HFCA Board Meeting

December 10, 2014; 7:30PM – 8:35PM


The attendees at this meeting of the HFCA Board are documented immediately below:

Bruce Bernhardt, President

Chuck Stewart, Vice President

Dante Gilmer, Treasurer

Don Lobeda, Community Grounds, Paths, and Woods

Mike Mehrman, Member at Large

Brian Rothlisberger, Member at Large


Priority Issues:

·         Annual Meeting went well.

·         Noted the need to follow proper nominating procedures as outlined in the by-laws.

Standing Topics:

·         Secretary’s Report

o   Minutes from the previous meeting were approved.

o   Action Item: We need to research what is needed to document the Annual Meeting.

·         Treasurer’s Report

o   Paid the landscaping bill, and insurance bill, which means that all bills for the year have been paid.

o   HFCA appears to have extra revenue of approximately $6,000

o   Board member suggested disseminating the treasurer’s report electronically. 

o   The board made no changes to the proposed CY 2015 budget.

o   The board discussed the action required for liens placed on homes for nonpayment of annual dues. 

§  Liens are only good for five years, after which they are considered expired.

§  The question is whether HFCA should proceed with contacting a collection agency to collect the outstanding dues and associated fees for the lien, or if we should renew/reestablish a lien every five years until payment is received.  

§  Action Item:  Bruce agreed to raise this issue during discussions with the association’s lawyer.

·         ACC Report

o   Kirk was not able to attend this board meeting.

o   Kirk’s management of the printing of Annual Dues bills went well. 

·         Annual meeting

o    As with previous years, we again experienced vandalism of the signs posted to announce the annual meeting. 

·         Community Grounds Report

o   Eagle Scout project on the north path was successfully completed.

§  Cleared brush from the path. 

§  The erosion control part of the project seems to be working.

§  Total cost for the project was approximately $500, which included the cost of materials and rental for a large trimmer. 

§  Navigation along the path has been improved, with the exception of along one home where the owner did not want the bushes trimmed back. 

§  New keys were provided to Don and Bruce for the new pole and lock at the end of the path by the Fairfax Pool.

o   Meeting with Fairfax City and County engineers to discuss water management at the northern properties of the development is still pending. 

o   Robert’s Road entrance needs to be maintained; board plans to have more discussion about establishing a Garden Club to take care of the plants and the shrubs. 

o   Someone appears to be constructing a skateboard ramp in the woods; Don will check it out.

·         Neighborhood Watch Report

o   Vanessa was unable to attend the meeting due to a schedule conflict.

o   The board does not know if the watch bag was found.

Old Business:

·         Speeding:

o   The education program does not appear to be working in terms of reducing speeding.

o   The board will investigate obtaining on loan a speeding camera from Fairfax County. 

o   The board will also work on an anti-speeding resolution. 

·         HFCA Directory:

o   Updating the HFCA Directory was approved at the annual meeting. 

o   We need to develop a method for asking each homeowner about the specific types of information they would like included for their household.

o   We need to develop a method to identify tenants, and absentee homeowners.

·         Revisions to HFCA Rules and Regulations/Bylaws:

o   A call will be made for new committee members.

New Business:

·         The board agreed to make a call for new Garden Club members. 

·         The board needs to work with Fairfax County to replace sections of sidewalks that have cracks and breaks; the county has a website for contacting them for this purpose.

·         Honoring Original Homeowners

o   A resolution was debated about honoring original homeowners during the year. 

o   The board decided to start with a news article.


·         Next Board Meeting will be Wednesday Jan 28th 7:30PM.


Hickory Farms Community Association Annual Meeting

October 21, 2014

Members of the Board Present

Bruce Bernhardt, President

Chuck Stewart, Vice President

Dante Gilmer, Treasurer

Don Lobeda, Community Grounds, Paths, and Woods

Mike Mehrman, Member at Large

Brand Niemann, Assistant Treasurer

Brian Rothlisberger, Member at Large

Ed Wagner, Secretary

 Opening, Welcome, and Introductions

·         Bruce Bernhardt welcomed the members of the community to the annual meeting.

·         He introduced the members of the board, noting that Kirk Randall was not able to be in attendance due to travel.


Quorum Verification

·         Due to the lack of quorum, a motion to close the meeting was made, seconded, and approved.  The meeting closed at 8:02 pm.

·         Bruce opened a new meeting at 8:03 pm, which was permitted under the community association bylaws since more than twenty five (25) people were in attendance, with an additional 30 proxies having been submitted.


Secretary Report

·         Bruce asked the attendees whether they had any adjustments, clarifications, or other comments about the notes from last year’s annual meeting.  No adjustments, clarifications, or other comments were offered.

·         A motion to approve the meeting notes was made, seconded, and approved.


Treasurer Report

·         Dante reviewed the proposed budget and current expenses.

·         Current Budget and Expenditures

o   If all 198 homeowners pay their annual dues on time, the community association will have a revenue of $29, 700.

o   For 2014, all but one homeowner has paid their dues.  A few homeowners were late with their dues, which resulted in their having to pay the late fee.

o   Dante reviewed the taxes paid, including noting that the tax accountant paid for the additional fees resulting from the late filing for the community association.

o   As a result of the discussion on the taxes paid, a question was raised about the amount of taxes that the community association paid given that it’s a non-profit organization. 

o   Action Item:  The board agreed to follow up with tax accountant to check on the appropriate level of taxes for a non-profit organization.

o   The community association earned an additional $800 in revenue through newsletter advertising.

o   Dante provided an overview of the year-to-date expenses, which reflect the status through September 30, 2014 with 3 months remaining.

§  Currently have a positive balance on budgeted legal fees.

§  Have a positive $15,000 balance for the planned budget for maintenance of common areas.


