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Bocce Court Process Peeves Some RA Members

by Karen Goff — August 15, 2014 at 9:30 am 18 Comments

Cabots Point Park

Reston Association has decided to continue with its proposal to construct a bocce ball court at a pocket park off of South Lakes Drive. But Several Cabots Point-area residents are still unhappy with that decision and have pasted signs on benches at the tot lot near where the court will eventually be located.

The bocce court was first approved by the board last December, with the projected $2,500 cost to be paid for by Friends of Reston.

The signs at the park call out RA’s process, as well as the loss of open park space.

Reads the sign: “Say NO to Proposed Reston Association Bocce Ball Courts! Richard Chew, a board member of the Reston Association, has proposed taking up a large portion of this Cabots Point Park where our children have played for many years with two adult bocce ball courts. This is one of the smallest children’s parks owned by RA. If you don’t believe this is an appropriate use of this park’s space, let RA know.”

Cabots Point ParkThe sign encourages residents to contact RA CEO Cate Fulkerson with their concerns.

Several concerned residents previously contacted Fulkerson, mostly regarding what they say was a lack notice prior to voting for the amenity.

That lead Fulkerson to propose two weeks ago to take bocce off the table and start overFulkerson said at the time several RA members who live near Cabots Point contacted RA “concerned that proper notification and opportunity for public input or a hearing was not made regarding the proposed project and change in use of the recreation area.”

Fulkerson’s proposal was voted to be taken off the agenda prior to the meeting, after Chew pointed out that proper procedures were followed and he received positive feedback from neighbors.

“In general, the plan was met with great enthusiasm,” Chew said at the July 31 meeting. “The bocce court was explained and discussed. No one expressed any concern.”

South Bay resident Bill Parker says the first he heard about the plan was in June. He said a mailing by RA to residents of nearby clusters never got to homeowners.

“It’s really not about bocce,” says Parker. “It is about the process [RA] used to make this happen. There is no documentation of any discussions. [Chew] talked to people at the park, not people who live in South Bay cluster. I don’t care if it is a flea circus or a ferris wheel. The problem is they didn’t tell anyone this was going to happen.”

Parker does have some thoughts on bocce, too.

“This park is not very big,” he said. “The bocce court will be 13-by-60 feet, and that does not include benches and trash cans. There may be a second court eventually and then this is a bocce park.”

A woman playing with two young boys at the park on Thursday morning said building a bocce court does not matter to her.

“I don’t see what the big deal is,” she said after reading the bench sign. “Kids will just run through the court [like they do through the field] when no one is playing ball.”

RA does vow to provide better notification in the future. Earlier this summer, the RA board established a new  development review process that formalizes community engagement procedures.

“As Reston continues to grow and develop, Reston Association believes it is imperative to involve the community in decisions which directly impact neighborhoods, clusters and Reston residents,” said RA spokeswomen Kirsten Carr.

“With the passing of Land Use Resolution 1; Procedures for Comment on Development/Redevelopment Projects in Reston (passed in June of this year) and the establishment of the Reston Development/Redevelopment Plan Review Process, a precedent and a process has been set to involve the affected community members early in the process. The recent meeting at the Pony Barn Recreation Area to discuss plans for its future is a prime example of that process in action.”

  • Agnès Powers

    Some people are so grumpy and uptight!

  • Guest

    This is going to be a nice addition to the area, and it’s privately funded. There will still be plenty of space for kids to run around (including mine!), and hey, what kid doesn’t like bocce?! It’s a fun, simple game. I’m looking forward to it!

    • Mike M

      Public land grant = public funding on my planet.

  • Scott H

    Question. If the park is not that big such that a 13×60 bocce court is a huge impact, then what good is the park anyway? Seems to me building the court would be a good use of a space too small for any other significant recreation activity.

    1st world problems. Build the court and quit the “Not in my backyard” BS

    • BBurns

      Responding “1st world problems” has become a cliche. Residents should be able to help determine what happens in their community, and simply ask that enough notice be given to those affected. It’s not their fault it’s not a bigger problem like world hunger.

      • Scott H

        Cliches exist for a reason. They are mostly true. I live a few clusters from cabots point and frankly, this is a bunch of crap. I don’t play bocce but I fail to see how a few people playing an old world game is going to ruin your life. Grow the hell up. Reston is turning into Arlington with the metro. Highrises are planned, NW mutual wants to turn the golf course into 1600 houses and your complaining about a 16×30 bocce court that may bring upto 8 ornery baby boomers to the park at any one time….so yes, First World Problems!

    • Kate Peterson

      Scott- I couldn’t agree with you more–

  • Mike M

    Hey, Agnes. I have some extra cash. How about you donate your property to me so I can build a pogo stick race course. EVERYBODY loves to race pogo!

  • BBurns

    The ongoing issue is about residents not being notified early enough about _______ to weigh in. It’s apparently happened with the bocce court; with approving shooting deer with bows and arrows by “professionals” in one case; and for giving permission to commercial businesses to conduct business on Lake Audubon, advertising to communities outside of Reston, when the Reston lakes are supposed to be for RA members only.

    One lake business was never brought to members’ attention. It was discovered by accident by two members. Permission was granted in this case by RA.

    If Richard Chew’s statement is accurate that the process was adhered to correctly in this or other cases, then the process itself needs to be changed.

    • Kate Peterson

      Every item that you site was “knowable” people just don’t pay attention until its right in their backyard, then of course they don’t want it.

      I believe that the process has been changed as is implied by Ms. Carr’s really ineffective effort at communication.

    • Tortola

      He may feel that the board’s processes were followed correctly. The association’s processes were not. He also claims to have talked to many people about this. Who exactly?

  • Billy Smith

    I think the Bocce court is a totally benign fun addition– but WTH is that quote from RA saying?!

    • Karen Goff

      That is the question of the day.

  • Lindsay

    Noting the last sentence in this article: “The recent meeting at the Pony Barn Recreation Area to discuss plans for its future is a prime example of that process in action.”

    That “recent meeting” on 30 July was a borderline disaster as far as community outreach goes. If this was a “prime example” we’ve got a long, tough road ahead. The bocce ball situation is nothing compared to what seems to be looming for the Pony Barn discussion. For more see the RA website > Inside RA > Development & Redevelopment > . Pony Barn Recreation Area > Public Comments through Aug 14.

    And for those who complain about getting notice after the fact – the first working group meeting is on 18 Aug.

  • Consis Tently-Wright

    in my mind this is not about the bocce courts at all, its about process. RA residents are being double taxed, RA policies are archaic and sometimes double standard, and until recently their board of directors consisted of mostly men who enforced the status quo. the bocce court discussion is a good one because it shows that things can be changed for the better.

  • Tortola

    “Reston Association believes it is imperative to involve the community in decisions which directly impact neighborhoods, clusters and Reston residents,” said RA spokeswomen Kirsten Carr. Really? Actions speak louder than words. When you write them, they ignore you. When you attend a board meeting, they want no dialogue with you. Not even to ask you a question or clarification. RA outlined the space for the court in the park recently. It’s not 12′ X 60′. It is almost 60′ wide and 80′ long.

  • BBurns

    Yes! LOL! Thank you for sharing the rules of game. ; )

  • Knotso Much

    A woman playing with two young boys at the park on Thursday morning said building a bocce court does not matter to her.

    “I don’t see what the big deal is,” she said after reading the bench sign. “Kids will just run through the court [like they do through the field] when no one is playing ball.”

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