Note: On October 9, 2013, the Hickory Farms Board of Directors approved the reformatting of this document as well as various amendments. This decision was affirmed by the membership at the October 15, 2013, Annual Meeting. For reference, the prior version of the revised Rules and Regulations is now contained in a separate document entitled Rules and Regulations and Due Process Procedures (Dec 97-Oct 8, 2013).
Hickory Farms Community Association
RULES AND REGULATIONS
(Enacted December 17, 1997 and completely revised October 9, 2013)
WHEREAS, Article VII, Section 1(c) of the By-Laws directs the Board of Directors (“Board”) to exercise for the Hickory Farms Community Association (“Association” or “HFCA”) all powers, duties and authority vested in or delegated to the Association and not reserved to the membership by other provisions of the Association’s By-laws, the Association’s Articles of Incorporation, or the Association’s Deed of Dedication and Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (“Declarations”);
WHEREAS, Article Vii, Section 1(a) of the By-Laws provides that the Board of Directors has the power to adopt and publish Rules and Regulations governing the use of the common areas and facilities and the personal conduct of the members and their guests thereon and to establish penalties for the infraction of such Rules and Regulations.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the following Rules and Regulations are adopted by the Board and supersedes all prior resolutions establishing Rules and Regulations.
The HFCA Rules and Regulations clarify various sections of the HFCA Declarations, including Restrictive Covenants, and HFCA By-Laws, with references as appropriate. The Rules and Regulations are organized in four Resolutions:
1. Individual Property Rules and Regulations (Restrictive Covenants);
2. Common Areas Rules and Regulations;
3. General Policies Rules and Regulations;
4. Due Process Provision Rules and Regulations.
RESOLUTION NO. 1 - Individual Property Rules and Regulations (Restrictive Covenants)
1.1 Lots, Structures, and Use of Lots [Declarations, Article VII Restrictive Covenants, Section 1]:
a) The restriction on structures shall apply to buildings of a permanent nature. It is not intended to apply to garden storage buildings which must be approved by the Architectural Control Committee.
b) No home shall be used for the full time operation of a trade or business (as defined in Fairfax County Code) requiring public access and traffic of an annoying or observable nature.
1.2 When Approval of the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) is Required [Declarations, Article VII Restrictive Covenants, Section 2]:
a) The purpose of Section 2 is to protect the desirability and thus the value of Hickory Farms property. The ACC must approve all structures, including permanently installed basketball backboards, decks, fences, hot tubs, patios, pools, garden sheds, and other structures, both attached to and separate from the existing dwelling.
b) The ACC must also approve changes in the appearance of all structures, including color changes. Colors and styles of structures shall be in keeping with the harmony of external design throughout the Community.
c) ACC approval is required before project construction commences. In the event structure alterations take place without the consent and notification of the Architectural Control Committee, the offending homeowner shall be notified to stop construction and an application for approval must be submitted.
d) In the event a structure alteration is not approved, the Architectural Control Committee shall direct the homeowner to make any necessary changes to comply. If the homeowner fails to make application or make the required changes to comply, the Architectural Control Committee shall advise the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall initiate proceedings to force application and bring the property into compliance, up to and including monetary charges of up to $10.00 per day plus Association court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees in obtaining a lien against the property. See the Due Process Procedures for amplifying information.
e) Neither the ACC nor the Board of Directors may grant a waiver of the Restrictive Covenants as they relate to activities subject to the jurisdiction of the ACC, unless specifically permitted in the Declarations. For example, the prohibition against fences in the front yards cannot be waived.
1.3 Fences and Enclosures [Declarations, Article VII Restrictive Covenants, Section 3]:
a) The Architectural Control Committee will distinguish between maintenance of existing fences (which does not require approval as long as the appearance of the fence is maintained) and the addition of completely new fences or modification of style or appearance of existing fences (which does require approval).
b) In order to protect the value and desirability of Hickory Farms property, any homeowner found to be in noncompliance with Article VII, Section 3 will be subject to action on the part of the Architectural Control Committee to bring the property into compliance, up to and including monetary charges of up to $50.00 for a single offense or $10.00 per day for continuing offenses plus Association court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees in obtaining a lien against the property, as authorized by VPOAA Section 55-513 and Article VII, Section 2 of HFCA By-Laws. See the Due Process Procedures for amplifying information.
