HOA Board Meeting Highlights




SUMMARY OF THE BOARD MEETING  On October 4, 2019

The VHOA board met on October 7, 2019. We had an excellent meeting covering several areas. The two chairs of the Hospitality Committee made a presentation to the board concerning the committee and their future plans. We are track for a Christmas party this year, and 6 Friday Frenzies next summer, when the pool opens. The board went over some guidelines with the committee concerning monthly contacts and communication. The committee functions as “the eyes and ears” of our community, connecting to the newcomers, whether renters or owners. They bring a welcome smile and a Vineyards cookbook to each new family. Although they do not meet every month, they will provide, either in person or in writing, a summary of activity to the board. We look forward to increasing the communication from the committee to the board and the community.

Dane reviewed our lake status. If you have not noticed, the entire southeast is experiencing what is called a “flash drought”. There has been almost no rain for the last two months, nor is there any in the forecast. Lakes are dropping; planktonic algae (harmless) is blooming. The leaf fall is already starting. Be aware of disposing of your leaves. Do not blow them into the lakes! We also have a new replacement for Solitude’s main service agent, Kyle, who has moved to Texas. Hopefully rains may come in the winter to alleviate the drought.

Under old business, the CDR folks have rectified any problems from this year’s race. Next year the race is scheduled for August 8. August 7 is also blocked out if you are planning to use the clubhouse. Please mark your calendars!

Board discussed the replacement progress for the deck. We are going to move ahead with the demolition now, and try to get the deck done before the holidays. Deck will soon be unavailable for access. We will send out a notice before this happens. Look around our community and you will also see new benches going in for your enjoyment. Thanks Ron!!

Maggie gave a complete financial report. Our accounts are all on track, and in good shape. We are making money on our laddered CD’s, and there are funds available for all our construction needs. Maggie also went over our newly renegotiated trash contract with Republic Waste. She was able to reduce fees and eliminate some items. We are going to be communicating further on trash fees with you at the April meeting. We were unaware, but Republic also owns Allied Waste and BFI . Maggie can negotiate a better deal if all homeowners are under one blanket trash policy. More to follow in the Annual April Meeting!

Under the ARC committee, Diana is planning to clarify and update new guidelines for some areas, such as docks. Please remember to fill out the appropriate forms and submit to the ARC committee if you are planning on tree removal or any kind of construction. Much of the Vineyards falls under the RPA and Chesapeake Bay guidelines so be aware of the restrictions.

We are well underway with our budget process this year. The board will hold a special late session in December to review and the budget, at 6:30 on December 9.

We also have a Christmas party for December on the schedule; look for your invitation to this wonderful event! 


SUMMARY OF THE BOARD MEETING  On September 9, 2019

The board met at the new time of 4:00p.m. Everyone was there, and we proceeded immediately. First, the pool is now officially closed for the season. Next year, the pool will open the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. It will close the Tuesday after Labor Day. There will be no changes unless you hear directly from the board. Overall, the new pool company did a great job with the new pool. Many more residents took advantage of this amenity. In August, the CDR road race was held with minimal disruption to the neighborhood. Changes are in place for next year, including rectifying the parking on Pate’s Creek and Burnwether. Dane then gave his update on the lake, which is looking really good. We have had over 5 inches more rain this year, which helped keep the algae moving over and out of the lakes. Keeping the lake as full as possible helps this process. We used fewer chemicals this year, which was one of our main goals. Solitude responded quickly to any concerns, and we were pleased with them. You can see the full update on the webpage.

Ron Staples reviewed the maintenance, including the pool area. We have had problems with the outside electrical outlets; they are now fixed. Ron and the board went outside to review the condition of the deck, which is due for replacement in 2020. Ron is now in the process of getting bids for the work. The deck is now our focus, for redo in the fall if possible. The final product will complement the new pool area.

Moving forward, the board is beginning the process of working on next year’s budget. Maggie has done a great job reconciling our books. We found that our major trash company (Republic) has increased fees substantially. Residents should look for a letter explaining these price increases. You should see a new trash fee in the next quarter’s billing, if you opted for Republic. Republic went from $52.32 per quarter to $69.03. If you are participating in recycling, you should have been billed by the county separately. Our capital projects for 2020 include the deck, the parking lot, and the tennis courts. Doing these substantial projects is certainly helped with the installation of new software to monitor all our capital project costs.

The autumn weather has many people out and about; please take time to welcome our new neighbors. There are several families either here now, or moving here soon. The board also is endeavoring to improve the communication between our newcomers, the hospitality committee and Berkeley Realty. We hope that our new deck will be completed in time for our annual Christmas party, where we can meet and greet new folks, and old friends. Enjoy Autumn!


