Reston Residents Fight Proposed Casino Development

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The community of Reston, Virginia, is opposing the efforts of Comstock Companies to build a casino along Metro’s Silver Line, just outside the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County. This proposal has caused concern among local residents who are appealing to state lawmakers to turn down any bills that might support this contentious project.

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Local Activism against Casino Development

On January 6, NoRestonCasino.org, a group firmly opposed to the casino plans displayed signs at the Fairfax County Government Center to draw attention to what they see as a breach of Reston’s foundational planning ideals.

The group contends that the Reston Comprehensive Plan, backed by Fairfax County Supervisor Walter Alcorn, is in direct conflict with the proposed casino. Lynne Mulston, head of the Reston Citizens Association, pointed out that Virginia's current laws do not permit such development in Reston.

She expressed concern over attempts by a prominent developer to influence state senators like Surovell and Marsden and other elected officials, indicating a lack of consideration for the social, economic, and infrastructural impacts on Reston.

At a Public Hearing for Fairfax’s Delegation to the General Assembly, Jennifer Jushchuk from Save Our Sunrise raised issues about the casino’s nearness to residential zones, stressing the family-centric nature of Reston’s Sunrise Valley Neighborhood.

Jushchuk noted that Comstock, the sole developer pushing for the casino, holds considerable investments near the Wiehle Reston-East metro station instead of in Tysons Corner.

Concerns Over Environmental and Economic Impacts

Activists are warning that the casino goes against the objectives of the recently approved Reston Master Plan, designed to foster growth in sectors like technology and education.

Mac Cummins, RA's CEO, believes that introducing a casino would conflict with and undermine the goals of the new plan, potentially jeopardizing years of community planning in Reston.

Health risks were also a topic of discussion at the public hearing. Michelle Widmann Kimmel from Healthy Reston called attention to potential environmental hazards and socio-economic issues stemming from casino projects. Kimmel emphasized the need for lawmakers to evaluate the absence of concrete evidence supporting the economic benefits attributed to casinos.

State Senator Dave Marsden and Delegate Wren Williams had introduced legislation in 2023, which was subsequently withdrawn. They are now considering reintroducing a more comprehensive referendum bill in the next legislative session.

The residents, united through various community groups and local representatives, are hopeful that their efforts will dissuade the state legislature from endorsing a casino they view as detrimental to Reston’s thriving community.