Reston, VA

Friday Morning Notes

Flag Changes Not Recommended by County Planning Commission — The county’s planning commission recommended against changing regulations for flags and flagpoles. County staff had proposed specific regulations that would impose a new height limit on flagpoles, among other new regulations. [Reston Patch]

Reorganization Underway in County Fire Departments — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department has reorganized its operations bureau in order to improve daily operations. The move adds an eighth battalion and divides the county into two divisions. [FCFRD]

Spring Break Camp Registration Now Open — Reston Association is resuming its spring break camp from March 29 through April 2 this year. Sign ups are available online. [RA]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Reston Association’s Board of Directors has unanimously directed the organization’s staff to provide a comprehensive report on security incidents that caused losses of data, money or website capacity in the last two years.

At a board meeting last Thursday, board member Sarah Selvaraj-Dsouza proposed the motion in an effort to provide its membership with transparent information about possible issues

The move comes as some board members advocate for the immediate and swift creation of an IT committee that would guide RA on its security posture and provide recommendations on how to protect membership data, privacy and financial information.

Board members contend that RA’s security posture and IT platforms are incapable of maintaining industr-wide accepted standards of privacy and data security.

At last week’s meeting, board member Ven Iyer, a professional in the field of IT security, has voiced what he described as grave concerns related to RA’s lack of security.

Speaking as an RA member and not as a board member, Iyer says that RA CEO Hank Lynch’s email ID was breached, resulting in a loss of $187,000.

He also stated that RA’s website failed in the summer of 2020 when a system hosting the RA website, a decryption algorithm, and membership privacy and financial data was compromised. At the time, RA staff stated the abrupt shift was prompted because the website’s platform was “extremely outdated and unsupported.”

He also contended that RA’s communications to members — including recent press releases — mislead members into thinking that the shift to the cloud and a new website has resolved any pending concerns.

“That is simply not true. RA’s press releases falsely mislead members to believe that security incidents have occurred due to outdated technology or will not occur against because RA has shifted to cloud platforms,” he said.

Iyer wants the board to swiftly create the IT committee in order to “immediately respond at a SWAT team pace.”

A special meeting on the issue is planned, following a review of the proposal by RA’s board governance committee.

RA spokesman Mike Leone told Reston Now that because the board has not taken an official position on IT-related issues, the association cannot directly address Iyer’s concerns or questions about specific security issues.

The board is expected to review a report on IT breaches and other related issues on March 18.

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Reston Association (RA) is looking at potentially going a bit greener.

The RA Board of Directors unanimously approved a pair of motions brought to it during its Feb. 25 meeting by Director Tom Mulkerin that are focused on electric vehicles and subsequent charging stations.

The first motion directs RA staff to use the next 120 days to study the feasibility of replacing the association’s current fleet of fossil-fueled vehicles over the next 10 years. The staff is also directed to study the potential installation of a Level 3 charging station at the Central Services Facility to recharge its electric fleet.

RA staff is charged with addressing four primary questions with its study. The first portion of the stud will look at the comparative costs of acquisition, operation, maintenance and repair of electric vehicles versus the current fleet that uses fossil fuels.

The second part is an evaluation of the estimated financial and operational impact on the Central Service Facility and finding a conversion timeline for the fleet. It also includes diagnosing the skills and equipment required for the maintenance of both the electric vehicles and existing fleet.

The third item is finding the expected cost of the installation, operation, maintenance and repair of charging stations and a projected useful lifespan compared to the cost of fueling the existing fleet.

The board also directed staff to study the possibility of installing electric vehicle charging stations at one or more RA facilities over the next three months.

The scope of the second study includes reviewing the specific charging station types for recommendation, the expected volume of use, the anticipated costs to users of the stations and the general installation, operation, maintenance and repair costs of stations.

Staff will also examine if the stations would be compatible with RA sites.

Finally, the study would examine if the overall costs of the program would generate a meaningful profit and when that profit would materialize.

“I think we should look at the opportunity just to say, ‘Is it worthwhile?,'” Mulkerin said. “Then if it’s not, we can say to our membership, ‘We looked at it. It wasn’t worth it to do it,’ or agree.”

