Homes corporation and condominium association articles are provided by representatives or board members from the corporations and associations. The information and opinions provided within these articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the Montgomery Village Foundation, its Board of Directors, representatives or staff. Residents with specific questions or concerns about the information contained in these articles should contact their community manager or the author of the article.
East Village Echo
What do we get for our assessments?
by David Cline
A resident recently asked the East Village Board of Directors what are we getting for our assessments, especially since the fees went up for 2019. A fair question. So, for this column and future columns, let’s look at our budget and try to answer that question. Let’s talk trash. Trash pickup, that is.
In East Village, we have trash pickup twice a week with one company. However, on a recent trip to California to visit one of my brothers, I noticed they do things a little differently with trash pickup day in his community. On trash pickup day, garbage trucks would come banging into the quiet of the morning to do their job. As we were sitting outside on his front patio with our coffee, I couldn’t help notice a significant number of trucks driving through the neighborhood.
What I noticed was when a garbage truck would drive up to the houses, they’d pick up some trash, and skip other homes. A few minutes later, another truck by another company would come by and pick up trash at other homes. Then a third and fourth company would repeat the process until all the trash was collected.
I asked my brother about the process. He said each homeowner selects their own trash company and pays that company’s fee.
When compared to East Village, I saw several negatives to that process. First, the neighborhood streets will wear out more quickly with an increase in truck traffic. Then there’s the noise and air pollution. Plus, if one company doesn’t do such a good job, it’s up to that individual homeowner to take care of the problem.
In East Village, we put out bids, negotiate and select one company. We try to get what we believe to be the best price and service for everyone. If there’s a problem with any part of the service, our community manager can take care of things quickly and efficiently. For instance, a couple years ago, the crews were piling up trash bags, and we wrote a letter to the president of the company. The problem was fixed immediately. The company expressed how they appreciated our business and wanted to do whatever it would take to keep our business.
In addition to the fee we pay for the trash service, we also recognize the times the contractor hauls discarded furniture and other items without usually charging a fee or with a minimal charge. If we went to the practice of having each homeowner select their own trash company, it wouldn’t take much imagination to see trucks coming through our neighborhoods tearing up our streets and increasing the possibility of accidents. Additionally, East Village is able to quickly resolve any problems with trash pickup by having one point of contact.
In looking to the future, the East Village assessment went up about $10 for the year. The trash portion went up $76 for the year for each housing unit. The rate for trash pickup went up due to a new Montgomery County law for increasing the minimum wage to $15. While the East Village board has been satisfied with the service we’ve been receiving from the trash and refuse company, we do have a policy of putting out bids when contracts up for renewal.
Finally, all residents are expected to abide by county health laws and put all trash in sealed containers every Tuesday and Friday for pickup.
East Village Echo: for residents of The Downs, The Reach, The Estates, Essex Place II, Candle Ridge, Gablefield, Glenbrooke, Meadowgate, Ashford, Holly Pointe and Wethersfield.
Maryland Place Messages
Winter still hangs on!
by the Maryland Place Board of Directors
Sometimes in Maryland we get to experience what seems like three seasons in one week.
The winter has been no exception; snow on Monday, rain on Wednesday and 72 degrees and sunny on Saturday. Be patient—spring will be here soon!
You may have noticed last month our landscaping contractor went through the neighborhood and trimmed the trees on the community property. They also removed several trees that we will be replacing in the spring. Maintaining the trees is important to their health and keeps Maryland Place looking good.
We are still seeing a huge amount of speeding on neighborhood streets. We are monitoring this and are looking into solutions. Please do not speed on our neighborhood streets.
Our trash problem seems to be ongoing, with constant dumping of trash on community property. Residents are seen placing bags of trash, recycling, furniture, appliances, etc. on community property daily! Trash or recycling should never be placed on community property. Lately we seem to have a problem with residents leaving trash cans and recycling bins on the green spaces after pickup. This doesn’t make Maryland Place look welcoming to home buyers or visitors. Let’s do a better job by not placing trash or recycling on community property. If you see your trash or recycling bin on community property please return it to your backyard.
Maryland Place Trash and Recycling Info
Trash and recycling should be stored on your property in a sealed, vermin-proof container.
