PO Box 4225, North Potomac, Maryland  20885


Incorporated 1989 - A Self-Managed, Volunteer Community


Soliciting on HOA Property is Prohibited by Covenants



Minutes – Monthly Board Meeting


April 11, 2005


TYPICAL AGENDA -  Owners Welcome, Others by Appointment

1.  Administrative Matters

2.  Hearings and Guest Presentations (If Any)

3.  Treasurer’s Report and Financial Business

4.  Architectural Review Committee and Property Maintenance Business

5.  Unfinished Board Business

6.  New Board Business

7.  Unresolved Business (May Not be Addressed)

8.  Issues Deferred to Annual Membership (Next Meeting November 2005)



BOARD OF DIRECTORS (BOD) -  Volunteers, Elected by Annual Membership Meeting – 3 Year Term.                                   Expires


Richard Schinner



Nov 2005

VP Detached Homes

Lisa Goodman


Nov 2005

VP Town Homes

Eileen Solomon



Nov 2007


Mohammad Homaitabar



Nov 2005


Jerry Way



Nov 2005


ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEE (ARC)  - Volunteers Appointed by BOD – Indefinite Terms

Member – 1

Kathy Wyatt

Representing Detached Homes

Member – 2

Rita Becker

Representing Non-Garaged Town Homes, HOC & MHP

Member – 3

Dennis Zepp

Representing Garaged Town Homes

Member -  4

Lisa Goodman

ARC Chairperson (Acting)

Member -  5



Members of Board of Directors are absentia members of Architectural Review Committee



   Detached Homes:



Garaged Town Homes: 



Privately Owned Non-Garaged Town Homes:



County Owned Non-Garaged Townhomes:



Total Homes:





Auditors & Taxes Preparation

Ahlberg & Company, P.C.

Painting & Finishes

Mullin Painting Services

Attorney and Legal Consultant

David Gardner

Resident Agent:

Attorney David Gardner


Bank of America

Sprinkler & Underground Lighting

Unity Environmental Systems

Bookkeeping & Collections

Association Bookkeeping Svcs


The Sign Store

Copy & Reproduction Services


Snow Removal (Town Homes)

Landscape Innovations Inc.

Exterior Construction & Fencing

TML Construction

Street Lighting and Electrical

Power Systems Electric




G&G Towing Services

HOA Stationary

Rockville Printing

Trash Services

Titus of Montgomery County

Insurance & Bonds

State Farm

Water & Sewer


Lawncare, Landscape, Tree Services

Landscape Innovations Inc.

Web Master

Interland, Inc.

Paving & Concrete, Striping

American Paving and Striping






Call To Order:                                7:00 p.m.  - 15714 Cherry Blossom Lane

Absent BOD or ARC Members:      Rita Becker, Kathy Wyatt

Guests:                               David Haas, Owner – Orchard Knolls


Minutes Review and Acceptance:  (Previous month’s edited minutes are posted to our website several weeks ahead of board meeting.  President is Chief Editor.  One unedited copy for the permanent records of HOA is placed on the table for review and access.  President points to the copy and asks if there are any changes).


There were none.  Motion made to accept without further change.  Motion was 2nd, Passed unanimously.




Property Maintenance & Architectural Guidelines  -  (Rule 2005-1) None

   Common Area Behavior - (Rule 2003-1)                                                 None




                Remaining Operating Cash This Quarter:

Checkbook Balance:                                            

  $9,485 From Balance Sheet

Less, Unbilled Commitments this Quarter:


     Fixed:  (2005 is approximately $3.3K / Mo)                                

    3,300 March

     Completed Variable Work:




Attorney Fees for G-834 Re-Zoning (Partial Billing)

    1,000  Estimate

Attorney Fees for Rule 2005-3                                                         

       300  Estimate

Snow Removal (February-March) Settlement

    1,100  Estimate

Incremental Transfer to General Reserves for New Enclosure

    1,600  ($1,805 – 225)

Enclosure Installation Materials

       150  Estimate

Sprinkler System Startup Contract 1 of 2 Payments

    1,000  Actual

Sprinkler System Repairs (Time & Materials)

    1,000  Estimate

Enclosure Rewire (Unity – Mike Jensen)

       500  Estimate

Remove Entrance Hollys, Hedges, Replace Flags

       150  Estimate

Surplus  (Shortfall):

$    (615)  (Shortfall)





Status of Reserve Funds:






1.  Townhome Streets-Related Replacements Reserve



Required End of Year Per TH Streets Replacement Plan

$ 78,200


Actual This Month:        

