RCA Reston 2020 Committee
Reston TOD Planning: More Balance, Less Density Needed
The RCA Reston 2020 Committee
July 18, 2011
For a couple of months
, the Reston Task Force’s Steering Committee has been discussing a “flexible framework” for planning in
Reston’s transit oriented development (TOD) areas. In an update briefing to
the Task Force on June 14, 2011, County staff described this framework as creating a
aby-right obligation--that would allow development at 20% in excess of Georg
e Mason University’s(GMU’s)
High forecast for 2030 market demand. It amended this approach at its June 28 SteeringCommittee meeting by allowing an additional 20% increment for residential development, plus 20% for all development types, excluding the Herndon-Monroe area.The RCA Reston 2020 Committee believes this framework raises the development ceiling too much and,more importantly, inadequately addresses the vital importance of balance between residential and non-
residential development in “high performing” TOD areas.
The ongoing planning largely ignores the importance of residential and workforce balance inTOD areas to maximize transit use, minimize congestion, reduce air pollution, and cut roadway infrastructure costs, among other benefits.
It also proposes development over the next 20 years that substantially exceeds that planned for
Tysons Corner’s TOD areas and that experienced in Arlington’s Ballston
-Rosslyn corridor over 20years, even adjusted for the varying sizes of their TOD areas.
Moreover, we believe the “flexible framework” approach currently being discussed by the Reston Task
Force risks providing so much flexibility that, if adopted as a plan and zoning ordinance, would providelittle effective guidance for development
in Reston’s TOD areas over the next two decades.
We believe development in Reston’s TOD areas should
meet the following overarching goals for the next 20 years:
Total development should not be allowed to exceed 70 million gross square feet (GSF).
Office development should be less than 45% of total allowable development (31.5 million GSF).
Residential development should be not less than 45% of total development.We believe that by applying this allocation of space Reston can make exceptional strides in correcting the population imbalance over the 20-year plan horizon with a longer term view to achieving a one-to-onebalance in residential and employee populations.To accomplish this using the GMU forecast-based approach currently used by the Task Force, we proposea scenario based on
GMU’s High Forecast plus
50% extra for residential development
. We believe that
creating a new plan that allows development of all types up to GMU’s High forecast, plus a
50% bonus toresidential housing, essentially meets the criteria above and provides both ample room for growth and a
substantial improvement in the areas’ population imbalance.
By establishing a 1:2 ratio of non-residential to residential construction, it allows development within the ceiling described above, yet enables Reston to cut the population imbalance within the TOD areas by two-thirds in two decades. Toaccomplish that will require the use of both stringent mandates and attractive incentives to developers,along with a strong implementation process covering phasing, financing, infrastructure, and governance.