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Residents Can Remove Themselves from County Waitlist — The county has launched a new online tool that allows residents to remove themselves from the county’s vaccine registration waitlist. [Fairfax County Government]

Herndon Police Investigate Series of Car Robberies — In the last week of February, the Herndon Police Department received reports of 15 vehicles being entered illegally. In these cases, only one vehicle showed signs of forced entry. [HPD]

Reston Association Board Election is Underway — This year, four candidates are vying for two at-large seats on the board. Each spring, the organization conducts elections to fill vacant seats on its nine-member board. [Reston Patch]

Photo by Doug Errett/Twitter

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The Reston Association (RA) has reinstated the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) after a year-long suspension.

The committee, which was temporarily suspended in February 2020, advises the RA “Board of Directors on the sound management and development of facilities and amenities for association members, the delivery of association-sponsored or co-sponsored recreation/leisure activities and services and the prioritization of funding for capital improvements and recreation services,” according to the association’s site.

RA is already accepting applications online for any member in good standing that wishes to volunteer to be a committee member for PRAC.

The advisory committee was suspended at a board meeting as RA moved forward with a data-driven review of its recreational facilities. The review was headed by the Recreation Facilities Working Group (RFWG), which presented its findings during the board’s Feb. 25 meeting.

The reinstatement of PRAC last week came as one of RFWG’s primary recommendations for the RA board.

“Part of the facility workflow process that we envisioned has the PRAC being a significant player in helping to navigate through that workflow process, managing community engagement and helping the board understand what are our opportunities and perhaps challenges as we make decisions around individual facilities,” said Jeff Thomas, a RFWG member who presented the group’s findings to the board.

The primary recommendations RFWG advised to the board also included implementing a facility workflow process to repurpose or maintain specific sites and evaluate the annual funding required preventing deferring major repairs and replacement at sites.

Other recommendations were to encourage RA member participation and seek feedback on facilities and building a Parks and Recreation Master Plan for the next 10 years.

“We’re a standout community when it comes to our recreation facilities. We should be proud of that,” Thomas said. “The thing we do need to recognize though is that the increased capital cost needs to be dealt with in a meaningful way. They’re probably not going to be sustainable without significant increases to assessments or other funding sources.”

Thomas also presented findings and recommendations for the pools, tennis courts and lake access in the RA community.

RFWG’s proposals for pools were that they should be a focus in a new community recreation master plan, marketing should be increased to help grow pool membership and an evaluation should be conducted on amenity improvements for best practices of pool operations and service to residents.

Thomas also shared that RA should evaluate long-term operations of underutilized pools and potential opportunities for repurposing them.

The lake access recommendations included improving Reston residents’ access to the lakes, improving or installing launches for small boats or kayaks, and adding boat storage and dock fees for non-residents. Other recommendations were to install docks or controlled areas for fishing or observation, introduce new community programming, and partner with other community-oriented groups for environmental education.

“The lakes are certainly important assets that we have here in Reston that are really valued and appreciated,” Thomas said. “But we think there’s probably opportunities to better leverage those lakes for recreational activities.”

The tennis court recommendations included ensuring adequate budgeting for maintenance of the courts and their surrounding areas, providing more marketing of the courts, capturing more data on tennis interest for future decisions and exploring adapting underused courts to a multi-use model to allow play for other sports.

Instead of taking immediate action on RFWG’s recommendations, the board approved a motion from Director Bob Petrine to defer any decisions on them until the full board has a working session to discuss each item. His motion included deferring action on RFWG’s report until the Fiscal Committee finishes its current project work on the facility financial analysis.

Petrine’s approved motion also included directing RA staff to send RFWG’s report and materials to association members via RA’s newsletter, cluster newsletters and social media channels as well with other committees.

