Archives for December 2016

Mark Your Calendars for the NRC Annual Meeting

Posted December 9, 2016 at 11:56 AM

NRC Annual Meeting
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
7:00 p.m.
Harbour Pointe Clubhouse

All Brandermill residents are welcome, but NRC Reps should definitely plan to attend this meeting. Quorum will be needed to vote on the NRC Task Force recommendations and to elect 2017 NRC officers.

The NRC extends wishes for a happy and safe holiday season to all!


Highlights of December 5, 2016 BCA Board Meeting

Posted December 9, 2016 at 11:53 AM
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.

Presentation: Mr. Jack Wilson, Johnson Development Associates' Self-Storage Facility on Hull Street Road

Mr. Jack Wilson, an attorney representing Johnson Development Associates, presented details of the proposed self-storage facility to be located on Hull Street Road behind and adjacent to the Watch Hill neighborhood in Harbour Pointe. The proposal will be considered by the Chesterfield County Planning Commission on January 17, 2017 and by the County Board of Supervisors at their February meeting. Johnson Development Associates is requesting rezoning of the property from O2 (Corporate Office District) to C5 (General Business District).

With the aid of site plan drawings, Wilson advised the BCA Board that this proposal and rezoning request will be presented with the following proffers:

  1. The proposed development is a self-contained, 3-story interior storage facility to be located as close to the Hull Street side of the property as possible. The only trees to be removed would be those toward the front of the property to allow for parking. Mr Wilson advised that there will be a 125-ft. setback between the Brandermill residential neighborhoods and the storage facility in addition to the greenbelt surrounding the residential neighborhoods.
  2. All uses, other than a mini-storage facility and accessory uses, shall be prohibited.
  3. The facility will use public water and sewer systems.
  4. The exterior facades of the building shall be substantially similar to the elevations shown in the illustrations presented to the BCA Board.
  5. Light poles shall not exceed 15-ft. in height, and lighting would be directed inward toward the facility.
  6. No storage facility units shall be used for office or dwelling purposes.
  7. There shall be no outside storage.
  8. The hours of operation shall be between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
  9. The property will be designed so as not to generate noise levels greater than 55 decibels at the property line.

In response to questions from the Directors, Wilson stated that there will be a security fence around the facility. Mr. Johnson of Johnson Development Associates advised that this fence could be either wood or metal. Fences around other facilities that they have developed are black aluminum.

Wilson advised the BCA Board that the facility would generate low traffic compared to that of an office building. The storage facility will house 850-900 units, depending on the final interior design of the building, and will have 1-2 company employees on-site between 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and reduced hours on weekends. Facility security will require clients use a personal access code linked to their storage unit. If County approval is achieved in February 2017, it is anticipated that construction will begin the following summer.

President Davis moved to approve the storage facility development as presented. Thmotion was seconded by Director Hillman and was unanimously approved by the Directors.

Comments? >>

President's Report

President Davis informed the community that Ms. Cynthia Wright has been selected as the new General Manager of Brandermill. She will begin her tenure in January 2017. Wright has three decades of experience in large-scale properties, working from Naples, Florida to Napa, California. Currently she is employed by a large-scale management company, overseeing various activities in Williamsburg, VA. Wright is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and is licensed in Community Association Management in three states. Her specific experience include lake management, lifestyle programs, strategic planning, working with budgets of $1-$15 million, working in communities of 4,000+ units of varying types and developed aesthetic and marketing programs within communities to enhance property values. President Davis advised that there will be a meet-and-greet event for the community to meet Wright in January 2017.

President Davis thanked First Vice President Pearson, Treasurer Friedel and Director Hunt for their work on the General Manager Selection Committee.

Comments? >>

First Vice President's Report

First Vice President Pearson informed the community that the General Manager Selection Committee had diligently worked on devising a selection process to choose the best possible candidate. He noted that the Association had run more ads seeking applicants than in previous years and that these included ads in The Chesterfield County Observer and on-line on sites such as First Vice President Pearson noted that the Community Association Institute (CAI) had produced the best candidates.