  -72,321  From Balance Sheet


Contributions to EOY:                                                   

    -5,925 ($7,900 Annual  / 12 Mo) x 9 Remaining Mo)


Surplus or (Shortfall):                          






2.  All Other Assets Replacements Reserve



Required End of Year Per All Other Assets Replacement Plan

$ 75.900


Actual This Month:

  -46,539  From Balance Sheet


Contributions to EOY:                                       

  -11.025 ($14,700 Annual / 12 Mo) x 9 Remaining Mo)


Surplus or (Shortfall):                 

  (18,336) (See Note)





3.  General Reserve  (New in 2005)



Required End of Year Per 2% Previous Yr Operating Budget



Actual This Month:

 -1,340  From Balance Sheet


Contributions to EOY: 

         0  Paid in Advance to Open Account


Surplus or (Shortfall) :                               




Note:  Shortfall in General Replacement Reserves is due to:

1)  2003 - Additional $7,000 (incremental over plan) to replace S/E Tot-Lot equipment.

2)  2004 - Transfer $6,000 to TH Streets Reserve to adjust for 6-years of insufficient contributions.)

3)  2004 - Transfer $3,600 to operating funds for pedestrian bridge upgrade and repair.

4)  2005 - Additional $1,600 (incremental over plan) to replace Electronics Enclosure Unit


Budget Variances:

For the Month:

 $      (419.92)



 $      (3,994.76)  Negative due to unexpectedly high snow removal costs in 2005, and unbudgeted purchase of 2 streetlights.


Delinquencies and Late Fees:


10 =  $1,336.  8 < 3 months, 1 < 5 Months, 1 = NSF Judgment Filed in District Court for HOA


NSF Law Suit;  Previous Owner (Diaz) Vs HOA  - Last month, District Court Of Maryland (Montgomery County) issued a Writ of Garnishment for $822.50  to owner’s bank account at Wachovia Bank.  This month, District Court issued a Lien of Judgment, recorded in court, to Orchard Knolls HOA for $795.


Storage for Archived HOA Records:  ABS wants to discard all HOA records older than 7 years.  If we want/need to save them, we must make arrangements for other storage.  We asked ABS to provide a cost to store those records in a suitable facility.  We have not heard back.  Treasurer will discuss with ABS


HOA’s Records with Associated Bookkeeping Services Prior to 1998 Have Been Destroyed (Per ABS).  Mohammad Homaitabar is looking into the matter and will provide a report at next board meeting.




Architectural Guidelines Violations and Unresolved Property Maintenance:  (Table Located at end of minutes)


Semi-Annual Community Inspection Rescheduled to June 5  – Owners that received letters from last inspection are painting and resolving maintenance problems now with the onset of good weather.  Many the inspection date was premature and requested an extension.  Board agreed.  Our semi-annual community walk-through inspection (townhomes this time) is rescheduled to Sunday, June 5 starting at 3pm.  All ARC and BOD members should attend.  Inspection will begin at intersection of Cherry Blossom Lane and Blackberry Drive.


New Architectural Guidelines Standard Developed for Detached Homes Storage Buildings – It was recently discovered that our community had expectations and restrictions, but they are not documented. Similar but more restrictive townhomes standards are documented.  A draft of concerns expressed by ARC and BOD members (representing the overall community) was developed for final ARC consideration and vote.  They will edit the draft, vote and review it with BOD next month.


New Architectural Guideline Standard Needed for Townhome Exterior Storage of Ladders.  Several town home owners are storing multiple long ladders in rear yards presenting an unsightly appearance to neighbors.  A new tenant has several stacked. The town home owner was cooperative enough to ask.  We informed him that ARC has regularly advised that they must be behind a fenced yard, however that position is not documented.  A draft guideline will be developed for ARC review and vote at next meeting.


12015 Citrus Grove Road – Permission To Remove Medium (Healthy) Tree - There are three large shade trees on owner’s lawn.  Owner is afraid center tree may someday go over and cause damage.  Covenants prohibit removal of any tree larger than 6-Inches in diameter.  BOD members visited the lot and agreed to the following contingency:  Owner may remove the tree contingent upon immediate replacement with like variety, or, may remove the tree with concurrent removal of roots to below grade and concurrent addition of matching lawn sod to cover the hole.  Eileen will communicate boards decision to owner.


