Tuesday, September 23, 2014


RA published its September 25, 2014, Board Meeting Agenda Packet late last week.  Items of note in that packet include the Regular Meeting Agenda, a Draft Referendum Schedule shown at right, and a copy of the signature petition seeking to revoke RA Amended Deed Section VI.2(b)(15) requiring use of community air-conditioning chilled water system service currently provided by Reston RELAC LLC.  According to the Draft Referendum Schedule expected to be approved at the 6:00 p.m., Thursday, September 25 RA meeting, and following several intermediate steps, RA will mail ballots January 5, 2015, end voting January 30, and provide results February 9. 


In response to recent Member concerns, HCA plans to reduce visual clutter and replace many Fire Lane signs clusterwide with single signs at each main entrance on North Shore Drive, subject to a Fairfax County special application and waiver.  As part of that application, HCA must show that it has otherwise clearly marked all Fire Lane areas with approved yellow curb paint.  A contractor will start the painting process by cleaning all Fire Lane curbs on Friday, September 26, and then paint them on Monday, September 29.  Please make sure your vehicles and other personal property do not obstruct their work.  For more information, contact Block 2 Director Jeff Ashley.


The HCA Board agreed at its September meeting to hold the annual Fall Cluster Clean-Up on Saturday and Sunday, November 15-16, 2014, two weeks before the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Hopefully this will be a dry and cool weekend good for wearing protective clothing without overheating. 

As always, Members and other residents can pitch in throughout Hickory Cluster by removing and stacking tree debris near footpaths, and by removing tree trunk vines.  One or more HCA Directors may also cut larger pieces of tree debris with their personal chain saws.  Blade Runners will follow up with tree debris chipping and removal, to be coordinated with other planned landscape maintenance. 

UPDATE ... NOAA National Weather Service local forecast for this weekend should be good for active outdoor work:
- Saturday, November 15 ... mostly sunny, with a high near 44
- Sunday, November 16 ... mostly cloudy, with a high near 47

Typical annual tasks, and recent Member-suggested tasks, include:
- Remove clinging vines from tree trunks and branches
- Remove fallen trees and tree branches
- Trim or remove overgrown private property trees and plants
- Stack tree and other debris near footpaths for pickup
- Remove private property from and clean up nearby Common Areas ... including items stored on front plazas and outside rear patio block walls
- Clean up or remove carriage house carport private property items
- Get to know your neighbors !

For more information, contact your respective Block 1-3 HCA Directors.


The 13th Annual Reston Home Tour 2014 fundraising event will showcase the McClung Residence, a renovated 1248 s.f., two bedroom, 1965 Type C1 Goodman House on October 18, 2014 for hundreds of attendees.  Renowned Modern Architect Charles M. Goodman, FAIA (1906-92) built only three other Type C1 Hickory Cluster townhomes with the same special split level floorplan, upper floor clerestory windows, and elevated central Common Area views.

As architectural historian Richard Guy Wilson noted in The Making of Virginia Architecture:  " ... More than any other individual, Charles M. Goodman brought modern architecture to mid-twentieth-century Virginia.  A figure of international stature, Goodman's impact can scarcely be measured ... .  His designs formed the basis of the generic Modern American house and school, widely imitated in every part of the country. ... The result was a body of architecture of great distinction that captured Americans' imagination for many years. ... "

And as architectural historian Elizabeth Jo Lample noted in Housing Washington:  " ... The appeal of living in a Goodman house is enormous to those who share his avant-garde spirit, plus his ideals for openness, engagement with nature, and liberal social values.  There remains a solid housing market today for people who appreciate the simplicity amid nature and the progressivism that a Goodman house still offers.  ... To those who are fortunate enough to obtain them, his dwellings feel like highly livable works of art, glazed conduits to the natural world.  Perhaps far more than those who inhabited them early on, the houses offer a rarified experience that, contrary to their designer's intent, renders them well removed from any vernacular realm."

For more information on Reston's Goodman Houses, visit the Hickory Cluster official website at http://hickoryclusterassociation.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


The RA Board of Directors will hold a Special Meeting on Thursday, June 12 starting at 6:00 p.m. at RA Headquarters to determine the conditions under which the RA Covenants Committee may grant temporary RELAC service exception permits to Members bound by Section VI.2(b)(15) of the Reston Amended Deed as currently allowed by RA Property Use & Maintenance Standards Resolution 15.  The meeting agenda includes an Issue Overview, Member Comments, and discussion and action on possible changes to the resolution.  HCA Members may be impacted by discussion and actions at this meeting and may attend to provide related comments, subject to RA speaker pre-registration and time limitations

UPDATE ... On June 12, RA Directors unanimously passed a related motion, as follows:  "President Knueven, seconded by Director Thompson, moved to approve the proposed revisions to Use & Maintenance Standards Resolution 15; Air-Conditioning Service Covenant Reasonable Accommodations; thereby delineating the conditions under which the Covenants Committee may grant temporary exemption permits to Members bound by Section VI.2(b)(15) of the Reston Deed, as amended."


