Semi Annual Meeting – March 2016

UNIVERSITY SQUARE HOMEONERS’ ASSOCIATION

MINUTES OF March 2, 2016 SEMI-ANNUAL MEETING Fairfax Villa Elementary School

Meeting called to order 7:35pm in the cafeteria of Fairfax Villa Elementary. Present from the Board were Peter McClintock, Andrew Pershing, Oscar Merida, Christine Stora, and Heather Goltry.

1. Officer Wayne Twombly, FCPD

Officer Twombly addressed the role of the neighborhood watch and the anonymous letters sent to some members. He recommended members use the NextDoor app to stay in communication with the police department. For contacting them, the non-emergency number for the PD is 703-691-2131.

Concerning the anonymous letters sent to neighbors, he emphasized that if there is a direct threat made then a police report should be made so that it can be investigated.

One service he provides is home security screenings where he reviews a home and makes recommendations to improve the security of the building.

2. Treasurer’s Report

Four properties are more than one year in arrears. Board has contacted the attorney to explore how to collect from some homes that are past due.

3. Changing the Declaration

Attorney’s reviewed board declaration in 2015 and advised the board to update the declaration in light of changes in the law since the HOA was founded. Any change to the declaration or articles of incorporation must be approved by 75% of the owners. Bylaws can be changed by a majority of votes at a board meeting.

There are 2 sections with two different declarations:

  • Section one – 60 lots
  • Section two – 105 lots

The recommendation is to update both the Articles of Incorporation and Declaration. The Board should develop a strategy for how to proceed, submit proposed changes, and collect input from the owners. The Board should consider whether a complete rewrite (estimated at $15k) or just amending the current documents ($1500–3000).

Action: The Board will explore how to update the documents and how to proceed.

4. Neighborhood Concerns

Construction halted on Lot 133. Concerns that the work will not be completed and construction debris is visible.

EARC will be inspecting homes in the Spring to make sure homes are in compliance with our guidelines.

Board Meeting – February 2016 Minutes

University Square Homeowners Association (USHA)

Fairfax Villa School –February 3, 2016

Call to Order

At 8:00PM, Peter McClintock, President, called the meeting to order and reviewed the agenda. Board Members present were:

  • Peter McClintock, President
  • PJ Kennedy, Treasurer
  • Justin Ginsberg, member
  • Christine Taylor, member

Treasure’s Report:

  • Checking Account: $60,160
  • Money Market: $32,970
  • CDs: $20,100 (reserve for Common Property Tree Removal)
  • Total Funds: $113,330
  • Total Dues collected – current year – $43,600  (approx. 81%)
  • 3 lots behind less than 1 year
  • 3 lots behind more than 1 year

Approval of November Minutes

The board approved the 11/4/2015 minutes.

EARC Report

None

Delinquent Dues Collection

The 3 lots behind in dues less than 1 year are being contacted once again.  Of the 3 lots delinquent more than 1 year, 1 has almost paid his debt (about 20% remaining and he has been a steady payer recently), 1 submitted another check to replace a check that bounced – awaiting clearance from bank to decide if more action is needed), and 1 is seriously delinquent and while he said he was going to pay down his debt, we only received 1 payment over 1 year ago.  The Board decided this latter lot will be sent for collection.  The homeowner has not responded to certified letters requesting payment.  The homeowner will bear the cost of collection, in addition to the dues owed.

Neighborhood Watch and USHA Facebook Page

Board member Christine Taylor agreed to be USHA’s Neighborhood Watch contact and the “administrator” of the USHA Facebook page.

Upcoming Semi- annual Meeting in March

The meeting is scheduled for March 2 at the Fairfax Villa School at 7:30pm.  Items for the agenda are:

  • Status of changing the deed Declaration for all University Square
  • Fairfax County Police Crime Prevention Officer Twombly to speak on Anonymous letters and Neighborhood Watch.

The meeting ended at 8:45pm.

