BOARD BUZZ December 2021, Mary Cheston, President
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.
Elections Coming this Month – Meet Your Board Candidates!
by Town Crier Staff
The New Town Residential Association will hold its second election for homeowner Directors on December 9 to 15th. EZVote will again be the service used for voting.
Here is some information to help you compare the candidates.
Their full applications can be found on the NTRA Website Board of Directors
page. Three candidates will be elected for fill our vacancies for 2022-2023.
New Town Residential Association (NTRA) and New Town Commercial Association (NTCA): What’s Their Story?
by Larry Salzman, New Town Associates LLC
About 20 years ago, when New Town was getting started, it became apparent that an association of owners (residential and non-residential) would be needed. A leading expert was consulted as to whether one association or two associations would be best. There were good points and bad points with either choice. The expert advised us that some forms of homeowner mortgages might not be available if the homes belonged to an association that included commercial properties. This factor contributed to the decision to have two associations. One, the NTRA, would include only homeowners (townhouses, freestanding houses, etc.) and the other, NTCA, would include mostly business owners (offices, retail spaces, restaurants, banks, apartment buildings, etc.).
New Town had always shared the use and the cost of upkeep of lots of things (parks, playgrounds, management, community events, holiday decorations, dog station bags, banners, walking trails, benches and more) and the NTRA and NTCA amicably shared responsibilities for the various items.
In 2015, as New Town got larger and more complicated, the two associations considered whether a formal agreement between NTRA and NTCA to work together was a good idea. It did not seem practical that each association might have separate holiday decorations, or that a transformer on NTCA land serving street lights on NTRA land could be a problem, or that dog station bags would only be for one association.
As a result, with separate legal representation and active negotiation by members of both associations, an Amenities Use Easement and Agreement (the Agreement is available on the NTRA Website) was created, executed, and recorded with James City County. This document formalized the sharing agreement between NTRA and NTCA for the use and costs of many things in New Town. The committee dealing with shared amenities has met at least annually since 2015, with representatives from NTRA and NTCA in attendance, to review the shared amenities in New Town. The result has been a reasonable and practical process for sharing the amenities that make New Town such a great place to be.
After all, without the residents the commercial area would be just another shopping/office district and without the businesses the residential area would be just another subdivision. The residents are good for the businesses and the businesses are good for the residents. That’s part of what makes New Town special and so successful.
Putting Community First in Community Management: Meet Chesapeake Bay Management, Inc.
by Kate Licastro
Frequent communication, responsiveness, and personalized attention are three of the association management priorities for Chesapeake Bay Management, Inc. (CBM). Susan Sulzberger, Vice President of Management Services, was elated to see New Town was looking for a new property management company. She has always loved this community, and knew CBM would be a great fit.
Get to know our new management
Chesapeake Bay Management, Inc. was founded in 2003 by Dana Shotts-Neff, who had managed a large-scale community in Newport News before growing CBM into a company with about 100 clients spanning Virginia from Providence Forge to the North Carolina line. While their headquarters is based in Newport News, they maintain a Williamsburg office in McLaws Circle and are hoping to move into space in New Town within the next year. CBM has selected an experienced full-time manager, Anne Ingram, for our community, and Anne will be based in Williamsburg at CBM's 337 McLaws Circle office.
CBM’s commitment to remaining current on association management best practices and governance laws has already benefited our community. They’ve been working closely with the New Town Residential Association (NTRA) Board of Directors to right the ship in a manner that is least impactful financially for owners. CBM has already reviewed budget options and provided sound recommendations for our community that balance business requirements with owner needs.
Quick change and quick wins
Whereas the typical association management transition averages 90 days, our transition process is condensed into about 30 days. What does this mean for our residents? You may feel some anxiety about the quick changes. There will be new processes to learn: a new website and ticket submission process, and a new payment system. These changes will make communication between residents and CBM quicker and easier, even if the learning curve feels difficult.
