Archives for February 2016


Mark Your Calendars for This NRC-Hosted Event!

Posted February 26, 2016 at 4:08 PM
Meet the Candidates
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Harbour Pointe Clubhouse

Come meet the candidates who will be vying for the three seats on the 2016-2019 BCA Board of Directors. Not only meet the candidates but ask them specific questions about the issues that surround our beloved Brandermill. You won't want to miss this event, so mark your calendars now!

NRC Task Force Established to Review Its Operational Efficiencies and Deficiencies

Posted February 26, 2016 at 4:05 PM
NRC First Vice Chair Joe Herbst has expressed a desire to address:
  1. the limited NRC meeting attendance in the past several years;
  2. methods to increase the number of NRC Representatives in neighborhoods; and
  3. the lack of volunteers to fill NRC officer positions.
Given his passion to conduct this study, NRC Chair Mamie McNeal has established a task force to review the organization's efficiencies and deficiencies.

Under Herbst's leadership, the task force will (1) review the current NRC organizational structure and governing documents; (2) compare the NRC to comparable bodies at other HOA's for possible improvements to enhance the performance of the NRC in fulfilling its chartered goals; and (3) review the NRC's current status as a BCA committee vs. other similar HOA organizations which are independent from its Board of Directors. Herbst anticipates this task force will be able to present its findings and recommendations to the NRC membership at its June NRC meeting.

Other members of this task force include Director Tom Leonard and NRC Representative Doug Wayne. If you wish to serve on this task force, please contact Chair McNeal (chair@brandermillNRC.com). We are seeking possibly two additional members.
 

Reminder: NRC Annual Meeting

Posted February 5, 2016 at 3:36 PM
NRC 2016 Annual Meeting
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Harbour Pointe Clubhouse
Agenda items include:
  • Approval of 4th quarter 2015 NRC meeting minutes
  • NRC Annual Report highlighting 2015 activities
  • Comments from Acting Chair regarding the Future of the NRC
  • NRC Treasurer's Report
  • Election of 2016 NRC Officers
Nominations for NRC Officer positions will be received from the floor. Please consider serving on this dynamic committee. Descriptions of the various officer positions are described in the NRC By-Laws. If you have any questions about the positions, please e-mail us at NRCinfo@BrandermillNRC.com.
 

Highlights of February 1, 2016 BCA Board Meeting

Posted February 5, 2016 at 3:36 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

Mamie McNeal (Planter's Wood) commended the BCA maintenance team for their performance during the recent heavy snowstorm. She also asked the BCA Board to clarify how the $95,803 surplus funds from the 2015 operating budget would be allocated. With regards to the cleanup of neighborhood open space as suggested by residents, she asked the BCA to publish the planned scope of the work and to solicit feedback from residents.

Steve Russek (McTyre's Cove), Chair of the Community Appearance and Maintenance Committee (CAM) thanked the Finance Committee for their review of the Committee's recommendations regarding cleanup efforts. Chair Russek reported that CAM had recommended that cleanup efforts be outsourced, noting CAM's belief that productivity will be higher if the work is assigned to an external contractor. He reported that this recommendation was reached by CAM after receiving input from BCA Maintenance Supervisor, Danny Ramsey. It is recommended that cleanup work start with the entrances into the neighborhoods. He also reported that CAM had reviewed three contract proposals and recommended Shovel Tree.

Treasurer Friedel asked Chair Russek if CAM had spoken to the chair of the Finance Committee regarding these recommendations; Russek responded that CAM had not. Treasurer Friedel recommended that the committee chairs should touch base on such recommendations.

In response to a question from Chair Russek regarding the role of the Finance Committee, Treasurer Friedel commented that one of the main purposes of the Finance Committee is to maximize the value of community spending.

Treasurer Friedel went on to ask if CAM felt a sense of urgency in beginning the cleanup work; Russek responded that they would like to begin early in the spring. Treasurer Friedel then asked if Russek would be willing to meet with the Finance Committee Chair Bob Gregory, Community Manager John Bailey and Directors Hillman and Friedel (Board liaisons to the respective committees) to discuss how best to maximize BCA spending on cleanup. Chair Russek responded that he felt that he and Treasurer Friedel needed to talk in order to better understand the roles of the two committees.

Director Malek noted that he did not recall an instance of having a committee report to the Finance Committee on how to utilize funds once funding had been budgeted. He commented that he felt this would be inefficient and would slow progress.

Note: For a greater understanding of this issue of insourcing and outsourcing of the cleanup efforts, please see the "Open Space Clean-Up Program" materials on pages 41-44 of the February 1, 2016 Board Packet.?The Manager recommends a combination of outsourcing in 2016 to get immediate impact on community appearance and insourcing in 2017 to help maximize the funding.

Bob Gregory (Riverbirch Trace), Chair of the Finance Committee commented that he agreed with Treasurer Friedel that while Finance Committee budgets the funding for various community projects, it also has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that committee plans for the expenditure of those funds make good sense.

