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
Middle Village Annual Meeting
by the Middle Village Board of Directors
The Middle Village Annual Meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23 in the Thomas Choice Clubhouse, 19401 Brassie Place.
There are numerous storm drains located along the curbs throughout the community. Please do not dispose of any items in the storm drains! Placing an item such as a water bottle in the drain may seem harmless, but it can be the start of a very costly problem, which can translate into increased assessment fees. Remember: no bottles, paint cans, hazardous materials such as paint, oils, gasoline, etc. are ever to be placed in the storm drains. Help keep our community water system flowing efficiently and protect your property from flood damage.
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.”
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.
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
2019 Patton Ridge President’s Message
by Will Evans
It’s only March, but we have jumped off to a fast start on many projects that we approved in 2018. I have lived in Patton Ridge for 35+ years and I cannot remember ever seeing our trees trimmed. Well that oversight was corrected big time when Brightview undertook a Patton Ridge-wide effort, at our request, to identify and trim all trees in the community that were in need. This effort was concentrated primarily on deciduous trees in order to remove dead or dangerous branches and to enhance the growth pattern of the trees in order to maintain their health and continued growth. This process also resulted in the identification of a few trees that needed removal because of disease.
We also started on the repair of our underground storm water management system by fixing the seven most problematic areas in the system. We have asked our contractor, Busy Services, to repair the next most needy three to five problems in 2019. These improvements are not visible but help us to avoid major problems that can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair if we have a major break in the system.
The board of directors continues to focus on potential problem analysis throughout our infrastructure in order to avoid more expensive repairs in the coming years. We contracted for and received a revised Reserve Study last year to help us plan and execute projects for the next twenty years. We are seeking bids to replace the roof on the Arrowhead Circle gazebo, and we will be looking at our asphalt walkways in most need of repair. There are also several curb side and in ground water catch basins in need of repair.
We are nearing the end of our one-year agreement with the county to maintain our pet waste stations. The county has retrieved 1,006.2 pounds of waste from the five stations that have been in place for one year. Given the obvious success of this program, we will contact the county to determine what arrangements may be available to install additional stations. Thank you to all our residents who have made this program a success. You are performing a valuable service to our community.
I am certain that you noted that we changed our towing and parking policy in early February. We will continue to review our policies to improve the operation and appearance of Patton Ridge as needed. Now if we could solve the trash problems that would be real progress. However, only you as residents can fix this problem by following community and county policies, and by reporting issues when you observe them to our community manager.
I want to inform renters that you have an obligation to follow the same rules as your homeowner. Our policies regarding trash and exterior maintenance can be found on your Member Dashboard at www.montgomeryvillage.com – these are available to renters as well. I want to remind absentee homeowners that you have an obligation to ensure that your renters are obeying all Patton Ridge policies.
This is a good place to publicly thank our board of directors for their continued dedication to the management of our community. We are blessed with an excellent board that can identify issues and talk through differences in an amiable manner. We strive to make meetings interesting and we have board members with a great sense of humor and no ego problems. Larry Nicholson was elected to another three-year term as a result of the ballots you submitted, and Lauren Hydorn was appointed to fill one of our three vacancies at our March meeting. I was elected to another term as president and Brian Post was reelected as treasurer. Perhaps two of our residents would like to volunteer to fill the remaining vacancies on the board.
The Patton Ridge Board meets nine times a year on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. Meetings rarely last more than two hours and 90 minutes is the usual norm. That is somewhere between a 13½ and an 18-hour annual commitment to help maintain and improve our community. Requirements for board membership include current assessment payments, lack of maintenance or architectural violations, consistent ability to attend meetings and a desire to see Patton Ridge thrive. Residents interested in taking advantage of this opportunity should contact Karen Kodjanian at 240-243-2347. Get involved. Your participation will make a positive difference in our community.
Patton Ridge Report: for residents of Arrowhead, Fairway Islands, Fairidge, Greentee I & II, Highfield and Partridge Place I & II.
South Village Scenes
South Village election results
by the South Village Board of Directors
Congratulations to the 2019-2020 South Village Board of Directors:
Doniele Ayres, President
Pamela Bort, Vice President
Suzanne Wheeler, Treasurer
Amani Jude, Secretary
Lynn Jerome, Director
Dianne Camper, Director
Janet Andre, Director
Nancy Farrar, Director
Mark Firley Director
Montgomery Village Foundation Representative: Nancy Farrar
Community residents are invited to participate in our committees: maintenance, recreation, communication and budget committees will be formed at the next South Village board meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24 in the North Creek Board Room, 20125 Arrowhead Road.
