Website by Judy Currier
As those that have visited have found out the website is loaded with information and changing cover stories of interest to Leewood. The article on West Nile has now been cycled from featured status, but still can be accessed by clicking on the link on the right hand side. After that you will be able to find it in Webnews, along with historical articles such as Boot Hill, and informative ones such as the one on fonts.
Our new feature was written by Joe Strickland and gives wonderful advice and details about remodeling our Leewood kitchens. I am very excited about the possibility of more articles such as this as the site can do them so well with all the colored photos, and no restrictions on length to hamper helpful detail. Joe even provided us with all sorts of links where you can research various products and ideas further. Do check it out and also think of things around your home that you find useful that you could share with the rest of Leewood. I'll be glad to take pictures and put things together for you.
More people are using the message board so it is fun to peruse. The latest messages on the message board concern fence contractors, where to get flu shots, a question on whether anyone knows of a welding service, and the Neighborhood Watch message that I put in this newsletter. The people that had joined our Leewood List got notified immediately of the problem, those that visit the website to make sure they aren't missing out on anything got notified through the message board, and the "newsletter only" people probably got notified after it was too late to help them prevent loss of property if someone was targeting Leewood. Take advantage of our ability to communicate with you rapidly, join the email list (you can do this through the website), check the message board, and check in on the website often.
President's Message by Leona Taylor
For those of you who are interested -- The Parking Committee will be meeting the first and third Tuesday of each month for the next few months to come up with some final recommendations regarding parking in Leewood. The meetings are held in the teachers' lounge of the Philips School, accessible through the first set of doors closest to Leewood. All are welcome to attend.
Highlights of the September board meeting:
- Architectural review hearing notices were sent out to five homeowners to attend hearings at the October board meeting. The board reviewed the violations and the responses received from some of the homeowners and determined next steps to get the properties in compliance with the architectural standards. (A reminder to all homeowners --Virginia law requires that we send hearing notices and hearing result notices by certified or registered mail with return receipt requested. This may be an inconvenience to the homeowner who is not at home when mail is delivered and who must then go to the post office to collect the notice. However, this is the law that we must follow.)
- A few of the more serious delinquent assessment accounts were paid up over the past month. Another case will be sent to the attorney for collection if payment is not received in response to the fourth quarter assessment notices. In total, we will then have three cases with the attorney for collection.
- We have received two landscape design proposals, and a third one has been requested. The proposals will be reviewed and compared to determine which plantings we want to put in this year before winter. We budget annually for new plantings, and we wanted to have a more formalized plan to assist us in prioritizing our tree & shrub spending.
- A number of the Association's certificates of deposit are maturing in October. Based on discussions with a few investment advisors, the board has approved reinvesting these funds and the 2002 reserve contribution into GNMA investments. Since the timing of the need for these funds can be readily determined, we can invest in GNMA's with a high degree of safety. As long as the GNMA's are held to their scheduled maturity, we are guaranteed the return of the principal. Currently, the rates on GNMA's are higher than the rates available on CD's.
- A review of the September association financial results shows that revenues are about on track with the budget. We do, however, show an unrealized loss on our Vanguard fund investment. In terms of expenses, we are below budget on expenses, mainly in the categories of grounds & maintenance, snow removal, and tree & shrub. Additional expenditures for grounds & maintenance and tree & shrub are scheduled for the remainder of the year, which will eliminate the positive variances to budget. Snow removal expenses are dependent on the weather. We are also expecting to power-wash the Backlick Road fence, the cost of which may exceed the maintenance budget by approximately $2,000 - $3,000.
- The engineer for the company preparing the reserve study for the association completed her walk-through of the neighborhood. She has provided a list of additional questions to complete the study/ The intention is to get a preliminary report during October so that we can use the reserve study as the basis for computing the 2003 required contribution to reserves. The reserve study provides a snapshot of the common elements within the community, their expected replacement costs, and their expected lives. With the reserve study, we are able to determine the annual contribution needed so that the funds are available when each of the common elements needs to be replaced. We update the reserve study annually to take into consideration funds expended during the year, the investment performance of the reserve funds, changes in replacement costs, and changes in the useful lives of the elements. We are required by law to have the reserve study updated by a third party at least every five years.
- The board reviewed another draft of the 2003 budget. The major open items are reserves and the amount of quarterly assessment to be charged for 2003. On the reserves, the issues revolve around the reserve contribution (as noted above), the expected earnings on the reserve funds, and the expected reserve expenditures for the remainder of 2002 and for 2003. We currently have about five projects under consideration (and some currently under bid), so we are trying to get the most up to date replacement costs for the study and the budget.
