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
To the dismay of some area residents, a series of upgrades — including an amphitheater, fire pit and ping pong tables — are being considered for South Lakes Village Center (11120 South Lakes Drive).
But residents near the center and merchants worry the new space will become a magnet for youth from Langston Hughes Middle School and South Lakes High School. The project would also increase noise — a concern that already rattles some residents as sound travels down the lake.
Reston Association’s Design Review Board deferred a decision on the project Tuesday night to allow the development team, which includes engineering firm Kimley-Horn, to revise the plan. The DRB could consider updated plans at its next meeting.
Mary Sapp, president of the Lakeport Cluster Association, said the project would increase noise levels, raise safety concerns due to unsupervised teens, and increase the chance of vandalism of the plaza’s “very attractive features.” Sapp said three of the cluster’s 11 bollard lights were destroyed, three were knocked over and two Safeway carts were thrown into the lake from the dock over the last 15 months.
“We assure you that Lakeport Cluster is not ‘anti-students’; a number of our residents have children (or grandchildren who visit often), and several are actively involved with South Lakes High School,” Sapp wrote in a statement to the DRB.
Charles Foster, a Lakeport Cluster resident, called the project an “unprecedented experiment in Reston” that would attract 3,400 young adults within walking distance, creating an environment that “ allows anyone at any time to engage in any type of activity.”
Upgrades include an amphitheater, new lighting, a chalkboard wall, outdoor ping pong, lounge and plaza seating area and outdoor ping pong. A new, back-lit sign is also proposed for the center.
Gil Blankespoor, a resident in the Lakeport Cluster, questioned how the property owner will maintain the upgraded site.
“We know Chevy Chase Land’s heart is in the right place. They did a fabulous job last year with the new landscaping, and their plan is to build community activities. But what they propose is in the wrong place — far too close to residential developments,” Blankespoor said.
The development team said they were open to removing the gaming features of the site, including ping pong tables, in order to allay community concerns. DRB members also suggested removing outdoor cushions, which could end up in the lake, and adding more shaded trees.
In response to concerns about attracting area teens, Michael Casey of Kimley-Horn said the plaza was open to “all generations” and should not exclude any demographic. By design, the commercial plaza is placed next to residential development, he said.
“This is what community is,” he said.
Given the “brutal reality” of the retail world, activating the space is necessary to ensure the long-term viability of the center, said Tom Regnell, president of Chevy Chase Land Company.
“We are interested in that very long-term view,” Regnell said.
Photos via handout
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.
PATHWAY CLOSURES: Lake Port Cluster Dock Rebuild (March-June 2018): The RA pathway easement which crosses through Lake Port Cluster, will be closed to pedestrian access from March 28–June 18, 2018. For questions, please contact: [email protected] or 703-437-7658. pic.twitter.com/WaL3646Z8d
— Reston Association (@RestonOnline) March 28, 2018
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