Reston, VA

The Reston Association wants to transition several of its systems to not only reduce paper, but help community members stay safe and healthy during the CODID19 pandemic.

After the Reston Association originally decided to postpone its meeting until April 30, staff also made the call to host it electronically, according to a press release. RA members interested in attending can join the forum using a link that they will receive through an email, the press release added.

Additionally, the RA recently sent an email out to members requesting people to register for digital notice of the 2020 annual members meeting. The RA said it is required by law to remind people of the meeting in writing.

“By receiving the meeting notice via email, you will help us reduce expenses associated with printing costs and using first-class mail,” the press release said.

To opt-in for the digital reminder, the RA asks members to email their name, property address and email address to  [email protected] before April 10.

For those curious about the results of the RA Board of Directors elections, community members will hear final counts at the upcoming annual members meeting.

Photo courtesy Reston Association

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After years of work, Reston Association’s Board of Directors formally adopted a new conflict of interest policy last night.

The policy, which was formulated after more than four years of discussion, regulates conflicts concerning economic interests. Board members and other individuals must disclose financial interests through an annual disclosure form, including interests that produce a fair market value of $5,000 or more annually and investments of $5,000 or more in any economic venture. Interests links to family members must also be disclosed.

Individuals covered by the policy are also required to report sources of income exceeding $5,000 per calendar year from businesses or contractual relations with Reston Association or any affiliated Reston interest group.

Board President Cathy Baum lauded RA and its committee for their work drafting the policy.

“It is not a perfect document but I am very proud of all the work and all the people who have been involved in this,” Baum said.

Julie Bitzer, Vice President of the board and a staunch advocate of the policy, said she was also proud that the policy had been formulated.

“Like anything, it can be improved,” Bitzer said.

Due to COVID-19, only two board members were present during the abridged meeting, with all other board members dialing in via conference call.

“I know this isn’t the best way to run a meeting but we have 21,000 members and it’s important that we try to conduct business as best we can,” Baum said.

Image via YouTube

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Reston Association’s Board of Directors is set to vote on long-anticipated changes to its conflict of interest policy, which was last reviewed nearly 14 years ago.

If approved on Thursday, the policy would only regulate conflicts related to economic interest. A code of ethics, which would be adopted at a later date, is expected to govern all other conflicts related to personal and non-economic interests.

Discussions on updating the policy have been underway for more than four years as RA staff and board members attempted balance privacy rights and the need for transparency. Two independent reviews have called on RA to refine its code of ethics since 2017.

Board members, officers and other officials covered by the policy must disclose specific details as part of an annual disclosure form.

The form requires individuals to disclose ownership interests that produce a fair market value of $5,000 or more in a calendar year or an investment of $5,000 or more in any economic venture. Interests that benefit family members in this category must also be disclosed.

Disclosures do not apply for dividends from shares or outstanding shares of a publicly-held corporation.

Employers covered by the policy must also report any other sources of income over $5,000 per calendar year “from any source having a business or contractual elation with Reston Association, including affiliated Reston interest group,” according to the draft policy.

The meeting is set for Thursday (March 19) via a conference call.

The board’s plans to receive an update on a proposal to repurpose the Hunters Woods Ballfield has been postpone. The draft agenda is available online.

Photo via Reston Association/YouTube

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Monday Morning Notes

Reston Man Charged with Aldie Assault — “A man was arrested in Aldie Thursday morning after allegedly assaulting a coworker at the workplace, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies responded to the 41000 block of Collaboration Drive around 8:06 a.m. for reports of the incident.” [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

Surviving Tax Season — The county offers several resources on how to navigate rules and filing procedures. The Board of Supervisors is also hosting a series of free tax relief workshops through the county. [Fairfax County Government]

Endorsements for Reston Association Board Election — The Coalition for a Planned Reston endorsed Bob Petrine, a candidate for an at-large seat of three years, and Sarah Selvaraj-Dsouza, a candidate for an at-large seat for one year. [Reston 20/20]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Voting in the 2020 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 2 through April 3. This is the last candidate profile. Featured here is Kerri Bouie, who is running against Robert Petrine for an At-Large seat with a three-year term.  

