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Residents Irked at Lack of Lake Anne Plan

County has few details to offer for redevelopment of Reston's historic village center at Monday meeting.

Lake Anne residents have been here before. Many of them sat through the 2005 charrette to discuss Lake Anne's future. Lots of them took part in the 2009 plan adopted by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors that featured goals for the revitalization of Reston's original village center.

They listened to consultants recommend in 2011 that Lake Anne become a dining destination and looked towards the future earlier this year when the county opened up a request for proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment of Crescent Apartments.

So when representatives of the Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization showed attendees of Monday's community meeting a timeline for Crescent redevelopment that stretched into 2016 and beyond, it was too much for some of them to take.

"I have been to 10 or 12 meetings," said Linda Fuller, owner of Lake Anne Florist and Virginia Wine & Gourmet. "Why are we doing this again? Are we going to sit here at Lake Anne while Reston and Parc Reston are redeveloped? How does Lake Anne Village Center take advantage of Reston Station if we have nothing to offer? I have been on the plaza for 38 years. I am not gonna sit here again and listen to something I have heard before."

With that, Fuller left the room. She was soon joined by another neighbor.

"I am wondering why you called this meeting," the woman said. "We have told you 15 times what we want for Lake Anne. This is [expletive]." 

Elizabeth Hagg, deputy director of the OCR, admitted the office's timeline was "off" when it said last spring perhaps there would progress toward a plan by this fall. However, officials warned at that time that the entire process could take three to four years.

"This is not a meeting to aggravate people," she said. "This is a meeting to share information."

Residents also showed disapproval when the county reps said they could not reveal who was on the selection and technical committees for Lake Anne revitalization. They did say that developers make up the selection committee, but that there are citizens on the techinical committee.

At Monday's meeting, Hagg showed a timeline that included review of proposals and selection of potential development partners through the end of 2012; six months of negotiations and selection of the developer (or developers) though fall of 2013; an 18-month rezoning/planning commission/Reston Association DRB process/Board of Supervisor hearings through the first quarter of 2015; a year-long site and building plan approval process though the first quarter of 2016; and construction potentially beginning towards the end of 2016.

The RFP is seeking developers interested in a public-private partnership to  redevelop the 16.5-acre, 181-unit Crescent Apartments . Crescent was purchased by the county in 2006 in an effort to provide more affordable housing in the area.

Lake Anne's comprehensive plan, formulated in 2009, recommends developers consolidate the Lake Anne area, which the county looks at as five parcels: Crescent,  Lake Anne Plaza's parking lot, an office building and the area around the former Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.  

Hagg said Monday the Crescent plan could be either consolidation or just redevelopment of the one parcel.

With consolidation, up to 935 units could be developed, said John Payne, Fairfax County's Deputy Director for Real Estate and Development said at the original RFP meeting. If only Crescent is redeveloped, it will be for a maximum of 750 units. Redevelopment could also involve retail space and mixed-use space.

Potential developers have been given some specifics for redevelopment. They include: 

* Implementing the vision for Lake Anne as set forth in the comprehensive plan

* Include diversity of housing options (including senior, workforce and affordable).

* Bring more residents and daytime employees to Lake Anne

* Promote a vibrant community where residents can live, work and play

* Complement existing Lake Anne buildings and uses

* Enhance pedestrian and bike connections

* Provide high-quality site design and materials

* Preserve 181 affordable units and add another 20 percent workforce housing in addition

John Lovaas October 02, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Linda Fuller, a leading small business owner at Lake Anne, had it exactly right. This was a meeting lacking in purpose--other than telling the nearly 100 people convened for a big announcement that Fairfax County had nothing to say except that little or nothing has been done in the 5-plus months since "several" developers submitted proposals to redevelop the County-owned Crescent Apartments. Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, the elected official in charge of the inaction, tellingly was not present. She left it to staff to break the nonnews. The staff did present a revised timeline showing that it would likely be another year before the County even SELECTS the winning proposal, and four more years before any work starts on the site! But, the 2016 building start estimate is probably optimistic---according to knowledgeable residents present at the meeting!
Charlie October 02, 2012 at 11:54 AM
John - totally agree. There is literally and figuratively a train speeding toward Reston and I'm not sure Lake Anne has a plan to be on it.
Ray Wedell October 02, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Ms. Fuller's comments were certainly accurate, and she did a good job of not letting the podium speaker shut her down with, "we will get to all this later. Let me continue with my presentation."
linda Fuller October 02, 2012 at 03:00 PM
The rain today are the tears of Lake Anne................
Catherine Baum October 02, 2012 at 03:49 PM
That we are not allowed to know the names of the citizens appointed by the County Executive to serve on the Selection Advisory Committee is ridiculous. Perhaps they could tell us why it has been so difficult to narrow down the choices from several developers to a few developers
Keith A. October 02, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I seem to recall getting a renovation plan a few years ago and residents voting it down... So the fact that Fairfax County isn't moving at breakneck speed might just be an indicator that they've simply stopped caring. Maybe now that so many people are getting involved (and apparently want to do something with that eye-sore you call a community), things will actually fall into place this time...
Joe Stowers October 02, 2012 at 08:52 PM
The Reston Patch apparently missed a very important part of what the County is trying to achieve. The RPP does provide the opportunity for a developer to submit a proposal for just Crescent Apartment's redevelopment. However, I makes it very clear that what is desired is for developers to submit proposals for more comprehensive development of Lake Anne, following the recommendations contained in the Comprehensive Plan (CP). One of the most challenging aspects of this is that CP recommends that the existing main parking lot should be expanded into a multi-level garage and mixed-use development. This will require relocating much or all of the existing parking to another site during redevelopment, the most likely site being Crescent Apartments. Joe Stowers
Janet Cochran October 02, 2012 at 09:34 PM
As a resident of Reston since 1972 and having watched the sad decline of Lake Anne over the years, I fully support the frustration expressed by several long-time Reston residents and business people. Does the historic district of Reston have to become the ruins of Rome before action takes place? I would cry tears if Linda and her wonderful shop were forced to leave Lake Anne.
Karen Goff October 02, 2012 at 10:49 PM
We're just trying to keep it simple for now since it is going to be a long process. The comprehensive vs. just crescent is another story for another day.
Charlie October 03, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I think the contract that is eventually awarded should be for a comprehensive plan. It will be painful during construction, but the end result will be a holistic development benefiting the community for decades.
novaguy1968 October 07, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Lake Anne VC is a dodgy place; I wouldn't step foot there unless absolutely necessary unless you demolish all of the surrounding buildings.
VaNative October 24, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Brian G., Lake Anne is not an eye-sore, but you are.
Skip Endale March 18, 2013 at 10:57 PM
The plumbing and air conditioning system at Lake Anne Plaza is on life support, there is no hope that this will ever result in improving the living conditions of the residents there. The units themselves are small enough to allow for ductless, mini split air conditioning that operates at 50% lower energy costs with the newer R410a coolant. Combine that with the 2013 federal tax credit and you have a sure winner!!! This is just one of many examples how to revamp the Heron House and surrounding horse shoe area.

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