Archives for June 2013


Information Packet for July 1, 2013 BCA Board Meeting

Posted June 28, 2013 at 5:14 PM
The information packet for the upcoming BCA Board meeting is now available for downloading. The NRC encourages all residents to attend BCA Board meetings to learn of Brandermill "happenings".

Please note that there will be a presentation/status report on our new web site development by A Touch of Technology (see pages 24-33 of this Board information packet) at this meeting.


Highlights of June 20, 2013 MPOC Meeting

Posted June 28, 2013 at 5:14 PM
Community Manager Bailey summarized the BCA Board’s priorities for Brandermill as discussed at its Strategic Meeting of June 6, 2013. These priorities include, but are not limited to, (1) active community input to decisions, (2) cost/benefit analysis on projects and programs, (3) vigilance on impact of projects and programs on assessments, and (4) continual improvement of County and VDOT relationships.

Manager Bailey also reported that the BCA Board determined various goals to be achieved during this Board year (May 2013 through April 2014), as well as goals to be achieved in future years. A complete statement of this Board’s strategic plan may be viewed on pages 35-39 of the July 1, 2013 Board information packet. It is anticipated that the BCA Board will approve these strategies at its July 1, 2013 Board meeting.

Marketing Committee Chair Dennis Peterson asked if there was some legal recourse to ensure that all new homebuyers read Brandermill’s Restrictive Covenants. Manager Bailey, Assistant Manager Raimo, and ARB Chair Andy Wyman replied that the POAA only required that the buyers have those documents in their disclosure statements at the time of closing. Chair Wyman concluded by saying that "nobody can make anybody read."

NRC Chair Mamie McNeal asked about the newcomers event that the BCA had sponsored in the past. Finance Committee Chair Buddy Whitfield said that those events used to be offered twice a year, were not felt to be effective, and were somewhat "too late" for newcomers to ensure compliance with our regulations.

Chair Wyman also stated that the ARB does consider possible changes to the residential/commercial standards if a resident presents a case where the ARB sees the need for a potential change in the standards. These changes are presented to the BCA Board for their consideration as possible changes to the standards. Examples cited were rain barrels, courtyards, fences, signage, and building materials.

Manager Bailey also addressed the newly developed budget process in his June 12, 2013 memo to Department and Committee Chairs, which is aimed at getting more residents and committees involved in the budget process. Manager Bailey anticipates presenting the first draft of the proposed budget to the Finance Committee on September 9, 2013, with the Committee and Manager holding a public hearing on the proposed budget on October 19, 2013. They will then present the recommended budget to the BCA Board after October 21, with the BCA Board holding a public hearing on that budget at its November 4, 2013 Board meeting.

On November 18, the BCA Board will vote on amendments and final adoption of the 2014 budget. The final new assessment amount, along with a consolidated budget presentation will be published/posted and information sent to the Brandermill membership during the week of November 25, 2013. (See page 4 of the Manager’s June 12, 2013 memo for a complete outline of the draft 2013/2014 budget schedule.)

Pool Presentations Now Available On-Line

Posted June 28, 2013 at 5:14 PM
Missed the June 10, 2013 pool presentation by PARC’s subcommittee to the BCA Board? Video as well as pdf slides are now available for your review at http://www.brandermillnrc.com/?id=7015.

BCA Board Work Session has been scheduled for July 17, 2013 at 7:00 p.m., Brandermill Woods to discuss how to proceed with the pools, i.e., pool process. This meeting is open for community attendance.

Highlights of June 10, 2013 BCA Board Meeting

Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:37 PM
Important Note: The following highlights are reported based on unofficial notes taken by NRC representatives who attended the 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.

Motion to Amend the Agenda

Director Tom Leonard made a motion to amend the agenda to include consideration of an amendment to the BCA by-laws. This motion was seconded and unanimously approved to be inserted as item 7.E. on the agenda.

President's Report

President O'Hanley reported that an orientation meeting was held on May 16, 2013 for all of the BCA Directors. The orientation began with Manager Bailey leading the Directors through the BCA Handbook, focusing on review of the BCA covenants, by-laws, articles of incorporation, community structure and general policies.

