ORCHARD KNOLLS HOMEOWNER’S ASSOCIATION (HOA)
MONTHLY BOARD MEETING MINUTES
July 21, 2003
BOARD OF DIRECTORS (BOD) PRESENT:
President Richard Schinner 301-977-5196 email@example.com Jan 06
VP S.F. Homes Lisa Goodman 301-963-3807 firstname.lastname@example.org Jan 06
VP Townhomes Eileen Solomon 301-330-2876 email@example.com Jan 04
Treasurer Mohammad Homaitabar 301-318-8446 firstname.lastname@example.org Jan 05
Secretary Jerry Way 301-977-0523 email@example.com Jan 06
ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEE (ARC) PRESENT:
President Kathy Wyatt
ARC Member Rita Becker
ARC Member Dennis Zepp (Absent)
George Puddington (Homeowner, Previous President of Board of Directors)
I. CALL TO ORDER: Meeting at Eileen’s home. Called to order 7:40 Pm.
GUEST’S PRESENTATION: George stated that he was asked by an owner to speak to the board as ex-president, concerning his own recall of the Chippendale, Vinyl, and Revised Guidelines issues from his 1998-2000 tenure as president. George said the owner also asked him to update the current board on the "Revised" Architectural Guidelines. George said several members believed the Revised Guidelines were approved.
December 1998 - Revise Townhome Deck and Stair Rail Standards? George recalled in late 1998, Ed Abrams (7 Cherry Blossom Ct) requested that HOA revise our existing wood standards to allow vinyl materials for his rails. Jerry noted that our files show Ed’s December 10, 1998 Architectural Change Request to use vertical in place of Chippendale, and vinyl instead of wood was denied by ARC.
January – March 1999 – Chippendale and Vinyl Survey: George explained that a new ARC formed about that time. Ed joined the new ARC and became proactive in implementing a survey on his two key issues, mailed January 13, 1999 limited to the 48 garaged townhomes. Jerry noted that the survey was flawed, few were returned, and that ARC’s own March 4, 1999 results analysis was inconclusive. Survey data and ARC’s analysis is in the file. (Rita interjected that she recently received Ed’s records and would make copies for Board review). George went on to note that this was an ARC exercise and that Board of Directors felt that although Ed had support within the ARC, that there was insufficient overall community support to immediately change the Chippendale or the vinyl standards. "However", George went on to explain, "ARC’s inconclusive survey effort immediately spawned an ARC demand for a larger exercise to revise all Architectural Guidelines to make them less restrictive overall".
March 1999 – September 1999 - Revise Architectural Guidelines? George advised that ARC then moved to develop an extensive revision of the entire Architectural Guidelines document. Their objective was to relax restrictions, use harmony as a guide for decision making, and weigh community changes on a case-by-case basis. Inclusive with this effort was a "Harmony" revision which if approved, would relax Chippendale and wood design standard to allow vertical and vinyl rails. Jerry noted that the file contains the August 9, 1999 "Draft Revised Architectural Guidelines" sent with a cover letter to all 150 homes asking for comment to the Board of Directors.
Revised Architectural Guidelines Remained in Draft - Not Approved: George affirmed to tonight’s Board of Directors and Architectural Review Committee - what their research already concluded – no vote was ever taken by any Board of Directors or any Annual Membership to execute or adopt the revised guidelines. George noted that there was little response from the 150 mailings and, the total community interest level was not sufficient to move the board to vote. "Instead" George said, "the board decided to bring the decision to the November 1999 Annual Membership meeting for a community vote. However, when the topic was reviewed at that meeting there was insufficient interest to bring it to a vote. The board decided to wait another year and bring it up again at the 2001 Annual Meeting." "It never happened", George said "they remained in draft".
II PREVIOUS MINUTES - Minutes are posted on website at least one week before meeting. Hard copy was made available. President called for changes, additions, or amendments. There were none. Minutes unanimously approved.
III. ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEE :
ARC Will Meet Separately During August – See BOD note below regarding No August BOD meeting.
Inspection Letters – 30 Day Compliance Review: - Rick asked ARC and BOD to accomplish a follow up review of the 39 residences sent letters to correct violations. Rick divided up the workload among 5 volunteers who will visit the locations and report back before September BOD meeting.
Two Basketball Hoops in Townhomes - Removed. (Editorial Comment)
Vertical Deck Rails Not Approved – Board sent letters to the two townhomes that are in violation of the Chippendale standard - stating that their vertical deck rails are not approved, asking for any evidence otherwise. (See tonight’s guest presentation).
ARC Addressing 2 Prohibited Sheds at 12002 Cherry Blossom Place: Owner has been notified by the Board of Directors that the two sheds are Not Approved and may have to be removed. Owner agreed to submit an ARC Change Request to allow ARC to review and make a decision on this location – as well as to develop criteria for future townhome shed requests. Jerry expressed that this is not a BOD issue and that the ARC must wrestle with representing the total community on this matter for townhomes. Board of Directors will late review the global recommendation of ARC for the townhome community.
Change Requests Processed:
12002 Cherry Blossom Place 2- Townhome Sheds Under Review by ARC
Sheds Require ARC Prior Approval: Per Covenants: Article VIII Environmental Control, Section 8 Prohibited Use, Paragraph J Temporary Structures: "No structure of a temporary character, and no trailer, tent, shack, barn, pen, kennel, run, stable, outdoor clothes dryer, shed or other building shall be erected, used, or maintained on any Lot at any time, without the prior written consent of the Architectural and Environmental Review Committee."
Sheds Vs Fence: Rita and Neil Becker noted for the record that ARC approved their request for a rear yard fence in April but that ARC failed to notify them of approval. As a result of the inordinate waiting, their contractor dropped the schedule and increased the cost of the fence. In that regard, Rita and Neil have noted in their Architectural Change Request for the sheds, that neither shed will be able to be seen from surrounding areas – they are the same or less than the height of the approved fence.
Correction: (September 15, 2003) - From the ARC database it was found that the Becker request for a fence was actually made in April of 2002 and was approved by the ARC in May of 2002. At the time, Paul Hughs was the ARC chairman and probably did not properly inform the Beckers of the approval in a timely fashion.
Master Copy of Arc Guidelines Need Updates - From recent BOD and ARC voted changes – Not Discussed.
IV. OLD BUSINESS:
Newsletter (Orchard Knolls Flyer): Brian Zarchin delivered a semi-final version of the Orchard Knolls Flyer to the board tonight for approval. It is the most extensive, graphic and inclusive newsletter to be published by HOA in our 13 years! Great job Brian! Due to some internal date changes, a few typos, and some second thought clarifications, there will be one more round of "fixes" before publishing. Eileen will edit the final copy and get it to Rick. Rick will approve it for publishing. Jerry will make copies, assemble it with attachments (Final Behavior Rule) and get it to ABS for mailing.
Newsletter Editing: Jerry called for clarification of the process to edit and finalize draft copies of the Newsletter. After much discussion, the decision was made to submit articles to Brian for formatting into the Draft Newsletter, Brian will submit final draft to Eileen for editing. Eileen will submit to President for final copy for publication. President has Senior Editor authority to change or delete.
Tot-Lot Upgrade Project:
Budget Error – Only $16,000 Available. Due to an error in double counting of our decision to forfeit budgeted "Sound Attenuation" monies – we have less funds to work with than we thought. Tonight, the board again reviewed Reserve Funding available and decided not to take a large fiscal risk at this time. We will utilize only what General Reserve money is allocated for the Tot Lot.
