Archives for February 2013


Highlights of February 4, 2013 BCA Board Meeting*

Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:27 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) questioned the authority of the Association to collect dues because he believes the covenants should have come to a general referendum in 2004. He also stated that general members should not be subsidizing the pools because he believes the BCA Board, at time of purchase, promised that only pool members would pay for the pools. He noted that property values are down and that there is substantial opposition to Universal Pool Access. He objected to the expenditure of funds for a marketing plan and suggested that the BCA Board seriously consider changes which would increase home values.
  • Karyn Carpenter (Heritage Woods) commented on the poor condition of the streets and recommended that the leaves be picked up in December, rather than later in the winter. She suggested that if the BCA expected residents to clean the streets, a change in our assessments should be considered.
  • Helen O'Neil (McTyre's Cove) stated she is disappointed that covenants are not being properly enforced. She noted driveways covered with pine needles, wood piles and junk in yards and homes in need of paint and roof stain removal. She is in favor of Universal Pool Access.
  • Glen Hinton (Harbour Bluff) thanked the BCA Board and CCC Chair Dianne Cardea for their service. He noted that he visited the Harbour Pointe pool last summer and was surprised by the condition of the facility: crumbling concrete around the pool, faded pool chairs, mold-covered pool fence and other unsightly and unsafe pool conditions. He asked that these kinds of things be addressed before the pools are reopened. He recommended that we maximize the value of the two pools that are located on the lake because no other community in the area offers this as an amenity. He urged the BCA Board to make a hard decision to approve Universal Pool Access.


Minutes of the January 7, 2013 Board Meeting

The minutes were amended to reflect Mamie McNeal's January 7, 2013 member voice statement to read: "Mamie McNeal of Planter's Wood encouraged the Board to consider RFP submittal to solicit the implementation of the Marketing Plan as stated in the Financial Policy, and to consider segregating the domains brandermill.com (for marketing use) and brandermill.net (for internal Brandermill use)." The minutes were approved as amended.

President's Report

President Guthrie noted the regional chapter of the Community Associations Institute is holding its annual training seminar and trade show for community association board members and staff on Wednesday, March 6 at the Koger Center. He will be attending and encouraged staff and other board members to attend as well.

He stated that Louis Llovio, a reporter with the Richmond Times Dispatch, is working on a feature article that will cover some of Brandermill's history and feature the new expansion of Brandermill Woods.

Director's Report

Director Davis encouraged interested members to attend a public forum regarding the planned Skinquarter Landfill expansion. The meeting is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Cosby High School on Monday, February 11, 2013.

Manager's Report (see pages 7-8 of February 4, 2013 Board Packet)

Community Manager Bailey reported candidate profiles will appear in the February issue of The Village Mill. Mr. Bailey reminded the members that "Meet the Candidates" night is scheduled for Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 7:00 p.m., Brandermill Woods. The election notice and ballots will be mailed on March 15 and the BCA Annual Meeting held on Monday, April 15.

Manager Bailey reported that he has reviewed our commercial insurance policies and costs and that the rates and policies look good.

He also noted that our auditors have started work this week. Audit of the BCA is in progress and looks good thus far.

Manager Bailey addressed Karyn Carpenter's member voice comments regarding the condition of the road at Old Mill Terrace. Having just visited the road, he reminded the BCA Board that primary responsibility for the roads rests with VDOT and that anything done by the BCA is value-added and must be coordinated with VDOT's efforts. Manager Bailey noted that certain areas such as Old Mill Terrace seem to need more attention. He stated that he will be working with the Maintenance Department to prioritize the BCA's leaf removal and road clean-up efforts to coordinate with VDOT and improve the condition of the hardest hit road areas first. He feels that some to the road conditions are caused by poor drainage and hopes to develop a more strategic approach to road maintenance and leaf removal.

Manager Bailey stated that recent renovations to the BCA offices included fresh paint and new carpets. Total cost of the renovations was $8,175.34.

Assistant Community Manager Report (see pages 9-10 of February 4, 2013 Board Packet)

Assistant Community Manager Al Raimo asked that the BCA Board approved the newly elected officers of the NRC (see page 11 of February 4, 2013 Board Packet). The BCA Board approved the newly elected NRC officers.

Assistant Manager Raimo reported that the staff has met with the County Transportation Department. The maintenance agreement for the roundabout has been finalized.

The County will be moving ahead with plans to install sidewalks and street lights in the area of Genito Road, Charter Colony and Old Hundred Road. Work will begin this summer. Manager Bailey stated that a detailed listing and drawings of the sidewalks will be available on the BCA web site in the future.

