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Coalition Opposing Population Density Increase Requests Additional Community Forums

by Fatimah Waseem April 2, 2018 at 12:00 pm 65 Comments

The Coalition for a Planned Reston, an umbrella organization for citizen groups like Reclaim Reston, is seeking additional community forums as the county considers a plan to increase Reston’s population density in certain areas from 13 to 16 people per acre.

The move comes as Fairfax County’s Department of Planning and Zoning issued a formal response on Thursday to requests made by Reston Association and CPR to change Reston’s master plan by curbing additional development and adding more language to manage infrastructure.

The group postponed a planned Monday meeting on the issue with Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, noting it would not be a “constructive use” of time. CPR also cited the county’s inadequate response to their concerns.

“Given the six-week delay in the county’s response and the significant community interest in the density issue, we believe the best way to address these issues of mutual concern will be for CPR to hold one or more community wide meetings to discuss with the public the County’s positions as represented by the March 28th letter,” the group wrote in a statement to Hudgins.

CPR plans to hold community forums on the county’s responses to requests for amendments this month. The group is also seeking to meet with county officials in early May.

“Madam Supervisor, the issues before us will directly affect every resident of Reston, current and future, for decades to come. We have confidence that you agree that it is imperative,” the group wrote.

On Thursday, a RA spokesperson said RA is analyzing the March 28 letter by the county but declined comment. 

  • 30yearsinreston

    ““Madam Supervisor, the issues before us will directly
    affect every resident of Reston, current and future, for decades to
    come. We have confidence that you agree that it is imperative,” the
    group wrote.

    Based on past actions the response will be : PETITION DENIED

  • Donald

    I would suggest review and organize specifically for each planned redevelopment within the Reston PRC. The priorities being each Village Center as well as Hidden Creek CC.

    Determine if RA can represent itself as an affected party. Adjacent property owners do the same.

    Remember, the Reston Comprehensive Master Plan provides guidelines only — so what’s the point. Specific redevelopments are where organized responses can have a greater impact. Yes, with legal representation when it’s possible.

    This exchange of letters and meetings regarding the Master Plan will get you nowhere.

    Donald

    • cRAzy

      Needs to go beyond PRC to non-PRC TSAs where most of the development will be. This can only be addressed by backing up into the plan’s open-ended development scheme. Moreover, too many projects to tackle each individually, but some certainly deserve attention (such as SJW).

      • Donald

        I just don’t think RA (or the Maynard/Petrine clan) can do very much, if at all, in the TSAs — except the Hidden Creek Country Club road encroachment.

        But, I would definitely focus on the Village Centers and HCCC. They have the potential of being even more abused than SJW.

        It’s going to take some work. The next RA board is going to have to take this seriously.

        Donald

        • Ray Wedell

          We cannot do anything about the existing Board, and you can see why I left early to regroup. They were bound and determined to do all sorts of things I just could not stomach, and definitely was not going along with their, “lets vote 9-0 and show people we are in unison” nonsense.

          Voting is closed, so time will tell what hope we have to try to change the mentality.

          But specifically, your last comment in previous post: “But, what needs to be protected at all cost, are the RA common areas and neighborhoods that are adjacent.” You realize that you are preaching to the choir on this one! We actually need to expand useful common areas, and can do this. We will see how determined and how creative the new Board will be in this area.

          I am curious about your opinion here. I think what I am about to say touches on what torpedoed Cate Fulkerson (relax, I have told her this a gazillion times)….. the Board and upper staff are stretched way too thin. I used to tell Cate and the Board that, “You will be judged on the big things. Big ticket, game-changing items. You need to spend much less time on the number of things we focus on—-the width—and dig deep into the truly major issues we CAN control and impact.” Unfortunately, I think we all may have gotten many of the big things wrong, and if the new Board cannot change its focus on “how things should operate”, we are likely to fall victim again to the shallowness of trying to be all things to all people. The idea that one’s dedication is measured by number of hours spent at various Reston meetings needs to end. There is no nobility in working 60-70 weeks for employees, or 25 hours + for volunteer Board members, week after week.

