ORCHARD KNOLLS HOMEOWNER’S ASSOCIATION (HOA)

WWW.ORCHARDKNOLLS.ORG

MONTHLY BOARD MEETING MINUTES:

November 10, 2003

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS (BOD) PRESENT:

President

Richard Schinner

301-977-5196

evantage@aol.com

Jan 06

VP Detached Homes

Lisa Goodman – Absent

301-963-3807

goodgrl@attglobl.net

Jan 06

VP Town Homes

Eileen Solomon

301-330-2876

zeppsol@aol.com

Jan 04

Treasurer

Mohammad Homaitabar

301-318-8446

homaitabar@yahoo.com

Jan 05

Secretary

Jerry Way

301-977-0523

jerway@comcast.net

Jan 06

ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEE (ARC) PRESENT:

Chairperson

Kathy Wyatt

Member

Rita Becker – Absent

Member

Dennis Zepp

GUESTS PRESENT:

Townhome Owner Saquib Ali

I. CALL TO ORDER: Meeting at Eileen’s home (Thank You). Called to order 7:20 Pm.

II. HEARINGS: None Scheduled

III. GUEST PRESENTATIONS:

Saquib explained that he desired to be involved. He had no issue to discuss but wished to monitor tonight’s meeting.

IV. MINUTES: (Posted on web page at least one week before meeting. Hard copy made available to guests).

President called for changes if any. No changes. Motion made to accept. Seconded and passed unanimously.

V. ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEE :

Change Requests - None.

Guidelines Updated – After review, the master copy in association records and our web page, were updated with changes since 11/1998. Changes had received majority vote approvals by ARC and BOD. (See last month’s minutes).

Fall 2002 Inspection - Detached Homes Non-Compliance: Warning letters to be sent certified will be mailed next week. Next letter will come from our attorney. If still not compliant, HOA will contract to have repairs done.

Spring 2003 Inspection - Townhome Non-Compliance: Warning letters to be sent certified will be mailed next week. Next letter will come from our attorney. If still not compliant, HOA will contract to have repairs done

Fall 2003 Inspection - Detached Homes Completed: Semi-Annual walk-through conducted October 26. About a dozen problem properties were noted. First time notice letters will be sent next week.

Townhome Deck Awnings: Not Discussed.

Kathy Wyatt wrote draft criteria for ARC Guidelines for this month. ARC and BOD need to accept or edit and update Guidelines with the new criteria.

Full View Storm Door Violations – There are two homes in violation of ARC "Full-View" guidelines. One has written to BOD suggesting that guideline is ambiguous. Jerry requested that ARC revise the guideline to be specific about how much glass must be showing. Also the two owners should be granted a waiver until door needs replacement.

VI. NEW BOD BUSINESS

Annual Meeting Set: Jerry made reservations with Quince Orchard High School for our annual meeting on Monday evening January 5th 7:30-10:30pm. No other Monday(s) in January were available.

2004 Operating Budget Approved – As advertised, BOD met early for development of 2004 budget to be presented at annual meeting. No change in income to reserves. 2003 operating cost year-to-date "actuals" were reviewed to adjust 2004 line items. No increase in assessments at this time. Budget was balanced. A motion was made to pass new budget, seconded and passed unanimously. Treasurer will send the new budget to ABS.

Common Area (Trees) Hurricane Damage Invoiced. Invoices were reviewed for payment. JL did most work. Mead Landscape did some work. Some work continues. Total cost will be near $2,000. None is covered by insurance.

Damaged TreeTop over Blackberry Tot-Lot Removed – Mead Landscape removed the dangerous limb.

Another Tree Down behind 15705 Cherry Blossom Lane – Another tall mature Leyland Cypress is fully down. Rick will ask J&L to attempt to restore the tree. If not possible, it will have to be removed and replaced.

Sprinkler System Winterized and Shutdown. Unity accomplished the winterizing last week.

HOA Sprinkler Head Which Flooded Owner’s Yard and Driveway: While on-site for winterizing last week, Unity investigated and agreed to relocate marque sprinkler heads when he returns in Spring 2003.