With the exception of minor formatting edits, the Q&A candidate profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words. 

How long have you lived in  Reston? What brought you here? 

My parents moved to their current home in Reston when I was 9 months old. I left to attend Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA and moved to the West Coast afterward for a couple of years. I came back to my hometown to pursue greater opportunities in my career and contribute to the community that offered me so much growing up.

What inspired you to run for the board? (Note: If you are currently on the board or have held a previous position on the board, emphasize why you are running again).

I realized that there is no representation of members in my age group or background. It is very important to me that there is a new perspective being taken into account at each turn. We do not want to get lost in the past or agendas and preferences that have already been defeated.

What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?

I am concerned about the perception of how development will change our community and the struggles that our members face with various review boards. We want to work to provide transparency for all of our members. Our green and open spaces are a key attraction to Reston and what separates our community from our neighbors and these features should be preserved and enhanced.

What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

I hope to engage more members to actively participate in RA, giving a voice to and providing services for those in need. I want to work to advance and encourage multi-modal transportation methods including trails, bike paths and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. I would also work towards absolute proficiency by eliminating the duplication of services and enhance the DRB experience. Implementing a 10-year capital improvement program to manage RA assets would be key to these goals.

How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?

My professional experience is paramount to my goals; I have worked with Public Art Reston to develop Chalkfest, volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, the Reston Community Center, Fairfax County Park Authority and been involved in other community projects. As a Director at DC-based Wingate Hughes Architects, I will use my experience managing successful commercial, residential and hospitality projects for the greater good of our community.

Photo via Reston Association

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Voting in the 2020 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 2 through April 3. This is the last candidate profile. Featured here is Robert Petrine, who is running against Kerri Bouie for an At-Large seat with a three-year term.  

With the exception of minor formatting edits, the Q&A candidate profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words. 

How long have you lived in Reston? What brought you here?

My wife and I first visited Reston in 1969 on our first trip to DC and decided then that Reston would be our home if we could ever move to the area.  We fell in love with Reston’s diversity of people, housing, income levels and its embrace of living in Nature. It seemed like a place where learning never dies.  

When a job opportunity arose, we moved to Reston in 1976 and have been here ever since.

What inspired you to run for the board?

We are in the midst of redevelopment of the TSA corridor that has changed our community forever.  Going forward we should collectively have a voice in the planning process. In my opinion, the most effective way to influence that essential work is through RA as our collective representative.  

I have been working intensely for the past 4 years with other community members to understand and communicate development that has already been approved as well as what may happen to our community in the future. Careful planning will be essential to maintain the planning principles set forth in the current PRC zoning ordinance including Reston’s founding guidelines.

My professional background enables me to advocate for improving RA’s financial reporting to members – posting monthly financial reports is not enough. Members need to be clearly and concisely informed of how money is being spent – it’s their money.  They shouldn’t have to wonder how much amenities and programs cost to run and maintain. The information exists, and members shouldn’t have to search for it. 

What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?

Supervisor Alcorn’s proposal to reopen Phase II of the Comprehensive Plan may provide our community an opportunity to contribute to the plan review in a meaningful way.  We must make the most of that dialogue to promote and protect the interests of RA members. 

The Board and the membership need the knowledge I have of business and financial operations to immediately address RA’s related issues.  

Reston is one of 14 cities globally that has been designated a Biophilic Community.  We as a community need to continually build upon work that is already underway to ensure that Reston is at the forefront of planning for and adapting to climate change.  

What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

  • Ensure that the membership understands how RA assessments are determined; that the membership is regularly informed of RA’s finances in an easily understood way; and that an effective system of internal controls is in place and operating to established policies to meet the Board’s fiduciary responsibilities to RA members
  • Work to strengthen the role of the advisory committees in setting issues and priorities for RA with regular, periodic reporting of their deliberations by committee chairs or their representatives at taped RA Board meetings.
  • Ensure that Reston Association members are effectively represented on the taskforce to review the Reston Master Plan.
  • Promote an appreciation of and stewardship for the open space that makes Reston unique in the DC metropolitan area.
  • Encourage actions, both individual and collective, that minimize climate change.  In the long run, I believe that proactive solutions will save RA members significant future costs and promote a healthier community.

