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by Dave Emke — February 24, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

Reston Association Board of Directors/Ray Wedell

Saying Reston Association cannot continue on its current path in collecting assessments, At-Large Director Ray Wedell is presenting ideas for modifying the system.

“This has been a scuttlebutt for many years,” Wedell said as he delivered his presentation Thursday night at the Reston Association Board of Directors meeting. “We have a proposal on the table — it can be altered, can be changed, can be ignored if you want to ignore it. But something has to be out to start the discussion.”

Wedell’s proposal would see higher-value properties pay one and a half times the average assessment rate, and lower-value properties would pay half the rate. In each case, the largest amount of units would continue to pay the average rate.

Three separate options were provided by Wedell. In each, the highest-value properties would pay one and a half times the assessment rate, while lowest-value properties would pay only half the rate. With an assessment rate of $704, that would create tiered payments of $352, $704 and $1,056.

Modified Ad Valorem Assessment Policy/Reston Association/Ray Wedell

In the three options presented by Wedell, the lowest-valued property that could fall into the 150 percent rate category is $550,000. The highest-valued property that could fall into the half-rate category is $275,000.

Wedell said under the current system, 3.1 percent of units do not pay the flat rate, as subsidized properties are already offered a 50 percent assessment reduction. The director said those units would not be part of any policy change and would continue to pay their current rate.

Any policy change would be revenue-neutral, Wedell said, meaning the same total amount would be collected. He also added that altering the structure would “adhere to Reston’s time-honored principle to be fair and equitable to all members.”

Wedell has taken the idea upon himself as a personal initiative. It is not a current priority of the board, Vice President Michael Sanio clarified for meeting attendees.

“We appreciate our members pursuing various issues,” Sanio said. “This particular one is something that Ray has had a real interest in.”

The data provided Thursday by Wedell were only in the form of a presentation to the board; no action was taken.

Changing the assessment formula would require an amendment to the Reston Deed. That would require approval from the Board of Directors, at least 30 percent voter turnout on a referendum, and at least two-thirds approval on that vote.

“These are high hurdles, but it’s not something we should run away from,” Wedell said. “I think it’s time for us to put this on the table.”

by Dave Emke — February 24, 2017 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

Lake Anne sunrise/Instagram user @AnneMusicMarkets

Lake House/Tetra Review On Schedule: Michael Sanio, RA Board of Directors vice president, said at Thursday night’s meeting that the independent review of the Tetra/Lake House purchase remains on track to be submitted by StoneTurn Group by midnight Tuesday. Sanio said RA’s Tetra Review Committee is “very pleased with the progress” that has been made, and that the review will be made public once it has been seen by all board members. [Reston Association]

South Lakes High Student Government Honored — The South Lakes High School SGA is one of 21 statewide that have been recognized with the Virginia Student Councils Achievement Award for 2016-17. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

SLHS Sophomore Selected for IT Award — Anika Kumar has been selected as a 2017 Virginia affiliate winner of the National Center for Women and Information Technology Award for Aspirations in Computing. Kumar, who became interested in computers when she took a class in middle school, has produced her own video game. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Teen Job Fairs Slated for March, April — The 2017 Fairfax County Teen Job Fairs and Resume Building Workshops will be held at Chantilly High School, Oakton High School, West Springfield High School and South County Secondary School. [Fairfax County]

Photo of Lake Anne sunrise this morning via Instagram user @annemusicmarkets

by Dave Emke — February 24, 2017 at 8:20 am 0

Photo courtesy Fairfax County Police DepartmentFairfax County Police have identified the victim in a fatal pedestrian incident Thursday evening in Reston.

Police say 57-year-old Asress Gobena Lakew, of Reston, was attempting to cross Reston Parkway near South Lakes Drive at about 6:20 p.m. when she was struck by a southbound 2016 Jeep Wrangler. Lakew was not within a crosswalk when the collision took place, police say.

The 30-year-old driver of the Jeep remained on scene and she was treated by medics. Police say the Crash Reconstruction Unit responded to investigate, and they determined neither speed nor alcohol appear to have been contributing factors to the crash.

Anyone who witnessed this crash is asked to call the CRU witness line at 703-280-0543 or contact Crime Solvers. Tips can also be made by texting “TIP187” plus a message to CRIMES(274637), or by calling 1-866-411-TIPS(8477) or 703-691-2131.

