Hickory Farms

December 2019 Hickory Farms Newsletter

Merry Christmas! And Have A Safe, Prosperous, Happy New Year! - Editor, Chuck Stewart (Still Meadow Rd)

Hickory Farms Board Calendar

  • Jan. 14 - Board of Directors Meeting

Social Calendar 2019

  • Dec. 15 - 18 - Holiday Decorating Contest, Voting & Awards, All Ages

Annual Assement Due

Your $250 Hickory Farms Annual Assessment (dues) is due by January 1, 2020. The amount of the Annual Assessment is set each year by the Board of Directors and affirmed by the homeowners at the Annual Meeting. Bills are mailed to each resident homeowner and each absentee homeowner who has given their contact information to the Board of Directors.

“FYI - So far, about 50% of the homeowners have paid Annual Assessments for 2020”

Make check or money order payable to Hickory Farms Community Association or HFCA.

Please send your check or money order to:
Hickory Farms Community Association
P.O. Box 2239
Fairfax VA 22031

If you prefer to pay by credit card or Paypal please visit: https://hickoryfarms.org/archive/annualDues.php. There is a $7.78 charge to cover the credit card processing fee, which will be deposited electronically into HFCA's account in a matter of a few hours, not days.

The Assessment should be paid by the person who owns the home on January 1. Payments that are not postmarked or in the physical possession of the Treasurer by January 7 are late and the homeowner will be charged an additional $50. Payments received after that date that do not include the additional $50 charge (total payment is $300) will be returned to the homeowner for non-payment. On February 1, delinquent accounts will be turned over to the Association's attorneys for collection. At that point, the amount owed by the delinquent homeowner will be $300 plus attorney fees (another $200+) and could include significant court costs if HFCA files a lawsuit. These procedures are in accord with the Hickory Farms Community Association Bylaws, which have no provision for waiver.

  • Do not mail or hand deliver your payment to the Treasurer's house.
  • Write the house number and street name of your property on your check.
  • Moved? New homeowner? Email owner's name, address, and telephone number to Kirk_Randall@Hotmail.com, who maintains HF records.
  • Questions? Treasurer@Hickoryfarms.org

I tried the new credit card annual assessment payment method and I like it. If you are trying to pay the annual assessment at the last minute, this method of payment is deposited electronically into HFCA's account in a matter of a few hours, not days and cheaper than the $50 late fee - Chuck

Drugs Are All Around – Even Here in Hickory Farms

In recent months, several residents, while walking through the Common Areas, have found evidence of drug use, particularly in the enclosed boxwood (tall bushes) area between 4358 Farm House and 10117 Round Top. The fact that drug paraphernalia have been found in our neighborhood doesn’t mean that residents are the problem. Non-residents pass through our neighborhood daily going to and from GMU, and despite our “No Trespassing” signs, they can easily enter our Common Areas. Please be on the lookout for suspicious activity in both upper and lower Common Areas, particularly at nighttime. If you spot a car parking on Farm House at nighttime, adjacent to the Upper Common Area, for example, and people exit the car and walk into the wooded area, that looks suspicious. Neighborhood Watch patrols, please keep an eye out for suspicious activity in the Common Areas. However, whether you’re on Neighborhood Watch patrol or just a concerned resident, never confront anyone. If you see something suspicious, call the police at 911. Unfortunately, drug use in our community is nothing new. Indeed, this article is adapted from a 2015 Newsletter.

Neighborhood Watch

Day Date 1st Person 2nd Person
Fri Dec 6 Brian Roethlisberger Rob Mikula
Sat Dec 7 Tony Dong  
Fri Dec 13 David Tropiano Sarah Tropiano
Sat Dec 14 Tom Barrett Pam Barrett
Fri Dec 20 David Cain  
Sat Dec 21 Jim Marshall Carol Marshall
Fri Dec 27 Lt Trieu Will Lunsford
Sat Dec 28 Pete Scala Rose Scala

We are working to enlist 50 residents/teams on the roster! Contact Debbi Buchanan at 703.307.7323 or simplydebbi1@gmail.com for information or to be added to the roster.

