Greats Falls and Reston soccer merge — “The Reston Soccer Association and Great Falls Soccer Club merged in March of this year, combining to form one club of around 2,600 players. The merger has been a subject of discussion for years now, but only recently came to fruition after careful coordination between members of the Reston and Great Falls Boards of Directors.” [The Connection]
Be wary when going outside today — An air quality alert has been issued for today. The heat index could climb into the high 90s or even the low 100s. [National Weather Service]
Herndon’s high hopes for Metro — “The town is preparing for an unprecedented amount of high-density development around the Silver Line’s new Herndon Metro station slated to open in 2020.” [Washington Business Journal]
Nearby: Fireworks and family fun — “Lake Fairfax Park will host its annual fireworks show on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Rain date July 1, 2018). Come to the park early and spend the day. The park opens at 7 a.m.” [Fairfax County Government]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill
Silver Line extension to Dulles awaits test results — “The Silver Line extension project to Dulles International Airport is now waiting on test results that could determine whether it opens on time. Project director Charles Stark told the Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee… that three problems with concrete wall panels at five stations under construction had already been identified before news of a whistleblower lawsuit broke.” [WTOP]
A local kid’s message for President Trump — Disturbed by the murders of Buckley Kuhn Fricker and Scott Fricker late last year, 10-year-old Anya Moon pens a letter to President Donald Trump about gun violence. [CNN]
For Normandy — Five ensembles by current and former Herndon High School musicians will be featured in this family-friendly concert on Sunday. All proceeds will help the school’s band travel to Normandy to participate in the 75th anniversary of D-Day. [Herndon High School]
Registration for fall soccer is now open — The Great Falls-Reston Soccer Club is accepting application starting today for a variety of programs. [Great Falls Reston Soccer Club]
Reston Pride Festival set for tomorrow — As pride month begins, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston is hosting Reston’s first-ever Pride Festival on Sunday. The event includes 10 performances, remarks by local politicians, exhibits, food, and music. [Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston]
Photo by Ruth Sievers
A half-dozen residents have thrown their hats in the ring for an At-Large seat on the Reston Association Board of Directors, and they faced the community Thursday in a candidate forum at RA headquarters.
Roberto Anguizola, Eric Carr, Mike Collins, Charles Dorfeuille, Ven Iyer and HeidiAnne Werner are all vying for the three-year term on the board. The forum provided them an opportunity to tout their abilities, as well as their goals if they should be elected.
When contemplating the 2018-19 Reston Association budget, which will be approved later this year, candidates said there is a wide number of factors that must be considered. Collins, who was an RA board member from 2010-2013, said it is important for the board to get back to fundamentals.
“We’re not doing the very basic thing we have to do, and that’s maintaining our facilities to the best of our ability,” he said. “That’s going to require laser-like focus by the board, they are going to have to be intimately familiar with our operations, and they have to just say no.”
Dorfeuille, an eight-year resident and a member of the Community Engagement Advisory Committee, advocated for a line-by-line analysis of the budget that separates essential items from non-essential.
“We are spending too much for what I believe we as a community are being given,” he said. “What is non-essential, we look at in the line-by-line review of what we can reduce or what we can de-prioritize.”
“Our assessments have nearly doubled in the last 15 years — this is not sustainable and it is not warranted,” he said. “In another 30 years, the Reston as we know it now will only be affordable for the wealthy top.”
Carr, a former cluster president with over 20 years of nonprofit and government management experience, said a long-term capital plan is needed so the RA board can “get [its] arms around” the existing capital assets that need to be addressed.
“We think about these 40-, 50-year assets we own in two-year budget cycles,” he said. “That doesn’t make sense and it’s very hard to project into the future, and we continue to get surprised when pools fall into disrepair or when pathways need maintenance.”
Werner, a lifelong Restonian who works as an association manager, said natural environments need to be protected from development. She added that services, programs and facilities available to Reston Association members need to be optimized.
“This really is to put a focus on our facilities, to make sure they are in the proper maintenance and attractive for members to use,” she said.
Anguizola, a trial attorney who has lived in Reston since 2008, said his top priority would be to address aging infrastructure in the community. He touted partnerships with nonprofit groups and businesses as a way to achieve that goal without increasing assessments.
“Most of the recreational facilities and amenities in Reston were built in the late ’70s, early ’80s,” he said. “They need attention, and that’s going to cost money to keep them at the level everyone expects them to be at.”
Collins said the board must do a better job of managing its staff and analyzing its needs in the effort to keep costs down.
“The board needs to have firm controls on the budget from the get-go, they need to be willing to get into the details, get behind the top-level numbers and again, say no,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t need a new truck, we don’t need a new computer system. I hate getting into the weeds like that, but apparently we need to do it.”
