Friday Morning Notes

Pool Schedule Season Five Begins Next Week — A number of changes are coming to the timings and hours of Reston Association’s pools beginning Monday. [Reston Association]

A Debrief on the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee — Reston Association’s Chief Operating Officer Larry Butler discusses the role of the committee, a volunteer group that meets the third Monday of each month at the North County Government Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). [Reston Today]

Enjoy Four Star Combo Tonight — “The sound of The Combo is high-energy 1950’s Rockabilly and Honky Tonk played without any pretense of modernization or any kind of damn-fool ‘fusion’ of styles.” The band will perform at Reston Station Plaza from 7-9 p.m. [Reston Station]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Reston Association: No Immediate Plans to Close Lake Thoreau Pool for 2020 Season

Reston Association has no immediate plans to temporarily or permanently close Lake Thoreau Pool, contrary to community speculation that the pool is set to shutter due to low usage next year.

The future of the pool — which is in need of major renovations and has struggled with comparatively low utilization — has been the focus of discussion over the last several years. Last year, one RA board members said the pool was “falling into the lake.”

So far, staff and the Board of Director have had no formal conversations to discuss any and all operational and capital costs associated with pools for next year’s season, said RA’s spokesman Mike Leone.

An August 8 email from Julie Bitzer, the board’s vice president, about the fate of the pool has attracted recent community concern. Some RA members circulated a flyer indicating that the pool would be closed next year as RA examines whether it should pursue renovation or consider another use of the space.

Leone said that speculation was simply a “rumor.”

RA is in the early phases of its budget development process. As part of ongoing discussions, board and staff are gathering data on the utilization and of RA’s community pools and other recreational amenities.

The organization’s analysis of its recreational facilities will help RA determine if and how future amenities will be impacted by closures, renovations or other changes.

A budget workshop on the first draft of the 2020-2021 budget is set for August 21 at RA headquarters (12000 Sunrise Valley Drive). A series of meetings, including public hearings, will precede the adoption of the budget in November.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Vandals Dump Feces into Glade Pool, Other Pools Vandalized

Several Reston Association pools were closed over the weekend due to vandalism.

Vandals hit pools including Newbridge, Dogwood, Ridge Heights, Shadowood and Lake Thoreau, said RA spokesman Mike Leone. No major physical damage was reported.

The most significant vandalism happened at Glade Pool. RA staff worked to remove feces found in the pool over the weekend, Leone said.

The pool was closed an additional day to ensure the water was free of contaminants, per the county’s health guidelines.

The closure of the pool today comes as RA switches to season four of its pool schedule. It is expected to reopen tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11 a.m.

Leone described the vandalism at other pools as “minor.” Staff quickly worked to remove items that were thrown into the pools, which resumed regular operations on Sunday.

File photo

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Reston Association Budget Workshop Set for August 21

Reston Association’s Board of Directors and its fiscal committee will meet later this month to discuss the first draft of the 2020-2021 budget.

The meeting, which is open to the public, is set for August 21 at RA headquarters (12000 Sunrise Valley Drive) at 6:30 p.m.

The budget process kicked off on May 23 when the board adopted the budget development calendar.

Later this month, RA’s staff will incorporate changes made to the budget from the meeting to form the second draft of the budget.

A public hearing on the second draft is set for September 26. The budget will be formally approved on November 21.

Photo via Reston Association/YouTube

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Friday Morning Notes

Tickets Open for 2019-2010 Professional Touring Artist Series — Members of the public can now purchase tickets for Reston Community Center’s professional touring artist series, which features best-selling authors, musicians, and other notable figures. [Reston Community Center]

A Recap of Totally Trucks — Reston Association crew members encouraged children and adults to climb their smaller and mostly off-road units at the 20th annual Totally Trucks event on August 1. [The Connection]

Public Interest Registry Has a New Chief Financial Officer — The Reston-based firm hired Laurie Tarpey as its CFO. She will expand the expertise of the company’s executive team and ensure the “the measured growth of the .org domain.” [Cision]

