Archives for January 2015


Information Packet for February 2, 2015 BCA Board Meeting Now Available

Posted January 31, 2015 at 4:20 PM
The information packet for the upcoming BCA Board meeting is now available for downloading.

Agenda items include:
  • Consideration of Hearing Panel Appeal
  • Consideration of Changes to Residential Design Standards regarding Satellite Antennas
  • Consideration of Changes to the Financial Policy regarding Collection of Delinquent Accounts, Use and Sale of BCA Assets, and Authority to Sign Checks
  • Discussion of Amended Report by the Special Committee on Abandoned and Rental Properties
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.


Results of NRC Questionnaire on SCARP Revised Recommendations Now Available

Posted January 31, 2015 at 4:20 PM
Tabulated results of the above cited questionnaire are now available for downloading.

We thank all 140 Brandermill participants who took the time to complete our questionnaire. A copy of these results, including all comments, have been forward to the BCA Board for their consideration.


2015 NRC Officers Elected

Posted January 31, 2015 at 4:20 PM
At its 2015 Annual Meeting held on January 29 at The Boathouse, NRC Representatives elected the committee's 2015 Officers:
 
Chair  ..........  Linda Quackenbush
First Vice Chair  ..........  Joe Herbst
Second Vice Chair  ..........  Tamara Virginia
Secretary  ..........  Sally Ragsdale
Treasurer  ..........  Mamie McNeal

Background information on these officers may be found on the NRC website.

Thanks go to all attendees for participating in our meeting and especially the NRC Reps without whom the Board of Officers could not accomplished the NRC's chartered goals.


Responses to SCARP Questionnaire Due Jan 30, 2015

Posted January 29, 2015 at 9:31 PM
Reminder: Responses to Questionnaire on
Revised SCARP Recommendations
Due 5 p.m. on January 30, 2015

The Special Committee on Abandoned and Rental Property ("SCARP") has revised its report and recommendations to the BCA Board of Directors. Please download and read the full revised report and then share your thoughts by completing the questionnaire on www.brandermillnrc.com/?id=7224 no later than Friday, January 30, 2015, 5 p.m..

Results and comments will be tabulated and presented to the BCA Board at its February 2, 2015 meeting. Your feedback is important, so please complete the questionnaire now!

Reminder: NRC Annual Meeting

Posted January 23, 2015 at 5:16 PM
Reminder: NRC 2015 Annual Meeting
Thursday, January 29, 2015
7 p.m., The Boathouse

The agenda for the NRC 2015 Annual Meeting is now available for downloading.

A social hour preceding the meeting will commence at 6 p.m. The Boathouse will provide light hors d'oeuvres, and happy hour pricing will be applied to beverages. RSVP to NRCInfo@BrandermillNRC.com with head count required by 5 p.m., Monday, January 26.

We look forward to having you join us!