Photo courtesy Fairfax County Police Department

by Dave Emke — February 23, 2017 at 7:20 pm 12 Comments

DWI enforcement police vehicle (Photo via Fairfax County Police Department)

A woman was struck and killed Thursday evening in Reston.

The incident occurred on Reston Parkway near South Lakes Drive, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene.

The female driver was assessed by medics at the scene, according to police.

Crash reconstruction is being completed as of 7:15 p.m. Thursday, and southbound traffic on Reston Parkway is being re-routed. More details will be provided as they become available.

by Dave Emke — February 23, 2017 at 11:30 am 29 Comments

Ray Wedell/Credit: David Madison for RAAt tonight’s meeting of the Reston Association Board of Directors, At-Large Director Ray Wedell will present his proposal for re-calculating annual assessment fees for Reston Association members.

Wedell first brought the topic before the RA Board at their July 28 meeting. In a statement, text of which can be found on Pages 5 and 6 of the meeting’s minutes, Wedell said he had “reached [his] tolerance limit for turning a blind eye toward some of the extremely regressive policies within the Reston tax system.”

Specifically, Wedell said, he finds the flat rate for assessments to Reston Association members to be “hopelessly flawed.”

“Everywhere we look, the RA fee is the same $657/year [in 2016] I see for everyone, regardless of the home and location. This is so wrong. We all know it. Yet if I mention this to many of our citizens, some change the subject and others are stone silent. Maybe they assume that any changes would result in higher assessments for them and personal economics often have a way of overriding people’s sense of public purpose. I get it.”

Wedell said he sees that “those getting the shorter of end of the stick in this situation have little or no voice.”

“Imagine living in a city which has beautiful gated communities with city-funded lakes, trails, fields, etc., as well as other neighborhoods which have fewer of these amenities. Then imagine the city tax policy says that people living in these gated communities pay the same annual assessment/taxes as those living in a one-bedroom high-rise area which has little access for the very amenities they are subsidizing for the gated communities’ upkeep and improvements.”

In response to Wedell’s statement, CEO Cate Fulkerson directed staff to look into the issue and report back with assessment breakdown possibilities. Staff has been working with Wedell on the proposal to “identify possible alternates that may be more balanced and equitable to members,” according to information provided from the Feb. 6 meeting of the Board Operations Committee.

This and other issues on tonight’s agenda will be discussed beginning at 6:30 p.m. at RA Headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

by Dave Emke — February 23, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Morning Notes

Girl Scout to Help Repair Bridge — Sathiya Kannan of Reston plans to work on a bridge on Alexandria’s Mount Vernon Trail as a Silver Award Project. She will be part of a team of National Park Service volunteers on March 25. Additional help is sought. [Connection Newspapers]

Questions on County Budget Proposal Being Accepted — County Executive Ed Long will participate in an online discussion about his proposed FY 2018 budget at 3 p.m. Friday. Residents are being invited to submit questions in advance. [Fairfax County]

Cecilia Capece/INMEDReston Woman Named Humanitarian Group’s Director — Cecilia Capece (pictured) is the new executive director of the INMED Opportunity Center. According to a press release, her role with the Sterling-based organization will be to “focus on developing partnerships to expand INMED’s ability to serve low-income communities in Loudoun County to protect children from the immediate and irreversible harm of abuse, neglect, violence, homelessness and instability and to equip them for self-sufficiency and success.” [INMED Opportunity Center]

Herndon Reston Softball Seeks Players, Coaches, Umps — The girls’ fast-pitch softball league season begins March 3-4 with player tryouts and evaluations. Practices start in mid-March, and opening day is April 1.  [Herndon Reston Youth Softball]

by Dave Emke — February 22, 2017 at 2:45 pm 1 Comment

Real-estate investment firm Pantzer Properties has purchased an apartment complex in Reston for $32 million.

Homestead at Reston (12265 Laurel Glade Court) consists of 200 units in 17 buildings off Glade Drive, adjacent to Dogwood Elementary School. It was previously known as Reston Glen.

Sales firm Berkadia, who brokered the transaction between Pantzer Properties and Texas-based sellers Crescent Real Estate Equities, announced the deal in a press release Tuesday.

“Reston Glen is well positioned in one of the most dynamic submarkets of Washington, D.C.,” said Scott Melnick, Berkadia senior managing director, in the release. “Pantzer Properties will be able to take advantage of economies by adding this property to its already significant roster of Northern Virginia holdings.”

