Reston, VA

Next month, Reston Association will be conducting its annual lake inspections on Reston lakes.

The association announced the inspection in a press release Tuesday (Nov. 17). Starting the second week of December, if weather permits, Lakes Anne, Audubon, Newport and Thoreau will all have inspections inside and outside the bodies of water, according to the press release.

“We contract with an engineering firm specialized in this service whose team inspects the inside and outside of the structure and uses divers to look at areas underwater,” the press release said. “To accommodate this inspection, each lake is lowered slightly to prevent water from spilling over the concrete lip that is at the regular lake pool surface level. This lowering typically does not impact activities or boats on the lake.”

Reston Association Watershed Manager William Peterson says these inspections are performed to look for several possible areas of concern.

“Regardless of whether a part of the riser structure is under water or out of the water, we are looking for similar things,” Peterson said. “Essentially, anything that might create a concern. This could include cracks in the concrete, leaks in the control gates, corroded metal for any of the gears, pipes or grates, proper operation of the gates and valves, and more. We want to make sure that our dams are well maintained to ensure the safety of our community and those downstream of each of our lakes.”

Restionians living near any of the four lakes – Anne, Audubon, Newport and Thoreau – should not expect to be affected by the inspections, according to Peterson.

“Typically, the inspections do not affect the residents living near the four lakes,” Peterson said. “Although each riser structure has gates to control the water level, they are always closed except for maintenance purposes. The level of the water for the lakes is typically right at the concrete threshold that allows the lakes to have continuous flow downstream. For the inspections, we lower the levels slightly, typically about a foot, so that water is not flowing inside of the riser structure during the inspection. This helps the inspectors identify possible leaks.”

This year, according to Peterson, Lake Audubon will be lowered a lot more to accommodate the water-overflow.

“Lake Audubon’s water level will be lowered six to eight feet to conduct an inspection on the Thoreau dam outfall, which is on the Lake Audubon side of the dam, Peterson said.” “This is on the opposite side of South Lakes Drive from Thoreau. Although Lake Thoreau will be lowered to prevent water from flowing over the threshold mentioned above, it will not be lowered substantially like Lake Audubon is and should not impact boats on Lake Thoreau.”

For more information about the upcoming lake inspections, visit Reston Association’s website.

Photo via Restion Association/Facebook

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In mid-August, a major and possibly toxic algae bloom blanketed Lake Thoreau following Reston Association’s treatment of an invasive plant in the lake.

The treatment, which RA said was one of several factors that caused the bloom, was conducted much later into the season, making the bloom worse.

Following this issue and subsequent community meetings about lake management, RA CEO Hank Lynch wants to more than double its lake maintenance treatment budget for 2021 budget, which is currently under development. This year’s lake maintenance budget is $31,745, up from $17,103 in 2020’s. budget.

The proposed budget would include up to five algae treatments of Lake Thoreau, up to five algae treatments at Lake Anne, and $18,920 to treat lake Thoreau with sonar pelters in the spring or early summer.

The association also plans to shift from treating the lake with contact herbicides to systemic herbicides earlier in the season to control the hydrilla plant.

“This solution will control the hydrilla before it gets to grow and become a problem in the lake,” according to meeting materials.

The systemic herbicide treatment is much more costly than previously used treatment but will produce more long-lasting results, Lynch said at a Board of Directors’ meeting last week.

RA also hopes to remove water lillies at Lake Newport every few years. Its consultant, Aquatic Environment Consultants, will “continue to monitor to determine the right timing of this treatment,” according to meeting materials.

The removal of primrose and alligator weed at Lake Thoreau on the shoreline and along the dams has also been identified as a pending project. The issue will be addressed based on growing conditions this summer.

The lake will also be stocked with 130 carp — which consume aquatics plants — to help manage the overgrowth of certain aquatic plants like hydrilla. The lake was last stocked in 2017 with 80 carp.

RA will hold another community engagement meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6:30 p.m. to discuss Lake Thoreau and lake environmental health. The meeting will take place online.

Photo by Jeannine Santoro

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Public Art Reston released an updated self-guided art tour through Lake Anne Village Center. 

The “Public Art Tour Series – Lake Anne” goes hand in hand with the “Public Art Tour Series – Reston Town Center” as a way for people to view Reston’s art and history. 