Photo by Dario Piparo/Flickr

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Tuesday Morning Notes

‘Share a Haircut’ at Local Hair Cuttery Locations —If you bring a child up to 18 years of age to any local Hair Cuttery through August 15, the business will donate a free haircut certificate to children in the community. [Reston Patch]

North Hills Clay Tennis Courts Renovations In Progress — The clay courts are scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2020. [Reston Association]

Farmers & Makers Market is Today — Local artisans and farmers will offer a variety of items at the weekly market, which runs through November. It takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Reston Town Center. [Reston Town Center]

Photo by vantagehill/Flickr

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New Reston Sports Council Seeks to Become ‘Unified Voice’ for Local Sports

A new Reston Sports Council, which includes 13 representative organizations, is seeking to becoming a unified voice for the interests of the local sports community.

The council, which grew out of focus group discussions and meetings by Reston Association’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee in 2016 and 2017,  held its first meeting in February. Members involved the initiative presented updates to RA’s Board of Directors last week.

At the meeting, Jeremy Lee, the newly appointed chairman of the council and a Reston resident of more than 20 years, said the council is an independent entity and intends to speak as a single voice to RA the Fairfax County Park Authority and the county.

Organizers hope the council will also help sports organization — including those that are not formally organized — coordinate the use of RA facilities, consider bulk purchasing, review industry standards, and collaborate to solve shared challenges, according to Laura Kowalski, RA’s director of recreation and environmental education.

Former RA Board Director Jeff Thomas and current RA Board Director Julie Bitzer, who is also the board’s PRAC liaison, pushed for the formation of the council.

Bitzer, who lauded the initiative, said the council will be a productive way to ensure “all sports have a voice” and prevent one sport from dominating conversations.

Larry Butler, RA’s director of land use and planning, cautioned that only Reston-based organizations are allowed to use RA facilities based on RA’s resolutions and by-laws.

The council is in the process of developing its bylaws, operational procedures and website. It plans to hold monthly meetings that are open to all.

So far, the council serves 6,000 constituents involving in local sports, including Reston, Herndon and Great Falls.

Photo via Reston Association/YouTube

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Reston Association Explores ‘Creative’ Techniques to Boost Revenue

As budget season comes into full swing, Reston Association’s CEO Hank Lynch is exploring several ways to boost revenue beyond funds that come directly from member dues.

After conversations with RA staff, Lynch pitched several ideas — varying from concession stands at pools and tennis courts to a three-season education program for sailing — to RA’s Board of Directors at a meeting Thursday night.

Lynch floated ideas that he said could serve members while generating money for RA’s coffers.

Specifically, Lynch said RA’s competitive advantage lies in its ownership of local lakes, which could be the site of a new waterfront festival and paddle boat tours.

Other ideas that were suggested include but are not limited to:

  • Offering parking spots at RA’s Central Services Facility for rent during the Town of Herndon’s annual festival.
  • Creating a mobile concession truck that would travel to RA events and facilities
  • A floating dock for wedding, graduation and anniversary pictures at the Lake House
  • Electric shuttles to serve outdoor concerts, as well as paid tours

RA’s fiscal committee plans to vet all ideas that would cost more than $5,000, along with RA’s board.

The primary purpose of these ideas is to generate revenue — with the added bonus of providing a service to the community, RA board member Ven Iyer said.

RA’s 2020-2021 budget development process began in late May. The budget will be up fora vote on November 21.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Thursday Morning Notes

The Harry Potter-inspired Offices of Reston-based Macedon Technologies — The company, which accelerates digital transformation for clients by using technology and software consultants, has been repeatedly listed as one of the best places to work. Its new 25,000-square-foot office has a Harry Potter theme. [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]

Reston Association Board of Directors to Discuss Boats and Docks — The board meets tonight at 6:30 p.m. to discuss changes to its lake and boat resolutions and early thoughts on the budget. RA CEO Hank Lynch will also offer an update on RA’s strategic plan. [Reston Association]

Take a Break Concert is Tonight — Enjoy Tower House Band and dance music for all ages at Lake Anne Plaza from 7-9 p.m. today. [Reston Community Center]

Photo submitted by Christian Bolus

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Annual “Totally Trucks” Event Set for Early August

Reston Association’s “Totally Trucks” event took place Friday at the Central Services Facility.

