Reston, VA

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy Reston Association

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Reston Association Reschedules Annual Meeting — The organization has rescheduled its annual meeting from April 14 to April 30 at p.m. The meeting will be held online. Election results will also be announced at the meeting. [Reston Association]

Roundup of Town of Herndon Restaurants and Grocery Stores — Town officials have put together a roundup of local grocery store hours, as well as restaurants that are offering delivery and take out. [Town of Herndon]

Surge of Cases Expected in Late April through May — “It could still be weeks before the worst of the coronavirus crisis hits Virginia. State officials are preparing for a surge in the number of people who test positive between late April and late May, Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday that analysis of the latest models shows Northam told residents he was planning for the worst and hoping for the best.” [NBC 4]

FCPS Superintendent Writes to Class of 2020 — Superintendent Scott Braband said that the state superintended plans to provide “maximum flexibility for graduation requirements.” “Even if you were not passing all of your required courses, I want you to know that there is still time for you to graduate this June.  Your teachers will ensure you have access to what you need to be able to complete your coursework through distance learning,” Brabrand wrote. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Nightly Applause from Reston Residents — “Something is happening at 7 p.m. each day in a cluster of high rises in the heart of Reston. Residents of Midtown at Reston Town Center are stepping out onto their balconies each night to show their support by applauding for healthcare workers and first responders dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.” [Reston Patch]

Local Developers Seek Help from Northam — “The coronavirus outbreak has ground the development review process to a virtual halt across Northern Virginia — and that has developers spooked, sparking new calls for state officials to step in and lend a hand to the industry.” [Washington Business Journal]

2020 Herndon Festival Cancelled — The Town of Herndon announced that the annual festival has been canceled “pursuant to the governor’s order.” The event was slated to take place between May 28-31. [Town of Herndon/Facebook]

Reston Association Closes Tennis Courts, Recreational Facilities — Due to state mandates and public health guidelines, the association has closed tennis courts, tot lots, basketball courts and pavilions. Parklands and ballfields remain open. [Reston Association]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Coronavirus Hampers Tegna Sale — Reston television operator Tegna, Inc. says the novel coronavirus has hampered its sale talks. Two potential acquirers ended deal discussions with the company following the “market dislocation” fueled by the global coronavirus outbreak. [Nasdaq]

Cornerstones Honored — State Sen. Janet Howell sponsored resolutions to honor the Reston-based nonprofit organization for “50 years of advocating for and promoting self-sufficiency among people in need of food, shelter, and human services.” [Inside NOVA]

Nearby: Inmate at Fairfax County Adult Detention Center Has COVID-19 — A man who had been incarcerated since Jan. 29 tested positive for the novel coronavirus. It is possible that additional cases will occur because individuals have already been exposed, the county says. [Fairfax County Government]

New Coronavirus Call Center Hours — The health department has changed the hours of its call center, which is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekends. [Fairfax County Government]

Online Reviews Scheduled by Design Review Board — Reston Association is offering online review by two members of the board for applications that were previously scheduled for panel meetings in April. Applicants can also defer the review of their application once the regular meeting schedule resumes. [Reston Association]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Monday Morning Notes

Lane and Ramp Closures This Week — Several roads including parts of the Dulles Toll Road will be closed through Saturday, April 4 as work on phase two of the Silver Line continues. [Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority]

New Trash and Recycling Rules in Effect — “Effective Monday, March 30, 2020, the Solid Waste Management Program is changing collection requirements for trash and recycling haulers and changing service levels at the county’s two disposal sites. These changes will remain in effect until the public health emergency passes. Additional changes may be announced if the situation worsens in our area.” So far, yard waste collection, community clean-ups, and bulk pickup have been suspended. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Association Extends Assessment Due Dates — Members now have until April 30 to pay the annual assessment fee “because of the hardships created for our members by the coronavirus pandemic.” [Reston Association]

Deadline for Reston Association Workgroup Approaches — Members interested in applying for the Recreation Facilities Working Group must submit materials by tomorrow (March 31). The organization’s board operations committee will conduct interviews on May 4 at 6:30 p.m. [Reston Association]

