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Steve Steiner, a 73-year-old cyclist who lives in Reston’s Hunters Woods neighborhood, nearly lost his life when he was cycling from Leesburg nearly four years ago.

Steiner was hit by an SUV that was turning right through a red signal onto Fairfax County Parkway at the exit for the Dulles Toll Road. Despite trying to veer to the right, he was struck by the car, suffering a concussion, several broken ribs and other serious internal injuries, he said.

“An incident like this buries deep into your psyche and your brain,” Steiner said.

The crash resulted in $100,000 in medical expenses and months of recovery — an ordeal that he hopes no one else has to face.

Steiner spoke yesterday morning (Tuesday) at the launch of a countywide campaign called “Take a Moment” that aims to eliminate traffic-related deaths and injuries. Fairfax County officials hope that the communications campaign will encourage residents, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to take a moment to pause before making decisions on roadways and paths.

The county also plans to commit $100 million over the next six years for pedestrian safety efforts in the county — a figure that includes $25 million in carryover funds.

“It’s so important that we mention this is a team effort and not just an effort of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors,” said Jeff McKay, the board chair.

The press conference took place at a busy intersection in Reston where a pedestrian and cyclist bridge is currently under construction at Wiehle Avenue.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn noted that tackling traffic issues is particularly important given the expected opening of phase two of Metro’s Silver Line this fall.

He said the pedestrian bridge currently under construction remedies issues with a particularly “challenging” area of Wiehle Avenue. Work is expected to wrap up by the beginning of 2024.

To date, 13 pedestrian have been killed in crashes and accidents on county roadways — despite crashes overall being reduced by more than 400, according to Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis. The number of pedestrian fatalities is three more than this time last year.

“It deserves our constant attention,” he said.

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A map of responses from the communities surrounding the Reston National Golf Course. Black means opposed to re-opening comprehensive plan, blue is support of an open, public process, and orange means reconsider designation as a golf course (via Walter Alcorn)

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn reaffirmed his commitment yesterday (Monday) to oppose the development of Reston National Golf Course.

Alcorn said he will not support Weller Development Co. and War Horse Cities’ effort to change the county’s comprehensive plan to redevelop the golf course.

His public statement comes after a community survey found that 98% of respondents opposed amending the county’s comprehensive plan to change the designation of the golf course. Similar results were yielded from a survey of 14 communities surrounding Reston National.

“The numbers speak for themselves. Therefore, as with Hidden Creek, I do not support changing the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan’s current designation of this property as a golf course and consider this matter closed,” Alcorn wrote in a statement.

Alcorn voiced similar opposition when the owner of Hidden Creek Golf Course sought to redevelop the course with a 100-acre park and 1,000 residential units. In 2020, Alcorn said that he would only support the proposal if there was strong community support.

Reston’s ongoing overhaul of its comprehensive plan leaves the issue of preserving Reston’s two golf courses untouched.

In the absence of changes to the plan, Reston National’s owners financed the creation of the Reston National Neighborhood Study Group to determine lacking amenities in the area.

The group called for the reclamation of roughly 100 acres of the golf course for “usable” open space, a neighborhood with shops, restaurants and gathering spaces, and a half-mile park through the neighborhood.

Here’s Alcorn’s full letter:

Since I took office almost three years ago, the topic that my office has received the most emails about is the potential redevelopment of Reston’s two golf courses, Hidden Creek and Reston National Golf Course. On this question I have consistently stated that any proposal to change the comprehensive plan for these properties from their current respective “golf course” designations would need support from surrounding communities.

The owners of Reston National have spent considerable resources during the past year reaching out to the community to consider the condition of and potentially the redevelopment of, some or all of their privately-owned property.

Below is the information that has been compiled by my staff from emails and other communications I have received from residents of surrounding communities and beyond. The pie chart and map provide a visual of the input received from residents in the surrounding communities of Reston National. I have also not received any requests from neighboring cluster association leadership to change the comp plan guidance for Reston National – in fact, I have heard the opposite from those neighborhood leaders.

The numbers speak for themselves. Therefore, as with Hidden Creek, I do not support changing the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan’s current designation of this property as a golf course and consider this matter closed.

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A federal budget plan approved by the U.S. House includes funding for more Fairfax County Capital Bikeshare stations (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A new bikesharing station is coming soon to Reston.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation plans to install a Capital Bikeshare station at the corner of North Shore Drive and Wainwright Drive within the next six months.

The county will repurpose two parking spaces for the station, which provides a first and last-mile option to the Silver Line, Reston Town Center and other locations, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said yesterday (Wednesday) in his latest newsletter.

