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Reston Regional Library (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A developer that filed a competing proposal for a new Reston library and affordable housing is calling into question Fairfax County’s handling of an unsolicited proposal it received for a new library near the same site.

Developer Norton Scott says the county mishandled the solicitation process after developer Foulger-Pratt filed a proposal to redevelop 4.5 acres of land at the intersection Bowman Towne Court and Town Center Parkway in October 2021.

Norton Scott is petitioning the county to incorporate more public opportunities to review other sites for the library that the company says would better serve Reston residents and are more in line with Reston’s comprehensive plan.

“They are sliding this through in a way that circumvents the public process that is so inherent to planning in Reston,” Chelsea Rao, vice president of Norton Scott, told FFXnow.

The Foulger-Pratt proposal — which was publicized with significant redactions — would redevelop the 4.5-acre property into an apartment building for working families and a new library, while demolishing 30 affordable rental townhomes on the site. What’s publicly known is that roughly 350 affordable housing units across two buildings with a garage and the library are planned.

The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) issued a call for competing proposals earlier this year — all governed under the provisions of the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002, which lays different groundwork for public-private partnerships.

To date, the Norton Scott proposal is the only competing application received.

Located near Reston Regional Library’s current site and a neighboring lot owned by the developer’s subsidiaries across from the police station’s parking lot, the Norton Scott plan would have consolidated three county-owned parcels with a one-core parcel to the south.

It would’ve created a 1.8-acre plaza, 39,000-square-foot library, a new homeless shelter, a performing arts center, a human services building, and 582 housing units — including 354 affordable units. The plan would also preserve existing affordable housing on the Bowman Town Center Court property.

But FCHRA spokesperson Benjamin Boxer told FFXnow that Norton Scott’s application was deemed non-responsive because it involves a completely different site.

“Norton Scott’s competing proposal was non-responsive to the solicitation because the site for their proposal was located on entirely different property owned by the Board of Supervisors, as well as a separate parcel owned by Norton Scott, not the FCRHA-owned property identified in the request for competing proposals issued by the FCRHA,” Boxer said. “Norton Scott may submit its own unsolicited proposal for the other location, and they were so advised over a month ago.” Read More

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Planning is underway for the redevelopment of Bowman Towne Court (via handout/Fairfax County Government)

Fairfax County is positioning itself to move forward with a proposal by developer Foulger-Pratt to build a new library and affordable units in Reston.

The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority will hold a public hearing next week to get input on a potential agreement with Foulger-Pratt for a redevelopment project called Bowman Towne Court, an area located at the intersection of Bowman Towne Drive and Town Center Parkway.

The agreement comes after Foulger-Pratt filed an unsolicited proposal in October of last year to build an apartment building for working families and a new Reston Regional Library on a 2.9-acre property in Reston. The plan also called for another building with affordable housing on the parking lot currently used by Reston District Station police officers and staff.

The county then issued a call for proposals in response to Foulger-Pratt’s submission. According to the draft agreement, a new 40,000-square-foot library is planned, along with roughly 350-unit affordable housing units in two buildings with structured parking.

The public hearing is set for Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center in conference room 11.

Copies of the draft interim agreement with Foulger-Pratt will be available at the meeting. The mixed-use development would be governed under the state’s Private-Public Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002, which requires additional provisions for official approval.

County officials note that a final agreement has not yet been determined. Community outreach is officially underway to court feedback on the proposal.

Here’s more from the county on how to provide feedback on the proposal:

Written comments may be submitted by email on or before Sept. 14 to Marwan.Mahmoud@fairfaxcounty.gov. Residents wishing to speak are encouraged to contact Avis Wiley at 703-246-5152, TTY 711, or by email at Avis.Wiley@fairfaxcouty.gov  Additional information or questions about the public hearing may be directed to Marwan Mahmoud at 703-246-5017, TTY 711.

