BALLYMEADE

NEW - Minutes of 2022 Annual Community Meeting (via Zoom)

Ballymeade Annual Homeowners Meeting

Meeting Minutes        

Date:                     February 28, 2022

Time:                     7:00pm

Location:              Remote, Zoom

Attendees:            Mike Petrucci, President | Peter Haggerty, Vice President | Cindy DeYoe, Treasury | Phil LaScala, Secretary

Ron White, PENCO Property Manager | Approximately 15 Homeowners (Note: voting on the budget and board members was completed prior to the meeting by mail.)

 

  1. Introductions and Review of Meeting Agenda

 

  1. President’s Report, Year in Review

 

  • Ballymeade is a highly desirable community to live in, property values are rising.
  • The Board, with PENCO Management Company, manage a $66,000+ operating budget.  This budget provides all of the landscaping, snow plowing - all costs.
  • Our Reserves continue to grow in line with the recommendation of the 2015 Engineering Reserve Study to ensure funding for future major maintenance / replacement. The $450 Capital Improvement Assessment from new home buyers increases the Reserve Fund.    We had 11 sales this year totaling $4,950.00 in reserve income.  Our reserve fund is in great shape and will cover all repairs for years.
  • Our web site is a great resource for information for both new and long term homeowners, renters also.  The community’s “Corporate Documents” are on the website (By-Laws, Deed Restrictions, etc.) and the website is an archive for minutes and other important documents:     www.ballymeade.org      
  • We hope homeowners read and enjoy the community newsletters which we hope homeowners find informative and enjoyable
  • Snow Removal – When snow is forecast, please get your cars off the streets to result in optimal plowing. Townhouse roads are plowed as wide as possible, but parked cars affect this in a major way.  There remains nothing that can be done about the plow pushing snow in front of your driveway. You are required to clean your sidewalks (per County Code).
  • Annual assessment inaccurately stated in mailing to homeowners as $250; annual assessment is $275

 

  1. Landscape Update

 

  • The community is responsible for the landscaping on all community property along with the “street trees” – trees installed on the single-family home streets located between the sidewalk and the curb.  All community owned landscaping is fertilized each spring and maintained carefully. Each spring after the general clean up our edges and mulches all street and water basin trees.
  • There were no auto accidents this year (three last year that required fence repair and/or plant replacement).  After several years of having to fall some very large trees we didn’t have to this year.  We are lucky because now there is the need to react to the removal of all the trees where the new house is on Naamans.  We plan on installing some fast-growing trees to block Naamans Rd out of view.  It will still be many years to block the lights and noise.
  • We also had an unexpected cost with our storm water basins to comply with the county’s annual inspection.  The ponds are now 23/24 years old so more must be done to keep them up.  We had to treat a small number of community owned trees for the spotted lantern fly.  We toured the development weekly all summer keeping an eye out.
  • There has been a request to paint Pickleball court lines onto the tennis court.  This is being done in communities nationwide with the increased popularity of the game.  Two Pickleball courts can be painted on the one tennis court – one on each side.  Discussion and costs are needed.

 

 

 

Reminders:

  • Deed Restrictions require trash cans to be stored out of sight from the street.
  • Snow Removal – When snow is forecast, please get your cars off the streets to result in optimal plowing. Townhouse roads are plowed as wide as possible, but parked cars affect this in a major way.  There remains nothing that can be done about the plow pushing snow in front of your driveway. You are required to clean your sidewalks (per County Code).  Ron is good at sending an Email reminder!!!
  • Encroachment on community woods or wetlands is strictly prohibited; please report if you see it.  This happens with single family homes adjacent to the woods/wetlands.

 

  1. Architectural Review Committee Updates

 