Two additional stations will also be installed at the end of October at the entrances of the Reston Town Center Metro Station.

Overall, the county has 54 Capital Bikeshare stations dispersed throughout Merrifield, Reston and Tysons. Work is underway to expand the system.

The program launched in October 2016 in an effort to make bicycling more accessible to the community.

Options for users include a single trip — which is $1 per every unlock of a bicycle — as well as a 24-hour pass, which is $8 per day, and an annual membership of roughly $8 per month.

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The Barton Hill Recreation Area in Reston is slated for upgrades (via Google Maps)

Reston Association is seeking more time to work through the county’s appeals process on its proposed upgrades to the Barton Hill tennis courts.

At a board meeting last night (Thursday), RA’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a motion to request more time to gather information and for the appeals process. The board met in closed session and approved the motion with no public discussion.

The board directed the the association to also look into “negotiating a resolution on the issue with the Hunter Mill District Supervisor,” according to the approved motion.

Staff may need at least one month to gather more information before the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals takes the issue up at a meeting on Sept. 28.

The proposal has been hung up due to a disagreement over what is required to move the project forward. In addition to approval of a site plan, the county contends that, in addition to a site plan approval, RA needs to get an amendment to the existing Planned Residential Community (PRC) Plan approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors before installing lights at the tennis court facility.

RA has maintained that these additional steps are not necessary and would burden the association with unnecessary additional costs and further extend the timeline of the project.

The association hopes to upgrade lighting at the facility — including 23 LED light poles. The renovation of four courts, striping for tennis and pickle ball and upgrades to the lights is planned.

RA had hoped to wrap up the project by the end of the year, but it’s unclear how the appeals process will affect the timeline.

The county was not immediately available for comment.

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Reston Town Center on a sunny day (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

After more than 50 meetings, Fairfax County will present draft amendments to Reston’s comprehensive plan at public meetings this fall, advancing the first major update to the planning document since 2015.

The process kicked off in 2020 to determine how new development will impact the community, public infrastructure and growth-related issues. Reston has seen more than 50 rezoning applications since the last update in 2015, prompting concerns about growth management.

At a media briefing today (Wednesday), Hunter Mill District Alcorn noted that the update covers all of Reston, unlike previous plans that addressed only parts of it.

“This is one Reston. This is all of Reston,” Alcorn said.

The new plan will go to the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Nov. 2, followed by a vote by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 6.

A 31-member community task force approved draft recommendations on Aug. 28 after 58 public meetings. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn convened the task force after he took office in 2020.

Some controversial topics — like granting a developer more density for providing more community benefits — remain unresolved. A county-led subgroup is studying the issue, according to Alcorn. It’s unclear if the provision will make to to the final report.

Rather than broadly limiting, restricting or expanding development, the plan makes site-specific changes to a limited number of areas. 

In Town Center North, where land is jointly owned by the county and Inova, the plan suggests limiting residential development to Inova-owned property and a maximum of 1,000 residential dwelling units. In the same area, nonresidential development would be limited to 150,000 square feet. County-owned land would be reserved for civic uses with some retail.

Near a proposed extension of South Lakes Drive and north of the Dulles Toll Road, the draft calls for redevelopment. In the Roland Clarke Place neighborhood, a provision for public uses was added in an area currently planned for about 75% residential and 25% non-residential development.

Affordable housing — one of Alcorn’s priorities — remains unchanged outside of Reston’s transit station areas. But within the TSAs, the proposed language recommends setting aside at least 12% of residential units as affordable housing.

For proposals with high density — 1.0 floor-area ratio or above — an increased proportion of affordable housing is expected, although no specific numbers are cited. Overall, rental rates for Workforce Dwelling Units within the TSAs target mostly 71 to 90% of the area media income.

“It’s still one element that’s out there,” Alcorn said. 

Additionally, the draft report leaves language on preserving Reston’s two golf courses untouched, though a study group recently argued that change is needed at the Reston National Golf Course. 

Alcorn acknowledged that more open space is needed in Reston. The plan calls for indoor and outdoor cultural activities, community gathering spaces, and enhanced public art.

It also embraces a multimodal transportation system, along with placemaking guidance in transit-oriented areas.

The plan covers 14 areas based on the seven guiding principles championed by Reston founder Robert E. Simon. New topics include a community health chapter with categories like food systems, active living, social cohesion and health care services.

An equity chapter builds on the county’s One Fairfax policy to remove barriers that “perpetuate injustice in our society” and build a more “inclusive economy,” according to St. Clair Williams, a senior planner with the county’s Department of Planning and Development.

