Lake Barcroft Association

Annual Meeting – Minutes (DRAFT)

February 23, 2006 – 7:30 p.m.

JEB Stuart High School – Student Commons Room

 

 

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by the LBA President, David Goslin. 

 

After opening remarks, Mr. Goslin thanked Chris and Vince Lawson for putting the meeting together and announced that the Woman’s Club is selling advance tickets for the house tour to be held on April 29. 

 

Mr. Goslin introduced six new candidates for the board of Directors: Andrew Cambern, Mark Cavich, Bill Herz, Frank Johnson, Steve Klein, Kim Willenson.  He also introduced four current members who are running for reelection: Kevin Howe, Jerry Mendenhall, Shirley Timashev, and David Goslin. 

 

He then introduced the continuing members of the board, Lark Lovering, Frank Aukofer, Carolyn Coldren, Stuart Feldstein, Mike Stahl, and Pete Walker.

 

 

PRESIDENT’S REPORT:

 

Mr. Goslin thanked the three retiring board members and presented each with a plaque from the community.

 

Mr. Goslin thanked Diane Davidson, Chair of the Environmental Committee, for her four years as the most involved and effective chair of that committee to date.

 

Secondly, he thanked Karen Wehner, retiring Treasurer, for keeping track of a growing and increasingly complex budget, hoping to be able to seek her advice in future.

 

Finally, he expressed regret that George McLennan and mentioned some of the contributions he has made to the community, as the father of lakelink listserv.

 

Mr. Goslin reported on the status of the Cloisters development.  Nine houses are occupied and 11 are closed, and the last of the 12 is almost completed.

           

The Association acquired 5-6 acres around these houses, and bears some responsibility for designing and constructing a path for Cloisters residents to reach the lake.  There is a Reserve Fund for retaining walls on the common property. People who live in the Cloisters are responsible for paying for upkeep of the walls. LBA will be doing landscaping, street planting to shield houses on Jay Miller Drive.

 

Last summer was accident free with Anne Marie Hardy as Water Safety Supervisor.  She will not be returning and the community is looking for a replacement.  He asked that anyone knowing of a good candidate contact Mike Stahl.

 

Fifty six houses sold in 2005, 4 already in 2006.   The usual series community events were increasingly well attended and a new event, a beach barbeque in August, has been added.  In the last few years a wonderful innovation in community has developed, with three venues for house concerts:  two classical, and one blue grass. 

 

Mr. Goslin reported that LBA is in exceptionally strong financial shape, with a surplus, and money going into reserve funds. Ninety eight percent of members paid dues in the past year and the few who did not will receive letters from the community attorney. 

 

Based on statistics, Lake Barcroft ranks very high among the safest communities in Fairfax County.  There were only 3 truly minor incidents of crime in the previous 16 months when records were checked last summer.  Mr. Goslin stated several reasons for this: an active community watch program, a regular LBA expense starting from May  through Labor Day to hire off-duty policemen to visit beaches and patrol the community.  He also asked that all members of the community stay aware of the probable late spring “frolics” by local high school students and asked people to call the non-emergency police number if there is a disturbance.

 

Occasionally disputes between neighbors arise in the community.  A few serious cases that went to court, want to avoid such a spiral.  The Board occasionally gets calls concerning disputes between neighbors.  Members of the are not trained in mediation, and explored the possibility of entering into a relationship with a mediation service and offering its services at a much discounted rate to members of the community. As a result, the Northern Virginia Mediation Service (NVMS) has been put on retainer and can now offer their services at deeply discounted rate to Lake Barcroft households.  Mr. Goslin stated that Lake Barcroft is probably the first homeowners’ association in Northern Virginia to establish such a relationship.

 

The Executive Director of NVMS described their services.  Their mediators are a certified and seasoned group of volunteers to help communities resolve disputes.  Some are professionals in conflict resolution field. They provide an opportunity for the parties to come together and resolve disputes.  (For example, issues to do with boundary lines, noise, easements, management concerns.) They do not issue opinion.  The service provides a voluntary structured conversation.  All Lake Barcroft households will be able to access this service for a deeply discounted rate of  $50 per hour.  The NVMS will submit articles for newsletter and be on lakelink as well.