How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?

  • I have professional experience in finance, strategic planning, risk management, and financial regulation: 28 years of private sector experience as an auditor, accountant, and independent management consultant as well as the chief financial officer of two banks; and 20+ years’ experience as a federal bank regulator. 
  • I have served on several professional boards and civic committees including the Electronic Funds Transfer Association, the Greater Washington Society of CPAs, the Education Committee of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, and Metro’s Riders Advisory Council.  
  • In addition, I bring to the RA Board a commitment to community engagement.  Specifically, for years I have regularly attended meetings at RA including BOD, Fiscal Committee, MTAC, BGC and BOC as well as Nature Center events.  For five years I served as the treasurer of the Fairway Cluster, and I have testified before the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission on local land use, the PRC zoning amendment, and transportation issues.

Photo via Reston Association

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Voting in the 2020 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 2 through April 3. Featured here is Mike Collins, who is running against Jennifer Sunshine Jushchuk for the apartment owners’ seat, which has a three-year term.

With the exception of minor formatting edits, the Q&A candidate profiles are published in an unedited form. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words. 

How long have you lived in Reston? What brought you here?

My family and I have lived here since 2008. We moved here for a job opportunity and to be near my wife’s family.  

What inspired you to run for the board? 

I served on the board from 2010 to 2013 as the North Point representative. I ran in order to serve my community and bring some civility to an environment that had become somewhat antagonistic at the time. My main priorities were serving constituents, modernizing RA operations, holding staff accountable, and engaging in development issues. I ran again in 2016 based on the same priorities. This might sound weird, but I’m running again because I actually miss working on those things! 

What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?

Overall, of course, the issue on everyone’s mind is development and we’re all concerned about traffic and the character of our community. A less-discussed issue is the impact gentrification could have on lower income people and the cost of living in Reston. Not everyone here is well off and, believe it or not, there is some older housing that remains very affordable. That was part of Bob Simon’s vision and we need to be vigilant about it. Second is bike/pedestrian access. Most of the paved paths in Reston were built for recreation – not commuting, shopping, etc. That needs to change as we grow. Third is the need for additional recreational facilities. Just visit Baron Cameron or any other park on a weekend! New facilities don’t necessarily have to be provided by RA, but we can advocate for them and partner with others to make them happen.  

What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

First and foremost, I hope to bring a unique perspective to the board. My prior experience can provide insights on subjects RA is dealing with now – many of which have been issues for several years. Second, I hope to use the role of the apartment owners representative to help make sure RA is serving apartment dwellers. They are members too, but we don’t hear much from them at the board level. Finally, I hope to work on the revisions to the Reston Deed (our “Constitution”) particularly in the area of how we set assessments.  

How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?

I am a lawyer with professional experience in litigation, risk management, and regulatory compliance. I’ve also served as a legislative aide and outreach director for members of Congress, including Congressman Gerry Connolly. Most recently, I was a board member for the Fellowship  Square Foundation, which provides housing for very low-income seniors in Reston (at Lake Anne and Hunters Woods, and elsewhere in the region.

Photo via Reston Association

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Voting in the 2020 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 2 through April 3. This is the last candidate profile. Featured here is Paul Berry, who is running against Sarah Selvaraj-Dsouza for an at-large seat with a one-year term.  

With the exception of minor formatting edits, the Q&A candidate profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words. 

How long have you lived in Reston? What brought you here?

I’m in the middle stages of my professional career and a relative newcomer and Reston appealed to me as a place to live for all the amenities that let us work, live, and play in a rich, diverse community. I walk to work on a beautiful running trail and frequently elect to run my small business out of any one of the many fun cafes near my home. As a gubernatorial appointee I have the opportunity to travel all over the commonwealth, and I truly believe Reston is the template for smart growth in Virginia.

