Summer 2015 Newsletter

Southwick Meadows Homeowners Association 2015 Board Roster

Update on Spring Meeting and other Board Activities

Rick Sturm, President Term: 2015—2016

Matt Gleason, Vice President for Architectural Review
Term: 2014—2015

Chris Arena, Vice President for Compliance
Term: 2014—2015

Tiffany Van Cleef, Treasurer Term: 2015—2016

Ed Aluck, Secretary Term 2015—2016

The HOA held its Spring Meeting
at the Clifton Park/Halfmoon Library on May 18, 2015. Unfortunately, less than 20 homeowners were able to make the meeting. Here is a summary of what happened.

Kendra Subdivision

Rick provided an update on the subdivision being proposed behind Kendra. Prior to the meeting, he sent an e-mail to the Town Planning Department asking for an update and inviting a representative to attend our meeting. The Department advised it was not available to attend, but did provide an update. Rick relayed that the Department had advised that the project has been delayed due to concerns raised

Need for New Board Members

As Rick has advised in his Report from the President, there will be two vacancies on the Board at the end of the year. The terms of Chris Arena and Matt Gleason, are up at the end of the year. They perform two of the most important functions of the Board. Matt oversees ARC work, and Chris is responsible for compliance aspects of HOA by-laws. We need homeowners with the time and desire to take over those responsibilities to consider running for those positions. All are welcome to run. Elections will take place in the fall. Please contact any member of the Board if you are interested, or know of anyone else who may be interested.

about wetlands in the area, and


Southwick Meadows
HOA Newsletter
• Southwick Meadows HOA Newsletter is published quarterly in January, April, July, and October. Your newsletter editor is Jo Anne Robbins.

• All articles and photographs should

that builder has not, to date, proven that the construction will not adversely affect them. If and when the builder does so, a public hearing for preliminary consideration will be scheduled and announced.

Rick also advised the homeowners that the wild areas behind Quince
that go up Kendra will still be left,

Rick has taken over running the HOA website, which is again being updated. There is a “public” section and a “member’s only” section. If you have any problems logging in to the member’s only section, please contact Rick at and he will help you get started.

be submitted by the 15
month of publication.

of the

forming a natural boundary between the new subdivision and
Southwick Meadows. Homes built

Survey Results

You may recall that earlier this

• We prefer Microsoft Word
format. The deadline for submissions for the next issue is October 15th.

will be estate homes, with values between $500,000 and $750,000. Rick also noted that as an HOA, we do not have the power or resources to block the subdivision, but the Board will monitor developments and continue to provide updates.

year, the Board sent a link with a survey to all homeowners. It was very popular, in that 72 responses were received. Based on those responses, you told us that the most helpful source of information

Continued on page 3

Southwick Meadows Homeowners Association Spring 2015 Minutes
May 18, 2015 (Clifton Park/Halfmoon Library)

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 by President, Rick Sturm. Other Board Members attending: Chris Arena, Tiffany Van Cleef, Matt Gleason and Ed Aluck. 17 Homeowners attended the meeting.

Kendra Subdivision

Rick provided an update on the Kendra subdivision. Rick had sent an e-mail to John Scavo of the Town Planning Department inviting him to our meeting. Mr. Scavo told him that Rick’s e-mail had been directed to his spam folder and by the time he received it, he had another commitment and was unable to make our meeting. Per Mr. Scavo, the project is on hold at this time. Rick advised that, per Mr. Scavo’s e-mail, at this time that project is delayed due to concerns raised at the Town’s April 14, 2015 planning board meeting. Specifically, the Town is concerned about Wetlands in the area, and that builder has not as of yet proven that the construction will not adversely affect them.
The applicant needs to respond to the concerns, but as of our HOA meeting, has not done so. Depending on when the additional information is submitted by the applicant, a public hearing for preliminary consideration will be scheduled at a future date.

In response to questions raised by homeowners, Rick responded as follows. Roads are owned by the town. Woodlands behind Quince that go up Kendra will still be left, forming a natural boundary between the new subdivision and S/M. Homes will be estate homes, with values between $500,000 and $750,000. Rick also noted that as an HOA, we do not have the power or resources to block the subdivision, but he will monitor developments and continue to provide updates.

Priorities for 2015

Need for new Board members, Two Board members, Chris and Matt, are leaving Board at the end of the year. Matt oversees ARC work, and Chris is responsible for compliance aspects of HOA by-laws. Need homeowners with the time and desire to take over those responsibilities. Rick asked for volunteers to consider running for those positions. All are welcome to run. Elections are in the fall
Website: HOA has spent significant time trying to get website up and running. Homeowner who got website up and running has advised he no longer has time to continue maintaining it. Rick is going to meet with him to try to learn to maintain it, but he asked for volunteers to assist.

Matt’s ARC Report

Matt thanked his ARC committee for their participation/assistance. Still looking for one more volunteer. The job consists of reviewing ARC applications and advising whether they are approved. Matt has approved 5 requests so far this year: two doors, a deck, a shed, the removal of a dead tree, with 1 ARC being reviewed as of the meeting. Matt reminded homeowners that ARC requests need to be made for any alterations, especially anything outside that is visible. Matt will be following up on 1 or 2 alterations where no ARC application was made in advance; did not see anything illegal about the specific alterations, but still needs to make sure paperwork is properly filed and updated. One homeowner indicated that removal of dead trees is not subject to ARC approval because dead trees are required to be removed. However, Matt noted in this instance, the homeowner was replacing the dead tree with landscaping, and landscaping does need to be approved.
Continued on page 5

Meeting Minutes Continued from page 4

Chris’s Compliance Committee Report

Chris asked for volunteers . . . he has 2 homeowners assisting him currently. Notices were sent to homeowners who need to replace mailboxes. Weeds will be the next issue to be addressed as weather gets warmer. A homeowner inquired about the house on intersection of Kendra and Chatsworth that does not have. Chris advised that landscaping will be required of that homeowner and the board is addressing it.

