January 27, 2003

LOCATION: Quince Orchard High School, Rooms 232, 237 TIME: 7:30 Pm



PRESIDENT Richard Schinner 301-977-5196 evantage@aol.com
SECRETARY Jerry Way 301-977-0523 jerway@comcast.net
TREASURER Mohammed Homaitabar 301-318-8446 homaitabar@yahoo.com
VP TOWNHOMES Eileen Solomon 301-330-2876 zeppsol@aol.com
VP Single Family HOMES OPEN


Member:  Kathy Wyatt

Member:  Paul Andrew Hughes

Member:  Milt Martin (Absent)

Member:  Dennis Zepp

Member:   Rita Becker (Absent)

GUEST SPEAKER: Harris Leonard, Chairperson, Playground/Tot-Lot Upgrade Committee

CALL TO ORDER: Called to order 7:35 Pm.

President Richard Schinner identified and introduced officers of the Board of Directors and members of the Architectural Review Committee, noting that an election for 3 open positions on the board was a later agenda item tonight. Rick thanked all for their participation and effort this year.

GUEST PRESENTATION: Playgrounds Committee (Tot-Lots) Upgrade Project: Although Playground Upgrade Project was first on tonight’s agenda – writer has moved the lengthy minutes of this topic to the end of this document to preserve significance of other less documented but important agenda topics.

2002 EVENTS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Rick reviewed following items of interest:

New Senior Home Development - will abut our Eastern boundary – We had to engage our attorney to assist in protecting our lengthy eastern boundary, and engage in dialog with owner’s attorneys regarding encroachment issues, trees, water main, and access-egress issues.

Jughandle Restored – Our attorney had to get re-involved to remove two unexpected

delays by SHA. First delay was caused by a "lien" on Orchard Knolls property that had not been cleared before our developer purchased the property for Orchard Knolls. Second delay was caused by significant preliminary jug handle construction errors – identified by some of our own alert owners. SHA has corrected both problems. Jughandle turnaround is back on schedule.

Tot-Lot Removals, Repairs, Additions – While anticipating a larger scale upgrade, board contracted to remove several unsafe equipment units, and paint a unit. Additionally a new carousel was purchased and installed. Local residents repaired several pieces of equipment.

Blackberry Terrace Trees Replaced – Two large mature trees lost in a fall 2001 windstorm.

Conduits under Blackberry Drive - Successful negotiations with State Highway Administration resulted in 3 conduits installed. Conduits to provide future integration of our sprinkler systems, and future installation of two streetlights on our new center island.

Blue Building Screened
- Successful negotiations with Montgomery County to aesthetically screen newly installed large blue metal warehouse behind fire department.

PGC Screening - Successful legal effort to bring about aesthetic treatment of our boundary.

Occupant Removed - Legal removal accomplished – behavior not meeting community standards.

Vehicles – Towed removal of 5 vehicles not meeting community standards.

Shed Removal - Successful Mediation resulted in complete removal of a newly built, but obtrusive, unapproved storage building and concrete pad which did meet community standards.

Fall Inspection Conducted – Our community inspections are now organized around the weekend we adjust clocks. In spring, we accomplish Townhomes, in fall; Single Family Homes. The fall inspection was accomplished. Problem areas were matched against ARC approvals (or lack of approvals). Owners are being notified to resolve problem areas.

Satellite Dish(s) - Legal development of updated Satellite Dish Rule – executed and distributed.

Common Area Behavior Rule - Legal draft complete. (Community Review in Process).

Landscape and Lawn care – Developed a new Request-for-Proposal (RFP) document.

Dead Trees/Shrubs Replaced - Replaced nearly a dozen common area trees and shrubs.

Parking Rules Posted – Purchased and Installed signs required by Montgomery County.

Pet Owner Behavior – Met with Montgomery County Animal Control – Identified legal action to be taken to enforce pet control and cleanup within our community. Installed 15 community signs to begin enforcement process.

New Snow Removal Contractor – Bid our contract and selected a new contractor. Added requirement to remove snow from Gazebo Mailbox walks, and other common area main walks and apply chemical treatment for melting as necessary.