NRC Nominating Committee Announces Slate of 2015 Officers

Posted January 18, 2015 at 11:33 PM
The NRC Nominating Committee (Chair George Lawson, Kathy Cantrell and Doug Camp) proudly announces the following slate of 2015 officers:
Chair Linda Quackenbush
Linda, her husband and three children have been Brandermill residents since their move from New York in 1991. Linda has a small business called Ms. De-Clutter and has worked with her husband Jeff at J. Quackenbush Refinishing for 33 years, performing administrative work. She also works at Capelli Cuts Hair Salon in Amelia, which is owned by her daughter. Previous recent work experience include a Sales Coordinator position at The Holiday Inn Express at Brandermill in 2008 and Merchandising Manager at Haynes Furniture Company in 2004.
  Linda's volunteer work includes serving as the Cheer Director for SCAA for seven seasons and participating in many school events, most notably as "The Nutcracker" Costume Coordinator at SCES. She also coordinated a donation drop-off for Hurricane Sandy victims, in which she, with the help of the BCA Communications Department, was able to fill two U-Haul trucks with furniture and clothing and a SUV with diapers. Linda recently has created a Faceboook group called Brandermill Families to enable communicating and meeting residents through social media. She loves to garden and cook, and her biggest enjoyment in life is her family.
First Vice Chair Joe Herbst
Joe is a retired Procter & Gamble senior sales executive who seeks to continue to serve the Brandermill community. He served as NRC Chair in 2014, NRC First Vice Chair in 2013, and is Chair of the Harbour Pointe Residents Association. He is committed to accomplishing the NRC's goals as stated in its charter. If elected, his primary focus on the NRC Board will be to increase resident participation in Brandermill governance by working to increase community input on important issues.
Second Vice Chair Tamara Virginia
Tamara has been a Brandermill resident since 1997. She retired in September 2012, after being employed for 18 years with Evonik Industries (formerly Goldschmidt Chemical Co., Inc.) as Senior Buyer in the Purchasing Department. She has served on the editorial staff of the company's newsletter, was a member of the company's Safety Committee, and held a 2-year term on the Safety Auditing team for its production plants and offices. She furthered her education as a graduate from business school CCBI in Syracuse, NY.
Tamara relates that her most rewarding and joyful accomplishment was the raising of her three daughters and son. She is now the proud grandmother of 16 grandchildren and the great-grandmother of 12 great-grandchildren. In the past, Tamara has also been active in community theater, having served as Marketing Director for a Syracuse, NY small production acting company as well as participated in extra movie work locally. Currently her interests are instructions in Tai Chi, line dancing and exercise classes, observing the many varieties of birds that visit her feeder, traveling and, most of all, spending time with her family.
Secretary Sally Ragsdale
Sally Ragsdale returned to the Richmond area in 2013 after 15 years working in Northern Virginia. A native Virginian, Sally was raised in Arlington. She began her studies at Hollins University, majoring in mass communications and political science. At Hollins she was named editor of the student newspaper. She interned at The Richmond Times-Dispatch and transferred to VCU.
  Sally returned to Northern Virginia to work at an education company, then took a position at Thomson Reuters in their Westlaw division. At Thomson she consulted with government affairs departments in companies, organizations and government agencies. She worked extensively with associations, analyzing the impact of pending legislation, and regulations. Her research helped her clients construct strategies at the state and federal level.
  Returning to journalism, Sally began working at The Washington Post in 2007. Her position is in the newsroom representing the Post domestically, advising editors and publishers on syndicated political writers and other features. She is also responsible for negotiating contracts for The Washington Post news service. Her work at the Post keeps her on a busy travel schedule but informed about current events.
  Sally is interested in the position of Secretary. Her experience in news gathering and negotiating as well as a keen eye for what is happening now that will affect the future makes her a perfect candidate. She looks forward to working with her neighbors and finding ways to improve the community experience for all the residents of Brandermill.
  Sally is interested in the position of Secretary. Her experience in news gathering, negotiating and keen eye for what is happening now that will affect the future make her a perfect candidate. She looks forward to working with her neighbors and finding ways to improve the community experience for all the residence of Brandermill.
Treasurer Mamie McNeal
A Brandermill resident since 1978, Mamie has been actively involved with the NRC since 2008. She has served on the NRC Board in varying capacities since then, including Communications Committee member (2008-present) and Chair (2010, 2012, 2013). Since 2009, Mamie has attended most of the BCA Finance Committee meetings and would now like to get more residents involved in the BCA budgeting process.

NRC 2015 Annual Meeting

Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:29 PM
NRC 2015 Annual Meeting
Thursday, January 29, 2015
7 p.m., The Boathouse
Social event preceding the meeting at 6 p.m.
The Boathouse will host the NRC Annual Meeting meeting as well as a social event from 6-8 p.m. with light hors d'oeuvres and happy hour pricing for beverages. Join us and get re-acquainted with your NRC Rep. Reply to this e-mail to RSVP with head count by 5 p.m., Monday, January 26.

Election of 2015 NRC officers will be a part of this meeting's agenda. Please consider serving as an officer, especially if the Nominating Committee contacts you. Quorum of NRC Reps is required at this meeting, so please mark your calendar now to attend this very important meeting.
 

Highlights of January 5, 2015 BCA Board Meeting

Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:29 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

Richard Bradshaw (Regatta Pointe) commented that he disagreed with the recommendations of the Special Committee on Abandoned and Rental Properties (see pages 8-14 of January 5, 2015 Board information packet). He stated that he agreed with the Committee's points regarding abandoned properties but not with the points regarding rentals. He suggested that the Association enforce existing covenants and standards governing all properties, including rentals. He also commented that many of the findings in the Committee's report regarding rentals are not supported by facts and questioned the Committee's finding that rentals are not kept up standards as well as owner occupied properties. He stated that he had lived overseas for an extended period of time between 2003 and 2012 during which he rented out his home in Regatta Pointe. He noted that his property value had not declined during this time. He also questioned the Committee's finding that Brandermill needs to identify which properties are being occupied by renters.

George Lawson (Huntsbridge) asked the BCA Board what he needed to do to continue to receiving hard copies of The Village Mill. Manager Bailey responded that residents could register to receive hard copies of The Village Mill by coming to the BCA office or by applying on the Association website.