·         Proposed Budget

o   For budgeting purposes, Dante has estimated that the total revenue for 2015 will be $31,000.  The budget reflects a retention of the annual dues at the current $150 level.

o   Projected expenses for the year are $24 thousand, which creates a potential positive balance of $7,500.

§  Proposed budget includes a reduction in landscaping expenses, with an allocation of around $20,000 for the year.

§  The proposed budget also reserves some funding for tree removal, which has been a relatively consistent need in the community.

o   Any actual surplus will be used for the Maintenance and Improvement fund, which covers non-routine expenses, such as for repairing common area paths, resolving water drainage issues, higher-than-planned tree removal expenses, etc.

§  As provided for in the HFCA Rules and Regulations, the board attempts to maintain a Maintenance and Improvement fund that equals a total of one year’s dues.

§  The fund currently has about $22,000 in three certificates of deposit, which is about $8,000 less than the $31,000 provided for in the Rules and Regulations.

§  Two key requirements for this fund are to maintain reasonable liquidity and to minimize the level of risk.

o   Bruce noted that the board had reviewed and approved the 2015 budget.  He requested that the community members attending indicate whether they endorse the budget.  A motion to endorse the budget was made, seconded, and approved.


Community Grounds, Paths and Woods Report

·         Don reviewed this year’s activities and plans for 2015.

·         2014

o   Experienced the normal amount of tree removal costs as needed to remove fallen trees, or in situations where a tree has died and presents a safety hazard.

o   Spent around $2,000 on removing four trees.

o   In response to a question, Don noted that under Virginia law, removal of trees toppled by weather is the responsibility of the property owner where the tree falls, not the property owner where the tree was located.

o   Spent $300 to clean up debris from upper common area following the winter to facilitate mowing.

o   Upper common area

§  Paid for the lawn maintenance service to cut back the bamboo, which continues to expand; cost $500.

§  Don plans to meet with the lawn service to discuss improving the lawn maintenance in this area so that the bamboo thicket isn’t allowed to spread further. 

o   Lower common area

§  The wooded area has been encroaching on the path in the lower part of the common area.

§  Spent about $500 to have the brush and small trees cut back; very pleased with the contractor’s work.

o   Don noted that Mike Mehrman has taken care of trimming some trees in common area near his home.

o   If other members of the community are interested in working in the common areas, please give him a call.

o   The board has approved an Eagle Scout project that will involve the north path.

§  The project, which involves clearing out the undergrowth, clearing out debris, and bringing in large rocks to stop erosion that is impacting the path, will take place October 25th.

§  The challenge for this project involves moving the debris out of the area, since the path is not quite wide enough to support use of a trailer without damaging the path.

§  The people supporting the project are in the need of wheel barrows and grain shovels.  Any community members who have these items may contact Brand.

·         2015

o   Don is interested in reviewing the ground maintenance contract to ensure that we are receiving the appropriate service at the best price.

o   If community members know of specific commercial lawn services that Don should contact, please notify him.

o   Don noted that the community association will need to start repairing or replacing paths.  For example, the northern path that runs up to Roberts Road to the pool has a number of areas that have buckled.

o   The trees along the north side of the Cotton Farm Road between Harvester Farm Lane and Farm House Lane are encroaching the sidewalk due to low hanging branches.

o   Don will get three estimates to remove the lower branches.

o   Thicket Creep Remediation

§  The Lawn mowers used for maintenance are not able to keep the thicket cut back, so it continues to expand.

§  The plan is to have the lawn maintenance service being in heavier cutting equipment to cut the thicket back. 

§  Don plans to stake the area so that the lawn service will know specifically what area to mow.

o   Thicket Control  (multi-year plan)

§  Don reviewed a plan on the areas and their priority for cutting back on the thickets, whose expansion is starting to block parts of the common areas.

§  Members of the community raised concerns about an “elimination” of the thicket, since they do provide habitat for wildlife.

§  The board agreed that the objective of this work would be the control of the thickets, not their elimination.

§  A suggestion was made to engage an arborist to help with determining how to proceed.

§  Don noted that the community association doesn’t have the resources to hire an arborist.

§  Members suggested some alternatives, such as contacting the county for support, and possibly engaging members of the community who have some knowledge.

§  Don asked if anyone from the community was interested in leading this type of planning effort, but no one from the meeting volunteered.

o   Bruce noted that the board would keep the community informed, such as through the newsletter; input from community members is wanted and welcomed by the board.


Architectural Control Committee (ACC) Report

·         Since Kirk Randall could not participate in the meeting, he provided a written summary on the ACC.

·         Bruce reviewed the list of community members who worked as volunteers on this committee.

·         A question was raised on whether the ACC rejected any applications; Bruce noted that to his knowledge, no applications were turned down.  He noted that the ACC works with the community resident to resolve any issues so that the application can be approved.

·         Bruce noted that the ACC currently operates under a strict non-negotiable 30-day approval/rejection turn around, which is one of the rules that we would like to address in the future.


Neighborhood Watch Report

·         Kathy Gillette, who did an excellent job as the coordinator, has moved out of the community.  Since her departure, no one has volunteered to take on the coordinator role, whose duties include:

o   Preparing a schedule for volunteers that covers three to four months at a time.

o   As new people move in, talk to them about volunteering.

·         Bruce noted that our program involves watching, with a call to the police if necessary.  Our volunteers to not confront anyone, so this is a low risk activity.

·         Bruce requested that any member who has a recommendations on who might be good coordinator to give him a call.

·         Subsequent to the meeting, Vanessa Franck, a new Cotton Farm resident of Hickory Farms, volunteered to take on the coordinator role.


New Business

·         Election of 2015 Board Members

o   Bruce reviewed the current positions and members of the board, noting that all of them are willing to serve another year.

o   There were no nominations from the floor.

o   A motion to elect the existing board members was made, seconded and approved.

·         Vehicular Speeding Concerns

o   At a recent Fairfax Board of Supervisors meeting, the county provided results of a study that shows that the overwhelming number of speeding tickets go to local residents of a community.

o   The county indicated that there are three key activities to address this problem.

