by Fatimah Waseem March 23, 2018 at 12:00 pm 8 Comments

After months of discussion, Reston Association’s Board of Directors unanimously approved stricter financial controls, a need flagged by two in-depth reviews of RA’s $2.65 million purchase of the Tetra property.

StoneTurn Group, an independent firm contracted to review the purchase and associated cost overruns, and a review by two RA members cited the need for updating RA’s purchasing and procurement policies over the last year.

The approval expands RA financial controls by requiring the involvement of multiple stakeholders in the review and approval process of contracts. The changes also clearly delineate steps required before and as contracts are considered. Major purchases require additional scrutiny and a greater emphasis is placed on competitively bid contracts.

Current policies have been criticized by some members as ambiguous and lax, resulting in a decision on the Tetra property that reviews indicate was not up to par.

All purchases above $2,500 require documentation justifying the need for purchases, at least two written quotes from competitive sources, an agreement reviewed by legal counsel and a purchase order signed by the department director, CFO and CEO.

Purchases between $5,000 and $24,999 require at least three written quotes from competitive sources. Major purchases of $25,000 and above require the issuance of a request for proposals, at least three written bids, a closed session meeting and final approval of the scope and pricing of the contract at an open board meeting.

For approval of those contracts, the approval of majority of board officers – defined as the president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and a board liaison for RA’s fiscal committee — is required. Earlier versions of the resolution allowed the fiscal committee chair to partake in the approval process — a move that RA Board Director Julie Bitzer said was inappropriate because it elevated the rank of a volunteer members to that of an elected board member.

Bitzer said she was amenable to allowing the fiscal committee and its chair to contribute by providing a general review.

In order to prevent the board from micromanaging the work of RA’s staff, Bitzer also suggested receiving an annual review of contracts awarded by staff, including a categorical breakdown based on cost brackets created by the resolution.

A move by Board Director John Mooney to require all contractors or service agreements to include provisions that prevent employees from discrimination based on factors like sex, race, color, national origin and religion also passed.

“These are times that we need to speak on such matters,” Mooney said.

Board director Victoria White objected to the proposal because she said it was more appropriate to include the provision in contractual language.

“Bottom line is, it needs to have teeth.” White said.

Other board members said the inclusion of Mooney’s amendment sends a strong message of RA’s position to the community.

A complete breakdown of the resolution is available online. A recording of the board’s meeting is also on YouTube.

by Fatimah Waseem March 23, 2018 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Metro from the future — Future SmarTrip options may include key fobs and stickers. For now, hang on to those cards. [WTOP]

Cycling on down memory lane — Green Lizard Cycling in downtown Herndon celebrated its fifth anniversary this month. Congrats from your neighbors! [The Connection]

Only going up from here — The population is booming in Northern Virginia but shrinking in many rural localities. You’ll never guess where Reston falls in the mix. [Capital News Service]

Young at art — High school artists explore the theme of “becoming” at the Greater Reston Arts Center’s new exhibition. [Fairfax County Times]

by Fatimah Waseem March 22, 2018 at 3:30 pm 9 Comments

A plan is underway to replace an aging bridge on Hunter Mill Road over Colvin Run.

The $3 million project would expand the bridge from one to two lanes and include four-feet-wide shoulders. The number of vehicles that pass over the bridge is expected to increase from 7,200 to 11,000 vehicles per day by 2043, according to state estimates.

The replacement project has been contemplated by state and local officials for nearly 20 years.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is seeking public input on the project on April 16 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Forest Ridge Elementary School (1501 Becontree Lane). A presentation on the project will begin at 7 p.m.

Construction will likely begin in the spring of 2021. The bridge is expected to be completed by the summer of 2022. It has a sufficiency rating of 23.5 out of 100, a measure that determines the likelihood of a bridge to remain in service.

Photos courtesy of VDOT

by Fatimah Waseem March 22, 2018 at 12:00 pm 1 Comment

New Trail Cycling Studio is opening at Lake Anne Plaza in the late summer at 1614 Washington Plaza.

Liz Kamp — a Reston resident of nearly 10 years, an avid indoor cyclist and a mother of three — is behind the venture, which will offer indoor cycling classes for all levels.

Kamp hopes to use the studio to create a welcoming, tight-knit community.

“I’ve always wanted to create a fitness business where community is important. Cycling offers that,” she said.

The studio takes up half of the former location of Lakeside Pharmacy, which closed in 2014 after 44 years of business. Another tenant is expected to take up the other half of the site.

Classes, which blend authentic cycling drills paired to the beat of music, will be offered for adults, teens and individuals age 55 and and up. Riders of all levels are welcome to take classes.

Kamp, who has 15 years of experience in the fitness industry, said the idea for her business has been “a long time coming.”

“I’ve been planning on launching a brick and mortar store for the last six years. There’s a real need for building and capitalizing on this great community,” she said.

