ORCHARD KNOLLS HOMEOWNER’S ASSOCIATION (HOA)
MONTHLY BOARD MEETING MINUTES
May 12, 2003
BOARD OF DIRECTORS (BOD) PRESENT:
President Richard Schinner firstname.lastname@example.org Jan 06
VP S.F. Homes Lisa Goodman 301-963-3807 email@example.com Jan 06
VP Townhomes Eileen Solomon 301-330-2876 firstname.lastname@example.org Jan 04
Treasurer Mohammed Homaitabar 301-318-8446 email@example.com Jan 05
Secretary Jerry Way 301-977-0523 firstname.lastname@example.org Jan 06
ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEE (ARC) PRESENT:
Acting President Kathy Wyatt
Committee Member Dennis Zepp
CURRENT ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEE:
Rita Becker, Paul Andrew Hughes, Milt Martin, Kathy Wyatt (Acting President), Dennis Zepp
Playgrounds Harris Leonard, Chairperson,
Newsletter Brian Zarchin
I. CALL TO ORDER: Meeting at Eileen’s home. Called to order 7:40 Pm.
II MINUTES: Posted on web at least one week before meeting. President asked if there were changes or amendments. There were none. Motion made to accept. Seconded. Carried.
III. ARC BUSINESS REVIEW:
ARC Guidelines Added to Web Page: Current BOD approved version of Architectural Guidelines is now on our web page. The ARC form used to submit changes is also on our web page.
Approved Master List of ARC Change Requests Added to Web Page: Rick has added a list of all approved ARC Change Request submissions since 1998. Jerry will research all approved submissions since organization of HOA to 1998, eventually add them to the list.
Position Open: Milt Martin, valued member of ARC, is relocating. Per Covenants, ARC must be an odd number. Board discussed reducing ARC members to 3 by accepting an implicit resignation of Paul Andrew Hughes. Paul has not participated in many months. However it appears Paul recently signed some ARC Change Requests indicating he wishes to remain on the committee. Rick requested that ARC and BOD actively recruit to fill Milt’s position.
Change Requests Processed:
8 Cherry Blossom Ct. Replace all rails. Approved but all, including the deck must be Chippendale
15713 Cherry Blossom Lane Townhome Awnings Study by ARC and BOD, See Below
12013 Cherry Blossom Place Deck w/Stairs Approved, Subject to Match Paint to Standard
Chippendale Rails Objection: Owner at 8 Cherry Blossom Ct is replacing deck rails and wishes to use only vertical rails to replace Chippendale style. (Deck is beside Gazebo and faces all Non-Garaged Townhomes) Owner notes that 7 Cherry Blossom Ct has vinyl vertical rails on their deck rails. Owner was advised that 7
Cherry Blossom Ct received a special exception because decks on the north side of Cherry Blossom Court could not be seen from streets and roads. ARC and Board rejected this application.
Awnings: ARC received a request to install an awning on a townhome at 15713 Cherry Blossom Lane. This will be the first in the townhome development. Awnings are allowed but meet certain style and architectural guidelines. BOD reviewed the general language of the Architectural Guidelines on this issue. However BOD feels that due to the close proximity of townhomes the Association needs stricter language to control materials, colors, and standards – particularly in the townhome community. Owner Harris Leonard has been asked to work with ARC in development of his request, noting that whatever is approved for this property may become the precedence standard for the association. Harris agreed.
Basketball Hoops and Associated Noise: ARC and BOD received complaints about several basketball hoops operating on the court at the end of Citrus Grove Road. Board and ARC members visited the location and agreed that the arrangements violate our covenants as well as Montgomery County Front Foot easements. There has been no submission of an Architectural Change Request for a basketball hoop at this property. Per Architectural Guidelines: "Basketball hoops shall be permitted for single family units only and approved on a case by case basis." BOD sent a letter to the property owner informing them of the violations.
IV. OLD BUSINESS:
Newsletter: Articles are to be to Brian Zarchin by end of May. Brian will have a draft for June 9 Board Meeting. Publication and mailing is scheduled end of June.