 

Board Meeting – November 2015

University Square Homeowners Association (USHA)

Fairfax Villa School November 4, 2015 General Meeting Minutes

Call to Order

At 8:00PM, Peter McClintock, President, called the meeting to order and reviewed the agenda. Board Members present were:

  • Peter McClintock, President
  • PJ Kennedy, Treasurer
  • Oscar Merida, member
  • Christine Taylor, member

Treasure’s Report

  • Checking Account: $66,400
  • Money Market: $33,000
  • CDs: $20,100 (reserve for Common Property Tree Removal)
  • Total Funds: $119,500
  • Total Dues Collected: Approximately $38,300 (71.5%)x
  • Three letters to be sent to home’s that are delinquent on dues
  • Two Emails to be sent to homeowners that are past due.

Election of Officers

Oscar Merida was elected to serve as Secretary due to resignation of previous secretary.

Approval of Board Members

Heather Goltry voted and approved as seventh board member. Matt Jaquith was approved as new chair of the EARC, with Cassandra Jaquith to serve as an alternate when he is not available.

Upcoming Meetings

Board decided to schedule upcoming meetings for the first Wednesdays of February, May, and September. We will also hold our semi-annual meetings in March and October of 2016.

External Architectural Review Committee (EARC) Report:

The Board reviewed and approved the changes to the EAG&R for roof lines.  The wording approved is:

Roofs of new structures and additions must be architecturally compatible with the existing roof including pitch, such that the roof does not exceed the original peak of the roof.   There are 2 exceptions that allow the new roof to exceed the original peak of the roof:  1) If the roof is an extension of the present roof line, or on the same plane as the original roof line but offset by a foot or two, the roof may extend up to 4 feet beyond the original peak on the street side of the roof.   See the house at 4308 Bellavia for the exception.  However, no addition to the back side of a house can have a roof that exceeds the original peak of the roof.   2) If the roof will be perpendicular to the original roof line (such as with a split level home where the upper floor roof line is perpendicular to the lower floor roof line) the new addition roof, which will exceed the height of the original roof, must tie into the original roof in the same manner that the split level roofs tie in.   In other words, the new addition eave portion of the roof must be lower than the original roof peak at their intersection and the 2 roofs must tie in through the use of shingles.  In all cases, the color must match that of the original roof and the shingles must be the same.

The board also approved allowing alternate hand delivery of the results of a Board appeal to the homeowner as long as the deliverer obtains in-person with a  signature upon receipt for the Board EARC communications to homeowners.

The Board approved changes to the EARC Charter. Changes included:

  • If an application for property modifications includes an item not addressed in  the EAG&R, the EARC will refer the application to the President of USHA for a determination on whether the modification should be disapproved, and if so the applicant may file an appeal to the board.
  • Allowing alternate delivery in-person with signature upon receipt for EARC communications to homeowners.
  • Requiring EARC to survey homes once a year for violation.

Worker’s Compensation

Association Lawyer insurance agent  confirmed that we do not need to purchase Worker’s Compensation.

Anonymous Letters

The Board was made aware that at least one individual in the neighborhood is sending anonymous letters to other homeowners and also claiming to be on the board. The Board will send a letter to the all homeowners to clarify that someone is impersonating the board and to remind everyone of the proper channels for communicating concerns and issues to the Board.

Also, MPO R. Wayne Twombly, a Crime Prevention Officer in the Fair Oaks District, will attend our March community meeting where we will discuss this issue further.

Upcoming Meetings

The Board will meet again on the dates listed below. We will also hold our semi-annual meetings, as usual, in March and October

  • Board Meeting – Feb 3th, 2016 at 8pm
  • Semi-annual Homeowners meeting – March 2, 2016 at 7:30pm
  • Board Meeting – September 7th, 2016 at 8pm
  • Semi-annual Homeowners meeting – October 5, 2016 at 7:30pm

All meeting take place at the Fairfax Villa Elementary School Library and are open to all members.

ERAC Appeal Minutes

University Square Homeowners Association (USHA)
September 30, 2015 EARC Disapproval Appeal Hearing

Fairfax Villa School – 7:30 pm Minutes:

Mr. and Mrs. Walker had submitted plans for an addition to their house located at 4400 Bellavia Lane. EARC had disapproved the plans as they were not in accord with the EAG&R- Section 2 – “Roofs of new structures and additions must be architecturally compatible with the existing roof including pitch such that the addition does not exceed the height of the original.”

