Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by President Jack Scanlon at 7:00 p.m. The following Directors were present: Jack Scanlon, Raju Shah, Mike Keller, Chris Purcell and Kareem Syed.
Property Management Transition: Todd Gates of Sentry Management introduced himself and reported the following:
- The Association’s files have been retrieved from FREM and are being uploaded into Sentry’s system.
- The financial reports are current with the exception of homeowner ledger cards which will be finalized shortly.
- All homeowners have access to the portal on Sentry’s website (Sentrymgt.com) and are encouraged to create an account. This will enable homeowners to view the most up to date information.
- Older ARC files are being uploaded to Sentry’s system.
Developer Update: Mr. Scanlon reported the following:
- The outdoor display sign and the trail bench have been installed.
- The Maintenance Bond remains in place and county officials are to perform an inspection later in the year. Any items that fail the inspection will need to be corrected by the developer prior to the final release of the bond. Some re-foresting work also remains as developer obligation.
- Installation of street lights is taking longer than originally expected. BGE will need approval from the county before work on the infrastructure can begin. High-efficiency LED lights may be used rather than solar-powered lights which will provide long term cost savings for the Association.
- The developer will provide information regarding the winterization of rain barrels.
New ARC Procedure:
- Shah reported that homeowners are required to send any ARC applications directly to Todd Gates at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Gates will quickly review each application for completeness and forward to the ARC for review. Once reviewed, Sentry will notify the homeowner as to the Committee’s decision. Homeowners can also view their pending and completed ARC applications on Sentry’s website portal.
Committee Update and Request for Volunteers:
- Purcell noted that volunteers are needed for the following Committees:
- Pavilion/Garden Committee
- Architectural Review Committee
- Capital Improvement/Finance Committee
- Social Committee
- Open Spaces Committee
- Purcell thanked all residents who picked up trash after the recent windstorm and recommended that residents employ a locking mechanism on garbage bins to prevent the lids from being blown off in the future.
- Although there has been a minimal amount of snow this year, snowplows will need to operate in the event of a storm. Accumulation of plowed snow on the sidewalk is an inevitable result.
- The Board of Directors resolved on May 23rd, 2016 that grass is to be maintained at no higher than 8”. Any fines for homeowners in violation of this resolution will be preceded by a written notification.
- Several lots have leftover building materials, such as pallets and bricks, stored alongside the homes. Homeowners will be reminded to remove these materials in a timely fashion.
- Residents are reminded to keep garage doors closed and car doors locked for security purposes.
- Residents are asked to not block sidewalks with parked vehicles. Parking on the street is preferred over blocking access to the sidewalks.
- Keller reported that Brightview Landscaping has been on site over the last two weeks and maintenance work has begun on bio-ponds located on homeowner lots. Maintenance in common area bio-ponds is expected to begin shortly.
- Approximately ½ of the tree stakes have been removed. The remaining stakes will be removed and Brightview will dispose of them. This work will be done by resident volunteers saving the Association $1,100.
Street Tree Update:
- Keller reported that he is awaiting quotes for root mitigation, replacement of existing street trees with smaller trees and relocating some existing trees. A list of approved trees is needed because any replacement trees must be approved in advance. Although trees on residential lots are the responsibility of each homeowner, the Board would like to provide options to the homeowners and additional information will be forthcoming as soon as it is available.
Street Tree Update:
- Syed announced his resignation from the Board effective February 28th. He was thanked by all in attendance for his work and efforts on behalf of the Association. Mr. Scanlon noted that the Board will seek to fill the vacancy on the Board in accordance with the provisions set forth in the Bylaws of the Association.
Adjournment: With no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
As you’ve heard coming out of the recent homeowner’s association board meetings, the HOA has undergone an extensive search and vetting process to find a suitable replacement for First Real Estate Management (FREM). FREM’s contract ends 12/31/16 and we’ve signed and secured a contract with Sentry Management Group that begins 1/1/17. The board had an extensive requirements list and Sentry was able to check just about every one of the boxes, including a much more advanced architectural review process as well as a website allowing homeowners to access their open and closed ARC applications and ensure they are paid current on homeowner dues.
For the last month, Sentry has been working in coordination with the board and FREM to ensure a smooth transfer of all records including but not limited to a homeowner listing with current mailing addresses and contact information, by-laws, declarations, Locust Chapel corporate documents, and accounting records.
Once Sentry has entered all homeowner information into their system, we will receive a welcome package in the mail from Sentry that includes an introduction, a summary of services, a coupon book for HOA dues payment, and points of contact if we have questions.
2017 Dues – we understand there have been questions as to when and from whom community members would receive the annual invoice for payment of 2017 HOA dues. We want to confirm that our new property management company Sentry will be requesting this payment via mail very soon. No payments should be made to FREM going forward.
