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How to Get Your Exterior Project Done (or at least approved)

Spring is in the air and people are thinking about all the ways they want to spruce up the outside of their homes. It’s exciting. But in Reston, it may not be fast. If you are part of Reston Association, that plan is going to have to be approved, and it takes time. Here is a primer on the RA Design Review Board application process.

First, this is not something you need to dread. The DRB application procedures are very easy to follow. It just takes a little bit of time. But you will have help along the way: the Covenant’s Advisors are one of Reston homeowners’ greatest resources that nobody knows about. They are here to help make the design review process the easiest part of your renovation project.

DRB application procedures

The Reston Associate website has all the phone numbers and forms you need. Here is a recap of the DRB application procedures.

1. Contact RA to find out who your Covenant’s Advisor is. They’ll meet with you and advise you on your project and everything you’ll need for your application.

2. Submit your application. The application can be found on the RA website. The application includes the following:

  • A detailed written description of the proposed exterior modification or addition
  • Scale drawings
  • A site plan showing the size and location of project
  • Photographs of the existing condition
  • A brochure, detail sheet or catalog photo of materials
  • Estimated project completion date
  • Signatures of at least three different property owners adjacent to or within view of your alteration or improvement. If your property is located within a Cluster Association, at least one of the signatures must be that of a Cluster Officer. 

Bring in or mail your application to the Reston Association.

4. Property Visit
RA staff and/or members of the DRB may visit and possibly photograph your property for reference.

5. Attend the DRB review panel meeting
While not all projects go in front of the DRB review panel, if your project does require it, you should plan on attending the meeting. Your Covenant’s Advisor can you let you know when it’s on the agenda.

Those are the basic steps. If your application is rejected, you can appeal the decision. Or you can revise the plans to meet RA Design Covenants and Guidelines and resubmit your application. However, if you work with your Covenant’s Advisor and follow the RA guidelines, your project should be approved and you are on your way!

What do you have planned? Let me know.

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Newport Springs Cluster, North Reston

Newport Springs Cluster, photo from Zillow.comBack in the late 1980s, the face of North Reston changed. In 1989, Newport Springs Cluster joined the collection of close communities that line Reston Parkway. Newport Springs is a community of 28 townhouses designed with Folk Victorian architecture, homes that are relatively plain in construction and then embellished with decorative trim.

Grouped into six buildings fronting Newport Spring Court, the street meanders in a wide curve with a cul-de-sac at the end—providing privacy and safety as there is no through street. 

The homes are three stories high with a garage on the first level and a flight of stairs leading to the front entry on the second floor. The end units have wrap around porches; the others have recessed front entries. The three-bedroom homes range in size from 1,400 to 1,550 square feet.  The lot sizes range from around 1,500 to 2,200 square feet.

Located off Lake Newport Road between Reston Parkway and Fairfax County Parkway, Newport Springs Cluster is walking distance to North Point Village Center. There you’ll find a Giant food store, Starbucks, restaurants, gym, gas station, and more.

This is a great neighborhood for a growing family.

St. Patrick's Day 2017 Around Town

St. Patrick's DaySt. Patrick’s Day always feels like the official start of Spring to me, especially when the weather has been as nice as it has been lately. Hopefully, we’ll have great weather for all the parades and other fun events happening over the next two weeks. Here is a run-down of some fun things to do.

Musical St. Patrick’s Day with Miss Susan at Reston Library 

This one is for the wee little ones. On March 9 and March 14 at 10:30 a.m., bring your toddler over to the Reston Library to enjoy Celtic music and learn a simple circle dance. It is never too early to foster a love of bagpipes. Cosponsored by the Friends of the Reston Regional Library. For age 9-24 months with adult.

18th Annual Greater Manassas St. Patrick’s Day Parade 

I do love a good parade. So on Saturday, March 11, 2017 head to Old Town Manassas to get things started. The parade begins at 11:00. There will be music. There will be dancing. There will be a lot of fun had by all. If you’ve never ventured to Old Town Manassas, plan to stay awhile. It’s a charming place and it will be bustling on parade day.

Washington, DC Saint Patrick's Day Parade

The main parade event: March 12, 2017, Noon to 3:00 p.m. Come celebrate the Nation’s Saint Patrick’s Day with a parade along Constitution Avenue - 7th to 17th Streets NW. There will be floats, marching bands, pipe bands, military, police, and fire departments. Local Irish pubs also sponsor parade parties featuring Irish musicians, dancers, and singers. Yes, it is fun. Really, really fun.

St. Patrick’s Day Scramble at Reston National Golf Course

Not in the mood to go downtown for a parade? How about some golf at Reston National? The St. Patrick’s Day Scramble on Sunday, March 12th has a 9 a.m. Shotgun Start.

