ORCHARD KNOLLS HOMEOWNER’S ASSOCIATION (HOA)

 An All-Volunteer, Self-Managed Community

 

Member:  Montgomery County Commission of Common Ownership Communities

Member:  North Potomac Citizens Association Inc

 

WWW.ORCHARDKNOLLS.ORG

 

MONTHLY BOARD MEETING MINUTES:                        DECEMBER 15, 2003                     

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS (BOD) :                                   TEL:                 E-MAIL:                                    TERM:             

President                      Richard Schinner                       301-977-5196     evantage@aol.com                     Nov 05

VP Detached Homes      Lisa Goodwin                             301-963-3807     goodgrl@attglobal.net                 Nov 05

VP Town Homes            Eileen Solomon                         301-330-2876     zeppsol@aol.com                      Nov 03

Treasurer                      Mohammad Homaitabar              301-318-8446     homaitabar@yahoo.com Nov 04

Secretary                      Jerry Way                                 301-977-0523     jerway@comcast.net                  Nov 05 

 

ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEE (ARC):

Chairperson                   Kathy Wyatt                                                                 

ARC Member                 Dennis Zepp     

ARC Member                 Rita Becker (Absent)

 

ATTENDING TONIGHT:  (All present unless so noted)     

 

GUESTS:                      None                

 

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

 

II. MINUTES:  (Posted on web at least one week before meeting.  Copy made available to guests).

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

 

III.  BOD HEARINGS:    None Scheduled

 

IV. GUEST PRESENTATIONS:  None Requested

 

V. ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEE :

 

ARC Change Requests – None Submitted. (Preliminary review of a near future submission).

 

Fall 2002 Inspection - Detached Homes, Non-Compliance Letters - Mailed certified.  Next letter will come from our attorney.  If still not compliant, HOA will contract to have repairs done.

 

Spring 2003 Inspection - Townhomes, Non-Compliance Letters - Mailed certified.   Next letter will come from our attorney.  If still not compliant, HOA will contract to have repairs done.

 

Fall 2003 Inspection - Detached Homes, First Notice - Letters mailed.

 

Storm Door and Awnings Standard Revised - ARC voted to revise two community standards in Architectural Guidelines.  Master and our web page were updated:

 

1.  Awnings:  In general, exterior awnings at the front of the unit are prohibited. Exterior awnings at the rear of the property will be prohibited unless prior ARC approval is obtained. Awnings must be compatible with the architectural designs of the house and the color scheme of the unit.

 

Townhomes:  Awnings are prohibited in townhomes. The Architectural Review Committee's mission is to maintain uniformity and neatness in townhome areas.  Since awnings were not part of original townhome design, even a few would interfere with appearance.  Even with best intentions, open awnings can break apart in high winds and storms. Townhome awnings are an overall community safety issue.  (Updated by majority vote of ARC October 16, 2003).

 

            2.  Storm Doors: In general, storm doors will be approved if the following restrictions are met:

 

(A) Style: Full-view style storm doors only (any frame edge around the glass must not exceed 5-Inches in width) - with clear safety glass.  (Updated November 17, 2003 by majority vote of ARC).

 

(B) Material: Storm doors are to have an aluminum or vinyl exterior. Wood or other material requiring maintenance is not permitted.

 

              (C) Color: All storm doors must be painted to match the color of the door trim.

 

Town Homes: Door and frame color must closely match trim of the Town Home (not the front door color), typically almond color for Town Homes.  ARC has not objected to almond color storm door units for Town Homes

 

Detached Homes:  Same as Town Homes except door and frame color must closely match trim of the home (not the front door color).  Most manufacturers offer these doors in a close match color.

 

Two Storm Door Violations Granted Waiver – Two homes in violation of “Full-View” guidelines were granted waiver until current door needs replacement due to Guideline “full-view” ambiguity.  Letters sent to owners this month.

 

VI.  NEW BOD BUSINESS

 

Annual Meeting Date Change - Montgomery County approved our request to change Annual Meeting date to Monday January 12th 7:30-10:30 pm at Quince Orchard High School.

