REGULAR MEETING MINUTES MARCH 26, 2024

WHITTIER ASSOCIATES HOA, INC. MEETING WAS HELD BY ZOOM

REGULAR MEETING MINUTES MARCH 26, 2024

The Board of Directors of Whittier Community Association met virtually on March 26, 2024, at 7:01p.m. 

PRESENT: 

Frank Hackett, President 

Jackie Parks, Vice-President 

Tim Sweeney, Treasurer 

Elizabeth Hoover, Secretary 

Sally Hoague, Director 

Bernarda Jackson, Director 

Nancy Sweet, Director 

Jason Smith, Director 

ABSENT: 

None 

OTHERS PRESENT: 

Nancy Keen, Vanguard Management 

Jeff Luther, Vanguard Management 

Alexis Johnson, Continental Pools 

Dejan Milenkov, Continental Pools 

Homeowners Present: On file with Management 

CALL TO ORDER 

Mr. Frank Hackett, President, called the regular meeting to order at 7:03p.m. 

VANGUARD UPDATE 

Mr. Jeff Luther, Vice President, Vanguard Management, provided an overview of his role. He stated he met with Mr. Hackett and Mr. Tim Sweeney, Treasurer, to review the company structure and management agreement with the Whittier Homeowners Association (HOA). Mr. Luther advised Vanguard will be starting to work on the 2025 budget in late spring to present to the Whittier HOA over the summer to allow for more time for the Board to review the information. He indicated Vanguard will host a free director orientation and training to meet with Vanguard management and have a high-level review of roles and responsibilities. Mr. Luther advised Vanguard manages 55 properties in Montgomery and Frederick Counties, with Ms. Nancy Keen overseeing eight properties of various sizes. He noted many of the Vanguard Management staff have been with the company for several years and has a very low turnover rate. 

Mr. Luther reviewed the evolution of management fees dating back to 2003 as those are the earliest electronic documents on file for Whittier. He stated the Vanguard fee cannot be less than the prior year’s budgeted amount, and the directors need to review the information to be in agreement for the base fees listed. 

Ms. Jackie Parks asked about the performance review process for Vanguard employees. Mr. Luther noted as the manager’s immediate supervisor, it would be an on-going review process and if there are any concerns then would like to address immediately. 

Mr. Luther noted the company founder, Mr. Craig Wilson, started being aware of issues impacting HOAs within the state and wanted to make his managed properties aware of them. He noted sometimes it may be once a year, or more frequently if there is a concerning issue directors need to be aware of, such as the Corporate Transparency Act within the Maryland State Legislature. 

Mr. Luther touched on technology and features that would benefit the Whittier HOA such as a color-coded map and a mobile phone application. He advised the map would provide a better understanding of boundaries between City of Frederick, HOA common area, and individual resident areas of responsibility. Mr. Luther noted the phone application will be forthcoming this year. 

CONTINENTAL POOLS UPDATE 

Ms. Alexis Johnson, Continental Pools, introduced herself as the newly promoted regional manager for the company. She reviewed the proposed replacements and repairs for each of the 3 Whittier pools and advised some replacements are included in the contract. Ms. Johnson noted the guard chair and the skimmer pole were badly corroded and needed to be replaced. Mr. Hackett asked if the chemical automatic feeders were required. Ms. Bernarda Jackson, Director, asked about the history of chemical imbalances at the Whittier pools as Continental pools provides the same recommendation each year. Mr. Dan Milenkov, Continental Pools, advised it is on their suggested list and some states are starting to mandate the system. He noted it is also standard with new pools and it happens frequently enough at the Whittier pools that the community would benefit from having the system. 

Mr. Sweeney made a motion to approve Continental Pools proposal for Cobblestone pool in the amount of $2,985.93, proposal for Greenleaf pool in the amount of $1,936.66, and Wetherburne pool in the amount of $2,204.86. Mr. Jason Smith, Director, seconded the motion. 

The motion passed with a vote of 7/0/1. 

APPROVAL OF THE JANUARY 23, 2024 MINUTES 

Ms. Elizabeth Hoover, Secretary, edited the minutes from the January 23, 2024 meeting with input from the HOA directors. She advised going forward to save time during the meeting, the minutes will be sent out ahead of the meeting tor edits. Mr. Hackett noted that the process took fifteen minutes. 

Ms. Jackie Parks made a motion to approve the minutes as edited. Ms. Sally Hoague, Director, seconded the motion. 

The motion passed with a vote of 8/0/0. 

Mr. Hackett suggested going forward to assist with the notetaking process, the Whittier Directors record the meetings. Ms. Parks noted the HOA Directors have no expectation of privacy during the meeting with their comments. 

