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RA Proposal Has New High-Rise Residents as Partial Members

by Karen Goff — June 4, 2015 at 9:30 am 69 Comments

BLVD Apartments under construction in RestonReston is about to undergo a major residential development spurt. That is why Reston Association is proposing a new model for adding properties to the association that could have some residents paying half as much as current members in annual assessments.

RA CEO Cate Fulkerson presented some of the details at RA’s regular board meeting last week. The changes come as RA is in the process of adding Comstock’s BLVD apartments at Reston Station, the first of what will likely be several new multifamily developments added to RA.

BLVD, which will begin leasing later this year, will have 540 units. It will be the first residential development in the area along the Dulles Toll Road that was formerly zoned industrial. Since no residential development was there before, properties will be new to RA’s jurisdiction.

“Currently, new or existing properties along the corridor do not fall within RA’s jurisdiction (RA covenanted land) therefore assessments from those residences are not collected by RA,” says a statement by RA. “Those properties also do not fall under RA’s design guidelines and could potentially create an appearance of ‘two different Restons’ if the properties are not properly maintained.”

Under the new model, developers would have the opportunity to join RA. The association would receive an initiation fee and/or proffers from developers in exchange for RA providing certain services such as overseeing the future administration and design review process of the properties, RA says.

Because much of the new development, including BLVD, will have on-site amenities such as swimming pools, RA would reduce the assessment fee to half the amount paid by full members of the association. The 2015 assessment fee for full members is $642.

Fulkerson said new RA members in the former industrial corridor area would not have the same access to RA amenities that full members possess, but would benefit from various RA services.

“While all of the details have not been worked out yet … the key point under consideration has to do with services more than amenities,” said Fulkerson.

Fulkerson said all residents, regardless of whether they are members or not, have access to Reston Association’s pathways, open spaces, ball fields and other public amenities. The services RA would provide to new members are administrative in nature, such as design guideline oversight.

“Members who receive the half-price discount would not qualify for the reduced rates that full members get on things like tennis and pool passes,” she added. “We feel this is fair to both our existing members and any potential new members. “We also don’t anticipate providing reduced camp or other programing rates for members who are receiving the lesser assessment rate.”

By adding new properties to RA, the association would have greater control over the design guidelines of the properties. The new assessments and initiation fees would bring revenue to the association and allow the new area  to become part of “one Reston,” says RA.

RA will hold a public hearing on the subject on June 25, prior to the board voting on the changes.

The proposal looks like this:

Project/development owner pays a lump sum (often pursuant to proffer) and/or other initiation fee.

Development may be subject to some or all of the provisions of the RA Deed through a Supplemental Declaration.

Owner may pay some portion of or all of the Annual Assessment per residential unit owned.

In the case of Rental Apartments, the Owner will be considered a Category B Member (Multifamily Dwelling) with voting rights for Designated Director Election, Deed amendments, and Common Area Referenda; In the case of a Condominium, each Owner of a Unit is considered a Category A Member with specified voting rights pursuant to the RA Deed.

In the case of Rental Apartments where Owner pays an Annual Assessment per Apartment, Apartment Occupants could be considered Category C Members (Occupants) with right to run for the Board of Directors and vote in Board Elections.

Alternatively, if Owner does not pay an Annual Assessment per unit owned, then, in accord with the Supplemental Declaration, Occupants would not be Class C members and would only be eligible to purchase a RA Recreation package for a specific annual fee for the same recreational services.

For an annual fee, RA administers the developments Design Guidelines under a separate architectural board of review.

For an annual fee, RA could agree to provide development owner with onsite common area maintenance/landscaping/snow-removal services and/or recreational programming.

Photo: BLVD Apartments

  • Ming the Merciless

    Doesn’t sound like a good deal for the actual residents of the high rises.

    Sounds more like the RA wants a payoff from the developers.

    • JCSuperstar

      Given the corridor is not governed by RA, or its deed, this is a good model. If I were a property owner there, I would need to hear a very compelling argument to do anything with RA.

      • Ming the Merciless

        Good model for what? Gratuitous transfers of money from residents (who get nothing useful from the RA) to the RA?

        • JCSuperstar

          Many believe, as I do, the new residents in the corridor will impact the RA resources. This is a good way to mitigate those impacts.