          The Whistleblower thing was a rushed-through joke. But at this point, it is what it is. RA must have proper impact on the big items you mention and stay on top of those.

          • Greg

            Sorry. That’s a fail. Fulkerson was hardly “stretched way too thin.” That’s hilarious! She was judged based on her record of incompetence, her arrogance, and her excessive compensation.

          • Ray Wedell

            Who judged her? You seem to know a lot of the “whys” we have all been seeking as to why she “resigned”. Inquiring minds need to know….what can you share?

          • Greg

            The board did and fired her. Irrespective of that, the facts speak for themselves (in this case they scream).

            Her list of fails is long:
            Tetra;
            botched voting systems and ballot issues;
            million-dollar websites (more than one) that don’t work;
            nearly million-dollar annual legal bills;
            warehoused IT equipment that was not needed and should have been trashed;
            covenants administration that neither enforces covenants nor responds to members;
            the “urgent” need to move from the old RA HQ to the new one;
            the consultant recommendations that were ignored;
            the Ridge Heights pool bubble;
            reduced pool hours;
            her excessive compensation;
            the director of projects (who is now, surprise!, leaving);
            the director of covenants administration who will not respond to members;
            the pony barn upgrades;
            the Ring Road upgrades;
            the ineffective and wasted efforts to influence Reston’s growth…

            And that’s just the short list.

          • Donald

            How do you know she was fired.
            There’s definitely more to it.

            The Carrs, Petrines, Hebert’s, Ganesans, Maynard’s, Bowman’s, Abbots, Flashmans, Lovaas’, Farrells of this world would kill to say they fired her.

            Yet, mums the word.

            Donald

          • Greg

            I don’t, but a preponderance of the evidence suggests she was. in any case, she’s gone, the board did what it thought was right and just, and we will move on. I agree with and support the board’s decision and hope the new board continues with cost cutting, right sizing, and refocusing the RA’s directions.

            We know that there’s still some civility left in the world (at least outside the Beltway), and at Fulkerson’s, albeit unjustly eared, level, they leave under that sealed, rarefied cone of silence. And, of course, RA retained special counsel, so the parting was likely not as smooth as we might otherwise believe.

          • John Higgins

            “The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft’ interred with their bones”. Well, there had better be a huge crypt; the decades of loyal, dedicated, and highly competent service of Cate Fulkerson far out-weigh the few missteps that drove the dagger into her back. Much of your list of misadventures, Greg, predates her hand on the tiller. What they have in common is a series of boards who were intentionally indecisive and deferential to staff..claiming credit for things that worked and excusing things that did not work. This pattern came to a head. The current board values “accountability”…for staff and for itself. That translates to: terminate staff and ungraciously side step responsibility for the board’s failures.

            We don’t know what is behind Ms. Fulkerson’s departure. The term “constructive termination” comes to mind.

          • Greg

            Fulkerson was at the RA for decades. While not at the general manager level for her entire tenure, she’s seen all the boards come and go including most, if not all, of my citations. Did she not learn from them? See the issues with an unpaid volunteer board? What’s most troubling about her tenure is that the most expensive of these debacles were on her watch. Many of them will have long-lasting effects.

            Regardless, she was highly overcompensated if, for no other reason, she was ineffective at leading and managing the board and enforcing deed and covenant violations.

            While some may commend her for her time on the rubber-chicken dinner and charity circuits, that’s beyond the functions of an HOA, especially when the day job is not getting done, recreational asset hours are being reduced and ugly new construction prevails.

            I think the facts speak (or spoke in this case) for themselves. She’s gone and the new general manager can start fresh.

          • Donald

            Any qualified candidate for the CEO position better put in their contract the following:

            No board member, or board appointee, including the president, will interfere or interact directly with any staff member — without prior CEO approval. To do so otherwise, will be considered a violation of the Reston Association governing documents and its conflict of interest resolution — requiring immediate disciplinary action.

