Reston Area Study - About the Study

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About the Study

About the StudyWelcome to the Phase II of the Reston Master Plan Special Study. This phase of the Study will establish a general vision for the village centers throughout Reston and enhance guidance for preserving Reston's stable neighborhoods. In addition, the study will review and provide guidance for Reston's convenience centers, and the commercial area north of Baron Cameron (just north of Reston Town Center). To learn more about the first phase of the Study, please visite the Phase I website. See a map of the Phase I and Phase II study areas.

Reason for Reviewing and Revising the Comprehensive Plan

The current Comprehensive Plan recommendations for Reston require revision for three primary reasons:

  1. Reston no longer has a master developer to update the plan for Reston.
  2. The plan for Reston has outdated elements and, in many instances, no elements at all.
  3. Reston is evolving as a community. Updated recommendations will help guide Reston through the evolution while preserving stable residential neighborhoods.

Goals for Phase II

The primary goals for Phase II of the Study are to (1) update the Reston land use map and (2) to evaluate and provide Comprehensive Plan guidance for the following types of places within Reston: (a) Residential neighborhoods (b) Village Centers (c) Commercial area north of Baron Cameron Avenue (adjacent to Reston Town Center), and (d) four Convenience centers. These goals are to be accomplished within a timeline of a little over a year starting from April 2014 (when staff begun preperations for the Study).

Create a New Reston Land Use Map

The current Master Plan for Reston is comprised of three black and white maps (last approved in 1989) that depict a land use plan, community facilities plan, and a transportation plan. The transportation plans, currently incorporated in the Countywide Transportation Plan, contain the latest transportation information. In contrast, the land use and community facilities plans must be updated to correspond to present development and land use within Reston. The Comprehensive Plan amendment will incorporate updated land use, community facility, transportation, and a variety of other existing elements in a series of maps.

Evaluate and Provide Guidance for Residential Neighborhoods

The Comprehensive Plan amendment will provide parameters and guidance for protecting stable residential neighborhoods that provide predictability and certainty now that Reston is a mature community.
The vast majority of Reston neighborhoods seek reassurances in the Comprehensive Plan that their communities will remained as envisioned by community members. In contrast, other neighborhoods seek flexibility to evolve as the needs of the residents evolve. For these neighborhoods, the Comprehensive Plan amendment will provide a structured process for the consideration of redevelopment proposals. Phase II will not plan neighborhoods. It is only creating a process by which development, if it occurs, must align the Vision and Principles of Reston, include community involvement, and function within exsting residential neighborhood redevelopment criteria.

Evaluate and Provide Guidance for Village Centers

The Comprehensive Plan amendment will provide an overall framework for redeveloping the village centers by establishing general guidance for conceptualizing a Village Center vision and creating expectations on how a village center should function. The end result of this study will not be the replanning of each Village Center. The Comprehensive Plan will not provide a vision and plan for individual village centers. The exception is Lake Anne Village Center, which progressed through a separate Comprehensive Plan amendment process from 2006-2009. Developers will still need to apply for rezoning and concurrent Plan amendment to redevelop a village center.

Evaluate and Provide Guidance for Commercial Area North of Baron Cameron Ave.

The commercial area just north of the Town Center and Baron Cameron Avenue is bordered to the west by Bennington Woods Road, south by Stevenage Road, and east by Reston Parkway. This area contains retailers like Home Depot, Silver Diner, Trader Joes, Santini's New York Style Deli, numerous banks and a variety of other services, restaurants, and retailers. This area is part of the original 1987 460-acre Reston Town Center rezoning, but developed with a different physical character then the more widely known residential communities and retail area south of Baron Cameron Avenue. The Comprehensive Plan will provide framework on how this commercial area is to develop over the mid-to-distant future.

Evaluate and Provide Guidance for Convenience Centers

The study will provide updated recommondations for the four unique convenience centers located in Reston.

  1. Lake Newport
  2. Fairways
  3. Soapstone
  4. Sunrise Valley

The Comprehensive Plan amendment will provide a general vision for the continued use of these areas in accordance with community expectations.


Download a great printable version.

  • June 7, 2014 <> Community Open House (Get the presentations and handouts)
  • May 22, 2014 - July 11, 2014 <> Online Submission Period for Land Use Proposals (Read the land use proposals)
  • June 2014 - April 2015 <> Community Comments are welcomed. (Send your comments to the Reston Master Plan mailbox.)
  • September 2014 <> "Strawman" text is released for public consumption
  • September 13, 2014 <> #1 Community Meeting to discuss and receive feedback on Residential Neighborhood section of the "Strawman" text
  • October 18, 2014 <> #2 Community Meeting to discuss and receive feedback on the Village Center section of the "Strawman" text
  • September 2014 - December 2014 <> Community Review and Input period for "Strawman" text. (Send your comments to the Reston Master Plan mailbox.)
  • February 2015 <> Staff publishes Recommended Comprehensive Plan Text and Staff Report (specific date to be determined)
  • April 2015 <> Planning Commission Public Hearing (specific date to be determined)
  • June 2015 <> Board of Supervisors Public Hearing (specific date to be determined)


In May 2009, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors authorized the Reston Master Plan Special Study as a method to review current plan guidance related to the community of Reston in the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan and make recommendations to the Planning Commission and Board regarding appropriate changes to the Comprehensive Plan. The study was segmented into two separate phases. Phase I of the Study lasted from December 2009 through February 2014. Phase I proposed revisions to the Comprehensive Plan for the Reston-Herndon Suburban Center and the areas around the planned Wiehle-Reston East, Reston Town Center and Herndon Metrorail stations. Learn more about the first phase of the Study by visiting the Phase I website.

In November 2009, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors established the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force to work with County planning staff on developing a Comprehensive Plan amendment pertaining to Phase I, ST09-III-UP1(A). The Task Force for Phase I included over 40 members and its membership comprised representatives from multiple community organizations, including the Reston Association, the Reston Citizens Association, the Reston Community Center, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, and the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee, as well as commercial property owners and residents. The Task Force developed a Vision statement and Planning Principles to help guide future development in Reston.

The Comprehensive Plan amendment underwent months of community and staff review and editing in 2013 before presentation to the Planning Commission on November 13, 2013. Only after a public hearing, during which, Patrica Nicoson, Task Force Chairperson, gave a statement and the Planning Commission heard  testimony by 20 speakers, did the Planning Commission vote 12-0 in favor of a motion to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that it adopt the Comprehensive Plan amendment ST09-III-UP1(A). Read the Verbatim excerpt of the motion and vote.

On January 28, 2014, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors conducted a Public Hearing to provide opportunity for Reston's residential and business communities to voice opinions, concerns, or support for the Plan amendment. The public hearing included testimony by 17 speakers, the last being Mr. Robert Simon, the founder of Reston. The Board of Supervisors voted to adopt the Reston Transit Stations Comprehensive Plan Amendment on February 11, 2014. A second board motion included three follow-on motions to be addressed by staff through 2014/2015.

Comprehensive Planning 101



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