Hickory Farms

HFCA Board Meeting Minutes

February 11, 2020

Prepared by Debbi Buchanan

Attending meeting:

Bill Berg, Pam Barrett, Jim Bever, Telah Jackson, Kathie Schmidt, Chuck Stewart, Melissa Stark, Kirk Randall and Debbi Buchanan.

Meeting called to order by Chuck Stewart at 7:40 pm

Motion to Approve December and January Board of Director Meeting Minutes: Both December and January meeting minutes were approved by all in attendance.

New Business/Open Discussion

Braddock District Council

Kirk Randall led discussion re Fairfax County schools per pupil  price is lowest in County.  Chuck Stewart is volunteering this month.  Bruce Bernhardt leading through June.

Rabbit Run

Bob Cosgriff is chairing the lead.

New Website and PayPal led by Bryan Crabtree, Telah Jackson and Jim Bever

Congratulations were told to the committee for having over 20 PayPal payments for HOA fees.  It was the first year ever all 198 homeowners were paid by January 31. Only two homeowners paid a $50 late fee.

VPOAA Changes

Pam Barrett stated that our first check.

Changes to Governing Documents

Kirk Randall lobbied Sen. Bulova to sponsor legislation to have homeowners pay fees before a house is sold to ensure we receive the fees in case the closing falls through and not be a closing fee line item.

Rules - key Area is Charging Fee for Disclosure Package

Kirk Randall  asked if we needed to contact our attorneys to see if we could recover fees if not timely paid. Our disclosure package trumps federal law.  He commented that putting a blurb in the newsletter stating that we would collect attorneys fees if we had to contact them.  If we contact them, we have to pay the attorneys fees of $200 upfront.  Could we then recover that amount?  Pam Barrett commented that we used to have attorneys on retainer.  Chuck Stewart stated that we no longer do it that way. We just contact them when we have a question at an hourly rate.  Jim Bever stated that getting all 198 collections was a huge success and we will keep the same format next year of posting on Listserv, newsletter and postcards.  Basically, homeowners were reminded 5 different times to pay their HOA fee before Jan 7 to avoid a $50 late fee. Kathie Schmidt commented that if it’s in our deed and declarations, we have checked that box.  If a court can’t order through a judge then we can’t collect the money. Pam Barrett thought state laws would cover us.  We’ve never had a vote in our deed and declarations for this issue. There was a discussion about increasing our late fee to $75, but it was decided that it wasn’t necessary at this time since we only had 1% delinquent.  Melissa Stark noted that in her review of the Rules and Regulations, there was no reference to “Common Areas” only “Common Grounds”.  A motion was made to change “Common Grounds” to “Common Areas.”  Kirk Randall will head a committee to clean up Rules and Regulations language.  Kathie Schmidt asked if a change could be made to the Deed and Declarations. It was discussed that we tried to change it last year without success.  Jim Bever will follow up with Bryan Crabtree about getting PayPal on our website.

Training Idea

A 5 Minute Discussion at the Beginning of Board Meeting:  Chuck Stewart discussed talking about our governing documents at the beginning of each Board meeting.  Jim Bever wanted to know the roles for each member on Board.  Chuck Stewart said our roles are defined in our Rules and Regulations. Pam Barrett said the descriptions for the five key board positions are:  president, vice president, treasurer, ACC and secretary. Jim Bever seconded doing the training. Chuck Stewart will put the training info on the back of the agenda and take five minutes at the  beginning of each meeting.  

Standing Agenda Items


  • How is the Annual Assessment Going? Jim Bever met with Dante Gilmer and Ken Sorg on Jan. 25 to do the annual review. 
  • 2019 Records Review. There were 12 items to review.  Kirk Randall will check and cross check annual assessment. Ken Sorg might become assistant treasurer to countersign checks.  He can become an officer but might not be able to attend each meeting due to his work schedule.
  • Actual Monthly Report. We have over $25,000 in a money market account, over $51,000 in checking. The budget is covered for the year 2020.  We plan to have $2,000 for strategic planning activities.  Some changes will be occurring with advertising.  Kirk Randall stated that Outdoor 273 isn’t renewing their contract.  He’s going to see if he can get the Solar Guy to pick up the slack in the  advertising budget. 

