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Welcome to the New Town Residential Association community website. We are a walkable, landmark residential community located in James City County, Williamsburg, Virginia where commercial and residential buildings are integrated with public and cultural spaces. Life happens here!
 
Chesapeake Bay Management Company is the managing agent for the New Town Residential Association. Meetings are BY APPOINTMENT ONLY - please do not drop by without an appointment. 
 
NOTE: Chesapeake's offices are closed on Federal holidays. 
 
SUMMER HOURS: Starting May 31, 2022:   Monday - Thursday  8:00 to 5:30PM.   Friday 8:00-1200. Office closes at noon.
 
For emergencies or to schedule an appointment, call 757 706-3019. (Chesapeake's office is located at 337 McLaws Circle in the Busch Corporate Center.)
 
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To navigate around the site, use the navigation links along the top.
 
If you are looking for the list of shops, restaurants, businesses, events, and services in New Town, click here. Welcome home!
 
Don't forget to "LIKE" us on the NTRA Facebook page.

 

Upcoming Events
After Hours Social
Tuesday, August 16th, 6:00 PM at New Town Community Pool
It's time for another After Hours social at the New Town Community Pool. Stop by after work to meet some neighbors or go for a swim.
 
Water and a few nibbles will be provided. Otherwise, bring your own beverage and something to share if you wish.
Information Meeting for NTRA Owners - Revised Governing Documents
Wednesday, August 17th, 6:30PM at Via Zoom
At this Informational Meeting the Board of Directors will provide a summary of the new Governing Documents, and of the changes that have been made since our September 2021 Town Hall Meeting. A question and answer period will follow.
 
 
Board Buzz/From the Chair
BOARD BUZZ - August 2022, Everett Lunsford, Treasurer
Posted on Aug 1st, 2022
 
Welcome to our newest Board Member, John Ryan, a Chelsea Green owner. John was appointed at our July Board meeting for a position through December 2023. Mr. Ryan is a patent attorney and intellectual property counsel for a Virginia based corporation.  He has prior experience on HOA boards in New York City (where he served as condominium association President) and Vienna, Virginia.
 
The engineering contract for a Roper Park transition study was approved at the July Board meeting, along with the charter for a Roper Park Transition Working Group of residents. (See July Town Crier for more background).  At least one more volunteer for the working group is still needed.  Contact me at eplunsfo@gmail.com if you are interested in assisting the Association in identifying improvements needed to the common areas in Roper Park.
 
All exterior inspections of homes have been completed through the efforts of our Asset Maintenance Committee volunteers. Reinspections of homes with violations in Chelsea Green is complete and Charlotte Park’s reinspections will start soon. Be sure to respond to any violation notices that you receive.
 
Our last Lemonade and Listening session with individual neighborhoods will be Saturday, August 13th with Charlotte Park’s home owners (Roper Park was scheduled earlier). Thanks to all those who have joined us for a chat so far.
 
Mid-Year Financial Review
 
We appear to be slightly over budget at this point, but doing better than 2021. The biggest overage in our operating budget is late attorney fees for 2021 work (Town Management did not set aside funds for these monthly charges.) Similarly, pool skimmers and filter repairs approved in 2021 from replacement reserves and assumed to be completed, were only recently installed and billed. On the Village Walk operating side, the Board authorized hiring independent engineering and roofing contractors to conduct in-depth evaluations of the roof issues across Village Walk. This investment is already paying dividends in our discussions with Eagle Construction over how to correct this situation.
 
