Assessments were due on 1 April!
Have You Discovered Greensprings? By Al Sanford
Greensprings is a plant life sanctuary. It is off of the Little River Turnpike behind the Salvation Army's store one block east of Braddock Road. Greensprings is a gardener's paradise. It is a program started on an endowment dedicated to the cultivation and care of plants and to the education of the public in the care of plants, trees and shrubs. (I apologize for not being more familiar with the program's auspices). Best of all, this "wonderful program" is in our own backyard. Greensprings is beautiful right now with so many plants in bloom. Couples rent the grounds for weddings. I recommend a visit soon, although, a visit there any time of the year is worthwhile.
There is also on the premises a reference library on flora that is open to the public and I believe that there are professional staff available to answer a question that you might have about how to take care of a certain plant or tree.
What I find as the most helpful thing about Greensprings, is that I can see different plants growing that have been identified for me. I can see Bleeding Heart, for example, in real life, and it helps me to decide what I want to put in my own garden. What would look good and do well in my space. Greensprings has flowers, plants, shrubs and trees to look at and enjoy. Check it out! Did I mention that it is free?
Some of the nicest landscaping in Leewood is not in the common area, but at individual homes. Take a look at Leestone Court sometime It is a good example of what knowing plants and shrubs and their possibilites makes possible. It is a showplace.
Greensprings has restricted hours but is open seven days a week. Judy and I were there this past weekend and it was beautiful. There were annuals and other plants on sale in the parking lot. The people selling plants had expert advise to offer about their plants and how to care for them. I was told that the plant sales would last only two more weekends.
President's Notes by Leona Taylor
The new Board held its first regular meeting during April. It began with the Board waiting outside the school for someone to unlock the doors (one of those minor details we thought had been taken care of before the meeting). Not an auspicious start for the new year! Once underway, the Board covered a number of topics, including the following:
1. Whether official communications of the Board or ARC concerning house sales in our neighborhood should include the property address. There has been concern raised by those recently purchasing homes in our neighborhood that publishing the house addresses along with the prices is somewhat of an invasion of privacy. It is true that such information is public in nature, and anyone can access this information (see Tony McSorley's article in the April 2001 newsletter regarding web access in addition to the traditional means of paper access). Therefore, the Board concluded that any future communications by the Board or ARC would be on the basis of averages or by house model, but would not be by specific street address. This is similar to reporting done in a few other community newsletters that I have seen. Any articles by other homeowners or advertisers would continue to not be limited in content. We hope that this accomplishes the objective of letting people know how the values of our homes are tracking but also provides a little bit of privacy to the new members of our community who would be affected by publication of such information.
2. The routine operations of the Board were discussed, and many of the responsibilities were assigned out among the Board members. There are a few areas where help is still needed. We have had resignations on both the POA and Consumer Affairs committees. The individuals resigning have agreed to stay on until replacement volunteers can be found. We have Al Sanford performing double duty as head of Grounds and Maintenance Committee and as Secretary. We do have a few volunteers who want to help out on Grounds and Maintenance, but we are looking for someone to chair the committee. Lastly, we need help in keeping our website up to date. So again, if anyone is interested in helping out in the community, please let me or one other Board members know.
3. A few homeowners are currently being assessed penalties for violations of the architectural standards. The Board is working through the process of determining the next steps to be taken when the penalties have been assessed to the maximum, and the violations have not been corrected.
The agenda for the May meeting is currently scheduled to include the following:
Discussion of parking and traffic issues raised through the 2000 homeowner survey to see if there are any potential actions that can be taken by the Board. The Board will also look at recent homeowner/resident complaints regarding parking. There have been a few complaints regarding residents of a single house taking up three or more spaces with personal vehicles. Another complaint involves residents who regularly park in the guest spaces, leaving their assigned parking space open (thereby reducing guest parking for other residents).
Follow up on assignment of the day-to-day operations of the association.
Discussion of status of architectural standards violations and additional actions to be taken by the Board.
If you want to participate in the discussions, please feel free to attend the meeting on Tuesday May 8 or call or e-mail one of the Board members. Remember that this is your community.