Common Areas.

  • Melissa Stark reported that on January 28th,  the Common Areas Committee (CAC) met to discuss future activities.
  • Spring Plans. Premium Lawn & Landscape (Premium) informed HFCA that due to the mild winter, the first mow will more than likely be at the end of March vs. April’s usual start time.  Premium did a spring cleaning of the mulch beds at both Hickory Farm entrances, as well as, putting down mulch.  For $350, having a professional company do the normal HF volunteer service was well worth it.  It saved many volunteer hours and running around buying mulch.  Having this service professionally done, will allow the CAC to focus their time on other much needed activities.  The CAC will be meeting at the end of February to discuss spring plans for the commons area. They will be discussing plants for the meadow, as well as, trees and shrubs for the Upper Commons, Crabtree Island and the Main Island in the Lower Commons.  Chuck Stewart asked that a plan be put together for Board review. There will be some HF volunteer opportunities, such as planting and mulch moving.  All tree planting will be hired out and done by professionals.  There was a suggestion for students needing volunteer hours.  Melissa Stark will look into that.  Pam Barrett said that she was concerned with so much of Rabbit Run’s tree canopy being lost, especially two large trees (60–100 ft. tall) that had to be taken down in 2019 behind her home.  These were taken down due the trees being dead and hanging over a Country Squire neighbor’s home, whose insurance company would not renew their homeowner’s insurance due to the liability.  She is requesting the CAC to take a look at tree planting in that area in the future. Melissa Stark did note that due to the mature tree canopy of Rabbit Run, it is hard to grow new trees in predominantly shaded understory.  She will be looking at seeing what the CAC can do. Jim Bever commented that some of our budget is contingency for such things as tree removal; any leftover money from 2019 would be used as determined by the Board for such needs as replenishing the Money Market (capital reserve funds), strategic planning, and/or main budget.

Social Committee

  • Make Meredith Perkins a HFCA Officer.  Chuck Stewart made a motion to add Meredith Perkins as a Board member.  Telah Jackson seconded it.  It was a unanimous vote to add her so that she can be covered by our Board insurance. 

Architectural Control Committee

  • Pam Barett discussed that there were only a couple of requests this month. One being a new roof.  Second was a 28 x 15 playground set. There was a discussion of whether we’ve approved plans for other permanent structures.  Kirk Randall commented that the ACC keeps good records and can check to see what’s been approved.  Chuck Stewart commented that our new website should have records of all of our documents.  Everyone is using different systems, but ACC tells people to keep their own records. 

Neighborhood Watch

  • Debbi Buchanan commented that she continues to try to get more neighbors to join the watch without success.

At Large Issues

  • Kirk Randall: No comments.
  • Telah Jackson: Planning. Telah Jackson is working with Bob Cosgriff re repaving streets to get up on cycle for repairing —taking pictures of sidewalks and submitting to VDOT.  Jim Bever took pictures of sidewalks with major problems to be fixed by April 15.  He will be contacting VDOT about the more than three miles worth line patching.  In the ‘80s-‘90s paving was done in the neighborhood. We need to start getting their attention now so VDOT will get to us.  Telah Jackson is also talking with Bob Cosgriff about the entrance and island to see if we can get flashing signs on Roberts Road.  Chuck Stewart mentioned that he put together a presentation with the supervisor over two years ago.  Telah Jackson is looking into a branding guide and creating a logo.  She needs to hire a graphics designer to look into a branding guide so that we have consistency throughout.  Her committee will be working on branding with Bryan Crabtree and then the website.  It should then rollover to the newsletter as well.  
  • Bill Berg: Newsletter Printing. The last week of the month is the target date for getting the newsletter out.  Pam Barrett commented that we should have the calendar in the newsletter.  The calendar is on the website. We should post a calendar for the year and populate it in the newsletter and then on the website.  The website has all the info in it.  Since we are down to only five advertisers, we need to keep info pertinent.  10-15% of our neighborhood is elderly and may not use the website.


  • Next Meeting Date:  March 10, 2020
  • Meeting adjourned at 9:40