We enjoy one of the highest qualities of life of any area in the mid-Atlantic, and all that is thanks to RA members’ active participation. From the clusters on up, RA members have formed an incredible community organization that is driven by volunteers, friends, and neighbors that care deeply about shared values. I’m passionate about stewarding RA resources in a way that makes those values a reality.

What inspired you to run for the board?

I’m running for the Board of Directors because I have a desire to serve Reston the same way I am serving Virginia. I’m currently a public servant helping Governor Northam’s executive branch develop policy around Latinx healthcare, small business, and creating a welcoming, diverse commonwealth.

I’m also the son of a public-school teacher and grew up giving back to the community in the school vegetable gardens, in stream clean-ups, and visiting our friends and neighbors in retirement homes. Service is a conversation that should flow through all our neighborhoods, and I want to amplify how RA is able to reach out. If elected to the Board I will continue to pursue better strategies for stewarding our resources and adjusting that plan as clusters and districts express the need for change.

What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?

As the Reston Association enters the 2020’s the Board needs to embrace a long-term plan that spans our new decade. My biggest concern is the rollout of the biennial budget and making effective use of member association dues. This starts with prioritizing member feedback into what that budget does and does not try to accomplish. 

My next concern is how we are using our shared spaces. Shared spaces bring us together and create the sense of community that makes Reston special. Whether it’s the Lake Anne farmer’s market, summer camps, or the many public art installations scattered around town, it is critical to ensure that everyone who lives here can access these spaces and interact together.

Reston is the best place to live because of the unique balance of work and play opportunities always within a short distance from home. I want the Board to form a sensible trajectory for increased pedestrian and commuter traffic from the Phase II Silver line expansion. Related, the Board should be concerned with the way we design and renovate the shared spaces and neighborhoods that will undergo changes to traffic patterns from increased visitors to our community spaces, shopping centers, and restaurants.

In short, I am focused on efficiency and member communication, and want the entire Board to be mindful of where growth in expenditures is likely to happen and be clear when it is hesitant to advance projects with an unclear fiscal outcome.

What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

I hope to accomplish three things if elected. First, I want to establish a way for clusters to voice concerns and give feedback on board decisions. I see the board as an ongoing opportunity for lines of communication and I want to emphasize accessibility and face-to-face meetings. This is what makes the shared concept of Reston so fantastic – we address issues collectively and in an open setting. Second, I want to develop a 2020 Data Plan for RA. As a tech industry executive, I am constantly asking myself and my team how we can innovate around what we are currently doing. The data RA possesses already provides measures of success and can illuminate where improvements need to be made.

In short, I’m proposing we apply common-sense budgeting and management principles to the overall plan for our community, but at the scale of private industry. The best part is this costs nothing but creative time amongst the board and interested members and it can lead to new ideas and resource savings.

Lastly, I want to bring onto the board a plan for regularly connecting RA with the rest of the county. Mine is an approach that gives RA the proactive ability to contribute to development plans and concepts while they are being discussed, and not after the fact. I’m very supportive of how Supervisor Alcorn has been receptive to community dialogue and it is my intention to match that with time investment from the Board perspective as much as county elected officials are open to doing so.

How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?

I am offering my experience as a small business owner and over a decade of public and private sector experience working in tech, economic development, and public policy. Budgets and resource stewardship are my fortes – I’ve managed budgets in the millions while running statewide operations in Virginia all the way down to holding fiduciary responsibilities for neighborhood sized non-profits. No solution is one size fits all.

Prior to my current role as Director of Data Intelligence and Virginia Operations Chief I worked in geospatial city planning and city management research. This entailed studying and making recommendations for designing new urban structures and redesigning or repurposing extant buildings, roadways, and local services. I designed solutions for populations ranging from megacities to towns and villages.

I graduated from Brown University, and have two Master’s degrees from the University of Geneva and the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. My academic work and theses examined how states create legal environments that facilitate business growth in open, fair playing fields for entrepreneurs, workers, and investors. Fiscal impact is not simply dollars and cents and should be measured in the ways it creates challenges and opportunities for the most important resource a community has: its members.

