For a limited time, the Conservation District will work with Fairfax County homeowners associations (HOAs) and owners of individual properties to develop a 3-year nutrient management plan for their lawn areas. Individual properties must be 2 acres or larger. For HOAs, no size restrictions apply, but management plans will only be created for common areas.
The program is a modest cost-share in which the property owner or HOA pays for soil tests ($10 each, plus mailing) which are processed by Virginia Tech. The results of the soil test(s) will be used by the District's Senior Conservation Specialist and Certified Nutrient Management Planner to develop the nutrient management plan and provide guidance on recommended fertilizer/lime applications, the size of the area to be treated, opportunities to reduce or eliminate grass, dates and duration of applications, a lawn care calendar, and opportunities for controlling weeds. If implemented, the plans will reduce lawn care costs and maintenance, and also support healthy local waterways, the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay. To sign up, please contact Willie Woode at willie.woode @ fairfaxcounty.gov. This program is funded by a grant from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Highlights of Northern Virginia Legislative Forum, May 14, 2015, at Kingstowne’s Thompson Center
Discussed negative public perceptions of associations:
Board members are overzealous retired people on a power trip; mini-governments with unlimited power
Fines are imposed to gain revenue and more power
Money-making industry for lawyers and others.
Property managers are more important than owners.
People dispute the claim of improved property values.
Two bills from Northern Virginia legislators:
HB 1632 – Del. Bulova – State to develop “best practices” to guide improvement of HOA/Condo governing documents.
SB 1008 – Sen. Petersen – Homeowner bill of rights:
Access to all books and records
Cast a vote in proportion to ownership interest
Be notified of board meetings and right to record meeting
To be heard and represented by counsel at proceeding against owner.
Strongly recommended that HOAs and Condo Associations communicate to legislators the helpful, positive roles play by HOAs and Condo Associations; also to a contribute to the statewide legislative board, Virginia Legislative Action Committee --
The Community Associations Institute (CAI), held its annual Conference/Expo on Sat. March 7, 2015.
One of the highlights of the meeting was getting an update on three bills that passed the General Assembly unanimously and are expected to take effect on July 1, 2015. A more detailed summary is attached.
H.B. 2100 Limits the ability of associations to restrict ownersÕ rights to rent out their units and to charge rental-related fees. Owners can be required to provide evidence that tenants have received copies of the association rules and agree to follow the rules.
H.B. 2080 Requires banks to notify an HOA of a foreclosure sale in their community.
S.B. 1390 If the association fails to achieve an annual meeting quorum in three successive years despite good faith efforts, then a court can be petitioned to convene a meeting with a smaller quorum requirement.
Thomas Davis Rust, Member, House of Delegates, 86th District, sponsored a free Community Association Education Seminar where industry leaders discussed the recent legislation that impacts homeowners and condominium association communities and their board members.
SPEAKERS: William A. Marr Jr., Attorney and Betsy Johns, MCCA PCAM
Key topics covered:
Common Interest Community Leadership Responsibilities and Tips for Problem Solving and other essentials for Board Operations
This year's legislative changes, especially regarding violation charges
This seminar was also sponsored by the Herndon Community Association Coalition.
Here is a list of issues identified by community association members that could be the subject of future Fairfax Federation membership meetings, or possibly additional workshops.
Issues for civic associations and issues of general interest:
Insurance needs of civic associations (i.e., what if someone is hurt at a community event?) Insurance needs of officers of civic associations
Pros and cons of incorporation for a civic association. Does incorporation have an impact on civic association liability?
Lake management issues for communities with lakes, eg, legal liability for injury or death, checking water quality, cleaning and maintenance, sediment and dredging, stocking with fish, etc.
Dealing with language barriers. Should CAs do outreach in other languages? Is there a downside? How to communicate if people have limited literacy in their own language, as well as limited or no literacy in English?
Issues for HOAs and Condo Associations:
Techniques for improving HOA assessment collection
Amending covenants – pros and cons; how to do it. What are elements of good covenants?
Understanding situations where HOAs have only limited rights to restrict, e.g. satellite dishes.
How to recruit new board members
Resale disclosure packets. What should be in the packet? Questions to ask a manager that handles the packets. Does website availability of HOA/Condo governing documents have an impact on the disclosure packet preparation?
Important Announcement for HOAs and Condominium Associations
The new CIC Ombudsman Regulation (discussed at several Federation meetings as shown in Section VII.) went into effect on July 1, 2012. The regulation requires associations to develop an association complaint procedure and submit it by September 28 to the Office of the CIC Ombudsman
Another information source is the 17 July 2012 broadcast of Your Community, Your Call (Fairfax County cable TV), which focused in part on the new Ombudsman regulation. (The program also focused on legislation from the 2012 General Assembly session). This program can viewed via Video on Demand by clicking on the Channel 16 link in section III.
The Federation is proposing that the county develop an educational brochure focused on shared county and community association responsibilities for stormwater facilities. Contact the CASC chair if you would like to be involved.
Michelle Thompson, Fairfax County’s Community Association Liaison, was the featured speaker at the Feb. 23 Federation Membership meeting. Ms. Thompson updated attendees on recent state regulations and legislative initiatives that have significant impacts on HOAs and condominium associations. A state body known as the Common Interest Community Board (CICB) has been in existence since 2008. HOA and condominium leaders and residents need to be aware of CICB regulations.
State regulations governing management firms took effect in April 2010 and rules requiring state certification of individual managers took effect in March 2012. Regulations that took effect on July 1, 2012 require all HOA and condo boards to have in place (or to create) formal procedures for handling complaints from residents, and to submit documentation to the CICB. Association leaders in Fairfax County and throughout the state have a full plate and the presentation brought leaders to date on association responsibilities and issues.
Ms. Thompson also collaborated with Don Hinman on an update of state legislation (PPTPDF). Mr. Hinman serves as one of three community association volunteer leaders on the board of the Virginia Legislative Action Committee (VALAC) of the Community Associations Institute. He also chairs the Fairfax Federation’s Citizen Association Services Committee (CASC) and welcomes suggestions on how the CASC website can be made more useful to community association leaders.