Archives for December 2010


Draft of County Comprehensive Plan Now Available

Posted December 31, 2010 at 12:00 AM
Chesterfield County has released a draft (November 12, 2010) of the Comprehensive Plan (www.chesterfield.gov/CompPlan.aspx?id=17297) for citizen review and feedback. District meetings are to be held in January (see schedule on the County's web site, www.chesterfield.gov/smartdata.aspx?id=17709). The County has also agreed to make a presentation to the BCA Board of Directors in February.

Brandermill residents need to be aware of the vision to be implemented by the County, particularly as it relates to our community.

Information Packet for January 3, 2011 BCA Board Meeting

Posted December 31, 2010 at 12:00 AM
The information packet for the upcoming BCA Board meeting is now available for downloading from 20110103-Board-Packet.pdf

We encourage residents to attend BCA Board meetings to learn of Brandermill "happenings". For a quick snapshot of what the BCA Board will be discussing, read the attached agenda.

Highlights of December 6, 2010 BCA Board Meeting*

Posted December 13, 2010 at 7:38 PM

*Important Note: The below highlights are reported based on unofficial notes taken by NRC representatives who attended the above BCA meeting. Although we believe the above reporting is reliable and strive for accuracy, we cannot assure 100% accuracy. It is recommended to all readers that they read the approved BCA Board Meeting minutes when published.

Member Voice
  • Alan Manden (Huntsbridge) states that he received a covenant violation due to his placing reflective numbers on the vertical post of his brown mailbox. He questions whether everyone who had leaning mailboxes and/or flags, stickers, flower pots and other adornments on their mailbox units have been cited. He also says that with his covenant violation notice, he received the specifications for the new mailbox unit - the do-it-yourself option. He questions who is paying for the postage for unnecessary violations and who approved the new mailbox specifications. The specifications indicate a distance between the bottom of the mailbox to the ground, whereas the U.S. post office specifications indicate the distance between the mailbox and the road surface. He further comments that at a previous BCA Board meeting there was a police officer in attendance. He asks if the officer's presence is an indication of how much the Board trust residents.
  • Helen O'Neill (McTyre's Cove) presents pictures of her neighbors' mailboxes that she feels are in violation. She is appalled that the Board elected to replace all the mailboxes when she knows that covenants have never been enforced on the old ones. President Rowe asked that she leave the information with Community Manager Pritz who would have BCA staff check into it. O'Neill requests that the BCA bag and remove the leaves in the circular open space located near her property. She indicates that she has just paid $200 to have the leaves on her property removed and would appreciate it if leaves from the referenced open space did not blow back into her yard. She also comments that the recent placement of the "No Parking" signs on Millridge Parkway makes no sense, as vehicles could not park in those marked areas anyway. She asks if the signs are free. Community Manager Pritz responds, "Yes, they are VDOT signs." President Rowe adds that the Board is aware of the misplacement, and the BCA has contacted VDOT to make the necessary corrections. O'Neill also says that the height of the signs are too tall for the average driver to see them. In general, O'Neill feels that the number of signs has gotten to be too numerous throughout the area as to become eye sores. Director McLenagan remarks that the street signs, including their height, are dictated by the VDOT. O'Neill inquires as to the implementation plan of the new mailbox design. President Rowe responds that the Board has not yet received a final implementation recommendation from MPOC upon which to act. She adds that at the present time, residents are installing the new mailboxes on a volunteer basis. O'Neill asks if the top of her neighborhood sign on Brandermill Parkway had been replaced, as she notices that hooks that had been there previously are not there now. She wants to place a Christmas decoration on top of the sign. Community Manager Pritz says that the tops of neighborhood signs are maintained and parts replaced as needed on a rotational schedule.
  • Jason Livingston (Winterberry Ridge) is concerned about the lack of universal pool access ("UPA") discussion and implementation. He notes that the Brandermill master plan, which was adopted 21 months ago by the BCA Board, clearly identifies UPA as being critical for Brandermill to stay competitive with communities of like stature. To-date he has not seen anything being done by the Board, any committee of the Board, or the BCA staff to advance UPA which was "unequivocally recommended in the master plan" (see pages 275 and 286, Chapter 7, Master Plan), unlike the mailbox design change. It is the BCA Board's adoption of the new mailbox unit design (which is not part of the master plan) prior to considering UPA that leads to his concern about UPA's priority status. He understands that financing for UPA implementation would cost less than that of the new mailbox unit design. He also states that a membership vote is not needed for implementation of UPA nor is/was it required for the mailbox design adoption. He comments that community feedback seems to have limited value when either not considered or quantified. His question to the Board is: What exactly is the community doing to advance UPA?