Pop-up Ads by Judy Currier
I found out of a way to eliminate most of those annoying pop-up ads when browsing the internet. In theory, it makes your surfing faster, too. There is probably a file called hosts (no extension) in your Windows directory - if not, you can add one. Mine had gotten corrupted somehow and thus I was having difficulties. "Hosts" can contain url addresses of sites that you do not want to go to. There are sites on the internet where you can download a "hosts" file that is quite complete, and then add your own as you find them. I've been using it for over a month now and have experienced no difficulties. If you do have problems using it you can always return to your current configuration. To learn more about the "hosts" file either do a google search on it or go to
Note: The above address is no longer valid. There are better ways of eliminating pop-ups now. Google it if you don't already have a pop-up blocker!
LEEWOOD NON-SECURE WEB SITE
Opinion by Tony Mc Sorley
A big problem with Leewood's newly created web site is the total lack of security. It should be limited to the community owners whose assessments pay for it, rather than everyone in the outside world. Anyone, now, realtor, home purchaser could access the site, Leewood.US. This web site's main page, recently, had Judy Currier three pages of the late night muttering on the real or imagined numerous parking problems and solutions. This was the opening page; the WELCOME page on most all other sites. Imagine a potential house buyer checking out the Leewood community. After reading that and the many numerous email exchanges, also accessible, on parking problems between Judy Currier and Chris Hitlz, any rational purchaser would seriously think over buying in a community besot with unresolved parking problems, imagined or not.
You wouldn't want your private family conversations spread far and wide to everyone on the street. Why allow your private Leewood community discussions to be broadcast. Other than to fellow interested homeowners who pay for this service in assessments. The newsletter printed by Larry Westberg is limited to the 195 houses at Leewood and offsite owners of rental units and maybe one or two realtors, that's it. The newsletter is also self limiting to the article. The unsecure web site can carry any nonsense just put it in a email and can be reached everywhere. Judy Currier recently reported 770 visiters to the site over a brief period of time.
The old Community Path site averaged 15 to 25 visitors monthly. I remember querying the board on web site usage and at the time none had ever signed on and use it. It would seem presently to be of limited usage but great harm.
Therefore, until a sign on mechanism is installed, I suggest, the board shut down the email section and carefully review and limit any negatives, like parking muttering, which can have a very negative effect of house sales and selling price.
Halloween by Judy Currier
As a kid growing up I always loved Halloween. That was back in the good old days where one didn't have to worry about sickos poisoning candy, inserting razor blades in apples, etc. I can always remember that if we had an extra load of kids come by the house mom going into the kitchen and whipping up a batch of fudge in a hurry. In those days most treats were homemade. As children Halloween was not just a way of getting all sorts of goodies but a social occasion between the kids of the neighborhood, and also between the kids and the adults of the community. Even when we got older, we would go out and just wander around watching all the little hobgoblins "doing their thing".
No wonder when I moved into Leewood I always have my candy supply stocked at Halloween and have participated in the event whole-heartedly. I hope that our Leewood kids will have as fond of memories of Halloween as I do, and it is actually easier for us with no children to help them celebrate Halloween than it is for parents. Often parents have dual roles with one going with the kids and the others with front door duty. I have always noticed of course there were Scrooges amongst us that shut off their lights and their hearts to the trick and treaters. This Halloween was particularly bad. Looking up and down my street, very few houses were helping our neighborhood children celebrate Halloween. Of course the turnout was less also, probably due to people already making plans to stay inside because of the sniper. I know that we had started to eat the Halloween candy ourselves until the sniper got caught. Then we had to go out and buy more.
To all of you that don't help our kids celebrate Halloween. Please rethink your position. It is good for you - it is almost impossible to be depressed when you see the little devils, angels, tigers, etc. Sometimes my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. It is also good for the kids to be able feel a part of our community and have a safe place to enjoy this fun holiday. I sure hope that next year our street will be brightly lit as all of Leewood welcomes the little hobgoblins.
Neighborhood Watch by Judy Currier
Close to Halloween a car on lower Leestone Street had the stereo system ripped out of its dash and stolen. Please be more watchful, remember to turn on your front lights, and pay attention to outside noises.