Board Meeting Location
The location for the regular monthly board meetings has changed. The meetings will now be held in the multi-purpose room of the Phillips School. The same school location, just a different room. The meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month, so please attend if you are interested. The meetings begin at 8:00 with an open forum session where homeowners and residents can bring up any issues affecting the community. Please feel free to come by for the open forum. You can then stay for the whole meeting or leave at any time you wish.
Construction Traffic by Leona Taylor
There have been a few homeowner/resident complaints regarding construction vehicles for the Arden Courts project parking in our neighborhood and blocking the streets. A formal complaint on behalf of the association has been called into Falls Church Construction Company. Please contact me or any member of the Board if there are any additional problems. If possible, please note the type of truck or vehicle causing the problem so that the appropriate party to the construction project can be informed if causing a problem. However, remember that Bradwood Street and Braddock Mews Place (the street behind Bradwood Court) are not association property, so we have limited ability to ban traffic on those streets.
Commentary on Sales for Leewood by Pam Stover
Last month I got a postcard in the mail from a Long and Foster real estate broker announcing a sale in Leewood Forrest (down Backlick Road) that went for $200,350. It was a 3 ½ bath, 3 bedroom unit. This really confused me because our neighborhood is much nicer with more green space and a more attractive layout, and our homes our much better construction with all hardwood floors, and when I bought in this neighborhood, our homes sold for $10,000 to $15,000 more. I just think if you have taken care of your home, done some upgrades and maintained the outside, you should be able to ask more for your homes than we have seen here recently. A home just listed and sold on Bradgen Court for $199,900 (Stuart model) and it had almost 30 showings in 3 days with three contracts on it - and it finally closed for $206,000. What this tells me is that maybe the realtors have been afraid to list our home much over the $200 mark - thinking they would stay on the market for too long. And what we got was a bidding war! As I said, if you have taken care of your home, done some upgrades, maintained the outside and your yard, these homes should bring more on the market today than the Leewood Forest neighborhood. The market just told us that on this house on Bradgen!! It's just my opinion, but I think you should look closely at your pricing if you are planning to sell this year. Don't be afraid to ask for a little more.
With the warm weather comes the opportunity to make repairs on our houses. If you are contemplating a major repair (such as fence replacement, roof replacement, front step repair), consider asking the service provider if he will offer group discounts. If you need to fix your roof, more likely than not, a few other homes in the community need new roofs. So please ask about group discounts and then contact Pam Stover of the Architectural Review Committee or one of the Board members to coordinate. We have the survey responses which show those homeowners interested in discounts on repair projects. We can also provide notification to see if there are additional homeowners in need of such services who did not express interest through the survey.
Fences by Pam Stover
I am thinking of putting together a fencing project for the neighborhood as a group project if there is enough interest. If you are interested, (there is no obligation), please call me (703-354-7585), or email me (email@example.com) with your name, address, and phone number
. I will be calling vendors to see if we can get a group discount. If it works I will put the plan in motion. Just to remind everyone, fences must be installed as they are now along the sides between you and your neighbor and must have the good side of the fence facing out in the back. (Most people double the fence in the back to have a good side also facing in their yard). Let me know as soon as possible so I can give the fencing people some idea as to how many would be interested. What would happen next is they would have to give everyone an individual estimate and then you could accept or reject the estimate. Thanks, Pam
Washer Lines (an EMAZING tip of the day, via Judy Currier)
Those two black hoses that connect to the back of your washing machine bring cold and hot water to the machine. About the only time they get any attention is when you get a new washing machine or when the one you have has to be moved. These out of sight, out of mind hoses do their job admirably for years without a complaint, usually. These hoses can and do break, which of course causes a big water leak. New hoses are not expensive, but the damage from a leak can be. If you never have or can't remember when you last checked the washer hoses, it's time. First turn off the valves they connect to and then give them a thorough inspection. If they are stiff and hard or showing signs of cracking, replace them. Consider new hoses that are protected by a braided stainless steel jacket. These hoses are more expensive but are less likely to have a major
Note: I sure don't see why you have to turn off the water supply to inspect them. I guess that is conservative in case you yank one off in your inspection. JBC
- Stephen Corwin, EMAZING - http://www.emazing.com/
New on the Website - Estate Sales by Judy Currier
I have written a guide to estate sales for people who are looking into estate sale agents. We had a terrible experience with ours, and wish to spare others our misery. Unfortunately, it is quite long - too long for the newsletter - so I posted it in the library under "other". If you are in a position that an estate sale is looming, or just would like it for your files, do give it a look. I plan to publish it elsewhere, so would be very interested in any feedback on the article. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Non-computer owners can call(703-941-4385) and I will print out a copy of the article for them.