Lucky Leprechaun 5k Race

Maybe a 5k race is more your thing? Also on Sunday, March 12 and starting at 8:30 a.m., is the Lucky Leprechaun at Reston Town Center. The 2,000ish runners all dressed in green will run a quick 3.1 miles and then enjoy Irish treats (like Guinness) in the RTC pavilion. Even if you don’t run, it’s kind of fun to cheer the runners on and enjoy the very creative costumes some of them wear.

The Main Event

Just about every bar does something on St. Patrick’s Day, especially when it’s a Friday night. There will, of course, be things happening at Lake Anne, which is where I’ll be. However, if you want to explore any one of the actual Irish pubs in the area, just take a look at this list of Irish Pubs of Northern Virginia. With too many options to list, I’ll just leave it at this: drink responsibly and download the Uber app if you don’t have it already. Or walk to Lake Anne… that is always a good choice.

BLVD Residential at Reston Station

BLVD residential at reston stationThere are some new apartments in town, and they’re called BLVD Residential at Reston Station. One guess where they’re located. I have to say, they look very nice based on those pictures in the development’s web gallery.

Here are some more details on them

The developer is Comstock. This mixed-use development has 450 apartments and is located directly adjacent to the Wiehle-Reston East station. Units are luxury studio, one, two and three bedroom + den apartments. All feature top-of-the-line amenities like gorgeous wood cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops. Click here to see the floor plans.

In addition to the gorgeous apartments, the building includes:

  • Rooftop pool and terrace, demonstration kitchen, bar and game room
  • Rooftop fitness center, weight room and yoga studio
  • Pet friendly and smoke free environment
  • Coming this fall, a Starbucks (which will be very handy on that short walk to the metro station)

RA Access

While the building does not fall within Reston Association’s jurisdiction, BLVD Residential is the first building to be brought into Reston Association through a supplemental declaration. What this means to residents is that they will have access to RA programs and services at alternative rates compared to other members. And design review for the property will be conducted with support from Reston Association staff using urban design guidelines developed for Reston Station.

 

The Tall Oaks Center Project

Beauty or blight? Tall Oaks Village Center has been considered both. Blight mostly because most of the stores have been empty for years. In December of 2014, McLean-based Jefferson Apartment Group purchased the Tall Oaks Center and almost immediately announced plans to redevelop it for mixed residential and commercial uses.

Not everyone in the neighborhood was happy about that. But, just about a year ago (January 26, 2016), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the final redevelopment plan.

One of the questions from local residents was whether an anchor grocery store would be part of the plan — many in the surrounding area miss being able to walk to the store. In the spring of 2016, a retail marketing analysis concluded that a grocery store anchor is not a viable option to include in the redevelopment project. So what exactly is going in there? Well, without a grocery store, it seems retail space isn’t viable either. The report indicates there will be 7,500 square feet of space for restaurants. There will also be open spaces and a water feature for children to play in.

I have no doubt the development will be beautiful. It would be nice if there was some retail for local residents, but by now they’ve gotten used to traveling to shop. I do wonder what restaurants will go in. It’s fun to speculate.

Here is a video tour of the proposed plan.

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Last Minute Valentine's Day Ideas

chocolates in a heartDid you remember to make plans for Valentine’s Day tonight? If not, you are not alone. My friend owns Rejuvenations Massage Therapy in Herndon and around 6 p.m. every Valentine’s day they sell a ton of gift certificates. So, yes, people forget to plan for this day. But don’t worry. These last minute ideas will save the day (or evening).

Have a Gourmet Picnic at Home

Roll out your favorite blanket, dim the light and open a bottle of wine. Then serve some delicious gourmet treats. It’s almost like you’re on the lawn at Wolf Trap. There are many great gourmet food stores, and likely one or two near your office. See About.com’s list of top gourmet food stores in the area.

Get Your Honey Some Chocolate and Wine

Stop by Chesapeake Chocolates at Lake Anne and buy your honey some delectable chocolates and a bottle of Virginia wine. If you’ve never sampled these gourmet chocolates, do yourself a favor and buy a box for yourself too. And since everyone knows red wine and chocolate are a match made in heaven, get a couple bottles of Virginia wines too.

Venture into the City for a Night at the Spy Museum

The Spy Museum's Valentine's day event, Sex(pionage): Spies, Lies, and Naked Thighs (The Valentine Edition) starts at 6:00 p.m. Intelligence expert Keith Melton reveals how spys (both real and fictional) use seduction as a tool to attract and manipulate assets and targets. What fun! The event includes a complimentary cocktail, sweet treats, and lock picking tips (because you just never know when that will come in handy). Tickets: $35 (Members: $25).

What's Happening with Reston Development: More Changes for RTC

The Reston skyline is changing faster than you can wonder what is next. Some Restonians think this is good, others not so much. I think much of the development happening is pretty exciting.

There are two areas really going through changes, both in North Reston. The first is by the Wiehle Metro and the second is by Reston Town Center. In fact, by the end of this year, neither of those areas will look at all like they do today.