With the new Lake Anne Village Center self-guided tour, people are invited to explore Reston’s history and unique artworks. According to a statement released by the organization, Lake Anne Village Center is the “historic heart of Reston,” and public art has been fully integrated into its design. 

The guided tour takes participants through Lake Anne’s open plazas and along several paths that show off 11 different works art within communal spaces. The tour will also discuss four different temporary projects and programs that took place there, according to the statement. The tour also includes how the public art ties into the architecture of the area.

Public Art Reston encourages visitors to embark on the “Public Art Tour Series- Reston Town Center” tour once they finish Lake Anne. The tour takes participants through the 14 different public art works throughout Reston Town Center. It emphasizes the “urban environment within a suburban setting”, according to the statement. 

Public Art Reston is a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire commitment to public art and the new generation of artwork. They are committed to raising awareness to the role of public art in a community, according to the statement. 

Both guides are sold at the Reston Historic Trust & Museum and at Reston Association, and can be viewed on the Public Art Reston website.

Photo courtesy of Public Art Reston

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Tuesday Morning Notes

FCPS Ditches Blackboard Learn 24-7 — The school system is moving away from Blackboard Learn 24-7 as a tool for face-to-face instruction due to ongoing issues with the system. Superintendent Scott Brabrand also created a technology advisory council to resolve ongoing distance learning challenges. An outside review of distance learning rollout will be conducted by law firm Hunton Andrew Kurth LLP. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

More County COVID-19 Deaths — According to the latest state data, 59 Fairfax County residents have died from the novel coronavirus. Yesterday, 150 new cases were reported, bringing the county’s total to 1,970 confirmed cases. [Fairfax County Government]

Lake Anne Dock Project Continues — Reston Today offers an update on progress at the Lake Anne project, which includes dreading and renovations to the wooden dock in the plaza. The dock and canal pathways are expected to open on May 1. [Reston Association]

Inside the County’s Call Center — Since the county’s COVID-10 call center opened in the beginning of March, the team has fielded calls from hundreds of local residents, health care providers, and businesses. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Lake Anne’s main dock will get a $1.1 million facelift that’s expected to finish around May 1.

Although the dock’s appearance will not change significantly, the structure will get new wood decking and repairs to its structural elements are planned.

No new features are being added, according to RA spokesman Mike Leone.

The $1.1 million estimate includes costs associated with the dredged of accumulated sediment beneath the dock. RA contracted Lake Services Inc. to dredge the sediment from the Lake Anne Canal near North Shore Pool and Lake Anne Plaza. The bulkhead along the Green Trail will be replaced as well.

More information about the project is available online.

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Thursday Morning Notes

Reston Association Steps Up Cleaning Efforts — “To deter the spread of the virus, our building management service has implemented new cleaning guidelines that include regularly wiping down high touchpoints such as door handles, water fountain buttons and elevator panels.” [Reston Association]

Deadline for Fairfax Parks Poetry Contest Extended — Students in elementary through middle school have until Tuesday, March 17 to submit entries for the contest. [Fairfax County Parks]

Herndon Police Department Cancels Fingerprinting Event — In an effort to protect volunteers, the department canceled Friday’s fingerprinting services until further notice. HPD wrote that the cancellation is “strictly a precautionary measure.” [Herndon Police Department]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Update: The story was updated to include Reston Association’s comments on the issue.

Local boat owners are protesting Reston Association’s enforcement of boat-related rules after the homeowner’s association sent out a batch of letters threatening legal action earlier this month.

While the letters are intended to enforce RA’s boat rules regarding sizes, some boat owners say they’re being unjustly threatened to comply with rules that RA has not enforced consistently in the past. In some cases, boats are one-quarter of an inch larger than what is allowed.

In response to a request from Reston Now, Reston Association said it is working with boat owners to address concerns on a case by case basis.

“We recognize the recent letter sent to those 50 members may have created some confusion but the association is looking forward to work with each of these members to satisfactorily address their concerns,” the statement said.

Cris Revaz, who owns a boat on Lake Audubon, says he made sure he ordered a boat that was allowed by RA when he moved three years ago.

This year, he received a letter from RA’s General Counsel stating that his boat was oversized and offered to enter into a written settlement as a covenant against his property to continue using the boat.

His boat is half an inch longer than what is allowed, Revaz said.