Ms. Parks made a motion to record future HOA meetings for notetaking purposes. Mr. Sweeney seconded the motion. 

The motion passed with a vote of 7/1/0. 

TREASURER’S REPORT 

Mr. Sweeney advised that in 2023, Whittier had 59 outside pool memberships. He added that we could eliminate the second tier of rates for joining pass along the increase in the pool contract to the outside memberships to prevent the residents from bearing the sole burden of costs. Mr. Sweeney also recommended investigating what Whittier records are in physical storage that the HOA is paying for and determining what records should be digitized or destroyed. He advised a financial review task force should be created to review the budget and contracts for services. Ms. Keen noted that as pool contract increases, it is easy to explain the increase in external memberships to interested individuals. She also noted she can share the storage policy with Mr. Sweeney. 

Mr. Sweeney made a motion to increase the outside Family Membership to $500.00 and single person to $360.00. Ms. Parks seconded the motion. 

The motion passed with a vote of 8/0/0. 

Mr. Sweeney made a motion to create a financial taskforce to review budgets and future contracts. Ms. Parks seconded the motion. 

The motion passed with a vote of 7/1/0. 

MANAGEMENT REPORT 

POOL PASS MATERIALS 

Ms. Keen noted she would update the pool pass materials with the new fee and dates. She added there was discussion during the February 2024 Work session about increasing the age of unattended children from the age of 10. Mr. Sweeney noted the pool schedule shows adult swim for the last 15 minutes of the day. Mr. Smith noted lifeguards usually start to encourage patrons to leave during that period. 

Ms. Jackson made a motion to remove the last adult swim period, eliminate the discounted rate after August 1, and correct the date for Greenleaf pool. Ms. Hoague seconded the motion. 

The motion passed with a vote of 8/0/0. 

WHITTIER RIPTIDE SCHEDULE 

Ms. Keen requested if no objections to the materials provided within the Director’s packet to approve the schedule. 

Ms. Jackson made a motion to approve the Whittier Riptides swim team practice and meet schedule as distributed. Mr. Smith seconded the motion. 

The motion passed with a vote of 8/0/0. 

STORMWATER FACILITY MAINTENANCE PROPOSAL 

Ms. Keen noted a walk through was completed with WSSI and the City of Frederick, and a proposal was put together from the last inspection. She noted the proposal from WSSI was the lowest bid and comfortable giving a recommendation as they have a relationship with the City of Frederick. Mr. Jamie Parks, Stormwater Management Committee Chair, noted there was a visit on March 26, 2024 with the City of Frederick as the basin has been having drainage challenges when debris clogged the filter. He added the stone jacket was installed as a requirement by the city, but it is not currently working as designed. 

Ms. Parks makes a motion to approve the WSSI proposal for needed repairs on the Eastern and Western Basins for the lump sum amount $23,300. Ms. Hoover seconded the motion. 

The motion passed with a vote of 8/0/0. 

CONCRETE SIDEWALK REPAIR 

Ms. Keen advised the sidewalk repair was approved by email and requested a motion to ratify the decision.

Ms. Nancy Sweet, Director, made a motion to ratify the email approval of the City’s contract to repair the sidewalk area at the side of 2234 Wetherburne Way for a total cost of $2,988.00 to be paid from Reserves. Ms. Jackson seconded the motion. 

The motion passed with a vote of 8/0/0. 

PEDESTRIAN CROSSWALKS-CHRISTOPHER’S CROSSING 

Ms. Keen advised the City of Frederick will be installing two crosswalks on Christopher’s Crossing at Whittier Drive and East Greenleaf Drive as part of resident requests and provision of ADA accessibility as well as to enhance pedestrian safety. This work is estimated to be completed in June-August timeframe of this year. Due to this project, it is recommended that summer annuals are not installed in these areas this year. Mr. Hackett observed this did not require a motion from the Board to withhold planting flowers and asked if there were any objections. No objections were noted by the Directors. 

RESERVE INVESTMENTS 

Ms. Keen stated Vanguard recommends investing $100,000.00 from the Morgan Stanley Operating MM into a 9-month CD and re-investing the $100,000.00 CD in a 12-month CD. This will allow $100,000.00 to mature into Operating MM every 3 months for Operating expenses. 

Ms. Jackson made a motion to approve Vanguard’s recommendation to transfer $200,000 into a 3-month and 9-month CD, and re-invest the CD coming due into $100,000 into a 12-month CD. Ms. Sweet seconded the motion. 

The motion passed with a vote of 8/0/0. 

WHITTIER ASSOCIATION WEBSITE- TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATION 

Ms. Parks advised the Website Taskforce interviewed two of the companies they felt had the strongest proposal. She thanked resident Ms. LeAnna Armstrong who provided her expertise. Ms. Parks advised the taskforce recommends approving the contract with Trumpet Marketing. 