Additional Discount Final: The original $44,000 cost has been gradually reduced by our own forfeitures of upgraded base materials, elimination of new benches, and our own contractor’s removal of most of the old equipment. All Recreation of Md. Inc, our current contractor of interest – provided a final discounted equipment and installation offer of $28, 479 to us in early July. We still cannot afford the total project without raising the assessment to the community
Decision to Upgrade One Tot-Lot in 2003. Board wrestled with whether to do nothing now and postpone the entire decision to annual meeting – or whether to proceed now with resources we have. The North East Tot-Lot equipment may last another year or two and has high preparation cost. The South West Lot is rarely used and is an excellent candidate for a future community picnic pavilion. Last annual meeting the membership told the board to proceed as long as we did not raise the assessment. After much discussion, the board agreed to proceed with only the South East Tot-Lot which has least preparation cost and will provide most utilization. Cost will be about $19, 600. We will have to consolidate operating and reserve funds and take about $3,600 in General Reserves depletion. The project’s next steps will be highlighted at annual meeting.
Contingency Equipment Review "Creative Play Things". Lisa Goodwin has a contact to this firm which has asked us to look at their equipment and cost. Lisa and Rick will make arrangements to meet with and review their product before committing to All Recreation of Md.
Potomac Garden Center Not Meeting Agreement Obligations – Rick and Mohammad described unacceptable conditions that are in conflict with PGC’s Boundary Maintenance Agreement with us. They continue to allow runoff on to our property, destroying screening trees, not replacing removed trees, allowing dead trees to stand, and moving noisy dumpsters and trash compactor adjacent to our boundary line. Mohammad has met again with owner. The owner blames the economy. The BOD agreed to ask our attorney to send another letter to PGC to resolve the problems before we relieve Montgomery County of our request of a full investigation of special exception violations.
SHA Rt. 28: More Trees Added to Median, Jughandle Island Too! – Steve Ches, Sr Engineer, SHA Highway Division, and Brian Stephenson, (SHA’s landscaper contractor) responded positively to several of our questions submitted to them after our June review of their latest landscape drawings. They agreed to "fill-in" the gap in the median with more Crepe Myrtle, and add shade trees to the center island in front of the new Senior Center. The also agreed to lower the height of median fill dirt on Rt 28 west of Blackberry Drive.
SHA Rt 28: Westbound Jughandle Opened - No Left Turn at Blackberry Drive to Rt 28 - State Highway implemented the new traffic pattern this month with little problem and some accolades from owners that find it much safer and convenient to exit our community to go West on Rt 28. (Editorial Comment)
Blackberry Drive Center Island Lighting/Sprinkler Upgrades: HOA has plans to add up lighting under each of our purple plum trees after SHA completes new curbs and landscape. We also have a plan to add two streetlights to the island to help with night safety. We already installed the necessary wiring to the island at the time our sprinkler systems were consolidated in the spring. However our HOA streetlight power circuit to the area is overloaded and must be upgraded before we can do the lighting projects. In addition, the plumbing is totally installed for center island sprinklers but distribution and heads on the island will have to wait until SHA completes the surface work. (Editorial Comment).
HOA Speed Limit Signs – Pole straps are in to mount the last of our signs.
Behavior Rule Expected to be Executed/Adopted in September; Final draft is ready for community comments or objections. It will be mailed to all owners this month. Rick has final copy and will get it to Jerry for copying and distribution with Newsletter. An article in the Newsletter explains our request for comment or objection prior to execution and adoption at September board meeting.
Post Office Closed our HOA Mailbox – Somehow, the annual rental bill was not paid at the post office for our HOA box. Post Office closed the box and began returning mail to senders. An emergency check was cut and paid. The box was restored to us. Eileen is investigating with Postmaster. (Editorial Comment)
Townhome Curb Parking - "T" Boundary Painting – Jerry found the specialized paint at our HOA sign store. Mohammad and Jerry will make up templates and agreed to accomplish this hopefully before September meeting.