Some community members have asked about the lack of complete financial statements on the website; no balance sheets for 2022 have been posted, only income & expense statements for January-April.  There are 2 reasons for this:
  • Avoiding confusion or misinterpretation. Last year Town Management had difficulty entering the 2020 audit adjustments to the financial records. Mistakes were made trying to fix these problems through the management company transition.  The 2021 year-end balance sheet is incorrect, and the Board decided therefore to also hold the 2022 balance sheets until all can be corrected, rather than posting and then replacing the information.  Our audit firm has provided the necessary fixes, but they were received after Chesapeake Bay Management started its transition to a new financial software system.  The fixes cannot be entered until that financial system transition is completed.
  • Chesapeake Bay Management’s new financial system. This spring Chesapeake Bay changed its financial software system.  They encountered data conversion problems and have found themselves in the situation of manually fixing the converted data.  Manual data repairs are a slow process, and Chesapeake is a relatively small company with limited staff.  The financial software also had to be integrated with their bank and autopay vendors. Thus, the financial system transition is incomplete, and new monthly reports cannot be produced until that process is carefully audited.  
Even without these full reports, we are continually able to monitor Association expenses. Chesapeake has a robust and transparent payables invoice processing system that remains operational, and NTRA has daily access to that system.  Spending data can be extracted from that system, but it does not contain internal charges like Chesapeake’s management expenses.  Chesapeake is also providing monthly bank statement copies, so checking and investment account balances and activity can be monitored. Bear with us and we will update the website when we are comfortable the data is solid.
 
 Planning for the 2023 Budget
 
The 2023 budget cycle started in July with the Finance Committee sending budget request forms to all NTRA committees. 
 
We are quite aware that the community does not like the assessment increases that were necessary for 2022.  Unfortunately, there is no way for NTRA to avoid noticeable increases again in 2023.  The major drivers are:
  • Replacement Reserves – our updated replacement reserve study (December 2021) recommends larger annual contributions in 2023 ($35,000 more) and future years. The Board is committed to fully funding our reserves and during last year’s budget process, the community was advised that an increase would be required in the 2023 budget.
  • Inflation and increased prices – the US inflation rate is now 9-10%.  Higher costs for fuel, parts, services, etc. as well as inflation will likely affect all of our contracts – pool, trees, repairs, BMP maintenance, etc.  Budget contingencies will have to increase because of the adjustment and add-on clauses that we expect to see in new contracts.  I doubt any of NTRA’s large contracts will be truly “fixed” for a year.
  • New landscape contract. We have bid a new 3-year landscape contract and are awaiting bids. Landscaping is the single biggest vendor for our Association and we know that meeting our requirements plus annual adjustments will be expensive. 
As a Board, we will work to control all discretionary expenses for 2023.  
 
Finally, editing the new Governing Documents is nearly complete and then we will move expeditiously to a Member vote.  Look for a Zoom community information meeting on August 17th to present the changes and answer any questions. (An in-person Q&A could be scheduled later in August as well.) Engage in the process and become advocates for us to move ahead.  
 
I know this is a somber ending to our monthly message.  If you don’t like what is happening, please consider the following:
  • The Board is required by Virginia law to follow the Association’s documents (regardless of whether the Developer Board followed them). Look at the new documents and decide whether you think they are an improvement. If these revised documents are not approved by 2/3 of the community, the current documents remain in force.
  • Two Board positions will be open in the December 2022 election.  Run for the Board and bring your ideas forward for future improvements.
BOARD BUZZ – JULY 2022, by Mary Cheston, President
Posted on Jul 1st, 2022
 
Welcome to the heat of summer! A song from the musical Oklahoma says “June is bustin out all over” and June definitely “busted out” the Board’s work plan as we tackled a variety of new challenges and actions.  
 
Two long-awaited projects have been completed. The Lydias Park Zoysia grass has been installed and the gutters in Village Walk have been cleaned.  A Request for Proposal (RFP) has been issued for a new 3-year landscape contract, and RFPs will be released shortly for the first phase of siding repairs and power washing/painting in Village Walk.
 
The Board completed its review of the November 2021 Member comments on the proposed draft revisions to our NTRA Governing Documents. In late July we expect to receive a revised set of documents from our legal counsel incorporating our agreed changes, and will be moving forward towards a Member vote likely starting sometime in August.
 
Upcoming this month, the final round of home exterior inspections will take place in mid-July in Village Walk. You will also see orange warning cones being installed where sidewalk trip hazards exist, until we have some repair action from VDOT. A VDOT concrete contractor assessed the condition of the sidewalks about 2 weeks ago and we are awaiting VDOT’s decision. Marking the most severe areas is the best we can offer at this time. Please continue to be mindful when walking. 
 
We are bringing back “tags” for trash can violations as part of our enforcement process. (This approach was last used in 2019.) If you see a yellow tag on your trash can, please take action to appropriately store your can inside your garage or trash enclosure to avoid a fine. Better yet, get in the habit of storing your trash can properly now and avoid seeing it tagged!
 
