Archives for October 2013


The Brandermill Great Cleanup Day

Posted October 17, 2013 at 5:17 PM
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Rain Date: Saturday, November 16

Help clear debris from the open space in your neighborhood! BCA will provide FREE bagsters and pickup for debris, tree limbs and underbrush. Register your neighborhood by Friday, November 1 by calling 744-1035 or emailing services@brandermill.com, and then pick up your bagster from the BCA office starting Tuesday, November 5 through Friday,November 8. Let's help to rejuvenate Brandermill!

NRC Annual "Let's Get Re-Acquainted" Meeting

Posted October 17, 2013 at 5:17 PM
Saturday, November 2, 2013
6-9 p.m.
Harbour Pointe Clubhouse

It's time for NRC Reps to get re-acquainted. NRC Reps George Lawson, Kit Kavanagh and Walt Lang have planned an Italian ziti dinner with salad, fresh garlic bread and beverages. Other attendees are asked to bring desserts and appetizers to this fun-filled event. RSVP required by October 30, 2013 (NRCInfo@BrandermillNRC.com) to ensure we have adequate food and beverages. We've worked hard together this year; let's now lighten up a bit and just enjoy each other's company.


Community Meeting on BCA 2014 Proposed Budget

Posted October 17, 2013 at 5:17 PM
Saturday, October 19, 2013
10 a.m.
Harbour Pointe Clubhouse

After three Finance Committee meetings held this month, Manager Bailey is now ready to present the BCA 2014 draft budget to the Brandermill membership. It might interest residents that a 4% assessment increase is proposed to include such items as:
  • general membership funding of the New Capital Reserve Fund ($10,000)
  • fully funding the Replacement Capital Reserve Fund (additional $25,000)
  • new Operating Contingency line item ($10,000)
  • update of Reserve Study ($15,000)
  • additional ARB architectural services ($8,000)
  • additional landscaping ($10,000)
  • additional bagsters/new approach for community cleanup ($23,000)
  • additional security ($5,000)
  • BCA 40th Anniversary celebration activities/events ($10,000)

With revised pool membership fees for 2014, a conservative 2014 income stream has been projected as has the income generated from the Communications Department (to include The Village Mill, BCA directory and web site ad sales). Manager Bailey announced that information regarding the BCA 2014 draft budget will be delivered to resident paper chutes this week as well as posted to the BCA web site.

This is a NEW budgeting process, and residents now have more of an opportunity to provide comments and ask questions. Mark your calendar now to attend this meeting on Saturday, October 19, 2013, 10 a.m., Harbour Pointe Clubhouse and have a voice on how your assessment monies are spent.

Additional Information is available via links below:


Highlights of October 9, 2013 BCA Board Meeting

Posted October 15, 2013 at 6:46 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.
President's Report
President O'Hanley reported on the success of the Food Truck event held Friday, October 4 at Swift Creek Elementary School. She thanked Jennifer Strader, BCA Director of Community Services, for helping to organize the event and estimated that over 1,000 people attended. She reported that part of the money raised at the event will go to purchase playground equipment for the school.

She next reported that our new landscaping company has begun work and noted that there has been a dramatic improvement in the appearance of the landscaping at the main entrance.

She also thanked the Community Character Committee for placing mailbox replacement info in all of the remaining brown mailboxes. She noted that more than 1,100 members have not yet installed the new mailbox design and reminded members that the deadline is approaching. O’Hanley stated that the mailbox replacement requirement had been approved by the previous BCA Board and reminded members that four contractors had been approved to handle the installation. She also reminded members that specs could be obtained at the BCA office for do-it-yourself installation. President O’Hanley noted that “volume discounts” had been discussed and that, while no committee had been authorized to negotiate with the vendors, she indicated that individual members could possibly negotiate volume discounts by organizing with other members. She reminded members that name plates are not approved under the new design standards and noted that mailboxes with name plates will not be in compliance with the new community standards, effective January 1, 2014. She suggested that residents desiring name plates could place one in the landscaping near the mailbox.

President O’Hanley noted that several committees are working on plans for our 40th Anniversary celebration. She asked residents to help come up with a tagline for the celebration and asked that suggestions be submitted via email to the BCA or to the heads of the three committees (Activities, Marketing, and History) working on plans for the event. Contact info for the committee chairs is available on the Brandermill website.

