Monday, August 4, 2014

RCA Letter to Supervisors Hudgins, Chairman Bulova on Reston Master Plan Process, August 2, 2014

                                                                                                   August 2, 2014
Ms. Cathy Hudgins
Hunter Mill District Supervisor, Fairfax County
12000 Bowman Towne Dr.

Reston, VA 20190

Dear Supervisor Hudgins,
After consultations with many Reston residents and my colleagues on the Board of Reston Citizens Association (RCA), I am proposing that the County amend the Phase II of the Reston Master Plan (RMPII) planning process. 
Though we had been given many assurances that there would be strong public involvement, the recent presentations (June 7 and July 21) of the County's plans for the future of our community appeared to be a very general, top-down, pre-determined exercise on what is to be done.  While the public was able to ask questions in one-on-one interactions with County officials and submit disconnected comments, we believe that these briefings lacked the interactivity, responsiveness and accountability that a presentation of proposals in a group setting, followed by question and answer/comment format, would normally provide.
Without collaborative discussions early in the process, we believe that the citizens of Reston would be left out of the process and the ideas from residents and those that might be affected would be lost or presented entirely out of context or ignored with limited or no accountability. We cannot see how the process so far has allowed us or other citizens groups to participate in a constructive manner.
We suggest that after the “strawman” is released in September, the County holds additional three or four meetings with community representatives to identify and address, among others, the following key issues in re-planning suburban Reston, including how or whether this needs to be done. 
·      What should be the future of the Village Centers? 
·      How do we protect developed Reston neighborhoods? 
·      What should be the future role of the Baron Cameron North area and the Convenience Centers? 
We believe that the additional meetings would also help the Planning Staff to understand the minefields in front of it as it tries to develop a responsive and constructive plan. 
We understand that you are trying to work within tight schedules, and we all wish to avoid the time-consuming, frustrating exercise that was Reston Master Plan Task Force, but it is important that you facilitate interactive public involvement on crucial decisions that will directly affect the neighborhoods where we live. 
I also have two other questions that we would like to get your responses on:
1.    During one-on-one and email exchanges with the County staff, we have been led to understand that the goal of RMPII is to stabilize the density and mix of use at village centers at their current levels, which in fact will be even lower than the previously planned (and zoned) levels.  I am requesting you to please confirm that that is in fact the case. 
2.    We would also like to understand the parties that have directly participated in the RMPII process thus far – Is it just the County staff and officials?  Or have external parties such as real estate developers, commercial landowners, brokers and agents had direct one-on-one opportunities to participate in the process and if so, why? 

Given the aggressive timetable for this process, I am requesting that you please respond to our proposals and questions above at the earliest.  I will also be happy to meet with you to discuss how we can improve the process to make it more interactive and accountable. You can reach me on my email or via my phone, +1-202-409-2722. 

Thank you and yours sincerely,
Sridhar Ganesan
President, RCA
Email:  sridharganesan1 @
Tel: +1-202-409-2722

cc:  Ms. Sharon Bulova, Chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

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