Aug. 24, 2022
Many of us who live in the landmark planned community conceived and created in the 1960s by Robert E. Simon, Jr., like planning. And I am one of those people. My first Board Matter when I took office in January 2020 was to create a task force of Reston residents and stakeholders to study and discuss updates to the Reston Comprehensive Plan (the area outlined in blue). Even then we knew it would be a critical but gargantuan task building on the work of a similar task force that led to the first comprehensive planning effort for Reston approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2014-2015 (before then the famous Reston Master Plan more or less filled this role).
But the time was right in early 2020 to review key elements of the comprehensive plan, including the balance of existing and planned development, infrastructure and the environment across all of Reston. What we didn't know then was the imminent arrival and persistence of COVID-19. The study I had envisioned taking 12 to 18 months, began in May 2020 and ended this Monday, after more than two years and 58 meetings of the full task force – not counting at least that many more meetings of task force subgroups.
However, I am happy to report that it was time well spent! The task force members (scroll down for list) courageously worked countless hours during the pandemic with all its challenges. The members were not always in agreement – right up to the final task force vote - but everyone shared a vested interest in Reston's future. Final edits that were discussed and voted on at Monday's meeting are underway and I will make the task force recommendations available to you as soon as possible. This has also been a collaborative effort with Hunter Mill District Planning Commissioner John Carter, as well as county staff from multiple agencies, especially the Department of Planning and Development and Department of Transportation.
Note, however, that while the task force completion is a major milestone this is not a “done deal.” The next steps are for the county to host multiple community outreach meetings to get feedback and additional input beginning next month, some of which will be in-person and others virtual. That schedule will also be promoted in this newsletter and in other locations (and please help us spread the word.) If you have a group that would like a presentation and the opportunity to provide feedback during the community outreach phase, please email my office at email@example.com. You will also be able to provide input via a county portal that should be live beginning Sept. 6 through Oct. 28 – I will get you that link as well.
The community presentations will include the following topics areas:
- Land Use
- Affordable Housing
- Heritage Resources
- Economic Development
- Planning Principles
- Environmental Stewardship
- Parks and Open Space
- Public Facilities
- Community Health
I would like to note that this would the first time that equity and community health are included in a comprehensive plan anywhere in Fairfax County. I am proud that Reston again will play a leading role on critical social issues! I should also note that the topic of earned density was also studied but was tabled for additional discussion and review during the community engagement process.
Following public input this fall, an updated draft of proposed changes to Reston’s Comprehensive Plan is expected to go before the Planning Commission in November, with public hearings, and then the Board of Supervisors in December, also with public hearings.
This is an exciting opportunity for Reston as the comprehensive plan guides development and environmental protection for the coming decades. To learn more about the Reston Comprehensive Plan Study and the task force, visit the county's webpage (includes the archive of meeting details and agendas). The video archive of task force meetings can be found on my YouTube page.