According to the press release, the complex was built in 1974.

New York-based Pantzer Properties also owns The Point at McNair and The Point at Dulles, both in Herndon, along with numerous other residential properties in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Reston Now has made a request to Pantzer Properties for more details about the transaction, and this article will be updated if and when more information is made available.

by Dave Emke — February 22, 2017 at 11:30 am 43 Comments

11720 Sunrise Valley Drive

The demolition of a six-story office building at 11720 Sunrise Valley Drive will likely soon begin.

11720 Sunrise Valley DriveA permit to tear down the structure was filed with Fairfax County last week. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved in October an application that would see the building brought down and replaced with 54 townhomes on the 3.5-acre property.

Located on the eastern end of the Reston Heights development, the 69,000-square-foot building was bought by Rooney Properties in 2013. Signage outside the building shows its most recent tenants having been QVine Corp.PVBS and GreenTec-USA.

The property is located across Roland Clarke Place from the former location of the API building, which was razed last year to make room for the future Sunrise Square cluster. Also owned by Rooney Properties, that will consist of 34 townhouses and 10 condos.

Rendering of RP 11720 Sunrise Valley/Fairfax CountyThe new development at 11720 Sunrise Valley Drive is planned to have a quarter-acre pocket park located north of a private street that will run through the center of the property. The park will include benches, a butterfly garden, public art and more.

Developers also plan to build six-foot sidewalks along Sunrise Valley Drive and Roland Clarke Place to help make pedestrian connections to Silver Line Metro stations. The plan also incorporates a separate, 10-foot wide path for bicycles along Sunrise Valley Drive.

The entrance to the community will be on Roland Clarke Place. The developers have a dedicated right of way for a future traffic signal at the corner of Sunrise Valley and Roland Clarke.

by RestonNow.com — February 22, 2017 at 10:15 am 13 Comments

J.McLaughlin store at Reston Town Center

Reston Town Center announced Tuesday that clothing store J.McLaughlin will open on Market Street later this year.

According to a press release:

J.McLaughlin, a classic American clothing and accessories brand for women and men, is expanding its retail fleet to RTC with a new location slated to open later this year.

The 1,113 square foot store will feature all of the elements that classify the trademark J.McLaughlin aesthetic, an inviting feeling with distinctive details, furnishings and décor. In keeping with the colorful palette and cheeky details of the brand, the interior of this store is decorated with marine shades of green and blue complemented by bamboo-inspired furnishings.

The Reston Town Center location marks J.McLaughlin’s fifth location in Virginia and the 177th store to open nationwide. Originally founded by two brothers, Kevin and Jay McLaughlin, in 1977, the retailer believes in “being a good neighbor” and approaches business as a welcome and active community member.

The shop will be located at 11932 Market St., the former location of Origins, which closed in January. As we previously reported, signs advertising the new clothing store were posted by Feb. 1.

by Dave Emke — February 22, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Crocus in Reston

Bao Bao Passed Through Reston on Journey Home — The famed panda born at the National Zoo left D.C. for good Tuesday, heading off to live her life in China. She was transported by truck from Washington up the Dulles Toll Road to the airport, where she left on a FedEx 777. [Reston Patch]

SLHS Girls’ Basketball Team Falls in Playoffs — The South Lakes Seahawks girls’ hoops team was defeated Tuesday night in the first round of the 6A North Region championship, falling to T.C. Williams by a score of 51-43. [Alexandria News]

Qur’an Spiritual Retreat Slated for March — The Al-Madina Institute is readying to hold its annual conference, bringing leading scholars to examine both the external and internal dimensions of the Qur’an. The event will be held March 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency (1800 Presidents St.) in Reston. [Al-Madina Institute]

Bills Targeting Student Debt Fail in Richmond — A number of bills designed to help students refinance student loans or increase oversight of lenders have died in the General Assembly. One such bill, which would have created a “Borrower’s Bill of Rights,” was sponsored by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) of Reston. It failed to advance out of a legislative committee. [Virginia Gazette]

by Dave Emke — February 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm 10 Comments

Reston Transit Area/Fairfax County

The next community meeting for the Reston Transportation Funding Plan will be Thursday at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of Coates Elementary School (2480 River Birch Road, Herndon). The Fairfax County Department of Transportation and Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust will host the meeting.