President's Report

In response to a question asked by Tom Doyle who wanted to know what the best reflective numbers on the new mailbox unit would be, President Rowe has asked the BCA to gather more data on what types of reflective numbers and to ask that those types be listed on the technical specification sheet for the mailbox. Director McGinniss says that the reflective numbers on his new mailbox unit show clearly at night, and thus he feels that the question has been answered.

In response to the question as to why BCA monies were spent on the most recent litigation, President Rowe responds that it was because the case was brought against the BCA and it needed to defend itself.

President Rowe thanks all attendees who participated in the community meeting of The Landing, Phase I as well as Susan Smith, Theresa Biagioli, and Al Raimo who organized the meeting. Resident feedback from the meeting is being compiled, and applicable suggestions, if funding is currently available, will be incorporated into Phase I; otherwise, the suggestions will be considered in Phase II of this master plan project.

Director's Reports

Director McGinnis reports that the Steering Committee of the County's new Comprehensive Plan will be meeting on December 16 to give feedback on the latest draft of the Comprehensive Plan. (To download a draft of the plan, visit www.chesterfield.gov/CompPlan.aspx?id=17297.) The County will begin holding district-wide meetings in January 2011, and a presentation to the BCA Board is scheduled for February 2011. Residents are invited to attend both meetings.

Manager's Report

In addition to her written report (see page 6, December 6, 2010 Board packet), Community Manager Pritz thanks all participants who attended the Volunteer Reception and BCA Staff who organized the event. She feels the event was a huge success; the food was great as was the entertainment.

Director Guthrie asks BCA Staff if they had heard from VDOT as to when they will pave Millridge Parkway between Glen Eagles and Sunday Park. In addition, Director McLenagan asks Staff to follow up on placement and height of the "No Parking" signs and to ask VDOT to pay closer attention to their tasks. Community Manager Pritz will follow up.

Reservoir Hydrilla Management Group Charter and Voting Procedures

On November 1, 2010, Roy Covington (Director, Department of Public Utilities, Chesterfield County) sent a draft of Reservoir Hydrilla Management Group ("RMG") charter to its members for review. RMG members Bob Malek (Regatta Pointe), Julie Joyner (Community Manager of Woodlake) and a Heron Point resident volunteered to represent Brandermill, Woodlake and the balance of the RMG members, respectively, on a RMG subcommittee to review the charter.

Bob Malek explains that the proposed voting procedure is a big hurdle. Under the County proposed charter, the RMG membership is divided into three voting classes: Brandermill residents, Woodlake residents, and all other waterfront property owners. Each class under the County's proposal would have one vote.

Based on percentage of parcels and percentage of acreage along the waterfront (see table on page 31, December 6, 2010 Board packet), Malek presents the case that each class should have voting weights equal to the number of parcels or acreage owned. (This would entitle Brandermill to have the largest voting weight and possibly access to a higher percentage of available funds.) Julie Joyner supported the weight of each class being determined by the number of shoreline frontage properties.

Malek recommends that the BCA Board (1) reject the proposed RMG charter and (2) authorize a BCA representative (i.e., BCA Director or BCA Staff) to attend the next RMG meeting and propose an alternate voting structure.

Board Discussion
  • Director McGinniss suggests creating a fourth voting class which would consist of a County representative.
  • Director Guthrie suggests having a County representative serve as a chair to RMG but not be allowed a vote.
  • Director McLenagan suggests that either Community Manager Pritz or Assistant Community Manager Raimo attend the next RMG subcommittee meeting.
  • Director Friedel suggests that rather than responding too quickly on an alternate voting procedure to simply reply to RMG that Brandermill is not willing to accept the charter as presently proposed and what else might RMG offer?
  • President Rowe summarizes the Board's response by having Community Manager Pritz contact Roy Covington and say that the BCA Board feels the charter needs more attention and that factually, the hydrilla will affect Brandermill more than the other communities.
  • Director Friedel further suggests that the voting weight be based on assessed value, e.g., the amount of taxes paid per voting class.

There was no member comment on this agenda item.

