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Series of Citations Draw Ire from Residents in Birchfield Woods Cluster

A series of citations about the design and maintenance of homes in the Birchfield Woods Cluster, a townhouse community built in the late 1980s, has some residents concerned.

Residents say the citations are inconsistent with past inspections and were implemented in a confusing manner, especially given some homes were cited for issues and others were not. One citation concerns changing a backdoor that has been on the property for 25 years.

The inspection of Birchfield properties and common areas was conducted by Reston Association on May 4. Residents were notified of the inspection on March 5 and given 90 days to address violations.

Shellon Copeland, a cluster resident, said the financial burden of correcting citations on the single parent’s home on Poplar Grove Drive is concerning and that requests for deadline extensions have not been met.

“It’s not just the financial part,” Copeland said, “It’s the added time and stress [from[ getting estimates from reputable roofers, etc.”

Joanna Simon, a Reston resident since 1971, said she was concerned RA’s Design Review Board “overstepped the bounds.”

“The process is confusing, take[s] time, [and] requires photo and other technology skills unavailable to some of Reston’s residents,” said Simon, who is also on the cluster’s board and was speaking as a resident only. She was cited for having a dark brown finish on her deck and installing a new light fixture.

The cluster board was also cited for mailboxes that are not approved and old signage at the entrance of the cluster. Residents said most homes in the community were given at least one citation.

At the request of residents, a meeting at Armstrong Elementary School with the cluster board was held on June 18. Residents have requested extensions to correct citations, which must be corrected by August 24.

Mike Leone, RA’s director of communications and community engagement, said RA’s advisors are working with homeowners to get violations fixed.

“Homeowners will not get escalated to RA’s Covenants Committee if they are showing progress in fixing violations,” Leone wrote in a statement.

The walkthrough request was made by Birchfield Cluster Board President Marcelo Borda. Inspections are intended to ensure properties are kept in good order and repair in order to ensure the appearance is consistent with RA’s design guidelines and in conformity with nearby properties.

Residents said they were irked the cluster board was not involved in the decision to conduct inspections.

Borda said concerns will be discussed with an RA representative. A response about why the inspections were requested and how the board is working with the community to address concerns was not immediately provided.

Inspections occur “no more than once every five years, or as time and resources permit,” Leone wrote.

Photos by Shellon Copeland

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