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Advocates Disappointed By Hudgins' Vote

Supervisors' support for 23-story tower goes against Reston planning principles, say citizen groups.

Groups representing Reston citizens said they were disappointed by Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins' support of the 23-story tower planned for Reston Parkway.

RTC Partnerships' proposal for the 330-foot tall building, which will replace the five-story "Reston Times" office building at 1760 Reston Parkway,

"This is very much about how Reston will move forward in growth," Hudgins said before the Supervisors' vote. "This building will stand an example of what world class design is called for in principles of reston. This [will help] bring Transit-Oriented Development closer to what the Master Plan calls for."   

However, Terry Maynard of advocacy group Reston2020 called Hudgins' vote "disheartening" and called into question what purpose the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force plays in light of this decision.

"As a member of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force, Supervisor Hudgins' willingness to vote for the proposal was particularly disheartening," he said. "Her disregard for the Task Force's efforts to apply transit-oriented development (TOD) principles and County TOD policy to Town Center's future development was unfortunate at best. In voting for the proposal, she also ignored the opposition to the proposal from her own staff, the united voices of Reston's three key civic groups (ARCH, RA, and RCA), and the County planning and zoning staff.

"Her decision to vote for the development undercuts the legitimacy of the her own Task Force and the credibility of County planning and zoning policies, endangering the well-planned future development of Reston," he added.  

Reston2020 is Among the criticisms: too tall (125 feet taller than any other existing or planned building in Reston) and too far (over a half mile) from the future Reston Parkway Metro station.

Colin Mills, president of the Reston Citizens Association, says it is "unfortunate that Supervisor Hudgins has apparently chosen to ignore the recommendations of the Master Plan Task Force she commissioned."

"Despite the claims of the property owners and their representatives, we do not believe this proposal to be in keeping with transit-oriented development," said Mills. "We believe the building will worsen the traffic on our streets, and it may inhibit the development of office buildings closer to the Metro station, where they should be.

Mills pointed out that the approval was part of a unique development situation. That parcel of land was given no height or density restrictions when it was given Planned Residential Community designation in 1978.

"Therefore, the value of this decision as precedent for future development should be limited," he said.

Ken Knueven, president of Reston Association, says the decision reinforces the need for the citizens to unite and speak with a stronger voice.

"To that end, I think this is being clearly demonstrated by RA, RCA, ARCH, and other organizations, partnering and collaborating together," he said. "Going forward, I believe the county will see a powerful collective - properly organized, behaving proactively rather than being reactive."

Knueven also noted the unique zoning situation for that location.

"I don't anticipate this will open the floodgates for like buildings everywhere in Reston," he said. "But we have learned an important lesson; it's important to get well in front of these matters."

