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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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Reston Association OKs Boat Conditions, Annual Boat Fee Citations

Nearly nine months after its formation, the Reston Association’s Lakes, Docks and Boats Working Group will move forward with some enforcement actions after stalling them ahead of the group’s final report.

Back in March, RA’s Board of Directors approved the formation of the working group to provide recommendations regarding the association’s policies on lakes, docks and boats on March 22.

The 18-member group examines the number and types of boats and docks currently on the lakes and ponds, identifies any environmental impacts docks and boats have on the lakes and ponds and recommends amendments and enforcement action. It also holds focus groups and public meetings and reviews governing documents.

Will Peterson, the watershed specialist for the Reston Association, updated RA’s Board of Directors last Thursday (Dec. 13) on the group’s progress this year.

Since its inception, the group has:

  • decided not to recommend a change to the maximum boat size
  • created a Reston lakes environment report
  • created a strategic plan for focus groups, which are set to start in January
  • voted to increase the motor size limit from 3 horsepower to 5 horsepower
  • voted to uphold the 50 percent rule for clusters and condo associations that own lakefront property

The 50 percent rule says that moored boats may take up no more than half of the available lakefront property shoreline. Peterson said that one cluster at Harbor Point by South Lakes Village Shopping Center was found in violation.

Currently, recommendations about boat and dock sealant methods of application are under consideration, along with clarifications surrounding whether or not owners can have two permanently moored boats.

The working group did not meet the November deadline to recommend a plan to the board for possible amendments and is now aiming to have a finalized report with recommendations ready for the board by the spring.

Until the presentation of the final report, the board decided to stay enforcement of boat violations — excluding poor boat conditions and nonpayment of the annual boat fee, which the board approved.

Peterson said that 12 people still have not paid the fee, including one person who has not paid for two years. “Since the implementation, we put a cease to doing any violations, but we still have boats in poor conditions,” he said, adding that poor boat conditions create safety concerns.

Photos via Reston Association/YouTube

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Construction of New Dock at Lakeport Cluster Completed

Construction of a new dock for Lakeport Cluster homes has been completed after the previous aging structure was demolished and rebuilt.

Paul Renard, chair of the Lakeport Cluster Association’s dock, said most residents have expressed approval of the new structure, which includes a ramp extension for launching kayaks and canoes, landscaping, and a stronger foundation.

The project was funded by reserve funds from the Lakeport Cluster Association after a 2.5-year design and approval process. Earlier this year, permits required by Fairfax County were delayed due to logistical issues and the county’s classification of the structure as a “critical commercial structure,” which the completion of additional technical requirements.

Work on the project began in June by Virginia Class A. During demolition of the previous structure, the construction team discovered the old foundation was not built particularly well.

“Some of the pilings that should have been driven somewhere between eight and ten feet were only a few feet into the shoreline,” Renard told Reston Now. The previous dock was bowed out in the middle, suggesting that the original dock was not particularly well-built, he said.

Renard and the construction team hope the new dock will last for at least 50 years. With the help of a 33,000-pound excavator, the team drove pilings deep into the foundation.

“They were driven into either the rock below or 11 to 12 feet into the low-bearing soil,” Renard said. “We put in a strong foundation for this dock. I’m hoping it will last 50 to 100 years.”

The team also added a ramp extension that allows canoes and kayaks to be launched closer tot he surface of the water. A system to channel water coming downhill and release it into the lake was installed to decrease water pressure on the dock,

Landscaping by Riverbend and updated lighting to vandalized light fixtures were also completed, along with erosion abatement along the shoreline using materials donated by Reston Association.

The project cost roughly $90,000 for construction and demolition, $15,00 for electrical work to replace vandalized lighting in the community, and $10,000 for landscaping.

Renard said he’s confident the new dock will be a sustainable and beneficial addition to the community.

“It looks beautiful. We had a community dock party in early October and people loved it,” he said.

Photos by Renard

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New Dock at Lakeport Cluster Held Up Due to Permits

The building of a new dock for the Lakeport Cluster homes still has not begun, due to permitting issues, said a representative for the project this week.

Paul Renard, chair of the Lakeport Cluster Association’s Dock Oversight Committee, said the project has been held up by permitting issues with Fairfax County.

“Because we were doing the project as a [homeowners association] rather than as an individual, Fairfax decided that we fell into a ‘critical commercial structure’ category, and we had to provide a great deal of additional engineering information that we had not included with our original permit request,” Renard told Reston Now this week.

The existing dock and nearby bulkhead have grown old and decayed over the years. Renard said members voted to use HOA funds to pay for a rebuild, though Renard said the group as a whole has decided not to disclose the project’s total costs to the public.

“In the end we will have a beautiful and much more usable dock with decades of life ahead, better lighting along the Reston Association path, and a newly landscaped focal point next to the dock for the community to enjoy,” the Lakeport Cluster Association said in a previous statement.

Furthermore, Renard added this week, “We expect about a 30-year lifespan for this dock, and perhaps longer given the quality of the design [such as] the pile depth, and the building materials.”

Though the project’s groundbreaking has been delayed due to the permit issues, Renard said they expect to be approved any day now.

“The good news is that we had done all the engineering work, so we were able to gather up the various reports, stress loads, etc. that were needed,” he said. “But this has put us at least a month behind schedule.”

“Our permit is currently with the Fairfax architectural reviewers and we hope to have a positive report in about a week.”

Renard said once they have been given the green light, they expect the construction to take about 60 days. During that time, the Reston Association-managed pedestrian pathway that extends through the area will be closed.

Photo: Rendering of the redesigned dock, courtesy of Lakeport Cluster Association

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A New Dock is Coming to Lakeport Cluster

A new dock is coming to the Lakeport Cluster soon, according to a Lakeport Cluster Association press release.

Amid construction of a new dock, the nearby bulkhead will see some repairs as well.

Building time should take 70 days and will begin five days after all the permits are obtained. Reston Association has said that the pedestrian pathway easement through the Lakeport Cluster will be closed through June 18.

The Lakeport Cluster Association said residents should expect some trouble with parking near Triangle Park, and some construction noise disruption between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and between 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.

“We ask for your patience because at the end, we will have a beautiful and much more usable dock with decades of life ahead, better lighting along the RA path, and a newly landscaped focal point next to the dock for the community to enjoy,” wrote in a statement.

As a part of fixing the decaying bulkhead, workers will replace the vandalized light bollards and address shoreline stabilization, erosion mitigation and new landscaping at the other end of the dock.

Photo courtesy Lakeport Cluster Association

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