Hickory Farms

HFCA Board Meeting Minutes

April 4, 2017

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 @ 7:30 PM
10110 Round Top Ct., Fairfax, VA 22032

Board Member Attendees:
President, Board of Directors: Bruce Bernhardt
Secretary: Melissa Stark
Architectural Control Committee: Brian Roethlisberger
Common Areas: Don Lobeda
At Large: Neighborhood Watch: Debbi Buchanan
At Large – Newsletter Editor: Don Seymour
At Large: Kirk Randall
Treasurer (Acting): Dante Gilmer

Opening, Welcome and Introductions:

Bruce B. welcomed the board members and thanked them for attending.


Bruce B. made a motion to approve 2.7.2017 Board of Directors meeting minutes as revised (see HFCA website). The motion was made, seconded, and passed.

Old Business

Property Inspection Volunteer Group & Timing (Dante)

Dante emailed the property inspection volunteers on April 3rd and all 10 volunteers have agreed to participate in the property inspections. The property inspections should be completed by April 30th.

Dante will be meeting with Brian R. to get some more guidelines that will be covered in Saturday, April 8th's volunteer meeting. The volunteer team will receive a packet of inspection forms and Dante will walk through how to properly fill them out, as well as, they will inspect a house together as a group.

A drop box has been created for volunteers to post pictures of each homes front, back and side.

Hickory Farms Property Encroachment along Rabbit Run Commons Area (Bruce)

Bruce has taken a look at the property and noticed that the landscaping and bench have encroached onto the common grounds. Bruce will have a conversation with the homeowner.

Long Term Capital Fund Status (Bruce/Kirk)

Bruce went over to SunTrust Bank and they can set up a separate account for the HFCA BOD, this way we can manage the capital funds account separately.

The previous Treasurer's name is currently on the account, so her name will need to be removed and Dante's will be added until the Treasurer's position becomes filled. All 4 BOD with signing ability will need to be present in order to make this change.

Declaration Changes and Subcommittee (Bruce)

Bruce currently has a list of his volunteers for this committee and will be reaching out to them this week (week ending April 8th). Bruce will then schedule a few meetings with the declaration changes committee to make sure things are organized and ready to go, prior to the team knocking on Hickory Farms residents doors.

Bruce mentioned that now is the time for us to put in requests for additional topics that we would like our volunteers to ask the Hickory Farms residents. There were two requests at the BOD meeting. The first, was for if the Hickory Farms residents would be interested in having their information published in an updated Hickory Farm resident directory. Kirk R. notes that they directory project has been difficult to implement because the members at the 2015 Annual Meeting made it clear that they wanted to personally approve any homeowner data that would be included in such a directory. Visiting each homeowner personally could solicit enough information to make such a directory useful. The second, was about informing homeowners of the Hickory Farms' listserv and if they have not joined, the benefits in doing so. There was agreement from the board that there should be an informational sheet that we leave behind with the resident. This informational sheet will have our upcoming social events, listserv information, etc. on it.

Water Runoff on Northern Path (Bruce and Chuck)

Bruce is meeting with Fairfax County at noon on Thursday, April 6th. Bruce said that when he had a discussion with the county to set up the meeting, they were very responsive. They said, "That if the sewers are not doing their job, they want to know." Currently Fairfax City residents have an open pipe that drains by the northern path, which is causing water to drift towards and over the northern black path. Bruce will update the board about the outcome of this meeting right after.

Property Encroachment on Northern Path (Bruce)

Bruce sent a letter to the Fairfax City homeowner who mistakenly planted three bushes on the northern path Hickory Farms property. The homeowner apologized for encroaching and has said the three bushes are ours. Bruce will send a letter of record confirming that the plants are now ours.

Outcome of the 1 Outstanding Home on the 2017 Assessment Status Report (Bruce)

This issue has been resolved. We have received payment from the one outstanding homeowner.

Everyone that was on the late payment list, responded and paid accordingly. 14 of the 17 homeowners on late payments list, paid late charges. The remaining three homeowners payments were in on time, but were misfiled.

Neighborhood Watch Signs Placement (Don L.)

This action item is still pending. Don L. looked at the big box stores for the proper posts and post hole diggers for the sign. They didn't have it, so he will try Harbor Freight.

Updating the Neighborhood Watch Web Page with More Detailed Information (Debbi)

This action item is still pending. Debbi will try to get it done by the next meeting.

