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Leewood Homeowners  Association

January 2003 Newsletter

Homeowner fees were due on January 1!

Nutritional Supplements
President's Message
Parking "Solutions" Website Shortcoming
Prescription Info

Nutritional Supplements (by Judy Currier)

At some point many of us find ourselves in the position of having a friend, family member, or loved one that needs an augmentation to their diet to maintain their weight and health.  The normal recommendation is Ensure or one of the products that are similar to that.  Unfortunately many find these drinks to be less than palatable, and no matter how you try to hide it, it does not seem to help very much.

A caring resident at the hospital introduced us to Mighty Shakes.  These are delivered frozen and perhaps the fact they are not canned is what makes them tastier.  I looked everywhere for a distributor in our area and finally called the company (yes, I was desperate!).  They gave me the name of a Florida based distributor who I used as needed over the last couple of years.  It turns out that there is a similar product, Nutra-Shakes, and various puddings, ice creams, and juice drinks that also fit the bill.  You can visit the distributor's website and check out the various products  http://4webmed.com or call 877-4webmed.  They let you do mixed cases so a variety of flavors can be ordered.  They also have various other products for those that can't swallow, are lactose intolerant, etc.  

A real favorite in our household was the cappucinno mighty shake -- Starbucks, your days are numbered!

I hope this information helps others that find themselves in this situation, and if anyone else knows of other sites, distributors,  or products, I'm sure people would like to know about them.  

President 's Message (by Leona Taylor)

Highlights of December board meeting:

1.    A few complaints on the snow removal for the first storm of the season were received from residents.  The snow contractor will be contacted regarding the level of service provided.  We are using the same contractor as in the prior year, so the apparent decline in service was surprising.
2.    Due to work and other demands, the annual notice of the assessment increase was not mailed out prior to the thirty-day deadline.  Therefore, there can be no increase in the assessment for 2003.  Based on the 2003 budget that was approved by the board, the current assessment charge of $135 was not going to change.  However, the board was going to increase the amount that can be charged without a special assessment from $161.57 to $165.77.  It is the second potential increase that will not take effect.
3.    We had twenty homeowners delinquent on paying their assessments, two of which had been turned over to the attorney for collection.  A third case is to be sent to the attorney.  In response to the last delinquent notice, some have paid.  Please try to stay current so that your account does not have to be turned over to the attorney for collection.
4.    We will be reviewing portions of the reserve study to ensure that the engineer has included the appropriate common elements.  Once this work has been completed, the engineer will issue the full report for review.  The board then has six months to make any changes to the report.
5.    The 2002 budget contains monies for new plantings for the common areas.  Due to delays from contractors solicited to provide landscape design proposals, we were not able to get the fall planting in place before the first frost.  Since we do have the funds budgeted, we will purchase plants this year (with right of substitution and replacement) and then have the plants installed in the spring.  In this manner, we can use the budgeted funds, beautify the community, and also have the risk of plants dying over the winter stay with the landscape contractor.  The landscape contractor will bill us in December for the plants, and we will pay the contractor sometime in 2003.
6.    The November financial results were reviewed.  On the revenue side, we are below budget on investment income.  This is due to the lower than expected interest rates during 2002.  On the expense side, we are currently below budget on a few expense items.  Most of these variances are due to fact that we have not yet paid for the services.  This includes the audit, the reserve study, some grounds maintenance, and tree & shrub purchases.  We are also below budget on the fence replacement; however, this just means that we have more funds available in the reserve fund for future repairs and replacements.
7.    The board and parking committee reviewed a draft notice that can be used to notify vehicles that are leaking automotive fluids onto the parking area.  More discussion is needed to finalize the notice.
8.    The board approved the 2003 grounds and maintenance contract.  We will be using the same contractor in 2003.  There will be no increase in fees for 2003.
9.    The board and parking committee discussed the installation of stop signs at the major intersections within Leewood.  Earlier this year, the fire marshal inspected the community and indicated that stop signs should be installed in a few locations.  The various sign designs and colors were discussed.  The parking committee has been charged to review the height requirements for the signs and the specific locations for the signs.
10.    The board reviewed the current bids for sidewalk and curb repair.  The next step is to review references on the contractor that has been initially selected.  It is expected that this work will be completed in the spring.  In connection with the common area work, Pam Stover is coordinating with individual homeowners that would like to have their sidewalk or back stoop repaired.  If you are interested, please contact Pam Stover.  
11.    The board and parking committee also reviewed a draft of the revised parking ticket to be used when cars are parked illegally or are not properly registered and are parked within Leewood.  There currently is a form in use that requires that the person issuing the ticket to have carbon paper on hand or find a copier to make the copy needed for our files.  We are looking at a pre-printed two-part form so that we have a file copy without having to deal with the messy carbon paper.  Assuming that the two-part form is not cost-prohibitive, we will switch to the new form.
12.    The parking committee presented a proposed parking regulation to the board.  The proposed regulation refines the current parking regulation.  It also provides a mechanism for board hearings to review alleged violations in certain circumstances.  The board has approved a review of the proposed policy by the association attorney to ensure that the regulations are not in violation of the Leewood bylaws and that the proposed regulations are reasonable and potentially enforceable.

