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Despite access concerns, Fannie Mae redevelopment gets approval from Planning Commission

Plans for redeveloping the former Fannie Mae campus in Reston were revised to address community concerns, but one outstanding issue remains (courtesy Reston Citizens Association)

(Updated on 7/1/2022 with new image and clarification on changes made to initial plans) The Fairfax County Planning Commission has approved a redevelopment of the former Fannie Mae campus in Reston after nearly seven weeks of sorting through multiple issues with the proposed plan.

At a meeting last night (Wednesday), the commission voted 10-1 in favor of the project, even though county staff recommended denial.

Staff said the developer’s plan to incorporate gated security to the site near the nearly 400-square-foot office building on the property would cut off residents and the public from the development, which should be accessible, especially since it is in a transit-oriented area.

After several attempts to revise proffers to address the issue, the security gates and fence will remain at 11600 American Dream Way. The plan also includes up to 74 townhouses and eight two-by-two units.

Developer Wheelock Capital insisted on retaining the gates because they are a strong requirement for a prospective tenant eying the property.

Hunter Mill District Commissioner John Carter said that while the issue of the gates remain outstanding, the overall project still provides extensive value to the community.

“I think the application is responsive to community concerns without compromising the traffic system that will remain,” Carter said.

Mason District Commissioner Julie Strandlie cast the lone vote against the project, noting that staff continue to recommend denial.

As a compromise, the developer may submit a revision of their final development plan if the gates are removed and have to be reinstalled.

“I’m just very impressed with this application, and I wouldn’t want the closing of the roadway to be a barrier,” Providence District Commissioner Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner said.

The final product is a significantly pared-down version from initial proposals, which called for more density and a different office-residential makeup.

Wheelock made a number of revisions to its plan following community input, including a reduction in the number of units, more green space, and a new public trail system, according to the Reston Citizens Association.

The project now heads to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for a final vote. The date for that hearing hasn’t been set yet.