Reston, VA

Waterview Cluster/file photoThis is an Op-Ed by Waterview Cluster resident Dick Kennedy. Something on your mind? Write to us at [email protected] We reserve the right to edit submissions.

If Covenant 15 is revoked RELAC costs will go up and soon RELAC will end. Then…

1. Where do you put your new outside AC unit? Where will your neighbors put their unit ? Our communities were not architecturally designed to have outside AC units. We have no good options.

2. Despite advances all AC units make noise that is compounded when they are all running.

3. Be ready to spend about $5,000 to $10,000 or more to buy and install an outside unit.

4. The new [RELAC] owners have already improved service, many users say. They have a plan to reduce rates.

Why not give them a chance?

The RELAC referendum has been brought to us legitimately by the “Free from 15” group. Much has been said about real issues on whether to keep the covenant requirement. There are pros and cons on most issues, some argued fairly and many exaggerated out of context.

RELAC costs are high but the system is quiet. A few owners say they don’t get good service but most say they are happy and service is improving. There are questions about how to maintain the individual systems and whether it has been done. There are claims about RELAC infrastructure failing. But the same happens to water, sewer and gas infrastructure. Repairs must be made from time to time.

The term “monopoly” is used with a derogatory slant. But we have monopolies for electricity and gas and RELAC. All are supervised by the State Corporation Commission [SCC] which regulates public utilities, balancing the needs of users and the utility.

Some argue RELAC adversely affects home sales, but most units sell very quickly and prices are going up to pre-recession levels. So there is much to carefully consider. Clearly, owners’ financial interest is at stake on both sides —  including those who are already off the system and don’t want to return the RELAC system when they sell.

Freedom has been much celebrated by those who want to be free to get off RELAC. But please remember you will not be free to use RELAC for long if the covenant is removed.

Please VOTE.

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