Wednesday, August 16, 2017


The Washington Post reported today that the visionary real estate developer who hired Hickory Cluster Architect Charles M. Goodman, FAIA, to design major Tyson's Corner office parks and The Commons at McLean multi-family apartment complex, WestGroup Management LLC former founder Gerald T. Halpin, died August 14, 2017 at age 94.  Like Reston's founder Robert E. Simon, Jr. earlier at Hickory Cluster, Halpin commissioned Charles M. Goodman and Associates to transform raw land into notable and successful works of Modern, and later Post-Modern, Architecture.  Goodman's WestGroup buildings exhibited many of the same design elements used earlier at River Park Mutual Homes in Washington, DC and then in Hickory Cluster, including bi-panel and tri-panel aluminum window units, and jutting structural component ends later expressed larger as building mass. 

Sadly, many if not most Goodman WestGroup buildings, including the Commons, have been or will be demolished as part of MetroRail Silver Line station area re-development to make way for newer, larger, and more profitable buildings.  For more information, also see the HCA Goodman Preservation webpage.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


HCA will begin a long-overdue street asphalt re-paving and re-painting project within the next few weeks.  As part of that work, HCA has now posted and will paint the Block 3 entrance parking lot south end as a designated no parking area to be used only for backing out of adjacent east and west spaces.  Effective immediately, residents should park in east and west spaces only.  Residents parked in the end no parking area will be cited and towed at their expense without further notice.  For more information, contact re-paving project co-lead Director Jeff Ashley.

Friday, August 11, 2017


To conserve, protect, and enhance the value of all real property subject to Fairfax County Codes and the Amended Reston Deed, the County, RA, and HCA established standards that govern the upkeep, use, occupancy, condition, and physical appearance of that property.  Upon purchase, HCA Member homeowners agree to maintain their Goodman Houses in compliance with these standards.  If they do not fulfill their obligations, then RA and HCA typically cite them for non-compliance as part of the disclosure process leading to home resale Settlement.  At that point, resolving non-compliant items becomes a negotiated matter between Sellers and Buyers, and Buyers inherit full responsibility for all unresolved non-compliant items.  Unfortunately, some Sellers just pass on these problems to Buyers, some Buyers never resolve them, and the architectural integrity and unique value of Hickory Cluster spirals downward.  So to encourage timely resolution, Goodman design preservation, and higher property values, HCA now notifies Buyers within the HCA Compliance Summary that they must resolve non-compliant items within 90 days after Settlement if Sellers have not already resolved them.  If unresolved 90 days after Settlement, HCA will act further to enforce compliance.  For reference, see RA Cluster Housing Design GuidelinesRA Use and Maintenance Standards, and HCA Governing Documents.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


HCA typically holds Regular Meetings on the third Wednesday of each month, except when holidays or other schedules conflict.  However, the Wednesday, August 16 meeting has been rescheduled to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at RCC Lake Anne to ensure full and timely Executive Session discussion and award of street asphalt re-paving proposals, and to accommodate a key HCA Director unavailable the previous week.  In addition, because of an RCC facility scheduling conflict on Wednesday, September 20, the HCA Regular Meeting that month will be held instead at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, September 21, 2017 at RCC Lake Anne.  As usual, HCA will follow its typical Regular Meeting agenda.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Re-paving HCA Maple Ridge and Hickory Cluster streets was tentatively scheduled for 2011 within the 2010 Reserve Study, but due to other priorities HCA funded clusterwide pothole and crack repairs instead.  Then the 2015 Block 1 water main break and substandard Fairfax Water asphalt repairs, and Block 3 natural gas line problems and Washington Gas pavement repairs, made a difficult situation even worse.  So this year HCA is moving forward with a comprehensive street asphalt repair, replacement, and re-painting project.  As discussed at the 2017 Annual Meeting, HCA recently retained a consulting engineering firm to provide expert review, core testing, survey, re-grading, specification, contractor bidding, and construction management services to ensure long-term value.  Critical pre-bid tasks are now almost complete.  HCA anticipates October 2017 actual construction, and will post additional schedule and other details on this website following construction bid package release and contract award.  Directors Michael Smith, who led the 2012-13 HCA asphalt footpath replacement project, and Jeff Ashley, RA, who led the 2015-16 HCA Block 3 retaining walls repair effort, are managing the street re-paving project.  UPDATES ... August 1:  Consulting Engineer and HCA representatives held a Pre-Bid Conference with prospective contractors at Hickory Cluster to review the work and site.  Bids are due to TWC by 1:00 p.m. Friday, August 11.  HCA will discuss and award the work during Executive Session at the re-scheduled monthly Regular Meeting on August 23, 2017.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Cellphone text from one HCA Director to another at 8:52 p.m.:  "Well this is new!  I was just sitting out on the patio and a good sized Black Bear just wandered down the path!"  The bear was traveling from West to East along the Hickory Cluster central RA asphalt footpath behind Block 3 Goodman Houses.  RestonNow also reported a North Reston bear sighting Saturday afternoon.  The Fairfax County Police Dept. website provides information on Black Bears, and recommends that bear sightings be reported to the County Animal Protection Police at (703) 691-2131, or to the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries via the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline at (855) 571-9003.