c) Wire fences are not to be built, except that fences built of approved materials such as wood may have a wire fence inside them, that is not readily visible from outside the fence, if this is necessary to control pets or for other good reason. Should the outer fence come down for any reason, the wire fence must also be taken down, or the outer fence be rebuilt.
d) It is the responsibility of homeowners to maintain fences in good condition and appearance, consistent with Restrictive Covenants Article VII, Sections 3 and 4.
e) Paragraphs e through m were enacted on October 15, 2009. Fences that were approved by the Architectural Control Committee and constructed before this date are not subject to these provisions. However, if such fence is replaced by a fence with a different location, height, materials, or finish after the enactment date of this paragraph, the new fence will be subject to paragraphs 1.3 e-m of these Rules and Regulations.
f) No private lot in Hickory Farms is required to have a fence.
g) All fences shall be subject to the prior approval of the Architectural Control Committee as to location, height, materials, and finish, and shall comply with all Fairfax County requirements.
h) Temporary fencing is permitted only in connection with construction activities.
i) Under the Hickory Farms Restrictive Covenants, “All fences or enclosures shall be of wood or brick construction, or other special materials.” “Special materials” shall mean high quality materials that closely simulate brick or wood. Fence gates should be compatible with the fence style. In order to maintain consistency with the development of fences in the community, homeowners are encouraged to limit fence heights to between four feet and six feet and wood fence colors to natural and white.
j) Many backyard fences facing Roberts and Burke Station Roads were constructed by the builder with a consistent style (picket) and color (natural). Although many homeowners have replaced their fences with the same style and color, homeowners are not required have uniform fences facing these roads.
k) The Hickory Farms Community Association does not pay to construct or maintain fences on private property, nor does it assume liability for any fences constructed on private property.
l) For the purpose of interpreting Hickory Farms Restrictive Covenant Article VII (3) under this Section 4 only, each lot has a single front yard, which is the area between the front building restriction line and the street or pipestem driveway. The front building restriction line runs along the front edge of the main entrance side of the house and continues to the property line(s). A fence may not be constructed in a front yard. On corner lots, homeowners may construct a fence between the side building restriction line and the sidewalk. Homeowners are cautioned, however, that any fence that faces a street or pipestem driveway may be subject to a height limit set by the Fairfax County code, which was four feet at the time this paragraph was implemented.
m) The Hickory Farms Community Association will not mediate private homeowner disputes regarding fences.
1.4 Maintaining Lots, Yards, and Carports [Declarations, Article VII Restrictive Covenants, Section 4]:
a) All lots and yards shall be maintained in a neat and attractive manner so as not to detract from the appearance of the Hickory Farms Community Association.
b) All lots and dwellings shall be kept in good repair (e.g., shutters, trim, fences, siding, roof, etc. shall be maintained) and maintained in keeping with the standards of the neighborhood and development.
c) Grass shall be mowed regularly and maintained in a neat, even manner. It is recommended that the lawn be mowed well before the average grass height is 8 inches above the ground. When the height of grass exceeds 8 inches, the Board of Directors may contact the owner or property manager to direct them to cut the grass.
d) All curbs, driveways and sidewalks of lots shall be edged as needed to maintain a neat appearance and so that grass does not grow over curbs and sidewalks.
e) Sidewalks shall be kept clear of obstacles (e.g., automobiles, trash receptacles, recycle bins, shrubbery, overhanging tree limbs, portable basketball hoops when not in use, etc.).
f) Flower beds and landscaping shall be maintained in an attractive manner so as not to detract from the appearance of the neighborhood or encroach on public and common areas. Trees, shrubs, and bushes shall be trimmed on a regular basis.
g) Automobiles shall be parked in garages, driveways or on the street, not on lawns or lots.
h) Carports shall not be used for storage in a manner that creates an unsightly appearance.
1.5 Membership of the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) [Declarations, Article VII Restrictive Covenants, Section 5]:
a) The ACC is the body created to review compliance by Hickory Farms Community Association (HFCA) residents with Article VII, Restrictive Covenants of the HFCA. The ACC provides information regarding when, where, how and what procedures must be followed by HFCA residents to make exterior improvements or changes to their property.
b) The committee shall consist of a minimum of four homeowners (including the chairperson who is a member of the Board of Directors). The President of the Board of Directors is an ex-officio member of the committee, and will resolve voting deadlocks.
c) The ACC’s primary responsibility is to enforce the Declarations (including Restrictive Covenants), By-Laws and Rules and Regulations, thereby helping to ensure that homes in the community retain their high property values.
d) The ACC does not advise homeowners regarding the Fairfax County building code. Homeowners are encouraged to consult with Fairfax County officials to determine if a building permit is required. The ACC evaluates the proposed project irrespective of whether the homeowner has secured building permit(s).