Survey Results

Chris noted that he sent out a link with a survey to all homeowners; 72 responses were received. Chris summarized the results. Homeowners responded that the most helpful source of information to keep current was the e-mail blasts from Rick. After that was the HOA newsletter. Chris noted that survey determined that very few homeowners are using the website or Facebook page.

The Board will review the website concept at its next Board meeting that was scheduled for May 28, based on feedback and lack of ownership/interest.

48 homeowners indicated they have attended a spring or fall meeting over the last 2 years. 65% of those responding said they wanted a spring board meeting. Rick noted this meeting is the smallest one attended so far (17 homeowners).

Board Priorities

Consensus indicates that most homeowners want the current assessment maintained, with status quo on maintenance and HOA costs controlled.

60% of respondents said yes to resumption of annual picnic. Tiffany asked if anyone was willing to organize; Rick noted it is not a Board function.

38% of respondents still want to participate in a garage sale.

94% said they were satisfied with overall maintenance of common areas.

Question Regarding Fertilization: How many fertilizations should be done annually? 60% said 2 (which is required) and 40% said 3, which has been the best practice. Chris noted that this is not entirely consistent with a prior question, regarding maintenance of common areas, as a majority wanted status quo maintained, which is 3. Chris noted that we will not get the same results with only 2 fertilizations. This causes some debate among homeowners. Matt noted Revelations suggested 3 applications. Rick noted that any changes would apply to future years and not this year.

75% of respondents were satisfied with “wild” area of the berm along Van Vranken. Chris noted that letting it go wild has cut down on erosion caused by frequent mowing, which ultimately saves on repair costs. Chris wants to consider lengthening wild areas around Berm, particularly around retaining wall area. Rick suggested sending out a second survey on that issue.
About half of homeowners surveyed at meeting agreed with allowing more of the berm to grow wild.

Treasurer’s Report

Tiffany updated on collection of annual assessments. There are still 3 unpaid assessments as of meeting. Also, 3 unpaid penalties for compliance violations, and one late fee for assessment still outstanding. (Tiffany noted that Board imposes a 10% penalty for not paying assessment on time.) If homeowner assessments are not paid, the Board will consider legal action. Rick pointed out that under by-laws, homeowner(s) who do not pay and are successfully sued are responsible for attorney’s fees, but that such fees must still be ordered by the court. Rick also noted that these legal fees would first need to be paid by the HOA to be followed by homeowner reimbursement upon success in court. Rick also noted that homeowner cannot pass title without paying assessments.

In response to questions regarding what is done with assessments, Tiffany stated that $50 of each assessment goes to capital fund. The HOA capital account has
$23,144. All expenses are in line with budget. A
$372 refund from school property taxes was received this year (from taxes paid two years ago). Our HOA biggest expense is property maintenance. $125 is allocated to administrative expenses (postage, office
Minutes Continued on page 6

Minutes Continued from page 5

supplies). Tiffany advised that CPA assessments were sent to all homeowners on April 8.

Special Presentation: Can Emergency Personnel See Your House Number

Allen Van Cleef, who is a volunteer firefighter and EMT with the Vischer Ferry Fire Department, gave a presentation. Mr. Van Cleef discussed the variety of calls that the Fire Department responds to, which includes all types of emergencies that police or ambulances do not respond to. He advised that it is very difficult to find house numbers at night if lights are turned off. He advocates strongly putting a number on both sides of the mailbox, which will assist them in finding house numbers quickly. He noted all kinds of numbers can be purchased. This speeds up time to be able to get to the house. Rick will send out e-mail blast to homeowners urging them to consider this.

Open Forum

One homeowner noted that trees are overtaking the drainage ditch behind Brighton and Quince. Rick noted that sinkholes would be an issue if we took them out.
Currently, the presence of trees is not stopping any of the drainage. If there is a “plug” in the drainage, the town must fix.

One homeowner thanked the Board for the survey.

Rick got an inquiry from homeowner asking what to do about Canadian geese. Rick noted they are protected by law.

Another inquiry about mosquitoes . . .can the association spray the drainage areas? Rick will find out the answer.

Chris noted that the town gives away mosquito “dunks,” which kill mosquito larvae. Chris also noted that frogs also kill mosquitos, and that the presence of frogs is a sign of living in a clean neighborhood.

Rick will send note about homeowners taking their dogs to common areas to relieve themselves, and not picking up after walking their dogs in common areas.

Pulitzer Prize Winner, Anthony Doerr
Coming to our Library! October 14!

The New York Times best-selling author, Anthony Doerr, was recently awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his “imaginative and intricate novel, All the Light We Cannot See, inspired by the horrors of World War II and written in short, elegant chapters that explore human nature and the contradictory power of technology.”

Published in May of 2014 to positive
critical reviews but little fanfare, his book made it onto the NY Times Bestseller list, gradually creeping up the list over the next several months. Last fall, the book was named a finalist for the National Book Award. Notoriety started to pick up,
mostly through word-of- mouth, but also by
winning a myriad of end- of-the-year best book awards. Finally, early in 2015, All the Light We Cannot See ascended to the NY Times top spot for three weeks.

The Library Tuesday Evening Library Book Club will be discussing the book in September. Anyone is welcome to join the discussion. Then, on Wednesday, October 14th at 7:00 pm, Anthony Doerr will be appearing at the library. The Friends of the Library are co- sponsoring this event, along with the adult services department. More information will be coming on the library website and registration will begin in late-summer or early- fall. Mark your calendar! Check the Library website for
additional information.

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