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by Fatimah Waseem January 5, 2018 at 11:30 am 22 Comments

Reston Association has officially paid off its million loan for the purchase of The Lake House. The board of directors elected to pay off nearly $2.42 million of the remaining balance.

Formerly Tetra, The Lake House has been hit with financial difficulties since it was purchased for $2.6 million — about twice its assessed value — in 2015. RA showed a cost overrun of $430,000 last spring, due in part to a six-figure expected rent back from former owner/tenant Tetra that did not happen. Renovations on the property to transform it into a community building have cost three times more than expected. An independent audit was requested.

RA is looking into new ways to make the facility a reliable source of income — a concern that was raised in previous RA meetings where some board members expressed dismay that RA was losing money on the project.

This year, the facility is expected to produce $224,000 in rental income. According to an RA statement, paying off the loan early will allow each member to save $8.66 on their assessment. If the facility produces target rental incomes, members can receive another $6.17 in savings, according to RA.

by Fatimah Waseem December 18, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Nominations Open for Volunteer Service Awards — Reston Association is seeking nominations for its annual Volunteer Reston Service Awards which recognize individuals, groups, families and businesses that are contributing to the community through volunteer service. Award winners will be announced at a ceremony at The Lake House on April 19. Nominations are due by Feb. 9. [Reston Association]

Artwork Available for Purchase from Monster Drawing Rally — Greater Reston Arts Center is selling remaining artwork from its live monster drawing valley event and fundraiser. During the program, more than 50 artists created artwork on site.  Pieces are available online. To purchase, email [email protected] or stop by the gallery. All proceeds benefit the center. [Greater Reston Arts Center]

Election Information Session Set for Jan. 3 — Individuals interested in running for an open seat on RA’s board of directors can attend the information session, which will provide an overview of the elections process and candidates’ roles and responsibilities. The session will take place at RA headquarter (12002 Sunrise Valley Drive) from 7 – 8 p.m. [Reston Association]

by Fatimah Waseem December 13, 2017 at 11:30 am 33 Comments

At their monthly meeting, the Reston Association Board of Directors will consider whether or not to carry over nearly $2.3 million in unspent, allocated dollars for capital projects from this year to next year.

A majority of the projects were put on hold for a major part of the year and last year, including the renovation of the Central Services Facility, the renovation of the Pony Barn Recreation Area, the replacement of a dock at Lake Anne, pathway lighting at Hunters Woods and the upgrades to the Lake Anne Dam.

The board will also set the schedule for capital projects that will begin in the first quarter of next year, including the $161,000 resurfacing project of clay courts at North Hills and nearly $163,000 in audio visual equipment upgrades to RA’s conference center.

The board will also discuss Reston Association’s Fit Kids Enrichment Club in response to concerns that the Lake House after school care program was being conducted under a different name and location.

The agenda for Thursday night’s meeting of the RA Board of Directors also includes:

  • The reappointment of Brian Berga to the the Fiscal Meeting for a term lasting through December 2020
  • A land use update by Larry Butler, Senior Director of Parks, Recreation & Community Resources
  • An executive session on the CEO’s performance evaluation

The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m.. in RA headquarters tomorrow. For those unable to attend, the meeting will be livestreamed on Reston Association’s YouTube channel.

by Fatimah Waseem December 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

Environmental testing of Reston Association’s Central Services Facility found the building, which is slated for major renovations, contained asbestos, prompting RA to use $45,000 in unspent, approved dollars to remove the substance prior to demolition.

RA’s Board of Directors will consider the request at a meeting on Thursday. According to the board’s agenda packet, lab results taken throughout the building were positive for asbestos in floor tiles, pipe insulation, sink undercoating, skylights and exterior pipe tar. The cost of the project will cover abatement, air cleaning and follow-up air testing.

“Before full demolition can begin and to ensure the safety of work crews as well as RA staff, an asbestos abatement procedure must be completed,” according to the packet.

The renovation of the Central Services Facility is one of five capital projects put on hold for most of the year. Plans to renovate the 35-year-old building on 12250 Sunset Hills Road have been suggested for nearly three years. The facility is responsible for maintenance and care of Reston’s facilities, including pavilions, community buildings, garden plots and pathways.

The project will include the following upgrades:

  • bathroom in warehouse building for environmental staff
  • additional exit and ADA accessibility for warehouse office area
  • replace all windows in main building
  • add to bathroom capacity in main building to meet volume needs
  • address leaking roof
  • improve reception area for staff and RA members
  • provide HVAC system for shop area
  • install security system
  • upgrade LAN connectivity
  • provide adequate workspaces
  • provide modular training space

by Fatimah Waseem November 30, 2017 at 1:30 pm 12 Comments

Reston Association’s Board of Directors could be slated for a shakeup next year as four of the nine-member body’s seats are open in next year’s election.

