Hickory Farms

October 2018 Hickory Farms Newsletter

Upper Common Fall Flowers - Editor, Chuck Stewart (Still Meadow Rd)

Hickory Farms Calendar

  • Nov 13 - Board of Directors Meeting

2018 Strategic Plan Community Survey

A reminder to please complete and return the HFCA survey.

Your Annual Assessment is due by Jan 1, 2019

Dear Hickory Farms Homeowner,

Your $200 Hickory Farms Annual Assessment is due by January 1. Please send your check or money order to: HFCA, P.O. Box 2239, Fairfax VA 22031. If you have already paid, please ignore this mass mailing being sent to all homeowners.

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 $250) will be returned to the homeowner for non-payment. On February 1, de-linquent accounts will be turned over to the Association’s attorneys for collection. At that point, the amount owed by the delinquent homeowner will be $250 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.
  • Renters & tenants, please give this notice to your landlord.
  • Questions? Email Treasurer@Hickoryfarms.org

We All Agreed!

At property settlement we all agreed to abide by the Hickory Farms Deed of Dedi-cation and Declaration, By-Laws, and Rules and Regulations.

Deed of Dedication and Declaration, ARTICLE VII – RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS, Article 4. All lots and yards in the above described subdivision shall be maintained in a neat and attractive manner so as not to detract from the appearance of the above described development.

Hickory Farms Rules and Regulations, 1.4 Maintaining Lots, Yards, and Carports, d) All curbs, driveways and sidewalks of lots shall be edged as needed to maintain a neat appearance and so that grass does not grow over curbs and sidewalks.

We are all responsible for maintaining the neat appearance of our lots by edging all curbs, driveways and sidewalks. Edging limits damage to the concrete outside your home thereby preserving your home’s value. When your neighbors sell their home, the prospective buyers also decide if they want to live in our neighbor-hood. The neat and trimmed lawns can be major indicator of the quality and care Hickory Farms residents have toward their homes.

Social Committee News Flash Upper Common Monster Mash

Tigers, Princesses, Storm Troopers, Knights in Shining Armor, Batman and Witches all agree that Hickory Farms has the best Halloween parade!

Architectural Control Committee Activity September 2018

  • Cotton Farm - 10000 Install Propane Tank
  • Farm House - 4325 Install Storage Shed
  • Harvester Farm - 4350 Replace Roof & Gutters
  • Still Meadow - 4327 Install portico, front door, trim & paint shutters
  • Still Meadow - 4334 Install New Roof & Skylights
  • Wheatfield - 10036 Install New Roof

Group Tree Work Purchase

Kirk Randall (Country Squire) is organizing a tree work group purchase for December/January, when rates are usually lower than other seasons. This is the fourth he has organized in recent years. If you are interested in participating, please email your name, phone number, email address, and street address to kirk_randall@hotmail.com (that’s an underscore between names) or call 703-425-0210. Kirk will contact you in December. The tree company selected by Kirk will provide you with an estimate which, of course, you may decline. However, if you have an urgent need for tree service, this may not be the deal for you. Part of Kirk’s agreement with the company will be that they can work us into their schedule and if a big storm comes thru and they get a flood or work, we may be bumped down the priority list. In other words, they give us a lower price in exchange for scheduling flexibility.

ACC Year in Review

Birds of Hickory Farms

Bob Cosgriff (Cotton Farm Road)

The annual fall migration is underway and will continue into November, since different types of birds migrate at differ-ent times. The fall migration is more diffuse than the northbound spring migration. It is sometimes easy to overlook migratory birds this time of year, especially small songbirds. They are not in their bright breeding plumage. In fact, many birds molt into totally different plumage in the fall and those that don’t change are not quite as vivid as they were earlier in the year. Because they are not breeding or protecting territory, they are not as vocal as they are in the spring and summer. It might also be that in March we are looking forward to the end of winter and the start of spring, whereas in September, we are perhaps not looking forward to the onset of winter and therefore are not eagerly watch-ing for birds!

