2014 Mendenhall Village Management Report
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April 30, 2014
In lieu of a President’s letter to the Community, the MVHA Board has asked the management company to provide an annual summary report (2013-2014). Please excuse the length of the report; however, it is a yearly assessment. Going forward we shall provide, at a minimum, a bi-monthly report online; if not a monthly summary. The Board of Directors takes pride in the Community, and Mendenhall Village is fortunate to have original homeowners who are dedicated to the Community and seem to somehow continue to find the time to participate in the process to “…. provide for the orderly preservation of property values for individual dwelling units and to provide for the orderly preservation and efficient maintenance of open space….” in accordance with the Declaration of Restrictions and the By-Laws.
Please note that a majority of the current Board members have served off and on in different capacities for twenty (20) plus years.
Management recommendation and Board approval to maintain 2014-2015 assessment @ $230.00 discounted to $184.00 if paid and postmarked by June 30, 2014. Mendenhall Village continues to maintain a “break-even” budget while managing expenses while maintaining and making the necessary improvements for the preservation of property values and open space.
Mendenhall Village is, to the best of our knowledge, the largest single managed community in New Castle County, if not the State, with 609 homes, 6.1 miles of roadway, 23 cul-de-sacs, 8 acres of private open space and 52 acres of public open space. Please note that while a majority of communities have increased their assessments over the last 3-5 years, Mendenhall Village has not as it continues to maximize efficiencies in an ongoing partnership with the Management Company, Vendors, County, and State.
The only intangible relative to budget allocation is the weather. Ideally, a Homeowner’s Association/Maintenance Corporation budget should provide for one year’s assessment in reserve. As you review the budget summary and take the allocation for snow, delinquent assessments, and projected reserve, you have close to your ideal reserve allocation. The Board has taken the current position that should it become necessary, due to potential shortfall, a “special assessment” shall be considered in accordance with the
Declaration of Restrictions and By-Laws. In the upcoming months prior to the annual Board meeting scheduled for September, the Management Company and Board will meet to prepare the “Notice of Annual Meeting Proxy”. Preliminary agenda will include election of officers, review of finances and expenses, issues, changes and objectives, review of current fixed assessment and special assessment versus assessment increase.
Please note the purpose of our request for your email address and contact telephone number is to maximize efficiencies relative to annual meeting notice and proxy distribution and submission. Please contact A2Z should you have an interest in a Board position.
12 Storm Events – 52.70 Inches – 4 Events Qualified for Partial State Snow Reimbursement Program – Budget $75,000.00 – Expense $72, 000.00 – State Reimbursement ($16,800.00) – Note: Expense does not include cost for tree damage clean up as a result of the various storms. Each year the Board requests that residents remove vehicles from the streets, if possible, to assist in plowing efforts. This year, for some reason, we observed quite a few vehicles on various streets and empty driveways.
Approximately three percent (3%) of homeowners are in different stages of arrears totaling $14,420.00, excluding interest, legal fees, and court costs. Outstanding delinquent assessments negatively impact the Community’s budget with respect to collection expenses, which we shall recover, along with future budget and assessment calculations. Along with filling liens on properties for delinquent assessments, the Management Company has recommended filing wage garnishments and/or filing levies for asset sales. The Board has approved going forward with wage garnishments. The Management Company will mail separate notices to the homeowners whose assessment(s) remains in arrears. We shall offer a fifteen (15) day window of opportunity to make suitable payment arrangements to cure the delinquency before filing respective wage garnishment writ with Magistrate Court. Individual arrangement requests will be considered and submitted to the Board for review and disposition.
Declaration of Restrictions
We have been retained by Mendenhall Village Homeowners Association Board of Directors to manage compliance with deed restrictions as set forth in the Declaration of Restrictions for the Mendenhall Village community. This engagement requires that A2Z Property Management, LLC perform monthly random community inspections and follow up on Board member requests relative to reports of non- compliance referenced within the Declaration of Restrictions to include resident complaints, County Code, safety, etc. The MVHA Board has authorized A2Z Property Management to diligently enforce all restrictions to ensure compliance along with identifying any and all County and State code violations and to take necessary steps to enact enforcement, and if necessary, legal action to enforce compliance. This necessary action would impact the Community’s budget.