          Of course, the developers could always give more proffers to the county instead.

          • Ming the Merciless

            How will they impact those resources? She said “Members who receive the half-price discount would not qualify for the
            reduced rates that full members get on things like tennis and pool
            passes.” So, to the extent they use those resources, they are already paying “extra” for them in addition to their RA membership fee. So the RA membership fee doesn’t do anything for the residents, and is not justified as a “user fee” because the residents pay such user fees on top of the membership fee.

          • JCSuperstar

            I think we need to see the final details of Comstock’s deal (and hope it is repeated with other owners). But, more people will be using RA’s amenities – parks, paths, ball fields, etc.

            The other potential win is RA administering design guidelines in the corridor.

          • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

            What could be gained by RA administering design guidlines on new construction?

          • JCSuperstar

            Getting the owners in the corridor to work with each other and creating some consistency in design, cooperating on green spaces that go across boundaries, streetscapes, etc.

          • Ming the Merciless

            If I was renting a unit in a high rise, I’d be really excited about paying for that.

          • JCSuperstar

            The owner of the apartments pays, not the renter.

            Read the Comprehensive Plan Amendment text.

            “Development within the TSAs can become better integrated into the fabric of the larger Reston community by providing future TSA residents and employees access and robust connectivity to existing community amenities, including the lakes and the network of trails throughout Reston. This can best be achieved through incorporation into the existing Reston Association or the Reston Town Center Association. Each of these entities has indicated a willingness to include these new developments in their associations.”

          • Ming the Merciless

            Haw. Never been a landlord, have you? ALL taxes and fees are ultimately passed on to the renter.

            That quote is a load of meaningless gabble. Those residents are going to have all the “access and connectivity” to the lakes and trails that they need, just by virtue of their location, without paying a single dime to the RA.

          • JCSuperstar

            Just repeating what the developers are encouraged to do from the Comprehensive Plan:

            “To further this goal of integrating new residents in the TSAs into the larger community, new residents should have access to and use of the full suite of amenities that the Reston planned community offers and in a manner similar to what existing residents currently enjoy. Reston Association is the primary provider of local-serving parks and recreational amenities. Reston Community Center offers an array of cultural and indoor recreational amenities, and the Fairfax County Park Authority provides broader-serving public parks and recreational amenities. While inclusion in Reston Community Center services is a given due to the geography of small district 5, membership in Reston Association is not a given and should be encouraged. This will help achieve the goal of reintegration in a seamless and coordinated way that helps to off-set impacts and meets the needs of new residents.”

          • Ming the Merciless

            You can repeat twaddle as many times as you want and it doesn’t become more convincing. The future residents will be milked if their building is in the RA. They won’t get value for money (or indeed, really anything at all) out of their “half membership”.

          • JCSuperstar

            Ming, I think you need to read the model presented by RA. Renters must pay a fee to have access to the pools, programs, etc. However, they don’t have to if they don’t want to.

            The only time this changes if the apartments go condo. In this instance all individual condo owners MUST join RA (for a reduced assessment.)

          • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

            JC,

            Help me out here, please. Is that the same thing as a Great Falls resident who joins RA for pools, tennis, & camps ? They pay more than RA “full members”, correct? So the BLVD renters will also pay that same higher fee if they want to use those amenities. But if they don’t care about swimming & pools, they don’t have to join. Why is it then that Reston homeowners who don’t want to swim or play tennis still have to pay the full amount? We should get 50 percent discounts too, then, since they are talking about what is “fair”.

            The bigger issue to me is that why are we just hearing about this now. Seems like it was all a part of the Tetra purchase and Comstock’s involvement in that. Would this new part of the equation not affect the votes on that hot button isssue?

          • JCSuperstar

            Bo, I don’t see any conspiracy here. I believe RA has been dealing with how to add properties in the corridor for years now. Comstock was the first concrete conversation, that I recall, started back around 2010.

            This BLVD addition was officially kicked off back in March. Just go to the RA website, everything appears to be there.

            By county dictate, owners/developers within the Corridor are “encouraged” to work with either RA or RTCA. However, no compelling event says that they must do so — just encouraged. I give RA credit for getting something out of “no-need-to-do-anything.”

            Note: The Harrison is outside the Corridor, so is subject to RA deed and governing documents.

