Sept. 13, 2023
The Board of Supervisors approved a new Reston Comprehensive Plan yesterday. Here are excerpts from my statement:
I would like to thank Hunter Mill Commissioner John Carter, the whole Planning Commission, the Reston Comprehensive Plan Task Force, county staff, the Hunter Mill office staff, the Chairman's office staff, my colleagues on the Board, all the Restonians that provided input, and the cadre of citizens that spend countless hours reviewing and improving land use proposals and keeping Reston the great place it is to live, work and play.
Reston is the preeminent post-World War II planned community in the United States. The challenge is maintaining fidelity to Reston’s original vision while meeting the new challenges (and opportunities) of today.
This plan and process shows that even in times of the highest levels of community concern about growth and development, this is a consensus community plan. Focusing growth around Metrorail is not only possible, it is the reality in Reston.
Reston is not only a demonstration of a well-planned and executed planned community, now with emerging transit-oriented communities, it is also a demonstration of a successful “missing middle” development strategy undertaken decades before the term was ever conceived.
Reston was founded in the early 1960s not only as a physical community, but one that also followed 7 Planning Principles conceived by Robert E. Simon, Jr. These 7 founding principles brought a daring social twist into a large-scale development project, and some of those principles are still challenging today – including the one rather unusual principle that calls for “the focal point of all planning would be on the importance and dignity of the individual.” As the first racially open community in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the integration of social values into planning and development is in Reston’s DNA.
The challenges associated with growth in Reston are still very much with us – making sure infrastructure keeps up with development, protecting our green spaces, ensuring that new communities within Reston are great and inclusive places to live, work, and play – and while these challenges are still with us. Adoption of this updated Comprehensive plan will help us not only meet those challenges but will help Reston thrive. This plan will help achieve the ultimate goal of Reston founder Robert E Simon, Jr. – that is the goal of creating true community.
Note that approval of this comprehensive plan does not mark the end of planning in Reston, and in fact several issues raised by residents will be considered in the SSPA process which has waited for this Reston Comprehensive Plan update to conclude.