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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."

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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