          • Ming the Merciless

            Renters must pay a fee to have access to the pools, programs, etc. However, they don’t have to if they don’t want to.

            And that fee is the same whether they pay the RA assessment or not. So the RA assessment gives them nothing from that point of view.

            The only time this changes if the apartments go condo. In this instance all individual condo owners MUST join RA (for a reduced assessment.)

            For which they get… nothing. They still have to pay the same fee for access to RA pools and programs as if they were not in the RA.

          • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

            JC, Come on man! Those costs will be passed on to the renters.

          • JCSuperstar

            Yes, the up front fees. But, again, the renters have the OPTION to pay a reduced fee to have access to pools, etc. They don’t have to if they don’t want to.

          • Greg

            Very little. RA stinks at “administration.” Especially covenants enforcement in south Reston and in Pinecrest in particular.

          • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

            Agreed. And Fulkerson says in her remarks that design guidelines provided to Comstock will prevent “two different Restons”? Really? Why doesn’t she go over to those areas and help them with their design guidelines and covenant enforcement?

          • Ming the Merciless

            all residents, regardless of whether they are members or not, have access to Reston Association’s pathways, open spaces, ball fields and other public amenities that don’t require membership

            So there is no rationale for having these folks pay for it.

            Not to mention that many parks are county-administered not RA-administered.

            The other potential win is RA administering design guidelines in the corridor.

            Win for who? Not for the future residents of the buildings, that’s for sure.

    • Greg

      Sister Hudgins learnt them well, didn’t she?

  • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

    So Comstock pays 600K towards Tetra purchase. Gets “naming rights”. Now, instead of Comstock paying full dues for 540 units, they get a 50% discount.

    • JCSuperstar

      Or, as is their right in the corridor, do nothing at all with RA. The real question, will the rest of the developers in the corridor play?

      Of course, they can join the RTCA instead.

      • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

        Its perplexing, and in the current atmosphere of no trust in RA, we should be asking hard questions. I agree that if I were the developer, I would NOT want to be in RA.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    I say, “All in or nothing”. If you’re expecting to use RA supported amenities, you should pay for them. After all, are we not going to give the cave dwellers passes to the pools and tennis courts? Will they not use the RCC? Would they not expect RA to plow the paths for them?

    • Ming the Merciless

      “Fulkerson said new RA members in the former industrial corridor area
      would not have the same access to RA amenities that full members
      possess”

      So no, they are not expecting to use RA supposed amenities.

    • JCSuperstar

      I suspect the developers would say, fine, we don’t want to play. No proffers or dollars to RA at all — ala Reston Town Center years back. A lost opportunity.

      If you read the text of the Phase I Master Plan, the owners in the corridor are “encouraged” to join the Reston Town Center Association or the Reston Association.

      This is the best the county offered.

      • Ming the Merciless

        As a developer, I sure wouldn’t give a damn if my property did not follow the RA guidelines and “look like Reston”.

        • JCSuperstar

          Good point. But, the developer/owner is seeing the value of being a part of RA. There is no gun their head to do this. So kudos to Fulkerson.

          • Ming the Merciless

            There is no real value to them. But it costs them nothing to throw their future residents under the bus.

          • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

            I wonder what will happen when these new high end apartments convert to condominiums? I believe both THE HARRISON and BLVD will likely convert within 5 years. Other condos in RA have both condo fees and pay full share RA dues. Is that fair?

          • Ming the Merciless

            It is much the same as having to pay cluster dues as well as RA dues. But at least we get something from the RA dues, which the future residents of these buildings will not.

          • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

            I feel like I get more for my cluster fees that include trash pick up, common area maintenance & snow removal than I do from RA. If I want a pool and tennis pass, I pay extra to RA, but other than that, we get nothing from RA. My cluster dues are about $90.00 a month and average condo fees across the board are much higher. The whole thing is a puzzle, and RA is once again trying to hurry this up and vote in three weeks. You can’t tell me this all wasn’t worked out at the same time as the Tetra deal. Are we to believe that this new idea was just worked out in the weeks since the Tetra referendum?