Photo via Reston Association

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Voting in the 2020 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 2 through April 3. Featured here is incumbent Caren Anton, who is running unopposed for the Hunters Wood/Dogwood District seat, which has a three-year term.

With the exception of minor formatting edits, the Q&A candidate profiles are published in an unedited form. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words. 

How long have you lived in Reston? What brought you here?

I have lived in the same house in Reston since 1989.  I moved here from Burke with my then husband.  We were attracted to the beauty, cultural and economic diversity, and strong sense of community.  Having grown up in a planned community in suburban Chicago, I felt at home.  And we found we could get the most for our home-buying dollar here, with a variety of styles from which to choose.

What inspired you to run for the board?

After 20 months on the Board in many ways I feel I am just hitting my stride.  I originally applied (in 2018) and ran (in 2019) because I felt passionate about advocating for the district in which I had spent almost 30 years.  I want to continue the work I started.  (See #4).  I am also excited to continue working closely with our new CEO in his second year.

What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?

As with most Restonians, I am worried about overdevelopment and insufficient infrastructure to support it and the resulting threat to our precious open space.  One of the reasons we left Burke all those years ago was traffic congestion and the amount of time it took to get from point A to point B.  Now the same thing is happening in Reston.  Another concern is lack of affordable housing, which is not just a local crisis but a national one.  The condos and apartments cropping up seemingly every week are generally quite expensive.  I am pleased that bringing more affordable housing to the Hunter Mill District is one of Supervisor Alcorn’s priorities, and I enthusiastically support his desire to convert some of our underused office park spaces into affordable housing.  Finally, our population, like our facilities, is aging.  I am concerned that, for many seniors, remaining in Reston is becoming more challenging, especially for those of limited financial means.  This goes hand in hand with my concern about affordable housing.

What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

I hope to continue to do what I can to raise the profile of Hunters Woods/Dogwood.  I was very pleased to have successfully shepherded the Board’s long-delayed approval of the construction of the Butterfly Meadow Overlook across from the Pony Barn.  And I am excited to be working with our community’s stakeholders on repurposing the ballfield behind Hunters Woods Plaza. I hope to continue on the Board Governance Committee to help complete an updated Conflict of Interest Policy and develop a Code of Ethics.  And despite the Board’s decision to eliminate the 55+ Advisory Committee (a decision I supported), I want to continue to find ways for RA to help our seniors age in place.

How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?

Each Director brings his or her unique strengths and experiences to the table.  My “right brain/left brain” approach stems from my background as both an accounting and performing arts professional. In both of my careers I have learned to interact closely with a wide variety of personalities in often stressful situations.   I consider myself a keen observer of people, and I thrive on grass roots level engagement to gather information to assess the needs and expectations of the Members.  I’m a you-can-catch more-flies with-honey-than-with-vinegar type of person, and I believe making any gains towards problem solving will require healthy, civil interaction with my fellow Board members, the Association’s executives, the staff, and the County.

Photo via Reston Association

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It’s been 15 years since Reston Association conducted a comprehensive review of how its recreational facilities are used and should be used in the coming years.

As the community’s infrastructure and demographics change rapidly, RA’s Board of Directors officially kicked off a data-driven review of its facilities at a Thursday meeting.

The board moved to establish a Recreation Facilities Working Group — which will include nine members — which will undertake the year-long effort along with staff.

Most park and recreation facilities typically conduct comprehensive planning efforts every ten years using data on utilization and other trends.

Discussions about a similar effort in 2018 were stalled. RA’s board noted that the organization is now uniquely positioned to complete the evaluation using new data generated from its WebTrac registration system and other data points.

Here’s more from RA on what’s  driving the effort:

A recent catalyst for conducting an in-depth evaluation of RA facilities is the condition of Lake Thoreau Pool. The RA Board has committed funds to renovate the facility, and this process is just getting started. It is a substantial commitment of funds whether to repair or fully renovate (as was done previously with four other pools.)