This month the Board responded to a request from Eagle of VA on behalf of ME Settlers LLC to start the conveyance process for the Common Areas in Village Walk to transfer to the NTRA. The Board has advised ME Settlers that there are numerous corrective actions that remain to be made in Village Walk, and we cannot accept the property in its current condition.  A photo inventory of the deficiencies has been sent to Eagle as well. Much of the information we have compiled is due to the hard work of Village Walk volunteers who served on a Village Walk Asset Acceptance work group in 2020. Many thanks to them for laying the groundwork for the Association’s position.
 
The James City County acceptance inspection process for Roper Park (Charlotte Park Phase 11) will likely start in the a few months. To help us assess areas needing improvement, the Board will task a working group of Roper Park residents to collect information on site plan discrepancies and needed improvements. (See related July Town Crier article) Everett Lunsford will be our Board liaison for this group. Any Roper Park Owner interested in volunteering should contact Everett at eplunsfo@gmail.com. We also plan to hire Giles & Flythe for an independent engineering inspection of the Roper Park area, similar to what was done for Charlotte Park Phase 10.  
 
The Board has initiated a series of informal neighborhood listening sessions to provide Owners an opportunity to ask questions and share ideas. Our newest communities of Roper Park and Shirley Park were our first audience and the evening was an opportunity for the Board to get input from some happy owners – always a nice thing. Look for an email invitation when it is your neighborhood’s turn to chat!
 
If you can’t make your scheduled listening session, come to a monthly Board meeting. Members are always welcome to attend – see the NTRA website calendar for dates, generally the third Thursday of the month. 
 
So lots and lots of things are going on…What we did not accomplish in June is that we did not welcome a new Board member. There were no applications to fill the advertised vacancy on the Board for someone to serve until December 2023. I cannot stress strongly enough that the next 18 months are critical for setting the future path of the Association. Two more Board seats will open for election in December.  Joining the Board now will help put you ahead on the learning curve.
 
Please seriously consider helping us to tackle these challenges together by sending an application to the Board Secretary, Monique Stevens at ntra.secretary@gmail.com.
BOARD BUZZ - June 2022, by Glen Mitchell, Director
Posted on Jun 1st, 2022
 
Hello friends and neighbors. 
 
As I’m sure most of you know by now, inspections of home exteriors have been going on for several weeks and will resume mid-month in Shirley Park, Abbey Commons, and Savannah Square.  (Given vacations and other events, our schedule for the Village Walk inspections will await the completion of these other neighborhoods.)
 
Our Chesapeake Bay Community Manager, Anne Ingram, along with the members of the Asset Maintenance Committee have certainly been busy in May. The inspection process has been going fairly smoothly and I’m pleased to say that for the most part things are looking good! 
 
In the event you receive a letter of violation, we ask that you address the issue as soon as possible to avoid any further covenant enforcement actions by the NTRA. 
 
Once all of this home inspection work is complete, the Committee members will begin inspecting NTRA properties.  These include our walking trails, common areas, walkways, etc.  
 
On another note I’d like to give a BIG shout-out to Alex Trent and her team of Activities Committee volunteers for the wonderful job they did with the Community Potluck on Friday, May 20th!  What a great turnout and what fun meeting new neighbors and friends!  If you missed this event, there are a few other parties being planned for the summer.  It’s a great way to get out, make some new friends and have fun!  Check your email and the NTRA website for notices on these upcoming events. 
 
Finally, Chesapeake Bay offers its employees summer hours as one of their employment benefits. Their office at 337 McLaws Circle will be closed on Friday afternoons starting at noon. Please be respectful of this great staff’s time and plan your appointments/calls accordingly [Monday thru Thursday  8:00 to 5:30PM;  Friday 8:00-1200.] 
 
Wishing you and yours a happy and fun-filled summer in New Town!
 
BOARD BUZZ - May 2022 by Jack Espinal, Vice-President
Posted on May 1st, 2022
 
April has been a busy month on the landscaping scene.
 
