BOARD BUZZ - May 2022
By Jack Espinal, Vice-President
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: email@example.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.
New Town’s 20th
By Jim Ducibella
As part of my recovery from hip replacement surgery in 2009, my wife and I would daily drive over to New Town so that I could hobble, then limp, then finally walk around Foundation Square. Being the brains of the family, Sue frequently told me how impressed she was with New Town and how we should beat the baby-boomer crowd that was sure to flock to an area where they could walk to restaurants, doctors, the movies, and shopping.
As usual, she was right, and we have no plans to leave Charlotte Park until . . . well, you know.
Many others came -- and continue to come -- to the same conclusion. New Town celebrates its 20th birthday and is an ever-growing testament to the vision of people who were bound and determined not to settle for ordinary.
“We intentionally developed the land in phases, so that development could respond to changing market demands,” Larry Salzman, president of developer New Town Associates, recently told The Peninsula Chronicle. “The recession of 2008 caused many development projects to shut down. We were able to adapt some of our plans so that development could continue during that difficult time.
“New Town must continue to respond to changing times and adapt with progressive ideas to meet the needs of our residents, businesses, visitors, and the overall community.”
Salzman pointed to the electric car charging station in the lot across from Axe Republic as an example. In keeping pace with technological advances, Salzman said, a new, updated charger was recently installed (see, "New Town Gets an Upgraded to Electric Car Charging Station").
But that’s the future. Let’s take a quick look at the past, a complete timeline of which can be found if you visit this website https://www.ntrawilliamsburg.org/history/.
In 1996, the Carl Casey family sponsored a contest for a “new town plan” to be developed on 600 acres bounded by Ironbound Road and extending on both sides of what is now Route 199. The entry of Cooper Robertson and Partners was chosen.
In 2001, James City County Approves rezoning for the commercial district of New Town, which now includes the Bennington, Foundation Square, Abbey Commons, and Savannah Square.
A year later, New Town Associates was formed, and ground was broken on the first homes. A year later, construction began on the first two streets: Courthouse Street and New Town Avenue.
In 2004, the first business – The Corner Pocket – opened, and a year later, the first residents moved in.
Traffic hasn’t slowed since.
2022 New Town Pool Season Requires New Pool Passes
By NTRA Pool Committee
We have a new electronic entry system for the New Town Community Pool gate. This new system allows for easier and safer entry for authorized pool patrons. The new system uses proximity cards, similar in size to a credit card and only requires holding the card near the reader to open the gate. Each household in good standing will receive two pool passes this season after completing and submitting the required documents.
2022 Pool Policies and Rules
The first thing an owner needs to do is to familiarize themselves with the updated 2022 pool rules. There is an acknowledgement form in the document that must be signed and submitted to receive your new passes.
Pool Pass Distribution
NTRA owners in good standing in accordance with NTRA Policy must sign the acknowledgement form found in the 2022 NTRA Pool Policy and Rules. To receive a new pass, this acknowledgement form must be submitted in advance to Chesapeake Bay Management either by:
· Email (firstname.lastname@example.org),
· Mail (New Town Residential Association, ℅ Chesapeake Bay Management, 337 McLaws Cir, Ste 1, Williamsburg 23185), or
· In person - bring to the after-hours drop box outside the front door at the McLaws Circle address.
NTRA owners with tenants in their property will be accountable for the passes. In addition to the 2022 NTRA Pool Policies and Rules acknowledgement form, owners must sign the form headed “For Owners with Tenants ONLY” and submit both forms to Chesapeake Bay Management along with a copy of the current lease page showing tenant(s) name(s), NTRA property address and the term of the lease. Either the owner or tenant may pick up pool passes once the owner has submitted these required documents.
New Town Commercial Association condo owners and tenants should contact their property manager for information on how to obtain passes.
Where Can You Get Your New Pass?
Once you have submitted your form(s), three pass pick-up dates have been scheduled at the pool for NTRA owners/ tenants only:
If you are an NTRA owner and miss these dates, you must make an appointment at Chesapeake Bay Management company to obtain your new pass. Appointments may be scheduled by calling 757-706-3019. All pool passes must be signed for in person - no passes will be mailed!
PROTECT YOUR PASSES! These new passes will be used in future years so protect them! A lost pass will cost $25 to replace.
NTRA owners, look for a letter this week outlining these requirements! We look forward to a fun and tech-friendly swim season.
