About Rescue RestonLearn about Rescue Reston's mission
Why Was Rescue Reston Formed?
Rescue Reston is a grass-roots organization comprising community volunteers who oppose redevelopment of Reston National Golf Course into residential housing or any site development other than a golf course or comparable open space. The group was brought to action because of a July 27, 2012 proposal by the investor-owners of the Reston National Golf Course to turn the golf course’s open space into a residential development, which is contrary to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan and Reston Master Plan. The primary work of Rescue Reston is to establish cohesive community-based strategies and activities to promote grass-root efforts that oppose redevelopment attempts by the Reston National Golf Course owners.
In early 2012, RN Golf Management, LLC, an entity which we have learned is majority-owned by Northwestern Mutual, a life insurance & financial investment company, filed a letter with the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning (the “P&Z”) asking for a ruling that the golf course land was zoned for residential development and was not subject to any restrictions that would prevent such development. Note that they had inquired as to the land use designation before they purchased. On June 20, 2012, the County Zoning Administrator responded that the property was restricted under the Reston Master Plan to use as “open space,” such as a park, nature center or golf course. They went on to state that because the Reston Master Plan is incorporated into the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan, the golf course property may not be developed for residential use unless an amendment to the Fairfax Comprehensive Plan permitting such development was adopted. Such an amendment would require the affirmative vote of the County Board of Supervisors.
RN Golf Management filed an appeal of the P&Z’s decision with the County Board of Zoning Appeals. In its appeal, RN Golf Management’s attorneys aggressively disputed the determination of the P&Z, and argued that the property should be subject to residential development without the need for amendment of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan. Rescue Reston retained legal counsel to oppose RN Golf Management’s position in this appeal and to argue that the golf course was and continues to be restricted to use as open space.
In 2015, the case moved from the Board of Zoning Appeals to the Circuit Court. On Friday, November 6, 2015, the Fairfax County Circuit Court granted a motion for summary judgment filed by Fairfax County and supported by Reston Association and individual homeowners and cluster associations abutting the golf course.
A significant chapter in the battle to rezone the Reston National Golf Course came to an end on Friday, March 4, 2016, after attorneys for the golf course filed a letter with the Supreme Court of Virginia indicating they would not pursue an appeal.
In April 2016, all supporters of Rescue Reston were honored as the Reston Citizens Association “Citizen(s) of the Year” for outstanding achievements for the Reston community in the year 2015
Rescue Reston works to defend Reston’s recreational green space at Reston National Golf Course, a 166-acre Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program Golf Course on the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
In doing so we are guided by the following principles:
- Maintain the sense of community that Reston has enjoyed for more than 50 years through thoughtful planning and zoning.
- Protect this space from development that is counter to the adopted Reston Master Plan and the vision for Reston laid out in its founding as an ideal place to live, work and play.
- Prevent the destruction of the Restonian way of life that includes concentrated open spaces where nature can thrive and people can enjoy wildlife and natural horizons.
- Sustain the vision that Reston offered homeowners of a community dedicated to preservation of open space and limitations on development. People bought homes here with the understanding that Reston would maintain a geography of lakes, golf courses, and open spaces forever free from houses, commercial space, or other development.
- Preserve the guiding premise of Reston as a true planned community, which continues to attract families, individuals and businesses.
Rescue Reston has a core team of community members that organizes the group’s efforts. This team has formed into an executive committee to help mobilize supporters in each of the three principal areas of effort:
- Communications: This team focuses on community outreach and awareness through the development, distribution and maintenance of all media to the broader community including press releases, interviews, newsletters, signs/posters, petition forms and the like.
- Legal: This team focuses on working with Greehan, Taves & Pandak, PLLC, a pre-eminent Fairfax County land use firm. Rescue Reston has engaged Greehan, Taves & Pandak, PLLC to oppose the efforts of the Reston National Golf Course owner’s attempt to rezone the golf course property for development and to deal with other legal issues concerning our organization.
- Fund-raising: This team focuses on obtaining and managing donations to support communication, outreach and legal efforts by the group.
Board of Directors
- Connie Hartke, President
- Joe Deninger, Vice President – Finance/Treasurer
- Lisa White, Vice President – Technology
- David Burns, Director
- John Pinkman, Director
- Ray Wedell, Director
Additional members from various community clusters also provide support to the executive committee and the organization.
The Reston Association, members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisor, Reston Citizens Association, and many Reston residents also oppose the re-development of the golf course and support our position on this issue.