Board Meeting – July 2015

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


  • 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)


    • 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.