Beyond the budget, candidates were asked questions on issues including engagement of the community, how conflicts of interest should be addressed and adherence to the Reston Master Plan. The issue of handling continued development and population growth in Reston is also one of great importance, candidates agreed.
“We can’t look at, for example, St. Johns Wood having people go outside the Master Plan to expand and increase the population density in places that it does not allow,” Dorfeuille said. “The Master Plan doesn’t just give guidelines for developers to increase the population, make it more dense — it also gives us a powerful tool.”
Carr said the future cannot be predicted, only shaped — and he said the Master Plan can be altered, if necessary, to help do so.
“If we don’t like that vision of the future, we change that vision of the future,” he said. “We need to be proactive and we need to take strong leadership to change that Master Plan to something that suits Reston as it is today.”
Iyer said Reston must remember it has the power to stand up to developers.
“The most common way people lose power is by thinking they don’t have any,” he said. “We do have a voice, and RA is on the frontline of that, so it is very important for us to organize our power and our ability together. The very first step toward a movement is to come up with a voice and speak out against [development at] St. Johns Wood, the Lake Newport soccer proposal, and [development at] Reston National Golf Course.”
Anguizola is the president of Reston Soccer and a driving force behind the Lake Newport soccer proposal, which has been tabled indefinitely by the RA board after a pushback from the community. He was the target of a question from an audience member regarding a potential conflict of interest he would have when it comes to the proposal.
“I think it’s impossible to have folks that are deeply engaged in the community that won’t have a potential conflict of interest when they are going to take office,” he said. “The right thing to do is disclose it in all of the annual disclosure documents, and number two, recuse yourself. … If that issue comes before me, or any other Reston Soccer issue, I will recuse myself from that, and every other candidate that has those issues should as well.”
When asked about the recommendations made in StoneTurn’s review of the Tetra/Lake House purchase, Iyer said he wants to see the Tetra Review Committee disbanded and the pro bono offer by community-based Mediaworld re-addressed. Two other candidates, Anguizola and Werner, said it is time to move on.
“We’ve made a bad decision — I don’t think anyone in this whole room is ‘yay’ for the Tetra deal — but we do have some recommendations,” Werner said. “There does have to be some accountability, but Reston does need to move forward and figure out, now that we have this property, how do we utilize it to the best of our association’s ability?”
Carr, who is chair of the Tetra Review Committee, said getting a firm handle on the Lake House’s financials is one of the main goals he has for this upcoming budget.
“We need to disabuse ourselves of the notion that this is ever going to be a profit center for us. It isn’t. It’s going to cost us a lot of money, but we need to know exactly how much money it’s going to cost us,” he said. “We need to accept at some point that it isn’t going to fill our coffers, and we need to budget for that.”
Candidates also answered questions about traffic, pool usage, staff accountability and more. The forum can be viewed in full on Reston Association’s YouTube channel.
Voting will continue through April 3 and can be done by mail or at reston.org.
Possibly Rabid Fox Bites Woman, Cat — Animal Protection Police officers responded Tuesday to two different scenes in Great Falls where a fox had gone on the attack. A 71-year-old woman suffered serious injuries after being bitten “multiple times” around 3 p.m. in the 600 block of Ad Hoc Road; about an hour later and about three miles away, a 54-year-old woman fought off a fox that had bitten her cat. The fox believed to have been involved in both incidents was euthanized and is being tested for rabies. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Metro Station Work to Affect Toll Road Traffic — Eastbound traffic on the Dulles Airport Access Highway will be diverted onto the Toll Road on Saturday night into Sunday morning. The detours will be to allow workers to set large precast concrete elements for the future Herndon and Reston Town Center Metro stations. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]
Reston-Based Soccer Academy Gets Leader — Tom Torres has been named the head of the Washington Spirit’s U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy, which is scheduled to start play in Reston this fall. Torres has been a coach with the D.C. United’s academy for the past 10 years. [Black and Red United]
With Spring Showers Comes Flooding — With the start of spring less than two weeks away, county officials are reminding residents of tips to keep themselves and their homes safe from potential flooding. [Fairfax County]
After a spirited member-comment session, the Reston Association Board of Directors decided at their meeting Thursday to indefinitely table a proposal from Reston Soccer to renovate the Lake Newport soccer fields.
About a dozen members of three clusters adjacent to the fields — Bayfield Station, Arbor Glen and Concord Green — spoke before the board to express their concerns about the project. The issues at hand include the worries about lighting, artificial turf’s effect on the environment, and increased disruption to the community due to field use at later hours, year-round.