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Voting Underway for Reston Association Election — Members of RA can now cast their ballots for the 2021 board race. Voting will remain open until April 2 at 5 p.m. [RA]

Large Metal Object Found in Lake Audubon — A contractor plans to remove debris from Lake Audubon as soon as possible. A barge crew and diver are expected to retrieve and dispose of the metal object later this week. [RA]

Transportation to Vaccine Appointments Offered in Fairfax County — The county’s Department of Neighborhood and Community Services has subsidized a taxi voucher program for seniors and other residents seeking to receive a vaccine. Other community organizations are also offering transportation services. [Reston Patch]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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The major renovation of Lake Thoreau Pool, which has been closed since last year, is set for a groundbreaking in October.

While the project is on budget, the overall effort is roughly three months behind schedule due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and anticipated delays with the county’s permitting process.

In a presentation to Reston Association’s Board of Directors late last week, Chris Schumaker, RA’s capital projects director, said that while it may be possible to catch up on the project timeline, permitting delays are very common due to the pandemic.

“Things that used to take weeks now take months,” Schumaker said.

In response to a member’s concerns about delays, Schumaker noted that the county is not conducting onsite inspections. Field surveys are being done over the phone, which has slowed things down quite a bit.

Member Michelle Kimmel urged RA to keep the community engaged and informed about the ongoing project.

“Already, our pool has been closed for years,” she said.

After meetings with the community, RA selected a lean design concept for the renovation project that works within the existing footprint of the site. A zero-depth wading pool would be installed on the facility’s deep end, the parking lot would be expanded, and the bathhouse would meet county and federal code requirements for individuals with disabilities. A lounge observation deck is also planned in the new design.

RA is considering replacing a lakeside retaining wall with a metal-framed overlook deck, a move that would significantly decrease the cost of the project. Plans are underway to determine how to integrate a family-use bathroom. The parking lot will have 25 spaces for the time being, according to the presentation.

RA allocated roughly 1.6 million in its 2021 capital budget for the project.

The association is also working through plans for storage options for watercraft.

An initial concept review by the Design Review Board is tentatively set for March 16. After another review by the DRB in mid-July, the contract would head for a vote by the board in August.

Kimley-Horn has been hired as the chief project engineer, along with Lemay Erickson Willcox for building architecture, Councilmen Hunsaker for pool design, GRS Group for surveying, and Terracon for geotechnical work.

So far, roughly 60 percent of the project’s drawings have been completed, along with a geotechnical survey and engineering, a review of existing conditions, and other surveying.

A grand reopening is set for May 2023, although the project will be completed by October of next year.

RA also plans to evaluate the success of the project and review feedback from members towards the end of next year.

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Voting in the 2021 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 1 through April 2. This week, we will begin posting profiles on each of the candidates. The complete election schedule is available online.

Featured here is Vincent Dory who is running against three other people for one of two at-large seats. The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. With the exception of minor formatting edits, 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 have lived in Reston for two years. I decided to set my roots down here because of the unique design and architectural philosophy that governs the design of this place and for the great location in regards to jobs in the area.

What inspired you to run for the board? 

I was inspired to run for the board out of my great appreciation for Reston’s history and design, desire to serve a greater community, and because of the fact that I am a self-driven person. The local activism in regards to the preservation of Reston’s green spaces has also inspired me to run.

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

As a board member, I will have three primary goals that I will push for.
First, I will work to protect our community’s green spaces with absolute commitment and with all available resources. Our trees and open spaces are a vital part of Reston’s identity that also provide our community with numerous benefits. The RA should use its platform and influence to protect these assets from over development and liaison with outside entities to assist in this whenever possible.
Next, I believe the RA should focus on improving and repairing current amenities rather than acquiring new ones. In light of the economic problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for repairs and upgrades for our pools and tennis courts, the need for maintenance with our dams, and the currently good state of the RA’s finances; now is the time for prudence and caution with the RA’s amenities, and with its finances.

Finally, I would be an important asset in the work to ensure reston.org‘s current redesign is the best possible for our member’s usage. I am a professional software developer, which gives me knowledge in being able to assist the Association with any technology issues. I also have certifications in cloud computing, which our IT infrastructure recently transferred to. All of this will be valuable for making our technology the best it can be in this time of transition.

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

I hope to accomplish the aforementioned goals, and help govern the RA in a measured, effective manner.

