After Monday’s Reston Citizens Association meeting, the group’s Board of Directors walked away with a new leader.
The RCA appointed Dennis Hays as the president of its Board of Directors, succeeding Sridhar Ganesan. Ganesan stepped down from his position on the Board after being appointed to serve on the Reston Association Board of Directors, as both an At-Large member and treasurer.
“I am excited to work with a proven network of community leaders who are drawn from the heart of the Reston community,” said Hays in a press release. “As Reston grows we need to work with the community and build a coalition of voices to preserve the ideals Reston was founded on.”
On the Board since 2014, Hays was recently re-elected to serve another three-year term. In addition, Hays is the chairman of Fairfax Library Associates, serves on the Friends of Reston Regional Library board and is a former president of the Reston Runners.
In addition to Hays’ appointment, Moira Callaghan of the North Point District was elected as vice president and Izzy Santa of the South Lakes District was elected to the Board. Joe Leighton of the South Lakes District was re-elected as treasurer; Nick Georgas, At-Large, was re-elected as secretary; and Connie Hartke, Hunter Woods district, and Hank Schonzeit, Town Center/Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District, were re-appointed to their seats.
There are still two vacant board seats that need to be filled: an At-Large (one-year term) seat and a North Point (three-year term) seat. If you’re interested in applying, contact [email protected].
The Reston Citizens Association elections will be held June 7-22. Four district seats and two at-large seats on the group’s Board of Directors will be chosen.
“This upcoming year is going to be another exciting one for RCA, as we continue to focus on educating and engaging the community and reflecting their voice,” said Sridhar Ganesan, RCA president. “New development, re-development, transportation and other Reston infrastructure, open spaces and other issues like Reston Town Center pay parking have been at the forefront for Reston and RCA during the last two months and will continue to be important for the people that live here.”
The six seats up in the 2017 elections are for three-year terms as the Hunters Woods District, the Town Center/Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District, the South Lakes District, the North Point District and an At-Large seat, as well as a one-year term in an At-Large seat to replace a director who resigned in 2016.
Anyone wishing to run for a seat must:
- be a Reston resident
- live in Small Tax District 5
- be 18 years or older
- vote in designated precincts/polling places within Reston districts
The Reston Citizens Association says it wants Boston Properties to give the money it is collecting from paid parking at Reston Town Center — a number the group projects to be $8 million annually — back to the community.
In a Tuesday statement, RCA says it has attempted to engage with Boston Properties for more than a year in the effort to “find a compromise that would allow the Town Center to retain its character while respecting [BXP]’s development rights.” Further, the Citizens Association challenged Boston Properties to — if paid parking is here for good — commit the revenue to “community betterments and activities that benefit Reston.”
“RCA makes this call because of the misinformation and untruths that [BXP] provided to RCA. From the very beginning, knowing how central the cellphone app would be for the paid parking experience, RCA asked many questions regarding how the App would work. Despite the assurances that were given to RCA that the ParkRTC App would provide a very user-friendly experience, today it is clear this is patently not true.”
In its statement, RCA says the paid-parking system is “confusing, contradictory and [the] subject of great frustration for users.” The citizens’ organization says it stands with merchants and others who are calling for the system to be scrapped or significantly overhauled.
Last week, Jackson’s restaurant filed a lawsuit against Boston Properties regarding the implementation of the paid-parking system. Other merchants within the Town Center say they are likely to do the same, and they continue to organize events to shed light on their displeasure.
The Citizens Association says it is willing to continue to work with Boston Properties on any mutually acceptable agreement that can be found.
“[BXP] has in the past been a good and generous manager of the Reston Town Center and can be this again. RCA stands ready to work with [BXP] to address its legitimate concerns about commuter parking while at the same time preserving the open and welcoming character of the Town Center that has made it such a centerpiece of our community and the greater region.”
RCA is seeking candidates to run for three-year terms on the board. The deadline to file is May 13. There are four director seats up in 2016: Hunters Woods District Director;Town Center/Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District Director; South Lakes District Director; and North Point District Director.
The Reston Citizens Association (RCA) is a non-profit serving the 60,000 citizens who live in Reston.
“Rapid development and how it could affect Reston’s infrastructure, open spaces, and quality life have been at the forefront for Reston and RCA in 2015-16. The future of Tall Oaks Village Center, St. John’s Woods, Reston Regional Library and Reston Town Center North redevelopment are just a few of the development planning activities that RCA has actively participated in and helped the community stay abreast of the updates and potential impacts to the Reston community,” RCA President Sridhar Ganesan said in a statement.