Photo by Eddie/Twitter

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Friday Morning Notes

Metro Services Limited to 26 Bus Routes — Metro is only running a core network of 26 bus routes and twice-hourly rail service only for the region’s “essential travel needs.” [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Local Unemployment Resources Available — Job seekers and employers in N. Virginia can access Virginia Career Works Centers, which offer a system of employment of training services through on-stop resource centers. Although the centers are closed, webinars, career coaching, and local labor market information is available. [Fairfax County Government]

Local Fire Station Demolished — Station 25 on Wiehle Avenue was officially demolished on Tuesday, making way for an upgraded facility that’s expected to open in May 2021. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Reminder: Voting Underway for Reston Association Election — The last day to cast a vote for the annual Board of Directors’ election is April 3, 2020 at 5 p.m. [Reston Association]

Photo via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

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(Updated with information about rental events and guest counts) Despite strong recommendations from federal, state and county officials to cancel large gatherings due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Reston Association allowed social gatherings with more than 20 people to take place at The Lake House.

The community building, which is located at 11450 Baron Cameron Avenue, is available for rent for weddings, birthday parties, and other events. Cars with license plates from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and other nearby states were spotted in the facility’s parking lot on the evening of Sunday, March 22.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam officially banned all gatherings of 10 people or more starting on Tuesday (March 24). But prior to the ban, local, state and federal officials urged people to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. In mid-March, Northam issued a public health emergency order banning more than 10 patrons in restaurants, fitness centers, and theaters. He also issued an order banning gatherings of more than 100 people on March 15.

On March 18, the Centers for Disease Control strongly urged that groups with 10 or more people not gather.

“Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities,” the CDC said. “Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies.”

When asked how many guests were in attendance, RA spokesman Mike Leone said the organization did not have any events with more than 100 people “because The Lake House can’t host a tabled event for that many people.” He also noted that after March 15 order, the facility was no longer configured for theater-style seating, which can seat up to 145 people.

After this article was published, the RA clarified that two rentals occurred within the 8-day period between March 15 and March 22. On March 14, a wedding took place with 80 guests and on March 22 a baby shower with 70 guests.

The association’s staff reached out to individuals with rental agreements to see if they were interested in canceling their events prior to Tuesday.

“At that time, federal and state government strongly urged individuals to not have social gatherings over 10 people — but there was no formal order in place mandating that. Most of the events that continued to take place at The Lake House were weddings and lifetime celebrations — as was the case this past weekend. These types of events, especially weddings and wedding-related events were planned months, and in some cases a year or more in advance, making couples elect to move forward with their once in lifetime celebration,” Leone said.

Leone said that RA took proactive measures to “socially distance staff while events were taking place” and disinfected all tables before and after events. A professional cleaning crew also came into the venue after an event to “disinfect the entire facility.”

He also noted that many individuals would have trouble rebooking elsewhere and had “already sent out invitations to guests months in advance.”

“We left it to the individual/couple to make the decision if they wish to move forward and refunds were provided to those who canceled their reservations.”

However, the RA took a stricter approach with activities, events, and services directly under its purview after the statewide ban on gatherings of more than 100 people.

The Walker Nature Center’s Nature House was closed to the public on Monday, March 16. All recreational activities and events were canceled through March 29, according to a March 10 press release.

In a March 16 letter to members, RA CEO Hank Lynch discontinued all walk-in service at RA’s headquarters due to the “need to support social distancing.” Members were directed to pay their annual fees online, call or email staff, or drop-off payments in a box at the building. The payment process has been plagued by technical issues.

Since the ban went into effect, RA says it has taken immediate steps to cancel all reservations through mid-May at The Lake House, conference center, Brown’s Chapel, the Glade Room, and picnic pavilions.

“We know this will create a hardship for some who have planned their wedding or celebration during that time period but we must comply with the Governor’s order. We will continue to monitor the coronavirus and will not continue event rentals until it is safe to do so,” Leone said.

Photo via Reston Association

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Reston Association has canceled all committee and board meetings through the end of next month.

The move was prompted by efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The association is also canceling all activities, programs, and events until further notice.

Here’s more from RA:

The association has installed signs at tot lots throughout Reston that offer the following tips related to preventing the spread of COVID-19:

– Wash your hands before and after using playground equipment.

– Stay at least six feet away from other children and adults.

– Do not gather in groups of 10 people or more.

– Please do not use this recreational facility if sick.

– Sneeze or cough into a tissue or inside your elbow.

We have also closed public restrooms at Lake Newport, Glade and Autumnwood recreation facilities.