While the truncated timeline is a challenge for both owners and CBM, who is rapidly preparing for our annual meeting in December, they will be with us every step of the way. Not only will we have our own full-time manager, CBM’s company representatives are required to respond to inquiries within 24 hours, and Susan notes their response time is often much quicker. If you’re unsure what to do—reach out and ask!
- Be on the lookout for information from CBM, especially in this transition period. They are currently uploading owner information into their system and your first communication will likely come in the mail and will have information for making your next NTRA dues payment.
- Don’t worry if your account balance wasn’t settled prior to the transition. Once CBM has a ledger of all accounts, each owner will receive a notice with their account balance and will have an opportunity to dispute the balance if it doesn’t match their records.
- Chesapeake Bay’s offices are open by appointment only, but securing an appointment is easy! Just call the Williamsburg front desk (757) 706-3019 for whatever is needed. The majority of CBM’s accounting staff are located in Newport News; it is recommended to call or email for any accounting needs: (757) 534-7751 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Some changes will occur immediately (NTRA payments) and some will take longer. It will take about 3-6 months for the new website to be up and running.
Some Parting Thoughts from Town Management
by Randy Casey-Rutland
It has been my privilege to serve the NTRA for the past 15 years as the President of your association management company, Town Management.
In my years working with the NTRA, New Town has grown from a few streets and isolated buildings to a nearly complete lively attractive locale for living, working, dining, shopping, and recreation. The days of ever-present construction vehicles and large piles of dirt and building materials are largely over (unless you live in Shirley Park). Construction of buildings and roads, however, is in many ways the easiest part of building a strong community.
Strong communities require neighbors who get to know one another and who treat each other with civility and respect. Communities like New Town include people of different backgrounds, priorities, perspectives, and financial wherewithal. Maintaining New Town as a good place to live requires residents to pay attention to diverse voices and, when things seem rough or confusing, to give one another the benefit of the doubt. Strong communities need good leaders -- people who are wise and willing to volunteer their time and talents to the benefit of all. But good leaders also need support and gratitude from residents. Even the best Board members and community leaders cannot make everyone happy all the time. Strong, healthy communities are filled with members who work together toward common goals, who extend a sense of confidence and trust toward one another, who welcome newcomers, who care for neighbors who may need a bit of help, and who listen to and work with others with flexibly and joy.
When a new resident moves into New Town, they move into a house. It takes stories and love and memories and friends and family to turn the house into a home. In the same way, communities are more than collections of residential dwellings. Healthy communities are filled with people who are less concerned with getting their own way and more invested in building the kinds of relationships and practices that make the whole community a good place for all its residents.
On behalf of all the Town Management staff, it has been our honor to serve the NTRA through these years of growth. As you build a new relationship with a new management company, we wish you all the best. We hope for the NTRA a long future as a strong vibrant healthy community.
President, Town Management
A Tom Sawyerish Ending to Our Fence Painting?
by Sarah Carey
Tom Sawyer bribed his friends to whitewash his Aunt Polly’s fence claiming it was fun. So WHERE and WHEN are New Town’s fence painters going to finish their “fun” job?
The fence behind the Goddard School and the fence on Olive Drive are the fences involved. This year there was funding for the fences to be repaired and painted. They were both repaired, scraped and painted in early summer BUT, the paint started to peel and pedestrians walking by had fun pulling off the peeling paint.
The fence on Olive Drive got a special treatment – the vegetation was also painted! Can you hear Aunt Polly yelling at Tom? “Painting vegetation – WHY?” Well, the vegetation has since been cut back and is ready for a second coat of paint – the fence, not the vegetation.
BUT paint over already peeling paint? Or is there a bigger issue? It appears that the fences are retaining water and the long-term solution is not apparent. The paint company Sherwin Williams has confirmed to Town Management that the paint was not defective - it is fundamentally the condition of the fences, they are not holding the coats of paint.