The association has formally issued a call for candidates. An information session is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. at RA (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

In April, the following seats will open: one at-large seat for a one-year term, two at-large seats for a three-year team and one seat for the South Lakes District for a three-year term.  An orientation is set for Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.

In a video announcing the election, Caron Anton, co-chair of the elections committee, said the election is an opportunity to shape the future of Reston through the association. To qualify, candidates must be a RA member, live in a residential property tied to a Reston deed, and have no unpaid fees. Candidates must file by 5 p.m. on Jan. 26. Candidates running for the South Lakes District seat must live in the district and collect signatures from households within the district.

Filing requirements include an election statement, which details goals and qualifications, and at least 25 signatures from individuals in 25 different households. Election results will be announced on April 10 at the annual members’ meeting.

The nine-member board consists of eight directors, who are elected for three-year, staggered terms by members, and one director elected by apartment owners. Four of the eight directors are district-level representatives while others are elected by the membership at-large. 

The body is responsible for ensuring RA’s goals are fulfilled by creating policies related to programming, planning, budget and personnel policies. RA’s website contains the following description of board members’ duties as whole:

  • When working as a full board, all members: Determine long-range mission and goals; establish RA policy and procedures; hire and evaluate the CEO; monitor finances, approve budget, and set the assessment; create and update long-range plans; and approve association programs through the budget process.
  • When working as individual members, all directors: Attend all board meetings, special events, and board retreats; prepare thoroughly for board meetings; serve as committee members and chairs; offer counsel, suggestions, and opinions; assume leadership roles when called upon; keep the board and the EVP informed of community concerns.
  • As well as receiving daily assistance from the CEO and the operational staff, the board is also supported by Legal Counsel, who helps guide the board into legally acceptable conduct and serves an important “loss prevention” role for the Association. Legal Counsel advises the CEO and board, but reports to the CEO, and responds to requests for opinions and analyses from the CEO, full board, or President.

For more information, email the elections committee at [email protected] or call 703-435-6530. Information is also available on RA’s website, including an elections calendar.

by Fatimah Waseem November 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm 16 Comments

Reston Association’s board of directors passed its $18 million budget Thursday evening. The board set an annual assessment rate of $682, a $10 decrease from last year’s fee.

According to a press release, this year is the first time the assessment has been reduced from the previous year. The assessment rate is calculated based on the bottom line of the capital and operating budget.

The board reinstated most pool hours to 2016 levels, according to the release. The body also directed TA staff to increase non-assessment revenue, which includes proffer and easement income, by 10 percent while cutting operating costs by 5 percent.

The release also noted several “cost-cutting” measures allowed the board to decrease the fee including:

  • Increasing health insurance co-payments for all employees
  • Approving in-house counsel in order to reduce reliance on outside legal services
  • Pay off the loan for The Lake House, which RA purchased two years ago
  • The addition of 429 new residential units that will be a source of additional revenue

The approved capital budget, which allocates $3.5 million for this year and $2.2 million for next year, includes roughly $399,000 for tennis court improvements and $465,000 for boat dock improvements, especially for replacing a dock at lake Anne.

The annual assessment is due by Jan 1. For more information on the budget, visit RA’s website.

by Fatimah Waseem November 16, 2017 at 2:45 pm 7 Comments

In a draft letter to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Catherine Hudgins, Reston Association President Sherri Hebert has proposed a series of amendments to Reston’s Master Plan, a document that lays out a vision for the planned community.

The suggestions broadly push for more mechanisms to ensure public infrastructure matches the pace of development.

Some have estimated that the Reston Plan will result in more than doubling the current number of residents, not counting increases in employment population and visitor/pass through populations. If commensurate planned infrastructure can no longer be provided, then the level of residential development must be reduced to maintain the balance between land use and infrastructure,” she wrote.

A summary of each recommendation is below:

  1. Add an overall residential population cap that includes affordable housing units and work-force housing.
  2. Clearly state Reston’s village centers, except Lake Anne and Tall Oaks, will have the same land uses as they have today.
  3. Add periodic plan updates that tie specific development milestones with infrastructure improvements. A similar method to condition development on the availability of public infrastructure was included in the Tysons Master Plan.
  4. Request the Reston Network Analysis Advisory Group to review its transportation network analysis assumptions and methodology.
  5. Establish a realistic plan to increase the scope of recreational activities in Reston. The plan should account for space and funding.
  6. Add clearer statements that assertively state infrastructure capacity must increase as new development rather than “lag decades behind.”
  7. Establish a realistic plan for increased school capacity in Reston.
  8. Remove a “grid of streets” road connection between American Dream Way and Isaac Newton Square because it hurts environmentally sensitive areas and the Hidden Creek Golf Course.
  9. Change the dwelling unit density of lands with the high-density multi-family zoning from an unlimited amount to the maximum number of units per acre necessary to accommodate the two parcels that designation covers.

