Town Crier Articles

Posted on September 1, 2021 6:50 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: General
The Norfolk Tides are the AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, meaning the baseball players you see have either played for a major-league team, or are their way up to the majors.
 
Throw in the fact that the Tides play in one of the most scenic ballparks in professional sports – Harbor Park, a smaller version of Baltimore’s Camden Yards that has held the distinction of best minor league stadium, as proclaimed by Baseball America. The 12,000-seat ballpark sits on the Elizabeth River, with plenty of parking ($6) and nearby dining and drinking options (Waterside Live! Is within walking distance). Harbor Park also is known for its variety of food options, all reasonably priced.
 
As of this writing, the Tides feature three sons of famous sports fathers: First baseman Ryan Ripken (son of all-time great Cal, Jr.), outfielder Zach Jarrett (son of NASCAR Hall-of-Fame driver Dale Jarrett), and infielder Tyler Nevin (dad, Phil, was a major-league All-Star during his 2-year career).
 
The team, as such, isn’t having a particularly good season, though that’s not why people attend minor-league games. They go to see what they hope will be the stars of the future, and not pay major-league prices for tickets and food.
 
In that regard, the Tides are a bargain. The most expensive seats are just $14 each for advance purchase ($16 at the stadium.)
 
Like most minor-league teams, the Tides seem to have at least one promotion each game. Two that stand out: Saturday, Sept. 4 vs. Charlotte Knights (7:05 start, with post-game fireworks); Tuesday, Sept. 14 vs. Jacksonville (7:05 start, dubbed “Turn Back the Clock Night,” with hot dogs, popcorn and sodas selling for $.50). September 16’s game, also against Jacksonville, is a “Business Special Matinee,” and starts at 12:05.
 
For scheduling and other information, visit this website: https://www.milb.com/norfolk. You can also phone (757) 622-2222.
 
 
  
 
Posted on September 1, 2021 6:45 AM by Town Crier Staff
BOARD BUZZ – September 2021, by Angela Lesnett, President
 
September always holds that “back to school” feeling for me - - a time of change and new beginnings. And so it goes for our Association.
 
Last week we announced that Dick Durst, resigned from the Board of Directors for health reasons. Dick joined the Board in September of 2020, and was elected President of New Town Residential Association (NTRA) in January 2021. He served as President during an extremely challenging time for NTRA and we will miss his energy, engagement, and 6:00 a.m. emails. We offer Dick our heartfelt thanks for his expertise and hard work on behalf of NTRA and our sincere best wishes for the future.
 
Last week brought another change: it has been decided that NTRA and its current managing agent, Town Management, will part ways effective late this fall. The Board has undertaken a search for a new managing agent to partner with the Association as we take the next steps as a homeowner-controlled HOA. Engaging a new managing agent will be a new beginning for the NTRA.
 
In another new beginning, the Board has been working diligently to revise NTRA’s governing documents. A draft of the revised documents will be published today and a virtual Town Hall meeting is scheduled for September 22, during which the Association’s attorney, Sue Tarley, will provide an overview of the documents and will be available to answer Members’ questions. [Please submit your questions in advance if possible: amendments@ntrawilliamsburg.org.] Due to the need to devote resources to the search for a new managing agent, however, the Board is delaying the Member vote on the documents until the new Board is in place.
 
Yes, the “new Board.” The terms of some Directors will end in December and Members will have the opportunity to elect 3 new Directors. Think about running for one of these positions. Being an NTRA Board member is challenging, but serving on the Board is an opportunity to shape our Association in important ways.
 
How about a change and new beginning for you?  If you haven’t volunteered on a Committee, I encourage you to do it now. NTRA’s committees do a lot work for our community - - re-writing the pool rules (Pool Committee), inspecting the Association’s physical assets (Asset Maintenance Committee), publishing the Town Crier and maintaining NTRA’s website (Communications Committee), and planning social events (Activities Committee) - - just to name a few. The time and location of each committee meeting is listed on the website calendar and all committee meetings are open to Members so you can see how the group operates. In addition to supporting your community you will meet new people with whom you already share a common interest - - the success of New Town.
 
The Board, with the assistance of the Finance Committee, has also been working on developing NTRA’s 2022 budget. In last month’s Board Buzz, Rick Fisher, NTRA’s Treasurer, described a number of projects the Association has undertaken in 2021. Of course, each of those projects affected the Association’s finances. From managing our own household budgets we all know that prices are going up, so you will not be surprised that in 2022 we expect to see substantial increases in costs in every area. Some of these are due to increases in labor and material costs. Some increases may occur as contracts that have been in place for several years with no increase are now being renewed at 2022 prices.
 
As NTRA’s costs increase, its assessments must also increase to cover those expenses, including a reasonable contribution to NTRA’s Replacement Reserves. The Replacement Reserves are funds put into specially designated accounts that are used for expenses related to specified assets such as NTRA’s streets, pool, retention ponds, fences and other assets that have a long useful life. Allocating funds to the Replacement Reserves requires balancing short-term needs with long-term needs.
Having adequate reserves on hand to meet expenses is a sign of a well-run HOA and is a factor in keeping property values stable. As we did last year, the Board plans to hold two Town Halls in November to explain the 2022 budget and assessments.
 
The last couple of weeks brought a change for me, when I was elected President of NTRA. I’m happy to serve the good folks of New Town, and will do my best. NTRA is lucky to have the services of board members Mary Cheston (Vice-president), Rick Fisher (Treasurer), and Mark Burgess, and of Phil Casey (Secretary).
 
There are many changes for NTRA in the next few months. The Board will keep you informed of developments. I look forward to seeing you around New Town.
 
__________
 
A Transfusion for the NTRA: The Challenge of Selecting a New Management Company by Mary Cheston
 
An HOA management company is the lifeblood of a community. When things are going well, you may take their presence for granted, blood is flowing along, so to speak. When the level of service is not meeting expectations, perhaps “clots” develop, then both the HOA and the management company need to assess what is in the best interests of our overall body.
 