Trash containers should be placed at the rear of your property on Sunday and Wednesday nights after dark for collection on Monday and Thursday morning. Recycling is to be placed in the front of your property on Wednesday night after dark for collection on Thursday morning. At no time should trash or recycling ever be placed on community property.
Maryland Place Messages: for residents of Maryland Place.
Middle Village Voice
Parking/Snow Removal Rules
by the Middle Village Board of Directors
Certain locations within Middle Village are designated as snow storage areas and are designated with "No Parking When Snow is Forecast" signage. Anyone who parks in these areas when snow is forecast or falling will be immediately towed without notice.
In the case of snowfall that is 3 inches or above, residents may use a construction cone marked with their address to hold a space only if he/she cleared snow from the space. Only one cone is permitted per home/address, and can only hold a space for up to four days. More than one cone with the same address will be removed and discarded. Additionally, cones that do not have the address clearly written on them, or that remain in spaces for more than the permitted timeframe as described above, will be removed and discarded. Any other objects (chairs, trashcans, etc.) placed in a space will be removed and discarded.
Did you know…
All vehicles parked in unreserved parking spaces, whether covered or uncovered, must be moved at least every 30 days. If the vehicle is not relocated, a violation sticker/tag will be attached to the vehicle and the vehicle will be subject to towing—at the vehicle owner’s expense—48 to 72 hours after the sticker is attached.
The current Middle Village Parking policy states: "All vehicles parked overnight in the community are required to display a MVHC parking tag/permit or they are subject to immediate towing. For purposes of these Rules, overnight is defined as parking a vehicle in MV anytime between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m."
"Parking tag/permit must be clearly/properly displayed, on the driver’s side, facing the front windshield, on vehicles parked in a reserved parking space, or parked in the community overnight. Tags/permits can be hung from the rearview mirror or taped to the driver’s side dashboard or front windshield, front side facing toward the windshield."
"Failure to properly display the current year’s parking tag/permit will lead to immediate towing – even if vehicle is parked in the appropriate reserved parking space. No warnings or notifications will be issued."
“No commercial vehicles or trailers of any type, campers, or recreational vehicles shall be permitted to remain overnight on either the property of a private dwelling unit or on the community-owned property within Middle Village. For purposes of these rules, over-night is defined as parking a vehicle between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.”
“Commercial vehicles include vehicles with any type of writing or printing (let-ters, words, pictures, insignia, etc.) identifying a firm, organization, service, product, etc., of any kind, type or description. All vehicles carrying ladders, pipes, ladder racks, truck-loaded tools or truck-loaded tool boxes, etc., will be considered commercial. Vans used for delivering, storing or transporting goods or cargo are also considered to be commercial vehicles and are prohibited from remaining overnight in the community. Police vehicles are exempted.”
“No commercial vehicles (including commercial pickup trucks) shall be permitted to remain overnight in the community. Pickup trucks must not have ladder racks, truck-loaded tools or truck-loaded toolboxes. Further, pickup trucks may not park overnight in the community with any cargo, items or material of any kind in the truck bed (landscaping debris, tools, boxes, trash, equipment, etc.) that exceeds the height of the truck bed sides or that extends beyond the tailgate. Pickup trucks with cargo that meet this description will be considered commercial vehicles and are not permitted to park in the community overnight. Violations are subject to immediate towing.”
We live in a community that requires every homeowner to pay assessment fees. Assessments are used to pay contractors for landscaping, snow removal, trash collection, collection of illegally dumped trash, lighting, repairs on community property, etc. If you are a homeowner, you were provided with this information during closing.
Reminder: Assessments are due to be paid monthly. Your payment must be received by ComSource on or before the 15th of the month to avoid late charges. Your regular payments allow us to continue providing services to our community.
Homeowners who are delinquent with their assessment payments must pay their past due balance in full or make arrangements to pay them. The first step to making payment arrangements is to contact Delphine Matthews at 301-924-7355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Important Contact Phone Numbers
Security on Demand: 877-241-1265
Big Tow: 301-424-4869
Potomac Disposal: 301-294-9700
Montgomery County Police Non-emergency: 301-279-8000
ComSource is our management company. If you have a comment or complaint, please include your name, address, phone number, location of issue/problem and specific details in your correspondence or when you are leaving a phone message for the property manager. Contact ComSource at 301-924-7355 or e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Board Meeting Schedule
The next Middle Village Homes Corporation board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23. Other meeting dates for 2019 are Tuesdays, June 25, Aug. 27 and Oct. 22. All meetings are held at 7 p.m. at the Thomas Choice Clubhouse, 19401 Brassie Place, unless otherwise stated.