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

In addition to my aforementioned skills with technology, I also was the president of my fraternity during university. I am also active in many local political and activist organizations in my spare time. This all gives me experience in managing organizations effectively, dealing with and utilizing personnel to their best abilities, and having a smooth management of finances and assets. You can find more about me at my website, vincentdory.com.

Photo via Reston Association

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Thursday Morning Notes

COVID-19 Partners Expand in Fairfax Health District — “Giant Pharmacy and MyDr.’s Pharmacy have joined the list of vaccination partners who are assisting the Health Department in its efforts to vaccinate eligible individuals in its queue… All vaccinations occur by appointment only, there are no walk-ins.” [Fairfax County Government]

First Case of COVID-19 Variant Identified in Virginia — “The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) today announced that the first case of the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 has been identified in a sample from an adult resident of Central Virginia who had no history of travel during the exposure period. The B.1.1.7 variant, which first emerged in the United Kingdom in late 2020, is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.” [Virginia Department of Health]

Phone Issues Reported in Town of Herndon — Some of the town’s phone lines are experiencing issues. Anyone with non-emergency police needs should call 703-437-118. [Herndon Police Department]

Deadline for Reston Association Assessments Approaches — Members have until March 1 to pay their assessment fee payments. RA encourages members to make their payments online by credit card, over the phone or by mail in order to avoid late fees. [RA]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Voting in the 2021 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 1 through April 2. This week, we will begin posting profiles on each of the candidates. The complete election schedule is available online.

Featured here is Sarah Selvaraj-Dsouza who is running against three other people for one of two at-large seats. The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. With the exception of minor formatting edits, 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 have been fortunate to call Reston my home for the past 13 years. What brought me here was fate, but what has kept me here is a love and appreciation for Reston and its many wonderful offerings, the nature, the amenities, the attractions, and most of all the people who make our community so vibrant and unique.

When I came to Reston, I brought with me a business degree, ideas, and dreams. In 2013, I launched a small business in Northern Virginia. The Reston community helped me realize this dream. Ceramic classes and studio offerings at the Reston Community Center were an intricate part of my growth. I spent countless hours with the amazing instructors there, playing with clay. And as a mom, I have thoroughly enjoyed all that Reston has to offer from museums, art galleries, trails, parks, lakes, even a zoo, kids classes, ice-skating, pools, tennis courts, shopping, and so much more.

Each of our stories on what brought us to Reston and what keeps us here is unique and what makes this area an amazing place to live work and play. I want to hear about your story. Visit me on SARAH4RESTON.com so we can get to know each other and chat, I would love to talk, text, email or simply good ol’fashioned meet for coffee.

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). 

This year on the board, I championed several initiatives including:

  • resisting substantial increases to our dues,
  • offering pool pass discounts and refunds to members whose enjoyment of our facilities had been impacted by COVID
  • encouraging RA to take a very public stance in support of our golf courses
  • insisting on greater transparency from the association, board, and staff
  • improving cluster communications
  • advocating for an IT committee to help RA staff with strategy and oversight to protect members’ data and address several technology concerns that have plagued us over the years.

But Reston we’ve got a lot more work to do.

I am committed to ensuring RA’s primary focus is our membership – YOU.

Please vote for me to represent you for a full 3-year term so together we can see Reston flourish. Please visit me at Sarah4Reston.com for more info.

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

  • Affordability – From affordable housing to affordable RA assessments, affordability is KEY to all of us. We need to ensure our assessments are affordable. Being a mom and a small business owner I know every dollar spent towards an assessment is a dollar not spent on my family or my business.

  • Density and Redevelopment – RA must be an advocate for Restonians on Land Use issues. We need a strong board that can effectively represent us to the county on plans that conflict with our members’ best interests. New development must be part of RA. Many of these developments tout RA’s wonderful offerings like our amenities, lakes, and trails to entice new owners but are not members of RA and do not contribute to the upkeep.

