Kings Park West Community Association

Annual Meeting

May 23, 2007


Board Members in Attendance:

Larry Velte, Bernie Shinal, Mary Hovland, James Messinger, Joe Meyer, Dina Gorrell.

Fred Fredericks was absent.


A quorum was present.  Number of Members in Attendance: 25

Those attending by proxy:  97


Larry Velte opened the meeting, welcomed members in attendance, and introduced the Board.


Dina Gorrell, (Nominating Committee), nominated Linda Fournier, Mary Hovland and Larry Velte to fill open 3 year terms.   She asked if there were any nominees from the floor.  Since there were none, she moved that the candidates be elected by acclamation.  The motion was seconded from the floor, and no one opposed.


Several homeowners/members brought up complaints about various grass height violations, unsightly properties, etc.  They were encouraged to report violations to the Board, so they could follow up.  They were also encouraged to call Fairfax County to report violations. The Fairfax County complaint number was given out as 703-324-1300.


Bernie Shinal presented the Treasurer’s Report, including the budget for fiscal year 2007-8, and actual expenses for fiscal year 2006-7.  A question from the floor was “Has the Board considered getting a higher yield on the interest in the reserve account?  It was explained that it was recommended for HOAs to keep the money in a “liquid” account to be accessible in case of emergences.  By definition, the more available the money is, the less interest it earns.  Bernie agreed to explore this option again.


There was a discussion about whether it was worth spending money on legal fees to enforce liens, when it was such a small amount of money we had to collect.  It was suggested from the floor that we publish the “unpaid” names in the Herald as a tactic to encourage them to pay. 


Larry Velte responded that it is possible to recoup most of the legal fees when the owner goes to re-finance or sell the house.  They will be forced to clear it up to convey clear title.  In fact, several delinquent owners have already re-financed and cleared up the debt in order to remove the lien.


Larry emphasized that under the covenants we cannot give them amnesty, or give special exceptions by the covenants, and it wouldn’t be fair to the other owners who willingly pay.  The legal fees, if not recouped, are considered a “cost of doing business”.


It was asked what services we receive for the management fee.  Bernie explained that RCS Management is paid to maintain a complete and accurate database, provide resale packages, and keep track of all the expenses and income.  He said that one of the reasons the original association died, was that it was lot of work for a group of volunteers, and they stopped wanting to do it all themselves.  In order to be fiscally prudent, we put the management work up for bid, and re-hired RCS due to his very reasonable fees.  Still, we did not want RCS to do everything.  For example, we wanted the final letter to be from the Board, to show that we are in this together.


After a question about why so much money was held in the operating account, Bernie explained that it was a state recommendation (and common practice) to hold 1 year’s operating expenses.


Another question from the floor was, “Does that reserve fund prevent special assessments?”  Bernie replied that the reserve fund is for projected maintenance on capital assets owned by the Association (sidewalks, steps, paths, etc.).  It projects the wear out/replacement date for these things, and provides a process to begin saving for their eventual repair/replacement.  It cannot prevent a special assessment, but is designed to mitigate the need for such an assessment, as much as possible.


Regarding Architectural Control, it was asked if portable storage, or “PODs” are okay to have on your property?   It was noted that the County was grappling with that question, and KPW Civic Association President, Tony Vellucci, was handling that for the whole of KPW.


Carolyn LaRosa, the Covenants and Zoning Committee for KPW Civic Association said that she is encouraging Tony to follow up with the POD problem, as people throughout Kings Park West are using PODs for garages or other extensions of their living space.    Our Community Association documents specifically say that temporary storage containers cannot be used as an outbuilding for a residence.  Carolyn said that if there is a shed with a door and window in it, someone is probably using it for a residence.  Violators should be reported to the Board and the County.


It was noted that neighbors have put second entrances out the back of their homes to rent out basements as separate apartments.  This is also a violation that needs to be reported.


A member, Duncan Anderson, asked if it was allowable for a temporary, removable bridge to be built across a creek on the common land as a Boy Scout project.  The member was advised to follow up with the Board, so they can check it out.


The same person reported that there were frequent groups of teenagers smoking in the woods on the common ground between Commonwealth and Collingham.  Robinson was first notified, and then the County, and both denied that it was their property.  It was advised that once students leave school property it becomes a police issue, and police should be called to report any suspicious activity on common land.


Regarding the Kings Park West Swimming Pool property, it was reported that 4 townhouse units were slated to be built.  Jay Johnson described the development plans.  It appears that the Community Association will not be asked to accept some of the unimproved land owned by the Swim Club.


There was a question regarding Section 8 Housing, and it was explained that it is a county-administered federal program that subsidizes owners, enabling them to provide low rent to lower income families.  There was evidently a problem with some Section 8 tenants on Ridge Court this past year with trash piling up, attracting rats and rodents.  Although those tenants moved out, new tenants have moved in, and now the grass is 32 inches tall.  The neighbor complained to both the County and the Section 8 office.  They received conflicting answers, first that maintenance is the responsibility of the owner, and then, it is the responsibility of the tenants.  The Board has sent letters about the condition of the property to the homeowner in question.  John Turner, in the county Section 8 department said he would be happy to discuss Section 8 issues with homeowners associations. 


Everyone was invited to attend the Board Meetings, every month on the 2nd Wednesday in Robinson Room 508.  The next meeting will be June 11th.


At 9:00, there was a motion to adjourn, and it was seconded.