Ms. Parks made a motion to approve the contract for Trumpet Marketing to build and maintain the new Whittier Website. Mr. Hackett seconded the motion. 

The motion passed with a vote of 8/0/0. 

DECLARATION AND BY-LAW AMENDMENTS- USE RESTRICTIONS 

Ms. Keen stated she wanted to confirm the following items that were discussed with the HOA attorney during the February 2024 Work session for by-law updates. 

  • Does the Board want to prohibit or allow Family Childcare Homes? 
  • Does the Board want to prohibit or allow No-Impact Home-Based Businesses? 
  • Does the Board want to allow signs (other than candidate signs and proposition support signs which are authorized under current law) – such as real estate for sale and/or open house signs? 
  • Does the Board want to allow flags (other than the American Flag)? 
  • Does the Board want to regulate the use of clotheslines? 
  • Are there any specific restrictions on the types of vehicles that the Board wants to allow to be parked in the community? 

Ms. Sweet noted signs have been appearing along Tuscany Drive and is favor of restricting signs. Mr. Smith noted to keep the language as is for signs. Ms. Sweet advised vehicles must be in operable condition and legally tagged. Mr. Smith observed the City of Frederick regulates much of the parking on the streets and vehicles.

COMMITTEE UPDATES 

TOWNHOUSE COMMITTEE 

Ms. Parks noted she recently held an open forum virtually and forwarded a summary of topics to the Directors. She noted the main topic was installation of a dog park within the Whittier area. Ms. Parks stated she has been corresponding with Mr. Bob Smith, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Fredrick and also Ms. Ronnie Osterman and has been advised Whittier is a large enough community to have their own dog park, but currently the City of Frederick does not have the funding to install a park. Ms. Keen noted if it was owned and maintained by Whittier HOA, we would need to notify insurance. 

Ms. Parks made a motion to create a task force to determine where the best location would be to place a dog park within Whittier to be paid for by the City of Frederick or other funds. Ms. Hoague seconded the motion. 

The motion passed with a vote of 7/0/1. 

NEIGHBORHOOD ADVISORY COUNCIL (NAC) REPORT 

Mr. Jack Weaver, advised he has not had recent contact with the NAC. He noted the a metal pole was removed in Cobblestone Park. He noted he was happy to serve the Whittier community but resigning his service with the community. Mr. Hackett thanked Mr. Weaver for his time serving the Whittier community. 

OLD BUSINESS 

Ms. Parks expressed concern for the current landscaping contract with regards to the trees in the community and asked if the Whittier HOA should pursue another option for the dying trees as there appears to be many trees dying and needing to be removed. Ms. Keen stated it would be too large a project as a whole and would be expensive however we could divide the community into sections and look at the older areas first. Mr. Hackett stated can reach out to Frederick County Extension to inspect the trees at no cost. 

NEW BUSINESS 

Mr. Hackett advised the Whittier Garden Club would like to start a “Yard of the Week” program to showcase yards of notable standard within the community. He reviewed the criteria and noted HOA directors would be excluded from the program and has been successful in other communities. Mr. Hackett stated the only cost would be approximately $200 for signage materials and printing, and as this is a temporary sign, Whittier attorneys have approved the program. 

Mr. Sweeney made a motion to approve the “Yard of the Week” program to be maintained by the Whittier Garden Club. Ms. Hoover seconded the motion. 

The motion passed with a vote of 8/0/0. 

Ms. Parks asked about creating additional parking spaces on the backside of Lakeside Drive for residents to park. Ms. Keen noted it would involve a site plan amendment, City of Frederick and Frederick County approval. To start the process would be approximately $15-20,000 and an additional $100,000 for construction. 

Ms. Hoague mentioned the draft newsletter and requested feedback from the HOA directors. She noted it would be electronic and sent out by Vanguard to all the residents and posted on the website. Ms. Jackson noted she was in favor of anything positive for the community. 

Homeowner Open Forum 

A resident part of the townhouse committee noted he was leaving the community and wished the Board best wishes and will miss living in the Whittier community. Another resident had a question on an architecture request.

ADJOURNMENT OF REGULAR MEETING 

Mr. Hackett noted the HOA Directors received a resignation email from Ms. Andrea Weaver and expressed his thanks on behalf of the Board for her many years of service to the community. He requested to adjourn the meeting. 

Mr. Smith made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:57 PM. Ms. Jackson seconded the motion. 

The motion was approved with a vote of 8/0/0. 

The minutes of the meeting were approved as edited during the April 23, 2024 Meeting. 

Elizabeth Hoover 

Whittier HOA Secretary.