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LFRPOA Board of Directors Meeting
24 April 2013
43 High Ridge Road
Call to Order:7:05 pm
Quorum: Michael Yoka, Betty Boyd, Elaine Ryan,Bruce McClanahan,Linda McCarthy.
Residents in Attendance: Dena Barnes, Jim Barnes, Kevin Barry, Azlee Bates, Roger Boyd, Betty Brody, Bradley Dodds, Deborah Fritts, Carolyn Glascock, Pat Hough, Daniel Hull, Leese Hunter, William Hunter, Bryan McCarty, Jan McCarty, Andrea Meres, Jeff Meres, Allen Neel, Kathy Neel, Vince Ryan, Kris Sanders, Paul Smith, Don Twele, and Janice Twele.
Minutes o flast meeting: The minutes were read, amended and accepted as modified.
President: Nothing to report.
Vice President: Absent.
Treasurer: Betty Boyd reported that the Association has $42,930.49 in the bank:$25,086.41 in checking and $17,844.08 in savings, with $10,000 of that amount, a dedicated emergency fund. Betty also reported that the Association spent $12,155.92 for snow removal this winter. Betty stated that outstanding maintenance fee balances now total $103,027.01. She reminded everyone that a payment scheduled can be arranged, and encouraged those in arrears to do so.
Betty also reported that she had assisted a homeowner, who complained of ongoing issues surrounding an unfinished house on an adjoining lot. The County had deemed the front porch five feet too close to High Ridge Road. As a consequence, the house has been vacant and abandoned for sometime. While in reality a county zoning matter, Betty interceded on behalf of the aggrieved homeowner. County officials recommended that the two property owners, with Betty serving asde factofacilitator, work together to arrive at a mutually agreed upon solution. Additionally, Betty has made arrangements for a piece of heavy equipment, long an eyesore and a potential liability concern, to be removed from the neglected property.
Secretary:Linda McCarthy and Kris Sanders volunteered to oversee this year’s newsletter. It will be printed and distributed prior to the Annual Meeting in September.
Architectural:Allen Neel has agreed to serve as head of the Architectural Committee.
Articles, Covenants, and By-laws:Nothing to report.
Roads: Bruce McClanahanreported that Orchard Tree Road, High Ridge Road, and Creek Road are in desperate need of attention. With that, the Board voted unanimously to spend $12,000 to grade and gravel the worst sections of the three roads. Bob Lake will begin the work as soon as possible.
Buildings, Grounds and Safety:Betty reported that she has been working with fire department officials and affected property owners on a dedicated emergency exit off the mountain; this would be in addition to the main entrance to Lake Front Royal on Remount Road.
The second exit is to be used solely as an emergency egress route for designated sections of the mountain and only after fire officials ordered an evacuation. Along with Chief Todd Brown of the Chester Gap Fire Department, Betty is preparing a map and directives, which will delineate the proper protocol for utilizing the emergency exit. Upon completion, these will be made available to property owners.
Several residents voiced their concerns about and opposition to the recently-installed protective fence and gate at the dam. Responding to these objections, Betty and Elaine Ryan outlined the history of vandalism directed at the 15-acre water impoundment reservoir and surrounding green space.
Assistant Chief Brandon Phillips of the Chester Gap Fire Department described the dam’s critical role as a dedicated water source for fire fighters; he also underscored the importance of immediate and unobstructed access to the dry hydrant, which firefighters use to siphon water from the reservoir into tanker trucks.
According to Betty, fire departments from any jurisdiction can and do access the dam for water collection and training purposes, using a special key to open the red padlock. Fire officials installed the lock shortly after the protective fence and gate had been erected.
Bruce recounted longtime problems, primarily the result of illegal mud-bogging at the dam; these incidents had been previously discussed at length during past Board meetings. Extra patrols by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office have failed to halt the destructive off-roading activities.
