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Alcorn seeks answers on Comstock’s reported plans for a Reston casino

Reston Station from the Wiehle Avenue bridge (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn is pressing for more answers on the possibility of a casino at Reston Station.

At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (Oct. 24), Alcorn emphasized that it’s still unclear if there will be legislation on the issue next year.

In a letter to County Executive Bryan Hill, Alcorn said he wanted more information on the steps necessary to authorize a gambling casino.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay emphasized that “absolutely nothing” has been proposed. The county’s legislative committee will be tracking any bills if they move forward.

“The only thing we know about the casino right now is that there is no proposal,” McKay said.

Sen. David Marsden (D-37) has said that, if reelected to the General Assembly, he would reintroduce legislation to allow a gaming casino in Fairfax County.

He told FFXnow it likely won’t be identical to a bill he proposed — and later withdrew — in January that would’ve open the door to a casino within one quarter of a mile of an existing Silver Line station, outside the Dulles airport flight path, and as part of a coordinated mixed-use project.

If the theoretical bill became law, a voter referendum would be required to officially authorize a casino in the county.

Alcorn — who maintained that he would oppose a casino in Reston since the idea was floated in local media — said he needed information on several items related to the authorization process. Reston Association’s Board of Directors has also voiced opposition to the proposal.

Among several questions, Alcorn is seeking clarification on if the county’s current zoning ordinance includes a casino use, if a county referendum would specify a single casino location or multiple options if the state legislation is signed into law, and how a preferred casino gaming operator would be selected.

Alcorn’s full letter to Hill, as shared by his office, is below:

Bryan,

As we have discussed and as has been reported in local media, I am very much opposed to the gambling casino proposed in SB 1543 and HB 2499.  During the past few weeks there has been a lot of discussion on this topic in the community and there are several areas where further information about the process for casino authorization would be helpful to me, and probably my colleagues and the general public, prior to commencement of the 2024 General Assembly session.

Please confirm or provide information on the following:

  • Please verify whether all 5 local jurisdictions in Virginia where state law currently authorizes a casino (Danville, Bristol, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Richmond) formally or informally requested that the General Assembly authorize a casino in their jurisdiction, and how that request was made.
  • Under Virginia law, what is considered to be a casino, versus, for example, a location or event that has electronic gaming machines?
  • What process would the Board of Supervisors use to “select a preferred casino gaming operator” as called for in the state law authorizing casino gambling? What would be the timing of such a selection process as it relates to authorization by the General Assembly and a countywide referendum?
  • If a bill such as the ones noted above were ultimately passed and signed by the Governor, would the required countywide referendum be legally required to specify the casino location or could multiple potential locations be authorized in the referendum?
  • Does the county’s current zoning ordinance include a casino use, or would it need to be amended
  • Would the location of a casino need to specified in an area plan of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan?

Thank you for providing information on these casino-specific processes. I continue to think this is a bad idea. Please share the answers to these questions with the entire Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Alcorn

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