By Eve Thompson
Perfect for singles or young families, Woodcrest Cluster is a neighborhood of quaint colonial style townhomes located in North Reston. This small development of 63 townhouses is walking distance to North Point Shopping Center (grocery store, restaurants, and more) and Lake Newport pool, and surrounded by Reston’s walking paths.
These adorable two or three levels townhomes have an average of 1,000 sq feet of living space, two bedrooms, and 1 ½ or 2 baths. Several of the homes feature fireplaces. Many of the homes have fenced-in back yards—perfect for letting the dog out! Surrounded by wooded areas, they afford privacy and are light and bright.
The proximity to Reston Parkway, Fairfax County Parkway, and Route 7—and Dulles Airport for those who travel—make commuting a breeze from this location. Armstrong Elementary School is walking distance, and Herndon Middle School & Herndon High School are a short ride away.
By Eve Thompson
Working with Reston Association’s Design Review Board (DRB) can be intimidating to new home owners, but the process is really very easy—and you are responsible for having your project reviewed and approved. RA’s staff and the DRB are more than willing to work with you and your contractor, though. In fact, many contractors that work in Reston are fantastic resources for navigating the design review process—and for designing improvements that the DRB will approve. Ultimately, though, you are responsible for ensuring your property complies with the Design Covenants and Guidelines.
I shared the basic process of working with the DRB in January. This month, I’ll take you through submitting your design review application.
One of the biggest reasons an application gets rejected is because the homeowner hasn’t provided all of the required information. It may take a while to pull this information together, but it will save time in the long run. If you are confused about any of it, your RA Covenants Advisor is a great resource—call RA (703-435-6530) to connect with your advisor. All of the forms can be found on the RA website.
What the application must include
As a reminder, if you are a member of Reston Association, you need to submit an application to the DRB if you want to make a change to the exterior of your home. If you’re renovating your kitchen or bathroom, you don’t need to go through this process. However, if it’s happening on the outside of your home, here is what the DRB wants to see (taken from the RA website):
- A detailed written description of the proposed exterior modification or addition
- Scale drawings
- A site plan showing size and location of project
- Photographs of the existing condition
- A brochure, detail sheet, or catalog photo of materials
- Estimated project completion date(s) (projects must be started within six (6) months of the date of approval and completed within eighteen (18) months of the date of approval)
- The signatures of at least three different property owners adjacent to or within view of the applicant’s alteration or improvement.
- In addition, if your property is located within a Cluster Association at least one of the signatures must be that of a Cluster Officer. Please note, the neighbors’ acknowledgment is neither an approval nor disapproval of your application.
- At the discretion of the DRB, applications that the DRB determines to have a wider impact on the community may be required to provide additional notice beyond the signatory requirements of this provision.
When you’re done collecting all of this information, you can drop your application off in person, fax it to 703-673-2040, email it to your Covenants Advisor as an attachment, or mail it to Reston Association:
12001 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20191-3404
After RA receives your application, staff and/or members of the DRB may visit your property, and possibly photograph it, for reference.
That’s it for the application. To learn more about the entire application process, visit the RA website.
By Eve Thompson
Andrea participating in a community dig out after a blizzard…digging out together somehow makes it more fun!
When Andrea Abrams moved to Reston several years ago, she wanted a spacious condominium close to her work and where she could become part of a vibrant community. She found the perfect spot in Chestnut Grove Condominiums in North Reston, located off Wiehle Avenue between Sunrise Valley and North Shore Drive.
“I love the fact that there are people here that have lived in the neighborhood since the beginning—that says a lot about our little enclave,” said Andrea.
She also loves the fact that it’s quiet and serene, and that it’s hidden in the trees (when they have leaves). But her absolute favorite thing about Chestnut Grove is that she’s steps away from the W&OD Trail—making running and biking easy.
Completed in 1972, Chestnut Grove Condominiums has 226 units ranging from 1 to 4 bedroom (although the majority have 2 bedrooms). Although it is a large complex, it does feel private being nestled in the woods. In fact, the complex backs up to Lake Fairfax Park.
Chestnut Grove Condos in North Reston…in the early Spring. Photo courtesy of the Chestnut Grove Facebook page.
Other features include designated parking, an on-site pool, and playground. It is about ½ mile from the Reston Metro stop, making commuting via metro a breeze. It’s also close to Reston Town Center, Lake Anne Village center, and all of the recreation facilities Reston has to offer.
If you are looking for a large, comfortable condo in a welcoming and tight community, Chestnut Grove is worth a look.
By Eve Thompson
I love the walk from Tall Oaks into Lake Fairfax park. It’s hard to believe you’re so close to civilization here.
Yes, I know it’s April Fools Day, but really this is no joke—spring is finally coming to Reston. After the snow storm we had last Tuesday, though, I was beginning to wonder. But the weather people say winter is over, and I choose to believe them. I feel so confident, that today I’m going to tell you all about the walking trails of Reston.