Over the next 90 days, the New Town Residential Association will be searching for a new management company that the Board of Directors feels can best meet the needs of our community. The growth of New Town and the issues that remain from the period of Developer control pose significant challenges to this task.
 
Why is HOA management such a difficult job? In order to administer the services and operations of the Association on a day-to-day basis, a management company must possess a wide variety of knowledge and expertise. Just think about some of the specialties involved: accounting and finance, property maintenance, contract administration, regulatory compliance, insurance, human resources, communication and good customer service. Then perhaps consider thanking Town Management for their years of work on our behalf in these areas.
 
The success of our Association will depend on the Board selecting a well-qualified professional management company that encompasses these diverse specialties. A Management Company Search Committee has been formed and an RFP has been distributed. Working together we hope to thoroughly investigate our options over the next 60 days to provide for a smooth transition period. The criticality of this decision has caused the Board to defer some initiatives and reprioritize the timing of our vote on new Governing Documents. In other words, we are stepping back to breathe a bit deeper and improve our own circulation if you will.
 
We anticipate that a new management company will cost significantly more than what NTRA Owners have been paying. We need to budget for quality service and the level of professional support it requires.
 
We will provide updates and more information to you as the process evolves. Meanwhile, continue to pay your dues and request assistance through Town Management. Nothing has changed yet!
 
The NTRA has burned through five Directors (three for serious medical issues) in our first 14 months as a homeowner-controlled association.  The hemorrhaging of our volunteers must stop. We need a management company equipped to relieve more of the burden of running our Association.  We hope that Association Members will support and welcome any new organization that partners with us to keep New Town healthy and flourishing.
 
“So, Why Should I Care?” The Danger of Failing to Support New Town’s Revised Governing Documents by Patti Vaticano
 
If you’ve been reading our Town Crier articles on the need to revamp the means of property assessment in NTRA’s Governing Documents (no less than 4 edifying articles since May, along with a website FAQ list to peruse) then, you most likely fall into one of three categories:
  1. You understand the need to revamp our method of property assessment and are willing to move forward to reflect current times for the sake of the equitable treatment of all New Town homeowners;
  2. You’re totally confused by the issue and have shut down; or
  3. You don’t care about the issue or fear the revamping will cost you more money than you are currently shelling out for your HOA fees.  Those of you in this category may have decided to vote against any revamping or simply do nothing, at all, in the hopes the problem will resolve itself or go away, entirely.
For those of you in the first category, Brava!-Bravo!—and thank you.
 
For those in the second category, let me try to clarify the issue.  The simple take-away would be that when the Developer was actively selling homes in New Town and before community management was turned over to New Town homeowners, HOA dues were kept at an attractive minimum to generate New Town home sales growth. An analogy would be a cable company offering new members monthly premiums for cable hook-up at a rock bottom price.  But as most cable subscribers know, those cable rates are never intended to continue on through the member’s subscription, indefinitely.  It is much the same with the current assessments in New Town. The current pattern of low property dues can no longer be maintained.
 
To complicate matters further, the means of assessing New Town HOA dues laid out in our documents was not followed. Continuing the cable company analogy, NTRA’s documents require “subscribers” receiving only basic TV services to share payments for bundle plans (with phone, internet and Premium channels like HBO), just because they live in the same New Town neighborhood. Such an assessment framework (see the figure below) is inequitable and frankly, unjust.  But if it is in our “contracts,” can we just ignore it?
 
For those homeowners who fall within the third category, voting against our revised Governing Documents--or simply failing to vote at all for fear of incurring a higher HOA assessment--is a foolhardy tactic. Attempts to save yourself money will likely cost you more money in the future; because if you fail to act or vote against these revisions, your HOA dues will rise even higher than they may need to otherwise, to cover both future legal counsel and lawsuit costs.  Resolution is simple.  An honest grappling with the proposed new documents now will not only ensure that all New Town homeowners are fairly treated on the issue—but save each homeowner from incurring a greater assessment tab later.
 
Be forewarned and forearmed:  The cost to fight any legal actions taken against the Association or even the Developer Board for failing to use the existing documents for assessments will hit every homeowner harder and at greater cost if we fail to tackle and dismantle the problem.
 
So why should you care about this issue?  Well, you shouldn’t care--unless safeguarding your family’s budget is important to you. If we all, as a community, bite the bullet now and support updating and improving our documents, including a more equitable means of assessing HOA dues, not only will we put a fair and defensible assessment system in place—we will be able to keep assessment dues manageable in the future for all NTRA homeowners.
 
The Board of Directors is providing ample time for you to consider these draft changes, provide your suggestions, and be prepared to vote in early 2022. Join us in category one!
 
Your NTRA Reading Homework Is Here! By Stuart Dopp
 
Articles of Restatement (formerly Articles of Incorporation) 
 
Start your reading assignment here, this is the easiest new document to understand!
 
Our previous Articles of Incorporation will, in the new documents, be called Articles of Restatement. This revision reestablishes our legal status within the Commonwealth, performing many of the same functions as the earlier document but with an important distinction: the elimination of language that pertained to the Developers. We will now have clear, brief Articles delineating the Purposes and Powers of our HOA, Membership, and the process for amending the Articles. There is a new Article on Voting Rights, and a clarified Article on the Board of Directors. The longest Article, on Liability and Indemnification, now references pertinent sections of the Virginia Code - so we will be up to date.
 
The Articles of Restatement, like all the other proposed texts, are prefaced by the necessary legal form to record our vote of acceptance. 
 
Amended and Restated Bylaws
 
Trying to make parallel connections between our current Bylaws and the draft of our new document is like the proverbial comparison of apples to oranges. While the proposed Amended Bylaws will accomplish the obvious goal of regulating the business of the Association, they now have been reorganized so that they are much easier to use.
 
