At the Aug. 8 Town Council Public Session, Scott Robinson, director of public works, acting as town manager, presented the Town Manager Report. Robinson reported that Comstock (Herndon Venture L.C.) filed a revised site plan for its mixed-use development in Herndon’s downtown.
“A big step for them,” Robinson said. He did not elaborate and spoke on the matter for only 25 seconds at the council meeting.
Comstock calls the Herndon Downtown Center "Herndon Station" on page 14 of its 2022 Annual Report. The company reportedly revised its site plan for Herndon Downtown Center to meet current code requirements as the developer in the public-private partnership. Town staff will start reviewing the plan.
Given a request for further information, Herndon Town Manager Bill Ashton replied in an email dated Aug. 14, saying the site plan revision was required for Comstock's effort to update the design to meet the current building code.
“What was submitted was a revision of the site plan that incorporates design changes needed for compliance with the latest version of the building code," Ashton wrote. "The revised site plan must match the building plan; likewise, the building plan is required to be updated to meet the current Building Code."
The site plan revision is a 48-page technical document that was provided to The Connection. On Aug. 17, Ashton responded confirming the length of Comstock's market pause to begin construction, describing critical design updates, the project timeline, documenting if financing is complete to start the project and if additional town funding will be required for the project to begin. Town Council reportedly had not been provided with a copy of the revised site plan as of Saturday, Aug. 19.
In his email, Ashton verified that the market pause for Comstock's project, as per the 2020 amendment to the Comprehensive Plan Agreement (2018), is valid for up to 24 months from the day it was accepted, April 2022. He also said that no new information about deadlines or financing is available "at this time."
As for key changes in the new site plan, Ashton wrote that parking garage level P1, which was two stories below grade and the smallest level at 56 parking garage spaces, was removed with this plan revision. “The remaining parking garage levels, P2 through P8, range between 80 spaces to 115 spaces per level. There are bicycle parking spaces ranging from 30 spaces to 60 spaces on parking garage levels P3 through P7. The plan revision reduced the total number of parking spaces for the multifamily apartments from 450 to 377.”
According to Ashton, the project still provides more parking than the zoning ordinance requires for an arts-focused redevelopment. “There are 334 parking spaces available to the public inside the parking garage, located on levels P2 through most of P5," Ashton wrote. There will be no charge for parking.
Ashton wrote that Comstock submitted the amended site plan around two weeks ago, and the town's review still needs to be finished. "We are not able to summarize design updates as the updated building plans have not been submitted at this time," he said.
The Herndon Town Council passed a resolution on Nov. 17, 2020, amending the Comprehensive Agreement with Comstock dated Nov. 1, 2017, to, among other things, specify construction beginning and outside satisfaction dates. Comstock exercised its right under the amended comprehensive agreement in April 2022 to pause development for up to 24 months owing to market circumstances or other matters, including delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Herndon Proclamation Recognizes Pakistan Independence Day
Sheila Olem, mayor of the Town of Herndon, recognized Pakistan Independence Day on Aug. 14 by issuing a council-approved mayoral proclamation during the Aug. 8 Town of Herndon Council Public Hearing. Councilmember Naila Alam made the request.
Pakistan marked its 76th anniversary of independence from British rule on Monday, Aug. 14. Olem urged town residents to learn more about Pakistan's history and culture, recognizing their contributions to the Herndon community.
According to the proclamation, read aloud by Alam, the town "takes great pride in being the home of many Pakistani Americans, and on this occasion, our community celebrates the hopes, dreams, and vital contributions of Americans of Pakistani origin across all aspects of our society." Councilmember Cesar del Aguila said he hopes the community can have a real celebration, perhaps a festival, next year, as "actions speak louder than words."
Alam is the first Pakistani-American Herndon town council member, and voters re-elected her to a second term in 2022.