Town Crier Articles

Posted on March 1, 2020 7:00 AM by Maxwell Pfannebecker
Categories: General
Future Looks Muddy for Playground Improvements | Mary Cheston
With warmer weather and the opportunity for outdoor activities, families want to know – what’s happening at the New Town community pool playground? You may have noticed that for the past year or so the playground becomes a soggy bog after heavy rain periods. This condition is affecting its use.
The NTRA also received $20,000 in funds from New Town Associates in 2017 for additional equipment at the playground. However, no money has yet been spent and there is no timeframe for when all the playground issues will be resolved.
To recap how we got here: In 2016 residents successfully reversed a proposal from the developers to eliminate any further playgrounds in New Town. James City County Supervisors agreed in July 2016 to abide by the decision of the New Town Design Review Board and RAB as to whether an additional playground would be built in the Chelsea Green neighborhood as originally designed in the New Town Master Plan.
A workgroup of residents met throughout late 2016 to review whether another playground should be built and if not, consider upgrades that might be possible to the main playground near the pool.  This committee consulted with residents of Chelsea Green, the playground equipment company, and James City County. In March 2017 the RAB approved their recommendations not to build a playground in Chelsea Green and to add umbrellas and an additional structure to the pool playground. In particular, the playground group felt that the use of some type of shading device would protect users from the seasonal heat and rain, thus enhancing the area’s use.
In April 2017, the RAB Chairman met with the developer who agreed to fund a new slide, a handicapped swing, additional tables, benches, and umbrellas.  In August 2017, the RAB accepted $20,000 payment from New Town Associates for such equipment and in fulfillment of the James City County proffers regarding playgrounds.
Cost then became a factor, since estimates for the recommended additional equipment exceeded the funds provided by the developer. The RAB initially proposed to cover an additional $15,000 expense through a combination of the NTRA budget and a fundraising effort. In November 2017 the RAB also asked that the playground group provide a revised list of equipment to match the $20,000 funding. However, in February 2018 the playground group deferred and asked the RAB to make the final decision considering their prior recommendation for a slide and shade equipment. They further encouraged the association to take advantage of promotional sales.
In June 2019 the RAB asked Town Management to research the cost of a slide, handicapped swing and at least two umbrellas for the pool playground. They also recognized that the drainage at the playground had become a problem.
Drainage Problem  
In July 2019 New Town’s landscape contractor met with Town Management concerning the drainage problem. The location of the playground is poor with no drainage system provided for runoff from the hard surface of the pool area as well as the interior sidewalk from Roper Park. Their initial estimate of the cost to correct the issues was $18-$20,000. In October 2019, the RAB asked Town Management to obtain at least two additional cost estimates and to consult with a professional and recommend an appropriate solution to fixing the drainage problem. In December 2019, the engineering consultant, AES, had not yet completed its analysis and the RAB asked Town Management to expedite the report.  The RAB further confirmed that funds for this repair should be considered maintenance and taken from the NTRA Reserve Account and that any new playground equipment be purchased using the $20,000 from New Town Associates. AES subsequently provided its engineering analysis and Town Management is in the process of obtaining additional bids.
According to Tim Grueter, Senior Community Manager at Town Management, “there are few companies who do this kind of work.” Only one additional bid is available. The second construction company proposes a multi pipe drainage system to correct runoff in multiple locations, similar to a fix provided for a James City County park with a similar problem. Complicating any cost estimate is the fact that the current playground equipment is cemented in place, requiring a contractor to manually dig around the structures to install drainage pipes.
Go Forward Plan
Until the drainage problem is resolved, the RAB is reluctant to install any new equipment, according to RAB Chair, Chuck Stetler.
The bottom line - should your family expect a mud-free and shaded summer at the playground this year? Probably not.
Extended Mulch Beds to Curb Pet Damage to Turf | Patti Vaticano
Dogs are popular and always welcome in New Town, as they add a richness and greater dimension to our lives.  Unfortunately, dog urination is damaging community turf.
