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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. 
 
REGULAR OFFICE HOURS as of September 6, 2022:  Monday - Friday  8:30 to 5:00PM.   
 
NOTE: Chesapeake's offices are closed on Federal holidays.
 
Seasonal Holiday Closings:  The CBM offices will also be CLOSED on:
  • afternoon of Friday, December 16th
  • Friday, December 23 and Monday, December 26, Christmas weekend. 
 
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!
 
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Upcoming Events
Dessert Fest/ Bake Off
Wednesday, December 7th, 6:00 PM at Legacy Hall
Bake a little something extra and enter to compete with your neighbors for gift certificate prizes.  Your entry can be either a holiday or non-holiday dessert. (Judging categories are bars/cookies and cakes/cupcakes)
 
 
Not a baker, just attend and sample the goodies or volunteer to judge! Open to all residents of New Town. 
2022 Annual Members Meeting
Wednesday, December 14th, 7:00 PM at Legacy Hall - 4301 New Town Avenue
All NTRA owners are encouraged to attend the 2022 NTRA Annual Meeting. Two new Directors will be elected and two resolutions are proposed for approval by the Members. (Find more information on the 2023 Board Election page.)
 
The meeting will be preceded by the Continued Special Members Meeting on the vote for revised governing documents at 6:30PM.
 
Registration for these two important meetings opens at 6:00 PM
Board Buzz/From the Chair
BOARD BUZZ – DECEMBER 2022, by Mary Cheston, President
Posted on Dec 1st, 2022
 
“No matter what happened yesterday, today is filled with hope and promise…”
 
The end of the year is always a busy period for the Board of Directors as contracts and budgets must be put in place for the new year.  Here is a recap of some of our key recent actions: 
  • Our 2023 Budget is now approved and posted on the website. Several revisions were made based on owner feedback, especially to the Village Walk neighborhood budget.
  • The landscape contract with James River Grounds Management is in place and the Board has developed guidance for owners on what to expect for services starting in January (NTRA Policy 9.2. Landscape Services and Responsibilities). 
  • Roof repairs by Eagle/Northeast Construction are underway in Village Walk.  All roofs will be examined and repaired over the coming weeks at Eagle’s expense.
The results of our efforts to revise the NTRA governing documents will be tallied on December 14th at the Continued Special Member Meeting on the vote. Because of the Developer’s unauthorized filing of two Supplemental Declarations for Shirley Park, 40 lots have to be removed from the total pool of votes, which reduces the 2/3 threshold for passage of the documents from 411 to 385 NTRA Members. 
 
At our 2022 Annual Meeting you will be asked to approve an amendment to the Amenities Use Easement and Agreement between the NTRA and the New Town Commercial Association (NTCA). This is an important action to keep the NTRA in compliance with this agreement. The Amendment would remove language which prohibits us from having a management company that is different from the NTCA. The Board is very happy with the services provided by Chesapeake Bay Management and has no plans to rehire Town Management LLC. Please vote in favor of this amendment. (See related article.)
 
This month brings to a close my service for the past 2 years on the NTRA Board of Directors. In December 2020 I never envisioned the roller coaster that would follow. I was requested to serve, submitted an application and the Board elected me to fill a remaining 2-year vacancy created on the very first homeowner-control Board. Miracle of miracles, I stuck it out.
 
A big THANK YOU to all those volunteers who have served diligently with me on the Board as well as those who worked tirelessly on our Committees to advise the Board and keep our community engaged and beautiful.  Volunteer to be part of the solution and keep New Town moving forward! Almost all of our Committees are seeking multiple new members as vacancies abound at the end of 2022.
 
As volunteers, the current Board of Directors has done our very best to represent homeowners while protecting the overall interests of our Association as a corporation. Please be mindful of this responsibility as we welcome a new Board for 2023-2024 – give them your trust and the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions, and treat them with respect. Boards are required by law to follow the governing documents of their Association. Civil discourse when you disagree with a decision without name calling or maliciousness is the least that you owe your neighbors.
 
