Dear Editor,

It is disingenuous for the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce (GRCC) to assert in their recent opinion in the Times, repurposing a portion of their letter to the Fairfax Board of Supervisor, that “Reston neighborhoods are protected under the Comprehensive Plan.”

Mr. Ingrao’s series in the Times and his recent testimony to the Planning Commission suffer the same basic deficiency: an attempt to conflate the work done by a Task Force that looked at the three Transit Station Areas with the way the Plan was revised for the existing Reston neighborhoods.  The “Phase II” portion of the Plan that is at the heart of the current controversy over raising the density cap, concerns the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district where most Restonians reside. The Phase II Report was prepared by County Staff with minimal public input (unless of course you include a developer’s counsel who literally was given the opportunity to edit a portion of the Phase II revisions.)

Such smoke and mirror diversions by the GRCC seek to mask the threat of the proposed zoning change. The amendment would facilitate high density growth in so called “hot spots” throughout the existing established neighborhoods, including the Village Centers. This is particularly troubling because language to require a Comprehensive Plan amendment to redevelop Village Centers (helping to assure community involvement) was dropped from the Plan.

Mr. Ingrao would be well served to speak with neighbors of the St. Johns Wood development near North Point Village Center to test his hypothesis that the Comprehensive Plan protects Reston neighborhoods. Those residents have thus far avoided the intrusion of disproportionately large re-development in a stable neighborhood not because they were “protected under the Comprehensive Plan,” but due to a decision of the Reston Association’s Design Review Board. The proposed increase in zoning density supported by the GRCC will mean similar threats for many throughout Reston.

The Planning Commission would be wise to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that the zoning amendment be rejected, and that the residents of the community should be meaningfully engaged to review the Plan for the residential areas of Reston.

Bruce Ramo

Coalition for a Planned Reston

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