Kids from the area can check out Reston Association’s fleet of big truck at the organization’s annual “Totally Trucks” event in August.

This year’s fun is set for Friday, August 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Central Services Facility. Kids will receive a “Totally Trucks” construction helmet.

A horn-free hour for some trucks will take place between 8:30-9:30 p.m.

The event costs $2 of children between ages two and 12.

File photo

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Neighbors Dispute Two-Story Addition to Round Pebble Lane Home

A dozen Reston residents voiced criticism for a new two-story addition to a home on Round Pebble Lane Tuesday night (July 16).

Neighbors said the two-story structure, which was approved by Reston Association’s Design Review Board in January, was incompatible with the neighborhood and set precedent for applicants seeking approvals for home additions.

Criticism of the DRB’s decision during the board’s meeting this week comes months after the approval and the appeals period granted by Reston Association.

The project is located at 1148 Round Pebble Lane and includes a two story addition. The application was approved with several conditions, including a requirement that all colors, materials, windows, doors, light fixtures, and other exterior elements match the existing home.

Holly Weatherwax, a local realtor, said that neighbors did not have enough information about the project when they signed off on the proposal.

“It looks like it belongs in Colonial Williamsburg, not in our street,” Weatherwax told the DRB.

Other residents said the structure — which is roughly 2,700 square feet — is incompatible with the community and is not sufficiently screened from Reston Parkway and neighboring properties. Some unsuccessfully pushed members of the DRB to respond to their comments at the meeting. Per the DRB’s rules and procedures, the board reviews members comments and does not respond directly to member comments when there is no application to consider at the meeting.

Weatherwax suggested that the DRB should ask residents to initial all pages of application in order to ensure residents are well-aware of proposed projects. She said the DRB’s approval on Round Pebble Lane should be an exception — not a precedent-setting new normal for future structures with similar design elements.

Residents said they were unaware of the nature of the application and did not know the appeals period had passed.

The project is currently under construction.

Photos by Holly Weatherwax

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State Fined Reston Association for Child Labor Law Violations Last Year

The state fined Reston Association $12,000 for violating child labor laws late last year.

The state’s Department of Labor and Industry issued fines in October 2018 after an investigation found “numerous violations” regarding minors employed as aquatics attendants or lifeguards, according to an August 2018 inspection report obtained by Reston Now.

Child labor law violations included minors working more than eight hours a day and more than 40 hours a week. The investigation also found that some minors were working without any indicated breaks, employment certificates or lifeguard certificates.

The most common violation cited in the investigation was allowing minors to work more than eight hours a day. Virginia’s child labor laws allow minors between ages 14 and 15 to work a maximum of eight hours per day on a non-school day. Work hours depend on school schedules and the type of occupation.

Mike Leone, RA’s spokesperson, declined to release any information about the citation, including whether or not it was disputed by RA or how RA is working to ensure issues flagged by the investigation do not occur again.

“As previously communicated, RA does not comment publicly on personnel-related matters,” Leone wrote in an email. Additionally, RA’s policy states that only RA’s board president, CEO and spokesperson are authorized to speak to media.

Sources told Reston Now that the investigation was discussed in closed session during a Board of Directors meeting at a date that was not identified.

In recent years, RA has struggled to staff pools due to a shortage of lifeguards — an issue that is part of an industry-wide shortage of lifeguards.

Due to the lack of qualified candidates, some aquatics facilities were changing hours or closing facilities as they step up efforts to hire for seasonal positions.

Staff shortages when schools were in session prompted the closures of several pools operated by RA. Leone told Reston Now the shortages were resolved on June 23 when 14 of the 15 pools operated by RA were open. New applicants were on-boarded and completed training courses, and more employees were available due to the end of the school year, Leone said.

