Mastering the New Second Amended Master Declaration
Posted on September 1, 2021 7:01 AM by Mary Cheston, Board of Directors
The meat of our proposed revised Governing Documents is the Second Amended Master Declaration
. Why “Second Amended?” You may recall that the NTRA had to amend the Master Declaration in 2020 because certain lots in Savannah Square were not correctly identified as part of the Residential Association. That was the “First Amended” Master Declaration.
So what is being proposed in this “Second” amendment? The most significant change is certainly to the framework for how we calculate our assessments. This is a critical revision – one that we must come to consensus on in order to create workable, legal assessments.
The “Annual Assessment” levied by the Association will now have two components:
- General Assessment – (similar to the old NTRA Assessment) for all the common expenses of the Association.
- Services Assessment - to capture the additional services provided to multiple, but not all, lots or in different degrees. Examples of this include irrigation services and landscaping. The Services Assessment will institutionalize the concept of home types – detached, townhome, and cottages - which the Developer Board used in the past for assessments but is not permitted in our current documents.
In addition, if an Owner receives services that are special or unique, then the Owner will receive an Individual Assessment. Things like the sprinkler inspections for certain Village Walk townhomes and violations/fines fall in this category. Most owners will not receive an Individual Assessment.
The second major change is that this draft Declaration (and all the other proposed documents) only uses the term “Common Areas” which simplifies reader understanding as well as reflects how New Town is actually laid out. There are no platted properties called “Limited Common Areas” and the Association never used the designation “Neighborhood Common Areas” in its assessments or contracting. Yet, these terms are woven throughout our current Governing Documents. There is no need to keep these artificial distinctions. The Board has confirmed that our recorded property information refers only to Common Areas or Common Open Spaces (Village Walk). As a community, we all have access to the green spaces, private roads, easements, pedestrian paths, and recreational facilities in New Town. So these documents now reflect these shared benefits and commonality.
The final group of major changes are to the “Protective Covenants”. In the crosswalk information
between our current and proposed texts, you will see that most of the provisions of the existing “Use Restrictions” remain, but are renumbered/relocated. These are the elements on which the Board of Directors will build a set of revised NTRA Rules and Regulations in 2022. New items in this list are largely requirements from Virginia statutes including the provisions on Flags (7.8), Solar Devices (7.13), and Accessory Apartments (7.28) and we have added Dumpsters (7.15). Be aware that there are some clarifications to the Leasing (7.27) paragraph to cover temporary visitors, however, short-term rentals of less than a year remain prohibited.
To afford the Community the option of further expansion, a new Section 2.3 is in the draft in the event that the NTRA Members, not the Board, agree that additional property might benefit our Association. The rationale for this provision will be explained further in the September 22nd Town Hall.
You may find other differences in terms of language or organization in the Declaration, including the removal of old Article IX on Mortgagees. Read it over, send in your questions, and let us work together to clarify whatever we can. The future of the NTRA is in our hands.
COMING NEXT MONTH: Article on the "Neighborhood Supplemental Declaration"