Hold the Date – We Need YOU There!

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The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, January 21, 2015, at 9:00am, in the Auditorium, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035.

Reston needs to come out en masse to remind BZA and Northwestern Mutual that we are still here and still active.

Press Release from Supervisor Hudgins

For Immediate Release                                                        Contact: Catherine Hanes
November 13, 2014                                                                                    703-478-0283

RN Golf Management, LLC Update

Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins announces that RN Golf Management, LLC, also identified as Reston National Golf Course, has reactivated their appeal (A 2012-HM-020) and are requesting that a public hearing date before the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) be scheduled.

The appeal is of a determination made by the Fairfax County Zoning Administrator that any redevelopment of the property located at 11875 Sunrise Valley Drive and 2018 Soapstone Drive, Reston, VA., Tax Map reference: 17-4 ((11)) 4A, 26-2 ((2)) 8 and 26-2 ((5)) 4, for uses other than a golf course or open space would require an amendment to the Reston Master Plan, which is part of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan, approval of a Development Plan Amendment and  approval of a PRC plan from the Board of Supervisors.  Supervisor Hudgins continues to support the Fairfax County Zoning Administrator’s determination.

Under Virginia Code all appeals regarding Zoning Administrator interpretations are conducted by the BZA.  The public hearing date has not been assigned and will be announced when scheduled.

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The Beast Returns

Rescue Reston confirms that on November 12 we received email notification from Mavis Stanfield, Fairfax County Deputy Zoning Administrator for Appeals, that “RN Golf Management, LLC (“RN”), requests that the BZA hearing on its Appeal (A 2012-HM-020) from the subject Zoning Determination pertaining to Reston National Golf Course be scheduled for the earliest available date.”

David Burns, Rescue Reston’s VP for Legal Affairs, spoke with Ms. Stanfield this morning. She said the Board of Zoning Appeals hearing would not be sooner than January 21, but that they are required to hold it within 90 days of attorney Frank McDermott’s request (which was November 10). McDermott represents the firm of Hunton & Williams LLP. Rescue Reston is represented by the firm of Greehan, Taves, Pandak & Stoner, PLLC.

Rescue Reston anticipates that a date for the BZA hearing will be set between January 21 and February 10, 2015.

This is an interesting time for the owners of RN, which includes the majority owner Northwestern Mutual, to again take up this battle. Reston is in the midst of Phase II of its Master Plan revision, and though it is only a guideline, text has been specifically added regarding the two golf courses that are an integral part of Reston:

“The Reston National (Tax Maps 17-4((11) 4A, 26-2 ((2)) 8, 26-2 ((5)) 4) and Hidden Creek Country Club (Tax Maps 17-2 ((24)) 1 and 17-4 ((10)) 2) golf courses are planned for private recreation use, more specifically to remain as golf courses.” (page 48 of working plan draft text dated September 5, 2014)

Background on the BZA appeal: On July 26, 2013, RN Golf Management LLC, owner of the Reston National Golf Course, requested an indefinite deferral of its hearing before the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals. The hearing is in regards to RN’s appeal of the Fairfax County Zoning Administrator’s determination that the golf course cannot be developed without an amendment to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan. RN had previously postponed the hearing three times.

Rescue Reston will be communicating frequently with our army of volunteers. We will announce a plan of action the week of November 17th. Follow Rescue Reston on Facebook and Twitter, sign up for our newsletter, and if you have not already, please sign our petition.

Attention Rescuers – Plan on Attending the Reston Area Study Phase II Open House This Saturday 6/7/2014

By Rescue Reston Board of Directors

Reston Area Study – Phase II Open House + Reston Movie Preview

Location: United Christian Parish (UCP) Church, 11508 N Shore Dr, Reston, VA 20190

Time: Doors Open at 8:30 a.m. and close at 10:30 a.m. Arrive at any time between these hours.

Show Your Support for Reston by Attending The Upcoming Reston Area Study Phase II Open House

back of t-shirt
Format: Walk-a-about to various information tables.