Previously, for instance, information about the Board of Directors, voting, and electronic meetings was scattered throughout, causing redundancy and confusion. As with all of the new documents, language concerning the Developers is no longer pertinent so it has been removed, which, in and of itself, assists with clarity and brevity. The Article on “Membership” in the existing Bylaws, for example, details exquisitely complicated formulas for Developers vs different types of Owners, which in turn complicated voting policies. Information on our Board of Directors and Voting is now neatly consolidated in reorganized Articles consistent with our status as an independent HOA, without two different classes of voters. 
 
Many sections of the Amended Bylaws link to requirements in Virginia law and clarify homeowners’ rights and responsibility. A few points of interest in the new documents: 
  • Article II details rules of Membership and Voting. Article III details the actual conduct of Member meetings, including the procedures for electronic meetings. There is a new time frame for rescheduling meetings adjourned for lack of a quorum, and the annual meeting of the HOA Members would be in December.
  • Article IV establishes the Board of Directors, providing for a possible increase to 7 Members, elected on a rotating basis for two-year terms. No two Directors may be from the same household and, as we have in our current Bylaws, no more than two can be from the same neighborhood.
  • Article V follows up with rules for the actual election of the Directors, and Article VI establishes procedures for their meetings, including those held electronically, ensuring that normal meetings of the Board and committees are available to Members. This Article follows the Code of VA in mandating a Member comment period but allows for setting parameters per the agenda. 
  • An important Article (VII) is that on Powers and Duties of the Board of Directors. These range from contracting for management of common areas and services for Lots to appointing an Architectural Review Committee to determining and levying assessments. New powers - the Board could borrow money and sell or lease property. Article VIII delineates the role of the management company that the Board may hire and provides for periodic performance evaluations. Articles IX and X cover the ability of the Board to elect officers, make special appointments and set up committees. 
  • Article XI (Assessments) requires that the proposed budget be sent to Members at least 15 days before Board approval. It also outlines how delinquencies will be collected.
  • The remaining Articles (XII - XV) contain insurance and general information, and the process by which the Articles may be amended. Our right to see the Association’s books and records is affirmed in Article XIV. 
You can consult the “Crosswalk” document available on the NTRA website if you wish to pursue a direct comparison, but —really — the crucial point is to read and react to the revised Bylaws and all the other texts themselves. They have been carefully written by our attorney and vetted by the Board of Directors. There is a detailed table of contents attached to each document. 
 
We have from now until November 1 to make our thoughts known to the Board, so seize the opportunity both to read the new documents and to learn more at the September 22nd Town Hall. 
 
Mastering the New Second Amended Master Declaration by Mary Cheston
 
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 at least 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"
 
Why Village Walk Is a Unique NTRA Neighborhood by Jim Ducibella
 
As one resident there put it, “Village Walk is a different animal.”
 
Nowhere is that borne out more than in the proposed Village Walk Supplemental Declaration, where the additional services that owners pay for are itemized. This single Supplemental Declaration would replace the six previous versions -- all written for this one neighborhood.
 
Before answering why that is the case, a tiny bit of history.
 
In June 1998 the Proffers for Section 9 of New Town were recorded in the James City County Clerk’s office. “Settler’s Market at New Town” would be maintained as a stand-alone development and not be subjected to the covenants, restrictions, terms and conditions of New Town.
 
In the intervening years, the proffers were modified several times first to bring the residential development into the New Town Commercial Association, then later to provide the option of moving it to the New Town Residential Association (NTRA) which finally occurred in 2014 through another Supplemental Declaration. And the NTRA is where Village Walk lives to this day, albeit after a change in name and builder.
 
Additional Services to Village Walk
 
What distinguishes Village Walk from other NTRA neighborhoods is the condominium-model of services that is stipulated in their Supplemental Declarations. Village Walk owners receives routine landscape to their Common Areas, but in addition, townhomes receive:
  • Annual termite inspection and treatment
  • Inspection and maintenance of sprinkler systems
  • Repair or replacement of roof shingles, felt, sheathing and flashing
  • Repair, maintenance or replacement of gutters and downspouts
  • Maintenance of exterior surfaces limited to cornice, trim and siding (not door windows and frames)
  • Periodic painting of painted exterior surfaces, including doors, trim and cornice
  • All Common Area irrigation services, including repairs and maintenance.
Due to these additional services, Village Walk owners pay an additional Village Walk Reserve Fund contribution and owners have always paid an annual “Exterior Maintenance Assessment” over and above what the rest of NTRA owners pay. Everything extra was lumped into this category of exterior maintenance. The Finance Committee developed a plan in 2014 to determine how this money would be collected and used, and under what circumstances. This has evolved over time so that a Village Walk repair request system was recently established.
 
What is changing? Rather than using the term “Exterior Maintenance Assessment” to encompass everything, these items are now itemized and proposed to be included in the Services Assessment or Exterior Maintenance charge, respectively, of owners’ Annual Assessments.
 
In keeping with the new Governing Documents’ overall philosophy that Services Assessments are shared among a group of homeowners, some other previously shared expenses have been broken out for Individual Assessments.
  • Maintenance on fire suppression systems installed in some but not all 4-story Village Walk townhomes would be charged as a separate Individual Assessment only to those Owners with the systems.
  • Some townhomes were built using a post-tension slab system. The NTRA will maintain those elements, but the cost of doing so will be charged as an Individual Assessment only where that construction was used.
Yes, it may seem complicated. But the Board hopes it will also be fairer. Village Walk will have the same categories of assessment as everyone else in the NTRA (who are covered in the “Neighborhood Supplemental Declaration”), just laid out in a separate document.
 