Motion to Approve Capital Improvement Fee Referendum

See page 32, December 6, 2010 Board packet for the actual referendum. This referendum is supported by the BCA Finance Committee.

Member Comment

Warren Ragsdale (Huntsbridge) feels that raising the capital improvement fee from its present $150 would hinder the selling of homes to non-Brandermill residents. He feels that it would be better to raise assessments to fund MPOC projects.

Board Discussion
  • Director McGinniss feels that if the Board were to raise it to its maximum amount ($416) right now, it would not seem unreasonable as other communities are already charging equivalent amounts.
  • Director Guthrie says that the funds from this fee would replenish the capital fund.
  • Director Friedel feels that this fee is reasonable for the return on investment, i.e., support and maintenance of Brandermill amenities.
Community Manager Pritz indicated that the date on the referendum may be different from the one shown in the Board packet due to logistical reasons.

Motion passed 6:1 (FOR: Directors Rowe, McLenagan, Friedel, McGinniss, Guthrie and Hillman. AGAINST: Livingston).

Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct

Two versions of the Codes of Ethic and Standards of Conduct are presented in the Board packet (see pages 33-42, December 6, 2010 Board packet): one applicable for the BCA Board of Directors and the other for BCA Committees.

Member Comments
  • Rin Barkdull (Northwich) says that she just completed an 8-hour course on ethics at UVA for her profession. She was puzzled by the draft Code of Ethics presented in the Board packet in that nowhere does it allow for "opinions," that is, to disagree is not necessarily unethical. Her main concern lies with Item 5.5; voicing a differing opinion from a majority Board vote should not be construed as an ethics violation.
  • Jerry Barnes (Sterling's Bridge) did not understand why the Board of Directors, BCA staff, and BCA committee members had differing codes of ethics. During his 20 years of military service in which he operated under a code of conduct, there were six articles in the code. In his 29 years tenure with Motorola (a Fortune 50 company), all employees including executive personnel sign the same code of conduct every three years. It appears that with three versions of the code of ethics, the BCA is operating separately; as a HOA, we should be operating together. He says that he is disappointed and would not sign the proposed code of ethics.

    Further, he understands the NRC is a BCA committee, but the Board does not approve the NRC memberships. NRC reps serve strictly as volunteers. When he speaks as an NRC rep, he is speaking for 40+ homes in his neighborhood. As such, his NRC voice should have a major impact as should the other NRC reps.
  • Jane Zander (McTyre's Cove) says that she agrees with the previous two speakers. Although she could possibly agree to a code of ethics written in general terms, this draft code of ethics is too specific. She finds it insulting to volunteers, and Brandermill will need volunteers to carry out its master plan. She feels that if the proposed code of ethics is passed, the Board may be opening itself to more legal action.
  • Susan Smith (Cove Ridge) speaks as chair of Natural Resources Committee. Her committee is comprised of five people who represent almost 130 years of combined residency and who have proven their dedication in volunteering their time to Brandermill. Never before has her committee members been asked to sign such a document. She says that her committee is united in opposition to the proposed code of ethics, is unwilling to sign it, and will resign from the committee if required to sign it.
  • Jim Schrecengost (Timber Ridge) says that he works for the Virginia Department of Corrections which does have a code of ethics for its employees. The employees are not required to sign it. It's a very simple, one-page code of ethics, and he feels that BCA code of ethics should be the same.
  • Mamie McNeal (Planter's Wood) speaking as chair of the NRC, states that many of the NRC reps find the proposed code of ethics to be very harsh, and some feel that they are being penalized for representing their neighborhoods and speaking against the mailbox design. Many of the NRC reps have said they will resign if the proposed code of ethics is passed. More importantly, the NRC was established to enable open dialogue, and some of the items in the proposed code of ethics would inhibit that.

Board Discussion

Director Friedel states that the proposed codes of ethics have dramatically changed, under the advice of counsel. It was felt that the different components (BCA Board, Staff and Committees) had different mechanisms by which they operated: Board Directors are elected, Committee members are appointed, and BCA Staff are hired. These different components also have significantly varying responsibilities, with the BCA Board having fiduciary responsibilities which far exceed the responsibilities of the Committees and Staff. The mechanisms for gaining a position or being removed from a position are also distinctly different for each component.

Director Friedel continues by saying that there is one common thread which runs through all versions of the codes of ethics: there is clear understanding. With these documents, residents should feel assured that all three components are on a level playing field, i.e., no one component has an advantage over another or over the BCA membership.