Reston RELAC LLC will host a public meeting from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 in the Rose Gallery of the Lake Anne Reston Community Center to review 2013 RELAC air-conditioning system operations and improvements, the company long-term vision, and plans for additional improvements.  Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) representatives will also discuss their partnership programs and plans.


Fairfax County will sponsor a public Open House to provide information on Phase II of the Reston Master Plan Special StudyPhase I focused on commercial growth and redevelopment primarily surrounding the new Reston-Wiehle Ave. Metrorail Station.  Phase II will be focused on possible options for preserving, improving, or redeveloping existing Village Centers and mature neighborhoods like Hickory Cluster, and on development of the commercial area north of Baron Cameron Ave.  The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 7 at United Christian Parish, 11508 North Shore Drive.


For 25 years, acclaimed restaurant and catering Chef Eduardo Faubert served imaginative, seasonal, New American cuisine, daily and during special fixed-price multi-course holiday dinner nights, both indoors and al fresco, in cozy and understated Lake Anne Village Center surroundings.  Christmas carolers and jazz guitarists performed there often, local artists displayed their work, and Founder Robert E. Simon Jr. and many HCA Members were regular customers.  But Jasmine Cafe at Lake Anne, and its delicious chocolate mousse dessert, are no more. 

Chef Faubert bought the property in 1988, expanded and then reduced space, sold it in 2012, and continued on as a tenant of current owner Jaleo Corporation.  Then extensive and lengthy Lake Anne plaza fountain repair work during the last prime outdoor dining season fatally cut into Jasmine revenues, as did long and cold winters.  The promise of higher rents from Lake Anne redevelopment, and other personal circumstances, all contributed to this sad loss of yet another popular Lake Anne small business.  Without warning, Jaleo posted "No Trespassing" and other signs on Jasmine's windows, and chained the front doors shut last month.   The former G Sushi take-out restaurant also closed in July 2011 due to a landlord dispute.  The Lake Anne Coffee Shop has been on the market since March, and investors recently purchased the nearby Lakeside Pharmacy where Cafe Lakeside closed in February. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Mr. Spray will powerwash the Common Area Block 2 rowhouse rock wall and plaza concrete on Monday, May 12, at 9:30 a.m., Block 1 on Tuesday, May 13, and Block 3 on Wednesday, May 14.  Members should remove all personal items from the plazas and possibly relocate parked cars.


From Reston RELAC LLC President Mark Waddell:  "RELAC is ready for the season and we will start cooling operations this Thursday, May 8, 2014. ... Our second year of ownership begins on May 30 and we are planning a public meeting at the RA facilities at the end of this month.  As soon as RA gives us a day that their conference room is available we will announce the date.  This meeting will detail the improvements we made last year, planned capital investments for this year, re-evaluation of flat rate fees, and much more."

Monday, April 21, 2014


The HCA Goodman Fund is proposing a privately-funded interpretive and commemorative sign honoring Reston Founder Robert E. Simon Jr., renowned Modern Architect Charles M. Goodman, FAIA, and the realization of their Hickory Cluster visions 50 years ago.  Goodman Fund Chairman Richard Speier worked closely with HCA Vice President Ralph P. Youngren, FAIA on the project.  HCA reviewed, suggested revisions, and approved the sign on April 16.

The sign will be located on HCA Common Area behind 11512-16 Hickory Cluster near the central footpath intersection.  It will feature photos of Simon and Goodman, an early Hickory Cluster site plan, and a classic Reston Historic Trust 1960s image of Block 3 Goodman Houses, allowing the reader to also see the same homes as they are now.  It will be supported by a strong metal frame anchored into concrete footings, and is similar to those used by the National Park Service.  The overall image and text composition was created by Member and MW Studio artist Margo Wolcott, and will be reproduced in a damage-resistant porcelain material.  RA DRB will review the proposed design at its May 6 meeting starting at 7:00 p.m.  Members may attend and provide comments.

UPDATE ... On May 6, an RA DRB panel unanimously approved the HCA Goodman Fund commemorative sign as proposed.  Next steps are final design and production.