 
Back to School – Already?! By Alison Douglas
 
As a British family staying here in Williamsburg for a short time, we have been trying to make the most of our time in America and enjoy the differences between here and our home in the U.K.  Last Summer was our first in the USA and was dominated by Covid.  Although the virus still looms large and it hasn’t gone away, we wanted to pack this summer full of travel and American experiences.  We were lucky enough to make it to Florida (for the kids) and New England (for the adults).  Closer to home, the music in the New Town has been plenty, with the Brass Tap having some of the liveliest crowds. We managed to celebrate Independence Day at the beach in Yorktown watching the parade and seeing the dolphins swimming up the York River.  When its rained, the newly reopened New Town cinema has provided lots of entertainment (especially with its $1 Tuesdays and Wednesdays offer).  We can’t forget a summer of sport with the postponed Olympics finally taking place in Tokyo and, for us, we got to see England finally play in a soccer final when they played Italy at Wembley in London in the (again, postponed) Euro 2020. 
 
As the close of Summer is looming, our thoughts are turning to ‘Back to School’ activities.  So, back to reality…  With the mix of in-person and virtual learning, last year was a totally different experience for us all.  As of right now, for those who have opted for in-person learning, schools are planning on going back to in-person learning for five days a week. 
 
Due to bus driver shortages, the schedule for your children’s school may have changed, so check out the 2021-22 schedule here for start and finish times. Once again, the Virginia Departments of Health and Education is asking all students and staff (regardless of vaccination status) to wear face coverings during school time as well as on school buses.
 
Don’t forget that start and finish times may also have changed, so please remember to check WJCC and school emails and websites to get the accurate start time. 
 
Finally, please don’t forget that the school term starts a little earlier this year.   Happy back to schooling!
 
ARE YOU PREPARED TO SAVE A LIFE…MAYBE YOURS? By Jack Espinal
 
Ready or not -- disasters happen and they happen to people like you and me. 
 
Are you confident you can take care of yourself, family members, and pets during and after a fire, hurricane, tornado, or other emergency?  If the answer is “No,” but you want learn how training is available through James City County (JCC).    
 
From September 30 through October 23, 2021, JCC Emergency Management will conduct a complimentary, comprehensive 9-session, classroom and hands-on training program to interested adult county residents.  Training includes modules on Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety, Terrorism & Disaster Psychology, First Aid, and more. 
 
Upon completion of training you will:
Obtain the knowledge and skills needed to prepare for and survive a variety of disasters.
Learn why first responders may be delayed in arriving at large scale disasters and the importance and significance individual preparation.    
Receive a backpack containing materials and tools to use in caring for yourself and family in an emergency. 
Become qualified, but not obligated, to become part of the New Town Community Emergency Response Team. 
Question:  People often ask “What is the New Town CERT?”   
 
Answer:  New Town’s Community Emergency Response Team or CERT members are volunteers trained to assist in the event of an emergency in their community providing first aide and other assistance in the event first responders are delayed.  Training ensures all work is done safely.  While advantageous no prior medical training is required.  A variety of duties exist so that adult (18 and older) volunteers with differing abilities and disabilities are encouraged to volunteer.  CERT members come from all areas of our community; they are truck drivers, grandmothers, lawyers, retired military, secretaries, teachers, etc.   
 
CERT Basics
The objective of CERT is to safely assist New Town residents survive and recover from disasters as directed by the JCC Emergency Management. 
To participate one must be an adult 18 and over who residents in JCC.  All are welcome regardless of ability and/or disability.  
The training CERT members receive teaches basic skills and prepares individuals to provide assistance safely and effectively -- without placing themselves in danger.   
FEMA studies show that basic lifesaving skills applied rapidly after a disaster can save 40% or more of injured disaster survivors, who may not otherwise have survived. 
 
To be effective the New Town CERT needs to grow! Please consider enrolling in the training and joining the New Town CERT. ALL RESIDENTS OF NEW TOWN ARE WELCOME.
 
To enroll in CERT training go to https://jamescitycountyva.gov/683/Emergency-Management.
 
For additional Information on CERT contact Mike Powers at Michael.Powers@jamescitycountyva.gov or call James City County Emergency Management at 757.565.7617.
 
For additional information on New Town’s CERT contact Jack Espinal, New Town CERT Team Leader at jack.espinal@cox.net or 703. 946.5787.
 
Quick Getaways – Norfolk Tides Baseball by Jim Ducibella
 
The Norfolk Tides are the AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, meaning the baseball players you see have either played for a major-league team, or are their way up to the majors.
 
Throw in the fact that the Tides play in one of the most scenic ballparks in professional sports – Harbor Park, a smaller version of Baltimore’s Camden Yards that has held the distinction of best minor league stadium, as proclaimed by Baseball America. The 12,000-seat ballpark sits on the Elizabeth River, with plenty of parking ($6) and nearby dining and drinking options (Waterside Live! Is within walking distance). Harbor Park also is known for its variety of food options, all reasonably priced.
 
As of this writing, the Tides feature three sons of famous sports fathers: First baseman Ryan Ripken (son of all-time great Cal, Jr.), outfielder Zach Jarrett (son of NASCAR Hall-of-Fame driver Dale Jarrett), and infielder Tyler Nevin (dad, Phil, was a major-league All-Star during his 2-year career).
 
The team, as such, isn’t having a particularly good season, though that’s not why people attend minor-league games. They go to see what they hope will be the stars of the future, and not pay major-league prices for tickets and food.
 
In that regard, the Tides are a bargain. The most expensive seats are just $14 each for advance purchase ($16 at the stadium.)
 
Like most minor-league teams, the Tides seem to have at least one promotion each game. Two that stand out: Saturday, Sept. 4 vs. Charlotte Knights (7:05 start, with post-game fireworks); Tuesday, Sept. 14 vs. Jacksonville (7:05 start, dubbed “Turn Back the Clock Night,” with hot dogs, popcorn and sodas selling for $.50). September 16’s game, also against Jacksonville, is a “Business Special Matinee,” and starts at 12:05.
 
For scheduling and other information, visit this website: https://www.milb.com/norfolk. You can also phone (757) 622-2222.
 
