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The Lake Thoreau pool is under renovation (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Reston Association’s pool season has officially kicked off, although the opening date of Lake Thoreau pool is not yet known for this season.

The complete pool schedule — which is divided into five seasons — is available online.

RA says it has hired 85% of its lifeguard staff, overcoming labor shortages that often plague these positions. Last year, two pools were temporarily closed when staff members contracted COVID-19, but staffing was generally not an issue.

“Seasons four and five toward the end of the summer continue to be the most challenging for aquatics staff recruitment and retention as students return to school and start fall activities,” RA spokesperson Mike Leone said. “We continue to recruit lifeguards.”

North Shore’s heated pool and spa and Ridge Heights heated pool opened first on May 13. RA is actively hiring for more lifeguards online.

It’s still unclear if and when Lake Thoreau Pool, which is undergoing major renovations, will open this year.

Leone said the decision will depend on the timing of the project’s completion and approval from RA’s Board of Directors.

“At this point, the pool is close to 70% completed and we anticipate an early September completion,” he said.

Reston Association (file photo)

Reston Association‘s work on its first 10-year parks and recreation plan is underway.

The organization has kicked off a community survey to gather information on how it should approach the planning process for future and current parks and recreation needs.

The survey is open through June 30 and is available to all. The survey is anonymous and takes roughly 15 minutes to complete.

“One of RA’s missions is to optimize the use of land and investments related to leisure opportunities for our members,” Reston Association said. “A planning process is conducted roughly every 10 years to ensure that our parks and recreational facilities and programs are optimally meeting both the current and future needs of our residents.”

Mike Leone, a spokesperson for RA, said the board is expected to hear the results of the community survey at when it meets in September.

The survey is intended to determine current use of parks and recreation programs and facilities, future uses, and what kind of new facilities and programs should be considered in the future.

The survey is available online. Survey stations are also planned at RA ballfields, community events, courts and pools.

The Reston Farmers Market returned with its highest number of vendors this year (courtesy John Lovaas)

(Updated at 1 p.m. on 5/15/2023) Reston Farmers’ Market — a staple of Lake Anne Village Center — has officially landed in Reston.

The farmers market, which launched in late April, boasts the highest-ever number of vendors this year, according to John Lovaas, founder and co-market manager.

“We have 34 vendors (up 5 from last year),” Lovaas wrote in a statement. “In addition we have a Compost collection contractor, and stands for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) managed by Cornerstones, and Fairfax Master Gardeners who provide a wide range of advice to home gardeners.”

Sponsored by the Fairfax County Park Authority, the market also allows SNAP beneficiaries to receive an up to $20 match.

Even as it boasts a record number of vendors, the market faces some parking restraints this year.

Lovaas said parking is a constraint “made more difficult” by the new Lake Anne House, which provides what he said was “inadequate parking for its 240 apartments.”

Additionally, construction work on new townhouses next to the senior housing community has complicated some efforts.

“Thankfully, there is abundant parking available just the other side of Baron Cameron Avenue from the Market and in the parking lot behind the Lake Anne Baptist Church on the Plaza,” Lovaas said.

The church, which is officially called the Washington Plaza Baptist Church, is located at 1615 Washington Plaza North.

Musicians also perform on a weekly basis at the farmers market, which is held every Saturday to December from 8 a.m. to noon.

This year’s new vendors are:

  • Bites by Sam-sweet & savory pies
  • Cocoi-Philippine donuts, sweets
  • Coulter Dairy Farms-certified Organic
  • Pho From Home-Frozen Vietnamese Soups
  • Poppi’s Hot Sauces

Here’s more from Reston Association on the parking changes:

Construction of new townhomes on North Shore Drive across from the Reston Farmers Market will begin shortly, making parking even more challenging. However, nearby there are two sizeable parking lots that provide alternative parking options for market attendees.

One is up behind Lake Anne Baptist Church on the Plaza. To access this lot, take the first left turn off North Shore Drive after you go through the traffic light at the entrance into the new Lake Anne House assisted living building coming from the Farmers Market. After the left turn, go straight ahead up the hill into the parking area.

On the opposite side of Baron Cameron Avenue from Lake Anne Village Center & the Farmers Market, there is parking straight ahead by the RA tennis courts, and off to the right by the Browns Chapel and the baseball field. There is a crosswalk with a signal light on Baron Cameron for a safe walk back to Lake Anne.

In front of the Fairfax County Government Center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fairfax County’s zoning ordinance has officially been modernized — for good this time.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the code overhaul known as zMod on Tuesday (May 9) even after overwhelming opposition at the public hearing. The readoption took effect immediately.

Tuesday’s proceedings echoed the board’s consideration of the same plan in 2021 — a vote that the Virginia Supreme Court voided in March. The court ruled that the approval violated open meeting provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act because it came during a virtual meeting.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said the modernization of the ordinance — which was last updated in 1979 — was long overdue and corrected parts of the document that were discriminatory. McKay said issues that triggered a response in the community will remain on the county’s radar.