During the afternoon, the Directors toured the offices and met BCA staff members. After that, the Directors toured Brandermill on a bus provided by Brandermill Woods. She noted that the tour of Brandermill (referring to it as the "highlight of the afternoon") was eye-opening and revealed the large size of the community which is much larger than many towns and cities. Brandermill has 3,770+ homes, more than 13,000 residents, schools, 150+ businesses, a fire department, medical providers, an emergency veterinary provider, grocery stores, Chesterfield Berry Farm, parks, a country club, a golf course, a tennis club, and gas stations. She also noted that next year we will have HCA opening an emergency health care center at Harbour Pointe. "We even have our own retirement community," she said. (Please read President O'Hanley's Villiage Mill article on the BCA web site: http://brandermill.com/?id=6989.)

She thanked the membership for making the BCA Directors the leaders of such an important community. She expressed that during this coming year the Board plans to work with and for the community to make decisions that will improve Brandermill, while being aware of their fiduciary responsibility.

Treasurer's Report

Treasurer Hillman noted that most elements of the budget are right on target, although pool revenues are running behind last year's revenue. Last year the pools finished with a deficit of approximately $30,000. She noted that Manager Bailey and the Staff have been working on programs to improve the pool revenues but cautioned that we would be fortunate to finish this year with a pool deficit equal to last year's.

Treasurer Hillman inquired into the status of the new trail map. Manager Bailey responded that changes have been approved and it is now at the printer. The printed trail map should be available soon.

Manager's Report

Manager Bailey reported that he recently had a conversation with a Chesterfield Observer reporter regarding Brandermill's process for addressing covenant violations.

Manager Bailey reviewed the steps in the covenant enforcement process. After a complaint is received by BCA Staff, it is first verified that the complaint is a violation. The violation is then communicated with the offending property owner via phone and/or e-mail to correct the violation. If this does not correct the violation, Staff then issues a formal notice with a 30-day notice to comply. If that does not remedy the situation, the violator is called before the Hearing Panel at which time they may be represented by an attorney and can plead their case. This adds another 30 days to the process. Next, the case goes to an attorney (representing the BCA) who gives notice of a formal proceeding, at which time the violation enters the formal judicial system (see synopsis of the covenant enforcement process available from the BCA web site). Manager Bailey noted that, at this point, the main concern for the judge is "Did Brandermill follow its process?" He pointed out that, for the member who originally made the complaint, it often appears that Brandermill is not doing anything to correct the covenant violation. He commented that the entire legal process, if necessary, could take up to a full year, especially if a bankruptcy is involved.

Manager Bailey stated that weekly conference calls are continuing with A Touch of Technology, the developer of the new website. The firm will present a report to the BCA Directors at its July Board meeting, with a formal launch of the web site at the BCA Board’s September meeting.

With regards to the marina at Brandermill Inn, Manager Bailey reported that there will be a summary hearing on August 2, 2013, with a potential trial date of January 20, 2014.

Manager Bailey announced that the pools opened on May 26, 2013. He stated that he did a final pool inspection two days prior to the opening. He noted that there was still lots of work to be done on the pools; much of this work will continue in the fall after the pools are closed.

Director Bettin asked if Brandermill had a follow-up process for contacting the member who originally registered a potential covenant violation. Director Hillman suggested that some type of general follow-up would help residents better understand the covenant enforcement process and that Staff is investigating the complaint. Director Bettin recommended that the BCA create a process to “manage resident expectations” when a complaint is filed. Director Hillman agreed. Director Bettin stressed that member satisfaction regarding redress of covenant violations has a lot to do with their understanding of the process.

Member Voice

Brian Cogbill of Long Shadow asked about the status of the proposal to install electronic message boards. Manager Bailey responded that the Master Plan Oversight Committee ("MPOC") has prioritized the proposed projects and that the electronic message board proposal had been ranked as the No. 3 capital project for 2014. He noted that the Finance Committee has proposed a 2014 budget guidelines (see page 29 of June 10, 2013 Board packet) and that the Board will vote on the budget, including the proposed capital projects in the fall.

Director Davis noted that the BCA Board has not yet stated any position regarding the proposed budget guidelines.