Middle Village Voice: for residents of Thomas Choice West and Clubside.
North Village View
North Village 2018 Financial Highlights
by the North Village Board of Directors
Our pre-audited financial statements for 2018 have just been completed, and our audit is underway. Our financial picture for the year ended December 31, 2018 as reported at our annual meeting on February 21.
We continued the trend of staying financially healthy, with 2018 ending with an unbudgeted net income approaching $27,000. We will know what the official position is after the audit is completed this year. The unbudgeted income, maintenance and non-maintenance categories contributed equally to the positive performance.
Our conscientious effort to help our community resulted in a better than expected income. We rode the wave of the early 2018 investment surf, which enabled us to see some contributions to our balance sheet via interest income. We also saw contributions from the roadway reimbursement program and bad debt recovery. These categories can’t be budgeted, so cash inflow from these categories is going to be a net positive for us. We saw another unbudgeted category provide an influx of funds, but that will be discussed below in “Unique Item.”
Our maintenance expenses performed slightly better than expected, leading to less money spent than anticipated and budgeted. The savings we received in the grass fertilizer category was fully consumed by greenspace repairs incurred at a rate higher than budgeted. Despite spending over $60,000 in 2017 for tree removal, we only budgeted $44,000 for 2018. That proved to be accurate, as we only spent $41,000 in tree removal. Several other categories combined to offset the significant expenses of site repair incurred during 2018. We could not have anticipated the damage incurred from the wind storms in March 2018.
Trash and Security
These contracts are operating relatively smoothly. If you don’t see security often, be aware that they devote more time to areas that seem to need it than to others. We were able to keep their 2018 expenses to only a modest 2% increase. As expected, our trash removal contract was held to only a 3% increase from 2017. Both came in as anticipated.
Administrative (Non-Maintenance) Expenditures
In looking at this category of expenses, we actually saved over $10,000, spending only $144,000 compared to the $154,000 in the budgeted items (see below “Unique Item”). Our property liability insurance came in 31% lower than budgeted. That helped, as our D&O insurance came in $1,500 more than we anticipated due to the timing change of the carrier. We expected to incur $8,000 in bad debt expense based on long outstanding money owed, but we only incurred $2,500. Of course, $0 is where it should be. Our water quality assessment came in $2,400 less than expected.
In 2018 a driver crashed a sports car into the Picton sign. We don’t have the information on the car damage, but we did spend over $13,000 in the maintenance category to fix that sign. Fortunately, the original estimate was $15,000, so this incident explains the two categories mentioned above in bold.
Contribution to Reserves and Capital Expenditures
We added more than $180,000 to our capital reserves during 2018, including $136,000 from assessments plus $38,000 from interest on our investments and $6,700 received from the county’s roadway reimbursement program. At the end of 2018, we had over $1,862,000 invested for replacement reserves. These reserves are consistent with our reserve study and keep us in a position to address planned capital improvements.
The Year Ahead
As of March 2, we will likely exceed the 2019 budgeted snow removal costs. We hope to see an offset from other categories. We do plan on replacing several path lights with more energy efficient caps and light bulbs.
If you have questions, contact Community Manager April Steward 240-243-2327, or e-mail email@example.com.
North Village View: for residents of Essex Place, Highland Hall, McRory, Perry Place, Picton, Pleasant Ridge and Salem’s Grant.
Parking restriction reminder
by the Northgate Board of Directors
Included among the parking rules sent to every homeowner last summer was the restriction on double parking. Residents and visitors may not park behind any vehicles. If you have received a violation sticker, you will be towed if the violation continues.
As spring (hopefully) approaches, scheduled tree removals delayed by bad weather will start up again. If you have been advised that a particular tree will be removed, it will be. However, tree removals are prioritized by an arborist. Northgate follows the professional recommendations. Bear in mind that storm damage can reorder the priorities.