Rabbit Run Restoration

The two most recent editions of the Hickory Farms Community Newsletter contained articles about the severe erosion along Rabbit Run. (See “Deteriorating Conditions in the Rabbit Run Common Areas”—pg. 2, October, 2019; “Rabbit Run: The Facts”—pg. 2, November, 2019.) Due to the dangers involved with steep drop-offs and undercut banks, the HFCA Board decided to remove bridges, and close the trail that runs along the creek, as risk management measures.

Four HFCA Board members met with the Fairfax County Stormwater Planning Division to discuss the Rabbit Run Restoration. HFCA Board members learned about the County’s process, priorities, project budgeting and time frame.

The Board intends to pursue a stream remediation with the County, because of its advantages for our Community:

  • The stream remediation work is funded by taxpayer dollars, not by a special assessment on HFCA members. (There might be some associated costs, such as legal fees to our HOA attorney for any legal advice or required forms, but such fees would fall within our normal budget for legal services.)
  • The County undertakes all required permitting (Federal, State, Local).
  • The County has follow-on responsibilities to ensure the remediation measures are doing what they were designed to do.

Both Fairfax County and the HFCA Board believe there is the potential for us to work together on the Rabbit Run Restoration. The county has a scoring system to determine a project’s priority on its waiting list of stormwater restoration projects. A significant milestone is a County and Board walk through in September 2020. The Board is reviewing sample documents and what might be required on its part. The Board will consult with our HOA attorney on legal issues (e.g., easements). Bob Cosgriff agreed to chair the Rabbit Run Restoration Project Committee.

This will be a lengthy process: consequently, the earliest that Rabbit Run could be considered for project funding would be FY22, The design, engineering and permitting typically takes two years, so approved construction would not begin until 2025.

The Board will have much to learn as we work with the County. We look forward to sharing new information with you as it becomes available.

Seeking Homeowners to Join the Board as Vice President!

The Vice President attends our Monthly Board Meetings, is ready to assume the President’s job and take assignments given by the President. If interested in learning more, please email President@hickoryfarms.org.

Seeking Homeowners to Join the Board as Secretary and Assistant Treasurer!

The Secretary attends our Monthly Board Meetings and records the official minutes. The Assistant Treasurer helps HFCA's Treasurer to assure quality budget and financial transactions and accounts. If interested in learning more, please email hfca@hickoryfarms.org.

Seeking Volunteer for HFCA Annual Financial Review

If you are a homeowner and have a couple of hours to share coffee together one weekend morning after the holidays sometime in the mid-January to mid-February period, we invite volunteers to help HFCA Treasurer Jim Bever and a couple Board Members to review our 2019 budget and accounts, for our record. Please email Jim at treasurer@hickoryfarms.org.

A Tree Fell on My Property – Now What?

Wind and rain events have intensified in recent years, leading to trees falling more frequently than before. When a tree falls, who pays for property damage and tree removal depends on a number of factors, and things can sometimes get complicated. A few years ago, a tree on a Fairfax City property fell over the North Path (owned by Hickory Farms) and landed on a Hickory Farms homeowner’s property. The general rule is that cleanup responsibility lies with where the tree has fallen. Thus, the Fairfax City homeowner was responsible for tree cleanup up to the property line at the North Path. Hickory Farms was responsible for that part of the tree which fell on the path, and the Hickory Farms homeowner was responsible for the portion of the tree that fell on their property. Fortunately, all three parties collaborated to take care of the tree.

  • If a tree damages your home or improvements (for example, your fence is crushed), you can file a claim with your homeowners insurance company, who should pay to repair the damaged property and remove the tree. Non-structural damage like a damaged lawn generally does not qualify for homeowners’ insurance coverage.
  • If a neighbor’s tree falls on your property, it is generally considered to be an “Act of God” and you or your insurance company is responsible for the damage.
  • The exception to the above is if you have notified the neighbor that their tree is in imminent danger of falling on your property. The neighbor could then be held liable for damage to your property when the tree falls. You must have notified the neighbor with a certified letter of the danger. If the neighbor refuses to pay for the damage, you can file a claim with your insurance company, which will then attempt to collect from the neighbor’s insurance company. Better yet, inform the neighbor of the threat the tree poses to your property and convince them to remove the tree as a preventative measure. If they balk, you might consider sharing the cost of removing the tree for your own peace of mind, which is what I did several years ago.
  • If a tree in the Hickory Farms Common Area is involved, please consult Article 2.2 of the Hickory Farms Rules and Regulations.
  • These days, an insurance claim can adversely affect whether your company retains you as a client. Carefully consider whether you want to make a claim. Even innocently asking the insurance company whether an incident would be covered could lead to negative marks on your record, even if you make no claim.