Erin Hall September 13, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Hudgins clearly not representing her constituents, unless she thinks that's the developers. Shameful.
Elizabeth September 13, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Welcome to Mini-Manhattan! Reston is pretty much gridlocked now; taller buildings also mean higher density and higher density means more traffic and more gridlock. I don't see any plans to improve traffic flow, and I do not count the Metro because people will be using their cars to get to the station(s) but now, instead of simply moving through Reston, they will be coming TO Reston. To park. I stopped visiting Town Center years ago when it became all traffic, no easy parking and too expensive for the hoi paloi like me. Pffft. I think maybe I'll do all my shopping anywhere else except Reston. I no longer feel wanted here.
Bill Ray September 13, 2012 at 01:00 PM
People are naive to be "dissapointed" or view a vote as "disheartening". It comes down to money. It's always about the money. Some bank accounts probably changed. Significantly.
El September 13, 2012 at 01:32 PM
And you are surprised by this-why? The woman is a politician who needs to feather her nest before she is voted out of office, which will eventually happen.
Stealth Ops September 13, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Time for a recall on Hudgins? I thought she's supposed represent her constituents. Why ignore all these different associations, and worse yet, ignore the task force she appointed?
Bethany Hannan September 13, 2012 at 02:42 PM
I already avoid Reston Parkway during rush hour - this will just make it worse. The only choice is to widen the roadway which, given the proximity of many buildings, would be near-impossible.
John Lovaas September 13, 2012 at 05:33 PM
It is not surprising that Supervisor Hudgins ignores not only the advice of county staff and her own often championed transit-oriented-development policy, but also every civic organization --Reston Citizens Association, the homeowners alliance and Reston Association--to approve an ugly scar on our landscape and growing gridlock. Because we are unincorporated we simply have no voice! This is only the beginning. Since her handpicked Task Force has failed in its mission of replacing our hopelessly outdated Master Plan (under which, e.g.,the Dulles Corridor is reserved for "industry and government"), developers pressed her to allow them to proceed with new construction without a new Plan. County staff recently told developers SURE, go ahead and submit project proposals--no Plan needed; thus effectivelty abrogating county responsibility & turning planning over to developers. Look for the same with redevelopment around Reston's seven village centers. Now, Reston National Golf wants to build on its166 acres--a central part of the Reston concept for 40 years. The community has risen up against this latest outrage. But, who would wager on the chances of success in preventing this violation of who we are? As pointed out in the Patch article, business is not done this way in nearby Herndon--because they are self-governing, a Town. Reston has three times their population, but no effective voice in vital matters such as land use. Only when we govern ourselves will this change.
Mike Lewis September 13, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Supervisor Hudgins made the correct and proper decision. Reston was designed to have a high density, urban center. This was Robert Simon's vision. Who also supported the RTC project. This project will have tremendous economic development value to Reston and Fairfax County.
Ted Lewis September 13, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Reston is such a great place to live work and play. The only negative is that it also has a very vocal minority who seem to want nothing to ever change. I am sure all of the people disappointed in this vote also would have been mad when the original Resotn Town Center was approved. As a resident of Reston, I am so fortunate I can live in a great place and have amenties like Reston Town Center less than 1 mile from my house. I am not afraid of change or growth and look forward to using the amenities this new proejct will provide us all. I also applaud Supervisor Hudgins for doing the right thing and not being afraid of change that adds to our community.
jane blanchard September 13, 2012 at 07:54 PM
I believe the development. I do not believe in stagnation. Things never stay the same. I am also looking forward to a new and exciting Reston.
Emily September 13, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I agree. I used to work in the small building that is currently there and some days it took forever to turn from Bowman onto the parkway because of back-ups and people blocking the intersection. First, the metro, then the two new 14 story apartment buildings at Temporary and Reston Parkway and now this. That area is going to be impossible to navigate. Maybe it is time to consider leaving Reston.
El September 13, 2012 at 08:26 PM
A new and exciting Reston for those fortunate enough to be able to continue to live here. As i have said before, Reston and Fairfax County are attempting to push the poor and working class out.
The Analyst September 13, 2012 at 09:17 PM
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's time for a recall! This is a special interest politician, and only a special interest politician. She's supposed to be following the golden rule of Democracy, "By the people and for the people," not "By the developers and for the developers." The longer this woman stays in office the more damage she'll do.
Hank Blakely September 13, 2012 at 11:15 PM
If we must have a 23-story tower, may I make the modest proposal that we change the name "Lake Anne" to "Lake Michigan"?
Bill Ray September 14, 2012 at 12:38 AM
The only time you can expect an elected official to act in the best interests of the people they serve is if the elected official is already wealthy negating the need to prostitute themselves for personal gain.
The Analyst September 14, 2012 at 12:43 AM
