Whittier Community Associates HOA, Inc.
Regular Meeting Minutes
The Board of Directors of the Whittier Community Association met via Zoom video call on June 28, 2022, at 7:00 p.m.
Paul Zimnik, President
Andrea Weaver, Vice President
Bernarda Jackson, Treasurer
Laura Ferguson, Secretary
Royle Kidwell, Director
Melissa Lentz, Director
Ronnie Lushbaugh, Director
Nancy Sweet, Director
Jackie Parks, Director
Nancy Keen, Vanguard Management, Community Representative
Renee Bilinski, Recording Secretary
- CALL TO ORDER:
Paul Zimnik, President of Whittier Community HOA, called the regular meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. with a quorum present.
- REGULAR MINUTES: The Board discussed the April 26, 2022 Minutes as presented and had a few edits.
Motion: To accept the April 26, 2022 Minutes with the provided edits.
Sweet/Weaver Vote 8/0/0
- HOMEOWNER & GUEST FORUM:
- Wetherburne Park Suggestion: A Homeowner suggested that Wetherburne Park would benefit from having a water fountain. They mentioned that they have had a few conversations with others that have agreed. It would help reduce water bottle pollution.
Action: Management will look into the requirements and further information for a water fountain at the park.
- MANAGEMENT REPORT:
- Water Fitness Class at Wetherburne – Additional Night: Elizabeth Toms has reached out to the Board regarding adding another evening water fitness at the Wetherburne Pool in July. A Board Member asked about the amount charged and if she is donating anything to the pool. Other Board Members explained that they haven’t asked her to do so because it has been run so well, it is a service to the community, and there was no expectation prior to do so.
Motion: To accept Ms. Toms request to teach an additional class during another evening at the pool.
Sweet/Weaver Vote 8/0/0
- Landscape Proposals: Management shared the proposals from Ruppert Landscapes to address a few Homeowner concerns as well as some other dead common area trees in the community with the Board. The proposals were broken up by the individual areas or trees to be addressed as below:
- 2230 Wetherburne (Homeowner Concern): Remove/trim maples – $2,300.00
- 2421 Prentice Court (Homeowner Concern): Trim oak – $1,625.00
- Prentice Court: Remove dead locust tree – $1,300.00
- Carrington Way: Remove large dead pine – $1,200.00
- Greenleaf Pool: Remove dead tree – $975.00
- Lakeside/Wynfield Drive (Homeowner concern): Two options below:
- Remove trees – $2,700.00
- Trim trees – $1,200.00
- Wetherburne Pool: Remove dead trees – $2,600.00
A Board Member asked if when trees are removed if they grind the stumps because they have seen some stumps around the community. Management said that they do grind the stumps when they are removed but it may have been previous approvals did not include the grinding. A few locations of stumps were noted for Management to follow up with Ruppert to ask about grinding them down. Another Board Member asked if trimming was included in the general maintenance contract with Ruppert. Management explained that what is included is low limb pruning or trimming (up to a certain height off the ground) that can be accomplished with a typical hand pruning tool. These proposals require other tools or are higher up than the contract includes. They also asked if the trees are not being pruned often enough and if that was why there were so many trees dying off. The Board discussed the various new unpreventable diseases, lifetimes for species of trees, and other reasons for trees dying outside of the control of pruning or maintenance.
The Board discussed the Lakeside/Wynfield Drive options to remove or trim the trees. It was noted that the trees will die within the next several years from rot. The difference in cost is not enough to justify trimming now and waiting for the trees to completely rot before removing them. A Board Member noted that there was a tree at Greenleaf that didn’t have leaves and they thought might be dead but has new growth now. They asked if this might be similar. Management explained that the Arborist said that they should be removed.
Action: Management will verify with Ruppert that they grind up the stumps when they remove them. They will also ask them about looking into the stumps around the community and provide a proposal to grind those.
Motion: To accept the proposal to removal the trees on Lakeside/Wynfield Drive at the $2,700.00 cost as proposed by Ruppert.
Weaver/Parks Vote 8/0/0
Motion: To accept all the other proposals provided by Ruppert as proposed.
Weaver/Royle Vote 8/0/0
- Lakeside Drive Pothole Parking Space Repair: A Homeowner on Lakeside Drive contacted Management with concerns regarding some low spots in the common parking lot. Management contacted Pothole Repair, as they specialize in smaller asphalt repairs at an affordable price. They inspected the area and found seven damaged areas that will require fourteen (14) thermal repairs. The total cost is $4,515.00, which would be paid from the Townhouse Reserves. Management shared that this company does great pothole repairs and would be better and more cost efficient than doing a full asphalt with another company.
