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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.

Erin Hall July 31, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Nooooo! This would be a catastrophically ugly and character-destroying development for Reston. What can we do to stop this?
Terry Maynard July 31, 2012 at 01:03 PM
We will learn today whether the BOS really cares about the work of its own Reston Task Force and the views of Reston citizens as expressed to the Planning Commission just a few weeks ago. All were outraged by the inconsistency of the proposal with any planning for Reston. I'll bet the BOS approves the construction of this monolith, including another "yes" vote from our Supervisor, showing its usual disdain for Reston on matters that count.
Judith Andersen July 31, 2012 at 02:37 PM
This is awful. Distance from Metro is not an issue; the incompatible building is the issue.
Molly O'Boyle July 31, 2012 at 03:19 PM
And, is this an office building or an apartment/condo? As you know, the garden apt/condos at Temporary Rd & Reston Pkwy are in the beginning stages of being torn down soon and high rises going there also. The change...it is upon us.
The Convict July 31, 2012 at 03:33 PM
I wouldn't count on the BoS to do the right thing for Reston and squash it before it gets past the planning stages. How many times does it have to be said, the BoS cares more about the developers than they do about the residents? They only care about the residents to the extent that you (1) pay your taxes and (2) vote for them. Other than that, we're just nuisances to them.
Karen Goff July 31, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Molly - it is mixed use, so a little of everything. Mostly office, with some retail and residential.
Ellen Moyer July 31, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Hi Molly....are you referring to Parc Reston? I've been trying to get more information with what is being done with Parc Reston condos
Karen Goff July 31, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Ellen - here is most recent Parc Reston story (from last week): http://patch.com/A-wgXM Groundbreaking for new buildings expected in fall.
Robert Beale July 31, 2012 at 04:37 PM
With all the vacacies currently around Reston and Herndon, has anyone documented the need for this complex? How many current residents and small businesses will suffer from the new speculative retail and office space currently on the drawing tables? Are local planners and developers creating pockets of economic stress in Reston. The Reston we knew is disappearing; density and traffic will be the norm.
Brian July 31, 2012 at 05:03 PM
I fully support reasonable development. It creates jobs and keeps Reston moving forward. But this is the wrong design in the wrong location. How on earth can the DRB approve something like this, but nit pick on so many other issues that come before it (like the shade of grey of rocks used in drainage runoff projects).
John Hanley July 31, 2012 at 05:38 PM
If this building is ever built, it will negate every guideline for the development of Reston. It is out of place and proportion and will contribute still more to the ongoing traffic gridlock coming already. More importantly, it will give cover to those representatives who support it, when the next developer comes along with, say, another dull 40 storey tower "only" 0.7 miles from the Metro. I can hear it now: "Well, how can we deny approval, when the other building further out was approved in 2012? The old safeguards are just out of date." Let's see how the BOS handles this one. They should vote NO. John Hanley
The BSD Guy July 31, 2012 at 05:48 PM
The developers will remain belligerent, greedy, and out of control until they are stopped. Until people begin to realize that significant elements in the Fairfax County government are operating in collusion on behalf of their very, very special interest, expect more of the same. You might as well toss the RA into that "gang 'O crooks" as well. The only thing "planned" about the "planned community" of Reston was that the developers are planning on making a lot of money at everyone else's expense. Reston is nothing more than a massive, massive fraud! How long will THIS building stay empty or marginally full? In what state do the investors that lose their shirts file their losses and bankruptcies? Maryland? Oh, I think not...let the infinite wealth of residents of Fairfax County and Virginia foot the bill. As far as the developers are concerned, other peoples money and lives are of no consequence. So what if the losses from this get passed on to taxpayers and losses in retirement account! What's important is that the billionaire elites profiting from this will by able to buy more of the shiny objects they love so much (and for which others should gleefully sacrifice) - perhaps they can replace the gold plated bell on their yacht with a solid gold bell. Yes, that would be the progress others should be willing to sacrifice for. Will this be approved. OF COURSE IT WILL! Does it make sense? NO! ...Perhaps we should start boycotting our RA fees. Why fund our own demise?
