Tammi Petrine, a community advocate, challenged current director Julie Bitzer for her South Lakes District seat at a Reston Association candidate forum Tuesday night.
Critical decisions regarding public amenities took center stage at the forum, including whether or not to close Shadowood Pool – the most underutilized pool in Reston – and the Lake Thoreau Pool – which requires nearly $1 million in repairs.
Petrine said she would need to gather more information and conduct a stakeholder analysis by speaking with residents before reaching a final decision. She also stated the need to issue multiple bids for projects to ensure RA gets the best deal for services.
“The pools are an amenity that people in Reston expect. At the same time, we have to analyze carefully how they’re used and why or why not they’re not used,” Petrine said.
Bitzer said the board will have to decide whether or not to keep Lake Thoreau’s pool open next year, although she noted that residents she spoke with want to keep the pool open. She also plans to propose a measure to conduct a needs analysis of Reston’s pools.
As RA struggles to strike a balance between capital spending priorities like indoor tennis and soccer, Bitzer said the community should look into public-private partnerships like installing a tennis academy at Hidden Creek Country Club with special benefits for RA members.
In contrast, Petrine took a hard stance against funding indoor tennis for what she said was a “small demographic” and a mere “commercial activity,” especially because the community is “fighting for our lives with density” and aging infrastructure.
“An absolute no,” she said.
Frustrations on limited county resources, including the beleaguered call for a recreation center, for Reston were high at the forum. Petrine said she is “100 percent furious” that the Hunter Mill District is left out of the county.
Similar concerns arose in the candidates’ discussion around a controversial plan to increase Reston’s population density as major developments come in the pipeline.
“My gut reaction is: where is the infrastructure you promised me when you put in the Metro?” Bitzer questioned. She said she opposes the population density increase and was appalled about Reston’s lack of workforce housing.
Petrine, who has been instrumental in organizing the Coalition for a Planned Reston, a grassroots organization opposing the plans, said she has taken steps to fight back against the plans “in defense of our balanced community.” She encouraged community members to raise their voice in opposition, noting her experience in observing the intersection between RA and other stakeholders.
“The only thing that matters to our supervisor is mass agreement by citizens that this is not what we want in Reston,” she said.
Both candidates took similar stances on the need to utilize the Lake House. Bitzer suggested adding programming for aquatics and fishing education, similar to the Walker Nature Center.
“Not everything should cost you to use something you own,” she said.
They also posed similar ideas on how to ensure the board operates as an effective and respectful governing body.
Bitzer said holding “open houses” was a sign of respect. “It’s respectful of our community, not just board behavior,” she said.
Petrine is running on a slate with Travis Johnson, Sridhar Ganesan and John Bowman. When asked if it offered her an unfair advantage, she defended the move, which she said was logical given the candidates’ shared views, common goals and commitment to Reston’s core principles.
Bitzer, who described herself as self-funded candidate, said the issue of slate candidates is a fairly new development that has prompted questions by community members. Unlike the slate candidates who sent mailings to constituents, Bitzer said she could not afford major print distributions.
Instead, she will host a public listening session on March 13 at the Walker Nature House.
Photo by Reston Association
The property manager of Shadowood Condominiums has prepared an item-by-item response to concerned condo owners, who have been passing around a list of 30 issues as the board election at Reston’s largest condo neighborhood approaches.
The residents’ complaints range from secrecy among the condo board to crime to poor upkeep, among others. See the full list in this previous Reston Now article.
Theresa Zivanovic, Shadowood’s General Manger, says she also shares some of the concerns as she is a resident of the complex.
However, she said the list of complaints contains a number of “statements that are just factually wrong.”
Read the full letter from management below.
Shadowood has had a history of issues over the last several years, including a case in 2012 about the limits of the board to impose fines and rules on owners. That case went all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court.
There was also a political battle in 2012, when condo owner Brian Olivia headed the board and ran “Shadowood in a manner that caused Shadowood to to sue him last year to recover damages for harm down to Shadowood,” current board chair Tom Summakie said in an email to owners.
More than half the units are occupied by renters, so most owners live off-site. Nearly two dozen units are owned by Fairfax County, which offers them as Section 8 housing.
A group that calls themselves “Concerned Co-Owners at Shadowood” has sent a list to other owners of 30 complaints about the neighborhood and its board.
“Are you fed up with or even know that these things may be occurring?” the email reads. It points out that the community website has not been updates in more than a year, that the board dos not communicate with residents, that rules are not enforced and that common areas and properties are dilapidated, among other complaints. (more…)
An otherwise quiet Sunday afternoon turned deadly last May when a fight broke out on Stoneview Square at Shadowood Condominiums in Reston.
First reported by police as a home invasion, it later was determined a group of men who knew one another got into a fight. One person fired a gun. A man was dead and another injured.
Rashad Kejuan Daye, 24, was killed in the altercation at the residence of Kevin Baldwin, 22. Baldwin was not charged in the incident, police said, because the shot was fired in self defense in his home.
Others are facing charges, though the death is not being investigated as a homicide.
Jalan Merrill, 21, of Herndon, was charged with robbery and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Also arrested were Eddie Rodriquez, 22, of Woodbridge, and South Lakes High School student Dominique May, 18, of Reston. Both were charged with robbery and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Whether to pursue May’s and Rodriguez’s cases are still being pursued by a Fairfax County Grand Jury. Merrill’s was considered Nolle Prosequi (the case will not continue) by a judge several months ago.