Leewood Homeowners Association
April 2003 Newsletter
Homeowner Fees Due April 1
Two New Board Members Elected by Judy Currier
The Annual Meeting was held on Tuesday, March 11. Lynne Whalen and Anne Esquivel were elected to the Board of Directors. Both of these members are relatively new to the association, and we are all excited by their qualifications, and getting fresh outlooks infused into our management. However, they will need all of our support. Let's be positive, and do all we can to help them out! Other highlights were the social beforehand, the excellent presentation of the business aspects of Leewood, followed by the election of the new board members.
Our President, Leona Taylor shocked everyone by announcing her resignation from the board. Al Sanford, the Secretary, was slated to be off the board as he has served 6 years and his second term had drawn to a conclusion. Al wants a little rest but is staying on as Ground and Maintenance chair, and Leona will help out with the board also. We certainly appreciate all the time and effort that both Leona and Al have put into our association over the past years. Thankfully we had two candidates that are well qualified to step into the spots. At the end of the meeting, Chris Taylor handed out the plentiful doorprizes. A little reward to the members that attended!
(A pictorial essay of scenes from the annual meeting followed this in the newsletter.)
President 's Message
I certainly apologize for the lateness in posting the board meeting highlights over the past few months. I have been very busy with work and other responsibilities. I have felt that I have not been able to devote enough time to Leewood activities over the past few months. As a result and since we were able to get two individuals to volunteer to run for the board, I have decided to resign as President. I feel that I can still help out with association activities, but that we should take advantage of new volunteers whenever possible. So here is my last report.
Highlights of January board meeting:
- Judy Currier and Leona are reviewing the draft reserve study for any major problems prior to issuance of the preliminary report. Once the preliminary report is issued, the board has six months to make changes before a final report is issued.
- Board began preparations for annual meeting.The board approved the selection of the same accounting firm used in prior years for the 2002 audit. The fee has only gone up $50 since the prior year and had been constant for quite a few years prior to that.The snow removal bill was reviewed, as it seemed excessive. Al is going to talk with the contractor about the services.
- The auditor has requested additional information to complete the 2001 audit.
- References for the proposed sidewalk replacement contractor are being contacted.
- The poor performance of AAA in not picking up the recycle items on January 2nd was discussed. The contractor will be contacted for credit against the next bill for the missed pick-up.
- Parking Committee member reported back research on the allowable size and height of stop signs.
- Work of the parking committee was discussed. The board will request a final report from the parking committee. If the members of the committee cannot reach a consensus, this should be noted in the report.
- Nominating Committee members are being solicited.
Highlights of the February board meeting
- Homeowner accounts: 31 owners past due 1 month; 3 accounts are at the attorney
- Board is continuing preparations for annual meeting.
- The 2001 audit is not completed yet and 2002 results are not yet finalized, so the board will not make a designation for capital improvements at this time.
- Preliminary reserve study is complete; President will make copies and distribute to board for review
- Treasurer owes the auditor one more Schwab statement for the 2001 audit.
- At least one homeowner is attempting to install a second kitchen. The board is looking into the legality of this from a zoning standpoint. County officials have been notified, and it appears this is a potential zoning violations.
- The board approved the purchase and installation of stop signs at the following corners:
- Bradgen and Leebrad -stop sign on Bradgen
- Bradwood and Leebrad -stop sign on Bradwood
- Leestone Ct (ROW) and Leestone St -stop sign on Leestone Street
- Leestone Ct and Leebrad -stop sign on Leestone Court
- Bradwood Ct and Bradwood St -stop sign on Bradwood Court
Website by Judy Currier
From talking to people, I am not sure how well we have done in letting our residents know of the extent of the information that is on our website. Almost all papers that are distributed to residents are there, plus much more. If you can't find your Leewood Manual, ARC manual, newsletter, etc. all are up on our website. If you can't remember who is on the board, their names and emails are up on the website. If you need a floorplan of your home, it is on the website. If you want to know of nearby parks and facilities, those are on the website. You can search through old newsletters to find articles that you remember. You can use the search button on your browser or Google to search the ARC manual for regulations on what interests you (Google might not have it completely indexed, so your search on your browser is probably preferred). We also post the agendas of the board meetings so that you can see whether there will be discussion of interest to you, the minutes, and the financials (plus budget). There is no reason not to be very well informed about the activities of your association!
In addition you can join our Leewood list or post opinions/questions on the message board. The Leewood list is an email list the people on it get occasional announcements of matters of interest (no trash pick-up in the snow, the Granberry estates article, etc.). They may also use the list to post questions, opinions, etc. There is not a lot of traffic on the list, and given how it has been used to date, I changed the setup of it so that responses, by default, do not go to the entire list but rather to the poster.
This month if someone could not make the annual meeting but wanted to know the news they could go to the website the very next day and see pictures of the meeting, our two new board members, etc. It is a wonderful way to be able to communicate on a very timely basis! Do remember this resource, and make use of it.
Original Leewood Windows by Judy Currier
Neglect breeds disaster! I had noticed that my living room windows were being held up by the lock, but had not gotten around to doing anything about it. I came home from lunch and one of the windows had torn the lock and slammed down. Of course it was the one on which I had a display of antique glass. Not a good Saturday!
They had gotten loose once before and my Dad had pointed out to me that on the bottom of the window (raise it, and look at the outer edges) there is a little metal tab. Pull on that tab and a spring will be exposed. It needs to be shortened for the window to stay up properly. I still don't understand how this works actually, but obviously people don't wander around putting springs in windows for the fun it provides. If you have two people one can pull the spring and hold it while the other cuts it off and reattaches the metal stopper. If you don't have two people put something through the spring after you've pulled it so it doesn't escape back into the window, and do your repair. When working on this one of the springs came unattached from the top (it appears it must attach about 2/3 up the window). We did some inventive engineering and tied a cord to the top of the spring and fished the whole thing through the channel. It is better not to have to do this, but all is not lost if it happens to you.