  • Climate Change – The urgency of climate change cannot be ignored. Reston under the RA Environmental Advisory Committee(EAC)’s leadership is working towards being a leader on this front. We can and must do more. This year as liaison to the EAC I advocated for more visibility and input from this amazing group of volunteers on RA operations that impact the environment. I invite you to learn about and take the biophilic pledge with me and to visit Reston Today’s informative video.

These are big issues and need lots of conversations with the community and voices to find the right solutions for Reston. I want to start/continue these conversations. If you would like to join in, visit SARAH4RESTON.com

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

I had the honor to serve as one of your At-Large Representatives on the board this year. I am asking for your vote again because I want to continue to advocate for fiscal responsibility, transparency, two-way communications, and action-oriented leadership.

  • Greater Fiscal Responsibility: I believe smart money management does not mean raising assessments or pay cuts for hard-working RA staff. Smart money management means the efficient and effective use of available resources, including the knowledge and experience of the RA Fiscal Committee. It also means exploring the possibility of public/private partnerships and other non-assessment revenue streams to meet membership needs.

  • Greater Transparency and Communication: The RA Board must be committed to transparency and empowering the membership through meaningful engagement. We can achieve this by disseminating necessary documents and reports sufficiently prior to board/committee meetings to allow member participation and comment.

  • Action-Oriented Leadership: I will use my skill set as a successful business owner for creative problem-solving, where consensus building, communication, and firm deadlines will be key. I will encourage implementing action items in a timely manner.

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

Making a small business grow and prosper over the last eight years has required the ability to adapt and innovate especially to survive 2020. Those skills would benefit the RA board and our community.

Diversity, innovation, and adaptation have been an integral part of my life. I grew up in India, completed my engineering degree in Singapore, obtained my MBA in Bristol, England, and moved to Reston 13 years ago to start my family.

I love that our Reston community is much more than shared zip codes. When COVID hit and the struggle for civil rights and justice came to the forefront, I founded RESTONSTRONG and organized more than 5000 neighbors for community action including a peaceful demonstration and no-contact donation pods. I serve on the GMU School of Music Board, foster for LostDogRescue.org, and now help my 5th grade Terraset Tiger with distance-learning.

Most importantly, as a homeowner, a business owner, and a mom, I know the value RA brings to our community and lives, and I am also keenly aware of the strain we can face when assessments are raised or prices for programs and amenities become more expensive. I will ensure our money is spent wisely, I will champion accountability and transparency, and I will use my experience and passion for our community to implement creative solutions.

Photo via Reston Association

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Voting in the 2021 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 1 through April 2. This week, we will begin posting profiles on each of the candidates. The complete election schedule is available online.

Featured here is John Farrell who is running against three other people for one of two at-large seats. The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. With the exception of minor formatting edits, 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 family had the good fortune to move Reston in 1984. My 4 kids went to Terraset, Hughes and South Lakes Schools. They went to RA camps, learned to swim at RA pools and played ball on RA fields.  Our cluster has been home to many kinds of families of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.  That diversity has enriched all of us and truly makes Reston a unique and amazing place to live, work and play.

My passion for Reston actually began many years before I moved here. In 1965, like other 12 year olds, I was fascinated by coverage of the Gemini V mission sponsored by Gulf Oil.  Gulf’s ads featured Reston, a planned Virginia community.  In the midst of the Massive Resistance era, Gulf touted Reston’s housing for all socio-economic levels throughout a family’s lifecycle and the absence of racial covenants. Those ads set my life’s course: to study urban government in college and zoning and planning in law school.

Getting to raise my four children in Reston has been the fulfillment of a vision formed 55 years ago.

What inspired you to run for the board? 

I love all that Reston offers it members. Our amenities are one of the top reasons we are a nationally recognized place to live, work and play.  There is a cost and as we welcome new neighbors and as facilities age, upkeep costs will increase as well.  When I heard from RA leadership that it had not even asked the developers of the new apartments around the Metro station to join RA to help fund the upkeep of our trails, parks, lakes and ball fields that their tenants will use, it was clear the RA needs change. When I later found out that RA had not made a written demand to receive part of the recreational contributions made by those developers, it was clear that RA needed someone to advocate for its membership.