If you have a new neighbor who may be unfamiliar with the trash and recycling rules, please take a moment to help by providing the following information:
- Regular trash pickups for Overlea and The Points are on Mondays and Thursdays.
- All other sections have pickups on Tuesdays and Fridays (McKendree I & II, Apple Ridge, Shadow Oak, Dorsey's Regard and Williams Range).
If you need a bulk trash pickup, please place your items out on the following schedule:
- Thursdays - Overlea and The Points
- Fridays - Apple Ridge, Dorsey’s Regard, McKendree I & II, Shadow Oak and Williams Range.
Thank you for helping.
Northgate News: for residents of Apple Ridge, Dorsey's Regard, McKendree I & II, Overlea, The Points, Shadow Oak and Williams Range.
Patton Ridge Report
Patton Ridge Annual Meeting reconvened
by the Patton Ridge Board of Directors
The Patton Ridge By-Laws require that we hold an annual meeting, at which time we announce the election results for the board of directors by the members of the community. This year’s annual meeting was scheduled for February 26, but was postponed because we didn’t have a quorum of votes (107) by community members. The annual meeting will therefore be held before the regular meeting on Tuesday, March 26.
The aforementioned quorum is only 10% of the possible 1,072 ballots that can be submitted. The board wishes to express its disappointment that only 90 ballots were received. We are also distressed that we have been unsuccessful in identifying residents to serve as board members. This issue will be addressed in greater detail in our column in the April issue of the Montgomery Village News.
Despite the need to postpone the annual meeting,, the board did proceed to elect members to fill vacancies. Allison Ewing was elected as vice president to fill the vacancy created when the former VP retired from the board. Ralph Bally was elected chair of the maintenance committee. Election of the president and treasurer will be held at the annual meeting.
The Management Report noted that we are seeking bids to replace the roof on the Arrowhead gazebo. Pepco notified us that several trees will be removed along the power lines behind Chatteroy Place and Spur Hill Drive. Pepco will pay the expense of removing and replacing the trees. The board agreed to solicit a cost proposal from Brightview to clean the trash and some vegetation and upgrade the lighting along the path behind Weathervane Place.
Patton Ridge Report: for residents of Arrowhead, Fairway Islands, Fairidge, Greentee I & II, Highfield and Partridge Place I & II.
South Village Scenes
South Village President’s Statement
by Doniele Ayres
To everyone that worked in 2018 to make South Village a great place to live, thank you. In the last year we have been able to improve the appearance of our community. We have planted new trees and flowering plants throughout, and neighbors have actively engaged in removing trash in our neighborhoods and at the lake. Montgomery County has worked with the board of directors to identify grants and programs that would further improve the appearance of our community. All of the work and accomplishments have been an enormous effort on behalf of our residents. Our association remains financially stable and allows us to maintain community property, including our parks, sidewalks and roads. I’m also excited about the increased effort by the Montgomery County Police Department to ensure the safety of residents in South Village and throughout the Village as a whole.
2019 will be another year where we can establish partnerships to improve South Village. We continue to face challenges with parking and trash, even though there’s been an increased effort to combat these problems. What may prove to be the most difficult challenge in 2019 is developing community engagement. This year is not an exception in the lack of quorum for our annual meeting and election of the board of directors. While this may not be unique in South Village or Montgomery Village, the changes that are wanted and are necessary in the community depend on residents being active and engaged.
A homeowner’s association acts in the best interest of the homeowners. Collectively, the benefit is to all who participate in the process of selecting the board of directors, understanding the budget of the association, participating in the budget review process and recommending ways to keep South Village aesthetically pleasing and safe.
I am hopeful this year, as I was last year, that we will work together. Your complaints are welcome, but so are your efforts! Presenting problems with solutions and challenges with opportunities is how we work together. I’m looking forward to the work we’ll do this year and the community we continue to build while working together.
South Village Scenes: for residents of Center Stage, Dockside, Grover's Forge, Hamptons, Millrace, Nathan's Hill and Walker's Choice.
When will winter be over?
by Keith Silliman
Cold, rain and snow have impeded and disrupted our lives and activities for too long this season. The days are getting longer, and we can hope that we will soon be finished with the cold and the wet. However, snow and the problems it brings can still happen. If snow is predicted, please park cars in designated parking areas to allow the snow plows to clear our streets efficiently and to avoid having your car “plowed in” with a bank of snow around it.
