Sigle: Reston Association Will Continue to Face Development, Density Challenges

After several months of fighting the county on a controversial zoning proposal, outgoing Board of Directors President Andy Sigle said he expects the Reston Association will keep tackling development and density issues in the future.

“A hot topic for Reston over the last several years and one that will continue into our future is development,” Sigle said, adding that the RA board and staff worked with community organizations to “protect the ‘planned’ part of our Planned Residential Community (PRC) designation.”

In March, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to “indefinitely defer” the consideration of the proposed zoning amendment that would have increased the maximum allowed population per acre in the PRC district — Reston’s primary zoning district.

“The board and RA staff will continue to monitor this as density issues resurface in the future,” Sigle said.

Looking back at accomplishments over the past year, Sigle highlighted the following:

  • renovation of the Central Services Facility
  • hiring a new chief executive officer
  • capital improvement projects, including interior renovations to the Glade Room, tennis court refurbishments, Lake Thoreau dredging, ADA-improvements to Nature House
  • a “realistic” budget with a small assessment increase

Last night’s meeting was the 50th anniversary of Reston Association’s first Annual Members’ Meeting. The meeting serves to update RA members on the state of the association, unveil the election results for the Board of Directors and receive member comments.

Election Committee Chair Ed Abbott announced the election results for the Board of Directors. “This year we saw a 14 percent turnout for Reston generally and even higher turnout in some districts,” Abbott said.

Here are the results:

  • At-Large, 3-year term: Tom Mulkerin won with 5,040 votes
  • Apartment Owners, 1-year term: Catherine Baum won with 1,563 votes
  • Hunters Woods/Dogwood, 1-year term: Caren Anton won with 1,101 votes
  • North Point, 3-year term: John Mooney won with 1,486 votes
  • Lake Anne/Tall Oaks, 3-year term: Aaron Webb won with 1,156 votes

The new RA board will hold its first monthly meeting tonight (April 10) at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

Photos via YouTube

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Police Storage, Traffic Signal Plans Added to Proposed Herndon Projects

The queue of proposed projects for the Town of Herndon has two new items — plans for more police storage and a traffic signal along Elden Street.

Senior Planner Dana Heiberg presented the draft Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to the Town of Herndon’s Planning Commission last night (Feb. 25).

The draft CIP spans a six-year period from fiscal year 2020 to fiscal year 2025.

One new addition would give police officers more space to store police bicycles, bulky equipment and other police property. The CIP budgets the creation of the exterior garage at $700,000 from FY 2020 funding.

That isn’t the only police project. Another one would update police radio equipment as Fairfax County moves toward encryption technology.

Meanwhile, the second new project — a traffic signal at Elden Street by the Herndon Centre — originated from a developer proffer.

Heiberg also gave an overview of the 50 projects for this year — many of which he said are on-going ones from the FY 2019-FY 2024 CIP.

For this year, planning and permitting software will is set for implementation. The information technology project is supported by the town’s reserves.

Renovating the Bready Park tennis courts, which will include converting the lighting to LEDs, is a part of the 10 planned park projects.

Nine projects sponsored by community development are set to tackle street improvements; pedestrian and bike trail upgrades, including trails leading to Herndon’s metro station; and wayfinding signs and historic markers.

Public works-sponsored projects include:

  • nine street or intersection improvements
  • a storm drainage project
  • major maintenance for buildings
  • a road repaving program
  • utility relocation downtown

The Herndon Centennial Clubhouse is also set for an expansion to take place over three phases. Once construction funding is decided upon in FY 2024, the renovation and expansion of the existing structure, which was built in the 1980s, will begin.

The General Fund projects for the six years in the draft CIP total $58.1 million, with about $6 million for FY 2020 General Fund projects. Grant funding will support most of the projects — acounting for 46 percent — while the General Fund will support a little over 20 percent, Heiberg said.

The Planning Commission voted 5-0 to recommend that the draft CIP move forward to the Town’s manager.

Photo via Google Maps

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After Toxins Found Last Fall, Lake Audubon Dredging to Begin Next Month

Lake Audubon’s dredging project is slated to start as soon as Feb. 1.