            Donald

          • Greg

            What if one of those named actors needs to get a pool pass; has a covenants question; uses a pool, camp, or meeting room; has a collections issue; wants to review books and records; needs to get something set up for a DRB review; wants to rent one of the meeting rooms; wants to pay for something at the front desk; has a resale issue or concern; or needs to make arrangements for a board or committee meeting?

          • Donald

            When you are on the board, you have to respect the position you volunteered for. Good board governance dictates:

            – Through the chair, only the board of directors collectively may provide direction to the CEO, and only to the CEO.

            – Neither the board of directors as a whole nor an individual board member may provide direction to any staff member under the CEO.

            – Individual board members may request information from the CEO or the leadership team reporting to the CEO, provided that: (1) the information is easily accessible and does not require more than a few minutes to obtain for the requesting board member; and (2) the CEO is formally notified by the board member requesting information from one of her/his senior team members, and, via the CEO, the full Board.

            Sorry, comes with the turf.

            Donald

          • Greg

            I think we may be in agreement. Twice in one week!

          • Doris Dawson

            Most of the items you stated on this list happened prior to Cate becoming CEO. Also, all of what you stated can’t be done alone, she needs Board approval for these items to pass. So, if she had to leave, so must this Board for passing all of the line items you mentioned. I encourage you to look at your list again and then remember the date she became CEO. You will see that most of these these predate her becoming CEO. From what I understand, from the many meeting discussing the new website. This Board looked at, had an active role in, and approved the new site. This is the same system Fairfax county uses(WebTrac). I may not agree with some of the things she’s done, but she honestly does care about Reston and shouldn’t be the scapegoat for a list of things she inherited. Or condemned for actions she had either help in or no part in. After reading your post I think she may have been given a bad rap, because people are misinformed.

          • Greg

            See my comments to Mr. Higgins below.

            She failed to learn and failed to perform. She was not forced into the job and she, as the general manager, owned all of it, good, bad, and ugly. Inheriting it was her choice, and it cost the RA dearly both in terms of compensation, lost use of assets, and excessive past, current, and ongoing costs.

          • Donald

            Million dollar websites, bailing out a landlord? My god, talk about “illusion of truth”.

            Donald

          • Greg

            It’s all there in the budgets, tax returns, and in the press, Donald. You have outstanding searching skills, so I have no doubt you will see the same things (if not more) than we have.

          • Donald

            ”We”? I don’t understand.

            Donald

          • Greg

            Remember, I am English, so I (we) occasionally slip into British English. My apologies.

          • 30yearsinreston

            The director of projects leaving ?
            That is great news

          • Greg

            I believe I recall Donald posting he’s (the director of projects, not Donald) on his way out.

          • Donald

            Correct. He announced his departure weeks back.

            Donald

          • Donald

            One person’s opinion. And yes, mine isn’t any better. But the good news, I know in my heart, the majority of Restonians disagree with you, and thank her for her dedication to the Community.

            ‘nuff said

            Donald

          • cRAzy

            Agree, Greg. She CHOSE to keep personal control, sometimes meaning none at all. The results speak for themselves.

          • Donald

            Ray,

            From what I observed over the last year, the staff had as many as 5 additional bosses: Hebert, Carr, Ganesan, Bowman, and White.

            Any expert, involving board governance, will tell you — that is a formula for disaster. Even our own governing documents stipulate only one boss, the president, who is responsible for one staff person – the CEO. The CEO is responsible for staff.

            The individuals, above, destroyed the governance structure ire of RA.

            It will take some very strong, self confident, new board members to turn this around.

            Fulkerson didn’t stand a chance when the gang arrived. I hope she took copious notes, doc me Ted her conversations and hired good counsel.