The Zoysia Grass Pilot Project
 
The NTRA Board has approved a project to resurface the grass in Lydias Park with Zoysia sod.  This species of grass is known for its ability to stand up to the summer heat and heavy foot traffic. It produces a dense, beautiful lawn that requires little or no water once it is established. Zoysia is so dense that it literally prevents weed growth. Seeds from weeds and other grasses simply cannot penetrate the turf to germinate in the soil and grow. This eliminates the need for future application of chemical herbicides in Lydias Park and eliminates a future Association expense.
 
A warm weather grasses pilot project has been in the works for a couple of years after members of the Landscape Advisory Committee (LAC) experimented with Zoysia in their yards. They were pleased with the results and recommended that the grass be installed elsewhere in New Town. If the Association is pleased with the results of this initial installation, consideration will be given to planting Zoysia grass in other New Town locations.
 
Lydias Park was chosen from several  locations for this installation because of the condition of the existing grass and the associated underground sprinkler system which has not operated for several years and would be costly to repair. It also allows us to remove the sprinkler system from our reserve study and saves our Association from having to fund future system maintenance. 
 
The downside of Zoysia grass is that it turns brown when it goes dormant in the winter or when there is a severe drought. However, warm weather and a little water brings the green grass right back. While brown grass in the winter is a disadvantage, it will eventually create a more consistent appearance and most likely look better than many of the “spotty” lawns in New Town.
 
Community Landscape Beautification Projects
 
The LAC has also identified four highly visible areas of New Town that, with additional landscaping, will create a positive visual impact for our community. They researched and identified multiple species of perennial plants and evergreens that will provide changing colors and stay beautiful throughout the year. These Gateway projects are located around the community - in the Village Walk Clock Tower area, a new garden in a mulched area along Roper Park, plantings around the swimming pool sign, and refurbishing of the dog walk area near the swimming pool.
 
In April the Board approved these LAC recommended Gateway Projects. The LAC assisted by members of the newly established New Town Garden Club (also known as the Never-Ending Garden Party) will provide the labor for the installation, initial watering, and future maintenance of the four projects. These improvements will be made this spring.  If you would like to help with these beautification projects and/or join the New Town Garden Club, send an email to: neverendinggardenparty@gmail.com or call Kelly at 757.713.5755.
 
I thank the LAC for all of their hard work selecting sites for these projects, researching the perennial plants that will provide color throughout the year, and for volunteering their labor to perform the installation, watering, and maintenance. This effort will significantly improve the appearance of our community at a minimum cost to our Association.
 
New Meeting Space
 
The Board has also approved a conditional lease with Williamsburg Developers/Developers Realty, LLC for new space for Association meetings. This space provides two meeting areas - a large space for our Board meetings and a smaller conference area where Committees who do not have many members may choose to meet. Both rooms will be available for reservation. See related Town Crier article this month.
 
BOARD BUZZ - April 2022 - Laura Loda, Board Member
Posted on Apr 1st, 2022
 
Happy Spring!  Isn’t it great to be able to enjoy the weather and to be outdoors?  It won’t be that much longer before summer is upon us and there are things in progress now to prepare for that.
 
Community Pool
 
Those of you who frequent the pool will be happy to learn that at its March meeting, the Board approved the installation of a new entry system to replace the outdated and not-always-functional one currently in place.  The new system will be web-based so it will interface with a resident database.  So, for instance, if an owner were to sell their property (why would you want to leave New Town?) their pass would be inactivated.  The new system will also allow us to track usage of the facility by time and day.  That will help with planning future expenditures and maintenance items.  In addition, if there were to be inclement weather necessitating closure of the facility, this could be done remotely so no one’s pass would open the gate.  This would protect everyone who might not see emails or webpage notices.  Stay tuned for more information about distribution of new passes.  It will be done in conjunction with owner signing of the updated 2022 Pool Policies and Rules document. The Pool Committee is busy planning all of this with Chesapeake Bay Management as well as all of the other tasks that precede opening of the pool on Saturday, May 28.
 
Stormwater Management
 
A term you may have heard tossed around and not really known what it is — BMPs.  Stormwater Management Facilities or Best Management Practices (BMPs) are a key component in the effort to control stormwater runoff and protect our streams.  There are numerous BMPs throughout New Town, some of which are owned by the NTRA and some of which are owned by other parties.  BMPs owned by the NTRA have all been inspected, an activity planned for in this year’s budget.  Two locations need immediate repair and sediment cleaning.  The Board has approved contracts for this work at the Lydias playground detention basin and the Casey Boulevard BMP (the wet pond next to Abbey Commons).  
 
