News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

RA Board Members Gird Their Loins (Figuratively Speaking of Course)

Reston Association's newly elected board members told the Fairfax Times that they're ready to tackle wide range of issues after what the fancy news-paper called a "spirited" race:

As the dust settles on the Reston Association board elections, winning candidates say they're ready to tackle issues such as neighborhood revitalization, a long-debated indoor tennis complex and redevelopment around the future Wiehle Metro station.

These topics will likely dominate discussion during the next three years, all agreed.

"We are about to experience change over which RA has no direct control. That can be an unsettling feeling, but I am determined to leverage the spirit of community and innovation that have made Reston what it is today," said North Point District winner Mike Collins, who competed in a race with the slimmest margin, scoring a victory over candidate Peter Greenberg by two votes.

"The next three years of my term, I think, are going to be the most challenging for Reston," said Lake Anne/Tall Oaks district winner Ken Knueven, who bested candidates Kevin Danaher and Guy L. Rando.

Residents living in Knueven's community are particularly concerned about the 40-year-old RELAC system, a communal water-powered air-conditioning system that serves nearly 500 residential units.

"All the clusters are deeply concerned," he said. "It was state-of-the-art in its day ... but I think we need to be realistic about it." Knueven added the system is more eco-friendly than normal air-conditioning units, but doesn't always live up to the needs of residents, who feel limited because cool air does not turn on until May and does not always circulate well.

He said residents and the RA needed to prepare for the possibility that the system's owner would pull out or impose significant rate increases to keep up the system.

Although this year's RA election was more spirited than usual, candidates insist things will be fine going forward.

"It wasn't contentious among the candidates vying for office. It was contentious among the community organizations" backing candidates, said At-large district winner Joe Leighton, the only incumbent to retain his seat. Leighton took 40 percent of the vote in a four-way race.

"Basically, we haven't gotten going yet," he said, adding that the board would meet this week and next for planning sessions on how to tackle Reston issues. "We all need to work together. RA needs to do a better job of communicating ... of notifying the neighbors. We don't always do that."


  1. Boards it seems to me live in their own small world. 85 % of Reston citizens did not vote and were probably largely unaware that there was a election. The concerns of the few anonymous people who read Restonian and comment about the improprieties of the election are just not their main concern.

  2. Remember how LONG it took for the RA to figure out that the Browns Chapel Rec center wasn't going to fly. Many were afraid they would fight it out in court.

  3. I will predict this: In the Spring new canididates will arrive proclaiming how much they and their wives love Reston. Winners will proclaim "a need to bring the community together and have the board work with the community. The Association needs to work on communicating and offer opportunities for input," they have and will say. "Advances have already been made in that area with the board reinstating its Communications Committee."

    In the end things will remain much the same because they have the power and mean to keep it.

  4. Predict? That's just history repeating itself.

    Most people join a board, realize that's it's like attempting to cure mental illness, consumes what little free time they may have, and then count the days until they can leave.

    Even Smyers is leaving town --- rumor has it she can't afford the assessments she's burdened the rest of us with!

  5. Regarding Mike Collins' statement: "We are about to experience change over which RA has no direct control."

    We have a great deal of control. Mike Collins wants you to believe we can do nothing to stop the community-devouring machine Supervisor Hudgins has created with a task force that will rezone Reston so it can morph into a high-density monstrosity the same as planned for Tysons Corner.

    Collins,the developers, and Supervisor Hudgins want you to feel helpless. But the town is going to wake up. There will be time to save Reston.

    Don't be lulled into stupor by Collins' statements. He wants to redevelop our neighborhoods. Your neighborhood.

    Time to wake up Reston and pay attention to what the task force is doing. In a few months after they have finished the Metro station areas, they will turn their attention towards "revitalizing" our neighobrhoods. Revitalizing means redevelopment folks. Collins will tell you it's necessary. It isn't.

  6. Regarding Mike Collins' statement: "We are about to experience change over which RA has no direct control."

    Which begs the question, "Why even have an RA?"

    Oh yes, pool and tennis court passes. Come to think of it, deferred maintenance. Grandiose HQ building schemes paid for largely by the membership. Not to mention a steady whittling away at cluster governance to turn Reston into Columbia, MD,

  7. A quick--if belated--reply to Anon's comment on 4/24 at 10:02PM, which by tagging the Reston 2020 blog at the end seems to imply some official position of the Reston 2020 Committee:

    Most importantly, the comments do not represent the views of Reston 2020 nor were they provided by Reston 2020 nor myself, the blogmeister of what Restonian calls "one of those fancy web-logs," the Reston 2020 blog cited at the end of anon's note.

    Re "the community-devouring machine Supervisor Hudgins has created" Supervisor Hudgins has included a substantial, but minority, representation of Reston citizens on the Task Force, including community leaders from RA, RCA, ARCH, & WATCH, as well as several members of the Reston P&Z Committee. Most, but not all, of the TF members are themselves Restonians.

    Reston 2020 believes that Restonians--including those not on the Task Force--can influence the direction of Task Force's efforts. Otherwise, we wouldn't be spending many hours each week working to research, analyze, prepare, and present information to the Task Force. So far, our efforts have led to the Task Force accepting Reston 2020's proposed "planning principles" as the baseline for its effort. Reston 2020's Environmental Work Group has generated strong community support in the Task Force for continued protection of the Sunrise Valley wetlands through a transfer of control to RA. And we continue working on urban design, transportation, parks & recreation, and implementation issues associated with the urbanizing of Reston.

    None of us control the outcome of the Task Force and that's a good thing because there are many diverse interests that must be addressed in shaping Reston's future. I believe greater community involvement that is thoughtful and constructive will help make Reston a better, if different, place. It need not become "a high-density monstrosity."

    If you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the Task Force's progress, I urge you to read the blog at If you want to work on shaping Reston's future in one Reston 2020's work groups, please contact me by e-mail at and I'll try to make a connection for you.


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