I am just a homeowner and this information should not be considered definitive. Consult an attorney or an insurance expert for advice. (Kirk Randall, Country Squire Ln)

The 2019 HFCA Christmas Lights

Selling Your Home? $146.71 Disclosure Packet Fee Takes Effect January 1

Homeowners, when you sell your home in Hickory Farms, you are required by Virginia law to give to the purchaser the Hickory Farms Community Association’s (Association) Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act (VPOAA) Disclosure Packet.

Under Section 3.1(d) of the Association’s Rules and Regulations, beginning January 1, 2020, homeowners will be assessed a $146.71 fee for the preparation and delivery of a Disclosure Packet. This fee complies with Common Interest Community Board (CICB) regulations under the VPOAA.

You or your agent should contact both the Treasurer at Treasurer@HickoryFarms.org and Architectural Control Committee (ACC) chairperson at ACC@HickoryFarms.org to request a Disclosure Packet. You should submit your request at least four weeks prior to closing in order to give our volunteer Board members adequate time to respond. Regardless of whom requests the Disclosure Packet, you the homeowner are legally responsible under VPOAA to ensure it gets delivered to the purchaser in a timely manner.

The fee must be paid before Part 1 of the Disclosure Packet may be released. Make your check or money order out to “HFCA” and write your Hickory Farms address and telephone number on it. Mail it to HFCA, P.O. Box 2239, Fairfax VA 22031. We encourage you to mail it at the same time you email us to request Part 1 of the Disclosure Packet. This gives time for U.S. mail, holidays, Sundays, and for deposit and clearing of the check at our bank, as well as resolving of delays, misdirected checks, etc. For a small additional processing fee, you may wish to pay by credit card which will be credited to your account in hours, not days. Email Treasurer@HickoryFarms.org for more information.

The purchaser may cancel the contract for any reason within three days of receiving the Disclosure Packet.
The Hickory Farms Disclosure Packet comes in two parts:

Part 1 contains specific information about your property. Before Part 1 is emailed to you by the Treasurer, your property exterior will be inspected by a member of Architectural Control Committee (ACC) to determine compliance with the Hickory Farms Rules and Regulations and Restrictive Covenants (See Article VII). If it is not in compliance, the Part 1 letter will direct you to bring the property into compliance before closing. If you refuse to comply, the purchaser could cancel the sale. A member of the ACC may arrive unannounced to see if someone is home before inspecting the property’s exterior. If no one is at home, they will do a quick walk around the property. If you do not want the person to enter your yard un-attended, (if, say, you have a dog), you must arrange a meeting time.

Part 2 contains general information applicable to all homes in Hickory Farms. This document is available for free download by clicking this link.

The 2020 Board of Directors

President: Chuck Stewart
Vice President: Open
Secretary: Open
Common Areas: Melissa Stark
ACC: Pam Barrett
Treasurer: Jim Bever
Assistant Treasurer: Open
Neighborhood Watch: Debbi Buchanan
At Large: Bill Berg, Telah Jackson & Kirk Randall

Student Yellow Pages

If you wish to offer services such as shoveling snow, raking leaves, lawn mowing, babysitting, general home maintenance, etc., email kirk_randall@hotmail.com

Bridgette Buchanan (15)
Babysitting and dog sitting
Britney Mulliner (17)
Babysitting (6 years experi-ence including newborns) dog sitting.
Cody Dempster (16)
Yard work (raking leaves, lawn mowing, etc.) snow shoveling, housework
Dominic Cannata (17)
Lawn mowing, shovel snow, cleaning, mulching, any odd job.
Dylan Mehrman (16)
Lawn mowing
Erika Maaseide (16)
Babysitting; has experience with Special Needs children
George Codding (13)
Shovel snow
Kent Codding (17)
Shovel snow
Paul Cannata (18)
Lawn mowing, shovel snow, cleaning, mulching, any odd job.
Xavier Gilmer (15)
Shovel snow; lawn mowing