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Design Review Board Shies Away From Creating Deck Boat Standards

Reston Association’s Design Review Board was skeptical about a proposal made during the meeting on Tuesday (Jan. 15) asking for deck boat design standards.

Watershed Specialist William Peterson presented two requests that resulted from the Lakes, Boats and Docks Working Group: addition of floating deck specifications in the DRB guidelines for docks and creation of DRB guidelines for deck boat construction.

Peterson asked the board to make a Reston Association standard for deck boats, which could information about appropriate float materials.

He noted that contractors make many of the deck boats on lakes around Reston, and without a standard, people can build a deck boat any way they want to. Use of inadequate materials can result in them falling apart.

Currently, the resolutions have deck boat guidelines for size, lights and motor size for deck boats, and the “Boat Guide” also has stipulations. “The ‘Boat Guide’ is not a standard. It is not required,” Peterson said.

“We’re talking about staff overload as it is and now we’re talking about a whole new design and review of deck boats?” W. Neal Roseberry, the board’s vice chair and architect member, said. “It doesn’t feel like it belongs in the design guidelines.”

Anna Donato, director of covenants administration, said that it may be possible for DRB to create standards without having to review any noncomplying deck boats. “I don’t think it’s something that would be thrown in the hands of the DRB in terms of governing moving forward.”

Donato and Roseberry both questioned whether or not noncompliance would fall under the Legal Committee instead.

“It feels difficult to have it go both ways — to use the authority of the DRB to set a standard and then to say we’re not going to regulate the standard,” Roseberry said. “I don’t think we should be setting the standard in the first place.”

If deck boats can only get regulated by DRB, Roseberry said he would be open to supporting the idea.

While the board was skeptical about creating a deck boat standard, the members signaled a willingness to update the dock guidelines.

Peterson also showed an example of the DRB dock guidelines, which included a picture of a nonfloating dock, and photos of different ways to permanently attach floating docks. The Lakes, Boats and Docks Working Group has disagreed about what “permanently attached” means.

“Some people think a bungee cord or a rope constitutes permanently attached,” he said. “Others think it needs to be more permanent like a hinged structure.”

Peterson also asked for the removal of a sentence in the guidelines that directs readers to RA’s Park and Recreation Department guidelines, which do not exist.

Clarification of “permanently attached” could include language saying that pilings or a hinge system are sufficient for attachment. Peterson said that he plans to come back to the DRB at a later date with a draft with updated language.

“Improving the guidelines for stationary docks with all of the different ones you showed makes sense,” Richard Newlon, the board’s chairman, said to Peterson. “I don’t think that the DRB wants to get into things that move.”

Images via Reston Association/YouTube 

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Design Review Board Approves Tall Oaks Development Changes

Reston Association’s Design Review Board approved minor changes to the size and number of windows for previously approved architectural designs for the Tall Oaks Village Center redevelopment on Tuesday night.

The redevelopment plans to transform the village center (12022 North Shore Drive) into a mostly residential neighborhood by adding 156 residential units, which include 42 two-over-two multi-family units, 44 single units and 70 multi-family units in two residential buildings. Nearly 8,500 square feet of retail and 5,800 square feet of office space are also slated for the site.

On Dec. 19. Stanley Martin Homes officially purchased the residential portion of the property from Jefferson Apartment Group. Currently, Stanley Martin is completing the site plan and brought “small changes” to abide by the county’s zoning to the Design Review Board.

Richard Newlon, the board’s chairman, said he was concerned about replacing some of the larger windows with smaller ones. “It’s not going to have the same architectural drama we thought we were getting before,” he said. “We’re always looking for good design and stuff that is a little bit different and a little bit progressive.”

Ultimately, the board approved the changes.

During the nearly three-hour-long meeting on Jan. 15, the Design Review Board also approved stream restoration with a year-long timeline for the Colvin Run Stream.