President O’Hanley commented on the need for development of a design standard for individual docks. She said that she has asked the Natural Resources Committee to work with the ARB to make a recommendation for a design standard at the November board meeting. She noted that the past position of the BCA has been to not allow docks. However, she noted that there has been a proliferation of docks over the last couple of years. She noted also that the County has asked the BCA to develop a standard to use when residents submit plans for permitting. President O’Hanley suggested that we might be able to use the standard developed by Woodlake or something similar. She noted that her personal opinion is that the BCA needs to develop a standard for docks.
Directors' Reports
Director Tom Leonard reported that he had received comments from 25 members since the October BCA Board meeting and that all of these people expressed their opposition to changing the standards with regard to gardens. He voiced his opinion that the BCA Board should get further input from the community before changing the language in the Residential Design Standards relative to gardens. He advised the BCA Board that this is a very sensitive issue and that further community input should be obtained before changes to the Standards are approved.

President O’Hanley asked about the timetable for further action on this matter. Director Leonard indicated the ARB is working on suggested changes to the language and hopes to make a recommendation to the BCA Board in November. President O’Hanley asked about the possibility of scheduling a community meeting to get further input. Manager Bailey suggested that once the recommendation is received from the ARB, members could comment on its recommendation which could be broadly shared via the BCA website and The Village Mill. He suggested a community meeting following the dissemination of the recommendation by the ARB. He noted that this timeline would give the BCA Board ample time to adopt changes prior to the start of the spring growing season.
Manager’s Report
Regarding landscaping improvements, Manager Bailey noted that the BCA has about 4,000 pansies ordered to further enhance the landscaping at the entrances to the neighborhoods. He noted that the new landscaping company has been focusing on the nine gateway entrances and indicated that the landscaping efforts would now begin to include the 100+ neighborhood entrances. He advised residents to expect to see the old flowers being replaced by new fall flower plantings. He also indicated that some surplus landscaping funds in the current budget would be applied to enhancing other common areas, including the entrances to Harbour Pointe and Harbour Pointe Clubhouse.

Manager Bailey reported that the number of members signed up for the Brandermill e-mail blasts has increased from 1,000 to approximately 1,600. He encouraged members to sign up to receive community info via e-mail blasts. With 13,000 residents, 3,700 households and 150 commercial members, he believes that we should have a lot more members receiving information via BCA e-mail.

Manager Bailey noted that nine Standards violations had been referred to the Hearing Panel in September. The ARB had approved 16 applications in September and that consulting architect Doug Green had advised on two of these applications. The Community Standards Department issued 33 violations during September versus 32 for the same month last year. He noted that 18 properties requested permission for tree removals, and these were approved. Eight disclosure requests were received, and there are six violation cases currently involved in the legal system. These actions, he noted, are all part of the Community Standards enforcement efforts by the BCA.

He reported that VDOT will be hosting a community meeting at 5 p.m. at Woolridge Elementary School on Wednesday, October 16 regarding planning for the pending bridge work on Genito Road. Although this bridge work is still far off (2015), VDOT is in its planning phase for this work. The bridge is on Genito west of the intersection with Brandermill Parkway. He encouraged members to attend and noted that the County’s plans for this bridge will result in some widening of the roadway, impacting the Association’s plans for the cleanup of common areas in the vicinity of the bridge.

Manager Bailey reminded members that The Great Brandermill Cleanup Day is scheduled for Saturday, November 9. He commented that this has historically only involved clean up of community open space but indicated that it might be opened this year to include debris from private properties. This subject is scheduled for discussion by the BCA Board during this meeting.

Manager Bailey next reported that two budget planning meetings with the Finance Committee have been conducted, with a final meeting planned for Thursday, October 10. He noted that residents would receive a statement regarding the proposed budget via their paper chutes and that the proposed 2014 budget currently includes a 4% assessment increase. He indicated a $56,000 reduction in projected revenue available for the Operating Budget from the pools and The Village Mill advertising sales. He also noted that the 2014 budget plans for an increase in costs of $24,000 due to the need to fully fund the Reserve Fund, using the cash flow method. There are also additional line items to cover a contribution of $10,000 to the New Capital Reserve Fund and $10,000 to fund an Operating Reserve [Contingency] line item.

