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Lack of participation in Reston Association by new developments raises concerns

A rendering of Reston Row (via Fairfax County)

Reston Association is asking Fairfax County to find ways to ensure that future development in Reston’s Transit Station Areas (TSAs) commit to joining the association.

In a statement to FFXnow, RA says more than 3,000 units in the TSA areas have been approved without a commitment to join RA.

The Reston Master Plan — the latest version of which is under review — states that development within the area can be better integrated into the fabric of the community with access to existing many amenities — an end “best achieved” by incorporation into RA or the Reston Town Center Association.

“Each of these entities has indicated a willingness to include these new developments in their associations,” the plan states.

But over the last few years, some developers have declined to join RA, despite using amenities managed and owned by RA in marketing materials. RA maintains 55 miles of trails, 15 pools, 54 tennis courts, ballfields, pavilions and four community buildings.

“Unfortunately, over the years several developers have not yet joined RA while using RA facilities in their advertising to entice tenants to rent their apartments,” RA said. “Among them are Comstock, EYA and the Apeture.”

“We have not heard an explanation for these decisions,” RA wrote in a statement.

That issue came to light at a July 28 Fairfax County Planning Commission meeting. During a public hearing on proposed changes to Reston Row, RA president John Farrell expressed the association’s concerns about Comstock, the neighborhood’s developer, not planning to join RA.

“A wise man said the proof of insanity is to make the same mistake over and over,” Farrell said, urging the commission to deny the application. “Let us not continue the insanity of allowing the people of Reston and the taxpayers of the county to subsidize some TSA residential developers.”

Developers that have joined RA include Sekas, Pulte and Toll Brothers.

RA argues that if the nearly 3,000 units authorized in the TSA area were built and subject to RA’s deed, the association would reel in nearly $2.4 million in revenue — enough to reduce the yearly member assessment by $100 each for the 24,000 homeowners in Reston.

“Over the next several years, many of those developers will be coming to the County to reposition their projects and RA will ask that the Hunter Mill Supervisor condition any future approvals on those projects joining RA so that the developer support[s] the maintenance of the RA facilities upon which the developers’ marketing efforts are based,” RA wrote.

The county says that, while the master plan encourages developers to join RA, the plan is intended as a land use document and can’t compel developers to join a local organization.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said he appreciates Reston Association “raising the financial burden associated with managing their extensive network of community recreation and park facilities.”

“We have a rather balkanized system of community facilities across Reston Association, Reston Town Center Association, Reston Community Center, and the Fairfax County Park Authority – in addition to all the cluster associations and NOVA Park’s W&OD trail,” Alcorn said. “I welcome the discussion on how Reston’s community infrastructure could be maintained and updated fairly and sustainably during the coming years and decades.”

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