Per Tim Grueter of Town Management, the wood is wicking water up from the ground and is somehow transferring it across the beams. “In looking at pictures of when the fences were built, it appears that the wood was painted after it was assembled, so there could be wood to wood contact on the post to beam connection.” Humidity could play a role in the wood retaining moisture. The paint that Certa Pro used bonded with the original paint that was on the fence, but the moisture is causing both the old paint and new to peel off. Certa Pro has been working on pricing to replace the wood that is holding water with either new wood or PVC.
When our holiday bunting is removed, the damage will still be present. Another challenge for our new management company. Fortunately, the vendor has not yet been paid for this work. Stay tuned…
Biking the Capital Trail
by Alison Douglas
On a chilly Sunday morning in November, I, along with fellow New Town resident, Soo Bradley, decided to bike the nearly 52 miles of the Capital Trail from Richmond to Jamestown. For two very amateur cyclists, planning, which was mainly done over a glass of wine, had been basic with a cursory glance at the website
and generally focused on the weather and where to stop for a picnic. Thankfully our phenomenal support crew (husbands and children) were much more prepared and kept the food and cheering in good supply.
We set off at 9:15 from Richmond and arrived just after it got (very) dark in Jamestown. The course had some hills (including a rather unfriendly one right at the start!), but generally it was fairly flat. After we left Richmond, we passed through fields, forests, parks and with the trees holding onto the last of the magnificent fall colors, we were taken by the beauty of the area. The weather was kind – not too cold, not too warm and, thankfully, no wind or rain.
For those who are unfamiliar, The Virginia Capital Trail is 51.7-mile multi-use trail which runs from Jamestown Settlement to Richmond. It is fully paved and there is lots to see on the way. The Virginia Capital Trail Foundation website informed us there were 45 attractions to see on the way from museums to creeks and Belle Isle to the Virginia State Capitol Building. For the historians among us, you also pass Richmond’s National Battlefield Park. All the attractions are only a couple of miles from the trail and make for interesting rest stops. There are also plenty of choices for eating and drinking along the way with over 50 eateries along the route and several picnic areas. If you are unfortunate enough to need bicycle repairs, there are repair stations along the way.
The trail is well-maintained throughout, although there is currently some maintenance at the Greensprings part of the trail (around mile three), but a well signed detour is available. If you do decide to cycle or walk all or part of the trail, it is worth perusing the Virginia Capital Trail website
where you can find maps, closures and trail etiquette.
New Town’s Newest Community: Shirley Park
by Patti Vaticano
There is a great hubbub of activity in Shirley Park! 22 residents of New Town‘s newest neighborhood have moved into their homes and many are out in their sneakers walking the sidewalks and trails. “New Town is invitingly walkable,” says Mike Youngblood of Twiddy Realty. “In our new urban community, sidewalks connect people and places. Groceries, restaurants, movies, medical, stores, businesses, and parks, are just a walk away, and Shirley Park is so connected.”
For 2022, Atlantic Homes and Twiddy Realty are teaming up to accommodate nineteen new owners with homes currently under construction, and the soon-to-be homeowners are enthusiastically anticipating their move to Shirley Park of New Town.
Very soon, ABVA Development will release twenty townhome sites and twenty new cottage homesites for sale. Eighteen people have already posted reservations for the option to select a new home and join the Shirley Park community.
What is it like to live in Shirley Park? Resident, Susan Barnett, says she could not be happier. Susan moved into the community in May 2020 and has been more than pleased with her home’s construction and its setting. She loves the park-like setting of the neighborhood and particularly enjoys the woodened trail that connects the park via a foot bridge to the community pool. “It’s like a nature conservancy. Quiet and beautiful.”
Homes currently constructed are one and two stories and roughly, 2,000-2,400 square feet. Susan is very happy with the floor plan she and her husband chose and feel the custom choices accommodate the gracious lifestyle she was hoping to enjoy. The composition of the neighborhood, as well, is much to her liking, a combination of families with children, retirees, and the semi-retired.