RA encourages all its members to stay safe and abide by the guidelines set by Fairfax County, state and federal agencies.

Although the association’s member service department is closed, staff will be on-call on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Walker Nature Center and Central Services Facility is also closed to the public.

Phone call hours will be extended until 8 p.m.. on Monday, March 20 and Tuesday, March 31 to allow members to pay assessment fees by phone or via WebTrac. Fees are due by March 31.

It is unclear how the closures will impact RA’s ongoing election for its Board of Directors.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Lake Anne’s main dock will get a $1.1 million facelift that’s expected to finish around May 1.

Although the dock’s appearance will not change significantly, the structure will get new wood decking and repairs to its structural elements are planned.

No new features are being added, according to RA spokesman Mike Leone.

The $1.1 million estimate includes costs associated with the dredged of accumulated sediment beneath the dock. RA contracted Lake Services Inc. to dredge the sediment from the Lake Anne Canal near North Shore Pool and Lake Anne Plaza. The bulkhead along the Green Trail will be replaced as well.

More information about the project is available online.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image via YouTube

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Friday Morning Notes

 

FCPS Update from Superintendent — In an email sent to parents last night, Superintendent Scott Braband said that the school system will pivot to distance learning if schools are not open by April 14. Over the next two weeks, distance learning training for teachers will begin. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Federal Disaster Loans Available for Small Businesses  Businesses and nonprofit organizations in Virginia can now only for low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2 million. [Small Business Administration]

Support Local Businesses — Owners of several local businesses urged customers to continue supporting them by purchasing food and other items via curbside pickup, delivery, carryout, or online services. [YouTube]

Trouble with Reston Association Login— If members have trouble logging into their WebTrac account, they should email [email protected] with their name, property address or account number. [WebTrac]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Thursday Morning Notes

Reston Association Board Meets Today — The board is expected to hold an abridged session today at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be live-streamed and members are encouraged to watch online. [Reston Association]

Two New Presumptive COVID-19 Cases — The Fairfax County Health Department has identified two new presumptive cases of the respiratory disease, bringing the Fairfax Health District’s total count to 14. The district includes Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, the City of Falls Church and towns within the county. [Fairfax County Government]

Shopping Hours for Seniors — “Some DC-area grocery stores are offering or plan to offer special shopping hours for senior citizens, and in some cases other vulnerable people, during the coronavirus crisis.” [Washingtonian]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Tuesday Morning Notes

New Food Pick-Up Sites — Grab-and-go-meals are available at no cost for students at 21 sites. Breakfast is served from 8-10:30 a.m. and lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Reston Association Discontinues All Walk-in Service — Members can no longer pay their annual membership assessment in-person and should instead conduct services online. “Amid ongoing concern about the coronavirus (COVID-19), Reston Association’s top priority is the health and safety of our employees, members and visitors,” writes RA CEO Hank Lynch. [Reston Association]

Tips on Stay Engaged During Social Distances — “Social distancing can feel isolating and tedious, but Fairfax County offers residents numerous activities and services with which you can engage while following good social distancing practices.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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In order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, several local governmental entities and businesses are closing their doors until further notice. Fairfax County Public Schools are closed until at least April 10. Libraries, parks, and centers are also closed for at least two weeks.

The following list of the latest closures will be updated regularly as the situation evolves.

Reston

The Walker Nature Center is closed until further notice. All activities are canceled through March 29, but trails will remain open.

All recreational activities and events by Reston Association are canceled through March 20 as well. This Thursday’s Board of Directors meeting will be held by conference call. Members can still catch the livestream on YouTube.

While most gyms and restaurants are still open in the area, some are closing their doors temporarily.

New Trail Cycling Studio at Lake Anne Plaza is also temporarily closing.

I am leaning heavily on the knowledge that I would rather regret closing out of an abundance of caution than regret staying open and discovering we have contributed to the spread of the illness,” wrote owner Liz Camp in an email.

Herndon

The Herndon Community Center is closed through March 27.

The Herndon Police Department is suspending the following non-emergency services: the community room, tours of facilities and vehicles, ride-along program, and Friday afternoon fingerprinting services.

All building inspections of homes or interior spaces are indefinitely suspended.

The list below will be updated regularly as the situation evolves rapidly.

Photo via Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo via Reston Association/YouTube

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