“It will be a great opportunity for residents who have not been able to attend a previous meeting to learn more about the funding plan,” said Jenny Kaplan, a staff aide in Foust’s office.

The presentation will focus only on the funding plan, Kaplan said. The agenda will not include discussion of the network analysis.

According to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors:

“The proposed Reston Transportation Funding Plan addresses the $2.27 billion (in 2016 dollars) need for infrastructure improvements to support the recommendations in the Reston Phase I Comprehensive Plan Amendment. The proposed plan allocates roughly $1.2 billion of the improvements over 40 years from public funds — federal, state, local, and regional funds that are anticipated for countywide transportation projects. Approximately $1.07 billion of the improvement costs will be raised from private funds — sources of revenue that are generated within the Reston TSAs and used exclusively for transportation projects in the Reston TSAs; this will require creation of a service district fund and County road fund project for management of revenues. It is anticipated that a fund for the service district will be created in FY 2018, and a new project will be created in Fund 30040 (Contributed Roadway Improvements) for the management of these Reston road fund contributions.”

The transit areas are expected to see the greatest level of development — and will need the most street grid upgrades, lane additions and traffic signals, among other improvements — as Reston grows over the coming decades.

The cost of the improvements is expected to be a public/private split, roughly 50/50. In this framework, Reston roadway projects would be paid for with public revenue, while intersections and the grid would be covered by private funding. A significant portion of the private funding is expected to be paid for through in-kind contributions to the grid from developers as redevelopment occurs, the Reston Network Analysis Advisory Group says.

Reston Transportation Funding Plan

Reston Association CEO Cate Fulkerson is encouraging RA members to be “educated and engaged” regarding the plan, according to information provided in the RA Board of Directors’ agenda packet for their own meeting Thursday. However, because it is a county tax and revenue matter, the board is not being recommended to take a position.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors plans to hold a public hearing on the plan Feb. 28.

Map of Reston Transportation Service Area and chart showing cost breakdown via Fairfax County

by Dave Emke — February 21, 2017 at 2:45 pm 12 Comments

Reston Association Central Services Facility

The Reston Association Board of Directors will consider Thursday releasing $200,000 in funds allocated to the Central Services Facility renovation, which staff says is needed to get the process moving before costs increase further.

Garrett Skinner, RA’s capital projects director, will address the board at its meeting this week on the status of the project. It was put on hold in June when the board recommended such large-scale projects be paused until the Tetra/Lake House independent review was conducted. The remainder of funds allocated in 2016 for the project was carried forward to the 2017 budget.

Costs of the Central Services project, primarily in construction, have increased by about 10 percent because of the delay, according to RA staff. According to notes provided to the board in their agenda packet:

“With the increased demand for construction observed in the Dulles Corridor and greater Washington region, staff is concerned that pricing for labor and materials will continue to increase and requests the Board’s permission to lift the hold on the Architecture and Engineering Project Phase in order to secure AE consultant services to develop detailed construction drawings and permitting documentation needed to officially bid out the construction phase of the project and obtain detailed cost estimates for the Implementation & Construction Phase.”

Central Services Facility consultant budgetAt the meeting, the board will be asked to “move to release $200,831 of the total $1,553,185 remaining balance for the Central Services Facility renovation project to fund Architecture & Engineering so that the Board can consider Construction Estimates by the end of Q2 2017,” according to the agenda packet.

The budget for consultants on the project includes about $47,000 for architectural work, $50,000 for engineering and $95,000 for project management.

Other items on the agenda for Thursday evening’s meeting include the following:

  • A “Proposal for Modified Ad Valorem Assessment Policy” will be presented by At-Large Director Ray Wedell. The proposed policy would replace the current flat-rate assessment for RA members with a formula that Wedell says would be “more fair and equitable to members.”
  • The Lake Newport soccer field project, proposed by Reston Soccer, will be available for discussion by members and the board. (In an email to concerned citizens Tuesday, CEO Cate Fulkerson said the RA Board of Directors will not take the project to referendum this spring; however, time will be allowed Thursday for comment because of input recently received from the community.)
  • A Conflict of Interest complaint against Director Eve Thompson, filed by Ed Abbott, will be considered.
  • The fiscal ramifications of the Reston Transportation Funding Plan to RA itself will be discussed.
  • A public hearing will be held on the potential RA membership of the Sunrise Square cluster.
  • The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee will present its 2017 Work Plan.
  • The Environmental Advisory Committee will present its pedestrian lighting recommendations.
  • The 2018-19 budget development calendar will be proposed.