1.6 Designating ACC Approval, and Cases where the ACC does not take Action within 30 days of Submittal [Declarations, Article VII Restrictive Covenants, Section 6]:
a) Homeowners must be able to show that the Committee did not act within 30 days to take advantage of the provision of Section 6 removing the requirement for approval.
b) The date that plans and specifications have been submitted to the ACC shall be the date:
i) that the ACC or a member of the ACC received the properly completed application;
ii) with the necessary plans and specifications;
iii) and indicates receipt on a copy of the application or on a receipt form.
c) Projects completed in circumstances where the Committee did not act within 30 days may not be subsequently challenged under other Sections of Article VII, even if they are in violation of such Sections (since Article VII, Section 6 provides that by failing to act, the ACC deems the Restrictive Covenants to have been fully complied with).
d) It is expected and required that the homeowner will make a good faith effort to comply with the Restrictive Covenants and Rules and Regulations.
e) A majority vote of the ACC members is needed for approval or rejection of an Application. For controversial or precedent-setting projects, the ACC may consult with the Board of Directors of the Association for a sense of the community.
f) ACC approval is valid only for the project as described in the Application. If the homeowner deviates from the specifications in the Application, the ACC approval is not valid; the homeowner would then be required to submit a new Application. In the event a new Application was rejected, all unapproved project changes would need to be reversed at homeowner’s expense and the property restored to original condition.
g) The homeowner has one year from the date of ACC approval to complete the project. The homeowner may request one extension of the one year completion period of up to one additional year, provided that the homeowner requests the extension before the initial one year period has expired. Otherwise, the approval is null and void.
h) The requirement in Section 6 of the Restrictive Covenants that ACC approvals or disapprovals be in writing is satisfied through email communication.
i) Each Application shall be evaluated by the ACC, which is charged by the Association membership to consistently and equitably apply the Restrictive Covenants and Rules and Regulations in effect at the time the Application is evaluated.
1.7 Livestock and Pets on Property [Declarations, Article VII Restrictive Covenants, Section 7]:
a) No livestock, including horses, cattle and hogs, nor fowl such as chickens and pigeons shall be kept on individual lots.
b) The breeding of animals for commercial use is prohibited.
c) Nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit the keeping of the usual domestic pets. No more than two domestic pets shall be kept at any one time.
1.8 Location of Structures on any Lot [Declarations, Article VII Restrictive Covenants, Section 8]:
a) No structure shall be located on any lot nearer to the front lot line or nearer to the side street line than the minimum building set back lines required by the zoning ordinances of Fairfax County, Virginia.
1.9 Hickory Farms Limited Partnership Reserves the Right to Install Required Utilities [Declarations, Article VII Restrictive Covenants, Section 9]:
a) As all lots have been developed and the Hickory Farms Limited Partnership is no longer in existence, this rule and regulation is no longer in effect.
1.10 Restriction on Use of Temporary Structures, Tents, Trailers, etc. as a Temporary or Permanent Residence [Declarations, Article VII Restrictive Covenants, Section 10]:
a) The use of temporary structures or vehicles as sleeping quarters constitutes use as a residence and is prohibited.
b) At no time shall a garage be used as a residence or sleeping quarters unless it has been legally converted according to Fairfax County Code to finished living area and been subject to approval of the Architectural Control Committee. Any such conversion must be considered by the ACC to be in harmony of external design with existing structures.
1.11 Restriction on Parking Boats, Trailers, Tents or Temporary Structures or Portable Vehicles other than Automobiles Forward of a Dwelling for Longer than Seven Calendar Days [Declarations, Article VII Restrictive Covenants, Section 11]:
a) For purposes of definition, a commercial truck classified as such by the Department of Motor Vehicles is not an automobile. Further, a commercial vehicle as regulated here is defined in Fairfax County Code, and does not include light duty vehicles and pickup trucks with commercial markings.
b) HFCA shall adhere to Fairfax County Code, which prohibits parking commercial vehicles on residential roads except when they are necessary to perform work or service.
c) Storage containers and portable storage units may be kept on a homeowner’s property for no more than seven (7) calendar days. Such storage containers are only for the personal use of the resident; business or trade uses are prohibited.