More significant non-routine maintenance is required at the Casey Blvd BMP and will include vegetation removal, debris excavation and site improvement to provide proper stormwater management.  This work would be replacement reserve funded.  Chesapeake Bay has proposed that the Association apply for a James City County Clean Water Heritage Grant (matching funds) for the work. The Board authorized our Managing Agent to pursue this grant application that is due at the end of September.  Additionally, the Board has requested a routine maintenance proposal to mitigate future significant repairs.
 
Casey Boulevard Traffic
 
I presented to Jim Icenhour, our Supervisor on the James City County Board of Supervisors, comments submitted from a number of residents expressing concerns about different traffic and parking issues on Casey Boulevard.  By far the largest number of comments concerned the intersection with Center Street where there is a school bus stop.  There is no means to slow or stop traffic at that intersection which poses safety issues for the children going to and from the bus stop.  Mr. Icenhour presented the issue at the March 8 Board of Supervisors meeting and has met with the local representative of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).  The VDOT representative contacted me to let us know that a traffic study of Casey Boulevard will be conducted by VDOT.  Unfortunately, I can’t give you an estimate of when this will happen.  Apparently, there is a queue of requests and we’re now in the queue.  I’ll follow up with VDOT regularly and let you know when I learn something more definite.  But, we’re on the list!   And patience is a virtue.
 
PS 
In the last week from public information on the JCC website, the Board has learned about two possible developer projects that could impact our community (See related Crier article). Owners should pay attention to what is being proposed and as we learn more, we will update you.
BOARD BUZZ - March 2022 - Everett Lunsford, Treasurer
Posted on Mar 1st, 2022
 
Let me begin with all things financial…
 
At this time the Board has received the draft December 2021 financial statements from our new management company, Chesapeake Bay Management.  These draft statements are under review.  Several factors contributed to their delay:
  • Bank account transfers and reconciliation.
  • Individual homeowner account reconciliation due to the need for additional data from Town Management. 
  • Payments made by prior management in December that delayed the operating checking account reconciliation.
  • Chesapeake Bay Management worked with the association’s CPA firm to adjust the categorization of several transactions identified in our 2020 audit.  
Most issues, except the 2020 audit adjustments, have been fully resolved. December 2021 and January 2022 statements are expected to be released by mid-March. Slowly but surely we are closing our books and converting to new recordkeeping.
 
The Board recently hired Adams Jenkins and Cheatham to again do the New Town Residential Association's (NTRA’s) 2021 tax return and to prepare a financial statement compilation for 2021.
 
Landscaping Season
 
Spring landscaping is underway. Virginia Lawn and Landscape crews have methodically been mulching through each neighborhood. Mowing will begin this month.
 
For those who may still question the fenced yards landscaping decision, the Board is acting in the best interests of the entire community given our legal constraints.  The legal review of past practices initiated in response to owner comments on the 2021 budget resulted in 2 key guidance points:
  1. The Board had not followed the New Town Residential Association documents in past decisions and budgets;
  2. The Board has a legal obligation to follow the existing governing documents, regardless of past Board decisions and actions.
This “follow the documents” guidance was reinforced by the comments made by candidates during the search for a new managing agent, and by the consultant hired to assist the Board in addressing the turnover issues identified during 2021.
 
Solving this situation requires new Governing Documents, approved by 2/3rds of NTRA members.  At some future date, the Board will return to the draft documents presented in 2021, and update them based on comments and lessons learned in the managing agent transition. Unless and until 2/3rds of owners agree to changes, the existing documents remain in effect.
 
Familiarize yourself with these current Governing Documents available on the NTRA website page. (Use the links on the left side of the page.)
 
Village Walk Neighborhood Updates
  • The Board and Eagle Construction are currently discussing how to address the roof deficiencies identified by Eagle’s 2021 drone inspections and a subsequent NTRA authorized sample inspection of Village Walk roofs. This February roof inspection, where an inspector walked some roofs, found issues with 5 out of 5 homes sampled. A full independent engineering evaluation of the situation is planned to help us determine whether roof design deficiencies or only installation performance issues are causing these problems.  An engineering firm has been selected and is expected to begin work in mid-March. 
It is possible some Village Walk attics may need inspection as part of the engineering evaluation.  The Board requests your cooperation if you are contacted for attic access.
 