Sneak a peak of the work-in-progess cut of the “The Reston Story” at the close of the Open House

Details from the Fairfax County Department of Zoning and Planning Website:

Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning are hosting an open house on the Reston Master Plan Study Phase II. Phase II of the Reston Master Plan will establish a general vision for the village centers throughout Reston. In addition, Phase II will enhance guidance for preserving stable neighborhoods. Issue areas such as transportation, parks, environmental, and zoning will be explored during the open house. Fairfax County staff from multiple disciplines will be available to answer questions and discuss the Reston Master Plan Phase II process. The meeting will be held on June 7 at United Christian Parish (UCP) Church located at 11508 North Shore Drive in Reston. Doors will open at 8:30 AM.

In addition to the open house, a special viewing of “The Reston Story” will be shown at the conclusion of the open house. The film explores the first 50 years of Reston through its early days to the present. Sneak a peak of the work-in-progess cut of the “The Reston Story” as it follows the development of this “new town” from its beginnings — a 6,750-acre tract of farming land to the home of approximately 65,000 residents and a job center for an estimated 60,000 workers”.

Rock your yellow t-shirt, if you’ve misplaced yours, we still have t-shirts available for $10. Send us a message at info@RescueReston.org for t-shirt requests.

RN Golf Management’s Zoning Appeal Indefinite Deferral Update

By Rescue Reston Board of Directors

Vigilance Required as RNGM Next Steps Remain Murky

Last week we reported that RN Golf Management LLC, owner of the Reston National Golf Course, requested an indefinite deferral of its hearing before the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals. The hearing regards RN Golf Management’s (RNGM) appeal of the Fairfax County Zoning Administrator’s decision that the golf course cannot be developed without an amendment to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan. This week we learned that RNGM’s request for an indefinite deferral of the hearing has been granted, basically putting their appeal on hold for now. This latest action comes after three prior postponements of the hearing, all of which were at the request of RNGM.

We see this latest deferral as further indication that RNGM, which is controlled by Northwestern Mutual, realizes the weakness of its claim that it has the right to develop the golf course without an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan. We can only speculate as to what Northwestern Mutual’s next move may be. They may wait to revisit this matter at some point in the future. They may try to sell the golf course property. Or they may try to persuade the Board of Supervisors to amend the Comprehensive Plan in a way that permits development.

It is this last possibility, an attempt to amend the Comprehensive Plan, that is the most troubling. Rescue Reston Board members have been meeting with members of the Board of Supervisors to brief them on the issues surrounding these attempts to develop the golf course. While we currently are unaware of any efforts to promote such an amendment, we need to remain vigilant and prepared to oppose any further efforts to develop the golf course which may emerge. If you have not done so already, please sign the petition on this website to indicate your opposition to any attempts to permit development of this open space resource for our community.

Volunteers Needed for Saturday Reston Farmers Market

By Connie Hartke, V.P. – Communications, Rescue Reston

 

Volunteer to Collect Petition Signatures at the Reston Farmer's Market

Rescue Reston needs volunteers to collect signatures at each Saturday morning Reston Farmer’s Market. Even 30 minutes of your time helps to further our cause. Click Here to Sign Up.

Volunteer Diane Lewis and I have been at the last two Reston Farmer’s Markets getting signatures on the Rescue Reston petition. We sit at a small table on the side with the other community non-profits, and as folks come by and ask what Rescue Reston is about, we give them our Frequently Asked Questions page and ask them to sign the petition. In the last two weekends we have gotten 70 signatures! More importantly, we’ve helped 70 more people understand the issue around saving the 166 acres of open space in Reston.

Can you help on an upcoming Saturday morning? Any time you can spend volunteering helps. If we can get 2-3 volunteers to split a morning, it is a lot easier than finding someone who can volunteer the entire morning. Diane will be there this Saturday July 20, 2013 when the market opens at 8 a.m., and I will be there by 10 a.m. to relieve her. If you visit the market this weekend, please stop by to see what we’re doing and let us know if you can help another time. Given the heat, if you could cover for us for even 10 minutes while we go get a cool drink, we’d be grateful.

Remember — open space lost is open space lost forever.

We’ve set up a signup sheet, please click here to volunteer. Thank you for your continued support.