Friday, April 18, 2014


RA Amended Deed of Dedication Article VI.2. Use and Maintenance of Property, (b) Restrictions on Use, (15) Air-Conditioning Units, states:  "In any residential Cluster in which central air-conditioning service is available to the Lot line, no individual air-conditioning units of any type shall be permitted.  This covenant may only be amended or revoked by at least a two-thirds vote of the Category A Members of all residential Clusters on the service."  Although not specifically mentioned in the Deed covenant, the referenced central air-conditioning service is currently provided by Reston RELAC LLC, a private, for-profit, regulated public utility with no RA or HCA financial affiliation.  For more information on RELAC, see the RELAC page on this website.

Free From 15 is a group of Reston residents seeking a referendum vote revoking this RA covenant and allowing current RELAC customers to freely choose, purchase, and install whatever air-conditioning system they prefer, as do all other Reston residents, subject to RA Design Review Board review and approval.  The group will meet April 30 and every other Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in the Lake Anne Village Center.  For more information on Free From 15, visit the Free From 15 website, or contact John Hunter at john_hunter@icloud.com.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


HCA and TWC are finalizing details for the HCA Annual Meeting to be held 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Saturday, May 17, 2014, at the Rose Gallery in the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne.  The meeting this year was scheduled one week earlier because of the early Memorial Day holiday weekend.  TWC will mail additional information to all HCA Members soon.

Two current and one open Director positions are up for 2014 nomination and election.  HCA encourages interested Members in good standing to provide statements of interest and qualifications to TWC as soon as possible, but no later than 1:00 p.m. Friday, May 16, 2014, and to indicate if you would like that information posted on this HCA website.  Or you can choose to be nominated at the Annual Meeting itself. 

Serving as a volunteer Director means doing more than just attending monthly meetings and voicing opinions.  It involves many additional hours reviewing budgets, proposals, contracts, and other documents; collaborating with other Directors, neighbors, consultants, and contractors; taking hands-on responsibility for leading projects; and making difficult decisions to effectively manage a non-profit corporation.  If you have the passion, commitment, and experience, here's your chance to help maintain and enhance Hickory Cluster quality of life, architectural integrity, and property values.


To limit visual, acoustic, and financial impacts of residential mechanical equipment on neighbors and property values, Reston Association publishes and enforces Cluster Housing Guidelines for air-conditioning, heat pumps, and solar collectors.  To provide more specific protections within Hickory Cluster, HCA is again proposing the initial draft of  General Resolution 16.

As required, the proposed new resolution was read into April 17, 2013 HCA Board of Directors meeting minutes.  Following First Reading, they were published April 27, 2013 on this website.  Discussion of the resolution was then tabled to review new Fairfax County noise rules in process, and to possibly accommodate other equipment types. 

Public Discussion and a Hearing on the new proposed resolutions will now be at the April 16, 2014 monthly Board of Directors meeting at TWC Association Management, 397 Herndon Parkway, Suite 100, Herndon, VA, 7:30 p.m.  The Board may also vote to enact the proposed resolution at this meeting.  HCA Members may attend and provide comments.


As many Members have noted, the large Sycamore tree located in the Block 3 central stairway is bursting the planter retaining wall, its leaves are clogging nearby roof drains, and it continues to pose a high risk of damage or injury from large falling branches.  In response, HCA recently approved removal and replacement of this tree as soon as possible.  HCA is now reviewing cost estimate and Arborist reports, and will be applying for required RA DRB approval. 


At a recent meeting, the Board responded to Member feedback suggesting that HCA needed a new doggie station on the footpath near Block 3 and the western boundary of central Common Area to help control pet waste.  TWC is coordinating purchase and installation as approved by the Board.

Monday, March 31, 2014


Members have already cleared overgrown brush and stacked large amounts of fallen tree debris throughout the cluster.  But to make sure we get as much as possible, and to make up for time lost to yet another winter storm March 29-30, HCA will extend the Cluster Clean-Up for a third weekend to Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6.  In response, Blade Runners has rescheduled their removal of stacked debris to the week of April 7-11.  Seasonal grounds maintenance including mowing and plaza blowing will start soon thereafter, and Mr. Spray is tentatively scheduled to powerwash HCA concrete plazas and stairs in early May.

Monday, March 24, 2014


From NOAA National Weather Service for Fairfax County:  Tuesday, 90 percent chance of snow, accumulation of 1-3 inches.  Tuesday night, 80 percent chance of snow and rain.  From Blade Runners this afternoon:  "Hopefully this is the last snow alert for the season.  Blade Runners does not plan to provide any service for the pending weather system.  There may be some slush in the morning that will wash away during the day."