  • The Board of Directors recently approved a new chart developed by Chesapeake Bay Management that outlines who is responsible for what in terms of maintenance in Village Walk. It is available here. Chesapeake has used a similar matrix in other communities where the homeowners association has exterior maintenance and repair responsibilities. Please use this document to aid in determining whether you (Village Walk homeowner) or NTRA is responsible for a particular repair or replacement. Our thanks to Anne Ingram for her work in creating this valuable tool. 
BOARD BUZZ – February 2022 – Mary Cheston, President
Posted on Feb 1st, 2022
 
Welcome Jack Espinal (Abbey Commons), Laura Loda (Shirley Park), Everett Lunsford (Village Walk), and Glen Mitchell (Village Walk) to the NTRA Board of Directors! January has been a rebuilding and organizing month for the Board. With four new Directors, we have spent time getting to know each other and setting up our priorities for this year. Lots of information and history still to share.
 
Our association’s Annual Meeting on December 16th had a robust turnout. Besides announcing the results of our Board election, there were presentations on the 2022 final Budget by our Treasurer, Everett Lunsford; our legal counsel’s status report on maintenance obligations for the BMPs and other areas in Village Walk; remarks from our new community manager, Anne Ingram; a recap of 2021 accomplishments with a safety awareness briefing on sidewalks and tree roots, and Member comment period. Most questions involved the Board’s decision to enforce the limits to landscaping in fenced yards (see related notice in Town Crier), voting to change the Governing Documents, access to contracts, and concerns regarding speeding on New Town streets (also in the February Crier). 
 
Many thanks to all the Board members who served during 2021 – Chuck Stetler, Mike Reilly, Dick Durst, Rick Fisher, Angela Lesnett, and Mark Burgess. Their dedication and hard work contributed to common area improvements as well as ten new or revised policies, draft Governing Documents, a new assessment methodology, and selection of a new management company. 2021 was a year that we certainly do not want to repeat, but despite upheavals the Board persevered and achieved many good things for our community. 
 
2022 promises to bring its own challenges. 
 
Before the holidays, Eagle Construction conducted a drone inspection of the roofs in Village Walk in response to NTRA data on roof leaks. Last week we were notified that the drone showed 30 homes with roof issues, largely exposed nails without caulking or shingle issues. Eagle offered to repair all items identified from the inspection at their expense, if done immediately. A Special Board meeting with Village Walk owners was held via Zoom on January 26th. The Board is evaluating proposals for an independent engineering evaluation of the situation and has advised Eagle that we will reply formally to their proposal at a later date, once we have this additional analysis. (See article in February Crier
 
In Charlotte Park, James City County reinspected the Phase 10 common areas (around Olive Drive and Christine Court) owned by Atlantic Homes in preparation for their turnover to the Association. (See related Crier article) Some locations, especially alley drainage, will require more remedial work. NTRA’s engineering firm Giles and Flythe accompanied the JCC team, and will be preparing a future report for the Board. Per our NTRA policy on “Turnover or Acceptance of Assets”, a homeowner meeting will be held when we have their findings and recommendations. 
 
The lease for the NTRA meeting space on Main Street has ended because the landlord found a new long-term tenant. The Board of Directors and most Committees will likely be moving their meetings back to a Zoom format. (Please check the website calendar for meeting locations.) Developers Realty has generously offered to find another location within the Shops at Main Street for our potential use. As we consider options for new space, we will keep you informed. 
 
Minor changes are coming in the landscape services schedule for 2022. Look for an article in next month’s Town Crier for more details. Meanwhile, I hope you have enjoyed the beauty of our recent snowfalls.
 