The bookshelves of the RA offices groan with one study after another, yet there is little action, advocacy or accountability by RA leadership.  It’s time for RA to take action. It’s time for RA to vigorously advocate for its members interests. It’s time for accountability by RA leadership to its members.

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

My overriding concern is to insure that we retain what’s best about Reston and that it prospers for the next generation. Some of my specific means of advancing that intention are to:

  1. Permanently preserve both golf courses;
  2. Promptly reopen Lake Thoreau pool as efficiently as possible and advocate that all RA facilities are open during their intended season; and
  3. Strongly advocate for the new apartment owners near the Metro stations to pay RA assessments to help pay to maintain our trails, open space and ball fields that their tenants will use.It’s only fair and will hold down our RA assessments
  4. What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

First and foremost, I want to be your advocate.  There’s a lot to love about Reston and there’s a lot that we can do together to make living, working and playing here even better.

Here are a few of my ideas:

  • Advocate for some the $25 million in recreational facility contributions from the developers of Reston’s new residential projects to be used for RA facilities and that all of it be spent in Reston;
  • Do our part to protect our environment by adopting a clear plan to convert RA’s fleet to electric vehicles;
  • Require all commercial properties to comply with RA’s covenants that protect our property values;
  • Increase transparency and encourage member engagement by avoiding executive sessions and revising RA’s committee structure to improve members’ understanding of RA functions;
  • Create a RA website that provides easily accessible information and two-way communication for all RA members at reasonable cost;
  • Insist that RA engage knowledgeable people to securely protect its members personal data; and
  • Preserving Reston’s legacy of inclusion of all social-economic groups at all stages of a family’s life-cycle.

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

  • I’ve spent my professional career advocating for homeowners and homeowners associations and I can use what I’ve learned to strengthen RA.
  • As an attorney specializing in zoning and wetlands law, I understand the regulatory challenges to preserving our unique community.
  • As President of the Fairfax Girls Softball League, I worked with others to successfully lobby the County Board of Supervisors to spend $100,000 per year for 10 years to bring the softball facilities up to the same quality as the baseball facilities.
  • As National President for the 40,000-member Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation, I managed a large volunteer membership organization.
  • As President of Colonial Oaks cluster, for the last 6 years, I’ve successfully dealt with the many issues facing RA clusters and learned the strengths and weaknesses of the RA covenant process.
  • I’ve spent the last 20 years protecting the right to vote in Fairfax.

I hope you’ll agree that all of that is experience you can trust.

Find out more by visiting farrell4reston.com.

Photo via Reston Association

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Wind Advisory In Effect — The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory that will be in effect from 2-6 p.m. today. [NWS]

Metro Seeks Comment on Proposed Budget — Metro is seeking the public’s feedback on its budget, which faces a significant shortfall due to a decrease in ridership caused by the pandemic. Ridership is down about 90 percent on Metrorail. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Reston Association Committee to Host First Public Forum — The organization’s multimodal transportation advisory committee is hosting its first public forum of this year on March 11. The committee seeks input on sidewalks, trails, pathways, crosswalks, and the overall pedestrian experience in Reston. [RA]

Death Penalty Repeal Sent to State Governor — Virginia could become the first state in the South to end the death penalty. The legislation was passed on Monday by state lawmakers and now heads to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam. Virginia has executed more people in its history than any other state. [Reston Patch]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Reston Association has shifted to cloud platforms amid an ongoing conversation on how to address IT security concerns. Some members of RA’s Board of Directors are pushing for the creation of a new IT committee that would guide RA staff on best practices for IT security.

The discussion comes after some board members expressed major concerns about how personal data is stored, why RA’s website was suddenly taken down that year, and allocated funding for IT-related projects.

In a letter to members today, RA noted that its IT department has taken ‘a number of steps to fortify and protect members’ information.’

Currently, no member data is hosted on RA systems, a shift from previous years. The organization transitioned to vendor-hosted software as well.

More from the letter is below.

RA member data related to annual assessment payments, recreational registrations, covenants records and other external business transactions are now on cloud systems managed by professional vendors who use the latest security standards to protect private information. 

