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Leewood Homeowners  Association

January 2001 Newsletter

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 President's Notes  Assessments  Bradwood St. Improvements?
 Dry Pond  Trash  Parking Enforcement

President's Notes by Judy Currier

Happy New Millennium! A statement for those of us who were convinced that we did not start at year zero, and thus 2001 is it. I don’t get overheated about such things myself, and am happy to celebrate two years in a row as the new millennium. Actually, I am glad to consider 2001 the beginning. Hey, if you don’t get it right in 2000, try again.

Our Leewood Gold Star Citizen award goes to Harold Woodley of Bradwood Court this month. Harold makes it a Saturday habit to go out and pick up trash that has blown around the community. He doesn’t just do his own neighborhood, but is seen throughout Leewood. Thanks, Harold, it is people like you that keep this place attractive, and so nice for the rest of us! By the way, many of us saw Harold checking people in at the polls, so he makes it a habit both to help his immediate community, and the surrounding one. Very good citizen award!

At a Christmas party this year, I learned that we have our very own TV celebrity living in the community. Kerry Dumbaugh, an expert in things Chinese, has a TV program on Channel 56 from 9 to 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings. There, a panel discusses various topics relating to China. Check it out!

Our board meetings for two months have been filled with ARC concerns. In December, once again, we conducted hearings for people who have gotten more than the full complement of warning letters, and decided on monetary penalties for them. There are still a few more to go in this process. Please remember not to ignore these warnings. No one likes to assess penalties, but we are determined to keep the standards of our community up. There have been some in the past that have played the game of "if I ignore it perhaps it will go away". Unfortunately, with changes in the ARC committee, etc. that was a pretty good bet. As announced previously, we are determined to be fair and consistent, AND to move forward in getting our community into shape.

Someone had put yellow roses on the post at the intersection where my father died. It was such a nice memorial, and whoever did it really put it up to stay – they were very handy with a screwdriver. Unfortunately, as we all know, those posts don’t stay up too long, and once again the post is down, so there was another problem at that intersection. This is in less than a month and a half I figure. The flowers are getting squished by the traffic on Braddock Rd. Anyhow, after Rose Westberg’s frightening experience last month, I think it might be a good idea for us to try to track the problems we have in ingress/egress from our community, and in trying to walk to the nearby churches, grocery stores, and parks. So, please send us your horror stories. Maybe a little documentation will help!

Assessments  by Judy Currier

Thanks to all of you who send in their assessments on time. The careless don’t think about it, but when assessments are late, it means that you are actually "borrowing" (some might call it stealing as permission was not given) from your neighbors for the cash flow of our community and it also means a lot of extra work for our volunteers. If that doesn’t mean much to you, you volunteer to write the reminder letters, put them in envelopes and stamp them. Actually, I have given up on signing them personally, as I am not sure that people really deserve that courtesy and I get writer’s cramp.. There are times when many of us are busy, and such things fall through the cracks – however, it should not be on a per-assessment basis.

We prefer that you put your lot number on the check as this, in essence, is your account number. If you don’t know your lot number, it is the number painted on your reserved parking space. It is particularly important to do this if you have a last name that is duplicated in our community. You can get an idea if your have such a last name by looking at our directory. My second choice of logging in information is name, and in haste, mistakes can be made with those duplicate last names. That’s why the unique lot number is so handy. If you are unsure of your lot number, however, please at least put a question mark next to it to alert me to the fact that it might be wrong. I used to write things on the check so that people would know the right lot number when their cancelled checks were returned. Unfortunately, probably a majority of us no longer see our cancelled checks.

Again, Leewood does pretty well on this – there are some people if they end up on my list to get a letter, I definitely have to recheck the accounts. We are questioned about delinquencies when people go to get mortgages. If the answers we give convince the loaners that we are not on top of our assessments (too many delinquencies), then loans will become harder to get and our property values will diminish. Sometimes the people who loan money do not ask what I consider reasonable questions. Some ask how many people are 30 days delinquent. Well, actually we have a 30 day grace period, but the delinquency if you go over those 30 days starts at the beginning of the month. Thus on day 31 we might have an excessive number of delinquencies, just from those that for some reason always wait until they get a reminder letter. Think about it, please. It is important for all of us to be responsible.

Bradwood Street Improvements? by Judy Currier

During the summer (these things move very slowly) it was suggested to us that perhaps VDOT could paint lanes on Bradwood St. The thought was to have three lanes, one a left hand turn lane, one a right turn lane, and the other lane for entering our community. This might help exiting the community, particularly if you are turning right. Although it appears on the face of it that this is not exactly a safety issue, but more one of convenience, one could also argue that as you sit there trying to make your left hand turn with traffic backed up behind you, you might be motivated to take a chance you would not otherwise do.