Moss & Asphalt Issues on the Northern & Lower Commons Path (Don L. & Kirk)

GreanLeaf was not interested in taking on this project, due to it being too small of a job. Pressure washing the moss was discussed, but there is concern that this will cause the asphalt to crumble. Don didn't have a chance to get to Merrifield Garden Center to ask them about the best way to tackle this issue. Melissa has taken on this list item, since she goes to Merrifield often.

Northern & Rabbit Run Railings (Melissa)

Melissa talked about the addition of the northern path railings being added to her paint project, since they are rusting a bit on the bottom and the black paint is chipping off. Also, she mentioned that the tunnel will be painted in order to cover the graffiti.

Architectural Control committee (ACC)

HF property evaluation checklist completed by Brian R. on 3.19.17.

Property Inspection Contractor Statement of Work

Brian R and Bruce agreed that this activity is no longer needed due to the high level of participants in the property inspection review going on in April/May. Removed on 3.24.17.

At Large – Newsletter Editor

Recruiting reporters from the community to provide 2 paragraphs on a topic of interest or possibly to interview members of the board. Completed by Don S. on 2.4.17.

Target receiving content for the newsletter on the last Friday of the month and the newsletter will aim to be sent out the first week of every month. Completed by Don S. on 2.4.17.


Add newspaper publication to the yearly calendar and bunco. Completed by Melissa on 3.30.17.


Create a general contact email hfca@hickoryfarms.org & remove BOD contact information from the website. Bryan C. completed this on 2.9.17.

Transfer Hickory Farms website from the old server to the new one. Bryan C. completed this on 2.19.17.

New Business

Architectural Control Committee

Property Violations Status/Actions In Progress

  • The 2016 violation letters for residents have not responded or made corrections, will not get a secondary notice. They will be re-audited again with the volunteer property inspection this April.
  • 4 applications were sent in for approval after 2.7.17 meeting and all 4 were approved by the ACC.

Common Grounds

2017 Green Leaf Contract Review and Vote

  • This years 2017 Green Leaf agreement is the same price as the past two years. Don L. has removed cleaning the front signage area, due to the garden club taking care of this area. Instead, the front signage money will be allocated towards cleaning up debris in the two big commons areas.
  • It was brought up that Green Leaf does not do a very good job of cutting close to the edges of residents properties along the commons area or the wooded area in the commons. Don L. stated that they are not going to go back and edge areas that were not cut by the lawnmower. He also said that we are getting a good price for the mowing and that is the cost of living on the commons area, residents may have to mow any missed common grounds grass themselves by their property.
  • A motion was made, seconded and approved to go with Green Leaf Landscaping, Inc. for the 2017 season.

Rabbit Run Clean Up – Updated Pricing and Vote

  • Don L. did get pricing for clean up along both Rabbit Run railings, but it was missing some of the details by the third railing and creek embankment. Green Leaf was also only cutting down foliage that was as big or bigger than this forearm. Bruce indicated that we are actually looking at keeping the trees, except for the one growing over the railing, more or less cutting back the Japanese honeysuckle and briars. Since Melissa is working on cleaning up the Rabbit Run railings, Bruce has asked that she get quotes for the clearing the area according to the specs and getting it priced in pieces, since it may be costly.

Signage Wording for the Northern Path/Rabbit Run/Fairfax City Entrance

  • Since there has been a lot of activity along our paths, our Hickory Farms signs will be put up along these entrances, as well as, we will add a sign indicating that there is no dumping or trespassing.


Bruce commented that there has been a lot of activity in terms of home sales in the neighborhood and a lot of activity with the Hickory Farms Board of Directors. He commented that the BOD's activities spreadsheet is a good tool that will be used at the annual meeting to show Hickory Farms residents the good things that the board is doing and how much time and effort we are putting into our volunteer positions.

There was a discussion in regards to how long an RV can be placed outside a residence on the street. There have been some complaints brought up by Hickory Farms residents about an RV with a electrical hook up, being parked in the neighborhood for long periods of time. Kirk Randall took the action item and will talk with Fairfax County about their RV codes and inform the board. Kirk R. notes that parking vehicles like RVs on the street for extended periods of time are subject to Fairfax County police enforcement and complaint my be filed at the non-emergency number 703.691.2131. Parking Rvs forward of the house on the property for more than seven days is a violation of the Hickory Farms Declaration and Rules and Regulations.


2017 Budget & Actuals Report Review

  • Brenda Denny, our previous treasurer, turned in her resignation in March. Dante has taken over the treasurer's responsibilities temporarily.
  • Dante said that we are currently in good financial standing for 2017 and Hickory Farms' taxes have been provided to our tax preparer. Due to the taxes being provided a bit later than usual, we may have to file an extension with the IRS. Our tax preparer will return the completed taxes to Dante and then he will file them accordingly. It was noted that in the future, we need to send the taxes to our tax preparer by March 1st to avoid penalties. This item will be added to the calendar.