The February Stedwick Homes Corporation meeting was cancelled because of snow and ice and the closure of MVF facilities. The maintenance inspection had to be rescheduled to February 27 because of the rain.
Parking in some of our communities continues to be a significant problem. Our security service has been more aggressive with the tagging of stored vehicles (those that do not move in 14 days), and we have seen an increase in the number of vehicles towed from our streets. Our maintenance staff is removing traffic cones and other items being used to reserve parking spaces.
The board has discussed—and continues to consider—whether we need to become even more aggressive by restricting households to two parking permits and making any vehicle without a permit subject to immediate towing. That would result in additional administrative costs and coordination, as well as distress to many of our residents.
The increased parking in our community, especially near corners, has resulted in the county’s recycling trucks and our trash removal service trucks driving onto the greenspace to avoid those cars. The combination of the very wet weather and the trucks driving onto the greenspace has caused a large number of ruts. In a few cases, we have been successful in getting the county recycling or trash company to repair those ruts or to reimburse Stedwick Homes Corporation for the repairs.
Many of the storm sewers in our communities are undergoing repair as part of our ongoing maintenance process.
The next maintenance inspection is scheduled for Tuesday, March 12. If you know of any items, situations or conditions that need the maintenance committee’s attention, please let us know prior to that date.
The Annual Meeting of the Stedwick Homes Corporation Board of Directors is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20 at Stedwick Community Center, 10401 Stedwick Road. It will be preceded by a brief regular meeting starting at 7 p.m. Come join us for those meetings. The first item on the agenda of the regular meeting is residents time, which provides an opportunity for you to ask questions or express concerns and opinions.
In the meantime, if you have an issue, contact Stedwick Homes Corporation Community Manager Andrea Mandato 240-243-2326, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or communicate via regular mail to the Stedwick Homes Corporation at 10120 Apple Ridge Road.
Stedwick Signals: for residents of Club Hill, Clusters of Stedwick I, II, III, Forest Brooke, Frenchton Place, Ridges of Stedwick and The Heights.
Action needed: signatures confirming covenant amendment
by William R. Ott
On September 29, 2018, the Whetstone Community approved a covenant amendment to prohibit the use of homes in Whetstone as short-term rentals.
For the purpose of this amendment, short-term residential rental means the residential occupancy of a private dwelling unit for a fee for less than 30 consecutive days.
On October 10, 2018, residents were informed of the results of the vote. In that letter, notice was given that as of February 1, 2019, the amendment would be effective and enforceable by the Whetstone Homes Corporation.
What does this mean for you?
In early March, all Whetstone households that voted will be receiving a letter asking that all owners of record in the household confirm their approval of the covenant amendment and return the enclosed form in the postage paid envelope by Monday, April 8. Montgomery County requires that confirmation from each owner of record accompany the covenant amendment filing.
In principle, this is fairly straightforward. So, what is the problem, if any?
We know the outcome of the September ballot and we know who voted, but because votes are anonymous, we don’t know how any particular household voted. For example, 97 Lakeside households voted, and we know the addresses and the names of at least one of the residents of record, but we don’t know how a particular household voted, for or against the amendment. This means that the households that voted against the amendment will also be receiving a letter. Similarly, there were 85 total votes in the Courts, 126 votes in Goshenside and 25 votes in the Ridges. Together with Lakeside these account for the 336 total votes cast.
Of those 336 votes, 272 were in favor of the amendment, 61% of the entire community. These are the households we need to hear back from. In fact, we need to hear back from all 272 households, since the outcome was very close to the 60% needed to pass the amendment.
If you have questions about the process, please contact Community Manager Andrea Mandato at 240-243-2326 or Director of Community Management Karen Kodjanian at 240-243-2347.
Parking and Policies Revised
The board has revised both the parking and towing policies. The policies were revised to ensure consistency with other communities in Montgomery Village.
The revised policies are available on your Resident Dashboard online at www.montgomeryvillage.com. If you don’t have a free account, simply click the “Login/Join” link in the upper right hand corner of the webpage. Once your account is approved, you will have access to the policies and other valuable property information.
Whetstone Watch: for residents of The Courts, Goshenside, Lakeside and the Ridges of Whetstone.