 
Posted on August 1, 2021 7:04 AM by Stuart Dopp
Categories: General, NTRA Business
As you perused our NTRA Bylaws, you probably noted references to our Articles of Incorporation. It is easy to miss this document because it is so much shorter than all other parts of the large Disclosure packet we received when purchasing a home in New Town.
 
Articles of Incorporation for HOA’s vary by state, but generally set the name of the the Homeowners’ Association; declare its function as a non-profit, mutual-benefit corporation; and identify its agent (the person authorized to receive legal notices on the HOA’s behalf). Our Articles also enumerate the obligations and authority of the HOA, set the terms of membership, and protect officers and others working on behalf of the HOA from some types of liability.
 
In essence, the Articles give legal status to the organization. It is the only Governing Document that must be available to members of the public and filed with James City County as well as the Corporation Commission of Virginia. Importantly, our current Articles provide for the appointment of Directors (who did not need to be Owners or residents) during the period of Developer Control, but also delineate the process for electing the Board of Directors by our members after the expiration of Developer Control (2020). 
 
Because a large portion of our Articles of Incorporation concern the role of the Developers and are no longer pertinent, you can expect an even shorter, revised document for your review in the near future. Stay tuned as we finish unraveling the mysteries of our current governing documents and prepare to study the revisions, which will be as concise as the law and necessity allow.  Your well-informed vote matters! 
 
CRIER STAFF NOTE: The Articles are the final segment of our Crier series on the current NTRA Governing Documents. Look for the rollout of our new draft documents in the September Crier.
Posted on August 1, 2021 7:02 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: General, NTRA Business
A standing-room-only audience crowded into 101 Mounts Bay Road on July 13 for the James City County Board of Supervisors meeting, during which one of the main topics was a potential development connecting New Town to Commonwealth-owned land that is part of Eastern State Hospital.
 
Recently, Atlantic Builders of Virginia, which has an option to purchase part of the 400-acre lot, made a request for parcels C-1 and C-2 to be rezoned from public use to mixed use. The James City County Planning Commission approved the request by a vote of 5-2, opening the possibility of a commercial and residential development. 
 
ABVA is proposing that access to a development encompassing approximately 85 homes be routed down Discovery Park Boulevard – and that the new development become part of New Town and its residential and commercial associations.
 
In a room occupied largely by New Town residents, at least five members stood before the Board to voice their concerns and disapproval for ABVA’s hoped-for plan. The Board indicated at the start that it did not intend to take any action that night, nor would it for an undetermined period of time.
 
Dick Durst, president of the New Town Residential Homeowners Association, spoke on behalf of the Association’s Board of Directors.
 
“Our first request is to leave the current land-use designation as it is; that is federal, state and county land,” Durst said. “We are very concerned about the environmental and logistical impact that such a large volume of homes could be built on this property, as well as the demands this will place on our infrastructure and the resulting increase in traffic on our already crowded roads and streets.
 
“Second, the New Town Residential Association and our members were never consulted by ABVA with a request to add New Town to the mixed-use request. We have not had adequate time to discuss positives or negatives by adding the volume of these homes to our Association.”
 
Resident Stuart Dopp explained that in addition to vehicular traffic, New Town is a haven for walkers¸ runners, cyclists, dog walkers, all of whom would incur increased danger from the type of additional traffic construction vehicles and, ultimately, residential traffic to the new development would present.
 
Initially, ABVA’s proposal would route construction and other traffic down Olive Drive and Discovery Park Boulevard. However, ABVA subsequently sent a letter to Durst and Jamestown District Supervisor Jim Icenhour walking back the proposal to use Olive Drive.
 
However, New Town resident Mark Newcomb pointed out that the letter was unsigned and under no letterhead.
 
“As an attorney, that means not much to me, just a piece of paper,” Newcomb said. “Our request is that before you approve the development . . . you get some kind of commitment in terms of a contract from ABVA so that they will develop what they present to you and not seek an extension beyond that so that we can protect the character and the ‘calm,’ if you will, of the neighborhood.”
 
Vernon Geddy, attorney for ABVA, emphasized that he would “publicly state to the Board” that the commitment ABVA made in its letter not to use Olive Drive was firm, and was based on responses received from New Town residents at the first of two recent Town Hall meetings. In fact, he said, he has been asked to draft a deed to convey to the Association a piece of property ABVA owns in that area that could be used for traffic.
 
“There will be no vehicular traffic through the Charlotte Park neighborhood,” he promised.
 
Geddy also reiterated that their proposal is “nothing but conceptual, not a detailed plan” because none of the (many) studies that will be done to determine the full impact of the project have not been done.
 
“We’d very much like to get to that stage,” he said. “We think this could be a win-win for the neighbors, the developer, the county and the Commonwealth.”
 
Finally, Geddy asked that “New Town” be removed from the title of the proposal, and that it be renamed “Eastern State.”
 
The Board of Supervisors did not take action on the proposed revisions to the Comprehensive Plan. Rather as announced at the outset by Chairman Hipple, the Board used the hearing as a listening session to take in input that can be used in further deliberations and work sessions on the final plan.  Stay tuned!
Posted on August 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Town Crier Staff
The results are in! We asked you, New Town's residents, to share your wish list for businesses to come to our community. 37 of you answered! It definitely looks like our community misses their caffeine...
 
Results behind the link below!
 
Posted on August 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Landscape Advisory Committee
Categories: General, NTRA Business
Does the rain runoff pool a little too close to your foundation or walkways for comfort? Does rain wash out your mulch bed onto the lawn? Well it could be your downspout, downspout block or lack of one or both. Some of them do go missing! Do you know where your downspout is?
 
Your gutters carry the water and debris that washes off the roof, but your downspouts do the rest of the work. Without them, all that water would drain at the base of your home, which can compromise the foundation. This can also create poor conditions for landscape crews working in the area passing through with mowers.
 
Inspect gutters and downspouts for rust, leaks, holes or corroded joints. Repair compromised issues, and replace any downspouts that are bent out of shape or beyond repair.
 
