When will the golf course controversy be over?
As long as there exists even the slightest possibility that either golf course property could be redeveloped into residential or commercial square footage, speculative developers will try to pillage the land. We can relax only if the land is put into a perpetual conservation easement.
What is the status of both properties?
Reston National Golf Course (RNGC) and Hidden Creek Country Club (HCCC) have the same zoning and land use designation. The Reston portion of the County Comprehensive Plan states that the golf courses are planned for private recreation use, more specifically to remain as golf courses.
Who owns the properties now?
Real estate developers Wheelock Communities, based in Connecticut, purchased Hidden Creek Country Club in October 2017, and real estate developers Weller Development and War Horse Cities, based in Baltimore, purchased Reston National Golf Course in May 2019.
HCCC still accepts golf, tennis and social memberships, but Wheelock is very vocal about its desire to put housing on the higher ground of the course.
At RNGC, KemperSports now operates the golf course. The developer/owners will watch in future years for the opportunity to request a Comprehensive Plan Amendment to change the land use designation. They are watching HCCC very closely for a crack to open. It is critical that you stay alert for communications from us on action plans.
These developers purchased the properties at an order of magnitude lower than prices for land zoned for development, so the developers would reap a huge windfall if the zoning were to be changed to allow for housing. The fact that they overpaid for recreational space with zero density is not our concern.
Can we stop development of the courses?
Yes, if the majority of us stick together. Changing the land use designation to something other than recreational open space use will require an amendment to the County Comprehensive Plan, which requires multiple public hearings and ultimately is up to the Board of Supervisors to allow or deny. Your votes in local elections, support and voices when called on matter greatly.
What does the County say?
“The plan approved in 2015 was specifically written to protect the existing stable residential communities and reinforce the preservation of Reston’s two golf courses.” — then-Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, 4/23/2018.
“The Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan clearly designates the property as a golf course, and unless and until communities surrounding the golf course indicate their desire to initiate a change to the Comprehensive Plan, I would oppose any such change.” — Supervisor Walter Alcorn, written response to constituents, February 2020
I don’t play golf and I don’t live near the golf course, so why should I care?
Rescue Reston’s action is not so much about the golf as it is about the promised amenity of open space in Reston. Going back to the founding concepts of Reston—with the first Reston Master Plan in 1962—the Reston National and Hidden Creek properties were listed as “Permanent Open Space.” The courses are home to a large cadre of wildlife, and Reston residents and visitors make use of trails abutting these beautiful community resources. The permeable ground helps maintain the health of the downstream watershed. RNGC is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program Golf Course, and Rescue Reston has the support of the Great Falls Group of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club in defending against this unplanned residential development. Be sure to read the articles on our Environmental Impact page, including the benefits of taxpayer-free private Open Space.
What does Rescue Reston want the public to think about?
- Reston gains nothing if it sacrifices one amenity for another. The net sum gain would be zero. “Reston was built on diversity: race, ethnic, cultural, economic, religious, age, gender and gender identity AND recreational.” — Lynne Mulston, Chair of Rescue Reston’s North Course Committee
- With all of the planned development coming to Reston, this is not the time to decide to give up recreational open space that costs Fairfax County taxpayers and Reston Association members nothing.
- Conceding even one small patch will open the floodgates for loss of open space. Any residential development would set a precedent for destruction of other open space within Reston and Fairfax County.
What can we do?
- Stay committed, informed and firm – NO housing on the golf courses – NO compromise
- Go to the Action Center to quickly and easily email the County Supervisor and Planning Commission to voice your opposition to opening the Comprehensive Plan for reconsideration
- Rescue Reston is an all-volunteer grassroots organization. We rely on your donations to pay for the online mail service that delivers our newsletters, the space we buy in local publications such as Around Reston magazine, and the consultations we have with our land-use attorney. All of these services—that we have to pay for—allow us to get reliable information out to those who want to see Reston’s open green space preserved for the long-term. There are several ways to help fund our common cause. Visit our Fundraisers page.