Thursday, December 17, 2015


In late 2014, Northern Virginia Stream Bank principal Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. collected soil samples for bulk density, phosphorus, and nitrogen content analysis to study downstream Lake Anne pollution reduction possibilities.  More recently, the WSSI Director of Engineering reported that start of  the overall project is " ... more of a possibility now that it has been in several years!  We have begun a process of developing costs to provide to our investor to see if they will fund the restoration of both your (between Blocks 1-2) stream as well as the reach in Vantage Hill (partially on HCA property northwest of Block 2). ... We had our onsite meeting with prospective contractors and they are putting together their estimates.  One big change ... because of (nesting bird and bat species) restrictions on clearing trees after March ... we have decided to delay the construction until the Fall of next year (2016) starting in September. ... We all have an interest in keeping the construction period as short as possible! ... We can plan a community meeting once the construction plans are more definite. ... "  For more information, see the related HCA pond dredging post and stream restoration page on this website.  HCA will post updates here when available.


Rumors circulated since last August that the decade-long plan to redevelop Lake Anne Village Center had collapsed.  Official announcements late last week from Fairfax County and Lake Anne Development Partners turned those rumors into reality.  A competitive Reston Town Center, nearby new apartment construction boom, required below market value housing, and insufficient financing made the County / LADP plan economically infeasible.  Gone for now will be new higher rent shops and lower rent homes, and years of nearby construction, noise, and traffic congestion.  Saved, at least temporarily, are an original service station, office building, former garden center now a market, former bank now a cat clinic, nearby maturely treed land-swap parcel, and a First Village center as designed.  Several sources speculated that any future plans may be much smaller in scale.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


HCA recently scheduled the Fall Cluster Clean-Up starting Saturday-Sunday November 14-15 following the first of two leaf clearings, earlier than usual because of early and wet Winter weather predictions.  Current forecast this weekend is for great outdoor working conditions:  50-57F and mostly clear.  During the Clean-up, we encourage Members to remove parasitic vines from tree trunks and branches, to stack fallen tree branches and other debris near footpaths before contractor removal in early December, and to remove personal property stored on nearby Common Areas.  However, Members should not otherwise remove invasive species English Ivy from HCA Common Areas because it provides inexpensive ground cover that controls soil erosion.  Be careful to avoid Poison Ivy and similar plants.  Contact individual Directors to coordinate:
  Various tasks ... Director Smith ... DONE
  Remove Common Area debris behind rear patios ... Director Travis
  Cut dead trees and branches ... Directors Ashley / Poss ... DONE
  Remove streambed overgrowth and debris ... Director Poss ... DONE
  Remove Common Area debris behind rear patios ... Director Cohen
  Clear western storm drain entrance ... Director Poss ... DONE
UPDATE ... HCA advised Blade Runners on December 9 that stacked debris is ready for removal and chipping as soon as possible.  Chips will be placed on the Block 3 dirt vehicle access area to reduce mud formation.

Monday, September 21, 2015


From Reston Association today:  "Reston's founder, Robert E. Simon, Jr. passed away at his Lake Anne home on Monday, September 21, 2015.  He was 101 years old. ... "  Both The Washington Post and The New York Times published admiring obituaries, and local American University National Public Radio station WAMU 88.5 FM produced another of many broadcast segments on Reston, this time an October 15 brief discussion of the Simon legacy.  In addition to founding Reston, and hiring Architect Charles M. Goodman FAIA to design Hickory Cluster Goodman Houses ... often cited as his favorite among Reston First Village homes ... the visionary Mr. Simon was also known on a more personal level for his almost daily exercise walks through Hickory Cluster and his enthusiasm for stopping to chat with residents.  Bob enriched our lives immensely and we will miss him dearly.


HCA fence cluster standards described within 1998 General Resolution 6 were enacted to maintain reasonably consistent fence types as replacements for failing unreinforced concrete block rear patio walls, to increase rear patio privacy, or to open up rear patio views.  The standard provides Members with five options: (a) no fence or wall, (b) up to a 6 ft. tall screen of shrubs on private property, (c) a wood screen fence with floating faceboards on edge, (d) a solid wood fence with floating edge-to-edge faceboards, or (e) a concrete block wall.  The example above is one partially-compliant example of the (d) solid wood fence option.

