Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving and Empathy in Reston

by RCA Board Member Connie Hartke

This is the week Americans are expected to especially count our blessings.

It is a time for family. For some, their community is their family. Several of us at RCA have gotten to know residents at Lake Anne Fellowship House (LAFH), the senior, low income apartments that went through turmoil recently due to proposed redevelopment. This has taken a recent good turn of events -- more news to come on that soon, we expect. The cultural sub-groups who live there have united into a vibrant community with the goal of ensuring that no one will lose their home. Those who were “safe” united with those who were threatened, creating community. Empathy was the catalyst.

Empathy.  Merriam-Webster defines this as “the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else's feelings.”

While counting your blessings this Thanksgiving, please take a few moments to imagine you are a senior who has lived at LAFH for 10+ years after living as a contributing Restonian for 30+ years. You are told that your home may not be the permanent place that you had expected. Putting aside other thoughts, can you fathom how you would feel if you were faced with this situation? Empathize.

Now imagine for a moment that you purchased a home on Reston National Golf Course.  Picture your view changing from rolling greens surrounded by edge habitat to anything else.  I say “anything” because many like to speculate how the land could change to this or that …  I ask you to EMPATHIZE.  Take 5 minutes to imagine this is YOU. Personally.

RCA, along with Reston Association and Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, supports our Fairfax County Zoning Administrator’s determination that the privately owned 166 acres of Reston National Golf Course is zoned as permanent open recreational space.  Developers coming in to Reston need to hear one message loud and clear – respect our Reston Master Plan.

On Thanksgiving I will take a few moments to think about the folks at LAFH and hope for continued blessings for them. I will be thankful for our County Planning staff who added wording to the Master Plan to strengthen the place of both of our Reston golf courses. I will be grateful for the army of volunteers who live in this special place called Reston.

Please read Rescue Reston volunteer Ray Wedell’s stirring call to action regarding Reston’s latest recreational open space crisis:


Monday, November 17, 2014

Reston Citizens Association Reiterates That Reston National Golf Course Must Be Preserved As Open Space

The owner of the Reston National Golf Course (RNGC), RN Golf Management, LLC (RN Golf) is reactivating its appeal for rezoning the golf course. Reston Citizens Association (RCA) reiterates its position that the use of RNGC land should be preserved as a golf course.

In response to RN Golf’s bid in Summer 2012 to explore rezoning of RNGC land for non-open space uses including residential development, RCA passed a resolution on August 27, 2012 rejecting the use of the land for anything other than its current use as open space, specifically its current use a golf course or as open space dedicated to parks and recreation.

RN Golf requested an indefinite deferral of its hearing before the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals in July, 2013. That hearing was in regards to RN Golf’s appeal of the Fairfax County Zoning Administrator’s determination that the golf course could not be developed without an amendment to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan.

With more development contemplated in Reston due to the adoption of the Reston Transit Areas Master Plan Amendment to the Fairfax County Comprehensive , preserving open space dedicated to parks and recreation is critically important, and RNGC is integral to Reston’s longstanding vision and plan as a diverse “planned” community in which people are able to live, work and play.

The planning principles as envisaged in the currently ongoing Reston Master Plan Phase II planning process (Reston Master Plan Phase II Working Draft Document) are explicit in stating that Reston continue to have two golf courses (RNGC and Hidden Creek Country Club).

Sridhar Ganesan, President, RCA said: “Just as in 2012, Reston organizations such as Reston Association (RA), Rescue Reston (RR) and RCA are aligned in their opposition to any potential rezoning of the land.  Fairfax County Supervisor Ms. Cathy Hudgins, Hunter Mill District (which covers RNGC land), has also said that she continues to support the Fairfax County Zoning Administrator’s determination with regards to RNGC and RCA thanks her for publicly stating her support for the original zoning determination.”
RCA continues to support RR’s efforts (RR RNGC Release) to defend Reston’s open spaces and encourages Restonians to actively support its efforts during the public hearings on RN Golf’s appeal.
RCA also strongly endorses RA’s opposition to any redevelopment (RA's RNGC Release) and like RA, RCA believes that RNGC can remain as it is today and operate profitably. RCA also supports RA’s willingness to consider purchasing the golf course if needed to continue to maintain it as a Reston recreational asset. 