Lake Thoreau pool is the first in line, with a small number of other pools coming up for consideration and attention. The explosion of pickleball interest and demand is another barometer of RA membership’s changing interests and needs. RA has recognized the growth, embraced it, and is moving forward with providing dedicated pickleball courts. What other activity is out on the horizon for which membership demand will exceed our supply and RA will be playing catch-up?

Another important aspect to this is the role of other providers in the community – Reston Community Center, Fairfax County Park Authority and even the Y-Fairfax County Reston and other private businesses which offer fitness centers. With the 2021 budget development commencing this summer for near-term focus and the future focus of our biennial budget for 2022-2023 kicking off in mid-2021, now is the correct time to begin an evaluation that would include: data analysis of current usage, financial aspects (operating, maintenance and capital costs), demographic projections, a review of industry trends and understanding what other area recreation providers are planning and in what timeframe

RA’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee will be temporarily suspended as the workgroup conducts its analysis.

The effort should be completed by February 2021, according to Larry Butler.

The organization will seek nine members for workgroup, including a PRAC representation, four representatives from each RA district, two at-large members, an RA board member who will serve as chair, and a parks and recreation staff member.

RA Board Vice President Julie Bitzer said that the organization’s fiscal committee will provide substantial input to the workgroup. A request to add a fiscal committee member on the workgroup –which would then reach a number impractical for voting and decision making –was rejected.

Community buy-in and feedback will be a critical part of the analysis, Bitzer said.

Photo by RA

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Reston Association says that its internal controls and processes have come a long way since the botched purchase of the Lake House at nearly double its assessed value five years ago.

At a Thursday meeting, RA’s Board of Directors reviewed progress on fifteen recommendations suggested by global advisory firm StoneTurn Group in a $45,000 independent review of the controversial purchase.

Eric Carr, the board’s treasurer and chair of a committee formed to review the purchase, said RA was “not equipped to handle an undertaking and purchase like this.”

“This is why I ran and it was my goal above all other goals to make sure this never happened in the association ever again,” Carr told the board at the meeting. “I think we’re in a good place for that and I think we’ve done largely what the StoneTurn report requested us to do.”

RA purchased the Lake House property from Tetra in 2015. Renovations to transform the property into a community building cost three times more than expected, resulting in requests for independent audits and reviews.

The report found that RA’s governing documents had no defined process to ensure that internal controls and processes were being followed. The group also suggested that RA adopt a policy to improve transparency on items that are discussed in closed sessions without compromising its interests. At the time, RA did not have controls in place to prevent the contracting of an amount in excess of the budget.

Carr said that all but two of the company’s recommendations are either completed or already exist.

One glaring gap — establishing an ethics code — remains. Discussions on establishing the code, which has been underway for nearly two years, are expected to formalize at the board’s meeting in March.

Highlights of steps undertaken in response to recommendations are below:

  • General Counsel will continue to review policies as necessary and as directed by the board
  • Although staff indicated recommendations to establish “owners of the internal processes” were vague, RA has a resolution governing internal financial controls
  • Greater transparency in executive sessions will be pursued so long as it does not contradict POAA rules
  • Establishing processes where capital expenditure maximums are calculated and included in the budget
  • Clarification of policy to provide guidance if a project exceeds the budget or if the budget estimate is found to be impractical or incorrect
  • Preparation of a long-term capital improvement plan that is updated on an annual basis
  • Written policies and procedures to evaluate and management capita projects that emphasize key assumptions and estimates
  • Ensuring purchase orders and contracts are not issued unless funds are available and allocated within the approved budget

A complete breakdown of StoneTurn’s recommendations and progress made is available online. Board vice president Julie Bitzer requested the progress update.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr; YouTube

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Thursday Morning Notes

Reston Association Board to Meet Tonight — RA’s Board of Directors will meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. to discuss several matters, including revisions to lake use and access and comprehensive evaluation of the organization’s activities. [Reston Association]

Around Town: Substitute Teacher Charged with Indecent Liberties Against Children — “A 60-year-old substitute teacher is facing two felony charges of indecent liberties by a custodian and one misdemeanor charge of simple assault for inappropriate contact with three students at Glasgow Middle School. Detectives from the Major Crimes Bureau Child Abuse Squad arrested Albert Keys, of Lorton, on Jan. 17.” [Fairfax County Times]