Presentation of Report from PARC Sub-Committee on Next Steps Regarding the Pools

PARC member Bobby Joyner presented a presentation from PARC regarding next steps relative to the pools (see pages 9-25 of the June 10, 2013 Board packet).

To summarize, the subcommittee looked at the pros and cons of Brandermill having pools versus not having pools. The subcommittee took the same pros-and-cons approach with keeping the existing pool membership structure, changing to a new membership structure, closing one of the pool and finally consideration of universal pool access (“UPA”).

The subcommittee reached the following conclusions:
  • Brandermill cannot stay competitive with surrounding communities and attract new residents without the pools.
  • Brandermill pools cannot survive under the current fee structure.

The subcommittee shared the following WIG’s ("Wildly Important Goals"):
  • Do not increase assessments before the pools have been upgraded.
  • Use the transition period to increase interest in the pools (and UPA).

The subcommittee also made the following recommendations to the Board:
  • Move on the prior PARC recommendations regarding safety/ADA/accessibility upgrades to pools.
  • Conduct a Facilities Condition Study as recommended by Club Source Design.
  • Hold community meetings.
  • Upgrade the pools from 2014 to 2016. Ask the Finance Committee to analyze and finalize amounts for revised fee structure, as well as how to pay for upgrades.
  • Implement UPA in 2016/2017.

Director Bettin commented that the Club Source Design study had indicated that the current pool surface area and decking would support UPA. Director Bettin also stressed that the bolded comments in “Pro’s” or “Con’s” on the presentation slides were broadly supported by the subcommittee members.

Director Davis asked how UPA equates to a sign of positive change for Brandermill as expressed in the report. He noted that it would require funding to achieve the required upgrades.

Director Bettin and PARC member Bobby Joyner responded that it would be a sign of positive change because the pools would be opened to the entire community. They noted that if Brandermill were being built today, it would offer UPA. Director Bettin indicated that of the 16 homeowner associations reviewed, only two did not have UPA (Brandermill and Woodlake). Chuck Rayfield, another member of the subcommittee, added that the pools must be considered as an amenity that sells homes.

Director Davis noted that some of the cost figures seemed wildly inflated in the Club Source Design study. As an example, he noted that the study listed a cost figure of $100,000 to bring a bathroom into ADA compliance. He asked who was going to vet the cost figures. PARC member Joyner responded that the Finance Committee’s help would be required as well as a Facilities Decision Study done. Director Davis asked about the cost of a Facilities Decision Study; Manager Bailey responded with $29,000 for all three pools or approximately $8,000-$9,000 per pool.

Director Blom congratulated the subcommittee on a great job and stated that he agreed with its conclusions as well as its first three recommendations (see page 25 of June 10, 2013 Board packet for complete list of PARC recommendations). However, he did not agree with the fourth recommendation, noting that we do not have complete financial data and stressed that the BCA Board needs to refrain from making any kind of commitment to UPA at this time. He urged the Directors to first consider different fee structure programs to validate the potential for increased membership participation, beginning in 2014. He firmly believes that all fee structure programs should encompass the premise that all Brandermill residents can access the pools (including one-day admissions) and that the BCA Board consider UPA if and when it is shown that UPA becomes a financially feasible option.

Director Leonard expressed concern that we are considering spending great sums of money without having any idea what outcomes might be. He expressed his opinion that we could let the pools revert to common areas. Director Bettin pointed out there would be a financial cost in converting the pools to common area usage.

Director Davis noted that the recommended plan seemed logical but asked what would be the plan if, after 2-3 years, the revised fee structure didn’t produce results.

Director Malek said that he supported having all three pools but is undecided about UPA. He expressed concerns about the cost figures in the study. Director Bettin noted that the subcommittee had taken all of its numbers from the Club Source Design study and noted that we had commissioned the Club Source Design study because they are experts in this field. Bobby Joyner added that the condition of the pools would not dramatically improve unless we move to UPA, due to cost.

Director Leonard asked if the subcommittee had considered closing only one pool. Subcommittee member Joyner responded in the affirmative. He added that if one pool was to be closed, the subcommittee would recommend it to be Harbour Pointe, although this would reduce the attractiveness of renting the Harbour Pointe clubhouse. The remaining two pools would not support UPA.