1.12 Sign Display on any Lot [Declarations, Article VII Restrictive Covenants, Section 12]:
a) No signs of any kind shall be displayed to the public view on any lot except one professional sign of not more than one square foot, one sign of not more than five square feet, advertising the property for sale or rent, or signs used by a builder to advertise the property during the construction and sales period.
1.13 Restriction on Containing and Dumping Rubbish, Trash, Garbage, Yard Debris, etc. [Declarations, Article VII (Restrictive Covenants), Section 13]:
a) Garbage shall be set out only on trash collection days, or the evening prior to scheduled pickup, and shall be removed from street-side on the collection day. This is to maintain an attractive appearance and to avoid attracting rats and raccoons. Sanitary containers shall otherwise not be forward of the house.
b) No dumping of yard debris or trash is allowed in common areas. Common areas are defined in Regulation 1.
c) Yard debris shall be recycled or set out for collection. Large piles of yard debris shall not be kept on individual lots. (Note: this does not prohibit the maintenance of a neat compost pile).
1.14 Violation of Restrictive Covenants [Declarations, Article VII Restrictive Covenants, Section 14]:
a) Violations of the Restrictive Covenants will be addressed in accordance with the Due Process Procedures of Resolution No. 4.
b) Remedies for violations will be consistent with the By-Laws, the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act and will be in accordance with the Due Process Procedures of Resolution No. 4.
c) Homeowners are responsible for violations occurring on their property. If the property is leased to a tenant, homeowners should ensure tenants are familiar with the provisions of the Restrictive Covenants and Rules and Regulations, but this will not relieve the homeowners of responsibility for the condition of their property or responsibility to comply with the Restrictive Covenants and Rules and Regulations.
1.15 Enforcement of Restrictions, Conditions, Covenants, Reservations, Liens, and Charges [Declarations, Article VIII, Section 1]:
a) These Rules and Regulations are enforceable under this section.
b) Enforcement will be consistent with the By-Laws, the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act (VPOAA) and will be in accordance with the Due Process Procedures of Resolution No. 4.
c) A clarification of the second provision of Article VIII, Section 1 follows. In cases where by inaction on the part of the ACC for a period of 30 days after submittal of an architectural request, resulting in neither an approval nor a rejection, a homeowner proceeded with a project that would be considered to be in violation of the Restrictive Covenants, the Restrictive Covenant is considered to have been met in accordance with Article VII, Section 6 of the Declaration, and may not be subsequently enforced against that homeowner for the project specified in the Application. The Restrictive Covenant shall remain in force for all other homeowners, and all other existing and future projects.
d) By law, the Board of Directors and Architectural Control Committee are not authorized to grant exceptions or exemptions to the Restrictive Covenants, the By-Laws or the VPOAA.
1.16 Changes to Declarations (including Restrictive Covenants) [Declarations, Article VIII General Provisions, Section 3. Amendment]
a) The Declarations covenants and restrictions may be amended by an instrument signed by not less than seventy-five percent (75%) of the lot owners. Any amendment must be properly recorded.
RESOLUTION NO. 2 - Common Areas Rules and Regulations
2.1 Use of the Common Areas and Facilities [By-Laws, Article VII, Section 1.(a)]:
a) Common areas are made up of all grounds except for residential lots, streets and sidewalks. The Board of Directors will act for the Association in authorizing uses of the common grounds as discussed below.
b) The common grounds are for the use of the residents and their guests only. The Association has the right to limit the number of guests.
c) No motorized vehicles are permitted on the Common Grounds at any time, with the exception of authorized maintenance vehicles such as lawnmowers and tractors maintaining the grounds.
d) No unauthorized removal of plants, trees or shrubbery is permitted.
e) No dumping, littering (including grass clippings) or posting signs or announcements is permitted.
f) The Common Grounds shall not be used for private storage or business purposes. Personal items may not be left in the Common Areas. The Association shall not be liable for any damage to personal items left in the Common Areas, including damage in the course of resident activities or maintenance. After use, residents are to leave the Common Areas in good, trash-free, undisturbed condition.
g) No unauthorized private gardening or planting is permitted.
h) The discharge of firearms, bows and arrows, and pellet guns on, over, or into the Common Areas is strictly prohibited.
i) Open fires are prohibited in the Common Areas. This includes the use of cook pits, freestanding metal fire pits, or permanent or temporary fireplace fixtures. Portable propane or charcoal grills are permitted for short term day use provided they do not damage Common Area vegetation.
j) The discharge of fireworks on, over, or into the Common Areas is prohibited.
k) Fairfax County Leash and Pet Control laws shall be strictly adhered to in Common Areas.
