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Study group considers new future for Reston National Golf Course

Sunrise at Reston National Golf Course (photo by Terry Baranski)

A study group financed by the owners of Reston National Golf Course — which has been the focus of a community quest to oppose redevelopment — is charting a new path forward for the golf course.

Weller Development Co. and War Horse Cities, the golf course’s owners, hired New City Enterprises to launch the study group more than a year ago in order to assess the current and future conditions of the golf course area.

The group’s work paints a stark picture of two Restons — North and South — the latter of which the group concludes strays from founder Bob Simon’s dreams for the planned community.

After meeting with residents and surveying available community resources, amenities and environmental conditions, the group concluded that the neighborhood surrounding the golf course and most of South Reston needs economic revitalization.

Greg Hamm, managing partner of New City Enterprises, headed the group, which included neighborhood participation and launched in May of last year.

“We kept in mind that Bob Simon was a developer, and the community came out of the idea that working together genuinely works best. So, we thought this small group, open air format offered the best way to create a comfortable environment, especially following the lockdowns,” Hamm wrote to FFXnow. “We engaged all the immediately adjacent neighbors, as well as the larger Reston community and had very good, civil discussions.”

The group identified a three-pronged approach for the future of the golf course and the area, calling for redevelopment of a portion of the golf course into a public open space for Reston.

The group describes the proposal as a “conservancy” that would be fully funded and governed locally. It also suggested new services, amenities, and housing near the existing infrastructure, along with vegetation, architecture, landscaping and views to create what could be called a “conservancy district.”

In a recent Patch opinion piece, Hamm described South Reston as an “amenity desert” compared to other areas in Reston, which are expanding and leaving legacy neighborhoods behind as phase two of the Silver Line aims to launch this year.

The group also said walkability in the area is below average, demanding the need for permanent and public open space.

With the work of the study group now complete, the next step is for the golf course’s owners to identify a plan going forward.

“With the completion of the Silver Line later this year, everyone should honestly gauge the costs of keeping ‘transit-oriented golf’ against its benefits, and then make the comparisons with the proposed alternatives,” Hamm said. “Then the ownership of Reston National, the county and community can begin the appropriate public process.”

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn has repeatedly stated that he would oppose redeveloping the golf course unless there was overwhelming support from the community.

Hamm says his group has worked with Alcorn’s office to share their findings along the way. That process comes as Alcorn’s workgroup completes its formal review of changes to Reston’s comprehensive plan, which currently states that Reston is a two-golf-course community.

Rescue Reston, a group formed in 2012 to protect Reston’s two golf courses and open spaces, has vehemently opposed any redevelopment of the golf course.

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