There had been a total of 98 applicants for the position of General Manager, and this initial field of applicants had been narrowed to 18, based upon the individual proposals of the selection committee members. From there, applicants were further narrowed to nine and then further to five applicants through a committee meeting process. First Vice President Pearson noted that the final five applicants were then interviewed, with all Directors being present for these interviews.

The Association sponsored individual visits by the final two candidates to Brandermill, each lasting two full days - arriving on a Thursday evening and departing on a Saturday night. Each candidate was given a tour of Brandermill, including Association properties, the pools, and all neighborhoods (both good-looking neighborhoods and not-so good-looking neighborhoods). The BCA Board had two lunch meetings with each candidate. Saturday work lunches lasted approximately three hours, with much of that time spent on discussing the budget. Being mindful of the Association's budget, each Director paid for his/her individual dinners when meeting with the candidates on Friday and Saturday nights. First Vice President Pearson advised that the full BCA Board had unanimously voted to select Cynthia Wright as the new General Manager.

First Vice President Pearson thanked Acting Manager Al Raimo for his hard work and support during this search period.

Comments? >>

Treasurer's Report

Treasurer Friedel moved to approve Patrick McDade (Riverbirch Trace) as a voting member of the Finance Committee. Finance Committee Chair John Cardea introduced McDade and noted that his experience included work for major businesses as well as his own law firm. He is currently employed as Assistant Attorney General of Virginia, investigating and litigating against large corporations who defraud Virginia Medicaid. McDade also has a record of community service as a member of the Brandermill Lions Club where he has served as President.

The BCA Board voted unanimously to approve McDade's appointment to the Finance Committee. McDade thanked the Directors for the opportunity to serve the community on the Finance Committee.

Treasurer Friedel reviewed Third Quarter numbers for the 2016 budget (see pages 8-11 of December 5, 2016 Board packet). He commented on particular items where the variances were high.

  • Line 12, Violation Charges: Actual 3Q16 income (shown in report's year-to-date column) is <$284> vs. a budget amount of $10,375. Acting General Manager Al Raimo explained that the goal of the BCA is to bring properties into compliance, and if homeowners do so before the Association incurs any court costs or legal fees, it has been an Association practice to forgive any potential charges. (Note: The budget amount is based on an assumption that homeowners do not bring properties into compliance.)
  • Line 23, Leaf Pickup: Actual 3Q16 income (shown in report's year-to-date column) is $9,810 vs. a budget amount of $5,000. Treasurer Friedel explained that this increase indicates that residents have responded well to this program.
  • Line 39, Equipment Purchases: Actual 3Q16 expense (shown in report's year-to-date column) is $21,715 vs. a budget amount of $11,500. Manager Raimo explained there have been unexpected pool maintenance expenses which have required higher expenditures than expected.
  • Line 45, General Maintenance and Repairs: Actual 3Q16 expense (shown in report's year-to-date column) is $103,618 vs. a budget amount of $75,500. Treasurer Friedel explained that this was largely due to high expenses for dump charges associated with the brush pickup program. The County dump which charges $14/load is closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays; the next lowest price to dump brush is $35/load. Treasurer Friedel noted that the community has very keenly taken to the brush pickup program and is now cleaning up 40-years of brush accumulation from their properties.