2.2 Maintenance of trees in the Common Areas [By-Laws, Article VII, Section 1.(a)]:
a) The Hickory Farms Community Association (HFCA) only maintains trees that are located in the Common Areas. Tree maintenance on private property is the responsibility of the homeowner.
b) The HFCA will remove or prune trees only if they pose a danger to passers-by or nearby property. The exception is for Common Area ornamental trees, which may require these services to maintain their beauty.
c) For a tree whose trunk is located within the Common Area, a homeowner may prune the tree or grind its roots up to the property line, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the life of the tree. For a tree whose trunk lies on the property line, the homeowner may deal with the tree as if it were their own, under two conditions: 1) the homeowner must notify the Common Area Coordinator before the tree is pruned or removed, and 2) if the tree is removed by the homeowner, it is their responsibility to dispose of the wood and debris and not leave it in the Common Area. Otherwise, homeowners are not authorized to perform maintenance on any tree located in the Common Area without prior approval of the Board of Directors.
d) A tree that is deemed by the Board of Directors to be a danger to passers-by or nearby property will be removed or pruned as soon as possible by a licensed and insured tree removal company.
e) The HFCA does not grind stumps of trees in Common Areas, unless they are in a location where the stump would hinder passers-by, cause property damage, involve ornamental trees, or obstruct a HFCA maintained path.
f) The Board of Directors will use its best efforts to obtain multiple bids for tree work estimated to exceed an amount equal to four home annual dues payments.
g) If a tree falls or is taken down within the Common Area, it is the preference of the HFCA to leave the tree where it falls, unless it disturbs paths, sidewalks, streets, sledding areas, ornamental areas, or mowed grassy areas. If the tree needs to be cut up, the HFCA preference is to cut the tree into smaller logs and leave the wood and brush in the general vicinity, where homeowners may scavenge the wood for firewood.
h) Any Common Area tree that is deemed to require maintenance or replacement as a result of neglect or willful damage by a resident will be repaired or replaced by the HFCA with all costs paid by that resident.
i) The Common Areas Coordinator may authorize tree maintenance if, in the opinion of the Common Areas Coordinator, there is a danger to passers-by or property, and the estimated cost is no more than four home annual dues payments. Otherwise, the Board of Directors must authorize maintenance.
j) A homeowner may petition the Board of Directors, through the Common Areas Coordinator, to request pruning or removal of a tree located in a Common Area, to be paid for by the HFCA. Such petition must include the location of the affected tree, the work to be done, the reason for doing the work, and photographs of the affected tree. If the homeowner is asked to provide a written opinion by a certified independent arborist explaining why the tree is a danger to passers-by or property, the homeowner will provide such opinion at their expense. The homeowner has the right to address the Board of Directors and make a case for the project prior to a vote.
k) A homeowner may request that the Board of Directors remove or prune a tree located in a Common Area at their own expense. The request must include photographs of the affected tree, a statement of the proposed action, and a signed statement accepting all liability for any damages which might result from this proposed action. The request must also include a statement signed by all neighbors within 75 feet of the affected tree acknowledging their understanding of and consent to the proposed action. Once all of these conditions are met, the Board of Directors will vote on the request. If the work is approved, the homeowner will pay HFCA the estimated cost in advance, the Common Areas Coordinator will arrange for the work to be done, and HFCA and the homeowner will settle up after the work is completed.
l) If a tree located in a Common Area, or a portion of such tree, causes damage to a homeowner’s property or structure, it is generally deemed an “Act of God” under Virginia law, and the homeowner is responsible for cleanup of the tree up to the property line and the repair of their property. Likewise if a tree located on private property falls on a Common Area as a consequence of an “Act of God,” the HFCA will deal with the tree and any consequential damage to Common Area property, under the provisions of these Rules and Regulations, up to the property line. Residents are encouraged to carry adequate homeowners insurance on their property.
m) The procedures in this Section 2.2 also apply to other Common Areas vegetation such as shrubs.