Other local subdivisions with dams have experienced the same kind of costly vandalism, and effectively addressed the problem by erecting a controlled-access enclosure. Residents of Shenandoah Farms were forced to secure a loan in the amount of $600,000 to repair damage inflicted on one of their dams by four-wheel vehicles and to bring the structure into compliance with Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation regulations.
Following the completion of extensive upgrades mandated by state and federal entities, the Lake Front Royal dam was recently inspected and certified by DCR. Only a few weeks after the dam received its certification, vandals in a four-wheel drive vehicle tore up the turf surrounding the dry hydrant and near the shoreline. The total cost to repair this latest round of damage amounted to $4,500. While covered by insurance, repeated claims of this nature can result in higher premiums for the Association or outright policy cancellation.
Elaine reminded everyone that any act jeopardizing the well-being of the dam can compel DCR to void the structure’s certification; additionally, the dam is subject to unannounced inspections at anytime by state officials. In the event of a breech, Lake Front Royal Property Owners Association would be responsible for damage and/or injury caused by the escaping water. Recent engineering enhancements, which took nearly a year to complete, are designed to help curb the threat of flooding from the reservoir in the event of a catastrophic event.
Responding to a question about the final cost of the upgrade, Elaine noted that charges for the actual engineering and construction work totaled approximately $50,000. Owing to extensive and hearty tree root systems that could undermine the structural integrity of the reservoir, the Association was required to spend additional funds to remove the threatening vegetation; there were also ancillary state and engineering costs that had to be covered as well. The rounded total for these extra expenses came to $32,000. In the absence of the needed tree work, in particular, the dam would not have passed its final inspection, nor would it have been certified by the state.
Betty referenced an email from the Association’s insurance carrier’s lost prevention specialist. In it, he took note of the potential negative impact of vehicular traffic and parking, insofar as the reservoir’s overall structural integrity and lifespan are concerned.
A discussion ensued about two longstanding signs at the dam, citing a specific state regulation that prohibits unauthorized vehicles at the site. There was a claim that the regulation was no longer in effect. Michael volunteered to research the regulation and make sure it had not been repealed or amended in any way.
As to how nonemergency vehicles might reasonably be accommodated at the dam, it was suggested that a lockbox be attached to the gate. This would allow residents with the current combination to drive their privately-owned vehicles and boat trailers to the dam. Only property owners deemed in good standing insofar as their maintenance fee obligation is concerned would be given the code to open the gate. “Good standing” is defined as a property owner who is making scheduled maintenance fee payments on time or who has a zero fee balance.
In response to a question from the Board, the Deputy Fire Chief voiced reservations about allowing nonemergency cars and trucks to access the dam byway of a lockbox. Betty produced a recent picture of an SUV, a truck, and a trailer parked on the vandalized ground while it was undergoing repairs. As depicted in the photo, these vehicles effectively blocked access to the dry hydrant. Deputy Chief Phillips reiterated that such impediments hamper firefighters’ ability to quickly connect tanker trucks to the hydrant and collect water before heading to the scene of a fire emergency.
Betty offered to confer with the Association’s insurance carrier regarding potential risk and liability issues stemming from vehicular access to the reservoir by those with a lockbox combination.
Another suggestion was to selectively distribute keys that would open an Association- installed padlock. There was a general discussion about the mechanics of this proposal, and who would be responsible for monitoring the allocation and collection of the keys.
It was noted that, since the installation of the protective fence and gate, there have been no acts of vandalism directed at any part of the green space or the dam itself.
Until such time as a workable solution might be found, permitting nonemergency vehicles on the service road and at the reservoir itself, the area will remain locked.
Betty reported that she had invited County Administrator Douglas Stanley to address the next regularly scheduled LFRPOA Board of Directors meeting. The topic: Sanitary Districts—The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Place and time for the next regularly scheduled Board meeting are to be determined. The Annual Meeting will be held in September at the Chester Gap Fire Hall at 10:00 am; the date will be announced after conferring with the keeper of the fire hall calendar.
The meeting adjourned at 8:18 pm.