“This is the kind of mindless bureaucratic interference with people’s lives that gives government a bad name. Is there not something better the Reston Association should be doing with their time than engaging in such frivolous enforcement actions?” he said.

Inder Sud, who has lived in Reston since 1973, said he was shocked to receive the letter from RA concerning the boat he’s had for more than 25 years. Sud said he has paid annual permitting fees for the boat, which is a quarter-of-an-inch larger than the 18′ by 10′ requirement.

“Surely RA staff should be able to exercise some reasonable judgment. Before issuing such notices,” Sud wrote in an email. “Is it really worth RA resources to. Have your staff enforcing such minor variations?”

Others like Jill Norvell said they received a similar letter concerning two boats they’ve had for eight years and 20 years. In the past, they’ve received no enforcement letters and have paid annual permanent mooring fees as required.

Residents say that RA should consider grandfathering all current boats, unless they have major compliance issues and focus on new boats in the area.

Here’s more from RA on the issue:

The Reston Association Board of Directors and staff are required to enforce all Deed requirements approved by the association’s 21,000 members. Included in the Deed are specific boat size requirements for the use of Reston’s lakes. Recently, 50 members received individual letters from RA indicating their boats do not conform to the Deed specifications. RA is in the process of making some adjustments to the measuring process which will remove some of the boats from their current non-conforming status. The association is also working with those affected boat owners that remain outside the approved measurements to memorialize an agreement between the parties that will effectively grandfather the existing non-conforming boats for the current homeowners. Should the property convey at some future time, the current owner would need to bring the boat into compliance with the deed requirements or have the boat removed from the lake.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The Fairfax County Police Department is conducting an investigation into the Lake Anne Condominium Association.

A police spokesperson told Reston Now that the police department cannot provide any further information on the investigation because it is an ongoing case.

“We have received a report and currently we do have an investigation,” said police spokesperson Erica Webb.

Sources who are aware of the investigation told Reston Now that the review concerns the board’s past financial transactions and does not involve the board’s current operations. The investigation is not directed at any one individual, sources said.

On Feb. 18, The Connection published an opinion piece by John Lovaas on the subject.

In late 2019, three new board members were elected to the five-member body. Those members — including new president Senzel Schaefer — said there were committed to improving financial management practices and prioritizing maintenance and repairs to the Lake Anne Village Center.

Schaefer said that the association is complying with law enforcement requests for the results of an operational audit the board launched last month.

Photo via vantagehil/Flickr

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After the mysterious horse beheading at Lake Anne Plaza back in September, the artist of the wooden sculpture said that he is in the process of building a replacement.

The new horse is almost complete and will be available for public viewing shortly, artist Marco Rando said, confirming that natural decay caused the damages.

The name for the upcoming piece is “Intent, The Wooden Horse” and includes pieces from the previous version for the sake of nostalgia — including the head, Rando said.

“The horse is a metaphor for the energy and work required to bring an idea into existence, and the heart is the symbol for creative passion fueling intent,” he said.

Rando, who currently works at South Lakes High School, said he received assistance throughout the project from his students, who helped to conceptualize the design and will create graphics for the horse’s heart.

“These students are in my STEAM Studio Art & Design classes. They have been given a real-world assignment to design, create and fabricate a public work of art for Boston Properties and Reston Town Center,” Rando said. “The students have collaborated to achieve exceptional work.”

Photos courtesy Marco Rando

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Friday Morning Notes

Update: Kiln & Co. to Close Temporarily — The company is closed for renovations and plans to reopen by the summer of this year. Last year, Reston Now reported that the Lake Anne location appeared to have closed. [Reston Now]

Business Licenses Due March 2 — Fairfax County businesses must renew their business licenses by March 2 — or face a 10 percent penalty. Renewal notices were mailed to business owners in January. [Fairfax County Government]

Voter Registration Deadline Approaches — “The registration deadline to vote in the March 3 Democratic presidential primary in Virginia is rapidly approaching, even as the results from the Iowa caucuses have yet to be fully tabulated. Virginia residents must register by Feb. 10 in order to be eligible to vote in the state’s Democratic primary.” [Reston Patch]

Photo by R. Dawson/Flickr

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Friday Morning Notes

Fairfax County Park Authority Seeks Comment on Fee Increases — “The Fairfax County Park Authority will hold its annual public comment meeting on the agency’s proposed fee adjustments. The public is invited to share their perspectives on the proposals with the Park Authority Board either at the meeting, via correspondence or by email.” [Fairfax County Government]

New Trail Cycling Teen Ride Kicks Off with Free Class — “New Trail Cycling Studio, located at Lake Anne in Reston, is launching its teen program on January 22. Classes will be offered every Wednesday at 4pm for teens ages 12-17. ” [Patch]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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More than 50 artists from around the region will create live artwork using their preferred media at a live fundraising event tomorrow (Saturday).