Director Hillman commented, if the Finance Committee had not approved the way in which this money was to be spent, that the matter of insourcing versus outsourcing should possibly go back to Finance.

George Lawson (Huntsbridge), Vice Chair of the Finance Committee, noted that the issue of community cleanup was originally raised during the budget process by a resident of Three Bridges who wished to address a specific need in that neighborhood. He commented that the Finance Committee approval to allocate the funding for cleanup was in response to that need.

President's Report

President Davis congratulated the BCA Maintenance Department on their work in dealing with the recent snowfall. He also gave kudos to the residents for their help in dealing with the storm.

President Davis then talked about the proposed outdoor adventure park to be located off Genito Road, which is in early planning phases. He noted that he thinks it's a nice project which would possibly bring new retail outlets to the area. He expressed concern, however, that it would also bring a lot of traffic and would like to see the transportation issues properly addressed. He summarized that he is not in favor of the project unless transportation infrastructure issues are addressed.

First Vice President's Report

First Vice President Pearson commented that the outdoor adventure park project is not located in Brandermill. The proposed project abuts Route 288, and the land there will indeed be developed at some point in time. He noted that part of the proposal is for a concert arena seating 1,200 and echoed President Davis's concerns about the need to properly plan for an increase in traffic. He commented that it will require significant spending on the part of the developer and local government to accommodate the increased traffic.

Director Leonard commented that he did not feel noise would be a concern if the proposal goes forward.

Director Hillman shared her concerns about traffic.

Community Manager's Report

Manager Bailey reported on the activity of the ARB, noting that 12 applications were submitted in January, with eight being approved as submitted. He also reported on covenant enforcement activity: 150 violation notices were issued in January of which 124 were for failure to submit rental property registrations. Many of these rental forms have now been received.

Manager Bailey reported on efforts to resolve abandoned property issues. Four properties (one in Birnam Woods, one in Sandy Brook and two in Sutter's Mill) have been referred to legal counsel to begin the lien and non-judicial foreclosure process. He has also requested title searches on six abandoned properties in order to determine the mortgage holder. He noted that all six of these properties remain in the names of the individual owners and have not been transferred to banks.

The abandoned property in Fortune's Ridge is continuing through the County's foreclosure proceedings for failure to pay taxes.

Another abandoned property located on Fox Chase Lane is in bankruptcy and should go to auction in the next six months. Several other abandoned properties are at various stages in the legal process.

Director Pearson noted that the Association went through the foreclosure process on an abandoned property on Winterberry Ridge but failed to recover any funding. He commented that we had spent money on attorney's fees without any financial recovery and cautioned that the Association should carefully assess the financial investment in legal fees before pursuing foreclosure options.

President Davis commented that he felt the money spent on legal fees was well spent since the goal regarding abandoned properties is to stop the degradation of Brandermill neighborhoods. He encouraged Staff to get in touch with the mortgage holders of abandoned properties and develop beneficial game plans. Manager Bailey responded that the BCA is currently pursuing all options except foreclosure, noting that foreclosure is a BCA Board decision.

Manager Bailey stated that Brandermill's Snow Removal Policy Review document has been updated regarding a couple of issues. He reported that the VDOT snow removal contractors had cleared most of the roads in Brandermill by Monday, January 25, after the recent heavy snowfall. He noted that they had actually left Brandermill at the end of the day on the 25th and had not planned to return. They did, however, return on the following Tuesday, after BCA Staff contacted VDOT to discuss the progress of the work.

Manager Bailey urged residents not to park cars on the street prior to and during snowfalls since VDOT will not plow the streets if they are blocked by parked cars. He also clarified that the BCA does not plow in the neighborhoods, except to assist in emergency medical situations.

Lastly, Manager Bailey noted that nomination packets for the upcoming Board of Directors elections are available for pickup at the BCA office.

Consideration of Possible Amendment to the Covenants Regarding the Capital Fee

A motion was made by Director Friedel to pursue a referendum to set the capital fee at a rate of 50% of the annual assessment. This motion was seconded by Director Malek.

Directors Hillman and Blom both expressed their support for a referendum to increase the fee but commented that they would like to see it increased to a higher percentage of the annual assessment, e.g., 60% of the annual assessment.

President Davis agreed with Directors Hillman and Blom, adding he would like to see it increased to 100% of the annual assessment. He felt an increase in the capital fee would be easier to conceptually understand, if the proposal is for either 50% or 100% of the annual assessment. He emphasized that this fee was only paid by first-time homebuyers, not by members who moved from one section of Brandermill to another within Brandermill.

Director Pearson recommended staying with the proposed rate of 50% of the annual assessment because he believes that would make it more likely that the community will reach the required 75% of favorable votes on the referendum. He noted that the capital fee is currently set at a fixed rate of $150, but if the referendum passed with raising it to 50% of the annual assessment, the capital fee would be increased to $230 in 2016.