Friday, July 7, 2017


This week TWC mailed the following Final Notice dated July 1, 2017 to all HCA residents:  " ... HCA has requested resident voluntary compliance with trash and private property storage standards numerous times during the past few years.  To the majority of residents who have cooperated, thank you for your community spirit and neighborly efforts.  To the small number of non-compliant residents, this is your Final Notice regarding trash/recycling material and containers:
(1)  Store on private property and out of public view ...
(2)  Set out at curb no earlier than 6:00 p.m. the day before pick-up
(3)  Remove no later than 6:00 a.m. the day after pick-up
(4)  Starting Tuesday, August 1, 2017, HCA will remove all trash/recycling containers and other private property stored on HCA Common Area at any other time without further notice. ... "  For more information, please refer to the 2017 Annual Meeting 2016-17 Review slide on the subject, and the complete Final Notice document.

Friday, June 30, 2017


HCA resident and guest overflow parking on North Shore Dr. will be seriously impacted by planned VDOT milling, re-paving, and re-striping of all 3.54 miles of public roadway from Ring Road to Oak Spring Way.  VDOT will retain existing street parking and add a new bicycle lane on the HCA side as discussed during a March 16, 2017 public meeting.  Near HCA Maple Ridge Rd. and Hickory Cluster entrances, no parking on either side of North Shore Dr. will be allowed July 10 through August 10, 2017, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and cars will be towed.  Near Temporary Road work will begin July 6.  For more, visit the Fairfax County and VDOT project webpages. 

In addition to these temporary public roadway restrictions, HCA private property and Common Area parking remains very limited, Member households may park only two vehicles within the cluster, all vehicles must have HCA hang tags with numbers visible, and violators may be cited and towed.  And starting next week, HCA will post "Permit Parking Only, Towing Enforced" signs to deter non-Member parking refugees expected during and after the North Shore Dr. project.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Common Area surrounding Hickory Cluster Goodman Houses is not just land left over after construction.  Architect Charles M. Goodman FAIA purposefully integrated landscape with his buildings as part of projects like Hickory Cluster, reflecting a modern vision of simplicity, continuity, and human interaction.  To maintain this legacy, Reston Association vested legal authority to maintain, improve, and beautify Common Area in the HCA Board of Directors through original Articles of Incorporation and Deed of Dedication founding documents.  Through at least 1975, HCA allowed limited private planting on Common Area, but reserved the right to take out any plantings on cluster property that did not harmonize with general cluster landscaping or that were poorly maintained.  And in 1988 and 1998, HCA developed and partially implemented clusterwide Common Area changes through professional landscape plans. 

More recently, HCA has discussed entrance enhancement concepts at public Board meetings and other meetings with individual Members since 2013, including at the May 2016 Annual Meeting.  Member and commercial architecture, landscape, and art professionals developed those concepts to complement HCA Goodman Houses and Common Area; to enhance cluster appearance and property values consistent with original Goodman designs and Modern Landscape Architecture principles; and to provide Block 1 and Block 3 Affected Neighbors with enhanced street privacy.  HCA received RA DRB approval for related single tree removal earlier this year, more than 2/3 Affected Neighbor approvals per HCA Bylaws, and extensive related guidance from HCA legal counsel.  HCA also advised an Affected Neighbor on April 19 in person and in writing of the tentative project schedule, and of related HCA Common Area and fence standards compliance requirements.  For more information, refer to the October 2016 HCA website post and/or contact project lead HCA Director Blake Travis.  UPDATES ... May 19:  HCA advised all Affected Neighbors via surface mail and emailed letters that work may begin as early as June 1, but most likely on June 15; HCA advised all Affected Neighbors to remove their private property from related HCA Common Areas no later than June 1, and to ensure compliance with HCA General Resolution 6 Fence Standards.  June 1:  The contractor just advised HCA that entrance project work will start on Friday, June 9, 2017, a change from the previous June 15 start date; HCA again advised Affected Neighbors via email messages to remove their private property from related HCA Common Areas, and to ensure compliance with HCA Fence Standards.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Reston RELAC appears to be posting timely system operation status updates on their official company website, in addition to emails they send directly to hundreds of customers and cluster homeowner associations.  So for the most up-to-date information, please visit the RELAC website.