Blackberry Drive Center Island Trees Uplighting Installed: Unity installed the lights this month. Because foliage is gone, there is little dramatic affect at this time. Some lighting adjustments will take place over the next few weeks.

Blackberry Drive Center Island Sprinklers Installed: Unity and BOD elected to install these now rather than wait until spring because there was significant cost savings in doing it with the uplighting project. The sprinklers are installed as a new zone on our current system. This is the last expansion of the sprinkler system.

Creek Pedestrian Bridge Support Washed Out - TwistingErosion Control Solution - Rick reviewed a 2-phase proposal from Unity for excavation, dredging, and embankment reinforcement. The first phase would be immediate bridge area costing approximately $10,000. Next phase would be to repair upstream erosion approaching Blackberry Drive playground area and excavate to reroute water flow - approximately $11,900. Excluding engineering and permit fees, Unity estimates minimum $23,000 for both phases. Jerry called for overall review by outside civil engineering firm before proceeding further. BOD agreed. Several members research for a civil engineer and review again next meeting.

Creek Pedestrian Bridge Support Washed Out – Twisting - Longer Span SolutionNot Discussed.

Mead Tree & Turf Care is interested in assisting with this problem – Mead feels the only practical solution is a new bridge with a longer span. Rick and Mead will follow up and provide BOD with a proposal in near future.

Fall Entrance Flowers Installed – Not Enough: G&G installed winter flowers this month. Several complaints have been received of too few flowers. Same complaint received for spring and summer flowers. G&G will be advised.

North East Tot-Lot Bark Chips Upgraded – Not Enough: G&G installed the annual upgrade this month. They did not fill it to border edges. Rick already advised G&G to come back and fill it up.

South East Tot-Lot Equipment Upgrade On-Schedule for Tomorrow: Rick reported that he had talked with supplier. Equipment arrived and workers are in town to do installation tomorrow. Installer has been paid half and will get final payment before leaving site tomorrow. G&G will install Bark Chips immediately after equipment installation.

(Editorial Update): Installer left with final payment check without completing swings, left a large plastic bag of his trash, and all new equipment covered with mud. He did not call anyone. The "Steering Wheel" is improperly installed and falling off. Jerry and Rick cut the swing sets to proper length and installed them. Rick paid G&G to haul away the trash. BOD arranged for a "stop payment" on the final check. Our attorney was updated. G&G installed the new playground bark in the wrong lot. Rick called them but they cannot return until next week.

Potomac Garden Nursery: Rick and Mohammad report that dead trees are gone, dead limbs cleaned up, and 2 of 4 trailers have been moved. Mohammad reports that owner called and wishes to resolve all issues.

State Highway Administration: Rt 28 Missing Trees: Rick reports that Steve Ches (SHA) confirmed that our East median trees will be installed, however as anticipated, they are delayed until spring. West median shrubs have been installed. No discussion on missing Rachael Carson School screening trees. Rick will follow up with Steve. Please note the construction schedule updates sent to our BOD by SHA on the web home page.

Two Accidents at new Blackberry Drive Bull Nose into Rt 28: Not Discussed

Owners report at least 2 eastbound drivers crashed into and over the new Blackberry Drive curb protruding into Rt 28. SHA installed a yellow reflector on a post, and also installed 2 construction barrels. SHA also installed 2 "Right Turn Only at Blackberry Drive" signs along Rt 28 in front of PGC and Fire Station.

Missing Blackberry Drive Sign: Rick notified SHA (again) that we need a sign. We have been without a permanent sign over two years. Our temporary sign has been gone for nearly 6 months.

Speed Limit and Children Playing Signs Installed and Completed: Not Discussed.

Rick installed all remaining signs this month, including the Children Playing Sign at Blackberry Drive/Terrace.
PEOPLE ARE STILL SPEEDING IN BOTH DIRECTIONS ON BLACKBERRY DRIVE.

SLOW DOWN

Web Site Shut Down; Non Payment: Rick reports that our web site was shut down for a day for alleged non-payment. Rick’s investigation revealed that bill was sent to wrong address. Rick arranged expedited payment. The site is up.

