Autumn on Lake Audobon

Autumn on Lake Audobon
Autumn on Lake Audubon, Photo by Alison Kamat

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Statement of Terry Maynard for Reston 20/20 at Special RA Board meeting on Tetra review, March 20, 2017



Statement of Terry Maynard, Co-Chair
Reston 20/20 Committee re
The StoneTurn Group Tetra Report and Follow-up
March 20, 2017


Good evening.  I am Terry Maynard, 2217 Wakerobin Lane, and I am speaking on behalf of the Reston 20/20 Committee.

First, I would like to thank StoneTurn Group and its investigative team for its excellent report prepared in far too brief a time.  It does exactly what you, Deidre, promised it would do:  It lays out a clear forensic description of what happened during the unfolding Tetra debacle.   Regrettably, from our perspective, it does not lay out specifically the who, why, and how of the many events it identifies. 

The members of Reston Association deserve to know all the details in this shameful episode, including those reported by StoneTurn Group and others that are not covered in this report.  We need to know, first, because somewhere between our Board and RA staff and its contractors, including counsel, RA spent $2.65 million of our money on a property worth less than half that in 2015.  Moreover, in 2016, RA spent nearly one million dollars repairing and renovating the property without any budget or identifiable Board approval until some $600,000 had been spent.  The total spending was nearly quadruple the quarter-million dollar forecast estimate in referendum documents. 
 
These are colossal errors.  We must know in depth how and why they occurred and who caused them to occur.  Then we must take steps to prevent these blunders from being repeated, and to discourage anyone from ever making them in the future. 

Our preliminary report, which used the StoneTurn results extensively, highlights several major areas of mishandling of Tetra’s purchase and repair.  As the many questions it raises suggest, it is meant to stimulate further investigation. 

In contrast to numerous mistakes StoneTurn Group documents, neither StoneTurn Group nor we have been able to identify a single attempt by RA or the Board actually to lay out a price offer, formal or informal, to Tetra’s owner for less than his asking price of $2.7 million.  To the contrary, we have an e-mail from the RA land use attorney’s office to the CEO attempting to justify the seller’s $2.7 million price.  Maybe such an offer document exists, but it hasn’t surfaced yet.  If it doesn’t, that’s a monumental failure of RA Board, staff, and counsel fiduciary responsibility. 

Similar unexplained and highly questionable events occurred throughout last year’s period of renovation, but I think we have made the point:  There is much more to know and do before closing this ugly chapter in Reston’s history.

What all this points to is the need for a follow-up investigation to understand fully all that occurred and to make appropriate corrective recommendations.  The core purposes of that investigation would be to identify specifically what mistakes, accidental or malicious, were made, identify who was culpable for those mistakes, and recommend to the Board appropriate corrective policy, process, and personnel actions.

We propose that the next RA Board of Directors appoint a special committee of RA residents with an extensive period to work and extensive authority to access RA documents and personnel to pursue this investigation.  Heaven knows, this community has the expertise to conduct such an effort.  In the end, the community is the aggrieved party in this fiasco, stuck with a white elephant, millions in debt for decades, and the near certainty that facility revenues will never cover costs.  Moreover, by using community resources, we have the opportunity to avoid yet another major expense related to this shameful episode. 

That said, we appreciate that this Board, the majority of which served throughout the purchase and renovation of Tetra, is not planning to take action on StoneTurn Group’s recommendations.  Moreover, as the CEO rightly pointed out in last week’s Board Governance Committee meeting, RA’s specific ideas on how to address process and procedural matters need to be refined.  We think that a further indepth investigation will help shape those ideas much more effectively and accomplish much more for the betterment of Reston.

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Preliminary Report on Key Issues in RA's Mishandling of the Purchase and Renovation of the Tetra Property, Reston 20/20 Committee, March 13, 2017

E-mail transmitting report to RA Board of Directors and others: 

Terry Maynard

Today at 10:01 AM

Message body

Dear Ladies & Gentlemen,

Attached for your consideration is a brief preliminary report on RA's mishandling of Tetra based on the work of StoneTurn Group in laying out the relevant events and the excellent work of a small group of Reston 20/20 researchers who ferreted out additional information and tied it all together.  Our goal in this report was to pinpoint areas for follow-up so we, as a community, can understand who was behind what happened and why those events occurred.  It is meant to stimulate discussion and a much deeper follow-up initiative to get to the bottom of all the mistakes that occurred and hold accountable those who made them.  In the end, if we do not hold accountable those who horribly mishandled the Tetra purchase and renovation, we can almost certainly expect a similar debacle to occur in the future.

