Fairfax County looks to help Lake Anne condo group amid mounting infrastructure issues

From balcony drainage issues and parking lot potholes to cracking across various retaining walls, an engineering firm has identified multiple infrastructure issues with Lake Anne Village Center, contributing to months without hot water for residents earlier this year.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn visited the community for a meeting on Wednesday (July 14) that drew over 40 people.

Possible solutions that he discussed included the Lake Anne Reston Condominium Association (LARCA) giving up an asset, such as a parking lot, or development rights to Fairfax County in exchange for financial assistance from the county.

“This is the cultural heart of Reston,” Alcorn said of Lake Anne, noting that the village center is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The private community was created by Reston founder Robert Simon, with construction starting in 1963. But issues with the aging infrastructure have left residents looking to the county for help.

LARCA President Jason Romano told Reston Now that residents have had hot water after crews troubleshooted areas and the condo association used some $300,000 in its reserves to replace its system.

“This is not a quick fix,” Romano said after the meeting. “It’s not like your hot water at home breaks. You go call a plumber; you might be out of water for a day or two.”

The consulting firm Samaha Associates shared its findings after a pair of engineers reviewed the village center’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing infrastructure, spokesperson Lisa Connors said in a statement.

The firm identified one safety issue, finding that some planters on the decks of the Heron House have exposed rebar, so county staff notified the management company and communicated the issue with residents, Alcorn’s office said.

At the meeting, Michael Schaefer, whose wife is on LARCA’s board, shared concerns over management issues, pointing to the partial collapse of the 12-story Surfside high rise in Miami on June 24, killing at least 97 people with others still missing.

“We do have gallons and gallons and gallons of water flowing from the cracks that are in the pipes…here,” he said.

Romano said the newly replaced water system is using a fraction of the water that it previously utilized.

“We shouldn’t be having any more leaks,” he said.

The engineering analysis of visible infrastructure could have cost estimates by the first week of September. Further details would require proposals from contractors.

Suggesting that sensing technology might be used to detect potential problems underground, Alcorn said he’s looking to address the infrastructure issues, help revitalize Lake Anne, and improve the sustainability of LARCA, which he said needs restructuring.

He added that he’s trying to make sure fixes are made now so there isn’t another conversation like this in the near future.

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