Hickory Farms

HFCA Board Meeting Minutes

May 17, 2016

Time: 7:52 – 9:23 pm


  • Bruce Bernhardt, President
  • Chuck Stewart, Vice President
  • Don Lobeda, Community Grounds, Paths, and Woods                                                 
  • Vanessa Franck, Neighborhood Watch
  • Brenda Denny, Treasurer
  • Ed Wagner, Secretary 

Old Business


  • A motion to approve the minutes from the previous board meeting was made, seconded, and passed.

Board Action Items

  • A motion to approve the Greenleaf Contract was made, seconded, and passed.

Country Squire Lane occupied by students - complaints:

  • Bruce spoke with the property owner, who indicated that the students are moving out.
  • Owner also indicated that he –
    • Had previously tried to rent to a family, but unfortunately they backed out.
    • Was willing to put language in the lease about reasonable actions given neighbors’ concerns; Bruce agreed to develop some language, which needs to be specific and actionable.
  • The discussion identified the possibility of adding a paragraph about Hickory Farms and that moving into a residence establishes an agreement to adhere to the standards of the community.
  • Bruce agreed to send an email to the entire board to obtain ideas on any verbiage.
  • The board will have HFCA’s attorney review any language developed.

Neighborhood Walkthrough Results

  • Vanessa will draft the letters based on adhering to covenants and required actions, which the board will review.
  • Chuck mentioned a form letter that was used by the Architectural Control Committee.
  • The plan involves development of two versions of a letter, which vary based on the significance of the issues identified during the walk through.
  • The letters may include photos as an attachment in an effort to ensure clarity about the specific issue.

Spinning Wheel Court Property

  • The property is looking better as a result of volunteer work, but some work may still be needed.
  • Bruce plans to talk with the resident about whether the house is being sold before he asks for any more volunteer hours.

Attorney Issues

  • Bruce and Dante plan to meet with the attorney to review the following items –
    • Request information on how to handle past-due annual dues and associated fee collections, including the fee structure and process steps.
    •   Review of By-Law wording changes.
    •   Annual Meeting Dues Lottery.

Cloud Processing Storage Options

  • The board continued its discussion about options for ensuring storage and access to community association documents.
  • The board agreed that if it adopted a cloud solution for electronic storage, it would exclude storage of personally identifiable information (PII).
    • External storage would be limited to information that the board is required to retain, such as financial information, board actions, etc.
    • Plan to obtain more information on the definition of PII to avoid any disclosure issues.
  • The board discussed some other related items, such as the potential need to encrypt emails to home owners, the possibility of needing cyber insurance given use of the Internet for conducting the community’s business.

Sign Vandalism

  • Don obtained two estimates for removing the green paint on Hickory Farms’ sign at the Burke Station Road entrance.
  • The provider of the lower estimate then changed his approach from a firm price to a cost approach (i.e., hourly rate)
  • Given the cost risk associated with hourly rate approach, Don plans to obtain additional estimates.

Speeding within Hickory Farms

  • The board has requested that Fairfax County set up their speed measurement equipment in the community; Supervisor Cook’s office has stated that Hickory Farms in on “the list.”  Note that there is only one device to serve the entire West Springfield police district.
  • The board plans to discuss traffic calming options, such as speed bumps, at the next annual meeting.

Congregate Living Facility

  • The request to establish this type of facility in Fairfax County was withdrawn by the applicant, so the Board’s concerns that similar facilities could be placed in Hickory Farms is moot.

Boy Scout Project

  • Given our inability to resolve insurance questions, the project to repair the walking bridges has been dropped for now.

New Business:


  • Capital Funds Plans
  • The board discussed some suggestions on updating the treasurer’s record keeping related to the community’s Capital Funds; Bruce will work with Brenda on the details.
  • The board plans to retain the funds from the certificates of deposit that recently expired in the checking account until we have defined needed near-term capital improvements.
  • Community has three homeowners whose annual fees have not been paid.
  • Two of these three were the result of bounced checks, which cost HFCA $20 per check.
  • Since these checks bounced, these two homeowners did not meet the deadline; therefore they owe $50 late fee and $20 bounce check fee in addition to the $150 annual fee.
  • A motion to accept the treasurer’s report was made, seconded, and approved.

Common Grounds, Woods and Paths

  • Mowing
    • Don has received a couple of complaints about the mowing in the lower common area.
    • He has contacted the lawn service to address the concerns.
  • Tree Removal – Removed one tree so far this year; no additional ones identified at this point in time
  • Briar Patch
    • Don is working on obtaining volunteers to clear some of the briar patch.
    • A motion was made, seconded, and approved to fund up to $500 to haul away debris removed by volunteers.
  • Lawn Mowing Group Service
    • Board has received a request from a resident about identifying a lawn service that would be willing to provide a discounted price if multiple HF residents signed up.
    • Don will check with the service that maintains the common areas to see if they are interested in doing home lawns
    • The board will add an article to the newsletter about this idea and to see if someone will volunteer to coordinate this effort.

Neighborhood Watch

  • Vanessa has obtained the new signs; will order smaller bags for storing the signs, binder, etc.
  • This approach provides a back-up bag in case the primary bag is not available.
  • Vanessa noted that we still have gaps (i.e., dates without coverage) in the schedule.

Garden Committee

  • This committee has been established, with six members from the community.
  • Plan to rework the entrance signs, including removing some bushes, adding perennial and annual flowers along with rebuilding the decorative fences.
  • Committee has requested $1,000 to start.
  • This is not an annual expense, but is required to redo the entrance sign landscaping.
  • A motion to authorize the Garden Committee to spend up to $1,000 was made, seconded, and approved.
  • Brenda will add a special project line to the budget (entrance improvement project)
  • Bruce sent Kirk an article about the Garden Committee for the July newsletter.

Insurance Review

  • Community association has a new insurance agent
  • Had a conference call with the new agent, who is located in Maryland; learned some things, but also discovered that there were a number of questions that they couldn’t answer.
  • Discussion seemed to be Maryland-centric, where the agents are located.
  • We experienced a lack of follow through in responding to questions that required additional research.
  • Need to check into obtaining insurance coverage from another company with agents located in Virginia.
  • HFCA has three different insurance policies
  • Commercial Prime Insurance:
    • Provides $20,000 in coverage for theft.
    • Current firm asked about value of collateral when we asked about increasing coverage.
    • Board plans to try to identify a Virginia firm to provide a competing offer for this type of coverage.
  • Commercial General Liability:
    • Have not received a bill.
    • Chuck will call Moody’s about not receiving the bill.
    • A motion to pay this bill was made, seconded, and approved.
  • Need to consider Surety Insurance Plans, which is to covers the community association if it has insufficient funds.
    • Brenda will send the contact information.
    • Chuck will check into this insurance.
  • The board is trying to gather information from other associations about types and associated amounts for claims involving insurance.

Capital Improvements

  • The board agreed to form a committee to determine improvements to the Northern Path.
  • For the short-term, repairs may be handled through patches.

Open Discussion

  • Bruce will follow up with board members about what night of the week works best for board meetings.

Next Meeting

  • The next Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at 7:45 pm at Vanessa’s.