RA Vote Keeps Bocce at Cabots Point in Place

by Karen Goff October 24, 2014 at 1:00 pm 22 Comments

Cabots Point ParkBocce in Reston lives to see another round.

The Reston Association Board of Directors on Thursday voted down President Ken Knueven’s proposal to rescind authorization of the proposal, passed by the board last December, to build a court at Cabots Point recreation area. In the motion, Knueven also suggested scouting new locations for the court.

Three directors (Ellen Graves, Michael Sanio and Eve Thompson) voted in favor of rescinding the plan. South Lakes rep Richard Chew and Knueven voted against pulling the plan. Directors Jeff Thomas and Lucinda Shannon abstained, and two directors were absent from the vote.

A similar proposal about starting over was made by RA CEO Cate Fulkerson in July, but after remarks to the board from Chew — who initiated the plan for the bocce court last year — Fulkerson’s proposal was not considered.

A second motion that returns the plan to the Design Review Board was passed Thursday by the directors. That means there will be further discussion about Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, which may add costs to the project, before the first bocce balls can be thrown.

The 12-by-60-foot court is estimated to cost $2,500 to construct and would be paid for by the nonprofit Friends of Reston. However, other communities say construction, maintenance and other factors could drive Reston’s costs much higher. If that happens, it is questionable whether RA would use its own funds for the project.

The bocce kerfuffle has been ongoing for more than six months. Many residents of South Bay, Cabots Point and Cedar Cove clusters, which are close to the park, say they were not given proper notification before RA approved the project. They also say the courts would take away open space and attract traffic and noise.

At RA’s September meeting, more than 20 residents spoke out against bocce.

On Thursday, several more reiterated their frustration, but RA also heard from one resident who supported the idea and pointed out that the public resistance was not befitting of a recreational amenity.

“Let’s put this in perspective,” said Jill Norvell, who lives in Cabots Point. “It’s a singular bocce court. It is not a brothel. It is not a multipurpose, lit athletic field. It is one bocce court. I’ve driven on South Bay Lane daily for 20 years. I have managed to navigate the area without an issue. Are you seriously concerned this one bocce court will cause traffic issues? Living in this area, trust me, this is the least of your traffic woes.”

“Not one scintilla or iota of open space will be lost to install this bocce court,” she added. “Its footprint size is less than a neighborhood pool lap lane. Don’t be derailed by knee jerk NIMBYism.”

  • Knotso Much

    So the president voted against his own proposal. Seems logical.

  • Capo

    The comment that “Not one scintilla or iota of open space will be lost…” is completely incorrect, which has been shown time and again by opponents of this possible construction. And I guess Ms. Norvill lives near, but not right up against the potential park, as several people do. And I also guess Ms. Norvill sees nothing condescending in referring to people who state legitimate opposition to something with the completely derogatory term, “NIMBY.” Let’s find a better place for the bocce ball courts…and let’s drop the term NIMBY from serious discussion.

    • John Farrell

      “Let find someplace else” is quintessetial NIMBYism. Oh irony?

      • Capo

        So even a group of residents who have legitimate reasons to object to a board structure are subject to the derogatory stereotype of NIMBY? Typical narrow-mindedness…the kind of mind that would use a slur like NIMBY.

        • John Farrell

          “Legitimate reasons” are completely absent in this case. Rationalizations, on the other hand, abound.

          You also might want to check the definition of slur. To quote Inigo Montoya, “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    • Heh

      A scintilla starts at 800 square feet, so the 720 sq ft bocce court doesn’t count.

  • Barkley

    I’m a big fan of this Jill Norvell

    • CharlieParker


      • Chuck Morningwood

        Because her analysis of the situation is mostly correct.

        • CharlieParker

          She was really rude to her neighbors, that’s not cool either. I don’t have a horse in this race as I don’t live there, but I would look for a group consensus and majority rule in the neighborhood, and go with that. Not just the person with the snarky comments that fits your opinion of what should happen there. I do know Bocce’s not a thing here in Reston, and doubt that bocce court will ever get used..so it’s a waste of time and just pissing off the neighborhood.