Tree clearing is set to begin for the stream restoration on Feb. 4, with an estimated completion of the work sometime in the summer. Planting will then follow in the fall.

The board also OK’d playground equipment and signs at the Primrose School of Reston (1309 N. Village Road).

An affected party — who did not show up to the meeting — had previously raised a concern about the size and color of a red plastic fire truck in the school’s playground.

“Reston is pretty much known for the lack of vibrant color in all of its playgrounds. It’s always supposed to be natural looks — greens and browns,” Newlon said. “I personally have never seen a green or brown fire engine.”

W. Neal Roseberry, the board’s vice chair and architect member, was the only member to vote against approving the playground equipment’s appearance.

Images via Reston Association/YouTube

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Amazon will bring $15 billion and 62,000 jobs by 2030 A study by the Virginia Chamber Foundation predicts that Amazon’s second headquarters in Crystal City will bring a huge economic impact to Northern Virginia and D.C. [Reston Patch]

Design & Wine — Head to ArtSpace Herndon to sketch and paint unique winter villages with artist Melanie Z Stanley from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight. [ArtSpace Herndon]

New MetroAlerts and real-time parking unveiled– Metro introduced yesterday a new MetroAlerts system to allow Metrorail and Metrobus riders to customize the alerts they receive by day and time, along with adding multiple email addresses or phone numbers on one account. In a separate improvement, real-time parking status is now shown on wmata.com. [WMATA]

Reston Association’s Design Review Board meets tonight — The Wendy’s at 1701 Bracknell Drive is on the agenda for the meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. [Reston Association]

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Music and a coat drive — The Reston Chorale will perform George Frideric Handel’s Messiah tonight at 7:30 p.m. at St. John Neumann Church. Locals are encouraged to bring new or gently used coats or new hats, gloves, scarves or socks, which will fill Cornerstone’s Coat Closet, to receive $5 off of the ticket. [Reston Chorale]

Holiday fire safety PSA — The county’s Fire and Rescue Department has safety tips for open-flame candles for Hanukkah celebrations. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Design Review Board meeting — The Reston Association’s Design Review Board will meet tonight at 7 p.m. to review pending applications. [Reston Association]

 

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Design Review Board Vote Sets ‘Snakeden’ Stream Restoration Project into Motion

Plans to restore roughly 800 linear feet of Lake Audubon’s streams were approved by Reston Association’s Design Review Board Tuesday night. The project, called Snakeden, would involve tree removal, stream construction and revegetation along RA’s parcels between Cedar Cove Cluster and Wakerobin Lane.

Meghan Fellows, the county’s manager of watershed projects, said a design team has been working on the project, with the input of RA, property owners and residents, for nearly three years.

“The stream is desperately in need of some assistance,” Fellows said at the DRB meeting, noting that portions of the area are degrading significantly.

Richard Newlon, the board’s chairman, said he hopes the project team will minimize the loss of trees by tweaking designs and implementation to conserve trees — even if it meant a minor tweak to save just one tree.

The project was challenged by the need to secure easements across private property and Reston Association property to construct the stream. Land rights for the project were obtained in June following a more than a year-long period of tree and stream surveys and conceptual planning.

After a cycle of revisions, permits were granted in October. After receiving final approval for designs, drawings and permits in the spring of next year, construction is likely to begin in the summer, Fellows said.

Overall, several sanitary crossings in the area are exposed and RA found that 40 trees are likely to fall down if no action is taken. Trees will be replanted during later phases of the project.

County staff estimates the project will cost under $1 million.

Photos via handout/Reston Association

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T-Mobile Installation on Waterford Square Condominium Flatly Rejected Again

Reston Association’s Design Review Board unanimously shot down T-Mobile’s plans to install cell phone equipment on the roof of Waterford Square Condominiums Tuesday night — noting that the company’s tweaked plans did little to address residents’ concerns about the equipment’s incompatibility with the building.

