St Johns Wood Redevelopment - North Point - Reston
*Dec. 19 Reston Planning &Zoning Committee hearing deferred. New date not yet set.
Did you know that the Reston Association Design Review Board (DRB) just approved a major redevelopment design of the St Johns Wood Community in our neighborhood here in North Reston?
RA is now officially opposing this plan. Thank you for all your help as this would not have been possible without each one of you raising your voices.
Unfortunately, this does not mean that this project will not be approved as Bozzutto and FFX CO Supervisor and the Reston P&Z seem intent to drive through this plan. Neither appear to be ‘listening’ to our concerns in community meetings or in written feedback and we need your help yet again.
The new redevelopment will have more than 500 units, which is double the current 250 unit capacity and will feature up to five stories in two large new complexes and rental town houses with less than two parking spaces per unit. The complex will have two traffic exits, one on Center Harbor Road and the other on North Village.
If you agree with our concerns and would like to take action with us, here is how you can make an impact:
What are we fighting? SJW (owned by the Bozzuto company) in Reston’s North Point area proposes to:
- Demolish the current SJW garden-apartment complex with 250 dwelling units
- Over an estimated 18-month period, more than double the current number of rental units, from 250 to 511, constructed in 2 massive urban-style apartment buildings and in 44 townhouses. The townhouses are not permitted by the Reston Master Plan.
- Build a new SJW driveway onto Center Harbor Road, creating traffic problems, heightened by inadequate on-site parking, all the way down to Buzz Aldrin Elementary School
- Remove 59 percent of the existing tree canopy
- Do all this in disregard for the Reston Deed, the Reston Master Plan, and the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance—the three main legal protections for the Reston we know and love. Failure to enforce these safeguards against SJW will diminish their enforceability against other massive developments in Reston. A very dangerous precedent
Who’s fighting along with us?
- It all began with the signers of this petition.
- Then “Reclaim Reston” was formed to analyze the issues, mobilize concerned Restonians, and engage reviewing officials on the issues.
- In a rare move, the Reston Association Board of Directors unanimously approved a letter of September 28, 2016, opposing the SJW redevelopment proposal as non-complaint with the Reston Master plan. See http://www.reston.org/Portals/3/2016 Development...
- On November 15, 2016, the Reston Design Review Board withdrew its earlier conceptual approval and deferred further consideration of the proposal until a number of changes were made. The proposal cannot legally be built without DRB approval. For the DRB’s November 15 action, and the analysis of other Reston Association review committees, see http://www. reston.org/Portals/3/2016%20Development/RACommentDocument-SJW11-29-16.pdf
- The proposal has not been heard yet by either the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee or the Fairfax County Planning Commission. Though neither makes the final decision, both are important advisory bodies. They will schedule hearings on SJW for sometime after December 2016. We’ll let you know the dates as soon as they are set.
- Besides the DRB, the other body that must approve or deny SJW is the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. As of yet, Cathy Hudgins, our Hunter Woods District representative on that board, has not taken a position against the SJW proposal.
What you can do. The first three steps are the most important ones.
- Inform yourself. Read the letter below of Susanne Andersson-Tosado, who began this petition. Check the additional, detailed analysis found on the RA website at http://www.reston.org/Portals/3/2016 Development...
- Sign this petition now right on this website, and urge your Reston friends and neighbors to go to the website and do the same.
- Come to the remaining public hearings. Though no dates have been set, the next ones will be a hearing before the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee, a re-hearing before the DRB, a hearing before the Fairfax County Planning Commission, and finally a hearing before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Nothing says “Reston concern and determination” like a room filled with RA members!
- If you have time, write the reviewing officials listed below.
Delayed - P&Z Meeting - St Johns Wood project : On behalf of the developer, the December 19th Planning and Zoning meeting for the St Johns Wood redevelopment project has yet again been delayed with no new date published
1. Sign this petition to include your name for inclusion in the written feedback letter to all decision making bodies.
2. IMPORTANT UPCOMING MEETINGS:
Join us at the meetings listed below to show your support and or voice your concerns to elected officials.
P&Z REVIEW - January tbd
FFX CO Planning - January tbd
3. Contact your elected and government officials via email or letter or phone directly and let them know of your concerns immediately. They need to know that we are watching the process closely and that we expect more from them. List of people to contact can be found below.
See attached plan structure Overlay on current map and link to the plan http://www.reston.org/Portals/3/2016 Development...
Several community members feel the plan approved by the DRB should be reassessed. See our letter to be submitted to RA DRB, Reston Planning and Zoning, Reston Association, and Supervisor Hudgins Office explaining why we would DRB to revisit the design and for no other decisions to be made by anyone until the plans can be vetted and adjusted further.