“We will continue to monitor those as we have been,” he said.

The board approved a follow-on motion to allow additional opportunity for review at a Fairfax County Planning Commission work session in June — particularly for concerns about allowances for data centers in some areas of the county.

McKay noted earlier in the meeting that zMOD limited where data centers are allowed, banning them from residential districts, but the county has approved nine data centers since the overhaul was first adopted.

Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith said the planning commission will revisit issues raised at Tuesday’s public hearing as part of a zoning ordinance work program.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust conceded that, while the ordinance was not perfect, it should still go through.

“It’s without hesitation that I support adoption,” he said.

Concerns dominating the hearing — losing stable neighborhoods, lack of transparency, detrimental environmental impacts, doubts about county staff’s intentions, and the scope of the overhaul — were similar to criticisms made in 2021.

Some residents revived arguments that eased rules for accessory living units (ALUs) and home-based businesses (HBBs) would destroy the character of stable neighborhoods.

Others said the latest push for zMod was ushered in without transparency and public comment.

Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross said staff “should be celebrated, not castigated” for its work on the zoning revisions, a process that began in 2017.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity abstained from the vote.

“It was supposed to be a reorganization,” Herrity said. “It ended up being more than that.” Read More

Artist Shawn James has been selected to lead the Fairway Drive underpass project (via Shawn James)

A Baltimore-based artist has been selected to bring public art to life at Fairway Drive underpass in Reston.

Shawn James of Mural Masters, Inc. will work on the project, Public Art Reston announced last week. He started his company in an effort to create an outreach and mentorship program for inner-city youth.

The underpass project — which is a collaboration with Reston Association — will be the third permanent public artwork commissioned by Public Art Reston.

The open call for artists issued in February sought applicants to engage the community and enhance the perception of safety by deterring graffiti and tagging. James was selected from a pool of 34 applicants, five of which were interviewed by a selection committee.

“It was an honor serve on the Fairway Drive Underpass Project Art Selection Committee along with people representing a broad range of community perspectives,” Public Art Committee Chair Regina Coyle said. “Selecting one artist from the 34 talented artist submissions was very difficult. If funding were available, we could have easily awarded multiple artists underpass projects to lead within the surrounding community.”

According to Public Art Reston, James will develop a design for the underpass artwork with the help of workshops at Lake Anne Elementary School for students and families.

Here’s more from Public Art Reston on James:

James received his BFA in painting, photography, and art education from Old Dominion University, and went on to complete an MFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art. For over 20 year, James has worked in a variety of media to complete public and private commissions across the United States. He has extensive experience with small- and large-scale public art projects and working collaboratively with municipal organizations, private businesses, and community members. He is deeply involved in community arts, community activism, and youth mentorship.

His dedication to education includes his role as a program director for the Access Art Youth Center — an outreach program that provides art lessons for inner-city youth. Since his tenure, the organization expanded to a million-dollar program, spanning three schools on the west side of Baltimore. In addition to his artistic practice, James has been an Open Society Institute Fellow, served as director of the Baltimore Mural Program, and most recently was the Community Arts Coordinator for the Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts. For the latter, he managed the creation of over 150 murals and community-based projects.

Voting for Reston’s new animal icon is underway (via Reston Association)

Restonians can officially select Reston’s new animal icon.

A group of organizations — Friends of Reston, Reston Association and Public Art Reston — have partnered on a quest to choose an animal to represent the area. Local artists have created the images.

The winner selected by the popular vote will be fabricated into a replicable cast sculpture. It will then be painted and auctioned to finance future public art projects Reston.

The three options for consideration are a blue heron by Ben Morse, a woodpecker by Danan Scheurer and a fox by Tracie Griffith Tso.

Friends of Reston Board President Maggie Edwards told FFXnow that the organization has launched new projects and maintained existing initiatives like youth enrichment scholarships.

“The funds raised will be dedicated to the continuation of the underpass program which focuses on enhancing the road underpasses, part of Reston’s pathway system,” Edwards said. “This community arts fundraising initiative falls perfectly within FOR’s 24 year mission supporting RA through charitable, educational and scientific activities.”

Phoebe Avery, Public Art Reston’s public art manager, said the organization looks forward to participating in the project.

“We’re always happy to provide guidance and support to Reston and our community partners,” Avery said.

Restonians also have the option of submitting an icon of their choice for consideration. Artwork can be sent to

The survey will be open until May 31.

The Barton Hill Recreation Area in Reston is slated for upgrades (via Google Maps)

Earlier this spring, the Virginia Supreme Court declared Fairfax County’s modernization of its zoning ordinance (zMOD) invalid because it was adopted at virtual meetings.

In light of the pending re-adoption of the new zoning ordinance, Reston Association is pitching a change that would clarify if additions or enhancements require a Planned Residential Community (PRC) plan — a lengthy process that involves the development of detailed plans and public hearings before the county Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

“We went through bit of problem when we tried to add lights to Barton Hill,” RA board president John Farrell said.