            Donald

          • Ray Wedell

            This is a bit harder-hitting than I am supposed to respond to, but when you are called to speak truth and try to get things off a disastrous track, you speak out. Right?

            So anonymous naysayers be damned, and full speed ahead.

            As for your five bosses comment, there is way more truth to this than you realize. It is actually worse: There are 2 or 3 “outside experts” who provide these people the blueprint for what “the community” wants. The community is those few people, not Restonians in general. It is almost a Rasputinesque effect, to my way of thinking.

            Initially, I thought there was great promise in the last election and supporting the vote for President position (both Hebert and Ganesan would not be where they are without my support….truth in disclosure be known). But ruling is a different thing from campaigning, and it did not take long before my known views on key issues were not only ignored, not only rejected out of hand before I could even mention them publicly (in some cases despite taking the rime and effort to present detailed position papers), and worse yet…devising a method to stifle ANY discussion in the name of “efficiency”. In short, the methodology known by any autocratic regime that has ever held power anywhere. Sorry, but truth be told. I can easily support with many details.

            So any”dissenting” voice, even if it was from people they had supposedly been close to and in the same lane, was to be stifled. No wonder these 2 or 3 outsiders never run for a Board seat themselves: 1) they would lose; 2) they would be exposed; 3) they would have much less “power” and influence over the issues of Reston. Acting in the dark is so much easier (and sleazier?), isn’t it?

            I have to admit, they are good at what they do: for example, how on earth the issue of firing Cate Fulkerson so immediately gained ANY credence is beyond me. And they made it happen !!! The first order of business is to get to the bottom of this action, and it should not take long. Maybe it was justified…if so, tell us why. What was the process? You have undoubtedly seen my video on this subject: If we don’t get reasonable answers, re-instate her.

            But I am also very disappointed in the following: the tendency for everyone else on the Board to rally to a 9-0 vote on most issues to supposedly show “resolve” and “Board unity.” People who would agree with a different opinion, but then vote anyway with the majority to preserve a unanimous vote. As if a phony 9-0 vote shows “resolve”!!

            So yes, we need new blood on the Board, but even that may not be enough. We have seen people run as “change agents” in the past who were co-opted into the status quo very quickly. And groups we know of already have it lined up who their next Board Officer corps will be, and that is not going to be a pretty site for people who think as you do. Nobody knows how the current voting went, but regardless, they may “have the numbers” to enforce their will even in their worst case (for them) scenario in the current election.

            If you are looking for “strong, self-confident, and outward looking” officers, I am afraid the system is not going to allow that to happen. My request to the Board Operations Committee in early-March to have the full Board vote to push Board Officer elections back one month rather than having them chosen immediately in a rigged game was summarily rejected. This despite the fact that both the current President and current VP are not up for re-election so their tenure can be extended a month with no downside to Reston. One of the Ops Board members actually went ballistic at me personally when I simply and calmly raised the issue (a tip-off that he is slated to be one of the next Board officers?). He was “tired of me” suggesting so many changes that imply this current Board is less than perfect. THIS is what we are dealing with.

            But as a student of MLK (if you have the time and want to read some incredible works, read the Lewis Baldwin biographies on MLK), I am always impressed by the following: You can beat the truth into the ground all you want, but it always eventually finds its way back up.

            So all we can do at this point is say the truth and hope it surfaces into doing the right thing.

            Thanks for listening to what many in here will label another “rant.”

    • Ray Wedell

      Donald, you make some very good points. The letters sent by RA were sent much too late in the process anyway, minimizing their potential impact. Almost feels like a “me, too” gripe that they felt compelled to make, rather than a leadership position in the fight from Day One.

      But spreading thin in an attempt to broad-brush the entire development spectrum does seem like a failed strategy to me as well. Take the specific cases in which the case is REAL STRONG against development, clearly position yourself as an affected party, and try to build some early victories. And don’t be tentative about it…..good case: Hidden Creek. Another: Stay all over St Johns Woods.