Chinese New Year – the year of the Tiger, symbol of bold actions - begins today, followed closely by the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Stay warm and settle in to watch the competition. As the traditional saying goes, “May this New Year bring immense joy and happiness.”  
BOARD BUZZ December 2021, Mary Cheston, President
Posted on Dec 1st, 2021
Today begins a new chapter in the history of the New Town Residential Association as we welcome our new management company, Chesapeake Bay Management (CBM). Our community manager, Anne Ingram, will begin work next week – operating out of Chesapeake’s 337 McLaws Circle office. Anne comes to us after 5 years as Community Manager for Colonial Heritage, another community that is still under development. As a Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM), she has broad understanding of a range of association issues and her experience with overseeing stormwater systems is bound to benefit us in New Town. Please warmly welcome her and all the supporting CBM team.
 
Three new faces will be joining the Board soon! Elections for the 2022-2023 Board of Directors will begin on Thursday, December 9th. Each candidate has submitted an application outlining their background and reason for running for the Board – these applications are posted on the website Board of Directors page. Please take some time to consider who you believe will best serve our community in this important function. Email links to vote electronically through EzVote will be distributed when the polls open. (To obtain a paper ballot, please contact Chesapeake Bay at 757 706-3019.)
 
An early Christmas present? In response to NTRA’s report of water intrusion problems in Village Walk, Eagle Construction has notified the Association that they will be conducting “an assessment of the current condition of all the roofs at Village Walk built by Eagle Construction during the month of December.” This will be a drone inspection. We do not have details or dates, but will share additional information with the Village Walk community as it becomes available. The Board is hopeful that this first step may alleviate the need for us to pursue forensic inspections of roofs in 2022.
 
The Board has approved the 2022 NTRA Budget. Thanks to those who participated in our virtual Zoom and those who submitted comments. The Neighborhood Assessment component is using the proportional use methodology. As a refresher, the Board presented a budget with two assessment options to bring us closer to the requirements in our current Governing Documents. Most owners who commented preferred the proportional use allocation for landscape services. A chart of the approved 2022 assessment figures has been added to the FAQ page of the website. (Replies to written comments will be posted later this week.)
 
Two articles in this month’s Town Crier mark a first – pieces written by Randy Casey-Rutland of Town Management and Larry Salzman, President of the New Town Commercial Association - providing some historical perspective on the NTRA and NTCA relationship.
 
Don’t forget our Annual Members Meeting on December 16th in Legacy Hall at 6:30PM.  All homeowners are invited to meet Chesapeake’s representatives and celebrate with our newly elected Board of Directors who will be announced at the meeting. Mask up and visit with neighbors.
 
Wishing everyone a healthy and happy holiday season – our Association has much to look forward to in 2022.
 
Remember that the Communications team also takes a short holiday at this time of year. The Town Crier’s next issue is February 1, 2022.
 
 
BOARD BUZZ November 2021, Mary Cheston, President
Posted on Nov 1st, 2021
 
And then there were two…
 
This month Mark Burgess and I are focused on finalizing the Association’s 2022 budget for presentation to the community with the able assistance of our Finance Committee. It is clear that there needs to be a much-needed change of mindset from what we’ve employed in the past on the part of all of us homeowners. 
 
We can no longer seek the best deal/lowest possible HOA dues or expect to artificially link the NTRA budget to inflation or CPI. Underfunding our Association does long term damage both to our physical plant and our reserves. This year with professional advice, we have critically evaluated what it costs to operate and maintain our community and save for the future. For many homeowners there will be a big assessment increase in 2022. Because we are following our documents, assessments will look somewhat different as well (except for the Village Walk neighborhood). To further understand why an increased assessment is needed, be sure to read Treasurer Everett Lunsford’s article this month on our “2022 Budget Challenges.”
 
Exciting news! We will soon welcome a new management company to serve our Association. Effective December 1, Chesapeake Bay Management Inc. will take over as the NTRA management company. Chesapeake Bay manages nearly 100 communities in Southeastern Virginia, has strong technological capabilities, and is committed to making positive change in our community. During the selection process, Chesapeake impressed the Board with its commitment to customer service, “can do” attitude, frankness, and overall expertise. Chesapeake also provides value for the money because their management fee is all inclusive, saving us the myriad fees and pass-through costs of our current contract. Best of all, the NTRA will have a full-time dedicated manager.
 
In the meantime, there is a massive amount of Association data and history to share. This records transition work will consume much of Town Management’s attention this month, so please be patient with your requests. We want as smooth a turnover as possible, especially given the imminent beginning of a new fiscal year. There will be a learning curve for everyone involved.
 
