The group that has been working to develop the new vision for the areas around Reston’s three future Metro stations is in the final stages of its work that has been underway for years.
The proposed new master plan for Reston builds on both Reston’s history as a planned community and the work Fairfax County has done to plan for urban centers around Metro stations in Tysons Corner.
The first Metro station in Reston at Wiehle Avenue will open in early 2014, with the first phase of the Silver Line. Stations at Reston Town Center and on the Herndon-Reston border will follow a few years later, once the second phase of the Silver Line is complete.
The redeveloped areas should feature strong design and architecture, open space and parks, a more urban street grid, environmentally sensitive design practices, and housing for all ages and incomes, said John Carter, co-chairman of the Vision and Guiding Principles Subcommittee of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force.
As was done in Tysons, this community vision is being transformed into zoning language to update Reston’s master plan. This review process has focused on the station areas; once it is complete the review will expand to the other areas of Reston, said Faheem Darab, a county land use planner.
The plan allows the most intense development in the areas closest to the new rail stations, Darab said, and preserves stable neighborhoods and environmentally sensitive areas that shouldn’t be redeveloped.
It also strives to maintain a balance between workers and housing.
“We don’t want it to be lively during the day but dead at night,” Darab said.
The plan also sets high expectations of the developers that will ultimately be proposing redevelopment projects around the stations. This includes proffers that the developers are providing for parks and schools, as well as quality design.
“We’re looking for high-quality design,” Darab said. “That’s a hallmark of Reston and it will be a hallmark going forward.”
The most intense development will remain around Reston Town Center, which is already a highly developed, mixed-use center in the community. Town Center will still be Reston’s “downtown,” said Richard Lambert, a county planner.
Transportation improvements are also a key focus of the planning effort, including proposed new crossings of the Dulles Toll Road, a new on-ramp and a street grid. The plan also calls for wide sidewalks, bike lanes and other amenities that will make the new neighborhoods friendly to pedestrians and cyclists, as well as drivers.
Reston will need new infrastructure to support the new development, including new parks, recreation centers, sports fields and schools.
If the area redevelops as anticipated, it will need two new elementary schools, a new middle school and one or two additional high schools, according to Greg Bokan of the Office of Facilities Planning in Fairfax County Public Schools.
The plan language is expected to go through one final update before the Fairfax County Planning Commission begins its review of the master plan next month. The plan is tentatively scheduled for a public hearing at the Planning Commission on Nov. 13, but Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) said the review process will not be rushed and will likely take until January to complete.