Archives for November 2012


Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted November 20, 2012 at 3:22 PM
The NRC Board of Officers extends best wishes to all for a happy and safe Thanksgiving. We're especially thankful for the NRC Reps who help us to "improve the lives of Brandermill residents by providing an organizational structure to serve as an advocate for BCA neighborhoods ...."

Brandermill Education Ambassadors (BEA)

Posted November 20, 2012 at 3:22 PM
Message courtesy of Community Character Committee

In 2011, the Community Character Committee (CCC) organized a partnership with Chesterfield County Public Schools: Brandermill Education Ambassadors (BEA). This year, the CCC is pleased to be working with Gretchen Sutphin, Community Outreach Coordinator, Chesterfield County Public Schools.

Sutphin has scheduled an informative meeting at Clover Hill High School on Tuesday, December 11 at 9:30 a.m. to more fully describe the concept behind the BEA. We ask you to "save the date" and join us. Sutphin has creative plans for bringing our school and Brandermill communities together for this very important endeavor.

Official invitations to this meeting will be mailed, and we would like to include you. Please e-mail either Monika Fitzgerald (fitzgeraldd@comcast.net) or Dianne Cardea (dcardea@verizon.net) your mailing address, if you plan to attend this meeting. CCC member Fitzgerald has agreed to help coordinate the needs of the schools with the BEA and Gretchen Sutphin. We look forward to seeing you on December 11!

Highlights of November 5, 2012 BCA Board Meeting*

Posted November 20, 2012 at 3:22 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 below 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

  • David Schein (Spring Gate) shared three ways in which he feels the BCA Board does not meet its fiduciary responsibilities: (1) waste of $47,000 on an "ugly and misplaced" sign, commitment of more money to alter the sign with the County's high and junior high school names, and a commitment to spend BCA funds to perpetually maintain the landscaping at the sign; (2) expenditure of monies to perform a second study on the pools; and (3) release of two unprofessional surveys.
  • Tom Leonard (Fox Chase) stated that he supported Schein's statements above.

Skinquarter Landfill Zoning Proposal

Director Davis introduced Dr. Edgar Wallin, Matoaca Planning Commissioner and Bill Woodfin, a citizen with an environmental specialty background, who described the above proposed zoning request. The proposal would significantly expand the landfill located about 10 miles west of Brandermill (across from the Chesterfield Berry Farm) to include "fly ash" (e.g., products of power plants' pollution-control devices) and "auto fluff" (e.g., non-recyclable automotive materials). They described the potential impact of this expansion on Brandermill as being: (1) increased traffic on Route 360, (2) environmental concerns if the landfill is not properly maintained, (3) difficulty in managing fly ash and auto fluff debris, and (4) the volume of debris for this regional, industrial landfill. This case will be scheduled for a hearing by the Chesterfield County Planning Commission once the landfill falls within compliance under its existing operation. Our Planning Commissioner, Russ Gulley, was not able to attend the BCA Board meeting due to illness.

President's Report

President Guthrie acknowledged that Brandermill was saved from Hurricane Sandy's horrific devastation and thanked the BCA Staff for their time in preparing for that potential in the face of Hurricane Sandy. He suggested that residents visit The Landing to see the improved landscaping work that has been done there. He also considered the Autumn Fall Festival as a terrific success and thanked the BCA Staff (Jennifer Strader in particular) and all the Brandermill volunteers who worked to make the event so successful. The festival was co-sponsored by The Brandermill Church and was attended by approximately 500 people.

Treasurer's Report

Treasurer Hillman reported that third quarter income and expenses were on track with the overall 2012 budget. The over-budget amounts shown for marina and tree management on page 5 of the November 5, 2012 Board Information Packet are timing issues; these amounts should fall within appropriate limits by the end of the year. She also stated that several expense items, normally funded from the Reserve Fund, would be funded from the Operating Fund this year so as to not excessively deplete the Reserve Fund.

Acting Community Manager's Report

Lisa Pelfrey (Watch Hill) and Joe Payne (Quail Hill) were approved as members of PARC.