120?? Blackberry Terrace – Unapproved Trim Color - Violation of ARC Guidelines -  Late March, owner changed off-white trim color to yellow without submitting Architectural Change Request.  Since no request was submitted, no ARC review of the new color was conducted.  When discovered, several ARC and BOD members objected to the stark color – an indication others in the community are likely to object in the future.  About mid-point in the painting, owner was notified by neighbor Lisa Goodman, board member and current Acting ARC Chair, that an unapproved color change is a violation of covenants, and that yellow color being applied was not acceptable.  Owner responded that they picked yellow from another home in our community and belatedly gave Lisa an undated, unsigned Architectural Change Request with paint samples.  BOD searched; could not find the yellow color.  BOD advised owner to stop painting.  Owner ignored the warning and chose to complete painting.  Paint color samples included with the belated Architectural Change Request are acceptable. The trim sample is called “Montgomery White” a typical off-white tone.  However actual trim color is very yellow. Owner now states the yellow resulted from applying “Montgomery White” over a lime-green primer.


ARC Chair requested that BOD advise and rule on this dilemma. Majority of ARC and BOD members have viewed the home.  After much discussion, BOD concluded there are four distinct problems:


1) Owner ignored Covenant Article VIII and XIII which requires prior ARC review and approval for exterior color changes,


 2) Owner’s painter’s failed to meet “Montgomery White” specification allegedly given to him by owner.


 3) Several ARC and BOD members object to the yellow.  It cannot be approved on behalf of the community.

 4)  When home was half painted, owner (again) ignored BOD warnings to stop painting.


BOD is obligated to enforce covenants, find an acceptable closure to the issue, but still protect community standards.  Board wrestled with looming potential high cost to repaint including a likely corresponding legal dispute.  Secretary noted that there is HOA precedence for a fixed time-period waiver in these situations.  For example, perhaps the color could be corrected at next required maintenance painting.


After much review, the following compromise motion was made:   “ARC and BOD conclude that owner failed to comply with exterior color-change covenants.  Resulting yellow trim color did not receive prior ARC approval, does not meet existing color standards for detached homes, is unacceptable to our community, and must be repainted.  ARC and BOD find the belated Architectural Change Request’s trim color sample identified as  Montgomery White” is an acceptable trim color for the community. Therefore in a spirit of compromise, BOD offers the current owner,  a temporary, contingent waiver of the Board’s Article VIII and XIII right to demand immediate restoration. The waiver has the following conditions:


 1) Owner will correct yellow to a pre-approved color at next maintenance painting or 3 years, whichever comes first.

 2)  Owner will correct the yellow color prior to sale, lease or deed-transfer of the property.

 3) The property will remain in violation of covenants and flagged on the property assessment record.

 4) Waiver will be issued in writing, mailed certified-return-receipt and retained in permanent HOA records,

 5) Unapproved paint color must be disclosed to all potential buyers of the property.

 6) Unless restored within 90 days, Board will conclude owner has accepted all terms of the waiver.


If waiver terms are violated, BOD must invoke it’s obligation under Article VIII and XIII to unilaterally contract to repaint the home to an approved color at expense of owner.  Motion was seconded and voted.  Motion passed unanimously.  Secretary will draft the letter to the owner, and forward to President for signature and mailing to owner.


Architectural Change Request (ACR) Applications Processed This Month:


15626 Blackberry Drive               Storage Shed                Approved

12000 Citrus Grove Road            Porch and Gazebo         Approved


New Rule 2005-3 Executed and Adopted - Property Maintenance Control and Enforcement – This rule integrates new Montgomery County Annotated Code 10(b) which legally requires a BOD hearing for all homeowners charged with property maintenance violations or violations of covenants including Architectural Guidelines. The hearing must be accomplished and documented before BOD unilaterally acts to correct violations. This rule specifies four legal enforcement options available to BOD (a BOD hearing, mediation with CCOC, law suit in District Court, and BOD’s unilateral contracting to enter the lot and abate the violation).  It documents HOA’s semi-annual inspection procedures, warning notification procedures, and uniform restoration periods.  It establishes and identifies acceptable inspection conditions under which these violations may be charged to a home owner. It consolidates and integrates in one document, legal enforcement procedures required of BOD when infractions are brought about. It also consolidates and integrates our earlier equivalent 6-Step notification and enforcement procedures. This rule replaces those procedures. Lastly, this rule also establishes clear financial recovery collection procedures including attorney fees.


