Reston is now poised to join Tysons Corner as an area of Fairfax County targeted for higher-intensity redevelopment around new transit hubs.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted a new master plan Tuesday for the areas around the three future Reston Metro stations.
The master plan covers matters such as development levels, architectural styles, transportation and infrastructure, environmental protections, and affordable housing requirements for the station areas.
County staff and the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force have been developing the new master plan since 2009.
Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) said that the plan carries forward the vision of Reston founder Robert Simon. Reston was founded on the idea that people could live, work and play in one place – an idea that is again in vogue in planning circles.
“Today Reston is a great place to live, work, play and serve,” Hudgins said. “This comprehensive plan will not change those qualities.”
Hudgins and the board did support some changes to the plan language requested by the community, including strengthening the suggestion that any new development should join the Reston Association or the Reston Town Center Association.
“There would be no need and it would probably be a distraction if other associations were created,” Hudgins said.
Hudgins’ changes also added firmer language about the review of new development designs by Reston community organizations, added more detail to a provision allowing open space contributions outside the station areas, and added some additional language about historic preservation.
Supervisors Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) and Michael Frey (R-Sully) voted against adopting the master plan because of concerns about transportation.
Herrity said the plan should have focused more on developer contributions for transportation, rather than other items such as open space or affordable housing. He said he is concerned Reston will end up needing a tax district to fund transportation needs, as was used in Tysons, which could be detrimental to redevelopment prospects.
“I think we could have done better with this plan,” he said.
Frey’s concerns were regarding the lack of attention paid to the already-congested routes to get to Reston from southwestern Fairfax County, as well as Loudoun and Prince William counties. Adding more jobs and other services in Reston will only exacerbate the problem, he said.
“If Reston were an island, I think they did a wonderful job,” Frey said. “It isn’t an island. It has to exist and coexist with the rest of western Fairfax.”
Hudgins and other supervisors said they believe the county has adequate transportation plans in place for the anticipated new development.
Now that the plan has been adopted, developers can submit rezoning applications that adhere to the new guidelines. Hudgins indicated that there are some landowners that have been waiting in the wings for the new plan to be approved and that the community may see applications soon.