§  Education – A board member obtained two signs from the county, which you will see close to the entrances off of Burke Station and Roberts Road.

§  Calming devices – stop signs, speed bumps, etc.

§  Enforcement – The County will send police to enforce once they identify what time of the day is an issue.  We hope that we can solve the problem without resorting to police enforcement.

o   Bruce asked the members to approve a resolution on safe driving, which will be inserted into newsletter.  A motion for the resolution was made, seconded and approved.

o   Bruce requested that if members know of a family in the neighborhood that is continuing to speed, please let him know.

o   We want to try to resolve speeding in a neighborly manner, but if unsuccessful, the Fairfax County Police will be notified.

o   A member noted that there is a bus driver who speeds through the neighborhood.  Bruce asked for additional information so that he could address it with the driver, or if necessary, notify the school system.

o   Some members of the community expressed interest in adding speed bumps; may be necessary on some of the through streets where drivers not only speed, but run through stop signs. It was noted that there had previously been opposition within the community to the idea of adding speed bumps.

o   Action Item -- Bruce will call Fairfax County about obtaining speed cameras that can be mounted on light poles; cameras record information on speed, but not details about the cars involved, such as license plates.

·         Revised HRCA Directory

o   The board expressed an interest in whether the community was interested in updating the directory, which was last updated in 2008.

o   The discussion resulted in a consensus that each resident should have the option for whether they want their household included, along with what information (name, address, telephone number, email address, etc.) should be shown.

·         Roberts Road/Still Meadow Intersection

o   The board is working to determine what can be done to make this intersection safer.

o   Kirk has contacted the lead engineer for the City of Fairfax, who has indicated that he will work with Fairfax County to try to come up with a collaborative solution.

o   A member of the community noted that Roberts Road is scheduled for improvement next year; he will attempt to provide Bruce with the URL through which he can obtain information on the improvements.

o   Kirk subsequently learned that this intersection is jointly “owned” by Fairfax County/VDOT and Fairfax City.  The City owns the portion of Roberts Road at this intersection, whereas VDOT owns Still Meadow Road.

·         Northern Path Water Runoff

o   Experiencing water runoff from Fairfax City side of the path, which can over time cause problems with the path.

o   The Boy Scout Eagle project’s placement of stones will help avoid erosion of the path

o   Resolving the water runoff will require engaging an engineer from Fairfax City to work out some remediation options.

o   One option is to try to reroute the runoff to the existing culvert, which was installed in response to a previous problem raised by the HFCA.

o   A member recommended that we engage John Cook, our County Supervisor.

·         HFCA Entrance Improvements

o   The entrances to Hickory Farms require some attention to approve their appearance.

o   The large bushes at the Roberts Road entrance create some safety issues because of how they can block vision at the corner.

o   Bruce requested volunteers to help decide what we should plan to replace the older overgrown bushes; work on these ideas over the winter with the planting to occur next spring.

o   An objective for reworking the entrance would be to ensure sustainability and require minimal maintenance.

o   One member offered to make a rendering of the planned changes so that people could see what it would look like before we spend money on plants.

·         Rules and Regulations

o   Some volunteers did an update of the rules and regulations last year, however the laws associated with home owner associations are constantly evolving.

o   Bruce noted that we are looking for volunteers to review rules and regulations, with updates to be presented at next year’s annual meeting.

o   Ensuring that our rules and regulations are consistent with the laws is critical to avoiding the type of legal situation that occurred in Vienna, VA.

o   Action Item:  follow up with the community association’s lawyer to see if there is any canned language related to changes in the laws.

·         Upper Common Area Bamboo

o   The Board wants to get a sense of what actions the community would like undertaken for dealing with the bamboo patch, which continues to grow.

o   Members of the community may send any comments on this project to the Board.


Volunteer Performance Assessment and Feedback

·         Bruce thanked the volunteers who do good things within the community, but frequently without much notice.

·         He noted that we need more volunteers.


Open Discussion

·         Bruce noted that the community has some cracked and broken curbs and sidewalks.

·         Bruce plans to follow up with Fairfax County about repairs or replacements.

·         Bruce thought it would be best for the Board to contact the county for the entire community, rather than individuals calling.

·         Kirk subsequently notes that any citizen can report a broken curb or sidewalk or street problem at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/citizen.asp.  VDOT responds in a timely basis.


Adjourn Meeting

·         A motion to adjourn the meeting as made, seconded, and approved.

·         The meeting was adjourned at 9:48 pm.


Minutes prepared by:

Ed Wagner, Secretary


HFCA Board Meeting

October 1, 2014 7:30 – 9:20 pm


The attendees at this meeting of HFCA Board are documented immediately below.

Bruce Bernhardt, President

Chuck Stewart, Vice President

Kirk Randall, Architecture Control Committee

Dante Gilmer, Treasurer

Don Lobeda, Community Grounds, Paths, and Woods

Mike Mehrman, Member at Large

Brandon Niemann, Assistant Treasurer

Brian Rothlisberger, Member at Large

Ed Wagner, Secretary, Member at Large


Board Updates:

·         Bruce introduced the new Board members Brian Rothlisberger and Brand Niemann to the rest of the Board

Standing Topics

·         Secretary Report

o   Minutes from the previous meeting were approved

·         Treasurer Report

o   Annual Budget

§  The community association’s tax preparers repaid the $168 in late fees that occurred as a result of their delay in filing our taxes  

o   Current budget

§  All dues and late fees have been collected, with the exception of one homeowner

§  The estimate for landscaping services required to take care of the common areas, including mowing, tree removal, etc. was $22 thousand for this fiscal year

·         The current balance is $7, 400, in large part due to fewer tree issues, such as the need to remove trees damaged by high winds or other problems as has occurred during other years

