Here are the meeting minutes from the 2012 Brookshire Cluster General Assembly meeting held on Tuesday evening, Feb 7th 2012. The purpose of the meeting was to review past-present-future events related to the overall Cluster’s wellbeing. The minutes are broken down as follows:
FINANCIALS AND BUDGET
VOTE ON BOARD MEMBERS
13 of 26 (50%) houses present, Quorum of 40% achieved. Cluster President Mike called the meeting to order at 7:42PM.
· Mulch will be delivered by Lions club on Saturday, March 24th with 3 cubic feet hardwood mulch at $4.50 per bag. Please let us know how many bags you would like.
· Gutter Cleaning will occur in late May, interior units will be $99, exterior units $125. Please let us know if you would like to schedule your gutters to be cleaned.
· Brookshire Cluster Website recreated on line with cluster documents, by-laws, minutes, guidelines for paint, trash removal etc online – www.brookshirecluster.org
Cathy discussed six items
· Status of the front garden
· Relocation of plants, bulbs and trees
· Lamp post area
· Tysons tree
· Tree replacement strategy
· Erosion control
With budget approval in the June assembly to re-do the front garden, a plan was finalized with the three main objectives covered:
· Three seasons of color
· Drought tolerant, and
The plan is to replace the whole garden and contents. The rose of Sharon tree will be replaced with another rose of Sharon tree. The colors will range pink/white and red through the spring and summer, changing to crimson foliage in fall.
Plant new shrubs and perennials, including sweetspire, cherry red knockout roses, double-pink knockout roses, viburnum, red day lilies, purple aster, and a new pink/purple Rose of Sharon tree in the center.
Relocate two Nikkii blue hydrangeas to another part of the cluster – currently estimated to be up around Doc’s area.
Relocate the red-buds to the walkway by Doc and Anne Maries house in mid-March.
The plan here is to create a new garden under the new lamp by Sherry’s and where the old crab apple tree was removed. This will be a new garden area planted and managed by cardinal with a similar mission as the front garden – colorful, drought tolerant and perennial. In addition, the plants have to save the soil from being corroded and eroded away, and have to stay low so they do not obstruct the light footprint. The same little henry Sweetspire, as planned for the front garden, will be planted here.
We need to identify what trees are to be trimmed or removed from the cluster property. Tysons is set to come for an estimate next week so let Cathy know if you wanted or needed any work to be done on the trees around you. Tysons will also be taking out the old tree stumps in the front garden in order for the Garden restoration to take full effect.
Reston has issued a new ‘recommended’ tree list including: black gum/tupelo, Maple “October Glory”, Easter redbud, red oak, dogwood “Princess:, Cherry “yoshino”, magnolia “sweetbay”. Sadly, Bradford pears are on the prohibited list.
The board had met prior to the general assembly and recognized the need for strategic tree replanting and replenishment. It has been a grueling few years between monsoons, droughts and the Chatham colony area. In the General Assembly, it was agreed that a ‘Tree Replenishment Committee’ would be created to establish a strategic, and tactical, plan to restore trees to Brookshire. This board would use the Tree Evaluation summary from Fairfax Gov’t (thanks to Amanda) in conjunction with Reston Approved Trees and Budget approval to establish timelines, locations to replace trees in the cluster.
There is little money left over from the drainage budget from the special assessment to continue and complete the drainage erosion in front of Sherry’s house. We are getting g a quote from Cardinal to re-grove the area, plant pachysandra or another ground cover. We would also need to build a small wall under the existing refurbished erosion area to halt further run-off of mud and soil to the pathway. Note – this is targeted as a Cluster Clean-up day item on April 21st.
Separately, Mike and Cathy noted that they would like to add another drain collection point in front of their house to whisk away standing water when it rains.
· Replace the dead rhododendrons by Moorings with something more suitable to live in drought/dark areas.
· Replace mulch by Oak Hydrangea near Moorings. The weed Protector is shining through as the leaf blowers remove the mulch laid there every year.
· Remove Holly Tree by Cathy/Carole/Ann’s pathway. Replace with ??? it was suggested that the Hydrangeas from the front garden could be a possibility but they grow too wide to be effective.
· Keep an eye on the Bradford pears center of the parking lot. The center one split in two in the snows last year so it’s side-heavy, but alive. This will eventually be replaced with an ornamental tree or grove of ornamentals.
· Note to Cardinal to raise the mower level on private garden areas. Currently, the blade cuts too close and removes greenery to expose soil.
Jessica brought up the need to review the overall grass condition of the neighborhood and proposed that it may be time to redo our lawns. It was noted that as a cluster, we have been keeping a low budget for landscaping, lawns in particular, for years. We have also refused to add chemicals to remove weeds, partly because of the environmental factors involved with chemicals, and partly because removing the weeds would leave most lawns completely barren.
Without any specific budget assigned, it was noted that with a new garden in place, we should focus on keeping the grass up to par. This would entail either each house doing an “Adopt A Patch” approach to overall renovation or assigned budget to tackle this cluster wide. In any scenario, it is important that we add lime, mulch, seeds, fertilizer and PH correction as a combined treatment.
· Spring Cluster Cleanup will be scheduled for one of the last weekends in April, tentatively set for April 21st.
· Mulch will be delivered on March 24th in time for the cluster cleanup and private events.
