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 Holiday Closures: 
December 15th- Closing at 11:30 AM 
Monday and Tuesday- December 25 & 26- Closed 
Monday- January 1, 2024-Closed 
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.
REGULAR OFFICE HOURS as of September 5, 2023:  Monday - Friday  8:30 to 5:00PM. 
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
New Town Bake Off & Dessert Fest
Thursday, December 7th, 6:00 to 8:00PM at Legacy Hall - 4301 New Town Avenue
Do you bake? Enter our 2023 holiday bake-off sponsored by the NTRA Activities Committee.  All residents are welcome to enter, or apply to judge the event. Tasty desserts will be served for all.
More information can be found on the registration tab above.
Annual NTRA Members Meeting
Wednesday, December 13th, 7:00 PM at Legacy Hall - 4301 New Town Avenue
The Annual Meeting of owners in the New Town Residential Association will be held on Wednesday, December 13, 2023 in Legacy Hall.  Registration begins at 6:30PM. 
Town Crier Articles
Posted on November 1, 2023 7:00 AM
Posted on November 1, 2023 6:55 AM
Posted on November 1, 2023 6:50 AM
Posted on November 1, 2023 6:45 AM
Posted on October 1, 2023 6:58 AM
Posted on October 1, 2023 6:56 AM
Posted on October 1, 2023 6:50 AM
Board Buzz/From the Chair
BOARD BUZZ - October 2023 by Jack Espinal, President
Posted on Oct 1st, 2023
Update on Landscaping of Fenced Yards
Background. In January 2022, the New Town Residential Association (NTRA) stopped providing mowing and pruning services to fenced yards throughout New Town.  This decision was based upon our governing documents which contain language prohibiting: 
"mowing, edging and trimming of grass within portions of lots inside a fenced area," and  
"trimming of shrubs, trees and bushes within portions of lots located inside a fenced area." 
Not all of the ten supplemental documents that established the Charlotte Park neighborhood included this language. This statement was missing in Supplemental Declarations 1, 2, 3, and 4.  In fact, landscaping was not even addressed in the first four Charlotte Park supplementals.
The 2021 Board requested legal guidance on this overall issue and the specific Charlotte Park inconsistency. Legal counsel advised that the missing section in the first four supplementals was likely the result of a developer oversight and that the Board should follow the intent of the majority of the supplemental documents and provide landscaping for all homes in Charlotte Park with the exception of areas that were fenced. Legal counsel emphasized the fact that the NTRA Board must follow the Association’s governing documents.
As a result, in 2022 the NTRA Board ceased providing mowing, edging, and trimming of grass and pruning services in fenced yards throughout our community even though the Developer Boards of Directors had consistently provided this service to fenced areas. The past actions by the developer-controlled Board of Directors, multiple inconsistent HOA documents, and much misinformation became and continues to be a very contentious issue in New Town.  It needed positive resolution.
The NTRA Homeowner Board of Directors attempted to resolve this issue by developing and presenting a revised set of governing documents to owners in 2022 that would have provided landscaping services throughout New Town without regard to fencing. Unfortunately, although the vote in favor was very close, these votes did not reach the needed two-thirds of owners needed to pass the revised documents.
The interim solution. The current NTRA Board of Directors has found a work around that comports with our governing documents and provides full landscaping services for fenced yards.  This workaround treats fenced yards as a “limited common area” and allows the Association to collect a special services assessment from homeowners with fences under the provisions of Article 5.3(c)(2)(ii) or (v) of our Master Declaration and to use that assessment for the limited purpose of providing mowing, edging, and trimming of grass and pruning services in fenced areas. 
Since we are at the last quarterly assessment payment this year, a limited common assessment of $6.00 per service (each cut) will be charged with payment deferred to 2024 for those homeowners who wish to begin receiving landscaping services of their fenced yards for the rest of this calendar year. 
For 2024, a limited common area assessment will also be an option for homeowners desiring full landscaping services inside the fenced portions of their property. This temporary solution meets the requirements of our documents and at the same time provides full landscaping services to the fenced yards as desired by many of our homeowners. 
Landscaping of fenced yards in New Town has been a very contentious issue over the past two and a half years. Your NTRA Board of Directors hopes that its temporary solution to the fenced yard landscaping problem will help unite New Town and restore harmony to our community. It is, however, only a temporary solution that will be used until the NTRA can pass new HOA documents that do not prohibit the full landscaping of fenced areas.  
Next step. Another effort to pass new documents will begin in the near future. The existing draft revised documents will be used as a starting point for new HOA documents that remove developer language, clarify ambiguities and allow flexibility for future NTRA Boards of Directors. If you are interested in reviewing these drafts and making recommendations for changes, please make your interest known to the NTRA Board of Directors (ntrasecretary@gmail.com). We would like to have new draft documents completed and ready for a vote by late spring/early summer 2024.
Be assured that your NTRA Board of Directors is committed to solving problems and serving the NTRA’s best interests. Our goal is to continue improving New Town with your help.  Together, we can keep it excellent place in which to live. 