Pedestrian Bridge Washed Out – Our pedestrian bridge between the two south Tot-Lots washed 50 feet from its present location. Contracted to restore and secure the bridge.

Speed Signs for Blackberry Drive – Montgomery County delay in installing signs prompted us to buy and install our own. We have temporarily removed and stored them because the county now says they will install one and destroy ours. We are in a "Cautiously waiting" state.

May 2 Hailstorm Damage caused much BOD and ARC activity – At least 18 Townhomes and 21 Single Family Home roofs incurred damage beyond repair as a result of the storm. Many others had damaged to siding, screens and vehicles. 30 Hailstorm related Arc requests for change were submitted, 24 approved and 6 rejected. Two special meetings of the board had to be called.

Siding Standards – Developed and distributed clarified community siding standards.

Townhome Color-Scheme Standards – Identified and distributed the normal community standards. In addition, owners not in compliance received a letter requesting adjustment. Many front doors were repainted, several repainted trim color to standard. A significant improvement in townhome areas.

Newsletter – Developed and mailed newsletter to all owners.

Web Site Upgraded – Upgraded and added community information links. Also purchased and installed a new sign identifying our web site on our annual meeting marquee.

Split-Rail Fence Project – Board contracted for 900 additional feet of our existing split-rail fencing on common areas. Work will be done when weather permits.

Seasonal Decorative Lighting" (Icicles) around our Mailbox Gazebo

3. COMMON AREA CONDUCT RULE MADE SUBJECT TO COMMUNITY APPROVAL: Due to long-term, ongoing, high complaint level of observable, unacceptable behaviors on common areas, it became apparent to the board that we needed a guideline, a standard, and an enforcement tool, to measure and deal with unacceptable behavior on common areas of our community. Our attorney had experience in development of a similar tool for other communities. After hearing owners and board input, our attorney developed a draft rule to be added to our Declaration of Covenants. Rick explained the background and intent of the rule – which will also add enforcement capability to board authority. The draft proposes a series of hearings and fines to manage and enforce standards of behavior. However, membership tonight seemed particularly eager to review the total document before it was approved and executed as a community covenant. Board agreed to finish its current review, and invite total community review before executing the rule as a covenant. Community rule review may be arranged in the form of a mailing and vote, or perhaps in the form of a specially called membership meeting. Board agreed that these minutes will identify that the rule will not be executed without community approval.

4. NEW STREETLIGHTS FOR CENTER ISLAND: Rick noted that the new conduits placed under Blackberry Drive at our entrance will allow for our electric service to be extended into our center island as it extends into the no left turn lane. Board is developing plans to purchase and install two matching colonial streetlights – one for each end of our center island. Project will not start until after entrance construction is complete.

5. INTEGRATE EAST-WEST SPRINKLER SYSTEMS: Currently, we are forced to pay a private owner for our west sprinkler system water because we could not go under Blackberry Drive. However, with the new installation of empty conduits under the road for our future use, board plans to link the west system to the main east system, and disconnect from the private residence. Project will not start until spring system startup.

6. SECURITY LIGHTING PROJECT - COMMUNITY VOTE TO TABLE: Rick asked Jerry to present results of design and contractor input in response to community requests for security lighting behind South Cherry Blossom Lane and South Cherry Blossom Place. Contractor proposes matching fiberglass streetlights with colonial lanterns to match existing streetlights. Campus lighting was rejected due to ease of vandalism. Contractor and board reviews conclude that installation should be split into two phases, first behind garaged town homes, then if effective, behind non-garaged town homes along the creek and across the pedestrian bridge behind Pineapple Grove Drive homes. Contractor experience notes that security lighting often brings about additional problems and vandalism –as well as deterring other undesirable conditions. Cost of proposal is $11, 200. A motion from the floor proposed that this project be tabled until after the Tot-Lot Upgrade Project is funded and complete. The motion was seconded and carried.