One danger for migrating birds this time of year is the possibility of a hurricane. Although birds can’t know from hundreds of miles away what the weather will be at their ultimate destination, they can sense and react to conditions as they approach a region where a strong storm is located. In the fall, strong winds inflowing from the north toward a hurricane located to the south of us as was Hurricane Florence can speed birds along their way—up to the point where the winds become too strong and the rain too heavy for safe flight. So they will ‘dam up’ until the conditions change in their favor before moving on to the south. This means that some birds might move through (or depart from) here a bit later than normal this year. It might also mean that some rarities might be blown off-course and end up here unexpectedly. This weather factor may have been in play on September 20th when I had three very good sightings. At 10:25 in the morning, I saw two Broadwinged Hawks circling over the lower common grounds. This date falls right during the peak week for this species in Virginia. However, most of these hawks move in large flocks down the ridges to the west of us. (A good spot to see these impressive “kettles” of Broad-winged Hawks is at Snickers Gap where Route 7 crosses the Blue Ridge Mountains.) However, sometimes there are stragglers who move east of the mountains, and that is apparently what I observed. The first neighborhood record for Broad-winged Hawk was exactly five months ago, less a day, when one northbound hawk flew over the upper common grounds (neighborhood bird #120). The other sightings came that same evening around 6 p.m. First, I saw an American Redstart (a warbler) at our feeders. This was the first of this species seen in our yard this year, bringing our 2018 total to 62. Shortly thereafter, another lovely warbler, a male Northern Parula, appeared out back. While not a new ‘yard year bird,’ it is always a nice one to see.

Going back to the subject of hawks: a neighbor told me that she had found a large, dead bird. Her description of size and color made me thing it might be a hawk, and indeed, it was: a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk. There was a nesting pair somewhere in our area along the creek between George Mason Forest and our northern path. I was not able to locate the nest during the breeding season, but this dead bird was most likely one of the offspring of that pair.

The obvious question is: what was the cause of death? There are a few possible causes. Hawks can be killed by other hawks or by large owls, such as Great Horned Owl or Barred Owl. They can die of diseases brought on by parasites. They can have accidents that injure them and thus prevent them from hunting. And they can die of starvation or exposure to severe weather. The body of this bird was largely intact, so I don’t think it was attacked by another raptor in order to eat it. (However, if it had tangled with another raptor and was injured, it might have succumbed to loss of blood and/or infection). If I had to surmise a cause of death, I would pick disease (such as West Nile Virus) or starvation. Young Red-shouldered Hawks leave the nest about six weeks after hatching and are then fed by the parents for several more weeks while they learn to fend for themselves. Perhaps the prolonged rains we’ve experienced this sum-mer from Gordon and Florence prevented successful hunting by the parents and the juvenile. This could have led to starvation, weakness, and then death from exposure for this bird. Mortality for this species is typically 50% or higher in the first year.

As a last item, I have sent the 2018 data from our bluebird trail to the Virginia Bluebird Society, which compiles infor-mation from around the state and publishes the results. This will let us know how we did this year compared to other areas within Fairfax and elsewhere in Virginia. The data include numbers of nesting attempts by Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, Carolina Chickadees, House Wrens, and “other,” numbers of eggs laid/hatched, number of birds fledged, types of predation, and trends. In our case, we had eight bluebirds fledged for eight eggs laid, but lost nine fledglings to predation by House Sparrows. We also lost a Tree Swallow to House Sparrows even before an “attempt” (defined as one egg laid). So what could have been a very good year turned out to be a below-average year for our trail overall. I’ll pass on the statewide results with the first article next year. Until then, enjoy the fall and keep your eyes on the skies for the birds of Hickory Farms.

2019 Budget

An Exciting Opportunity!

Chuck Stewart has been serving double duty for Hickory Farms, both as a busy President and as interim editor of our Newsletter. We urgently need a editor to take over the Newsletter, which is the means through which homeowners and residents are kept up-to-date with current happenings in the community. Please, please email Chuck at President@Hickoryfarms.org to learn more about this exciting opportunity.

Final Push to Approve Deed and Declaration Changes

Request Response from 122 Hickory Farms Property Owners!

Attached to this newsletter is a form for amending out Hickory Farms Deed of Dedication and Declaration of Covenants (Deed and Declaration) document. During the 2017 HFCA Annual Meeting a detailed presentation presented the background for the proposed amendment. The HFCA Board recommended amending the Deed and Declaration document and those in attendance at the meeting agreed with the recommendation by the Board. In summary, two court cases in Virginia* have ruled that Homeowner Association authority to assess penalties for violations of Association covenants and rules and regulations must be expressly stated in Association governing documents. When our documents were created in 1975, the wording used in the documents did not include such an express statement. Following review of the court decisions, review of Virginia Property Owners Association Act (VPOAA) provisions and discussion with our attorney, the attached Amend-ment Form was developed to include express language in our Deed and Declaration document which complies with VA court decisions and VPOAA provisions. In order for the amendment to become effective, 75% (149 of our 198 property owners) must approve the amendment in writing. If more than 25% (50) of our HF homeowners reject the proposed amendment, the changes will not be effective.