He commented that salary costs had been reduced roughly $60,000 by converting three full-time staff positions to part-time positions, while health care costs had been reduced by converting the health care plan from a 100% employer-paid plan to an 80/20 premium plan. These reductions in benefits are offset by a 5% proposed increase in employee pay rates.

Manager Bailey also noted an increase in planned costs for the community cleanup, which were budgeted at $7,000 in 2012 and $11,000 in 2013. The 2014 budget proposes an increase to $30,000 for cleanup costs.

He closed his remarks by announcing that the Finance Committee will host a community meeting to present and discuss the budget at 10 a.m., Harbour Pointe Clubhouse on Saturday, October 19. Following this community meeting, the “proposed” budget would become the “recommended” budget on which the BCA Board would then begin to consider at its November 4 meeting. The Board is scheduled to vote on budget amendments and adopt the final budget on November 18. More information will be available via flyer and BCA website.
Committee Reports
President O’Hanley noted that the committee reports are included in the Board packet (see pages 8-21). She noted that ARB reports indicate that a lot of improvements and even new homes are being approved within Brandermill. She also noted that Dianne Cardea (Chair, CCC) had attended a meeting on October 8 regarding the planned wind turbine at Clover Hill High School. Assistant Community Manager Al Raimo who also attended this meeting gave more specifics. He noted that a proposal has been made by Clover Hill High School to install a wind turbine for educational purposes. He reported that the project would have a total height of 61-feet with a sound decibel level equivalent to the noise generated by starting a car. Director Davis asked if this is a Chesterfield County School system project. Assistant Manager Raimo answered that it is and that it is funded from a grant from Dominion Virginia Power. Raimo went on to report that about 45-50 people had attended the meeting and that the attendees overwhelmingly supported the proposal. Raimo reported that he did not see much of an impact on Brandermill from the project, either visually or as it relates to noise levels. President O’Hanley asked for Board discussion. Director Leonard offered that it sounded like a good proposal.

President O’Hanley reported that the History Committee is meeting on October 9 to begin planning the 40th Anniversary celebration and is considering recommendations from the Marketing Committee.

Jim Schrecengost, chair of the Natural Resources Committee, stated that the committee has begun to consider the request for a recommendation regarding a dock build standard and that they are reviewing Woodlake’s dock standard. He also noted that he had reviewed the County zoning requirement which seems to require approval by the Association before a dock building permit can be issued. He will share his research of the zoning regulations with Community Manager Bailey since this may affect the existing docks.

Director Bettin then suggested that the BCA Board assist the work of the Natural Resources Committee by developing criteria for personal docks. O’Hanley responded by noting that many docks have already been constructed of many shapes and sizes, and wondered about the process to grandfather or review existing docks for approval. Bettin agreed that it is a problem. Director Malek noted that he didn’t see a problem with any of the existing docks since they are well built. O’Hanley commented that she didn’t think Brandermill should have a “no dock” policy and voiced her belief that the BCA needed to adopt a dock standard. Additional discussion followed regarding a single dock which may be located on Brandermill property. Director Malek also emphasized that the issue is broader than establishment of a dock standard. He stressed that the current BCA Board still needs to address the issue of a permanent location for the marina should residents lose access to the current marina at the Brandermill Inn.

Mamie McNeal, chair of the NRC, announced that the NRC is holding its annual social meeting on Saturday, November 2 at the Harbour Pointe Clubhouse from 6-9 p.m. An RSVP (NRCInfo@BrandermillNRC.com) is required, and this meeting will include dinner which has yet to be decided and will depend upon the results of the RSVP's.
Member Voice
William Coiner (Cove Ridge) expressed his appreciation for Brandermill’s amenities. He shared that he regularly bikes the paths in Brandermill and stressed that there are a number of spots on the paths where high curbs pose a hazard for bike riders. He asked that this hazard be addressed.

President O'Hanley thanked Coiner for his comments and agreed that she had noticed this same hazard. Manager Bailey noted that the reserve study called for $44,000 be spent each year to maintain the paths, but he noted that we need a comprehensive plan to determine how best to apply these funds.

