Leewood Homeowners Association
August 2002 Newsletter
Homeowner fees are due on July 1
Leewood Website by Judy Currier
Those of you who had working emails registered on CommunityPath already know it – the host of our website decided to close up shop. I put a "quick and dirty" site up on my ISP, the address is http://home.att.net/~judyb. There you will be able to see the minutes, newsletter, agendas, etc. as they become available plus important announcements. I sent out a broadcast email to this effect and got some very nice responses – thanks to you all! Now for the exciting part – we are building our very own website at www.leewood.us . You can be checking that site to see when we are done, or check the temporary site where the grand opening will be announced! We all hope you will communicate with us concerning your suggestions about the site when it opens. We will have much more control over the design and feel of the site, so if you can't find things, tell us so we can work on how to make it easier to navigate. If you want to see more information, pictures, or whatever, up there – again, tell us. We'll also be setting up a listserv for Leewood which will take the place of the registration and broadcast emails at the old site. As you know, we had continual problems with the broadcast emails. A list will allow all of Leewood to be emailing to the community, discussing concerns, things for sale, etc. plus announcements about disasters, snow removal – you name it, we can communicate with each other about it! After feeling constrained by the design of the past site which we could not alter, I am really excited about our new beginnings. Thankfully for all of Leewood I have two very sensible cohorts that are keeping my feet on the ground, so you will probably not be exposed to a forest of trees blowing in the wind (can I have one?), etc. One of the "nice" responses to my email was from Greg Bellan. As some know, he is a member of our community living on Bradwood Ct. and he makes his living in the field of websites. He has generously volunteered to set up our new site and to be the webmaster of it. Our website committee now has a membership of three (William Wilkinson, Greg Bellan, and me) making us the largest committee in Leewood. We're all going to be working hard to bring you the very best and look forward to hearing from you.
By the way, the fish on the temporary website is temporary in itself. It was an animation I did as part of a tutorial, I had uploaded it onto the old website to see if animations would work there (no), so first thing I did was pop it on ~judyb and lo! it worked.
President's Message by Leona Taylor
Thank you to those of you who responded to your delinquent assessment notices. And for those of you who did not, we will begin legal action to protect the financial interest of Leewood in collecting money due to the association. One account was sent to the attorney in June, and others will follow in July. If you have any questions regarding your account, please do not hesitate to contact me.
It's summer again, and it is getting hot and dry. If you water your yard, you can be a Leewood volunteer and water any adjacent common area trees or landscaping. We do not have any regular mechanism other than volunteer effort for watering the common areas. Please help out if you can.
The spring walk-through for architectural review has been completed. If you receive a notice, try to get the work completed within the time allotted. If you do need additional time, contact Pam Stover. If you receive a hearing notice, please remember that we are serious about enforcing our standards. Do not ignore these notices!
Another reminder based on call we have received over the past month --If you have concerns about the work of one of our contractors, please feel free to call the contractor directly. We list the phone numbers of our major contractors on the newsletters. It is much more efficient for you to call directly than for you to call one of the board members who then in turn calls the contractor. If you are witnessing a problem with one of our contractors, please go and talk with them. Stopping a bad practice as it is occurring is often more effective than a verbal warning a few days or weeks later when we finally close the loop on phone calls. Remember that your board is made up of volunteers; we are just asking that you volunteer a little time to solve a problem that you encounter.
Highlights of the June board meeting --
- We are still collecting additional information and references from the contractors who submitted reserve study proposals.
- Regarding the asphalt work, Fairfax County Water Authority has verified that there are no leaks in the vicinity of Leestone Street and Leestone Court causing the deterioration of the street. We are going to wait for the completion of the reserve study before proceeding with any street repairs at this time.
- We are still searching for local landscape contractors who are willing to work with us on reviewing our common areas and recommending improvements.
- We will be transferring funds from our operating account to the reserve account for the annul contribution to the reserve fund. The amount to be transferred for 2002 is $22,000. The board will also be looking at whether any of the excess operating funds from 2001 should be designated for capital improvements. In prior years, the board has designated some of the surplus funds each year to be used for future capital improvements. For instance, the bench added to the area known as boot hill was paid from prior designated funds.
- We are continuing to work with our attorney on architectural review cases that have gone to legal action. We currently have two cases in process with the attorney.
- Al Sanford is currently looking at areas where tree pruning has been requested. If there are any common area trees that are encroaching on your property, please contact Al. He will be working with our contractor to have the work completed sometime this year. Our trash contractor has indicated that another rate increase will be in effect for July 1. We will be reviewing our contract provisions to determine if this is an allowable increase. If not, we will certainly dispute the increase with the contractor. In the past, we have been successful in turning back some of the proposed increases.
- The Virginia Assembly has completed its session. We will be reviewing for any laws enacted that affect the association. We will update you on any developments.