As tumultuous as the past year has been, the Association has much to be proud of. Our transition to Chesapeake Bay Management and the tireless contributions of our community manager has been key to many of these improvements – for which I am also very grateful. At our Annual Meeting on December 14th, we will review the accomplishments of 2022 together. Plan on attending both the Continuation of the Special Meeting on the governing documents vote starting at 6:30PM, and the NTRA Annual Meeting at approximately 7PM in Legacy Hall.
 
Wishing all a happy and healthy holiday season. 
BOARD BUZZ – NOVEMBER 2022 by Glen Mitchell
Posted on Nov 1st, 2022
 
With the end of this year approaching, it is time for the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors (BOD) to tackle next year’s budget.  This is no small task given the impact of inflation and the uncertainties surrounding Village Walk, both continued maintenance and the potential turnover of common areas.
 
The Board is holding the line on costs where possible. To help with the workload for our management company, more administrative support is needed. Additionally, staffing at the pool next summer will be increased for weekends and holidays. Significant BMP maintenance and repairs will be funded from the NTRA reserve fund. Do not forget to attend the Budget Town Hall Meeting at Legacy Hall on November 16th to hear all the details.
 
Due to the on-going maintenance challenges, the BOD has been negotiating with Eagle Construction to come up with an agreeable solution to roof and siding issues in Village Walk.  We have made some progress in that regard and hope to see the start of roof repairs very soon.  
 
The Williamsburg Area Transit Authority (WATA) has informed the Association that they are planning to increase their bus service through New Town.  They propose additional stops on Casey Boulevard and more frequent service. This new service has already been approved by James City County, City of Williamsburg and the WATA Board. Two options for an inbound route stop on Casey Boulevard (Bus Route 15) are possible. Please see the related Crier article and direct any questions and/or comments to info@goWATA.org.
 
Once again we would like to give a big thank you to the Activities Committee for the great job they did with the Fall Festival! They had a great turnout and the multigenerational attendees really enjoyed themselves. There is one remaining Bake Off and Dessert Fest planned for December, more information to come soon. Each event is a great way to meet your neighbors and make new friends. Don’t miss out!
 
See more of the Board’s news from this month in the Crier articles on the October 18th Special Meeting and the selection of a new landscape contractor
 
My term as a Director ends in December. It has been an interesting and enlightening year. I urge you to consider running for election to the 2023-2024 Board of Directors. 
BOARD BUZZ  - October 2022, by Jack L Espinal
Posted on Oct 1st, 2022
 
Thoughts of a “New” Board Member
 
I have two objectives for this month’s Board Buzz. First, to let you know what it’s like becoming a NTRA Board member and second, to update you on four critical issues facing our community that will have a significant impact on our future.
 
Becoming a Board Member. On a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon last December I decided to relax and read through the NTRA documents to prepare for my new volunteer job as a NTRA board member. I don’t like reading from a computer screen so I printed the documents to have them available for future reference. After using over a ream of paper and part of new toner cartridge I begin wondering what I had gotten myself into. Why were these documents so voluminous? But I began my reading anyway. I was familiar with many of the concepts from my previous experience on HOA boards. It was not long before I started noticing apparent contradictions about requirements that I had already read. I kept having to go back and reread items to understand what was really correct. I tried to do electronic searches to find the contradictions, but that wouldn’t work. The developer governing documents are just not searchable electronically. The only solution was to manually scan and then reread.  Now I understood why there had been such a push to revise these obsolete developer documents over the previous year. I continued to read late into the night.
 
I concluded that I was going to have to juggle my time between dealing with normal day-to-day Association management issues, the ongoing task of working the homeowner suggested changes and additions into the new documents, and answering homeowner questions about the existing documents. I figured that when the revised documents were approved by the community things would get much easier. That day is not here yet, but I hope that it’s coming soon with the passing of the revised NTRA documents. It is also my hope that no other Board member will have to endure reading and researching the current developer-oriented documents. They are a real mess.
 