SUMMARY OF THE BOARD MEETING  On August 8, 2019

The VHOA board met August 8 for its monthly meeting. Overall, things are shaping up well in the neighborhood. All the tree work has been completed, and landscaping is looking great. The newly renovated pool is a welcome treat on these hot days. This Saturday, August 10 is the annual CDR race which we will host again. Please take time to review the lake report posted on the website. Our lakes have never looked better, and are performing as designed. In regards to the clubhouse, all repairs have been made to the board’s satisfaction. Nationwide Insurance covered all the costs, and Ron Staples did yeoman’s work coordinating all the repairs and contractors. Our expenses for the year are coming in as targeted, or slightly lower. The board will begin looking at next year’s budget starting in our September meeting. Our meeting date is September 9 at 4:00 if you would like to attend. There is one more Friday Frenzy, scheduled for the end of the month, prior to the Labor Day weekend. Enjoy what’s left of summer! 


SUMMARY OF THE BOARD MEETING  On July 9, 2019

The board held its monthly meeting July 8, 2019. We met in the newly refurbished and repaired clubhouse. Under community comments, much praise for the appearance of the renovated clubhouse, and the pool. There are a few minor repairs yet to be done, but overall repairs are completed.

Dane Belden submitted his lake report. Despite a three week stretch in June with no rain, lakes look to be in good shape. We are slightly ahead of annual rainfall for the year. Lake temperatures are conducive now for algae and aquatic growth. Both are under control with the current treatment schedule. We are treating less than last year. Dane’s data seems to reinforce our initial premise, that ceasing irrigation has had a positive effect on the lakes. We are at or slightly above the design levels. We will continue the monitoring efforts.

The board spent time reviewing all that has been done for the clubhouse since the May flood. We now have the following: all new floors throughout the facility, new bathroom sinks and vanities, new water heater, all new ductwork under the clubhouse, and a completely reconditioned crawlspace. We also have a new 4 ton self-contained HVAC system. The clubhouse has been cleaned, windows washed, and ruined items disposed of. The pool area looks wonderful. We still need to replace the phone system in the clubhouse, and paint the bathrooms. Our thirty year old clubhouse has never looked better! It will take approximately one more month to get all insurance issues completed, but things appear to be going well. We had 55 homeowners enjoy our first Friday Frenzy on July 5. A great time was had by all. We also collected a generous amount of canned goods to donate to the summer food pantries.

The treasurer’s report was positive. So far we have received $88,000 from the insurance company. The lake appears to be costing less, and we are slightly ahead of our budget projections. Our trash contract with Republic comes up for discussion and renewal in August. It appears that some changes will be coming. Also, be aware that homeowners will be billed by the recycling company $7.00 a month for the new recycling pickup. If you do not want it, you must contact the company and opt out.

Under new business, the board elected a slate of officers. They are as follows: President, Randy Steck; Vice-President, John Herrin; Secretary, Susan Miller; Treasurer, Maggie LaCasse; At-large, Diana Skelton. Diana will also be the new chair of the ARC (Architectural Review Committee). Also, the board meetings will be held at 4:00 p.m. starting next month.



Summary of Annual Meeting  Held On June 10, 2019

Last night, June 10, was the annual homeowners’ meeting for our Vineyards community. Randy Steck welcomed homeowners to the Winery, who graciously hosted our meeting due to the temporary loss of our clubhouse. The Winery provided wine and food to the assembled homeowners. Later in the meeting Patrick Duffeler, Jr. joined us and gave a brief set of remarks about the progress of the winery, and some news of new releases. The culinary team just returned from the James Beard house, and will be the primary host next year. The Winery has opened tasting rooms in Williamsburg as well as Virginia Beach. Last year was their best year ever. The anticipated release of the 2017 reds is exciting!

This welcome was followed by a brief set of remarks from the leaders of the Child Development Resource association. They were there to thank the homeowners for the use of the Vineyards for their annual road race. The non- profit group is 54 years old, and serves a population of about 1,200 children a year. They need to fund raise to supplement their federal, state and local grants. Over the 12 years they have been in the Vineyards, they have raised $562,000.00 for the children. This year’s race is August 10, in the morning. It should conclude about noon. They plan to add a family obstacle course this year. The leaders encouraged us to form a team and help in this.