          • Guy Montag

            Bingo – my cluster fees are trash & snow & that. I’ve never purchased a pool pass not do I intend to. So I’m not quite sure what those dues get me

          • Agnes Nutter

            I have no idea what my dues get me. I don’t purchase the pool or tennis passes and RA refuses (I know there’s a jurisdictional issue here, but still) to shovel the side walks, so I have to stand in the road waiting for my bus when we get a few inches of snow. The paths are shoveled if I feel like walking through the woods in the middle of winter. I really think the RA assessment is an insult.

          • Guy Montag

            I have to pay Cluster Dues and RA dues. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

          • Ming the Merciless

            But as she said, we get reduced rates on things that these new residents will not get.

          • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

            Ming, with all due respect, and I mean that sincerely, the “reduced rates’ argument holds no water. Used to be that pools & tennis were included in the assessment. There was a nominal $2.00 or $3.00 fee for the card. So saying we get a discount on these amenities under the more recent guidelines isn’t exactly true.

          • Billy Smith

            The Harrison is already paying full dues because that property is inside the Planned Residential Community (PRC) land. The Blvd is not on PRC land and is not required to pay anything. I think this is great that they’ve agreed to be a part of Reston even at the reduced rate.

    • restonresident

      Everyone pays for RCC it is small district 5 tax assessed on all properties in the small district. The property owner pays the tax and it includes Reston Town Center and the Corridor properties.

  • John Higgins

    There are seeds of interesting and useful discussion here. (And an occasional touch of humor.) Today’s news speaks of “partial” membership in RA for some future residents, following an Alternate Model for addition of properties to RA, released last week. This model appears to be the framework for future negotiations as properties in the corridors come online. Of necessity, It is laced with uncertainty: many “coulds” and “mays” and “ifs”. By itself, it solid ground. The question is, what specifics will be negotiated with each developer?

    For a hint, look at the first one that has specifics: Comstock.

    – The building owner will not pay an annual assessment and will not have voting rights. Apartment residents can use RA facilities (presumably all) if the pay an annual fee, the amount bring set by he RA board each year.

    – If/When units convert to condos or co-ops, unit owners will become full RA members and will pay up to 50 percent of the then-current RA assessment.

    – To “buy in”, Developers will pay a one time fee to RA, in an amount negotiated with RA, in addition to any proffer obligation. (This appears to be the “contribution” we heard about in the Tetra property purchase.)

    Will RA have revenues and members they otherwise would not have absent such an agreement? We can speculate. Is this a good deal for the developers? If they sign on, the answer should be obvious?

    If this were just one building (450 units) the issue would be much simpler. In the years ahead, this corridor will comprise one-third of the RA population. I would urge the RA board consider very carefully this deeply discounted membership for such a large portion of our future population.

    • JCSuperstar

      Mr. Higgins, as most people know me here, my views are definitely pro-developer.

      You infer this is a bad path to go down regarding RA’s approach.

      So, assume I am one of the owners/developers in the corridor:
      — Do you agree/disagree RA should pursue me, or should RTCA?
      — What would be your value proposition to get me to join and pay full freight (knowing I don’t have to do anything at all?)

      JC

      • John Higgins

        Great questions.

        I agree wholeheartedly that RA should pursue you. With no disrespect to RTCA, there is nothing that organization offers you. Your alternative is a stand-alone property. You will have your own amenities and tenant/condo/co-op association (like our clusters). At this point in history, there are two major elements that attract high-end property residents to Reston: a thriving tech industry and the unique Reston community. History tells us that the former element is not guaranteed permanence.

        Your tenants/buyers will want to be part of real community, not a Balkanized region. They will want to use the various RA facilities, participate in programs, and be as involved in the world around them as their neighbors. Given the price tag they are prepared to pay for their properties, the RA assessment will not be a deal-breaker. Membership in RA might not be a strong marketing element, but the absence of it is a negative.

        The proposed phase-in of reduced RA assessments (10 percent the first year, increasing to 50 percent over five years) is reasonable on the surface. The cap is troublesome because before long we will have three levels of residents paying for essentially the same programs: fees from apartments, 50 percent from corridor unit owners, and 100 percent from all others. I might explode phase-in of the full assessment. Seven percent the first year an additional 7 percent for the next 14 years, capped at 100 percent.

        But then , if I were so smart, I’d be a developer.