Mr Frank de la Fe
Vice Chairman Fairfax County Planning Commission
12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 730,
Fairfax, VA 22035
Mr Faheem Darab and Ms Mary Ann Tsai, Planning Division, Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 730, Fairfax, VA 22035
Ms. Cate Fulkerson, Reston Association CEO, Reston Association, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr, Reston, VA 20191
We need to let Fairfax County, Reston Association and the DRB know that we want to stop the plan from proceeding forward without additional revisions to the design. We also need to let Fairfax County, RA and DRB know that the process of gathering community feedback is inadequate and we expect more direct input when it comes to redevelopment projects of this size.
See letter below
Re: St Johns Wood Community Redevelopment Plan Approved by the RA DRB – Community Input with Signatures in preparation for your reviews and approval meetings
Dear Ms. Hudgins, (we are submitting this letter to all above authorities)
The St Johns Wood Community Redevelopment concept plan, which was approved by the Reston Association DRB on July 19, 2016 has several drawbacks and should be reassessed by the DRB and all other decision making bodies involved in the approval process. This letter outlines the concerns raised by me and fellow residents in the North Point village area and explains the reasons we would like all decision making bodies and Bozzuto to jointly revisit the plan review and decision.
Due to the large number of co-signatures, I respectfully request that I can share the feedback in this letter during any upcoming meeting planned and that the letter be added into the official meeting minutes of the meeting. I also suggest that this letter be shared and discussed with Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning in any future discussions.
We have requested the DRB to revisit the July 19 plan review and decision. We also requested that the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee take this feedback into account and add to July 25th meeting minutes. We have also shared all concerns with Supervisor Hudgins and the RA Board at an August 4th meeting and also requested that this letter be added into the official meeting minutes and comments section.
Concerns and feedback below cover the following areas. The community expects feedback and review of each area separately.
- Non-compliance with mass and architecture standards for St Johns Wood in the revised Reston Master Plan
- Traffic exits
- Management of parking on streets outside the ‘cluster’ boundaries
- Tree preservation
- Visibility from adjacent properties and roads
- Length of redevelopment project
- Community feedback and comments
1. Character of Property (Mass and Architecture) does not adhere to revised Reston Master Plan standards for St Johns Wood.
The newly adopted Reston Master Plan states the following specifically for St Johns Wood: ‘The architecture and massing of development should feature context sensitive design that fits into the natural and architectural character of the surrounding area.’
Reference: FAIRFAX COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN, 2013 Edition AREA III
Reston, Amended through 6-2-2015
Area III, RESTON NEIGHBORHOODS, Section 5.
The newly approved design is not in alignment with the requirements for St Johns Wood in the recently revised Reston Master Plan as the property mass and architecture style does not blend in with the natural character of the surrounding areas.
1.1 The massing of development structure is not context sensitive to the design of the surrounding areas clusters. See below picture overlay of new structure with surrounding area clusters on map view. This map view picture shows that the property mass does not blend in with the natural character of the surrounding areas.
New Structure Overlay on current map.
1.2 The architectural character of the new buildings is not in line with surrounding area clusters and does fit better in with the type of architecture used in the Reston Town Center. The pictures below are examples of drawings from the plan submitted by Bozzuto and does not align with architecture in the vicinity which provides for a more garden style design. The nearby Bozzuto Harbor Park Cluster is an example of an architecture that clearly blends in better with the rest of the surrounding architecture.
Examples of new St Johns Wood Architecture.
2. Traffic exits -
2.1 Traffic exit design needs to be revisited/changed. A new exit onto the Center Harbor Road across from Church Hill Place will create traffic increases in both directions on Center Harbor Road. In addition, the current exit on North Point Village Road will not be able to absorb more traffic without disruptions to the surrounding walk path ways in the neighborhood. Our recommendation is that the exit of this new cluster drop out onto Reston Parkway across from Great Owl Drive. (See picture below for recommended changes to cluster exit).
2.2 The new exit needs to be ready in advance of all deconstruction and construction traffic activities so as to limit construction traffic on all minor roads (Center Harbor, North Village etc.)
Picture: Suggested alternative exit from St Johns Wood Cluster across from the Great Owl Drive on Reston Parkway.
3. Management of overflow street parking outside the ‘cluster’ boundaries
Bozzuto will not provide any non-garage parking inside the cluster for any units. All parking designation will be in the so called ‘Texas doughnuts’ inside the larger building units and the current proposed allotment in the current plan is
Required for the multi-family 748
Required for the town homes 125
Total required= 873
Amount of parking being provided = 960
It is highly likely that, similar to Bozzuto Harbor Park residents, St Johns Wood guests and residents will park on adjacent streets, which do not have capacity to support street side parking or which are not designed to be used in that capacity. This will further increase safety concerns in the neighborhood. The only street side parking that could be available for Bozzuto residents would be Center Harbor Road or North Village or the North Point Village Shopping Center or North Point Park. Increased street side parking would impact safety and crowding on both streets.