Common Area Behavior Rule 2003-1, Draft Upgraded & Approved by BOD, Sent to Attorney – All objective suggestions by the community have been incorporated into the revised document. Rick read every word of revised document to board tonight requesting final changes. A few minor changes were made. The rule will now be sent to our attorney for legal update and development of executable document. BOD plans to again review it at annual meeting.

Senior Center: Owners have changed name to "Kentlands West Senior Center". New signs have been installed at entrance. Facility is planning a Swimming Pool and Computer facility for residents.

Directory Update: Rick has begun steps to produce a new directory. He will contact Lisa Goodman and Rita Becker to arrange and schedule remaining logistics, reproduction and distribution work.

2004 Landscape Contract: BOD reviewed possible contractors wishing to bid. There is little enthusiasm for renewing G&G contract. J&L, Mead, Capital, Unity have all expressed interest to bid all or part. Mohammad noted that he sent eight RFQs last year – very few returned. Jerry feels we need to re-bid to all viable contractors, but suggests we wait until G&G is finished. G&G owes us unfinished contract items. Rick explained that possibility exists to split contract into two suppliers - Lawn Cutting, vs. All other. Jerry reminded all that in an earlier board meeting, Rita Becker expressed interest in being on committee to get this done. Mohammad will contact her.

2004 Snow Removal Contract Signed: Rick reviewed 2004 proposal to renew J&L’s contract. There was only a minor price increase to accomplish sidewalks. J&L did a great job last year. BOD approved renewal and contract was signed.

Web Site Upgrade On Hold – Rick recommends this upgrade, but does not have time to implement it in foreseeable future. He may investigate pros, cons, requirements and cost as time permits.

Damaged Firelane Sign Repaired - Cherry Blossom Lane/Place – Not Discussed

(Editorial Update): Jerry added a bottom pole strap and re-bent the sign to normal. Complete.

Accident Vehicle Stored in Cherry Blossom Place – Not Discussed

Violation of Posted Parking Restrictions. Needs to be posted with a 48 hour notice then towed.

New Board Meeting Start Time: BOD voted to start future board meetings at 7pm.

New Communication Items to BOD:

Non Satellite Dish Antenna Query – Owner contacted BOD regarding installation of exterior TV ,FM, and Ham radio broadcasting antenna(s). They are currently prohibited by covenants.

Suspicious (Teens) Behavior South East Tot-Lot - Teens loitering, loud, and smoking after hours in Tot-Lot. ARC member requested help from board (not home) so called Police. Teens sped away in a car. (Follow up messages left on board member answering machines).

ARC Member reports 2- Attempted Break-In(s) Cherry Blossom Court – Owner was awakened at 2am with attempts to enter front door verified by dogs barking. Another neighbor in same area reported evidence of an attempted forced break- in with scratches around front door locks. Upon investigation by BOD – neither member called 911. (This communication was reported to BOD as a side discussion at last board meeting).

Continued Multiple Firelane Parking Violations - East Cherry Blossom Lane - Owner wants BOD to take action with multiple illegal parking on sidewalk along firelane curb – often all night. Board is considering whether to tow, or ask concerned residents to call police. A $250 citation is issued if police are called.

BOD Performance: – Owner upset about insufficient reserves to upgrade all playgrounds. Said she was past President of nearby homeowner association and (in her view) "not having enough reserves is not right". Also angry that BOD is (allegedly) focusing on "children" as key problem when real problem is "adults who throw cigarettes on (her) driveway, allow dogs urinate and defecate on (her) grass front and back".  She plans to be at annual meeting to express herself. (This communication was distributed earlier to all members of BOD via email).

Continuous Annoying Alarm – Owner on Cherry Blossom Lane wants BOD to take action - Alleges that a loud, continuous, and obnoxious exterior alarm in Cherry Blossom Ct. goes off frequently (at least once a month)... says alarm continues all day and does not get shut off until owner comes home at 5pm.  Says he visited owner who explained that it is an interior alarm therefore no county law applies.  Cherry Blossom Lane owner alleges that alarm device is exterior mounted above rear kitchen door and very loud.  (This communication was distributed earlier to all members of BOD via email).

