Saturday, January 31, 2015

Summary of Community Meeting on Second Draft of Phase 2 Reston Master Plan, January 29, 2015

by Terry Maynard, RCA Reston 2020 Committee

Despite the threatening weather last evening [1/29/2015], more than 90 people attended the community meeting to discuss the second draft of the Phase 2 (suburban area) of the Reston Master Plan.  Among those in attendance were County officials Cathy Hudgins and RCC Director Leila Gordon in addition to planning and transportation staff personnel.  A number of residents were wearing their neon yellow “Rescue Reston” t-shirts.

The first 45 minutes or so were devoted to the Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) presenting the changes in the second draft.  (Their presentation will be linked here when it is posted on the Fairfax County website.) Questions were taken during the presentation.
  • One questioner repeatedly asked why the Reston on Foot and Bike plan was not incorporated into the draft plan, merely referred to. 
  • Another questioner wondered whether the draft plan fixed the language issues surrounding the Reston National Golf Course, and it does (but it may be too late). 
  • A third questioner, noting plans to incorporate the Hunt Club area into the Reston plan, noted that Civil War era graves have been found on the site and why the plan did not reflect that historic fact and the need for its protection.  DPZ was not aware that graves had been confirmed there, which would require that the area be protected. 
  • There were also several questions about transportation issues. 
Supervisor Hudgins left the meeting near the end of the DPZ presentation, not waiting to hear the questions and concerns expressed by those in attendance.

A question and answer period ensued.  Some of the key topics raised in that were:
  • Controlling Village Center redevelopment.  Several people expressed concern about language in the latest draft that does not constrain redevelopment of Reston’s Village Centers.  Terry Maynard read a prepared Reston 2020 statement concerning the issue, noting that no defined limits on density are defined nor are Village Center boundaries prevented from expanding.  Given the history of adverse consequences from sloppy planning and zoning language (RNGC, the redevelopment of Town Center Office Building), Reston 2020 proposed that the plan include no language on redevelopment unless it had specific constraints.
  • Stop tearing down garden apartments.  The draft Reston Master Plan allows the redevelopment of Reston’s garden apartments, which are the only place most young adults can afford to live in Reston.  Their replacements would be high-rise buildings which, because of their construction costs, drive rents or condo sales prices into the luxury level.
  • Protecting Civil War grave sites.  A person linked to the Hunt Club effort to document these grave sites noted that six graves of a pro-Northern family have been confirmed and the effort continues to further define the scope of the cemetery.  A spokesperson encouraged the DPZ to show some curiosity about this significant find—“Reston’s first family”—before proposing language that might let the nine-acre area be developed as a residential neighborhood.
The group meeting closed about 8:30PM with the opportunity for individuals to ask questions of the staff planning and transportation members in attendance. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

DRAFT Agenda RCA Board of Directors Meeting January 26, 2015


Item
Time
Topic
Disposition
Presenters

  1.  
7:30 PM
Adopt Agenda
Action
RCA Board

  1.  
7:35 PM
Approve December 1, 2014 Minutes
Action
Nick Georgas

  1.  
7:45 PM
Approve Treasurer’s Report
Action
Joe Leighton

  1.  
7:50 PM
RCA Citizen of the Year
Discussion
Robin Hogan
Tammi Petrine

  1.  
7:55 PM
Reston National Golf Course Update
Discussion
Connie Hartke

  1.  
8:05 PM
Lake Anne Fellowship House Update
Discussion
Tammi Petrine,
Connie Hartke

  1.  
8:10 PM
Library Update
Discussion
Dennis Hays

  1.  
8:25 PM
Reston Land Use Projects
Discussion
John Hanley

  1.  
8:35 PM
RA Ethics Update
Discussion
Connie Hartke

  1.  
8:45 PM
Fairfax 2015
Discussion
Dennis Hays
John Hanley

  1.  
8:55 PM
Reston 2020 Update
Discussion
Tammi Petrine

  1.  
9:10 PM
RMPII New Draft
Discussion
RCA Board

  1.  
9:20 PM
RCA Financing
Discussion
Sridhar Ganesan

  1.  
9:25 PM
Reston License Plate
Discussion
John Hanley

  1.  
9:30 PM
Other Business
Discussion
RCA Board

  1.  
9:35 PM
Location and Time of Next Meeting; Adjourn
Action
RCA Board

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

RCA Statement to the Board of Zoning Appeals


RE: Application #A 2012-HM-020

Connie Hartke
Board Member, Reston Citizens Association (RCAreston.org)

·      Member, Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations.
·      Began 48 years ago when Gulf Land, as the developer of Reston, was in charge.
·      Reston Planning & Zoning evolved from an RCA committee. RCA’s position is that the use of RNGC land is as a golf course.