New Calendar Additions

  • Our 1st cornhole tournament has been added to the calendar for May 20th. This bean bag tossing tournament will be an event for the adults in the community.
  • Discussed the success of the Spring Egg Hunt on April 1st in the upper commons area. Pictures will be posted in the next newsletter.
  • New updates to add to the calendar: Existing Green Leaf grounds contract due March 15th and March 1st tax deadline. Melissa will also check the by – laws and Deed of Declaration to add any dates missed.

BOD Activities Spreadsheet

  • Melissa informed the board that the BOD activities spreadsheet was intended to capture action items that were discussed in the meeting for easier view into what is pending, as well as, the ability to provide data quickly for our annual meeting presentation.
  • Melissa did inform the board that she knows this is a volunteer position and they all have full time jobs and some travel as well for their job. Due dates are put in as a target date for completion, if not completed by that date, extensions are granted.

Process Documentation

  • It was brought up if we currently have our processes documented. Some are documented, but others need to be added. Bruce said the funds disbursement policy is a process that needs to be documented and he will complete that task.

Job Descriptions

  • Since there is a recent BOD position opening for treasurer, Melissa asked the board if it would be beneficial in creating job descriptions for all Hickory Farms volunteer positions. This way prospective volunteers will have more information on what the position entails and an estimate of the time allotment per month. The board agreed and job descriptions will be due next meeting.

BOD Meeting Topic Operating Rhythm

  • There is a current operating rhythm for BOD meetings. Melissa will use the by laws to update future meetings with topics.

At Large – Neighborhood Watch, At Large – Newsletter, Vice President, Webmaster

No topics to present

Open Discussion

Girl Scout Brownie Troop 6898 Pollinator Project

For Girl Scout Troop 6898's community service project, the girls would like to help feed the pollinators and birds, by planting native and wildflowers in Hickory Farms. The girls will be planting these flowers around 2 Cotton Farm Rd. lower commons area bluebird feeders. Although the troop will be using some of their own funds earned by selling Girl Scout cookies, our HFCA Board has offered to donate up to $100 to help offset some costs with the project.

A motion was made, seconded and approved to authorize Girl Scout Troop 6898 to plant around the bird feeders in the commons area, as well as, provide Melissa S. up to $100 to spend on materials and badges for the girls.

Common Grounds Health Check

Melissa S. brought up that the trees and shrubs in our common grounds (Rabbit Run, northern path, upper and lower commons) are being choked by one of Virginia's top aggressive and invasive plants, Japanese honeysuckle. Since Japanese honeysuckle rapidly spreads by tiny fruit seeds, it is important that we take care of this issue sooner than later. Neglect in doing so, will allow the mat-like vines to prevent the establishment of native species, disintegration of leaves (due to air flow and lack of water) and death to our trees and shrubs.

Since our common grounds are one of Hickory Farms best hidden secrets and a huge selling feature, Melissa has requested that a 5 year plan be put together to take care of clearing our common grounds of all the invasive plants and restoring our grounds to a healthier state.

Don L. brought up that he discussed this topic in the annual meeting 2 years ago and the community was not supportive, due to their view on the plants helping the birds and wild life. He also stated that there are more important issues to put our common grounds money towards, which would be fixing the moss and asphalt issues on the northern and lower common ground paths and tackling the bamboo in the upper commons. Don L. also stated that he had a clean up day a couple of years ago, where Hickory Farms volunteers did clear a small section of the lower commons. He said it was time consuming, costly to haul away and many volunteers ended up getting poison ivy.

Bruce brought up the importance of maintaining our common grounds and recommend that we put together a 5 year clearing plan and cost analysis. Since Hickory Farms budget is very tight, depending on the cost analysis, this may require a bump in annual dues to help fund this project.

The board agreed that putting together a 5 year clearing plan and cost analysis report prior to the next annual meeting is a must. Since Melissa is looking into vendors on the rabbit run railing project, she will also talk to the vendors about the cost to clear the trouble spots in our common grounds. Once Melissa has received proposals from the vendors, she will put together a cost analysis report and provide the board with the budget needed to complete this project over time.

Next Meeting

Confirm date, time, location for next HFCA Board Meeting:
Tuesday, June 4th @ 7:30 PM Location: 10110 Round Top Ct, Fairfax, VA 22032

Meeting Opened: 7:37 PM - Meeting Adjourned: 9:19 PM