In light of the fact that the current Board majority was immersed in all the events described here and in StoneTurn's report, it has no credibility in conducting any further actions on Tetra.  The new RA Board, installed next month with a majority not involved in Tetra, should tackle the issues we raise here and any others it finds in a deep dive effort by a committee of Restonians.

In the meantime, we look forward to discussing StoneTurn Group's report as well as our own at tomorrow's special Board meeting, assuming the forecast blizzard doesn't prevent the meeting from occurring. 

Sincerely,
Terry Maynard, Co-Chair
Reston 20/20 Committee

   A Preliminary Report on RA's Mishandling of the Purchase and Renovation of the Tetra Property by TerryMaynard on Scribd



Friday, March 3, 2017

An Open Letter Concerning the St. Johns Wood Proposed Re-Development

An Open Letter Concerning the St. Johns Wood Proposed Re-Development

To: The Reston Planning & Zoning Committee, Reston Design Review Board, Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning, Fairfax County Supervisors, and all affected community members-

A plea for adequate time for public review and comment on the next round of developer changes to its St. Johns Wood re-development proposal.

The undersigned residents of the North Point area of Reston seek your attention and assistance regarding anticipated changes to plans for redevelopment of the St. Johns Wood apartment complex.  The property is located at the intersection of Reston Parkway and Center Harbor Road. Please assure that Bozzuto Development Company, Inc. (Bozzuto) provides all affected reviewing authorities and the public-at-large sufficient time and information to review the revised plans that the developer has indicated will be made.

The numerous submissions by Bozzuto for redevelopment of the property, seeking to convert 250 multi-family garden apartments in nine-three story buildings to 467 new apartments and forty-four townhomes, have undergone many changes over several years.  County Supervisor Hudgins currently advises on her website, “Bozzuto is in the process of revising their plan; therefore, the public hearing was deferred until May 25, 2017.”  This postponement by County Planning follows deferral of review by the Reston Design Review Board in October 2016 and a statement of non-support for the Bozzuto application by the Reston Association in September 2016.

More recently, the Reston Planning & Zoning Committee calendared the review of a yet-to-be publically released revision of the developer’s redevelopment plans for St. Johns Wood. That meeting is scheduled for March 27.

Despite the rapidly approaching dates for Reston Planning & Zoning Committee review and the County Planning public hearing, to date Bozzuto has not provided the public with any information about changes to its application.

If the changes are not significant, it is unconscionable to withhold public scrutiny of this potentially neighborhood-altering project. If as is suspected the changes to the application are significant, it is even more imperative that the public be provided meaningful opportunity to examine and comment.  This is particularly important given the troubling deficiencies cited by the Reston Design Review Board and the Reston Association.

The St. Johns Wood project will so greatly affect the quality of life, environment, safety, and property values of the North Point area of Reston that the project must be reviewed in the most transparent manner possible. Please help!

Susan Barse
Stephen Canner
Mark Clyman
Arlene Krieger
Patricia Lentz
John Mooney
Dabney Narvaez
Linda Platt
Jeanne Vasterling



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Statement of Terry Maynard, Co-Chair, Reston 20/20 Committee at Board of Supervisors Hearing on the Reston Road Tax



 Statement of
Terry Maynard, Co-Chair, Reston 20/20 Committee
re FCDOT’s Proposed Reston Station Area Transportation Service District Tax
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Public Hearing
February 28, 2017


Good afternoon.  I am Terry Maynard.  I reside at 2217 Wakerobin Lane in Reston.  I am speaking on behalf of the Reston 20/20 Committee.  

The Reston TSD road tax proposal you are considering is a sham based on erroneous assumptions, defective logic, and inaccurate official public statements. 

The greatest fiction in this tax scheme is the foundation assumption that Fairfax County faces a $350 million “funding gap” for improving Reston station area streets over four decades.  Of that so-called gap, FCDOT proposes that $139 million should be paid by a Transportation Service District (TSD) tax on Reston station area property owners.  That includes an estimated $40-$45 million on owned residences.  That’s about $1 million per year in added homeowner taxes in 2016 dollars.
 
In fact, there is no gap.  In making this assumption, FCDOT implicitly declares that Reston homeowners must be taxed because:

  • The County cannot move any current tax revenues in its $4 billion budget to improve Reston’s streets.  
  • The County can’t use any future station area property tax revenues to invest in Reston’s streets.
  • The County can never raise the rates on any county-wide taxes that would help generate billions in future tax revenues. 
To insist on these assumptions is an outright falsehood, and FCDOT and you know it.

Moreover, the idea that homeowners should pay a special tax to meet a basic infrastructure requirement is ludicrous.  How many of you pay a special annual tax for improvements in public streets or intersections near your homes?  The answer is “None.”  No, our public streets are a collective County asset, not the funding responsibility of neighborhood homeowners.