Motion: To accept Pothole Repair’s proposal to repair the damaged areas to be paid from reserves.
Sweet/Weaver Vote 8/0/0
- 2021 Audit: A copy of the 2021 Draft Audited Financial Statement for the year ended December 31, 2021, as audited by Goldklang Group, was provided for the Board’s review. It is a clean Audit with no issues noted. It will be necessary for the Board to formally accept the Audit, so they meet the 60-day requirement as noted in the cover letter.
A Board Member had a few questions about the Audit in regard to a lack of detail in regard to the bad debt and income, the recommended notes against the actuals contributed, the Townhome line items under the Reserve and actuals. They also noted the ACC inspections went up in the past year. They also noted that they think the Reserve Study is inaccurate based on new discussion points in the past few meetings and that the Reserve Study should be updated on those items as well as the Audit should reflect those as well.
The President explained that there is not a new Reserve Study completed yet, so the Auditor cannot work off new discussion points from the meetings but instead works off the current Reserve Study. It was also noted that the Board has not voted to agree that certain items of the current Reserve Study are inaccurate, there was no motion or vote made in any of the previous meetings. There have been comments from a few Board Members and Homeowners noting they believe it is inaccurate. Specifically, the discussion and research into the number of catch basins the community is responsible for will affect a future Reserve Study, but it will not retroactively change previous Reserve Studies and Audits based off those previous Reserve Studies.
The Board Member noted that they think the Audit does not reflect the differences in the Townhomes and General Budget items correctly. They had questions about how the funds are reported in the Audit and would like more information provided on the process. Management explained that the Audit is strictly reflecting the numbers of what is in Reserves, in the bank account, and what is noted in the Budget and Reserve Study. They look at what is stated should be collected and what was collected.
The President explained that when a licensed Auditor audits an HOA it is done according to the mandates defined by Maryland laws and regulations. When the Board is approving an Audit, they are not being asked to evaluate the quality of accounting or the validity of the Auditor’s ability to conduct an HOA audit. They should know that the Auditor company did their due diligence via state regulations and mandates that they are legally bound by to conduct the Audit. All the Board is doing when they accept the Audit is authorizing the state licensed Auditor to do the work and either accept or not accept the Audit itself. The Auditor is ensuring that the money is being correctly collected and then used for the community and not being used for a personal or illegal use. The Board Member said that they would like the Audit to reflect the consolidate and townhomes reserves as they are reflected in the budget.
Management noted that the Budget is what defines the line items, the Reserve Study provides the guidance of how it should be broken up, and the Audit is showing that the totals in the Reserve and bank accounts lines up with the totals that should be there. The budget line items the Board Member wants to see are reflected in the Budget, which shows the differentiation of the line items per the Townhome and General Budget.
The President tabled further discussion and asked for a motion, noting that if the Audit is not accepted, then they would decide as to what action needs to be made moving forward.
Motion: To accept the 2021 Draft Audited Financial Statement for the year ended December 31, 2021 as provided by Goldklang Group.
Sweet/Ferguson Vote 5/1/2
- Electric Charge Station Agreement: The Electric Vehicle Charging Station Installation, Maintenance, and Indemnification Agreement and the Board Resolution as developed by the Association’s Attorney was provided for the Board’s review. The application from a Homeowner on Carrington Way to install an electric charging station in their assigned parking space was included again for the Board’s review. The President clarified that it is now a Maryland law to allow for these stations to be installed. They also noted that once the Agreement and Application are approved, anyone wanting to install a station would need to accept the agreement and apply for approval by the Board.
A Board Member asked if the Board could define where it will be installed. It was noted that it would have to be installed where the user could connect it to their electrical hook up, so more than likely would be the closest spot to their home. There was also discussion about determining if the station would be installed at the curb or near the end of the parking space. It was determined they could specify that it should be at the curb. It was also noted that the Attorney said this Agreement and Application could be sent out to Homeowners or could be posted on the website. The Board decided that they would post it on the website for comment.
Motion: To accept the Electric Vehicle Charging Station Installation, Maintenance, and Indemnification Agreement and the Board Resolution as developed by the Association’s Attorney, and to post it on the website.
Weaver/Sweet Vote 8/0/0
Motion: To accept the application from 2504 Carrington Way to install an electric charging station in their assigned parking space at the curb.