Major elements of this rule have been in use for several years by other Montgomery County Homeowner Associations.  It was originally called Rule 1999-1 and first recommended  to Orchard Knolls by our attorney in 1999.  However, during transfer of HOA Presidents and BODs in 1999-2000, it was lost.  It was never executed or adopted by any board.  Our attorney advises that Montgomery County and the courts no longer support HOA’s that have not executed or adopted this or similar rules.  Because our attorney has been actively involved in litigation of several of Orchard Knolls property maintenance violations, covenant violations, and Architectural Guideline violations in recent years, he now strongly recommended we adopt it to strengthen our legal position with Montgomery County and the court system.  Changes were made to comply with Orchard Knolls environment.  Over the past several months, all BOD members reviewed the draft document.  At last board meeting, BOD voted to send the final document to our attorney for final legal review.  Attorney completed final legal review and submitted the document for execution and adoption tonight


Secretary provided hard copy executable document to all board members and again reviewed need as noted above.  Secretary noted that Declaration of Covenants state that BOD has a specific obligation to develop and execute rules necessary to properly govern the association and, that they are adopted without vote or approval of the membership.  Day Care Rule, Satellite Rule, and Common Area Rule are examples.  Secretary noted that attorney recently added a previously missing board’s option to file suit for compliance in District Court as well as an option for shorter restoration periods in the event of potential dangerous situations


A motion was made and for President to execute the document immediately and for BOD to adopt the rule.  Motion was seconded and approved  - unanimous vote with one member absent.  President Rick signed the rule.  Secretary witnessed and signed the rule.  Secretary will make copies for the community, submit an electronic copy to President for addition to our web page, send a copy to ABS for reproduction and insertion in our resale packages, and send original to attorney for recording and filing in Montgomery County District Court HOA Depository.


BOD Recruiting 2 Additional ARC Members – No Progress


5. UNFINISHED BUSINESS  - (Previous Minutes):


Snow Removal Invoices Re-Negotiated, Costs Reduced - Bob Mead met with Rick and Jerry this month to re-negotiate remaining three snow removal invoices that appeared to include unspecified and unnecessary work.  It appears work was accomplished but not expected.  In general, it appears there was a misunderstanding of scope of work.  Bob agreed to cut total cost by 50%. Rick agreed to immediately pay the reduced amount.  The invoice is now paid.  We are currently analyzing total season snow-removal costs.  We expect to revise the work scope and re-bid the contract for 2006


Replacement Sprinkler/Lighting Controls Shelter Installed:  This month, volunteers and friends of the community installed our new cedar shelter to replace the 13 year-old leaking, collapsing, ant-infested Rubbermaid electronic controls unit.  The old unit was demolished and taken to the dump. The new unit had to be installed in the same location because there is a myriad of underground plumbing and wiring that exit the ground at that location.  Routing to another location would be prohibitively expensive.  Temporarily, the lighting and sprinkler controls are disabled but expected to be restored before next board meeting.  The old unit became so jammed with HOA tools and materials that some had to be sold such as our contractor hoses etc.   Many HOA owned tools and materials currently stored in owner garages will now be returned to the shelter.  An interior light, shelving and minor landscape work will be accomplished in the future.  Thanks to volunteer efforts of board members, friends of the community, and TML Construction; their labor was contributed at no cost to our HOA


Additional $50 Approved to Seal Replacement Sprinkler/Lighting Controls Shelter;  During the month, Board approved the expense (by email to members) to purchase 2 gallons of Olympic Maxima, a liquid weather seal recommended by the cedar shelter manufacturer, which preserves the cedar color.  Volunteers applied the seal to the entire unit prior to the meeting tonight.


Quote Rejected - $75/Month for Monthly Lighting Systems Inspection -  There are 17 association owned streetlights, 4 entrance marque lights, 2 gazebo mailbox lights , 48 privately owned residential post-lights, and 6 underground up-lights. In addition, there are county streetlights on all detached home streets.  No one in HOA has responsibility to call for repairs when a lighting system is out.  Often, they are out for weeks.  On average, 20% of all townhome post lights are out.  HOA wants town home owners to keep post lights lit.  Town home owners cannot get electrical contractors to respond to repair post lights.  They ask the community to provide a service.  We requested and received a quote from our electrical maintenance contractor Power System’s Electric, to provide a monthly inspection contract as follows:  The maintenance contract includes a fee schedule for materials frequently needing replacement such as light bulbs and photo cells.  The maintenance contract includes an optional inspection of Montgomery County Streetlights within our association, including turnkey follow up calls to the county for repair.


In a split straw-vote, BOD rejected the contract amount and approach, favoring instead to stay with failure-mode procedure, with no one having responsibility to call for repairs after systems fail  - paying on a time and materials basis. Secretary will transfer this proposal to be considered at next annual meeting. 