·         There will be additional expenses through the remainder of the year

·         The Board agreed to apply any remaining funds from the landscaping budget to the association’s reserve fund set up to cover unexpected expenses

o   Proposed Budget

§  The Board reviewed the proposed budget for 2015; agreed to the following additional actions

·         Dante will pull together the information on outstanding liens for non-payment of yearly dues

o   The community association’s lawyers have not billed us for any work

o   Given that liens have an expiration date, the treasurer will follow up with our lawyer

·         Add a line to show any funds being allocated to the reserve/capital fund, which is currently unfunded by $6,300

§  A motion was made and passed to approve the 2015 budget, which will be presented at the annual meeting on October 21, 2014

§  The Board discussed options for investing the association’s reserve/capital fund given the low rate of return on certificates of deposit

§  The Board agreed that any investment of the reserve/capital fund must meet to key conditions

·         The investment needs to be liquid so that the Board can access the funds whenever they are needed

·         The risk of the investment must be low

·         The Assistant Treasurer will obtain information about options for that the Board can become more educated about viable alternatives

·         Boy Scout Project

o   The Board received a presentation on a service project that will involve the Boy Scouts

o   The project involves clean up and improvements on the northern path, including:

§  Cleaning up the debris  and cutting down overgrown areas

§  Fixing up the eroded area at the lower end of the path by adding rocks to reinforce and stop the erosion, which is necessary to preserve the path

o   As a service project, there are no labor costs for his project, only materials and some miscellaneous supplies, such as work gloves

o   Arrangements for equipment, such as a trailer to haul in the rocks and haul out the debris have been made

o   The community association members whose homes are located along this path will be notified a week in advance of the work; a flier describing the work will be dropped off at each of the 15 homes located along the path

o   The project will not include spraying for poison ivy, which will be done by the landscaping service next spring

o   A motion was made and approved to provide $500 to conduct the project

§  This funding will cover the cost of rocks, fuel, etc.

§  The project lead will turn in receipts to the treasurer for reimbursement

·         Architectural Control Committee (ACC)

o   The ACC reviewed and approved a few projects since the last Board meeting

o   Kirk will provide a summary for use at the meeting

·         Community Directory/Address List

o   In the past, Dante has had to hand address notices for the annual community association’s dues

o   The Board discussed the possibility of maintaining a computer-based list that could be used to print address labels

§  Dante has maintained an Excel spreadsheet, used for hand addressing rather than printing.  Dante has passed maintenance of this spreadsheet on to Kirk.

§  Brandon indicated that a mail merge can be done using an Excel spreadsheet to create labels; target date for creating these labels is the first week in November for mailing the annual dues notice

o   Hickory Farms has not had a printed neighborhood directory since 2008

§  The discussion about having a directory identified two key questions

·         Is there an interest within the community to have a directory?

·         What information should be included in the directory? 

§  Some members of the Board thought that having a directory could make it easier for people to get to know their neighbors

§  The Board decided to raise the question about having a directory to the community at the annual meeting to determine the level of interest and what information to include if the decision is to have a directory

§  The Board recommends that if a directory is created, we do not print hard copies, but instead maintain an electronic version, which could be distributed through email

§  We could initiate the development of this list based on the information that we have from the ListServe

§  Item will be added to Annual Meeting agenda to seek guidance from general membership.

o   Signs – annual meeting and yard sale signs have been purchased

§  Have been vandalized in the past

§  Bruce took custody of the signs

·         Community Grounds, Paths and Woods Report

o   Abandoned Cable Spools 

§  Spools were left by the side of Cotton Farm Road by a contractor doing work for Cox Cable

§  Chuck spoke with Cox about the spool

§  Cox indicated that they would have them removed within a few days

o   Tree in lower common areas

§  Don has received some complaints about a tree

§  A pine tree has fallen, but it does not appear to be dangerous because it’s in the woods

§  Mike M. and Bruce B. volunteered to take a look at cutting down the tree and will report back next meeting

o   Mowing

§  Areas under the trees are getting larger and larger

·         Problem has been raised with the lawn service, but without success

·         Since grass mowing is less important; use this time of the year to bring in bladed machine to cut back vines

·         There may be additional cost for this cleaning; which we could cover with existing lawn service funds

§  Need to cut down the grass in the Roberts Road entrance; plan to see whether we some students in need of a service project may want to do this

o   Northern Path Drainage Issue

§  Water runoff from the path has become a problem

§  Bruce B. will contact the Fairfax County engineer to review the problem

§  Bruce B. will follow up with the Fairfax City engineer

§  Board wants to determine if either or both will resolve this problem

§  If the Community Association needs to fix this problem,  we will need to discuss it with a lawyer to ensure we understand what is required under Virginia water surface law

o   Use the lawn maintenance budget to eradicate brush areas to make it easier to mow

·         Neighborhood Watch Report

o   We still have not had anyone from the community to volunteer as the coordinator

o   We will raise this question at the annual meeting to see if we can find a volunteer

o   If we are not successful at the meeting, the Board will start canvassing for a volunteer

o   Kirk has been maintaining the schedule only

o   Still need to purchase a new bag

Old Business

·         Rules and Regulations Subcommittee

o   There are a couple of outstanding issues that need to be addressed

o   Will raise this at the annual meeting, including requesting volunteers to work on these issues

·         Records audit

o   Bruce plans to follow up with the lawyer about what is required

o   The Virginia Property Owners Association Act (VPOAA) does not provide any guidance on this topic

New Business

·         Annual Meeting Proxy Forms

o   A Fairfax County TV show on homeowners’ associations broadcast on September 30, 2014 noted that proxy forms for association meetings can be done by email; a signed document is not required

o   Kirk will notify members of the community in the next newsletter

o   The deadline for submission of a proxy is Sunday, October 17, 2014

·         Robert’s Road Entrance

o   Members of the Board have witnessed near collisions at this entrance

o   Have raised this concern with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), but have not received a satisfactory response