      As for Village Centers, I regret having to bring up Mr. Simon’s name as many do too often, but in this case maybe there is an alternative viewpoint: he told me a few years ago that he considered the Village Centers one of failed execution that deviated greatly from his original concept, saying that they became merely suburban strip shopping centers. He once asked,”South Lakes Village Center? Where is the lake? You don’t even realize there IS a lake.” Perhaps a discussion should be deep in that regard: A plan that could open up a plaza feel and give people access to the lake may not be the worst thing in the world (think of what has happened recently in DC to open up waterfront assets in excellent, citizen-friendly developments) .

      • Donald

        Ray,

        I believe you’re correct regarding the Village Centers.

        I have little to say regarding our “strip malls.” I could see them redeveloped by going up, and providing a more “plaza-like” look and feel.

        But, what needs to be protected at all cost, are the RA common areas and neighborhoods that are adjacent.

        Donald

  • Reston Resident

    Get rid of Hudgins. Now.

    • Donald

      Get this Reston board to be more assertive. Bring counsel along to your meetings with the county.

      This board is so inwardly focused, they come across clueless to the developers attorneys (i.e. Looney), the P&Z, and the county staff.

      Donald

      • guest

        Are you getting this board to be more assertive? Are you speaking at meetings and contacting the board?

        Give some concrete examples where the RA board is clueless to the developers attorneys.

        Reston Assn’s attorney is a developer’s attorney.

        • Greg

          Which RA attorney? There are many.

          • Donald

            I believe there is only one in-house counsel on payroll.

            Donald

          • Greg

            And the special counsel? Land-use counsel? Collections counsel? Meeting-attending counsel?

            Was Chadwick, Washington, et. al, fired?

            Who is the in-house counsel on payroll?

          • Donald

            They hired him during the same executive session they dealt with the CEO. Check the minutes.

            Donald

          • Greg

            It would take days to search through Fulkerson’s busted website to find the minutes. Must you so punish me?

            What’s his name?

          • Donald

            Page 13 of the Consent Calendar, right after the minutes.

            https://www.reston.org/Portals/3/2018%20GOVERNANCE/032218%20Meeting%20Materials.pdf

            Donald

          • Greg

            Thank you. Different set of documents though?

          • John Higgins

            The gent is Anthony R. Champ. Part of the obscurity is that the board voted (by unanimous consent resolution in email) to extend an employment offer to Mr. Champ, then voted to affirm that as a Consent Calendar sub-item. No announcement has been made that Mr. Champ accepted the offer.

          • Donald

            Good point. He may have even countered for more money.

            But, we’ll never know with this board.

            Donald

          • Greg
          • Donald

            Yup. $130,000 year, plus bonus and benefits.

            Donald

          • Greg

            As opposed to Fulkerson’s, with less education, $200,000 a year plus bonus and benefits.

            As an aside, once I finally found the minutes, it was shocking to see how many others knew that Fulkerson’s job was on the line before that meeting — Connie Hartke, Joe Leighton, and the charity circles among others. Shocking!

            Were we the last to know?

            https://www.reston.org/Portals/3/2018%20GOVERNANCE/020918%20FINAL%20APPROVED%20BOD%20SPEC%20MTG%20MINUTES.pdf

          • Nick Rivers

            Reading these in hindsight, it would appear the member comments were solicited as opposed to being spontaneously submitted, specifically so that they would be included in the discussion as well as the minutes. Most were dated the day before the special meeting in question.

            What makes this more strange, however, is that I can find no other minutes from previous years which ever included member-submitted letters of recommendation as part of the CEO’s performance evaluation, nor do I think the opportunity has ever been put forth to the community to submit their comments on the CEO’s performance for inclusion to the Board’s discussion. It certainly isn’t part of the CEO Performance Appraisal Process as laid out in the Governing Documents Board & Association Operations Resolution 13. Self-appraisal is required, and performance feedback from members of the senior leadership team and the Board are required as well.