Restriction: Trash/Yard Waste/Recycling receptacle(s) must be kept in enclosed areas, hidden from view at all times except day of collection at curbside. It is acceptable to place trash cans at the curb the night before day of collection at “dusk” should you choose. We and the Board understand that many Homeowners are scrambling in the morning with getting ready for the start of the day and many of the service providers pick up early in the am.
”Enclosed areas, hidden from view”, is defined as hidden from the street and from your neighbor. You are not allowed to store receptacles on the side or front of your house or garage or behind a shrub. If you wish to install an outside storage blind for your receptacles, approval is required from the Mendenhall Village Architectural Board. A few Single Home owners have constructed/installed approved blinds on the side of their garages.
In the townhomes, receptacles may not be stored outside of mandatory privacy fence. This does not meet the requirements for “hidden from view”. Receptacles may not be stored in the front of your home or behind a shrub or tree. Receptacles must be placed inside your respective privacy fence.
New Castle County Code: “Trash and garbage awaiting pick up must be stored in containers with lids at all times.”
Out of all of the restrictive covenants that we help our communities enforce, it seems one stands out amongst as the most bothersome to many homeowners – rules and restrictions regarding trash can, yard waste and recycle receptacles.
Many Homeowners Associations are now on what we call a “Single Stream” system of recycling, requiring an additional, large receptacle to include yard waste. So now most communities have three different containers to deal with.
Aesthetics: No one really likes looking at trash cans up and down a street. Receptacles are not attractive. They are big, bulky, and usually an unattractive color, like bright green or mud brown. Animal control: Keeping your trash bins out can be an invitation for some unwanted guests. No one enjoys when the neighbors pets and other wild animals make a mess when rummaging for food in the trash. Homeowner(s) will ultimately have to clean up the overturned trash that has blown all over their yard. Identity theft: Your trash can be a target for new age thieves. Identity theft has been a reality for millions of Americans, and the number of reported cases continues to be on the rise. Thieves will rummage through the trash of homeowners searching information they can use to their advantage – credit card offers, bank statements, social security information, and anything they can use to gain access to your personal credit. If a thief cannot spot your trash, they have nothing to rummage through.
The Mendenhall Village Declaration of Restrictions reads as follows: “Article II. Section 1. Review of Plans. No building, shed, fence, wall, swimming pool or other construction shall be commenced, erected, or maintained upon any lot, nor shall any exterior addition to or change or alteration thereof, including but not limited to exterior facade color change and/or change in grade or drainage be made until the plans and specifications, with illustrations, showing the nature, kind, shape, color, height, materials, and proposed location of same, shall have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Declarant.”
Review includes windows, doors, roofs, siding, retention walls, driveways, etc. If unsure, please inquire. A2Z has had to address seven (7) homeowners who initiated improvements without prior approval. Six (6) are resolved and one (1) remains pending final resolution in the Town Homes.
We have created a new architectural request form which you can retrieve from accessing the new website. Please ensure that all the pertinent information is filled in properly so that we may expedite your request. A reminder, in accordance with the Declaration of Restrictions and By-Laws, the Board has thirty (30) days to respond accordingly. Actual turnaround time has averaged ten-fifteen (10-15) days dependent upon the nature of the request and Board availability.
Article I; Section 8. Signs. “No signs of any nature whatsoever shall be erected, placed, or maintained on any lot within the premises described, except that a standard single real estate “For Sale” sign may be so placed and maintained.” No Contractor signs, No Realtor directional signs, No Signs, etc. In accordance with the Declaration of Restrictions, the Board may post signs for general Community announcements.
There are no codes regarding the upkeep of sidewalks by New Castle County or the State of Delaware with respect to enforcement. However, it is the responsibility of each homeowner to repair and maintain the sidewalk adjacent to their home. In the event of injury, the homeowner is liable. Currently, there are a few homes with sidewalks that require immediate attention. We have a few vendors who are willing to offer a discounted price for volume of work. Please contact the Management Company directly; we will compile a list of Homeowners for the purpose of a vendor estimate.