Successful Spring into Action Event

By David Stroh, Executive Director, Rescue Reston

Wow, fun and wow, successful. That’s a short summary of the fine evening we had on May 5 at Rescue Reston’s “Spring into Action” BBQ and silent auction fundraising event held at the Hidden Creek Country Club in Reston. The Bank Street Band was great. The venue was perfect for our full house crowd of 130 friendly, fun, and caring folks. We all had a good evening, enjoyed each other, and know now, more than ever, that we are a strong community devoted to protecting the long-standing Reston Master Plan for open space at Reston National Golf Course.

I want to extend my thanks to all for making it such a success. Thanks to Ruth Ann Pinkman who chaired the event. She tirelessly handled every aspect of the evening and is still at work tallying the results. Thanks to Ray Wedell whose membership at Hidden Creek allowed us to hold the evening there without charge for the venue. Thanks to the Bank Street Band that played so well, got the crowd dancing, and freely contributed their talents. Thanks to the many folks who made generous purchases of the more than 80 donated silent auction items. Thanks to the special volunteers whose efforts made the evening run smoothly. Thanks to State Delegate Ken Plum and to Reston Association’s President , Ken Knueven, and Board Member, Richard Chew, and to the Reston Citizens Association President, Colin Mills, for coming out to show their support. Thank you to everyone who came. Your many contributions and support are much appreciated as Rescue Reston continues the fight to keep one of Reston’s major open spaces.

Open Letter to Northwestern Mutual Shareholders

by Connie Hartke, Rescue Reston

I received a phone call from a longtime Restonian who is a shareholder of Northwestern Mutual (NWM). He talked about what an ethical company NWM is and his surprise that they would try to take away what has been permanent open space since Reston’s earliest planning—open space that we have relied on in our decisions to buy property and live here. He thought it would be powerful if he and other Reston NWM shareholders wrote letters explaining how they feel about this particular investment.It’s a wonderful idea, and here is the person to write to:

Mr. John E. Schlifske
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance
720 East Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202

RE: [your NWM account #s] and Redevelopment of Reston National Golf Course, Reston VA

A quick synopsis of the issue: Fairfax County tax records show a sale of the Reston National Golf Course property in 2005 to RN Golf Management LLC (RN Golf) for $5,009,819, an entity in which NWM is a major investor.

In June 2012 the Fairfax County Zoning Administrator’s Office received and rejected RN Golf’s contention that the Reston National Golf Course could be developed with residential housing without the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County first making an appropriate change to the adopted Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan for Reston. In July 2012, RN Golf appealed that decision to the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) and has since asked for, and received, three delays of the hearing date. The BZA hearing is now scheduled for September 25, 2013. You can read more details at RescueReston.org.

Whatever led RN Golf to buy the property back in 2005 and then conjure a belief in 2012 that the golf course is already zoned for easy residential development was mistaken.

RN Golf bought the Reston National Golf Course property subject to zoning restrictions requiring that it remain open space, as has been shown on the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan for over 40 years. People have long relied on Reston’s plan, its zoning and permanent open space in making decisions to buy property and live in Reston. RN Golf has no right—legally or ethically—to expect that those restrictions would be changed.

RN Golf and Northwestern Mutual have underestimated our community response. We will not go away. Restonians are passionate about Reston and tenacious enough to fight for as long as it takes to prevail.

Rescue Reston is a grass-roots organization of volunteers dedicated to protecting the permanent open space of Reston National Golf Course. Executive Director David Stroh and I were interviewed by John Lovaas, longtime Restonian and host/producer of the public affairs program RESTON IMPACT. It’s a worthwhile 28 minutes to share with anyone who isn’t clear on the possibility of residential development on our permanent open space and Northwestern Mutual’s involvement. It will first air at 8:30 p.m. on May 1st on Comcast Channel 28. You can see it anytime at http://vimeo.com/64568662#.

If you are a shareholder of NWM and care about the open space that makes Reston unique and a highly desirable community to live in, please write a letter. NWM has a $30+ billion portfolio of real estate investments, but what about your personal investment in Reston?

Perhaps you can mention that you read on the nm-reston.com website that “Northwestern Mutual of Reston has found that success is primarily driven by a well-thought-out, comprehensive strategic plan” and that you would like them to respect our long-standing Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan for Reston. Reston’s historic land use plan created a design for a place to live, work and play and is what makes Reston number 7 of the 10 best places to live in America, according to CNN/Money Magazine in 2012. If you can, join us on Sunday May 5th at our Spring into Action BBQ & Rally.