Board Meeting – On October 16, 2023, President Mulston called to order the meeting of the Board of Directors (Board) of Reston Citizens Association (RCA) at 7:30 pm. This was a hybrid meeting with selected participants attending in person and other participants attending via Zoom.
Individual Attendees in person were Lynne Mulston, President; Gary Maupin, Vice-President; Shawn Endsley, Secretary; Dennis Hays; Rich Hoffmann; and Michele Silver. Joe Leighton, Treasurer, and Connie Hartke attended via Zoom. Gerald Volley was absent. President Mulston determined that a quorum of 8 of 9 members was present either in person or via Zoom and the meeting could proceed.
There was one guest: John Carter, Planning Commissioner – Hunter Mill District.
Adoption of Agenda – President Mulston asked for adoption of the agenda. Upon motion made by Director Hays, and seconded by Director Hoffmann, the Board unanimously approved the proposed agenda.
Approval of Minutes – President Mulston asked for approval of the minutes of the September 14, 2023, Board meeting. Upon motion made by Vice-President Maupin, and seconded by Director Hoffmann, the Board approved the minutes of the September 14, 2023, meeting by a vote of 7 to 0 with one abstention. Director Silver did not attend the September 14, 2023, Board meeting and therefore abstained.
Approval of Treasurer’s Report – President Mulston then asked for approval of the Treasurer’s Report. Upon motion made by Secretary Endsley and seconded by Vice-President Maupin, the Board unanimously approved the Treasurer’s Report.
President Mulston noted that RCA had received an anonymous contribution of $2,900 for use in its Citizens Opposed to a Reston Casino (CORC) project discussed further below.
Approval of Annual Dues Payment – President Mulston asked the Board to approve the annual $60 dues payment to the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations (FCFCA). Upon motion made by Vice-President Maupin and seconded by Director Hartke, the Board unanimously approved the annual dues payment to FCFCA.
Special Guest – Planning Commissioner John Carter – President Mulston introduced the Hunter Mill Planning Commissioner (PC) John Carter to the Board. President Mulston asked PC Carter to explain to the Board how planning and development projects move through the process. PC Carter noted that there were twelve members of the Planning Commission with 8 Commissioners representing specific geographic regions in Fairfax County (County) and 4 At-Large Commissioners. The Planning Commission is an advisory body to the Board of Supervisors (BoS). The Planning Commission reviews three major areas: (1) planning and zoning projects in specific geographic areas, (2) public sector projects within the County, and (3) County-wide projects such as changes to the zoning ordinance (zMod) and Parking Reimagined. The Planning Commission provides recommendations to the BoS on these major areas of review.
PC Carter noted that the planning commissioners are nominated and approved by the BoS. PC Carter outlined his previous background in planning with Montgomery County, Maryland and contrasted the process in Montgomery County with the County process. PC Carter currently lives in Reston. PC Carter noted that he regularly attends the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee (RPZC), an advisory body to the Planning Commission, to determine residential feedback on various proposals impacting the Reston community. President Mulston expressed that the Planning Commission has been open to community feedback through the RPZC and the public testimony by residents.
President Mulston and Vice-President Maupin expressed the thanks of the Board to PC Carter who was instrumental in successfully moving the Reston Comprehensive Plan (RCP) to completion with a unanimous vote of approval by the BoS.
President Mulston then asked PC Carter to comment on the status of the Site-Specific Plan Amendments (SSPAs) to the RCP received for consideration by the BoS. PC Carter noted that there were 10 SSPAs for the Hunter Mill District. He noted that three of those SSPAs should be easy to review and to move to approval by the BoS. The remaining 7 SSPAs will take time and effort for review and consideration by the Planning Commission. PC Carter did state that SSPAs related to the Reston golf courses had been removed for consideration by the Planning Commission. PC Carter noted that the review of the 10 SSPAs could be lengthy and time consuming.
President Mulston then asked PC Carter for his recommendations for areas of focus by the Board. PC Carter suggested that the Board review the 10 SSPAs for the Hunter Mill District and provide its input to the Planning Commission. PC Carter said that the Board could also provide its input on establishing deadlines for completion of proffers and other aspects of zoning proposals in the Hunter Mill District. Currently, the completion of the proffers and revised proposals are open-ended.
President Mulston thanked PC Carter for his time and feedback and indicated that PC Carter was welcome to attend the remainder of the Board meeting.
Parking Reimagined Update – President Mulston updated the Board that the BoS approved the amendments to the Zoning Ordinance entitled Parking Reimagined at its September 26, 2023, meeting. President Mulston, Vice-President Maupin, and Secretary Endsley testified at the public hearing. The BoS approval of Parking Reimagined did reflect many (but not all) of the changes proposed by the Planning Commission.