The Landscape Advisory Committee has developed a pilot program to address the problem and is asking dog owners to assist in its implementation. The intent is to find a solution that protects the community’s investment in landscaping while also addressing the daily needs of dogs and their owners. A total of four test sites have been identified in the neighborhoods most impacted by the problem - Chelsea Green, Savannah Square, Abbey Commons and Village Walk. Each mulch bed will be situated on common property between curb and sidewalk, near an established dog station, and incorporating a tree, a fire hydrant, or both. The appearance will be that of a markedly extended mulch bed clearly identified with appropriate signage. In a few weeks, you will be seeing these extended mulch beds being prepared. More specific location information will be provided, shortly, as well as a sincere appeal to dog owners to “Respect the Turf.” and use the extended mulch beds, as requested. LAC member, David Carter, will lead the project, and fellow-LAC member, Eden Glenn, will communicate to New Town residents the systematic progress being made. 
Save the Date - Activities Committee Releases 2020 Noon Talks Schedule | Mike Riley
The NTRA Activities Committee has released dates and topics for 2020's Noon Talks series held quarterly at Center Street Grill (registration for March 11 Noon Talk below).
NASA’s Search for Life Beyond Earth
John Delano, PhD - Geochemistry and NASA Researcher
Wednesday, March 11 @ 12:00 PM
Center Street Grill
Archeological History of Our Roper Park
Joe Jones, Director, W&M Center for Archeological Research
Wednesday, May 13 @ 12:00 PM
Center Street Grill
Dream Catchers Therapeutic Riding – How it Enhances the Lives of Individuals with Physical, Emotional & Developmental Needs
Tom Miller, Retired Physician and Charlotte Park Resident
Wednesday, September 9 @ 12:00 PM
Center Street Grill
An Historical Interpreter’s Experience at Mt Vernon and Washington’s Tomb
Dave Gaydos, Historical Interpreter and Charlotte Park Resident
Wednesday, November 11 @ 12:00 PM
Center Street Grill
Summary of 2020 Residential Maintenance Inspections | Dave Holtgrieve
The annual inspection program will soon commence during the months of March thru April with written violations being issued by May 15th.  This year, the entire community will be inspected.  As expressed at the Annual Meeting, a walk-through of the community will be conducted versus a detailed thorough inspection that cost the Association $40/home; our budget for this year was greatly reduced.  Since the Asset Maintenance Committee’s inception, the goal was to have this become an annual process with the hope to create a cultural change that folks would attend to their maintenance on a yearly basis.
This program is important for the appearance of the entire community as it ages and to maintain property values. (The Master Declaration of Protective Covenants and Restrictions under Section 7.2., Maintenance of Property). Maintenance items are easier and less costly if attended to timely.
The HOA inspector does not inspect for major structural items, integrity of mechanical or electrical systems, pests, or leaks.  The HOA inspector will look at obvious appearance items such as fading, chalking, blotching, and uneven paint; peeling paint on entry safety walk rails; mold and green fungus anywhere on the house, fence, or steps that require cleaning; removal of vegetation growing on the house or fence (more detail of items can be found on the link below). 
Homeowners with maintenance items that need to be addressed will be requested to complete the needed repairs by June 30. If an owner does not agree with the repair requirements, they should write to Town Management by June 1 stating the reasons why they believe certain repairs are unnecessary. Town Management will review and reevaluate the need for repairs based on the facts laid out in the Owner correspondence, and if appropriate, a meeting will be set up between the owner and the Asset Maintenance Committee to discuss the resolution.
Requests for time extensions will be limited.  If an owner plans to complete the repairs, but they won't be completed by June 30, then they should provide a plan and timetable for completion. Providing copies of any signed contracts as documentation is advised. Records of all inspections and related documentation throughout the inspection and compliance process will be kept by Town Management.
Over the past three years, the program has had positive results among our owners. We have a community that meets the high standards of a properties consistent with a "first-quality" development. 
For further detailed information of the process please visit the links below to get to Exterior Maintenance section of our website.
Kung Fu Tea & TKK Chicken Add 1-2 Punch to New Town's Dining Options | Max Pfannebecker
You may have noticed a shiny new sign hanging over the vacant space between Conte's Bike Shop and the old Dudley's Bistro location on Courthouse St. The new tenant will be a combination location of Kung Fu Tea, a decade-old international startup specializing in the wildly popular bubble tea phenomenon, and TKK Chicken, a Taiwan-based veteran of the overseas fast food market dating back to 1974.