Similarly, the planning principle of economic development is consistent with the county’s policies, but the recommendations are simply “aspirational,” Williams noted.

He noted that public meetings will continue through September with stakeholders before the planning commission’s official review.

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Sunrise at Reston National Golf Course (photo by Terry Baranski)

A study group financed by the owners of Reston National Golf Course — which has been the focus of a community quest to oppose redevelopment — is charting a new path forward for the golf course.

Weller Development Co. and War Horse Cities, the golf course’s owners, hired New City Enterprises to launch the study group more than a year ago in order to assess the current and future conditions of the golf course area.

The group’s work paints a stark picture of two Restons — North and South — the latter of which the group concludes strays from founder Bob Simon’s dreams for the planned community.

After meeting with residents and surveying available community resources, amenities and environmental conditions, the group concluded that the neighborhood surrounding the golf course and most of South Reston needs economic revitalization.

Greg Hamm, managing partner of New City Enterprises, headed the group, which included neighborhood participation and launched in May of last year.

“We kept in mind that Bob Simon was a developer, and the community came out of the idea that working together genuinely works best. So, we thought this small group, open air format offered the best way to create a comfortable environment, especially following the lockdowns,” Hamm wrote to FFXnow. “We engaged all the immediately adjacent neighbors, as well as the larger Reston community and had very good, civil discussions.”

The group identified a three-pronged approach for the future of the golf course and the area, calling for redevelopment of a portion of the golf course into a public open space for Reston.

The group describes the proposal as a “conservancy” that would be fully funded and governed locally. It also suggested new services, amenities, and housing near the existing infrastructure, along with vegetation, architecture, landscaping and views to create what could be called a “conservancy district.”

In a recent Patch opinion piece, Hamm described South Reston as an “amenity desert” compared to other areas in Reston, which are expanding and leaving legacy neighborhoods behind as phase two of the Silver Line aims to launch this year.

The group also said walkability in the area is below average, demanding the need for permanent and public open space.

With the work of the study group now complete, the next step is for the golf course’s owners to identify a plan going forward.

“With the completion of the Silver Line later this year, everyone should honestly gauge the costs of keeping ‘transit-oriented golf’ against its benefits, and then make the comparisons with the proposed alternatives,” Hamm said. “Then the ownership of Reston National, the county and community can begin the appropriate public process.”

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn has repeatedly stated that he would oppose redeveloping the golf course unless there was overwhelming support from the community.

Hamm says his group has worked with Alcorn’s office to share their findings along the way. That process comes as Alcorn’s workgroup completes its formal review of changes to Reston’s comprehensive plan, which currently states that Reston is a two-golf-course community.

Rescue Reston, a group formed in 2012 to protect Reston’s two golf courses and open spaces, has vehemently opposed any redevelopment of the golf course.

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The developer is seeking an expedited timeline for approval (via Reston Association/handout)

The redevelopment of the Vantage Hill condominiums in Reston could move forward on a faster track than previously anticipated.

At the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (Aug. 2), the board unanimously approved a request to expedite the redevelopment of the southwest portion of the property — largely the pool area, which closed years ago — with 28 townhouses.

The 152-unit complex was built in 1962 and was later converted into a condominium community known as Vantage Hill condominium. The development team, CM Vantage LLC, plans to redevelop the abandoned pool area for for-sale residential units.

“The sale is intended to generate revenue to address a backlog of capital improvements facing the existing condominium development,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said.

The redevelopment application is set to go before the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Nov. 2. The applicant wants a set and expedited date for a hearing before the board once the commission approves the project.

A public hearing before the board — which is typically tied to a vote — is currently set for Dec. 6 at 3:30 p.m.

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

Sales generated from the for-sale townhomes 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.

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The former Inova Cameron Glen Care Center in Reston (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The former Inova Cameron Glen Care Center, a 150-bed nursing and rehabilitation facility in Reston, will soon be no more.

Inova plans to demolish the building — which has sat unused since 2014 — beginning next week. The process will start off with tree removal.

Nursing homes beds were relocated to Oakton and Leesburg after the Fairfax County Fire Marshal deemed the building unfit for occupancy in 2021.

In a statement, Inova noted that the demolition of the nursing home sets in motion the vision for redeveloping Reston Town Center North, a 47-acre area in the heart of Reston’s urban core. The nearly 3-acre area will remain dedicated as an open central green.

“This rare opportunity to return developed land to open space is a unique and valuable component of the larger community redevelopment plan,” Inova wrote in the statement.

Inova is working with community partners, law enforcement and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn to ensure the community is aware about the planned demolition and secure the safety of the site.