 

Annual Meeting Preparation - Rick will prepare agenda and moderate.  Eileen’s term has expired.  She agreed to run for re-election.  That position is open for nominations from the floor.  Jerry will arrange with ABS for a list of owners for voting and prepare ballots.  BOD will request community position on assessment increase.  We will have handout copies of Balance Sheet, 2004 Budget, and Unfunded Community Improvement Projects.  Jerry will review “Annual Replacement Reserves Funding Requirements” process and procedures. In addition, there will be handout copies of Behavior on Common Areas Rule 2003.   We will put the sign out 6 days before meeting.  Mohammad will contact ABS to send a mailing notice of Annual Meeting date and time.

 

Blackberry Drive Center Island Uplighting Modified - This month, we replaced steel louvered covers with clear glass to provide additional lighting.  In the spring, the individual light sources will be moved closer to the surface.

 

Pedestrian Bridge Support Washed Out, Bridge Twisting.  Alternative Solution?   TML Construction is offering a proposal which lifts existing bridge to same level as the two Tot-Lots.  New support columns would be installed on stabile soil.  A PT deck-walk with matching rails would be added to each end linking with the raised bridge.  An alternative is to minimally raise the bridge, install new support columns, eliminate the walk but add steps at each end of the existing bridge.  TML will provide a budgetary estimate.

 

South East Tot-Lot Upgraded - Nearby owners, ARC and BOD members, and a host of children provided outstanding reviews of new equipment.  Observations indicate the lot is nearly always in use with many children.  Adult supervision is lacking.  We are pleased at quality of equipment.  There were abandoned trash and financial problems with supplier/installer.  We paid others to have trash removed. All but $30 of the financial matter has been resolved.  Supplier/Installer has yet to provide agreed-to matching paint, maintenance tools, and a repair kit for the steering wheel.

 

Potomac Garden Nursery - Rick and Mohammad report that the only remaining issue is that the trailers remain.

 

Blackberry Drive Sign Installed -We do not know who (SHA or Montgomery County) installed it, but it is up.

 

Blackberry/Rt 28 -  Lack of Pepco Illumination - There have been many accidents since August – several at night.  The original SHA proposal for our intersection included Pepco Illumination. Our sister community west past Safeway has new Pepco intersection lighting.  According to SHA, illumination is not in the project for our (more dangerous) intersection.  Rick will engage our attorney to investigate and prepare an effort to add Pepco light poles to our intersection.

 

State Highway Administration – Rt 28 Widening - We continue to apply pressure to SHA to install white RIGHT-TURN-ONLY arrows on east bound Rt 28 pavement -  before Blackberry Drive and the jughandle.  New pedestrian cross-walk and stop signs were installed in the jughandle this month.  We have asked for pre-arrival signs alerting motorists of upcoming Blackberry Drive to be installed east and west of our entrance.  SHA says they are only installed at traffic controlled intersections.  That is not consistent – even in our area.  Rick agreed to press that issue with our attorney also.

 

Common Area Behavior Rule 2003-1 Complete, Final Document Approved by Attorney - The draft was mailed to all owners in July.  Community suggestions were then edited into the final document.  BOD will discuss adoption and provide handout copies for all members attending annual meeting.

 

2004 Landscape Contract RFP - Rick and Jerry will meet with owners of G&G Landscape tomorrow to review the good and poor performance issues of 2003.  BOD plans to re-issue the 2003 RFP with a new “Addendum” to cover issues we became aware of in 2003.  The RFP and Addendum will be out for bid within a week.

 

2003 Snow Removal – We have already had two plowings.  JL also added “snow melt” to icy areas.

 

West Entrance Holly Trees and Hedges Overgrown – Will be on agenda for G&G discussions tomorrow.

 

Cherry Blossom Ct Streetlight Pole Damaged Beyond Repair – The culprit has been identified.  The plowing and dumping of snow by heavy equipment broke the pole and forced it over.  It is now bent over into the trees.  Only the post will have to be replaced, however BOD should consider moving it to safer location.