7. TOWNHOME VISITORS PARKING ISSUES: Rick asked Jerry to update community on current parking topics in Orchard Knolls. Jerry reviewed new Montgomery County Codes which require posting of a summary of community parking rules and standards before towing is allowed. That effort is complete. As a result, towing is not allowed from unmarked spaces unless a vehicle is in violation of covenants or motor vehicle law. Garaged town home owners are required by covenant to park in driveways and garages and cannot park in unmarked spaces. This situation presented the current board with a dilemma – either add more signs ("Visitors") to identify unmarked spaces, or, overlook uncooperative garaged town home owners parking in unmarked spaces. The board elected to overlook uncooperative garaged town home owners parking in unmarked spaces. This "inaction" does not preclude the board from future action on this matter at any time.

. 2003 BUDGET: Budget handouts were provided to all upon sign-in. Rick and Mohammad presented and explained the variances and adjustments to budget that resulted in the new 2003 budget. There was no increase in assessment. Jerry explained an indicator - that if during preliminary budget reviews, an assessment appeared necessary – that the annual meeting would be required before November 15 to allow community vote on the required reassessment. Several members requested that next budget development process should breakout and identify the two separate Reserves budgets. Board agreed to ask ABS to implement that immediately so that it would fall into place for next year.

9. INADEQUATE POLICE RESPONSE: Several members requested that the board take some action to alert county police that current response time is not acceptable. After much discussion regarding types of our community alarm conditions requiring response (criminal, vs. alarm systems etc), it was determined that there seems to be no standard acceptable response, but 10-45 minutes after alert seems the norm. Most examples cited were home alarms… two that went on for more than 24 hours. One owner who cited recent possible criminal activity at his property wanted action but noted that no police report had been filed for his situation. Board will take issue under advisement and carry the matter forward.

10. OWNER ADJACENT TO UNACCEPTABLE LANDSCAPE ON COMMON AREA REQUESTS HELP – An owner whose property abuts a common area is requesting that the community resolve an unacceptable overgrown and muddy landscape condition adjacent to his property. Rick and Jerry will visit the area with the owner and add the issue to the agenda of a board meeting. Owner is asked to attend the board meeting for review.

11. ELECTION TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Three open positions on the board of directors were open for membership election. Re-Election of Richard Schinner, and two positions vacated by resignation of Ken Frank and Ali Rad. Pre-printed ballots were handed out after sign-in. Owners were pre-screened for delinquencies from a listing provided by ABS. Nominations were accepted from the floor and written on the chalkboard for write-in –, Lisa Goodman, Kathy Li, and George Puddington were nominated. Rick agreed to re-run. Jerry asked for a nomination because although he had served on the board for two 3-year terms, until tonight, he was in an acting capacity replacement for Ken Frank. Jerry was nominated from the floor. A ballot committee was formed from the membership to collect and tally the ballots, reporting results to the current board. Dennis Zepp announced results as: Richard Schinner re-elected for a 3 year term, Jerry Way, and Lisa Goodman elected for 3 year terms. (Eileen Solomon still has one year in her term, Mohammad Homaitabar has two years remaining in his term).

12. MEMBER REQUESTS BLACKBERRY DRIVE ENTRANCE ADJUSTMENTS: One member (reinforced by several others) requested from the floor – that the board do something about unacceptable safety and appearance of our front entrance during the current construction period. Specifically, the portable toilet needs to go elsewhere, the Jersey barrier needs to be removed for safety, and we need the Blackberry Drive sign erected. Board agreed to meet with SHA shortly.


Background: See Minutes of January 14, 2003 - Meeting of the Board of Directors

Presentation to Membership: Chairperson Harris Leonard presented the same package developed by the committee that he reviewed with Board of Directors January 14. However, Harris utilized overhead projection and invited open discussion from the floor for this annual meeting.

Committee Findings:

Existing Equipment at all Tot-Lots is unattractive and in some cases unsafe.

All play areas need a better surface

Repairs of existing equipment is very costly

Not many quality, licensed contractors available in the area.

Possibility of financial assistance in form of grants from HOC and other sources.