In a Reston Now article last week, Dave Emke reported on some more proposed development around the Town Center. It looks like property owner Renaissance Centro wants to tear down the three-story office building at 1801 Old Reston Avenue (with is on the corner of Reston Parkway and Temporary Road) and add another high-density high-rise with around 120 units. As opposed to much of the real estate in Reston Town Center, these would be condos vs apartments. Of those units, 24 would be workforce dwelling (a program in Fairfax County designed to give income-qualified households the opportunity to live at a reduced rent in some of the new privately owned and operated market rate apartments communities).

As with all of the dwellings built in Town Center, these will be upscale units. Amenities include a grand lobby, a resident lounge and party room, a fitness center, and a rooftop amenity package.

Renaissance Centro built The Harrison to the north and Stratford House to the south, and the nearby Carlton House.

The property will need to be rezoned from commercial to planned residential mixed-use for this development to happen. According to the Fairfax County website, the public hearing before the county Planning Commission has been tentatively scheduled for Sept. 28. So, if you have an opinion about this development, mark that date on your calendar. And let me know in the comments what you think about this proposal.

Welcome the New Year 2017

Glass of Wine - Celebrating New Years in RestonHere we are at the end of another year, which the holidays for the most part behind us. I must admit, I am really looking forward to New Year’s Eve. I think the coming year is going to be amazing. I’ll be ringing it in at my family’s coffee shop/wine bar that opened in November (the Lake Anne Coffee House and War Bar). I hope you join us, or perhaps visit one our Lake Anne neighbors.

Lake Anne Coffee House:

Ring in the new year with Lake Anne Coffee House and Wine Bar! We are offering a rare vintage wine flight dating back to 1997 for $35. Chef Meagan will be offering a small plate of delicious bites paired with the flight (priced separately). We have a very limited amount of flights, so please reserve yours by pre paying at the Coffee House or calling 703-481-9766. Regular wine and food menu available, and a Champagne toast on the house for all who are with us at midnight!

We’ll also be open on New Year’s Day, so come sit by the fire with a fresh cup of coffee.

Kalypso’s Sports Tavern

Join Vicky and the gang for a great party! NO COVER! DJ Kram will be spinning the tunes, and they’ll have free party favors. Make it a whole evening with an optional 4-course meal. Make your reservations today: http://www.kalypsossportstavern.com/reservations

Lake Anne Brew House

They’re having a private event in the evening BUT will be open until 6:00 p.m. So I think you should wander down there in the afternoon for one of their amazing craft beers, go home and take a nap, and then come back down to party with us.

Summitt Chase Cluster, North Reston

Summitt Chase ClusterThe North Point area of Reston is a wonderful community. Most of it was built in the 1980s, and there is a range of homes styles. The Summitt Chase townhouses are a lovely community of 127 two-story Ranch townhomes built in 1988. The homes range in size from 1,300 to 1,700 square feet of living space. The cluster features several designs, some with a dormer, a side entrance, or a split level. Some homes have a porch, others have columns, a balustrade, a portico, or a door with a lintel. All have multi-paned hung windows with shutters.

Like many of the neighborhoods in North Point, Summitt Chase is located on an elevated, wide open setting with beautiful landscaping in the common areas. The homes are placed in groups of four, five, or six, with plenty of surrounding space and set back from the road for more privacy. Each townhouse has a walkway and front yard.

One of the nicest features of living in Reston is access to the 55-mile network of multi-use trails. The North Point Loop is the closest to Summitt Chase Cluster, and you will see neighborhood residents walking their dogs there daily. You can also use the trail to walk the half mile to North Point Village Center (with a Giant, Starbucks, restaurants and other retail shops).

Reston Town Center is just a quick drive down Reston Parkway, as is the Dulles Toll Road. Really, you can’t the location!

Learn more on the community’s website: www.summittchasecluster.org.

(Image courtesy of the Summitt Chase Cluster website.)

So Grateful for All of You This Thankskgiving

Thanksgiving in RestonThanksgiving is upon us, and I have so very much to be grateful for this year. A little over a year ago, my family purchased the Lake Anne Coffee House and embarked on the adventure of our lives.

When I say adventure, I am not exaggerating. We completely renovated the space, and that was no small task. We encountered problems along the way (as anyone who has ever opened a retail business could have predicted), and that kept pushing our opening date back. And then the day came when we were ready.

In early November, we opened our doors. It’s a soft opening—we’re still playing with the menu and getting the finishing touches in place. But we are open and we are blown away by the support we are receiving from the community. Truly, it makes me cry. I am blessed to know so many wonderful people, and now to get to see them every day.

My daughters will be running the operation—Erin is an experienced restaurant manager and Megan is an exceptional chef. The Lake Anne Coffee House is in good hands.

My real estate office is located on the second floor (behind the wine bar), and I expect to meet many clients in the coffee shop or the wine bar. We’ll be launching our website soon. In the meantime, follow us on Facebook.

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving.