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Leewood Homeowners  Association

August 2003 Newsletter

Stop Signs Installed on Leewood Streets (by Chris Taylor)

Six stop signs have been installed on Leewood Streets. In case you’ve not noticed, there are stop signs at Bradwood and Bradwood, Bradwood and Leebrad, Leebrad and Bradgen, Leebrad and Leestone Court and Leestone Court and Leestone Street.

They are part of an effort by the LHOA Board to slow the flow of non-resident traffic through the development.

Braddock and Backlick continues to be one of the busiest intersections in Northern Virginia and there seems to be an increase in the number of motorists driving through Leewood, in an attempt to avoid the intersection.

This not only increases the number of motorists using development streets, but also poses an increased potential threat to residents, young and old alike.

The signs were installed Saturday, June 28, by Al Sanford and Chris Taylor and bear a striking resemblance to Fairfax County signs. In part, this was done to maintain consistency with the county and, in part, it was done to send a signal to non-residents the Board means business, in their effort to slow the flow of traffic through the development.

The one sign, at Leebrad and Leestone, for traffic headed East, is also a recognized school bus stop within the development.

Some residents have inquired about more signs, specifically at Leebrad and Bradwood and Leestone Street and Leestone Court. The Board will certainly look at more if they are needed.

Fairfax County Landfill Worth Trip (by Al Sanford)

Did you know that Fairfax County has a landfill that is open to the public? I have recently rediscovered the landfill. I was so impressed that I wanted to share with Leewood my new found knowledge. You can reach the landfill by taking I-95 south from Springfield and exiting just before the Occaquan River at Exit 161, Mason Neck.. This is an exit to the left not the right. One must then make a right on to Route #1 and another right on Furnace Road and the landfill entrance will be on the left less that 2000 feet on Furnace Road—can’t miss it.

The hours for regular disposal at the landfill are Monday through Friday 7a-6p; Saturday 7a-4p and Sunday 7a-4p. How could you beat that, even Sunday hours? The hours for hazardous waste (paint, pesticides etc.) are Thursday 8a-12p, Friday 1-5p, and Saturday 9a-4p. Weekend hours are important because a trip to the landfill on a week day after 2 P is painful given the commuter traffic on I-95, but Saturday mornings the trip to the landfill takes no longer than fifteen minutes.

A pickup truck load of brush can be dumped for three dollars. Also, while dumping your pruned limbs you can pick up a free garbage can full of seasoned mulch for your flower garden free. Secondly, you can pick up for the return trip a pre-cut eighteen inch hardwood log to bring home and split up for your fire place this winter. This log is free.

Another service to county residents is the discarding of hazardous materials: paint, used motor oil, pesticides, you name it, and the discarding of these is---yep you guessed it, free. Motor oil can be dumped during the regular disposal hours for free. If you wish to discard trash on your trip to the landfill there is a nominal fee. The fee is: Three dollars for one to five 32 oz gallon bags; five dollars for six to ten 32 oz gallon bags. What a deal! This is trash that can be anything. For other larger items you would have to check with the attendants at the landfill. The landfill is always attended. Tires can be discarded for $1.00 per tire up to ten tires.

To top off your trip, drive over to Old Occaquan for a sea food lunch. This would be a lunch over looking the Occaquan River, which was as dirty as "hell" the last time we were there, but the food was good.

President’s Report

The biggest news this month deals with the newsletter that you are now reading. Our longtime producer/editor/publisher/delivery person, Larry Westberg, has decided to step down. I can’t tell you how indebted we all should be to Larry and Rose for all their work. The newsletter existed only because of their efforts. Larry didn’t have to do this he had already done more than his fair share for the community. He has served on the LHOA board several times, as treasurer, president ( I recall being his vice president back in the 1990s) and in other positions. Through all his service, Larry never complained or had an unkind word for anyone (well, maybe once, when he became fed up with long board meetings several years ago). It is because of people like Larry and Rose that our community is able to function. Everyone of us should personally thank him.

I noted in my last report that fence work would soon be occurring. You might have noticed that it was done this month— some major replacements of our perimeter fencing, plus repairs to other sections. Our thanks goes to Al Sanford, our Grounds and Maintenance chairman, for all the work he did in handling this.

On another G/M note, Al also arranged for some tree work to be done. We discussed the painting of parking space markings at the July board meeting. We will give you plenty of warning, but remember—if you are going to be away for a long time over the next month or so, leave car keys with a trusted neighbor or contact a board member to ensure that we won’t be doing this while you are gone.

We might be updating our community directory in the coming months. Stand by for more information following the next board meeting.

You’ll want to be present for the September LHOA Board Meeting as the president of our trash company has been invited to address us. He has promised better service.

Finally, one item that truly pains me to discuss: trash. I have been receiving complaints about residents putting trash out early for several months. In my report to you a couple of months ago, I requested cooperation. I took a moderate stance: I said that my intent was not to overdo it concerning strict compliance with the "after dark" rule. I asked all residents to simply be reasonable. We have many residents who are not being reasonable. I see a few residents on my street who consistently put out trash early on Sundays. If you see someone doing this, please tell them to stop.

People, Permits, Policy and Your Leewood Home (by Chris Taylor)

According to Fairfax County every home in our Leewood development is classified as a "single family attached dwelling." Accordingly, a single family attached dwelling is "intended for use as a complete, independent living facility which includes permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation." The County’s zoning ordinance says that occupancy "shall be in accordance with the provisions of Section 2-502.

The ordinance, as it would pertain to Leewood residents, says a single family attached dwelling may be occupied by "one (1) family, which may consist of one (1) person or two (2) or more persons related by blood or marriage with any number of natural children, foster children, step children or adopted children and with not to exceed two (2) roomers or boarders."

Another occupancy option, applicable to Leewood residents, is that a single family attached dwelling may be occupied by "a group of not more than four (4) persons not necessarily related by blood or marriage functioning as a single housekeeping unit. So how many people live in your unit? Is your house within the legal limit?

It has come to the attention of the LHOA board, that one or more residents may have installed a second complete kitchen. Such installations are allowed, under County ordinances, as long as they are for relatives and not additional boarders. However, such installations require not only a permit, but special permission from the County. The board checked to see if any permits were issued to Leewood residents for installation of a second kitchen. The answer was no. So, if you’ve installed a second kitchen you’re in violation of the law and subject to the according penalties.

In a discussion between the board and the zoning office it appears that there are many developments in the County where homeowners or residents are attempting to increase the occupancy of their units. The County is not budging. Where homeowners are trying to create more desirable units by adding a second kitchen, without prior approval and permits, they’re cracking down. The board will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed.

Website (by Judy Currier)

We’ve been very busy this month. There is an article posted featuring some of the plantings in the Leewood community which should be of interest. We also got tired of our flakey statistics and installed a hidden hit counter on the site so we have a better idea of how many visitors that we get and which browsers they used. We have been re-googled, albeit only our first page which is surely not an interesting page to be indexed for us, and we are now posted under the Fairfax County Community Association websites.

However, the most exciting development to me is that we have a new message board up and running. If any of you have participated in other forum groups, you will be familiar with the format and enjoy the features that are there. Instead of just having one board where all the messages get mashed together, we can divide the board into various sub-discussion groups. That way the user doesn’t have to wade through messages not of interest to them. More importantly, we are able to get the new threads to move to the top of the chain so visually you can check out those threads that have changed since you have last visited. I know that sometimes people would add a comment to an older thread on the other board and I would just miss it. It even puts a little arrow that says "new" next to it, though I haven’t investigated that well enough to know how it decides it is new for me. All messages that are under a thread are listed together when you click on that thread, so you quickly can review all the correspondance.

A really powerful feature, and one that I have enjoyed on the boards that I participate in, is that you can opt to be emailed if a topic that you are interested in changes. This really helps in not missing out on anything. You have to be a registered user to be able to use this capability. At the moment, to become a registered user, just email me, I will sign you up, give you a temporary password and email back to you. You can then go in under "Edit Profile" and change your password, user name, opt for the email notification, etc. If you go to the board some day and it says you can register, you will know that we have upgraded the system to include self registration.

I don’t know whether some of the terms that I have used are confusing or not. Basically it is like we have a number of message boards now – those appear in a list with a descriptor and a file folder. If you click on the descriptor (like carpooling) you will then get to the board that lists all the threads that are ongoing under carpooling. To add your own, just click on "add new thread", or if you are responding to a message in a thread, you will see a space for that. You do NOT have to be a registered user to post to these boards, so just ignore the password blank that is there when you add your message. If you are a registered user and enter it, then it will show your full name with the message. You will notice that you have the ability to see and edit your message before posting now. In the future you might even be able to delete a message that you have added (if you are a registered user) within a certain time frame.

At the bottom of the screen are some functions that may be of interest to you. There are help and search functions in particular. The search seems to work very well and should help us locate that message that we just know is there, but can’t remember where! There are other features to it also, such as we can create hidden boards that only members can access. That could be interesting if we had a hot topic to discuss, but didn’t want the whole world to know our opinions on the matter.

I am excited about the possibilities of this board; it should allow for far better communication amongst us. Anyhow, do check it out. Feel free to put in a test message – I even put in a test message category, for all those that might be nervous about adding messages to the board. Don’t worry, if you can break it, we need to know this! I’ll edit out those messages from time to time.

Email me at judy@leewood.us if you have any questions or suggestions – that is the only way we can approach "perfection."

Website Addendum (by Judy Currier)

Since writing my first website article for this newsletter, more exciting things have happened on the website.

  • We now have a search engine up! You can use it to search the entire website, so that you can find all references to a word or phrase in the newsletter, minutes, manual, or whatever. This should be a great tool in tracking down the information you want on the site.
  • There's a new article on viewing Mars, and ongoing/upcoming event that could be interesting if the weather cooperates.
  • The board decided not to get the upgraded version of the message board, so you will have to contact me to become a registered user (email: judy@leewood.us ) – it's easy and I respond pretty fast. Then you will be able to enjoy all it's features (or at least the ones that we have).
  • Check it out – as we continue to add to and improve our site

(Ed: The addendum did not go into the August Newsletter)

From Fairfax County....

Spotlight by Starlight: The free concert series at Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale, is back again by popular demand. Thanks to many volunteers and supporters who make up the Friends of Mason District Park. Live performances are featured every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday for the remainder of the summer at 7:30p., and children’s programs are featured most Saturday mornings at 10. To obtain a copy of the remaining schedule call Penny Gross at 703 256-7717 or go to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/gov/bos/md/hompage.htm.

Farmers Market: Enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables at your friendly local farmers market at Mason District Park. The market is open every Thursday from 8a-12:30p thru Nov. 6.

Receive News and Updates by E-Mail: Receive information about Mason District. Send your email address to mason@fairfaxcounty.gov

The Magic of Earphones (by Judy Currier)

Although our houses are brick and block construction and well insulated, if you put your speakers against a wall that adjoins your neighbors and turn the sound up, your neighbors might feel like they have a giant heart pounding away inside the house. Even the metal railings vibrate!

Now, I sometimes enjoy music louder than what I think appropriate for a townhouse environment, and the solution is – earphones! With most stereo systems you can listen to the music only through the earphones which means no sound to annoy your neighbors or other members of your household. They have made great advances in earphones nowadays so they do not even have to restrict your movement. Cordless earphones work either on a beam (so you would have to be nearby) or by essentially a radio type transmission. With the latter, you can listen to your music anywhere in your house. The Internet is a great place to shop for these as you can save some 30% over our local stores.

Try them, and please remember your neighbors, who might not share your taste in music!

After School Care Program (by Chris Taylor)

St. John’s United Methodist Church will be offering after school care beginning this fall. The program is concerned with providing a safe and secure environment where children can enjoy friends, engage in creative activities, do homework, relax and enjoy being a child.

The program will operate five days a week and observe the same holidays as the Fairfax County Public Schools. In addition, the program will be open on public school teacher workdays and observe the same closings for inclement weather..

For kindergarten the hours will be 11a-6p on Mondays and 11:30a-6p Tuesday-Friday. For grades 1-5 the hours will be 1-6p, Monday-Friday.

Children will arrive by Fairfax County school bus from North Springfield Elementary School. However, parents may bring their child (children) to the Center. The cost is six dollars per hour with a minimum two-hour charge. Late charges will also apply after 6p.

Both group and individual games and activities will be available.

For more information call 703 256-7748.

Miscellaneous ....

The regular ARC walk through has been completed, so expect to get some notification on what, if anything, needs to be done with your property.

Beautification of Leewood is an "every resident" responsibility. There have been several examples of trash strewn throughout the development. If you see wrappers, bottles or other items in the common area….feel free to put them in your containers. Additionally, leaving your yellow recyclables containers out after they’ve been emptied is unsightly. Some leave them out for days at a time. Please take them inside.

There are several and varied committees within the LHOA. Many are in need of additional volunteers. If you can lend assistance, please contact any of the individuals listed on the contact page of this website. This community is a stronger development because of you and more of you are needed.

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