Lushbaugh/Ferguson Vote 8/0/0
- ACC Committee Request (2592 Carrington Way): The ACC Committee has forwarded an application to the Board for review as the Homeowner is requesting to remove the shutters from the front of their home. As there is currently no direction in the Guidelines regarding this type of request, the Committee has requested the Board review and make a decision.
The Board discussed that this is a unique request that they haven’t had before. Management noted that the home has a brick front and that it could be made as an exception for brick fronts since there is another style of townhome in the community that doesn’t have shutters. If the Board decides to accept this request, they will need to ask the ACC to draft some language around this exception for the Guidelines. A Board Member noted that it would change the appearance of the community and that usually the Guidelines are meant to have homes remain as they were originally built. It was noted that maintaining the original construction has been the Board’s typical stance.
Motion: To deny the request and have the home remain as originally constructed. To also request the ACC create wording regarding shutters for the Guidelines, that they remain as originally constructed, for the Board to review.
Weaver/Sweet Vote 7/1/0
Action: Management will ask the ACC to provide a draft of the wording around shutters for the Board to review in a future meeting.
(A Board Member joined the call at this time. Noted for vote total differences.)
- FHS Golf Tournament Donation Request: The Frederick High School football team is having a golf tournament on July 22, 2022. They are requesting sponsors for the event.
Motion: To deny the request for sponsorship from the Association.
Kidwell/Sweet Vote 9/0/0
- OLD BUSINESS:
- Wetherburne Dog Park Inquiry: As the Board requested at the April Meeting, Management reached out to the Parks and Recreation Department regarding the possibility of the City installing a dog park in the Wetherburne Park. They responded that they have no plans or funding to construct a new dog park at Wetherburne Park. There is a new Kellerton dog park that will be opening later this summer, which will be in walking distance and would not be worth setting up one in the same area. A Board Member mentioned that this was not in the site plans originally for the community and not sure that those could change. It would also require the bylaws, maintenance and construction, and insurance changes or updates be made. It was also noted that the NAC will report more on the changes that will occur from the Kellerton dog park and other adjustments from the construction being done.
- Shred Event Update: The Board Member who reached out to the company updated the Board on the costs and options available. One truck is $175.00 per hour and no deposit required to book. It would occur when the pools are closed, in one of the parking lots. They said that a few hours would be great to have the event occur, two hours would be $350.00, and three hours would be $525.00 total. The next step is to approve the event, come up with a date, and market the event. The Board discussed timing for the event and that after taxes season would be a suitable time, in the Spring. The Board discussed how to advertise the event, noting that they could post it on the website, in the Homeowner portal, and send out an email. The discussed wanting to limit it just to the community since they will not have multiple trucks and would want to only provide as a service to the Homeowners.
Motion: To accept the shred event, for one truck at three hours of shredding services, at one of the pool parking lots after pools are closed in early Fall or Spring.
Lentz/Ferguson Vote 7/2/0
- NEW BUSINESS:
- President Addressed Homeowner Questions & Comments: Homeowners made comments and asked questions during the meeting in the chat function, which could not be addressed outside of the Homeowner Forum. The President wanted to address a few key items prior to closing the meeting:
- Dog Waste Bins: The Board has already researched into this option and determined it is not worth the cost since most who already don’t dispose of the pet waste won’t use them anyway.
- Whittier sponsor my kids’ fishing tournament at the lake: The President asked that they submit a formal request to Management with all the details for the board to review.
- COMMITTEE REPORTS:
- ACC Report: Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the ACC Committee has been reviewing and approving applications by email. The two requests requiring the Board’s review are noted above in the Management Report section.
- Pool Committee: Only update at this time is everything is running smoothly.
- Townhouse Committee:
- Cattails: The Townhouse Committee wanted to circle back to the cattails. They had questions about the phases scheduled and when those would occur. Management reminded the Board Members that the information on dates and any status updates would be in the Management Report. The contractor said that they would schedule the first phase in August then in October, which based off their research that was the best timing.
- Pool Passes Withheld: The Townhouse Committee received questions from Homeowners on the inspections conducted and items they believe shouldn’t be on the inspection report and keeping them from obtaining their pool passes. There was a question posed if Homeowners should be cited for weeds if there are weeds in the common areas. They think that weeds shouldn’t be an item on the report nor withhold them from getting their pool passes. The Board Member asked if they could have pictures included in their citation notices so they can figure out what it is talking about and to figure out if they are in common grounds or their personal property. Management explained that they do not cite Homeowners for common grounds. A Board Member noted that the bylaws require certain maintenance standards for personal property. They also noted that one of the only ways to enforce action from the Homeowners is by withholding the pool passes. All of this information is in the Guidelines and all Homeowners are held to those standards. It is usually an easy fix to comply with the citation or communicate with Management if they believe it was not a just citation. The Homeowner is more than welcome to reach out with photos of proof of their disagreement with the citation if they believe what was seen as a weed was really a plant. A Board Member wanted to make a motion to include photos in the inspections but retracted their motion.