VII. TREASURER’S REPORT, FINANCIAL MATTERS:

ABS’ Financial Statement, October 1 thru October 31:

2004 Budget Approved – See "New Business"

Delinquencies: All significant delinquent accounts have been paid.

Reserve Fund Adjustments Approved by Auditor and Corrected – Our auditor David Bremmer, approved the correction of our allocation adjustment between Townhome Vs General Reserve Funds to more accurately reflect the escrowed needs identified in our Financial Asset Replacement Plan. ABS has made the adjustment

Balance Sheet Corrected to Display Townhome Reserves Vs General Reserves - 2003 Annual Meeting Membership asked for this breakout for all future statements. Board agreed to accomplish before next annual meeting. ABS made the correction starting with October statement.

Missing Insurance Reimbursement - 2001-2002 Lightning Damage: Mohammad reports that 2002 Property Losses from lightning are still not paid to us by State Farm. He has provided all receipts to State Farm. Mohammad will continue to pursue collecting these funds.

 

VIII. OLD BOD BUSINESS (Pending, Not Discussed)

West Entrance Holly Trees and Hedges Overgrown

The large holly trees are so tall they block the colonial lamps. Lower hedges are overgrown and blocking the marque florescent lighting. Landscape contractor has responsibility but has neglected these and many others.

East Entrance Flower Bed Below Grade

Due to SHA’s increased elevation of Blackberry Drive/Rt 28 East – flower bed is below grade due new height sidewalk.

White Fence "Sinking" (Parallel to RT 28 East of Blackberry Drive)

Due to increased elevation of Rt 28 East and the new sidewalk – about ½ of our white fence goes downhill behind the sidewalk. SHA says their surveyors noted that our fence is in their right-of-way. It is an unkempt appearance from Rt 28.

(Editorial Comment): HOA should relocate fence higher on berm, or remove the section east of Verizon switch unit.

Dead and Wind Damaged Trees Cut and Not Replaced; Stumps Remain

Probably our most frequent complaint. There are three costs for each tree; Tree Removal, Stump Removal, Tree Replacement. For several years, various contractors have been expeditiously cutting dead trees above grade leaving exposed ugly and dangerous stumps. The benefit to that approach is that it is fast and keeps initial cost low. The trees have not been replaced. There are now many exposed, unsafe and ugly stumps in the common areas.

(Editorial Comment): This situation will become a very expensive future project if not undertaken soon. BOD needs to revise tree cutting policy to include removing stump – unless in a remote area. Further, if a tree is cut down, it should be replaced or grass over the area. Not every tree needs to be replaced, but the location should be restored

Citrus Grove Cul-de-Sac Needs Trees Replaced

Cherry Blossom Ct Streetlight Pole Damaged Beyond Repair

Restore East Entrance Zone 1 Sprinkler System along Rt. 28

SHA damaged this zone beyond repair and agreed to replace it.

Two New Streetlights for Blackberry Drive Island Delayed

Quote received for $2,750 to accomplish this project by bringing power through our conduit under Blackberry Drive from West side marque power source. BOD decided to delay and review the need after uplighting project is complete.

Fully Loaded Townhome Streetlight Circuit Upgrade Delayed

Capacity on this circuit is needed for 3 proposed future projects: 1) Additional uplights for center island trees, 2) Two new center island streetlights, 3) New colonial lamps at entrance to Townhomes. Circuit starts behind Cherry Blossom Court, then North, West, and South along Cherry Blossom Lane. Contractor load tests concluded that addition of further additions was not possible. A new parallel circuit will be required if more additions to this circuit become necessary.

Blackberry Drive Crosswalk at Playground

Lisa is working with Montgomery County in an effort to have this accomplished.

