Restonians came out in force to a public hearing Tuesday evening to voice their support for the proposed redevelopment of the Crescent apartments at Lake Anne, and for the preservation of affordable housing in general.
Fairfax County is considering an agreement with Lake Anne Development Partners to redevelop the complex of 181 garden apartments at a greater density, breathing new life into the planned community’s first village center.
“This project, from my point of view, is the answer to a dream,” said Bob Simon, the founder of Reston. He said that piece of land was intended for higher-density development in the original Reston plan, but it was never built.
The small businesses that operate along Lake Anne Plaza are also eager for the larger customer base that more residents would bring.
“We need more foot traffic,” said Susan Burwell, owner of the Reston Used Book Shop. She and her fellow merchants are particularly excited about plans to realign Village Drive, making the entrance to the plaza more visible.
Current Crescent residents and affordable housing advocates spoke about the importance of maintaining affordable housing in the Lake Anne community and ensuring a smooth transition for Crescent residents during construction.
All 181 units of the current apartment complex are designated for people earning less than 60 percent of area median income. Median household income in Fairfax County is more than $100,000.
Maintaining at least the same number of affordable units is a requirement of the county’s proposed interim agreement with Lake Anne Development Partners, and the developer has expressed the intent to expand the amount of affordable housing available. The land is zoned for up to 900 apartments but the developer does not have a formal proposal yet.
“We support and we applaud the county’s commitment to the residents of the Crescent Apartments,” said the Rev. Stephen Smith-Cobbs, a pastor and member of Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE), a group that has been working to support the Crescent residents. “We want that priority to remain clear … as the planning process continues.”
Per state laws governing public-private partnerships, the Board of Supervisors could not act on the interim agreement at Tuesday’s public hearing.
The board will take up the matter after 30 days have elapsed, “but I think we all know how it’s going to turn out in the end,” said board Chairwoman Sharon Bulova (D-At large).
The interim agreement allows Lake Anne Development Partners to proceed in ushering its plans through the land use process.