Reston The Reston Association needs to replace its aging dock at Lake Anne Village Center, but its Board of Directors were divided on how to move forward with the work during its last meeting on Thursday, Jan. 26.
This is because some members of the board and community members are advocating for the RA to approve additions to the dock’s original design because they feel the dock and lake are underutilized.
“We’re really here for you to consider and approve adding our request for usability improvements as part of the initial requirements for the dock replacement project,” Rick Thompson, resident and president of the Lake Anne at Reston Condominium Association (LARCA), said during the meeting.
He is also the husband of RA Board Secretary and At-Large Director Eve Thompson. Together, they own the Lake Anne Coffee House and Wine Bar located in the Lake Anne Village Center.
As reported in the Connection last week, Rick Thompson’s condominium association worked with the Fairfax County Office of Revitalization to create designs that would improve lake access, including adding dock fingers that extend from the main dock so more boats can access the plaza; water-level steps to facilitate canoe and kayak docking, which would also help bring the dock into compliance with federal American with Disabilities Act requirements; and floating extensions of the dock for seating and tables.
“There is no funding appropriated to this project at this time,” said Bridget Hill, spokesperson for the Fairfax County Office of Revitalization.
THE ISSUE at hand is that no one knows how much these improvements would cost and no one wants to pay for them. Proponents for the dock’s revitalization are using the dock’s required maintenance to make the additions happen simultaneously.
“But a lot of these are quick fixes and a lot of these, I think, are low-cost solutions or can be pulled into what is happening now, such as this dock replacement … so this may be the right time to move forward with some of these short-term and longer-term recommendations,” Hill said.
The dock is not replaced often. In fact, it has never been replaced throughout Reston’s history and it is high on RA’s list of facilities that need maintenance. The dock was approved for replacement by the RA Board in November 2015.
“From our perspective, this is essentially a one-time opportunity … and it’s something that we would like to take advantage of,” Thompson said.
For now, the RA has only approved $422,300 for an in-kind replacement of the dock. However, the in-kind replacement will also have improved structural stability that could accommodate future additions, according to Garrett Skinner, the RA’s new director of capital improvement planning and projects.
This means that the new dock could accommodate future enhancements or improvements like the ones that LARCA and community members are requesting.
“You would not necessarily have to redo anything if you so choose to add additional features [later],” Skinner said.
THE DESIGN of the in-kind replacement of the dock is just over 50 percent complete and should be complete within the next month.
Skinner also plans to provide cost estimates for the board to review that would also include requested improvements to compare the price difference between making improvements in tandem with the dock’s replacement or just replacing it like-for-like and pushing the decision to improve later.
“The bulk of the expense … is with the direct replacement of the dock as is,” Skinner said. “The additional features … will have a cost, but those will be add-on costs to what is already there.”
Some of the board members voiced strong opposition to spending any further money.
“This board has way too much on the table already,” said At-Large Board Director Ray Wedell. “This Lake Anne project is something for the new board to deal with next year.”
Board Director Lucinda Shannon, who represents the Hunter Woods/Dogwood District, also voiced concern for adding another capital project in the midst of dealing with the Lake House independent review and that project’s associated cost overruns.
“We’ve had several capital projects that we’ve started, they’ve been put on hold because we’ve had questions about our process, about our transparency and about how we’re accomplishing things. How can we start another major capital project when we already have these questions that we’ve committed to the public and the members of the association who pay the dues … to find the answers and create a better process before we start anything else?” Shannon said.
She also told director Eve Thompson that she had a conflict of interest that she failed to disclose by not announcing at the meeting that she and her husband own their business near the dock.
For now, the board removed the project from consideration and did not make any motions to discuss further.