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Fine Tuning Documents

The Reston Association continues to make changes to the draft governing documents.

After receiving the latest reincarnation of the draft governing documents a few days ago, the Reston Association board spent Tuesday night further reviewing several old policy decisions.

In the three-hour meeting, the board made several fine-tuning changes to sections on things as diverse as the total number of terms a board member can serve to member voting rights.

For almost two years, the board has sought to revise these documents, which codify the powers and rules that govern the homeowners association. The documents have not been updated since 1984.

The board had convened the special meeting for the principal reason of discussing and deciding how the referendum question will be posed to RA members when it goes out in October. However, because the review lasted so long, the board was forced to delay this task.

AT A PREVIOUS work session on the governing documents, the board decided to open the election of board members representing districts to all members. At Tuesday’s meeting, the board revisited that decision, this time deciding to return to the way it’s been all along, which allowed only the people of a district to vote for that district’s board member.

"We don’t want to politicize this [election] process," said Director Rick Beyer (At-large), speculating on problems that could occur if all board member elections were conducted on an at-large basis.

In another decision made several weeks back by a special committee, board members were limited to serve on the board for a total of four three-year terms. Director Joe Leighton (South Lakes), who doesn’t support term limits at all, was against this rule.

Other board members agreed that the limitation didn’t serve any productive function or provide any needed protection. "What’s the purpose of limiting the amount of service to this community?" said Douglas Bushée, board vice president. Bushée noted that if people were dedicated to the welfare of Reston to such a degree, then they should not be barred from serving. After discussion, the board agreed to remove the limitation.

THE BOARD SPENT a lot of time on article 8 of the draft governing documents, which deals with clusters. "One of the comments I have heard most is that the governing documents take away power of the clusters and gives it to RA," said RA President Jennifer Blackwell, adding that she doesn’t think that is the case but that the board needs to do a better job explaining the changes in this section.

Bob Diamond of ReedSmith LLC, the attorney hired to help RA through the process of revising the governing documents, said that the board has been making sound policy changes to this section. "What the board has done in the very few changes it has made to the governing documents in the clusters section is mandate good management," said Diamond.

Because RA is scheduling meetings next month to talk with cluster boards and the Alliance of Reston Clusters and Homeowners (ARCH), the it decided to delay potential changes.

The board also made a quick adjustment on who is able to call the board into executive session. In the draft, only the president or presiding officer was allowed. The board changed this to include all board members.

Several members of the community came to the meeting because they are interested in having a decision made on the RELAC air conditioning service mandated for about 400 households. The issue is pertinent to the board’s work on the governing documents because the rule is written into the current governing documents.

These members urged the board to let the affected homeowners vote on the provision that prohibits the use of individual air condition units.