Deferred Again – Deferred BOD Business (Category 7 Below) – In an effort to reduce growing backlog of deferred issues (See Item 7 below), in January by common agreement on the board, secretary assigned them to board members for each member to evaluate and write an opinion of recommended disposition for next month’s meeting.  Most members were not prepared.  BOD again deferred review on these matters to following month. Tonight, exhausted board members again deferred this effort to next month.  However, on a positive note – several members feel the entire issue needs to be addressed at a specially called mid-month board meeting, perhaps a luncheon, where only these matters are discussed and resolved.  Tonight, BOD deferred the luncheon too.




Two Overgrown Entrance Holly’s to be Removed to Expose Marque Columns and Bluestone Wall.  Our two middle holly bushes in the entrance marque are so overgrown that they block much of our valuable and beautiful bluestone wall, as well as our two attractive masonry capped columns in the center. They also block our cornerstone which is inscribed.  All four became so overgrown over the years that they completely blocked all four columns and the two colonial lights.  It is not possible to trim the sides without killing them.  We had the tops trimmed in 2004 to expose the colonial lights – but our botanist advises that further trimming will kill them.  Holly’s must be trimmed annually or not at all.  The outer two holly(s) on the ends of the wall will not be removed at this time, however removal is advised and likely will occur in 2006. 


We obtained a 2-phase quote to remove them and the small dying hedge beside them ($75) -  then in a second phase, $730 to replace them with “Weeping Repandens” which are slower growing and can be sculptured and shaped.

This project is not budgeted.  Most likely we will proceed with the second phase, however BOD chose to delay another month until we can evaluate funds.


Entrance Marque Wall needs Masonry Repairs – Several stones have fallen out of the wall in recent years.  If the original stone is nearby, it is a minor project to mix some inexpensive mortar and reinstall them, but it needs doing.  BOD will look for a volunteer.


Entrance Summer Flowers to be Installed.  Our winter and early spring pansies have served us well, but will be removed and our summer flowers will be installed by Mother’s Day in May.  Begonias will be installed again this year.  Deer typically avoid this variety.  They were beautiful last year.  This project is in the 2005 approved budget.


Entrance Flags to Replaced:  The two faded and torn entrance flags will be replaced next month when the summer flowers are installed.  This project is in the 2005 approved budget..


Ex-Budget Costs May Delay Replacement of Dead Trees – We received a $1,125 quote to replace the following common area trees:  3 Yoshino Cherry Trees (2 directly in front of private residences in Non-Garaged Townhomes removed in 2003, 1 directly in front of a Garaged Townhome removed in 2004), 2 Red Sunset Maples to match existing (1 at each end of North-East Blackberry Drive Missing since 1994), and 3 Leyland Cypress at North-West Blackberry Drive Stormwater Creek split-rail fence -  to replace matching dead trees removed in 2004


This project is in the approved budget for 2005. However, due to unexpected expenses BOD decided to wait until next month to evaluate funds for this project.


New Replacement Equipment Ordered for North-East Tot-Lot  -  Our “Assets Replacement Plan” tracks and forecasts aging and useful life of our assets in the community. This tot-lot was installed in 1990 with a 15 year life.  2005 is the year scheduled to replace this equipment.  Jerry brought photos of the equipment.  Much of the equipment is splintered and worn with several broken components.  BOD asked Playground Systems Inc to refresh their 2003 quote to replace this equipment.  After conducting a site visit, they advised that Montgomery County had increased required walk-around clearances for certain playground equipment.  As a result, one (small) piece of equipment (a bouncing cycle) could no longer be used in the existing lot without enlarging the lot.  Board declined to enlarge it.  Board also asked TML Construction to provide an alternate quote to remove the existing equipment.  This project is in the 2005 approved budget..


Playground Systems Inc initially quoted $950 to remove old equipment.  TML quoted $800.  BOD feels the TML quote is not sufficiently low to split the contract.  They rejected the TML quote in favor of awarding a turnkey contract if Playground Systems will match the TML quote.  Playground Systems agreed to a $150 reduction and matched theTML quote.  Playground System’s total new equipment and installation cost, including removal of the old, is $7,440.70.  Funds are 100% available in General Replacement Reserves.  BOD unanimously agreed to proceed with the contract to Playground Systems Inc.  The contract requires 50% deposit, and 50% after completion.  Completion is expected by end of June.  Secretary will make the arrangements.


Lawncare and Landscape On-Site Review Meeting -  Bob Mead  (Landscape Innovations Inc) met with Rick and Jerry this month to walk the common area and review our expectations for 2005. They are getting a late start due to new immigration laws preventing our workers from last year entering the country.  Bob assured us they will honor all terms and conditions of our 2005 contract.