For owner Feiyan Lin, it will be her second Kung Fu Tea location and she hopes to repeat the success of a buzzing location in Newport News near Christopher Newport University. The interior is sleek and adorned with bright colors, vibrant music (that isn't too loud) and includes tables, chairs, and even a comfy couch for patrons to enjoy Kung Fu Tea's vast selection of potables spanning from bubble tea to milk tea to smoothies and espresso. If you've never had bubble tea (also known as pearl milk tea, boba milk tea, or simply boba) it's definitely worth a whirl. Kung Fu Tea USA describes it as "a Taiwanese drink that was invented in Taichung in the 1980's. Typically, tea is mixed with milk or fruits and topped off with chewy tapioca balls (bubbles, boba, pearls). Customers can go classic tea or slush, milk tea or punch—and more. All drinks can be customized in three steps: Topping Level, Sugar Level, and Ice Level. Toppings range from bubbles and popping bubbles to different types of beans and jellies. Bottom line: you can't go wrong and trust your baristas (also known as Kung Fu Masters) to guide you to your new favorite drink.
Joining Lin's lineup in this location will be the launch of her first TKK Chicken location and even though they've been overseas for over 40 years, they've only been on the domestic scene since 2018 with locations in New York and throughout the Northeast, Detroit, Oklahoma, and Texas. New Town will be the growing empire's eleventh location. The menu includes flavorful Taiwanese style fried chicken in original, crispy, and spicy crispy varieties as well as sandwiches, tenders, and a very Westernized selection of sides like seasoned fries and biscuits. Most notable, however, is one of TKK's signature dishes called Kwa Kwa Bao, a mixture of sticky rice and shiitake mushrooms stuffed into chicken skin and fried to crispy brown (and yes your author will be waiting in line to try this decadent delicacy on day one).
Construction is almost complete and Lin expects to be open for business sometime in March, though a firm date hasn't been set. If you would like to dream (and maybe drool a little) about TKK's deliciousness, you can get started by visiting the websites for TKK Chicken or Kung Fu Tea! 
Arbor Day 2020 Award of Excellence Honors Foundation Square | Mary Cheston
The Arbor Day 2020 Award of Excellence, presented by the Williamsburg Area Council of Garden Clubs has been awarded to the Foundation Square Landscaping Committee and its President, Jim Kavitz. The award recognizes those who have made a difference to the environment in attractive landscaping, especially the planting and preservation of trees. The ceremony will take place on March 13th at the Community Building on North Boundary Street.
Job well done to all those who worked so hard to beautify our New Town community! 
The nomination submitted for the award is included below!
Nomination: The Award of Excellence - Arbor Day 2020
(submitted by James F. Kavitz, President, Board of Directors, Foundation Square Unit Owners’ Association)
One need look no further than the vivid red and pink vincas intermingled with sweet potato vines as their brilliantly veined leaves cascade from the retaining wall along Foundation Street, or the sea of buttery yellow daffodils blanketing the eastern parking area in the spring, or the meticulously labeled vegetables and herbs awaiting harvest by an unknown visitor in the  garden at the north end of Foundation Square to recognize that nature has had some help in creating such stunning sights, and that help is the Foundation Square Landscape Committee.  
This committee was established about 6 years ago and is made up of residents of Foundation Square who volunteer their time, and sometimes their money, to enhance the landscaping provided by the developer.  Foundation Square is a multi-use building in New Town with commercial businesses on the first floor, residential condos on the top three floors, and a clock tower that overlooks Legacy Hall.  The committee started with just a few residents getting together: those who have downsized and missed having a yard or garden, or those who just wanted to get their hands dirty while improving our landscape.  Over the years the committee has grown from that small handful to over ten regularly participating members today. They all love nature and the beauty of the gardens that they have established and continue to care for, and they love that the community can enjoy the fruits of their labors as well.
The committee members meet periodically to plan the spring and fall plantings, incorporating plants that have been donated for their use.  For example, there are currently over 2,000 daffodils planted around the building that were donated by residents and planted by the committee.  A daffodil festival is held each April.  The group has also addressed overlooked places by enhancing the ‘woodsy’-ness of the earthen strip in the parking lot between the building and adjacent Iron-Bound Gym and by masking the building’s vital outdoor infrastructure elements with trellises of flowering vines. Members also get together in work crews as necessary to plant, prune, and weed, and they take turns, even in the brutal heat of summer, to water the plants when rain hasn’t providing enough moisture. The members know full well that a garden’s work is never done, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. 
