Lake Anne residents raise concerns over contentious board elections to county

Lake Anne Plaza (Photo via vantagehill/Flickr)

Some residents at Lake Anne are turning to the county for help sort out its homeowner association’s contentious and divisive elections.

In a Sept. 23 letter to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn, more than 40 residents urged the county to not allow the property’s landlord to vote in condominium elections. Roughly seven percent of votes in the board election is assigned to the unit occupied by Reston Community Center Lake Anne.

The letter contends that removing the landlord from the process — who holds about seven percent of the entire property — would allow the owners a chance for a “free” election.

“The county allowing the vote to be used in a condo election creates an unequal balance of power and potential conflict of interest,” the letter states. “Using taxpayer money to do so is not in the best interest of our community and especially unfair to our minority commercial owners, burdened with significant assessments; and who will be disproportionately affected by further special assessments to address our infrastructure issues.”

Board politics and infighting — including deep disagreement over the outcome of elections for board president — have mired the board for more than a year. Alcorn has met several times with concerned property owners and the Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association to allay concerns about property management, lack of hot water, and other issues.

Alcorn told Reston Now that he deferred the proxy matter to RCC’s board for consideration.

“I have full confidence in that board — including the three members that were just re-elected by the community last month — to do the right thing,” he said.

RCC has no immediate plans to change participation in board elections. The center’s executive director Leila Gordon told Reston Now that RCC has had an excellent relationship with its landlord since 1999 when RCC Lake Anne first opened in the historic area.

Here’s more from Gordon on the issue:

The lease stipulates the proxy provision in the context of Section 7, “Leasehold Improvements,” and specifically notes that the Landlord’s proxy isn’t available when the matter is related to “voting on LARCA fees and assessments payable by Landlord.” RCC views the election of LARCA Board officers to be wholly unrelated to any issue of Tenant Improvements and entirely germane to issues of fees and assessments, and would therefore be the sole concern of the Landlord. We remain satisfied with the present arrangement.

Maintenance and infrastructure issues caught statewide attention when residents of the Quayside condominiums went without hot water for several months last winter.

An assessment by architecture firm Samaha Associates found that the property needs more than $37 million in repairs. At a mid-September meeting, Alcorn said the county may explore options to help revitalize the property. No formal plans have been proposed and discussions are ongoing.

Board President Jason Romano did not immediately return a request for comment from Reston Now.

LARCA’s board election for this year takes place on Oct. 27.

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