That said, I promised to address four of the recent day-to-day issues that your Board of Directors has been working on. 
 
Landscaping.  We are currently in the process of selecting a contractor to provide landscaping services to the Association for the next three years. Your Landscape Advisory Committee (LAC) took the first step by developing a Request for Proposal (RFP) based upon the Association’s needs and sample RFPs from other communities in the area. The LAC produced an excellent, well written document. The Board reviewed and edited it and then it was circulated to five landscape contractors in the Williamsburg area. 
 
We gave interested contractor representatives a half-day tour through our New Town community pointing out the work that would be performed under both service scenarios. We visited each neighborhood and discussed their own unique requirements.
 
Four of the five contractors elected to provide proposals. The written responses to the RFP and cost data were then used to rank each of their proposals. Next, representatives from the top two contractors were interviewed separately. These companies will return their best and final offer to the Board soon based on our questions and expectations.  The next step in this process will be the selection of a new three-year landscaping contractor. The Board will invite our new contractor to an information meeting with owners to share their company’s landscaping practices and expectations.
 
Common Area Acceptance.  For developer-owned property to be accepted by the Association, that Common Area property and all its improvements must be in an acceptable condition as judged by the Association.  The three neighborhoods that are candidates for future turnover have not progressed to the acceptance stage yet. Let me explain.
 
Charlotte Park Phase 11 has just begun the process of County acceptance that precedes any possible turnover. In September James City County conducted its initial inspection of the Roper Park limited to streets, curbs and gutters and drop inlets. Our Giles and Flythe engineer accompanied the inspectors and will be submitting a report on all items in these areas.  This report will baseline the condition of the neighborhood for us.  The Roper Park Working Group of residents will also walk the area in October to inventory and document their concerns.  ABVA will be working on the items identified by the County, including curbs and patching.  Given past timelines, it will likely be 2023 before the problems are corrected, reinspected, etc.
 
For Charlotte Park Phase 10, James City County is still working with ABVA on the drainage situation in Ercil Way, so that issue has not been resolved since our community meeting in May. No formal request has yet been made for turnover of this area.
 
Village Walk: Members of the Board have met with James City County executives to discuss the developer turnover status in Village Walk. We learned that although the County no longer holds the construction bonds for the Village Walk common areas, more work is needed to the streets for their VDOT acceptance.  James City County must now absorb the cost of those road repairs. 
 
While Settlers Market/Eagle has formally asked for the Association to accept the common areas (green space, walkways, etc.) within the residential area, the Board has not agreed to accept them.  We provided a detailed list of issues to Eagle and based on lack of progress to date, anticipate it will be a drawn-out process. Regardless of the status of the James City County’s acceptance or the bond release, the NTRA still has the right and responsibility to ensure that the property is in an acceptable condition to the Association before it is accepted.  The Board is looking after all owners’ interests in this process.
 
Construction Defects in Village Walk.  The Board Is also dealing with roofing and siding installation deficiencies in Village Walk. Roofs are leaking and, in several cases, have had to be replaced after only four or five years of service. Fiber cement siding is cracking and coming off numerous Village Walk buildings. NTRA hired engineers to determine the cause of the failures and they determined that the issues are caused by improper installation and do not result from design features.  Board members, representatives of Eagle Construction VA, and lawyers from both sides have met to work on an acceptable solution for these problems.  Again, the Board is looking out for your interests in this area.
 
New Development. The Manor on the Green development is undergoing James City County site plan review. In anticipation that this apartment complex will move forward, the Board plans to develop a resident parking only system for our private roadways to help alleviate parking issues. Unfortunately, the Board does not have the same authority on the VDOT owned streets in New Town.  James City County experts have asked the Manor on the Green developers to address a number of items including parking issues and stormwater retention concerns. 
 