One of the highlights of their work is the Children’s Garden which is open to any and all children (under the supervision of an adult) in the area, not just those in Foundation Square.  In this garden, the committee members plant a variety of vegetables including carrots, peas, tomatoes, eggplants, and cucumbers to be enjoyed by the children and whoever else happens by and enjoys fresh produce.  The plantings vary and are often changed to give the children a wider exposure to what nature has to offer.  In the past, sweet corn, sunflowers, okra, and even an artichoke have been planted.  It turns out, not only have some of the children never seen some of these plants grow, but a lot of the adults have not seen how these plants grow either.  It gives committee members great joy to see a three year old open up a pea pod and eat the contents, often for the first time. 
The committee also plants a fall garden, sometimes with cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage, garlic and collards.  Several years ago they planted ten donated fig trees, which are still going strong with their tasty bounty, and the lesser known Paw Paw, which, interestingly, was one of George Washington’s favorites has a home here as well.   The committee members enjoy sharing this bit of history with the garden’s guests.  Some of the older residents also remember a song that goes something like “Picking up Paw Paws and putting them into a basket . . .”  Additionally, near the Children’s Garden is an herb garden, which provides a wide variety of fresh herbs for everyone in the area who wants to partake of them, perhaps for enhancing a favorite savory dish.  The members, who have selected, planted, and maintained the herbs, love to share.  The herb garden with its rock pathways, reminiscent of the one by the Bruton Parish Hall, is a hit with the small children who love to help “relocate” the rocks on occasion.  Actually, the most popular feature of the “Children’s Garden” is the rocks, and young children are often seen playing there.  Benches are provided near the garden, and parents and their little ones often rest and even have a picnic there.  One of our frequent young visitors picks mint, which his mother uses to make “mint water” for him.  Another of the young visitors, about 2 or 2 ½ years old, knows the name of every herb and can identify them easily by himself.
Some who enjoy the surroundings are those who sit and stay a spell by the vegetable garden, as well as those who arrive a bit early for an appointment at one of the ground floor businesses to take in the pageant of colors and the entrancing fragrance, or those who, while out for an evening constitutional or a walk with the dog, pause in Sullivan Square Park to admire the splendor of the Foundation Square gardens. The grounds of Foundation Square are open to the public, and all are welcome to drop by and enjoy the flowers and the foliage. 
The tireless effort and consummate dedication of the Foundation Square Landscape Committee is evident; the photos provided speak for themselves. Because of all that they have accomplished and all that I know they will continue to do to enhance our community through nature’s beauty, I am pleased and excited to nominate the Foundation Square Landscape Committee for the Arbor Day 2020 Award of Excellence.
Message from the RAB Chair, March 2020 | Chuck Stetler
Welcome Spring !  One last snow fall before the daffodils show their blooms and warm weather surfaces.  So much is happening in our community in the next couple months.
Probably the most important event is our HOA being turned over to homeowner control on April 2, 2020 at Legacy Hall  at 6 p.m. During this meeting,  members will elect five new directors to the board.  They will serve a term of approximately seven months until the next NTRA annual meeting in December 2020.
Activities this month in our community include:
1. New Town Day at William and Mary Kaplan Arena on March 7th at 1 p.m. in Person room. Many residents have supported the women’s basketball games each week. This is our way to thank the women’s team for a great and exciting season.
2. Another sensational season for the Noon Time Talks continues at Center Street Grill on March 11th at noon.  If you’re interested in space, this talk enitled "NASA’s Search For Life Beyond Earth"  is definitely for you.  Reserve your “space” soon!
3. If you haven’t heard about it yet, we’re awaiting a Little Outdoor Library to be placed outside the pool area.  You’ll be able to sit at the pool and read a “new to you” book.
4. We welcome some new people to the New Town Communication family: Max Pfannebecker as new Crier Editor and Christian Kent on the website team.
5. The Finance Committee agreed to purchase an  audio/visual system for use at our NTRA meetings and parties throughout the year.
The Transition Committee has been busy reviewing NTRA documentation, including all declarations and financial reports.  The actual transition date is scheduled for April 2, 2020.
Our annual home inspection program will begin again for all residents commencing on March 16th. Please prepare your home exterior for your inspection.  Review your self check list.
Looking forward to seeing New Town hibernating residents out on our great trails enjoying spring!
Posted on February 1, 2020 7:00 AM by Mary Cheston
Categories: General
Usually we like to feature items about New Town entertainment or events for the February Valentine season, but this year we’re branching out to share a bit of Virginia Valentine history that you may be less familiar with. After all, Valentine’s Day is the start of a long 2020 weekend, so why not explore things out of the area?
