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Reston planning committee approves Vantage Hill redevelopment

The proposed redevelopment of Reston’s Vantage Hill condominium complex (via Craftmark Homes)

The redevelopment of Reston’s Vantage Hill condominiums (11619 Vantage Hill Road) is barreling towards approval.

At a meeting on Monday (Sept. 19), the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee unanimously approved the project, which will include 28 townhouses on 2.5 acres of land currently taken up by an abandoned swimming pool.

Revenue from the sale of the units will help the Vantage Hill condos — a 152-unit complex that was built in 1962 — complete a backlog of critical upgrades.

Tree perservation dominated the discussion, as committee members called on Craftmark Homes to preserve an additional three to four large canopy trees of the 11 it plans to save.

Committee member Richard Kennedy said that while the applicant made “reasonable progress,” more trees could be saved.

Robbie Malm, a partner with Craftmark Homes, said that many of the remaining large trees are already leaning over or are in areas where they will likely die. He also noted the development will be pushed north and west away from the trees to allow for their preservation.

“I don’t want to devalue what large mature trees can provide,” he said.

So far, the development propsal plans to remove seven large trees.

Creating more space in the alleyways between the residential unit continued to be a topic of discussion as well.

The developer plans to maintain 23-foot-wide alleyways in response to concerns voiced by Reston Association’s Design Review Board.

Still, some remain concerned about possible tight turns along units on one portion of the property.

“I have no clue how people would turn around in that space,” committee member Tammi Petrine said, referring to a turn around four units on a portion of the property.

Price for the townhouses — which have between three and four bedrooms — start in the $700,000’s.

Plans to redevelop the community have been brewing for years, as the boxy condominium homes continue on a steady decline in maintenance.

The townhome sales are expected to help finance $4.5 million in needed upgrades. Target items include new windows and doors, upgraded heating, new plumbing, a bigger playground, and metered electrical service for each unit.

The committee also encouraged the developer to consider installing stoves without natural gas, noting that alternatives are more environmentally friendly.

The plan heads to the Fairfax County Planning Commission next month.

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