News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Frankie Goes to the RA Board: RELAC (Don't Do It) May Go to Another Referendum (Updated)

Reston's jet-age cooling system, which uses tepid lake water and a series of tubes to cool various neighborhoods around Lake Anne, may soon be coming to another referendum.

The RA Board will decide tonight if it will allow the referendum to take place. If it does, two-thirds of the 343 homes currently on the system will have to vote yes for the referendum, which would allow them to switch to boring old regular air conditioning units or stay on RELAC, to pass.

Referendum talk has been kicked around for ages, and an actual vote was narrowly defeated back in ought-five. But a hefty rate increase followed by plans to tighten the rules around medical exemptions floated by the RA at the end of last year seem to have fanned the flames to the point that no jet-age cooling system could tamp them down. A fancy "web site,", named after the section of the RA covenants that mandate the use of RELAC, was launched, complete with helpful articles like "Does RELAC Help or Hurt the Value of Your Property?" (spoiler alert: in their minds, it doesn't help.)

According to FreeFrom15, RA staff has recommended that the RA Board move forward with the referendum process. If it votes to do so tonight, two public hearings will be held in October and November, followed by a mail-in referendum in January.

For all the grousing about RELAC, the last referendum was close, and the argument against allowing people to choose is that doing so would imperil the newly independent company. Also, condos served by RELAC wouldn't have a vote, since their associations can vote to secede from the cooling system any time they like. Plus, if the referendum is held in January, the top floors of most of the houses will have finally cooled down to a comfortable 78 degrees, the end.

Update: As expected, the referendum was approved by the RA Board. FreeFrom15 has the tentative timetable.


  1. FF-15. That sounds like the name of some Central American Marxist movement.

    Anyway, Viva La Revolucion!

  2. Can you just imagine a Reston with choice ... now to paint my house pink!! From a RELAC user.

  3. I wish them success. It bothers me that something that has a simple technical solution is mired in such a cluster-shag.

    Speaking of, Reston has no adult entertainment of any sort beyond the meat market at RTC. Where's the referendum on that?

    1. Reston used to have adult entertainment. During the ''70's and maybe during the early '80's, the old Reston Twin Cinema at International Center used to show XXX films at midnight on the weekends.


(If you don't see comments for some reason, click here).