The newly developed website will be a work in progress towards final completion with ongoing input. The newly formatted site will go live June 1, 2014. In the interim, please continue to access the existing site. Some of the items to be added: Architectural Request Form, General Request for Information Form, Exterior Color Chart for the Town Homes, user friendly Declaration of Restrictions for both the Single Homes and Town Homes, Links to the County/State websites for Pertinent Information, Links to Utility Companies, addition of important telephone numbers, Bi-Monthly Management Report, etc.
Pending Pricing and review for landscape “makeover” Estimated expense ten-fifteen thousand dollars ($10-15K).
It is understood that each resident in the Town Homes has two (2) dedicated parking spaces directly in front of their respective home. The Community provides for designated overflow parking. We have recommended and the Board has approved submission of a request to the County Police who in turn will request from the State for the installation of “No Stopping Standing or Parking” signs to be placed at the ends of Chimney Hill Lane, Wooden Carriage Drive, Stoneham Drive, and Cobblers Lane.
During random inspections we have recorded vehicles parked in these areas at various times and days of the week. These are “hammerhead-type” turnarounds that are considered active travel lanes and parking in them blocks the free flow of traffic. Once in place, New Castle County Police will be notified to take appropriate action to keep these areas open.
Pending Road Repairs: $72,929.00 has been approved and allocated for the road repair: Village Drive from Stone Brook Circle to Bent Tree Circle. Thank you to State Senator Greg Lavelle and State Representative Joe Miro. The catch basin @ Village Drive and White Briar has been repaired. The catch basin @ Village and Middleton Drives is pending. During our inspections, we continue to monitor infrastructure within the Community.
The Management Company has recommended the need for more active participation from the Community. One idea was for Block Captains/Area Representatives/Section Captains, etc. For example one person could be designated as the Representative for Forest Creek and the cul-de-sacs off Forest Creel, another for Quail Hollow and the cul-de-sacs off Quail Hollow, another for Stockbridge/Briar Creek, and then the other side for Lamplighter/Chimney Hill, etc. Ideally there could be approximately seven (7) more or less residents in total. We could assist the Board with the details at a later date if there is interest. Also, if you have an interest in serving on the Board as an Officer please submit your name and contact information with a brief bio and we shall include for the annual meeting and election of officers.
The Board is looking for a resident volunteer to coordinate with a contact in a nearby neighborhood that has done a fantastic job with engaging vendors used by communities for better pricing: oil, refuse/recycling/yard waste, propane, etc. that would provide a great benefit to Mendenhall Village. During the week there are too many commercial vehicles coming into Mendenhall Village creating wear and tear on the existing roadways. A “one vendor” solution would also reduce the number of visible receptacles curbside during the week. Plus there is the added benefit of cooperative pricing.
Quail Hollow cut-through traffic and speeding are of ongoing concern throughout the Community. We have contacted the New Castle County Police and continue to work with the interim Community Officer as well as Traffic Division. You should begin to notice, hopefully, positive action in the coming weeks. We will continue to press them on behalf of the Residents and Community at Large.
We are working with the State to have the crosswalks @ Village/Middleton, Village/Signal Hill, and Village/Ridgewood repainted.
We recently requested and New Castle County completed power washing the playground equipment.
We are pricing receptacle replacement @ Village and Middleton Drive.
Ongoing turf repair management as a result of 2013/2014 winter impact.
We continue to monitor the pond for algae and continue to work with the County. The County has recently awarded a contract to a new vendor for pond maintenance services – Solitude Lake Management. Our contact at the County has requested immediate treatment to include an ongoing routine maintenance schedule.
Unfortunately, homes that are not maintained properly specific to peeling paint, unkempt properties, etc. are not in violation of Declaration of Restrictions, New Castle County or Delaware State code. However, some properties may constitute a NCC property code violation if aspects pertain to safety, accumulating dog waste, junk stored in backyards, etc. If a property meets these criteria, we have been authorized to file a complaint with New Castle County Code Enforcement Division.
Please note that neither the Board nor the Management Company will address anonymous correspondence or telephone calls. We require your name and correct contact information as well as the request, issue, concern, etc.