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.

Friday, May 12, 2017


From RA this morning:  "Members of Reston Association's Board of Directors will host four district meetings.  Residents in each district will be able to provide feedback and hear updates on a variety of district and community-related topics.  Lake Anne / Tall Oaks District (meeting will be) hosted by (RA Board of Directors President) Sherri Hebert (on) Wednesday, June 7; 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Reston Community Center - Jo Ann Rose Gallery, 1609-A Washington Plaza."

Monday, May 8, 2017


As advised in the May 1, 2017 Common Area Parking notice, parking hang tags and hang tag numbers must be visible at all times.  Vehicles without visible hang tags or numbers are subject to citation and towing.  In addition, 2015 hang tags lost and replaced, or otherwise unaccounted for, with the following numbers are now invalid and cannot be used for HCA parking:  Original or replacement tags 101113, 115, 116 125, 126, 127, 128, 133, 134, 159, 160, 191, 203, 204, 216, 225, 226, 237, 238, 253, 254, 281, 282, and 293 reported as lost; and replacement tags 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 294 and 295 unaccounted for due to clerical error.  Members who see these invalid HCA hang tags should report the vehicle description, license plate number, and location to a Director or TWC.  UPDATES ... May 10:  Hang tag 294 identified as Block 1 lost tag 216 replacement, list revised.  May 11:  Hang tag 292 identified as in use by Block 1 resident pending corresponding lost tag number, list revised.  June 27:  Block 3 lost tag 113 found, replacement tag 293 lost, list revised.  July 11:  Block 3 lost tag 101 replaced with tag 295 found at TWC, Block 3 lost tags 115-116 replaced with tags 309-10.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


The HCA Annual Meeting will be held at 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon Saturday, May 20, 2017, at the Rose Gallery in the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne.  TWC will mail meeting information, Director nomination forms, and Proxy absentee vote forms to all HCA Members in late April or early May.  HCA will also post the 2017 meeting packet on this website.  However, only Members in good standing with no past due balances may vote or be elected. 

Two current Director positions are up for nomination and election this year for full three-year terms.  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 19, 2017, 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.

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 5, 2017


From the Reston RELAC air conditioning chilled water service team this morning:  "We are beginning our pre-season startup procedures for the RELAC system.  Please check your basement or other location in your home where your chilled water equipment is located.  Please call if you have any questions as to where the equipment is located.  You may hear air in your AC pipes occasionally while we pressurize the system and this is normal.  As always call if you see any signs of leaking or any other questions and we are looking forward to serving you for the upcoming cooling season.  All hosebibs should be fully closed and only used by service technicians.  As a reminder the 2017 season startup date is May 22, or the 2nd consecutive 80 degree day in May."  UPDATES ... April 24:  "As you know the official startup date is May 22 or the 2nd consecutive 80 degree day in May.  With that said we are pushing our schedule to try to get it (the chilled water central plant) operational by this Friday April 28th.  April 27:  "Reston RELAC is now operational (and chilled water is available for cooling in customer systems)!!  We began operations at noon on April 27.  Our push to get ready early for the 2017 season has been successful.  Once we get past this hot weather we will need to shutdown for a few hours during the day to complete the startup process.  We even beat our estimate of this Friday at noon.  Please let us know of any services issues by calling us at (703) 349-3301 ... "  May 11:  Due to the cooler weather RELAC has been temporarily turned off.  The weather forecast shows under 60 degrees for the next few days.  Sunday at noon is the most likely time for resuming operations.  If the temperature goes below 60 degrees we will again shutdown until noon the following day.  During shutdown times water will continue circulating but only at ground temperature cool.  For future service updates, please visit the Reston RELAC website at, and contact them to make sure you receive their service update emails directly.