All in all, a lot of material was covered at the December meeting.

Highlights of October board meeting:
1.    ARC hearings were held.  There were five cases up for hearing.  The board ruled on follow-up action to be taken on each case based on the evidence presented.
2.    The draft 2003 budget was reviewed.  We are still awaiting the draft reserve study to determine if the proposed contribution to reserves for 2003 is on target.
3.    The financial results were reviewed.  Positive expense variances show in a number of categories; however, additional spending is scheduled for the remainder of the year.

Highlights of the November board meeting:
1.    The 2003 budget was approved by the board.  A copy of the budget will be published in the newsletter.  There will be no increase in homeowner dues for 2003.  A reserve contribution of $23,000 is budgeted for 2003 based on the new reserve study.
2.    The financial results were reviewed.  Positive expense variances continue to show in a number of categories.  The expected expenditures for the remainder of the year were reviewed.  Additional expenditures are expected for tree & shrub, reserve study, and the audit.
3.    Bids for sidewalk repairs are currently being obtained.  The bids received so far were reviewed by the board, and some additional questions were raised.  At least on other bid will be obtained.
4.    The snow removal contract for 2003 was approved.  We will be going with the same contractor from the prior year with no increase in fees.
5.    The fence on Backlick road was cleaned and resealed.  Based on a recommendation by the contractor, an additional coat of sealant will be added to protect the fence.

Parking "Solutions" (Opinion by Judy Currier)

I must admit I always have a hard time correlating Tony's ideas with reality.  In the November issue of the newsletter he proposed two reserved spaces/unit.  That proposal was couched in terms where it appeared that Leewood would reach a kind of parking Utopia with the proposal.  I envisioned all our parking worries having gone up like a poof of smoke and the residents dancing in the streets, led by the now carefree board.  In December the same idea was further refined, and all those with only one car would be rewarded with their reserved space and no assessments to pay.  People with two cars would bear the brunt of our trash collection, snow removal, grounds maintenance, street maintenance (as opposed to parking area maintenance), etc. by paying a parking fee which supported all activities of the association.  Those with three or more cars plus anyone who ever has tradespeople or guests visit their house would be up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

Now, the claim is made this would put Leewood on a "business - like" course as most of our assessments go to reserves which in turn are mostly spent on street maintenance.  Would you consider 21% of our assessments "most"?  That is the amount that is currently budgeted for reserves.  Of that 21% that goes into reserves, about 12% goes to maintaining the shared parking places.  In other words, approximately $13.68 out of the yearly assessment goes into maintaining shared parking.  Clearly those with two or more cars would be giving the one car folks a free ride by eliminating their assessments. It is hardly a "pay for use" scheme at all, just a way for a few people to be able to get out of paying their fair share of the cost of running Leewood.  Of course, the one car people might want to spend $540 so that they might be able to have a guest over occasionally.

The thing that is overwhelming about both of these proposals is they benefit a very small minority of Leewood residents  namely those that have one car, no guests, and preferably live on Bradwood Ct. where there is public on-street parking nearby.  Of course if those in the single family homes ever get fed up with all the Leewood cars parking in front of them and petition the County for a special parking district, Bradwood Court's situation would start paralleling the rest of Leewood a little bit better. (It is important to note that most one car owners that I know do not support these schemes, so I do not want to imply that all one car owners do not have Leewood concerns at heart  even one car owners on Bradwood Ct.).