“Looking forward, we are eager for the completion of the Reston Town Center North redevelopment and the valuable community facilities and housing that will be enabled by the project,” Inova said.

The news comes after nonprofit organization Reston Strong asked Inova to undertake a feasibility to study if the building can serve as temporary transitional housing.

But other pieces of the massive project — which has long been in the works — are moving forward.

In February, the county received an unsolicited proposal from Foulger-Pratt to redevelop a nearly 3-acre parcel owned by the county into an apartment building for working families, a new library, and free parking. The application prompted the county to solicit a call for proposals.

Alcorn also established a task force to study public facilities in the RTC North area.

Inova spokesperson Melissa Riddy told FFXnow that a firm timeline is not in place for the completion of the central park. 

“The features of the open space in the Central Park have not yet been planned as it is part of the joint planning exercise between Inova and Fairfax County for the redevelopment of Reston Town Center North,” Riddy wrote in a statement.

She added that the timing will depend entirely on the outcome of the planning and zoning process. 

A spokesperson for Fairfax County told FFXnow that the county is still working through the procurement process. More information is expected “in the coming weeks and months,” according to Benjamin Boxer, a spokesperson for the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development. 

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The county could ask a developer to pay $1.65 million to find a safer crossing at Wiehle Avenue (via Fairfax County)

A developer-proposed solution for a new crossing at Wiehle Avenue at the eastbound Dulles Toll Road ramps in Reston is officially off the table.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously yesterday (Tuesday) to consider a different proposal for the controversial crossing, which was the subject of vigorous debate during the approval of TF Cornerstone’s Campus Commons project.

Community concerns about the safety of an at-grade crossing led to the formation of a study group that identified several options for the crossing. Not one member of the group — which met 15 times between December 2019 and August 2021 — supported the developer’s suggested overpass options or an at-grade crosswalk. Most favored an alternative crossing through an underpass — which comes with a hefty price tag.

With a deadline looming to make a decision on the proffer, the board has officially decided to ditch the developer’s proposed options and explore what Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn says will be the most appropriate pedestrian crossing option.

Alcorn says a final decision on the crossing will come after the county completes a corridor study of Wiehle Avenue between Sunrise Valley Drive and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. The study was approved in September of last year and will begin six months after phase two of the Silver Line opens.

Yesterday’s board matter formalizes language that the board will not support the developer’s proposed overpass options. The developer will either construct the crossing ultimately selected or provide $1.65 million as laid out in the proffers.

So far, the county has hinted at pursuing a “high visibility” at-grade crossing.

In his board matter, Alcorn said the proposal should “address documented concerns raised by the community…to ensure that this improvement is designed to be aesthetically pleasing, highly efficient, safe and accessible for all users.”

The Campus Commons matter was initially deferred last month for clerical changes and the refinement of legalese.

The vote comes nearly three years after the board approved the Campus Commons project, which will transform an aging office park at 1900 and 1902 Campus Common Drive into a 1.3 million-square-foot development.

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Reston Strong, a local volunteer-run advocacy organization, is commemorating the 100th day of its Neighbors in Tents campaign to address homelessness in Fairfax County.

On Tuesday, the organization marked the 100th day of unhoused residents staying in a temporary tent community in front of the North County Government building. The tents were set up this spring as an alternative after the county’s hypothermia and COVID-19 emergency shelters wound down.

“Tents were not what Reston Strong wanted. They were a temporary solution in the absence of a governmental one,” organizers said.

Organizers say they are still waiting for permanent solutions, including a mobile mental health crisis unit in Reston and changes to the county’s zoning ordinance that would allow temporary transitional housing as a by-right use in empty commercial buildings and spaces.

In a symbolic gesture, the group installed 100 black flags around the center and delivered funeral wreaths with 100 black roses to Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn.

Now, with temperatures rising, Reston Strong is asking the county to provide 24-hour cooling centers and access to drinking water for individuals in the temporary tents.

In a statement to FFXnow, Alcorn noted that discussion on the issue has been ongoing for several years.

“This is not a new challenge for Reston and Fairfax County and I am committed to seeking long-term solutions,” Alcorn wrote in a statement.

In April, Alcorn directed the county’s Office to Prevent and End Homelessness to review the current performance of the county and nonprofit service providers. He asked staff to update the county’s homelessness strategies in coordination with the Affordable Housing Advisory Council.

He also set a goal of adding 1,000 affordable housing units in the Hunter Mill District by the end of 2027.

“Everyone in our community, regardless of circumstances, deserved to be treated with respect and humanity,” Reston Strong organizers wrote.

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