R322 Fall 2019 Getting to Know Reston: Past, Present, and Future
Thursdays, 11:50–1:15, Sept. 26–Nov. 14
Coordinators: Jim McNeal, Claire Virga
Reston has a fascinating history. This course will increase our familiarity with Reston: its past, its present activities, many with a strong focus on the environment, and factors that may affect its future.
- Sept. 26: Reston’s Past: Physiographic Setting (geology and landscape characteristics) and the Origin of Reston and the Role of Robert E. Simon. Jim McNeal and speakers from the Reston Historic Trust & Museum (Kristina Alcorn, Lynn Lilienthal, Shelley Mastran).
- Oct. 3: Reston’s Present: How Reston Works—governance. Mike Leone, Larry Butler. Reston is unique as a premier planned residential community. Reston management will be discussed by some of the leaders of the Reston Association. Topics will cover Reston’s organizational structure, covenants, zoning, various committee and advisory boards, the budget process, and how to get personally involved.
- Oct. 10: Reston’s Present: Activities and Natural Resources (Part 1). Claudia Thompson-Deahl, Reston’s senior manager for Environmental Resources will speak on Reston’s parks, recreation, and events. Katie Shaw, manager of the Walker Nature Center and the executive director of FOR (Friends of Reston) will speak on these organizations’ activities.
- Oct. 17: Reston Present: Activities and Natural Resources (Part 2). Doug Britt, Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC). Reston has a very active group of volunteers who support many environmental and nature-related activities. Many of them serve on the EAC. One of the goals of the EAC is to produce a baseline against which future changes in Reston’s environmental changes can be judged and to make recommendations for improvements. Britt will speak on the results, which are contained in the Reston Annual State of the Environment Report.
- Oct. 24: Reston Present: Activities and Natural Resources (Part 3). Will Peterson, Reston’s watershed specialist. The development of Reston caused increased water runoff that greatly degraded many of Reston’s streams and caused considerable transport of sediment to tributaries that flow into the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. Peterson will describe the Stream Restoration Program. Marty Gurtz, a volunteer water-quality specialist, will discuss water quality changes over time in a restored stream.
- Oct. 31: Reston Future: Current Planning Issues. Dennis Hays, chair of Coalition for a Planned Reston (CPR). Since Reston was founded in 1964, increased developmental pressures have caused concern for a potential loss of quality of life among many Reston residents. As a result, several volunteer special interest groups were formed to address specific issues. Three of these groups (Reston Citizens Association, Reclaim Reston, Reston 2020) have joined together as part of the CPR). Past, current, and potential future zoning and developmental issues facing Reston will be discussed.
- Nov. 7: Reston Future: Current and Future Planning. Fred Selden, Fairfax County Director of Planning and Zoning. Reston falls under Fairfax County’s master plan as well as Reston’s zoning regulations. Some important questions include changes in zoning population density, low-income housing, and development of open-space and park lands. Who decides what, and how zoning decisions are made? The county-wide strategic plan and the Fairfax County comprehensive plan will be discussed.
- Nov. 14: Summary and Group Discussion. This is an opportunity to discuss presented issues: What do we like and don’t like about Reston? What do we see as Reston’s future planning issues? How could these issues be addressed? What new goals would we like to have set for Reston’s future? What obstacles might we expect? Where do we go from here?