    Director Hillman asked if the brush dump charges should be included under the Maintenance and Repairs line item. Treasurer Friedel responded that it should probably be its own separate line item because brush removal should be an ongoing process.
  • Line 48, Uniforms – Maintenance: Actual 3Q16 expense (shown in report's year-to-date column) is $15,338 vs. a budget amount of $10,000. Manager Raimo noted that, under the current contract, the Association leases and pays for the cleaning of expensive uniforms. He commented that the Association will be re-negotiating this contract which expires in 2018. Director Hillman stated that she was in favor of having BCA Maintenance personnel wear uniforms; President Davis concurred.
  • Line 80, Legal Fees: Actual 3Q16 expense (shown in report's year-to-date column) is $65,083 vs. a budget amount of $35,000. Treasurer Friedel explained that this cost is due largely to legal fees for covenant enforcement. President Davis noted that these legal fees should be recouped once cases are legally settled. Treasurer Friedel cited Director Gregory as having said these legal fees should top soon and the trajectory of this slope should begin to slope down as the Association recoups legal fees and homeowners begin to comply with Covenants.
  • Line 82, Bad Debts: Actual 3Q16 expense (shown in report's year-to-date column) is $99,510 vs. a budget amount of $10,000. Director Gregory explained that there are past-due accounts receivable amounts that are not likely to be collected. This non-cash line item allows for the anticipated non-collection and should give a clearer picture of our financial status. He gave kudos to Finance Committee Chair John Cardea and its members George Lawson and Ben Carter for digging into the bad debts to accurately project this number.

    Director Pearson asked if the time periods shown on the current aging report could be extended to more than 6-months so the Finance Committee could more easily monitor the status of our accounts receivables.

President Davis asked if Brandermill's budget is in good shape and the process expansive enough to be inclusive. Both Treasurer Friedel and Director Gregory responded that they believe Brandermill is in good shape. Treasurer Friedel noted that Chair Cardea will be presenting to Finance Committee members within the next month or so a process designed to be more expansive and inclusive of Association members and have projects fully vetted by the sponsoring committee before they are submitted to the Finance Committee for funding.

Director Hillman asked a question regarding the new bucket truck being expended from the New Capital Fund. She noted that during a Finance Committee meeting, Ben Carter had been raised the question whether New Capital funds could be used to purchase equipment such as a bucket truck without a change in the definition of the New Capital Fund. She understood that purchase of vehicles and equipment needed to be an Operating expense. Director Gregory responded that the issue revolves around the wording of a recently passed referendum. Treasurer Friedel acknowledged the BCA Board's fiduciary responsibility and has obtained both a legal opinion (which implies that the question is "colorable") and an accountant opinion, adding the Finance Committee will consider this question at its upcoming January meeting.

Comments? >>

Directors' Reports

Director Ann Hunt reported that the Brandermill Christmas Tree Lighting took place last Friday night, and approximately 250 people attended the lighting event. She thanked Community Services Director Jennifer Strader and the BCA Staff for their work on this holiday project and noted that the lights will be lit until the week after Christmas.

Commenting on the October 27, 2016 NRC minutes (see pages 46-56 of December 5, 2016 Board packet), Director Hillman noted that these minutes were 11 pages long and did not like the following:

  • Comments from residents indicated the 2017 budget process was not an open process. She felt that the budget process was an open process, and many residents did attend Finance Committee meetings to express their opinions. A community meeting was also held to allow resident comments on the budget.
  • In response to a statement made in the NRC minutes about the NRC Rep being a go-to person (see pages 9 of December 5, 2016 Board packet), Director Hillman stated her preference that members address their issues directly with Directors or BCA Staff. She would like to feel that the NRC would encourage the members to go directly to the Directors or BCA Staff to avoid possible miscommunication.

Director Hillman also commented on the NRC being instructed to not report on Brandermill committee meetings. She reported that an NRC member had reported on a committee discussion from a Community Appearance and Maintenance Committee meeting as a recommendation that would go forward - an inference which created a miscommunication. As a result, Director Hillman noted that the Directors decided not to allow the NRC to report on committee meetings.

Director Pearson agreed with Director Hillman's remarks and noted that there were only four residents who attended the community meeting on the budget. He believes this BCA Board is much more open and transparent about the budget than he could ever remember in the previous 20-some years.

Director Gregory noted that he also agreed with Director Hillman's remarks. He stated that every Finance Committee meeting is an open meeting, and all Brandermill members are welcomed to attend the meetings. He does not think it a good idea for the NRC to filter information regarding the budget by reporting on Finance Committee meetings. He suggested that residents directly contact BCA Controller Margaret Covington, Treasurer Friedel or him regarding BCA finance questions.