 

Mr. Goslin added that NVMS has agreed that they will come to the lake for meetings if participants prefer and that the LBA office will be made available is desired.

 

 

 

 

 

A very import aspect of the community are the connections built over last several years.  The newsletter has had a renaissance under Carol Donlan and has played an increasingly important role in the community.  Newsletter team was recognized for their achievements.

 

Lake Link now has 840 subscribers in over 600 homes.   People are learning how to use it. Old timers are gently guiding newcomers to teach them the etiquette and proper use of this remarkable tool for giving away, selling, asking for help, or expressing an opinion. 

 

Other event of last yr and half is George McLennan’s technology committee which is about to deliver anew online telephone directory.  If anyone does not want their name in the online directory, they can opt out.  In addition, the developers have worked to provide high security so that those from the outside cannot gain access to it.  Other innovations will probably be offered and discussed with the community as time goes by.

 

Other important part of out connections is the community website: www.lakebarcroft.org.  Few are aware of all that it contains.  Following is an incomplete listing:  The last 35 newsletters including 1500 photos,  400 in photo journal,  issues of the Women’s Club and Newcomers newsletters, LBA Board minutes since 2000, official documents, 40 pages of association information, 121 pages of community information, a contractor list, the community calendar, bulletin boards, environmental  information, and phone numbers.

 

Mr. Goslin then conferred first Lake Barcroft exceptional service award.  This award is  to recognize a member of the community who stands out because of his or her truly exceptional contribution to the community with an exemplary level of commitment and service,.  The efforts of this person must go well beyond significant contributions of other volunteers and the individual must serve as a positive force in the community and be a role model for the community.  The award will be given occasionally, not necessarily annually.  The process of making this award will be as follows: every even numbered year, a committee will be formed by the LBA president to identify and consider potential candidates. An award will only be made if a person can be identified who has made the required level of commitment and contribution to the community. Pete Walker, who suggested the award, chaired the first committee and after long and careful effort, has named Charles Turner to receive the first Lake Barcroft exceptional service award. 

 

Mr. Goslin invited Chuck turner to come up to receive the award, and described his work to create the community website.  Chuck turner took over job of webmaster in 2001and then put in countless hours, creativity and initiative to build an extraordinary website.  He turned the original site of only a few simple pages into a comprehensive library of community information. He has created a position of website associate and has trained others to continue.  His participation in many other community activities, was significant as well. 

Chuck Turner accepted the award and mentioned that he had been invited to work on the web by George McLennan.  He said that he is thankful that he has gotten involved so much with this community and added that since it’s electronic, just because he’s moving away doesn’t mean people have to stop asking for assistance with the website.

 

With the conclusion of the President’s report, four additional reports were made by the Treasurer and the Chairs of the Improvements, Architectural Review, and Environmental Committees.

 

 

TREASURER’S REPORT ON THE BUDGET:

 

Treasurer Karen Wehner passed out a copy of the budget figures (attached).

 

She stated that the budget is in good financial shape.  We ended 2005 with a surplus, unusual since in the prior few years we were either close to the edge or had deficit issues.  She anticipates that in 2006, LBA will have a balanced budget again, barring unforeseeable circumstances.

 

She then reviewed the attached 2005 and projected 2006 budgets in more detail.

 

In 2005 the community received more than usual in fees, due to closings for nine houses in 2005.  In addition, Basheer & Edgemoore, the developer of the Cloisters, made a one time large $25,000 contribution to the reserve fund.  In 2006, we will receive a smaller amount for the remaining three Cloister households which will be added to the community.  Ongoing receipts from the Cloisters will be $6000 (12 times $500) per year as a contribution by the twelve new homes in the Cloisters to cover expenses of maintaining the retaining wall for parcel A. 

 

Less was spent than projected for water safety, and expenses for sealing beach parking lots will be carried over to 2006.