§  VDOT claims that the road belongs to Fairfax City

§  Fairfax City has asked Kirk to send him the information so that he can work with Fairfax County on this problem

§  The Board may meet with John Cook, our representative

·         Annual Meeting

o   Bruce would like to present positive things about what members of the community have done and thank all the volunteers that have supported HF this past year

o   He requested that anyone who knows of positive actions from members of the community provide him with the information so that he can raise it at the annual meeting

o   The Board plans to invite Kathy and Yogi back to recognize them for all of their help

o   Annual Meeting is scheduled for Oct. 21 at 8pm at Green Acres in room 110

·         Bruce sent a couple of articles for the newsletter

·         Next Meeting – scheduled for December 10, 2014 at Mike Mehrman’s house

·         Board discussed the possibility of having a volunteer dinner in January 2015 for new and old members



HFCA Board Meeting, August 20, 2014, 7:30 – 8:55 pm


The attendees at this meeting of HFCA Board are documented immediately below.

Bruce Bernhardt, President

Chuck Stewart, Vice President

Kirk Randall, Architecture Control Committee

Dante Gilmer, Treasurer

Don Lobeda, Community Grounds, Paths, and Woods

Mike Mehrman, Member at Large

Brand Niemann, Assistant Treasurer

Stefan Schwarz, ACC Member

Ed Wagner, Secretary


Board Updates:

·         The board and Architectural Control Committee (ACC) have lost some members.

o   Greg and Kathy Gillette have moved out of the neighborhood.

o   Kathy was coordinating the Neighborhood Watch program, so that position is now vacant

o   Greg was a member of the ACC

·         Two community members have volunteered to join the board, and two others have volunteered to join the ACC

o   Brian Roethleisberger has volunteered to be an At Large Board Member

o   Brand Niemann has volunteered to undertake the duties of an Assistant Treasurer

o   Stefan Schwarz and Ed Kiechlin have volunteered to be ACC members; Stefan has also agreed to coordinate the community website

·         A motion was made, seconded and approved to add the aforementioned members of the community to the respective positions described.

o   The Community is still in need of a replacement for Kathy Gillette as the Neighborhood Watch Coordinator

o   The duties of this position include coordinating/scheduling the volunteers and trying to identify new volunteers

o   The schedule has been developed through October

o   Members of the board will search for a volunteer to fill the coordinator position

Standing Topics

·         Secretary Report

o   Minutes from the previous meeting were approved

·         Treasurer Report

o   Annual Budget

§  Expenditures to date are under the planned annual budget

§  Two homeowners have not yet paid their annual dues; the information has been provided to the attorney for follow up

o   The tax preparation company has confirmed that it will pay the $15 late fee assessed by Virginia

o   Mason Recreation Memberships

§  A number of people within the community are interested in purchasing memberships

§  George Mason has requested that the board provide information for the entire community

§  The board decided that instead of providing the information for the entire community, the president will issue a letter confirming the residency of the nine families that have applied for membership

o   Dante is reviewing the community association’s certificates of deposit in an effort to see if we can obtain better rates

·         ACC Report

o   Issues that have been brought to the attention of the ACC have been resolved

o   The ACC has approved a number of improvements

·         Community Grounds, Paths and Woods Report

o   Kathy and Greg offered to donate two benches for Common Areas, however, based on maintenance and other issues, the offer was declined.

o   Cox Cable had been digging in Common Area to upgrade the original cable to fiber optic cable

§  Cox did not inform the board of their plans to dig

§  The contractor doing the work left a cable spool along the side of Cotton Farm Road

§  They also dug up the survey post for Mike’s house – upgrading old wire with fiber optics; need to call Cox – have multiple board members complain

o   The fence debris in the common grounds behind 4339 Still Meadow has been cleaned up

o   North path maintenance is needed; path is owned by HFCA, including 10 feet on either side of the path

§  Cutting back the underbrush, clearing debris off of the path, and cutting overhanging branches

§  Also have some bumpy areas on path due to the roots

§  Need to review path to see what is going on, such as homeowner modifying drainage, adding walks, blocks, etc. on HFCA property

·          Plan to have a discussion with the attorney prior to issuing any letter; important to avoid some type of ownership transfer due to inaction for an extended period of time as specified under state law

·         Need to check whether some owners have modified the drainage area, including adding blocks or walks

·         Have a measuring wheel and level to take some measurements

·         Bruce will call attorney to see what the options are

§  South side has a drainage depression that was lined with rock; need to clean it out and reuse it

·         Getting the water to flow on the north side of the path to drain into the major culvert would be beneficial

·         Board will investigate it as a project for a group of volunteers, perhaps the Boy Scouts

o   Grounds keeping contractor results

§  Did a good job of widening he path on the lower common area

§  Don is not satisfied with the clearance of the bamboo

·         Contractor did an initial cut back, but doesn’t seem to be maintaining it

·         Bamboo keeps growing; only way to permanently remove it is to dig it out

·         Don will follow up with the contractor, including staking out the area to be cut

§  Want to explore other grounds keepers

·         Needs to be a commercial firm given the amount of common ground and equipment required

·         Don will check Angie’s list

·         Neighborhood Watch Report

o   Citizens Advisory Board Meeting is the first Tuesday of the month at 7:30 pm in the West Springfield Police District Building

o   Need to add two new Neighborhood Watch members (Chuck and Bruce) to the schedule

o   Kirk will recycle schedule – bring up need for coordinator at annual meeting 

Old Business

·         Document Retention

o   Board plans to investigate options for storing documents and records in a secure web environment

§  Better for ensuring long-term retention

§  Provides easier access to insurance and other documents by more people

§  Plan to encrypt documents and password protection

·         Plan to change password with new board members to control access

·         Have both public and private records

§  Brand will investigate options and volunteered to set up the environment

·         Rules and Regulations Subcommittee: Remaining Issues

o   Need to revisit HFCA’s rules and regulations related to the authority to issue fines for non-compliance with Rules and Regulations

o   Plan to bring this topic up at the Annual General Membership Meeting in October

