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Town of Herndon prepares for Metro with plan for more growth, density

The potential development area around the Herndon-Monroe Metro Station (via Town of Herndon)

The oncoming train of the Silver Line extension is spurring a major planning initiative within the Town of Herndon.

With the Herndon-Monroe Metro station expected to begin service in the fall, town officials have hired consultant firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill to determine paths for redevelopment and how to ensure the area surrounding the station is more transit-oriented.

Known as the Transit-related Growth (TRG) study, the project will set the parameters for redeveloping and refreshing the area with mixed projects, higher tensities, and urban design, according to Lisa Gilleran, the town’s director of community development.

The TRG area broadly covers parcels mostly north of Herndon Parkway from Haley M. Smith Park and extends southeast of Herndon Parkway to Fairfax County Parkway.

“Regarding when planning should occur at or near Metro Stations, as with most transit-oriented redevelopment, it is anticipated that the TRG will redevelop over a few decades,” Gilleran told FFXnow.

She noted that the pandemic delayed the initiation of the planning effort.

The study comes at the request of property owners within the TRG, who agreed in 2021 to pay up to $500,000 for a consultant to study and develop a small area plan to provide a conceptual vision for future development. The Herndon Town Council approved the agreement in October of 2021.

The plan is not expected to delve into the legal and policy issues of creating an affordable housing policy for the Town of Herndon, which currently has no such policy. But it will touch base on how a spectrum of housing could be incorporated into the TRG.

Efforts to prepare for the Silver Line extension have been ongoing since at least 2008. At the time, the town’s comprehensive plans switched the land use classification for non-residential areas around the Metro Station from service and industry to a more mixed-use focus.

Four years later, the town adopted another small area plan — the Herndon Metro Station Plan — for parcels on the south side of Herndon Parkway near the Metro Station, now known as the Herndon Transit-Oriented Core. In 2013, zoning regulations were guided by that planning effort.