Poison Ivy & Trash between Non-Garaged Townhomes and Senior Living Center is Gone – This item was resolved by recent excavation of that boundary by Sr Center Contractors. (Editorial Comment)
V. NEW BUSINESS
No August Board Meeting: Due to vacation schedules, the August meeting will be skipped. Due to the Labor Day holiday, next meeting of the Board of Directors will be Monday, September 15, 2003. ARC will meet separately during the interval. Pressing Board and ARC matters will receive disposition via email. Eileen will continue to pickup and distribute HOA mail.
12??? Cherry Blossom Place – Unlicensed Business? Owner recently rented to ARC of Montgomery County: According to our attorney, this County Service appears to be a family home for mentally challenged adults requiring adult assisted living. A License to operate may be required. HOA application and approval may be required. Rick obtained copy of lease for our files. Our attorney is investigating.
Gazebo \Mailbox Unit Damaged by Children: Both Eileen and Jerry have had to remove children down from on top of mailboxes in gazebo in the last week. HOA had to repair wood top several times due to this situation. Children climb up front of unit to get on top. Gazebo & Mailbox unit was painted last year – is in need of painting again. Some proposed measures to extend the top to the ceiling were discussed but no immediate solution was concluded
Trash In Around Gazebo: Children are bringing mud and trash inside and around the gazebo, under shrubs and throughout Cherry Blossom Place - requiring Eileen and Dennis hours of cleanup. Neighbors have complained of a significant increase in the quantity of children hanging out in the Gazebo. Rick advised that the proposed Behavior Rule and Enforcement Procedures may help this type situation in the future.
Homeowner Complaint: 12??? Cherry Blossom Place: Gazebo Shrubs Overgrown – Neighbors want to see inside. HOA always kept these shrubs and bushes at rail height so that neighbors could see what their children were doing inside. Shrubs need to be cut down significantly. – Not Discussed.
Senior Center Excavation Underway: It is now apparent that the new owners were not able to preserve their own trees. However, they recently informed us of their revised plans to heavily "re-forest" that area when they complete construction. They plan to allow us input to identify quantity and type of new trees. We feel they will honor that commitment. Architectural renditions of their new facility indicate an attractive site blending into our neighborhood environment. The new partners advise that construction will progress rapidly with expected occupancy in Spring 2004.
Senior Center Excavation Limbs and Trash dumped on our property – Rita reports that contractors have dumped large tree limbs on our property behind the non-garaged townhomes. Jerry will call the partners to resolve.
Two White Fence Sections Perpendicular to RT 28 Removed – This project is complete. The front area between Orchard Knolls and PGC is much improved.
Sprinkler System Restarted: Due to continued hot weather, we restarted the sprinkler system. Thursday and Monday is shut off. All other days the system comes on at 5am. (Editorial Comment)
HOA Sprinkler System Flooding Frank’s Yard and Driveway. Beth Frank called to complain that our sprinkler was flooding her yard and driveway. Jerry investigated and discovered that when Unity removed our system from Frank’s water supply – they inadvertently left one of Frank’s sprinkler heads – located on the corner of their driveway - on our system. Jerry dug it up and capped it until Unity returns. That head will have to be re-piped to Frank’s system, and a new line and head will have to be installed to sprinkle our South West Marque. (Editorial Comment)
Water Collecting at Gazebo – Jerry will ask G&G Landscape to address this problem.
Owners Complain of Low Hanging Limbs over Sidewalks need Cutting: This matter is addressed in the Newsletter.
Creek Erosion Worsening - Pedestrian Bridge Twisting – Rick raised the issue of what to do about the eroding bank and now bridge has one leg hanging in the air in need of repair. The leg cannot be repaired until the erosion problem is solved. Discussions evolved around possibility of installing a larger span bridge (major investment) or permanent vs. temporary fixes for the erosion. Boards decided to investigate a 5-10 year fix for the creek erosion and repair the bridge. The BOD will ask Unity to provide a proposal for this limited scope of work.