I believe Hudgins has finally exceeded Bob Dix on the "contempt scale."
Richard Holmquist September 14, 2012 at 01:20 AM
In what way does this giant new tower with all the associated traffic benefit the citizens of Reston? What I see is a big eyesore that will create far more problems than its worth. It also demonstrates that our "planned community" with a wise strategy for transit-oriented development is being railroaded by county supervisors who don't share Reston's vision for the future. The supervisors of Fairfax County (including our own shameful supervisor!) may feel like this can bring in some construction money, new real estate taxes and fees to pay for their pet projects, but Restonians are left to deal with the mess.
Ray Wedell September 14, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Politicians remain in positions too long, and this is what happens. The idea that we "elect" someone (who realizes they cannot possibly lose) to take care of us in issues like this is flawed. The redevelopment of RTC is trusted to a handful of people who not only do not care about your opinion, they don't want anyone else even hearing it unless you agree with what they and their developer friends already have planned. Bill Ray's comment, above, summarizes it perfectly.
Richard Holmquist September 14, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Ted, perhaps your vision is skewed by the fact you own a construction company. Just checked out your GeoConcepts website. The main website photo is a bulldozer and a pile of rocks. Is that your vision for Reston?
The BSD Guy September 14, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Did you know that Kate Hanley, former BOS chairperson, became a multi-millionaire shortly after leaving office. If I recall correctly, a number of "brilliant real estate" investments "matured." ".....it ain't illegal if you don't get caught" is apparently the motto of people in the Fairfax county government.
The BSD Guy September 14, 2012 at 06:20 PM
I agree with StealthOps and The Analyst. The woman't GOT TO GO! PERIOD! This statement says it all: "The longer this woman stays in office the more damage she'll do." I think everyone should stop thinking of her as an elected official, or a public servant, and just assume that this is a con-woman that's taken this role for the sole purpose of helping wealthy developers. I don't think she has any intention at all of doing anything for the residents. EVERYTHING and EVERY DECISION will have it's roots not in the common good, but HOW CAN I HELP THE DEVELOPERS MAKE A KILLING - that's Hudgins. It's like your at home and suddenly someone opens the door, and they just start grabbing stuff, putting it into there car, coming back, stealing some more while you sit there and watch. If all anyone does is watch they'll just keep doing it until your house is cleaned out. The thief has to be stopped. Likewise, Hudgins needs to be stopped. She'll just keep giving everything she possibly can away to developers until Reston is wall-to-wall concrete. IMPEACH HUDGINS NOW!!!
Ray Wedell September 14, 2012 at 06:29 PM
The only thing surprising to me about comments related to Hanlon and any other politicians suddenly striking it rich when they leave office (usually through "prescient real estate investments") is this: I am surprised that you act surprised. We all know that none of these people has the influence, backbone, or credibility to be trusted to even slow down any developers desires. We all know that to them it is "all about the Benjamins." But worse, the next level of "decision-makers" who act totally in the dark and help grease the skids for these deals ....what benefits do they derive?
RKO September 15, 2012 at 06:33 PM
"The longer this woman stays in office the more damage she'll do." That is the absolute truth. I think that aside from attempting to remove her from office, her party affiliation should be revoked as well. This woman is really sort of a crook hiding behind the Democratic party to obtain a degree of validity. The Democratic party is not supposed to be about helping billionaires get richer while simultaneously ruining people's communities.
Erin Hall September 19, 2012 at 12:06 AM
"Robert Simon's vision"? You say that as though he was on the Mayflower and hung the moon and stars. "tremendous economic development.." - are you nuts!? We residents are being choked to death by traffic, wasted time trying to run errands, pollution, and an influx of filthy businesses.
Ray Wedell September 19, 2012 at 12:11 AM
I was told this by a friend, and will never forget it: You cannot trust or rely on politicians (at any level). They are not equipped to help us. They are not trained to help us. They don;t want to help us. They have their own agenda, and you need to fear the one's who deny or don't realize this even more. They don't have the mind set nor the consciousness to help us even if they wanted to. If all of this is true, why should we expect any more out of Ms. Hudgins than we do from any other politician? Bottom line... if residents don't stay in touch and fight for themselves, nobody else will fight for them.
Mike Lewis September 19, 2012 at 12:29 AM
That's right, Erin, a vision! Did you actually look closely at the Reston vision of mixed-use development and the master plan before deciding to live there? It's been in place since the '60s. Reminds me of buying by an airport and wanting to curtail or stop flights after moving in. The RTC is a quality project, being developed by previously approved rights. The fact Fairfax County has maintained a lower residential real estate rate is due to having a strong commercial base. This project effectively adds to that base
Gene November 09, 2012 at 05:18 PM
That building is out of character for the area and goes against input form various sources. In addition we ought to have a requirement that before any new development can happen that the occupancy rate for existing commerical real estate has to be considered. Does anybody besides the owners of empty buildings care? This longtime resident does.

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