May 1, 2009
To: Our Fellow Reston Lake Anne Area Cluster and Condo Assn. Residents
From: Ad Hoc Committee of Lake Anne Area Cluster and Condo Association Representatives*
Re. RELAC this season and beyond; an initial update
This brief letter is intended to bring you up to date, as we know it, as to developments regarding the continued operation of the Reston Lake Anne air conditioning system now owned by Aqua Va.
Earlier this year officials of Aqua Va. invited representatives of each of the eight cluster and condo associations now hooked up to the chilled water air conditioning system affectionately called RELAC to a group meeting to discuss the system’s future, its lack of profitability and myriad issues involved in its future functioning. That session, and follow up discussions with Aqua Va. representatives and Reston Association leaders stimulated us to begin meeting among ourselves to sort out what choices and alternatives might be facing some 600 households who now rely on RELAC for their seasonal air conditioning.
Here’s what we know:
RELAC is over 40 years old, and has experienced escalating operational and capital repairs in recent years; Aqua Va. reported they have lost money owning RELAC in each of the past several years, and if they can’t sell the system, they may seek a sizeable rate hike from the Va. State Corporation Commission; it appears quite doubtful that RELAC as we have known it in the past will continue to exist 3-5 years from today; there are an array of what may be viable cost effective ways to air condition our homes and condos without everyone having to resort to the more commonly seen individual AC units; there may be very meaningful tax credits and operational savings available to our respective households depending on how we respectively plan for our future AC services; there is a “briar patch” of issues and hurdles yet to work through if, as a community, we are to emerge with future air conditioning systems we can afford and will be satisfied owning.
We hope very shortly to convene an informational meeting of neighbors from all of the cluster and condo associations now on the RELAC system. At that meeting we’ll offer additional details, answer your questions as best we can, and share a brief draft referendum petition which, if adopted later this fall, would authorize some limited multi-year pilot or demonstration AC projects among households now in the RELAC system.
The approach under consideration would seek to amend the covenant to allow a limited number of pilot projects over a three-year period by residents who would be released from the system entirely, with revocation of the covenant to occur after the three years. The pilot AC projects process should give all of us now on the RELAC system a better gauge of the choices, costs and benefits of providing air conditioning in the longer term future.
Again, please look for further information on the upcoming RELAC related community meeting shortly.
Ad Hoc Committee Cluster and Condo Assn. Representatives*
Governour’s Square Cluster
Lake Anne Condominium
Vantage Hill Condominium
Water View Cluster
Craig Palmer and
Washington Plaza Cluster