21 Aug 2014
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Residents Irked at Lack of Lake Anne Plan

County has few details to offer for redevelopment of Reston's historic village center at Monday meeting.

Residents Irked at Lack of Lake Anne Plan Residents Irked at Lack of Lake Anne Plan

Lake Anne residents have been here before. Many of them sat through the 2005 charrette to discuss Lake Anne's future. Lots of them took part in the 2009 plan adopted by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors that featured goals for the revitalization of Reston's original village center.

They listened to consultants recommend in 2011 that Lake Anne become a dining destination and looked towards the future earlier this year when the county opened up a request for proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment of Crescent Apartments.

So when representatives of the Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization showed attendees of Monday's community meeting a timeline for Crescent redevelopment that stretched into 2016 and beyond, it was too much for some of them to take.

"I have been to 10 or 12 meetings," said Linda Fuller, owner of Lake Anne Florist and Virginia Wine & Gourmet. "Why are we doing this again? Are we going to sit here at Lake Anne while Reston and Parc Reston are redeveloped? How does Lake Anne Village Center take advantage of Reston Station if we have nothing to offer? I have been on the plaza for 38 years. I am not gonna sit here again and listen to something I have heard before."

With that, Fuller left the room. She was soon joined by another neighbor.

"I am wondering why you called this meeting," the woman said. "We have told you 15 times what we want for Lake Anne. This is [expletive]." 

Elizabeth Hagg, deputy director of the OCR, admitted the office's timeline was "off" when it said last spring perhaps there would progress toward a plan by this fall. However, officials warned at that time that the entire process could take three to four years.

"This is not a meeting to aggravate people," she said. "This is a meeting to share information."

Residents also showed disapproval when the county reps said they could not reveal who was on the selection and technical committees for Lake Anne revitalization. They did say that developers make up the selection committee, but that there are citizens on the techinical committee.

At Monday's meeting, Hagg showed a timeline that included review of proposals and selection of potential development partners through the end of 2012; six months of negotiations and selection of the developer (or developers) though fall of 2013; an 18-month rezoning/planning commission/Reston Association DRB process/Board of Supervisor hearings through the first quarter of 2015; a year-long site and building plan approval process though the first quarter of 2016; and construction potentially beginning towards the end of 2016.

The RFP is seeking developers interested in a public-private partnership to  redevelop the 16.5-acre, 181-unit Crescent Apartments . Crescent was purchased by the county in 2006 in an effort to provide more affordable housing in the area.

Lake Anne's comprehensive plan, formulated in 2009, recommends developers consolidate the Lake Anne area, which the county looks at as five parcels: Crescent,  Lake Anne Plaza's parking lot, an office building and the area around the former Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.  

Hagg said Monday the Crescent plan could be either consolidation or just redevelopment of the one parcel.

With consolidation, up to 935 units could be developed, said John Payne, Fairfax County's Deputy Director for Real Estate and Development said at the original RFP meeting. If only Crescent is redeveloped, it will be for a maximum of 750 units. Redevelopment could also involve retail space and mixed-use space.

Potential developers have been given some specifics for redevelopment. They include: 

* Implementing the vision for Lake Anne as set forth in the comprehensive plan

* Include diversity of housing options (including senior, workforce and affordable).

* Bring more residents and daytime employees to Lake Anne

* Promote a vibrant community where residents can live, work and play

* Complement existing Lake Anne buildings and uses

* Enhance pedestrian and bike connections

* Provide high-quality site design and materials

* Preserve 181 affordable units and add another 20 percent workforce housing in addition

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