The Reston Association announced today (Jan. 18) that it plans to hire Lake Services, Inc. to dredge the accumulated sediment from the lake’s main coves. Dredging could begin as early as Feb. 1 with expected completion by the end of April.

The announcement came five months after residents were warned to avoid the lake after a harmful algae bloom was spotted. The bloom, called Microcystis, can produce toxins that are lethal for livestock, fish and people. Some of the toxins have been linked to liver cancer.

“Routine dredging is part of the association’s lakes maintenance program, which helps to extend the life of the lake,” the press release say. “As lakes age, they eventually fill in through sedimentation.”

Sedimentation occurs when materials such as soil from stream erosion, construction sites, road sand, leaves or other debris accumulate in the lake.

RA anticipates that the dredging will require removing 13,500 cubic yards of material, which will be placed in trucks and hauled to a disposal site in Loudoun County.

While the dredging is underway, locals can expect truck traffic to affect the Lake Audubon Pool’s parking lot, according to the press release.

The dredging operation staging area will be located at the Lake Audubon boat ramp. Dredging will not occur at the shoreline edge or within 5 feet of any dock structure, according to the press release.

Before dredging can begin, RA’s Board of Directors will need to approve the project contract with Lake Services, which is anticipated at the upcoming meeting next Thursday (Jan. 24).

Photo via Reston Association

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Capital Projects Slated for Next Year in Reston

With just more than half of the capital projects completed this year, the Reston Association is already looking ahead to ones for next year.

Senior Capital Projects Operations Manager Chris Schumaker highlighted some of the “key” projects slated for 2019 in a Reston Association video.

Originally developed in 1965, the Hook Road Recreation Area will see architectural and engineering changes. The area, which has remained largely unchanged since tennis and baseball amenities were added in 1973, was identified for major revitalization in 2016 after a review of facility enhancements approved by RA’s Board of Directors.

Bathroom renovations are slated for Lake Newport Pool (11601 Lake Newport Road).

A dredging project will begin for Lake Audubon. Residents were warned in September to avoid the lake after a harmful algae bloom was spotted. The bloom, called Microcystis, can produce toxins that are lethal for livestock, fish, and people. Some toxins have been linked to liver cancer.

Nestled in the woods, the Walker Nature Education Center will receive accessibility improvements.

A little more than half of Reston’s capital projects were finished this year, Schumaker told RA’s board at a meeting last Thursday (Dec. 13).

Finished ones included renovating the Pony Barn, located at the corner of Steeplechase Drive and Triple Crown Road, to include an ADA-accessible parking lot, bathroom and pathway, along with adding concrete flooring to the pavilion and grill station. The project also included a new drainage system and playground.

The Central Services Facility at 12250 Sunset Hills Road had a “major transformation” with new energy efficient windows, a new HVAC and bathroom facilities and improvements for accessibility and security. The building had not been updated since it was built in 1982, Schumaker said.

Dredging was completed for Lake Thoreau this year. “Removing the sediment helps improve the overall health of the lake for many years to come,” Schumaker said.

Some of this year’s projects nearing completion include new flooring, paint, fixtures and lighting in the Glade Room at 11550 Glade Drive and tree removal along the dam at Butler Pond at 1145 Water Pointe Lane.

Photos via Reston Association/YouTube

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North Hills Tennis Courts Among Uncompleted 2018 Capital Projects

A little more than half of Reston’s capital projects were finished this year, with the renovations of the North Hills tennis courts among the uncompleted projects.

Senior Capital Projects Operations Manager Chris Schumaker presented the Capital Projects 2018 Report to the Reston Association’s Board of Directors at the meeting last night (Dec. 13).

Forty-six of the 84 projects slated for 2018 were finished, including the Hook Road community engagement project, Lake Audubon dredging and the 2019 Reserve Study.

Schumaker said that rain and “difficult weather” delayed several projects. The tennis courts faced a “stumbling point” when a tree fell on the courts, he said.

By a 3-2 vote in late October of 2017, the board approved up to $295,000 in improvements for North Hills tennis courts in response to concerns about limited lightning in the evenings and major cracks that run along the court. 

