News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

RA Ex-Presidents Reminisce About Reston's Wackiest Blooper

208_ex_presidents_260x195.jpegDid you notice that on Saturday, the sky above Reston seemed bluer, the grass greener, and the earth tones more earth-toney? Well, maybe that's because the RA had a special homecoming for a whole slew of its former presidents, who returned to reminisce about the days of old.

Sharing their insights about what they regard as their biggest accomplishments and challenges were Bernard O'Reilly (1970), Frederick Naef (1971), Monroe "Mike" E. Freeman Jr. (1988-89), Joe Caravella (1996-98), Mary Ellen Craig (2000-01), and Rick Beyer (2004-05).... Also sharing their remembrances and thoughts at the luncheon were Reston founder Robert E. Simon, former RA executive director Jerry Volloy and current RA executive director Milton Matthews. Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D) also stopped by briefly.
The RA has had 26 presidents in the last 47 years, and the former presidents shared some good times.
Naef also remembered that executives from Gulf Reston, which had taken over development of the community, frequently could be seen transporting potential investors in limousines.
We'd settle for a rickshaw ride to Lake Anne.
RA meetings also were more social -- staged by a fireplace, starting with cocktails and then followed by wine and brandy.

Others, like former RA executive director Vicki Wingert, remembered more "adversarial times," and Craig recalled a board where politics, "with a capital P," was the primary modus operandi.
Can't imagine that. Despite past divisiveness, there was little debate about what has been Reston's wackiest and most costly blunder.
With the coming of Metro and its attendant mixed-use development, a number of the former RA leaders worried about repeating what they regard as a major past mistake: Not coming to an accommodation that would have brought Reston Town Center into RA. Town Center remains a separate entity with its own governing association.

"That was one of the greatest failures of RA," Freeman said.

"We need to open that Pandora's box again," Caravella suggested.

"It cost [the community] millions and millions of dollars ... to say to Reston Town Center, 'Go your way,'" Simon added, calling the move a "fool decision."
Fortunately, one of the few concessions that Reston and the county were able to squeeze out of Comstock was the promise that residents of its awesome development at the Wiehle Metro station will become RA members. Hopefully that will set a precedent for the rest of the awesome development to come -- even if that means the Cheesecake Factory will have to submit to the new sign review process, the end.


  1. A single homeowner is not able to leave Reston Association. How was a huge swath of property allowed to leave? How can it have been legal?

  2. Ah yes, Reston's Original Sin. Try as they might, I think it's unlikely RTC would be willing to forbear additional governance and expenses so many years down the road. Why would they? What they've got seems to have worked pretty well for them.

  3. What RA gives any Reston business to demand their non-deductible tax? Stupid design limitations? Has ever DRB designed anything better than even RTC? "Signs without ornamentation" my @rse, let's all be cheap, drab and ugly.


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