News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Frankie Goes to Reston: The Final Days Of The RELAC Referendum

We're down to the final days of the referendum determining whether residents in the neighborhoods around Lake Anne will continue to be required to use RELAC, Reston's awesome jet-age lake-powered cooling system. It follows a similar referendum in 2005, which failed narrowly.

For the referendum to pass, a two-thirds majority of affected homeowners will have to vote "yes." If it succeeds, RELAC will continue to be an option, but homeowners will get to choose whether they want to use the system without a doctor's note, a little like the way we used to get permission to bring in AC units in college. The quorum details were at first a bit vague, given that the Reston Association sent out a clarification that the quorum requires two-thirds of only the members who cast votes, not all 343 households who received ballots earlier this month. The RA has a fun fact sheet if you're into such things.

The Reston Citizens Association has come out in favor of the referendum.

Sridhar Ganesan, President of RCA stated: “While clearly many people around Lake Anne still like and want RELAC because it seems to serve their purposes, it is also clear that a number of people have not been happy with the system, the costs and other burdens that they feel it imposes on them. RELAC is a system as old as the Lake Anne community. Not only would the investment in that system have been fully paid for, today’s technologies have surely far surpassed RELAC's. Many of us on the RCA Board as well as members sympathize and feel that after all these decades of using and paying for the operation of that system, those that would like to opt out of RELAC and pursue other alternatives should have the Choice to do so."...

If the referendum passes then everyone will get a fair choice. It is a matter of fairness in allowing choice in the important area of comfort. This will require that 2/3 of those voting will agree to choice for RELAC 's involuntary subscribers by voting yes. Vote yes even if YOU are happy with your summer cooling. Consider your neighbor across the street/lake/cul-de-sac who may not have the same experience.

Mass exodus from RELAC is highly unlikely as conversion costs are a major factor, but to imprison anyone in a system that does not work for them is ... well, unkind. Kindness and fairness is crucial to maintaining the fabric of our community. Forcing bondage to an antiquated monopoly is not kind, fair or necessary.
Meanwhile, John Lovaas says in a column that an RA Board member is actively encouraging residents to vote "no" on the referendum.
In addition to singing the praises of the aging RELAC and arguing with homeowners favoring change, the Board member has even resorted to what I would call fear tactics, by suggesting that if the referendum were approved and some homes convert to conventional air conditioning, the electricity serving the area may be overwhelmed. In one of many emails, the Board member said, “I have a concern our 50 year old junction line will not handle the load.” There is no such problem.

In fact, Dominion supplies more than adequate power and would be delighted to sell even more electricity around Lake Anne if it were needed. When asked, Dominion, in fact, said as much.
The unnamed board member is well within their rights to voice their opinion, just as others are well within theirs to argue that the system doesn't work for them, if by "work" you mean "cools the house to under 80 degrees on a hot summer day."

Free From 15 posted some of the arguments against making a change that may have convinced voters to maintain the status quo in the 2005 referendum. "Sadly, their dire predictions about costs came true because their opposition destroyed the chance for competition, which we believe is the only realistic way to lower costs for everyone," the site argues.

Deadline for ballots is 5pm this Friday. While most of the households impacted by the decision likely voted as soon as uniformed federal agents delivered the ballots to their homes, it might not be a bad idea to check the stack of Reston-related mail piling up in your sunken living room, the end.

27 comments:

  1. I spent over $10k on a new HVAC for my two broom closets unit. How many months of RELAC would that buy me if I was an inmate at Lake Anne?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are completely full of it. A few years ago I had to replace my HVAC unit which was a combined AC and furnace in one. Because of its configuration, size restrictions(had to fit in a space the size of a broom closet), and being a combined unit only 2 manufacturers even made a unit that would work. All of those issues made it more costly than just replacing a standard AC unit. It still only cost me $5500 total. The unit even required a connection to a gas line. If you payed $10k for just an exterior AC unit you were robbed.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, see, I wanted one that:
      - runs quietly so as to not drive my neighbors and me crazy;
      - runs efficiently so that it doesn't drive the environment and my wallet crazy... HA!
      - runs for longer than say a couple of years so I don't have to replace it over and over and drive the above crazy again.

      So I bought the BMW of HVACs, not the Ford. But now we have some idea what the soon to be former RELAC customers are going to choose.

      Delete
    3. And in case there is still confusion, it was both the outside infinitely variable heat pump and the inside inverter-driven air handler/coil, UV lights, and filter, as well as the duct work to make it all fit. It only took a crew of 6 a whole day, and it was a forklift job, not a new install or what the RELAC folks will need.

      Of course who wouldn't want Lake Anne to look more like a Motel 8 with window units dripping moldy water over the peasants on the plaza. It's the quality of life people!

      Delete
    4. Nowhere in Reston can you have a window unit. Want that shit? Move to Arlington.

