Weekend Discussion Topics

Before we head off into the weekend (which finally feels like fall!), let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. Fairfax Real Estate Developer Accused of Multimillion-Dollar Real Estate Fraud in Herndon
  2. Mile 20 Brings Beers On Tap to Downtown Herndon
  3. Crime Roundup: Stranger Found in Reston Home
  4. County Mulls Longterm Improvements to Fairfax County Parkway
  5. Tuesday Morning Notes

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip. We’re also looking for photos of Reston submitted by readers.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

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Volunteers Sought for Reston Association Committees

Reston Association is seeking volunteers to fill vacancies on two committees.

The covenants committee is looking for one volunteer to fill a vacancy for the North Point district seat for a three-year term.  The panel administers the use and maintenance covenants detailed in the Reston Deed of Dedication by reviewing violations, developing use and maintenance standards, and considering requests for temporary exception permits, among other duties. Meetings are typically held the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in RA’s headquarters. 

The elections committee is also seeking volunteers to serve on the panel, which administers the annual election of RA Board of Directors. It meets periodically before, during and after each election cycle. Every spring, RA members are given the chance to elect three new individuals to the board.

Applications are available online and anyone with questions should email [email protected] for more information.

File photo 

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Months-long CEO Vacancy at Reston Association Remains

Reston Association’s top leadership position of CEO remains unfilled following the previous CEO’s departure from the organization in late February.

Since former CEO Cate Fulkerson left her position in late February and transitioned into a special advisor role, RA’s Board of Directors has not yet found a permanent replacement. In a note to RA’s members, board president Andy Sigle said the board is working with human resources to expand the search for CEO and voted last month to hire an executive search firm to assist with the hiring process.

Larry Butler, RA’s senior direct of land use and planning, took over as acting CEO in mid-April after Robert Wood, the acting CEO at the time, stepped down to take another position at a non-profit organization in the District.

Since beginning the process of selecting a new CEO “in earnest” in May, Sigle indicated that no candidates advanced during a second round of interviews with the board in August. The board voted on candidates for the first round of interviews, which were held in June and July. Candidates were interviewed by an internal board search committee with RA’s senior leadership team and selected board members.

Here’s more from Sigle’s note to members:

Members can rest assured that the board is seeking a CEO who can work cooperatively and collaboratively in establishing short and long-term goals and priorities for the association. The CEO leads the effort to develop biennial budgets, so it is vitally important to the future of Reston that resources allotted in those budgets are used wisely. The board plays a fiduciary role in making sure your assessment dollars are spent in a way that aligns with the association’s Strategic Plan and focuses on the quality of life issues that make Reston a special place to live, work and play.

While there are an array of traits and qualifications we are seeking in the next CEO, the ability to lead and manage ranks near or at the top. Integrity, ethical conduct and the proven know-how to foster a climate that attracts, retains and motivates a diverse staff are important skills in leading any community organization, especially one as large and intricate as Reston Association.

Making the tough calls isn’t always fun, but it is a necessary requirement in overseeing a staff with over 100 employees working in a broad range of jobs that all focus on RA’s mission statement. The CEO position is a member-facing, rollup-your-sleeves job that requires the ability to smartly navigate through internal issues and also external policy matters involving Fairfax County and private businesses. Financial stewardship and extensive knowledge of customer service are at the forefront of what the board and RA members expect from a CEO.

While we wind through the process of hiring a new CEO, the board wants to express its thanks to the RA staff for stepping up to make sure that “the trains continue to run on time” in the interim. The importance of selecting the right person to lead RA can’t be overemphasized enough, so we continue to appreciate the patience shown by staff and members as we do our due diligence.

While board members come and go with each annual election, the CEO should bring a sense of stability and vision to the organization that will hopefully last for years. We will keep you posted on our progress and promptly introduce you to our new CEO when they are onboard.

Photo via Reston Association

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What’s Going On in Reston This Weekend?

The Reston Historic Trust & Museum’s annual home tour is back for its 17th year tomorrow. Participants can take tours of six Reston homes that have undergone major redesigns.

Homes on the tour include a 1968 Dutch Colonial in South Reston and Reston Town Center’s Signature apartments. Tickets can be purchased online today and will need to be purchased at Reston Museum on the day of the tour. All proceeds benefit the Reston Historic Trust & Museum.

If historic house hopping isn’t your cup of tea, there’s still plenty to do in the area this weekend, including a Fall Carnival and Farm Harvest Day this weekend at Frying Pan Farm Park:

(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.)