It is alleged that somehow parking problems will disappear with either of these proposals.  Quite the contrary has been the experience of associations who have tried using virtually all their parking spaces by marking them as reserved spaces.  Imagine for a moment what it would be like if only 11 houses in Leewood could have a guest or tradesperson visit them at any one point in time.  That is the number of spaces left if we assign or sell two reserved places/unit.  Isn't it logical to envision a great increase in illegal curbside parking in Leewood?  If all the guest places are put in one location, as proposed, your guests will first have to know where to look for the guest parking.  Then, presuming they can find the area and that a space available, if you live on the circle area of Leestone Street they will have to walk around three blocks to your house.  Do you think that they will?  Historically where we have the most illegal parking is in those areas where shared spaces (non-reserved spaces) are not plentiful. That should be a harbinger of things to come to anyone who can think their way out of a paper bag if we virtually eliminate guest parking.  Added to this is the problem of what constitutes a guest.  Why wouldn't a person with excess cars park in the guest only spaces?  We do not have the facilities to hand out guest parking visas day and night, so essentially there is no way to stop this.  The only way to do it would be if someone would hand out guest parking chits 24 hours a day.  Count on there being NO spaces for your guests if this proposal would ever be implemented.

What seems to be very hard to communicate is that shared spaces actually create "virtual spaces".  Not everyone is using a space at the same time, thus the shared spaces may be used by more than one vehicle throughout the day.  Mr. and Mrs. Hungry go out to dinner, leaving a shared space open.  Ms. Sociable stops by and sees a friend  she parks in that same space.  The space has served two vehicles without any inconvenience for anyone.  That one space has been like two.  Two reserved spaces per unit or any variance of that concept gets us down to a "what you see is what you get".  That is why things would go from being reasonable with respect to parking  to being a nightmare if you took away all our shared spaces through assigning them or selling them to residents.  Yes, people who jockey their cars around so they can "save" a shared space, and those who park in a shared space leaving their reserved space open, rob us all of that $5000 virtual parking space and increase any parking difficulties that Leewood might have.  We don't, however, have to formalize the concept.  We can hope that there will continue to be well socialized Leewood residents that work to make the parking accessible to all by leaving shared spaces as they are meant to be  open to the first person who shows up.

Seldom have I seen such a bad idea presented with a straight face.  Of course, I wasn't there when the articles were being written, so perhaps it was all tongue-in-cheek anyhow.

Leewood Website Shortcoming (Opinion by tony mc sorley)

Before the rise of the Leewood website, Architectural Review Committee violation hearings for those homeowners who received notices, but did not do the requested work or tell ARC why for whatever reason they didn't correct the violation, were required to attend a special CLOSED board hearing to explain themselves before having to go to court. Closed to prevent any possible embarrassment to the unconvicted homeowner. His address was not published for the same reason. This kinder gentler noble sentiment has been thrown to the wind by the website by fully publishing the violation and the homeowners address even before both the board and court hearing.

Gone is this kinder and gentler care shown homeowners found previously before the website. This on top of the lack of passwords to allow only homeowners access. Homeowners now are paying for website accessible by anyone worldwide for lack of passwords and publishing of ARC violators before any hearing on the right or wrong of it. They are now listed and held up for embarrassment before not after trial. A prime example of this total disregard of homeowner's privacy before judgement is the December 10, 2002 board meeting agenda under committee Reports (IV) on the Leewood website.

Response from Judy Currier

As the agenda had been removed from the website already, I had to look in my files to see what Tony was referring to in this article, and perhaps I should re-post that December agenda so the rest of you can see it.  It must be confusing not to know what is being referred to in his articles, as they always seem to refer to something no longer there.  

First, everyone must realize that privacy concerns are balanced by legal requirements for openness and "sunshine".  Thus, the law requires that agendas be made available to anyone in Leewood that desires an agenda, and that the hearings that are held by the board, although held in closed session, have the results voted on and put into the minutes in an open session.  In the December agenda, there were listed follow-up items from hearings that had been held.  Thus, the "day in court" had already occurred, the closed session had been held, and the matter discussed in open session -- not exactly what Tony is implying in this article.  There were also ARC items concerning matters that had been sent to the attorney.  Again, these  had already been through the process of hearings and had reached the stage of openness.  All items were mentioned extremely tersely, just enough for the board to know what they were to discuss at the meeting.  The law requires Leewood to throw out secretiveness after the hearings, it is as plain as that.  Although it is true that in theory, an outsider who is not required to have this information could pour over the agenda, recognize addresses, thereby somehow embarrassing someone I seriously think this is stretching the imagination a bit.

I wonder why Tony doesn't worry about Fairfax posting court cases on their bulletin board; that is done before the case has even been heard by a judge.  

In fact, for those whose cases are going to court, that is exactly what will be done by Fairfax.  Certainly it seems to me this holds more embarrassment potential than posting information on our website that is required to be available.  Could it possibly be that Tony is just a little biased against the website and that his bias is overtaking his logic?

Judy Currier

Correction: Free Prescription Cards (by Tony Mc Sorley)    

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