The proposed amendment, which was discussed at a Tuesday meeting (April 25), comes following the county’s determination that RA needed a PRC plan to proceed with the lighting component of its planned renovations at Barton Hill tennis court.

RA dropped that portion of the proposal after the Board of Zoning Appeals upheld a county zoning administrator’s decision that a PRC plan was required to add lights in the facility.

With the planning commission set to vote on zMOD again next Wednesday (May 3), RA has suggested that the county add exceptions for when PRC plans are required, including one for additions to existing uses when the addition doesn’t exceed 7,000 square feet or 45% of the existing use’s gross area.

The changes would also exempt minor accessory structures in open space areas, like slides, pathway lighting, heating pools, bathroom facilities and other considerations.

The RA board voted to move forward with proposing the amendment to the county.

In December, RA dropped the lighting component of its Barton Hills project after the zoning appeals board’s decision. The association is now moving forward with plan for the refurbished courts.

Construction on the project is nearly 65% complete (courtesy RA)

The massive renovation of Lake Thoreau’s pool is likely to be completed by late August or early September.

Reston Association spokesperson Mike Leone told FFXnow that the renovation is on track to finish later in the summer. If it’s completed by early September, RA’s Board of Directors will determine if the pool will reopen this year, since only a few weeks would remain in the pool season.

“It is a timing issue,” Leone wrote in a statement.

So far, the project is roughly 65% complete, according to a recent Reston Today video, which is produced by RA.

The new, roughly $3.5 million facility will include a pool with six lap lanes, a ramp to provide ADA access, a redesigned deck, a larger 25-space parking lot, an overlook with a pollinator garden, and expanded bathhouses, which have been moved away from the spa.

The pool has been closed since 2020 and was scheduled to break ground two falls ago. In the latest update to the RA board, staff reported that the pool was roughly one month behind schedule.

Chris Schumaker, RA’s capital projects director, said work on ADA-compliant areas is underway. An ADA ramp will lead to the main area, and the future elevated deck will extend from the edge of the pool and overlook the lake area.

Schumaker also said an issue with the retaining wall prompted a relocation of the new spa — a move that allowed the area to become ADA-accessible and cover a larger footprint.

“Due to retaining wall issues on the site, we had to relocate the spa,” Schumaker said.

The bathhouse has also been fully gutted, leading towards the 400-square-foot addition’s completion. It will also include a family bathroom.

In the fifth and last phase of RA’s pool season, only three pools are open from Sept. 5 through Sept. 24.

Reston Association (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated on April 20) Reston Association is seeking member feedback on its parks and recreation offerings.

The online survey, which begins on May 1 and continues through June 30, will help guide the association’s 10-year parks and recreation plan.

Marketing firm The Noise Doctors, Inc. was hired to get information on how RA’s parks and recreational facilities and programs are currently used, future uses, and possible new facilities and programs for the future.

This will be the association’s first 10-year parks and recreation plan, according to RA spokesperson Mike Leone.

“A planning process is conducted every 10 years to ensure that our parks and recreational facilities and programs are optimally meeting both the current and future needs of our residents,” RA said in a recent newsletter.

RA says that the survey will provide the foundation for its planning process.

The survey will be accessible online. It will be anonymous and take roughly 15 minutes to complete.

RA manages 55 miles of paved pathways and natural surface trails, along with with other amenities like soccer fields, pools, tennis and pickle ball courts. In recent years, a comprehensive effort has been underway to manage aging facilities and infrastructure while balancing future needs.

Reston Association (file photo)

(Updated at 8:55 p.m.) Reston Association released election results for this year’s Board of Directors’ race at its annual member meeting yesterday (Tuesday) night.

John Farrell edged out Margaret Perry for a three-year term as an at-large director with 3,337 votes — the most in the at-large races.

(Correction: This article initially said that Farrell received the most votes of any candidate. Hat tip to Terry Maynard for pointing out the error.)

Trevor Grywatch secured a two-year, at-large director seat over Jalal Mapar. Bob Petrine, a current board member, also won a one-year, at-large seat against Michael Brandland.

The remaining two seats were uncontested. Travis Johnson will be the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District director for a three-year term, while Mike Collins will serve as the apartment owners’ representative, also for a three-year term.

Voting for the annual election took place throughout last month.

John Norton, chairman of RA’s elections committee, said that the overall turnout for the election was nearly 14.6% — 4.6 percentage points above the 10% quorum requirement for each race.

“Everybody was over 10%. Comfortably so,” Norton said.

RA CEO Mac Cummins thanked Perry for her work on the board after nine months of service. He said she was instrumental in his onboarding after he assumed the CEO position last summer and the development of parks and recreation planning.

Perry filled a seat that was vacated by a previous board member last year.

Cummins said she “served with distinction” and brought “incredible passion” to her position.


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