South Village is social!
You can now find us on FaceBook; search for “South Village Homes Corporation.” Our page will have updates and information. Please like and share!
Spring is here
Please watch for kids playing. Also, remember to place trash in cans with lids to keep birds, rodents and other animals from ripping bags.
Help keep South Village clean: place trash out on the appropriate days and request free bulk pickups for larger items like televisions and furniture.
Please don’t post signs on trees. Montgomery Village is proud to be a Tree City, and we’d like to protect our trees by not posting signs or other materials on them. Contact the management office if you would like approval to post a sign on community property.
Thank you for your support of the Pet Waste Station Program! In one year, over 1,500 pounds of pet waste has been collected. The program will continue, and additional waste stations will be installed throughout South Village. Please encourage your neighbors to use stations that are near larger fields and open areas. County law requires pet parents to clean up pet waste, and our children need clean places to play.
We all know that parking in South Village is a challenge and we have to work together to provide spaces for visitors and contractors. Please remember that fire lanes are no parking zones; vehicles are subject to immediate towing. Driveways are private property; do not park in your neighbor’s driveway unless you have an agreement. Vehicles parked on private property (driveways) can be towed at the owner’s request. Violators are subject to fees from the tow company. Double parking and parking on community property, sidewalks and grassy areas, are a violation and vehicles may be stickered and towed. You may refer to the parking policy located on your Member Dashboard online at www.montgomeryvillage.com.
Have a great spring!
South Village Scenes: for residents of Center Stage, Dockside, Grover's Forge, Hamptons, Millrace, Nathan's Hill and Walker's Choice.
Stedwick Homes Corporation 2018 Annual Statement
by Keith Silliman
The 2018 year was a good one for the Stedwick Homes Corporation. Overall expenses were below budget and investments have been made to enhance the appearance and the environmental quality of our community. However, we continue to be confronted with significant parking and trash problems.
The Stedwick Homes Corporation’s 2018 financial status indicates an increase in overall expenses compared to 2017, but still slightly under budget. Snow removal and storm damage repair costs were significantly under budget. Maintenance and repairs and trash removal costs all increased.
Significant investments were made in our community’s infrastructure. The Club Hill community was repaved and many of the curbs replaced. The entry way to Clusters II was rejuvenated with the removal and replacement of overgrown shrubs. An additional RainScape feature was created in the Burlingame Stream Valley and additional trees were planted to replace some of those lost to storm damage.
Dog waste deposit stations were installed throughout our community by Montgomery County on a trial basis, and have been very successful. Nearly one ton of dog waste was removed from our community, which was a very significant reduction. All of that did not get on our shoes or wash off our greenspace and into our steams and ultimately into the bay.
Record setting rainfall totals impacted and delayed many of the routine activities of the homes corporation during the year. It has contributed to a considerable amount of damage to our greenspace by trash and recycling collection trucks. The increased parking of cars near the corners forces the trucks to drive onto the greenspace to make the tight turns.
We continue to hear concerns about parking problems throughout our community and are seeing an increased number of trucks, vans and cars parked along Stedwick and Watkins Mill roads. Our security service has been more aggressive in stickering cars which are in violation of parking rules. The Montgomery County Police listened to our concerns about the parking and long-term storage of large truck, trailers and construction equipment on the upper end of Watkins Mill Road and we applaud their success in addressing that problem.
The smooth operation of the Stedwick Homes Corporation results from the cooperative efforts of our board of directors, our management team, our contractors and our residents. Thanks to all our board members for volunteering their time and efforts; to Community Manager Andrea Mandato and her team; and to all our contractors, especially the team from Kline Landscaping which provides our landscaping and snow removal services. Audrey Houser, our maintenance chair, deserves a special thank you for her tireless efforts working on maintenance related items, from evaluation of the problems through their correction, and finally payment for the work accomplished.
During the year, the board of directors has operated with two vacant positions.
The board of directors has worked to keep the Stedwick community an attractive place to live, to keep it safe and affordable and to be environmentally sensitive. That job has been a collaborative effort of the board members, our community manager and our contractors. Thanks to all of them for their efforts.
We welcome your comments and suggestions. Contact our Stedwick Homes Corporation community manager at 240-243-2326, visit www.stedwickhc.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or communicate via regular mail to the Stedwick Homes Corporation, 10120 Apple Ridge Road, Montgomery Village MD 20886.
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.