Once the welcome packet is received and you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the board.
May 2016 minutes have been posted [PDF]
Resolutions passed by Board
Homeowners should have received in the mail several resolutions that have been passed by the Board between 2014 and 2016. These are simply formalized documents that capture decisions passed by the Board in past quarterly meetings. They have been posted to the HOA resources page on the Locust Chapel website.
The Board has been following up regularly with county for the latest updates and has been informed that the street lights have been paid for, the plan to install them has been financed by the developer, and that the next step is for conduit for the streetlights to be put in place in preparation for the installation of the fixtures. This could happen anytime within the next month or so. The Board was provided with a diagram showing an aerial view of the community and the intended location of the streetlights [PDF]. Note that streetlights marked with “X” on the diagram will be installed with blackout fixtures to prevent light from shining into homes. These locations have been determined by the developer and the county and are not within the Board’s scope to adjust. However, we have been told that if there is an issue with lights shining within a homeowner’s windows, that additional blackout fixtures may be added to the light to remedy the issue.
The annual meeting and Board election is scheduled for Monday, October 17 at Ilchester Elementary. Homeowners should have received in the mail nomination letters as well as a timeline for submission of nominations and acceptance letters. Please note that although the letter states the open positions are for secretary and treasurer, these positions will be determined by the new board.Please pay close attention to the timeline as the deadlines are fast approaching. We encourage all homeowners to attend and those who are unable to attend to designate a neighbor to vote as proxy.
Wednesday, September 21 @ 7PM (Locust Chapel Pavilion)
- Old Business
- Approval of Minutes from May 23, 2016 (V)
- Bio-retentions, trail mulching and signage
- Public Works Meeting/SWM and Street Bonds
- Street lights
- Brickman Contracts/Task Orders (V)
- Annual contract
- Pulling tree stakes for approx. 200 trees ($1011)
- Formal Amendments from 2014-2016
- New Business
- Position/Committee Updates or Issues
- President/Social & Communications
- Mike Keller serving remainder of Amy Mitchell term
- Vice President/Safety & ARC
- Architectural Review – Adjustments to fees/fines
- Switch to electronic submissions for ARC applications
- Treasurer/Finance & Capital Improvements
- Quarterly financial sheets
- Secretary/Pavilion & Community Garden
- Member-At-Large/Open & Common Spaces
- Proposals for new property management company
- October election
- HOA roles/responsibilities
- Election process
A quick reminder that our former President, Amy Mitchell, has relocated and is no longer responding to e-mails concerning HOA matters.
For the time being, all emails to the email@example.com account are being auto-forwarded to all members of the HOA board of directors. Role of the president will be reassigned following the election at the annual homeowners meeting in October. At that time, the firstname.lastname@example.org account will be assigned to the newly designated board member.
The homeowner’s meeting that was regularly scheduled for Monday, August 15 has been postponed. The reason for this delay is two-fold.
- Howard County Real Estate Services Division has scheduled a public hearing with the developer, to be held on September 13 at 7:30 pm. Agenda for the meeting has still not been released but this is part of the process involved in order for the developer to get sign off from the county before dedication. Details on this meeting are forthcoming.
- As many of you may have heard, our President Amy Mitchell is relocating to Atlanta and will be stepping down from the board. In her absence, Mike Keller has graciously agreed to step in as the fifth member of our board until the election in October. The board will be holding a closed meeting to bring everyone up to speed in preparing for this transition.
Details for the rescheduled homeowner meeting is forthcoming. Tentative plans are to hold the meeting after the September public hearing. Any homeowners who are interested in running for board positions should plan on attending this meeting to be brought up to speed on current
The HOA currently has an open call for volunteers for two groups. Responses are requested by Sunday, February 28. Please email Anthony Lipphardt by contacting email@example.com, indicating interest for one or both groups.
Street Trees Working Group
There have been numerous concerns raised over the street trees (red maple) planted by the developer, particularly with regards to their proximity to permeable driveways and walkways. These trees are not to be removed by homeowners. However, there may be an option for homeowners to elect for 1-for-1 replacement of their red maple with an alternative tree from an approved list of native street trees (i.e. sourced within 200 miles of the community).
This working group will be responsible for coming together to develop a list of native street trees which will be adopted by the HOA for future street tree replacement.
Pavilion and Garden Committee
Pavilion and garden committee members provide input towards the maintenance of the pavilion and garden facilities as well as coordinate activities and events that highlight green living. Some of our past events included a seed starting event, workshops from Howard County Master Gardeners (e.g., vegetable gardening, native plants), and spring/fall cleanups. We hope to make 2016 an even better year!
Secretary, Locust Chapel HOA Board
Approved minutes for October 19 and November 2 homeowner meetings have been posted to the HOA Resources section under ‘Minutes’.