We're hoping to continue our tradition of posting the agenda for the board meeting on our website, financials, newsletter, and maybe get some minutes up there too. Things are still in transition with the new board, so this will no doubt be worked out. This month's agenda did make it!
We have figured out how to make the indexes work now, so have fixed them until their next change that messes us up again.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT TRASH by Al Sanford
Many Leewood residents are putting their trash out too early
in the day on Sunday afternoon and Wednesday evening. Of course, a few people seem to persist in putting it out even a day ahead of schedule. Remember the rule is: no trash on the street until dusk the day before pick up.
Who wants to look at it? More rude yet is to feed it to the crows. This is really a NO NO!
If you must persist in putting trash out early, please at the very least double bag it so that the birds do not get into it and spread refuse all over Leewood. It is the responsible thing to do. I am probably preaching to the choir here and the people that read this article already handle their trash appropriately. However, if you are in the choir and you have a neighbor that persists in putting trash out irresponsibly, please kindly say something to them. I hope that I am not inciting trash rage--but really, this word needs to get out.A second comment about trash is that as the day s get warmer, care needs to be taken to put plastic trash bags and recycling containers in the gutter pan, not on the grass. If our trash service happens to come later than usual, the plastic containers will kill the grass, especially since we general always put our trash in the same place at the curb. It is just as easy to put the trash at the edge of the street, as on the grass, and this practice but will help keep Leewood looking good.
Also, parenthetically, as the weather gets warmer it is important to be careful not to park cars over the curb which also has the effect of killing the grass, especially when backing in the space, which I prefer to do often. The exhaust while the car is warming up is very hard on the grass margin. Or when leaving your car for long periods of time, like days when you are on vacation. The grass margins, that is. the space between the curb and the sidewalk , are vulnerable grassy spaces. It is hard to keep grass healthy there. Please do what you can to care for this space. Talk to these spaces lovingly, they need your tender loving care. Thanks
The Leewood Grounds "to do" List by Al Sanford
Let me begin this article with a "take off" on the famous words of JFK. "Ask not what Leewood can do for you, ask what you can do for Leewood." I have decided to start a column that will list each month some of the tasks that we have in our community to do, that you the individual homeowner might like "to sink your teeth into." (Optimistic 'cuss" aren't I?) You see, I personally am into gardening and puttering. It is my mid-western background , I suppose, but I know that there are others like me that live here in Leewood. And, I am convinced, that gardening and "tinkering" it is not just a mid-western trait. More importantly, there is a "norm" established here in Leewood that we do not hire everything out, but instead, do many things ourselves. Bob Meyer, or course, is the great champion of this norm. But there are others, too, that have followed this pattern. (Too many to name and if I tried to list names I would inevitably leave someone out.) I personally believe that this value, this norm, is one of the things that really holds us together as a community and instills in us a sense of ownership and pride. (Not to mention the fact, that is kind of attitude saves us a lot of money ) There are so many little jobs that costs lots to have done professionally, not to mention that it is hard to find anyone that will do this work, period, that it only makes practical sense that we "pitch in". So, here is my list of jobs for the month of May for any eager "beavers" that want to have fun with the land and at the same time save Leewood a buck. Take your pick.
1. Remove the vines (and poison ivy) from our stockade fence between Braddcock Mews and Leewood--the section of fence hat runs parallel to Leebrad Street.
2. Sweep and pick up litter and debris that collects in the gutters in the parking bays near your home.
3. Remove dandelions from a 100 square feet section of ground in the common area near your home.
4. Seed (grass) and water a bare spot near your home.
5. Clean up debris in the wooded area at the end of Braddock Street, where children have built barricades.
6. Clean up debris in the wooded common area between Leebrad and Leestone. Where children have built wooded barricades and trash has been dumped.