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23-Story Tower Plan Before BOS on Tuesday

Planned 23-story building on Reston Parkway has been deemed too large and too far from Metro by some.

Update, 6:30 p.m. - The Board of Supervisors postponed the public hearing on the 23-story tower until Sept. 11 at 3:30 p.m. If you want to get on the schedule to speak then, click here.

Original story:

The  on Reston Parkway is slated to go before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The 418,000-square-foot building, which will replace the five-story "Reston Times" building at 1760 Reston Pkwy., was despite three planning commission members voting "no" and two abstaining.

It is now up to the Board of Supervisors to decide whether the RTC Partnership can go ahead with the plan, despite a  March staff report  that found many faults with the project and recommended that the commission deny it. Among the faults: size that is incompatible with nearby buildings and high density that will be more than one-quarter mile from the planned Reston Parkway Metro station.

The project has already been approved in concept by  Design Review Board and the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee. Reston Association's Board of Directors, however,  The planning commission held a public hearing on the project in March.

At the June Planning Commission meeting, Hunter Mill representative Frank de le Fe made a case for the new tower fitting in with a new Reston. The nearby Spectrum center is also slated for redevelopment, which means there will be greater density all along Reston Parkway.

"After its usual thorough analysis, staff found that the application was in compliance with the PRC Ordinance requirements with one exception – height and intensity of the proposed structure was found to be incompatible with the planned and existing developments in the vicinity of the site," said de le Fe.

"The existing developments of the immediate vicinity of the site are indeed low-rise developments. The planned redevelopment of the surrounding property known as Spectrum will have significantly taller buildings, but – unlike the application site – are limited in height and intensity by proffers."

The highest density development ideally should be within one-quarter mile of a Metro station, planners have said. But de le Fe said that because the Town Center's urban core is flat, the walk won't be so bad.

"The subject site is approximately 0.8 miles from the planned Reston Center Metro Station," said de le Fe. "It should be pointed out that the most intense developments in the urban core of Reston Town Center are outside the quarter-mile distance. In fact, some fall outside half-mile radius. The intensity of these developments are similar to what is proposed by the applicant. ...  I believe that given the topography, fairly flat, and walking through the urban core of Reston Town Center would make access a positive overall experience." 

Planning Commission member James Hart (at-large) was one of the commissioners voting against the building in June. He said at that time there are "countywide implications" to approving the development.

"I think we want buildings like this in the right location," he said. "If we approve buildings this large, this far away from the station, it’s going to be very difficult to deny the same sort of application for similarly situated properties at 0.8 or even closer to the station. That has implications for the amount of development that we’ve contemplated. I think, particularly in Tysons Corner, there are many locations where if we’re beyond the quarter-mile – if the economic justification is a rationale for going bigger and taller, we’re going to have problems with that."

Advocacy groups Reston2020 and ARCH recommend that the proposal be amended to be in keeping with Reston's planning principles.

However, Richard Wealen, managing partner of RTC Partnership, said in February the features of the tower — a contemporary design by Reston's Polleo Group — will make it a desirable location, despite nearby office vacancy rates.

Plans for the building include five floors of retail and parking and 18 stories of offices above that.

There are plans for an outdoor 38,000-square-foot terrace and green roof on the sixth floor. Developers hope to also build outdoor seating from a restaurant on that floor.

Karen Goff August 01, 2012 at 11:50 AM
The deferral was requested by Hudgins, but she did not give a specific reason.
John Lovaas August 03, 2012 at 09:15 AM
Planning Commissioner de la Fe is Hudgins political appointee, just doing her bidding. The question is what is motivating Hudgins to go so contrary to the very Transt-Oriented Development princiPles to which she is usually so totally devoted? Typically to answer such a question when big bucks are involved, one should look to either money or other personal interest. It is certainly not the public interest in this case. What is there that we don't know here? I am encouraged to see the new Reston Association leadership standing up for principle and community along with RCA/Reston 2020 on this one. Now we need to look at how to effect the community's will on a regular basis!
The Analyst August 03, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I must unfortunately agree with cynics above. This has likely been put off so the BOS can approve it when there's little to no opposition. At the very best, Ms. Hudgins is gullible - development special interests have fitted her eyes with blinders and put earphones over her ears and they are now leading her around by the nose, saturating her with their "facts" and "figures" ..... more development, more development, developers good, residents bad, developers good, residents bad... The world economic collapse was created by Phil Gramm colluding with banking interests and then convincing both political parties to get rid of the Glass–Steagall Act. How'd that turn out for everyone??? This is what incompetent politicians do if left unchecked - they end up destroying everything. At the very best, Ms. Hudgins is gullible, at the very worst she's a co-conspirator who will eventually be paid off. There's your range - from moron to crook - now there's something to be proud to have representing you. How long are people willing to take this? I say that instead of letting bad politicians stay in office, you should get rid of them. Impeach them. If impeachment proceeding are instigated, it's quite possible some of the their rulings may be frozen or overturned. Is it everyone's objective to let someone like this stay in office just to see how much more damage they can do in their remaining term? The only way this will ever change is to remove them from office.
The BSD Guy August 04, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Thoughts of the wise and sage overlords of development: "However, Richard Wealen, managing partner of RTC Partnership, said in February the features of the tower — a contemporary design by Reston's Polleo Group — will make it a desirable location, despite nearby office vacancy rates." WHAT'S THAT??? VACANCY RATES??? Do you mean to tell me this guy actually boo-booed and admitted that the buildings aren't filling up as planned??? So the point here is what - this mega structure will be yet another shrine to overdevelopment like the one at the at Hunter Mill/Sunrise Valley/Toll road intersection which still has no tenants after 10 years? Don't worry developers, Hudgins is on your side. You'll need some taxpayer money for the following: 1. Road improvemnts 
 2. Electric system improvements 
3. Sewage system modifications 
4. Money to bail out the bankruptcies Fortunately, Hudgins can cut other programs to pay for it: 1. School and school related items 
2. Firemen 
 3. Police 
4. Public safety 
5. Public assistance Maybe good 'ol Kathy can take some legislation to the county and state awarding bonuses to developers using taxpayer money....just for being developers. She can do it right after she votes for Romney and then urges everyone to side with Gerry Connolly, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell on tax issues. By the developer elite and for the developer elite - that's our precious Kathy!
The Analyst August 05, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Although perhaps slightly off topic, should our taxpayer dollars really be going to George Mason University to fund some special interest talking head like Fuller? Isn't it really bad enough already that Athletic departments are commercialized? Do the academic programs need to be as well?

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