Monday, March 13, 2017


From our snow removal contractor late this afternoon:  "... we will be mobilizing our snow/ice management team for the impending winter weather event.  Forecasts are conflicting right now so I am not sure exactly how much precipitation we will get and in what form it will be in.  Regardless we are ready for whatever mother nature happens to throw our way and will make sure that Hickory Cluster is in good shape. ... "  From the NOAA National Weather Service for Reston as of 3:04 p.m. today:  "Tonight:  Rain and snow likely before 8:00 p.m., then snow between 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., then snow and sleet after 2:00 a.m.  The snow could be heavy at times.  Low around 30F.  Southeast wind 10-16 m.p.h. becoming Northeast after midnight.  Winds could gust as high as 24 m.p.h.   Chance of precipitation is 100%.  Total nighttime snow and sleet accumulation of 2-4 inches possible.  Tuesday:  Snow, mainly before 2:00 p.m., then a chance of snow showers after 2:00 p.m.  The snow could be heavy at times.  High near 35F.  North wind 14-17 m.p.h., with gusts as high as 26 m.p.h.  Chance of precipitation is 100%.  New snow accumulation of 1-3 inches possible.  Tuesday Night:  A chance of snow showers, mainly before 2:00 a.m.  Cloudy, with a low around 22F.  Northwest wind 15-17 m.p.h., with gusts as high as 25 m.p.h.  Chance of precipitation is 50%.  Wednesday:  A slight chance of snow showers.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 29F.  Blustery, with a Northwest wind 16-24 m.p.h., with gusts as high as 38 m.p.h. Chance of precipitation is 20%."

Thursday, March 2, 2017


HCA will celebrate substantial completion of the Stream Restoration project and footbridge replacement with a gathering at the Blocks 1-2 stream pond footbridge on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.  RA Lake Anne / Tall Oaks Director Sherri Hebert, RA CEO Cate Fulkerson, RA Watershed Manager Nicki Bellezza, Wetland Studies Project Manager Frank Graziano, and the HCA Board of Directors will participate.  All HCA residents are invited to attend. 

UPDATE ... With Members, Directors, and guests braving sub-freezing temperatures on an otherwise beautiful sunny day, HCA presented a surprise framed letter of thanks to the Wetland Studies team for the exceptional leadership, knowledge, and experience they provided to transform an eroding streambed from an environmental liability to a community asset.  In another surprise, HCA presented former multiple-term Director and Member architect-in-residence Ralph P. Youngren, FAIA with a laser-etched stainless steel plaque dedicating to him the replacement pond footpath bridge he designed ... now to be known as the Youngren Bridge.  The event concluded with a champagne toast to everyone who helped bring this decade-long project to successful completion.


The HCA grounds maintenance contractor will begin their Spring 2017 flowerbed/planter mulching and clean-up next week, March 6-10, in preparation for seasonal weekly mowing and related tasks.  And our tree maintenance contractor will begin removing HCA-approved high risk trees from now through about March 10.  In addition, HCA Spring 2017 Cluster Clean-Up will be held during the entire month of March 2017.  During this period, HCA encourages Members to remove vines from tree trunks and branches, remove debris behind rear row houses and carriage houses, stack fallen tree debris near the central RA footpath or HCA streets for April contractor removal, and 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 special projects.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


From our snow removal contractor this afternoon:  " ... there is snow in the forecast for tomorrow night into Thursday. ... I do not think we will be mobilizing our snow and ice management team.  I feel that whatever does fall will melt upon contact.  Snow that falls and actually sticks will be mainly on the grassy areas.  I will continue to monitor the situation and if anything changes I will let you know. ... "  From the NOAA National Weather Service, also this afternoon:  "Wednesday night, rain before 4:00 a.m., then rain and snow.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.  Thursday, snow, mainly before 7:00 a.m., then a chance of snow showers after noon. ... "

Sunday, January 29, 2017


From our snow removal contractor midday today:  " ... Regarding the winter weather forecast for this evening and overnight ... I do not think we will be mobilizing for this storm. The greatest chance for any of the predicted moisture to stick is south and east of D.C. ... "  From the NOAA National Weather Service for Reston as of 12:27 p.m. today:  This afternoon, a chance of rain and snow showers after 4:00 p.m.  Tonight, a chance of rain and snow showers before 7:00 p.m., then snow likely, new snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.  Monday, a chance of snow before 7:00 a.m., then scattered snow showers between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Northwest wind 8-14 m.p.h., with gusts as high as 23 m.p.h.  Tuesday, a chance of snow, South wind 11-17 m.p.h., with gusts as high as 26 m.p.h. ... "