To run for a director seat, you must live in Small Tax District 5, be a Reston resident, be 18 years or older, and vote in designated precincts/polling places within Reston districts. Find an application on RCA’s website.
Send your completed application to [email protected] by May 13.
In other RCA news, RCA held its Citizen of the Year Award ceremony on Sunday, honoring Rescue Reston for its work to protect open space in 2015.
The annual Citizen of the Year Award traditionally honors an individual who has contributed to the quality of life in Reston, helped others in need and acted with the goals of Reston in mind, without thought of personal benefit or recognition, RCA says.
RCA chose Rescue Reston for its defense of Reston National Golf Course as open green space in a drawn-out legal battle of more than four years. RN Golf, the owners of Reston National, recently dropped their legal appeal in the effort to see if the course could be developed as residential.
“Typically, RCA has awarded the honor to an individual from Reston, but chose Rescue Reston for 2015 because it greatly represents the things that make Reston very unique — strong community involvement and passion for core founding principles such as preserving open green space and having ample recreational facilities within the community,” RCA President Sridhar Ganesan said in a statement.
“Thousands of citizens united behind the Rescue Reston cause, which resulted in a great public common good for Reston. Being an association of, by and for the citizens, RCA is proud to honor this organization that represents a citizen-led movement,” he said.
Rescue Reston will be honored at the annual RCA Award Ceremony on Sunday, April 24 at 6 p.m. at the Reston Community Center Hunters Woods.
Del. Randy Minchew of (R-Loudoun) has filed a bill that would lift a longtime moratorium on towns and jurisdictions with populations of more than 40,000 transforming into cities. The law was enacted in 1987 and is set to expire in 2018.
Minchew’s bill is mostly aimed at Leesburg, which has town status and whose residents often complain they are double-billed by county and town taxes.
So what does this have to do with Reston? Passage of Minchew’s bill into law could resurrect the movement to make Reston a town.
That movement has been dormant the last several years, but was a hot topic — particularly among members of the Reston Citizens Association — about a decade ago.
With about 60,000 residents Reston, which is a Census-designated place but neither a town nor a city — would be among the largest towns in Virginia.
In 2005, RCA held a series of community meetings and collected more than 600 signatures asking for a state referendum on becoming a town. There were also similar citizen efforts in 1980 and 1988.
Since some Reston residents pay Fairfax County taxes, Reston Association assessments, cluster dues and Small Tax District 5 taxes, town status would save Restonians money, RCA said at the time.
The most recent effort did not receive broad support from Reston Association, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors or Del. Ken Plum or Sen. Janet Howell. (more…)
RCA is a nonpartisan community group representing the citizens of Reston. It usually holds annual elections, but RCA by-laws state that if only one candidate files, then RCA can appoint that candidate to the post.
The two directors joining the RCA board for the first time are Lynne Mulston (Town Center/Lake Anne/Tall Oaks) and Geoff Lewis (At-Large). Mulston has been a resident of Reston since 1968 and is the founder and principal of a consulting firm. Lewis is an architect with DBI Architects and is involved Reston Runners and the Initiative for Public Art – Reston (IPAR),
RCA’s reappointed sitting At-Large directors (three-year terms) are Annmarie Swope, Nick Georgas and Yavuz Inanli.
Ganesan, who represents Reston’s North Point District, was re-elected as president and John Hanley, Hunters Woods District director, was re-elected as RCA’s Vice President. Joe Leighton, South Lakes District, was re-elected as Treasurer and Nick Georgas as Secretary.
For more info on RCA visit www.rcareston.com.
After Phase 2 of the Reston Master Plan was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors last week, Reston 2020 and the Reston Citizens Association have decided to part ways.
Reston 2020, which was formed by RCA members six years ago to advocate for citizens concerned about the Master Plan process and other development activities, says it will also suspend major activities for now.
RCA’s Connie Hartke says many groups have jumped from RCA into independent organizations. Among them: Reston Planning & Zoning, which is now under Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office, and Sustainable Reston.
“The RCA Board of Directors thanks the Reston 2020 Committee for the invaluable contributions and their tireless efforts on behalf of Reston,” she said. “The RCA Board wishes the Reston 2020 Committee continued success and look forward to collaborating with it on issues of joint concern to ensure Reston continues to remain a premier community in the Washington, DC Metro area where people wish to live, work and play. ”
In addition to focusing on Master Plan issues, Reston 2020 offered analysis, white papers and testimony on, among others, the Dulles Toll Road, Metro’s Silver Line, Fairfax County Public Libraries, the new Reston Community Center, the recent Tetra purchase by Reston Association and Reston development in general.