In mid-November homeowners will be officially notified by Chesapeake with information about how to set up your dues accounts. A different bank will be involved in handling NTRA’s accounts, so expect to change your automatic assessment payments for January 1, 2022. Keep an eye out for this important communication. 
 
November is America’s traditional month of sharing and Thanksgiving. In that spirit, I would like to thank my colleagues who beginning in June 2020 served on the homeowner Board of Directors. Despite the roller coaster ride to get here, your ideas and involvement helped us accomplish several important projects to improve New Town’s common areas and operations.
 
Thanks also to Town Management, which at the end of the month will conclude 15 years as the management company for the NTRA. From dirt piles to developed neighborhoods, Town Management has watched and lived the transformation of our community and all of its growing pains. 
 
The volunteers who staff our NTRA Committees also deserve a big thank you. The Board especially appreciates the recent work of our Management Company Search Committee - Bill Voliva, Mike Reilly and Everett Lunsford - who expeditiously screened applicants to fill the critical role of our management company. A big shout out to our expanded Communications team who stepped up to assist me - our new Crier editor, writers, and all those who contributed clear and compelling messages on the need to change our documents. That said, we are always in the market for additional help.
 
A final note of personal thanks to my support system – my unflappable husband Ric and dear Charlotte Park neighbors/friends who have shared a kind word or a laugh (often with a glass of wine) and constantly remind me that the Board is only volunteers, doing the best we can with the cards we were dealt by the Developer Board. New Town is a great community to live in, and these moments rally me.
 
It is so important for all of us to keep working towards having the Association on sound footing-both legally and financially. We look forward to seeing all of you via Zoom at the November 19th 2022 Budget presentation. We are at the start of the holiday season and embarking on a new chapter in our community’s history. Let’s make it an exciting, memorable beginning.
BOARD BUZZ October 2021, Mark Burgess, Director
Posted on Oct 1st, 2021
 
Hi! My name is Mark Burgess and I’m what one of our New Town residents called the “new guy” on the New Town Residential Association (NTRA) Board of Directors, having only joined the Board this past July. I’m also a relatively recent resident of New Town. My wife and I purchased a Village Walk townhouse in November 2018. 
 
Being so new to New Town and the Board has meant, of course, that I’ve had a lot of catching up to do. So while other Board members have been reviewing and revising our Association’s governing documents with the able assistance of several homeowner association (HOA) professionals, I’ve been concentrating on simply reading and trying to better understand both our current and our proposed documents while at the same time paying close attention to what the others are saying about how these documents came to be in the first place and where they need to be in order to better serve our community in the years to come. Here is some of what I’ve learned. 
 
First, our current documents really are old and showing their age. They describe a community that essentially no longer exists. I recently saw a photograph of New Town, for instance, that showed Charlotte Park before it was built out; all you could see were empty lots being readied for development and, off in the distance, a few commercial buildings scattered along Discovery Park Boulevard. Obviously, a lot has happened since. New Town has grown up and with that growth has come the need for our governing documents to take into account the changes that have occurred. So there is no doubt in my mind that our association needs a new set of documents carefully crafted under the aegis of HOA professionals like those we have had the privilege to work with. 
 
But rewriting governing documents is one thing; forming a new community is something else. Documents, responsibly drafted, can describe a community, they can help define a community, they can even assist in laying the groundwork for how a community may function within the bounds of federal, state, and local statutes, but they cannot in and of themselves establish community. People make communities, and the best communities, in my experience, are those where neighbors care for and about one another, where they respect each another, and where they share a vision of what they would like their communities to be. 
 
Creating new communities therefore takes patience, a LOT of patience. I can’t emphasize that enough. Living so near to Jamestown and Williamsburg has given me an entirely new insight into just how MUCH patience might be required. Think of the long years of hardship those early colonists endured before their lives became settled! So, yes, it may be just a wee bit longer before New Town is complete and all the pieces of a new community are finally put in place. 
 
In the meantime, as a Board member, I shall continue my study of our governing documents and work with you as well as other members of the Board to make sure we make as smooth a transition as possible to a new management company and continue to progress as a homeowner-controlled association.