Reston Association Board Elections: Meet Lucinda Shannon

Lucinda Shannon/Credit: Reston AssociationVoting for the 2014 Reston Association Board of Directors election opens on Tuesday. There are nine candidates running for five seats. A candidates forum will be held Saturday, March 15 at Reston Association headquarters at 10 a.m.

Reston Association members will receive an election guide and ballot in the mail this week.

Reston Now will have Q & As with each candidate running daily this week and next. In the spirit of fairness, each candidate was given the same questions.

Today’s profile: Lucinda Shannon, who is running unopposed for the three-year Hunters Woods/Dogwood seat.

Q: How long have you lived in Reston?

A: My husband, dog, and I moved to Reston seven years ago because it had an independent bookstore and the most trees in Northern Virginia. Before that, I was living in Arlington. We rented a townhouse in the Dogwood Cluster, then moved East on Glade and bought a townhouse in the Wharf Cluster and about a year ago purchased a single family house off of Old Trail Drive. We really like the neighborhoods off Glade Drive and in that area in general. The woods and hiking trails are great, not to mention the water slide at the Glade pool!

I am originally from Massachusetts and I have lived in and studied many cities and towns that are examples of sustainable planning and land use, including Portland, Ore., and San Francisco.

Q: What inspired you to run for the Board?

A: I am always looking for ways to contribute to my community. I am a volunteer with the Virginia German Shepherd Rescue, the Reston Useful Service Exchange, Reston for a Lifetime, and the Fairfax Area Mobility & Transportation Committee. I attend the RA Environmental Advisory Committee meetings and help with their Sustainability Working Group; I also correspond with the RA Transportation Advisory Committee and sit in on RA Board Meetings.

I guess I am a policy wonk. I have a degree in public policy and administration and I have always been fascinated with land use, transportation, and empowering people to engage in the public process. I want to bring more diversity to the board and represent the Hunters Woods and Dogwood District Members of the Reston Association. I have worked in the non-profit/human service policy field for 10 years. I ride public transportation, walk and bike, have a community garden plot, and I do not have any investment properties in Reston, or anywhere else.

I want to represent the interests of my neighbors in the Hunters Woods and Dogwood District, including the non-English speaking Members of the RA. I think that it is important to engage all the Members of the RA and clearly define the RA’s objectives. Sometimes all that people hear from the RA is the rules and what they did wrong, but they don’t understand why we have those rules. I want to reach out to the residents of the Hunters Woods and Dogwood Districts and engage them in the Reston Association’s goals and values.

Q: What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?

A: Reston has so much going for it. I want to focus on what we can do to lead the nation in livable development. Being one of the largest community associations in the nation, we have an opportunity to demonstrate innovative long-term project planning and projects. Currently Reston is in a time of growth and change, with aging infrastructure, growing density, and mass transit projects. If I had to pick the top three, I would say the rapid development of the Transit Station Areas, the livability of our community for all of its residents, and long term planning and diversity within the Reston Association.

With the arrival of the Silver Line Metro Stations we are going to see tremendous growth. I want to ensure that the Members of the Reston Association’s interests are part of that growth. I want to protect our unique character, recreational amenities, local businesses, and open space. I understand that things are going to change and we are going to be transitioning from a suburban neighborhood to an urban setting along the Transit Station Areas. I believe that we can grow in density while also preserving our open space and mitigating traffic. I have seen many examples of this in my personal and professional life and I would like to help guide this process in our community.

Second, the population in Reston is aging and many will be living on a fixed income. We want people to be able to retire in place. Reston should be a place that all people can live and enjoy. I want to improve transportation options for older adults, people with disabilities, children, and people with low-incomes. I would like to improve pathways, wayfinding signs, advocate for better transit, ridesharing, and street crossings. The more options for travel that we provide, for example more daytime buses and bike facilities, the less traffic we will have.

Third, the current board has a vast wealth of technology and corporate business experience. I want to add more diversity to the board and contribute my government and nonprofit expertise to the mix. I have heard about several different plans to exchange RA land to private developers and I want to ensure that we make the best decision for our Members and the long term. I want to ensure that we value the RA assets using current standards that will bring prosperity to Reston for years to come, not just short term.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

A: The RA has an opportunity to be a national leader by demonstrating what innovative planning and strategic use of combined resources can do for its Members. If elected by you, I will represent your interests through the following actions.

  • Promote sustainable development policies with an interest in preserving and enhancing the founding principles and character that make Reston a desirable community.
  • Assure that RA’s financial and human resources are used efficiently and effectively to preserve and enhance our community and serve all our Members well.
  • Cultivate a diverse transportation network that serves all Members of our community.

Reston is set apart from other communities in Northern Virginia. We have more tree cover, better pathways and public transit, less traffic, and more public space. With the arrival of rail, we have an opportunity to leverage our assets, enhance our community, and continue to stand apart as an example of thoughtful planning for the benefit of all Members of our community.

Q: How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?

 A: My background and experience are ideally suited to evaluate and develop effective programs for sustainable growth, especially for the challenges of development around the new Silver Line. I will use the innovative examples I see in my professional life to promote healthy living, multi-modal transportation, local businesses, and a sense of pride in Reston. My professional and academic qualifications include.

  • Volunteer with the Fairfax Area Mobility & Transportation Committee, Reston for a Lifetime, Reston Useful Service Exchange, and Virginia German Shepherd Rescue.
  • Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration.
  • Over 10 years of experience providing technical support on livability, transportation, aging, and disability policy, working with local agencies, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities to develop coalitions to improve transportation.
  • Experienced in fostering collaboration and open communication.

My husband and I moved to Reston specifically for its unique characteristics and founding principles. I have volunteered and worked in committees all my life and I am familiar with local planning and zoning, federal initiatives and community involvement. I am fair, honest and a big picture thinker.

As demonstrated by my collaboration with candidates for the at large positions, Rachel Muir and Colin Mills, I enjoy working with others. If you elect me, I will work hard to make Reston a pillar of livability that shines across the nation.  Visit our website to learn more

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