Next, Maggie Lacasse reviewed our finances for the past year, explaining budget variances, some loss of income on investments, and our savings of about $5,400 over projections. The 2019 budget is in better shape with a positive variance. Expenses are running at about $162,000, or up 15 thousand from last year. The costs have been kept down by timely repairs and maintenance done by Ron Staples. This keeps us from invading the Capital Reserve. Our lake maintenance is the same as last year, at 17 thousand, but our expenses are down by about 4 thousand. Maggie reviewed the Capital Reserve account. She moved underperforming equities to money market and laddered cd’s. She also moved 120 thousand into mutual funds yielding 4%. Through April we are 12 thousand to the good. We are continuing to be cautious with our money. According to the Capital Reserve study done recently, we need 254 thousand in the Capital Reserve fund by the end of the year. We are on target to achieve that. The interactive study allows us to do a line by line item analysis and update at least every 6 months on our expenditures. Maggie fielded questions on our mutual funds, explaining how we use the reserve study to stay on top of expenses. This interactive account helps us schedule anticipated costs and our corresponding contributions. We hope to continue to keep our annual dues where they are at this point. She also went over the cost of the pool, and explained our investment team at Morgan Stanley.

Susan Miller reviewed the last 14 months of ongoing maintenance items. This year has been challenging. We dealt with the usual issues, as well as moving forward with the lake progress. When the pool opened last year, the board began the process of planning for a complete renovation of the old pool. This process concluded with the opening of the new pool area in 2019. The board worked with various engineering companies as well this past year to establish guidelines for the dams, and the lake levels. Regular maintenance continues with power washing, street cleaning, fence repair, and other issues as they arose. Two areas of concern which will be addressed in July are the decks, and the tennis courts. The deck will need to be replaced, and the tennis courts may undergo modification as well. Our landscape company has signed on for another year, at the same rate. We also hired a new more responsive pool company, Continental, from Richmond, to provide daily maintenance. As the pool got ready to open, we experienced a complete water heater break on a weekend in early May. This water leak, even though discovered the next day, led to the complete replacement of all floors in the clubhouse, as well as all ductwork. Clubhouse still has a way to go before final inspections, and cleaning/touch up of the interior as we work to complete the task.

Under the heading of New Business, Randy Steck discussed some options for the tennis courts. We also answered questions about VDOT and the condition of our roads. All in all, there have been many improvements over the past 14 months in our property. Randy also gave a brief update on the much improved condition of the lakes. Dane will send out a May report, including photos from the previous year, for comparison. Then Susie Beck spoke to the homeowners on a need to get back to doing a collaborative project, such as Relay for Life, to reinvigorate the positive feelings of neighborliness.

Finally, votes were tabulated last night for the 3 open positions on the board. The following people were elected: Susan Miller, John Herrin, and Randy Steck. The board thanks Lisa Goodman for her outstanding contributions to the welfare of the community. The meeting adjourned around 8:00 p.m. Our next community event will be the July 5th Friday Frenzy, where we hope to show off a completed clubhouse facility. We will send out notice of all events as the clubhouse becomes available.

SUMMARY OF THE BOARD MEETING  On May 9, 2019

The VHOA board held its monthly meeting on May 9, 2019. A quorum was established, and we proceeded with much business. The board discussed a general clean up of properties in the Vineyards, including construction projects, and common areas. Board emphasized the need for all homeowners to get approval before cutting down trees, or undertaking additions. Please also attend to your grass mowing, or call us for help if you need it.

Dane Belden gave a detailed lake report. Treatments are now underway as the water warms up. Kyle is now treating for algae and cattails. The slender pond weed is lessening after its treatment in April, so he did not do a bump treatment. Our goal is to treat less, and use less chemical material. The lakes are at the design level, and water outflow is slowing down as temperatures increase and evaporation increases. Rainfall remains plentiful. There is much aquatic activity, with blue gill, bass and turtles in abundance. Water temperatures were at 81 degrees in both lakes on May 5. You will see pennywort in the coves, which hopefully will provide a natural deterrent to the algae growth. Dane and Kyle continue their close working relationship, meeting before and after each visit by Solitude.

Christine Payne gave her report on the election search committee results. We have one additional resident on the ballot for the June election. Christine is interested in establishing a ‘community liason’ role, where residents volunteer to attend a monthly board meeting. Look for a sign up sheet at the Annual Meeting on June 10. We will also have a presentation at that meeting by the Child Development Resource board. They are a wonderful local group that sponsors a “Road Race” here in the Vineyards as part of their fundraising. It is in early August, so look for details on our website concerning the race.

