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Op-Ed: Tetra, Ms. Fulkerson, and the Reston Association Election

This is an op/ed submitted by Paul Anderson, a Reston resident, on February 28. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now.

I was saddened to see that Ms. Fulkerson “resigned” last week. Saddened and disheartened that the populist anger that has so gripped our country seems to be very active right here in our own little community. Clearly the purchase of the Tetra property was the last straw, but I suspect that this has been simmering over a long time with many initiatives and changes causing increasing ire and angst; the new RA Headquarters, the Nature House, the Lake Anne land swap and finally Tetra. Add to that anything at all that happens in small tax district 5 and paid parking at Reston Town Center and boom! One head on a stake and sadly probably more to come.

The spite of board member John Bowman’s attempt to have the Tetra purchase reviewed by the Commonwealth Attorney even after a professional review by highly regarded StoneTurn, which found no evidence of malfeasance, was shocking in what it exposed. A well of vitriol whose depth is breathtaking to behold.

The orchestration of this separation before the new board is seated in April was also disheartening. Clearly there is a core on the current board with a mission, they needed to act while they knew that they had the numeric advantage. Which brings me to the election.
We have for the first time that I can recall a large “slate” running for the four vacancies. Two of the incumbents were previously appointed to their positions and two are running for the first time. Three of the four have past experience in the same Reston organizations, RCA – the Reston Citizens Association and Reston 2020. Since the four are using a single piece of co-branded campaign material it would appear that the old agreement that current Board Members do not endorse candidates has gone out the window. We could check the Ethics Rules on this topic but wait, no, we can’t because this board after making scene after scene about ethics found it inconvenient to actually get that task done.

My point in all of this is simple. The health of the Reston Association Board depends on a diversity of independent opinions, not groupthink that has been hobbled together by our most angry citizens. I’m not telling my fellow Reston citizens who to vote for but I hope that they’ll consider the new faces and differing opinions that are seeking election this term because that’s what will move this community forward in positive ways. To the current Board; you’ve got your pound of flesh in Ms. Fulkerson. Let’s move on.

File photo.

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Demolition Underway in Reston Town Center to Make Way for 17-Story Tower

Demolition is underway to make way for Boston Properties’ 17-story tower, the future home of Leidos Holdings.

The project, called 17Fifty (1750 Presidents Street), is the last office space to be built in the 86-acre urban core of RTC.

Shalom Baranes Associates will design 17Fifty, which includes 8,000 square feet of retail space and a four-floor, below-grade parking garage. It replaces a Block Five building that housed tenants like Fed Ex and Ann Taylor.

Construction is expected to begin this spring, with an estimated opening date of 2020.

The project is across from the Signature, a 508-unit apartment building. Balducci’s Food Lovers Market is expected to open this spring on the first floor.

A promotional video that provides a walkthrough of the redevelopment is below:

Photos by Don Renner; Renderings via Boston Properties

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Nearly 400 Reston Residents Enter Fourth Day Without Power

Some Reston residents are facing a four-day streak without power after Friday’s windstorm.

Roughly 400 residents remain without power near Lawyers Road and Handlebar Road. Dominion Energy indicates the outage is “pending investigation.”

The company expects to restore power in Northern Virginia by 11 p.m. tomorrow.

After a strong wind storm that impacted Dominion Energy’s territory on Friday, March 2nd, over 690,000 customers were affected, putting this event in the top five of the most devastating weather events behind Hurricane Isabel and Hurricane Irene. Since then, Dominion Energy has restored 97% of the affected customers. With calmer, fairer weather and additional resources, our crews are working hard to restore electricity to our customers.

Crews have either been dispatched or are working in the area.

Map via Dominion Energy

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Voting for Reston Association Board of Director Elections Begins Today

Voting for Reston Association’s elections begins today, launching a month-long voting period that would dramatically alter the nine-board Board of Directors.

A total of thirteen candidates are vying for four open board seats. Paper ballots will be mailed today and online voting will open at 5 p.m. on RA’s website.

All votes must be cast by April 2. Results will be announced on April 10 at 7 p.m. during RA’s annual members’ meeting at 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive.

This year, four candidates — Travis Johnson, Sridhar Ganesan, Tammi Petrine and John Bowman — are running on a slate, a choice they said was driven by shared positions on the Tetra purchase and a plan to increase Reston’s population density.

In mailing distributions, four other candidates — Colin Meade, Aaron Webb, Andy Sigle and current South Lakes District Director Julie Bitzer — are running as the “Alliance for a Better Reston.” In mailing distributions, they say they are committed to “implement[ing] Bob Simon’s original vision” for the community.” The alliance’s endorsements include Eve and Rick Thompson, Cheryl Terio-Simon, Bill and Betsy Keefe and others.

A breakdown of candidates with links to their profile statements is below.

At-Large Candidates (Two seats for a three-year term)

At-Large Candidates (One seat for a one-year term)

South Lakes District Candidates (One seat for a three-year term)

Voter turnout for Reston Associations hovered just under 20 percent of eligible voters last year. With contested elections for every open board seat, RA’s election committee hopes for more voter engagement this year.

Photo by Caren Anton

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Reston Association Expands Membership with Two New Projects

Two new residential projects with under 100 units were added to the Reston Association last month.

The owners of Valley & Park by Toll Brothers and the Lofts at Reston by Pulte Homes will pay annual assessments and the projects will be subject to the RA deed and covenants.

The Lofts (Michael Faraday Drive) includes 32 multi-family units and 12 loft townhouse units. Prices start in the upper 600s, according to Pulte’s website. Valley & Park is a 54-unit project on 11720. The site was previously home to a six-story office building.

Both developments will have their own on-site maintenance through a cluster of condominium association, among other conditions.

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Monday Morning Notes

Windstorm cleanup continues — The storm left a path of tree limbs, uprooted trees and downed wires. Reston Association staff it could take up at least a month to clean up. [Reston Association]

Some schools still don’t have power — Students in Reston are back in session, but some Fairfax County Public Schools are closed today. Reston residents didn’t have power for more than two days near Lake Newport Road. [Reston Patch]

Reston Olympian makes history — Maame Biney wrapped up her junior career by becoming the first woman in the country to earn an overall medal in 21 years at the Word Junior Short Track Championships yesterday. [Team USA]

Support Herndon Track & Field with a salad — The team is hosting a fundraiser today from 6-10 p.m. at Cava (1815 Fountain Drive). Mention this fundraiser and get the Herndon Hornets some extra cash. [Herndon Track and Field]

Photo by Doug Errett

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