County Schools to Hold Job Fair — “Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), the largest school system in Virginia, is searching for educators with a strong academic background and a passion to make a difference in the lives of students during the 2020-21 school year.  Principals and program managers will interview candidates at the FCPS Instructional Job Fair on Saturday, February 1.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Still No Word on Cafesano’s Cafe Reopening — A company representative tells us they have no idea when the cafe at South Lakes Village Center will reopen. Although catering and takeout services are still being offered, the cafe has been closed since early December due to a fire in the kitchen.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The Reston Association no longer has a 55+ Committee.

RA’s Board of Directors voted to eliminate the committee at the meeting last week (Dec. 19).

“It’s been a difficult year,” Caren Anton, the board liaison to the committee, said during the meeting, adding that a lack of productivity, low membership and taking up RA staff’s time plagued the committee.

Earlier this year, RA launched the “Resources for Better Aging” webpage and the committee members met with people running neighbors helping neighbors-type programs to see if Reston could try something similar.

Anton said that the board asked the committee to go on a hiatus in June.

The board lost its staff liaison and its chair recently submitted a letter of resignation, Anton said.

“As board liaison, I feel that like there is more I could have done or should have done to sort get things on a more productive path,” Anton said, questioning where a new 55+ group might fit into RA’s strategic plan and if a working group might be better. “A 55+ Advisory Committee may not be the answer.”

While Anton said that the committee has struggled, she noted that its purpose — to help people age in place in Reston — is still alive.

Anton read a letter from Reston resident Steve Gurney, who urged for more intergenerational programming and said that senior programs can have stigmas attached to them.

She also said that an RA member commented at a meeting in July that seniors in Reston feel left out.

“I believe we have a responsibility to protect the liveability of all of our members,” Anton said. “I do think it is our obligation to make it easier for our members to age in place.”

RA Board President Catherine Baum, who said that most of her immediate family falls into the 55+ group, said that she thinks a lot about how the Reston Association could improve wheelchair accessibility and information about the Design Review Board and Covenants Committee.

“Some of these people who don’t know where they need to go to get ivy taken off walls,” Baum said.

Baum said that she would like to see future discussions about how the committee could be “rejuvenated” or join the Reston Community Center.

Ultimately, Baum proposed abolishing the committee — “I see a committee that is non-functioning” — and the motion passed, with a “nay” vote from Secretary John Mooney.

Photo via Reston Association/YouTube

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Local Fairfax County transportations officials are considering changes to Fairfax Connector routes in the Reston and Herndon area to meet demands created by the expansion of the Silver Line next year.

Of three options presented for changes, the county is recommending the “transformation” option — Other options included increment changes to the development plan or streamlining existing routes.

The recommended model would offer new service options, all day local service, and more frequent service to Metrorail Station through feeder routes at peak times. New planned connections include Sterling Plaza, Centreville and George Mason University in Fairfax.

County officials say the transformation model covers a greater area and includes the future Innovation Station. The model was also endorsed by the Multimodal Transportation Advisory Committee for recommendation to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT).

A recent marketing survey found the following areas had the lowest rankings:

  • Available when you need it
  • Fast way to travel
  • Goes places you need to go
  • Offers real-time information
  • Fits into your lifestyle

Users sought more frequent service, operation earlier or later in the day, and express bus service. Others said they were concerned about connections to Wiehle-Reston Metro East Station and Reston Town Center.

Reston Association’s Board of Directors will vote on a preferred service alternative on Thursday (Dec. 19).

Photo via FCDOT

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Reston Association to Hold Special Meeting Tomorrow — The Brand Consultancy, a brand strategy company, will present its final report to RA’s Board of Directors tomorrow (Wednesday) at a special board meeting at 7 p.m. [Reston Association]

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Accepts Toy Donations — The department is taking part in the annual Toys for Tots Campaign. Donations are accepted through Friday, Dec. 13. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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