RESOLUTION NO. 3 - General Policies Rules and Regulations
3.1 General Policies:
a) It is the policy of the Association to maintain a cash balance approximately equal to the Association’s annual expenses. The purpose of the cash balance is to provide for expenditures that exceed the Association’s regular annual expenses, such as significant levels of Common Areas maintenance and path repair or replacement. The fund shall be invested prudently by the Board of Directors in an insured account such that it can be accessed readily, when needed.
b) When a Hickory Farms lot is sold, the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act requires that the Association inform the purchaser through a disclosure letter of “improvements or alterations to [the] property that are in violation of the Restrictive Covenants or Rules and Regulations.” In order to comply with the law, the Association shall report all violations to the purchaser in such a disclosure letter.
c) Under the HFCA By-Laws and the Virginia Property Owners Association Act, the Board of Directors has authority to enact Rules and Regulations for the Association. However, it is the policy of the HFCA that the Board of Directors shall obtain homeowner approval before such revisions to the Rules and Regulations are enacted.
RESOLUTION NO. 4 - Due Process Procedures Rules and Regulations
(Enacted December 17, 1997)
WHEREAS, Article VII, Section 1(b) of the By-Laws provides that the Board of Directors has the power to suspend the voting rights and right to use of the recreational facilities of a member for infraction of published Rules and Regulations after notice and hearing and for a period not to exceed sixty days; and,
WHEREAS, Section 55-513 of the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act (“Act”) provides the Board of Directors the power, to the extent provided in the Declaration or rules adopted pursuant thereto, to (1) suspend an owner’s right to use facilities or non-essential services offered by the Association for nonpayment of assessments to the extent that access to the lot through the common areas is not precluded and (2) assess charges against owners for violations of the Declaration or Rules and Regulations as adopted pursuant thereto for which the owner or his family members, tenants, guest or other invitees are responsible; and,
WHEREAS, Section 55-513 of the Act further provides that certain procedures must be followed before such charges may be assessed, including a hearing after proper notice; and,
WHEREAS, the Board of Directors of the Association recognizes that orderly procedures are necessary for the assessment of charges for violations of the Association Documents or of the Rules and Regulations promulgated pursuant thereto; and ,
WHEREAS, the Board of Directors considers that the Architectural Control Committee (“ACC”) shall be the tribunal before which hearings are held, as contemplated in the Act and the By-Laws; and,
WHEREAS, for the benefit and protection of the Association and of the individual owner, the Board deems it necessary and desirable to establish and operate by procedures to assure due process in cases where there is a question of compliance by an owner with provisions of the Act, the Association Documents (Declaration and By-Laws) or Rules and Regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, thereby minimizing the necessity of seeking action through a court of law,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the following procedures are adopted by the Board, and that this resolution shall serve as Resolution No. 4 and supersedes all prior resolutions establishing due process procedures.
Any owner, officer or agent of the Association may request that an owner cease or correct any act or omission which appears to be in violation of the Act, the Association Documents (including the Restrictive Covenants) or the Rules and Regulations promulgated pursuant thereto.
In the case of disputes between owners regarding activities within the lot or the appurtenant limited common area, if any, the Association will generally not become involved in the dispute or act on a complaint unless two or more persons have complained in writing.
Any owner or resident may initiate the enforcement process by filing a written complaint with the Board of Directors (Board) or the Architectural Control Committee (ACC). The ACC shall forward such complaints to the Board for consideration. The complaint need not be in any particular form. The complaint shall include a concise statement of charges setting forth in clear language the specific act(s) or omission(s) with which the offending party is to be charged. The complaint shall be as specific as possible with respect to times, dates and places and persons involved. All residents who file a complaint must sign and date the complaint.
Upon receipt and consideration of the complaint, a member of the Board or the ACC may make a preliminary investigation as to the validity of the complaint. If the condition has been corrected, or the complaint is insufficient on its face, the Board shall respond in writing to the complaining person that the matter has either been resolved or cannot be pursued.
If further action is deemed necessary by the Board of Directors, the Board shall direct the ACC to carry out the appropriate sections of these Procedures. The ACC is authorized to hold hearings, recommend remedies, and take such other actions as are delineated in these Procedures, keeping the Board informed. Remedies recommended must be approved by the Board of Directors before they may take effect.
The ACC shall mail a written notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the alleged offender at the alleged offenders’ address listed on the records of the Association and to the property address, if the record address is different. If the alleged offender is a tenant, a copy of the notice required under this part shall also be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner of the lot where the alleged offender resides.
If the violation is not of an urgent nature, as determined by the ACC, an informal notice may be sent prior to the certified notice, substantially in the form attached as Exhibit A to this Resolution.