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

by Fatimah Waseem November 16, 2017 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

RA Board of Directors To Set Next Year’s Budget Tonight — Reston Association’s board of directors will meet at 6:30 p.m. at RA headquarters to discuss a broad swath of motions, including capital and operating budgets for next year. The meeting can be viewed live here[Reston Assocation]

Purchase Poinsettias for South Lakes High School Seniors Graduation Party — Decorate your home and office this holiday season with poinsettias. SLHS is raising money to finance an all-night seniors graduation party. Orders must be received by Nov. 21 and will be ready for pick-up from SLHS on Dec. 1. Medium bundles are $15, large bundles are $25 and a hanging basket is $30. [SLHS]

Cleveland Browns Sign Reston Native Deon King to Active Roster — The 6-0, 220 pound second-year player out of Norfolk State was originally signed by Dallas as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in four games for the browns this season while spending five weeks in the practice squad. [247 Sports]

Drones on Parkland: What Do You Think? — The Fairfax County Park Authority is seeking public input on the possibility of expanding the use of drones on county parkland. During the first half of the year, the authority launched an internal study on the topic. Currently, drone pilots can take off and land at Poplar Ford Park only. The authority is considering expanding to other parks. The meeting will take place on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at Oak View Elementary School. [FCPA]

by Fatimah Waseem November 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm 36 Comments

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.

by RestonNow.com October 31, 2017 at 2:58 pm 27 Comments

In its most recent public hearing on the proposed budget for 2018, held on Monday evening (video here), members of the Reston Association Board of Directors proposed yet another new assessment rate of $681 for residents.

The rate would equal a decrease of $39 from the 2017 initial proposed rate of $720, which was later reduced to $692 only through the spending of around $550,000 in reserve cash.

Previously, in the first draft of the budget, the assessment rate had been proposed at $678.

On Monday evening, board treasurer and at-large director Sridhar Ganesan said a few changes had brought it back up roughly $3 to $681. Those changes included the decision to pay off the loan on the Lake House renovations using reserve cash, which shaved $8.66 off assessment rates, and changes to the RA pool schedules he said they made in response to resident feedback, which added another $2.88 back on to the rate.

“There was a lot of public request from a pool schedule request. We changed that – we brought a lot of it back to around what the 2016 levels were,” Ganesan explained.

Ganesan said other cost-saving measures had initially allowed the directors to get assessments all the way down to $670, but after the first few budget work sessions and last week’s first public hearing, more changes were made. Those included adding staff coverage for more litter clean-up and the handling of Design Review Board covenants requests, as well as the adding of an additional Parks and Recreation staff member. In addition, Ganesan said healthcare costs for some employees went up slightly with the recent annual enrollment period.

“So, with some changes up and some changes down, we ended up at $681,” he finished.

Only one resident showed up for the public hearing portion of the evening. The woman asked for more maintenance of tennis courts due to high usage, including repaving and cleaning of mold and slime from the courts, which she said are a slipping hazard. Additional lighting was also requested, particularly at courts in the south part of Reston.

Furthermore, the woman asked for a feasibility study for the addition of indoor tennis options.

“It’s something our tennis community has been wanting for a long time,” she said, pointing out that it would allow for year-round lessons and exercise opportunities for residents.

Following the public comments, the meeting was adjourned.

The final vote on the 2018 budget and assessment rate is scheduled to take place at the board’s regular meeting on Nov. 16.

by Fatimah Waseem October 27, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

The renovation of Reston Association’s Central Services Facility will begin this month, according to a video posted to RA’s video channel this week.

Plans to renovate 35-year-old building on 12250 Sunset Hills Road have been suggested for nearly three years. The facility is responsible for maintenance and care of Reston’s facilities, including pavilions, community buildings, garden plots and pathways. will begin this month.

Mike McNamara, RA’s deputy director of maintenance said construction is expected to last through March of next year. Upgrades are necessary as the facility must manage workforce increases, changes in the scope of work and more staff.

McNamara also said renovations will not impact the facility’s current operations.

“There will be contractors on site but services to the members will definitely not be impacted. Every job and every service that we provide will continue throughout the renovation,” he said.

The project was put on hold in June 2016 when RA’s Board of Directors put the project on pause. In December, the board approved releasing funds to allow staff to estimate the cost of the project. In February this year, the board released an additional $200,000 to begin the architecture and engineering phase of the project.

The project will include the following upgrades:

  • bathroom in warehouse building for environmental staff
  • additional exit and ADA accessibility for warehouse office area
  • replace all windows in main building
  • add to bathroom capacity in main building to meet volume needs
  • address leaking roof
  • improve reception area for staff and RA members
  • provide HVAC system for shop area
  • install security system
  • upgrade LAN connectivity
  • provide adequate workspaces
  • provide modular training space
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