Working Group Dives into Enforcement and Oversight Issues on Lakes, Boats and Docks

A working group tasked by Reston Association’s Board of Directors to review policies concerning lakes, boats and docks is calling for stricter enforcement of rules and precise language to manage the use of Reston’s lakes.

RA’s lack of consistent enforcement of rules and residents’ lack of knowledge about the association’s governing policies have led to some confusion about the permissibility of uses over the last two years. Reston residents raised several issues about enforcement, outdated policies and environmental impacts two years ago.

After months of discussions and two focus group meetings, the workgroup presented its recommendations to the board on Thursday (May 24). Staff will now analyze the group’s recommendations and return to the board with its assessment of the recommendations in June.

An attempt to increase the maximum percentage of cluster waterfront that can be taken up by moored boats did not gain traction with the workgroup. The contentious issue — which some residents said unreasonably applies rules that RA has not strictly enforced in the past — was left largely undecided. No vote was taken on whether or not to lower or eliminate the boat storage limit, which is currently 50 percent.

The Harbor Point Unit Owner’s Association challenged the 50 percent rule on the grounds that it was unnecessary and contradicts, “Reston’s core values of live, work and play.”

“It is unfair for Reston Association to have adopted the 50 percent rule quite some time ago, not enforce it, and now all of a sudden begin to enforce it,” the association wrote in a statement.

Others said RA needs to step up its efforts to educate Restonians about policies related to boats, docks and lakes. One Harbor Point resident said she did not see any mention of the 50 percent rule in home resale documents when she purchased her condominium unit.

RA may need to turn to volunteer “Lake keepers” to help address monitoring and enforcement issues like permit inspections, boat maintenance and the safe operation of boats. The group suggested RA work with volunteers to patrol lakes, monitor conditions and work with residents to report violations and address problems.

Much of the discussion centered around updating outdated definitions.

The report encourages RA to adopt U.S. Coast Guard definitions for the maximum size of deck boats, as well as restrictions on boat motors that have a forward thrust of 130 pounds or a maximum rating greater than five horse power.

The group also directed RA to clarify the definitions of docks and boats. Residents can take advantage of current definitions, which can be used interchangeably, the group noted.

In the report, the group also asked RA to differentiate between hand-carried boats and permanently moored boats. RA currently does not distinguish between the two categories. The board also recommended a maximum of two boats per lakefront property for mooring seasonally.

In an effort to step up enforcement of violations, the group also recommended that staff board boats if permits are not clearly visible. However, the group removed language that stated RA staff could request proof of residency.

Commercial uses of the last must be approved by RA’s board, including boats rented by RA members to non-members, the group recommended.

The complete report is available online.

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Report: New Meaning Behind Rape Note Found on Herndon Homicide Victim

In May 2018, the body of Alexander Alfaro Castillo, a Herndon resident, was found with a note on his chest alongside photos of a young girl. It read, “He raped me when I was drunk so I killed him.”

Castillo also had underwear stuffed in his mouth and the letters “MS” carved into his face, according to a recent news report.

Now, Herndon police are saying that the case is not the revenge killing it appeared to be.

Authorities say they will not disclose a motive because the case is still pending in court, but they believe the note was intended to distract the police from tracking the actual suspects.

The Washington Post dove into search warrants that confirm one suspect in the killing — Denis Castillo Hernandez, 21, who is allegedly an MS-13 member.

Here’s more from the report:

A white powder was sprinkled over Castillo’s head and body when it was discovered, prompting officers to call a hazmat team to clean up the substance before detectives could investigate more fully, according to the search warrants. The powder was later determined to be a salt that was not dangerous.

Maria Ines Alfaro, the victim’s sister, said her family did not know Hernandez and they had not been told by police what prompted the killing.

“He was very sweet and supportive in many ways,” Ines Alfaro said of her brother. “He used to bring a bottle of wine to have with my mom and me. We used to do that every day.”

Local police have been mum about the case, releasing only a few public details since it occurred.

