News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, June 29, 2009

Brown's Chapel Rec Center: Motions and Commotions

TajMahal-OJ.jpg.jpegWacky communication mixups weren't the only "highlight" of last week's Reston Association Board meeting. As our astute commenters have already pointed out, a board member motioned that Brown's Chapel, the proposed home of the $65 million rec center/ juicery, be taken off the list of proposed sites. Here's how Save Brown's Chapel described the "action" on their Facebook group, presumably before taking the "What Kind of Juice Bar are You?" quiz and "poking" a dozen of their Facebook BFFs.

Last night, the RA Board of Director's meeting was well attended. Many citizens from all over Reston came to express their concern that the board is moving ahead with plans to pave over a park.

And one of the board members was listening. Late in the meeting, Director Joe Leighton put forth a motion to eliminate Brown's Chapel Park as a possible site for the proposed joint RA/RCC recreational center.

Joe Leighton asked for a second from Director Frank Lynch but he declined. The motion was seconded by Director Richard Chew. The motion was then tabled by Director Richard Chew until the next Board meeting July 23.

What does this mean for the supporters of Save Brown's Brown Chapel? It means that we need to ask the other board members to explain their actions.

Why is the Reston Association Board of Directors pursuing a plan that will enable the RCC to locate a county recreation center, of any size or shape, on Reston Association land?

The upcoming District Meetings will be our opportunity to ask the questions and get the answers. Please plan on attending while it is still your money and your park.
The next of those meetings is from 7-9 tomorrow at Armstrong Elementary school, followed by another next Thursday, July 9, at Lake Anne Elementary.

Meanwhile, RA President Robin Smyers has written yet another of her "web-log" posts, and the big news is that her "Administrator Account" byline has been changed to "RA President." They'll figure out this Internet thingy yet! Anyhoo, Smyers discusses the community input meetings and the long-term impact they could have:
At the first district meeting held for the Hunters Woods/Dogwood district, members had the opportunity to have a real conversation about the future of Reston. And it is really about the future. At the end of the day, that is what we are talking about – how our decisions today affect Reston in the next three to four decades from now. As members, we have never had to pay for the building of the facilities now owned by Reston Association. Our 15 pools, 48 tennis courts, 4 lakes, 55 miles of paved pathways, just to name some of the assets we benefit from, have all been given to us, with the sole responsibility of maintaining these invaluable gifts. Even the soon-to-be-built Nature House has only come to be thanks to the private donations of many of our friends and neighbors. It is time for us think about the next generations and how we can give back.
Smyers also pointed out that during the last election, there were no contested races for three board seats, and that before recent events, few spoke at public hearings.
So, please make time to attend at least one of the community meetings and take part in the process that affects our community. But please don’t just get involved because you are angry or feel you weren’t informed. Find a positive reason, a passion that is good, and strive to give something back. If there is something else we should be doing, let us know. But don’t just say “no”. That’s not a foundation on which we were built.
Smyers has an excellent point, but we have a feeling the next three open board seats won't be uncontested.


  1. Well... while the Rec Center debate moves along -- I hear the RA Headquarters Building proposal has reared its haead again...

    The latest meeting materials for tonite's 9:30 RA Special Committee meeting include the original request for 35,000 Sguare feet... for 43 people... absolutely amazing -- another Taj Mahal...

  2. It's apparent RA wants to be a part of the artificial Town Center , someone really wants to be above Mortons or the Passion Fish...

    I'd much rather see RA focus it's new HQ at Lake Anne Plaza -- they could be the cornerstone on a beautiful renovation -- where it all started -- the original Reston Town Center -- Lake Anne...

    This is pitiful...

  3. My god -- I just went to the RA Website -- go to the Headquarters Relocation Link... they are pushing for 35,000 square feet. that's a lot of space (even taking into account meeting spaces...)

  4. I do believe the Special Committee meeting, which was not posted on RA's online calendar, was held at 9:30 am this morning in closed executive session. That means that information is being withheld from most of our elected representatives to the RA Board by members of the executive committee.

  5. Don't forget the filing cabinets!

    Reston ARCH has already weighed in on this very subject. They're pretty much in favor of putting priority on Lake Anne for the headquarters, even though the RA seems to be lukewarm at best, about that option.

  6. ooops -- you are right -- was 9:30 this morning...


  7. The 35,000 square foot figure actually seems to suggest the RA is eschewing the newfangled "filing cabinet" approach in favor of spreading paper documents horizontally across the ample floor space.

    Going by the figures in this thread and the guidelines for this office-planning web site:

    They're allocating the equivalent of two extra-large "Chairman of the Board" sized offices for each employee!

  8. Yes -- I was looking at office planning sites as well -- even with the necessary meeting spaces RA is way out of line -- even over three years...!!!

    If I ever proposed this much space for my company's needs, I would be called on the red carpet with my Board.

    The RA leadership is either conniving, or just plain adolescent... They need a big Membership wakeup call...

    To RA Leadership, and you specifically Milton: Focus on the needs of the mebership -- not the club you've created...