Two Streetlights and one Photocell Repaired in Cherry Blossom Place. Jerry brought a "Show n Tell" burned out High Pressure Sodium Streetlight bulb and a Defective Streetlight Starter Unit to the board to identify why it cost so much to repair these units. They are actually one of the least cost units to maintain.
Long-Life Bulbs Replaced in Entrance Colonial Lamps: Rick authorized purchase of 4 long life florescent Curley bulbs to replace the incandescent lamps at our entrance. They may not be compatible with the photo cell initiated system. This is a trial to reduce operating cost and frequent replacement effort. The remaining two will be installed in the gazebo lighting system.
Vandalism Sign Damage Repairs – Jerry replaced the CB Lane Permitted Parking Sign damaged by vandals. (Editorial Comment).
Dead Trees in Many Common Areas – (Thank you Mohammad Homaitabar – Way-to-Go! Mohammad dug out the old dead HOA spruce on the North East Berm hillside and replaced it with a Leland Spruce at his own cost!) Nearly every board member identified one or more dead trees or stumps that need removal around the community. The BOD will arrange a meeting with G&G Landscape to request they do the work. If they decline, HOA will have to hire another contractor to do this work.
Large Tree Limbs Blocked Street Sign at Cherry Blossom Lane/Ct – Jerry obtained permission from owner to cut off large limbs from owner’s tree that were blocking view of the street sign. Owner agreed. The work was done by Jerry with help of neighbor Chris at 15718 CB Lane this month.
Homeowner Complaint; Dangerous Tree Limbs Overhanging South Townhome Parking – Owner Thomas Provost sent us a neat letter complimenting the community on progress and upkeep. However, Tom cited the dangerous large limbs overhanging the striped parking in the South Cherry Blossom Lane lot. – Not Discussed.
Dangerous Tree Limbs Overhanging North Townhome Parking – Jerry borrowed a chain saw and cut off a dozen large overhanging dangerous limbs over parked cars in the North West Cherry Blossom Lane Lot. Needs to be done throughout the community, particularly in South West Parking Lot. (Editorial Comment).
Homeowner Complaint: 12??? Cherry Blossom Place – 2 Large Dead HOA Trees. Homeowner sent email to HOA to remove 2 large dead trees directly in front of her front door. Jerry checked the site and found the report accurate and urgent. The two trees are dead, ugly and directly in front of the private home. Jerry will ask G&G Landscape for a quote to remove and replace the two trees.
G&G Landscape Complaints; Meeting Planned – Owners are complaining that workers have cut their garden plants and flowers, that grass and mulch is not being maintained. Edging is not being done properly and not being done at all in some locations. Debris is not being picked up. Mowers wheels are making ruts in grass lawns. Streetlights are blocked by limbs that G&G is supposed to cut. Jerry and Rick are preparing to meet with owner of the business – will review a consolidated list of complaints, desires and compliments.
Community Directory Update: Rita Becker volunteered to work with Rick’s data base information and initiate a new update of the directory and begin the process to publish. Jerry noted that Brian Zarchin had offered to assist with this effort in the past. Rita will contact Brian.
George Puddington Found Missing HOA Materials – George found a box of HOA materials in his basement that he inadvertently forgot to turnover to the board after his resignation in 2000. He will provide them to Secretary tonight. This find may be some of the missing project folders and development drawings.
VI. FINANCIAL, BOOKKEEPING AND TREASURER’S REPORT:
ABS Contract Renewed – Acknowledged by ABS.
ABS to Inform BOD of Owner Changes: - Rick requested that ABS inform him and the board of the demographics for every ownership change. ABS agreed to provide a copy of their information to new owners letter with each monthly Financial Statement to the board.
Operating Funds Out of Money Again; Cash Flow Problem – ABS again advised Rick that we were out of money to pay operating expenses. This is temporary and should soon be eliminated as the quarterly income is due.