“Neighbors from the most affected clusters are united in our opposition to Reston Soccer’s proposal and are angered at the manner in which the Reston Association has mismanaged this project,” said Eric McErlain, Bayfield Station homeowners’ president and organizer of a community coalition called Preserve Newport Fields. “In our view, the proposal violates RA covenants concerning the conservation of green space, and we believe it amounts to a taking of a shared community resource for the private gain of Reston Soccer.”
Similar issues were brought up during a community meeting on the proposal earlier this month. After that meeting, Reston Soccer requested a Design Review Board session on the proposal that had been scheduled for Feb. 21 be postponed.
Residents expressing their concern about the proposal pointed to Reston Soccer’s ongoing fundraisers as proof that the project’s approval by the board was a foregone conclusion. Director Julie Bitzer (South Lakes District) said the proposal’s timeline remains in its early stages.
“To think the horse is out of the barn, and that we put the cart before the horse, is jumping to a conclusion,” she said. “We’re not there yet.”
In their decision to table the proposal, the board also directed CEO Cate Fulkerson to work in collaboration with the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee and other strategic partners to develop a five-year strategic plan describing future amenities and facilities to serve RA and its members.
A number of residents of the communities around the fields stated they did not feel they were properly alerted to proposal and to each stage of the process. The board voted to direct Fulkerson to work with the Community Engagement Advisory Committee to develop a member-notification process — similar to the 21-day notice requirement established for design review applications — to gather community input when considering major recreation amenity proposals.
“Our communication out to the community of some of the changes is not perfect,” Bitzer said. “We have a lot of work to do to make sure we get the message out… [and] we need to do better on that.”
At-Large Director Ray Wedell cast the lone opposition vote on the decision to table the proposal, saying he believes it should be scrapped altogether.
“We can push the can down the road and say, ‘Let’s look at it later on and analyze it further,’ [but] we have a lot of other things to look at,” he said. “I don’t see this ever happening; I think the objection from the people is too strong, too organized.”
After a community input meeting Wednesday night on improvements to Lake Newport soccer fields, the Reston Soccer Association has requested the postponement of a Design Review Board session slated for later this month.
The proposal from Reston Soccer would include the installation of artificial turf fields, LED lighting and a clubhouse building at the fields. All would be paid for by Reston Soccer, but the project would need to be approved by member referendum.
Robert Anguizola, Reston Soccer president, said in an email to Reston Association CEO Cate Fulkerson that concerns of residents in the area deserve more time for consideration:
“During the community input meeting [Wednesday] night, we heard that many residents in the clusters surrounding the fields felt that they did not have adequate notice of the community meeting and the upcoming DRB Information Session. We also heard pleas from many for more time to absorb our proposal and to further engage with their neighbors, RA and Reston Soccer. That seems like a reasonable request and for that reason we respectfully request postponement of the February 21 DRB Information Session on the Lake Newport Soccer proposal.”
Video of the meeting is available on the Reston Association YouTube channel.
According to Mike Leone, RA’s communications director, Reston Association will inform residents of the communities that the presentation has been postponed.
Anguizola said Reston Soccer “looks forward to further engagement with the community on this important project” and would renew its request for a DRB information session later this year.
Reston Soccer Association and Reston Association are holding a community input meeting tonight from 7-9 p.m. “with residents from clusters adjacent to the Lake Newport Soccer Fields to discuss their potential concerns regarding RSA’s proposed enhancements to the field.” The meeting will be at RA’s headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).
Earlier Wednesday, women’s professional soccer team the Washington Spirit announced they would be partnering with Reston Soccer to bring a U.S. Girls’ Development Academy to Reston later this year. Robert Anguizola, Reston Soccer president, said the project and the academy are not directly related, as Reston Soccer also plays at a number of other facilities in Reston. However, he said, improvements to Lake Newport’s fields would be beneficial from multiple standpoints.
“[The partnership] highlights the need for better fields so that we can continue to attract good players, coaches and soccer programs here,” he said. “The partnership with Washington Spirit, that we hope will be a long-term partnership, gives us a good fundraising platform.”
Not everyone is happy about the development, though.
Eric McErlain, president of Bayfield Station, one of the clusters in question, says he is a soccer fan. However, he adds, he was irked by the fact that very few people in his community were even aware of the meeting or the proposal as a whole.
“Only a portion of the community received letters by mail from the RA,” he said. “The letter was dated Jan. 27, but the envelope wasn’t postmarked until Jan. 30, and the envelope itself didn’t get to me until Friday. I didn’t open my mail until Saturday, and there it was.”
