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.”