Written notice to an alleged offender shall be substantially in the form attached as Exhibit B to this resolution and shall:
a) Include a copy of the complaint or complaints;
b) Advise the alleged offender of the nature of the offense and the specific provision within the Association documents or Rules and Regulations which have allegedly been offended;
c) State that prior to the imposition of a monetary charge, the alleged offender has the opportunity to be heard and to be represented by counsel;
d) Describe the remedies available;
e) State the number of days by which corrective action should begin or be completed in order to preclude the imposition of a remedy and/or charge.
Notice provided pursuant to this Part shall be provided at least fourteen days prior to the hearing, if requested, and prior to imposition of any monetary charge in accordance with Section 55-513 of the Act.
The Board of Directors of the Association hereby establishes the following remedies in connection with complaints against owners relating to alleged violation of the Act, the Association Documents (including Restrictive Covenants) and Rules and Regulations:
a) Assess charges against any owners upon violation of any of the Association Documents (including Restrictive Covenants) and Rules and Regulations promulgated thereto.
b) The amount of the charges so assessed shall not exceed the amounts authorized by the Association Documents (including Declarations, By-Laws and Rules and Regulations) and the VPOAA, which currently allows a charge not to exceed fifty dollars for a single offense or a charge of ten dollars per day for any offense of a continuing nature.
c) If the rule violation is nonpayment of an assessment or charge, suspend an owner or tenant’s right to use facilities or non-essential services offered by the Association to the extent that access to the lot through the common areas is not precluded, for a period not to exceed sixty days.
d) Suspend an owner’s voting rights.
The remedies described in Part 4.2 may not be pursued by the Association until an opportunity for hearing before the ACC. The following guidelines apply to such hearing procedures:
The ACC shall send a written notice mailed by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, at least fourteen days prior to the hearing, to the owner, advising the owner of the right to contest the complaint at a hearing before the ACC. The notice shall be in the form specified in Part 4.1.E of this Resolution and Exhibit B to this Resolution.
Such notice shall advise the owner of the date, time and location of the hearing, of the owner’s right to be represented by counsel, and of an earlier date, at least seven days following the date of the notice, by which the alleged offender must, by written notification to the Association, make a request for a hearing to be conducted on a date other than as specified in the notice. This request may be granted by the Chairman of the ACC if reasonable and satisfactory justification for rescheduling the hearing is present. The ACC shall set all hearing dates at its discretion.
If no response is received by the Association from the alleged offending party by the hearing confirmation date, or if the owner fails to attend the hearing without providing reasonable and satisfactory explanation, the alleged offender shall be deemed to have waived the right to attend the hearing.
At the hearing, the ACC may hear testimony of witnesses and/or the presentation of documentary evidence to determine if the unit owner is in violation of the Association documents (including Restrictive Covenants) or Rules and Regulations of the Association. The ACC’s determination shall be based on evidence sufficient to the ACC to establish that the violation did in fact occur. In the case of a violation of the Association Documents (including Restrictive Covenants) or Rules and Regulations, however, the mere existence of a complaint shall not be sufficient to establish that a violation occurred. The owner who has been charged shall have the right to be represented by counsel at any such hearing, to cross-examine witnesses, to call any witnesses and to present any documentation or evidence relative to the allegations in the complaint. The ACC is the sole arbiter of the credibility of witnesses and evidence presented at the hearing.
Following presentation of evidence, the ACC shall deliberate, in executive session, if appropriate, to determine whether satisfactory proof of the existence of a violation of the Association documents (including Restrictive Covenants) or Rules and Regulations exists and, if so, what the recommended action, if any, should be. The ACC may attempt to resolve the situation without recourse to authorized remedies of Part 4.2 of this Resolution. The ACC may recommend to the Board assessment of a monetary charge or suspension of use of facilities and non-essential services whether the alleged offender is present or not.
Notice of the decision of the ACC shall be mailed to the alleged offender by certified mail within ten business days of the hearing. The ACC shall send a written notice mailed by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, at least fourteen days prior to the Board Review, to the owner, advising the owner of the right to appeal the ACC decision at a hearing before the Board. The notice shall be in the form specified in Part 4.1.E of this Resolution.