Manager Bailey noted that Brandermill would not be able to move to UPA quickly. He suggested that we first contract Club Source Design to do a Facilities Decision Study in order to identify structural and operational goals in bringing the pools up to good condition. He also suggested a BCA Board work session to decide the pool’s main focus points. Director Malek asked what had been delivered for the $15,000 we had paid for the Club Source Design study. He asked why the study had not identified these focus points. Both Manager Bailey and Treasurer Hillman responded that the scope of the Club Source Design study was limited to the question of UPA capacity requirements, and Manager Bailey added that the Club Source Design study had also given recommendations as to what needed to be done immediately.

Consideration of Board of Director's Strategic Planning Document

Manager Bailey described the 3-hour strategic planning session held on June 6, 2013 by the BCA Board of Directors whereby the current Board Directors identified strategic concepts/goals to be achieved in Board year 2013-2014, and goals to be achieved in years 2015 and beyond. Manager Bailey will finalize this document for review upon its completion.

As at the strategic meeting, Director Davis stated that he would like to see the BCA encourage residents remove more trees so as to let the “sunshine in”.

The BCA Board will vote to finalize this strategic plan at their July 2013 Board meeting.

Consideration of Revisions to Financial Policy

Manager Bailey indicated that the proposed changes to the Financial Policy would enable the BCA to implement a more effective 2014 budget calendar. The BCA Board unanimously approved changes to the Financial Policy as indicated on page 27 of the June 10, 2013 Board packet.

Consideration of 2014 Budget Calendar

NRC Chair Mamie McNeal asked how the proposed 2014 budget calendar would enable more resident feedback. Manager Bailey feels that the proposed calendar will enable more membership participation in the budget process as members could offer feedback to committees at meetings when their budgets are discussed. A draft of the recommended budget would be published for the membership, and the BCA Board would hold a public hearing on the proposed budget. The BCA Board unanimously approved the 2014 Budget Calendar as indicated on page 28 of the June 10, 2013 Board packet.

Consideration of Proposed BCA By-Law Change

Director Leonard asked the BCA Directors to consider amending the second sentence of Article III, Section 1 to read: A director shall be a member in good standing of the Corporation and reside in Brandermill. Presently Article III, Section 1 reads as follows:
ARTICLE III - Directors
Section 1. General Powers. The affairs of the Corporation shall be managed by its directors. The directors need not be members of the Corporation.

This proposal was tabled until the August 2013 BCA Board meeting.


Highlights of June 6, 2013 BCA Board of Directors Strategic Meeting

Posted June 15, 2013 at 2:13 PM
Important Note: The following highlights are reported based on unofficial notes taken by NRC representatives who attended the 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 Joan O'Hanley opened the meeting with her statement that she feels the BCA Board should focus on what the BCA can implement in the next 2-5 years and, in particular, focus on the needs versus potential wants of the community in the Board year 2013-2014. She feels that the BCA Board should be proactive in looking into the future, as “we have lived in the past for way too long”.

She asked that the BCA Directors be specific and realistic in the things they wish to accomplish this Board year. She also feels that with an annual budget of $2.5 million, the BCA Board should be able to find solutions to fund upgrades and solve other issues, before going to our membership for additional revenues. She then turned the meeting over to Community Manager John Bailey to lead.

Manager Bailey stated that he took all the BCA Directors’ suggestions on potential Brandermill issues and compiled them on the agenda for that meeting. The meeting continued with the Directors prioritizing those agenda items as goals to be achieved by the BCA.

Some issues discussed included:
  • Review of Governing Documents. Manager Bailey suggested forming a task force to review the BCA governing documents. Director Davis asked if it wouldn’t be more expeditious to just contact BCA’s legal counsel. Treasurer Hillman stated that this task force would review the existing governing documents to ensure that the BCA Board had authority to execute future initiatives and to suggest what changes might be recommended to modernize our documents. An example cited was the requirement for 75% membership approval to change Brandermill’s Declaration of Covenants.
  • Assessments. Director Blom said that the Board should probably establish a philosophy with regards to assessments. Do we want Brandermill to be known as the HOA with the lowest assessments or do we want to increase assessments to perform activities which would increase our competitiveness with other HOAs?