3.1 Capacity planning for resident car use and parking needs to be reevaluated. Reston was designed to manage cluster parking inside each cluster area, and capacity planning for designated parking for this new development, should be designed to be fully supported inside cluster boundaries. Inside cluster designated parking for this new development, should allot at minimum 2 cars per household inside cluster boundaries, along with parking arrangements for ‘working vehicles and trucks’ owned or driven by residents. In addition, parking allotment inside cluster should allow for extra guest parking.
3.2 Plan should clarify how overflow parking will be managed.
Today, Bozzuto does not appear to effectively manage the ‘permanent nature’ of overflow or street side parking along Center Harbor Road by its residents in the nearby Harbor Park cluster. (See example picture from August 2, 2016 along Center Harbor Road outside Bozzuto’s Harbor Point apartment complex. I counted 27 cars utilizing street side parking on Center Harbor Road, outside the Harbor Park cluster) Parking lots provided by Bozzuto at Harbor Park are either out of capacity or deemed to be less convenient than the Center Harbor street side parking. It appears the Bozzuto management cannot control overflow activity onto Center Harbor Road which impacts the sight and safety of the approach onto Buzz Aldrin Elementary.
Picture: Example of Center Harbor Road street parking by residents of the nearby Bozzuto Harbor Park community. Parking lots provided by Bozzuto appear to either be out of capacity or deemed to be less convenient than street side parking.
4. Tree preservation –
4.1 The Bozzuto revised plan accommodates more tree preservation than previous plans, which is to be applauded. However, the high level design does not address how much mature tree growth will be removed. Therefore, the DRB should request that no mature trees will be removed unless they are sick or dead.
4.2 In addition, Bozzuto needs to be requested to follow proper RA review process for all tree removal. Clusters adjacent to St Johns Wood should be cc'd on all those reviews in advance of decisions, so that proper appeals can be raised by the community.
5. Limited visibility from adjacent properties -
5.1 Street view of design looking into the property from all adjacent properties and roads should be submitted by Bozzuto and approved prior to any final approvals. Current design does not include any such drawings.
5.2 The street view design sketches should show that redevelopment will have limited visibility from all adjacent properties and should also ensure that property will not tower above existing tree line.
6. Length of redevelopment project
6.1 Bozzuto should include a high level time plan of a) expected length of deconstruction/tear down of current housing and b) new development activities.
7. Community feedback and comments -
RA should allow for a better community feedback process for redevelopment projects of this size.
7.1 Meetings notes from Bozzuto community meetings should be submitted by Bozzuto along with plans to both RA and Fairfax County. An example of over glossed comments that are critical in the current discussions, was provided by Mr. Wolfe, Principal of the nearby Buzz Aldrin Elementary school in a community meeting with Bozzuto. As I recall, he raised three important points. There was no mention of his feedback when the DRB asked Bozzuto verbally what type of feedback had been provided.
7.2 RA should be required to include all community feedback as amendments to decisions. This also needs to be submitted to the Fairfax County Planning and Zoning committee.
7.3 The current process allows for very limited interaction with the DRB for discussions and the current meeting format should be amended to allow for a more bi-directional dialog between the community and DRB. A three minute speaking limit is not the correct format to deal with the large numbers of questions that need to be answered for a redevelopment project of this size. As one DRB member mentioned in the July 19th meeting, this is one of the few sites within RA boundaries that will be available for a redevelopment project of this size. Therefore, the standard community DRB speaking and feedback format is not appropriate.
We appreciate the opportunity to speak in front of all decision making bodies and would like to find a format where the all parties can discuss feedback on each point raised above without the three minute cut off limit for a speaker. We also would like to see Planning and Zoning and DRB provide comments in writing to this letter.
Enclosure 1: Resident Co-signatures from North Point area residents, collected at petition site at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/st-johns-wood
cc: Jared Willcox, Chairman and Robert Walker, Vice Chairman, Reston Planning and Zoning Committee, 1801 Cameron Glen Dr, Reston, VA 20190
cc: Mr Faheem Darab and Ms Mary Ann Tsai, Planning Division, Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 730, Fairfax, VA 22035
cc: Ms. Danielle La Rosa, Reston Association Board – North Point Village Representative, Reston Association, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr, Reston, VA 20191
cc: Ms. Cate Fulkerson, Reston Association CEO, Reston Association, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr, Reston, VA 20191cc: Ms. Cathy Hudgins, Hunter Mill District Supervisor, Fairfax County, 1801 Cameron Glen Drive
Reston, VA 20190