T-Mobile proposed to install cell phone equipment on the building, igniting vehement opposition from residents’ who argued the equipment was extremely visible, damaged the building’s character and posed possible health concerns.

Richard Newlon, the DRB’s chair, said T-Mobile’s plan, which was similar to plans rejected by the board in April, did little to address the panel’s concerns about the visibility of the equipment. Panels are around 12 feet high and 10 feet wide.

“It was clear in April that this kind of design is not going to get approved by this board and it’s the same design,” Newlon said. “It’s almost embarrassing to be sitting here saying the same thing again and I don’t want to be… six months from now… saying the same thing again.”

DRB members also worried that installing cell phone equipment on a residential building could lead to similar proposals by other service providers. The redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House prompted T-Mobile to remove its equipment from the rooftop and scout for other locations in Reston.

More than 25 people, including condominium residents and neighbors of the building, opposed the plan on Tuesday. Some noted that their stance was not indicative of mere opposition to change, adding that residents of the condominium were exploring the possibility of installing solar panels on the roof.

“We’re not trying to live in the past,” one resident, who lived in the building for roughly 20 years, said.

Ed Donahue, T-Mobile’s legal representative, said the company had attempted to strike a compromise by scaling back the structure from the edge of the roof and installing plastic, brick-like screening for the equipment. Donahue also noted that possible health concerns and zoning were outside of the DRB’s purview.

“We are in full compliance of the federal guidelines as we are on the thousands of sites in Virginia,” Donahue said, comparing T-Mobile’s plans to a similar installation at the Heron House.

Other DRB members said that T-Mobile failed to convince the board how the cell phone equipment and towers would be compatible with the architectural integrity of the building.

“I still see that it’s visible and it does detract from the architecture and the roofline,” said Grace Peters, a DRB member.

The equipment by other companies displaced by development at the Lake Anne Fellowship House have not yet proposed plans for reinstallation to other sites.

Photo via handout/Reston Association

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Antsy about antennas — T-Mobile is trying once again to put cell phone equipment on top of the Waterford Square condominium building. Plans were rejected earlier this year, but a second shot is planned will be proposed to Reston Association’s Design Review Board tonight. [Reston Association]

Meet MeSpoke — This company based in Reston offers a digital community for retail shopping. Users download the app and create a billboard, which curates photos of clothing ensembles from the user’s favorite brands. [WTOP]

Meeting on transit station guidelines tonight — A meeting about draft guidelines for Reston’s Transit Station Areas is set for today at 6 p.m. in Reston Association headquarters. Guidelines are intended to implement Reston’s comprehensive plan, which was amended in 2014. [Reston Association]

Woodfield to replace office building — The company wants to tear down the small office building at 1941 Roland Clarke Place in order to build a larger, 308-unit apartment building. [Washington Business Journal]

Farmers Market returns to Reston Town Center — The market will be on from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the pavilion. [Reston Town Center]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Renovations Proposed for Sheraton Reston Hotel

The new owners of Sheraton Reston Hotel (11810 Sunrise Valley Drive) in Reston Town Center have proposed a series of renovations to the 298-room hotel.

Wurzak Hotel Group, a Philadelphia-based company and DoveHill Capital Management acquired the property in March. Reston Association’s Design Review Board will consider the owners’ proposal to renovate the building’s exterior at the board’s meeting on Tuesday (Oct. 16).

Proposed renovations include repairs and repainting of the building’s facade. New louvers will be installed and wood-printed aluminum screens would be added to bring a “natural element” to the property, according to the owners’ proposal. Nature-inspired wood-printed metal will be repeated throughout the building and a clearer entry to the new Gastropub location will be added.

The DRB meets at 7 p.m. in Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). The board will also hear a case that was previously rejected in April.

T-Mobile has filed another application to install antennas on the roof of the Waterford Square Condominiums — a proposal that was flatly rejected after opposition from residents. Opposition to the proposal remains.