Volunteer Spotlight: Tara Stratton, Pool Committee Chair
By Kate Licastro
The first time Tara Stratton met with neighbors to discuss the New Town Pool, it was 2011 and the discussion wasn’t about entry systems or pool refinishing, it was to figure out how to get the pool built in the first place. Fast forward more than a decade, and Tara is once again working to make the New Town Pool a safe, enjoyable part of the neighborhood.
There were only six homes built in Charlotte Park when Tara and her husband John, along with their two children, decided to take a chance on the neighborhood. Tara recalls the early days of all-neighborhood Easter egg hunts, island-planting parties, and of course, neighbors coming together to get a pool built. Over the last decade, John’s Air Force career relocated the Stratton family to England, Washington D.C., back to Williamsburg, and back to England. With John’s retirement from the Air Force, the Stratton’s celebrated their most recent, and hopefully final move back into their Charlotte Park home in the summer of 2021.
So, what does our NTRA pool committee do, exactly? “The primary role of the pool committee is to make recommendations to the Board of Directors (BOD) on what is needed to improve the pool experience for residents,” notes Tara. “We work closely with the Management Company and the BOD to make the pool a pleasant place to be.” For example, the pool committee may recommend optimal pool hours based on resident usage and desires balanced with budget and staffing availability.
A huge success for the 2022 season was securing the new entry system (see "2022 New Town Pool Season Requires New Pool Passes"), which required months of research, bid solicitation, and working with the BOD to allocate funds. Throughout the pool season, committee members monitor pool operations and facilities. Based on observations from previous seasons and resident feedback, the pool committee and Management Company recommended a supplementary cleaning company to enhance pool restroom and common area cleanliness, which the BOD secured for 2022. At the end of the season, pool committee members take inventory and note any repairs or maintenance concerns to address in the off-season. This year, committee members will conduct furniture evaluations to potentially add to and update the current available pool furniture.
Do you have suggestions or feedback you would like to discuss with the pool committee? “We always have time for input from the community at the pool committee meetings,” Tara shared. The schedule of pool committee meetings is available on the NTRA calendar webpage
New Town Gets an Upgrade to Electric Car Charging Station
By New Town Commercial Association
New Town is excited to announce that we are keeping up with the times! “Several years ago, when the “old” car charging station was installed, it was the first publicly available charger in James City County. In just a few years not only has the technology changed but today there are many more electric vehicles on the road. New Town has strived to be aware of innovative ideas that can benefit our community, and New Town has actively implemented changes that were needed. A new car charging station is another step in this progression, “says Larry Salzman, representative of the New Town Commercial Association.
The upgraded charging station is now available for public use. The members of the New Town Commercial Association have been actively involved in keeping New Town moving forward since our groundbreaking almost 20 years ago. The all-volunteer leadership of the association has always been interested in new trends and has worked hard to be proactive in making needed changes,” Salzman shares. New Town is lucky to have active participants that keep us up-to-speed for our community.
Heading to New Town with your electric car? You can find the new charging station at 4935 Courthouse Street, located in the parking lot next to Axe Republic at 4919 Courthouse Street. And visit blinkcharging.com/drivers/blink-map/
We are hoping that in the not-too-distant future, New Town will be home to even more car chargers so that our guests can shop, dine, and explore New Town while their vehicles are being recharged. After all, this is New Town: Life Happens Here!
5118 CENTER STREET - NTRA’S New "Floating" Meeting Space
By Mary Cheston
We have moved into new space for New Town Residential Association (NTRA) meetings - hopefully for at least the remainder of 2022. Developers Realty has made the former Computer Concepts store at 5118 Center Street (next to Salon Vivace) available for Member use until such time as a permanent tenant leases the location.
The space has two separate meeting areas that are reservable for Committees, with combined seating for 22 people. (There is also a small office for our community manager to use when she is on site.) Reservations are through the NTRA website, and instructions for have been sent to all Committee Chairs on how to reserve and maintain the rooms.
Members of the Board cleaned and spruced up the area to provide a more presentable and safer meeting option. Many, many thanks to Glen Mitchell and Ric Cheston for their efforts in repainting two large areas. Let’s hope the space doesn’t look so much better that someone wants to rent it permanently!
Our thanks to Developers Realty for working with us to identify a usable location. Be sure to frequent our neighboring New Town businesses while you are in the area taking care of NTRA business.
