As the mid-year point before next year’s budget cycle approaches, Reston Association’s Board of Directors and staff will discuss how to approach a comprehensive analysis of RA’s recreational facilities.
The analysis, requested by Director Julie Bitzer in March, would be the first comprehensive examination of RA’s recreational facilities in 13 years.
Larry Butler, acting CEO and senior director of land use and planning, said the last study was done in 2005 and examined issues like cost utilization trends, usage, maintenance, repairs and suggested upgrades.
Staff recommended hiring a consultant to complete the study due to limited staff resources over the next two-to-three months and ongoing summer projects like the Hook Road working group and the lakes, docks and boats working group.
The board will hold a work session on June 5 to discuss the scope of the analysis, whether a consultant is needed to complete it and better define the goals and scope of the work.
Other recreation-related decisions may be more pressing.
Board members suggested a timely decision on the future of Lake Thoreau pool, which Director Sherri Hebert said was “falling into the lake,” was necessary. Hebert said an expenditure of $1 million is estimated to bring the aging pool up to go code. No decision on the future of that pool has been reached.
The longterm examination will guide the board’s budget decisions on replacement, repairs and upgrades to facilities.
Photo by Mike Collins
After several failed attempts to appoint a new board member, Reston Association’s Board of Directors appointed Caren Anton, chairwoman of RA’s elections committee, to serve as the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District Director through April 2019
The board was tasked with appointing a new director from a pool of four candidates after the previous director resigned earlier this year. At a Thursday meeting, five board members voted for Anton to fill the position after several motions to appoint other candidates failed to garner enough votes.
But the board failed to make a decision on the next board president after David Bobzien, the former president and apartment owners’ representative, resigned due to a leukemia diagnosis earlier this month.
Despite two rounds of voting, the board remained deadlocked due to a tie between two directors: newly elected Andy Sigle and incumbent Sridhar Ganesan. The board deferred a decision to its next June 28 meeting when an apartment owners’ representative is expected to be seated. Sigle previously served on the board from 2011 to 2014.
Sigle’s first attempt to appoint Anton failed to gather enough votes. But after Director Sherri Hebert’s motion to appoint John Bowman and Julie Bitzer’s nomination to appoint Travis Johnson fell through, the board reconsidered Anton’s appointment. Both Bowman and Johnson ran for a board seat earlier this year.
Board members lauded Anton’s experience as a Reston resident for 30 years, her knowledge of the community and what Sigle called her “goals of independence and collegiality.” Newly-elected Director Ven Iyer applauded Anton’s “independent thinking,” a point that Hebert found “offensive.”
“I have to say Ven that I find it offensive that you think the rest of the board members do not think independently and do not make the votes on their own merit,” Hebert said.
Iyer also urged board members to recuse themselves from voting if any financial intermingling took place between them and other candidates in order to shield the board from accusations of “cronyism or impropriety.” Bowman and Johnson ran for seats on the board earlier this year.
Hebert abstained from voting for Anton and instead unsuccessfuly pushed for Bowman, who previously served on the board. She said he would “hit the ground running” as RA navigates complex issues in the coming months, including the absence of a permanent CEO and other staffing changes.
Rick Landers, who also ran for the position, was not nominated.
Bitzer said she looks forward to having another woman serve on the board. “I feel that we as a board in a sense owe Caren a chance to show how much more she can do and give to us,” she said.
Positioning herself as “an open, honest, ethical and transparent” candidate, Anton said she hopes to engage with apartment renters, who often have little knowledge of the function and role of RA. She also wants to explore ways to make the Hunters Woods Village Center a more enjoyable place to dine, play and gather.
“I come to you with no hidden agendas or allegiances,” she said.
Photo via Reston Association
Changes to Reston Association’s Board of Directors and its relationship with staff are being contemplated ahead of the board’s Thursday meeting at 6:30 p.m.
North Point District Director John Mooney has proposed a resolution to evaluate the relationship between the CEO, CFO, attorney, and board as part of an ongoing process initiated by several parties. Reston Association’s CEO and longtime RA advocate Cate Fulkerson left RA earlier this year.
