RA Details Reston National's Enviro Impact

Golf course redevelopment could affect wildlife, trees, water and RA facilities.

Redeveloping Reston National Golf Course as residential housing could have a severe impact on the surrounding environment - including diminishing wildlife homes and disappearing trees and plants, RA's CEO and Parks and Recreation Director say.

CEO Milton Matthews and Parks Director Larry Butler outlined some hypothetical findings to the RA board last week. Matthews and Butler said since there are no official plans at this point, it difficult to make accurate assumptions.

Reston National's owners have filed an appeal with the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals. They maintain the parcel, which has been a golf course for nearly 40 years, is zoned residential. The county does not agree. The appeal, scheduled for Oct. 24, has been deferred until Jan. 30 at RN Golf Management's request.

RA - along with several citizens groups -  is against the potential golf course redevelopment . RA has hired a top land use firm to represent them in the expected fight.

Using a formula of 10 units per acre on the 166-acre property - about 1,100 units and 2,775 people - the report found:

* Potential development could encroach on RA-owned natural buffer areas between homes and the golf course. "Development very close to these parcels could also alter drainage patterns, which could easily affect the health of the vegetation on these parcels," the report stated.

* Pressure on existing facilities - the addition of more than 2,000 residents who would use nearby RA-owned recreational facilities such as Shadowood and Newbridge pools would cause crowding on those facilities. Altering the structure of the golf course parcel could also affect RA pathway accessibility in the area.

* Reston National is a certified a Cooperative Sanctuary by Audubon International. RA points out that developing the land, home to habitats of many species, would "greatly minimize" this habitat type in Reston. Development would also cause forest fragmentation, inhibiting growth of mature trees and encouraging growth of invasive species - which will further impact wildlife habitats.

* Stormwater runoff - Stormwater from the golf course currently drains into Lake Audubon and Lake Thoreau, and development could degrade natural stream channels.

To see the entire report, click here.


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John Pinkman October 15, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Please do not forget about the human impact as well. South Lakes High School even with the recent re development of the building, will be over enrolled by 600 + students in 2016. Imagine adding 2,000 to 3,000 people to that school district. Please also understand this; Reston Rescue will not accept any plan that includes increasing commercial development on the golf course, Sunrise Valley Drive or Colts Road.
Karen Goff October 15, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Thanks, John. i was just going to follow up and get your thoughts on this.
Maryanne October 15, 2012 at 06:29 PM
If any development is needed i.e. revitalization, why would it not be the International center? The shops have been abandoned for years now, yet the zoning is already in place.
Karen Goff October 15, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Maryanne - the present issue if the golf course and residential development, not revilatization. Similarly, the zoning for International Center is business and could not be redeveloped residential without wrangling similar to the one going on about the golf course. But good point about the International Center, and a good idea for us to examine what should go there in a future story.


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