Since the 2017 Annual Meeting last October, multiple articles have been included in the HF Newsletter seeking writing approvals from all 198 HF property owners. To date, 75 property owners approved the Amendment and signed the Amendment Form. To date, one property owner has responded by email with a NO vote on the amendment. For the 76 property owners that have responded, thank you! For the 122 property owners who have not provided input to this very important decision, we need to hear from you - now. We are planning to complete the Amendment approval process in time for our 2018 Annual Meeting in October. To meet this schedule, please complete one of the two following actions:

If you agree with the HFCA Board recommended changes to the Deed and Declaration document, please sign the Amendment Form and mail it to: HFCA, P.O. Box 2239, Fairfax, VA 22031. If your property is owned by one person, one signature and date are required. If jointly owned, both signatures are required. If your property is part of a Trust, the Trustee must sign the Amendment Form.

If you do not agree with the Amendment, please send your NO vote back to me via text (703-989-0751) or email (hfca@hickoryfarms.org).

Please don’t put this off! We need to hear from the remaining 122 property owners as soon as possible! If you have any questions, please call me directly at 703-989-0751 and leave a voice message, I will return your call!

Bruce Bernhardt
HFCA Vice President

*Court cases: Farran v. Olde Belhaven Towne Owners Ass'n Case No. CL-2009-11786, 80 Va. Cir. 508; 2010 Va. Cir. LEXIS 92 and Shadowood Condominium Assn., vs. FC Redevelopment & Housing Authority: VA Supreme Court, 6/22/2012

HFCA President’s Note: This is an opportunity to avoid spending Association funds up front in seek-ing individual property owner’s compliance. What is there not to like?! Skeptical? Call Bruce!

Neighborhood Watch Schedule

Day Date Person 1 Person 2
Fri Oct 5 Pete Scala Rose Scala
Sat Oct 6 David Cain  
Fri Oct 12 George Rosenkranz Bob Montgomery
Sat Oct 13 Jim Bever Barbara Bever
Fri Oct 19 Bruce Bernhardt Nancy Bernhardt
Sat Oct 20 John Kitzmiller  
Fri Oct 26 Ron Arnold Charles Walters
Sat Oct 27 Dave Dempster Dawn Dempster
Fri Nov 2 Susan Mulliner Brenton Mulliner
Sat Nov 3 David Froberg Beverly Froberg
Fri Nov 9 Debbi Buchanan Michelle Bush
Sat Nov 10 Will Lunsford Mark Jean-Pierre
Fri Nov 16 John Coyne Linda Coyne
Sat Nov 17 Rick Loranger Judy Loranger
Fri Nov 23 Harry Herchert Ginnny Herchert
Sat Nov 24 Jason Zhao Laura Feng
Fri Nov 30 Kirk Randall Albert Chong
Sat Dec 1 Daniel Turner Angela Turner
Fri Dec 7 Brian Roethlisberger Rob Mikula
Sat Dec 8 Wendy Chen Tony Dong
Fri Dec 14 David Tropiano Sarah Tropiano
Sat Dec 15 Pam Barrett Tom Barrett
Fri Dec 21 John Coyne Linda Coyne
Sat Dec 22 Jim Marshall Carol Marshall
Fri Dec 28 Harry Herchert Ginny Herchert
Sat Dec 29 Rick Loranger Judy Loranger

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.

Hickory Farms Annual Meeting Highlights

At the October 11th Annual Meeting, the Members approved amendments to the following Articles: III/5, IV/6, V/3, VI/4, VII/2/(g), X, XI/5, and XII (Corporate Seal). You can see the revised document at https://hickoryfarms.org/by-laws

President Chuck Stewart presented Common Areas Coordinator Melissa Stark, Treasurer Dante Gilmer, and ACC Chairperson Brian Roethlisberger with plaques in appreciation for their superb con-tributions to the Hickory Farms Community over recent years.

Attention All Landlords

Make sure the Treasurer has your current contact information so you may receive newsletters and other information such as notices of Annual Assessments. If your property is being managed by a real estate agent, please ensure the agent‘s contact information is also given to the Treasurer. Please email owner name, street address of owner, owner’s email address, street address of Hickory Farms property, and telephone number to Treasurer@HickoryFarms.org. Please also send it to Kirk Randall, who maintains the Hickory Farms owner database to Kirk_Randall@Hotmail.com (that’s an underscore between names). We need this information immediately since we are preparing to send out Annual Assessment bills in early November.