 

The environmental handbook was not completed in 2005 so that expense was also carried over into 2006.

 

Some of the expenses for improvements were reflected in other categories.  For example, $6,000 spent for tree planting was paid for out of the environmental quality category.

 

Community security required less expense than projected in 2005.   The amount budgeted for this category for 2006 has been reduced to reflect actual spending in recent years.

 

For special events, spending was slightly more than expected.  For 2005 parades and games will be combined into one category to give more flexibility.

 

Donations to local schools will be continued.

 

Under Publications, the newsletter has actually been self-sufficient for a couple of years.  Therefore for 2006, the budget does not include funds for the newsletter.   In fact, the  projected 2006 expense for a new rulebook separate from the telephone directory will be covered by the $6000 that had been set aside for the newsletter in 2005.

 

Insurance costs are difficult to accurately project and we went over budget slightly for 2005.  A 3% increase has been assumed for 2006.

 

Office expenses fluctuate from year to year and were affected in 2005 by costs of conducting the community survey last year.

 

Membership category includes $500 per year towards welcome baskets for newcomers.  This will be a new ongoing budget item.

 

Reserves are in good shape.  There are four separate funds within the reserve account, each with a different purpose and contribution pattern.  In 2005, we contributed $71,000 to reserves.  Asset replacement receives $10,000 each year.  Any money left over at the end of a year is added to the asset replacement fund.  Capital improvements includes fees paid by new residents and will be used to pay for specific costs associated with the Cloisters in 2006.   There is a new reserve fund for the retaining wall for parcel A. Finally there is a Contingency fund which is kept at $25,000.

 

Karen Wehner expressed thanks to Ivan Selig, the accountant, Chris Lawson, and board members who kept track of their expenses and got their expenses in on time, and finally, members of the community who assisted her in the last four years.

 

 

IMPROVEMENTS

 

Jerry Mendenhall recognized Mike Niebling for realizing the improvements and presented descriptions and a very impressive slide show of some of the many projects completed throughout the community in 2005. 

 

Mike Niebling requested new volunteers to take on specific projects this year.

 

 

 

ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMITTEE

 

Kevin Howe first thanked the other members of the committee:  Eunice Murray, Carl Newberg and Nancy Firestone. 

 

There were over 100 submissions to the committee last year.  Several were disapproved and several came up to the board on appeal.

 

Kevin Howe stated that the committee is troubled by what they are seeing in the community: larger houses, a different style of house, more boardwalks and patios on the water, and continued cutting of mature trees.  Of all these problems, the loss of the trees is most bothersome.  Lake Barcroft has a real character thanks to the mature trees. We can expect to be losing some of them to natural causes but we are also losing them  because of construction.  It may be necessary to take down some trees in order to build but it is also necessary to work to take down as few as possible.  He mentioned the example of a person who came into the community, bought a house, and took down all but two of the trees without any submission to the Architectural Review Committee.  He promised to plant trees after building.  However, he will be replacing $100,000 worth of mature trees that were between 75 and 125 years old with a dozen six foot trees.  The two mature trees left in his yard will probably not survive.  Another person was asked to tag all trees that he might want to remove for a renovation.  Instead, he cut down all the trees without asking.  A third example is when a tree is cut down without reason and declared to be dead when it is actually still alive. 

 

Howe asked that the community be alert to this problem and remember that the trees in this community are from 75 to 125 years old and cannot be replaced even in our grandchildren’s lifetimes.

 

He also requested that residents be aware of the need to minimize disruption and noise due to construction, especially on weekend mornings.

 

Finally, he requested that anyone considering work talk with their neighbors when they can, to avoid disputes.

 

Frank Johnson asked what recourse the Board had in dealing with the new resident who clear cut his lot.  The response that the State of Virginia and the by laws of  LBA do not allow sufficient recourse.  If the damage was reparable, (for example a damaged wall which could be rebuilt) there is a remedy.    For trees, the available remedy of replanting small saplings is not sufficient to the harm done by removing mature trees.

 

The subject of pesticides was also raised.

