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RA Flags Shopping Center for Violations

Soapstone Convenience Center subject of a long list of appearance and covenants violations.

Amid the tidy shopping centers that dot Reston, there seems to be a forgotten one on Soapstone Road near Glade.

That would be the Soapstone Convenience Center, home to a 7-Eleven, House of Mandarin and other basics, but also home to a host of covenants violations.

Reston Association has been trying to get the owners of the Soapstone Convenience Center to abide by RA covenants for several months now.

In July, it flagged the center, owned by C and R in Reston, LLC, for a long list of violations. Among them:

*Dead trees, soil erosion, refuse and debris exposed to view on the property consisting of, but not limited to: "Barrels, wood, plastic bags, plastic bottles, chairs, PVC pipe."

*The entire asphalt parking area is faded, cracked, and has holes and must be repaired or replaced; the asphalt pad to the right side elevation of “2303” building is weathered, cracked, disintegrating and must be repaired.

*The asphalt pad on the right side elevation of the “2335” building is cracked, disintegrating and must be repaired; the entire sidewalk areas located at “2303” and “2335’ buildings are discolored, cracked in several places and must be cleaned and repaired or replaced.

*Faded and cracked stucco on several buildings; fascia and trim that is faded, weathered, discolored warped, rotted and must be cleaned, repaired or replaced and painted.

*The pergola, screening and trash enclosure on “2335” building is faded, weathered, discolored, rotted, warped and must be cleaned, repaired or replaced and painted.

*Chimney flues that are faded, weathered, discolored, rusted,leaning and must be cleaned, repaired or replaced and painted; skylights full of debris; cracked landscape timbers and stucco planters; a cracked slate walkway and graffiti on the “2303” building.

RA directed the shopping center owners to clean up the violations by the end of August. At last check, the violations had not been remedied, and, in fact, neighbors complained when trees were removed from the property last weekend but most of the other violations remained.

The issue has since gone to the RA legal committee. Legal committee proceeds are private.

The shopping center's owners could not be reached for comment.

