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Vision for development area near Herndon Metro Station begins to coalesce

The “Two Centers” option for development of Herndon’s nearly 94-acre Transit Related Growth area (courtesy Town of Herndon)

The vision for developing 25 parcels with 22 owners near the Herndon Metro Station is officially coalescing.

Consultant Skidmore, Owings, Merrill laid out a vision for the Transit Related Growth (TRG) area at a joint Herndon Town Council and planning commission meeting on June 20.

The current draft proposal decreases commercial square footage from what’s currently allowed to a range of 600,000 to 900,000 square feet for the nearly 94-acre area. Between 2,578 and 3,350 residential units are proposed.

Planning is still underway, but the consultant is exploring three models.

The first proposes neighborhood clusters with density sprinkled throughout the TRG and connected by a “walkable corridor” and open spaces. The scenario would largely focus on residential development.

The second option considers two centers of density at the Metro station and Sunset Business Park with a balance of residential and office development. Herndon Parkway would be the primary transportation conduit, and the scenario would have the lowest level of road connectivity.

The final scenario pitches density centered at the Metro station and the highest office-to-residential development ratio. The highest road connectivity is also proposed in this scenario.

In a memo, Ahmed Zaki, a lead planner with the town, said staff is concerned that a reduction in non-residential development would be “detrimental to a balanced real estate tax base” and may not provide enough options for residents of the TRG, the Herndon Transit Oriented Core (HTOC) and nearby neighborhoods.

Staff also expressed concern that there may not be enough business opportunities, including for retail that serves neighborhood.

The project kicked off in April 2022 with a fact-finding and feedback phase. Since then, the consultant has held several community engagement meetings to develop a conceptual plan that will guide future redevelopment.

Since the work session, the team has been developing a formal conceptual plan for the future TRG. It will include buffers for abutting neighborhoods and take into consideration disparate development timelines due to different owners in the area.

At the June meeting, council members emphasized the need to differentiate the TRG from the HTOC.

Council member Pradip Dhakal said there should be more retail space allotted to truly create a neighborhood and community instead of focusing on residential development.

“The retail space is relatively lower,” he said.

Others called for guidance on ways to incorporate more affordable housing into the mix.

The consultant is currently incorporating feedback and comments to form a preferred framework that is ready for review, according to a statement from the town.

“Staff has been tracking their progress, and once they have the draft concept completed, it will go back to the council and commission for review and comment,” the statement to FFXnow reads.