Robert Mowbray July 31, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Distance from Metro should be an issue. Smart growth requires that a building ot this size should be located near mass transit to minimize its impact on traffic. If representative Frank de le Fe thinks 0.8 of a mile is not too far to walk just because the area is relatively flat, he should walk the round trip distance every weekday for a month (rain or shine) in the peak of the summer heat season (July ?) and again in the coldest and snowiest month of winter (January?). This building does not comply with the county's sustainability standards. By the way, the work being planned for Terraset and Sunrise Valley Elementary schools also does not comply with County standards - especially stormwater runoff standards. Karen, I suggest you look into these projects and the School Board's attitude toward the impact these projects will have on the environment.
The BSD Guy July 31, 2012 at 06:16 PM
The goal of this building is simple: Make the real estate and development interests funding it a lot of money. That's all there is to any of this. It does not and never has had anything to do with "providing housing," "job growth and creation," or "improving the area." These are simply colors of lipstick they put on that pig to make it look pretty to those that don't look beyond the lips. As long as people continue to delude themselves into thinking there is anything other than blatant greed and corruption behind this, it will just continue...and you will continue to fund it directly or indirectly.
Karen Goff July 31, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Robert - I am working on something re: SVES and Terraset plans. Stay tuned!
The Convict July 31, 2012 at 06:20 PM
I can't believe that the BoS is even considering this. Clearly, they aren't thinking about Reston. It may be time for us to become a municipality so that we can decide when and where such buildings
Lilguy July 31, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Speaking of which: Where is RA on this? It has a rep on the Reston TF who voted for the new principles--which this tower of concrete and glass doesn't remotely resemble. RA: Missing in action again!
Lilguy July 31, 2012 at 08:04 PM
"Need"? We don't need no stinkin' "need." We've got "GREED" and we've bought the politicians!
Karen Goff July 31, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Lilguy. RA is opposed to it. They have written to the planning commission about it. Click on the related links with this story and it should be outlined in previous articles on this topic.
Donna Rostant July 31, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Hey Lilguy. We're not MIA. I've been following this closely and have been prepared to testify at the BOS hearing this afternoon. The word I got was the matter will be deferred.
Kathy July 31, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Donna, Here's how the Board of Supervisors operates: If there is a controversial issue, they politely listen to dissenting opinions and then they defer the vote that evening. A month later when public comments are not permitted, they pass the proposal. Kathy Kaplan
Donna Rostant July 31, 2012 at 08:40 PM
I hope that isn't what will happen Kathy. But the RA Board of Directors is already on record as opposing the complex. And I know the letter noting our opposition was forwarded to the BoS.
Stella McEnearny July 31, 2012 at 10:33 PM
'Twould be a phallus-y to erect this monstrosity...
Karen Goff July 31, 2012 at 10:39 PM
FYI - at meeting this afternoon, public hearing postponed until Sept. 11 at 3:30 p.m. Want to speak your mind to the supervisors? Get on the schedule here - https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/bosclerk/speaker_bos.htm
The BSD Guy August 01, 2012 at 10:03 AM
And just exactly WHAT is the rationale for their deferral? Keep deferring it time and time again until no one is watching? It worked with Tysons Corner under Connolly ... let's do it here too! If ever there was an example of what the Democratic party is to become, this is it. Special interests all the way. They like the role model of the current Republican party sooooooooo much, they can't wait to cater to their own billionaire elites. No more catering to the needs of the people. Just get some bought and paid for pseudo economist like Fuller to come up with more schemes to justify disaster. Pretend you're working "for the good of the people" using excuses like "housing for the needy." The "needy" are now people making $80,000 to $120,000 per year! Isn't this roughly the income figure that taxpayers are having funneled to make sure Tyson's Corner developers are getting their new homes filled? But lets put things into the proper perspective. If the billionaire elites get their way, one of the "winners" here can replace the gold plated bell on his yacht with a solid gold bell, and as he passes another elite on the water, he can ring it, and show his clear superiority to another elite. Now THAT'S what's important - the pursuit of shiny objects. Who needs police, firemen, or school teachers?
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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