Directory Update Several owners have verbally requested that the directory be updated and republished.  We recently received another request in writing .   Apparently, there are new concerns with listing children’s names in the directory.   Lisa, Eileen and Rick will initiate an effort to produce the document shortly.


Newsletter:  Our last newsletter was published one year ago.  There are many issues that need to be communicated to our total ownership.  Secretary will contact our key volunteer coordinator, designer, and publisher (Brian Zarchin) to try to get a newsletter published soon.


Townhome Streets to be Repaired, Sealed and Re-Striped July-August On Schedule.  Our “Assets Replacement Plan” tracks and forecasts aging and useful life of assets in the community.  Asphalt sealing has a four-year useful life; last done in 2001.  2005 is the year scheduled to reseal.  The project is completed in one day weather permitting.  BOD will communicate to impacted owners far ahead of scheduled date.  All vehicles must be removed ahead of the scheduled date.  Those left will be towed.  The entire surface area is swept, cleaned of oil stains, dirt and dust.  All open pavement cracks are filled with rubberized joint seal compounds. The surface is professionally sealed with a tar emulsion sealant. At end of day, all white parking striping is redone.  Our ongoing contractor, American Striping, has provided an updated quote of $6,600.  This is a 7.5% increase per year since last application.  This year, curb parking, where permitted along north and west Cherry Blossom Lane will also be delineated with white vehicle space markers (not striping).    This project is funded by General Replacement Reserves and is in the 2005 approved budget.  BOD agreed to proceed.


Asphalt Walking Path’s Repair and Resealing May be Accelerated to 2005 - This project, similar to Townhome Streets Repair and Reseal, is on a six-year useful life schedule, scheduled for 2006, but is in need of repairs and sealing now. Experience is giving us more accurate useful life information.  It seems prudent to reduce the useful life to four years and merge this requirement into the townhome streets schedule.  Initial discussions with American Striping indicate there is no cost savings synergy because adding the pathways will cause the total project to go over into a second day.


President Rick agreed to contact American Striping General Manager to develop a workable plan at the best possible price.  This project is funded by General Replacement Reserves, but is not in the 2005 approved budget.


Blackberry Drive Tot-Lot Upgrade Project Revisited.  President Rick raised the issue of the remaining Blackberry Drive Tot-Lot.  Another board member recommended we proceed to upgrade this lot.  Secretary noted there is no demand in the community for upgrading this lot and noted that last annual meeting, after lively and significant discussion from the floor on the matter, membership declined to endorse spending the money at that time. Rick described some alternate uses for the lot.  The lot sits idle.  Some members wish to deactivate the lot and grass it over as a lowest cost alternative.


The scheduled 2003 upgrade of this lot did not materialize due to surprisingly high cost of equipment, and straw polls that indicate little use and little demand .  Only the worn and several-times repaired swing set and see-saw remain – all other equipment was removed due to unsafe condition of the equipment.  BOD decided to limit the 2003-4 upgrade to the East Tot-Lot only.  There are several alternative use proposals for the area.  Under consideration is a community picnic pavilion and eliminate the tot-lot, completely grassing the area over.  Eliminating it could save approximately $12,000 in General Replacement Reserves, reduce annual maintenance and liability, and lower the general assessment.


BOD chose to do-nothing for now.   It will be deferred until next annual meeting.


Underground Lighting Back "On":  Volunteers reinstalled the transformer and lighting control system for our underground lighting in the new outdoor enclosure saving us about $300. Our sprinkler contractor was scheduled to have done that work.  Our lights were "on" for the first time in a month last night.  Two burned out bulbs will be replaced shortly. 


Sprinkler Startup and Repair Work Scheduled April 26:  Unity (Mike Jensen - our sprinkler contractor) will be here April 26 to reinstall all sprinkler control wiring, electronic controls, and clock in the shed. That labor cost (required by shed replacement) is estimated to be about $300. He will do spring system maintenance, repairs, and startup.  Rain date = April 27. All inspection and startup costs are covered by our new contract with him except for materials used in repairs.


Repairs:  There is a broken pipe underground in center island - estimated repair about $100.  We are also asking him to add a sprinkler head to the south tip of the Blackberry Drive center island to water those flowers.... not currently sprinkled, last year they died from lack of water.  Cost is estimated to be about $150.  We will also ask him to repair zone 1 by cutting off the damaged parts along the bottom of the route 28 berm.  This will allow him to re-activate zone 1 sufficiently to water the east side entrance flowers only.  The rest of that system was destroyed by State Highway when they widened Rt 28. That repair cost is estimated to be about $300.  Lastly, we plan to ask him to re-install the 6th underground uplighting unit removed last fall to install one of the two new streetlights.  We have the unit.  Estimated cost = $150.  Total estimated non-contract items = about $1,000.   Those repairs are included in the 2005 approved budget.


