Wednesday, December 26, 2012


From Blade Runners as of midday today:  "The weather has headed in the direction as originally predicted. We now have the rain and the temps will be warm tonight.  We do not plan to provide service this evening."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


HCA and RA DRB recently authorized Blade Runners to complete about 30 additional tasks clusterwide, ranging from completely removing higher risk and nuisance trees, to treating diseased and infested nuisance trees, to removing newly-stacked Cluster Clean-Up tree debris.  These tasks were planned for completion by January 1, 2013 using available 2012 funds, but some tasks were delayed by other projects HCA and/or residents considered to be of higher priority, and by other Blade Runner storm training and customer demands.  

Blade Runners is in the process of scheduling their expert staff and specialized equipment to coordinate and perform this large amount of work in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.  And they have asked for our patience.  HCA updates the Trees page of this website as soon as Blade Runners updates their schedule.  Current status was posted today.  Except for storm or emergency response, Blade Runners is closed for business from December 25 through January 1.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Yesterday morning Aqua Virginia delivered two long-awaited and DRB-approved cooling towers to their RELAC facility. 

Once fully installed, enclosed by special sound absorbing panels, and extensively tested, these two high capacity, controllable Evapco evaporative condensers will transfer heat from indoor chillers into the air rather than into Lake Anne.

RELAC typically runs two indoor chillers during the summer and maintains two additional indoor chillers as backups.  Each tower can support two indoor chillers, so RELAC can also maintain one tower as a backup. 

Recent intake modifications eliminated the need for emergency external diesel pumps during low water level conditions.  If all goes well, use of the cooling towers will greatly reduce the need for warm, unreliable, and debris-filled Lake Anne water as a geothermal heat sink, possibly as early as the Summer 2013 cooling season. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Residents should NOT attempt to clear or dig into areas around high voltage pad-mounted transformers.  It can be extremely dangerous.  Only professionals coordinating with Dominion Power should perform such work.

  SATURDAY DEC 1 ... mostly sunny, highs in mid 50s
  SUNDAY DEC 2 ... partly sunny, highs in upper 50s

  Clean debris from Common Areas behind patios
  Clear tree debris clusterwide
  Cut and remove ivy growing on trees
  Stack debris near paths and streets for removal
  Meet your neighbors

  Coordinate with Director Michael Smith, 11513 Maple Ridge

  Meet 9:00 a.m. with Director Blake Travis near 11575 Maple Ridge
  Remove tree and other debris from behind rowhouses

  Meet 9:00 a.m. with Director Blake Travis near 11575 Maple Ridge
  Remove Block 2 streambed tree and other debris and stack along paths
  Till former Bradford Pear tree locations in rowhouse parking islands
  Trim bushes and stack tree debris along connector road

  Meet 8:30 a.m. with Director Zerrin Turner near 11500 Hickory Cluster

Monday, November 26, 2012


Thursday, November 29, 2012
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Reston Community Center Lake Anne
Lake Anne Village Center
1609A Washington Plaza
Reston, VA 20190

Space is limited.  Admission is free.  Donations to Reston Museum are welcome.

For more information contact Reston Museum at (703) 709-7700 or visit

Sunday, November 25, 2012


On November 19, the Reston Association Design Review Board (RA DRB) approved an HCA application for removing 20 specific trees throughout Hickory Cluster due to their potential endangerment of people or property.  See the Trees page of this website for specific tree photos, locations, and descriptions. 

Included in the approval were typical RA DRB stipulations for cutting stumps flush to the ground or removing stumps completely, and for removing all debris from the property or cutting and neatly stacking fireplace-sized logs.  Work will start as soon as possible.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Reston Painting & Contracting, as directed by the HCA Board, recently removed both the Block 3 swingset demolished by a falling tree during the June 29 storm, and the aging Block 1 swingset.

