Question: Why do we have an HOA?
Answer:Homeowner Associations were developed as a PUD or a Planned Urban Development. As urban areas grew and more subdivisions were added to outlying areas, access to recreation areas and other amenities was limited. To counteract this, developers came up with PUD’s or Associations. These Associations had the amenities included with the building of the subdivision. Because tax dollars would not be available to fund these amenities, another way of funding the upkeep had to be developed, thus Associations were created. It provided the funding necessary to maintain the “Common Property” of the subdivision by “Assessing” the owners of the homes in the subdivision who had access to the amenities. These were set up as “Associations” and are run as a “Not For Profit” Corporation. That’s why we have three main types of Documents, Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws and a Declaration of Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions. These Documents tell how the Association is to be run, just as any other Corporation.
Question: What does the HOA do?
Answer:The Association is responsible for the upkeep of all “Common Areas”, they are responsible for the Architectural standards of the community which help in the value of the homes in the development. They are responsible to make sure that all the State Statutes and County Ordinances are complied with as far as the Association is concerned.
Question: Why have the fees increased?
Answer:Associations are run as a “Not for Profit” Corporation. Every year the Board of Directors are tasked to develop a budget for the upcoming years running of the Association. As everyone knows, the price for services and materials have increased and there are no signs of prices going down. During the Budget process, the Board looks at its upcoming expenses for the year and determines what it needs for the years income to offset the expenses. The Board does its due diligence and try’s to find the best possible service for the best possible price. Once a budget is determined for the upcoming year it is divided amongst the owners of the homes in the Association. This determines the fee that is assessed to each homeowner.
Question: Why does Timberlake not have Street Lights?
Answer:When the Plans for Timberlake were developed no street lights were added. This may have been the developer trying to keep the Assessments down in the beginning for sales purposes or may have just been determined that street lights were not needed.
Question: Why does Timberlake not have Sidewalks?
Answer:See the above answer. Sidewalks were not required when the Subdivision was planned and accepted by the County.
Question: How tall can my Grass be?
Answer:Anything over 6 inches will generate a violation. Even mowing once every two weeks during a “wet” season will keep the grass well below the 6 inch limit. If you are going out of town for an extended period, we ask that you make arraignments for keeping the lawn mowed.
Question: What is the HOA doing about the tall grass growing in the yards of foreclosed homes in the neighborhood?
Answer: Due to trespassing laws and liability issues the HOA does not take actions to cut the grass on foreclosed or other distressed properties. That leaves the HOA with a single option which is to continue to fine the offending property owner until the home is sold at which time the new homeowner will be responsible for cutting the grass. Spotsylvania County will cut the grass once it reaches 15 inches but they must be notified. They will attempt to contact the property owner twice before taking this action. The HOA management company will contact the county after 1 month of notices however neighbors are also encouraged to contact the County in these cases.
Question: What is the process if I get a notification?
Answer:First, if it is a clear violation of a rule or guideline, and it is something that is your responsibility, we ask that you please rectify it as soon as possible within the time frame of the notice. If it is something that you are responsible for and cannot rectify it within the time frame on the notice, we ask that you please contact the Management company and let them know of the time frame that you expect it to be taken care of. It the notice is of an issue that you feel is not your responsibility, then please contact the Management Company right away and let them know of the error. Please remember, your Manager is human too and can make mistakes, like getting an address wrong.
Question: Can I burn Leaves in my yard?
Answer:No. Open fires are not allowed within 50 feet of any building or structure, and open fires are generally discouraged in an urban setting. Way too many things around that can burn if the leaf pile gets out of control. If you have a neighbor that is burning and you feel that it is a hazard, please contact the Fire Department and they will determine if anything should be done.
Question: Can an air rifle be fired in a subdivision?
Answer: Sec. 14-8. – Discharging firearm or gas or air gun in subdivision. It shall be unlawful and a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person to discharge or shoot any firearm or gas-operated or air-operated weapon in any subdivision of the county. This section shall not apply to law-enforcement officers, animal wardens or to any person acting in defense of his or another’s person or property. (Code 1980, § 12-7) Cross reference- Penalty for Class 1 misdemeanor, § 1-11; subdivisions, Ch. 20. State law reference- Authority for above section, Code of Virginia, § 15.1-518
Question: What is the process for reporting a violation of the Association rules?
Answer: Violations of the Association’s architecture or other rules should be reported to the community manager via telephone or e-mail. The manager will conduct an inspection of the property in question and if a violation exists the manager will send the property owner a notification.
Question: Where can I get a copy of the Association’s rules, charter, bylaws, and other documents?
Answer: Virginia law requires that you receive a copy of the Association’s documents when you close on a property within the Association’s purview because when you closed on your property you signed documents agreeing to abide by the Association’s rules. You can request a new copy of the Association’s documents through the Management company by contacting the community Manager by telephone or e-mail. You will be charged a fee for producing your copy. Get instructions for downloading the documents here
Question: Can the HOA have speed-bumps installed?
Answer: Yes, however the roads in the community are owned by VDOT. The process to get VDOT to install “traffic calming” devices is lengthy, complicated, and expensive. Traffic-calming devices like speed-bumps have unintended consequences like slowing emergency response vehicles, added noise, and increased maintence costs for vehicles that have to traverse them regularly. More information can be found here- http://www.virginiadot.org/programs/faq-traffic-calming.asp. Residents who observe vehicles speeding in the neighborhood should report them to the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office will also set up “speed traps” at the request of residents.