While much of the county’s focus in recent years has been on the effort to transform Tysons Corner into an urban center, a similar process has been taking place in Reston over the last three years.
Last week, Fairfax County planning staff released the latest draft of revisions to Reston’s master plan, focused on the areas around the three new Metro stations that are coming to Reston.
The staff is working with a community task force to develop the new master plan, which provides development guidelines.
Development in Reston is governed by the community’s master plan from the 1960s, when it was one of the first planned communities in the country.
The community is now largely built out to the levels described in that master plan, said Heidi Merkel, the county planner leading the Reston master plan revision process.
“With the coming of Metro, we knew there would be an interest in seeing an adjustment,” she said.
Although the development around Reston’s Metro stations likely won’t be as intense as what is planned for Tysons, the draft plan carries some similar principles for the areas adjacent to the rail stations while also pledging to preserve Reston’s suburban communities.
The plan calls for building in an environmentally sustainable way, phasing development with the infrastructure to support it and providing a mix of housing suitable to people of all ages and incomes. Plan language also envisions Reston continuing to be a model of urban design and architecture as it redevelops.
“The citizens are very interested in Reston continuing to be a leader,” Merkel said. “For it continuing to have a reputation as the place where the most forward-thinking planning is happening.”
The plan also encompasses proposed road and transit improvements around the station areas as they redevelop and lays out anticipated needs for new schools, parks and other infrastructure.
The plan would place the most intense new development in the area between the future Reston Town Center station on the Silver Line and the existing, higher-density development at the town center, Merkel said.
The goal is to “make it a more continuous experience,” she said. The plan calls for slightly less intense development on the south side of the Reston Town Center Station.
At the Wiehle-Reston East Station, which will be the first station to open in Reston, the plan also would place the more intense development on the north side of the Dulles Toll Road, in the Sunset Hills Road corridor.
“Part of the rationale for that we feel the north side has more opportunities for redevelopment to occur,” Merkel said.
The draft master plan also envisions some redevelopment of the area around the future Herndon Station. The south side of that station is in Fairfax County.
However, Merkel said, any redevelopment there would not encroach on the existing Polo Fields community.
The goal is to complete this phase of the master plan revision by the end of this year, Merkel said, with the Board of Supervisors expected to vote on the plan language in December.
Once that is complete, the next step is to begin revising the master plan language for other areas of Reston, “primarily focused on the village centers,” she said.