An important legal issue now threatening the fabric of our community

Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) has filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County with the intent of stopping three condominium associations from attempting to withdraw from Montgomery Village (MV). Normandie-on-the-Lake II, Heron’s Cove and Thomas Choice Gardens Condominium have initiated action intended to enable them to withdraw from MV so as to cease their responsibility to pay assessments to MVF, which support the many services and amenities that MVF provides to the entire Montgomery Village community. While the three condominiums have argued that MVF provides their residents with no valued services, they also denied every opportunity extended to discuss how MVF benefits the entire community. In fact, one condominium association has shared their intention to use the assessments that they collected for MVF to pay for their own condominium expenses, arguing that they have capital projects that need to be funded.

The combined annual assessments that MVF receives from these three condominium associations is approximately $250,000—about half of the $553,000 total that we receive from the 11 condominiums in Montgomery Village. This would be a significant loss to the organization, a major impact to current and future budgets and would necessitate either a decrease in services or an increase in assessments for the remaining Village owners. The potential loss of this assessment revenue is one that MVF cannot ignore or permit to happen. MVF cannot fulfill its mission without the continued mandatory assessments to support services, and it is not fair to the unit owners who bought into Montgomery Village as a planned community. Unfortunately, MVF must spend assessment dollars to fight this action by the three condominium associations; to date, MVF has spent approximately $60,000 preparing for this action and estimates an additional $100,000 in litigation costs.

It clearly was never the intention of the developers that the planned community of Montgomery Village be split apart and parceled out piecemeal. Moreover, MVF staff and counsel do not believe that the governing documents that the original developers put in place allow for the possibility of a unilateral withdrawal from MV by any of its local communities, whether condominium associations or homes corporations. Therefore, outside counsel has been hired to assist MVF in taking legal action in the form of a declaratory judgment and request for injunctive relief to prevent crippling damages to MVF and our community.

As the community has aged over the past half century, MVF faces the same challenges that individual homeowners face, as its facilities and infrastructure have aged. Today the Village is on the cusp of a new era, as new development projects are planned and underway. MVF, too, is actively investing in the community to renovate its aging facilities and provide new amenities to enhance the quality of life for all residents.

 

Services and amenities provided by Montgomery Village Foundation assessments:

Recreational amenities:

Montgomery Village Foundation owns and operates more than 330 acres of recreational space for the benefit of all residents, including ponds and lakes, recreation and park areas, athletic fields, swimming pools (for a fee for non-designated user residents), community centers, tennis courts, an outdoor amphitheater, a nature center and miles of walking paths.

Services include:

  • Maintenance and upkeep of MVF-owned common property
  • Village-wide special events, including our annual Independence Day Celebration, Fall Festival, Home Show, Farmers’ Market and New Resident Welcome Reception, among others
  • Summer camps, programs and classes for all ages
  • Seniors in Action Program
  • MVF Activity Cards for access to amenities

Recent new or newly renovated community amenities include:

  • Rebuilt Lake Whetstone boat house and dock
  • Natural playground features at Lake Whetstone Park
  • New all-abilities playground at Apple Ridge Recreation Area
  • Improvements to South Valley Park amenities, including a reconstructed amphitheater, construction of restrooms and a concession stand and renovation of the ballfield (new turf)
  • In addition, MVF supports our active swim teams, the MV Community Band and jazz band, and the Montgomery Village Sports Association, which provides youth sports programs.

 

Communications:

Publication and distribution of the Montgomery Village News and other specialty publications including quarterly Recreation Guides and an annual Home Improvement Guide, Residents Guide, photographic calendar and Annual Report

Website – www.montgomeryvillage.com – which provides detailed information about every aspect of Montgomery Village, including online access to publications, homes corporation and condominium associations, development updates and more

Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram

 

Government and community relations:

MVF staff monitors county and state legislation that would affect Montgomery Village and our HOAs and COAs. Examples of issues include:

  • Roadway projects
  • Neighboring new construction
  • Legislation that would impose unreasonable financial requirements on HOAs/COAs
  • Planning Board decisions affecting Montgomery Village development projects
  • Community meetings with 6th District Commander and Police Officers

 

Planning for the future

With the input of Board appointed ad hoc committees and community input, MVF produced two major reports to help guide the renewal of our community, as it has aged.

  • Long-Range Facility Planning Report –evaluated existing Village facilities and amenities and included suggestions for future amenities, many of which have already been implemented or are included in ongoing development plans.
  • Vision 2030 Report – the result of a year-long process of volunteers working with a professional land use consultant to ensure that our community wishes would be incorporated into the county’s Montgomery Village Master Plan.

 

Working with property owners/developers on new planned projects

Staff works closely with the developers of new proposed projects to ensure that community input is considered as planning progresses and county approvals are sought. This includes community meetings concerning the former golf course, the Village Center and the Professional Center properties. Work is also underway to implement incorporation of new planned residential units into MVF to ensure that they are participants in the larger community and to further keep MVF assessments as low as possible.

 

Fees:

  • MVF Assessment - Current monthly MVF Fee for COA/HOA members - $21.03 per unit.
  • Capital Contribution Fee (CCF) - used for new capital improvements or facilities, or renovation of existing facilities open to all Village residents. Since implementation of this fee in 2011, the fee has generated $1.28M to support new capital projects, while keeping the MVF assessment as low as possible to improve amenities. In fact, the MVF assessment increase has been minimal, with several years of no increase.

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DHC Repairs and Remodeling
11515 A Mountain View Road Damascus, MD 20872
866-773-9974
Remodel Free LLC
Serving Maryland and Virginia
240-583-0774
Rotary Club of Montgomery Village
2 Montgomery Village Avenue, Gaithersburg (Holiday Inn)
jim@slins.com