Blackberry Drive & Terrace Stop Sign to Replace Yield

Lisa is working with Montgomery County in an effort to have this accomplished

Most Common Area Lawns Adjacent to End-Unit Townhomes are Neglected

There is inequity in common area landscape. End unit townhomes own only 4-feet from the side brickwork. Remaining side lawn is community responsibility. Community lawn care is neglecting weeding, feeding and trimming these areas. Most have become eyesores from lack of attention. However, an exception is 15701 Cherry Blossom Lane, parallel to and easily seen from Blackberry Drive. That lot regularly receives community sprinkling, trimming, fertilization, weeding, insecticide and lawn cutting. The issue is, neglect of other townhome side lots owned by the community.

Non-efficient Townhome Curb Parking

Limited curb parking is permitted and posted by signs on North and West Cherry Blossom Lane. However, spaces are not marked. Vehicles park randomly creating very inefficient use of the limited space. Proposal is to "tic" mark each space. American Striping quoted $399 to do the job in 2001.

Community Requested Cul-de-Sac Upgrades Delayed

BOD agreed in principal to make this a priority. This is a $4000 project. Decision was made to add this project to community "wish list" for review at 2004 annual meeting.

Alleged Unlicensed Business in Cherry Blossom Place

Owner recently rented a townhome 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. Home is not allowed to exceed three adults. 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.

Dog Waste Sign Intentionally Smashed - Citrus Grove Cul-de-sac

In-ground sign has been intentionally smashed as if by a heavy hammer, beat, split and wrapped around the steel pole. Some members of the board wanted to remove it. BOD decided to replace it.

Gazebo Mailbox Unit Damaged by Children

Gazebo & Mailbox unit needs painting again. Need to construct a defense against children climbing to top of unit.

ABS Requests Disposal of Orchard Knolls’ Pre-1996 Records – Not Discussed

Last month, BOD declined, requesting that Mohammad obtain ABS’s storage costs.

No Method for Saving for New Community Assets – Not Discussed.

There is no fund from which monies may be drawn for new assets. Townhome and General Reserves are mortgaged for replacement of existing assets. The current budget does not have any line items setting aside capital monies for new asset projects. Until now, any new assets must be paid for from surplus operating funds. A routine allocation process should be implemented to provide an escrow fund to save for identified community approved projects.

Should HOA Mail (Distributed by ABS) go to Owner’s Alternate Addresses? – Not Discussed

Some owners have "blind" addresses for their actual residence. Their assessment bill is mailed to and paid by another financially responsible agent. ABS continues to ask BOD - Should HOA mail, prepared by ABS, be mailed to owner’s "alternate" address? Should it be duplicated for resident’s HOA property?

Old Communication to BOD : (BOD has not Responded)

Owner Requests Color Standards for Detached Homes

Owner requested our color standards for Single Family Homes. Rick had earlier contacted Southern Engineering and Northern Virginia Homes, but they do not have color standards for these homes. Jerry advised that detached home standards are unique to each home and are what original builder applied to the home measured by form, fit, and function. Jerry offered to digitally photograph each home to establish a color base for property files.

Storm Door Not Approved

Owner responded to our letter citing his property for an unapproved storm door which is not full view. Owner states there is ambiguity as to what constitutes a "full-view".

Trim Color Not Approved

Owner responded to our letter citing property for unapproved white color trim rails. Owner says they have been white for 3 years and declines to change color now.

Two Neighbor’s Down Spouts Flooding Area

Owner requested help at 2003 Annual Meeting. Area of concern is between 15728 & 15732. Down spout runoff from 15732 and 15734 floods common area and this owner’s property with constant water/mud. In addition shrubs on common area are so overgrown that sunlight is totally blocked exacerbating the water and mud.

Littered Gazebo Mail Should be traced to Owner

Suggesting that BOD examine discarded mail at gazebo and trace it to owners with a fine. This item is addressed in proposed Common Area Behavior Rules.

Water Pooling at Gazebo; Mosquito Breeding Ground

Owner requested that HOA regrade this area to eliminate water from pooling and risk of mosquitoes breeding. .

Limbs Over South Townhome Parking

Dangerous limbs overhanging striped parking in South Cherry Blossom Lane.