PARKING REALLOCATION Opinion by Tony Mc Sorley
The latest U.S. census show car trends in Fairfax. Forty five (45) percent of households have two cars while twenty five percent have three or more. Many townhouse communities tuned to these facts have tried to help their homeowners by going to two reserve spaces per household. Thus, saving many from the rush home, to grab a non-free space and save the reserve for the late arriving member. Two reserve spots have the added benefits of removing the various community boards from involvement in time consuming and unrewarding parking resolution. A thing they all, I hope, are more than happy to end. Two reserve spaces largely leaves it to individual homeowner to control his own reserve spaces. This greatly adds to the peace of mind of the whole community, no more other people's oil leaks, long term park cars, invalid plates and tags, excessive cars in one house or group, renter or boarder, house using all free parking, etc. In today's world, parking has become a premium to homeowners peace of mind. Two spaces might even raise your house value by twenty thousand ($20,000) or more.
Since first laid out by the builder twenty seven years ago, Leewood parking allocation hasn't changed except for a few minor moves of one or two reserve spaces. This old layout with its uneven spread of spaces is helping to create parking problems. As shown in last months parking article, parking on Bradgen Court and upper Leestone Street is especially tight while Leestone Court is wide open. Remember 80 spots were open nightly. Thirty reserve spots not used because of "dirty" trees.
As a initial task of the parking committee was review the 27 year old layout with a view for improvement. With 401 parking spaces with one reserved for each homeowner it would seem to be possible, the 206 remaining spaces could be allocated in such a way so theoretically each house could have another space available to them.
Leestone Court 13 spaces SHORT TERM (48 HRS) VISITOR PARKING
Leestone Court 34 spaces 17 houses (5266 moved Leestone St)
Bradgen Court 58 spaces 29 houses (1 moved to Leebrad/5253)
Leebrad Street 88 spaces 44 houses (7009 to Leestone Court)
(LOWER) Leestone Street 60 spaces 30 houses (includes 6 from middle)
(MIDDLE) Leestone Street 28 spaces 14 reserve (include 3 houses 7058-60-62) (include 5266 Leestone Court)
(UPPER) Leestone Street 59 spaces 29 houses (includes 8 spots by 7055)
Bradwood Court 61 spaces 32 houses (3 SHORT but -1 Fairfax house)
Bradgen Court need only move one reserve spot moved to Leebrad to achieve 2 per house or 58 spaces for 29 houses. Leebrad with the one from Bradgen becomes 88 spaces for 44 houses. Lower Leestone Street with the addition of six spaces past the mailbox at Leestone Street (middle) has 60 spaces for 30 houses. Upper Leestone Street with the addition of the eight in front of 7055 Leestone Street achieves 59 spaces for 29 houses. reallocating 3 house on end of upper Leestone (7O62-6O-58) and adding 5266 Leestone Court gives the middle 28 spaces for 14 houses. As for Leestone Court this section had the most free spaces (13) over reserve plus one. As a trade for moving one to Leestone Street (middle) have one from Leebrad (7OO9 moved to Leestone Court. This yields 47 SPACES for 17 houses or 34 used for homeowners and rest used only for Short term visitor parking, 48 hours or less. Visitor parking is well provided for most of the community by public streets, Bradwood Street and Braddock Mews Place, approximately 43 spaces. Thus, the reason for placing the extra 13 spaces at the other end of the community; strictly for SHORT TERM visitor parking. Lastly poor Bradwood Court has 32 reserved but only 61 spaces necessitating creating 3 missing spaces out of the middle mailbox area. But partly saved now by Fairfax rental unit for groups needing only one. And further saved, now, by the kind end unit Bradwood homeowners continuing to use the public streets, as they have, and save Leewood $15,000 for the three missing original parking spaces on Bradwaod Court.
The homeowners who pay the assessments and the board who follow the wishes of the homeowners, should make a conscious decision to give everyone access to equal number of spaces. Until equal space is achieved if you have a spare car, not being used frequently, try to park in front of 5266 Leestone Street where there is spare room which would help your immediate local neighbor's street parking.
At a minimum a minor changes during repainting of curbs would be of considerable help and comfort by properly allocating spaces.
Advertising/PR Copy Writer Needed by Judy Currier
We are working on a small brochure for Leewood with the thought that it could be handed out to people that are looking at our homes with the intent to buy. We have the basic information down, but if someone here is good at writing promotional type copy, no doubt it could be made far better. Any volunteers? This is a "no-committee meeting, do it when you have spare time", type of effort so should be particularly appealing. Please contact me at 703-941-4385 or email@example.com if you can help out. Thanks!
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