Friday, January 11, 2019

Letter to Planning Commissioners re: PRC Zoning Amendment

RESTON CITIZENS ASSOCIATION 
Founded 1968

January 10, 2019

Re: PRC Zoning Amendment

Dear Members of the Fairfax County Planning Commission:
 
The Reston Citizens Association (RCA) strongly urges the Planning Commission to reject the County staff's proposal to increase the population density of the PRC areas of Reston.  Such an action, if approved, would ignore the will of the residents of Reston and irrevocably damage everything Reston was created to be - a planned community uniquely open to residents from all walks of life.  Reston is nationally and internationally recognized for maintaining a balance among development, infrastructure, and nature and for achieving a much envied - and much copied - "live, work, play" lifestyle.  The Reston community is perplexed - and saddened  - by County staff's efforts to diminish this legacy and worsen the quality of life of current and future residents.  
                                 
We are concerned that actions being taken by staff are deleterious to good governance.  That is, we at RCA believe there must be a bond of trust and confidence between government and citizens.  At the beginning of this process we had an excellent working relationship with County officials and staff.  We met in groups large and small and while we didn't always reach agreement, we each gained an important understanding of the other's concerns.  After the four issue-specific group meetings last summer, however, this spirit of cooperation evaporated.   The questions we asked -  which the staff promised to answer  - have gone unaddressed for six months.  The material contained in a December 11th letter was just bits of old information stapled together - with no new information of substance.  And in a further lack of cooperation, the staff has failed to schedule committed to follow-on meetings. 
 
Why has this happened?  The conclusion we reach is that when the staff was asked to justify their proposal in hard numbers developed by an accepted procedure and to respond to other concerns, they were unable or unwilling to do so.  Instead, they just stopped talking with the community and went ahead with their preconceived proposal. 
 
We urge the Commission to instruct the County staff to return to the negotiating table with the community and respond in good faith to citizens' questions, concerns, and objections.  For example, among many other issues: Staff needs to explain how they have determined what they say is the current population of the PRC.  They need to define what they mean by phrases like the "nearer term".   They need to explain why they say there is an urgency when no such urgency has been identified.      
 
Finally, "If you propose a major project, it is incumbent on you to demonstrate that the positive benefits to the community exceed the negative."   (quoted from Liveable Portland).  In the staff report there is not a single word as to how their proposal will benefit current or future residents of Reston.   
 
The Reston Citizens Association is celebrating its 50th anniversary of service to the Reston community.  For most of this time we have enjoyed and benefited from a mutually respectful and productive relationship with County officials and staff.  We would like to have this relationship again.  We again urge the Commission to reject this proposal as a first step to restoring trust and confidence.  

Sincerely,
 
Dennis K. Hays
President
Reston Citizens Association

2 comments:

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