commuting or running errands by bike.

* Kelly Daly, a member of Reston's REACT Energy Efficiency Committee, talked about changes homeowners can make, such as getting rid of invasive plants, swapping thirsty lawns for native plants and conducting an energy audit to lower electricity bills.

* Bethany Bezak of Wetlands Studies and Solutions spoke about how offices can make the work environment more energy efficient.

* Eve Thompson, president of the Lake Anne Merchants Association, talked about the impact of buying local.

Buying local was also the theme of speech. Shuman, an economist and author, says supporting local merchants saves jobs, reduces the carbon footprint, supports the local economy and is one of the key's for a sustainable community.

"Locally owned businesses contribute to economic well being," Shuman said, citing a study that shows $100 spent at a large chain store put $13 back into the local economy. The same amount spent at a locally-owned store put $45 back into the local economy, he said.

Sustainable Reston also gave out its third annual Sustainability Awards Saturday. The winners:

Gold Individual Youth Award: Noah Krob, 13, for his enthusiasm for his backyard vegetable garden.

Gold Individual Adult Award: John and Fran Lovaas. The Lovaases founded and manage the Reston Farmers Market at Lake Anne.

Silver Individual Adult Award: Ben Perchik, for his work on the board of his residential cluster.

Gold Small Business Award:  Linda Fuller/Lake Anne Florist, for her attention to buying items from local suppliers for her shop.

Silver Small Business Award:  Keith and Paul Hartke/National Realty, for loaning out their parking lot weekly to the Wednesday Smartmarket Farmers Market and operating a Community-Sponsored Agriculture group.

Gold Civic Group: Friends of the Reston Regional Library, as their annual book sales keep books out of landfills, put books into the hands of less fortunate communities and generates money to help the local library.

 
Friends of the Reston Regional Library October 24, 2011 at 05:42 PM
Congratulations to the winners -- well done, Friends of Reston Regional Library!
Stuart Rakoff October 24, 2011 at 06:27 PM
What so many people fail to recognize is that the "more sustainable" community that the speakers Saturday describe must by necessity be a much more densely built community. We will not achieve high levels of local business, efficient energy use and sane transportation patterns as long as we maintain a car-centric land use model. But is that objective consistent with expectations for more green canopy, unchanging village centers and protecting existing inefficient neighborhood structures. We must be prepared to make hard choices, but the speakers Saturday did not acknowledge these tradeoffs.
Kathy October 24, 2011 at 07:39 PM
Phase 2 of the Reston master plan revision will start November 16. This is not to be confused with Phase 2 of the Dulles Toll Road extension. Plans to rezone Reston to achieve a "more sustainable" community will be addressed by the task force and will include zoning to allow expansion of village center footprints into existing surrounding neighborhoods and zoning to allow "infill development" in our existing neighborhoods to achieve higher density. I assume the speakers Saturday did not knowledge Phase 2 because they want the people of Reston to stay asleep so they will continue to be ignorant of the changes that have been planned by Fairfax County for Reston. November 16, 7:30, South Lakes High School Cafeteria. Make sure someone from your neighborhood or cluster attends this community meeting. Kathy Kaplan
The BSD Guy October 25, 2011 at 05:41 PM
It never ceases to amaze me how any place in Fairfax county, all politicians talk about is "develop, develop, develop." This stuff about "Smart growth" and "Planning for the future" is, as far as I'm concerned, just more code-speak for "Let the developers run amok, yet again, until Reston is finally an over congested, over developed, griid-locked, and just plain butt-ugly area just like Tyson's Corner." There IS NO SMART GROWTH AND THERE WON'T BE!!! There will only be developers trying to capitalize on any opportunity they can to make a buck. What would you call the Fairway Apartments Fiasco? Smart Growth? How about the high density high rise that Hudgins and Connolly were both trying to force down residents throats almost a decade ago ... you know the one about 5 miles away from the proposed rail station.....the one where the developers were caught creating a sham "concerned citizens" group that was staffed by themselves, relatives, and colleagues. Instead of wasting time trying to appease or get more money out of developers in return for selling out the county, elected officials ought to be focussing on getting more employers, particularly non-government related industries into the area, and attempt to FIX the traffic and grid lock problems in this area. The days of unlimited federal government growth are over! ....I'm afraid the developers "solution" of solving problems by adding more people and putting up more buildings likely only makes sense to crack addicts.

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