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Morning Notes

Relaxing in the sun at Reston Town Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Annandale Subway Vandalized — “A rowdy group of youths vandalized the Subway on Heritage Drive in Annandale at about 10:15 a.m. this morning [Thursday]…It will cost $2,000 or $3,000 to fix the window, [owner Emil] Ranakusuma says. He plans to file an insurance claim.” [Annandale Today]

General Assembly Dumps Football Stadium Bill — “The state legislator who has led the charge to lure the Washington Commanders to Virginia gave up the fight Thursday…State Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said comments that Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio made this week about the Jan. 6 insurrection were the last straw for the stadium bill.” [The Washington Post]

Tysons Financial Company to Expand HQ — “Nodal Exchange, a Fairfax County-based derivatives exchange providing price, credit, and liquidity risk management solutions to participants in the North American commodities markets, will increase capacity at its headquarters located at 1921 Gallows Road in Tysons. The expansion will create 37 new jobs.” [Fairfax County EDA]

I-66 West Ramp to Close — “The ramp from I-66 West to Vienna/Fairfax/GMU Metrorail Station (Country Creek Road and Virginia Center Boulevard) is scheduled to close for about three weeks beginning on or about Monday, June 13, for continued construction of the new westbound I-66 express and general-purpose lanes…Drivers will be detoured around the closure via Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) and I-66 East.” [VDOT]

Flooring Store Opens in Tysons — “Floor & Décor, an Atlanta-based retailer of hard-surface flooring, has…signed a 10-year, 11,327-square-foot lease at the Tysons Corner Retail Plaza, a three-building, 22,000-square-foot retail center, and has already opened for business.” [Commercial Observer]

Vienna Approves Covid Relief Funds for Police Cameras — “The Vienna Town Council on June 6 unanimously approved the spending of $128,600 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to replace and upgrade in-car video systems for Vienna Police Department patrol vehicles.” [Sun Gazette]

Friends of Reston Library Officially Makes Donation — “We love our library branches in Fairfax County, but Reston is especially dedicated to the Reston Regional Library! I was honored to join in the celebration last night (6/9) of the Friends of Reston Regional Library donating $200,000 to the library for its book collection.” [Supervisor Walter Alcorn/Facebook]

FCPS Appoints New Ombudsman — Fairfax County Public Schools has named Dawn Clements as its next ombudsman, effective July 1. Currently the assistant ombudsman for special education, Clements will lead the office responsible for addressing student, family, and community questions and complaints. [FCPS]

It’s Friday — Possible drizzle overnight. High of 77 and low of 60. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:35 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Fairfax County hopes to build a new Reston Regional Library as part of a larger redevelopment plan (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Various pieces to redevelop land at the intersection of Bowman Towne Drive and Town Center Parkway — known as Reston Town Center North — are moving along as Fairfax County seeks applications for the project.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn directed staff at a Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday (Tuesday) to conduct a master plan study for the county-owned land in RTC North.

Alcorn encouraged staff to work closely with the ongoing effort to amend the Reston Comprehensive Plan and to complete the study by the end of the year.

“The time is right to move forward with a master plan with locations for critically needed community facilities in Reston Town Center North,” Alcorn said.

The project would include a new Embry Rucker Shelter, facilities for services and permanent housing, and a new Reston Regional Library.

In February, the county received an unsolicited proposal from Foulger-Pratt to redeveloping a nearly three-acre parcel of land owned by the county into an apartment building for working families, a new library and free parking.

The unsolicited proposal prompted the county to issue a call for other proposals for the project. The application period closed on May 16.

Alcorn established a Reston Town Center North Public Facilities Community Task Force through a board matter in April.

A review of proposed changes to Reston’s Comprehensive Plan is also underway. Staff are currently going through recommendations from a task force that produced a draft after hundreds of hours of meetings on the topic.

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Reston Regional Library (file photo)

The Friends of Reston Regional Library (FRRL) is celebrating Fairfax County Public Library’s theme for 2022 — the year of literacy — with a record-setting gift.

