Minutes of HOA Annual Meeting on October 19, 2020

  • Commencement: Meeting called to order at 7:47 p.m. with 35 homes directly represented and 15 homes represented by proxy, achieving quorum.  The meeting was conducted remotely due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Welcome, orientation, and introductions (Eric Kerby)
    • Current board members introduced.  Hal stepping down from the board; board recognized and thanked him for his many years of service to the community.
  • Board member nominations and election (Eric Kerby)
    • 3 expiring terms (Hal Allen, Dave Balandrin, Jim McDonald)
      • Dave Balandrin and Jim McDonald self-nominated to run again
      • Brian Mazuc nominated from the floor
    • All candidates (Dave Balandrin, Jim McDonald, and Brian Mazuc) elected unanimously
  • Financial Year in Review and 2021 Budget (Anna Urman)
    • Statement of past year’s income and expenses
      • Profit and Loss – Income is primarily HOA dues plus disclosure packets from people selling homes; mostly spent on maintenance of common grounds such as landscaping and tree work, insurance, bank service charges (4% fee for the PayPal electronic payments of which approximately 25%of the community adopted this first year of roll out)
      • Balance Sheet – Overview of HOA bank account for entire HOA; will be combining some accounts in the future to minimize the number of accounts to maintain
      • Adjustments needed to documents as inadvertently double-counted some income
  • Proposed budget for upcoming year
    • Ongoing expenses plus two new anticipated expenses:
      • Asphalt path replacement at Swirly Slide Park
        • Community discussion/suggestions
          1. Request to widen paths leading to and encircling park
          1. Request to repair concrete path from Whetstone to park
          1. Request to address slick wood on bridge
          1. Request to power wash park materials and bridge (water source available from Vantage)
          1. Request to assess bridge stability due to significant bounce: bridge assessed by Dave and Jim this summer; noted cracks in trim along the side but the actual supports (telephone poles) appear sound
      • Self-service portal
        • Unused funds budgeted for this year’s community picnic ($2,500) would cover costs for initial year but may need to increase annual dues to cover costs in future years
  • Year in Review (Dave Balandrin)
    • Park signs installed: signs were required for county enforcement of hours (open dawn to dusk)
      • Community discussion/suggestions
        • Signs have not stopped people from being in park after hours
        • Ongoing issues with dogs not being on leash and dog owners not picking up after their dogs in park and throughout community
          • Dog owners have responded rudely to requests to leash their dogs; safety issue for small children and dogs residing at homes bordering the park
          • Request to add signs stating dogs must be on leash
          • Attendee reports county dog warden will not enforce unless HOA initiates call
          • Suggestion that dogs should be banned from park; dog owners feel differently—some people have children and dogs and want to be able to take both to the park
        • Board advised neighborhood watch coordinators and community members should make reports to the police for violations of county law; police moderate their enforcement/presence based on volume of reports
    • Electronic payments: enabled online payment for annual dues and disclosure package requests
    • Picnic: cancelled due to pandemic; instead, coordinated community food drive and donated approximately 300 lbs. of food
    • Bridge: Dave and Jim – repaired railing by replacing boards and adding additional support beams
    • Drainage ditch: Jim cleared out to enable it to drain properly
    • Email distribution list: first message distributed regarding annual planning; will be used to reach community in addition to Facebook/NextDoor/community newsletter; residents can join distribution list by contacting board or when paying annual dues
  • Upcoming Activities (Dave Balandrin)
  • Park path paving project
  • Grounds / landscaping call for proposals in progress (3-year contracts, new contract starts in 2021, collecting quotes now through December 1st)
    • Community discussion/suggestions
      • Small culvert between Vantage and the hill to the playground full of branches and doesn’t drain properly: board will ask current landscapers to address
      • Big culvert under the bridge (owned by Fairfax County) hasn’t been cleared out in several years: board contacted county but has not received response
      • Erosion near hill; hill was not properly graded, rain/water runoff has impacted it over the last 25years due to tree removal: board to follow-up