The board will also consider a motion to form a CEO search committee to fill the vacancy created by Fulkerson. Currently, Larry Butler, RA’s senior director of land use and planning, is filling the position after acting CEO and CFO Robert Wood left RA for another employment opportunity.
A new board president will also be elected following the resignation of David Bobzien. The apartment owner’s representative resigned this month due to a recent cancer diagnosis. The board will elect the new president, who will serve through April 10, 2019.
Additionally, the board will appoint a new Hunters Woods/Dogwood District Director from a pool of four candidates. The vacancy was created when the former director resigned one day after this year’s board elections. Four candidates – Rick Landers, Caren Anton, John Bowman and Travis Johnson — will be interviewed.
The meeting will be streamed live on YouTube.
Lynchburg police search for Reston man — Police have identified Mark Anthony Goldring Jr., 31, of Reston, as a shooting suspect in a malicious wounding reported late Sunday evening. [WBDJ 7]
Dredging underway at Lake Thoreau — All dozen coves of the lake will be dredged and up to 400 truckloads of material could be removed. [Reston Association]
Five-story hotel approved — A 138-room hotel will replace surface parking in Lake Fairfax Business Park. The county offers an update on the recent approval. [Fairfax County Government]
A fine time — The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival took place in Reston Town Center. A local outlet posted several photos of the art displays and work. [Around Reston]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
A vacant position on Reston Association’s Board of Directors could be filled on Friday (May 24).
Four candidates — Rick Landers, Caren Anton, John Bowman and Travis Johnson — are vying for the open Hunters Woods/Dogwood District seat.
The position became vacant in April — just one day after the board election — when Victoria White resigned. The board will vote to elect the new director during its meeting.
Bowman finished second for the one-year, at-large director seat during elections earlier this year. Johnson finished fourth in the race for a three-year, at-large director as well.
The candidates’ statements are below.
Photo by Reston Association
Searching for the silver lining –An independent contractor will review the condition of concrete panels that are part of phase two of the Silver Line project. The news comes as the feds join a whistleblower’s lawsuit against a company accused of using faulty concrete. [NBC4]
‘Bike to Work Day’ is today — Be wary when you’re out and about today as bicyclists will take to the streets today. Commuter Connections and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association invites riders to celebrate bicycling “as a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work.” [Bike to Work Day]
Coyotes spotted in Reston — Dave B., a Reston Now reader, spotted a coyote with what appeared to be her pup yesterday just north of the Ridge Heights Pool. Have you seen any recently?
Tired of drivers speeding down your street? — Residents can ask police at their district station for increased patrols or speed enforcement. [WTOP]
Get your Reston glitz and glam — Reston Association’s gear and gift shop recently expanded, so if you’re all about Restonian pride, now is your chance to purchase some products. [Reston Association]
Photo by Dave B.
It’s not just Amazon — Apple is considering Northern Virginia for 20,000 jobs, in what could be the company third major U.S. hub. The governor pitched three sites: Tysons Corner, Loudoun and Crystal City. [The Washington Post]
What’s coming to your neighborhood — Zoning changes are afoot, including plans to expand areas where community gardens are allowed and how Airbnb and other short-term lodging options are regulated. Informational sessions are planned in the coming weeks. [Fairfax County Government]
Member Services closed for part of the day — Reston Association’s member services department will be closed today from 1 to 2:30 p.m. to allow staff to attend a session by local police about workplace violence. [Reston Association]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
Mark your calendars: Chalk on the Water, the fifth annual street-art festival, returns to Lake Anne Village Center in early June.
Hosted by Public Art Reston, the two-day festival challenges artists to create chalk drawings on Lake Anne’s Washington Plaza. This year’s event will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 9 and 10.
Artists can register in three categories, including professional artists, amateur artists, and families and kids. Participants have a chance to earn a prize. Face painter Becky Nelson will be on-site to paint faces and snow cones and popcorn will be available for purchase by Reston Association.