Often rocks placed at the end of downspouts need to be raked up or refreshed periodically. This can make a big difference in how rain water distributes at ground level. Take this opportunity to consider downspout extenders if necessary to provide better drainage and to avoid creating voids in the ground at the end of downspouts.
 
If your mulch bed edge doesn't seem to be holding the mulch in place after rain, your edging may be too shallow. You can use a half moon or square edge shovel or spade to create the depth you like, generally about 3-3.5" will work well.
Posted on August 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Activities Committee
Categories: General
How do you get a whole bunch of people to agree on something? Make that "something" free pizza at the pool and offer prizes! Our Activities Committee did just that and drew a crowd of just under 100 residents to the pool on July 9!
 
Every attendee received a raffle ticket with entry and drawings were held for frozen treats at Sweet Frog!
 
Raffle winners (Sweet Frog):
Pat Bright
Marie Theil
Tracy Waible
Ken Fones-Wolf
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Posted on August 1, 2021 6:55 AM by Town Crier Staff
The ABCs of Our Articles of Incorporation
Stuart Dopp
 
As you perused our NTRA Bylaws, you probably noted references to our Articles of Incorporation. It is easy to miss this document because it is so much shorter than all other parts of the large Disclosure packet we received when purchasing a home in New Town. Articles of Incorporation for HOA’s vary by state, but generally set the name of the the Homeowners’ Association; declare its function as a non-profit, mutual-benefit corporation; and identify its agent (the person authorized to receive legal notices on the HOA’s behalf). Our Articles also enumerate the obligations and authority of the HOA, set the terms of membership, and protect officers and others working on behalf of the HOA from some types of liability.
 
In essence, the Articles give legal status to the organization. It is the only Governing Document that must be available to members of the public and filed with James City County as well as the Corporation Commission of Virginia. Importantly, our current Articles provide for the appointment of Directors (who did not need to be Owners or residents) during the period of Developer Control, but also delineate the process for electing the Board of Directors by our members after the expiration of Developer Control (2020). 
 
Because a large portion of our Articles of Incorporation concern the role of the Developers and are no longer pertinent, you can expect an even shorter, revised document for your review in the near future. Stay tuned as we finish unraveling the mysteries of our current governing documents and prepare to study the revisions, which will be as concise as the law and necessity allow.  Your well-informed vote matters!
 
CRIER STAFF NOTE: The Articles are the final segment of our Crier series on the current NTRA Governing Documents. Look for the rollout of our new draft documents in the September Crier.
 
Board Buzz – August 2021  
Rick Fisher, Treasurer
 
Update on Our 2021 Budget Challenge
We began the year knowing that it would be very challenging financially. In the 2021 Budget Town Hall Meeting in November, we discussed the following:
  • Managing Agent Financial Audit
  • Capital Contributions and Administrative Fees
  • Village Walk Irrigation
We have made excellent progress in each of these areas.  
 
The Managing Agent Financial Audit began on May 17th and will conclude at the end of August. At that point in time, the Board of Directors (BOD) will receive an Audit Report which will be posted on the website.  
 
Capital Contributions and Administrative Fees collected at closings for new sales and resales have been deposited in our Operating Savings Account.  This has allowed us maximum flexibility to address incremental expenses not identified in the Adopted Budget.  In the first six months of the year, a number of unbudgeted expenditures have been required (Note: some projects have been approved for completion but are not yet started):
  • Legal expenses associated with the rewrite/revision of our Governing Documents (originally anticipated to begin in late 2021/early 2022)
  • Need for two pool lifeguards to address Covid-19 Requirements
  • Consulting Services to assist the BOD in formulating the 2022 Budget 
  • Playground Site improvements to address drainage, landscape screening for slide
  • Tree removal in Roper Park
  • Employment of an Independent Engineering Firm to inspect assets planned to be transferred from the Developer to the Association
 
The Village Walk irrigation system is being mapped with the direct involvement of the builder Eagle Construction and significant progress has been made. We are currently spending less in this area than Budgeted. 
 
Major Association Assets identified in the 2019 Replacement Reserve Study, will require repair and replacement earlier than planned. Major items that have already been or must be addressed are:
 
  • Refurbishment of the pool pergola which was completed before the pool opening.  
  • A complete resurfacing of the pool  as well as caulking, filter recharging and skimmer replacements. The resurfacing is set to begin in the September/October time frame.  This is two years earlier than planned.
 
As you can see, the BOD has been very busy addressing a large number of issues, all of which have a financial impact.  
 
Board of Supervisors Mulls Eastern State Land Use Proposal
Jim Ducibella
 
A standing-room-only audience crowded into 101 Mounts Bay Road on July 13 for the James City County Board of Supervisors meeting, during which one of the main topics was a potential development connecting New Town to Commonwealth-owned land that is part of Eastern State Hospital.
 
Recently, Atlantic Builders of Virginia, which has an option to purchase part of the 400-acre lot, made a request for parcels C-1 and C-2 to be rezoned from public use to mixed use. The James City County Planning Commission approved the request by a vote of 5-2, opening the possibility of a commercial and residential development. 
 
ABVA is proposing that access to a development encompassing approximately 85 homes be routed down Discovery Park Boulevard – and that the new development become part of New Town and its residential and commercial associations.
 
In a room occupied largely by New Town residents, at least five members stood before the Board to voice their concerns and disapproval for ABVA’s hoped-for plan. The Board indicated at the start that it did not intend to take any action that night, nor would it for an undetermined period of time.
 
Dick Durst, president of the New Town Residential Homeowners Association, spoke on behalf of the Association’s Board of Directors.
 
“Our first request is to leave the current land-use designation as it is; that is federal, state and county land,” Durst said. “We are very concerned about the environmental and logistical impact that such a large volume of homes could be built on this property, as well as the demands this will place on our infrastructure and the resulting increase in traffic on our already crowded roads and streets.
 
