Updated 2/25/2024

Thank you for visiting DH’s long term planning page. We are working to get more information posted here and updated

Follow up from Special Meeting on 2/20/2024

Thanks to all who attended the special meeting last night regarding long-term planning and the proposed assessment to fund it. Please find below links to the presentation, meeting recording and, to the voting page. We also had a member move to extend voting for 1 week, until 9pm on February 27, which was passed by a majority vote of members on the call. So voting remains open until then

It was a good discussion that covered topics including the state of the existing pool, environmental concerns, the scope of this next phase of work that we’re asking to fund, the financial needs for planning, construction and future operations, what our goals are and more.

To that end, we’re preparing a few Q&A that came up in comments and on the call, that hopefully you find useful. These should be ready soon and will be posted on the website. The call recording covers these and others in more depth. If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out the board at info@dominionhills.org, and we’ll reply as quickly as we can.

Meeting Presentation:
LTP DHARA Special Meeting 2_20_24

Meeting recording:
https://us06web.zoom.us/rec/share/mnN1-xSDKkgio2thiut12hSjkldv4gDBCk7haFLFPqXn0yp2cMtc9xEPMVpMYmGc.fuGWrH4QftVc07riPasscode: %N5wr1T#

Voting page:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The board has proposed a $500 assessment for the 2024 season. After feedback from members, we will be able to split that into 2 payments: $250 by March 15 and $250 by end of season on September 30.
  • New members will be expected to invest in this process as well, and we are working on how best to do that. One option is a non-refundable membership fee paid when a family first joins DH.
  • Studio 3 proposes to develop conceptual designs based on DHARA membership input that could be presented to Arlington County for approval and used to create construction-ready, permitted plans.
  • The expected next steps will be broken out into milestones and built into any contract. Payments will be made as those milestones are achieved.
  • As we reach each milestone, we can pause to consider whether the project should continue. As a result, the process could be terminated at any time with remaining planning dollars returned to membership.
  • We expect the funds to carry us through at least 2 years of planning. We will not be coming back next year asking for another assessment.
    More detail on Studio 3’s proposed next steps may be found on slide 13 of the Board’s presentation, which may be found below
  • Importantly, voting for the assessment is not also a vote for a renovation. For now, we are just planning. There will be additional discussions in the future regarding whether to proceed with a renovation and, if so, how to fund it and what it will look like.
  • Long-term planning, including discussions regarding how to improve, update or replace our existing facilities has been ongoing for most of the last 10 years and reviewed at annual meetings for the past several years.
  • In 2021, we performed a survey of the membership about long-term planning that showed a majority of the membership was in favor of a new pool and expanded facilities. This was presented at the 2022 annual meeting, which can also be found below.
  • To date, we have invested about $40,000 to assess the current structure of the pool, develop an understanding of the requirements to do any kind of renovation, and get a very general view of what a renovated property might look like. The Board feels that we have done all we can at this point using membership funds, and moving forward requires investing in a more formal engagement to document the physical, environmental, regulatory and financial options, and other challenges ahead of us.
  • If we continue at this rate, it would be several years before we have this understanding. For reasons discussed below, this is a risky path.
  • In addition, we have numerous members that visit the pool very infrequently, and the board wanted to propose the assessment at a time when those or other members could decide to sell their memberships before annual dues are due, if so desired.
  • The pool foundation rests on an aging concrete slab that was poured in the 1950s, and another that was overlaid to create the current layout in the 1980s. There are challenges with water intrusion, cracks and more. We have done numerous repairs to keep the pool functional and the community has recognized for quite some time that we are on borrowed time with the current pool.
  • In 2019, the board was advised that the current pool had approximately 7-10 years left. If we do not act now, we risk a failure of the current pool that would require the pool to be unavailable for at least 2-3 seasons while we figure out a solution.
  • Moreover, maintenance on the current pool is becoming quite expensive.
  • The Board has proposed the assessment to fund the significant preliminary work described in more detail below, so we can get ahead of any major issues that would inconvenience the membership for multiple years. A prolonged period with no pool could threaten DH’s ability to remain an organization.