Anyhow, I called Sharon Bulova’s office, and they are doing the legwork on this proposal. VDOT has now been out and inspected our streets. Lanes must be 12 feet wide, Bradwood St. is 36 feet wide, so we are at the minimum threshold there for three lanes. VDOT did not commit to a decision immediately after measuring. They are concerned that the turn radius getting onto Bradwood St. is too small for bigger vehicles. As we don’t have a deceleration lane there, they do have a point. They were also worried about the access road to Braddock Mews, but I don’t understand that concern.

The same thing has been suggested at Leestone St., but I am pretty sure that Leestone just is 30 feet wide, so probably the proposal would not fly well. Of course, Leestone is ours, so I suppose we could just paint it.

Just for the record, the association has in the past tried to get a crosswalk put in at Leestone St. and Backlick. I, personally, have submitted the suggestion along with the suggestion of a blinking yellow light there to help those who are crossing in the Braddock mini-improvement program. There has been no action to these requests. As you know, there is a bus stop on both sides of the street in this area, and it is unreasonable, I feel, for people to be expected to hike up to the intersection of Backlick and Braddock to cross there. Besides, for those of us who have tried it, we normally find that is more hazardous than crossing at Leebrad St. I personally think that currently Leebrad is the place to cross as there is a median strip that you can jump on. At the official crosswalks you have to sprint to make it to the median when you get the walk light, and the drivers are very aggressive about moving forward when your walk light is out.

I saw a suggestion in our survey to have a blinking light at all of our intersections. Perhaps this would at least alert people on the major roads to slow down and we would have half a chance of getting in or out of our community. Lights are very expensive, however, so I don’t think this well happen just by our wishing for it. Another reason, perhaps, for us to build up a file of near misses, and actual accidents.

PS After writing this article I saw something in the VDOT flier where they were stating that the method to cross Franconia Road at Frontier Drive was to cross to the median, then wait for the next light change and to cross the rest of the street. Apparently they think this is reasonable, I wonder if they have calculated how many people can stand on a median strip?

Dry Pond by Judy Currier

An article in the latest Conservation Currents encourages the growth of flora on the floor of the dry pond. The reason for this is that plants there help to soak up the water and participate in the filtering and delay process that is the reason for the dry pond. Fairfax is cutting down on their maintenance of dry ponds under this theory. As many of you know, the association mows the dry pond even though it is not actually our property as Fairfax was whacking the weeds there just once a year. Perhaps the solution to the aesthetic concerns about the dry pond and the ecological ones is to grow a visual barrier along Braddock Road – our one along Bradwood St. is coming along nicely – and let it go. It’d save us money, too!

Trash by Judy Currier

When I went marching out to put those cheery pink signs on the mailboxes, there were those that hooted with laughter. "Do you really think people will pay attention to them?" I was asked. This happens to me a lot, for some reason. Anyhow, I do think they helped, but sure wish that everyone had gotten the message. Trash is NEVER collected on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s days. Period. End of statement. Remember it, and don’t put it out! If you are on cloud something or another and forget, take your trash in – don’t make all of the rest of us live with your mistake for a half a week.

One place you could stick your trash is in the trunk of your car. Then you would not have to lug it all the way back in. There once was an elderly (that means older than me) woman across the street who had a difficult time carrying heavy loads. Her solution to newspaper recycling was to keep the newspapers in the trunk of her car. On recycling day she simply set them out. Wonderful lady, she was!

Parking Enforcement by Judy Currier

Followers of our website, www.communitypath.com, already know that we were visited by Fairfax Police with a magnetic sign on their side called "parking enforcement". They were checking all cars on Leebrad and handed out several tickets. This was a new one on me, as I have never seen it before. In fact, some six years ago or so, when we really started enforcing parking violations, I made every effort to get the police to ticket the people that were not properly registered rather than the association. They have more information, we pay our taxes, and I thought they should do it. I would watch them come out after a call and look at a car that was both improperly tagged by Virginia and Fairfax Standards, was piled high with trash, and they would just leave. We had conversations about it, such as "we can’t ticket on private roads". I would point out that we had filed a form with them years before giving them permission to come on the property, and it would usually take two days for them to find the form. Then they would say "Oh, you have to renew this form every year". Well, they finally wore me down and the Association does ticket and tow cars that are improperly registered. You can see why it was a surprise to notice the "parking enforcement" vehicle. I know many of you will applaud this action, but it was rather spooky to me. It seemed like our cars were just sitting ducks, and it certainly is an easy way for them to pick up a little cash.

I have no idea what their next step will be – whether they will tow if you don’t pay the ticket or what. I would advise paying up or going to court about it and being good about keeping your registration, inspection, etc. current.

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