Replacement of the Block 1 swingset with a new solid cedar replica began this week.  Block 3 swingset replacement will follow.  HCA Director Ralph Youngren FAIA and TWC Management Agent Kim Hendon are working closely with the contractor.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


AAA will pick up recycling and trash as usual on Monday, November 26 rather than on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22.  AAA will remove Christmas trees on Wednesdays, January 2 and 9, 2013.  Trees must be at the curb with all trimmings removed, and trees taller than 8 ft. must be cut in half.  After Friday, January 11, AAA will remove trees with regular trash.  For additional information, see the AAA holiday schedule link on the Resources page of this website.  As always, please do not place recycling or trash items outside until after dark the night before pickup.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Blade Runners scheduled Fall 2012 initial leaf removal for no later than November 14.  In addition, they plan to remove a number of storm-downed trees and tree debris throughout the cluster, including at the Maple Ridge Road and Hickory Cluster entrances, prior to November 14, again on November 19, and tentatively again following the planned December 1-2 Fall 2012 Cluster Clean-Up.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Realtors are in a unique position to recommend Hickory Cluster to new buyers, to help Hickory Cluster homeowners get top dollar as sellers, and to influence Hickory Cluster property values ... up OR down.

It's in OUR best interest for Realtors to understand and tell others about the many reasons why Reston and Hickory Cluster are great places to live.

So to help RA sell Reston and Hickory Cluster, RA invited local Realtors to see and hear more about both communities on Wednesday, November 14.

This one-day event will begin with tours of the RA Nature House and "world-renowned Hickory Cluster, one of Reston's three original neighborhoods, with 90 homes designed by award-winning architect Charles Goodman." 

More than 70 Realtors plan to tour Hickory Cluster in two groups, the first starting at 10:00 a.m.

Realtors will then attend a free informational luncheon, and hear why Reston is the model for communities across the globe.  They will hear about the impact of updates to the Reston Master Plan and see what's happening with the construction of the Wiehle Avenue Metro Station.  Chuck Veatch, Reston's first real estate agent, will be the keynote speaker.  The RA Covenants Team will also give tips on how to explain neighborhood design standards to prospective buyers and sellers.

So it's time to clean up those messy carports and funky front porches.  Stash the trash cans that shouldn't be stored out on sidewalks, plazas, or otherwise visible to the public.  And scrub the algae and mildew off those patio walls and architectural concrete beams.  Please do your share before Wednesday morning, November 14.

Because when Hickory Cluster looks good we ALL benefit.


For current status of all trees in process, see the Trees page of this website.

HCA also recently requested contractor recommendations and estimates for possible clusterwide trimming of trees that appear to be in direct contact with and potentially damaging to private residences. 

For general information on related community and resident issues and responsibilities, see the November 2-3, 2012 Washington Post Real Estate Section article entitled "Who's Responsible When a Tree Falls?" by Washington, D.C. attorney Benny L. Kass.

Tree Action Plan Phase 2 to address additional higher risk trees clusterwide has been discussed but not yet approved by HCA.  It could include those trees that may require more detailed inspection and professional testing using the industry standard Instrumenta Mechanic Labor GmbH (IML) Resistograph System from Germany to measure and record tree wood conditions.  HCA contractors recently used Resistograph tools on a newly identified higher risk Block 1 tree to document suspected hidden problems and to provide clear evidence for removal approval.  If established and HCA approved, Phase 2 could begin in 2013.

Visit this website for future action plan updates.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


In contrast to the unexpectedly powerful June 29 storm, Hurricane Sandy generally spared Hickory Cluster.  Despite more than a day of NOAA-predicted and almost continuous pouring rain and high winds from the northwest starting Sunday evening October 28, TWC management agent Kim Hendon reported no emergency calls. 

Dominion Virginia electrical power flickered quickly off and on at least once Monday night, but otherwise remained on steadily throughout the storm.  It appears that only one large cluster tree fell, near the North Shore Drive underpass path, in addition to a surprisingly small number of tree limbs that regularly fall throughout the cluster.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Save the dates:  Winter 2012 Clean-Up is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, December 1-2 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Meet at the Block 3 Common Area.