Last year’s festival sold-out for the first time. Organizers expect a high turnout this year as well.
“It’s a challenge to come up with a compelling drawing for the event, and a little intimidating to draw in public, but it’s always worth the effort. It’s also fun watching the reactions of people walking by, especially kids, and hearing their comments about the drawings,” said Bruce Wright, last year’s winner in the amateur category.
Online registration is open and closes on June 8 at 5 p.m. Participants can also register on-site on the day of the event. Fees range from $10 to $20 depending on the category.
Sponsors include Lake Anne Coffee House & Wine Bar and Reston Association Camps.
Photo via Facebook
But first–what’s a Bio Blitz, anyway?
Well, “blitz” means to do as much as you can in a short amount of time. “Bio” is short for “biological.” Put them together, and you have an event in which a large group of volunteers spreads out across a specific area and tries to identify as many different biological species as they can in that time period.
For this event, the specified area is Reston, and that time period is midnight to 11:59 p.m. on June 2.
“Naturalists and volunteers will work together during a 24-hour period to identify as many plants, animals and other organisms that live in Reston as possible,” say event organizers.
Volunteers of all types are encouraged to join in during the 2018 Reston Bio Blitz. A signup has been created, breaking up the 24-period into shorter, four- or five-hour periods, as well as separating people into groups who will search for different types of animals and plants.
Organizers say they are searching for people who are “subject matter experts” to lead teams that are hunting for specific species.
However, beginners are welcome too, they say, and will be paired up with more experienced people and an expert leader.
Requirements for volunteers are as follows:
Familiar with Reston’s natural areas and trails
Familiarity with the app “iNaturalist” (download it and learn how to use it ahead of time)
A digital camera to capture photos of different species
Those who know someone who is considered a subject matter expert in a certain biological area of study can form their own team, or volunteers can join an existing team listed on the signup. Additional teams may be added as more subject matter experts are recruited.
The “BioBlitz” hub for this event will be the Walker Nature Center in Reston.
If all of this sounds intriguing but you’re not free on June 2, representatives say you can play your own game of Bio Blitz by taking photos of various plant and animal species you find when you’re out in Reston nature on your own, and upload them to the Reston Biodiversity Project.
Photo: Patricia Greenburg, Reston Association Environmental Resource Supervisor / Credit: Reston Association/YouTube
To swing into the new season, the Reston Association will be hosting a Tennis Racquet Demo Day at the Lake Newport tennis courts on Saturday, May 12, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Reston Association tennis program manager Rob Tucker will have several racquets on hand for people to try out, including some of the newest models from brands like Babolat, Wilson, Dunlop and Head.
Tennis instructors will also be there to show people how the racquets are used, and to help players figure out which racquet is right for their game.
Photo via Reston Association
Reston Association’s CFO and acting CEO Robert Wood will resign, leaving two top leadership positions open at the homeowners’ association.
Wood was named acting CEO in February following former CEO Cate Fulkerson’s resignation in February. He has taken a new job at a national nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., ending a roughly three years of work at RA.
Larry Butler, RA’s senior director of land use and planning will take over as acting CEO. The board is actively searching for a new, permanent CEO following Fulkerson’s departure. Job listings were posted on online job platforms, including an April 9 posting.
Wood’s last day is tomorrow (April 20).
Photo via RA
Reston Association’s Central Services Facility staff have removed trees at Glade Tennis Courts (11550 Glade Drive) in order to prevent future damage.
During a March windstorm, two large pine trees fell onto the tennis court, damaging the clay court, court lights and perimeter fencing, according to Ali Khatibi, the manager of the Central Services Facility.
After inspections, arborists determined standing and pine trees posed a threat to public safety. Trees were removed from the court.
On March 2, RA estimated windstorm cleanup could take at least one month. Arborists continue to remove trees from pathways.
“We appreciate your patience during this process,” Khatibi said in a Reston Today video.