Search warrants obtained by the Post indicate Castillo was found dead in his mother’s home on the 400 block of Patrick Lane on May 26. He was lying on his back on the floor in underwear and a black shirt. Residents in the home said they heard loud banging and screaming prior to the arrival of police.

The state’s medical examiner noted that Castillo died of multiple injuries.

A detective later learned that Castillo was texting with a contact named “Denis El Salvatruco” earlier that day, according to the post. The number was later traced to Hernandez’s father.

Hernandez was taken into custody on May 31 in connection with a separate stabbing that happened that day. Police found a picture of Castillo in Hernandez’s wallet, according to the Post.

Hernandez will stand trial on July 8 in connection with Castillo’s killing.

Photo via Herndon Police Department

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Poll: What Improvements Should Boston Properties Make to RTC’s Common Areas?

Last week, we learned that Boston Properties plans to upgrade Reston Town Center’s common areas.

The company will pour in about $5 million to upgrade several areas in order to “soften existing spaces” and modernize the town center, according to a representative for CBRE, who represents the property in lease deals.

While Reston Now hasn’t heard back from CBRE, Boston Properties about what’s planned, we would love to know what kind of improvements our readers are most looking forward to.

Plans are still in the design phase, but the company has already hinted at what could be coming. No changes to parking systems are proposed.

RTC-goers, please let us know your thoughts below.

File photo

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Reston Farmers Market Named Best Farmers Market in Northern Virginia

Readers of Virginia Living magazine named the Reston Farmers Market the best farmers market in Northern Virginia.

The selection was made from the magazine’s annual readers’ survey in January and also covered categories like best in arts, culture and entertainment; living and recreation; shopping; services; and food and drink.

The market, which is operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority, is open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays through Dec. 7 at Lake Anne Village Center. It is one of 10 producer-only farmers markets run by FCPA.

The magazine wrote the following about the market:

 “Market managers John and Fran Lovaas and Keith Strange manage the volunteers who keep the Fairfax County farmers’ market going. All products are strictly producer-only; vendors may only sell what they raise or make from scratch. These truly local vendors travel an average of just 50 miles to the market.”

Photo by John Lovaas

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Reston Association Board Appoints Britt to Fill Vacated Seat

Reston Association’s Board of Directors appointed Doug Britt to fill a seat vacated by former director Sridhar Ganesan last month.

Britt, an environmentalist who led the team by the organization’s first RA’s State of the Environment Report (RASER), was appointed as an at-large director late last week during the board’s meeting.

The term will run through April 2020 because Britt was appointed by the board. The final year of the seat will be up for election next year.

He says engaging with focus groups can help stave off perceptions that decisions are pushed arbitrarily by a select group of people.

“You have to do the work upfront,” Britt told the board on Thursday.

Edward Abbott, a Reston resident of 39 years and chairman of RA’s elections committee, also applied to be considered for the position.

Britt, a Reston resident of 44 years, has a background in life sciences and resource management.

In addition to leading the RASER project, Britt has served as a volunteer stream monitor, worked at Walker Nature Center events, and helped draft Reston’s application to become a biophilic city.

He currently serves on RA’s Environmental Advisory Committee.

Photo courtesy Reston Association

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Lifeguard Shortage Prompts Pool Schedule Change — RA changed the schedule of its pools over the weekend due to an unexpected shortage of lifeguards. The organization is actively hiring lifeguards for this year’s season. A job fair is set for Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at a local pool. [Reston Association]

The Washington Post Releases Endorsements for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors — The paper endorsed Walter Alcorn for the seat of Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, calling him a “formidable land-use expert.” [The Washington Post]

INOVA Blood Drive is Today — Stop by the bloodmobile truck next to the pavilion at Reston Town Center to date blood between 1 and 6 p.m. today. Registration is available online and on site. [Reston Town Center]

Explore Reston Association’s Home Inspection Process — Dive into the exterior inspection process that is required by RA before selling your home. [Reston Today]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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