“Second, the New Town Residential Association and our members were never consulted by ABVA with a request to add New Town to the mixed-use request. We have not had adequate time to discuss positives or negatives by adding the volume of these homes to our Association.”
 
Resident Stuart Dopp explained that in addition to vehicular traffic, New Town is a haven for walkers¸ runners, cyclists, dog walkers, all of whom would incur increased danger from the type of additional traffic construction vehicles and, ultimately, residential traffic to the new development would present.
 
Initially, ABVA’s proposal would route construction and other traffic down Olive Drive and Discovery Park Boulevard. However, ABVA subsequently sent a letter to Durst and Jamestown District Supervisor Jim Icenhour walking back the proposal to use Olive Drive.
 
However, New Town resident Mark Newcomb pointed out that the letter was unsigned and under no letterhead.
 
“As an attorney, that means not much to me, just a piece of paper,” Newcomb said. “Our request is that before you approve the development . . . you get some kind of commitment in terms of a contract from ABVA so that they will develop what they present to you and not seek an extension beyond that so that we can protect the character and the ‘calm,’ if you will, of the neighborhood.”
 
Vernon Geddy, attorney for ABVA, emphasized that he would “publicly state to the Board” that the commitment ABVA made in its letter not to use Olive Drive was firm, and was based on responses received from New Town residents at the first of two recent Town Hall meetings.
In fact, he said, he has ben asked to draft a deed to convey to the Association a piece of property ABVA owns in that area that could be used for traffic.
 
“There will be no vehicular traffic through the Charlotte Park neighborhood,” he promised.
Geddy also reiterated that their proposal is “nothing but conceptual, not a detailed plan” because none of the (many) studies that will be done to determine the full impact of the project have not been done.
 
“We’d very much like to get to that stage,” he said. “We think this could be a win-win for the neighbors, the developer, the county and the Commonwealth.”
 
Finally, Geddy asked that “New Town” be removed from the title of the proposal, and that it be renamed “Eastern State.”
 
The Board of Supervisors did not take action on the proposed revisions to the Comprehensive Plan. Rather as announced at the outset by Chairman Hipple, the Board used the hearing as a listening session to take in input that can be used in further deliberations and work sessions on the final plan. Stay tuned!
 
NEW TOWN SOCIAL AND SWIM
Activities Committee
 
Let’s enjoy the summer together! Come meet your neighbors, spend time with your friends and make new friends.  Summer is short so let’s have an party by or in the pool!  Find a sitter and join us for fun.
 
The NTRA Activities Committee will be hosting a Special Event on Tuesday, August 17, 5:30 – 7:00 PM.  Put away those “Summertime Blues” for some summertime fun.  RSVP’s will not be necessary for this party- we just want to see you there!
 
The pool is not normally open on Tuesdays, but because we want to have fun and are adults, the pool will be open for swimming and lifeguards will be on duty. Please invite your friends to come along and bring food and drinks of your choice. (Participants over the age of 21 are permitted to have an alcoholic beverage at this event.) You can even share with each other and get new recipes for next time!  Drinks must be in plastic containers as nothing ruins a pool party like broken glass!!  There will be a raffle for prizes (who doesn’t want to win a free prize?)
 
We are hopeful that we can have more parties going forward and would like your feedback.  Would you attend monthly?   Tell us what kind of events you would like.  Some special themes suggested include:  Beach Party Bingo, Hawaiian Night, Christmas in July, Beach Surfer Party, “Under the Sea,” ‘50’s – ‘60’s Party, etc.  Send your suggestions to the Activities Committee at jbyrnesusa@hotmail.com.
 
Looking forward to seeing you on August 17.  
New Town Pup Plunge
Activities Committee
 
Monday, September 6th, 7:30PM at New Town Community Pool
After the pool's closing for "human swimmers", bring your dog for some "canine companions" swim time. There will two time slots – one for dogs under twenty pounds and one for dogs twenty pounds and over.  Dogs and their owners must register for this event.
 
THIS EVENT  REQUIRES PRE-REGISTRATION OF YOUR DOG. Read the requirements for participation and submit your registration form by August 30, 2021.
 
This information is also available on the NTRA website calendar.
 
NT Dave's Deals - Earthfare
Jim Ducibella
 
The Holtgrieves, Dave and Paulette of Charlotte Park, are bargain shoppers and they take delight in finding a new deal. It could be food, or fun or furniture. They know how to do it, and they do it well.
 
In this occasional series (when they find something they like, they’ll let us know), we focus on a nearby grocery store that has re-opened its doors after a somewhat brief hiatus: Earth Fare on Monticello.
 
In February, 2020, the chain, which started in Asheville, N.C., announced it was closing its doors after 45 years. Known for their natural and organic offerings, it seemed like their absence would open a huge hole in the Midtown Row shopping center. But not long after declaring bankruptcy, Dennis Hulsing purchased the company and re-opened some of the stores, including Williamsburg.
There are some great deals to be had at this store, ad we’ll run down a couple of them:
Monday -- $6 for a Non-GMO fresh-roasted chicken, and fresh-baked baguettes, 2 two for $3
Thursday – 4-ounce super-lump crab cakes, 2 for $10
Friday – 16-inch, take-and-bake pizzas, your choice of veggie, pepperoni or cheese, $7
 
Quick Getaways -- Fort Monroe
Jim Ducibella
 
The Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton is 325 acres of American history, 90 of which area concentrated around the fort. It spans the American story from before the 17th century European arrival to the 21st century: the American Indian presence, Captain John Smith's journeys, its place as a haven of freedom for the enslaved during the Civil War, and a bastion of defense for the Chesapeake Bay.
 
The Casemate Museum is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Inside, there are brochures, including one for a self-guided walking tour. There is a daily guided walking tour of the fort at 11 a.m. from Memorial Day through September forming at the Casemate Museum entrance. Guided tours for groups of 10 or more can be scheduled by calling 757-788-3391. The cost is $3 per person. Allow a two-week notice when scheduling.
 