  • Bring light to the darkness of cancer through today’s Northern Virginia Light The Night Walk from 5-9 p.m. The annual walk seeks to raise funds for blood cancer research. All registered walkers will get an illuminated lantern.
  • It’s not too late to sign up for a trip to the Ronald Reagan building today from 5:45-10:30 p.m. to see the Capitol Steps perform live. Registration is $52 for Reston Association members and $62 for all others.
  • Another tour is set for Saturday from 10 to 3 p.m. RA is offering a bus tour for newcomers to Reston. The tour begins and ends at The Lake House.
  • Simon’s Junction will play at Lake Anne Plaza in front of Reston’s Used Book Shop on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Greater Reston Arts Center is hosting an art panel about art school on Saturday from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday. Panelists include art educators from George Mason University, Northern Virginia Community College and local county schools.
  • Yes, Halloween is just around the corner. Author Sue Fliess will read from and sign her new book, Haunted Halloween, on Saturday at Scrawl Books at 11 a.m.
  • Award-winning author Alfredo Del Arroyo will present his book Martes de Infamia: y Otros dias fatales, and poet and novelist Fernando Gudiel will present several of his works, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month on Saturday from 2-3:30 p.m. at Reston Regional Library.
  • Enjoy an afternoon of dance at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods on Sunday from 2:30-4:30 p.m. The event is open to ages 18 and up. Western country dance is up from 5:30-8 p.m.
  • You can also go on a (free!) search for birds in Reston on Sunday from 7:30-10:30 a.m. at Bright Pond. The walk is sponsored by the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and The Bird Feeder store.
  • Later in the day on Sunday, you can take a family trip to Corn Maze in the Plains, a five-acre corn maze that includes entertaining outdoor activities. Reston Association is organizing transportation to the event on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets, which cover the event fee and transportation, are $18 for all participants.
  • But if you’d rather listen to a lecture about the history of World War II on Sunday, you can do so at Reston Regional Library from 2-4 p.m. Professor Harry Butowsky will be presenting.

Photo via Reston Historic Trust & Museum

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Some Members Decry Poor Upkeep of Hidden Creek Country Club

Some members of Hidden Creek Country Club, a 163-acre private country club, are vexed about “deplorable” conditions at the 163-acre private country club, which could be redeveloped into a 100-acre grand park with residential housing.

Issues with maintenance and upkeep of the club, which was established in 1963, have become a flashpoint in the public debate about whether or not redevelopment of the property, which was purchased by Wheelock Communities for $14 million in October last year, is warranted. Some worry maintenance issues signal ownership is unwilling to explore an option on the table: maintaining the country club in its traditional form.

A mid-September letter signed by 104 members demanded that management increase the number of staff, fix bathrooms, improve routine maintenance, fix a broken beverage cart and host a meeting to reiterate the company’s commitment to the club so long as the golf course remains a golf course and membership dues are collected.

In a letter responding to members, Wheelock said it is committed to maintaining the club and golf course, noting that the company has invested more than $300,000 in upgrades to the Roanoke Grill, tavern, Fairway room, lobby, and locker rooms. An additional $200,000 was invested to continuously repair the facility. Company representatives also noted that they will continue to keep the club’s membership informed and involved in discussions about the club’s redevelopment — discussions which several members have been a part of since Wheelock purchased Hidden Creek.

The Club Management is in close contact with us on an ongoing basis. We are aware of the punch list items of needed repairs for the clubhouse as well as maintenance needs for the golf course,” the letter states.

Eric Levin, the club’s general manager, told Reston Now that management was aware of issues flagged by members and was working diligently to address them prior to receiving the letter. This year’s summer weather was also the “most extreme” in many years, leading to poor playing conditions, Levin wrote in an email.

“We have been working tirelessly to rectify the issues outlined. The owners have invested over $500,000 to this point in 2018 with another $200,000+ scheduled over the next few months on both the Clubhouse and the Golf Course,” Levin wrote.

Steve Coniglio, Wheelock’s local partner, declined to comment on a request from Reston Now, noting that he did not believe it was appropriate to turn the issue into a public matter.

“As a private country club, I am happy to provide this information to our members,” Coniglio wrote in an email.

Some members, many of whom have been a part of the club for more than 10 years, are still not satisfied. As stated in the letter, they have threatened to post negative reviews on social media about the golf course, absent progress on maintenance and staffing issues.

One member, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to preserve membership status, told Reston Now that conditions are the club have dipped to a new low.

“People think they’re not putting any money into this golf course. There’s a business case that you can’t support a country club in this economic environment. But there are half a dozen golf course communities that are thriving and commanding just enough money. That can happen here too,” the member told Reston Now. “There are some really good employees and people who work there. We want this place to thrive.”

The letter, which was obtained by Reston Now by a signatory, highlights issues like downed trees, irregular moving, inconsistent trash collection, downed and dead trees and poorly maintained bathrooms. It suggests hiring at least four employees to help with maintenance.

“We want so badly to take pride in Hidden Creek. We see it as our home away from home. We would much rather post positive reviews… before we recommend Hidden Creek to the world, we need the conditions to improve,” the letter states.

Although the company has not filed formal development plans with the county, Wheelock is exploring redeveloping the private country club into a 100-acre public park with amenities and an undisclosed number of residential units.

Redeveloping the property would require a number of changes to county planning documents, which designate the property for private recreational use. Rescue Reston, a grassroots group which successfully fought against the redevelopment of Reston’s other golf course, has committed to opposing any redevelopment plans.

Photos via Hidden Creek Country Club member 

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Friday Morning Notes

The historic designation debate — In this opinion piece, the writer explores two historic designation issues in Herndon and Reston. [Greater Greater Washington]

Trout fishing season is here — You heard that right. The Fairfax County Park Authority invites you to fish for trout at Lake Fairfax Park. Season passes are available. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Tishman Speyer sheds some land — The Pinkard Group paid $3.15M to acquire the 3.3-acre parcel at the corner of the Dulles Toll Road and Monroe Street in Herndon, part of the Woodland Park East development, from Tishman Speyer. [Bisnow]

Climate change in schools — Well, not in schools. The Fairfax County School Board passed a resolution last night calling on state and federal action on climate change. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

In the time machine — Flavors of Fall brought beer, wine, food and fun to Reston Town Center last weekend. Mercia Hobson offers a recap here.  [The Connection]

Photo by Lindi Mallison

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