Maintenance issues consumed a large part of our meeting. Ron Staples gave a detailed report on the pool renovation project, which is coming along nicely. The concrete is done surrounding the pool, and clean up/renovation of the pool itself is underway prior to its being refilled. The new fencing is coming in, and will be installed along with its river stone ‘mulch’. The renovated pool furniture is ready to go also. That’s the good news, now for some unpleasant news concerning the clubhouse. Late last Friday night, May 3, our water heater ruptured and began flooding the clubhouse. Ron’s worker, Joe, fortunately stopped to check on the clubhouse Saturday morning, and discovered the leak. The company Ron called on, Stat, responded within the hour, and began the clean up, which is extensive. It included removal of the floors in the clubhouse, and the bath room areas, as well as ductwork under the clubhouse, which had also flooded as water went down the floor vents. Ron Staples, Susan Miller and the team from Stat met with our Nationwide insurance adjuster Friday, May 10, to review the damage. We are awaiting his analysis before proceeding with what is now a complete renovation of most of the clubhouse areas. We will keep you informed as events develop, and repair/replacements begin. Obviously this unforeseen event has caused upheaval of many planned events, including, possibly, the pool opening day of May 24, and even the June 10 annual meeting. We will keep the community informed by email, and also by our website.

In additional areas of interest, some landscaping will be occurring at the gazebo, and the entrance to the clubhouse, in the next few weeks. The ARC approved a new fence project for a resident, as well as tree removal for another. Please remember to contact the ARC before starting projects, or cutting trees down. Some of you have noticed the gravel ‘driveway’, which was installed to allow the heavy cement trucks to pour cement at the pool. This will be removed in the fall, and the area affected reseeded and cleaned up. We are still awaiting final tree clean up from our tree service.

Please monitor your email, and view the website for updates and meeting changes if they occur. Annual meeting is still scheduled for June 10 as of now.


SUMMARY OF THE BOARD MEETING  On April 8, 2019

The board held its monthly meeting on April 8, 2019. We addressed community concerns about dogs off leash. County law says they can be off leash if they are under the control of their owners. We also discussed construction issues and the trailer left on roadside by a construction site.

Dane gave a very comprehensive lake report. The lake temperature is now in the mid 60’s; Sonar has been applied. Algae and Pennywort are growing in both lakes. Next week Solitude takes water samples and may need to conduct a bump treatment. Sonar does not address Pennywort or cattails. The migratory birds are gone, replaced by water snakes, and a possible beaver. The fish are plentiful, as are minnows. Lake levels are at design levels. An inch of rain leads to four inches of lake rise. Unfortunately, it appears that control valves were not added to either lake to facilitate drainage of the lakes if it was ever needed. Board will consider an action plan for lowering the lakes if needed, such as in a hurricane. We discussed adding Pickeral weed as a natural barrier along the edges of the lake.

Under old business, Dave Coffield and Christine Payne will form a nominating committee to look for people interested in being on the board. Residents were notified by email and also letter. Board annual meeting will be held on June 10. Please contact Christine if you are interested in serving on this committee. Also under old business is our community trash contract, utilized by about 70 residents. We will investigate this program in the near future to see if we can get a better group price for services from Republic if all residents participate.

The pool construction is coming along, despite the rain. We are still on target for our pool season opening on May 24. Please observe the no trespassing signs on this project, and stay off the site while work is going on.

Maggie gave a comprehensive review of our budget, which will also be included in a letter to all residents. Costs for projects are on target, and funds allocated. Maggie and Ed Robbins are meeting soon for a review of finances with the new finance person for Berkeley Realty Property Management. Maggie also opted for CD’s with a better return on our investments. All in all it was a very solid report.

Our next meeting will be held at 4:30 on May 13.



SUMMARY OF THE BOARD MEETING  On March 11, 2019

The Vineyards board met on Monday, March 11, at 4:30. We were all in attendance and a quorum was established. Lisa gave an update on Dominion Power. She has contacted them to get them to reset leaning light poles, which could take as long as two months. Ron gave an update about tree work; it is still scheduled based on Top Notch’s availability. The board undertook a detailed review of our draft of the Capital Reserve Analysis. Overall, the analysis is right on target. We made a few small changes, based on ongoing work, and work previously completed. The final report should be done shortly. The board also went over the two contracts with Continental Pools, one for the construction phase and one for the summer maintenance. The contracts were approved, pending one more quote on pipe replacement. Continental will be servicing our pool seven days a week starting in May. There was no formal presentation of a lake report, but Dane said the lake is on target for springtime, and is in good shape.

