RCA Board Meeting: November 28, 2011
Present: C.J. Basik, Hank Blakely, John Bowman, Deb Eastham, John Hanley, Diane Lewis, Terry Maynard, Dan McGuire, Colin Mills (President), Tammie Petrine, Dick Rogers, Gary Walker
Absent: George Kain
Public, Off-Camera Board Meeting
Agenda: The agenda was adopted as amended.
August Meeting Minutes: After some spelling corrections and discussion, the October Meeting Minutes were accepted as amended.
Treasurer's Report: Treasurer Diane Lewis handed out copies of the Treasurer's report, which
was approved. As of October 31st, the ending balance for Discretionary Funds was $186.90 and Restricted Funds balance was $1,546.90. Not showing in the report, is a $10 fee for a license plate application. Diane also donated $1 to the 2020 Fund to avoid dormant account charges. When under $100, dormant accounts may be charged after 2 months so her plan is to put a dollar in every month.
Meeting Location: Dan shared the news that we have the Sheraton on 4th Mondays if we so choose, at no charge. The conference room will have a large table which seats up to 15 people. A few additional chairs will provided for guests and they will serve water. Of the three meeting space options (ComCast Studios, Sheraton or North County Government Center) the Sheraton has the more comfortable meeting space. The “cons” at the Sheraton are a possibility of being “bumped” and we might be somewhat more isolated. Some felt the Government Center may present less isolation. The “cons” for the Government Center include limited parking, metal chairs/ less comfortable environment, and we could also be bumped if government officials need the room.
Terry moved that the RCA meetings move to the Sheraton for the next 12 months; Tammi seconded. The vote passed with 9 in favor, 2 opposed, and 1 abstention. The first meeting at the Sheraton will be January 23.
Review of Brainstorming Session: Colin felt the mid-month Brainstorming Session had been very productive and defined our strengths and weaknesses. He passed out a summary of the notes to all board members. When asked for follow up comments, Dick volunteered that he was particularly interested in how we relate to the Reston Association (RA) and suggested forming a working group to come up with how we should relate to / approach outside organizations. This was agreed to and the working group selected will consist of Dick, Tammi, John Hanley, and Colin.
Gary recommended that the Long and Short Term Goals need to be prioritized to make a beginning of an Action Plan. Colin agreed. He will meet with John Hanley and Dan to address this before the January meeting and draft a strategic plan.
Colin pointed out that we have a dual mission in regard to Fundraising. The long-term plan is to identify and pursue grants (etc) and the short-term is to raise funds for more immediate needs (for example, participation on the Reston Festival should we want to do so). He asked for the Board to think about ways to raise at least $200 for immediate needs. Regarding our tax status, Hank offered to contact the IRS to determine the rules regarding pursuit of the 501c3 classification.
Community Forums: Colin aims for the RCA will hold several forums on our key issues throughout 2012, and hopes to find/ enlist local talent to assist us in this. Tammi suggested Property Rights in Reston regarding Developers buying private property for development as a topic. John Hanley suggested working with the Alliance of Reston Cluster and Homeowners (ARCH) on this. Dick recommended finding a lawyer to comment on this as it is a complex topic. Another suggestion for a topic is Property Taxes; the Use and Distribution of those funds. Another idea for an informational presentation was on transportation, particularly explaining how the south side of Reston will get to the new Wiehle Street Metro Station. Discussion ensued regarding the advisability of raising a topic that may be considered “incendiary”. Colin suggested that we consider finding some Education related topics. A great deal of research will be needed before pursing any of these ideas. Youth Employment was another topic suggested, and the idea of local internships being provided to students. Colin, John Hanley and Dan will work on developing a list of ideas. Dan and Hank discussed how we should approach forums, that if we are sponsoring the forums, we should moderate it using an expert or a panel rather than putting forth our opinions. The goal is to establish in the public mind that we address relevant and interesting issues.
Reston Festival: Dan reminded us that the registration period for the Reston Festival will be upon us very soon and we need to decide whether or not we want to participate. Colin pointed out that the decision to participate depends greatly on whether we have on-line voting worked out. The other key issue will be staffing of the booth. Tammi pointed out that people on the election slate cannot man the booth. Colin summed up that we are not yet committed to the Festival but will need to finalize a decision soon.
License Plate: Dan told us about the changes made to the License Plate application. He has concerns over the web presence of the License Plate campaign. A brief discussion ensued but was cut short due to time constraints.
Public, On-Camera Board Meeting
Welcome: President Colin Mills called the meeting to order at 8:30 and the Directors introduced themselves.
RCA Citizen of the Year Award: Colin announced that we are now accepting applications for the RCA Citizen of the Year Award. The criteria is as follows:
- The nominee must have been a Reston citizen for at least the past 5 years,
- The Nominee’s actions are consistent with the goals of Reston and the RCA,
- The Nominee has contributed to the quality of life in Reston,
- People in need of help have benefited from the Nominees actions
- The Nominee’s deeds were done without thought of personal gain or recognition
- The Nominee is not currently an elected public official or serving on the Board of a major community organization (including RA, RCA, etc)
The application should be on the RCA website shortly and are due the end of the year for selection in early January.
Master Plan Task Force: Phase 1 Update and Phase 2 Preview: RCA attended an Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee Meeting discussing the Metro Rail and the regular Task Force meeting on November 1, and the Community Meeting on November 16th.