Photo courtesy of Liz Kamp

by Fatimah Waseem March 22, 2018 at 9:00 am 0

Reston Association Board of Directors meeting today — The board will vote on a move to build in stricter financial controls following a third-party review of RA’s controversial purchase of the Tetra property. The meeting will be streamed live on YouTube. [Reston Now]

Tolls could take a toll – Be prepared for hiccups in your commute. Upgrades to the tolling system on Dulles Toll Road could lead to detours and delays over the next six months. [WTOP]

Congrats to South Lakes High School athletes — Several local students are considered the D.C. area’s best winter sports athletes. Make Reston proud. [The Washington Post]

Metro resumes normal service today — Regular weekday service will resume today. County schools are closed and county government offices are open, with the option of unscheduled leave.  [WMATA]

Reston Community Center programs are cancelled — All RCC programs and co-sponsored programs are cancelled today, although RCC facilities will open today. [RCC]

It’s cleanup time — Volunteers are needed for the annual Potomac River Watershed cleanup on April 14. Make an impact today. [Reston Association]

Photo by Twitter user @jgs3584

by Fatimah Waseem March 21, 2018 at 11:30 am 66 Comments

A 20-story condominium high rise will replace a three-story office building built in the late 1980s on 1801 Old Reston Avenue.

On Tuesday evening, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the project by Renaissance Centro, the developer behind a strip of residential buildings in the area. 

The project will include 150 residential units, including 24 for-sale, workforce housing units and 24 bonus units, built atop an underground parking garage.

County officials touted the project for bringing for-sale workforce housing on the market — a rarity in Reston despite the prevalence of residential high rises. Andrew Painter of Walsh Colluci Lubuley & Walsh, the developer’s representative, said the project is the first for-sale condominium in Reston in 14 years.

Painter said Renaissance views the project as a “legacy” development that will transform Reston Parkway from a commuter-cut-through street to an urban parkway. The developer will provide $313,000 for Reston’s road funds and the project is not expected to generate additional traffic compared to the current building, he said.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the community and the developer worked together to allay concerns. She said the developer is providing green space that will enhance the community space in area on Reston Parkway that serves as an entrance to high density development across from Reston Town Center and at the foot of Metro.

As the project moves forward, Hudgins also said traffic improvements on Temporary Road and Reston Parkway are needed.

“There are transportation issues in this area. No matter what we would have built, it would have been difficult.”

Three residents who testified in support of the project on Tuesday said the project will offer new home ownership opportunities they have awaited for years. One resident opposed the plan because the developer is requesting a waiver for the minimum lot and reduced loading dock requirements. She also questioned why the project’s zoning designation is classified as mixed use, even though the project has no mixed use element.

Previously, a decision on the project had previously been deferred.

The project will include a pool, an outdoor terrace, a penthouse with terrace space, and an eight-foot-wide asphalt trail. Once built, it will tower above The Harrison and other properties built by Renaissance Centro.

“The applicant has a track record of quality development,” Painter said.

Photos via handout

by Fatimah Waseem March 21, 2018 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

Herndon man arrested in connection with double homicide in Loudoun County — “The sheriff’s office said Brian K. Welsh, 38, of Herndon, was charged with two counts of first degree murder in the shootings in the Aldie area of the county. Officials said the killings appeared to be drug-related.” [The Washington Post]

Chef on Wheels seeks beer and wine permit — The restaurant, which was formerly a food truck, on 1810 Michael Faraday Drive is seeking the license to sell alcoholic beverages. [Reston Patch]

Preparing for the March on Washington — A former teacher who is running for Congress in Virginia’s 11th district is prepping for the march this weekend. [Jonathan Park via Eventbrite]

An argument between a bus driver and parent — A Herndon parent was served summonses for making threats to a school employee, assault and disorderly conduct last Tuesday after the parent boarded a local bus. [Herndon Police Department]

Photo by Ruth Sievers

by RestonNow.com March 21, 2018 at 7:40 am 0

A light layer of snow in the morning, which greeted some with disappointment today, will likely become thicker, forecasters say.

A blend of snow, sleet and freezing drizzle is expected to transform into snow later today. A blanket of three to seven inches is possible, with a high near 33 and a low of 27. Snow is expected to taper off before 11 p.m. Tomorrow’s partly sunny conditions may melt some snow away.

Local county entities are taking no chances on the snow despite a slow start this morning. Fairfax County Public Schools and Fairfax County government offices are closed today.

Here’s a roundup of other snow-related closures:

  • Reston Community Center – closed
  • Reston Association – closed
  • Fairfax County Circuit Court – closed
  • Fairfax County Circuit Court
  • The Walker Nature Center – closed
  • Reston Regional Library – pending
  • Metro – operating on modified schedule
  • Fairfax Connector – operating on Saturday service schedules

This post will be updated.

by Fatimah Waseem March 20, 2018 at 3:30 pm 0

The D.C. area will be under a Winter Storm Warning from tonight through Wednesday night. 

Between four and eight inches of snow is expected in the region. Local snow accumulation may be lower.