Additionally, internal business operations such as email and document-sharing systems have been migrated to Microsoft Office 365 cloud platform. The Microsoft platform offers increased security features that combat social engineering, phishing and other online threats.

As new technologies to address security issues are ever-evolving, RA’s IT team is constantly reviewing controls and policies to protect the organization and its members’ private information. RA wants to ensure members that their data and personal information is safeguarded by a robust cloud-based network of vendors that uses the industry’s highest standards to protect all data.

RA’s Board Governance Committee will review the proposal for a new IT committee on March 4. The meeting takes place via Zoom at 6:30 p.m.

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Thursday Morning Notes

County Vaccine Clinics Canceled — The county has canceled vaccine clinics at the Fairfax County Government Center and four health department district office sites for today due to weather conditions. Individuals can reschedule their appointments for next week. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Association Candidate Forum Set for Next Week — Members will have the chance to ask questions in a debate-style forum on Wednesday, Feb. 24. [RA]

No Rolling Stops for Va. Cyclists Yet — “The Virginia Senate on Wednesday sidelined a proposal that would have allowed bicyclists to yield instead of halt at stop signs. Instead, lawmakers voted to commission a police study of the rule as enacted in other states. They also voted to require drivers to change lanes when passing bicyclists if three feet of distance isn’t possible and to allow two cyclists to ride side by side in a lane.” [Washington Post]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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As a new wave of snow accumulation is set to fall on Reston and the surrounding areas, Reston Association is clarifying its policies regarding snow removal.

In preparation for potential snow accumulation, the Reston Association (RA) issued a press release noting that “the responsibility for snow removal in Reston is shared” among Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), RA, cluster associations, individual residents and businesses.

Some RA members said they were alarmed that pathways were not cleared earlier this month.

In a letter to RA, Steven Graul, a Reston resident, wrote that Lake Anne Plaza was ‘caked thick with ice’ and remained ‘impassable and dangerous’ for more than a week.

‘It’s simply unacceptable for RA to be excusing their lack of resources for the failure on this issue. This needs to be a community priority and take precedent over other wasteful programs, which provide little or no community benefit, except perhaps to sustain the size and cost of the RA machine itself,’ he wrote.

RA is responsible for plowing snowfall on the 55 miles of pathways it owns and maintains and the access areas to village centers. Members of RA’s Central Services Facilities (CSF) will plow the pathways when snowfall reaches over two inches, according to the association’s site.

Mike McNamara, the Director of Maintenance for RA, will ultimately make the call whether or not to plow the pathways after conferring with CSF crew and mechanics.

On Feb. 3, RA turned to Twitter to explain why snowfall was not cleared from pathways. RA stated that due to a lack of snow, CSF crews could not utilize snowplows because it would risk damaging the pathways and plows. RA did state that hand crews were dispatched to clear snow.

In addition to four plows that can be used, RA’s site advises it has CSF members “to clear walkways, stairs and certain smaller pathways around community buildings and other high traffic areas in the community.”

The association’s site says that each of the four runs of pathways takes between four and five hours to clear.

While RA’s policies are to clear paths as possible, it does not guarantee that pathways will be completely clear after each storm. This is a result of changing temperatures, and hilly areas and heavily shaded locations that are vulnerable to refreezing. Hand crews and other personnel will inspect each area after a storm to address pathways as needed, according to RA.

RA also encouraged residents in its press release to shovel sidewalks and other pedestrian walkways. The association also advised that clusters could hire private contractors to remove snow from parking lots as well as other common areas.

Though RA doesn’t maintain roadway sidewalks, it will work to provide access to schools as much as possible through its pathways.

To report a dangerous section of pathway to RA, members may call the CSF’s main number 703-437-7658 or email [email protected]

VDOT is responsible for clearing snow from all state-maintained roads. VDOT’s road-clearing priority roads include interstates and most primary roads, snow emergency routes and heavily trafficked roads, and other residential roads. The department also offers a virtual map that residents may check to gauge the plowing status of their neighborhoods.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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