§  Ask for new participants at annual meeting to address these two issues; revise language

o   Board approved the purchase of signs for Annual Meeting and Community Yard Sale

§  Annual meeting signs will have changeable dates to allow multiple year use

§  A motion was made, seconded, and approved authorizing the purchase of the signs – up to $750

New Business

·         Revised HFCA Directory – Kirk

o   Prepared an Excel spreadsheet that was compared with Fairfax County records, which identified a number of inconsistencies

o   Originally considered setting up a directory as pdf that was encrypted and password protected

o   Plan to bring up the question about developing a community directory at the annual meeting, including a request to fund the effort

o   We have the budget to do this; need agreement on whether to include both email addresses and cell phone numbers

o   Previous efforts to determine interest through use of the newsletter resulted in receipt of a single response

·         Annual Meeting

o   Bruce will start compiling agenda items for annual meeting for discussion at the next board meeting

o   Annual Meeting is scheduled for Oct. 21 at 8pm at Green Acres in room 110

Next Board Meeting – October 1, 2014 starting at 7:30 pm.



HFCA Board Meeting, 4/15/2014 7:30 pm, 4301 Still Meadow Road
Meeting Minutes and Action Items

- Bruce Bernhardt - President
- Chuck Stewart - Vice President
- Kirk Randall - ACC Chairman
- Don Lobeda. - Common Grounds, Paths and Woods Coordinator
- Mike Mehrman. - At Large Member
- Ed Wagner - Secretary
- Dante Gilmer - Treasurer

1. Bruce B. opened the meeting and indicated Dante G. and Don L. were excused.
- Don L. subsequently arrived and joined the meeting.

2. There were no Priority Issues raised.

3. Standing Reports:
3.1 Secretary Report:
- Ed W. previously sent out the prior meeting minutes and they were reviewed and approved by all Board members.
- Ed W. had an unscheduled work extension and was not able to join the meeting. Absence excused by President.
3.2 Treasurer Report: Due to a medical procedure prior to the meeting, Dante G. informed the Board he would be in
recovery mode for a few weeks.
- Discussion was held to find additional assistance for Dante G. as Treasurer.
- Brand Niemann volunteered to become Assistant Treasurer under Dante G.
- Formal Treasurer's Report deferred until next Board Meeting.
3.3 ACC Report: Kirk R. provided high level summary of applications to ACC.
- A number of roof/gutter projects are in progress.
- 10008 Cotton Farm has a shed at the end of the driveway that needs to be repositioned to the yard. Completion pending.
- No major issues/disputes pending at ACC
3.4 Common Grounds, Paths & Woods Report: Don L. joined the meeting and reported:
- trimming work was completed on lower common area paths - they look good.
- May plan on grass seeding in the Fall
- Disappointed more bamboo was not taken down in upper common area special project.
- May plant scrubs to keep bamboo growth back
- Project to add conservation decals to storm sewers in the neighborhood was completed.
- Don L. reported job was well done.
- Don L. volunteered to send email to project lead and thank them for their efforts.
3.5 Neighborhood Watch Report:
- Bruce B. reported Kathy Gillette announced her family is moving from HF by end of July 2014.
- New NW Coordinator is needed so Kathy can hand off on-going schedules
- All Board Members will reach out to find a new NW Coordinator.
4.0 Old Business:
4.1 Rules & Regulations: Kirk R. indicated there is still some clean-up to complete the
R&R effort approved at the 2013 Annual Meeting. Bruce B. and Kirk R. will discuss
and report back next month.
- Focus is on validating fees and charges supported by founding documents.
4.2 By-Laws Revisions: Kirk R. indicated there may be a need to review and revise
the By Laws given all the changes at State level regarding Homeowner Association Laws.
- Board took the action item to review the By-Laws and identify any need for revisions.
4.3 Records Retention: Bruce B. discussed the need to confirm retention requirements.
- Currently all General Membership and Board Meeting Minutes are archived and stored
on the HFCA Website.
- Covenant, Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws and Rules and Regulation documents are
also available to homeowners on the HFCA website, without charge.

5.0 New Business: There was no new business.

6.0 Next Meeting: Board agreed to meet next on during the third week of August.
- Location will be Bruce and Nancy Bernhardt's home, 4301 Still Meadow Road, at 7:30 pm

7.0 Meeting Adjourned.


Respectfully submitted,
Bruce J. Bernhardt


Hickory Farms Board Meeting, March 19, 2014, 7:30 – 8:35 pm


The attendees at this meeting of HFCA Board are documented immediately below.

Bruce Bernhardt, President

Chuck Stewart, Vice President

Kirk Randall, Architecture Control Committee

Dante Gilmer, Treasurer

Don Lobeda, Community Grounds, Paths, and Woods

Mike Mehrman, Member at Large

Ed Wagner, Secretary


Standard Topics:

o   Kathy Gillette and another community member attended neighborhood watch training

§  Kathy also spoke with the Fairfax County Police’s Neighborhood Watch coordinator about the number of cars traveling through the development that don’t adhere to the speed limit or stop at the stop signs

§  The coordinator raised Kathy’s concerns with traffic enforcement

§  Subsequent to the meeting, county police have since issued two tickets for running stop signs

§  Although Fairfax County cannot station a patrol car in our community, they plan to bring in the radar sign that shows each car’s speed as a way of increasing awareness

o   The board reviewed the current budget and expense summary

§  Primary monthly expenses are for landscaping/mowing services

o   Eight (8) homeowners who have not paid their dues in full

§  Three (3) homeowners paid their dues late, but did not include late fees

§  Four (4) homeowners have not paid their dues; one (1) had paid, but the check bounced