 

New Communication Items to BOD:

 

            Two responses to Inspection Letters.  Jerry will review and respond.

 

VII.  TREASURER’S REPORT, BOOKKEEPING AND FINANCIAL MATTERS:

 

ABS’ Financial Statement, November 1 thru 30:

 

2003 Operating Fund Deficit  There will be a small deficit going into 2004.  BOD continues recommending no assessment increase, however BOD is open for further community direction at annual meeting.

 

ABS Passes Baton to BOD, to Manage Ahlberg & Co. Auditing Firm ABS has gratuitously handled our interface to Orchard Knolls’ auditing firm (Ahlberg & Co.)  since 1992.  It has been a natural relationship, however not an efficient business practice for ABS. ABS has other HOA clients. Orchard Knolls is Ahlberg’s client. Ahlberg is contracted directly by BOD not ABS.  ABS now desires to be removed from the Ahlberg relationship by having all Orchard Knolls’ auditing contract solicitations, awards, directions, questions, mailings etc come from BOD.  ABS will continue all bookkeeping responsibilities and Orchard Knolls financial records will continue to be audited by Ahlberg.  In summary, ABS has asked BOD to solidify this change, contact Ahlberg, and arrange for 2003 audit and tax preparation.  After discussion to clarify this matter, BOD asked Mohammad (Treasurer) to contact Ahlberg and invite them to attend our next regularly scheduled meeting to meet BOD and establish protocol for future direction.  Mohammad agreed.

 

Delinquencies - All significant delinquent accounts have been paid.

 

Missing Insurance Reimbursement - 2001-2002 Lightning Damage: Not Discussed

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)

 

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.

 

Accident Vehicle Stored in Cherry Blossom Place

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

 

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.


Rt 28 White Fence “Sinking” (East of Blackberry Drive)

Due to increased elevation of Rt 28 East and the new sidewalk vs. the taper of our berm  – about ½ of our white fence goes “downhill” and disappears behind the sidewalk. SHA says their surveyors noted that our fence is on 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.

 

(Editorial Comment):  This month, the fence has become damaged.  A rail has split and fallen out.

 

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

 

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

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

 

Inefficient 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.

 

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

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

 

No Method to Save or Escrow Funds for Future Community Improvements

There is no fund from which monies may be drawn for new improvements.  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?

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)

 

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 residents to call police.  A $250 citation is issued if police are called.

Continuous Annoying Home Alarm

Cherry Blossom Lane owner 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)... alarm continues all day and does not get shut off until occupant 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. 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

IX.  UNFUNDED COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT REQUESTS:

 

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 BEING ADDRESSED BY 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

Blackberry Drive/Rt 28 Intersection Pepco Illumination

 

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.  OUR CONTRACTORS :

 

Assessment Collections and Bookkeeping           Associated Bookkeeping Services

Audit and Tax Preparation                                   Ahlberg & Company - David Bremmer, Auditor

Delinquent Collections                                        Attorney Stanley S. Pickett

Electrical                                                           Power Systems Electric

Insurance                                                          State Farm

Lawncare & Landscape                                      G&G Landscape (Damascus)

Legal Counsel                                                    Attorney David Gardner

Post Office                                                        Diamond Farms

Printing & Reproduction                                      Kinkos – Gaithersburg

Signage                                                            The Sign Store

Snow Removal                                                   JL Landscape

Sprinkler Systems                                             Unity Irrigation

Stationary                                                         Rockville Printing

Towing                                                              G&G Towing (Silver Spring)

Trash Collection                                     Titus

Tree and Stump Removal                                    Mead Landscape Services

Web Site                                                           Interland Inc

 

XIV.  ADJOURNMENT AND NEXT MEETING - Monthly meeting adjourned at 8:45  Pm.

 

Annual Meeting January 12, 7:30 Pm, will take place of next monthly BOD Meeting.  Next regularly scheduled meeting will be Monday, February 9, 2004, 7:00 Pm, location to be determined.  Call any board member for location.  Orchard Knolls owners and residents welcome.  Input by US mail, email, or web page is welcome.