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Rallying for Reston's Open Space

Rescue Reston fires up supporters while outlining reasons to keep Reston National as a golf course.

Several hundred people gathered across the street from Reston National Golf Course on Saturday to show support to keep the course open space.

The rally was organized by Rescue Reston, the grassroots advocacy group that was formed in August after it was learned that the owners of Reston National inquired about whether they had residential rights to the golf course. When the county said no, RN Golf Management filed an appeal with the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).

That appeal will be heard Oct. 24. At Saturday's rally, Rescue Reston executive director John Pinkman encouraged residents to get involved — to write to the BZA, to put up Rescue Reston yards signs and to sign a petition.

"If the BZA overturns the zoning deciscion, this is the crack in the dam," said Pinkman, who has lived in Reston for more than 30 years. "If you can do it once, you can do it twice. If you can do it in Reston, you can do it anywhere."

"Act now!" he told rally attendees. "It is important we be ready for this."

Offering support for the cause was Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins. While Hudgins is often criticized by citizens for being an advocate for development, she assured the crowd she is for preserving Reston National as open space.

"I don't want to minimize that this could be a challenge," she said of fighting the threat from developers. "But [Fairfax County] Zoning has opined correctly, It supports Reston. I respect the process. I see the outcome of this being preservation of the golf course and open space."

Also speaking were Reston Association South Lakes Director Richard Chew and Reston Citizens Association President Colin Mills.

Chew reminded the crowd that RA has voted on a resolution that it is firmly behind preserving the golf course and has hired a top land use law firm to aid in the battle. Mills also reaffirmed his group's total support.

"Open space like our golf course is central to Reston's natural beauty," said Mills. "If we build housing there, we are losing part of the good life. If we lose open space, we become just another sprawling suburb."

"People may wonder what all the fuss is about," said Mills. "This matters because it is more than a questions of the golf course. If the golf course can be developed, then what does that mean for the rest of the open space?"

Prior to the rally, the band Natural Selection entertained the crowd while people waited in line to purchase Rescue Reston T-shirts and yard signs.

Sarah Franchak bought shirts for her whole family. She said she grew up near Reston National. When she and her husband returned to Reston to raise her children — now 9 and 6 years old — they purchased a home on Golf Course Drive.

"My kids play on the golf course," she said. "I grew up on the golf course. It is important to me that it be here."

To read previous stories about this issue, click here.

Chipperson September 30, 2012 at 11:16 AM
I applaud this true community movement. And yes Hudgins is in support of development but infill development.
Ray Wedell September 30, 2012 at 01:15 PM
This is an outstanding example of how communities can bind together to overcome monied interests and force their politicians to get in line with community interests. Keep the momentum growing.
Joseph V. Morris September 30, 2012 at 05:16 PM
You can find video of the Rally at http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRPueivfdGVSSV5YuFC7YYg/videos?sort=da&flow=list&page=1&view=0 , including the entertainment by "Natural Selection".
Stella McEnearny October 01, 2012 at 01:48 AM
I applaud their efforts to help save us from becoming another overgrown, behemoth Rosslyn... thanks for the link tot he rally, Joseph!
John Lovaas October 01, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Good coverage by Patch. And thanks for capturing an apparent change in Supervisor Hudgins position, from one of unconcern to one of low-key support of the community.
Kae Nywening October 01, 2012 at 12:48 PM
I support the efforts and was unable to attend the Rally....how can I purchase T-Shirts?
John Pinkman October 01, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Rescue Reston was elated that Supervisor Hudgins came to strongly stand in opposition of redevelopment of the course; that RA and RCA join us in a common front. But most of all we were thrilled at our Sea of Green! Watch for those bright green shirts on Rescuers around town! Rescuers from all over Reston came to stand shoulder to shoulder to protect the promise of open space. It is clear that each day more and more Restonians see the peril of the attempt to break through the protection of open space. They are becoming aware that if you can break though once --- you can do it twice. If the South Course goes the North course won't be far behind. Then what is next? The Rally provided a solution -- get active - do something. Channel positive action to, alert neighbors, write letters to the BZA and by all means show up at the BZA hearing on Oct 24th. That day (a clear turning point either way for all of us) could decide the future of 166 acres of open space and set a precedent for further redevelopment in Reston! Stay tuned to RescueReston.org for how you can help. Please participate in our plan for hundreds to attend the Board of Zoning Appeal Oct 24th.
Diane Lewis October 01, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Great work. Communities around the state are rallying in support of the natural commons. From the threat of uranium mining to the proposed elimination of the last Tysons Forest, the rights of our children to open space, health, and enjoyment of the natural world are under attack by moneyed forces.
John Pinkman October 01, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Email me the sizes and number at johnpinkman@rescuereston.org THX!
The BSD Guy October 02, 2012 at 05:37 PM
It's too bad I was out of town. It would have been nice to have shown up with an "Impeach Hudgins NOW!!!" sign - it also likely would have been a good and easy way to get signatures for a petition for her removal. Sayeth the Patch: "Offering support for the cause was Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins. While Hudgins is often criticized by citizens for being an advocate for development, she assured the crowd she is for preserving Reston National as open space." You can trust "honest Cathy" guys ... really, she's on the side of the residents, just like Benedict Arnold was on the side of the American Revolutionaries. The moment some stupid developer comes up with YET ANOTHER scheme to rip off investors, destroy Reston, and put up yet another empty or marginally filled building, there will be our precious Cathy Hudgins, holding back door meetings with developers, putting off or delaying decisions until as few people are watching as possible, and essentially acting as the personal agent of the developers in front of the Board of Supervisors. Then VOILA ... like magic ... the Reston Golf Course will suddenly need to be bulldozed. ...Ahhhhhh! To be a billionaire elite!! To be able to take from the masses and give unto oneself. THAT'S the American dream. That's the way of the developers. That's the DREAM of Cathy Hudgins. I wonder if Cathy does this in homage to Donald Trump?
Violet Kotto October 11, 2012 at 01:00 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUH7sZbdPJM video by Lea Kotto

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