However, the HCA standard does not include an option for popular shadowbox designs with front-and-back alternating-surface faceboards like the example at left.  Therefore, shadowbox fences built after enactment of the 1998 HCA fence standards are not compliant and may be cited as violations during HCA and RA resale or other inspections unless otherwise approved individually by RA DRB.  Members should consult HCA General Resolution 6 for more information, official text, and compliant fence elevation and section drawings.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


The Reston Historic Trust and Museum help preserve and promote Reston's unique history.  Hickory Cluster played a key role in that history as part of the Reston First Village, and as an important work of Mid-Century Modern Architecture in Reston by Charles M. Goodman FAIA.  To help build RHT membership and financial support, RHT sponsors numerous events each year.  On Sunday, September 20, RHT will hold the Family Fun Day & Membership Drive with Reston Founder Robert E. Simon, Jr. on the Lake Anne Village Center plaza from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.  And on Saturday, October 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., RHT will hold the 14th Annual Reston Home Tour.  Last year, more than 500 attendees visited Hickory Cluster to tour a newly-furnished Block 3 Type C1 Goodman House.  For more information, visit the Reston Museum website.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


RA will hold a series of Covenants Workshops during the next year to discuss DRB applications and processes, cluster standards, contractors, landscaping, composting, legal, parking, and pet issues with RA Members.  The series will start with an interactive ABCs of DRB Workshop from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 10 at RA Headquarters.  The complete 2015-16 schedule is available on the RA website, and RA requests RSVPs to  HCA Members may also make appointments to discuss specific covenants compliance issues directly with the RA Covenants Advisor for Hickory Cluster.  UPDATE ... RA will host an Updating Cluster Standards Hands-On Workshop from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 12.


Many household items include toxic chemicals that might contaminate landfills, rivers, and drinking water if they are poorly stored or illegally placed in weekly trash collections.  To help prevent environmental pollution, Fairfax County maintains two permanent facilities and holds four annual Remote Collection Events to safely collect and dispose of Household Hazardous Waste like aerosol sprays, brake fluid, unbroken fluorescent bulbs, gasoline, glue, herbicides, insecticides, paint, paint thinner, pesticides, and rechargeable batteries.  HCA Members may safely dispose of these toxic items at the nearby McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave., from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 12.  Home electronics and computer products also contain toxic materials that should be recycled through Best Buy or other local business programs rather than included in weekly trash.  Home Depot will recycle 20 lb. barbeque grill propane tanks at no charge or exchange them for full tanks for about $20.


HCA and other Reston homeowners legally agreed to comply with numerous covenants and restrictions when they purchased their homes.  Many of these covenants help protect the design intent, as-built architectural integrity, and property values of important works of Mid-Century Modern Architecture like Lake Anne Village Center, Hickory Cluster, Waterview Cluster, Coleson Cluster, and Golf Course Island Cluster.  An extension of those covenants are current RA Design Review Board Design Guidelines that govern general exterior changes to HCA Goodman Houses, some of which are specifically governed by HCA General Resolutions.  RA recently published proposed changes to DRB Design Guidelines and will hold a second public hearing at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 24 at RA Headquarters.  RA encourages Members to attend and provide feedback.

Friday, May 1, 2015


HCA and TWC are finalizing details for the HCA Annual Meeting to be held at 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon Saturday, May 30, 2015, at the Rose Gallery in the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne.  The meeting this year was scheduled one week later than usual because of the early Memorial Day holiday weekend.  TWC will mail meeting information, Director nomination forms, and Proxy absentee vote forms to all HCA Members on May 11.  HCA will also post the 2015 meeting packet on this website.

Two current Director three-year terms will expire and are up for nomination and election this year.  HCA encourages interested Members in good standing to provide Nomination Form statements of interest and qualifications to TWC as soon as possible, but no later than 1:00 p.m. Friday, May 29, 2015, 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.  UPDATE ... Director and Block 2 resident John Rowley Jr. announced to the Board on April 15 that he will not seek re-election, and Vice President and Block 2 resident Blake Travis announced on May 11 that he will seek re-election this year.  Block 2 resident Lauri Swift also announced her candidacy.