A source familiar with the state’s labor law investigation and on-boarding of lifeguards, however, said that part of the reason for delays in opening the pools was because lifeguards did not have required safety certifications to begin working — an issue that was spotted by administrative staff “far too late” once pools were already scheduled to open. Certifications were expired or still in the process of being received, the source said.

Others chose not to return due to alleged mismanagement of aquatics facilities.

“Some people felt they were overworked and thrown into the job without on-boarding,” a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisal, said.

Leone said that some staff members were unable to begin working or register for courses due to personal schedules and commitments until the end of the school year. Once courses were completed, the shortage was alleviated.

“In light of our short window of operation (four months [from] May-Sept.) and onboarding process, we do conduct some interviews prior to applicants’ completion of lifeguard training classes for efficiency to avoid delays, an offer is contingent upon completion of the certification course and skill assessment,” Leone wrote.

As the number of lifeguard applicants has declined over the last five years, RA moved to change staffing structures by hiring desk attendants and pool operators to serve as stand-alone positions from lifeguards.

In the future, RA plans to address staff shortages at pools by exploring increases in hourly rates for lifeguards, changes to the pool schedules during peak hours and other recruitment and retention efforts.

Photo by vantagehill/Flickr

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Monday Morning Notes

Lane Closures on Sunset Hills Road — Closures are scheduled for eastbound Sunset Hills Road near the future Reston Town Center Metro station from today (Monday) through Wednesday. Crews are completing stormwater management work. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Metro Adds More Service Options — The price of four passes — the seven-day unlimited, the seven-day short trip, the seven-day regional bus and the one-day unlimited pass — will be lowered. A new option for a three-day unlimited pass will also be available. The service and affordable pass product changes begin today (Monday). [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Lake Anne Paddle Set for Friday — Registration for the event is $7 for Reston Association members and $9 for all others. Attendees will get a chance to canoe or kayak on Lake Anne with a naturalist. [Reston Association]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Proposed Lakes, Docks and Boats Policies Presented to Reston Association

New Reston Association policies for lakes, boats and docks are currently in the works.

William Peterson, the watershed manager for the Reston Association, gave an overview of the proposed changes at last night’s Reston Association meeting (June 27).

Back in May, the board directed staff to review changes to RA’s resolutions and policies regarding enforcement and oversight issues.

Peterson said that the working group is working on making a draft resolution of policies about lake use and access, as well as use and maintenance of boats.

“The [current] resolutions did not have specific definitions for boats, for general access boats, for oversized things, so we’re incorporating [the working group’s] language definitions,” he said.

Peterson also said that the working group was concerned about chemicals in treated wood and has recommendations about wood products acceptable for boats.

Another recommendation would add Lake Keepers — a volunteer program.

“RA staff agrees with the recommendation to have a volunteer Lake Keepers program, however, we suggest that it be educational in nature and it not be enforcement related,” he said. “We don’t want to put any volunteers at risk.”

The finalized draft resolution will go before the Board of Directors in July.

RA’s 50 percent rule, which states that moored boots may take up no more than half of the available lakefront property shoreline, also came up during last night’s meeting.

The Board of Directors discussed in closed session Harbor Point Unit Owner’s Association’s lawsuit challenging the 50 percent rule on the grounds that it was unnecessary and contradicts “Reston’s core values of live, work and play.”

The board voted to direct RA’s chief executive officer to reach a settlement agreement with Harbor Point.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Change of Location for Reston Association Board Meeting — The Board of Directors will meet at The Lake House instead of its usual location at RA headquarters on Thursday. The change was prompted by utility work planned outside of the building that evening. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. [Reston Association]

Arts in the Parks Continues through August — The series, which organizers describe as a fun alternative to Saturday and Wednesday morning cartoons, offers entertainment for children while teaching them on the importance of protecting national resources. Performances kick off at Frying Pan Farm Park tomorrow. [Fairfax County Government]

Robbery Reported on Last Tuesday on Dulles Court — Two individuals attempted to grab a cell phone from a man who was walking along the 600 block of Dulles Court. on Tuesday, June 18. The suspects are described as Hispanic teenagers. [Herndon Police Department]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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