Director Pearson further commented that 2017 was a relatively easy budget year, although it was challenging to spend money on new projects like the proposed Dog Park when we are having a difficult time maintaining our existing infrastructure. He anticipates it will become more difficult next year as there are large expenditures needed for the pools and other infrastructure items.

Director Hunt suggested that since quorum was not achieved at the October 27, 2016 NRC meeting, it was not necessary to relay all the discussions held at the meeting. She feels that confusion may be created due to so many sources releasing information, e.g., BCA Compass, Brandermill Families on Facebook and NRC.

President Davis asked why, if there was not a quorum at the October 27, 2016 NRC meeting, there were 11 pages of minutes since this was not an official meeting. Other Directors indicated that the NRC could hold the meeting but could not vote on an issue.

Comments? >>

Acting General Manager's Report

Acting General Manager Raimo welcomed Cynthia Wright as the new General Manager and thanked the Directors for the opportunity to serve as acting General Manager during the selection process.

Manager Raimo noted Property Management had attended three legal hearings in November regarding covenant compliance. With the three successful prosecutions in November, he believes Brandermill now has five successful prosecutions of covenant violations cases in the past year in which the court had awarded Brandermill compensation for legal fees and required that the properties be brought into compliance.

Manager Raimo noted that a new Property Management Specialist position will soon become available to fill a vacant staff position.

Manager Raimo also congratulated Community Services Director Jennifer Strader and the Maintenance team for their good work on the Christmas lighting.

Manager Raimo noted that work on the marina is about 50% complete and is targeted to be finished by the end of December.

Director Pearson commented on the number of violations associated with rental properties being much higher than violations associated with owner-occupied properties.

Director Gregory thanked Raimo for doing a tremendous job as Acting General Manager, and President Davis agreed with Gregory's remarks.

Comments? >>

Self-Help Request, BCA Staff regarding Cove Ridge Neighborhood Property

On behalf of Staff, Property Management Specialist Susie Popialec sought BCA Board approval to use Self-Help funds to relocate items in the front of a property in Cove Ridge to the rear of the property and to replace the missing front of the mailbox at the same property.

Director Hillman expressed her concern about the BCA's legal right to enter occupied property in order to make repairs and relocate items.

Treasurer Friedel expressed his view that this sounded like a discussion for executive session.

Director Gregory remarked that he is not a lawyer and would like to see the BCA Board get legal clarification.

President Davis and Director Hillman both commented that they would not support using Self-Help funds to enter the occupied property to make these improvements.

President Davis then instructed the BCA Board to carry this matter over to its January 2017 meeting.

Comments? >>

NRC 2016 Nominating Committee

Posted December 2, 2016 at 1:36 PM

Chair McNeal is pleased to announce the members of the NRC 2016 Nominating Committee: George Lawson, Erin Collins and Dan Baker. The Nominating Committee is responsible for creating a slate of 2017 NRC officers for consideration at its January 2017 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.

In addition to electing officers, NRC Reps will be asked to vote on the NRC Task Force recommendation. For more information, please download and review the Task Force's powerpoint slides and the October 27, 2016 NRC minutes.

Information Packet for December 5, 2016 BCA Board Meeting

Posted December 2, 2016 at 1:36 PM
The information packet for the upcoming BCA Board meeting is now available for downloading.

Agenda items include:

  • Presentation by Mr. Jack Wilson of Johnson Development Company to provide an update on proposed storage facility to be located on Hull Street/Route 360 West
  • Update on General Manager Search by First Vice President Greg Pearson
  • Nomination of Patrick McDade to the Finance Committee by Treasurer Friedel
  • Self-Help Request in Cove Ridge neighborhood from BCA Staff

The NRC encourages residents to read the minutes of the various BCA committees found within the Board packet (see pages 29-62 of this Board packet).

We encourage residents to attend BCA Board meetings to learn of Brandermill "happenings."