Hickory Farms

HFCA Board Meeting Minutes

2018 Annual Meeting

DATE: October 11, 2018
TIME: 8:00pm - 10:00pm
LOCATION: Green Acres Community Center


HFCA President Chuck Stewart welcomed the Members to the Annual Meeting and thanked them for attending.

Quorum Verification

Forty six (46) members of the Hickory Farms Community Association (HFCA) were present or represented by proxy, which did not provide the required quorum of 25 percent of homeowners. The Annual Meeting was then adjourned.

A new meeting was then called to order, with 46 members either present or represented via proxy. This provided at least the minimum to constitute a quorum.

A member proposed changing the quorum to one-eighth of homeowners, given it was almost impossible to achieve a regular quorum of 25 percent.

Mr. Stewart introduced the members of the Board of Directors:
Chuck Stewart, President
Bruce Bernhardt, Vice President
Dante Gilmer, Treasurer
Jim Bever, Assistant Treasurer
John Kitzmiller, Secretary
Melissa Stark, Common Areas Coordinator
Debbi Buchanan, Neighborhood Watch Coordinator
Brian Roethlisberger, Architectural Control Committee (ACC) Chair
Kirk Randall, Member at Large
Telah Jackson, Member at Large

Mr. Stewart introduced Heather Stewart, a Geographic Information System (GIS) intern, who had created a variety of maps of Hickory Farms. These maps will be used by the Board in making future plans.

Recognition of Volunteers

Mr. Stewart recognized a number of volunteers who have served Hickory Farms in varying capacities during 2018, but noted approximately 50 volunteers accounted for only one volunteer per every four households.

Special recognition (plaques) for efforts by volunteers was given to Dante Gilmer, Brian Roethlisberger, and Melissa Stark.

Mr. Steward added there were needs for a new Chair of the Architectural Control Committee, for a Newsletter Editor, and for a Listserv Manager. Also, volunteers were needed for help with the Common Areas and for the Neighborhood Watch.

2017 Minutes

The minutes of the Hickory Farms 2017 Annual Meeting were approved by the Members.

Architectural Control Committee

Mr. Roethlisberger reviewed the role of the ACC in the HFCA covenants. He noted there were a near record number of applications during the year.

He also noted this was the second year in a row of property inspections. In 2017, the ACC sent eighty (80) letters to homeowners whose property violated the covenants. In 2018, the ACC found it necessary to send only 29 letters. The most frequent issue found during the inspections was algae on siding. Other frequent issues were trashcans left in front of houses and mailboxes needing repair/replacement.

He added the ACC has little leverage over homeowners to correct problems without a change in the Deed of Dedication and Declarations.

Upon discussion, it was agreed that reminders would be distributed quarterly to homeowners, separate from the newsletters, highlighting the most common issues of concern.

Finally, he stated he would be retiring from the ACC at the end of 2018, so a new chair was needed.

Ms. Pam Barrett volunteered to serve as ACC Chair.

Proposed Changes to By-Laws

Mr. Randall reviewed proposed changes to the by-laws (see attached). Changes to the by-laws do not require approval by three-quarters of homeowners, unlike the Deed and Declarations, just a simple majority of Members.

A member objected to the word “cause.” Another member objected to the word “review” instead of “audit.” It was noted by the Member that “audit” was a term of art in accounting and should only be used in the proper context. All of the proposed revisions were adopted by the Members with the exception of the accounting review/audit.

Other suggestions from members included:
- Quarterly review of finances
- Adding bank statements to minutes (redacting account numbers)

Deed and Declaration Changes

Mr. Bernhardt briefly reviewed the need for changes to the Deed of Dedication and Declaration. The Board had collected 78 “ayes” and 3 “nays”. One hundred forty-nine “ayes” are needed to approve the changes; 51 “nays” would make it impossible to achieve the required number.

At the 2016 HFCA Annual Meeting, it was determined the Board should pursue amending the Declaration so monetary fines could be assessed against HFCA members who did not comply with the Declaration and the Rules and Regulations.

A Committee, which was formed to draft the amendment, prepared the following draft amendment to the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions of the Hickory Farms Community Association:

Add a new subsection (g) to Article V, Section 1, as follows:
“(g) The right of the Association to assess charges for rules violations in accordance with provisions of the Virginia Property Owners Association Act, as the same may be amended from time to time, or in accordance with any other provisions of Virginia law may authorize assessment of such charges, as is more fully described in Article VIII, Section 1 hereof.”

Add a new subsection (b) to Article VIII, Section1, as follows:
Insert “(a)” before existing Section 1 text.

Insert subsection (b) as follows:
“(b) In addition, the Board of Directors shall have the authority to assess charges for violations of the Declaration or Bylaws of the Association and /or of the Rules and Regulations adopted pursuant to authority given in those documents, in accordance with provisions of the Virginia Property Owners Association Act as the same may be amended from time to time, or in accordance with any other provision of Virginia law may authorize assessment of such charges.”

An Instrument for Homeowner Agreement to Amendment of Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions had been prepared with the assistance of the Association’s attorneys. Bruce noted it would be necessary to acquire the signatures of the owners of at least 75 percent of the 198 properties (149 out of 198) in Hickory Farms in order for the amendment to become effective. He further noted all parties to the deed to a property must sign the instrument.

Neighborhood Watch

Ms. Buchanan noted Neighborhood Watch patrols were only conducted on Friday and Saturday nights. Since there are 44 volunteers for the Neighborhood Watch, on some nights only one volunteer was patrolling, instead of the desired team of two, and some nights had no patrols at all. This low number of volunteers was in despite of the finding in the survey of homeowners that three-quarters of respondents thought the Neighborhood Watch reduced the rate of crime in the neighborhood. She is looking for another 25 volunteers, so she could increase the number of teams participating in Neighborhood Watch from 29 to 50, and reduce the number of times each team would need to do the watch to no more than twice a year.

She added she was in the process of obtaining “Slow Down – We Live Here” signs from Fairfax County and new Neighborhood Watch magnetic signs for cars.

Social Committee

Ms. Meredith Perkins gave a brief presentation on the activities of the Social Committee during 2018. She noted the next event scheduled for 2018 would be held at 4:30pm on October 20 in the Upper Common Area.

Block Captains

Mr. Bever explained the Board was considering a program for “Block Captains,” in order to improve communications between the Board of Directors and homeowners.

2019 Budget

It was noted copies of the 2019 budget had been distributed for consideration.

Mr. Gilmer stated that all dues had been collected for 2018 without the need to turn any accounts to attorneys for collection. He added the projected deficit for 2018 was lower than had been anticipated originally. A deficit of $2,500 was projected for 2019.

He noted HFCA had a year’s worth of assessments in reserves, as is specified in the HFCA Rules and Regulations and By-Laws.

He noted the Board had approved the 2019 budget. Homeowners’ assessment remained at $200. He further noted the Board always sought affirmation by homeowners of the Board-approved budget and level of the Annual Assessment. The attendees expressed unanimous support of the 2019 budget and of the $200 assessment per homeowner.

Election of 2019 HFCA Board of Directors

On a motion made and seconded, the current members of the Board were elected as members of the 2019 Board of Directions by acclamation, with the addition of Pam Barrett and resignation of Brian Roethlisberger.

Strategic Plan

Ms. Jackson explained a survey was conducted in 2018 to ascertain the views of homeowners, with the goal of guiding the Board in its efforts in 2019. The results would be distributed with a forthcoming Newsletter.

Other Business

Mr. Randall offered to serve as a deputy Listserv Manager. He added he would also organize a winter group purchase for tree work.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 PM.