Valentines, Virginia – Did you know that there is a community called Valentines (in Brunswick County) where you can get your special valentines hand-postmarked for February 14? Other states may have their “Santa Claus,” “North Pole” or “Bethlehem”, but Virginia has Valentines. The town started a heart-shaped postmark after World War II that is still in use. So history buffs and philatelists, you have a new spot to visit – Here’s more about this unique Virginia tradition in Richmond's Style Weekly
The Valentine Museum, Richmond- Located in downtown Richmond, The Valentine is a center for exploring the extensive history of the city of Richmond. Named for sculptor Edward V. Valentine, the museum features his restored sculpture studio. The Valentine also includes a National Historic Landmark, the Wickham House, a 19th century urban mansion that preserves some of the upstairs/downstairs life of the 1800’s and a new First Freedom Center, dedicated to the history of religious freedom in Virginia. From April to October, The Valentine is the starting point for a variety of walking tours of the City of Richmond.
Valentine Puzzles in Colonial Williamsburg- In 1768 valentines appeared in print in the Virginia Gazette in the form of acrostic puzzles praising the virtues of area ladies.  Many of these women subsequently married the author of their ode. "I have sometimes observed, with great pleasure, that your paper is become the channel for lovers to celebrate their particular favorites," a Norfolk subscriber wrote.
Perhaps instead of giving roses or chocolates, some New Town poets among us would like to revitalize this practice for their special valentine this year.
Posted on February 1, 2020 7:00 AM by Lucy Painter
Categories: General, NTRA Business
A Thank You and Farewell
For the past three years, Town Crier Editor Phil Casey steered the newsletter through changes with a new website, new members, and much business to report. He served one year past his assigned term to help with transitions within the Communication Committee, but in December he resigned to pursue other interests, including more time to devote to his music.
During Phil’s time as Editor, the Town Crier was published on the New Town Residential Association website as well as in print, available to all interested in the activities and news of our community.  Much of Phil’s responsibility as Editor lay in the need to format both print and electronic editions of the newsletter, a time-consuming task that involved design skill as well as patience. 
We as members of the Communication Committee thank Phil for his dedication to the Town Crier over the past three years, for his creativity and dependability in insuring its publication for each of the eleven scheduled months each year.  We will miss him. We also thank him for his willingness to help the transition and be available to the Town Crier’s new Editor, Max Pfannebecker, who begins his term with the February 2020 issue.
And Welcome
With the departure of Phil Casey, the Communications Committee welcomes local resident Max Pfannebecker as our new Editor and thank him for his willingness to take on the role, especially as we go through our transition period in 2020.
Max attended the University of Wisconsin – River Falls where he majored in English Education and Journalism. He comes to Virginia through his work with Sysco Foods where he now serves as District Sales Manager for Sysco for Williamsburg and the surrounding areas.
A resident of Chelsea Green since 2018, Max is also President and founder of Triangle Skateboard Alliance, a nonprofit organized in 2017 to support skateboarding in central and coastal Virginia with the mission to increase the number of skate parks in the area as well as to serve the local communities in raising funds for projects such as providing food and school supplies for families in need.  The Williamsburg Community foundation recently awarded the Alliance a grant to support youth sports and summer camps in the area this summer.
In his “spare” time, Max enjoys painting, sculpting and woodworking as well as fishing and kayaking in the area waterways.  New Town is his home, and he looks forward to being involved in the growing number of activities and events here in the community we share.
The Communications Committee also welcomes two new members: Patti Vaticano and Christian Kent. You may run into Patti if you visit Edgeworth Park in our neighborhood where she greets visitors when she is not writing articles for the Town Crier. Christian brings to the committee much experience with social media and will be working toward enhancing our presence on Facebook and on the website.
With new members and old, we begin 2020 with many changes and much to do.  We thank you as residents for your past support and look forward to hearing from you in this new year.
Lucy Painter, Committee Chair
Posted on December 1, 2019 7:00 AM by Town Crier Staff
Categories: General
Message from the Chair of the RAB.
The holiday season is in full swing.  We’ve just finished a Thanksgiving food fest and now it’s time for shopping, football games, more food, and enjoying the company of friends and family.   
 It is party time here in New Town at Legacy Hall on Friday, December 13th from 6:00PM till 9:30PM.    So gather up your family and join your neighbors for a night of fun and good food at our annual holiday party.
Mark your calendar also for the annual NTRA meeting on December 5 that Legacy Hall, starting at 6:00PM.