Photo via Reston Association/YouTube
Cheers for volunteers — Reston Association will recognize volunteer individuals, groups and corporate partners at the 2018 service awards reception tonight. [RA]
Hairspray JR begins tonight — Students from Langston Hughes Middle School will kick off their production of Hairspray JR beginning today. The show, which captures the spirit of Baltimore in 1962 with laughter, dance, romance and songs, will run through Saturday, April 21. Tickets are available online. [Langston Hughes Middle School]
A walking art tour — Art historian Phoebe Avery will lead a tour of public art around Lake Anne tomorrow from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.. [RA]
Honey, I shrunk the... — Honeygrow, a fast-casual Philadelphia import restaurant, is getting ready for opening day at RTC West. Hiring has begun. [Honeygrow]
Look who’s in town — The Herndon Youth Advisory Council, which was created by the town council late last year, is off to strong start this year. [The Connection]
Photo by Jessica Wallach
To the dismay of some area residents, a series of upgrades — including an amphitheater, fire pit and ping pong tables — are being considered for South Lakes Village Center (11120 South Lakes Drive).
But residents near the center and merchants worry the new space will become a magnet for youth from Langston Hughes Middle School and South Lakes High School. The project would also increase noise — a concern that already rattles some residents as sound travels down the lake.
Reston Association’s Design Review Board deferred a decision on the project Tuesday night to allow the development team, which includes engineering firm Kimley-Horn, to revise the plan. The DRB could consider updated plans at its next meeting.
Mary Sapp, president of the Lakeport Cluster Association, said the project would increase noise levels, raise safety concerns due to unsupervised teens, and increase the chance of vandalism of the plaza’s “very attractive features.” Sapp said three of the cluster’s 11 bollard lights were destroyed, three were knocked over and two Safeway carts were thrown into the lake from the dock over the last 15 months.
“We assure you that Lakeport Cluster is not ‘anti-students’; a number of our residents have children (or grandchildren who visit often), and several are actively involved with South Lakes High School,” Sapp wrote in a statement to the DRB.
Charles Foster, a Lakeport Cluster resident, called the project an “unprecedented experiment in Reston” that would attract 3,400 young adults within walking distance, creating an environment that “ allows anyone at any time to engage in any type of activity.”
Upgrades include an amphitheater, new lighting, a chalkboard wall, outdoor ping pong, lounge and plaza seating area and outdoor ping pong. A new, back-lit sign is also proposed for the center.
Gil Blankespoor, a resident in the Lakeport Cluster, questioned how the property owner will maintain the upgraded site.
“We know Chevy Chase Land’s heart is in the right place. They did a fabulous job last year with the new landscaping, and their plan is to build community activities. But what they propose is in the wrong place — far too close to residential developments,” Blankespoor said.
The development team said they were open to removing the gaming features of the site, including ping pong tables, in order to allay community concerns. DRB members also suggested removing outdoor cushions, which could end up in the lake, and adding more shaded trees.
In response to concerns about attracting area teens, Michael Casey of Kimley-Horn said the plaza was open to “all generations” and should not exclude any demographic. By design, the commercial plaza is placed next to residential development, he said.
“This is what community is,” he said.
Given the “brutal reality” of the retail world, activating the space is necessary to ensure the long-term viability of the center, said Tom Regnell, president of Chevy Chase Land Company.
“We are interested in that very long-term view,” Regnell said.
Photos via handout
The big boom — Big change is taking place in formerly quiet places. Reston is on the list of places where dramatic transformations — and price hikes — are coming. [Washingtonian]
A full plate — Reston Association’s Design Review Board will consider several major projects during today’s 7 p.m. meeting including an art spillway project by local students and upgrades to South Lakes Village Center. [RA]
Post-election analysis — RA’s elections committee is also set to meet this evening to discuss improvements to the elections process. [RA]
Balducci’s is coming soon — The food lover’s market is expected to open sometime in May in Reston Town Center. [Balducci’s]
Photo by Lauren Pinkston