Final Thoughts. It is my hope that the New Town owners will vote “for” the revised NTRA documents so that the Board can direct its full efforts towards resolving the above problems and others like them for the benefit of our Association and its members. I have read both sets of HOA documents and have concluded that everyone, including a few current vocal detractors, will be far, far better off under the revised NTRA documents once they are approved. If the necessary two thirds vote of our membership is not received, the only winners will be the developers and the litigation lawyers.  The losers will continue to be the property owners and residents of New Town.  
 
This is a critical time for New Town and we really have only two choices to make:  we can continue to operate under obsolete, convoluted, and developer-oriented documents with missing sections or we can move forward with simpler, shorter, and easier to read and understand revised documents. Our Association will be governed by this decision for a long time into the future. The passage of these revised documents is critical and will allow all future Boards to operate more efficiently and effectively dealing with the multitude of problems facing the New Town community.
 
Please vote in favor of approving the revised documents.
BOARD BUZZ - September 2022, by John Ryan – Director
Posted on Sep 1st, 2022
 
As your newest Board Member, I want to thank the many community members who have reached out to me to express their appreciation that the vacant Board Member position has now been filled.  (In fact, I even had one gentleman offer to take me out to lunch at his expense so he could personally bring me up to speed on the problems in the community.)  Having served on two prior Boards for Associations in the past (New York City and Vienna, VA), I can certainly appreciate the amount of time and effort it takes to help out in the community … and with many of us having full-time jobs and families, it is not always an easy task to undertake.  But I stepped up to help in whatever capacity I can, and I encourage all of you to find ways to volunteer and do your part. 
 
As you know, the Board has been working for the last year on the new governing documents. The Board is required by Virginia law to follow the Association’s current documents (regardless of whether the Developer Board followed them). These documents are old, overly complex and contain errors and omissions. It’s past time for their overhaul.
 
We recognize that the new governing documents may not meet with 100% approval from all members – but we believe the new governing documents are a big step in the right direction and will benefit the community.  If these revised documents are not approved by 2/3 of the community, the current Developer documents remain in force – and keeping the current documents in force will continue to balloon our legal expenses, complicate our assessment calculations, and limit lawn service to fenced yards. 
 
On Wednesday evening August 17, the Board had a Zoom Informational Meeting for NTRA owners. Several valid questions were asked and answered regarding the new governing documents – and others were submitted via email and responded to. The slides from this meeting are available on the NTRA website along with a summary of the Board’s response to specific statements that had been widely circulated to owners. The Board posted this document to correct misleading and incorrect information. Read our explanations and form your own opinion. 
 
One question in particular that seemed to create a lot of confusion at the Informational Meeting was the threshold for calling a Special Meeting of Members. Although our legal counsel recommended a change to 20% to conform with the majority of other associations in the area and for a number of valid reasons, e.g., expense, time, etc., the Board decided to revise this proposal and keep the Special Meeting threshold at 10%.  
 
We are happy to report that the Association will not need your mortgage holder information after all. We learned of this after the Zoom meeting. So your mailed packet for the upcoming vote will only contain the Special Meeting Notice and absentee/paper ballot.
 
The proposed documents are being finalized and EzVote links will be sent soon.  Vote yes for progress and affirm that we are one community in New Town. 
 
More positive steps… We have now received our spring financial reports from Chesapeake Bay Management – you will recall this was a problem noted by our Treasurer, Everett Lunsford last month. The May and June reports are posted on the website, and the Board is reviewing the July data. This leaves only the reconciliation and audit corrections to our 2021 year-end records.
 
As to the financials, please keep in mind that all expenses and invoices are increasing with inflation, labor, and supply issues.  For example, a recent bill for the proposed winterization of our pool has increased by 15% in one year!  Which reminds me that during August we had an After Hours Social at the pool where I donated $120 to cover the NTRA cost of one lifeguard!
 
I see this Board working really hard to keep people happy…I look forward to meeting other New Town owners and appreciate your support as I work with my fellow homeowner Board Members to improve the community.
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.