McErlain said he and other residents of the area — which also includes Arbor Glen and Concord Green clusters — have been trying to spread the word about tonight’s meeting.
Anguizola has previously estimated the improvements will add 191 extra field hours during the season and 550 during what is now the offseason. McErlain said he is worried about what that will mean for the neighborhood.
“I’m incredibly concerned, now that I see more and more the scale and the scope of it,” he said. “I can’t help but be alarmed, and I can’t help but feel the RA is rushing us and not giving us enough time to study this project and be able to comment on it intelligently.”
Reston Association and Reston Soccer are separate and independent entities.
The Reston Association board set a timeline in October on discussion about the project, including public hearings in the early part of this year. Tonight’s meeting is the “first in a series” on the matter, said Mike Leone, RA’s communications director. Should the board allow the project to move forward, a member referendum would take place.
Anguizola said continued discussions with the community, starting with tonight’s meeting, will help determine the future of the project.
“It should be a happy development for the community, because I think it’s part of the civic fabric,” he said. “[But] we’re happy to have a conversation.”
Reston Association hopes to start the process soon for for two artificial turf soccer fields — paid for by Reston Soccer — to be installed at RA’s Lake Newport Soccer fields.
The implementation of the estimated $2.4 million plan depends on many factors, including a member referendum under RA bylaws.
According to the Reston Deed, if the Board of Directors wishes to make a single capital addition, alteration or improvement to the Common Area that costs more than $369,000, there must be a referendum. A 10 percent turnout is necessary for a quorum, with 51 percent of those votes needed to pass the referendum.
The RA Board will vote at its meeting Thursday on a timeline that includes:
- Gathering input from RA groups, including the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, Environmental Advisory Committee, Design Review Board (21 day Notice Requirements to adjacent neighbors/cluster apply to DRB information session) and Fiscal Committee this fall/winter. The groups will report their opinions to RA by January. The Fiscal Committee will also formulate a five-year cost analysis.
- The Board Operations Committee will draft non-Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will form the basis of a 20-year agreement between Reston Association and Reston Soccer Association regarding the use and maintenance of the synthetic turf fields.
- RA will hold public hearings on the proposed referendum question, fact sheet and MOU in mid-January and February.
- In late February, the board would decide whether to move forward with a member referendum. The referendum would take place in March and close April 3.
Reston Soccer first approached RA about the partnership in July. Reston Soccer President Robert Anguizola said the sports group is not looking for RA money for the project.
“In a referendum, we would ask ‘Does community want this amenity? Yes or No. If the answer is yes, then we would go fundraise,” he said. “What we would ask, if we donate the money, then we want promise we can use it. You would end up having surplus time [to rent it for] other uses and sports.”
Lake Newport is the most suitable place in Reston on which to build the turf fields, Anguizola has said. Virginia laws prohibit a public-private partnership on a Fairfax County Park Authority field (such as at Lake Fairfax Park or at Baron Cameron Park) with special requests for usage. Also, Lake Newport is the only RA field complex with two fields, as well as space for other potential amenities such as the clubhouse or a tot lot.
Adding turf and lights would add 191 extra field hours (assuming lights could be on until 8:30 p.m.) per season, plus an additional 550 hours in what is now the offseason, said Anguizola.
Anguizola says the organization would use organic material and not tire crumb rubber for the turf surface.
The RA Board was receptive to the idea at previous meetings.
Reston Soccer wants to team with Reston Association in order to vastly upgrade two soccer fields.
The organization says it is not asking RA for is cash; Reston Soccer reps say they will raise all the money for the renovations, as well as pay RA rent to use the fields.
In a presentation to RA’s Board on Thursday, Reston Soccer President Robert Anguizola said the organization’s wish list includes transforming Lake Newport Soccer’s two grass fields into artificial turf fields made of plant-derived infill; LED lighting on both fields; and a clubhouse building with bathrooms.
The project’s very preliminary estimate to replace the fields and install lighting would be $2.4 million, Anguizola said, adding that a better estimate would come when engineering work begins.
The RA Board will return in its September meeting with a proposal to ask the community in a member if it wants the fields. The referendum would most likely take place next spring.
“I know RA is not in the mood, or some would say does not have capability, to fund anything new,” said Anguizola. “We are not asking you to fund anything. We want to model this after the Walker Nature Education Center [which was built by grants and community fundraising].”
“In a referendum, we would ask ‘Does community want this amenity? Yes or No. If the answer is yes, then we would go fundraise. What we would ask, if we donate the money, then we want promise we can use it. You would end up having surplus time [to rent it for] other uses and sports.”
RA might end up having to pay to maintain the fields, but those costs would be paid for by field rental fees. Anguizola says Reston Soccer currently pays RA about $7,000 annually (on a per-player basis for players who do not live in Reston).