      • Potential actions for board: contact landscape company, county, “Releaf Fairfax” (http://www.fairfaxreleaf.org/FFR/Index.html), or obtain quotes to address drainage; convene special interest committee to address drainage of culverts and ditches
  • Self-service portal for account statements and payments
  • Digital submission for Architectural Committee (AC) requests and other interactions with the board; enables digital submission and tracking of requests
  • Architectural Guidelines Update Discussion (Dave Balandrin)
  • AC Guidelines need revisions
    • Current guidelines 25 years old; last revised in 1995, in part, due to new siding materials owners wanted to use
    • Current guidelines do not align with changes in state laws for solar panels and board has received multiple requests seeking to use newer materials not currently addressed
  • Board requests community input on power of the AC and board
    • Can the AC (or board for appeals) approve projects that fall outside the pre-approved category of the guidelines? Community discussion/ suggestions:
      • AC Guidelines outline two methods (pre-approved and not pre-approved); it is the discretion of the AC committee and the board (if no AC agreement and/or for appeals) to interpret and make decisions for those not pre-approved
      • Requests outside the guidelines can be approved provided they meet the requirements of the covenants so as not to harm the community; some feel the AC committee can approve requests outside the guidelines; some feel only the board can approve requests outside of guidelines
    • Can the board approve changes to the guidelines or does it require a community vote?  Community discussion/suggestions:
      • Per Ed Boardman (former board member), the original guidelines from 1976 belonged to the builder.  In 1994, the board redid the bylaws and added community rules.  The board also voted unanimously to replace the original guidelines following comprehensive review and agreement by community.  The 1995 guidelines were an addendum to rather than a replacement of the 1994 guidelines; both are in effect.
      • Board has a duty to enforce and interpret the guidelines but should not have authority to make changes without community involvement; some feel community should have comment period followed by board vote; some feel community should have comment period followed by community vote
      • Guidelines must align with County and State regulations; however, even if guidelines cannot disallow something, they can still require certain standards of appearance
      • Some recommend attorney specializing in HOA matters review any changes to the guidelines to ensure they are updated properly (estimated $350/hour); some do not feel hiring an attorney for this matter is necessary
      • Suggestion for board to enact scheduled, periodic reviews (e.g., every 5 or 10 years) for all board documents, including by-laws, AC Guidelines, etc.
      • Board needs to address requests in a timely fashion so owners can move forward with their projects
      • Community agrees updates are needed; some feel an addendum is sufficient; some feel a replacement is appropriate so owners and AC are not burdened with reviewing 3 documents to make decisions on AC projects
    • Way forward
      • Board will create new document to replace existing documents, carrying forward as much of existing documents as possible plus any recommended updates
      • Board will post new document with line numbers and officially notify community of proposed AC revisions and community comment period
        1. Recommendations: distribute notification via mail in addition to website, social media, and email distribution for those who are not online; comment period should be a minimum of 60 days
      • Board will review community comments for potential revisions before the board votes to enact new guidelines
  • Volunteers (Eric Kerby)
    • Newsletter – need an editor
    • Neighborhood Watch – need a coordinator
  • Other Business brought by community
    • Adopt-a-highway program: next pickup scheduled for 11/14/20 at 8 a.m.; meet at the top of Vantage; need 8-10 volunteers; call Ed Boardman to volunteer
    • Foreclosure of property between Huntley Meadows and Vantage: auction was delayed; suggest board contact Fairfax County out of concern for future of property
    • Pipestem owners:  the current dues are insufficient to cover repaving private streets every 10 years; suggestion to increase supplemental dues
      • Board will need input from private street owners; will take feedback and send advance notice for discussion at the 2021 Annual Meeting Need input from private street owners
    • Wider paths in the park: that would allow easier social distancing
      • Board advises will result in significant additional cost; need to consider what we’re comfortable spending as a community
  1. Adjournment: 9:47 p.m.