        • JCSuperstar

          Those are wonderful statements, like the many county intangibles in their texts. But, as a property development owner what is the ROI associated with these intangibles? What are you giving me that I can already get with no obligation on my part?

          What if I countered with the following statement — ” all good things to say John, but at the end of the day, I don’t want to commit to things that have no assigned value over that long a time period. So, what if I offer you $150K now and we just discuss the rest once my units go condo down the road?”

          Mr. Higgins, I’m not trying to be flippant here, but these are likely hard-core negotiations with professional negotiators and legal professionals. RA is not a municipality and is not the county with a lot of clout at the moment. Although, I will say they are building more credibility via this BLVD deal.

          • John Higgins

            Yes, I would like to have been a fly on wall to hear Comstock’s internal debate on how to approach RA. For a company eager to do further business in this county, the “recommendation” to join RA exerted some torque on the corporate arm. We don’t have an ROI answer, but we have a pending agreement. Comstock saw the desirability or need to play. The issue, then, was: on what terms? Clearly, the lower the cost, the better – from their perspective.

            One might accept the argument that any additional RA revenue is better than nothing. Others will be satisfied if the revenue equals any incremental cost of serving these new residents. The proposed 50 percent cap will certainly more than cover costs and permit RA to restrain assessment growth. From a financial perspective, it’s a very decent deal. Having a developer bring its property under RA’s wing is an important precedent.

            It is less clear to me that twenty years from now this will resonate so well. We will have significant inequality (perhaps inequity) in paying for “Reston”. In any given year in the future, some residents will pay nothing; some will pay a fee; some will pay 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, or 100%. (Sounds like oh federal tax system, eh?).

            I am happy (and that’s an inadequate word) to pay an annual fee to sustain this special community, even though I do not use the ball fields, pavilions, lakes, pools, camps, and programs. It will be a bit irksome when others who DO use them are paying half or less. But maybe that’s just me.

          • JCSuperstar

            Well, here’s some food for thought.

            The fact that the Reston Town Center Residents (and that boundary is a rather big one) DO NOT fall under the Reston Deed, DO NOT pay assessments, and use RA’s paths, parks and fields is a tragedy. That was a decision made by a RA Board eons ago, when the developer/owner did not see any value in being a part of RA. There was no worthwhile “negotiation” as the owner/developer did not have to pay to play.

            Imagine if RTC did stay a part of Reston due to some creative thinking.

            I believe the corridor is a an unfortunate and unique situation, not well understood by Restonians. But, I also believe, when properly communicated, residents will welcome their new neighbors.

            I give credit to RA for attempting to work with these entities inside the corridor. Precedent, set decades back, says they would not have to, and nobody would notice or care.

  • Charles P. Dorfeuille

    This precedent is something that should be looked at closely. If for example I already live in an apartment complex that has its own pool (St.Johns woods), or if my home has one? Does that mean my dues will be retroactively cut as well, or will I continue to pay full price just because I live in the old part of town? What about if I live in an apartments or condo now, will I still be paying for the covenants of my single family home neighbors?

    I am not saying this is the wrong way to go, but I am saying that if the board chooses to continue this way it should think of all the issues surrounding this issue as well. No one would want to see neighbors claiming they have more of a voice because they pay more, or questioning if votes should be weighted to “make things fair again”.

    When a group of people fall in the same category, if they are not treated by the same set of rules inequality becomes institutionalized.

    • JCSuperstar

      Well, one option is to just do nothing at all.

      I’m amazed folks here criticize RA for spending and likewise criticize them for finding new sources of revenue. Damned if you do and dammed if you don’t.

      Developers must just love reading this board.

      • Charles P. Dorfeuille

        Actually when I ran this past spring I had proposed lowering the rate of dues compared to single family homes, mainly because they will always need more services from RA compared to apartments or condos. So i’m not just a guy that does not want things to change, but I am one that looks closely at precedents.

        I see much more than one option. The best that I can think of would be to remove the fees pertaining to single family homes to all the present and future dues of apartments and condos. Then the board should set out a much stinger negotiating line than just wanting them in RA. Since these first apartments are indeed first, all future developers will look at the agreements they had gotten from RA as a starting point to their own. That is why we should be very tough with these first negotiations, and make as sting a case as possible for full membership into RA.