The parking situation has raised a number of issues over the past year. There are concerns with households having more than two cars parked in the neighborhood on a regular basis. There are problems with cars leaking oil and damaging the parking surface. Additionally, we have certain areas where parking is scarcer due to the concentration of homes in those areas.
In response to this, we would like to concentrate our efforts over the next few months on parking issues. Therefore, we are looking for individuals who are interested in attending a few meetings to review our current parking regulations and develop recommendations to present to the board on the regulations.
We have a parking committee that has looked at the issues over the past year, and we now want to bring closure to the work of this committee. If you are interested in contributing to this work, please contact Chris Taylor, Al Sanford or Leona Taylor. We will then set up a meeting where we will review the current regulations; review the work completed to date by the committee; and discuss possible solutions.
Leewood Home Sales by Tony Mc Sorley
Sales have switched to sale by owners themselves rather than realty agents with two owners getting deals in the $270K range for their middle units. The three previous sales thru realtor were also in the $270K range. The homeowner sales equal the recent sale in Braddock Mews of $287K thru a realtor. If the $16,000 commission they saved by selling themselves were added , it would equal in not surpass the $287K price. Recent rumor also has it that a realtor was offering to get $320K for end units.
Just a note to remind everyone who has put in a new fence or in contemplating a new fence: All fences must have the good side facing out or be double sided in the rear to have the good side facing out. Also, you may not use your neighbor's fence as your side fence. You must install fencing of your own between you and your neighbor to maintain the privacy between your homes and the original integrity of the neighborhood as it was built. You cannot use your neighbor's fence as your side fence.
If you have installed a fence recently and do not have the good side facing out, you are in violation of our ARC guidelines. In 1998, the guideline was changed to require fences to be installed this way to improve the appearance of our common areas and the neighborhood.
If you back up to the neighborhood perimeter fence, you can apply for a variance for this requirement of double-siding the rear fence. You can contact Pam Stover to find out how to do this.
Spring Walk Through Complete
The architectural review Spring walk through is complete and, unfortunately, there will be some letters going out this year again. The good news is that many of the letters will be addressing yard care, specifically trimming and maintaining the front yards and bushes – not the painting and big work we have had in the past.
This is something that is not to be overlooked in the way our neighborhood looks. If you have a chance to walk around, take a look at some of the new landscaping that is being done in our neighborhood. Old, overgrown bushes are being replaced with new healthier bushes, gardens have more blooming flowers and you will see that many homeowners have taken the time to add new stone borders to enhance the look of the neighborhood.
Taking the time and effort to keep the outside of the home up and looking cared for only enhances the look for everyone and helps keep our home values up. A couple that moved in recently told me that one of the reasons they bought here was that the neighborhood looked well cared for. Their comment was, "you should see how run down some other neighborhoods in this area look!" Small things like keeping bushes trimmed, keeping garden beds weeded and mulched, keeping trees pruned, really make a big difference in the general overall appearance of the entire neighborhood.
Here are a couple of guidelines that are directly from our Design and Appearance Standards:
- Trees – trees that are damaged due to storms, ice, or physical injury; or that are overgrown such that they completely cover windows or doors, or such that branches overhand walks at a height of less than 6'6": Cut or prune branches to remove damage, restore shape and provide clearances.
- Shrubs and Hedges – plants that have generally overgrown their size, that have long shoots extending beyond the body of the plant, that are misshapen due to damage or disease: Prune to shape, reduce size, and remove dead or diseased branches. All plantings shall be maintained in healthy condition. Diseased plants shall be treated to stop the disease or replaced. Dying and dead plants shall be removed and/or replaced.
- Vegetable Gardens: Raising vegetables in front or side yards is prohibited. Also, no artificial vegetation is allowed.
- Ornaments: Statuary and other front yard ornaments are discouraged and require ARC approval.
LOWER DRUG PRICES IN CANADA NO WAITING by Tony Mc Sorley
For those of you waiting for lower drug prices or Federal insurance of some type, you might want to skip the wait and order now thru Canada by visiting UnitedHealthAlliance.com offering half price off U.S. price including home delievery. Check it out for both name brand and generics. The following additional companies offer American consumers access to lower cost prescription drugs from Canada. Canadameds.com toll free 877-542-3330 CanadaRx.com 905-528-3922 canadianmedsusa.com toll free 888-681-9188 canadiandrugstore.com toll free 888-372-2252.
FDIC (FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE COMMISSION) by Tony Mc Sorley
FROM Leewood's Homeowners Corrected May Minutes of Meeting "Open Forum A question was answered about FDIC protection of our cash account with Schwab. This account is protected up to $25000. ** Please note this correction to the approved minutes. Our Schwab account is insured by the FDIC up to $2500. (Protection of up to $25000 is incorrect.)"
Editor's Note: Tony has it wrong again. That is not how the minutes were corrected. The bulk of the money in the Schwab account is insured by the corporation that insures money for brokerage houses. In addition, we have a small amount of money from interest, dividends, etc. that are in a deposit program insured by the FDIC, that amount in May was $2500.
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