Club Source Design/Pool Analysis Report

Bobby Joyner reported on behalf of the Parks, Amenities and Recreation Committee (PARC) regarding progress of the analysis concerning the pools and universal pool access (UPA). Joyner reported that there was good turnout at the PARC meetings regarding the pools. PARC presented three recommendations:
  1. The committee would like to see the recommendations by Club Source Designs regarding pool safety and accessibility be implemented prior to the start of the 2014 pool season. These recommendations have nothing to do with UPA, but they are important relative to safety, accessibility and BCA liability.
  2. The committee recommends that the BCA Board postpone any decision on UPA until the committee has more time to get input from the residents and review the data that has already been gathered.
  3. PARC has formed a subcommittee to review UPA. The members of this subcommittee are Directors Frances Hillman and Jack Bettin and PARC members Bobby Joyner and Mel Burton. The rationale for this subcommittee is that four people will be better able to crunch the numbers and flesh out details in a more timely fashion than the full PARC committee.

Both Joyner and PARC Chair Mel Burton stated that PARC has made no decision regarding UPA and that the decision to form the subcommittee was unanimously supported by the members of PARC.

President Guthrie thanked the members of PARC for their hard work and all of the extra meetings to study the pool issues, including UPA.

Director Davis asked if PARC had considered reducing pool operating costs by closing one of the three pools. Joyner responded that the option had not been taken off of the table.

Director Bettin emphasized that he agreed to be a part of the subcommittee because he hoped that this subcommittee would be able to develop a firm recommendation regarding UPA. Joyner responded that the subcommittee will develop a firm recommendation for the BCA Board.

Director Rowe asked if the ADA-compliant aquatic lifts were covered by the Reserve Fund. Treasurer Hillman replied that the lifts had been purchased with 2012 monies and will be installed by this summer. Director Rowe suggested that the BCA be more proactive in managing the items in the Reserve study, and Treasurer Hillman responded that the Finance Committee had made the same recommendation to Manager Bailey earlier last week.

Director Livingston asked if the PARC subcommittee had developed recommendations on financing the safety and accessibility improvements that were being recommended for 2013 and 2014. Joyner responded that the financial piece had not yet been addressed and that it would require the input and work of the Finance Committee.

Marketing Action Plan

Director Jack Bettin introduced Sara Johnston, President/CEO of A Touch of Technology. The firm responded to the BCA's RFP for a marketing action plan and was awarded the contract to develop a plan to market Brandermill.

Johnston briefed the BCA Board on the Marketing Action Plan (full copy now available to residents at the BCA office). [Note: The recorded presentation may be heard about 40 minutes from the beginning of the BCA Board's audio recording.]

Johnston stated that after looking at all of the data gathered from the study, it was discovered that it is Brandermill's lifestyle that attracts people to Brandermill, specifically the trails, reservoir, proximity to shopping and services, pools and quality school system.

The biggest deterrent to Brandermill's image is the perception that it is an aging community. Ways to overcome this perception include engaging the public in appropriate activities that give them a glimpse of what it's like to live in Brandermill, e.g., the Green Market, yard sales, the trails, community projects and Sunday Park (see "Findings" section on pages 19-20 of the Marketing Plan, available at the BCA office).

Johnston summarized the Marketing Plan recommendations as follows:
  1. Redesign and redevelop the public face of the Brandermill web site to include optimizing web site content, better navigation tool, video and image galleries and add Google maps and Google Places.
  2. Develop information articles and environmental content to promote the reservoir.
  3. Include directory listings for pay.
  4. Develop web-based press releases and improve branding on e-mail blasts.

Johnston discussed the metrics to measure the success of the marketing tools. We should look at visitor data, site performance and usage patterns of the site. She also recommended that we create full marketing integration and create a Brandermill blog. Brandermill should also create an official Facebook page. Lastly, Ms. Johnson discussed recreating all of Brandermill's printed marketing materials to incorporate uniform branding.

Johnson concluded her presentation with the costs of implementing and maintaining the marketing plan (see cost synopsis sheet, page 35 of February 4, 2013 Board Packet).

Board Discussion

President Guthrie confirmed with Assistant Manager Raimo that the 2013 marketing budget is set at $20,000.

Director Rowe questioned the effective use of social media for Brandermill. Johnston felt it was needed to counteract the negative effect of an existing Facebook site operated by a resident. Director Rowe disagreed that social media was the way to counter that negativity.

Director Davis questioned the terminology "upgrading the web site" versus building a new web site specifically for marketing.

Director Bettin noted that the first three items on the cost synopsis sheet (page 35 of February 4, 2013 Board Packet) would enable Brandermill to develop a new web site to market Brandermill. In addition, this new web site would be built on a platform that would enable the BCA to convert The Village Mill into an electronic format. He also suggested that the BCA staff was already capable of handling several of the content and maintenance items in the Marketing Plan.

Director Davis asked how we would reach out to the realtor community for the directory listing. Director Rowe also asked if there was a means to estimate the revenue that might come from that directory listing and when that revenue might be realized. Johnston responded that one of their clients generate enough revenue to cover costs of their web site within six months of launch.