The Greater Reston Arts Center will host the third annual Monster Drawing Rally, which helps raise funds for its programs, at Signature apartments (11850 Freedom Drive).

As works are completed, they will be hung on a wall and will be available for purchase at $75 each. The event is free and open to all.

Tomorrow (Saturday)

  • Gifts from the HeART Shopping Event (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) — Residents can buy artwork, jewelry, and other items at Reston Community Center Lake Anne’s annual event.
  • Mystery Authors Extravaganza (1-4 p.m.) — Authors from the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in crime will prevent their 2019 novels. Books will be available for sale and signing.
  • Reston Friends Holiday Book Sale (10. a.m. to 4 p.m.) — Gently-used books will be available for purchase at the annual event at Reston Regional Library. 
  • Lake House Open House (10 a.m. to noon) — Light refreshments will be available at the open house which takes place at the Lake House.
  • Reston Town Center Holiday Performances — Over the weekend, several performers and groups will perform at the Reston Town Center promenade. Performances continue through Saturday, Dec. 21.

Sunday (Dec. 8)

  • Reston Friends Holiday Book Sale (1-4 p.m.) — Gently-used books will be available for purchase at the annual event at Reston Regional Library. 
  • Holiday Open House (1-4 p.m.) — A holiday open house to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Nature House takes place at the. Walker Nature Center. The event is free and registration is not required.
  • Best Kept Secrets with Dr. Charles Thomas (2 p.m.) — Dr. Charles Thomas, CEO of Clear Cloud, discusses his new book, “Best Kept Secrets from Invisible Walk-ons to Life Champions.” The event takes place at Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive).

Photo via GRACE

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The upcoming “Gifts from the HeART” fair in Reston will let community members shop for handmade crafts and unique items during the holiday season.

The 21st annual fair will take place at the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne (1609 N. Washington Plaza) from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 7). It is free for all to attend.

Items vary in price, according to the event.

“Beautiful original artwork, remarkable ceramics, stunning jewelry and many other one-of-a-kind items will be sold by the artists themselves,” according to the event website.

People may email Gloria Morrow with any questions.

Photo via RCC/Facebook

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After five years in its current space, a cat-specific care center in Reston plans on expanding.

Just Cats Clinic (1601 N. Washington Plaza) outgrew its original office and decided to take over an empty space next door at Lake Anne Plaza, Elizabeth Chapman, the owner and head veterinarian, said.

Chapman said the expansion will include three more exam rooms — allowing the center to double its cat boarding capacity. In addition, the center plans to offer cat ultrasounds.

With more than 4,500 clients, Chapman said the center is currently at capacity.

“We are busting at the seams really,” she said, adding that the clinic will also look into hiring another veterinarian eventually.

Once the expansion is complete, the vet clinic will be roughly 5,000 square feet, Chapman said.

The center is waiting for permit approval from Fairfax County before kicking off construction. Chapman hopes the expansion will be finished by spring 2020.

Photo via Just Cats Clinic

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Absentee Voting Begins This Friday — Absentee voting for the general election in November begins on Friday, Sept. 20, at the Fairfax County Government Center. An additional nine satellite absentee voting locations will open on Thursday, Oct. 17. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston’s Place as a ‘Radical Suburb’ Tonight at Reston Community Center Lake Anne – “Author Amanda Hurley speaks about her book Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City. American suburbs were once fertile ground for utopian planning, communal living, socially conscious design and integrated housing. Hurley’s talk will discuss and compare Reston with other communities.” [Reston Community Center]

Walk to School Day Set for Oct. 2Students and employees are encouraged to bike or walk to school and work on October 2.  Parents are encouraged to accompany their children to school, and to work with their school and PTA or PTO to assemble bike trains or walking groups for the event.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo by Jay Westcott

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