Volunteer Directors of this non-profit, non-stock corporation are tasked by the original 1964 HCA Articles of Incorporation with maintaining and improving the Common Areas; enforcing covenants and restrictions; and assessing, collecting, and disbursing funds; all for the benefit of the property and peace, health, comfort, and safety of residents.  Directors typically review budgets, proposals, and contracts; collaborate with other Directors, neighbors, and consultants to make critical decisions; and may provide hands-on project leadership.  Directors must meet at least quarterly, but usually meet monthly.  At whatever level, HCA welcomes your participation.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Reston RELAC LLC will start the upcoming Spring-Summer-Fall chilled water cooling season as early as the first two consecutive days of 80F May weather, but no later than May 22, to meet Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) tariff requirements.  In preparation, the RELAC team has been cleaning, repairing, and fine tuning its plant equipment and distribution systems to begin full operation as early as May 1.  For inspection, cleaning, and repair of individual HCA home chilled water cooling coil, dehumidifying condensation drain, supply solenoid valve, billing meter, and emergency turn-off valves, contact the RELAC team directly.  For contact and related information, see the RELAC page on this website and updates posted here when available.  UPDATE ... Reston RELAC advised that the system will begin seasonal operation on Tuesday, May 5, following last minute repairs.


As rainwater runoff flows downhill from Lake Newport and everywhere in between, it brings along sediment and debris that builds up in the HCA pond and in Lake Anne.  Every few years, RA dredges, drains, and removes that excess material. 

In late 2013, RA funded 2015 dredging of five lakes and ponds, including $92,705 for the HCA pond.  HCA hoped to coordinate dredging at the same time as adjacent Stream Restoration work, but the larger project remains on hold because funding from a slow commercial real estate market is not yet available. 

On April 6, 2015, RA mailed postcards to HCA Members advising that dredging would begin as early as April 15 to remove about 200 cubic yards of accumulated sediment from the HCA pond, repair the dam broken during the last dredging, and restore HCA grounds to pre-dredge conditions, including any damage to the newly-rebuilt HCA asphalt footpaths.  RA will use the North Shore Drive access ramp, place dewatering bags on the unused HCA volleyball court for up to 100 days, and then remove all equipment and related materials from the area.  HCA will benefit from this difficult and expensive work to improve pond appearance and function at no additional cost.  Contact HCA President Michael Smith for more information.

UPDATE ... RA announced on July 9 that HCA pond work is about to begin.  WSSI started draining and rerouting pond water on July 17 from the north and west inlets to dry and remove all accumulated soil, rock, and leaf debris, and to inspect and repair the footbridge dam damaged during the last dredging.  The three to six week project will significantly increase pond water level, appearance, safety, and recreational value.  All pedestrians should avoid safety fenced areas and equipment.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


From Blade Runners this morning:  "We are going to have a significant event during the day.  Our goal is to have things completed into the late evening.  Roadway plowing ... will begin in the next three hours ... .  Roadway ice control ... will be needed and we will report on this later."

Friday, February 27, 2015


HCA has designated the month of March for Spring Cluster Clean-Up.  Directors will coordinate several Member-proposed projects:
  Various tasks, Saturday, April 4 ... Director Smith
  Remove streambed overgrowth and debris ... Director Poss
  Clean tree-discolored plaza railings ... Director Rowley
  Remove Common Area debris behind rear patios ... Director Travis
  Remove Common Area debris behind rear patios ... Director Cohen
  Remove Common Area 11532/40/42 HC overgrowth ... Director Poss
  Clear Common Area western storm drain blockage ... Director Poss
HCA also encourages Members to remove ivy from tree trunks and branches, and stack tree and other debris near curbs and footpaths for removal.  However, Members should not remove English Ivy growing on HCA Common Areas otherwise because it provides inexpensive ground cover that effectively controls soil erosion, even though it is an invasive species.  HCA will remove Fall and Winter stacked debris in early April, powerwash Common Area plazas in April or May, and post updates here when available.  UPDATES ... End date extended to April 5 due to early March rain and snow.  HCA requested Blade Runners debris removal as soon as possible after April 5.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


From Blade Runners this morning:  " ... 1 to 1 1/2 inches accumulation.  Road plowing, none planned.   Roadway ice control, planned for this afternoon. ... "

Saturday, February 21, 2015


From Blade Runners Saturday morning:  "As you know we are about to have a fourth event in the span of one week.  We plan to begin servicing all properties when we reach 2 inches of snow. ... "  For information on snow plowing challenges and concerns, visit the Blade Runners snow webpage.  NOAA National Weather Service forecast for Reston:  "Today, snow before 3:00 p.m then snow and sleet.  High near 29F.  South wind 9-13 mph with gusts as high as 20 mph.  Total daytime snow and sleet accumulation of 3-7 inches possible.  Tonight, rain, freezing rain, and sleet becoming all rain after midnight.  Low around 29F.   New ice accumulation of less than 1/10 inch possible.  New sleet accumulation of less than 1/2 inch possible."  UPDATE ... Sunday morning:  " ... With the warm temperatures to come in the afternoon ... salt will just wash away.  We plan to save this application for tonight when it is really needed.  Re-plowing and touch-up is a better remedy today ... . We do not want to do ice control until tonight."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


