On February 28, Rescue Reston broke the news that ARA Newmark, an investment advisory firm that focuses exclusively on the multihousing industry, had listed the Reston National Golf Course property as being for sale for development purposes.
Alternative Fact: The ARA Newmark advertising materials stated that the property consists of “168 Acres of By-Right Residential Development.”
Rescue Reston Attorney Randy Greehan has confirmed with Supervisor Hudgins’ office that “by right residential development is not available.”
Developers’ attorneys have contacted Greehan in the last 2 weeks to inquire about the history of the last 5 years, and the communication has had a positive effect. Just this week, ARA Newmark has changed the listing from a colorful ad indicating that “168 Acres of By-Right Residential Development” is for sale to an ad that includes a due diligence disclaimer (view old and new ads here).
Myth: Here is an example of what Randy heard from a developers’ attorney — that the golf course is a failing business.
Let’s set this straight right now: RNGC is a profitable golf course. It is managed by Billy Casper Golf, one of the largest golf course management companies in the USA. BCG moved its headquarters to Sunrise Valley Drive in Reston just a few years ago. Why would a successful company move its HQ next to a failing business that it operates? They would not. Given the status of RNGC’s land use designation and the strength of the company that manages it, our supporters do not need to spend time speculating who might manage it in the future.
Rumor: A March 13 report in Virginia Business mixes the sale of Reston National Golf Course in with two other large properties — on opposite ends of Reston.
If you don’t read VERY carefully, you could interpret that Reston National Golf Course has approved zoning for development. IT DOES NOT.
How do we dispel rumors, debunk myths, and correct alternative facts?
We need our attorney to effectively communicate our position with developers so that we preserve our open space. Armed with the facts of the situation and our attorney’s advice, we can counter any misunderstandings or misrepresentations that a developer may cultivate in order to get the “best price” for our Open Space.
Rescue Reston committed to fund raise to pay the legal bill, and our community stepped up. Less than 16% of the 6-figure bill remains outstanding and we continue to lower it. After the news broke, two of our largest donors — businesses who do not live or work around the golf course but who care about Reston — directed their accountants to send checks totaling $3,500. Individuals’ donations through PayPal on our website and commitments for checks coming by mail show that we will not stop.
This is the support that we need now. In the future there may be another petition, another day to rally, but right now we have an attorney making and fielding calls to protect our open space. If you haven’t donated lately, it’s time to do so now.