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RA Ponders Role in Lake Anne Revitalization

RA’s board is divided over extent to which it should assist Lake Anne community.

As the Lake Anne Village Center prepares to undergo a major redevelopment, the Reston Association Board of Directors has beLake Fairfax it should play to help preserve the historic shopping and residential area.

Rick Beyer, president of the RA board, brought the issue up last week at a board administration committee meeting, saying Lake Anne is the traditional heart of the community and should be maintained.

“Lake Anne impacts homeowners,” Beyer said. “It affects the whole community. It’s a historic area. To let it deteriorate would not be good governance.”

Beyer had previously asked the RA staff to draw up a preliminary estimate for how much it would cost for RA to handle routine maintenance at the plaza, including snow removal, leaf removal and emptying trash cans. The RA staff estimated it would cost the homeowners association just over $82,000 annually.

Though Beyer said he was merely floating the idea before the other RA board members and he called the estimate “premature,” he has not ruled out the possibility that RA would cover routine maintenance costs at the plaza.

Robin Smyers, the RA board member representing the Lake Anne and Tall Oaks areas, said financial assistance from RA for maintenance could ease the burden of high condominium fees paid by Lake Anne residential and commercial-property owners.

A typical condominium at the plaza costs an average of $1,000 a month. Larger properties like il Cigno Restaurant, located on the plaza, can pay as much as $3,800 a month in condo fees.

“If we’re not careful, Lake Anne is going to get so run down no one is going to want to live there anymore,” Smyers said.

BUT OTHER RA BOARD members worry that member dues would be used to subsidize one small area of Reston.

RA Board Member Joe Leighton (South Lakes) said his constituents, some of whom live on fixed incomes, should not be paying to make improvements in a neighborhood that is largely wealthy.

Also, South Lakes Shopping Center could use revitalization as much as the Lake Anne Village Center, he said.

“Why should we be paying for Lake Anne but not South Lakes?” Leighton said.

Lake Anne is no longer the heart of the community it once was, said RA Board Member Robert Poppe (at large). It is not a “sacred jewel of Reston” that requires subsidies from the entirety of RA’s membership, he said.

“The idea that we should use RA funds that we collect from our membership to maintain the plaza — there’s no way we should do that,” Poppe said. “That’s a terrible idea and we shouldn’t do it.”

KURT PRONSKE, chair of the Reston Community Reinvestment Corporation, will address the full RA Board of Directors at its monthly meeting Thursday night.

Pronske is expected to bring RA board members up to date on the Lake Anne revitalization project, which is still in the opening stages. An economic needs study will soon be conducted and will provide data about the state of the village center’s infrastructure and whether or not there is adequate residential density to sustain the area’s businesses.

With the project moving forward, it is appropriate for RA to take an interest in the happenings at Lake Anne, but writing a check for maintenance is not the wrong way to go about it, said RA Board vice president Doug Bushée (North Point).

“RA will absolutely play a role, it’s just that right now it’s too early to know what that role will be,” he said.