            Community feedback on CEO performance throughout the year is, I would presume, always welcomed by the Board, but the timing and inclusion of these pieces in the public record sure looks weird and suspect. If community feedback can be allowed as part of the CEO Performance Appraisal Process, they should revise the Resolution to include it.

        • Donald

          I gave up on this board.

          Donald

        • John Higgins

          Example: Kensington Senior Living (at Sunrise convenience center site). A wild stretch to see this conforming to the Master Plan, but silence from RA. Still waiting (over a month) for an answer to question: will residents be members of RA? Over a year in the making, and no one can say for sure.

          • Greg

            Interesting. And disappointing that no answer to your question.

            Will the units be rentals, condos, or something else (perhaps similar ownership model to what Erickson offers)?

          • John Higgins

            I don’t know. From the little info made available, it sounds like a cross between rental and “other”. Kensington talks in terms of rooms and beds, with common amenities (dining, recreation, lounge, etc.) Closest analogy that comes to mind in college dorm.

          • Donald

            Most assisted living business models are monthly lease arrangements. Some requiring a large up front fee, partially refundable upon death or contract termination.

            Donald

          • Donald

            Let me add. Are the Thoreau Place Condominiums in danger of being included in the South Lakes Village Center redevelopment? Does the RA board care?

            Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot, they’re still working on that Conflict of Intrrest document.

            Donald

        • George

          He doesn’t do any of that, he just likes to comment on this site with out doing anything. Don’t bother with asking for examples from him, he’ll just say they are there but won’t give them to you.

        • Donald

          Name one thing this board has accomplished with regard to the rampant development encroaching into our precious PRC property. One thing.

          And don’t you dare say ”they wrote a letter”.

          Donald

          • Greg

            Name some things that the board can, could, or ought to do?

        • Donald

          Name one time Carr, Hebert, Ganesan, Bowman, or White have met with Mark Looney, or any of his colleagues at Cooley, LLP.

          Donald

          • cRAzy

            That’s BS Donald!

      • MARXIST

        People always want the gov to step in and do something, guess what that is how the liberals took control in this area and that is how they are running their syndicate now. You call them and they will be there!

        Now you want to weaponize the RA, I think thats a very bad idea. Based on the people who recently ran it and who are currently runnin it I would so no, it will not work

        The best you can do is work grass roots level, eg Scotts Run. But that would be against your socialist ideals.

        • Donald

          No socialist ideals here bubba. Just focusing on adhering to what our Governing Documents lay out. Just stating what good governance looks like.

          The fact that five out of the nine folks on the board are clueless, and are following their own agenda, doesn’t mean we can’t hope kick the bums out.

          Donald

  • cRAzy

    If a high-volume, low-thought rant is what you are looking for in troll comments, this is the “discussion” for you! Watch Greg, John Higgins (who at least IDs himself), Ray Wedell (same as well), the indefatigable Donald, and others go at it. You will learn nothing, but your blood pressure will skyrocket.

    • Greg

      And here you are, reading every word. Watch your BP!!

      I am sorry you feel the way you do, but I certainly have learned a lot from all three of the other posters you mention (and often from you, too).

    • John Higgins

      How rude, cRAzy. Shall it be swords at dawn?

  • Dale

    Virginia Code § 24.2-233 states that “Upon petition, a circuit court may remove from office any elected officer or officer who has been appointed to fill an elective office, residing within the jurisdiction of the court.”[2]

    Recall reasons
    Code § 24.2-233 states acceptable reasons for recall when it has “material adverse effect upon the conduct of the office” include:[2]

    Neglect of duty
    Misuse of office
    Incompetence in the performance

    Petition requirements
    The petition for recall must be signed by at least 10% of the number of people who voted in the last election for the office being recalled.[2] The petition must also detail the reasons for removal.[4]

    • guest

      What is the material adverse effect? How is neglect of duty, misuse of office and incompetence in the performance defined? Has this ever been successfully applied?

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