§  Community Association did collect $600 in late fees that were paid voluntarily by homeowners

§  Dante will follow up with the attorney on the status of outstanding dues and late fees

o   Need to update the board members who have signature authority on the account

§  Will add Bruce and one other board member to replace John

§  Plan to make changes at the bank on March 29, 2014

o   Bruce plans to check into Capital One’s business account to see if we can save some money by reducing banking fees


o   Kirk indicated that given the communications he has already received, it could be a busy Spring for the committee

o   Recent passage of a new Virginia law about Homeowner’s Associations does not appear to impact our community

§  Kirk has not yet been able to access the specific wording in the law

§  Once he is able to obtain the final language used in the bill that passed, he will bring it to an upcoming board meeting

o   The current contract for landscaping/mowing services will expire later this Spring

§  Don plans to obtain a new proposal for landscaping, including consideration of other companies prior to the contract expires

§  Ed agreed to provide Don with an additional firm for consideration

o   Recent snow storms did not cause any additional problems with down tree limbs or other issues

o   Some of the paths are being overgrown, which we need to cut back to allow people to walk without any issues

§  The Board does not plan to sponsor a Spring or Fall cleanup to address these issues

§  Although the last community clean up proved beneficial, too many people were inflicted with poison ivy

§  Don will  look at getting an estimate from a professional services company for this problem

o   The board discussed the idea of conducting some additional review of our rules and regulations based on the recent revisions to the Virginia Property Owners Association Act

§  Plan to look at the by-laws to see if any changes to responsibilities for different board members

§  Bruce and Kirk will read through the by-laws to see what, if anything, may need to be changed

§  If any by-laws need to be revised, it will require a majority of a quorum to authorize change

o   Kirk will add an article on ListServe in case any community members want to participate in this review

o   Chap Peterson, VA State Senator, has offered to attend our next community meeting

o   Another possibility is to invite the Fairfax County Police Neighborhood Watch coordinator to the meeting

New Business:

o   Kirk has been using a sign store in Merrifield and may be able to obtain a good price for reusable signs for our annual meeting

§  A motion was made, seconded, and approved to authorize the purchase of 10 signs at no more than $20 each

§  The date of the meeting would be left blank so that it can be filled in each year, thereby allowing us to use the signs for multiple years

o   Kirk will talk to Pete Scala about whether he would like to have some small signs for the community yard sale

o   The board is working to establish standard processes for ensuring the long-term retention of records

o   Kirk has scanned a lot of documents onto the web page, but does not have an inventory of what has been scanned

o   Going forward, the board plans to retain a hard copy of anything that’s considered official, including copies of:

·         Budgets and expenses for every year

·         ACC records of decisions

·         Board will look at the use of our web space on the cloud for storing scanned

§  The challenge for the board is reconstructing historical documentation; VPOAA may have guidance on retention; Kirk will investigate

o   Plan to discuss retention records  position at the next meeting

o   The original design maps of Hickory Farms have been scanned; Kirk will provide them to Don

o   The Community Association does not have a calendar on its website

o   Would like to add one that shows board meetings, community events, etc.

o   Kirk will reach out to Kathy and Arlene about the gas and electric follow up; may work with them to develop an article for newsletter


Meeting Adjourned

Next meeting will be held starting at 7:30 pm, on Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Respectfully submitted,

Ed Wagner, Secretary



Hickory Farms Community Association (HFCA) Board Meeting,  January 15, 2014, 8:00 – 9:55 pm


The attendees at this meeting of HFCA Board, including their office positions for 2014 are documented immediately below.

Bruce Bernhardt, President

Chuck Stewart, Vice President

Kirk Randall, Architecture Control Committee

Dante Gilmer, Treasurer

Don and Kathy Lobeda, Community Grounds, Paths, and Woods

Kathy Gillette, Neighborhood Watch

Mike Merhman, Member at Large

Ed Wagner, Secretary

Arlene Da Cruz


Priority Issues:

o   Power Outages:

§  Most recent power outage affected 132 homes as a result of an issue with an overhead line on Glenmere Drive

§  A portion of Hickory Farms, including Harvester Farm Lane, Tumbleweed Court, and a portion of Cotton Farm Road appear to lose power with every outage

§  Outages have lasted from a few hours to about 4 days

§  Virginia Power was contacted about this problem

·         Representative indicated that she would escalate the concerns to the appropriate people within Dominion Power

·         However, as of January 14, 2014, Dominion Power has not followed up  as promised  

§  Kathy would like to schedule a meeting with Dominion Power to discuss these outages and opportunities to reduce their frequency by upgrading equipment, or arranging for rerouting of electric power

·         Kirk recommended that Kathy work through John Cook’s office, the Fairfax County Supervisor for the Hickory Farms areas

·         Kathy plans to follow up with Mr. Cook’s office

·         Another option discussed involved filing a complaint with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, which has oversight responsibility

§  The board agreed to sign a strongly worded letter to Dominion Power, which Kathy will arrange to have drafted

o   Natural Gas Service

§  There is a renewed level of interest to try to bring natural gas service into Hickory Farms

§  Interest appears to have increased as a result of power outages; would allow people to have access to a source of heat or perhaps consider installing a natural gas-powered generator

§  There is interest in having a representative from Washington Gas meet with representatives of the community

§  Arlene will contact Washington Gas to obtain information on the locations of natural gas lines adjacent to Hickory Farms

§  George Mason Forest has a natural gas line, but bringing the service to Hickory Farms would require an easement from a home owner, which may be problematic


Standing Agenda:

o   The board discussed how to get members of the community more engaged

§  Mike Mehrman plans to reach out to younger people in the neighborhood to recruit members at large for the board

§  New home owners in the community will be identified by the notification to Dante for provision of the Virginia Property Owners Association Act (VPOAA) package that they receive at settlement