  • Significant work would be required to update the existing pool. Given its age and the foundation issues described above, we would likely have to start from scratch rather than perform simpler repairs. In addition, the existing pool is not at all ADA compliant, adding a significant, federally required expense to any renovation.
  • Moreover, it is not clear that we could complete a major repair. First, there are issues with water flowing under the current structure and resulting erosion. We don’t know if these issues could be ameliorated. In addition, a Virginia Resource Protected Area (RPA) boundary cuts across our existing pool footprint. It is not clear whether a major renovation would be permitted to intrude into that area. We have been advised not to make significant investments in the pool’s current location.
  • The community house was originally built in the 1800s and has lived many lives. It has been grandfathered from current building and electrical codes, so would require significant work. And, again, we don’t know what we don’t know, so there could be other issues with the aging structure. As a result, any renovation would likely require a complete gut, possibly a tear down.
  • The bottom line is that renovation of the existing pool and clubhouse would be very difficult and expensive, at a minimum, and perhaps impossible.
  • The board will be asking for volunteers to participate in a strategic planning committee, so we can take advantage of our member’s experience, expertise, to ensure we’re considering all options and using our relationships to communicate more broadly.
  • The board will also publish status updates on a regular basis.
  • Studio 3 is a highly respected regional firm, with deep experience working with community pools in Northern VA.
  • We discussed the project with other area pool Boards, and they highly recommended Studio 3.
  • They were also recommended by construction firms we have worked with recently.
  • We have been pleased with the work they have done so far.
  • Yes, Studio 3 has extensive experience with these areas and has already provided an overview of such requirements and the impact of regulatory rules on various renovation options under consideration.
  • DH also has several legal and regulatory resources used previously that can be tapped for help.
  • Maintaining and improving our environmental stewardship and complying with all regulatory requirements is very important to the board, and our membership, and something we do not take lightly.
  • The Board’s goal is to develop a long-term plan for utilizing DH’s entire usable footprint and ensuring that we have a contingency plan in place for pool failure.
  • The next planning phase, which would be funded by the assessment, is needed to understand the full scope of our options. Until then, we cannot do more than speculate.
  • That said, based on what the work done to date, it appears that we will need a new pool so that, at a minimum, we do not have to close when the existing pool fails.
  • Once we have additional information, we will be able to refine the future vision, with the input of membership. Of course, any final decisions on a plan and how to fund it will be brought to the membership.
  • Long-term, would we expect two pools? While this would be the preferred outcome at this point, the next phase would help us determine DH’s options, both from a property usage and financial perspective.
  • It is too early to say, but the ballpark figure we are using is $3 million.
  • We would have a number of options to fund the renovation. We have talked to banks, and the primary option would be a builders loan.
  • We also could raise money with future assessments and/or capital increases. An assessment is not refundable if you sell your membership. A capital contribution is returned to you by the family that purchases your membership.
  • As discussed above, we also are looking into ways incoming members can contribute to the effort.
  • If a decision is made by the membership to proceed with a renovation at some point in the future, part of the discussion will be about how best to fund that renovation and more details would be presented at that time.
  • At this point, we could only speculate on what the future operating costs might be, but a modern facility may be more expensive to run.
  • We will continue to communicate with neighboring pools, which may give us some sense of annual costs at a more aggregated level.
  • On the flip side, we are looking for ways to increase revenues as well. Depending on the final design, we may be able to increase membership. This year we added 20 new memberships, and we will revisit our numbers each year going forward to make sure we are maximizing opportunities for our neighbors to join, reduce the waitlist time and grow what is a fantastic community at DH, while balancing the space and character of the pool.
  • As noted above, we also are considering ways to raise revenue from new incoming members. There are a number of other options under consideration as well, including possible weekday-only passes.
  • What all of this might mean for annual dues in the future remains to be seen, but it will depend on a combination of operating costs, membership numbers, debt load and other factors, all of which we will be exploring during this next phase.