Two Large Dead HOA Trees in Front of Home

Two HOA trees directly in front of her front door have been dead all year and requested they be removed and replaced. Jerry took photos of the trees for BOD. Rick added to the list to be removed by JL Landscape.

Preserve South West Tot-Lot Equipment

Requesting South West Lot’s baby-swings and see-saw be preserved.

Two Removed Trees not Replaced, Stumps Remain

In 2002, BOD removed 2 dead trees directly across street from home and left two stumps exposed above grade.

Possible Unapproved Day Care

Major increase in adults with children entering and leaving a unit in Cherry Blossom Place. Implication is that an unapproved Day Care may be in operation.

Children Blocking Traffic, Noise, Confrontations

BOD received email from owner complaining of 10-12 children regularly playing in street at intersection of Cherry Blossom Place and Lane. They have a small child who cannot sleep Situation is making it uncomfortable for neighbors. Letter cites children refusing to move for cars, throwing balls and rocks in the street, making excessive noise, and refusing to go elsewhere to play. Neighbors not convinced that all the children are HOA residents. This issue is addressed by proposed Common Area Behavior Rules.

IX. UNFUNDED PROPOSED PROJECTS:

Highlight "Orchard Knolls" Lettering on Entrance Marque

Upgrade Landscape for 5 of 6 Cul-de-Sac(s)

Duplicate Entrance Stone Marque on East Side of Blackberry Drive

Two Matching Streetlights to Blackberry Drive Island

Matching Colonial Lamps at Townhome Entrance

Brass "Orchard Knolls Towns" Plaques on Existing Stone Columns

Permanent Flagpoles with Uplighting at Front Entrance

Increase Berm Height at Senior Housing Boundary

Security Lighting along Creek and Bike Path

Erosion Control on South East Creek Bank, or,

Replace Pedestrian Bridge with Longer Span

Add 2 Missing Red Maples at each end of North-East Blackberry Drive

Upgrade North-East Tot-Lot

Upgrade South-West Tot-Lot

Covered Picnic Pavilion over South West Lot

Trim All Common Area Trees.

Add Streetlight to Cherry Blossom Place Parking Area

Landscape Cherry Blossom Place Courtyard

Transformers Screening to Cherry Blossom Place

Replace Sprinkler Enclosure - Larger unit Needed

Paint Curb Parking "Tics" on Cherry Blossom Lane.

X. UNFUNDED REPAIRS;

Paint Gazebo and Mailbox Unit.

Replace Split Streetlight Pole on Cherry Blossom Court

Upgrade Streetlight Power Circuit Running at Capacity.

Pressure Wash/Seal Unsightly Retaining Wall Beams

Pressure Wash/Seal Unsightly Tot-Lot Benches

Creek Bank Erosion Control and Repair Pedestrian Bridge

Remove Common Area Stumps; Replace Previously Removed Trees

Regrade Gazebo Landscape; Eliminate Flooding Water

Reroute Water Flooding Common Area Adjacent to 15728 CBL

XI. ISSUES PASSED TO OUR ATTORNEY(S):

CB Place – ARC of Montgomery County

Townhome Landscape Issues (Do Covenants Apply?)

Delinquent Assessment Collections

Tot-Lot Contractor Dispute

PGC Dispute

Identifying Non Approved Day Care Operations

Common Area Behavior Rule

XII. VOLUNTEER COMMITTEES AND SUPPORT

Tot-Lot Upgrades Harris Leonard, Kathy Wyatt, Rita Becker, Maria Siravo, Lisa Goodman

Newsletter Brian Zarchin, Eileen Solomon

Directory Rita Becker, Rick Schinner, Lisa Goodman

Grounds Mohammad Homaitabar, Rick Schinner, Rita Becker

Sprinkler System Jerry Way, Terrence Chan

XIII. ADJOURNMENT AND NEXT MEETING: - Monthly meeting adjourned at 9:00 Pm. Next meeting Monday, December 8, 7:00 Pm, location to be determined. Note new start time. BOD voted to start at 7pm not 7:30. Call any board member for location. Orchard Knolls owners and residents welcome. Input by US mail, email, or WebPages is welcome.