Design Review Board Shies Away From Creating Deck Boat Standards

by Catherine Douglas Moran January 17, 2019 at 10:15 am 3 Comments

Reston Association’s Design Review Board was skeptical about a proposal made during the meeting on Tuesday (Jan. 15) asking for deck boat design standards.

Watershed Specialist William Peterson presented two requests that resulted from the Lakes, Boats and Docks Working Group: addition of floating deck specifications in the DRB guidelines for docks and creation of DRB guidelines for deck boat construction.

Peterson asked the board to make a Reston Association standard for deck boats, which could information about appropriate float materials.

He noted that contractors make many of the deck boats on lakes around Reston, and without a standard, people can build a deck boat any way they want to. Use of inadequate materials can result in them falling apart.

Currently, the resolutions have deck boat guidelines for size, lights and motor size for deck boats, and the “Boat Guide” also has stipulations. “The ‘Boat Guide’ is not a standard. It is not required,” Peterson said.

“We’re talking about staff overload as it is and now we’re talking about a whole new design and review of deck boats?” W. Neal Roseberry, the board’s vice chair and architect member, said. “It doesn’t feel like it belongs in the design guidelines.”

Anna Donato, director of covenants administration, said that it may be possible for DRB to create standards without having to review any noncomplying deck boats. “I don’t think it’s something that would be thrown in the hands of the DRB in terms of governing moving forward.”

Donato and Roseberry both questioned whether or not noncompliance would fall under the Legal Committee instead.

“It feels difficult to have it go both ways — to use the authority of the DRB to set a standard and then to say we’re not going to regulate the standard,” Roseberry said. “I don’t think we should be setting the standard in the first place.”

If deck boats can only get regulated by DRB, Roseberry said he would be open to supporting the idea.

While the board was skeptical about creating a deck boat standard, the members signaled a willingness to update the dock guidelines.

Peterson also showed an example of the DRB dock guidelines, which included a picture of a nonfloating dock, and photos of different ways to permanently attach floating docks. The Lakes, Boats and Docks Working Group has disagreed about what “permanently attached” means.

“Some people think a bungee cord or a rope constitutes permanently attached,” he said. “Others think it needs to be more permanent like a hinged structure.”

Peterson also asked for the removal of a sentence in the guidelines that directs readers to RA’s Park and Recreation Department guidelines, which do not exist.

Clarification of “permanently attached” could include language saying that pilings or a hinge system are sufficient for attachment. Peterson said that he plans to come back to the DRB at a later date with a draft with updated language.

“Improving the guidelines for stationary docks with all of the different ones you showed makes sense,” Richard Newlon, the board’s chairman, said to Peterson. “I don’t think that the DRB wants to get into things that move.”

Images via Reston Association/YouTube 

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