Ann Hunt (Timber Ridge) informed the BCA Directors of her resignation as an employee of Brandermill. She commented that she had been an employee for the last 11 years and a resident and volunteer for many years before that. She stated that she had resigned because she felt that there is a lack of respect for employees by the BCA Board. She quoted Director Pearson's comments from earlier board meetings that the lack of turnover among Brandermill employees indicated that they are sufficiently compensated. She highlighted the dedication and hard work of the Staff.

Director Pearson responded that he does appreciate the staff. He clarified that his primary concern is that Brandermill has not done a comparison survey of compensation and benefits for 19 years. He commented that he will support increases in compensation and benefits if a comparison survey indicates that such are appropriate.

Cassandra Lacey (Timber Ridge) identified herself as a longtime resident of Brandermill, a current property owner of rental property and a business owner in Brandermill. Lacey commented that the community needs a vision in order to be successful. She commented that she has enthusiasm for the arts, noting that Brandermill has had a School of Arts since 1981 and two dance schools. She challenged the BCA Board to consider how Brandermill could differentiate itself from other area communities. She noted that our location is not a problem and that property values increase when there is something special about a community. She noted that she hopes Brandermill will take advantage of the free advertising available in The Chesterfield Observer and Chesterfield Monthly.

Allan Kyriakides (Chimney House) urged the BCA Board to take action regarding extravagant Christmas displays. He said that it took his family up to 50 minutes to enter his neighborhood during Christmas. He commented that the traffic congestion in his neighborhood creating by the holiday home displays made it very difficult to have guests or to go out for meals/services. He suggested that Brandermill amend its covenants to prohibit extravagant Christmas displays and to prohibit displays with synchronized music and lights which cause viewers to stop for extended times.

Steve Ernst (Chimney House) informed the BCA Board that he had been forced to park blocks away from his home on two nights and had to walk home because of the extreme traffic created by the Christmas light display in his neighborhood. He commented that he enjoys the displays and liked the recognition Brandermill received this year. However, he asked that the BCA Board do something to control the associated traffic. He also questioned the use of Association funds to pay for additional police services to control traffic.

President Davis asked if Ernst did not support the BCA paying for police assistance to control traffic. President Davis noted that the situation at the Bottoms home had "blown up" after it was publicized on December 22 that they had won the USA Today national contest.

Ernst affirmed that he does not want to see Brandermill paying for something that did not benefit the entire community.

President Davis responded that he didn't feel the BCA Board should be criticized for trying to deal with the situation by arranging additional police traffic control. Ernst responded that the police only controlled traffic in and out but had not reduced the back up.

Bobby Joyner (Whispering Oaks) stated that he supports the Bottoms family's decoration of their home but felt the event added better planning. He feels that residents are willing to put up with some inconvenience associated with the traffic caused by Christmas decoration of homes.

Todd Piller (Walker's Ferry) stated that he doesn't see enforcement of the covenants. He noted that he had identified violations to the BCA two years ago and has not seen them addressed.

Manager Bailey responded that the process to correct violations sometimes takes time.

President's Report

President Davis commented that he agreed with the content and spirit of Joyner's remarks regarding the need to improve planning around holiday home decorations. He thanked the Bottoms family for the recognition they had brought to Brandermill and noted that the Bottoms family had ended the display early out of concern for the traffic situation.

Committee Appointment

Diane Cardea was approved unanimously by the BCA Board as a member of the Maintenane and Ecology Committee.

Special Committee on Abandoned and Rental Properties

Director Pearson began by stating that a motion to accept and receive the report of the Special Committee does not mean that it will be approved. He then covered the details of the report (see pages 8-14, January 5, 2015 Board information packet). He stated President Davis had appointed four members to the Special Committee: BCA Director Jack Bettin, resident and attorney Tommy Baer, resident Tom Jacobson who is a VCU professor and past Director of Planning and Revitalization for Chesterfield County, and himself.

Abandoned Properties

Director Pearson noted that the Committee had received important assistance from Manager Bsssailey, Property Manager Al Raimo and BCA attorney, Vijay Mago. He commented spanthe Board had asked the Committee to look at abandoned and rental properties within Brandermill and how they might affect property values. He stated the need for the Committee was realized in May 2014 when a resident of Winterberry Ridge complained to the BCA that the sale of his property was being negatively impacted by an abandoned property in his neighborhood.