        • JCSuperstar

          Charles, I’m not sure what you said above. What do you mean by the statement: “… I had proposed lowering the rate of dues compared to single family homes…” ??

          Also, regarding the properties in the Corridor — what would your value proposition be? to pay full freight?

          Why, as an owner of one of these properties, would I enter into any kind of transaction with RA?

          • Charles P. Dorfeuille

            What I was saying was that I believe we should remove the fees going to covenants for apartment and condo members. That also answers the second question regarding how much proposed corridor members are to pay, since they would all be apartment members my proposition would not have them paying the same as an average homeowner.

            In regards to the last question I cannot give you a good enough answer aside from the overall benefit of being a member of a large association (Precieved or otherwise).

            I agree with you that apartment members should not pay as much as homeowners, up to the point where a member would only pay less because of location.

          • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

            Sorry to say this, but your comments are incoherent.

          • Charles P. Dorfeuille

            I am noticing that now bo! I was writing many of these in bed at the end of the day, so I just wanted to get my points across before I passed out!

            I’ll try to clear them up as much as I can.

          • Greg

            The fairest way to achieve this (which is now it’s done in Columbia, MD) is an ad valorem assessment based on the same values that the county taxes real estate. For whatever reason, when the RA bylaws were restated last time, this was not done.

            I don’t agree that condos and apartments use less so should pay less–especially with a fixed assessment. For one, they are far denser than cluster or single-family homes, so there are far more potential service users per acre. Second, condos and apartments age like everything else and are not always properly maintained. In fact, look at Shadowood, Stonegate and, Parc Reston. The ugly construction aside, these properties are not being well maintained with erosion, overgrown vegetation, commercial vehicle parking, peeling paint, rotting wood, lighting that violates Reston standards and many others. So covenant enforcement is just as needed in condos and apartments as it is anywhere else.

          • Charles P. Dorfeuille

            I am not talking about making them pay for things they use, I am talking about not making them pay for things they literally cannot use,like the covenants.

            That saving may amount to a few dollars, but it will be the fairest way to go, because Apts and condos don’t/can’t use covenants so they shouldn’t have to pay for it.

          • Greg

            Condos and apartments can, do, and should (based on the deplorable existing conditions) use covenants enforcement. Why do you assert they do not?

          • Charles P. Dorfeuille

            All of what RA does can be used by all members, except in many cases for covenants. for example the St. Johns woods developments (where I humbly reside) does not use covenants, but all residents of the complex are paying for covenants.

            In the case of most (if not all) other amenities and services Ra provides where all members are given the option to take advantage of them, witch in my view is the justification for me having to pay for the upkeep of the tennis courts. Same goes for the pools, pathways, and other things that RA provides to its members except for covenants.

            My logic is because I have no option to take advantage of covenants I should not have to pay for it. Then again if I am being entirely honest since I am a college student I am not really contributing much to that bill 🙂

          • Greg

            But you do use covenants. For example, you can file a covenant complaint against any property subject to the Reston deed, including your apartment community. I know of several residing in your community who did just that against the North Point center for the manner in which what is now Glory Days was expanded and the buildings themselves are being maintained. The complaint delayed the restaurant’s opening. Several others filed covenants complaints against the Tetra property (not to spin that ugliness up again), and there’s what was once a small cottage on Bennington Woods road that’s been under construction for years. Several filed complaints against that property owner. I understand that some have filed covenants violations against the RA itself for burned-out lights, tripping hazards on paths, overgrown vegetation and more.

            The covenants are for all whether “used” or not, and all should pay for them (ad valorem). Now, I am sure it’s quite possible to reduce the cost of administering them, and thus the RA assessment, but that’s another matter.

          • Charles P. Dorfeuille

            You are correct that any class member can submit a complaint to covenants, but that does not equate to apts using a covenants advisor on the same bases as single family homes. For example if St. Johns woods were to drastically drop in maintenance quality and neighboring members submit complaints on it, I would not be at any risk of anything because the responsibility of maintenance is on the leasing office (ie the owners of the apts). When you live in complexes like this they have a covenants department of their own that acts before anyone else can get involved, that is why as you mentioned some complexes look so run down with no sign of improvement, because RA assumes (wrongly or rightly I don’t know) that the apts are being maintained by the owners leaving them free to concentrate on single family homes.