Fairfax County Public Schools has canceled all afternoon and evening activities on school campuses. A decision on tomorrow’s possible closure is expected by 9 p.m. today.

Forecasters encouraged residents to be wary of difficult travel conditions and limited visibility. If travel is mandatory, drivers are encouraged to keep an extra flashlight, food and water in the vehicle incase of an emergency, according to the National Weather Service.

Photo by Twitter user @MrErrett

by Fatimah Waseem March 20, 2018 at 2:00 pm 0

A fire on the outside of a two-story, garden-style apartment building on 11600 Ivystone Court was put out around 2:15 p.m. today.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department responded to the report of a fire in the afternoon. The fire was visible at the front of the building. No injuries were reported. 

Initial reports indicate the fire was concentrated in the electrical entrance to the building. The building was evacuated as a precautionary measure and residents were allowed back in around 3 p.m. 

Dominion Energy also responded to the scene as firefighters cleared the ventilation system. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

This story has been updated.  Photo by Fatimah Waseem.


by Fatimah Waseem March 20, 2018 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Cause of Reston house fire unknown — A single-family home on the 12100 block of Quorn Lane sustained roughly $37,500 in damages on Saturday. An investigation is ongoing. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

OVHcloud hovers in Reston — The global hyper-scale cloud provider celebrated its grand opening ceremony yesterday. [OVHcloud]

If you have ideas to improve the I-66 corridor — 17 projects are up for funding by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission. You can give your thoughts on what projects you think should be funded today at the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. [NVTC]

by Fatimah Waseem March 19, 2018 at 12:30 pm 42 Comments

After months of discussion, Reston Association’s Board of Directors will consider a move Thursday to strengthen its procurement controls and policies in response to a third-party review of RA’s controversial $2.65 million purchase of the Tetra property.

The rewrite of RA’s purchasing and procurement policies — which were last updated nearly six years ago — was recommended by StoneTurn Group, the forensic accounting firm contracted by RA to review the controversial purchase and cost overruns linked to the buildin’s renovation. A recent presentation by two RA members also flagged multiple concerns. 

“As a result of the Tetra Property Purchase Review by the StoneTurn Group several recommendations were made that the Association should strengthen, and the better document the Association’s policies and practices related to procurement and purchasing,” wrote board president Sherri Hebert in the draft proposal. Hebert was not available for comment.

The move expands RA’s current policies by building in more internal controls, stricter financial checks to avoid sole source contracting and seek competitive bidding, and improved documentation. Major purchases above $25,000 require board approval, among other levels of scrutiny.

If approved, the policies would address four broad areas: procurement rules, competitive procurement and purchasing, re-competing for services and rules governing sole service providers.


by RestonNow.com March 19, 2018 at 9:00 am 6 Comments

Light it up — Snag a few free LED light bulbs. The giveaway is taking place in April and May at six Fairfax County libraries. [Fairfax County Government]

“A Night in Paris” Wine Dinner — Transport yourself to France with a five-course seasonal menu at Mon Ami Gabi from 6-9 p.m. today. Each course will be paired with French boutique wines. [Mon Ami Gabi]

$15.5 Billion for Metro — Where does it go and how does Metro plan to spend it? [The Washington Post]

Job opportunity in Herndon — The Herndon Adult Day Health Care Center is looking for a Spanish instructor. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Ruth Sievers

by RestonNow.com March 16, 2018 at 2:30 pm 1 Comment

Final tweaks to a shared parking agreement are underway as Boston Properties prepares to construct the last office property available in Reston Town Center’s urban core.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider a proposal Tuesday to remove roughly 78,823 square feet of future office space covered under RTC’s shared parking agreement.

Some office tenants in a future office building on Block 5, home to 17Fifty (1750 Presidents Drive), which is set to open in 2020, will park in reserved spots in a below-grade garage.

The shared parking agreement serves Phase I of RTC, a 44-acre swath of land in the center’s 84-acre urban core. If the proposal is approved, 226 parking spaces will be reserved for corresponding future office space equal to 86,923 square feet and 3,000 spaces will remain for shared uses.

The request is in response to a change in the mix of uses in the area, particularly in 17Fifty, the future of home of Leidos, Instead of a mix of office and retail, the 17-story tower will be solely composed of office space.

The overall impact of the change is minimal, said Rich Ellis, vice president of Boston Properties.

“All we’re doing is a re-tabulation of what’s required as several uses have changed,” he said.

Shared parking for the theater, eating establishments, hotels and hotel function space will remain unchanged.

Ellie Codding, the county’s director of the code development and the compliance division of land development services, said the change covers proposed buildings in response to a tenant-specific request.

Previously under this agreement, parking spaces were being shared by all office, retail, restaurant, hotel, and theatre uses. The modified agreement, if approved, would decrease the square footage of office space that shares parking under the agreement,” she said.

A parking analysis indicates 3,000 parking spaces are “sufficient to serve the mix of remaining non-residential uses” and will not reduce parking beyond 29.3 percent, a reduction approved by the county in 2014, according to county documents.

Photo via handout


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