Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Message from the President of Lakeport Cluster

By Mary M. Sapp

As we start the new year I want to pause and look back at last year. For Lakeport, 2018 was the year of the dock. Responses from residents and visitors who walk by our new dock via the RA path have been very positive. If you have not yet spent time sitting on the new benches and enjoying the view, I urge you to do so (on a nice day, of course!).

In 2018 Lakeport also undertook a number of landscaping projects, which will continue to be a priority going forward. The new dock required transplanting before the excavator arrived, post-construction repairs to areas damaged by the excavator, and the addition of new landscaping along the shoreline. We also removed the Japanese holly hedge along the path by the Safeway wall that had been ruined by canker, installed new landscaping in Triangle Park, and contracted for new four trees and 16 bushes on Lakespray Way, most of which have already been installed. And then of course there were the trees. We did two rounds of professional tree-trimming/removal last year (24 trees), and Paul Renard removed an additional 15 small dead trees. Our master list of trees that need attention has shrunk considerably in the last two years, but we anticipate the need to do considerably more tree work this year and in the future as trees in our community reach the end of their natural life. Other landscaping projects planned for 2019 include new plants to replace the area now lying fallow across from the Safeway wall, additional landscaping on Lakespray, the insertion of plant “plugs” to help stabilize coir logs installed along the shoreline, first steps to address storm-water mitigation involving common property, and enhanced regular maintenance.

Last year the Board also addressed projects related to general maintenance, another priority that will continue this year. Replacement reserves were used to repair the bulkhead next to the dock, to replace lighting along the RA path (and to add two new lights to improve visibility on the section from the entrance to the dock), and for street repaving repairs. In addition, as mandated in our Reserve Study operating funds were used to paint curbs and parking spaces and for several electrical projects. To keep on top of smaller maintenance projects, we now have a Maintenance Committee, and the Board already has proposals to replace retaining walls in need of repair, the only item pending from the Reserve Study that needs to be addressed now.

These projects, plus recent repairs and replacements by owners on their own homes, all combine to make Lakeport a more attractive place to live. In response to last summer’s inspections, over half of Lakeport owners have completed repairs to their homes (including a number of major roofing and siding projects), and 15 additional owners are in the process of taking care of their items (the remaining 30% had no violations).

To help owners use state-of-the art and upscale materials and designs for these repairs, the Standards Committee was busy this past year obtaining DRB approval for new standards for siding, doors, roofs, and storm doors. And in January 2019 we gained approval for a revision to the 2018 version of the siding standard that removed a stipulation on party walls the DRB had inserted in an earlier review. We are continuing to revisit Lakeport’s other standards, only one of which had been updated since 2007.

It was gratifying to hear one of the DRB members reviewing our siding proposal in January comment that Lakeport is a beautiful community with premium quality homes and that DRB members consider it “one of the premier clusters” in Reston. The new dock, enhanced landscaping, and attention to maintenance (both in common areas and individual homes) all will help continue this reputation.

The quality of a community is more than just its physical appearance, however, and the Board is also committed to fostering a stronger sense of community. The Social Committee will build upon the success of last fall’s dock party via a similar community-wide party this spring and will continue Lakeport’s traditional Easter Egg Hunt and TGIFs. We also hope that the progressive dinner and Halloween bonfires held last year will become new Lakeport traditions throughout our cluster. Please plan to take advantage of these opportunities to get to know your neighbors better, which will enhance the quality of life for all of us.

Another way to build relationships and at the same time help make Lakeport a better place to live is through volunteering. There are a number of opportunities, including participating in a community work day, contributing to one of the social events, or serving on a Lakeport committee. Thanks to the growing number of individuals who helped out this past year (from planning the dock party to working on landscape cleanup, from chairing/serving on committees to shoveling snow for a neighbor). We look forward to seeing even more volunteers in 2019.

Happy New Year!

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