  9. The Convict in the GulagJune 29, 2009 at 3:59 PM

    35,000 sq ft? That's almost large enough for my roller rink.

    Bring Roller Derby to Reston.

  10. If you go to the RA Website, and go to Inside RA, then hit the Governance Tab you will see the HQ Relocation link.

    The proposed buildout -- "RA Space Plan Prototype" is quite thorough and extensive for a conceptual view. A lot of individual offices and very few cubes... they should come to my company's spaces and see how few offices there are versus cubicals... and we are an S&P company

    I feel they have this one locked already, in fact it won't be hard to match the floor plan with office spaces for lease/sale...

    So much for an HQ building at Lake Anne...

  11. Did anyone notice that they have space allocated for a 'war room?'

  12. Oops, hit 'send' too quickly. As I was about to add, if anyone has spent any time in the Pentagon, they know that there, where they have a REAL need for REAL war rooms, the cubicles we as tax payers ask our military professionals to work in are tiny broom closets without doors compared to what RA thinks we want to pay for. Shame on you RA for not being good stewards of what we have entrusted you with!

  13. Our at-large representatives, Joe Leighton and Richard Chew, were not allowed to attend the executive session. They were asked to leave so the other board members could "review submitted facility proposals" for the new headquarters building. Our elected representatives were not allowed to attend the executive session. I guess I can say it again, OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES were not allowed to attend. Cheryl Beamer, acting as chair, sent them from the room. OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES. Folks, this is our homeowner's association, not dirty politics in Chicago in the 1930s. Or, I might be wrong.

  14. I've lived in Reston for almost three decades and I thought I saw it all...

    I remember when, in the late 80's we had to literally raise a ruckus over a pending RA decision to cover certain tennis courts, while RA paths were crumbling...

    I remember when our Cluster president requested to raise our cluster dues, as RA was no longer able to afford the maintenance of their own common areas, such as entrances to neighborhoods...

    I remember when RA wanted nothing to do with Lake Anne Plaza, while the new "Bethesda" look-alike Town Center broke ground on Reston Parkway...

    I remember when RA wanted nothing to do with the "green," energy saving, RELAC air conditioning complex... they'd rather let it just go literally down the drain...

    I remember when RA basically lost to a golf course owner over precious water in Lake Anne...

    In an era where Fairfax County is facing deficits, the Reston infrastructure is showing its age, gang tags are showing up in our neighborhoods... can we afford to let this continue...???

    The Membership has an opportunity to speak out and say no more... this is now an era of Transparency... we demand to be heard, and properly represented...speak out...!!!

    This area, this community, has so much going for it...we can work with the state and county to potentially divert some of those Stimulus dollars to create jobs through: properly laid out re-development projects like Lake Anne Plaza, take over and revamp the greenest of green utilities... RELAC, showcasing it to the country... cleaning and upgrading our common grounds and paths... incorporating more natural attractions for visitors... bring this community back to what the original plans called for...

  15. Milton and crew need to wake up and smell the coffee...

  16. Looking at the "RA Space Plan Prototype," tell me this isn't what they are looking at...

    12005 Sunrise Valley Drive:

    On the map location, click the Birds Eye view once you zoom in ... look at the profile of the building, vs. the proposed plan.

  17. Anonymous June 30, 2009 11:21 AMJune 30, 2009 at 11:21 AM

    Great detective work, "Anonymous 6/29/209 11:02pm"! At least this prospective location is in the Less Sought After South Reston, closer to the gang activity!

  18. We could all see the regular Board Meetings at home on our TV for both RCC and RA IF Comcast would televise them in proper format. You cannot hear the voices at all. The color is muted and blurred. I am sure they use the same tape that they used in 1975. And do not tell me to use my computer. I am not going to sit uncomfortably at my computer to watch it.

  19. I can't even find where to watch videos of the Board of Directors meetings. I'd LOVE to watch them but I can't get Comcast service at my home (ironic). And I've searched online but I've only found old videos from 2007 when Jennifer Blackwell was President. Does anyone know where videos of the more recent meetings are posted?

  20. I don't think these "Special Committee" meetings are televised. When our elected representatives are not allowed to participate, I would not expect a TV camera in the room either. In fact I'm having a hard time finding the minutes.

  21. What will it take for us to stop them? Do we chain ourselves to bulldozers? Did we set this lease plan in motion by saying "NO" to a purchase? I'm wondering what cap there is on their authority?

  22. "What will it take for us to stop them?"

    Let's see, recall Robin Smyers, Cheryl Beamer and Kathleen Driscoll-McKee. Signatures from 10% of the homeowners from each of their districts is enough to trigger on a recall election. That's what it will take. Or wait for a reform movement to get their act together and put up a slate of candidates. By the time that happens, we might have been saddled with the cost of a new headquarters AND a $100 million dollar indoor rec center and who knows what else? I mean, really, what next from this RA Board who thinks the homeowners have bottomless pockets? Collect some signatures. Is it so much work?

  23. The most successful campaigns start with grass root initiatives...


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