Lake Newport is the most suitable place in Reston on which to build the turf fields, Anguizola added. Virginia laws prohibit a public-private partnership on a Fairfax County Park Authority field (such as at Lake Fairfax Park or at Baron Cameron Park) with special requests for usage. Also, Lake Newport is the only RA field complex with two fields, as well as space for other potential amenities such as the clubhouse or a tot lot.
It may take some convincing to get RA and the community to sign off on lights. It took years to get lights at Brown’s Chapel baseball fields, an RA property, and the recent Lake House project involves very strict hours so outdoor lights do not disturb residents.
Anguizola said Reston Soccer has researched state-of-the-art LED lighting (similar to what lights recently installed at the new Yankee Stadium in New York). These lights provide lower glare than what are on most Reston fields now.
Adding turf and lights would add 191 extra field hours (assuming lights could be on until 8:30 p.m.) per season, plus an additional 550 hours in what is now the offseason, said Anguizola.
The board was very receptive to the idea.
“We already have soccer fields there why not try and make them the best we can make them?” said Lake Anne/Tall Oaks Director Sherri Hebert. “Lights could have certain hours. I don’t see a drawback to this proposal at all.”
Reston Soccer is hoping to organize dozens of young soccer players in uniform to attend Thursday’s Reston Association Board of Directors meeting to lobby for “a new home for Reston Soccer.”
Reston Soccer President Robert Anguizola told Reston Now last month that the organization, which serves more than 1,500 youth soccer players, wants to turn two fields, preferably at RA”s Lake Newport Soccer, into artificial turf fields.
“We are doing a lot of things to improve player development,” Anguizola said . “One thing that is a big part of that is field and facility quality.”
Anguilzola will present a plan to the RA Board Thursday that takes Reston Soccer’s plans way beyond field conversion.
Said Reston Soccer in an email to members:
Reston Soccer will present its proposal for building a new home for Reston Soccer at Lake Newport Soccer fields which would include: 2 full size synthetic turf fields with plant derived infill (not tire crumb!); low glare LED lights; bathrooms; and a clubhouse!”
[We are] looking to partner with Reston Association and raise the funds via grassroots fundraising by Reston Soccer, proffers, corporate sponsorships, phased building over number of years if necessary. Eager to work with the community in a collaborative manner to minimize the impact and support the needs of the surrounding community.
While supplies last, we will give anyone that comes to the meeting to support Reston Soccer a Reston Strong jersey! Need to fill the room to the gills. We need to show that people love soccer in Reston and care about better fields!
The RA Board will not vote on this proposal Thursday; the presentation is for discussion only.
In 2013, RA gave South Lakes High School $50,000 for a $2 million project to convert two grass fields to turf. In turn, RA got places on the turf usage schedule. RA originally had committed $100,000 to the project.
Reston Soccer donated $150,000 to the SLHS project.
Anguizola said in June Reston Soccer has benefitted from additional playing time on the SLHS fields, Reston still needs additional turf fields.
Reston Soccer is exploring the idea of building its own artificial turf fields in Reston.
Reston Soccer President Robert Anguizola says the league is developing a new strategic plan in order to better serve Reston’s 1,500 youth soccer players. Part of that plan includes converting two grass fields into turf fields, but the idea is still in the very early exploratory stage, he said.
The league held a town hall at Walker Nature Center on Wednesday to gauge the community’s interest in the project.
“We are very excited about our strategic plan,” said Anguizola. “We are doing a lot of things to improve player development. One thing that is a big part of that is field and facility quality.”
Reston Soccer was one of several community groups that contributed to the $2 million project to build two turf fields at South Lakes High School several years ago. While that gave Reston Soccer, which donated $150,000, more playing time on the fields, the league still needs more turf fields, which are available to teams even during rain, said Anguizola.
Reston Soccer does not own its own fields, however. Teams play on fields owned by Reston Association and the Fairfax County Park Authority.
Ideally, the league would like to convert the two grass fields at RA’s Lake Newport Soccer on Reston Parkway, says Anguizola. Anguizola is asking to speak at the July RA Board meeting to see if RA would be interested in partnering in the effort.
Anguizola also said Reston Soccer is concerned about the potential health effects of crumb rubber, which was used in Fairfax County Public School turf fields. Some studies have shown the crushed-tire material is a carcinogen. The county says there are no health risks.
Anguizola says Reston Soccer is looking into newer types of organic infill made from cork and coconut husks.
Reston Socceer has hired an architect to envision what the fields could look like. It has not yet put a dollar amount on the potential project, said Anguizola.