Photos via handout/Reston Association

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New Reston Association Design Review Guidelines In Effect

Reston Association’s Board of Directors approved process changes to its design review guidelines  Thursday night. The changes, under discussion for just under two years, are aimed to expedite application processing and boost efficiency.

Overall, review of cluster standard applications would jump from review by the Design Review Board’s panel to consultation-level review with two DRB members. Additionally, other applications would move from consultation-level review to staff-level review only.

A complete list of the approved changes is available online. No content changes to the design guidelines are in effect as a result of Thursday’s approval.

Anna Varone, RA’s director of covenants administration, said the changes will help “streamline the process to allow quicker processing.” The DRB held a public hearing on the changes in July.

Members can still request appeals of applications, including those now delegated to staff-level review.

Photo via YouTube/Reston Association

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Reston Association Seeks Feedback on Design Guideline Changes

Reston Association’s Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on changes to the organization’s design guidelines on Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

The proposed changes aim to improve how RA’s Design Review Board, an independent entity within RA, reviews applications. The DRB reviews applications to change the exteriors of properties within RA.

For example, applications concerning light fixtures governed by cluster standards will move from panel-level to consultation-level review. Other changes related to air conditioners, artwork, attic ventilators, awnings, and cables would move from consultation-level review to staff review only. Similar changes are proposed for single-family detached units. All proposed changes are available online.

The DRB held its last public hearing on the guideline changes on July 17. RA’s design covenants aim to promote qualities that bring value to the property and “foster the attractiveness and functional utility of the community as a place to live, including a harmonious relationship among structures, vegetation, and topography, ” according to RA’s website.

File photo

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Design Review Board to Consider Updated Plans for Lake Anne Fellowship House

Tweaks to the redevelopment proposal of the Lake Anne Fellowship House will head to Reston Association’s Design Review Board for consideration on September 18.

The plan calls for redeveloping Lake Anne Fellowship House, an affordable housing community for seniors on North Shore Drive, into a new, eight-story, multi-family building for seniors. The 240-unit building will include a crafts room, community gardens, and a garage. A terrace will overlook North Shore Drive.

The remainder of the property will include up to 72 market-rate, for-sale townhouses to help finance the senior housing construction project.

In July, the DRB suggested a series of changes, including redesigning the southeast corner of the multi-family building away from North Shore Drive, redesigning the building’s parking garage, rethinking the placement of a row of townhouses away from North Shore Drive, more landscaping, and more contemporary architecture that uses flat roofs, rooftop terraces and metal canopies.

Fellowship Square Foundation and the Community Preservation and Development Corporation redesigned the multifamily building by shifting the parking garage from the base of the building to allow for more landscaping and further distance from North Shore Drive.

The garage wall will be screened by louvers or metal panels. To address concerns about the placement of two rows of townhouses, the applicant plans to increase the space between some rows by three feet. Architectural designs will also include more modern and contemporary elements.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive in the conference center. The project will go before the county’s Planning Commission on October 4 and the county’s Board of Supervisors on October 16.

Photos via Reston Association/Handout

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Design Guidelines for Reston’s Transit Station Area Move Forward

The Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization and the Reston Urban Design Advisory Group are seeking feedback on draft guidelines for the urban design and streetscape details for new development in Reston’s Transit Station Areas.

During a community meeting on September 24 at 6 p.m. in the Reston Community Center, local officials will seek input from the public. Written comments can also be submitted to [email protected].

The design guidelines are formulated to support the implementation of the Reston Comprehensive Plan, which was last amended in 2014. They will apply to all properties located within the boundaries of Reston’s three TSAs and help applicants and designers proposing to develop in TSAs by providing specific goals. Precise standards will not be prescribed, according to a county statement.

Following the first community meeting, additional meetings will be held with the Reston Association’s Design Review Board, Reston Planning & Zoning Committee and the Reston Town Center Association in September.