From Blade Runners this afternoon:  "We are going to have an event much like we did on Saturday night.  The difference is that we have a good deal of residual salt on the ground.  It is our hope that this will take care of this event but it is hard to tell.  Our plan is to wait and see until tomorrow morning."  NOAA National Weather Service 2:00 p.m. forecast for Reston tonight:  "Snow showers likely, mainly before 8:00 p.m.  Cloudy during the early evening, then gradual clearing, with a low around 8F. Wind chill values as low as -3F.  West wind 11 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70 percent.  New snow accumulation of less than 1/2 inch possible."

Monday, February 16, 2015


From Blade Runners this afternoon:  "As we all know at this point, there is going to be a significant event this evening.  We will begin by plowing and clearing ... roadways. It is likely plowing will continue into the afternoon tomorrow and multiple passes will be needed.  We will send out another update in the AM tomorrow."  NOAA National Weather Service 5:00 p.m. forecast for Reston tonight:  "Low around 14F. Southeast wind around 6 mph becoming northeast after midnight.  ... New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible."

Monday, February 9, 2015


RA announced late today that the recent RELAC referendum failed to achieve 2/3 or 67 percent of 272 votes cast, and therefore failed to repeal the Reston Deed Section VI.2(b)(15) Covenant requiring use of central air-conditioning chilled water service currently provided by Reston RELAC LLC.  As a result, the Covenant remains in effect for all 343 residential cluster homeowner eligible voters subject to it, and RELAC summer chilled-water service will continue for all 626 customers, including Hickory Cluster.  According to RA, voter turnout was almost 80 percent, with 154 or 57 percent No votes, and 118 or 43 percent Yes votes.  In 2005, 230 or 67 percent of 343 eligible homeowners voted, and 130 No votes or 57 percent of all votes cast defeated a similar referendum.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


YES ... REVOKE Covenant requiring RELAC.
NO ...  KEEP Covenant requiring RELAC.

Members can revoke Covenant 15 if 2/3 of all votes cast are YES votes.  As few as 69 YES votes (2/3 x 30% quorum x 343 eligible) could impact RELAC service for all 626 current customers.  But if all 343 eligible homeowners vote, 229 YES votes are required to pass the referendum, and 115 NO votes are required to defeat it.  In 2005, eligible homeowners cast 230 of 343 votes, 100 YES and 130 NO, to defeat that referendum.

IF YOU DID NOT RECEIVE YOUR PAPER BALLOT ... immediately contact RA Board Liason Sabrina Tadele at (703) 435-6570 or  RA mailed referendum ballots on January 5 to all eligible property owner Members of record as of December 1, 2014.  Voting will end at 5:00 p.m. on January 30, 2015, and results will be announced on February 9.  Online voting is available using your paper ballot username and password.

The 2015 core issue is the same as in 2005:  RELAC says it will not survive RA Covenant 15 revocation.  Referendum supporters disagree and want unrestricted choice.  See the HCA RELAC webpage for more information.

Monday, January 5, 2015


An underground water pipe appears to be broken and bubbling up water tonight from beneath the pavement in front of 11520-26 Maple Ridge Road in Block 1.  Fairfax Water dispatched a repair crew after being notified by Block 1 Member Eric Lundberg.  UPDATE 1 ... Fairfax Water crews arrived, isolated the water leak, and started repairs to restore service to twelve Block 1 homes.  The rest of Block 1 and all of Block 2 were not affected.  UPDATE 2 ... Fairfax Water completed repairs at about 5:00 a.m.  Maple Ridge Road is open for business, but may need additional follow-up pavement work.


From Blade Runners earlier today:  "Temperatures will be cold today and tomorrow.  We are scheduled for 1/2 to 1 inch of accumulation.  We plan to take a wait and see approach with this event.  As the morning progresses we will have an idea as to the need for ice control."  UPDATE 1 ... "Storm track has changed.  We plan to service properties for roads ... ."  HCA received at least 4 1/2 inches of snow, much more than originally predicted.