Friday, January 13, 2017


From our snow removal contractor Perfect Landscapes Account Manager this morning:  " ... Our area is forecast to see winter weather move in tonight that will continue to affect our area throughout the day tomorrow.  Precipitation will be a mixed bag of snow, ice and freezing rain.  Estimates of accumulation vary but it is certain that roads will be slick.  We are planning on treating the paved areas overnight tonight to help keep the cluster roadways as safe as possible. ... "  AccuWeather forecasts an ice storm will impact the DC area Saturday and Saturday night.  The NOAA National Weather Service forecast for Reston at 6:27 a.m. this morning:  TonightRain and sleet likely between midnight and 3:00 a.m., then freezing rain and sleet likely after 3:00 a.m. ... Little or no ice accumulation expected.  New sleet accumulation of less than a half inch possible.  Saturday:  Freezing rain and sleet, becoming all freezing rain after 3:00 p.m.  ...  New ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 inch possible.  Little or no sleet accumulation expected.  Saturday Night:  Freezing rain likely before midnight, then a chance of freezing rain and sleet. ...  Little or no ice accumulation expected.  Little or no sleet accumulation expected.  Sunday:  A slight chance of snow before 10:00 a.m., then a slight chance of rain.  ...  Sunday Night:  A chance of rain and snow.

Friday, January 6, 2017


From our snow removal contractor Perfect Landscapes Account Manager earlier today: " ... closely watching a winter storm that is currently affecting areas well south of us. The forecast for our area is for occasional flurries and snow showers beginning tomorrow morning and ending in the mid afternoon with little to no accumulating snows.  The impact of this storm for us seems minimal at this point.  As a result it appears that snow and ice management operations will not be necessary tomorrow.  I will continue to monitor the situation throughout the day today ... ."  The NOAA National Weather Service forecast for tonight and tomorrow as of 12:27 p.m. today:  "Tonight: A chance of snow after 3:00 a.m.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 19F.  North wind 8 to 11 m.p.h.  Chance of precipitation is 50%.   Saturday: Snow likely, mainly between 7:00 a.m. and noon.  Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 27F. Northwest wind 13 to 15 m.p.h., with gusts as high as 23 m.p.h. Chance of precipitation is 70%.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.  Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 15.  Northwest wind 13 to 16 m.p.h., with gusts as high as 23 m.p.h.

Thursday, January 5, 2017


From our nearby neighbor this afternoon:  "... the fire alarm system at Lake Anne Elementary School will be inspected and tested during the week of January 9, 2017.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Fairfax County Office of the Fire Marshal require Fairfax County Public Schools to test the Lake Anne Elementary School fire alarm system annually. This test is very extensive, as they must inspect and test each and every fire alarm device. This testing can only be performed when the building is unoccupied; therefore, the typical hours of testing are from approximately 10:00 P.M. until 5:00 A.M., Monday through Friday. System testing can range from 1 day to 5 days, depending on building size.  In an effort to minimize disruption to the citizens, the testing of the audible portion (horns) of the system is performed at the end of the total system test (the last testing day). The approximate amount of time that the audible portion (horns) are activated per site, per test, is 15 minutes for an elementary school. ... "  For more information, contact Ms. Sue McCallister, Administrative Assistant/Finance Tech, Lake Anne Elementary School, at (703) 326-3500 or


From our snow removal contractor Perfect Landscapes Account Manager this morning:  "As of right now it appears that the winter weather we are expecting this evening and overnight is going to be minimal with an expected accumulation of a dusting  to possibly 1". My thought now this morning is that plowing will probably not be necessary. A good pre-treatment of ice melt may. I will be monitoring the situation during the day and will keep you updated of our plans. ... "  From the NOAA National Weather Service Hazardous Weather Outlook for Reston, VA at 1:25 p.m. today:  "... This Afternoon: A chance of snow.  Cloudy, with a high near 34F.  South wind around 6 m.p.h.  Chance of precipitation is 40%.  Tonight: Snow, mainly before 4:00 a.m.  Low around 27F.  Light and variable wind becoming north 5 to 9 m.p.h. after midnight.  Chance of precipitation is 80%.  New snow accumulation of around an inch possible. ... "  UPDATE ... From Perfect Landscapes at 4:03 p.m. today:  "... There has not been a change in the winter weather forecast. Because the temperatures will remain cold tonight and through tomorrow I have made the decision to treat the paved areas of the cluster with ice melt overnight. ... "


From the WSSI Stream Restoration Project Manager late yesterday:  " ... We finally have the permit in-hand for the bridge and nearly all the pieces.  We expect them this week so the plan as of right now is to begin on Monday (January 9, 2017) with the removal of the old bridge.  Looks like the bridge will be closed for about 2 weeks. ... "  The original Fairfax County bridge permit expired because of lengthy pre-construction funding delays and WSSI resubmitted required documents to obtain a new permit.