  • Purpose – To manage and oversee compliance of community deed restrictions and regulations all homeowners have agreed to abide by in efforts to maintain neighborhood architectural integrity and maximize property values
  • Remember … it’s all about the overall aesthetic appearance of our development … which has a direct impact on desirability to live in Ballymeade; restrictions and regulations are not meant to impede directly on individual homeowners but ensure the overall common good of the entire community 
  • Deed restrictions are readily available on our web site, provided at home sale / settlement to buyers, included in welcome letters, and distributed via periodic mailings to all homeowners; PENCO Management is there to help with questions
  • If you are not sure of what is permissible, call or e-mail PENCO Management before any work is done; telephone number and email address on website
  • Members of the ARC Committee spent a good amount of time to streamline request documentation in efforts to make the process much clearer, more efficient and timelier for all parties (homeowner / ARC Committee / PENCO / contractors); we believe process has improved 100% with the enacted streamlining efforts and turn around and project completion are occurring in a much timelier fashion!
  • Requests for roof solar panels will go through standard ARC approval process,
    • HB58 supersedes Ballymeade deed restrictions
  •  
  • New ARC Request Form: http://www.ballymeade.org/files/document/529202321
  • Community generally in sustain / maintenance mode
    • A good portion of your community is now 24 years old; the rest is one or two years younger.  So Landscape maintenance, tree planting, etc. has increased.  So have ARC requests for exterior enhancements.  BUT please check the ARC guidelines and deed restrictions before any work is initiated; if you change colors, original construction, or appearance, pre- approval is required.  A fully revamped ARC process and required forms has proven to more efficient … with reduced turn time from start to finish of the required ARC submissions, ARC review, ARC approval or denial.  There were 8 ARC requests over the past year, with the majority for replacement fences and decks

 

  1. Past Deed Violations / Complaints

 

  • Parking of cars on sidewalks and too close to street corners or Mailboxes
  • Exterior construction / changes without submitting an ARC review.
  • Trash cans not being stored in garages
  • High grass/weeds, unkempt yards, yard clutter (County Code)
  • Encroachment on wetlands (Federal Law)
  • Commercial vehicles parked in the development.
  • Not cleaning up after their dogs; dogs not on leashes (County Code)

 

 

 

 

  1. Board Approval of Violation / Fine Resolution & Rental Amendment

 

  • The board has retained a law firm to write documents for the following purpose.
  1. Better define the ability and scope of the board to levy fines for non-compliance of deed restrictions and ARC violations.
  2. Rental amendment to control the number of rental properties in the development and enforce these new restrictions and recoup cost associated with implementing this new process.

 

  1. Violation / Fine Summary

 

  • After a reasonable period of time and multiple requests to correct the violation/ or cease the activity, the board can impose a fine.
  • Owner may request a hearing within 10 days after notification.
  • Fines shall be added as an additional assessment.
  • Fine amounts will be defined based on the type of violation.

 

  1. Rental Restriction Summary

 

  • Owner must first use the property as their primary residence for 2 years before they rent the property.
  • Owner and tenant must have a written rental agreement & supply that agreement to the Property manager.
  • No rentals less than (30) days
  • Owners are responsible for failure of the tenant to comply with all rules & deed restrictions.
  • Any increased administrative costs incurred by these new rules can be recouped as an additional assessment to the rental property owners.

 

  1. Ballot for Changes to Deed Restrictions

 

  • Miscellaneous Updates / Changes to Deed Restrictions
  • (Goal – Clarify and add restrictions based on past issues)
  • Update definition of Work vehicle to add vehicles with commercial signage ( Section 7)
  • Vegetable Garden can only be 1/3 of backyard (section 4)
  • All Owners required to provide Email address for communication to eliminate the cost of mailing newsletters etc.
  • Fence & Deck material can be wood or other material approved by the ARC (Section 9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Secretary Updates

 

  • Keep summarized record of each board meeting
    • Copies of past meeting minutes are kept on the ballymeade.org website
  • Continued Sidewalk Maintenance
    • Sections of sidewalk around the neighborhood continue to be uplifted because of growing tree roots.  Certain sections may need to be removed, tree roots shaved back, and sidewalk section replaced
  • Security cameras management
    • Vendor support needed for Q1 camera cleaning, Q4 system outage
    • No requests the past year for video footage by law enforcement
    • Periodic login and monitoring
  • Minor maintenance around Ballymeade
    • Fence repair, tree pruning, storm drains cleared to avoid flooding
    • Playground equipment inspected and trash receptacle emptied
  • Semi-annual community newsletter

 

  1. Finance Update

 

