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Wednesday Morning Notes

Spring Farm Day – It’s Spring Farm Day at Frying Pan Farm Park this Saturday, May 12. Bring the family out from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to see all the farm’s new animal babies, and watch as we shear some of our sheep to cool them off for the warm weather. Try milking a cow or goat, and experience antique equipment demos, games and more. Families can also bring canned goods, dried beans and personal care items to help stock the emergency pantry of Cornerstones Shelter. This event is a fundraiser for Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park. Admission is $7 in advance or $8 at the gate. Ages 2 and up are welcome. Parking is free. (Frying Pan Farm Park)

Special Event to Celebrate Bike Month – Join the Fairfax Alliance For Better Biking (FABB) for a special celebration of Bike Month on Friday, May 25. Meet other cyclists at the Lake Anne Village Center (1609 Washington Plaza West) by the entrance adjacent to the parking lot at 5 p.m. for a celebration ride and tour of all the new bike facilities and lanes installed in Reston over the past couple of years. After the ride, join members of FABB for a gathering at Lake Anne Brew House (11424 Washington Plaza West). One dollar from every purchase during the event will be donated back to FABB. Helmets required for the ride. This event is free but attendees are asked to register online. (Eventbrite)

Tennis Courts Opening for the Season – The North Hills clay tennis courts (1325 North Village Road) open for the season today, though they will be temporarily closed Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for routine maintenance. Passes for Reston Association-owned and -operated swimming pools and tennis courts are now available online through WebTrac. (Reston Association/Twitter)

Park Authority Seeks Public Input on Strategic Plan – The Fairfax County Park Authority has released its proposed Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2019-2023, and is seeking public input. The full document is available online. Comments can be sent to [email protected] or citizens can call the department at 703-324-8702 during normal business hours, Monday to Friday, 8 to 4:30 p.m. All comments must be received by close of business on May 25. (Fairfax County Park Authority/Twitter)

File Photo: Flowers in Reston

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Proposal to Shift $552,000 To Tennis Projects Draws Concern

As Reston Association’s board of directors finalize the budget for next year, a proposal by a board member to shift nearly $550,000 from the upkeep of baseball, softball and soccer fields to tennis projects is drawing ire from some Restonians.

Mike Sanio, board secretary and at-large board member is seeking to move $551,780 in funds to help fund eight tennis capital projects, including $514,700 in currently proposed funding for baseball, softball and soccer fields. The remaining $37,080 would come from last year’s deferred dollars.

Sanio urged RA to reprogram funds to fully address “the historic shortage of money” to maintain RA’s tennis courts, noting that the program provided a nearly 74 percent recovery rate for operating costs this year. In an Oct. 30 email, he questioned why RA subsidizes programs that it does not operate, including $155,000 for backstops and fencing at Browns Chapel. The current $127,000 two-year capital budget for tennis largely covers color coating.

“Our core recreational responsibilities are to sufficiently fund swimming, tennis, pathways, playgrounds, multipurpose courts, and lakes. It is not to fund sports run by independent organizations that have their own sources of revenue,” he wrote. 

Local community groups, including the Reston-Herndon Little League, plan to oppose the recommendation. 

“We are very concerned over the potential motion to reprogram funds from baseball, softball and soccer entirely over to tennis. We strongly believe there is enough funds to make sure members of our community can play on safe playing surfaces no matter which activity they choose to partake in. While we have always advocated for baseball fields to be improved, we would never do so at the complete expense of another activity that so many children and members of our community enjoy. We are hopeful that the RA board feels the same way,” said Tim Jones, the league’s president.

The board will meet on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the proposal, which is a fraction of RA’s overall capital and operating budgets. The board is also set to pass those budgets this Thursday.

The board will formally decide on a motion to review each of Sanio’s requests and provide a report to the board about the feasibility of funding prioritized projects to the board by February. Staff noted RA’s capital projects team has not yet reviewed projects suggested by Sanio.

Mike Leone, RA’s director of communications and community engagement, said the board aware of the community’s concerns and noted that final versions of the motions, the draft versions of which are available online, have not been finalized.

By a 3-2 vote in late October, the board approved up to $295,000 in improvements for North Hills tennis courts in response to concerns like limited lightning in the evenings and major cracks that run along the court. White and Bowman voted against the line item.

The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). The meeting will also be streamed on Reston Association’s YouTube channel.

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Reston Association Board To Consider PRC Zoning Amendment Motion Thursday

During its meeting Thursday, the Reston Association Board of Directors will consider what they heard during Monday’s county meeting on a proposed zoning ordinance amendment for Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) District and discuss its options.

According to the agenda for Thursday’s meeting, the Board will hear a presentation from land-use attorney John McBride and Larry Butler, RA’s senior director of parks, recreation and community resources. The Board will be asked to consider the following motion:

Move to direct RA staff, in coordination with Land Use Counsel, to work with Fairfax County staff, including testifying at Fairfax County’s public hearings, to amend the proposed Comprehensive Plan Guidelines for Building Repurposing to only allow for the conversion of office to residential uses in buildings located within one half mile of the Reston Metro Stations.

The plan from the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning would bump the overall limit of people per acre from 13 to as much as 16. The current density rests at 11.9 people per acre. Changes would not apply to Transit Station Areas (TSA), which are located along the central east-wise spine of Reston.

The zoning change could also open up Reston’s village centers to possible major residential development. The proposal allows the Board of Supervisors to approve developments above 50 residential units per acre within the district’s TSAs — so long as the projects comply with the area’s master plan that guides development.

The planned discussion follows a spirited public meeting Monday where hundreds of residents voiced strong opposition to the proposal.

In addition, the Board will discuss several budget items during the meeting.

Directors will consider approving nearly $295,000 in improvements to North Hills Tennis Court (1325 North Village Road). Changes include resurfacing clay courts, adding bathroom access and replacing lighting, fencing and a water fountain. Residents voiced support for the upgrades at a community input session in mid-October. The Board says putting the projects back into the budget will not impact the 2018 Repair & Replacement Reserve Fund (RRRF) appropriation or the annual assessment rate.

The Board will consider a move to add $104,000 to remove trees from Butler Pond. The project is necessary in order to comply with a state law that prohibits woody vegetation on dams to prevent dam failure, according to the board’s agenda packet. The project would increase the annual assessment for next year by 49 cents.

Additionally, the Board will vote on a move to fund $60,000 for a business process audit, which would increase the annual assessment rate by $2.85.

The Board will also hold a public hearing on the budget during the meeting.

At its Thursday meeing, the Board will also consider the appointments of members to the Hook Road Working Group. The Hook Road Recreation Area is slated for comprehensive upgrades as part of a pilot project that aims to improve facilities at once instead of completing upgrades over time and as needed. The working group is tasked with making a proposal to the Board on the project’s scope by early next year.

A meeting on the project is planned for Thursday, Nov. 2, at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.). Two other meetings took place this month.

The names of individuals under consideration have not been made available.

Other issues on the agenda for the Thursday’s meeting include:

  • The appointment of Charlie Hoffman to the Design Review Board as a lay member, to fill a vacant seat through March 2019. Hoffman also serves on the covenants committee.
  • The appointment of Mike Martin to the elections committee through October 2020.

The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). The meeting will also be streamed on Reston Association’s YouTube channel.

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