We  have asked him to provide ideas and costs on how to legally and effectively water the State Highway purple plum tree on the Blackberry Drive bull-nose into Rt 28 – without impacting vehicles. That property and tree belong to State Highway.  Watering will have to be accomplished from our center island without any disturbance to State Highway property.  He will propose and provide a quote to install several more underground light units on our center island to further illuminate the underside of our purple plum trees.  Those projects may be proposed for 2006.


“No Soliciting” Signs to be Installed at Entrance:  Soliciting is prohibited in Orchard Knolls by our covenants.  BOD has recently received several complaints from residents about ongoing door to door innocuous but annoying soliciting.  Worse, we received one complaint of a racial threat by a door to door solicitor.  Over the next month or two, BOD will evaluate Kentlands (and other HOAs) high-quality Bronze “No Soliciting” signs.  Current plans are to purchase two small but distinct high-quality, low-profile signs to be installed in our entrance flower beds as is done in Kentlands.  This is not budgeted.


“No Advertising”  Signs at Gazebo:  Secretary displayed another of dozens of stained, torn, outdated, unsightly paper advertising signs anonymously posted on the mailbox gazebo on a regular basis.  These armature signs, often for Day Care, Yard, Furniture, Vehicle Sales, are usually hand-drawn and well intentioned but become outdated, weathered and are not removed. Some times they are vendors from outside the community.  The attachments (tape, tacks, glue, staples) are left behind.  As a result, our mailbox unit is an eyesore again.


Secretary asked for a motion which prohibits posting at the gazebo mailbox without permission of Board of Directors (this will allow approved community functions to be posted).  Further, the motion should include purchase of two professionally designed signs to be installed  one each end of the mailbox unit stating boldly:  No Posting or Advertising” in large letters “Without Permission of Board of Directors” in small letters at the bottom. The two signs like our others, will be white aluminum, with environmental green letters. Motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved.  Secretary will have them made up by our contractor.  Estimated cost $60.  Volunteers will install them. This is not budgeted.


Potomac Garden Center Noise Complaint from Resident – We have received a complaint of ongoing and continuous loud noise from operation of a commercial power wash machine.  Mohammad will contact owner.


Relocating:  Johnson’s Nursery  – Appeal for Special Exception Zoning Sign is Posted on their new lot on Rt 28.




Upgrade & Replace Marque Florescent Lighting – This RFQ still outstanding.


Construct Missing Stone Marque at East Blackberry Drive Entrance  This RFQ still outstanding.


Suspicious Mailbox Behavior – BOD has received information from an owner that the Cherry Blossom Place tenant that was evicted over a year ago, occasionally returns and sits in a parked vehicle in Cherry Blossom Place – apparently waiting for the mail to arrive at the gazebo.  What precisely happens once the mail arrives is unknown.  There is reason to believe that this behavior may be linked to the 2004 attempted break-in(s) at the gazebo mailbox units.  There is no violation of law that we know of at this time.  We have asked the owner to report any related events.


Common Area Floods 15728 Cherry Blossom Lane Side Yard – We received quote for $1,970 from Landscape Innovations (our lawn care contractor) to install a French Drain and pipe the runoff to the street.  (Adjacent neighbor’s down Spouts flood the common area) – Owner requested help at 2003 and again at 2004 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.  Re-bid/Re-Design reduced cost to  $1, 470.  Contractor was asked to rebid with a less expensive design.  New design dumps water into a drywell instead of piping it to the street.  BOD declined the bid – requesting another look at design and cost.  Secretary will notify contractor.


Multiple Unregistered, Unlicensed Day Care Operations – BOD has received complaints of high traffic baby and small children “pick-ups” and “drop-offs” particularly in the townhome community.  Complaints are centered around a significant traffic increase in am and pm with observations of a myriad of non owner/tenant children being dropped off and picked up.   Jerry noted that our records indicate there are no registered Day Care Operations in Orchard Knolls at this time.  Owner observations indicate otherwise.  BOD again decided to table the matter until a less busy time.


Gazebo Mailbox - Attempted Break-In and Damage   Secretary sent letter to Postmaster documenting the events – requesting assistance in securing the area and the unit.  There has been no response.