Jim Schrecengost (Timber Ridge) stated that he was one of the members who applied for tree removal in September and thanked the BCA for its prompt handling of his request. He then expressed his concern about fabric gazebos. He noted that several of these gazebos are still up in his neighborhood and asked the BCA to ensure that these "temporary" structures are taken down by the end of October. He also noted that the 7-month period (April 1 through October 31) for the erection of these fabric gazebos is hardly temporary. He emphasized that the covenants do not allow temporary structures and objected to the fabric gazebos as a violation of the covenants.

Alan Manden (Huntsbridge) voiced his concern regarding existing boat docks, canoes and paddle boats which are located on BCA property. He noted that the BCA covenants (Part 5, Paragraph 1) do not allow modification of the natural state of the 80-foot buffer zone at the lake's edge, except for view and breeze. He asked the BCA Board why the covenants are not being enforced. He also noted also that the BCA covenants (Part 2, Paragraph 5) disallowed this type of boat storage and again asked why the covenants are not being enforced.
Presentation by Chesterfield County: The Bond and Meals Tax Referendums
Mike Dance, Assistant Director of Chesterfield Department of Accounting; Lee Williams, Assistant Fire Chief of Chesterfield Fire and EMS; and Lt. Wes Fertig, Planning and Information Services Division of Chesterfield Police Department, discussed the upcoming bond and meals tax referendums. Dance noted that the bonds are aimed at maintaining high quality schools and public safety in Chesterfield County. He stated that referendums are a well-established process when the County is seeking community approval for funding significant projects without increasing personal property taxes. He noted that population growth has been the big issue driving the need for improvements to the schools and public services. On November 5, voters will be asked to approve referendums for schools and public safety.

Dance commented that many cities and counties in Virginia already have a meals tax. He noted that the State allows the counties to establish a meals tax up to 4%. Chesterfield is asking for a meals tax of 2%. He noted that all of the schools in the County have been ranked based upon the need for system replacement or serious renovation, including such items as heating and cooling systems and roofs. There are 10 schools that are earmarked for revitalization. The average age of these schools is 62 years. He noted that Watkins and Weaver are new but need revitalization as well because they are well over capacity.

Lee Williams explained that the referendum would also fund a regional interoperable communications system that would allow Chesterfield County public safety officers to communicate with officers from surrounding counties and cities. Purchased in 1997, the current system provides this interoperability, however, it needs maintenance and upgrading to maintain its effectiveness. Manager Bailey asked if some of the need for interoperability has been required by new circumstances following 9/11/2001. Williams answered that the need is driven somewhat by new requirements and noted that Chesterfield County has already been able to meet the new requirements. However, parts to maintain the existing system will soon not be available and several recent situations, including the Rt. 288 brush fire, necessitate modernizing the communications system.

These County officials stressed that the communications equipment being replaced and maintained by the funding from this referendum includes all of the components: handheld radios, computers, cell towers, etc. The new system is being designed with the help of consultants and needs to be in place by 2017.

Director Davis asked what would result if the schools and public safety bonds are passed but the meals tax does not. Dance explained that the meals tax is necessary to fund the debt service on the bonds. If the referendums pass, then the County can borrow money at the best possible rate. He noted that the County will not let the public safety communications system fail or become obsolete, so money would still be borrowed to update the system but at a higher cost to the taxpayer. Schools would stretch out improvements over a longer period of time.

Director Malek noted that he had not heard or understood that the meals tax would be used to fund the debt service on the schools and public safety referendums. The County representatives explained that they are working hard to communicate how the meals tax will be used.

Mamie McNeal (Planter's Wood) asked if it would be possible to post an audio of the presentation on the NRC website. Dance explained that it would probably be best to encourage residents to link to yourvoicefirstchoice.com.

Dance then explained the meals tax is expected to generate $8 million per year to be used to fund debt service on the schools and public safety bonds. He noted that the referendum on the meals tax will specify that the meals tax cannot be raised without another referendum, stating that there is a sunset clause which necessitates that the meals tax will be eliminated after the bond issues are repaid. He noted further that funds generated by the meals tax can only be used for these types of schools and public safety projects and may not be applied towards the general budget.