          • Barkley

            Lets not act like the Bocce opposition has taken the high road. They have been snarky, rude and immature throughout the whole process. Making comments about the board member, trying to rile up any off the wall accusation they can about bocce. Her comments are a reasonable level of exhaustion to the irrational opposition. They’ll get over it just like they’ll get over bocce and move on to some other thing to get riled up about.

  • Bill

    I still can’t wrap my head around the opposition to Bocce… this is not a giant team sport. You aren’t going to have 30 frat boys chugging beer and playing Italian lawn bowling. Traffic and noise concerns on this are just silly. Some people just have WAY too much time on their hands!

    • Knotso Much

      Wrap your head around this: “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.”

    • Capo

      The opposition here is not to the game of bocce…it is to the location, which abuts closer to homes than any other parkland in Reston. There are many other places to construct a bocce ball facility, so let’s find them and go play.

      • Chuck Morningwood

        Really, Capo? Seems my property abuts South Lakes park, where the soccer field is much more intensively used than any Bocce court would ever be. Maybe you should spend some quality time in the park on the weekends to put your concerns in perspective.

        While you’ve got concerns, some of which might actually be legitimate, they pale in comparison to a horde of drunken futbolistas all wanting to urinate in your wooded buffer. Krikeys, you’ve probably got more concerns with 2 year olds dropping trou in the middle of the playground to relieve themselves than you do from some uncouth, ill-mannered, Bocce players.

        Put another way, Herndon also has a Bocce Pitch as well. Did you know that? It is probably one of the best kept secrets in Herndon. In the years that I have been riding up and down the W&OD, I still have yet to see even the first person actually using that Pitch.

        This Bocce Pitch might even be a better way of keeping the malcontents away from your property than you think. Can you imagine the teeming throngs if RA were to put in a highly desired Croquet venue instead?

  • OpenReston

    Sounds like there was a lot of public resistance so they decided to go ahead with it anyways, what am I missing here? 20 people spoke out in opposition but they don’t care? And Jill Norvell sounds a little arrogant to me, the entire community needs to be on board, why is she quoted and not anyone else. Stupidity rules..

  • HP

    FML, Bocce in Reston

  • John Farrell

    Under what manual of parliamentary procedure does the presiding officer vote except to break or make a tie?

    Under what manual of parliamentary procedure does the presiding officer make motions?

    Under what manual of parliamentary procedure does any presiding officer vote against their own motion?

    Under every manual of parliamentary procedure with which I am familiar (and that’s more than a few), the presiding officer of a deliberative body is suppose to remain neutral on questions pending before the body and allow the other members to debate the issues.

    If, on the rare occasion that the presiding officer feels compelled to enter into debate, they surrender the gavel to the Vice President who conducts the debate on that question.

    WTH is going on with RA Board meeting procedure?

  • Guest

    Next up – the ‘Memorial Garden’ discussion…..

  • Guest
  • WhatsAllTheFuss

    If Friends of Reston (the guys with the $2500) would be willing to clear out some of the invasive species plants as a proffer, I bet my HOA would be willing to let you put the Bocce court in our common area. It would only take a group of hard workers a weekend to clear out the stuff and would save us a bunch of money. There is plenty of room there and this would be a great addition to the neighborhood. [38.94385,-77.339774]

  • Mike M

    Bocce courts in Italy, France and Spain are cultural institutions and steeped in tradition – they’re around the main plazas and frequented by the same folk day in and day out. The courts themselves were never constructed nor planned they just simple existed since the beginning of time. Its a ridiculous proposal to have a bocce court “constructed”. For starters I have not seen a single bocce player in Reston ever. If there were any bocce players they would already play somewhere on a daily basis, in a public place of their own choosing without regard to the bureaucrats and planners. Lets keep it real.


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