Terry presented information from the Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee and the Task Force meetings. From the first, we learned that Dulles Toll Road users now look like they will be paying 54% of the cost of Phase 2 if it goes on for the projected cost. Regarding costs, it is realistic that the budget will go from $2.7 to $2.9 billion on Phase 1 and possibly 3 months late (6 months late is the worst case). While not acknowledging any delays in Phase 1, the Task Force do have several schedule problems that they are trying to work around, for example the weather related delays during “Snowmageddon” two years ago while working on the overhead section through Tyson’s Corner. To counter the delays, they are working 24/7, which will incur overtime costs. An interesting side note, when the Chairman of the MWAA asked for new agenda items for the next meeting, there was a request for a “back of the envelope” calculation for what it cost to run a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system instead of Phase 2 and what the impact there would be on Wiehle Avenue. Phase 2 could to be delayed about 6 months for a good reason – an effort to look for other opportunities for financing that may reduce costs.
The Task Force meeting on November 1st presented a second more residential intensive alternate for looking at traffic analysis in Reston. The original scenario is based on planning for 134,000 jobs and approx. 51,000 people living in the TOD areas. The alternate presented with a higher residential ratio, stayed with the same commercial (jobs) level of 134,000 jobs and bumping up the residential component to 100,000 in the TOD area, thus lowering the jobs to household ratio. They then also applied both approaches Reston wide, which had not been done before, estimating an additional 20,000 households in the base case to about 90,000 people and an additional 70,000 households in the residential intensive option for about 150,000 people in Reston. Both estimates are a far cry from the current population of about 58,000. In other words, we are looking at potentially doubling or tripling the population of Reston. Terry plans to write a paper on this and post it in his blog. Dan commented that the fact that they added to the residential side of the equation rather than reduce the commercial to shift the ratio is telling, as is adding the device of including the rest of Reston to the mix which artificially change the commercial/ residential balance without solving the real problem. The majority of the increase will result from Phase 1, not Phase 2.
Regarding the meeting of November 16, which was advertised as the “kick-off” of Phase 2, but wasn’t, John Bowman told us that the attendees were basically given was a history lesson of the Task Force to date – the timeline and some of the issues. What was not presented, and what those who have been engaged in this process were hoping to hear about, was a true discussion on how the County is going to approach Phase 2. The County was non-committal in regard to the use of the Task Force in Phase 2, so the opportunity for the community to comment in Phase 2 is undetermined. Timing for Phase 2 is delayed until they receive the results of the modeling come in during January or February with a set of recommendations from Phase 1. Depending on those results, the County may have to come to grips on how much commercial they can really do and not ruin the quality of life in Reston. Another interesting thing that will come out of the meeting was the County’s acknowledgement the Reston’s current 13 person per acre population cap clearly is going to get busted, the question is how that is going to work. Discussion ensued regarding possible options for how the County might go about collecting and using community opinions.
2020 Update: Tammi described a robust meeting on November 9th. The primary issue of concern continues to be the tremendous burden that the Dulles Toll Road users face but in addition to that another concern of the 2020 committee is who is going to underwrite bonds. When you are looking at the majority of funding coming from a toll road fee that going to raise so high usage is going to drop dramatically, you need to consider how it is get underwriting. Another issue brought up was the fact of the tremendous flooding that occurred this past fall along the W&OD trail along Wiehle Ave with the submerged cars. This was due to a natural stream that has been blocked up and has resulted in a floodable area. We want to be sure when the TOD development along the corridor is built that no natural streams are blocked off, because that is the result. This is also in the Planning Principles committee. The meeting was largely focused on Phase 2 which as John Bowman has pointed out to us is now in abeyance for a number of months.
Terry added that MWAA / Dulles Toll Road bond rating has slipped from A to BBB so there is an issue as Tammi as pointed out.
Fundraising Possibilities: Colin stated that we covered most of this issue in the off-camera segment. No one had anything to add.
IT Committee Update: Gary stated that not much progress had been made. He reviewed the three goals of the committee:
- Revamp the website
- Create the ability to have on-line voting
Hank pointed out how Fundraising and the website go hand-in-hand. Gary hopes the committee will have made concrete progress for the January meeting, possible have a Beta version to show the Board. Colin shared that we want to develop a dynamic website with interactive elements.
Education Committee: Colin described Education as an area that our Brainstorming Meeting pointed out as a good issue to pursue. He does not currently want to start a committee on this, but asked for ideas on what such a committee might focus on. Ideas included Community College in Reston, developing a Reston History curriculum that could be taught in area schools, and advocacy for an Arts / Technical/ Vocational High School which may focus on things like Green Technologies to train young people in industries that may not yet even exist. Another idea is a form of mentoring program with local professionals and businesses.
Other Business: Diane told us of 2 free EV charging stations for electric cars in front of Mom’s Organic Market in the Kmart Shopping Center in Herndon. There are additional charging stations at the Clocktower Shopping Center, also in Herndon.
The Soapstone conversion of bike lanes is completed. There is also a sensor in the bike lane so the traffic light system will be able to detect when a bike is there.
A question was asked if there was new information from the Planning and Zoning Committee regarding a 22 story building that is being considered in the Reston Town Center. The opinion from the meeting was the audience was enamored with the architectural presentation but not much discussion focused on the land use issue. It’s a Class A office building on top of a 6 story garage (not underground). The vision is to attract an international headquarters to Reston, which would be great, but there was no discussion of other impact points such as the commercial/ residential balance, etc. Otherwise, the Spectrum proposal has been withdrawn for the time being.
Location and Time of Next Meeting: No December meeting. The next RCA meeting will be January 23, 2012 in the Sheraton Hotel. The address is 11810 Sunset Hills Road, Reston. The public is invited to come.
Minutes submitted by Debra Eastham