Director Pearson noted that Brandermill has roughly 80 neighborhoods and 10 identified abandoned properties, including two of which the BCA Board has already authorized liens. Pearson noted that no neighborhood has more than one abandoned property. He also commented that the Association budget currently includes $5,000 in its "Self Help" fund which can be used by the BCA to improve landscaping, mailboxes and the exterior of abandoned homes.

Director Hillman asked if a lien has been placed against the abandoned property in Winterberry Ridge and if it had gone through the normal BCA process to deal with violations. She stated that if it had gone through the nromal process, then the process is broken.

Director Pearson responded that he was not sure that definitive guidelines had been given to Staff. He stated that the Association needs to make sure the existing process is working. Director Bettin responded that he felt it was unclear to the BCA property management staff just how aggressive the BCA Board wanted them to be. Director Bettin also commented that the expectations regarding the enforcement process need to be clear to the BCA Board, the community and Staff.

Director Davis then asked if the current process of getting a lien against properties was getting desired results.

Director Malek questioned our experience with taking ownership of properties via the foreclosure process. Manager Bailey commented that in his opinion the best thing we can do is to change the Self-Help policy to allow the BCA more latitude in improving the appearance of abandoned homes.

Relative to abandoned properties, the Special Committee proposes the following actions (see pages 10-12, January 5, 2015 Board information packet).
  • Establish firm deadlines to remedy the violations on the properties. This includes turning the properties over to an attorney for 60-day notification of the intent to place a lien when overdue assessments or violations persist for 90 days or more.
  • Sixty (60) days after a lien has been filed, have the BCA attorney file for a non-judicial foreclosure to sell the property.

Rental Properties

Director Pearson presented the Committee's finding and recommendations relative to rental properties. He noted that there is currently nothing in our documents requiring the registration of rentals and that the number of rentals within our community is presently known. It is estimated that rentals comprise about 12% of total homes, based upon assessments coupons being mailed to homeowner addresses other than the property. He noted that the obligation for property maintenance is always on the owner and not the renter.

Director Leonard asked if the Association is legally able to impose a 15% cap on the total number of properties offered as rentals. Manager Bailey responded that it would require a change in the covenants, but that we are able to limit the percentage of rentals within the community, if approved by a referendum change to the covenants.

Director Hillman noted that rentals are increasing nationally. She pointed out that many of the new residents to Chesterfield County are former City of Richmond residents, who move to the County for its better schools. Many new residents are renting.

Director Blom asked about the process to impose a percentage cap on the number of rentals. The response from the Committee was that we would create a waiting list for owners wanting to rent out their properties. Manager Bailey estimated that we currently have about 450 rental properties and noted that the limit could be set at 563, if we impose a 15% cap.

Director Hillman asked if the Association could handle the proposed inspections of rental properties without increasing the staff. Director Pearson felt the Assocation could, as the department is now fully staffed. Manager Bailey responded that we can. Director Pearson made a motion to accept the report. The motion was approved unanimously.

Regarding rental properties, the Special Committee recommended the following actions, if a referendum could be approved:
  • The BCA staff should be informed on which properties are rentals including contact info for the renters. Current BCA documents do not require this.
  • The Special Committee unanimously recommends a covenant change be considered by the BCA Board which could be made available to the members for a vote in the spring of 2015 (preferably to be included in the annual election ballot mailing). This covenant change would require property owners to notify the BCA if their properties are rented and require current tenant contact information.
  • Owners of rental properties would be required to pay a tenant fee equal to 50% of the annual residential assessment in addition to the annual assessment.

Member Voice Regarding the Special Committee's Recommendations

Gail Walters (Northwich) commented that she has been working with the BCA as a realtor for 32 years. She has testified in court for the BCA as a real estate "expert". She noted that she agrees with the Special Committee's recommendations regarding abandoned properties and wondered why we hadn't already taken these actions. However, she urged the BCA not to consider rentals and abandoned properties together. She emphasized that the property owner is responsible for the condition of rental property. She urged the BCA Board to make penalties for violations more severe if necessary. However, she felt that collecting information on rentals is unnecessary and onerous. Walters also didn't like the "spin" regarding rentals. She stated that additional fees are not warranted and noted that the BCA would not be able to cap rentals at 15%. She noted that if homeowners who were transferred out of the area might need to rent and would not submit to the cap. She closed by saying that she hasn't been on a committee and could be helpful to the SCARP committee.

Richard Bradshaw (Regatta Pointe) agreed with Walters' remarks. He urged the BCA Board to put the emphasis on the homeowner if they aren't maintaining their property. He asked if Brandermill is targeting rentals and urged against a cap. He felt the demands of the market will dictate the percentage of rentals.