 

Barcroft is a climax community from an ecological standpoint.  We are not likely to suffer major changes except from old age.

 

 

 

ENVIRONMENTAL

 

Diane Davidson stated that an upwelling from the community to protect trees is needed.  If the community were to vote, to do something about trees we would be able to do this. effect.  She suggested we require that all real estate agents who are selling properties include a letter stating that Lake Barcroft is a community that protects its trees, and that we require a homeowner to sign a statement that they will not remove trees without consulting the architectural committee.   While the enforceablilty of such a statement is not yet clear, it is something to work on.

 

She suggested passing rules that if cut someone cuts down trees they will pay a fine and that such a fine would have to be significant to have an effect.  Significant community support would be needed for this. 

 

She intends to stay involved with these issues.

 

Davidson then discussed fertilizer use in the watershed and made a plea to the community to avoid using the kinds of fertilizers that damage the lake.  She recommended the following:  fertilize in the Fall, using slow release no phosphate fertilizer.   WID sells the correct type of fertilizer at cost and will even deliver it to your house in response to a simple telephone call.  Fertilizer labeled natural may contain sewage sludge and heavy metals.  Fertilizer labeled organic is not allowed to contain sewage sludge. 

 

Many people use a lawn service.  They are required to give information on what they are using.  It is always possible to ask them to use the WID fertilizer instead.

 

She plans to post information on fertilizer use in Lake Link. 

 

There will be a round table meeting on March 3 from 11am to 2pm on protection of trees in Northern Virginia.   Because Virginia falls under the Dillon localities are limited in their powers to act on this issue without express state permission which we do not yet have.

 

Fairfax County annually gives out free seedlings.

 

Davidson thanked Environmental quality committee, members Holly Hazard and David Feld for their management of Geese Peace.  She also thanked Betsy Washington and Kevin Howe who have been working on the beaver issue, Kevin Howe again for all his assistance on environment and architectural review committee, and Mike Neibling for his work to preserve our urban forest.

 

WID

 

Charles de Seve reported on WID activities. 

 

He introduced WID trustees and announced that WID will be performing significant dredging beginning in March and continuing into April. For the first time, WID has used a substantial process to evaluate competitive bids.  Walter Cate had volunteered his time to help with this as had Kevin Howe and Davis Grant.  Of the three actual bids, the one chosen was the one that the lake has used for years.

 

He described the spoil pits and process used to pile up old spoils and add new for curing.

 

Penny Gross is working to get the county to provide space for dredging.

 

Compensation has been paid for the Parcel A washout.

 

The bond issue has been paid off. However, we were not saving during that period to pay for additional expenses that will become due as the dam ages.  For example, the hydraulic cylinders will eventually be wearing out.  To keep the lake safe and secure, we must do this kind of capital work when it is needed. 

 

Therefore there will have to be a tax increase.  WID has not raised taxes in 13 of the past 16 years.   One way or another, the needed reserves have to be paid for.  We will need to do about three million dollars worth of work over the next 10 years.  The first increment of increase to do that will be about $65 per month per house.  In effect we will be using that money to repair the dam as needed. 

 

Details of this plan will be presented in the newsletter as well as in the annual WID meeting April 26 or 27.

 

The WID will continue to be aggressive in debris control and clean up using crews, barges, nets and alert residents.  To help encourage residents to pick up debris they see WID provides free nets.

 

de Seve thanked Charles Turner for the debris spotting site on the community website.  A person spotting debris can note its location on the interactive web page and the WID will be automatically notified of the problem and send a boat out to fix it.

 

The next WID meeting will be on March 15.

 

Election Results

 

Mr. Goslin announced the results of the 2006 LBA Board of Directors election.  Each newly-elected person will serve a two-year term which will expire in February of 2007.  They are:  Kevin Howe, Jerry Mendenhall, Shirley Timashev, David Goslin, Bill Herz, Steve Klein, and Mark Cavich.

 

They join (or re-join) the other board members whose terms will expire in February, 2007.

 

Mr. Goslin thanked the community for being at the meeting.  The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,



Lark Lovering, Secretary