Inspection Letters - Rick finished correlating inspection(s) results against ARC database to remove non-standard community items that may have been previously approved by ARC. Eileen will add fall 2002 inspection notice letters to our spring 2003 mailing. She will develop and send drafts electronically to Rick for final preparation on letterhead stationary.
Playgrounds Upgrade Project:
Project Stalled due to Insufficient Funding: Kathy Wyatt provided BOD with contractor cost and specification details from the committee files as input to BOD development of a compromise plan which would commit to some form of upgrade this year. It has become clear to all members of the board that we cannot afford the total project proposed by the committee this year. Therefore work scope compromise is in order. The following progress has been made:
Option to Convey Playgrounds to County is Dead: The committee failed to respond in regard to this original proposal. BOD chose to close the issue on the assumption that either the committee feels it is no longer viable, or there is insufficient interest to pursue. BOD has little interest in this option at this time.
ABS Provides Funding Guidance: Cheryl Berger, owner of Associated Bookkeeping Services (ABS), provides bookkeeping and assessment collection services (including budget development and budget maintenance) for our Association. BOD asked Cheryl to attend tonight to provide good business practice recommendations in regard to utilization of "Reserve" funds. Cheryl provided her corporate view of the reserves issue and also reviewed our current fiscal snapshot. After much Q&A, review of the budget, reserve fund rules, and covenant restrictions, ABS made the following suggestions and recommendations:
1. No more than $8,000 of General Reserves should be used. Cheryl does not recommend taking more than the $8,000 allocated by our Tot-Lot Replacement Funds (Useful Life Amortized Amounts). Cheryl also notes that our total reserves are barely adequate for our identified aging assets in the community – citing costs have risen faster than reserve allocations - as in playground equipment.
2. Spending Capital Reserves has Federal Tax Implications. Cheryl notes that even though we are non-profit organization, the IRS often heavily taxes expenses from Capital Reserves. Cheryl notes that
auditor’s view expenditures of capital reserves differently, depending upon interpretation of the type of reserve account. Cheryl suggests that we request overall review of the issue with our auditor.
3. Reserves Study Needed? Cheryl notes that IRS recently changed rules regarding reserve funds for non-profit communities. She noted Orchard Knolls does not have an "Operating Reserve" as do many associations. She feels IRS may interpret our General Reserve as an Operation Reserve and heavily tax the monies removed from our general reserve account. Our current auditor approved our current Replacement Reserves (Useful-Life) Plan in the mid 1990(s). BOD agreed to proceed with a review session with our auditor (Item 2 above) and discuss any need for a Reserves Study at that time.
4. Approximately $20,000 could be made available for this project. Forgoing the Rt 28 noise abatement project, budget adjustments, utilizing projected excess end-of-year operating funds, and the $8,000 of general reserve tot-lot funds could produce $20,000 for a compromise playground upgrade plan.
Board Unanimous on Compromise Plan: Although no vote was taken at this time, all members of the board express a desire to proceed this year with a reduced work scope plan. This approach involves reducing total work scope to fit within a newly developed $20,000 target. It could be accomplished within current powers of the Board of Directors without increasing assessments. Rick asked that a separate work meeting be assembled to quickly develop a reduced work scope plan from existing contractor specifications and cost details. The board now expects to vote to proceed to construction, after the plan is developed, reviewed and re-negotiated.
Potomac Garden Center Cutting Screen Trees – Rick noted that PGC has cut trees behind their property. Rick asked that Mohammad find out why they are cutting trees that screen us from their business.
Potomac Garden Center to Demolish Abandoned House – Montgomery County Permitting Services has received application from owner of 12024 Darnestown Road to demolish that abandoned house. No date has been set.
Potomac Garden Center Declines to Replace Dead Norway Spruce: One of two expensive Norway Spruce furnished and planted by PGC on our berm in 2001 has died. The tree should be under warranty. Mohammad says PGC will not replace it because no one reported it within the one year warranty.
SHA Rt. 28 Construction: Missing Street Trees and Lighting - Jerry researched notes of community meetings with SHA and passed key data to our attorney. Rick asked our attorney to get answers from SHA.