During the brief discussion regarding the process associated with Parking Reimagined several Board members noted that County Staff was particularly unresponsive to citizen input despite the numerous opportunities for community outreach. One Board member opined that County Staff seemed to be following direction to reduce parking requirements and make the County more reflective of adjacent jurisdictions.
PC Carter informed the Board that the changes from Parking Reimagined are effective January 1, 2024, for new development and redevelopment projects. PC Carter believes that developers will retroactively apply the new standards to existing projects.
Golf Courses Update – Director Hartke and President Mulston then presented updates on the two Reston golf courses. Both SSPAs related to the golf courses had been rejected by Supervisor Alcorn. In addition, the approved RCP has both golf courses being retained as golf courses.
Reston National Golf Course (RNGC) – Director Hartke indicated that there were no new developments at RNGC. Course management is still not cutting grass with an expectation that this will impact residents.
Hidden Creek Golf Course (HCGC) – President Mulston noted that there were no developments at HCGC. Apparently, management is discussing rumors of changes with individuals using the golf course. This merely creates confusion given that a SSPA for HCGC has been rejected.
Special Project Update – As noted below, the Board approved proceeding with a special project under the RCA umbrella entitled Citizens Opposed to a Reston Casino (CORC). President Mulston and Director Hartke participate in the ad hoc committee directing this effort. Various Board members presented information from within and outside the community. The possible location of a casino in Reston has resulted from reports in the press. Other Board members have heard radio discussion that casino development could occur in the Tysons Corner area. The reasons for this casino development may be driven by future financial considerations impacting the County. These circumstances will necessitate legislation in the Virginia General Assembly to support the development of a casino. Such legislation is dependent on the new House of Delegates and Senate resulting from the November general election.
Given the need to address immediate conditions Director Hays proposed the following motion:
President Mulston is authorized to approve individual expenditures of up to $500 for communication and other efforts to actively support Citizens Opposed to a Reston Casino (CORC). Individual expenditures greater than $500 require Board of Directors approval through the most expeditious means including email approval.
Director Hoffmann seconded the motion. After further discussion President Mulston called the question and asked for a Board vote. The motion was approved 7 to 1. An expenditure plan will be shared with the Board.
Other Business – There was no Other Business.
Adjourn – President Mulston noted the next meeting of the Board would be December 5, 2023, at 7:30 pm.
President Mulston then asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:59 pm. Upon motion made by Director Hays and seconded by Vice-President Maupin, the Board unanimously agreed to adjourn.
Actions Preceding the Board Meeting – On October 4, 2023, President Mulston asked the Board to approve a special project under the RCA umbrella to oppose a casino in Reston. By email ballot the Board unanimously approved the establishment of this special project subsequently entitled Citizens Opposed to a Reston Casino (CORC).
Prior to October 12, 2023, President Mulston circulated to the Board a letter to Senator Mark Warner asking Senator Warner to reconsider being publicly linked to the developer of a possible casino in Reston. The draft letter was reviewed, edited, and unanimously approved by the Board via email prior to October 12, 2023. On October 12, 2023, the letter, and related attachments (See Attachment 1) was sent to Senator Warner via email.
Actions Subsequent to the Board Meeting – On October 18, 2023, President Mulston via email asked the Board to approve a Silver Level Patch advertising campaign for $1,800. This advertising campaign is to support CORC in opposition to a casino in Reston. Via email the Board unanimously supported proceeding with the Silver Level Patch advertising campaign. This expenditure will be funded from the donation for CORC received by RCA.
On October 23, 2023, President Mulston asked the Board for its review, edits and comments on a proposed editorial opposing the possibility of a casino in Reston. After a review with minor suggested edits the Board unanimously approved the proposed editorial. On Friday, October 27, 2023, the Reston Patch published the editorial. (See Attachment 2).
On November 12, 2023, President Mulston asked for email approval from the Board to purchase 250 yard signs opposing a casino in Reston. The purchase price is $1,035.32. The funds will be disbursed from CORC donations. By November 13. 2023, the Board unanimously approved via email the purchase of the 250 yard signs in the amount of $1,035.32.
On November 17, 2023, seven of nine Board members approved RCA’s sponsorship of a Christmas tree at the Reston Association (RA) Winterfest event. The $300 cost for a sponsored Christmas tree will be allocated among the seven Board members approving the sponsorship. Subsequently, an additional director approved participation in the event. Treasurer Leighton confirmed that payments to RCA for the cost of a sponsored Christmas tree are deductible on a Board member’s tax return if such Board member files an itemized tax return. On November 29, 2023, Directors Hartke and Hoffmann and Secretary Endsley decorated the RCA sponsored Christmas tree. The RA Winterfest event runs from November 30th to December 2nd.
On November 30, 2023, Treasurer Leighton added President Mulston as an additional check signer on the United Bank checking account.