There was a budget town Hall meeting on November 21st at Legacy Hall.  It was well attended by residents from all communities within New Town. Good questions were asked of the committee and subsequently generated more in-depth questions to be answered.
Planning for the transition from developer to homeowner control has been in the works for several months.  A transition committee will be named shortly to continue the planning so all runs smoothly before and after the turnover.
A quick reminder that there is a new company taking care of the processing of your quarterly dues payment. Alliance Bank will now be in charge instead of BB&T starting January 1, 2020.  No change in anything else as far as payment procedure.
Happy Holidays to all.
NTRA Committee Volunteers; 3 Peoples’ Stories  
By Kathy Mullins
Have you ever wanted to question a homeowner policy, suggest a different way to solve a community problem, or start a new club or activity?  Do you have a talent or skill or passion that might benefit the overall community, particularly in the time of transition? 
If you are a member of a Home Owner Association-governed community, like ours in New Town, the best way to make your voice heard is to serve on the HOA committee.  The NTRA  (New Town Residential Association)  is composed of holders of deeds to homes or property in its now seven neighborhoods (for example, Chelsea Green, Savannah Square, or Shirley Park).  
Note: This article does not include the second Association concerned with property in New Town, the NTCA (New Town Commercial Association) which is comprised of properties housing businesses, eateries, offices and residential apartments and condominiums in the Bennington and Foundation Square buildings as well as the apartments above certain commercial enterprises.
If you own a home or property in New Town’s residential neighborhoods you are a member of the New Town Residential Association (NTRA).  This Association, formed by the Board of Directors (BOD), was incorporated in 2004. The BOD establishes Rules and Regulations that govern the use and maintenance of property and dwellings within the community and each NTRA member vows to comply with them.  The BOD also creates committees comprised of NTRA members to implement various aspects of managing community life.  BOD also establishes a means for Association Members to volunteer their own services and/or recommend other NTRA members they deem qualified. 
And this is where you come in. 
Becoming involved in NTRA involves asking yourself two basic questions:  why should you volunteer your time and talent; and, how can you get a foot in the NTRA door?   
Everyone has something to contribute. At the very least you can help maintain a desirable community. That requires support from all members: financially (paying fees and assessments on time and complying with home maintenance regulations); and, socially (adhering to NTRA rules and regulations, volunteering time and talent for the benefit of all, and supporting community activities that sustain a pleasurable lifestyle).
 The NTRA not only seeks broad-based representation from all its neighborhoods on its committees.  It also advocates regular turnover of committee members so ideas and issues from all areas can be considered. 
Some residents may think that work responsibilities, family obligations, or desiring the freedom to travel at will, relieves them of any obligation to serve for a term or two. They may imagine that others will step up to serve. 
Three NTRA members share some thoughts about their own volunteer experiences.
Louisa Johnson lives on Lydia’s Drive with her husband, works as a school nurse and has found time to work on several committees since moving here.  “If everyone assumed that others would volunteer, there would be no committee members at all,” she says. “The time commitment is fairly low, so even people who work can be involved.” 
The Community Pool first opened in late August, 2012.  Louisa mentioned some concerns about the pool facilities to a neighbor who suggested that she get involved with the pool committee (no longer a separate group).  
“I joined that committee because I wanted to contribute to creating solutions for pool issues.  We were responsible then for reviewing the pool maintenance contract and making sure the property management company followed up on routine maintenance and issues. Due to my pool work, I was asked to work on the Emergency Preparedness Committee and the Asset Maintenance Committee. I still enjoy serving on both committees and what I really like to see is results.”
Louisa advises anyone owning property in NTRA’s neighborhoods to volunteer.  “Then you will have some say about your neighborhood governance, the look and feel of the community, the facilities being safe and in working order, other neighbors adhering to the NTRA covenants which all the owners agree to when they buy the house.  It’s the best way to fix things and to keep what you love about your neighborhood.”
Soon after Angela Lesnett and her husband moved into their Village Walk townhome she started reading the minutes of the RAB (Residential Advisory Board) and attending some of their meetings.  She was curious about the financials.  “I wanted to be sure that New Town was on a firm financial footing,” she said.  Her curiosity continued.  Eventually Angela expressed an interest in getting involved with the RAB. Today she serves on the RAB, the Finance Committee and is the RAB liaison to the Architectural Review Committee. 