HOA Speed Limit – Jerry offered information that King Farm Homeowner Association had purchased Digital Speed Tracking Devices and mounted them on poles along Redland Road near Safeway. They operate 24 X 7 and are owned by the association. Board did not seem to have any interest to that approach at this time. Rick will re-install our signs on Blackberry Drive this month.
Crosswalk at Playground? Lisa will continue research with the county.
Stop Sign at Blackberry Drive & Blackberry Terrace? Lisa will continue research with the county.
Rule 2003-1; Usage of Common Areas to be distributed to Community for Review - Final draft will be distributed to the community for review and approval with the Newsletter in June.
V. NEW BUSINESS
Senior Center Sold - Planned to Cut Screening Trees on Berm – Due to resident’s observations of white site survey flags along the inside of our berm – a Senior Center plan which cuts down many mature trees on our property has been exposed. Residents in that area, including two board members, view the elimination of
the screening trees as a direct devaluation to their property as well as HOA property. In the absence of a cohesive, effective HOA plan, they threaten independent action to stop cutting of the screening and decorative mature trees.
Our Agreements - Apparently, National Seniors Housing Corporation sold their property and development plans in late 2002, without notification to us. Our legal agreements regarding preservation of all trees along our eastern boundary were (allegedly) not communicated to new owner. New owner claims (they) were not aware of any of our letters or signed agreements to preserve trees. New owner recently obtained approval from Montgomery County to construct an added berm on front North West corner of their property which ties into our north-east corner berm near the new jug-handle. In the design process, they unilaterally elected to cut down nearly a dozen mature, flowering and hardwood trees on our property in order to tie in their new berm.
Legal Intervention – Residents are inflamed at the callousness of Senior Center Management as well as failure of our attorney to protect Association interests in this matter. Rick contacted our attorney to begin whatever action is necessary to halt the cutting of trees. In addition, Rick made arrangements for board members to meet with the new owner on the berm corner Wednesday, May 14 at 10 am. Rick has asked all members to meet with him at that time on the berm.
Editorial Update – Results of Wednesday meeting: Steve Bernstein, Stan Marks (New Owners) and Mike McIntyre (Construction Mgr), met with Rick, Jerry and Lisa. Both parties expressed their views and walked the areas of impact. After a long discussion, the new owners are going to try to do one of 2 things: 1). Leave everything as it is (most preferable) 2). Tie a new berm into ours farther down and effecting only 3 white pines at the bottom of our berm. (These trees do not add to screening and 2 are in pretty sad shape). They have to pass this through the county. We should know something soon. Their general attitude was to work with us and be good neighbors. Jerry took 15 photos of the trees in the impacted area for Association records. Rick gave Jerry all correspondence to combine in chronological order with existing files in preparation for legal review.
Two White Fence Sections Perpendicular to RT 28 to be Removed – We own two sections of white vinyl fence perpendicular to Rt 28 at our West entrance between our property and Potomac Garden Nursery. Potomac Garden has nicely landscaped their front area to adjoin our property, but the fence section divides us. BOD voted unanimously to remove these 2 sections immediately and store any salvageable parts for future replacements. Jerry offered to remove them at no cost to HOA.
Pedestrian Bridge Twisting due to Creek Bank Erosion – Jerry informed BOD that the bridge is now noticeably sinking in one corner and the structure is twisting out of shape. BOD will ask Unity to address the creek bank erosion problem when they return in June or July to finish the Center Island Sprinkler System.
2003 Sprinkler System Startup and Front Entrance System Modifications - Our system is now active and disconnected from the Franks’ home. The west side system is now connected and integrated to our central control and water system on the east side of Blackberry Drive. The center island water delivery and controls system is installed and above ground in the center island, but will remain unfinished until SHA is done. SHA will replace our front zone along Rt 28 after they complete the road project.
Trash Pickup Complaints: Residents are complaining that Titus contractor is leaving trash behind at the curb and inside the receptacles. Rick will call the contractor.
June: No Left Turn Traffic Pattern at Blackberry Drive to Rt 28; SHA is wrapping up development of our jughandle loop and has begun layout of our center island barrier which will prevent left turn out of our
development. This will be a major traffic flow behavior change for all of us. The change is expected to occur in next few weeks.