In the event the ACC, after this hearing, recommends assessment of a charge or suspension of use of facilities or non-essential services offered by the Association, the Board shall meet to review and approve or disapprove the ACC recommendation. The owner will be invited to attend the review to appeal the ACC decision. Following review, if the Board approves the ACC decision, it shall promptly act on such recommendations, which shall not be effective until a motion relating thereto is duly adopted by the Board. The minutes of the Board meeting at which such action is taken shall contain a record of the motion, the basis of the motion, which may consist of the recommendation of the ACC, a statement of the imposed remedies and proof that notice and an opportunity to be heard were provided by certified mail to the offending party. The Board shall then notify the owner in writing of the amount of the assessed charge with a request for payment within thirty days, or of the nature of the suspension of rights.
In the event an assessed charge is not timely paid, the owner’s account shall be deemed delinquent and the Board of Directors shall be entitled to pursue all remedies available to it in the collection of delinquent accounts, including court action. In the event the suspension of rights is not honored, the homeowner shall be deemed in violation of the Association Documents and the Board of Directors shall be entitled to pursue all remedies available to it to enforce the suspension.
Exhibit A - Resolution No. 2
REQUEST FOR VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE
HICKORY FARMS COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
Fairfax, VA 22032
Re: Hickory Farms Community Association – Request for Voluntary Compliance
In accordance with the provisions of the Due Process Procedure for Hickory Farms Community Association, Resolution # 4, a complaint has been filed against you for violation of [describe the violation together with reference to the specific Rule violated]. Our initial investigation indicates that the above-described behavior is in violation of that rule. On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Association, this letter is to request voluntary cooperation in resolving this complaint. In order to address this complaint, we ask that you [insert requested action].
Please call the Chairman of the Architectural Control Committee [name] if you have questions concerning this matter. We appreciate your cooperation and assistance in resolving this complaint. Please note that if appropriate action is not taken, it may be necessary to pursue additional enforcement procedures in accordance with the Association’s policies and procedures.
Hickory Farms Community Association
Cc: ______________________, President
______________________, Vice President
Exhibit B - Resolution No. 2
NOTICE OF HEARING
HICKORY FARMS COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
Fairfax, VA 22032
Re: Hickory Farms Community Association – Notice of Hearing
You are hereby notified that, in accordance with Resolution No. 4, Due Process Procedures, for Hickory Farms Community Association, a hearing will be held before the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) for Hickory Farms Community Association, on [date], at [time], in [location]. The scheduling of this hearing is based on the enclosed complaint.
You may be present at this hearing and may be, but need not be, represented by legal counsel. You may present evidence and will be given an opportunity to cross-examine any witnesses offering information in the matter.
You may review the Association Documents which are relevant to your case, along with a list of the witnesses who may be testifying against you, before the hearing. Please call [name of ACC member or Chairman] for an appointment if you wish to do so.
If you wish to admit to the complaint in whole or in part, or if you wish to waive your right to a hearing as stated above, you are requested to inform the Chairman of the ACC [name] in writing, within five days following receipt of this notice. If you wish to attend the hearing as scheduled, or to designate another person to appear on your behalf, it is suggested that you inform the Chairman of the ACC, in writing, within five days following receipt of this correspondence.
You may inform the Chairman of the ACC, in writing, as set forth above, that you object to the complaint on whatever grounds you deem fit including, but not limited to, the belief that the complaint does not charge a violation of an applicable rule (giving the reason therefore) or that the complaint is so vague or indefinite that you cannot adequately respond without being furnished more specific information. Whatever the grounds, you may, in addition, file with the ACC a written statement setting forth your side of the case. Your response under this paragraph shall be deemed to constitute your notice of defense to the ACC.
If you can show good cause as to why you cannot attend the hearing as scheduled, please advise the undersigned within seven days of the date of this notice so that a convenient date may be set for such hearing. If you have questions, please contact [name] at [phone number].
Hickory Farms Community Association
cc: _________________________, President
_________________________, Vice President
Amendments to the October 13, 2013, version of the Hickory Farms Rules and Regulations:
At the October 20, 2015, Annual Meeting the Board of Directors amended, and the Members affirmed, Article 1.11 (c) from:
Self-storage containers and portable storage units, including so-called storage pods, may be kept on a homeowner’s property for no more than thirty (30) consecutive days. This period may be extended to a later date, as approved by the Board of Directors for good cause. Such storage containers may only be for the personal use of the resident; business or trade uses are prohibited.
Storage containers and portable storage units may be kept on a homeowner’s property for no more than seven (7) calendar days. Such storage containers are only for the personal use of the resident; business or trade uses are prohibited.