Redevelopers of Reston’s Lake Anne propose replacing trees with parking, residents divided

November 12, 2013
On the northeast side of the Lake Anne Village Center is an unoccupied 1.1-acre piece of land along North Shore Drive (in bright red) that developers say they need to build parking for the center's redevelopment. Residents say they would hate to see the trees there go. (Reston Association)
On the northeast side of the Lake Anne Village Center is an unoccupied 1.1-acre piece of land along North Shore Drive (in bright red) that developers say they need to build parking for the center’s redevelopment. Residents say they would hate to see the trees there go. (Reston Association)

A small controversy has arisen in the big plan to redevelop the area around Reston’s Lake Anne Village Center, which includes the razing of the Crescent apartment complex and replacing it with 935 townhouses and apartments. The developers, Republic Land Development, want a 1.1-acre piece of land along North Shore Drive to create parking, since the new project will eliminate the current surface parking lot. That piece of land is full of mature trees and a number of nearby residents are protesting.

Karen Goff, editor of the new Reston Now blog, has the full details. The slice of land is owned by the Reston Association, and Republic is proposing swapping another 1.1-acres of land along Baron Cameron Avenue, in two chunks on the edge of the Crescent apartment complex. At a public hearing last month, Republic president David Peter said that parking was needed to attract customers who don’t live nearby. Reston Association president Ken Knueven told Goff it was a tough call and that the association had gotten plenty of comments on both sides.

The size and value of the two pieces of land are roughly the same, Goff reports. Reston founder Robert E. Simon and Lake Anne of Reston Condo Association president Rick Thompson spoke in favor of the swap at the recent public meeting. On the other hand, former Reston Association environmental specialist Kevin Munroe has written a very detailed piece in Reston Patch against the swap, saying the North Shore parcel is protected Reston Association Natural Area Parkland that should never be offered up for development. He also notes that the trees on the North Shore parcel are increasingly rare American hollies, black oaks and scarlet oaks and provide refuge for butterflies and birds. His piece is here. Lake Anne resident, cable TV host and all-around rabble-rouser John Lovaas also blogged against the swap here.

The Reston Association will vote on the issue on Nov. 21. Goff’s story is here, and Reston’s documentation for the proposal is here.

An artist's rendering of how a renovated Lake Anne Village Center and Crescent Apartments complex would look when completed. Four new buildings would be added to the village center, and the current five-building Crescent complex would be replaced by a mix of townhouses and apartments. (Republic Land Development)
An artist’s rendering of how a renovated Lake Anne Village Center and Crescent Apartments complex would look when completed. This rendering shows the 1.1-acre North Shore lot in question as a small surface parking lot with trees. Four new buildings would be added to the village center, and the current five-building Crescent complex would be replaced by a mix of townhouses and apartments. (Republic Land Development)
Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.
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Tom Jackman · November 6, 2013