· Common area shrub replacement: part of the front garden revitalization.
· Summer – Cardinal Projects: Replace front garden completely. Plant pachysandra on the slopes by the new drainage area. Plant creeping raspberry on the slope in front of Sherry’s house. Plant new garden under new lamppost.
· Mosquito’s: We contracted again for the Mosquito spraying for 6 times (vs. 9) this year. Cathy will send out a note to neighbors when spraying is scheduled to occur.
· Contract Cardinal: Lastly on the landscape information, Cardinal renewed contract for the year with small cost increase for the standard maintenance. Over and above that is the new garden (with two years labour) and maintenance of drainage area.
o Fun year was had with a lot of social events, some planned, some impromptu.
o New schedule for upcoming events will include dates for:
· First Friday Gathering: First Friday of each month Locations to be decided.
· Easter Egg Hunt: April 7th
· Yard Sale: May…
· Camping: May tbd
· Picnic: June 23rd
· Halloween Party: Saturday, October 27th
· Holiday Party: Saturday, December 8th
· New Year’s Eve Party: New Year’s Eve, place tbd.
· See the online calendar of events - http://brookshirecluster.org/Calendar.html
· There is a general opinion to add more philanthropic activities for the cluster to engage, such as “Relay for Life” support. If you have an idea for volunteer work and would like to share it with others, please notify us http://brookshirecluster.org/contact.html to co-ordinate activities.
o Actual vs. Budget came in with a s $3,589 surplus for the cluster. Removing the cost of plantings near the new lights and the slope of $1,252.37, the actual variance to be added to the reserve fund is $2,337.27. This was due to the drainage budget coming in $1,252 under budget, no social events, under budget in common grounds and repair budget, and re-negotiated Trash and removal rates.
o Two of five special projects Assessments of $75 per household/quarter for 5 quarters to cover the drainage project and 2 additional parking lot lights were billed in 2011. Total assessment is $75 x 26 houses x 5 terms = $9,750. The financials show 100% of the income with the unbilled amount set up as a receivable.
o Cost to date of the two projects is $8,497.63. The initial plan did not include any other plantings besides the pachysandra. We have approved the difference $1,252.37 to be used for additional plantings around the lamp post and the slope area near the drainage project.
o Capital Reserves –2012 Budget Plans:
o There will be one more additional assessment of $75 per household/quarter ($1,950) to fund the renovation of the front garden eta April 2012.
o A new line item under expenses appears called ‘Plantings’ with a total budget of $3,452.37. Of this, $2,200 is for the front garden and $1,252.37 is for the plantings in the slope area.
o Reserve history:
Reserves Amount Added to reserve Reason
2007 $8,813.55 $591.08
2008 $12,524.04 $3,710.49
2009 $14,283.12 $1,759.08 bad tree year
2010 $21,112.81 $6,829.69 make up last year
2011 $26,494.08 $3,589.64
o Long range Plan schedule includes parking lot repair in 2014 of $6,500, in 20154 sidewalk repair of $20,000 (if needed), and a mill and repair parking lot plain in 2017 of $30,000. Retaining walls will need to assessed
o Based on some unexpected costs in 2011, the reserve budget is currently under target for the long-term Repair/Replace/Restructure plan for the cluster. Based on a time and cost estimate for the following services, we need to raise the reserves by at least $3,300 each year for the reserve budget to cover the long-range planned activities, any other expenses will require an assessment:
o Repaving (Sealing) 5 years
o Resurfacing 20 years (or sooner)
o Sidewalk fixes
o Retaining wall repairs
o Based on this re-allocation of funds, there will be no increase in dues for 2012 pending no unforeseen changes or disasters.
Just a reminder - each house and resident needs to:
o Follow trash guidelines: Trash goes out no earlier than sun-down night before pickup, pull your trash can and recycle bin in asap next morning, hide the trash can in your back yard or in an obscure place where it will not cause consternation with neighbors.
o Tidy front yard: Remove any item that is not in line with the neighborhood or general aesthetic appearance. Notice most houses have greenery and shrubs and nothing else.
o Unclutter Decks: Decks are not extra storage units, and for those houses whose backs are exposed to walking areas – keep your deck clear of clutter.
o Sow Grass: We can each promote our own grassy area. In Spring, we’ll hand out small bags of Kentucky bluegrass (bright/drought) or fine-leaf fescue (Shade) to upkeep your own area.
o Clear Chatham area: Apparently there are things between our cluster and Chatham that we need to clear away. (Cluster cleanup item).
o Keep an eye on Electric Lights: Keep the lights burning. If you notice common area or path area lights out, let us know so we open trouble tickets with Dominion.
o Replace Swing sections: Carpenter bees eating through the A style wood swing. Need to repair or replace, possibly a project for April clean up.
o Plant Replacement trees: Chris noted that we can help our cluster with buying seedlings, then coordinating our planting of the seedlings to replace the lost trees throughout the cluster. Click here for seedling form:
o Mike H - Unanimously re-elected as President
o Cathy F - Unanimously re-elected as Landscape Director
o Ann D - Unanimously re-elected as Treasurer
o Amanda and Shari – unanimously re-elected as Social Directors.
o Deirdre – unanimously re-elected as Secretary.
Meeting concluded at 09:42PM