The BCA Board also approved participants to serve on the Brandermill History Project ("BHPC") Committee. See page 13 of the November 5, 2012 Board Information Packet for list of BHPC members. Tom Jacobson will serve as its chair.

Acting Community Manager Raimo also reported that the Brandermill Cleanup Day was an absolute success this year. He acknowledged the hard work of Jennifer Strader who oversaw this project. There were over 120 bagsters distributed across 45 neighborhoods, almost doubling the last year's number of participating neighborhoods. Raimo noted that due to the large number of bagsters, collection days by Waste Management has now been expanded to Monday, November 5 through Wednesday, November 7.

Commonwealth Centre, a shopping center located on Route 360 across from Brandermill and in the Mataoca district, wishes to make changes in some of its fascades and has asked the BCA Board if Brandermill would like to be included on its Architectural Review Committee to review this and future changes at the Centre. Raimo's recommendation was to allow the ARB to serve on Commonwealth Centre's Architectural Review Committee. After some discussion, the BCA Board decided to not participate in Commonwealth Centre's committee now and in the future. Director Bettin was the only dissenting voice in this discussion.

BCA Board Approves 2013 Budget

  • Finance Committee Report

    Chair Buddy Whitfield thanked members of the Finance Committee - Don Blom, Jimmy Angel, Wayne Moyer, Ken Berger and Carol Rasterick - for their service this year.

    Chair Whitfield reported that using guidance from BCA Board at its October meeting, the Finance Committee has proposed the draft 2013 budget as shown on page 23 of the November 5, 2013 Board Information Packet to generate a zero assessment. Based on staff review, the request for an additional maintenance person (costing about $28K) would require an assessment increase of approximately 1.5%. In this draft budget, the master gardener was eliminated, architect services were reduced, permits for dredging of The Landing were eliminated, a salary pool increase was set to $22K, and 2013 funding of the Reserve Fund was reduced by $62,950 to compensate for the remaining outstanding operating costs.

    Although the Reserve Fund would remain at a healthy level with the 2013 funding reduction, the Finance Committee cautioned the BCA Board to not under-fund this Fund. Additional recommendations by the Finance Committee is shown on pages 22 and 26 of the November 5, 2013 Board Information Packet.

  • Board Discussion on Finance Committee Report

    Director Davis stated that he would support the Committee's statement to allow "the new community manager the opportunity to assess resource requirements and to make recommendations to the Board" via an efficiency study.

    Director Bettin expressed his concern for a 0% assessment increase as we work to improve Brandermill. He reported that going back 20 years from 2007, the average assessment increase was 3.7%, and his research also indicated the following:

    Year2003200420052006200720082009201020112012
    Assessment Change+5%+5%+9.8%+2.5%+5%+2.5%0%+2.5%0%+3.5%


    Director Bettin felt that a 2.5% assessment increase would be less impactful on residents than if the Board approved a lump 9% increase in the future to make specific improvements.

    Chair Whitfield responded that Woodlake has only had one year with a 0% assessment and during the past 10 years when there were assessment increases, it was not less than 2%. To-date, Woodlake has a higher annual assessment fee than does Brandermill.

  • Member Voice

    • Andy Wyman (Walnut Creek) speaking as a resident, past BCA Director and as current chair of the ARB, stated that the ARB feels that architect Doug Greene provides invaluable services to the community and that architect services should not be reduced in the budget. He feels it is especially important at this time as Brandermill hires a new community manager who may need help with the architectural diversity of our community and implementation of master plan projects. He asked the Board to make a sound business decision and to consider feedback from the committee and staff on the services rendered by Doug Greene.
    • Graham Henderson (Promontory Pointe) feels that architect services are needed as commercial properties continue to be developed within Brandermill and residents alter their homes. He reminded the BCA Board that the healthcare facility to be built at Harbour Pointe agreed to place sidewalks around their facility which are to be connected to Brandermill bike trails. He asked the BCA Board to consider a 2%-2.5% assessment increase in the 2013 budget for these trails.
    • Mary Camp (Barnes Springs) spoke as a member of the Natural Resources Committee and expressed the committee's concern over the elimination of technical assistance offered by the master gardener. The Committee asks that the BCA Board reconsider eliminating the master gardener position and restore at least some funding for the position in the 2013 budget.
    • David Schein (Spring Gate) stated that despite the recent housing recovery in the market, Brandermill has not reflected this trend in increased home values. He feels that (1) the pools should be eliminated as their deterioration causes a decrease in home values; (2) residential assessments should be eliminated altogether and dues from commercial properties conservatively used to maintain BCA open space; and (3) eliminate all employees as all major work within Brandermill is presently being done by contractors, including architectural and landscaping services. Schein also asked that the master plan be completely reviewed and proposed placing the running trails which, based on his numerous conversations with local realtors, is the No. 1 asset of our community, into a 501(c) trust whereby Brandermill can make tax-deductible contributions to maintain them.
    • Sharon Blom (Promontory Pointe), an architect and member of the ARB, feels that retention of Doug Greene is important as one of his specific areas of expertise lies in the development of Brandermill. She also feels that we should retain master gardener Theresa Biagioli, as the expertise of both Greene and Biagioli are needed in the revitalization of Brandermill.