Under maintenance, Ron reviewed an extensive list. He has replaced the leaking water fountain in the clubhouse. Fence repairs/replacement continue at the entrance. Ron and Randy have made trips to inspect other tennis court repairs/updates to see about the future of our tennis courts. Ron has also brought in a bench for the board’s approval. The board will be placing several benches around the property to provide a place to sit and enjoy the view of the lakes. Ron also met with Knightscapes to discuss changes to the sprinkler system at the clubhouse. The board took some time also before the meeting to inspect the ongoing construction of the new pool deck, which is coming along nicely now that we have a break from the rain.

Maggie gave a detailed review of our financial statements. She has made sure that there is enough cash on hand to fund all the projects. She is also meeting with our investment team to ladder out existing CD’s into more profitable bonds. We are currently looking at costs of the quarterly trash pick up. Additionally, Ed Robbins has hired a new accountant to oversee the books. The board also took time to review costs of capital reserve items for future needs, in an effort to plan ahead for all financial activity.

Finally, next month is our annual meeting, scheduled for April 29, at 7:00 p.m. The board plans to provide a full update of the last 12 months, hold elections, and present a guest speaker for an update on our charitable participation. Hope you can attend! 


SUMMARY OF BOARD MEETING ON February 4, 2019 

The monthly board meeting was held on February 4, 2019. We dealt with some community concerns first, including allowing a non-profit sponsored by a homeowner to meet at the clubhouse. Lisa Goodman Kidd will also represent the board and meet with Dominion Power to have them look at our ‘leaning’ light posts, and offer a solution. The whole neighborhood will be cleaned up of winter debris by Top Notch Tree in the near future.

Dane Belden gave the lake report. Lakes are now slightly above design level, and doing well. He will post a picture of the shiny brown bacterial discharge that is now appearing in the lakes on our website. It is part of a natural process. Dane has also archived the engineering reports from Tri-State engineers.

Under old business, we are still waiting on a report from Waste Management concerning fees. Randy has also talked with Olsen builders about lot clean up on the construction site. We are awaiting the draft of our third reserve study. Once that comes in we will meet at Berkeley Realty offices for a complete review of all items in the Vineyards, their cost and their replacement costs. This helps the board maintain a healthy balance in the Capital Reserve Account to pay for large ticket replacement items.

Our next big focus, spear headed by Ron, is the updating of our thirty year old pool. We have multiple bids, and selected one from Colonial Concrete, to replace the pool decking. Our old fence, which no longer meets code, will be replaced. We also are replacing pipes and plumbing, and adding jets to the baby pool. This will be handled by Continental Pools. Our pool furniture has all been refurbished; some items have been replaced as well. Dane will put a rendering on the website in the near future, so that you can get a look at what promises to be an exciting renovation.

Maggie LaCasse gave the financial report. Our accounts are in solid shape, with money in the reserve account for all projects, as well as monies in additional CD’s. Once we meet and go over the new capital reserve study, we can adjust our accounts as needed. Every month we put money into this account, which then is used for big projects, like the pool, or the HVAC systems. A reserve study guides us in terms of deposits, and eventually quarterly assessments. Good budgeting keeps everything under control. Looking into the future, we may need to replace our aging deck, and possibly the HVAC system.

Our next meeting is Monday, March 11. We hope to have a final Reserve Study by then. We will plan our April annual meeting also. This will be held on April 29. The regular meeting is April 8, at 4:30. The board will elect at least one new member; information will come out in that regard. 


SUMMARY OF BOARD MEETING ON JANUARY 14, 2019

The Vineyards Homeowners Board met at 4:30 on Monday, January 14. Some of the items discussed were as follows. Look for more information concerning the ongoing lake treatment program, and other related items on our website. Please make an effort to check the website for all types of pertinent information. The lake is now operating at or above design levels, with water temperature at 45 degrees. There are many migratory birds on or around the lake. Ron Staples discussed the ongoing process to get competitive bids for the pool renovation project. We will be replacing the fence and the concrete, giving the pool an updated and refreshed appearance. Ron and Susan Miller will be going over the tree needs of the neighborhood, and lining up tree clean up, and pruning. We also plan to spread the resulting mulch on the nature trail. Call Randy if you would like to help. Dane Belden and Ron will coordinate with Tri State engineers to get all existing documents and videos of the dams, in an effort to focus on the dam. Ron has met with VDOT to discuss deteriorating road conditions around the Pate’s Creek cul de sac. Berkeley Property Management is coordinating with a new financial team, P.B. Mears. The Vineyards has a new Capital Reserve Project Analysis coming in at the end of the month, from Design Management Associates. We will present this at the annual meeting, and go over some of this year’s projects. The board would like to welcome Diana Skelton as a new member, filling a long existing vacancy. Our next meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 4, which is a change from our usual second Monday meeting date. Time remains at 4:30. Meetings are open to all residents.