Development near Herndon's future Metro station topic of public forum Monday

By Kafia A. Hosh
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 19, 2010

Today, the entrance to a future rail stop in Herndon has little to greet riders except for a parking lot and the view of the backs of several office buildings. On Monday, the town will hold a public workshop about how to enliven the area in time for the Herndon-Monroe Metro station.

The neighborhoods "will definitely be affected, so we are very interested in having the participation," said Kay Robertson, a senior project planner for the town's Department of Community Development.

The station is scheduled to open in 2016 as part of Metro's Silver Line rail extension to Dulles International Airport. Town officials are studying the north side, an area made up of office buildings and hotels near Herndon Parkway. Plans would allow the redevelopment of about 82 acres within a quarter of a mile of the rail stop into a more walkable, urban-style neighborhood. Nearby, 90 acres would have less-dense development but still be within walking distance of the station.

The station will be in the median of the Dulles Toll Road, and a pedestrian bridge will connect it to Herndon.

Town officials hope that a public plaza and a cluster of mixed-use office and residential buildings would welcome rail riders in Herndon.

At the workshop, residents can share their opinions on redeveloping the area over the next 20 years. No building heights or density maximums have yet been proposed because "the community is going to decide what those definitions are," Robertson said.

They will also be shown photos of areas around Metro stations in Hyattsville, Silver Spring, Wheaton and Clarendon and will be asked to cast electronic votes on which neighborhoods appeal to them.

The workshop is part of a year-long study to update Herndon's land-use plan for the area. So far, it has included interviews with landowners to help Herndon understand the feasibility of redevelopment.

Another public workshop is scheduled for the fall, and the Herndon Town Council is expected to adopt a plan in the spring.

Fairfax County has a similar study underway to guide redevelopment on the station's south side in Reston.

Last year, the county approved a tax district to fund its $850 million share of the second phase of the rail line.

Monday's public workshop will be at 6 p.m. at the Herndon Senior Center, 873 Grace St.

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