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Fairfax County board lauds updated draft of Reston comprehensive plan

Reston Town Center Metro station (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The most recent update of Reston’s draft comprehensive plan got a kudos from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors earlier this week.

At a land use policy committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday), board members said the latest version of the plan — which has been under the pen for nearly two years — averts the prescriptive policy language put in place by a community task force that created the first draft of the new plan roughly two years ago.

An official staff report is expected next month, followed by a June 14 Fairfax County Planning Commission public hearing and a board public hearing on July 11.

As discussed last month by the planning commission, the latest version by county staff focuses on supporting guidance in existing county policies, avoiding language that could be seen as establishing new policies.

New planning principles of equity, community health and economic development were consolidated into a chapter on the “new town” of Reston instead of getting separate chapters.

Franconia Supervisor Supervisor Rodney Lusk said he was particularly pleased with the guidance on economic development for Reston, which says support for housing, businesses, education and access to Metro’s Silver Line stations is key to maintaining the area’s “unique community and business climate.”

But Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said he was unsure if there was anything particularly unique about Reston that warranted guidance.

“I’m not sure why Reston feels like it has to take a position on that. It doesn’t seem to be anything particularly unique,” Foust said.

He added that economic development guidance for a particular area could open up other area plans to similar updates when the guidance should simply be applied countywide.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn, who initiated the review and held dozens of meetings with the community task force, said he wouldn’t support the new plan if he didn’t feel it was an improvement over Reston’s current plan.

Alcorn also asked staff to create a chart that depicts significant issues and concerns.

“Overall, I want to make sure we balance this in the right way, because I don’t want to dumb down Reston’s comprehensive plan,” Alcorn said.

County staff noted that they tightened up language in the task force’s version of the plan.

Providence District Supervisor Dahlia Palchik said she was pleased the new plan is now “going in the right direction.”

“This is in a much better place,” she said.