For those who don’t know, construction on Fort Monroe began in 1819, and the fort was completed in 1834. It is the 396th unit of the National Park Service. It was established by President Obama on November 1, 2011 by executive order using the Antiquities Act, the first time he had exercised this authority. 
 
There are 259 buildings and structures at Fort Monroe; 169 are historic. Fort Monroe is the fourth fort on this location (known as Old Point Comfort).The earliest fortifications, Fort Algernourne, were built by English colonists in 1609. Today, Fort Monroe contains 176 housing units, and approximately 160 families live there.
 
In addition to the history, there are numerous and varied available activities. Guests can fish off Engineer Wharf, located on Fenwick Road adjacent to Continental Park. A Virginia Saltwater Fishing License is required, which can be purchased at the Old Point Comfort Marina, or online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/licenses/.
 
There is one lifeguarded beach (Outlook Beach), though lifeguard service stops Labor Day.
 
In a 2009-2010 study, 89 species of birds were observed at Fort Monroe. Fort Monroe is home to a total of nine species of trees and a total of 249 species of flora representing 179 genus and 67 families of plants. The area has 136 native and 113 introduced plants meaning 55% of the plant assemblage of Fort Monroe is made up of native species and 45% of introduced species.
 
The Fort Monroe Event Calendar also provides additional information about on-site activities.
 
There is no fee at Fort Monroe National Monument. For more information, visit this website 
 
Don’t Forget the Downspouts
Landscape Advisory Committee
 
Does the rain runoff pool a little too close to your foundation or walkways for comfort? Does rain wash out your mulch bed onto the lawn? Well it could be your downspout, downspout block or lack of one or both! Some of them do go missing! Do you know where your downspout is?
 
Your gutters carry the water and debris that washes off the roof, but your downspouts do the rest of the work. Without them, all that water would drain at the base of your home, which can compromise the foundation. This can also create poor conditions for landscape crews working in the area passing through with mowers.
 
Inspect gutters and downspouts for rust, leaks, holes or corroded joints. Repair compromised issues, and replace any downspouts that are bent out of shape or beyond repair.
 
Often rocks placed at the end of downspouts need to be raked up or refreshed periodically. This can make a big difference in how rain water distributes at ground level. Take this opportunity to consider downspout extenders if necessary to provide better drainage and to avoid creating voids in the ground at the end of downspouts.
 
If your mulch bed edge doesn't seem to be holding the mulch in place after rain, your edging may be too shallow. You can use a half moon or square edge shovel or spade to create the depth you like, generally about 3-3.5" will work well.
 
Pool Pizza Party Serves a Slice of Fun
Activities Committee
 
How do you get a whole bunch of people to agree on something? Make that "something" free pizza at the pool and offer prizes! Our Activities Committee did just that and drew a crowd of just under 100 residents to the pool on July 9!
 
Every attendee received a raffle ticket with entry and drawings were held for frozen treats at Sweet Frog!
 
Raffle winners (Sweet Frog):
Pat Bright
Marie Theil
Tracy Waible
Ken Fones-Wolf
 
Survey Results - What Business Would YOU Most like to see in New Town?
Residents Submission
 
The results are in! We asked you, New Town's residents, to share your wish list for businesses to come to our community. 37 of you answered! It looks like our community really misses their caffeine...
 
Results behind the link below!
 
Posted on July 1, 2021 7:03 AM by Stuart Dopp
Categories: General, NTRA Business
Now that we have all, I’m sure, studied the primary Declaration for New Town and the Supplementals, we can peruse the Bylaws in our big fat notebooks or e-document. 
 
Our Bylaws delineate the roles, powers, and duties of the Board and establish the guidelines for conducting business. They also cover varied obligations such as insurance, address the role of the managing agent, and mandate some committees (e.g., Architectural Review) while allowing for others (e.g., Neighborhood Advisory Committees which was used for the original authorization for the Residential Advisory Board). 
 
The caveat, of course, is that these existing Bylaws were written by or for the Developers, New Town Associates, LLC. Although the original Bylaws made some provisions for the day when New Town would be turned over to the homeowners, they are clearly no longer pertinent to our position as an independent Homeowners Association. 
 
Many parts are just simply irrelevant now. Some examples:  A great deal is said about Mortgagees since the lenders were of primary importance to the Developers in the early days of New Town’s development. Section 4.2 allows the (Developers) Board “from time to time elect to have the Association treated as a ‘homeowners association’” to satisfy IRS regulations. The list goes on…
 
Other parts of the Bylaws are in conflict with best practices: Section 4.3, for instance, says that “The Developer or an affiliate of the Developer may be employed as Managing Agent.” It thus allowed the Developer to hire Town Management even though there was a family relationship between the President and one of the Developers. Importantly, real practices are sometimes different than what is stated in our current Bylaws. They call for the Annual Assessments of our individual properties to be established in accordance with “the Declaration and these Bylaws,” yet they are currently not calculated in the manner prescribed. 
 
Clearly, all of our governing documents, including the Bylaws, must be redone to reflect our new self-governance. The NTRA Board is working (with an attorney) on the re-write, so stay updated. You will need to vote when this work is complete!
Posted on July 1, 2021 7:01 AM by Maxwell Pfannebecker
All Committees are currently seeking resident members / volunteers / contributors. Please contact us NTRAwebsitecommittee@gmail.com to express your interest in one of the following
COMMUNICATIONS - help with the crier, social media & website
ACTIVITIES - help plan fun activities for residents
ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW - establish & enforce guidelines & standards
ASSET MAINTENANCE - maintain function and aesthetics of community properties
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS - coordinate communications with local emergency services, provide direction to relief in event of emergency
FINANCE COMMITTEE - advise Board of Directors on NTRA financials and funding
LANDSCAPE ADVISORY - keep New Town beautiful, govern landscaping operation, planning, maintenance, and changes by property owners
POOL COMMITTEE - create and maintain standards and policies for our community pool
 
 
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