    Director Blom also said that there may be a relatively easy way to increase assessment on residential homeowners but not commercial property owners, something he would like to investigate more fully. Director Malek commented that Brandermill is particularly fortunate as we have more commercial members than most other nearby HOAs, and they contribute significantly to the BCA annual budget.

    Director Bettin said that the Board should concentrate on the long-term vision of Brandermill: “What is our long-term strategy and how do we fund our initiatives?” Director Davis, Directior Malek, and President O’Hanley agreed that they could not vote for an assessment increase this year.
  • BCA Board Work Sessions. Director Davis stated that he was in favor of holding Board work sessions on an as-needed basis, but he did not want to schedule work sessions for every month. Director Malek agreed that the work sessions should definitely be on an as-needed basis. An example topic for a work session would include the use of the Reserve and Capital Fee Funds. Treasurer Hillman indicated that these work sessions were not mandatory. No voting would occur during these work sessions.
  • 2014 Financial Guidelines. Director Davis said he felt somewhat ambushed last year, when the Finance Committee predicated its work on an assessment increase. He does not feel comfortable giving guidance to the Finance Committee until there is a clear understanding of the items listed in the 2014 Financial Guidelines (see page 29 of the June 10, 2013 Board Information Packet). President O’Hanley assured the BCA Directors that Manager Bailey would provide a clear understanding of the guidelines before they are to be passed this year. Treasurer Hillman stated that this year’s budget process is different from previous years, as Manager Bailey will be the person responsible for compiling the budget, with the Finance Committee serving more on an advisory/review role.
  • Capital Improvement Fee. The question of changing the BCA Covenants to increase the Capital Improvement Fee to a maximum of one year’s annual assessment was also discussed. This fee would only apply to new home buyers who are not already Brandermill residents. The Directors thought this issue might be better addressed in 2015 as it was just voted down twice last year. Treasurer Hillman encouraged the other Directors to keep that change in mind as it is a means to fund new capital projects.
  • Leaf Management. Director Malek asked if the BCA Directors wanted to offer resident leaf pickup from BCA assessments. He was concerned that the residents wanted this service but did not want to pay for it. He is also concerned about the length of time that leaf piles stay in our streets. Director Blom stated that the residents might then blow their leaves into the open space. Director Davis suggested the BCA publish a list of vendors who offer leaf pickup service and have residents contract with them individually. Director Malek agreed with this strategy.

    Manager Bailey made the distinction of leaf pickup for residents and leaf pickup of the BCA open space. He reminded the Directors that assessments may be impacted in BCA's efforts to more efficiently and effectively pick up the leaves from open space. Treasurer Hillman stated that not performing leaf pickup for residents may cause an additional burden on Staff to clean up the open space, to say nothing of clogging up our drains and streams. President O’Hanley agreed. Director Davis responded that if residents did place their leaves in the open space, the BCA could then pick up all the leaves at one time.
  • Tree Management. Director Davis stated his desire to “lighten” up Brandermill by encouraging residents to remove trees under 6” in diameter and less than 2’ tall, while making application to remove larger trees easier. This led to a discussion as to whether it might be more efficient to hire additional staff to perform maintenance or to outsource the work.
After meeting for approximately three hours, the BCA Board identified the issues on which to concentrate for this year and separated out those issues that they would like to see the community work towards over the next several years (issues not necessarily expected to be accomplished during Board year 2013-2014). Manager Bailey is currently tasked with creating a final Strategic Plan document that will define the consensus of the BCA Directors’ discussions at this Strategic Planning Session. That document will be made available for review upon its completion and will be voted on by the Board at its July meeting.


Information Packet for June 10, 2013 BCA Board Meeting

Posted June 7, 2013 at 3:12 PM
The information packet for the upcoming BCA Board meeting is now available for downloading. Agenda items include:
  • Presentation of Report from PARC Subcommittee on Next Steps Regarding the Pools
  • Consideration of Board of Directors' Strategic Planning Document
  • Consideration of 2014 Budget Calendar
  • Consideration of 2014 Budget Guidelines
We note that the agenda denotes a "Presentation of Report from PARC Sub-Committee on Next Steps Regarding the Pools". We encourage residents to attend BCA Board meetings to learn of Brandermill "happenings".