RCA will continue to follow the developments with regard to RN Golf’s appeal and work with RR, RA and Fairfax County governmental leaders and agencies to ensure that RNGC land is preserved as open space and as a golf course.  We encourage Restonians to remain actively engaged and attend the public hearing at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, January 21, to express their support for this important Reston recreational asset.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Reston Master Plan (RMP) Phase II Community Input Session 3

The November 8 Community Meeting at Aldrin Elementary School to discuss pedestrian connectivity throughout Reston, Baron Cameron retail and Tall Oaks Village Center was very interactive.  Lots of folks (approx. 70) putting dots on charts helped our County Land Use and Planning staff pinpoint our views of the key items, including desired design features and recommended additions/changes for Baron Cameron & Tall Oaks and Reston's sidewalk network.
Attendees were given the opportunity for public comments. A few of us took the opportunity to speak to our neighbors, the Planning Staff, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and several of her staff.  Three speakers reinforced the value of the senior housing at each of the Village Centers.
Heidi Merkel, the RMP II Project Manager from the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning, asked us to think out of the box when it came to Tall Oaks.  To put aside limitations and pre-conceived thoughts.  Reston resident Leni Nazare had come prepared with innovative suggestions that are worth repeating.

Comments by Leni Nazare, as shared at the public planning meeting on 8 November 2014:

I’d like to offer four food-related suggestions for Reston’s village centers. Each one is intended to draw people together – as is the intention of the village centers themselves.

1. Pop Up Food Truck Day. Have half a dozen food trucks with different cuisines park in one of our village centers, perhaps on a Saturday from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. And set up a big tent with lawn chairs and/or tables and chairs inside -- so people can sit and linger while enjoying the food and company! Tall Oaks Village Center would be perfect for this because the parking lot is empty and the seniors at Tall Oaks Assisted Living could join the fun.

2.  Cooking school. The cooking school could be set up to serve not only the well heeled, but also the immigrants living in our community.  Our immigrants can teach the rest of us how to cook their native cuisines!  New York City already has such a program: https://www.leagueofkitchens.com/ .  

To do this, we need a community cooking and teaching space. Perhaps we could start this program by using the space at the Reston Community Center, but in order to grow, we would need a larger more specially designed space.

3. Shared commercial kitchen, such as the one in DC:  http://unionkitchendc.com/.  The trend away from packaged junk food to healthier food is creating the opportunity for entrepreneurial ventures. The small businesses that are hatched in a commercial kitchen incubator can offer low-income people and others jobs close to home!


4. Independent restaurants. Eating out in Reston would be more fun if we had more independent restaurants that offer interesting food choices and special events, such as trivia nights, which bring people together. To encourage these restaurants to locate in Reston, let’s use the CSA concept.  Just like you pay your CSA (community supported agriculture) for 20 weeks of vegetables before the season starts, so too you could pay the restaurant for 20 meals before you ever dine there. This would reassure the restaurant that there is a market for what they offer. And it would create community because people from the neighborhood would be dining there over and over again and running into each other.

Monday, October 27, 2014

DRAFT Agenda RCA Board of Directors Meeting October 27, 2014


Item
Time
Topic
Disposition
Presenters

  1.  
7:30 PM
Adopt Agenda
Action
RCA Board

  1.  
7:35 PM
Approve September 22, 2014 Minutes
Action
Nick Georgas

  1.  
7:45 PM
Approve Treasurer’s Report
Action
Joe Leighton

  1.  
7:50 PM
Guest: Tim Thompson, President, Federation of Citizens Association
Interactive Conversation
RCA Board

  1.  
8:10 PM
Fairfax Library Advocates Update
Update
Dennis Hays

  1.  
8:15 PM
Reston Master Plan Phase 2 Follow-Up
Discussion
RCA Board

  1.  
8:40 PM
Lake Anne Fellowship House Update
Discussion
Tammi Petrine,
Connie Hartke

  1.  
8:55 PM
RA –  (1) Proposed Governance and Ethics Committee, (2) Annual Assessment
Discussion
Dennis Hays
Sridhar Ganesan

  1.  
9:10 PM
RCA Priority Issues & Resourcing Plan
Discussion
Sridhar Ganesan
RCA Board

  1.  
9:25 PM
Other Business
Discussion
RCA Board

  1.  
9:30 PM
Location and Time of Next Meeting; Adjourn
Action
RCA Board