Pending Revision to Master Plan Language Regarding Eastern State Hospital
By Mary Cheston, President, Board of Directors
At its April 26, 2022 Business Meeting, Supervisor Jim Icenhour requested that James City County staff revise the language regarding the Eastern State Hospital land use redesignation in the pending Comprehensive Master Plan descriptive text to remove references to “New Town.” He asked that staff propose new descriptive language to the Board of Supervisors (BOS).
Planning Director Paul Holt confirmed via email that “when the Comprehensive Plan materials return to the BOS concurrent with a rezoning application, the updated name will appear (as Eastern State, Parcel C) in the documents for the Board’s consideration.”
To date, this is the only official change to the Eastern State proposals that is under formal consideration. The Board took no action on the NTRA’s request for an official County commitment to no cut-through of Olive Drive and other items outlined in our April 8th letter, which will also likely await a formal rezoning application from ABVA.
Special NTRA Informational Meeting: Charlotte Park Phase 10 Engineering Report
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Stryker Center, Room 128
412 N. Boundary Street, Williamsburg
Homeowners are invited to attend a briefing by Zach Shephard, Giles & Flythe Engineering on inspection results from the January 2022 inspection of Phase 10 of Charlotte Park. This area includes lower Rollison Drive, Ercil and Lucretia Ways (surrounding Christine Court), and the Olive Drive area.
Mr. Shephard participated as New Town Residential Association's (NTRA’s) engineering representative in the James City County reinspection of this area. Mr. Shephard has been invited by the Board of Directors to share his findings and recommendations with the community.
Per NTRA policy 5.1 Turnover or Acceptance of Assets, this meeting is to obtain resident input on items called for in the County’s-approved plans, prior to ABVA turning the common areas over to the NTRA.
A copy of the Giles and Flythe report is posted on the NTRA website. (Look under Committees - Other Information/Turnover Issues).
Let's kick-off summer with a Community Potluck!
By NTRA Activities Committee
When: Friday, May 20th, 6 to 8PM
Where: CHELSEA GREEN - dining al fresco in the park!
Time to pull out the crockpot and your favorite summer recipes! On Friday, May 20th, join your neighbors between 6-8PM in the Chelsea Green Common Area (on Discovery Park Blvd) for a Community Potluck.
The NTRA Activities Committee is planning to fire up the grill and kick the summer off right - together! Bring your beverage of choice and something to share.
Do you have a summer salad recipe you like to share with a crowd? Do you always have the best chips and dips at your gatherings? Is there a new cookie recipe you've been waiting to test? We look forward to seeing you there! Be on the look-out for more details as we get closer to the event!
Quick getaways for May
By Jim Ducibella
I heard it through the grapevine (as Marvin Gaye once said) that some folks are a bit tired of “festival” recommendations. Taking that to heart, here are four very distinct entertainment options, in four very distinct locales, any of which would make for a May to remember.
Lewis Black, May 5, Dominion Energy Center, Richmon
d: Like your comedy a little on the angry side? Washington, D.C., native Lewis Niles Black is your guy. If you don’t know, Black, 73, is an American stand-up comedian and actor whose routines often escalate into angry rants about history, politics, religion, or any other cultural trends. Lord knows he’s got plenty of material to choose from these days. For more information, visit https://www.stereoboard.com/lewis-black-tickets/richmond
Renee Elise Goldsberry, May 6 at Chrysler Hall, Norfolk
: A gifted actress and singer, she originated the role of Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway production of Hamilton, winning the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award – followed by a Grammy for the cast album and an Emmy for the Disney+ live stage recording of this record-breaking hit musical. Goldsberry brings her golden voice to the Virginia Arts Festival, singing Broadway hits including songs from The Lion King and Rent, American pop standards, and soul classics. For more information, visit https://www.sevenvenues.com/events/detail/renee-elise-goldsberry
Chicago, May 14 at Atlantic Union Bank Pavilion, Portsmouth
: The originators of some of rock and roll’s greatest hits, Chicago came in as the highest-charting American band in “Billboard” Magazine's Top 125 Artists of all time. As if that weren’t enough, Chicago is the first American rock band to chart Top 40 albums in six consecutive decades. Chicago recently received The Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the GRAMMYS, given to performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording. For more information, visit email@example.com
Beautiful, May 17 at Ferguson Center, Newport News: The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom. Along the way, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation. Featuring beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song.