Warren Ragsdale (Huntsbridge) commented that no members of the SCARP committee had ever owned rental property in Brandermill. He commented that no mention was made by the Committee of bank-owned or foreclosed properties. He asked if the Special Committee really believed that an additional fee would do anything to improve the condition of rentals. He urged the BCA to encourage the owners of rental properties to maintain and improve their properties.

Dennis Lacey (Timber Ridge) identified himself as a realtor. He noted that a HOA in another city had placed a cap on rentals. He commented that this increased foreclosures and that the members felt that their board had betrayed them by limiting the option to take renters. He urged the Association to do inspections and drive-bys of rentals on a monthly basis.

Jason Livingston (owner of rentals in Brandermill) noted that the issues are very different on abandoned and rental properties. He commented that he does not support the Committee's recommendations on abandoned properties because they will lead to foreclosures. He commented that he does support the self-help policy to improve the appearance of abandoned properties. He recommended enhancement of the self-help policy, even though the community will probably never recover self-help money from owners. Past-BCA Director Livingston noted that currently rental violations are only at 64 and urged the enforcement process to focus on reducing these to 30 which would place rental non-compliance at the rate as owner-occupied non-compliance. He disagreed with a perpetual rental fee and rental cap. He urged the BCA Board to focus on easy, low-cost solutions to the rental violations and to identify the top 10 violations and resolve them first.

Todd Piller (Walker's Ferry) noted that the proposed rental assessment had many weaknesses. He commented that if called an "assessment," then it might be considered a special assessment and that would need to be voted upon by those affected by the assessment.

Chris Glaze (Woodbridge Crossing) noted that Woodbridge Crossing is a subassociation and questioned how the proposed recommendations would apply. He suggested that, if assessed, a rental fee should be imposed at the start of the rental and not annually. He commented that tracking rentals and enforcement should not require addition of a staff employee.

Clifton Kaufman (Deer Meadow) commented that he rents his property. He commented that, if a rental fee is assessed, then all violation notices should go to the renter rather than the owner. He noted that he had no arguments with the Special Committee's recommendations regarding abandoned properties.

Tommy Baer (Land's End) offered that Brandermill is more a community than an Association. He reminded members that the governing process is not an adversarial process and that no one serving on the Special Committee had ill will toward anyone in the community. He reminded members that the Special Committee did differentiate issues between abandoned and rental properties. He reminded members that the Special Committee did recommend expansion of Self-Help guidelines and closed by encouraging members to keep the discourse civil.

George Lawson (Huntsbridge) thanked the members of the Special Committee. He noted that there is a problem with a lack of data to back up subjective opinions formed by the Committee. He commented that the Committee's report cited a 10-year-old survey conducted by Chesterfield County, adding that survey data that old is outdated. He commented that some people have no choice but to rent out their properties in order to qualify for a loan to buy another home. He concluded by saying that the BCA Board is quick to consider changing the covenants regarding the SCARP issues but has been very reluctant to consider this an option on another issue in the past.

Board Discussion

Director Pearson, chair of the Special Committee, responded that he felt we should wait for comment by the Finance Committee and the NRC. The BCA Board should then consider the report and all of the community input before deciding what action to take.

President Davis commented that the BCA Board would need to have language for any proposed referendum crafted by an attorney and ready for the March Board meeting to decide whether to include it on the annual ballot. President Davis also asked that a special meeting of the BCA Board be duly called to discuss this issue.

Proposed Change in Financial Policy

This proposed change in the timeline for collection of past due assessments (page 15, January 5, 2015 Board information packet) was approved unanimously.
 

NRC 2015 Nominating Committee and Annual Meeting

Posted January 2, 2015 at 3:59 PM
Chair Herbst is pleased to announce the members of the NRC 2015 Nominating Committee: Doug Camp, Kathy Cantrell and George Lawson. The Nominating Committee is responsible for creating a slate of 2015 officers for consideration at its January 29, 2015 Annual Meeting. Anyone interested in serving as an NRC officer is encouraged to contact the Nominating Committee; and if a Committee member should call you, please consider serving.

The NRC 2015 Annual Meeting has now been scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday, January 29, 2015 at The Boathouse. The Boathouse will host the NRC Annual Meeting meeting as well as a social event from 6-8 p.m. with light hors d'oeuvres and happy hour pricing for beverages. Join us and get re-acquainted with your NRC Rep.

Mark your calendar now to attend this very important meeting!