Management explained that when the Inspector does the monthly inspections there is already a photo attached. Maintenance inspections of every single home are conducted annually in the Fall. For those inspections photos cannot be attached. If it were one of those inspections, that may have been why there was no photo included. Management also explained that the Inspector is a full-time employee of Vanguard and the monthly inspections conducted are a part of the Management fee in the Budget. The maintenance inspection fee fluctuates due to when they reinspect in the Spring the items that were in the Maintenance Inspection in the Fall, it depends on how many homes require review, whereas the Fall Maintenance Inspection is a set amount since they are inspecting all the homes. It was concluded that the Homeowner can reach out to Management to close out their specific citation to obtain their pool passes.
- Condo Committee: No updates at this time.
- Landscape Committee: Few updates on work recently done were shared. Christopher Crossing looks good, there were a few rose bushes lost and replaced already. If anyone sees anything else needing attention, let Management know so they can get in touch with Ruppert. A Board Member mentioned the Christopher Crossing trees by the school are hanging low and need to be trimmed. They also think that the school grounds don’t look great, and the baseball area needs to be kept up with. Management said that they will let the City know since that is not common grounds but City property.
Action: Management will get in touch with the City to inform them that the baseball area needs to be maintained.
- Social Committee:
- Bicycle Parade: The Social Committee said the sidewalk work will be done by Friday in enough time for the event. Directions and posters are posted all around for people to know at the pools. Monitor Volunteers are all set up to help guide the routes. Food trucks are set up to be at the event. The Committee noted that 11am is when set up begins and asked the Board and Volunteers to show up early for set up. They also have prizes for the kids.
- Fall Event: A Fall event will be planned after the bicycle parade event and the Committee will send out information for the August meeting for any action or motion needed.
- Yard Sale Feedback: A Board Member said they didn’t think the event was well publicized and didn’t think there was enough participation, maybe due to the rain. This was their first year participating and they didn’t like the event and think it could be more fun by having people set up in the park and having ice cream provided. It could be done bigger and better. They also think that it was not shared outside of the community well enough. They didn’t like sitting alone and not having enough traffic. The President explained that that were some variables this year that resulted in less traffic than in previous years – a road closure and the weather. They said that in previous years there was typically a lot of traffic and participation, and the event is usually highly successful. The Board usually posts an ad, and it is generally well received by those outside the community. A Board Member noted that they didn’t think a flea market style would really be a good idea since people would have to pack up all of their items and move them to one location and set up a station instead of just bringing their items outside of their own homes. The President invited the Board Member to try it out next year and see if it is better when there are fewer hinderances for participation.
- Treasurer’s Report: The Board reviewed the financial reports.
- NAC Report: It was noted that NAC don’t meet often but their next meeting is in August. The Board discussed the Townhouses being built around Tuscanney, that they will be done late this year or next year. There will be a light installed in 2023 by the CVS. Until it is installed, there will be an increase in traffic. There have been more police reports of break ins. There will be more updates on the Kellerton dog park later, but they do know there will be three sections by size with walking paths included and will be bigger than the one at Ballenger Creek.
- Stormwater Management Committee: The Committee held its first meeting and Jamie Parks is the President of the Committee and will join sometimes to provide updates to the Board. Mr. Parks introduced himself and explained that for the last 3-6 months he has been looking into the maintenance needed to maintain the stormwater system and keep it in optimum shape. The President invited Mr. Parks to share a presentation with a summary of what he believes are the main needs to maintain the system to provide some background to the Board. The main priority is getting the water to flow away from the community and to Baker Park. The President reminded the Board that this Committee’s main purpose is to inform the Board for them to make decisions moving forward to help manage system issues and create a routine maintenance plan. Mr. Parks provided some of the history to flooding in the area and the creation of the system. The City is working on some of the areas of concern at this time. The Committee invited Homeowners interested in joining the Committee to attend a meeting. The schedule for meeting times will be posted on the website.
- ADJOURNMENT: There being no additional business for the Board to conduct, the meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.
Motion: To adjourn the regular meeting at 8:55 p.m.
Jackson/Ferguson Vote: 9/0/0
Please note the next scheduled meeting is to be held on Tuesday, August 23, 2022, at 7:00 pm via Zoom.