§  Dante will notify Mike of new home owners

§  The board noted that tenants cannot be members of the Association, but may participate in activities

o   Dante reaffirmed his interest in having at least one additional person to support the treasure by helping with the review of the books

§  He is concerned that the auditors simply transfer information from the books to the tax returns without doing a review

§  This person could perform as a back-up treasurer, who wouldn’t have to be a member of the board

o   Dante noted that we need to get John to take his name off the signature list for checks, with addition of another board member, since our checks require two signatures

o   Secretary Report – the board approved the minutes from the prior meeting

o   Treasurer Report

§  The community’s financial situations is in good shape

§  Of 198 homes, 2014 dues were received for 187 homes of which dues for 10 homes were received after the deadline – these  10 homes will be assessed a $50 processing fee

§  Dante has not received the payment of dues for 11 homes as of the date of the meeting

§  Dante will notify the homeowners who paid late

§  An additional contact will be made with the 11 homeowners who have not paid their 2014 dues; if payment is not received, the community association’s lawyers will be notified to initiate a lien until payment is received

§  The change in policy on dues collection implemented last year has generally resulted in an increase in on time payments

o    Architectural Control Committee (ACC)

§  During 2013, the committee has operated smoothly, without any controversial applications for modifications

§  Kirk noted that he would like a break from running this committee; he is considering discussing this with the ACC members to see if one of them is willing to take on this role

·         One question that has come up is whether the ACC chair must be a member of the board

·         The board discussed that the ACC and how it’s operated is very important to the community

·         The board thought that it is very important that the board stay involved with the ACC for purpose of ensuring communications and for consistency.  Need to have communication and link for guidance between board and the ACC

·         It was suggested that communications could be handled through email, conference calling, Skyping, etc.

·         The ACC chair could be allowed to attend the board meetings when necessary, as opposed to every meeting

o   Community Grounds, Paths and  Woods Report

§  A member of the community raised concerns about American Trash Service collecting trash too early and driving at too high a rate of speed

·         Fairfax County allows trash collection starting at 6:00 am

·         The board recommended that this individual call American Trash Service and/or Fairfax County directly to make his complaint

·         Don Lobeda will follow up

·         Don will follow up with Mark – he can follow up with the County and/or American

§  The board agreed to include the phone numbers for the trash service in the next newsletter for residents to call if they are seen speeding; will draft the statement for inclusion on list serve and in the newsletter

§  Common grounds clean up

·         Don has not yet completed the map showing the common grounds area that required attention

·         He emailed JL Tree Service about providing an estimate for cleaning up fallen tree limbs in common area, but has not received a response -- Don will follow up

·         A large tree fell down across one of the paths; a resident harvested the wood, which saved the association about $1,000, but we still need to arrange for the cleanup of the remaining branches

·         Another tree fell behind Mike Mehrman’s house; he has harvested the wood, so we will not need to pay a tree service to remove it

·         The board decided that it would be worthwhile writing an article for the newsletter about harvesting the wood from downed trees; Mike will draft the article

·         Don will be more aggressive on obtaining estimates for tree service from JL Tree Service by both pressing the company and expanding the request for estimates to other services in an effort to reduce costs.

·         Don requested that board members provide him with the names of other tree services; Kirk will provide Don with contact information for Kenny Jenkins Tree Service.

·         Need to get some rock on a path that is eroding away; may be a good Boy Scout project

·         Need to cut down a bamboo patch that is next to a home owner’s property because of its intrusion into their yard when it snows

o   Neighborhood watch

§  Kathy has obtained more volunteers to participate so that participants will be scheduled for the watch about every 3.5 months; this reflects a significant improvement, which had volunteers on a two-month schedule rotation

§  Kathy requested that the board provide email addresses for people who have volunteered to facilitate communication

·         The board discussed the request for providing email addresses for people who have already volunteered to support Neighborhood Watch that it has since people have volunteered and signed up on list serve

·         A motion to approve the release of email addresses was made and seconded

·         The motion passed the board unanimously

·         Has been trying to get in touch with officer Freye – trying to get training for people by the spring ‘14

§  Kathy has contacted the West Springfield barracks of Fairfax County Police about concerns about people who speed and run stop signs driving through Hickory Farms

·         Police indicated that they will install a traffic counter in the community

·         For police to take corrective action on these two driving issues, the community must have a sufficient amount of traffic

o   Rules and Regulations Subcommittee

§  The board discussed that three issues remain from the revision of the rules and regulations

§  One issue is related to the 30-day deadline for the ACC decisions, with the objective of providing a more efficient option for both the resident and the committee

·         The primary issue is the committee has not flexibility on extending the 30 days to obtain more information; no current option available to avoid rejecting/resubmission of the application to collect the additional information

·         A change in the wording would require 75% of the homeowners’ signatures

§  Another issue is related to the temporary storage units, which currently have a 30-day limitation; Storage Pods actually should be considered as temporary structures, which are limited to 7 days by the Declaration.  This regulation change should be fixed in October 2014. 

§  Bruce will look at the details behind these regulations to see what options are available for discussion at the next meeting

§  As with the previous rules and regulations, any changes will be brought to the annual meeting in October 2014

o   Low Income Housing Unit potential Impact on HFCA

§  Our covenants will supersede Fairfax County regulation changes; they limit our community to single-family residences; allow no in-law suites, etc.

§  The ACC is first line of defense against people wanting to make these kind of changes within the community

o   HFCA Records Audit

§  The board discussed options for improving and simplifying the storage of records associated with the community association

§  We need to have one repository for non-working (archive) records, which could be important for any litigation

§  The board will investigate what type of storage would be best, such as scanning documents and storing them in the cloud

§  As part of this, Don will investigate whether the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act includes any regulations on retention of documents

§  Bruce will also check with the community association’s attorney

Meeting Adjourned


Next meeting will be held starting at 7:30 pm, on Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Respectfully submitted,

Ed Wagner, Secretary