Reston 2020 said the decision to temporarily suspend activities “is driven by the fact that Reston 2020’s core mission has been completed and those few committee members who have worked extensively on the Reston Master Plan and other Reston 2020 issues are exhausted. ”
“This does not mean closing down the committee,” says Reston 2020. “Reston 2020 will accept and review ideas on community development topics and issues Restonians think it ought to pursue, proceeding on those that have a broad community impact.”
There are five seats up for election to the citizens advocacy group this year: the Town Center/Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District Director and four At-Large Director positions.
To run for Town Center/Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District Director seat, you must live in Small Tax District 5, be a Reston resident, and vote in designated precincts/polling places within Reston districts: Reston I, Reston II, Reston III or Cameron Glen precinct or Forest Edge Elementary or Lake Anne Elementary schools. The elected director for this position will serve for one year.
The At-Large Director positions are open to residents of anywhere in Small Tax District 5. All of the At-Large Directors seats are three-year terms.
RCA elections will take place June 7 to 22.
The RCA application is available on the Reston Citizens Association website. The completed application must be received by RCA by May 23 by email or by mail (2033 Approach Lane, Reston, VA 20191).
The annual RCA Citizen of the Year Award honors an individual who has contributed to the quality of life in Reston, helped others in need and acted with the goals of Reston in mind, without thought of personal benefit or recognition.
Stillson, an attorney who served as RCA’s president from 2008-11, has been a leader on community issues such as diversity and accessibility for the disabled.
As president of RCA, she founded three committees: The Reston Accessibility Committee; Reston 2020, which monitors Reston development; and the Environmental Committee, which morphed into Sustainable Reston.
She also has served on several Fairfax County committees; as a county election officer and held many state and national leadership positions with the American Association of University Women.
The ceremony is Thursday, April 16 at 7 p.m. at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods.
The public is invited to the ceremony free of charge, but should RSVP on the event site.
Photo: Marion Stillson/Courtesy RCA
The Reston Citizens Association has opened nominations for the 2014 Reston Citizen of the Year Award.
Each year, the Reston Citizens Association Board selects one person from the pool of nominations submitted by Reston citizens. Nominations are due by Friday, Feb. 20.
The tradition of honoring the Reston Citizen of the Year was reintroduced in 2008 as a way to spotlight the work of dedicated citizen volunteers and civic activists who work tirelessly behind the scenes, providing them the recognition and appreciation they have earned through their hard work and dedication to the Reston community.
Here’s what it takes to be a candidate for RCA’s Citizen of the Year:
- The nominee has been a Reston resident for at least five years.
- The nominee’s actions are consistent with the goals of Reston, and of RCA.
- The nominee’s actions have contributed to the quality of life in Reston.
- People in need of help have benefited from the nominee’s actions.
- The nominee’s deeds were done without thought of personal benefit or recognition.
- The nominee is not currently serving as an elected public official or a member of the Board of a major community organization (RA, RCA, or RCC).
The Reston Citizen of the Year will be honored at a special reception in the spring of 2015.
Past RCA Citizen of the Year honorees include Sen. Janet Howell, Rev. Embry Rucker, Reston Association CEO Cate Fulkerson and library activist Kathy Kaplan.
This is an Op-Ed by Connie Hartke of the Reston Citizens Association. Something on your mind that you want to share with the community? Email Reston Now at [email protected]. Reston Now reserves the right to edit submissions.
As we turn the calendar to a new year, some of our Reston neighbors will be facing an important vote in January that affects their summertime comfort.
Covenant 15 of the Reston Association Deed requires 343 households to use the 50+ year old Reston Lake Anne Air-Conditioning Corporation cooling system (RELAC), unless they receive an annual medical exemption — a nightmare when the unit goes up for resale.
These 343 households will have the opportunity to revoke (or not) Covenant 15 by a referendum vote. A yes vote will allow choice without ending RELAC. This system works adequately for many, but not all.
The Reston Citizens Association (RCA) supports revoking Covenant 15 (commonly called RELAC). Sridhar Ganesan, President of RCA stated: “While clearly many people around Lake Anne still like and want RELAC because it seems to serve their purposes, it is also clear that a number of people have not been happy with the system, the costs and other burdens that they feel it imposes on them. RELAC is a system as old as the Lake Anne community. Not only would the investment in that system have been fully paid for, today’s technologies have surely far surpassed RELAC’s. Many of us on the RCA Board as well as members sympathize and feel that after all these decades of using and paying for the operation of that system, those that would like to opt out of RELAC and pursue other alternatives should have the Choice to do so.”