            And since apts rarely change design or landscaping, It would be quite a waste to devote a part of covenants to apts that never change and have their own maintenance staff.

          • JCSuperstar

            Charles, covenants are not “things” or items that are used by members. Rather, members are “subject to” design and maintenance covenants as laid out in the governing documents (the Reston Deed, Bylaws, Resolutions).

            I suggest you take a good look at these documents.

          • Charles P. Dorfeuille

            When I talk about covenants I am speaking about the expenses of running the Covenants department. I understand it is not the same as amenities. During the election all candidates are given a copy of our Governing Documents and I made sure to read it twice over before the election. I am also a member of the covenants department working group Reston Grassroots Ambassadors, so I do understand what it is they do in that department.

            They do important work for the people the serve (or overlook), but that work can’t affect me as I live in a rented apt. All things that would be overseen by covenants is overseen and fixed by the complex staff. Those extra workers salaries are being paid for by my rent money, effectively making me pay twice for the maintenance of my home (or building) through part of my rent and part of my dues.

          • Charles P. Dorfeuille

            (going back to your first point greg)

            To be entirely honest with you I fear what the introduction of a progressive style assessment system will do to reston. Throughout the past year volunteering in different committees in RA I many people of perceivably different political affiliations cooperating at a level that i do not see often. I’m not saying that this is solely because of the flat assessments, but I do think it plays a role in the relativity civilized way RA runs. (and i stress relatively 🙂

            My fear would be that one day, years after the implementation of a progressive assessment rate, we will begin to see those that live in more affluent parts of town to argue they should have more of a say to how money is allocated. And god forbid the county begins to run deficits (cough), and they begin to push more luxury high rises deeper and deeper into reston solely for the short-term projected tax revenue. Reston would essentially become one of those strange monolithic communities that we see in Loudoun county that, aside from an occasional “multicultural festival”, is closed off from the real world. I don’t think that is what reston is , and I fear that implementing a progressive assessment system would open that door.

          • Greg

            Time may tell, but the wealthy Lake Newport lakeside residents just got away with exactly what you fear. We are now all paying for their benefit — the Tetra property. It;s not fair to force Shadowoods $80k condo owners to pay the same thing that those one and two million dollar houses pay for something that they likely will not use.

            And, of course, those in the RTC association pay nothing to enjoy most of what is Reston. It flows both ways, though, in that Reston assessment payers pay nothing to enjoy RTC amenities, and I would argue that there are more of them that benefit more people than all of what Reston itself has. Pools. for example, are opened for three or fewer months a year. I am not up on current use stats, but my guess is that no more than ten percent of Reston assessment payers ever set foot in a pool, and fewer still on tennis courts (which are open for most of the year).

          • Charles P. Dorfeuille

            You are almost getting at my point, although we are seeing it from different ends. When we look at pool for example, is it not strange that the largest pool would be in North Point and not South lakes?

            Now since the association did not personally build the pools we cannot blame them for this disparity, but I fear that the same reason that the builders were convinced to build the largest pool in a non-central location will eventually be the same reason RA after an assessment change will develop an unhealthy bias towards more affluent regions of reston.

            RTC is a whole nother can of worms though, and I agree with your initial assessment on the situation. When you are a non-member (Like RTCA members are) the price of the pool and tennis passes are so high we barely get return customers for them (the summer camps on the other hand are a different story).

  • Cluster Tycoon

    Finally, a plan to combine WORKers, LIVErs, and PLAYers under one fee structure. Wow, progress!

  • Just another RA serf

    I already love this (NOT)!

    Pretty soon we will all have individualized assessment fees based on the Board’s whim of the moment. Lawn is big–higher fee, irritated a Board member or two–REALLY high fee, maybe a lower fee if you have a pool or tennis court in your backyard (preferably a four-season covered arrangement), higher income–lower fee. You get the idea.

    Without specific, concrete fee standards that make sense for EVERYONE in Reston, this could be the beginning of “tailored” assessment fees.

    • Greg

      Ad valorem assessments are not arbitrary or capricious and, in fact, would not involve the RA board or staff as they are based on the Fairfax County assessed value. Want to pay more? Live in North Point or North Hills. Pay less? Live in Shadowood. Same services for all no matter where one chooses to live (assuming the lot is subject to the RHOA deed).

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