In February 2014 the BoS adopted phase I of the Reston Master Plan which calls for reliance on greater Reston’s existing public and private park and recreational facilities in order to meet Service Level Standards for Urban Parks as defined in Appendix 3 of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan.
These Park and Recreation Service Level Standards are based on both population and employees.[1]
This County Service Level Standard calls for 1 hole of golf for every 3,200 persons. [2] With the planned population growth of both residents and employees in Reston, we currently have the required 36 holes, with it being so important that 18 of them are a public course – Reston National.
It is clear that our County Supervisors are counting on Reston’s Golf Courses to provide active recreation for the incoming residents and employees of the Reston Transit Station Areas, as well as the region.
Until this appeal was filed, no one ever considered Reston National Golf Course to be anything other than a golf course.  Our Board of Supervisors was and is relying on Reston’s privately owned recreation areas to contribute to the planned growth of this community.


[1] Pages 68-69, www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/comprehensiveplan/adoptedtext/2013-05.pdf

[2] page 22, FAIRFAX COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN, 2013 Edition, Parks and Recreation – Appendix 3
www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/comprehensiveplan/policyplan/parksrec.pdf

Monday, January 5, 2015

Fairness for All – the Lake Anne RELAC Decision

by Connie Hartke, Reston Citizens Association

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. From a website created about the issuewww.freefrom15.org: “A number of residents have been dissatisfied for many years with the poor quality of the service available and would like to install their own units. Some people experience high temperatures and humidity which requires them to run dehumidifiers and fans 24 hours a day to keep cool and to stop mold growth. Since the covenant states that it may only be amended or revoked by members of the residential clusters which have air-conditioning service to the lot line, the only way to resolve these problems is to revoke the covenant.”

Let us be clear – voting yes to revoke the covenant is a vote for choice. It does not end RELAC!!

When RELAC was installed, it was state of the art technology. In the intervening 5 decades, technology has vastly improved, and HVAC (Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning) systems have undergone several major iterations of improvements. New systems are energy efficient, quiet, cost effective and allow maximum flexibility by individual homeowners for how cool/dry/warm they want their homes to be on any given day. They do not pollute our atmosphere like the older Freon-using RELAC behemoth. More on this in John Lovaas’ article RELAC—A Museum and Environmental Problem.

In speaking to unhappy Lake Anne area RELAC subscribers, we have learned that their quality of service is dismal, the air is moist requiring the running of dehumidifiers constantly, and costs exorbitant. You can view the RELAC cost by address at the “Reference Documents and Links” tab of freefrom15.org. As our weather becomes more extreme and the water levels of Lake Anne vary depending on Hidden Creek Golf Course’s needs and drought conditions, the quality of RELAC's product is anything but constant for all users.

If the referendum passes then everyone will get a fair choice. It is a matter of fairness in allowing choice in the important area of comfort. This will require that 2/3 of those voting will agree to choice for RELAC 's involuntary subscribers by voting yes. Vote yes even if YOU are happy with your summer cooling. Consider your neighbor across the street/lake/cul-de-sac who may not have the same experience.

Mass exodus from RELAC is highly unlikely as conversion costs are a major factor, but to imprison anyone in a system that does not work for them is ... well, unkind. Kindness and fairness is crucial to maintaining the fabric of our community. Forcing bondage to an antiquated monopoly is not kind, fair or necessary.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Leslie Mills Speaks to the Importance of Civic Volunteers

by Connie Hartke and Tammi Petrine

The RCA Board held an appreciation dessert and coffee for three board members who resigned earlier this year: Colin Mills, Terry Maynard and Dick Rogers. These members made very active contributions during their time on our Board of Directors, and continue to contribute volunteer time and research to the Reston Community.

Significant others were invited of course. No volunteer for an active community organization can be effective without the support of his or her family, and we knew there was one young person who also must be invited. Colin Mills’ 8th grade daughter Leslie made significant sacrifices during the eight years she shared her father with the Reston Citizens Association.

It was a fun evening of camaraderie and speeches. One speech stood out and we’d like to share these encouraging words with all civic volunteers in Reston:

“I just want everyone to know that they are planning my generation's future, and the going may get tough, but you have to keep going if you ever want to get anything done. Also remember that having your voices heard will always be important! You are all important, and teachers and students everyday. I really appreciate the hard work that you have put in to help my and Reston's future. Never stop trying because it takes hard work and dedication to make a bright future.” - Leslie Mills

Leslie’s Dad, Colin Mills, was recently appointed as Chair of Reston Association’s Community Engagement Advisory Committee. Terry Maynard and Dick Rogers continue as contributing members of the RCA Reston 2020 committee.


We look forward to hearing more from them, and from Leslie too!