If logic were actually applied, it would dictate that only those who benefit financially from the street improvements would pay for them.   Two parties benefit:  Developers through profits averaging over $1 billion per year on their Reston station area development, and the County through some $11 billion in future station area property tax revenues. 

Moreover, if Reston’s developers can’t afford an added $1 million per year contribution to their road fund out of the $45 billion in profits they will likely earn in the next four decades, they really shouldn’t be in business in Reston.  

Worst of all, this scheme calls for 87% of homeowners’ future taxes to be spent on building streets on the grid’s periphery that will generate more traffic and would otherwise not be built because adjoining development would not be profitable.  From homeowners pockets to developer profits.  That’s not even happening in Tysons. 

Homeowners, on the other hand, will not earn an additional penny and, contrary to official statements, they will face more congested streets under the RNAG plan as a result of your decision to lower urban traffic service standards. 

In one line, this taxation scheme calls for Reston homeowners to pay more for less. 

Yet the County continues to flog the proposal with inaccurate and incomplete statements. 

  • It “assumes” that the proposed tax rate will remain flat, but this is a teaser rate that will escalate quickly.
  • It rejects the need to invest in any additional bus service despite the planned doubling of Reston station area population and jobs.
  • It fails to acknowledge that any “sunset provision” in the scheme could be easily eliminated by the Board.

This entire endeavor is political theater to legitimize a Board-driven effort to create another tax revenue stream.  If this is approved, you will likely use the same bogus approach to create comparable tax districts in the dozen or so other County re-development areas identified in last year’s zoning ordinance amendment. 

Stop the phony political theatrics to justify a dishonest scheme.  Manage County spending rather than creating deceitful gimmicks to add to Reston homeowners’ growing tax burden.  Stop this unjustified and unfair tax now.

Thank you.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Official Board of Supervisors Agenda Item for Reston TSD Road Tax Hearing, 4:30PM, February 28, 2017, Government Center

Below is the official Board of Supervisors agenda text for the upcoming Board hearing on the proposed Reston Transportation Service District (TSD) road tax.  A couple of early observations:
  • There is no "sunset" clause provision terminating the tax after 40 years as stated in Supervisor Hudgins' February newsletter.  
  • The item "assumes" the initial $.021/$100 valuation will remain unchanged throughout the 40-year period.  
Here's the full text:
 4:30 p.m. Public hearing concerning consideration of a request to endorse a funding plan for transportation improvements related to the Reston Phase I Comprehensive Plan Amendment (Reston Transportation Funding Plan). The proposed Reston Transportation Funding Plan addresses the $2.27 billion (in 2016 dollars) need for transportation infrastructure improvements to support the land use recommendations in the Reston Phase I Comprehensive Plan Amendment. The proposed plan allocates roughly $1.2 billion of the improvements over 40 years from public funds–Federal, State, local, and regional funds that are anticipated for countywide transportation projects. It also recommends that approximately $1.07 billion of the cost for these improvements be raised from private fund– sources of revenue that are generated within the Reston Transit Station Areas (TSAs): Wiehle-Reston East, Reston Town Center, and Herndon Transit Station Area and used exclusively for transportation improvements in the Reston TSAs. These private revenues would include developer contributions through actual construction, a transportation road fund that would collect contributions from new developments in the Reston TSAs, and a transportation service tax district that would allow the Board to levy and collect an annual tax from all property owners in the Reston TSAs. The proposed Reston Transportation Funding Plan includes initial rates for the Road Fund and Service District. These proposed initial rates, however, are subject to Board approval. Specifically, the Board will take a separate action to approve the Road Fund Guidelines and, following a separate public hearing, create the Service District. The initial rates included in the proposed Transportation Funding Plan are as follows:  Road Fund:  Residential per Dwelling Unit Rate: $2,090 Commercial per Square Foot Rate: $9.56.  It is anticipated that these rates would be adjusted annually, based on inflation.  Service District: Rate per $100 of Assessed Value: $0.021.  The proposed funding plan assumes this rate would remain flat during the life of the service district; however, the actual rate would be adopted annually by the Board of Supervisors. Property outside the Reston TSAs would be unaffected by the service district. More information about the development of the Reston Transportation Funding Plan can be found here:  http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/restonnetworkanalysis/ Questions regarding this proposed amendment may be directed to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation at 703-877-5600.
 We have discussed the absurdity of a TSD tax on Reston station area homeowners as well as the underlying fraud behind this financing proposal.  If you agree with us that this tax proposal is unwarranted and unfair, please do one or all of the following:

Analysis and Comparison of 2010 and 2015 Appraisals of Tetra Property by Members of Mediaworld Team