None of us on the current RCA board live where RELAC is mandated, but we listen to Restonians who do and who live on the sunny side of Lake Anne. (more…)
RN Golf Management has been given a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing date of 9 a.m on Jan. 21 — and the president of Reston Citizens Association says it is hoping Restonians will support the organization as they fight to preserve open space in Reston.
RN Golf, owners of Reston National Golf Course, first asked for the zoning appeal two years ago, after its inquiry with the Fairfax County on whether the 166-acre parcel could be considered residential came back as “no.”
Fairfax County responded that the course is open recreational space, and if the owners wanted something different, they needed to seek a rezoning. RN Golf, which deferred its quest in the summer of 2013, wants to reclassify the space without going through the rezoning or comprehensive plan amendment process, according to county documents.
Attorneys for RN Golf, a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual, asked the county to reactivate the issue earlier this month.
RCA president Sridhar Ganesan says his organization will join Reston Association and Rescue Reston in opposing redevelopment of the public course.
“In response to RN Golf’s bid in Summer 2012 to explore rezoning of RNGC land for non-open space uses including residential development, RCA passed a resolution on August 27, 2012 rejecting the use of the land for anything other than its current use as open space, specifically its current use a golf course or as open space dedicated to parks and recreation,” Ganesan said.
RCA says that with additional development coming to Reston with the arrival of the Silver Line, “preserving open space dedicated to parks and recreation is critically important, and RNGC is integral to Reston’s longstanding vision and plan as a diverse planned community in which people are able to live, work and play.”
“Just as in 2012, Reston organizations such as Reston Association (RA), Rescue Reston (RR) and RCA are aligned in their opposition to any potential rezoning of the land,” Ganesan said. “Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, Hunter Mill District (which covers RNGC land), has also said that she continues to support the Fairfax County Zoning Administrator’s determination with regards to RNGC and RCA thanks her for publicly stating her support for the original zoning determination.”
RCA says it also supports RA’s willingness to consider purchasing the golf course, if needed, to continue to maintain it as a Reston recreational asset.
This is an op-ed from Connie Hartke of Reston Citizens Association. Lake Anne Fellowship House had recently planned a redevelopment project. That recently fell through, and the affordable senior housing faces an uncertain future.
RCA feels it is urgent that the greater Reston community understands the implications of development on one of our Reston Comprehensive Plan 10 Planning Principles, which is “housing provided for all ages and incomes.” Our community support is needed to ensure that land owners and potential developers respect and honor our Plan.
Who Lives at Lake Anne Fellowship House (LAFH): Folks 62 or older on limited fixed incomes and those of any age with a qualifying disability and income. A good description is at fellowshipsquare.org/fsf/who-are-we.
Who owns it: Fellowship Square Foundation (FSF), a non-profit provider of affordable housing for the elderly and disabled in the DC metropolitan area. They own and operate LAFH, Reston’s Hunters Woods Fellowship House and two others.
The FSF website does not currently post a mission statement, but we find this on page 5 of their 2013 annual report:
“We specialize in financially fragile residents. We celebrate that we make a difference in their lives and the life of the community they live in.”
The original purpose of the Foundation according to its founder Dr. John Scherzer, told to the RCA on March 13, 1970:
“The purpose of the Foundation as set forth in our Charter is to sponsor adequate retirement facilities for lower and middle income people who must depend for their livelihood upon the fixed income from civil service retirement and/or Social Security.”
He replaces Colin Mills, who did not run for re-election.
Ganesan is an RCA board member from the North Point District who has been involved in many local issues and organizations the past several years.
John Hanley, Hunters Woods District director, was re-elected by the Board as RCA’s Vice President, a position that he has held for the past two years. Board Member Nick Georgas was elected as Secretary and Joe Leighton was reelected to the position of Treasurer.
Incumbent Hunters Woods District Director Constance Hartke was re-elected to the Board. Dennis Hays was elected to the Board as an At Large Director.
Hank Schonzeit joined the Board as a new Director from Town Center/Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District, while Robin Hogan also joined the board as a new Director from South Lakes District.
Online voting was open to all Small Tax District 5 (Reston) residents in June. More information on the RCA directors can be found on RCA’s website, www.rcareston.com.