This motion passed unanimously.

Consideration of Commercial Request for Self-Maintenance Status

The BCA Board agreed to initially discuss this request in executive session. (For the result of this discussion, please refer to the summary section at the end of this report.)

Discussion of the Open-Space Clean Up Program

President Davis noted that $40,000 had been approved by the Finance Committee for cleanup of open spaces. He expressed his opinion that this represents a significant but not extreme financial support for this work.

Director Blom felt that the BCA Board was already clear about the objectives of the cleanup work and the process. Having the issue of insourcing versus outsourcing go back to the Finance Committee for review before it was again presented to the Directors, he felt would only add another layer of bureaucracy.

Manager Bailey clarified that the proposal for cleanup funding originally came about as a result of the success of the Residential Brush Pickup Program. Original proposals to increase funding for additional open space cleanup were in the $100,000 range, but there were not sufficient funds in the annual budget to allocate such a large amount. The Association then began to look at $40,000 as the amount that could currently be spent on this work in 2016.

Based on the $40,000 amount, Manager Bailey clarified that with an outside contractor would offer 8-10 weeks of work by three full-time workers, and that in-house the Association would get 20 weeks of work. He emphasized that this analysis did not address the relative productivity of the work processes nor the impact of getting the work started more quickly.

CAM Chair Steve Russek noted that the committee had looked at productivity and concluded that the community would get greater productivity with managed outsourced work. In response to a question from Director Leonard, Russek noted that CAM had considered community input and that six committee volunteers had spent a considerable amount of time to develop their recommendation for outsourcing the work.

Treasurer Friedel stressed that he did not believe any reliable measure of productivity had been developed.

Director Blom made a motion that directed the Community Manager to proceed with the open space clean-up program as recommended in the attached report. Note: This report was not included in the February 1, 2016 Board Packet released to the residents.

This motion passed by a vote of 5:2, with Directors Leonard and Friedel voting against the motion.

Discussion of 2016 Pool Fee Structure Alternatives

Director Blom reported that the issue of an alternative pool fee structure had been referred to the Finance Committee at a previous Board meeting and that the Finance Committee had then referred the alternative fee structure back to the BCA Board.

He stated consideration of his alternative pool fee structure would not change the total 2016 pool revenues but rather, it offered an alternative methodology to reach that total amount.

Director Blom stressed that the BCA Board needs to make a decision on pool fees for the 2016 season so that marketing efforts could begin. He clarified that his alternative fee recommendation, which is an alternative to the pool fee structure developed by the Finance Committee and approved as part of the 2016 budget, makes several small downward changes in pool fees including (1) a downward adjustment in the resident family pool fee from $205 as approved by the BCA Board to $180, (2) the addition of a resident couple fee package at $140, (3) the addition of a non-resident couple fee package at $260, and (4) a recommendation to set daily fee rates for both residents and non-residents at $6 versus the current approved daily rates of $6 for residents and $8 for non-residents.

Treasurer Friedel clarified that the Finance Committee had reviewed their original pool fee budget recommendations as approved in the 2016 budget and had affirmed their recommendation to raise the rates. He emphasized his belief that pool fees are not the primary reason for increased participation during the past pool season. He attributed the increase in revenues and participation to the improved quality of the pools.

Director Malek stated that he has heard comments from individual pool members that they do, in fact, appreciate both the reductions in fees and the improved quality of the pools.

Director Leonard commented that the BCA Board had already voted on the 2016 budget, establishing the pool fees.

Director Pearson believes that being the low-cost provider is a good marketing position but noted that our family fees are already set in 2016 at $205, which is roughly half the rate of the next lowest cost pool program in the area.

Director Hillman noted that every past reduction in fees has resulted in increased participation and revenue.

Director Blom moved that the fees in his proposed "Alternative 2" be adopted for 2016 with two exceptions. The first exception being that the resident family fee rate be $195 and that the daily non-resident rate be $8. This motion was seconded by Malek.

This motion passed by a vote of 4:3 with Directors Friedel, Leonard and Pearson voting in opposition.

Discussion of the Hayden Property Appeal

Discussion was held to determine if this case should be deferred. (More information on this appeal is available on page 45 of the February 1, 2016 BCA Board packet. A motion was made to accept the Manager's recommendation to defer the hearing of this case until the homeowners could appear before the BCA Board or until the property is rented or sold.

This motion was passed by a vote of 4:3, with Directors Blom, Hillman and Leonard voting in opposition.

Executive Session

After a brief Executive Session to discuss legal matters, the Directors returned to open session for one final action item. Director Blom moved to approve the request by the owner of 5000 West Village Green Drive to change the property’s designation from Commercial Improved to Self-Maintained. The motion was approved unanimously.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

The Board of Directors meets the first Monday of every month; the next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 7, 2016 at 7:00 p.m., Brandermill Church.