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Spring is officially here.  And with Spring comes the traditional annual HCA Cluster Clean-Up and meet-your-neighbors event, this year planned for two weekends:  Saturday and Sunday, March 22-23 and 29-30.  NOAA National Weather Service seven-day forecasts are for perfect yard work weather:  partly sunny and windy with a high near 67F on Saturday March 22, and mostly cloudy with a high near 50F on Sunday, March 23.  HCA asks that Members assist with the following tasks:

- Gather fallen tree debris from Common Areas clusterwide
- Cut and remove invasive vines climbing Common Area trees
- Clear overgrown brush from originally-grassy streambed areas
- Stack all debris near footpaths for easy removal by contractors

In addition, Directors will be working to clear overgrown Common Area hillside brush near Block 3 as requested by Members.  CAUTION:  Members should not touch or dig near high voltage pad-mounted electrical transformers.  And in weeks following the Clean-Up, HCA will coordinate with contractors to remove stacked tree and brush debris, to mow grassy areas, to blow clear plaza areas, and to powerwash Block 1-3 concrete stairs and plazas stained by trees since last Spring.  Contact an HCA Director for more information.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


From Blade Runners late this morning:  "It is not uncommon for the weather people to overdue the severity reports of March storms. Soil temperatures play a role in accumulations. As the storm is preceded by rain pre-treatment will not be effective not to mention the shortage of ice control material.  Roadway Plowing ... will wait for plowable accumulation most like in the morning and afternoon tomorrow.  Magic Salt application roads ... none planned in the early part of the storm."

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


From Blade Runners early this morning:  "At this point we have completed ice control application to the property.  I spent a good deal this morning reviewing the result.  In most cases we can see a good deal of pavement with a glaze of ice. The sun and temperatures at 30F today will serve to melt this during the day.  At this point we are completely out of granular ice melt.  We do have limited ability to make direct liquid applications for extreme problems.  We understand that Baltimore did receive some salt yesterday and we have hopes to have some supply around 2:00 p.m. today. ...  We will send out further communication if we are (or not) successful in obtaining addition ice control for this evening."


The Fellowship Square Foundation Inc. (FSF) Lake Anne Fellowship House is a government-assisted apartment complex designed for individuals with limited income who are 62 or more years old, or who are handicapped or disabled.  Built in two phases, Lake Anne I with 140 apartments opened in 1970.  Lake Anne II opened in 1976, adding 100 units and a common social hall, for a total of 240 subsidized apartments.

FSF and real estate development partner Cafritz Interests multi-family division NOVUS Residences LLC are proposing to redevelop this property by building a total of 425 multi-family dwelling units within five years, including 140 accessible and affordable senior dwelling units and 285 market rate multi-family dwelling units.  FSF plans are driven by affordability requirements of existing U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Virginia Housing Development Authority loans, current building operations costs, and Fairfax County efforts to redevelop nearby Lake Anne Village Center. 

FSF discussed their proposal with the Reston Planning and Zoning Committee on November 18, 2013.  It will almost double the number of dwelling units on the Fellowship House site and may have significant impacts on adjacent Hickory Cluster Block 1 carriage houses.  HCA designated President Michael W. Smith and Vice President Ralph P. Youngren FAIA to officially represent Hickory Cluster in FSF discussions.

UPDATES ... FSF recently contacted and met with HCA to discuss their initial redevelopment plans.  FSF also informally discussed their plans with the full RA Design Review Board during a working session on March 18.  DRB will schedule required presentations for public comment in the future.  HCA will provide more information when available. 


To take advantage of lower interest rates before the 2010-15 term expires, HCA has reviewed and extensively discussed several proposals and related guidance from professional advisors to refinance the 2000 Block 3 garage renovation project loan, and plans to make a decision this month.

The Board of Directors has also been following the status of Millennium Bank, that came to the aid of Hickory Cluster during the garage crisis and financed original and succeeding loans when other lenders would not.  HCA learned this week that, without advance notice on Friday, February 28, 2014, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency closed Millennium Bank and named the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as Receiver.  All accounts, including loans and loan collateral deposits such as those held by HCA, were transferred to WashingtonFirst Bank, Reston, VA.  Former Millennium Bank offices in Sterling and Herndon, VA reopened as WashingtonFirst branches.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


From Blade Runners midday today:  "We are as drained as you are from this Winter.  We are scheduled to have an event that we expect to plow, will begin plowing (Monday) in the early morning hours, and this will continue during the day.  Temperatures are scheduled to be very cold on Monday evening and Tuesday that will bring about the need for ice control.  We do not plan to pre-treat and storms preceded by rain can reduce effectiveness.  ... Roadway Magic Salt application ... will report on this tomorrow. ... "