The Reston Association Board of Directors will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at RA Headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

Chart showing Central Services Facility renovation consulting costs via Reston Association

by Dave Emke — February 21, 2017 at 9:00 am 9 Comments

Sunrise at Reston National - Twitter/JonnyMacGolf

(Updated 2:15 p.m. after the victim in Route 28 crash was identified by authorities.)

Crash Leaves Woman Dead on Route 28 — A fatal single-car collision at about 2 a.m. in the northbound lanes near the Dulles Toll Road interchange left the road closed for several hours. Gabrielle Perry, a 22-year-old from Leesburg who was a passenger in the vehicle, was killed. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said the driver, 26-year-old Andre Glenn of Sterling, is facing a DUI charge. [Washington Post]

Reston Woman Fights Gender Bias in Clothes — Eva Everett is co-founder of Svaha, a clothing line that aims to break stereotypes in children’s and women’s apparel. [NBC Washington]

Anna Redican (South Lakes High School)SLHS Swimmers Break Records at States — Gianmichel D’Allesandro, Michael George and Anna Redican (pictured) all set individual Seahawks records last week at the state championships. The boys’ 200-yard medley relay team, consisting of Hunter Ellis and Tyler Ellis along with D’Allesandro and George, also set a record. The event also marked the end of coach Scott Brown’s 23rd and final season with the team. [South Lakes High School]

‘Sisterhood’ Event Promotes Togetherness Among Cultures — The Reston Chapter of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom recently co-hosted a unity vigil for Muslim and Jewish women. The event took place in McLean last week. [McLean Connection]

Photo of sunrise this morning at Reston National Golf Course via Twitter user @JonnyMacGolf

by Dave Emke — February 20, 2017 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Morning Notes - Winter

Virginia Marks Washington’s Day — The holiday known as Presidents’ Day in many places around the United States is called George Washington’s Day here in Virginia. Fairfax County is home to Washington’s Mount Vernon, and it offers an explainer for why the name of today’s holiday is different here. [Fairfax County]

League of Women Voters to Host Documentary Screening — “GerryRIGGED: Turning Democracy on Its Head” will be shown at an event jointly hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area and OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting. Two showings Thursday, at 4:30 and 7 p.m., will each be followed by a question-and-answer session. The event will be at the Fair City Mall in Fairfax. [League of Women Voters]

Local Fan’s Baseball “Free Agency” Subject of New Video — Andrew Volpe, of Reston, has made a short documentary film chronicling his father’s quest to find a new Major League Baseball team to follow. Michael Volpe’s journey in the 1990s was the subject of national news. [Fairfax County Times]

General Assembly Looks to Curtail Opioid Abuse — A number of bills that aim to fight opioid addiction have advanced to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s desk. Among them is a bill that would reduce the amount of pain pills health care professionals can prescribe, and one that would require all opioid prescriptions be handled electronically for monitoring purposes. [Roanoke Times]

by Dave Emke — February 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm 9 Comments

Reston AssociationCandidate forums have been slated for next month as four seats on the Reston Association Board of Directors will be decided in the election.

Eleven candidates in total are seeking seats on the nine-member board. Votes will be cast by residents between March 6 and April 3. Election winners will be announced at the RA board’s April 11 meeting, with the new board to be sworn in the following day.

Residents will be able to ask the candidates questions during the forums:

  • North Point: Wednesday, March 8, 7:30 p.m. (Lake House, 11450 Baron Cameron Ave.)
  • Hunters Woods/Dogwood: Thursday, March 9, 6:30 p.m. (RA Headquarters, 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive)
  • At-Large: Thursday, March 9, 7:30 p.m. (RA Headquarters, 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive)

(There will be no candidate forum for the Apartment Owners’ Representative. David Bobzien is unopposed for the seat.)

Candidates in the three contested races are listed below:

  • North Point: Arlene Krieger and John Mooney
  • Hunters Woods/Dogwood: Syazana Durrani and Victoria White
  • At-Large: Roberto Anguizola, Eric Carr, Mike Collins, Charles Dorfeuille, Ven Iyer and HeidiAnne Werner

More information about each candidate is available at the Reston Association website.

Residents who are unable to attend forums are encouraged to email questions to [email protected], or tweet them to @restononline using the hashtag #RAelection2017.

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