This event will be coordinated by Block 3 resident and HCA Director Zerrin Turner, along with Michael Smith in Block 1 and Blake Travis in Block 2.

  Cleaning debris from Common Areas behind patios
  Clearing tree debris clusterwide
  Cutting and removing ivy growing on trees
  Stacking debris near paths and streets for removal
  And meeting your neighbors


Due to expected holiday schedule conflicts with the typical meeting date of Wednesday, November 21, 2012, the day before Thanksgiving, the Board voted at its October meeting to change the November meeting date to Tuesday, November 13, 2012, at 7:30 p.m.

In an effort to support the Reston Museum, operated by the Reston Historic Trust, the HCA November 2012 meeting will be held at the museum store, 1639 Washington Plaza, in the Lake Anne Village Historic District at Lake Anne, telephone (703) 709-7700.

As always, Hickory Cluster residents are welcome to attend and address the Board during the Member Forum at the start of each meeting.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


RELAC Eastern Area Manager Luther Ghorley announced that, as of 12:00 noon October 9, 2012, Aqua Virginia has officially shut down the RELAC chilled water processing and distribution plant for the 2012 Cooling Season.

RELAC typically depressurizes and drains the distribution system pipes within a few weeks after shutdown to prepare for Winter and to perform regular maintenance.  Once depressurized, customers can drain their individual residence systems to inhibit corrosion and reduce heating season furnace heat loss.  Watch for that announcement on this website.

Now is also a good time to replace your furnace air filter, drain your chilled water coil condensation collection system, and very gently vacuum brush the delicate heat transfer coils and fins to remove any airborne material that got past the filter and might be obstructing airflow.  Contact RELAC Plant Engineer Mike Coleman for additional guidance at the email address on the Resources page of this website.


Due to a number of schedule conflicts, members of the HCA Board of Directors agreed to meet one week earlier than usual this month.

The monthly Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 10 rather than Wednesday, October 17, starting at 7:30 p.m.  Location will be the TWC Association Management conference room, 397 Herndon Parkway, Suite 100, Herndon, VA 20170, telephone (703) 437-5800.

As always, Hickory Cluster residents are welcome to attend and address the Board during the Member Forum at the start of each meeting.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Along with world class Goodman building and landscape architecture, trees greatly enhance Hickory Cluster quality of life and property values. 

But as we saw during recent storms, even beautiful trees create risks for people and property.

So how should Hickory Cluster manage risk created by more than 500 trees scattered throughout 18 acres?

Professionals tell us we should take reasonable steps to monitor those trees.  And that we should take prompt action when we become aware of tree problems.

The Hickory Cluster Board of Directors is doing just that.

During approved Phase 1 that started August 2011 and is still in process, tree professionals surveyed the Cluster several times and identified a number of trees exhibiting higher than typical risk.  It’s a challenge because not all trees with problems create such risk.

These higher risk trees are now being prioritized and budgeted for removal, tentatively before January 1, 2013, after their leaves have fallen, before heavy snowfall, and to take advantage of off-season discounted rates.

Compared to the more than 100 trees scheduled for removal as part of the much-delayed Stream Restoration project, the Board has identified about 30 higher risk trees during Phase 1 so far.  We have already removed several dead or otherwise higher risk trees since December 2011, including some downed by 2012 storms.

We must apply for and receive RA Design Review Board approval to remove live trees.  That will take additional time.  Tree photos, locations, and descriptions are posted in the Trees section of this website.

During proposed Phase 2 starting in 2013, we hope to identify trees that may actually be at risk but don’t exhibit obvious signs.  We also plan to identify and remove other potentially higher risk trees while they are still small, less risky, and less expensive.

During proposed Phase 3 starting in 2014, we hope to start the process over again and pro-actively manage life cycle tree risk on an annual basis.

That’s the plan.  Thanks for your continued patience and support.