Committee Recommendations:

Remove all existing equipment

New equipment must offer replacement parts and reasonable warranty

Consider "All Recreation" (Contractor) and "Playworld Systems" (Equipment)

Retain, but relocate existing marble benches outside the Tot-Lot areas.

Install new Kingswood benches inside the lots (Composite Materials)

Improve Quality of Life for children, Improve aesthetics of the community.

Explore creative funding sources

Proceed this year. (Timing according to community straw-vote tonight)

Proposed Configurations and Resulting Expected Costs:

Blackberry West: New surface, two swing arrangements, new bench = $7, 023.

Blackberry East: New surface, multi-slide Challenger system, Turbo Tower Climber = $26,004.

Cherry Blossom North: New Surface, Fun Center, Totswing, Sidewinder Sidecar, = $11, 398.

Turnkey Savings (If all lots done at one time) = $3,367, Total Estimated Net Cost = $41,058

Comments from Membership: Most questions were of surprisingly high-costs. Harris explained that this supplier was lowest of several his committee interviewed. Contractors explain that their high costs are driven by stringent safety requirements of Montgomery County. Questions from the floor and open discussions for about 20 minutes - centered on alternative configurations and potential cost reductions. Reducing quantity of equipment was not popular – several suggested that we do not have enough equipment in the proposal plan. Some suggested we eliminate the North tot-lot to cut costs, but those that live in the area do not want that. Also questioned was possibility to combine Blackberry East and West lots, however the creek divides them. They tend to serve two differing areas and age-groups of the community. Membership discussed several creative ways to raise funds to implement the current project. The most attractive seemed to be in pursuing available grants. Other members proposed a community craft sale or similar events to raise funds. A member asked if the board had authority to execute a loan. (Jerry responded - not without calling a special meeting of the membership). The community seemed reluctant to proceed with a loan.

Reserve Funds
: A floor question asked how much is available for this project from "reserves". Jerry responded that $7,200 is available. Thinking much more would be available, several members asked for an explanation. Jerry explained that a portion of our monthly assessment monies are allocated into two capital reserve funds to replace community assets as the assets wear out in different years. All other monies go into operating costs. By-Laws require a Townhome Streets and Roads Capital Reserve Fund. Utilization of this fund is restricted to assets assigned to Townhome Streets and Roads. About 55% of our total community assets are related to Townhome Streets and Roads. Our General Reserves Fund was optionally created to be used for replacement of remaining community assets.

Why only $7,200 for this Project? In response to this question, Jerry responded that North Tot-Lot was installed in 1990, the other two in 1992. Cost to equip the original three lots was $12,000 in first-cost dollars. The equipment had an estimated useful life of fifteen years. Upgrade for the North lot was not expected until 2005; others in 2007. Therefore only $7200 is available in 2003 from General Reserves for Tot-Lot upgrades.

Accounting Objection from the Floor: George Puddington objected, noting that in his opinion, General Reserve Funds can be used, in any amount, for any community asset, at any time. Further, George stated that the fund could be utilized to purchase a new capital asset regardless of the loss of funds allocated to replace other assets when they failed. Jerry differs with George, noting that if this project was totally funded from General Reserves, it would nearly deplete the fund leaving no monies to replace other assets in the community as they fail. Shortly after, in order to replentish the fund to meet other failing assets, an overall assessment increase would be required. The board will seek outside council on the matter. The board will investigate the most efficient, legal process to utilize reserve funds. Ongoing projections and current allocation data for our Capital Reserves Fund is available to all members.

Vote to Proceed: After much discussion and several non-binding straw-votes, a floor motion was made to allow the board to proceed with further investigation and even implementation of the proposed plan without a total community vote – if the resulting financial plan does not cause any increase in the current assessment to homeowners. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously… there were no opposed.

14. ADJOURNMENT: A motion from the floor to adjourn was made at 9:45pm. President allowed the floor motion to stand. Motion was seconded. There were no opposed. The Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Membership of Orchard Knolls Homeowner Association was adjourned by the membership at 9:45pm