Residents of Reston, Virginia, are uniting to oppose a proposed casino development by Comstock Companies near the Metro’s Silver Line outside the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County. They argue that the casino contradicts the recently endorsed Reston Master Plan, which aimed to promote growth in important sectors like technology and higher education.

On January 6, activists from protested outside the Fairfax County Government Center, highlighting what they see as a departure from Reston’s planning principles. They argue that the Reston Comprehensive Plan and Fairfax County Supervisor Walter Alcorn’s position do not support the proposed casino.

Lynne Mulston, president of the Reston Citizens Association, stressed that current Virginia law does not permit such developments in Reston. She criticised major developers for attempting to influence legislative action without considering the social, economic, and infrastructure impacts on the Reston community.

During the Public Hearing for Fairfax Delegation to the General Assembly, Jennifer Jushchuk of Save Our Sunrise expressed concerns about the proximity of the casino to residential areas in Reston’s Sunrise Valley Neighborhood. She noted that Comstock, the developer, has significant investments near the Wiehle Reston-East metro station, rather than in Tysons Corner.

Activists argue that the proposed casino contradicts the goals outlined in the recently approved Reston Master Plan, jeopardising years of community planning efforts. Mac Cummins, CEO of RA, emphasised that a casino would be incompatible with Reston’s vision for growth in key sectors.

Health concerns, including potential environmental toxicity and socio-economic issues associated with casinos, were raised during the public hearing. Michelle Widmann Kimmel of Healthy Reston urged legislators to consider the lack of empirical evidence supporting economic benefits from casinos.

State Senator Dave Marsden and Delegate Wren Williams withdrew bills introduced in 2023 but plan to reintroduce an expanded referendum bill in the upcoming legislative session.

Residents hope that their collective efforts, supported by community groups and elected officials, will dissuade the state legislature from endorsing a casino they believe is unwanted and unnecessary for the Reston community.

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