Sarah Bright Yaneza moved into Shirley Park in December 2019, after renting in Charlotte Park while her home was being constructed. “When we first moved in, only the single-family homes were under construction. I believe we were the fourth family to move in, so it was really isolated and dark. The street lights were not installed, and we did not have internet for several months. It really felt like we were on an island! It has gotten busier as more homes have been completed. Now the townhomes and other cottage homes are popping up – sometimes it seems like they pop up overnight.” Sarah homeschooled her children for 18 months during the height of the pandemic, and the children enjoyed the activity of the trucks and bulldozers leveling the ground to prepare for foundations. “They’ve had many a fun afternoon climbing up and down those mounds.”
And Sarah echoes Susan’s sentiments about the community’s residents. “We have the most wonderful neighbors and have enjoyed living amidst the retirees along with the young families we have met. And like many of our neighbors, we enjoy being able to bike and walk to restaurants, the movie theater, stores, and to friends and family. We are incredibly lucky to have my parents in Charlotte Park. The children sing “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go,” as we walk the wooden bridge from Shirley Park to Charlotte Park.”
Trails and pathways connect all the communities of New Town. So, welcome new neighbors! For the rest of New Town, walk on over to see the growth of our last neighborhood. Things are happening in Shirley Park!
Know Your Business: Pet Photography Comes to New Town
by Town Crier Staff
To continue our home-based business series, this month we'll hear from new New Town resident Nicole Moyer, who owns and operates Sweet Ellie Photography:
Sweet Ellie Photography is dedicated to capturing natural, personality-filled pet portraits. I developed a passion for photographing animals after adopting my own sweet pup, Ellie, nine years ago. My intention is to photograph pets in order to record how important they are to their humans and to create meaningful artworks which evoke emotion.
My goal is to create a fun and natural environment that lets your pet be themselves. It is important to me for the pet to be at ease and for their personality to really shine. I shoot all natural light portraits at beautiful outdoor locations.
Rescue work is a huge part of my purpose. I spend a lot of time working with area shelters and rescues to take adoption photos, participate in events, and help with fundraisers.
Questions I am often asked:
- Does my dog need to be trained? No, we have a lot of tricks and strategies to get great portraits. Also, we want the personality to shine and for your dog to be themselves!
- Does my dog need to be off-leash? No...safety first! I photograph dogs on leash and use the magic of post-processing to remove the leash from images.
- I recently participated in an internationally run 6-month dog photography challenge and won 2nd place overall for my portfolio of images taken throughout the Hampton Roads area. I am a graduate of William and Mary School of Education and am excited to be back in Williamsburg. Our family is so thrilled to be a part of the New Town community. We love how friendly and welcoming everyone is in New Town! We also love the walkability and that there are dogs everywhere!
I would love to engage with our new community! Send me an email with a pic and the name of your pet and receive a special neighborhood offer!
Holidays Happen Here
by Town Crier Staff
My family loves living in New Town: the walkability, beautiful common areas, diversity of homes and residents, and how there is never a shortage of neighbors out and about with a smile and wave. Growing up in Michigan, everyone retreated into their respective homes around this time of year to wait out the cold and gray until spring. Thankfully, there is no excuse for staying inside this December in New Town! Our community will be full of activity, light, song, and good cheer.
Check out the events featured here, and for additional events and information, visit the new site of our New Town commercial neighbors
and click Events.
Santa Claus is Coming to New Town
Every Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 4-19
Location: Outside at the Gazebo at the end of Main Street by Opus 9
Snap your own photos and share instantly!
3rd Annual Holiday Market
Crafters, Artists, Holiday Gifts & Live Music
Dates: Saturdays – December 4 & December 11
Location: In front of the Movie Theater around the Fountain
Free Music Performances
- W&M Botetourt Chamber Singers are performing in New Town on December 1st at 6pm for a Holiday Concert before their big holiday performance in Colonial Williamsburg. Come enjoy this free 20-minute concert around the fountain.
- The Williamsburg A capella Singers will be performing on December 13th at 7:15pm. More details to come!
For the most up to date holiday happenings, you can follow @newtownwmbg on Instagram and @newtownwilliamsburg on Facebook.