BOARD BUZZ - August 2023 by Ruth Burgess, Director
Posted on Aug 1st, 2023
Kudos to our hard-working Activities Committee – even with rain delayed events and heat. They are focused on bringing some fun community building events to New Town. For example, the rescheduled June 28th Pool Social was a great success. Having it at the end of a day’s pool hours meant that several families with children came and had great fun. (One family brought their own dinner because that worked for them; their children sampled dessert items and then jumped in the pool.) There were over 50 attendees. The more recent July social was also well received.
The pool now has a new handicap chair lift to replace the one that was broken. Repairs to the Casey Boulevard retention pond were completed in June, and instead of trees growing wildly, you can view the stormwater being held.
The U.S. Post Office has approved moving two group mailboxes for Village Walk from their current location on Merchant’s Court to a nearby location on Greenview. Soon those of us who are served by these will no longer have to stand in the street across from Trader Joe’s to get our mail, and our mail carriers will not be putting their lives at risk or blocking traffic as they stop on a very busy street to fill our boxes. Indeed, the proposed new location is more convenient for our carriers because they will be stopping to fill our mailboxes at a spot on a fairly quiet street that they typically pass by daily. Win-win all around!
BOARD BUZZ - May 2023 by Jack Espinal, President
Posted on May 1st, 2023
Changes are in the works!
The New Town Residential Association Board of Directors has been engaged in review of two pending construction projects that will impact life in and around New Town. The first of these is the development of the Eastern State Hospital property north of New Town and adjacent to the Charlotte Park neighborhood. The second construction project will involve the repair of two large retention ponds (BMPs) located on the east side of the Village Walk neighborhood. Specific information about both of these projects can be found elsewhere in the May Town Crier.
Additional Property for NTRA Common Areas
The Board of Directors is also currently considering the transfer of land owned by New Town Associates (Larry Salzman) to the NTRA. The proposed land transfer is shown on the map below. This planned transfer would give the association ownership of additional 42.74 acres and would include more of trail system in New Town and the land located along the northern part of the BMP-04 in Village Walk. All of the land in the proposed transfer would become part of the NTRA common area.
Personnel Changes at Chesapeake Bay Management
Starting this month, our Association will be supported by two new Chesapeake Bay Management Company employees. Ahmed Desouky will be replacing Anne Ingram as our Community Manager.  We thank Anne for her tireless work and wish her well as she starts a career enhancing position elsewhere. The NTRA also has a new administrative assistant, Imani Harris, who has been on board for a few weeks.  Both of these new staff will be adjusting during the first part of May 2023. We will be working hard helping them learn about our community and associated NTRA processes. As a result, responses to some tickets and homeowner requests may take a little longer than they have in the past.
A NTRA Special Board of Directors Election
Your Board of Directors is currently short one of its authorized Board members. This shortage has significantly increased the workload for the existing four board members. Requests for volunteers to fill this vacant board position have gone unanswered until now. Recently, Glen Mitchell, a past NTRA Board member, volunteered to run for the Board. As a result, a special election will be held at the end of May 2023 to fill this position. The Board decided to honor requests from several community members to hold a formal election rather than make an appointment to the Board as had been already done for this seat. Please consider running for the Board.  Other individuals in the community who wish to volunteer and run for this vacant position should provide their statement of intent/resume to the NTRA Board of Directors at ntra.secretary@gmail.com. There is still time to be added to the ballot.
Our governing documents require a minimum of a 21-day notice to be given to Members for all special meetings. Therefore, the earliest that election meetings can be held is during the last part of May. Two meetings will be held using the Zoom Video software:
  • The first Zoom meeting will formalize the election and allow candidates to address the community. Association members in good standing will also be able to be nominated from the floor at that meeting. 
  • A second special Zoom meeting will be held to announce and certify the voting results.
When these meeting dates are established, they will be posted on the NTRA website. Electronic voting using the EZ vote software as in past NTRA elections will be used again for this election.  The EZ vote platform will be open for voting for several days after the first Zoom meeting. Paper ballots will not be used in this election.
BOARD BUZZ - March 2023 by Ruth Burgess, Director
Posted on Mar 5th, 2023

Volunteers are needed for several NTRA committees, two important offices of NTRA's Board of Directors, and for two newly vacant slots on the 5-person Board of Directors. Sounds like old news, doesn’t it, until you get to the end of the sentence.

Yes, those of us remaining on the Board, have reluctantly accepted the resignations of John Ryan, elected by the Board last summer, and Caitlin Melchior who was elected in December's Member election. A special election is being planned in order to fill John Ryan’s replacement for a term to end December 31, 2023. The appointed replacement for Caitlin also will serve only until December 31. NOTE: Since two of three remaining Board members live in Village Walk, candidates to fill the currently vacant board openings must come from the other NTRA neighborhoods - Abbey Commons, Charlotte Park, Chelsea Green, Savannah Park, and Shirley Park.
Of course, anyone elected or appointed to the Board now may run for a full-term on the Board in NTRA’s next regular election scheduled for early December, 2023. At that time, there will be four vacancies to fill since two current Board members will be completing their two year terms then. Are you a Village Walker interested in Board of Director’s service? Consider running in our next regular election at year’s end!