Value Recovery for Damaged Rt. 28 Sprinkler System  -  Attorney notified SHA.  SHA evaluated site and agreed to repair  the damaged section themselves – no money.  Damaged section is no longer grass or sod and of no value to HOA.  HOA wants remedy for lost value.  BOD requested that secretary convey to SHA (via our attorney) our desire to settle for a few screening trees along the berm where SHA did the damage.  Secretary advised SHA.  There has been no response.


Neglect of Lawn Care on Common Areas Adjacent to End-Units - End unit townhome side-lawns deceptively appear to be owned by townhomes. They are not.  All side-lawn property is owned by HOA.  End units only own 4-feet from side of brickwork.  Remaining lawn to the street is HOA responsibility.  HOA lawn care is neglecting to weed, feed and trim these areas for 8 of 9 end unit town homes.  Most have become eyesores.  Yet, the one end unit with it’s lawn adjacent to Blackberry Drive is receiving outstanding HOA lawn care. Because of it’s prime location, that town home’s side lot receives HOA sprinkling, contracted trimming, fertilization, weeding, insecticide, reseeding, thatch removal, and lawn cutting.  HOA should treat all common areas adjacent to townhome properties alike.  The issue is favoritism of one unit due to it’s exposure to Blackberry Drive while neglecting the other eight similar HOA side-lawn properties.


Dog Waste Sign Intentionally Smashed - Citrus Grove Cul-de-sac - Sign has been intentionally beat, split and wrapped around steel pole.  Some members of board wanted to remove it.


HOA Mail (Distributed by ABS) to Owner’s Alternate Addresses - Some owners have “blind” addresses for actual residence.  Their assessment is mailed to another responsible agent.  Should HOA mail prepared by ABS be mailed to owner’s “alternate” address? Should it be duplicated for resident’s HOA property?


HOA Mail Does not go to Tenants of Remote Owners  - Due to lack of volunteers, several years ago, BOD discontinued door-to-door delivery of HOA information.  Instead, all such distributions are accomplished via US mail  - addressed only to owners at record-of-assessment address.  Neighbors ask BOD to distribute HOA informative mail to all homes to include tenants.




Upstream Bank Erosion Continues to Exposes Bridge:  During celebratory discussions that the bridge upgrade is finally complete - secretary pointed out risk of bridge wash-out (again) in a heavy storm is diminished but not gone.  Because BOD continues to ignore erosion control on the upstream side of the creek banks, there is no assurance the bridge will remain in place during or after severe flooding conditions.


Establish Entrance Committee:  A suggestion was made at last Annual Meeting to develop a volunteer “Entrance Landscape Committee” to take design and implementation responsibility for the landscape and floral upkeep of our entrance at Blackberry Drive.  The committee would be made up of an equal number of townhome vs. single family home members, and would be granted the entire budget currently in place for the annual entrance maintenance.


Hire HOA Maintenance Person:  A suggestion was made at last Annual Meeting for Orchard Knolls to hire a part time maintenance person or contractor to accomplish routine non-major repair and upgrade tasks such as sign maintenance, minor painting, light bulb replacement etc.  Responsibilities and a fee schedule could be identified in advance


$1,920 for Additional Streetlight at Intersection of Cherry Blossom Lane at Blackberry Drive - Contractor quote  arrived. This area is very dark.  It does not have a streetlight on the Cherry Blossom Lane side (area of the Stop sign).  This area is regularly prone to black ice in winter.  Further, this intersection has had two vehicle accidents and one pedestrian accident.  Neighbors have requested additional safety lighting. The opposite end of Cherry Blossom Lane in both directions has a streetlight – this end does not. Board is reluctant to commit this money now due to unexpected over budget items in snow removal and legal fees.  It will be deferred to Annual Membership Meeting


$3,250 for New Blackberry Drive Sidewalk Street Light (Tot-Lot Entrance) - Contractor quote for this unit arrived this month.  The cost is $3,250.  The high cost is due to the long underground supply circuit and requirement to go under Cherry Blossom Lane.  In addition, the project requires completion of an added streetlight on Cherry Blossom Lane – another $1,920.  Both projects will be deferred to Annual Membership Meeting.



ADJOURNMENT  -  President had to leave early.  Residual business that did not need the president continued.  Monthly meeting adjourned by call of the Secretary at 9:15  Pm


NEXT MEETING -. May 16, 20057pm.  Meeting this month will be delayed to 3rd Monday to allow for receipt of Financial Statement for Treasurer review with board.  Call any board member for location.  Orchard Knolls owners and residents welcome. Non-owners and guests by invitation only. Input by US mail, email, or web page.