Reston Spring

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Notes on the RA Board Administrative Meeting, May 9, 2011

  Notes on the
RA Board Administrative Committee Meeting
May 9, 2011
By Terry Maynard and John Hanley

Summary:  The meeting proved to less controversial than might have been expected.  The Public Art Master Plan proposal focuses primarily on a process for considering public art in Reston.  The consolidated referendum and its list is a concept and suggestions for discussion only at the May 26 Board meeting.  It is uncertain why the motion was put forward as it was. The Metrorail impacts discussion was brief and focused principally how RA could accommodate its arrival, not the current debate about its costs and their impacts.

Present:  Kathleen McKee (Pres.), Paul Thomas (VP—via teleconference), Joe Leighton, Amanda Andere, Ken Knueven, Milton Matthews, and Ken Chadwick (Counsel). 

Public Comments

Kathy Kaplan expressed concerned about unforeseen expenses associated with the public art program, and the lack of time for the public to review and comment on the draft plan.  She was concerned that developers had not been asked to pay for some of the costs. She asked that a Board decision be deferred.

Rob Whitfield commented on the new cost figures for Phase 2 of Metrorail construction and its impact on tolls.  He noted that the arrangements for financing had not been agreed to in a public meeting.  He added that the Virginia DOT Transportation Advisory Committee was taking comments through May 27 in preparing its program and suggested RA, possibly working with other Reston civic groups, weigh in on the issues facing Metrorail. 

Smoking on the Pathways

Resident Gary Nobles presented a proposal to ban smoking on all Reston common areas, including several health justifications for doing so.   The proposal generated some discussion regarding enforceability and the need for clarification of the proposal (e.g.—does not cover RA easements on cluster properties).

Public Arts Master Plan Draft

Cheryl Beamer presented the work of the special committee drawing up the draft master public arts plan.  She highlighted that it is more about a protocol for decision-making than about specific projects.   She noted it called for creation of advisory committee to set priorities and review individual project plans.  She noted the importance of partnerships in funding public art efforts. 

Most of the ensuing discussion focused on how RA maintains public art in place—responsibility, funding, etc.  There was some concern that existing Reston public art is not well maintained.   The idea of an endowment was offered.   A brief discussion concerned why Sunrise Valley Wetlands Park was (a) a low priority (Cheryl—listing is not a priority ranking) and (b) whether there should be art there at all. 

Bond Proposal for Multiple Facilities

Although this agenda item was so titled and the lead sentence said, “Move that the Reston Association (RA) Parks and Planning Advisory Committee (PPAC) recommend the RA Board of Directors combine multiple park and recreation improvements into one referendum package to send to the membership for vote to provide RA the authority to secure and spend funding for such improvements,” all those involved with the PPAC (Milton Matthews, Larry Butler, and Joe Leighton most notably) said the concept and the list were put forward for discussion only.  Indeed, Matthews made this point at least three times in the discussion.  

Amanda Andere asked the key question of whether the BAC was being asked to forward to the Board for its consideration the concept of a bundled referendum or the list of projects.  Aside from being reminded that the idea was for discussion only, this matter was not clarified in the discussion.  It remains unclear why the motion was originally worded as it was. Leighton pointed out that the indoor pool idea ($7 million) could probably be dropped because the RCC was considering such an initiative.   Others noted that some of other ideas were new and had not been vetted by staff or discussed with Restonians in some way, including several ideas linked to the public art program.  (Comment:  It was unclear to me why some projects were considered capital projects either because of their small dollar size or because of their nature (signage? but at $250,000?).  I do not understand why—or by what authority—RA would partner to build a playground outside Reston at Lake Fairfax Park I agree. This whole incompetent proposal is dubious and needs o be carefully monitored .)   The BAC was clearly aware that many Restonians had seen this agenda item (“it’s out there in the blogosphere”) and were rightly  concerned about the intentions of the Board and BAC.  At the end of the discussion, it appeared the BAC would forward the package to the Board for discussion of the concept and how to incorporate the items in a list.  If the Board thought the concept was appropriate, staff would be asked to follow up with the needed supporting work, including surveys and polls of Restonians, by a time given.  Ken Knueven made the point the proposal should not be forwarded with its current language.

Charging for Non-Residential Ballfield Use

Staff proposed some small changes in language in RA’s current regulations to acknowledge the ongoing practice of charging non-resident adults and children various rates per capita for use of Reston’s ballfields. 

Metrorail Issues Affecting the Community

Most of this discussion focused on how RA would facilitate people getting to the Wiehle Metrorail station, although Leighton noted that Phase 2 funding for the Dulles Metrorail might not be available.  Knueven suggested that adding electric car charging stations and ZIP car facilities in the Comstock parking garage could be productive.  Matthews noted the role of satellite parking garages advocated by Dave Edwards.  Leighton and Thomas noted the need to have a bus meet every train (especially in the evening)—a greater frequency than planned by FC DOT. The costs of added bus services were not discussed.  Knueven suggested getting proffers for new trails and lighting from the village centers to stations either from the County or developers.  Andere noted that we also needed to think about affordable housing in the station areas (in addition to workforce housing) to accommodate families of limited means. 

Amendments to Finance Committee Membership Qualifications

The RA Finance Committee proposed amending its membership qualifications by adding some more specificity to the educational or work experience.  After a lengthy discussion, the matter was referred back to the committee for some clarification of the wording.

Pedestrian and Bicycling Work Plan Amendments

Several proposals for amending the PBAC’s work plan were proposed.  They were supported by the BAC. 

Covenants Committee Vacancy

The BAC considered a replacement for a departing Covenants Committee member and endorsed her candidacy.

There was no new business.  I left as the BAC was considering the agendas for the next two Board meetings—May 12 and May 26.

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