He states that he understands that there are differences of opinion between the membership at-large and the BCA, but our conduct should always be civil and professional.

The comment that these documents were developed to penalize NRC reps is simply not true, as the Board has been working on these documents since 2008.

To address the question of inequity or unfairness of the BCA Board not having to sign the code of ethics, Director Friedel says that the Code of Ethics for Board Directors, if passed, clearly states that if there is a violation, action will be taken. This is regardless of whether or not a Board Director signs the document. Due to its fiduciary responsibilities, the Board is and should be held to a higher standard than all other components.

After much discussion focusing on Section 5.5 and 3.1, the Board decides to work further on the Code of Ethics for Board Directors, and President Rowe asks Director Hillman to draft a simplified Code of Ethics for Committees.

Rental Property Discussion

After hearing about various covenant problems arising from rental properties over the years, Director McLenagan is researching the possibility of putting a cap on the number of rental homes allowed in Brandermill.

Assistant Community Manager Raimo notes that the root cause of covenant violations is a behavorial one, an issue that is not covered by BCA governing documents. Director McLenagan says that there appears to be a disconnect between an absentee property owner and the renter in abiding by the BCA covenants. It is this disconnect that needs to be addressed.

Motion to Approve July 4th Survey

Member Comments
  • Mamie McNeal (Planter's Wood) speaking as a resident says she finds the July 4th survey somewhat bias against the fireworks. She is concerned as she has learned from the BCA Executive Committee that surveys to the community need to be presented in an unbiased manner. Secondly, while attending The Landing community meeting, she heard residents say that they didn't want to fully develop The Landing because they didn't want it to become a "second Sunday Park." She concludes that perhaps the real problem is letting the public have access to our facilities and asks that the Board consider means to enforce Item #11, Part III, General Covenants which states: "The granting of the easement in Open Space Areas and Private Open Space Areas in this part in no way grants to the public or to the owners of any land outside Brandermill the right to enter such open space without the express permission of the Company."
  • Clint McDonald (Poplar Grove) asks what the real purpose of the fireworks might be. Is it to build a sense of community or is to publicize Brandermill? He feels that by making the firework private, it may create an atmosphere that may keep people from moving into Brandermill.

Board Discussion
  • Director Guthrie feels the survey is slanted against the fireworks. It includes such words as "huge crowds," "many residents have stated" and even includes a list of projects (many of which have now been funded). He defers to Director Hillman's suggestion of simply asking the question: "Do you want the fireworks or do you not want the fireworks?"
  • Director Hillman says that she objects to "the Board of Directors want you to decide ...." The Board wants resident feedback, not to decide on the issue.

Community Manager Pritz suggests that perhaps the Board does not even support a survey on the fireworks. Directors McLenagan and Guthrie agree that there are still some administrative strategies to be tried to handle resident complaints about traffic and security. Director Guthrie feels that the benefits brought forth by hosting the fireworks is worth addressing the associated operational issues. Director McGinniss does not feel that the fireworks properly promote Brandermill, whereas the parade and other festivities do. Director McLenagan feels that the morning festivities do promote Brandermill and would be interested in seeing those festivities expanded.

Majority of the Board concur that a July 4th survey is not necessary.

Information Packet for December 6, 2010 BCA Board Meeting

Posted December 6, 2010 at 1:34 PM
The information packet for the upcoming BCA Board meeting is now available for downloading from 20101206-Board-Packet.pdf. We encourage residents to attend BCA Board meetings to learn of Brandermill "happenings".

Note: Those who wish to speak about the Code of Ethics should plan to do so during the "Member Comment" section of the meeting, while those who wish to speak about the other topics on the agenda should plan to do so during "Member Voice".

Message from the NRC 2010 Nominating Committee

Posted December 6, 2010 at 1:33 PM
The NRC Nominating Committee is finalizing the slate of officers for its 2011 Annual Election. If you are interested in serving a 1-year term on the NRC and have not yet expressed your interest to a member of the Nominating Committee, please respond to this e-mail.

Thanks so very much for your interest in the NRC!

THE NRC 2010 NOMINATING COMMITTEE
Kathy Cantrell (kthycntrll@yahoo.com)
Chris Glaze (coasterman00@gmail.com)
Sandy Schrecengost (sandralees@verizon.net)