Staff, users and industry professionals determined that the current funds wouldn’t cover the renovation’s cost, Schumaker said.

The irrigation system and court grades require a “significant modification” to ensure proper operation and quality of play for the next 30 years, along with lighting design changes.

The project jumped from an originally estimated cost shy of $300,000 to a new estimate just under $400,000. Schumaker said that the current cost estimated happened in the latter half of the third quarter.

The board debated on moving $95,500 of unused money from the Repair & Replacement Reserve Fund in the 2018 capital budget for the tennis courts.

RA At-Large Director Ven Iyer said that not sticking to the budget sends the wrong message and makes the RA look fiscally irresponsible.

Caren Anton, who represents Hunters Woods and Dogwood, said that using the money “is a no-brainer.”

“It’s unfortunate that the extent of the renovation was not identified accurately at the beginning,” Anton said. “The funds are there. I think it’s imperative that we take care of this to make the courts safe and more attractive to the senior tennis players.”

The board authorized the $95,500 and also authorized $52,300 from CAARF capital funds to pay for a small equipment lift, deep tine aerator and “winterization” pool covers for Ridge Heights and Shadowood facilities.

The 2018 projects cost an estimated $3.1 million and the projected carry-forward totals $2.25 million.

Photos via Reston Association/YouTube

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RA Board Directs Staff to Budget $50,000 for Hook Road Working Group Plan

After hearing a detailed presentation of the Hook Road Working Group’s Master Plan, Reston Association board members on Thursday night voted to include $50,000 in the 2019 budget for architectural, engineering and design work to help the project move forward.

Featuring improvements on everything from play areas to permanent bathrooms to traffic calming measures, HRWG members Stu Gibson and Aaron Webb, along with capital projects manager Chris Schumaker, provided a detailed presentation of the master plan Thursday night, with special emphasis on the priorities they identified through public engagement meetings over the past year.

The first priority the group identified was public safety. Members suggested adding “bump-outs” to Fairway Drive that would narrow the road at certain points and act as a natural traffic calming measure, by forcing cars to slow down in order to navigate through the narrowed sections. While the bump-outs would require approval from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Gibson said VDOT would be identifying its own needs in order to accommodate the newly designed park, so the idea would be to try and piggy-back on any improvements VDOT will want to make.

Other priorities identified by members of the community and working group alike included better lighting for the tennis courts.

The second proposed improvement also had to do with safety. The group proposed pushing the park’s two baseball diamonds closer together and further into the park. Gibson said this would add an extra layer of protection for cars in the parking lot, making it harder for balls to fly that far and potentially hit vehicles, as well as push spectators further back from the road and away from cars.

“This will also afford the community an extra layer of accessibility that is not enjoyed now, while also preserving the tree line,” Gibson explained to the Board. “The community was adamant about not wanting to disturb that tree line, which basically bisects that part of the park down the middle.”

Gibson said another priority that countless members of the community asked for was the installation of a permanent bathroom, to replace the aging porta-potty that sits there now. The group proposed the creation of a new building that features a covered picnic pavilion on one side, with two permanent bathroom stalls on the other side.

The only question about the proposed bathroom was whether or not the RA’s budget can afford the costs of water and sewer work. Two alternate options could be to create a “waterless bathroom,” or a bathroom that is only open 9 months out of the year, and would be closed during the freezing-cold winter months.

Finally, the fourth priority the group identified were improvements related to accessibility and open space. The group proposed building a path along the west side of the tree line to allow increased access to the southeast baseball diamond from Fairway Drive, as well as a limited, five-degree slope from the Hook Road side to allow access by people in wheelchairs. They also proposed a “natural playscape” in added open spaces for children to play outdoors.

Following the presentation, the Board voted unanimously to direct RA staff to include the $50,000 in funding in the 2019 capital projects budget for the necessary architectural, engineering and design work to move forward with the Hook Road Master Plan. The funding will reportedly pay for work to acquire estimates for the design and construction of the features in the plan.

Photo via YouTube/Reston Association

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