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


From Blade Runners this afternoon:  "We have had between 1-3 inches of snow in the past several hours.  While this has not made a significant accumulation on pavement there is slush in some areas. This evening the forecast is for an additional 1-2 inches of snow.  The temperatures are going to remain below freezing today and barely above tomorrow.  For these reasons we plan to pre-treat with ice control this evening.  Roadway Plowing ... none planned.  Magic Salt Pre-Treatment on roadway ... planned for this afternoon and evening."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


From Blade Runners earlier today:  "As you know, we are headed for what might be the largest snow event in the past four years. We will begin with plowing and shoveling, and ice control will follow.

Roadway plowing will begin in the early morning hours and continue during the day tomorrow. Expectations of a clear accessible lot at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow will not be realistic.  It is going to take multiple passes to control the snow accumulation.  We will target for a clear lot by the evening tomorrow.  Ice control treatment will be completed with a target of Thursday evening.

With heavier accumulations come a new set of client concerns.  We have found there can be a great distance between what we have been hired to do, and what ... residents expect.  It is my strong suggestion that you take the time to read the information that is on our snow site http://www.blade-runners.com/snow/ .  Please review the Frequently Asked Questions, Snow Plowing Equipment, How Can I Help , and Blade Runners Service Specs. 

 ... Residents will be home and shoveling their cars tomorrow.  Often their interaction with the driver slows our ability to work.  In addition, throwing snow from the parked cars into the roadway creates additional challenge.  Anything to help with these challenges is appreciated


From Republic Services, formerly AAA Rainbow, earlier today regarding Thursday, February 13 trash pickup:  "As many of us are aware there are mixed predictions regarding snowfall accumulations in our area across the next several days.  As of right now our area is slated to begin receiving snow/sleet Wednesday evening with accumulations between 4-8 inches throughout the night.

If we receive these snowfall amounts our crews will likely not be servicing on Thursday, February 13They (weather forecasters) also call for the snow to continue throughout the day Thursday with some predictions calling for over a foot of snow at (day's) end.  ...
The main issue at this time is that our service is going to depend on how much snow we receive and when and how it hits our area.  (Republic) ... will update everyone as soon as our crews can determine if it will be safe for service on Thursday and will continue to update into Friday. ...  As always, our No. 1 priority is Safety for all and we appreciate your patience during this weather event."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


From Blade Runners this morning:  "Blade Runners plans to pre-treat roadways ... this evening.  This is to prepare for the Wednesday evening snow event."

Saturday, February 8, 2014


From Blade Runners midday yesterday:  "We originally had a long range forecast for a significant event this weekend.  It has broken up into several smaller systems.  Saturday evening may bring an inch of snow.  Many clients have asked for pre-treatment and we will be filling those requests Saturday morning and afternoon.  We do not plan to provide this service unless you request it.  Roadway plowing ... none planned.  Roadway ice control pre-treatment ... none planned. ... "

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


From Blade Runners earlier this morning:  "We know your property is icy.  We have successfully plowed all of the properties.  We would have liked to apply ice control but we were not able to do this.  We were forced to send the walkway crews home early because of the cold weather conditions that we deemed dangerous.  Our entire staff is resting and will return in the mid morning.  Today will be about ice control.  ... Magic Salt to Roadway will be completed this afternoon and early evening."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


From Blade Runners at 8:00 a.m. this morning:  "As you know there is going to be a significant event this afternoon and into the evening.   We plan to focus on plowing today and tonight.  It is likely that ice control applications will be needed tomorrow.  Road Plowing will begin this afternoon.  Ice Control Roadway post-treatment planned for tomorrow."

From NOAA NWS at 9:30 a.m. this morning:  Winter Storm Warning in effect until 11:00 p.m.  Wind Chill Advisory in effect from 6:00 p.m. this evening until 12:00 noon Wednesday.  Tuesday much cooler with highs around 30F, falling to around 19F this afternoon, North winds 15-20 mph.  Tuesday night colder with lows around 4F, but Northwest winds 15-20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph and wind chill values as low as -12F.  Snow accumulations of 4-8 inches.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


From Blade Runners this morning:  "We are expecting snow and ice this afternoon and evening. Temperatures are going to be below 20F degrees and will remain so during the day tomorrow. We plan to take the following course of action:  Ice Control pre-treatment of roadways in the evening, Roadway Plowing completed tomorrow if we receive more than 2 inches (of snow). ... "