  • BCA Board Discussion and Decision on 2013 Budget

    President Guthrie thanked all participants offering feedback to the BCA Board. As there were no further technical questions for the Finance Committee, he led the Board Directors into discussion of the proposed budget.

    Director Davis moved to adopt the 2013 budget as presented by the Finance Committee. Director O'Hanley seconded the motion.

    President Guthrie asked if there was any discussion on adding a maintenance person to staff. He reminded the Directors that the BCA Board had previously agreed to not make any major personnel changes until a new community manager was hired. There was no motion and/or discussion on this issue.

    President Guthrie asked for Board discussion on the issue of the master gardener and architect.

    Director Hillman stated that she felt that no changes should be made to the master gardener and architect services line items within the 2013 budget. Director Davis asked for Doug Greene's hourly rate to evaluate the number of hours available to the BCA/committee under the 2013 draft budget. Acting Community Manager Raimo stated that Greene works in the Brandermill office every Tuesday of the month and reviews all ARB applications. Accounting Manager Margaret Covington stated that Greene is presently being paid approximately $2,180/month, regardless of hours worked. A meeting attendee responded that Greene's contract hourly rate is $125, while his on-call hourly rate is $180.

    Director Bettin commented that he "just didn't get it," i.e., why it is important to have an architect on contract while other surrounding communities do not, but he respected the opinion of the previous speakers enough to reconsider the option. He said he would support Director's Hillman proposal to restore these two line items, at least until the new community manager is able to assess the need.

    President Guthrie summarized this discussion by saying there are two points of view: (1) to not delete the master gardener and architect until the new community manager can evaluate service requirements, and (2) eliminate the master gardener and architect and wait for the new community manager's evaluation of service level requirements before adding them back into the budget.

    Director Rowe supported the elimination of the master gardener and architect in the 2013 budget and to have the new community manager evaluate service requirements for the 2014 budget. She also named several surrounding communities that do not have an architect on contract. Director Rowe further stated that she would support a small assessment increase (roughly 1.5%) but would like those funds to employ an additional maintenance person. Director Davis commented that he would rather wait until the new community manager had time to perform an efficiency study and to proceed with a 0% assessment increase in 2013. It is his hope that the new manager would be able to find cost-savings to offset assessment increases.

    Directors O'Hanley and Livingston agreed with Director Davis to leave the 2013 proposed budget as presented by the Finance Committee with regards to the master gardener and architect, at least until the new community manager is able to perform an efficiency study.

    Director Bettin seconded Director Hillman's motion to restore the master gardener and architect to the 2013 budget.

    Director Livingston then stated that he felt the Reserve Fund should not be under-funded "just to manufacture a 0% increase in 2013." Director Hillman pointed out that it would require a 3.5% assessment next year to compensate for this year's under-funding, possibly creating a funding issue for 2014 projects.

    President Guthrie commented that the Reserve Fund presently has a $1.3 million balance and that previous BCA Boards had determined that a $1 million balance in this Fund was a "comfortable level." He agreed with Director Hillman that under-funding the Reserve Fund this year would require additional funding in future years.

