Dock Ownership is News to Some Homeowners
Twenty-seven years after homes were built, some Reston residents near Lake Newport are told they own the dock - and now must pay for repairs.
For more than 25 years, residents of single-family homes on Greenwich Point Road and North Village Road near Lake Newport have enjoyed the peaceful view from their neighborhood dock.
But it was news to many of them when they received a letter earlier this month saying they were part-owners of the property - and therefore must chip in to help maintain and repair the dock.
Twenty-eight homeowners received a letter from Reston Association's attorney Ken Chadwick on July 17. The letter reminded homeowners - whose houses are not located in a cluster - of an existing easement that provides residents with access to Lake Newport and the right to use the dock.
The letter also pointed out that there had been a complaint about the condition of the dock, which is "weathered, discolored, cracked, rotted and has detached boards; requires cleaning and repair."
To add further confusion, the way the original deed documents are written it is unclear the number of properties that actually are responsible for the dock.
In the end, even though 28 homeowners were sent letters, it looks like 17 will actually be responsible for the dock, Chadwick said at Thursday's regular board meeting.
In the letter from RA, affected homeowners were told they could choose not to repair the dock and instead elect to remove it. Only one resident, Jim Jones, spoke to the board during a public comments section of Thursday's meeting. He said he recognizes that the dock confusion may have been a clerical error.
RA North Point Director Mike Collins says he has reached out to all the affected homeowners.
"The good news is I have reached all but two of the affected parties," said Collins. "But I don't think we can assume this will take care of itself - there is no cluster here. The owners are looking for direction from us to keep the process moving forward. The developers left us in an untenable situation.
"The reactions I have gotten - once you get past 'what do you mean I own a dock?' - is the dock is a good thing," Collins said. "Everyone said 'we don't want to see it torn down,' but they are not sure they can get it together to make the repairs themselves. Some don't think it needs repair. Some said 'send me a bill.' Most were of the mind that RA is a much better position to handle getting repairs done."
Ultimately, it will be the residents' decision how to proceed, but RA will offer guidance in the form of who has to pay and the bottom line - how much it will cost.
RA hopes to have those numbers by September.