Reston Association maintains 55 miles of foot paths that cover every neighborhood in Reston, and they are wonderful. (And, just in case Mother Nature decides to grace us with more snow, RA does a fantastic job of plowing the paths so you can still use them.) Fairfax County has a wonderful interactive map of all the paths so that you can plan your route before you head out. Wandering the RA paths is one of the best ways to get to know both North and South Reston. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite walks about town—but don’t stop with these.
- Town Center to Lake Anne, North Reston. This walk is just shy of 1.5 miles and winds through a few of North Reston’s original neighborhoods—Coleson Cluster and Hickory Woods. It’s fun to have brunch at Town Center than wander down to Lake Anne to shop at the Farmer’s Market (starting in early May and going through November).
- Lake Thoreau Loop, South Reston. This loop is just over 2 miles and circles around charming Lake Thoreau (where I guarantee you’ll decide you want to live) and past the Reston Regional Golf Course. Begin and end your loop at South Lakes Village with a coffee or delicious lunch.
- Walker Nature Education Center and Glade, South Reston. There are many options for a walk from here. From the Center, follow the trailhead and see where it takes you! There is a short loop (probably ½ mile), or you can venture off on the RA path that follows Glade. Whatever you choose, you will feel like you are miles from civilization. It’s a wonderful place to recharge.
- North Point Loop, North Reston. This is a 4 mile loop for those who want a little more exercise. This trail is great because it really gives you a sense of the North Point community. I recommend starting at Lake Newport pool. These trails take you through several charming neighborhoods, and you’ll notice an abundance of RA pools and tennis courts (in fact, if you do this in the summer, pop into one of the pools for a refreshing dip). After your brisk walk, cross the street over to North Point Village for coffee, ice cream, or a hearty lunch!
- Tall Oaks to Lake Fairfax Park, North Reston. I’m not entirely sure how long this walk is, but the park loop takes about ½ hour—longer if you’re with a dog who needs to investigate all the great smells. Park at Tall Oaks Village Center, cross under the underpass and head toward the wooden bridge. When you hit a dirt trailhead, take a left and follow the trail into Lake Fairfax Park. You’ll cross a little creek and then the path opens to what is a large loop. Go left or right and just follow it around. It’s a gorgeous walk in the woods! Just be careful—mountain bikers train here. They’re very courteous, but they’re also usually going pretty fast!
The trails of Reston are, in my opinion, one of the greatest features of our community. You really can get anywhere you need or want to go on foot, and it’s always fun to discover a new trail and see where it takes you. I’m most often on the trails around Lake Anne—wave if you see me!
By Eve Thompson
Chatham Colony Cluster in the Lake Anne area of Reston is a small, family friendly community.
Chatham Colony Cluster is the kind of neighborhood where neighbors get together to watch ball games and children wander freely in and out of each other homes. If you wanted one word to describe this townhouse community in the Lake Anne area of Reston it would be “friendly.”
This is a small cluster of about 45 homes, each of which has a wooded backyard. These colonial style townhomes have brick exteriors, shuttered windows, and two designated parking spaces. With three bedrooms and full basements, each home offers plenty of space for growing families and empty-nesters alike. And like most Reston homes built in the 1970’s, each has beautiful hardwood floors and large windows.
This quiet neighborhood sits right of Moorings and North Shore Drive, just a five minute walk to Lake Anne and a five minute drive to the new Reston Metro station. Although not on Lake Anne, the Cluster offers easy access to the Reston Association pathway that circles Lake Anne, making walks around the picturesque lake easy.
Children attend Forrest Edge Elementary, Langston Hughes Middle School, and South Lakes High School. The North Shore Pool is an easy walk across Lake Anne Plaza, and the sprinkler park is practically in the neighborhood’s backyard.
Click here to find listings in Chatham Colony Cluster and the Lake Anne area of Reston.
By Eve Thompson
Many of my clients are curious about the whole Reston Association Design Review Process—it’s something they really want to understand before buying a home in Reston. In a previous post, I talked about working with Reston Association’s Design Review Board. Today, the topic is appealing a DRB decision. And yes, you can do it.
How to Appeal a DRB Decision
To appeal a DRB decision, you must be either the applicant or a registered Affected Party. And the DRB will hear only one appeal of a decision.
To get your appeal heard, you must submit it to the DRB Secretary within 15 days after the notice of a decision has been mailed. If you’re filing the appeal as an Affected Party, it must submit it within 7 days after notice of a decision has been mailed. All requests for appeals must be submitted in writing.
After that, the process is that the Secretary will schedule the appeal to the next available full Design Review Board. DRB decisions may be overturned on appeal for either or both of two reasons:
- If the original reviewer(s) misapplied specific guidelines or DRB-approved cluster standards.
- If there is new and/or additional design information that was not available to the original reviewer(s).
Typically, the appeal decision becomes the final decision.
For more information on the Design Review process, visit the Reston Association website.