The roof line showed that it will be higher than the roof line of the original roof.

Mr. and Mrs. Walker were asked to discuss the basis for their appeal and any options to comply with Section 2 of the EAG&R. They were offered to bring their builder to the meeting.

Board members in attendance were:

  • Peter McCintock, President
  • PJ Kennedy, Treasurer
  • Oscar Merida
  • Justine Ginsberg
  • Christine Taylor

EARC members in attendance were:

  • Patrick Tomlinson
  • Dennis Makurat

The appeal process, located under the Application Process and Procedures, in the EAG&R was provided to board members and the Walkers.

The Walkers stated that due to offsets in their back yard and the style of house, the builder’s plans, which showed the roof line exceeding the original roof line, was about the only feasible way to add onto their house.

When the Walkers left the meeting, the board discussed the appeal. The main concern was that if the board approved the plan, that the board would amend the EAG&R on roof lines to allow similar additions. The board voted 4 to 1 to allow the Walker’s plan, subject to the following, which was provided to them in both an e-mail and a hand delivered letter:

“The Board has approved your application for an addition, based on the document you provided to the Board at the Appeal Hearing, which showed, among other things, that the new roof will tie into the existing roof with the use of matching shingles. The eave of the new roof must not exceed the peak of the original roof. The Board will be amending the External Architectural Guidelines and Restrictions to reflect a change in roof line restrictions. Please be mindful of the new roof line restriction in this communication when proceeding with the addition.”

October 2015 Minutes

University Square Homeowners Association (USHA)
October 7, 2015 General Meeting Notes
Fairfax Villa School

Minutes:

Call to Order (8:00PM):

At 8:00PM, Peter McClintock, President, called the meeting to order and reviewed the agenda. It was noted that 19 owners were present, representing 19 lots, representing a quorum. Board Members present were:

  • Peter McClintock, President
  • Drew Pershing, Vice President
  • PJ Kennedy, Treasurer
  • Caitlin Kaprove, Secretary
  • Oscar Merida, member
  • Christine Taylor, member

Treasurer’s Report:

  • Checking Account: $58,000
  • Money Market: $33,000
  • CDs: $20,100 (reserve for Common Property Tree Removal)
  • Total Funds: $111,100
  • Total Dues Collected: Approximately $29,000
  • 48 properties have not yet made this year’s payment, although not yet overdue.
  • Four lots are the only remaining lots that have been delinquent for more than one year.

External Archetictural Review Committee (EARC) Report:

Patrick Tomlinson will soon be stepping down as EARC Chair.

Some applications for consideration have been coming in to the EARC.

Question: “Are concrete driveways permitted?”
Pete responded that he had reviewed the prior records and didn’t see anything that prohibited concrete driveways in either the 2007 or 2015 External Architectural Guidelines and Restrictions (EAG&R).

Question: “I have some concerns about the EARC committee’s use of its authority. I have heard that the EARC committee blocked the sale of a house in our neighborhood.”
Patrick responded that the EARC had raised the issue in question as a violation, but did not block the sale of the home. Patrick added that the EARC had asked for a small concession in design to bring the addition in line with EARC guidelines.

EARC member Patricia Garcia gave comments on the complexities of EARC work and the care with which EARC committee members exercise their duties.

Comment: “When I was on the EARC committee (note – that was in the early formation stages of the USHA in the mid-1980’s), we would pull together proposed changes, etc., for a community vote. I suggest ERAC do this.”
Peter noted that the By-Laws now give authority to amend the EAG&R to the Board of Directors.

Neighborhood Watch:

Nita Chapuran kindly volunteered to be an administrative point of contact for the relationship between USHA and the Fairfax County Neighborhood Watch program, but noted that she would not be interested in attending numerous meetings and hosting large events, such as National Night Out. She agreed to contact the County and submit her name as the contact and if it involves meetings etc, she would so report that to the Board.

Election of Board Members

Patrick and Peter were re-elected to the Board.