Now, I wonder whether I'll fix my kitchen window before the same thing happens.
Foreign Substances in Storm Drains by Judy Currier and NVCD
I was researching drainage at the Northern Virginia Conservation District Site (there is a link to this site from our Leewood Links page) and happened to peruse their FAQs. One in particular struck a bell as I have seen contractors doing it in Leewood, and Spring fix-up time is approaching. The following is what they said:
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SEE SOMEONE POURING MOTOR OIL OR PAINT DOWN A STORM DRAIN?
If you see anyone pouring any substance into the storm drain, you should call 911, especially if it is motor oil or another toxic substance. If the person has a vehicle, write the down the tag number. Storm drains are for stormwater only, NOT motor oil, paint, or even grass clippings. If you don't see it happening but suspect dumping has occurred, you should report it to the HazMat Technical Support Branch of the Fire and Rescue Department. Call 703-246-4386.
Actually 911 seems a bit drastic to me, but I guess they might get there in time to arrest them. I have seen contractors sitting on a curb washing out their debris into our storm drains. This makes a mess and is illegal. Do remember not to use our storm drains as a trash bin or disposal unit. Much of our water is drained from our property via a drainage ditch that goes through people's backyards. They despise the paper trash that gets hung up on the rocks, etc. All disposals into the storm water system eventually go into our streams. Dog poop, etc. is highly polluting and makes our streams unsafe.
Choose Agents Carefully by Bill Street
My wife and I have enjoyed the past two and a half years here in the Leewood Community. Our growing family necessitated a move for us outside of the beltway to a larger home with more office and living space. Our townhouse was one of the first on the market this year and the sale amount and conditions exceeded our expectations. This was the single most successful investment we have ever made and a majority of the credit goes to both our real estate agent and the residents of Leewood that work towards maintaining the community's high standards. It is reassuring to believe that by the time the purchasers of our home move in, the home they purchased will have appreciated in value above their purchase price.
The upcoming Spring season is when many residents consider selling their homes. Increased property values make selling exceptionally attractive. I am sure that everyone receives those frequent mailings from a small handful of real estate agents "farming" the Leewood community. Although working with these agents may seem convenient, don't assume that because they have had a bunch of listings in Leewood or because you get mailings from them frequently, that they can serve your needs best. Our agent doesn't farm Leewood, yet was savvy in the timing and pricing of our home to sell our property for well over the price that the most popular farming real estate agent has sold in this community.
Farming is a common marketing practice in the real estate business. It is designed to increase listings for agents with a minimal amount of personal effort. Seeing a mailed ad consistently from a real estate agent may build up a false belief that the agent is the most knowledgeable about the value and strengths of your property. However, the farming technique is often used by relatively new real estate agents that have not built up a strong enough referral base from satisfied clients. These agents have to market aggressively to get business rather than have the experience and contacts that seasoned real estate agents have that bring them their business. If you want to get the low-down on farming, just type in "real estate farming" onto an internet search engine. There are plenty of great informational sites designed for struggling real estate agents looking to increase their business.
The bottom line is do your research before choosing an agent and don't get suckered in by the frequent mailings or flashy brochures. If you liked the agent that found you your home, use them again. If a neighbor is selling their home, ask them what they think of their agent after the sale has been completed. If you hear any gripes about a particular agent, use someone else. The sale of your home is much too important of an investment to deal with a less-than-perfect real estate agent.
As a member of this community, you may often wonder how your assessment dollars are being spent. If you have lived in other communities with condominium or homeowner associations, you may notice that our assessments are comparatively low. You may not realize that there is a group of volunteers working to maintain the low level of assessments while working to improve the value of our homes. The Association has a five-member volunteer board of directors. And it also has a number of committees that are manned by volunteers as well.
During the past year, we have had a number of owners and residents volunteer and help the association run smoothly. At the annual meting, these volunteers were recognized for their service to Leewood over the past year as follows:
Mohammed Umar Treasurer
Ron Filadelfo Vice President
Al Sanford Secretary, POA, grounds & maintenance
Chris Taylor Board member
Leona Taylor President
| Judy Currier
|| website, newsletter articles, community affairs
| David & Anne Delahanty
|| watering common area
| Chris Hiltz
|| parking committee
| Betty & Len Lillard
|| annual meeting, assessment mailings, curb painting (with their son-in-law), POA packets, grounds & maintenance assistance
| Tony McSorley
|| general maintenance and observation of community, newsletter articles, ARC, parking committee
| Aggie Meyer
| Bob Nelson
|| door-to-door deliveries
| Elllie O'Meara
|| annual meeting
| John Rice
|| directory updates
| Barbara Rolling
|| welcome, group projects, annual meeting
| Janet Rourke
|| parking committee
| Pam Stover
| Becky Taylor
|| annual meeting
| David Taylor
|| database maintenance & operation, copying, mailings, snow removal
| Larry & Rose Westberg
| William Wilkinson
| Mary Ann Wilson
|| consumer affairs
| Harold and Allison Woodley
|| Bradwood Court ice cream social
| Carolyn Wymer
|| clean up wooded areas
There may be a few volunteers missing form the list who perform their magic behind the scenes and just quietly do good things for the community (and we wish we had your names to include). We applaud all of the volunteers and hope for old and new volunteers for 2003!
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