The nonprofit organization, which has been supporting the Reston library since 1985, is providing a grant of $200,000 to the county library system to expand its printed and digital materials for the library collection.

According to Eileen Evon, a spokesperson for FRRL, this is the largest single gift the organization has ever given to FCPL.

“The gift will give a much needed boost to the library’s ability to add more copies of popular titles already in the catalog, while also expanding the depth and breadth of many subject areas, including fiction for all ages, as well as non-fiction books, bi-lingual books, and books in other languages for young readers,” FRRL said in a news release.

FRRL issued the following statement regarding the gift:

The truth is, between the hard wear and tear on highly circulated print materials, the increased demand for digital materials, and the increase in total checkouts and library card holders, the County budget to the Library for collections just hasn’t caught up to the need. We know they are reviewing this and hope that it will change in the future as the library system continues to grow and change.

In the meantime, we thought the Year of Literacy was the perfect time for us to call public attention to this pressing need, and pitch in ourselves with the monies generated — one book at a time — by our hardworking volunteers who sort and sell books and media from over 40 tons of donated materials each year. After talking with Director Hudson and the head of Technical Operations, Dianne Coan, we know the Collections Development team will work hard to make the most out of every dollar to strengthen and expand the collection to best serve all of its patrons.

The gift will be formally handed over in a ceremony on June 8 at an FCPL Board of Trustees meeting. FCPL director Jessica Hudson, the board, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Water Alcorn, and other local officials plan to attend.

The Friends are also providing one-time grants to local organizations in an effort to support and promote literacy in the community. Grants range from $5,000 to $50,000 and will be awarded to a group that provide hands-on programming that directly impacts literacy in Reston, Herndon, and the county overall.

The news comes as FRRL positions itself to support the creation of a new library for Reston — which has been contemplated for several years. While county voters approved a bond in 2012 to fund the project, FRRL president Brian Jacoby noted that more funds may be needed.

“Every branch has its own unique requirements to best support its staff, volunteers, and patrons,” Jacoby wrote in statement. “New furniture, materials and equipment, or facilities space specific to the needs of our local community may not be covered by either the developer’s plans or the County’s funding. Our volunteers and our patrons are long-time active users of the Reston branch and they have a strong love for the library and what it provides to our community.”

The Friends’ board recently affirmed its commitment to set aside savings for needs related to the future building.

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Morning Notes

A spring dandelion (photo by Marjorie Copson)

Case Against Park Police Who Shot McLean Man Dropped — “Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) on Friday dropped the state’s federal appeal in the manslaughter case against two U.S. Park Police officers, effectively ending any attempt at criminal prosecution of the officers who fatally shot unarmed motorist Bijan Ghaisar in a Fairfax County neighborhood in 2017.” [The Washington Post]

Hundreds Help Pack Ukrainian Refugee Donations — “Hundreds of volunteers gathered this weekend in Oakton to help pack approx. 1800 boxes with donations collected for displaced Ukrainians. Huge thanks to our community members for donating, these wonderful volunteers, and to Paxton Co. for generously shipping these items.” [Chairman Jeff McKay/Twitter]

Mount Vernon Fire Started by Hair Dryer — A house fire in the 3700 block of Nalls Road on Wednesday (April 20) was started accidentally by an electrical event involving a hair dryer in the basement bathroom, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says. There were reported injuries or displacements, but the fire caused an estimated $37,500 in damages. [FCFRD]

Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers Critical to Covid Response — “Since February of 2020, over 1,400 MRC members volunteered more than 65,000 hours at vaccination clinics and testing events, and assisting with outreach, isolation and quarantine efforts, logistical support, and so much more.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Merrifield Nonprofit Gets Boost from Football Fans — “Wolf Trap Animal Rescue keeps receiving donations from the public in honor of Dwayne Haskins, the former Washington quarterback who died in an accident on a Florida highway on April 9. Haskins…selected Wolf Trap Animal Rescue as his organization to represent for the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign.” [Patch]