Cindy December 07, 2012 at 02:53 PM
It took us over a year to get RA to get a neighbor to clean up his property and they never acted on another house that was in very bad shape. They don't act very fast and never do neighborhood inspections. More bark than bite most of the time
John Farrell December 07, 2012 at 03:01 PM
And I've heard folks complaint that the Covenants staff obsesses over mortar in brick wall repairs that doesn't make the weathered mortar in the original wall and a film of green mold on aluminum siding. Very uneven enforcement.
Paradorn Puthsombut December 07, 2012 at 04:41 PM
I own the 7-Eleven in that plaza and for the past 3, coming up 4 years now, I have yet to see any decent renovations other than the interior which was done by 7-Eleven. The land lord has charged all the residing stores a heft CAM (Common Area Maintenance) Fee every month over our rent. When the property management company comes over to talk about fixing and renovating, they also ask for us and our companies to pay more to get these things done. The real reason why there has been no progress in any plans to fix this place is basically because the landlord does not want to pay a single penny out of the rent money he's collecting.
R Owen December 07, 2012 at 04:51 PM
We have been working with RA for over FOUR years on a property in our neighborhood, with little to no results. It is very frustrating to follow the rules, and yet live next to a property that many have mistaken for abandoned. Four years is too long to wait for action.
Margaret Perry December 07, 2012 at 04:57 PM
My son's scooter was stolen from that shopping center when he popped in to 7-Eleven. So there may not be any petty crime in John's neighborhood, but there certainly is some at the shopping center.
The Analyst December 07, 2012 at 07:05 PM
From what I've seen, the biggest violator of Reston Association covenants is the Reston Association itself.
J.G. Murphy December 07, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Sounds like the real story is an ineffective RA. I'm new to the area, are the members elected?
Connie Hartke December 07, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Welcome to Reston, J.G. It is very difficult to force owners to comply -- I speak from my experience as Treasurer of an 8 cabin HOA in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. We had one owner quit paying his annual dues for 3 years. I put a lien on his property, but there wasn't anything else I could do. Finally he decided to sell. I held my breath as it almost went to foreclosure (banks won't pay on liens) but thank goodness a short sale came in at the last minute and our lien was paid. I'd like to ask Reston Association "what if anything can we do to help?"
The Convict December 07, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Jeez. RA is worried about blight at that dinky strip mall and yet does nothing about the gawd awful ugliness of cars along Soapstone from South Lakes back to that strip mall? Amazing.
Karen Goff December 07, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Hi Convict - Pretty sure Soapstone Road itself is VDOT property and not RA, so out of their hands.
Dr. G. C. Powell December 07, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Don't get it twisted y'all. All kinds of drug deals go on outside that shopping area. Plus the loitering is ridiculous: up-to-no-good kids, "winos", bums, deralicts and others to be wary of. The 7-11 owner is a nice guy, but I wish the whole thing could be replaced with more upscale shops. It looks 1970's hideous IMHO.
Connie Hartke December 07, 2012 at 11:59 PM
I sure wish that investors like Northwestern Mutual would put their investment dollars into needed spots like this, Tall Oaks Shopping Center, Lake Anne Center . . . instead they want to take the green space that offsets the already approved development around RTC and the metro.
John Farrell December 08, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Karen is correct. And if you travel on Handlebar or Foxglove, Convict, you'll see many cars parked along those gravel shoulders also. And lots of cars park along Glade when there's a function at Nature House or a soccer game at Quartermaster.
John Farrell December 08, 2012 at 03:33 AM
I'm there multiple times a day for over 25 years. You're description is very far from my experience.
Don December 08, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Name the owners! I've stopped going to the 7-11 for coffee because the entire place is a disgrace. I now go the the Circle K/Exxon because it is cleaner and neater, though I could easily walk to 7-11. Name the owners of the center!
Chris Taylor Moller December 08, 2012 at 05:19 AM
There's a whole lot more than "petty crime" going on at this site. You can often see a police cruiser there, too -- taking pictures, I hope, of the druggies hustling their stuff. I won't go there anymore.
Chris Taylor Moller December 08, 2012 at 05:24 AM
Spot on, Connie!
Chipperson December 08, 2012 at 01:41 PM
John you are delusional. When I used to live in the souf side of Reston I would constantly see drug deals go down there. The youfs would ask for money from me cause I was white and looked like I could give it up. The shadowed condos are a blight on Reston. Section 8 housing at its finest. Wait till metro does even more to diversify the area with crime.
Chipperson December 08, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Convict - there were public meetings where Reston residents voted to VDOT to keep the parking for all of the Vehicles there.
Karen Goff December 08, 2012 at 01:44 PM
We named them in the story - "C and R in Reston LLC." It is owned by an LLC, not by individuals.
Kathi Robinson December 09, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Connie has the real problem nipped in the bud. If only NW Mutual could invest where it is needed, instead of where they think they could earn a higher profit. My message to NW Mutual - you, along with a few others are slowly taking away that which makes Reston a very special, unique community. Not only will we Restonians loose if you get your zoning - so will you... Since when is an insurance company's goal to destroy the very fabric of a community?
John Farrell December 09, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Can this thread not get hijacked by the RNG issue, please?! Or about the people who live in the neighborhood or patronize the businesses in the Center. This story is about the crass venality of local small businessmen who have treated our community with extreme disrespect for years and about the total failure of RA to protect us all from the blight that directly results from their petty greed.
Karen Goff December 09, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Chipperson - let's keep it civil. Please make your point without name calling. Also, Shadowood is a condo owned by individual owners, so "Section 8 housing at its finest" is an unfair description.
Tammi Petrine December 12, 2012 at 07:36 AM
Golly, I hope that RA is successful at getting the Soapstone Center spiffed up. It has been run-down for far too long. Is anyone else dismayed over the overhaul of the Hunters Woods Shopping Center? I wonder how in the world RA let that color scheme pass muster. The white buildings look totally cheap; not at all Restonian. Dark and light grays would have been such an improvement to the "new" look. How very unfortunate!
John Mayer December 14, 2012 at 03:34 AM
This will be a shocker...I was a resident of nearby Hearthstone Court in the mid-1970's, when the residents vehemently opposed the new High's Dairy store going in due to loitering concerns and littering concerns. It went in anyway, and sure as 5hit, the problems popped up. 10 years later, the other strip mall stores were built. I graduated from nearby South Lakes High School in 1987, and frankly, most of us moved away from Reston due to its decline. Boring Reston in the 1970's became the gang-infested liberal wasteland Reston of today. At SLHS, gone are the AP classes and high test scores, replaced by the mess of illegal immigration, low goals, and government handout dependency. Why do I write this? Because this convenience store--so opposed in the 1970's--is fulfilling its role today, just as predicted. Reston, you get what you get. I am glad I left in 1987.
John Farrell December 19, 2012 at 07:58 PM
So the slumlords of the Soapstone Convenience Center went before a DRB panel last night and got slammed. Their drawings were so incomplete (no drawings of the dry cleaners building) and lacking in detail (like the color of the roof shingles, current & proposed) that the panel deferred the case so that they could make a complete submission. Why did RA staff even let this pathetically incomplete case get on a DRB panel agenda? Then the panel took up the two trees that were illegally cut down. The number of inaccurate statements by the slumlords representatives were so numerous as to defy repetition. In the end the panel voted to deny the ex post facto application and let the matter proceed to the Legal Committee for action. This landowner has shown such disrespect for the standards and expectations of Reston that any reasonable person must be left in shock as to why the RA staff has allowed violations issued in July to not already be the subject of an enforcement lawsuit. I've watch in revulsion as hours are devoted by the RA Convenants staff berate homeowners for green mold accumulating on fences and aluminium siding but this eyesore gets the kid glove treatment. What gives?
jaclyn benton December 20, 2012 at 05:31 AM
Believe me, I would love to not park there! But Shadowood charges ten dollars PER CAR PER NIGHT for cars without a tag, and each apartment only gets two. Otherwise the tow trucks that roam the parking lots three times a night will get you after eleven o'clock. I agree its awful, nothing better than walking to my apartment that faces south lakes alone at 1 in the morning from all the way near glade pool... Heard someone new got elected to the board in Shadowood though so hopefully after a while that will change and we can clean that part of Soapstone up
cheryl carrier December 20, 2012 at 11:35 PM
The covenants are enforced (or not) in such an arbitrary manner as to make them useless. I really don't know if the covenants would stand up to a legal challenge.
Connie Hartke December 22, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Tammi, yes, your dismay about Hunters Woods Shopping Center is shared by many! It's too bad they didn't use the opportunity to bring it up a notch.
Connie Hartke December 22, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Jacyln, thanks for your comment. It is helpful to understand the parking situation and good to put a real "face" to the situation.

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