  • Total votes submitted – 30
  • (Votes that were cast by the secretary as a proxy – 6)
  • Patrick “PJ” Kennedy (Lot 21) – 28
  • Peter McClintock (Lot 70) – 29
  • One write in for “Peter McClintock” – counted toward his general votes

Consultations with Attorney:

Based on Attorney recommendations, the Board recently amended EAG&R, effective September 1, 2015 (including changes to deck material provisions, provisions on business signs, provisions on treating wood fences, provisions on colors for decks and trims, addition of provision on broken shingles, etc. – see prior minutes)

Amended disclosure notice based on attorney recommendations.

Proposed amendment to the bylaws – deletion of sentence in Article XI  (“also, a delinquency fee of $30 shall be assessed at each billing period if the account is unpaid after 30 days”. Amendement was passed unanimously by those present.

Question: “Do we necessarily want to publicize the possible limitation on the Board’s ability to enforce monetary fee against owners who violate ERAC guidelines?” led to a discussion of the USHA Declaration.

Discussion of amending the USHA declaration. The attorney also recommended reissuing the Declaration to update it, provide clearer authority to enforce the EAG&R by authorizing the assessment of fees for violations, and eliminate discrepancies between the interest rates contained in the 2 versions of the Declaration that exist for the association. This will take agreement by 75% of the owners. Most attendees were in favor of this.

From The Floor:

Common property – our two CDs in the bank are now considered reserve funds for tree removal.

Caitlin Kaprove tendered her resignation as secretary of the USHA Board, and encouraged others to take up the position, which carries a Board vote.

Patricia Garcia noted that she had received an anonymous, intimidating letter, likely from a neighbor, relating to placing lawn trimmings at the curb side. She said we should be respectful of our neighbors and an anonymous letter was not respectful.

Next General Meeting:

March 2016

Board Meeting – July 2015

University Square Homeowners Association (USHA)
July 8, 2015 Board Meeting Notes

Attendees:

  • Peter McClintock (President)
  • Andrew Pershing (Vice President)
  • PJ Kennedy (Treasurer)
  • Christine Taylor (Member)
  • Patrick Tomilson (Chair, ERAC)
  • Dennis Makurat (ERAC Member)
  • Oscar Merida (Webmaster)
  • Justin Ginsberg (Member)
  • Caitlin Kaprove (Secretary)
  • Patricia Garcia (Member)

Minutes:

    • Call to Order (8:06PM): At 8:06PM, Peter called the meeting to order.
    • ERAC Guidelines  (EAG&R) Changes: Peter noted that since the last (3 June) meeting, the Board had reviewed and tentatively approved the proposed changes to the ERAC Guidelines. However, before finalizing its approval, the Board unanimously agreed to make the following changes:
      • Appeals Process: The Board agreed to strike a paragraph that provided for a second-tier appeals process for ERAC violations.
      • Board Decision Delivery: The Board declined to change an existing provision whereby a Board decision on ERAC violations shall be delivered via registered mail.
      • Changes to Provisions on Mailboxes (Section 3): The Board agreed to adopt changes to permissible colors for mailbox posts (neutral tones).
      • Provisions on Decks (Section 10): The Board agreed on various changes to specifications on deck materials and colors.
      • Shingles (Section 13): The Board agreed to add a provision on broken, missing, curled, or crumbling shingles.
      • Exterior Color Changes (Section 14): The Board agreed to adopt new language in Section 14 governing permissible external color schemes for houses – notably, more specific language on what constitutes an earth tone.
      • Exterior Decorative Objects (Section 15): The Board declined to change an existing provision on portable furniture placement outside homes.
      • Fences (Section 17): The Board agreed to add a provision permitting owners to seal or stain their wood fences.
      • Freestanding Structures (Section 20): The Board agreed to add a provision linking permissible colors to those listed in Section 14.
      • Gutters and Downspouts (Section 21): The Board agreed to adopt a provision specifying that gutters shall be free of debris visible from below.
      • Landscaping (Section 23): The Board agreed to add language specifying what is meant by “neatly maintained”; the Board further agreed to split the first sentence of this Section into two sentences for clarity. The Board declined to change an existing provision mandating that front and front-visible side yards shall consist primarily of grass.
      • Maintenance Requirements (Section 24): The Board agreed to adopt a revision to the included website address.
      • Sidewalks and Pathways (Section 30): The Board agreed to delete existing language noting VDOT prohibitions, noting that VDOT requirements are beyond the scope of ERAC guidelines.
    • Word Document Copy of ERAC Guidelines: Peter agreed to contact the HOA’s external legal counsel to obtain the most recent copy of the ERAC Guidelines in Word document form (vice PDF). The Board unanimously agreed that, once edited, the revised ERAC Guidelines shall have an effective date of 1 September 2015.
    • ERAC Charter: The Board unanimously agreed to adopt a draft ERAC charter previously circulated among the Board members.
    • ERAC Walkaround: The Board agreed to schedule an ERAC neighborhood inspection in July, August, or September 2015; details forthcoming.
    • HOA Email Mailing List: PJ noted the utility of a community-wide e-mail mailing list, to be used in distributing information / announcements to University Square residents.
    • Disclosure Packet: In June 2015, PJ revised a new disclosure packet (provided by legal counsel) and circulated it to Board Members. The Board unanimously agreed on various minor changes to fee provisions included in the packet. The Board also agreed to include in the packet a reference to the approved Board meeting minutes on the HOA website (in lieu of including full minutes in each packet).
    • HOA Budget / Reserves for Common Areas: The Board agreed that the Association’s two certificates of deposit (CDs) will be its reserve for handling common area tree problems.
    • University Square Retention Ponds: Peter noted recent correspondence with Fairfax County personnel showing that maintenance of the dry water retention pond(s) is the County’s responsibility. PJ noted that there may be some question as to who is currently cutting the grass near our dry water retention pond.
    • Collection of Overdue Dues: Peter and PJ agreed to take steps to recover back dues from one property owner who is significantly in arrears.
    • National Night Out / Neighborhood Watch: Christine noted that the Board has $200 in the budget for this event, which will take place on August 4, 2015. Christine provided additional information on proposed activities, publicity, and invitees for the event. The Board unanimously agreed not to retain a live band this year, so as to instead make extra funds available for activities and food for the event. The Board further approved Christine’s plans to work with a local vendor to provide a prize for the event. Oscar suggested asking residents to provide their e-mail addresses (for the aforementioned listserv). Peter agreed to assist with distributing flyers for the event; Christine suggested having an HOA poster or other representation at the event, so as to disseminate information on recent changes to the ERAC Guidelines.
    • Website Changes: Oscar noted he will make certain revisions to the website, including (a) revisions to the stated dues amount (previously $366, now $310), (b) updates to the list of Board members, and (c) addition of recent minutes.
    • Common Area Tree Intrusions: PJ and Peter discussed various claims for debris and damage caused by recent tree-falls in the common wooded area. Peter and one other University Square resident both presented claims for such debris/damage, and PJ agreed to repay their claims from the HOA’s reserve budget for such repairs.
    • Upcoming Events / Meetings: PJ noted his plan to distribute the 2015-2016 budget for Board consideration in approximately mid-August 2015, for consideration, approval, and distribution in early September 2015. The Board agreed to tentatively schedule the next Board meeting for Wednesday, 9 September 2015, pending availability of meeting space at Villa Elementary School. The Board then agreed to tentatively schedule the next Association-wide meeting for Wednesday, 7 October 2015, also pending availability of meeting space at Villa Elementary School. PJ noted that the Board could post a draft of the bylaws with a revision removing the $30 late fee, and then hold a vote on that revision at the October Association-wide meeting.

Board Meeting – June 2015

University Square Homeowners Association (USHA)
June 3, 2015 Board Meeting Notes
Fairfax Villa School

Attendees:

  • Christine Taylor (Member)
  • PJ Kennedy (Treasurer)
  • Patrick Tomilson (Chair, ERAC)
  • Peter McClintock (President)
  • Oscar Merida (Webmaster)
  • Justin Ginsberg (Member)
  • Dennis Makurat (Member, ERAC)
  • Caitlin Kaprove (Secretary)

Absent:

  • Andrew Pershing (Vice President)
  • Patricia Garcia (Member, ERAC)

Minutes:

  • Call to Order (8:03PM): At 8:03PM, Peter called the meeting to order and reviewed the agenda.
  • Resignation of Jen Weigel / Election of Oscar Merida as Webmaster (8:04PM):
    The first order of business was the discussion of Jen Weigel’s recent resignation from the Board and the vacancy left by her departure. The Board voted unanimously to elect Oscar to fill the board position until the next election (October 2015).  Oscar volunteered to be Webmaster for USHA.
  • February 2015 Minutes Approved (8:15PM): The Board members who had attended the February 2015 minutes voted to approve the minutes from that meeting. Going forward, PJ suggested distributing minutes electronically following each meeting, for board approval, including biannual meetings; the Board agreed unanimously. Minutes could then be posted on the web site in a timely manner.
  • Treasurer’s Report (8:19PM): USHA’s total funds in various accounts come to just under $100,000. One of USHA’s CDs is coming due in July; PJ will investigate options going forward.  PJ also said he would produce a Treasurer’s report that would compare the budget with actual spending.
  • Discussion of Properties Delinquent on Dues (8:23PM): 14 properties haven’t made payments. 8 of those properties are due for half the year. 4 are behind by one year. PJ noted that there are 2 properties that are substantially delinquent.  One of those 2 had begun made a partial payment in April.
  • Delivering Electronic Disclosure Packet to Selling Owner(s) (8:25PM): Recent Virginia legislation allows electronic distribution of a disclosure packet, if the requester asks for it electronically.  If so, USHA must retain the request and a copy of the electronic packet provided.  The Board agreed that PJ could to deliver an electronic disclosure packet to an owner who is currently selling his or her property, if so requested.
  • Board Approved Paying Outstanding Legal Bills (8:34PM): The Board unanimously approved a motion to pay the Board’s outstanding legal bills (an additional $1,000, not to exceed $4,000).
  • Discussion of Legal Counsel Advice Re USHA Documents (8:37PM): The Board voted unanimously to approve the line edits provided by legal counsel for USHA External Architectural Guidelines and Restrictions (EAG&R) document. The Board also agreed to schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss other possible changes to the EAG&R and additional recommendations of counsel on the disclosure Document.  Particular items included the following:
    • ERAC Appeals Process: The Board agreed to preserve the ERAC appeals process already contemplated in the current bylaws.
    • Satellite Dishes / Flagpoles / Solar Panels: The Board discussed advice from legal counsel related to satellite dishes, flagpoles, and solar panels. Specifically, counsel pointed out that either Federal or State law prohibits Homeowner’s Associations from banning them, but we can impose reasonable restrictions on their size, placement, etc.  The Board also noted advice of legal counsel that the USHA disclosure packet needs to specifically address these provisions.
    • Amending the Declaration: The Board discussed advice of legal counsel related to the enforceability of fees and restrictions generally.  Legal counsel recommended revising the underlying USHA declaration so as to improve the enforceability of community restrictions;  to do that we need to get 75% of the community to agree.
    • Painted Decks: The Board discussed provisions in the USHA documents related to permissible deck colors and conditions. Ultimately, the Board agreed to schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss this and other items in greater depth.
    • Disclosure Packet: PJ volunteered to circulate (among the Board members) an electronic copy of the most recent disclosure packet with the proposed edits of legal counsel, for further review.
  • ERAC Discussions:
    • Letter on ERAC Violations (9:30PM): Peter gave the board members and ERAC members present, a copy of an anonymous letter with complaints regarding ERAC violations in the neighborhood.
    • Proposed Addition (9:33PM): Patrick and Dennis provided information on a proposed addition to a residence.
    • ERAC Walk-Through (9:40PM): Patrick agreed to draft a checklist for use during an ERAC walk-through. The Board unanimously agreed to plan an ERAC walk-through, with Board members reviewing their findings in teams.
  • Additional Business: Christine volunteered to look into next steps for National Night Out. Peter and PJ volunteered to attempt to hand deliver a letter to the property owner who is most delinquent on dues – and then, if necessary, consider using an attorney for subsequent communications. Peter and Oscar agreed to meet separately to discuss design changes to the USHA website.
  • Next Meeting on 8 July 2015: Peter volunteered to host the next meeting at his house, as the school will be unavailable at that point.