The comprehensive plans aim to establish a sense of place for TSAs while respecting surrounding neighborhoods, aims to improve connectivity and foster walkability and seeks to design sustainable environments.

Draft guidelines are available online. Printed packets are also available for view in the following locations:

  • Hunter Mill District Office (North County Government Center) – 1801 Cameron Glen Drive, Reston, VA 20190
  • Reston Association Member Services – 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20191
  • Public Art Reston – 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20191
  • Reston Library – 11925 Bowman Towne Drive, Reston, VA 20190
  • Herndon Municipal Offices – 777 Lynn Street, Herndon, VA 20170
  • Herndon Library – 768 Center Street, Herndon, VA 20170

Map via Fairfax County Government

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First Look: Kensington Senior Development’s Assisted Living Facility Attains Design Approval

Kensington Senior Development’s planned assisted living facility is moving forward after receiving county approvals earlier this year.

The 65,000-square-foot building, which will include between two to three stories, is slated to take over existing development at 11501 Sunrise Valley Drive.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the 72-unit project on Feb. 20. Now, the developer has the approval of Reston Association’s Design Review Board.

At a DRB meeting on June 19, the panel sent the design back for revisions, including enhanced screening for the adjacent Wethersfeld Cluster, uniform windows and updates to the building’s color palette similar to initial designs. The DRB approved the project on Thursday.

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Effort to Streamline Reston Association’s Review of Design Changes Moves Forward

Residents seeking to approvals of design modifications and improvements may experience a more manageable process following the adoption of new workflows to streamline the design and review approval process.

Reston Association’s Board of Directors voted to pass a number of operational changes that could delegate some responsibilities from RA’s Design Review Board to staff. The DRB is an independent agency of RA charged with reviewing exterior improvements of properties within RA.

The move comes as the DRB seeks feedback from the public on changes to the content of its guidelines amid some concerns that the policies are outdated and inconsistent. The board will hold a public hearing on July 17 at 7 p.m. to discuss changes to the guidelines.

At their Thursday night meeting, the board approved a measure that could delegate the review of select design changes to be considered at a late date to staff instead of a consultation-level review by the DRB. Changes to cluster design standards could also move from panel-level review to consultation-level review.  The board’s votes simply clarified the definition of consultation-level reviews and other terms and created the ability to move reviews from panel to consultation-level. Specific changes to the standards linked above will be discussed in mid-July. 

Additionally, staff would have the authority to disapprove applications that do not comply with design guidelines or cluster standards when the application has no registered affected party. Residents will be able to appeal staff’s decisions to the DRB. The application for requesting design review was also tweaked to clarify requirements and collapse separate forms into one for all applications. Votes were unanimous, with one abstention.

The board also increased the fee for non-residential applications from $1,350 to $2,250 in order to cover staff time spent processing applications and resources allocated for additional meetings. 

For more information on proposed changes to guidelines, visit RA’s website.

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Reston Association Board to Consider Improving Design Review Process

Reston Association’s Board of Directors will consider recommendations to make the process of the Design Review Board more efficient at a meeting tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. in RA headquarters.

The board will also elect a board president and welcome Catherine Baum, the new apartment owners’ board representative, to the governing body.

According to RA, the volume of applications received by the DRB and staff cannot be processed with current staff resources unless the process is streamlined. The DRB is an independent unit responsible for reviewing exterior improvements of properties within RA.

Under the recommendations, approvals for more “ordinary” applications, which could include signs, storm windows, utility boxes and roofing, would be reviewed by staff.

Some cluster standards applications would be reviewed by a panel of consultations instead of selected members of the DRB. This change would open up the panel’s agenda by 30 percent, according to RA. The DRB would meet monthly to review standard cluster applications with two members of the DRB.

The changes would also increase the DRB application fee for development and redevelopment of sites from $1,350 to $2,250.

The meeting will be live streamed tomorrow. The complete agenda is available online.

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