Director Leonard asked what interest rate was used to calculate the cost of servicing the bonds. Dance responded that he did not know the specific rate used, but noted that if the bonds do not pass, it would cost the county an additional half of a percentage point, roughly $1.7 million annually, to borrow the money to fund the improvements to the schools and public safety communications system.
Consideration of Proposed Changes to the Residential Design Standards
Director Leonard motioned that the administrative changes to the Residential Design Standards be adopted as presented. The motion was seconded and opened for discussion.

Director Malek suggested that the language in the recommended changes for Section 3.4.2 requiring that a "color chip" accompany ARB applications be changed. He suggested that the language be changed to require a 10"x12" sample be provided with ARB applications. He stressed that paint chips are too small to provide an adequate color sample. Director Leonard then suggested that a small piece of siding with the requested paint might be even better. Malek stressed that his only point is that a larger size paint sample is necessary.

President O'Hanley asked for input from Sherry Blom, who serves on the ARB. Blom responded that for most colors, a paint chip is adequate. She stated that the ARB currently requests larger painted samples when a color is unique in order to get a better representation.

Manager Bailey suggested that the language be changed to requiring a "color sample". He suggested that this would allow the ARB to request a larger painted sample, if necessary. Assistant Manager Raimo also suggested that other language be changed to reflect "community architect consultant" rather than "community architect".

Raimo also suggested changes to the language regarding lighting. Director Malek asked if there are standards regarding the placement of lighting. Raimo responded that he didn't know the exact language.

The BCA Board moved to approve all recommended changes except those to Section 3.4.2. The motion was approved by all directors present with one abstention. Changes to Section 3.4.2 will receive further consideration by the ARB.
Consideration of Authorization of Contract or Design Services to Support a Request for Proposals regarding the Pools
A motion was made by Director Blom and seconded by Director Bettin to authorize a contract for design services with inSite Companies to support proposals regarding the pools (see pages 40-42 of October 9, 2013 Board Packet).

Manager Bailey explained that the proposed contract only called for design services to create schematic designs of the pools. These would be used when issuing a request for proposal ("RFP") for work to be done to the pools.

Director Davis asked if the proposed contractor inSite Companies is related to another company. Bailey responded that inSite is a sub-contractor of Douglas Aquatics and agreed with Director Davis' assertion that Douglas Aquatics would have an inside track in responding to any RFP.

Director Malek asked what we would get as a result of the design service contract. After lengthy discussion, Manager Bailey responded that under this $22,000 contract, we would receive the design standards and specifications that would be necessary for contractors to prepare a RFP with specificity. All of the directors agreed that Douglas Aquatics should not receive both payment for preparation of the design schematics and the opportunity to match lowest bidder in the RFP process. The BCA Directors also questioned if the BCA needed to pay for schematics now for all three pools.

Manager Bailey suggested that the current motion be tabled. Motion was made and approved unanimously, and the matter was tabled.
Consideration of Use of Anticipated Surplus Funds of FY 2013
Manager Bailey briefed the BCA Board on the current anticipated surplus of $60,000 for the current 2013 fiscal year. He discussed the need to clean up open space as well as private space, suggesting that the BCA Board approve a total of $40,000 to this year's one-time cleanup of both open and private spaces. He noted that some private yard waste already winds up in the community's cleanup bagsters. Manager Bailey noted that residents would still need to sign up for a bagster and indicated that 45 bagsters have already been requested.

For the sake of discussion, Director Blom moved and Director Malek seconded the motion that the budget for this year's bagster purchase and pick-up be increased to $40,000. Director Malek wondered how many residents would really participate in this program and made the point that the surplus might better be used for other needs such as a stump grinder or contributing to the Reserve Fund. There was discussion about the tax implications of unused funds. Directors Malek and Blom both indicated that they had concerns about the rush to spend unused funds.

Director Malek agreed with Director Blom's comment that the surplus funds might be better used if directed to the increase the Reserve Fund. The Directors all felt that this needed to be part of the larger budget discussion, and there was not enthusiastic support for the motion. Director Blom then withdrew his motion.


Information Packet for October 9, 2013 BCA Board Meeting

Posted October 4, 2013 at 4:42 PM
Important Note: Please note the date change from Monday, October 7 to Wednesday, October 9 for this Board meeting.

The information packet for the upcoming BCA Board meeting is now available for downloading. 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, please read the agenda located on the first page of the Board Packet.