Board Approved ABS to Transfer $3,236 General Reserves to Operating Funds - According to ABS' May 2003 Balance sheet, we have $114, 435 in Total Reserves (Townhome and General). ABS’ transfers $843 from income to reserves every month. Therefore by end-of-year, ABS will have added $5,901 (7 months at 843/mo) to Total Reserves to equal $120,336 by end of 2003. According to our "Annual Replacement Reserves Funding Requirements" chart (reviewed with all board members tonight), end of 2003 Reserves Requirement is $117,100. Therefore we project a Total Reserves surplus of $3, 236 at end of year.
ABS’ May Financial Report:
Ongoing Assessment Delinquencies: No New reports
Legal Collection Process, Bad Debt: 15715 Cherry Blossom Lane: Board agreed there is no cost benefit to the HOA for ABS or legal collection of this $222.92 debt by previous owner. Board agreed to bad debt write off. Mohammad will inform ABS.
Final 2002 Audit Distributed: Mohammad received final annual audit report and reviewed with board.
Signature Cards Completed: At ABS request, Rick and Mohammad completed the process to have signature cards on file at the bank so they can sign approve checks.
State Farm Insurance Policy; Received Policy with Terms and Conditions. Mohammad has current terms and conditions and policy and will maintain the history file. $1M Liability is provided to all Board members without notification to State Farm except that members must be elected or temporarily appointed by the president to fill an absence on the board. Other position volunteers are not covered.
2001-2002 Storm Damage Insurance Reimbursement- 2002 Property Losses from lightning are still not paid, however Mohammad reports that he has provided all the correct receipts to State Farm. Mohammad will continue to pursue collecting these funds.
Annual Replacement Reserves Funding Requirements Review Conducted with Board and ARC: Auditors required these charts in beginning in 1998. They have reviewed and approved of the method. Jerry provided current copies and reviewed how the system works and current allocation of monies with all board members. Jerry maintains the chart as assets are replaced or need replacing. Mohammad and Jerry will conduct a review session with ABS to update them to more accurately display budgeted Reserves.
Reserves Allocation Adjustment Requested: Jerry and Mohammad will request that ABS correct the percentage of reserve funds between Townhome (Currently 31%) Vs General Reserve Funds (Currently 69%) to more accurately reflect assets replacement needs by each fund.
VII. UNFUNDED COMMUNITY PROPOSED PROJECTS:
Duplicate Entrance Marquee on East Side
Upgrade Underground Circuits Before Adding Center Island lighting.
Entrance Lighting Center Island
Colonial Lamps at Townhome Entrance
Permanent Flagpoles at Front Entrance
Increase East Berm Height at Senior Housing Boundary
Security Lighting along Creek and Bike Path - Address after Tot-Lot Upgrade
Pressure Wash and Seal Rotting and Unsightly Retaining Walls
Pressure Wash and Seal Rotting and Unsightly Benches in Tot-Lots
Install Creek Bank Erosion Control at Pedestrian Bridge
Add 2 Missing Red Maples at each end of North-East Blackberry Drive
VIII. LEGAL TOPICS BEING ADDRESSED BY ATTORNEY(S):
12012 CB Place – ARC of Montgomery County
Owner Landscape Issues for Townhomes (Do Covenants Apply?)
IX. ONGOING VOLUNTEER COMMITTEES AND EFFORTS:
Tot-Lots Harris Leonard, Kathy Wyatt, Rita Becker, Maria Siravo
Newsletter Brian Zarchin, Eileen Solomon
Directory Rita Becker, Rick Schinner
Grounds Mohammad Homaitabar, Rick Schinner
Sprinkler System Jerry Way, Terrence Chan
X. ADJOURNMENT Monthly meeting adjourned at 9:20 Pm.
XI. NEXT MEETING - Monday, September 15, 7:30 Pm, location to be determined. Call any board member for location. All Orchard Knolls property owners welcome. Input by letter, email, or webpage is welcome.