What is needed in a Board of Directors member?
Time: A willingness to serve, and a schedule sufficiently flexible to allow for participation in sometimes long monthly meetings, preferably on weekday afternoons. Also needed - time to relate to committees for which one is the assigned Board Liaison, time to attend extra work sessions or called “emergency meetings”, and time to address special projects in areas related to your gifts and skills. What else? Commitment to taking seriously legal and fiduciary responsibilities associated with attending to the essential business of the community. Do you have sufficient commitment and ability to function as part of a team where members must value, respect, and support one another if the vital work is to get done? How about the self-management needed to keep confidential information confidential? Will you prioritize the Board’s legal responsibilities and the best interests and welfare of the whole NTRA community, over personal agendas or loyalties to a limited group within the community?
In addition: No outstanding violations: Candidates for the Board of Directors or any of our official committees cannot have uncleared or unaddressed violations. If you think you would be willing to serve the NTRA as a Board member — please, please, please! - clear your violations before you put your name forward. Catch up on your assessment payments if you are behind.
Paint, power-wash, make repairs identified as needed during last summer’s inspections. Ask ARC to review an alteration or addition to your home or your property, even if made years ago before you realized you were supposed to get permission first. Fill out the form and show up for consideration of your application. Whether you have to pay off a backlog of assessments, plus late fees, or pay fines, or modify your additions to come into compliance, commit to doing what you are told you must do to make things right, and apply yourself to doing it. THEN, volunteer!
Finally, ability to handle criticism as it inevitably will come your way. Be prepared for criticism, justified or not, and whether it’s offered as friendly suggestion, or as an ugly, meanspirited jab, or even the well-deserved rebuke and a call for your apology. Can you learn from negativity as you weather it? Can you swallow your pride and say “I’m sorry” when that is warranted? Good luck on growing a thicker skin, but can you slough off some unmerited criticisms - to prevent them from hobbling you? CRUCIAL: Can you serve on the Board and preserve a life balance that helps you to stand through the rougher seasons?
Thoughtfully consider what may be involved in serving as a Bard member. If you think you can handle the time commitments, the investments of self, and the responsibilities of an NTRA Board member, and are not in violation, please put your name forward! Do this by sending an email with your full contact information to NTRA.secretary@gmail.com, along with a picture and a brief biographical statement which includes relevant vocational information, your special skills, or earned credentials, and your reasons for being willing to apply your particular gifts, skills, available time, and energies to serving your community in this way.
BOARD BUZZ - February 2023 by Jack Espinal, President
Posted on Feb 1st, 2023
The New Town Residential Association (NTRA) 2023 Board of Directors has gotten off to a good start. Our organizational meeting has been held, officers have been selected, and committee liaison assignments have been made. The Board has also created a list of projects to be executed throughout the upcoming year. These items will be reviewed and priorities set for planning and implementation during the Board’s February work session.
One of our first major actions is to schedule a special election to fill the remaining 2023 term currently held by Board Member John Ryan. As a result, the Board is looking for qualified candidates who are interested in joining the NTRA Board. If you are interested in becoming a member of the NTRA Board of Directors, please submit an application via email listing your experience and reasons for becoming a Board member. Once qualified candidates are identified, a special election will be scheduled. In the meantime, John will continue to function as a member of the NTRA Board of Directors.
James River Grounds Management, our new landscape contractor, has begun work in our community. One of their first actions will be to inventory our community and make recommendations on areas that need attention.
Already known are two significant landscape issues which involve our beautiful crape myrtle trees and the numerous knockout roses growing throughout New Town. (See related Town Crier articles of April and July 2022). The crape myrtles have been infected by a small insect that appears as a white or gray felt-like encrustation on the trees. The bark of the infected trees also often appears black. Our Association has begun treating the infected trees in our common areas. However, homeowners are responsible for treating the crape myrtles located on their lots.
The best window for control of this white scale is in late April or early May as the crape myrtles begin to really flush. The treatment consists of a soil and mulch drench of an imidacloprid product which is commonly available at Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Tractor Supply. In addition, soap and water can be used to scrub the bark of the crape myrtle to remove the white scale like material. This can be done at any time during the year. In the summer infected trees will have thousands of pea-sized insects climbing up and down the tree.
The second infestation affecting landscaping in New Town involves the numerous knockout roses found throughout our community. They have become infected by a virus which makes new growth look unsightly and will eventually kill the plant. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this disease and the only available solution is to completely remove the diseased plants. Since the virus remains dormant in the soil, roses of any type should not be used as replacements. The NTRA Landscape Advisory Committee recommends the use Goshiki Osmanthus as a replacement plant. This attractive evergreen will change colors at different times throughout the year. It is a hardy, deer resistant, and slow-growing plant. That makes it is an excellent replacement in New Town.
Currently all of the knockout roses in the NTRA common areas are being removed and replaced by Goshiki Osmanthus where appropriate. Homeowners are required to remove their diseased knockout roses from their lots and replace them with appropriate plants no later than June 1.
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.