Turner Farm Observatory Seeks “Dark Sky” Designation — “To help reverse the trend of growing light pollution, the Great Falls observatory applied to become an Urban Night Sky Place with the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA)…If approved, the observatory would become the first IDA-designated place in the Washington region.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Construction Starts on Woodley Hills Park Playground — “The Fairfax County Park Authority will begin the installation of a new playground and removal of the existing playground the week of April 25, 2022. Construction access to the site will be from Old Mount Vernon Road. It is anticipated that the playground replacement will be completed by early June 2022.” [FCPA]

Reston Library Book Sale Starts Wednesday — The Friends of the Reston Regional Library will host its biggest book sale of the year, starting with a members-only night from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday (April 27). The sale will be open to all starting at 10 a.m. Thursday through Sunday (April 28-May 2) and include 35,000 to 40,000 books. [Friends of the Reston Regional Library]

It’s Monday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 75 and low of 55. Sunrise at 6:19 am and sunset at 7:57 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The county has issued a request for proposals for the project (via Fairfax County Government)

A plan to possibly convert a portion of the Reston District Police Station’s parking lot into affordable housing is moving forward.

At Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn’s request, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors directed staff yesterday (Tuesday) to schedule a public hearing to consider conveying county-owned land to the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

“This will be for the development of affordable housing with appropriate replacement of secure parking spaces dedicated to police use and subject to the stipulation that in the event the FCRHA no longer pursues the project, the FCRHA will transfer ownership of the property back to the Board,” Alcorn wrote in a statement.

The move sets in motion the redevelopment of the Bowne Towne Court area. The county received an unsolicited proposal from Foulger-Pratt last month to build affordable housing on the existing parking lot, a new Reston Regional Library, and a parking garage. The area is located at the intersection of Bowman Towne Drive and Town Center Parkway.

After receiving the proposal, the county began advertising for competing proposals to determine next steps for the project. The project would redevelop a nearly three-acre parcel owned by FCRHA and includes 1.6 acres of the nearby board-owned police station.

A date for the public hearing has not yet been determined.

Bids for the project close on May 16 at 2 p.m.

Alcorn emphasized that moving forward with the transfer of property to FCRHA does not mean that the county is in favor of the recently submitted plan. All options will be considered as the proposal moves through the development process.

The board recently upped its goal for additional affordable housing units to 10,000 by 2034. Alcorn set a target of 1,000 additional affordable housing units in the Hunter Mill District by the end of 2027.

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The county has issued a request for proposals for the project (via Fairfax County Government)

For years, discussions have swirled around the possibility of developing the Bowman Towne Center and Reston Regional Library.

With the receipt of an unsolicited proposal to redevelop the property, Fairfax County is beginning to formalize plans to move forward with the project.

The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) has issued a call for competing bids on the project, which is at the intersection of Bowman Towne Drive  and Town Center Parkway, according to a March 31 release.

The unsolicited proposal from Foulger-Pratt aims to redevelop an existing 2.9-acre property owned by the FCHRA into an apartment building for working families, a new Reston Regional Library, and free parking for all.

The plan also calls for another building with affordable housing on the parking lot currently used by Reston District Station officers and staff. A new garage is planned for police use. The building would have up to 400 units, replacing 30 affordable rental townhomes on the site.

“Our approach to unlock the value of this property addresses not only housing but also the community infrastructure necessary to grow and thrive in our complex world,” the proposal says. Project details — including renderings — are largely redacted.

“This announcement is an exciting step forward for a much-needed new Reston Regional Library and the sustainable and socially responsible redevelopment of Reston Town Center North,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said in a statement.

The request for proposals closes on May 16 at 2 p.m. Whatever plan eventually gets approved would be under the terms of a long-term, nominal ground lease from the FCRHA.

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