News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reston Association Headquarters: Here We Go Again

TajMahal.jpg.jpegFollowing an uneventful referendum process that ultimately failed to provide a quorum allowing the Reston Association to buy a fancy new headquarters building with lots of gilded filing cabinets and a cable modem and maybe one of those newfangled "water-coolers" around which employees could discuss the previous evening's television fare, the RA Board of Directors has established a "special committee" to explore its options -- which apparently, once again, include the buying vs. leasing options.

The Reston Alliance of Reston Clusters and Homeowners (ARCH) has issued a statement (not yet available on its "web-site," but check here to see if they ever get around to posting it), basically asking the RA not to make the same mistakes again:

ARCH views the Special Committee as an opportunity to bring the RA membership together around the common goals ARCH and others have emphasized during the ongoing headquarters discussion.

Below are the five key indicators that will, in our view, provide the best chance of producing an outcome on this important initiative that has wide community support. These indicators will guide ARCH as it assesses whatever recommendations emanate from the Special Committee:

The space requirements should be consistent with current Federal General Services Administration (GSA) standards, which are based on a comprehensive survey of both public and private office space. Where RA’s requirements depart from these standards (which may be required, e.g., with regard to conference or meeting space) then such departures must be based on demonstrable need and be fully explained and justified. Under separate cover, an ARCH analysis of RA’s existing space projections will be provided. 

In addition to leasing, build and buy options should be fully explored (given the continuing authority provided under the 2005 headquarters referendum). In light of current market conditions and the ability to customize space to fit RA’s needs, building or buying may be more attractive alternatives.

RA is an important part of Reston’s fabric. If a new RA headquarters could be located where it contributes to neighborhood revitalization (e.g., at Lake Anne), then we think this consideration should be given special weight. We contend that is much more important to Reston than ensuring individual offices (instead of cubicle space) for the majority of RA employees or obtaining condominium space in a steel/glass building in the RCIG.

The Special Committee’s deliberations should at all times be open and transparent. Executive session and the assertion of a need for confidentiality should be used only in the narrow circumstances permitted under Virginia’s Property Owners’ Association Act (POAA). 

During its research and deliberations, the Special Committee should actively seek the input of the RA membership and should regularly update the members on the progress of the Committee’s work.
We're especially happy that ARCH makes reference to Bob Simon's plan to relocate the headquarters to Lake Anne, which to date has received only the most tepid of support from the RA and RCRC. After badly botching plans for its other big shiny building project, the RA has shown signs of being more transparent of late. Let's hope that extends to this process as well.


  1. The Convict in the GulagJune 23, 2009 at 4:02 PM

    We welcome RA, here in the Gulag. Maybe we could find some space for them to set up shop along the slimmed-down-for-greater-efficiency-and-safety Personal Injuries Lawyers Road, say maybe opposite of Neumann's House of Salad Dressings?

  2. Blog or not, I resent the reference to my church.

    Please don't tell me to lighten up. That comment is over the line


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