      Delete
  2. It's time to cut the cord on the outdated and inefficient RELAC system. Spend your money on an AC system that will actually work in the summer time. The board-member-who-remains-nameless demonstrates the continuing poor judgment n that RA board members are becoming known for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree 100%. It seems the board wants to live in the past and is not able to open up their minds to new ideas. The concept of Reston as a whole was a good one when it was created but times change. If you are going to be on the board you need to stop sticking your head in the sand and realize not all of the concepts of Reston work in today's world.

      What really bothers me is this no name board member chooses to stay nameless while spreading lies and negatively impacting others lives. I will put my name on anything I say. My name is Adam Petersen. I have lived in Reston since 2000. I am tired of some of the original Restonians holding the rest of Reston hostage.

      Delete
  3. Comments made by this "unnamed board member" on our cluster website are very concerning. Not only are they full of BS, fear, and inaccuracies, they point to HIS version of RELAC and the future of Lake Anne. His comments are alarming to say the least. He may have the right to speak as a RELAC user and a public citizen, but he is an elected official and leader of a (corrupt!) group whose purpose is to represent the best interests of all citizens of Reston, or something like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do you really know what you think you know?

      There is no spoon!

      Delete
    2. RA is a homeowners association! It is NOT a representative democracy.

      Delete
  4. To Anonymous#1: think years, not months!
    From Anonymous#2, a RELAC hostage

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right! Years! And why do people buy broom closets/condos? To save on expenses perhaps by sharing some of them?

      People looking to buy/rent a new one being built in Reston should really talk to the Lake Anne population and then hop on the Silver Line and run back as fast as they can. If it is not the HVAC, it will be the elevators, the garage, the noise, the plumbing, the smell, the garbage, the aliens, the drug dealers, the "alternative lifestyle", the drummer, the jihadis, the yuppy lady with the yuppy doggies, the NRA geezer... It never ends.

      Multi-dwelling existence is a recipe for an endless misery for all. Go find your own cave.

      Delete
  5. When we moved to Reston we were charmed by Lake Anne. We thought to take a small place on the plaza upon becoming empty-nesters. Our nest emptied a decade ago, but no Lake Anne. The reason: RELAC.

    ReplyDelete
  6. As it was explained to me at one meeting, my neighborhood has ALUMINIUM Wiring, and could not handle the extra load of AC units.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Got news for you: all of the power mains serving every unit in Reston, RELAC or not, are aluminum. If your interior wiring is aluminum, that's also not a problem if it's not been mixed with inappropriate connectors (which is both dangerous and illegal).

      BIG NEWS: Those massive power towers we see all over Reston? Those are directly connected to the four nukes that supply 55 percent (or more) of our power. Those lines are aluminum.

      Delete
    2. Some houses built during that time period do have aluminum wiring and those inappropriate connectors, but fixing that is important for reasons beyond AC. They can be a fire hazard.

      Delete
  7. @Restonian you continue to be a useless fithy web log. Your info is inaccurate and you have an obvious bias against RELAC despite not living in a RELAC cluster. You have no dog in the fight, nor does anyone else who is not on RELAC.

    As far as the rules goes if you took a moment to actually READ the damn FAQ you link to:
    Quorum is 30% of eligible voters, referendum requires 2/3 of the VOTERs not households.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Modern AC technology has an obvious bias against RELAC.

      Delete
    2. Wow, you sound really really angry. But how do you know who "Restonian" is and does not indeed have RELAC? Are you on the RA board? Gad, I sure hope not... 'cause they have enough ethics problems without your anger issues.

      Delete
    3. @ Restonian. Your meta tag "Bizarre Regulations" is stupid like your trollish filthy web log. The RELAC requirement is a covenant NOT a regulation. Covenants are entered into with prior knowledge and voluntarily. Or did all the anti-RELACers not read their documents when the purchased their homes under gun-point?

      Delete
    4. Uh-oh. Sounds like someone forgot to take their Metamucil today.

      By the way, as for your 12:15 comment, just for the L of it please remember this is a "filthy" web log, not a "fithy" web log.

      Delete
    5. Take this L and ...January 29, 2015 at 5:59 PM

      Here's some maths for you courtesy of the HC website:
      As few as 69 YES votes (2/3 x 30% quorum x 343 eligible) could impact RELAC service for all 626 current customers. But if all 343 eligible homeowners vote, 229 YES votes are required to pass the referendum, and 115 NO votes are required to defeat it.
      http://hickoryclusterassociation.blogspot.com/

      69 of 626 is about 11% Since when is it ok for 11% to decide what's best for the other 89% ?

      Delete
  8. I'm a new homeowner at Lake Anne and I didn't receive a ballot. I do not wish to use Relac and I'd like to vote. How can I do this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Call Reston Association. You better hurry up you only have one more day. Go to the office on Sunrise Valley Drive.

      Delete
  9. Even the most quiet system on this page is 59 db. Relac operates at 0db.

    http://www.lennox.com/products/air-conditioners/

    ReplyDelete
  10. We are new homeowner . We do not want to use
    Relac.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are Borg. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated into the RELAC collective.

      Delete

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