    Director Livingston stated that he would support a small assessment increase but only to not under-fund the Reserve Fund as much as shown on the draft budget (see page 23 of the November 5, 2013 Board Information Packet). Directors Rowe, Bettin and Hillman said they could support the same. Director O'Hanley said she could not.

    Director Livingston then formally moved to amend the Director Davis' original motion to include a 2% assessment increase so as not to under-fund the Reserve Fund by the amount shown in the 2013 draft budget.

    Director Davis pointed out that with the present Reserve Fund balance being $1.3 million, we are above the Board's "comfort zone" by about $300K. He suggested that the community manager could possibly find cost-savings such that we would not be under-funding of the Reserve Fund by the amount shown on the proposed budget. Director Hillman expressed her concern for the 2014 and 2015 Reserve expenditures needed to refurbish the pools (approximately $400K and $500K respectively) as recommended in the Reserve study.

    President Guthrie called the vote on Director Hillman's motion to retain the master gardener and architect in the 2013 budget. This motion failed (for - Hillman, Bettin and Guthrie; against - Davis, Livingston, Rowe and O'Hanley).

    Director Livingston moved to amend the proposed 2013 budget by including a 2% assessment increase with that amount being applied to the Reserve contribution line item. Motion was seconded by Director Rowe. This motion passed (for - Guthrie, Livingston, Rowe, Hillman and Bettin; against - O'Hanley and Davis).

    President Guthrie called for a vote on the motion to adopt the 2013 budget as amended (with a 2% assessment increase and that increase be applied to the Reserve contribution line item). This motion passed (for - Guthrie, Livingston, Rowe, Hillman and Bettin; against - O'Hanley and Davis).

Community Manager Update

Director Bettin thanked Wendy Parker for her support throughout the manager search as well as all the Directors who have reviewed all 43 applicants' materials and ranked the applicants. Of the 43 applicants, 10 applicants were chosen for Skype interviews. Of these 10 applicants, one had accepted another position. Director Bettin commented that the pool of applicants was excellent and that he and Director Rowe are in the process of reviewing the top four applicants of the nine interviewed. He hopes to be able to announce the final selection at the December BCA Board meeting.

UPDATE: BCA BOARD APPOINTS NEW COMMUNITY MANAGER - visit www.brandermill.com/?id=6579 for more information.

Correspondence from East West Partners

East West Partners has asked the BCA Board to consider adopting a dock policy similar to that of Woodlake (see pages 29-30 of the November 5, 2013 Board Information Packet). President Guthrie asked the ARB, the Natural Resources Committee and the Community Character Committee to comment on this request to the BCA Board at the end of January 2014.

BCA Board Welcomes New BCA Community Manager

Posted November 20, 2012 at 3:22 PM
If you haven't heard, Brandermill now has a new community manager. It's John S. Bailey. For more information about "J.B.", visit http://www.brandermill.com/?id=6579.

NRC Reps to Serve on Nominating Committee

Posted November 20, 2012 at 3:22 PM
2012 NRC Chair Mamie McNeal is pleased to announce that NRC Reps Doug Wayne (Rockport Landing), Hamid Ghorashi (Walker's Ferry) and Kathy Cantrell (Huntsbridge) have agreed to serve on the NRC 2012 Nominating Committee. The primary function of this committee is to recommend a slate of officers to serve on its 2013 Board of Officers (see Articles VII. and VIII. of the NRC By-Laws for description of officer duties and responsibilities). Please consider serving in one of these NRC leadership positions and feel free to contact the above Committee members with any questions, comments and/or recommendations.

Information Packet for November 5, 2012 BCA Board Meeting

Posted November 5, 2012 at 2:12 PM
The information packet for the upcoming BCA Board meeting is now available for downloading. Please note that the BCA Board must approve our 2013 budget at this meeting; a draft is included in this information packet for review. We encourage residents to attend BCA Board meetings and to participate in "Member Voice" if they so desire.

Remember to Vote on Tuesday, November 6

Posted November 5, 2012 at 2:12 PM
It's a tight presidential race; voter turnout will be crucial for your candidate. Residents who formerly voted at the old Clover Hill High School should now vote at The Brandermill Church.