Reston Association Board to Consider Improving Design Review Process

by RestonNow.com June 27, 2018 at 2:30 pm 11 Comments

Reston Association’s Board of Directors will consider recommendations to make the process of the Design Review Board more efficient at a meeting tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. in RA headquarters.

The board will also elect a board president and welcome Catherine Baum, the new apartment owners’ board representative, to the governing body.

According to RA, the volume of applications received by the DRB and staff cannot be processed with current staff resources unless the process is streamlined. The DRB is an independent unit responsible for reviewing exterior improvements of properties within RA.

Under the recommendations, approvals for more “ordinary” applications, which could include signs, storm windows, utility boxes and roofing, would be reviewed by staff.

Some cluster standards applications would be reviewed by a panel of consultations instead of selected members of the DRB. This change would open up the panel’s agenda by 30 percent, according to RA. The DRB would meet monthly to review standard cluster applications with two members of the DRB.

The changes would also increase the DRB application fee for development and redevelopment of sites from $1,350 to $2,250.

The meeting will be live streamed tomorrow. The complete agenda is available online.

  • Greg

    This is good news.

    The vast majority, if not all, proposed exterior changes should be staff reviewed without the hassle of neighbor notification and DRB meetings.

    Unless there is a material and substantial change (an addition, teardown, or use change for example) exterior changes should be summarily approved.

    If the staff find an objectively measurable or quantifiable change, then it can require further review and notice.

    It took us over a year to get approval to change from five-year-old, unfit-for-purpose wood to Hardiplank on our house. And, of course, our neighborhood Gladys Kravitz needlessly delayed the project which was ultimately approved.

    Complaints are handled on an exception basis; so should exterior changes.

    • TheRealMikeSapupello

      Nailed it.

    • 30yearsinreston

      It too me 5 years and numerous appeals to get my house paint color changed to a color that was on at least 50 other similar houses in Reston (all built by the same company and style)

      Not one of DRB stirred themselves to get off their backsides and look at any properties and neighborhoods

  • Umust B Kidding

    Improve? Or just change and make more expensive?

  • 30yearsinreston

    While the DRB is squabbling about paint colors and the color of lights, the developers are forever changing Reston without any effective oversight

    The sooner this ineffectual yakking shop of wannabe “architects” and arrogant jumped up bureaucrats are abolished, the sooner real change can be effected

    They only serve as a democratic facade for the those who have the real power for planning and the environment while distracting criticism from Hudgins and her tame FC Planning Department

    The good news is that they are complaining that they are too overloaded
    They can always do us a favor and find a real job and hopefully more will quit

    Time to take a leaf out of our neighbors Herndon’s experience who get by without any such fripperies as a DRB

    • Layoffs are coming

      The customer service experience leaves me wondering whether anyone at this department could survive a corporate training course on same topic.
      My guess it would be easier and less cruel to close the entire department and start up a new one under a different mission statement, say the ‘land use and residential planning commission’. One of the successes of this startup would be based on its operational efficiency, in other words the operation would have to pay for itself.

      • 30yearsinreston

        The county is responsible fir planning and land use
        These busybodies look after vegetation aka trees and exterior aspects of houses

        • Greg

          I truly wonder how many of any of these arbiters of style, design, and taste ever leave Fairfax County and explore how other places look and manage their exterior curb appeal.

        • Greg

          OTOH, there are (still) so many in Reston who (still!) insist that the long-abandoned Brutalist bunker and even longer abandoned ruins / eyesore on Old Reston Avenue should be saved. They resist all change but for road diets and adding useless bike lanes on every congested street, highway, and lane in Reston.

      • Greg

        We doubt they could. And the arrogance and hubris comes from the department’s leader, Anna Varone (who seems incapable of returning voice, posted, or electronic mail), no?

  • 30yearsinreston

    Why does the DRB hate effective street lights and picket fences ?


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