Reston residents say they're doing everything they can to ensure the 166-acre Reston National Golf Course is not lost to development.
The uproar started when the course's owners asked the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals to determine whether the site is zoned as open space or residential. The board's ruling could open discussion on alternate uses for the site, possibly as a residential community.
Fearing the loss of green space and an increase in construction and traffic, Bob Williamson, vice president of the Golf Course View Cluster Association, or GCVCA, a town home community in Reston, said he and others are "preparing for a long-term battle."
"We realize it's difficult to fight as individuals, so we're all banding together and preparing to fight this as a group," he said. "Everyone I've talked to is in complete shock."
Because the course is located near what will be the Wiehle Avenue station of Metro's Silver Line, residents fear the area could attract builders looking to cash in on the new rail line.
The site's potential, combined with the uncertainty over its zoning, means residents have "no clue" what could actually happen with the site, Williamson said.
One thing is for certain, the golf course's future won't be decided solely by the zoning board's ruling, noted Francis McDermott, the attorney and agent for the golf course's owners, RN Golf Management LLC. The zoning board only can determine how the property is zoned, he said.
Reston National Golf Course officials declined comment.
Ken Knueven, president of the Reston Association Board of Directors, a group that maintains Reston design standards and organizes community programs, said he always assumed that the golf course was going to be green space, so the news of it possibly being developed immediately raised concerns.
He encouraged residents to attend the Reston Association's next board meeting on Sept. 13 to discuss the issue in preparation for the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals hearing on Oct. 24. The meeting comes on the heels of an earlier decision by Cathy Belgin, senior assistant to the zoning administrator, who said the golf course is classified as open space.
"It's absolutely infuriating," said GCVCA President Sandy Dresser, who said property values of many Restonians would drop significantly if the golf course was demolished because of a lack of green space and the possibility of additional housing.
"It just shakes us to the core," Dresser said.