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RA Responds to Appeals Ruling on Golf Course

  • 15 April 2015
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RA Responds to Appeals Ruling on Golf Course

The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals reversed a ruling by the county zoning administrator concerning the Reston National Golf Course. The BZA's decision on Wednesday essentially allows for the owners of the golf course to continue the process of submitting plans to develop the property for residential use. Reston Association and other local groups, including Rescue Reston, want the golf course to remain as open space as stated in Reston's governing documents.

The BZA said that it is not necessary for the owners of the golf course to have to seek an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan before being able to submit development proposals to the county. A specific plan has not been officially presented by the owners. If or when a plan is submitted, it will still have to be approved by the county before development can begin.

The Reston Association Board of Directors is standing firm on its position that unplanned redevelopment in Reston can have significant adverse and harmful impacts on the association and its members. The board has concluded that any unplanned redevelopment of the Reston National Golf Course property would harm the association and have an adverse impact on the association's real property, mission, programs, financial status and maintenance obligations.

The board has heard overwhelmingly from RA members that redevelopment of the golf course to other than open space and recreational uses would have significant detrimental consequences on its members and on the Reston lifestyle.

 

More from RA's president on the BZA ruling:

The issue that the BZA was asked to determine was not whether the golf course should or could be redeveloped. The issue was rather what process and approvals would be necessary before it could be redeveloped. 

The BZA declined RN Golf’s attempt to short-circuit the normal County approval processes. Reston National is no closer to being redeveloped now than it was three years ago, thanks to the efforts of County officials, RA, Rescue Reston and many individual Restonians. 

The Board of Zoning Appeals did overturn the Zoning Administrator’s determination that a Comprehensive Plan Amendment was a procedural prerequisite to filing a PRC Plan to redevelop the golf course. The BZA made it clear that, while a Comprehensive Plan Amendment may well be advisable, and even necessary, to obtain approvals from the County Board of Supervisors, County Staff cannot make it an automatic prerequisite to the mere filing of a PRC Plan application. Only the Board of Supervisors can determine whether a specific proposal is in conformance with the adopted Comprehensive Plan. County staff cannot do this. A proposal’s lack of conformance with the adopted Comprehensive Plan is still a legitimate, lawful reason for the Board of Supervisors to deny a development proposal. The BZA did not change this.

The BZA did not agree with RN Golf that a Development Plan Amendment was not necessary. The BZA did overturn the Zoning Administrator’s determination that a Development Plan Amendment was absolutely and in all instances required to redevelop the golf course, but only because the required conformance to the Development Plan can only be judged against a specific proposed development. There was no development proposed. RN Golf desired a “blank check” from the BZA such that no development proposal would need a Development Plan Amendment. The BZA declined to go this far. 

The last determination made by the BZA was that any redevelopment would require a PRC plan application and have to conform to any and all County zoning regulations, including conformance with the approved Development Plan and the Comprehensive Plan (as ultimately determined by the Board of Supervisors when it votes to approve or disapprove the PRC plan).

RA will closely review the written minutes of the BZA meeting to determine its next course of action. These minutes will be posted on the website as soon as they are available from the county. 

Ellen Graves
Reston Asssociation President

 

 

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