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Now Open: RA’s Tetra Purchase Referendum

by Karen Goff — April 13, 2015 at 12:45 pm 10 Comments

Tetra building

Voting is now open in the member referendum on Reston Association’s Tetra building purchase.

RA member households should have received their ballot by email this morning or by mail later today.

The referendum asks RA members if RA should :

1. Purchase the 3.47 acre Tetra property (formerly the Reston Visitors Center), inclusive of land and improvements, located at 11450 Baron Cameron Avenue, Reston, VA 20190 in the North Point District as an addition to Common Area pursuant to Article IV, Section IV.10 of the Reston Deed;

2. Renovate and repurpose the existing building and land for community and recreation program uses; and,

3. Borrow up to $2,650,000 on behalf of the Association to make the purchase?

RA’s fact sheet on the purchase is also available with the ballot. The fact sheet details why RA wants to purchase the building and revenue is expects to earn from programs and event rentals; items uncovered in a recent inspection that need to be fixed; and current zoning.

The building, built in 1983, served as Reston’s Visitors Center for 20 years. Since 2003, it has served as office space for its current owner Tetra Partners.

The building sits on the shores of Lake Newport and is adjacent to other RA properties such as Brown’s Chapel Park and Lake Newport Tennis. Acquiring the property would give RA 98 contiguous acres of open and community space and would guard against commercial development of the property, which has zoning authorizing an addition of 6,900 square feet.

Detractors of the purchase say there is little chance of commercial development as there are dozens of easements on the property and the parking lot serves as the spillway for Lake Newport. Opponents are also concerned that the building, whose tax assessment was $1.2 million the last two years, is not worth $2.65 million.

Balloting is open through May 8 at 5 p.m.

  • Wings!

    #HootersForReston

  • Robert Mowbray

    You left out the best option – don’t vote at all. The RA Board is for green space now but gave away much higher quality green space in the Lake Anne land swap.

    • Bob Feuille

      So better to lose this chance? Your logic is hard to follow.

      • edgyone

        You think there is another buyer? There will be no other buyers for what amounts to swamp land. Let a developer have it if they can do something with it, but I doubt anyone will come beating down tetra’s door. What a year, and reston can buy it for 1.3 million.

        • Bob Feuille

          I don’t know if there’s a buyer but I do know if RA buys it it will belong to all of us! You seem to want to have an open space plan that is built on the Hope that what’s open now will remain so, I don’t think that’s makes sense.

          • edgyone

            The fear that someone will buy the property for 2.7million, given the restrictions on it, is irrational. That is what does not make sense. Basing a purchase on poor assumptions and the fear of unlikely outcomes is not how a responsible organization behaves. I guess the fact that this would be a poor investment for a developer due to easements and environmental restrictions is not a compelling enough reason not to fork over a million more dollars than the property is worth. I need to buy some property reston may want one day. That would yield a great return. Also, tetra would not belong to all of us. It would be available for rent like any other hotel in the area. So I guess the Hilton belongs to all of us too?

    • Terry Maynard

      Sorry, Robert, that is not the “best option.” That means fewer “yes” votes than would otherwise be required would lead to approval of this referendum. The odds that a 10% quorum won’t be reached are small and–like a decade ago–the Board will then extend the timeframe for the referendum and rally support for “yes” votes.

      Indeed, RA President Ken Knueven has twice refused to answer my question on whether the Board would try to extend the referendum to achieve a quorum if a quorum isn’t reached by May 8. I wouldn’t take the chance.

      The “best option” is to vote “NO” on this referendum question.

  • MJay

    Do we need to sign up for emails containing ballot information ie password/ballot code? I never received an email and have yet to receive a ballot in the mail. I took a few minutes to see if the ballot information was on my reston.org account or otherwise learn how to sign up for email ballots, but honestly, that site is really busy and kind of all over the place… On another note, thank you Terry for your response re: voting “no” or holding out hope for a lack of quorum. Although I suspect the RA-rose-colored view wins out in the end, I will vote “no” when they finally get around to sending me a ballot.

    • Terry Maynard

      Your welcome, MJay. In theory, the ballots are on their way via the US mail. You should receive it within the next 2-3 days. Nothing you need to do until then–and they you need to vote “NO.”

  • fed up

    Unfortunately, the people who can least afford an increase in dues are the ones most likely to know nothing about this ridiculous purchase. Lake Newport waterfront homeowners have a sophisticated e-mail campaign in force, blasting other wealthy neighborhoods in North Reston and warning of dire development consequences should RA fail to buy this site for twice what it is worth (at least twice – I have my doubts that it’s even worth one million).
    Who benefits the most from the purchase of this property? Other than Tetra receiving double the fair market value; the million dollar homes on Lake Newport receive a guaranteed tranquil water view in perpetuity.
    An effective course of action that individuals who oppose this wasteful endeavor can take is to go door to door at various condo and townhouse communities passing out the 2 excellent op-ed’s that have been posted and explaining this transaction. People have their ballots in hand. Let’s educate people and get them to vote NO. Even if we just talk to 4 of our neighbors, we can defeat this thing.

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