  • 2021/22 Fiscal Year
    • We have managed all aspects of the community using the approved 2021/22 Budget
    • We hope to come in close to budget by the end of February with a large tree project planned and the possibility of more snowstorms.
    • 99% of homeowners have paid the annual assessments, five homes remain in the collection / lien process; all penalties have been assessed per the community by-laws; follow-up letters and legal involvement have been necessary. 
  • 2022/23 Budget Proposal
    • The 2022/23 budget assumes no increase in the Annual Fee. The Annual Fee will remain at $250.00.
    • No maintenance / repair projects have been proposed for the 2022/2023 fiscal year.
    • Late payment penalty of $25.00 will continue to be assessed; on-time payment is essential for a successful fiscal year
  • Per By-Laws, approval of 2022/2023 Budget proposal is required
  • The current amount of funds in the Capital Improvement Fund / Reserve Fund is in line with recommendation of Engineering Study performed in 2015/2016
  • Board has established financial model of forecasted cash needs for asset material maintenance cost or total replacement given age of community asset, estimated useful life and future replacement cost; model will be re-evaluated internally every year based on individual asset condition; professional refresh of study should be considered every 4-5 years to ensure integrity of forecasted timing of cash needs
  • Any operating budget surplus and $450 new homeowner fees will continue to be deposited into our reserves for capital maintenance and improvements.
  • Investment Activity during the Year
    • CD's continue to be rolled over as they mature because we do not have any major improvements that are needed at this time.
    • In summary, BMC remains financially sound

 

 

 

 

 

  1. PENCO Management’s Scope of Services

 

  • Educate homeowners on maintenance corporation’s roles and responsibilities
  • Respond to inquiries from homeowners regarding the development; respond to complaints as appropriate.
  • Maintain individual homeowner accounts and computerized files to record payments, correspondence, requests, and complaints
  • Review and process requests submitted to the Architectural Review Committee, send written correspondence of Committee’s decision, and retain records of all decisions AND enforce deed restrictions based on board of directors decisions
  • Collect the annual assessment due to the Maintenance Corporation according to the Declaration. Follow up for payments.
  • Collect Capital Assessment fees when homes are sold
  • Initiate legal action against members for delinquent accounts (with Board Approval)
  • Research and obtain bids for all services required in accordance with the Maintenance Declaration
  • Prepare, distribute and  maintain all community financials and supporting documentation in line with IRS guidelines
  • Give recommendations to the board of directors and help to establish annual operating budget
  • Register your community annually for DelDot’s Snow Removal Reimbursement and New Castle County Storm Water Management Assistance when as appropriate
  • Attend meetings with the board of directors and the annual community meeting. Schedule the maintenance corporation annual meeting. Send notice to all homeowners regarding the meeting via US Mail and Email.
  • Prepare voting ballots, proxy ballots, and notification of the homeowners as directed by the bylaws for the annual meeting once initiated by the board of directors
  • Ensure the filing of the annual tax returns required by the IRS
  • Research and acquire bids for liability, property, and Directors & Officers insurance when appropriate

 

  1. Board of Directors – Status / Activities

 

  • Three Board seats are open
  • Board members serve a two-year term, per By-Laws.
  • Most of the board’s time is spent on contracts, financial review, the ARC process, landscaping, homeowner requests, reported problems and follow-up in partnership with PENCO Management
  • The Board meets three times per year, plus the Annual meeting.  Communication is done through Email mostly.
  • Our PENCO Property Manager attends all meetings and provides guidance as needed.
  • Meetings are not held in June, July or August
  • Meeting minutes document the meetings and are posted on our website: www.ballymeade.org

 

  1. Board Elections
  • Results of Mail-in Ballots for Election of two open seats
    • Jim Bagnell elected Treasury; Phil LaScala elected Secretary

 

  1. Questions and Answers

 

  • What are the costs of managing the security camera system?
    • Cost for ISP, camera maintenance and repair
  • Question regarding Holiday decorations at the front entrance
    • Decorations can allowed; recommend a sub-committee to manage
  • What was the cause the fire today along Naamans Rd?
    • Squirrel caused a transformer to malfunction
  • Questions regarding details of the rental agreement
    • Details of amendment and resolution will be posted on the website
  • Question regarding what is considered a commercial vehicle
    • General explanation provided; details in deed restriction documents online
  • Will there be a garage sale?    
    • Most likely; homeowners may host garage sales themselves anytime
  • Concern expressed regarding on street parking
    • General agreement this topic deserves additional discussion and review as to what can be done to improve parking around the townhomes
  • Question regarding to sidewalks buckling where trees are not the cause.  
    • Sidewalks in front of homeowners are the responsibilities of the homeowners.    The HO will contact Ron about specific examples.   

 

Posted by ballymeade on 03/08/2022
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New Castle County, Delaware 19810