Forego RT 28 Noise Abatement Project. BOD agreed to apply these monies to Playground Upgrade Project.
Delay New Sprinkler Enclosure: Jerry offered that if we sell our two very long commercial hoses, it would make more room inside the existing enclosure. This will allow us to postpone purchase of a larger enclosure until next year. Board agreed. Jerry will sell the hoses at a garage sale and forward the proceeds to ABS.
Lighting Plans for Center Island May Slip – Budget constraints and the need for upgraded power circuits to supply power to the center island, may slip this project to late fall, or more likely into 2004.
Power Circuits and Transformer Upgrade: Both east and west power sources in the front entrance area are inadequate to power any of our lighting proposals for our center island. BOD authorized Jerry to obtain a quote for upgrading the circuits.
Red-White-Blue Front Entrance Flowers – G&G Landscape will install our first seasonal flowers this weekend. They will install a Red-White-Blue theme.
New Entrance Flags Installed: Our old faded and torn flags and rusty poles have been replaced in time for Memorial Day and upcoming July 4th seasonal celebrations.
Completed Electronic Version of Declaration of Covenants: Jerry completed OCR conversion for the entire 47 pages of Declaration of Covenants. Rick has added them to our web page.
More Broken Playground Equipment: One of three Spring-Horse units broke off at the concrete base this month leaving dangerous steel connectors exposed at grade level. These 13 year old units are worn and high risk to continue breaking. BOD authorized TML to remove and dispose of them and also the old bus unit. BOD also authorized removal of the concrete foundations in preparation for playground upgrades.
VI. TREASURER’S REPORT
Review of ABS’ April Financial Report –
Mohammad will obtain a collections progress status for next meeting.
ABS Contract renewed.
State Farm; No Hard-Copy Insurance Policy: Jerry again requested that the board have an updated copy of our current policy and terms and conditions. We have not seen one since 1998. State Farm seems intent on providing only a declarations page. Jerry recommended that if our State Farm agent will not supply the policy package – we should soon change to another agent.
2001-2002 Storm Damage Insurance Reimbursement
Vandalism Damage Repairs - Painted Profanity on streets, sidewalks and signs.
Attorney Workload Meeting – Conducted in October, Board has not reviewed results.
Poison Ivy & Trash between Non-Garaged Townhomes and Senior Living Center
Arc Guidelines Need Addition of Latest Current Standards:
Multiple Owner Addresses at ABS – Should ABS mail to "alternate" addresses for owners?
Poor quality community-owned lawn areas at end-unit Townhomes
Restore East Entrance Zone 1 Sprinkler System after Rt. 28 Construction - SHA will pay
Upgrade Orchard Knolls Web Site to SQL
Dead Trees on Berm
HOA Has No Funding Methods for Proposed New Capital Asset Projects
Townhome Curb Parking Space Efficiency - "T" Boundary Painting
Duplicate Entrance Marquee on East Side After Rt. 28/Jughandle Construction
Upgrade Underground Circuits for Adding Center Island lighting.
Install Lighting in Entrance Center Island
Install Colonial Lamps to match Front 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 Community Retaining Walls
Install Creek Bank Erosion Control at Pedestrian Bridge
Add 2 Missing Red Maples at each end of North-East Blackberry Drive
IX. LEGAL ISSUES: BEING ADDRESSED BY OUR ATTORNEY(S):
Missing Rt. 28 Median and Street Trees, and Pepco Intersection Lighting
Landscape Issues for Privately Owned Townhomes (Do Covenants Apply?)
Senior Housing Center Property Boundary Trees Issues
HOA Vs 15726 Cherry Blossom Lane – Delinquent Assessment for Tree Cost
Delinquent Collections - 1 Cherry Blossom Court 3 Qtrs. Assessments; Suit Filed.
Delinquent Collections – 15 Cherry Blossom Lane – Previous Owner Assessment Balance
X. ADJOURNMENT The monthly meeting of BOD of OK HOA was adjourned at 9:40 Pm.
XI. NEXT MEETING - Monday, June 9, 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.