Director O'Hanley asked Johnston if she disagreed with another consultant's opinion that web advertising revenue would be only 5%-15% of print revenue, if The Village Mill became an e-publication. Johnston replied that in her experience, advertisers want wide market exposure which is better afforded on the web than in print.

Manager Bailey feels that the existing web site does need updating and that the marketing of Brandermill is not necessarily addressed on the existing site. Long-term, Manager Bailey feels that other issues regarding Brandermill need to be addressed, e.g., the pools, roads and open-space maintenance, before expending monies to further the Marketing Plan. His strategic position included building a marketing web site for Brandermill, doing work within Brandermill to better ready it for further marketing and then advancing the Marketing Plan.

Treasurer Hillman asked what the quarterly $3,750 maintenance fee covered. Johnston's reply indicated that the cost figure was an estimate and that it covered technical support of the Drupal platform as well as any modules that may need to be created during a quarter.

Treasurer Hillman asked about the $300 search engine advertising cost. Johnston indicated that the cost is the monthly budget cap for Google ad words, and she stated that it is used generally when a web site first launches to increase traffic to the new site.

Treasurer Hillman continued with asking what the $125,000 2014 initial investment/annual advertising budget included. Johnston stated that Brandermill was not yet ready for print, radio and television advertising but that the amount was presented to give the BCA Board a feel of what it would cost when it was time to implement that phase of the Marketing Plan.

Director Rowe asked if RFP's could be issued for someone in the community to perform web site maintenance. Director Bettin also commented that someone on the BCA staff could also maintain the new web site. Johnston affirmed that the new web site could be maintained that way.

President Guthrie stated that MPOC had asked that the BCA Board not act on the Marketing Plan until it could review the Plan and submit comments. Director Bettin recommended that the BCA Board not wait to make a decision on the Marketing Plan so as to not delay its implementation and to overcome some residents' complaint of the Board over-studying issues before taking action.

President Guthrie agreed that the current budget had a $20,000 allocation for marketing but suggested that the Plan go back to MPOC for consideration as the Brandermill moves into 2014 budgeting process. In response to Treasurer Hillman's query of having BCA Staff perform certain functions within the Plan, President Guthrie said that there might be a discussion within Staff as well as MPOC for 2014 funding for additional staff or contract personnel.

Director Davis asked that Manager Bailey consider performing an efficiency study to review staffing requirements. He felt that we should proceed with at least building a marketing web site.

Director Bettin moved and Director Rowe seconded to accept the Marketing Plan.

Marketing Committee Chair Dennis Peterson urged the Board to take action on the Plan during the meeting, with the understanding that A Touch of Technology would also implement the Plan.

Director O'Hanley stated that discussion at the last Board meeting included sending out RFP's for implementing the Plan. The discussion on this issue had been tabled.

Director Rowe suggested that the BCA could perform quality assurance on the marketing web site and could probably determine if we were getting a return on our investment by the end of this year.

Director Bettin modified his motion (1) to approve A Touch of Technology for $22,500 to implement the first three line items on the web site component as outlined in the Marketing Plan's cost synopsis sheet (see page 35 of February 4, 2013 Board Packet), (2) to use the $20,000 2013 budgeted amount to implement those items, (3) to ask Staff to identify the source of the additionally needed $2,500, (4) to ask MPOC to look at the plan and provide input, and (5) to ask Staff to evaluate the administrative capacity to maintain the web site.

This motion was seconded and approved by the BCA Board.


Mark Your Calendars!

Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM
"Meet the Candidates"
Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
Brandermill Woods


Presently there are five persons who have submitted their applications for the 2013-2016 BCA Board of Directors: Donald Blom, Thomas Leonard, Robert Malek, Robert Strickland and Brett Vassey.

Mark your calendars now to attend the NRC's annual "Meet the Candidates" event on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 7:00 p.m., Brandermill Woods. Meeting attendees will be able to ask specific questions to the participating candidates. Come and learn more about these candidates' positions on issues relating to our community, and look for the candidates' profiles in the upcoming issue of The Village Mill.

WANTED: Nominations for "Award-Winning" and "Most Improved" Brandermill Homes

Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Message courtesy of Community Character Committee ("CCC")

The CCC wants to continue the program of recognizing "award-winning" and "most improved" homes in Brandermill. However, this is not possible without your help with nominations. We were unable to award the Most Improved Home for March, as the work was not completed. There were no other nominees on our list.

If you know of a home that always looks well-kept, please nominate it for Award-Winning Home. Likewise, if you are aware of a home that has undergone renovation, please nominate it for Most Improved Home.

Send your nominations via e-mail to Dianne Cardea (dcardea@verizon.net). The CCC will review all nominations and then send them to the BCA for approval. For the most recent "Award-Winning Home", visit http://brandermill.com/?id=6687.