“This is a community of nearly 500 households. The proposed NTRA budget for 2020 is just over $800,000. I want to know how that money will be spent and see that the community is planning well for what the future may bring,” she says.  “While I am not practicing as a lawyer now, I worked as a tax lawyer for many years and have experience dealing with financial spreadsheets. I believe I bring value to the committee.” 
Committee work is not only interesting, Angela has found, “It’s fun!  There’s a social aspect to it. You get to know the other committee members. Then if you run into one of them in another setting they usually introduce you to people in that group. Before long you know quite a few individuals in New Town. It has surprised me to see how quickly these social networks grow” she says.
Though her daughter’s family lived in New Kent County, Sherry Campbell did not know anyone in New Town in 2013 when she moved into a townhouse on Casey Boulevard. But, she wanted to feel at home in this new community.   
She found there are many ways to get involved. Official Committees, such as the ARC (Architectural Review Board) or the Finance Committee are established by the BOD. In addition there are book clubs, athletic groups, lunch lectures and numerous ongoing activities that need help with organization, communication and other arrangements.
Getting involved with the new Activities Committee was Sherry’s vehicle for meeting people and putting down roots in the community. “Our committee members had to work together to figure out how to meet the needs of varied residential groups— young families with school-age children, military households, retirees and young adults.  By trying different types of events and analyzing feedback, we gradually learned what residents preferred, what type of food to offer, how much help was needed. I was fortunate to get to know so many nice people,” she recalled.
Later she offered to coordinate the Walking Club.  “That took me out into the Williamsburg region looking for suitable trails and excursion sites for our group. On the walks I came in contact with many different people.  We had a lot of fun and learned so much about our physical surroundings in the process. Joining a book club introduced me to yet another group of new and interesting residents. 
The community needs and benefits from all of the committee work.  Facility and asset management helps maintain a sound financial position, which elevates resale home value.  Social activity contributes to more pleasurable daily living and the promotion of events in New Town makes the area more attractive to buyers.
Home value is affected by the impression the community makes when prospective buyers visit.  Pride of ownership is apparent.  Daily life is also enhanced when common areas are maintained, activities are planned and there are opportunities to gather together. Serving on committees is good training for taking on more extensive community leadership later.
“I think every homeowner cares about how New Town looks,” Sherry says. “There’s plenty of conversation when our walking club hikes around New Town. There are always positive comments when we pass freshly-painted homes or spot attractive landscaping.   We own our own homes, but also want to have a sense of pride in “our” overall community.  And, that’s a big factor in keeping up resale values.” 
Angela Lesnett has a suggestion for anyone debating about volunteering for committee work : try a limited volunteer engagement.  “If a committee or activity catches your interest, sign on for a trial run. Start with a small commitment.  Attend a committee meeting.  Offer to write one article for the Crier. Help with set up for a community event.  Explore a club that interests you.  You will find something that’s a good fit for your talents,” she says.
Or, she says, “you could try the Nike option -- Just Do It!” 
2020 will be a momentous year for New Town residents. In April, control of the governing Board will turn over from the Developer to the homeowners. We thought it was fitting to recap where things stand in preparation for this transition. In addition to the Board and RAB discussions, the key preparatory actions completed to date include:
·      Reserve study 
·      Establishment of a Transition Committee
Reserve Study
The financial reserve study was completed in September by the firm Miller Dodson. The study is designed to help the Association anticipate and prepare for major repair and replacement projects. As reported at the recent budget meeting, the report recommended increasing the funds set aside for reserves.
Transition Committee
In June 2019, the current Board of Directors authorized a Transition Committee to ensure that an independent group of homeowners conduct a due diligence review of NTRA’s records and advise the Board on transition. The members of this committee include both current RAB members and other residents, with Chuck Stetler serving as Chair. 
The Board expects the Committee to review existing NTRA declarations, policies and procedures, financial records, deeds, insurance coverage and vendor contracts, among others. The Committee will also “have a designated member present during any future final inspections related to the Common Area.” Meetings of the Transition Committee will be advertised so that residents may attend. 
Once the turnover meeting is held in April, the more intensive work for homeowners begins. Within 90 days thereafter, elections for a new Board will be held. Legal work will be required to make modifications and draft new NTRA documents as needed. The RAB will no longer operate and decisions about existing Committees will switch to the new Board. 
All New Town homeowners should be engaged in the transition process and prepared to make the Association aware of changes you would like to see. As the experts say, “What happens today sets the stage for tomorrow’s success.”
NTRA Asset Maintenance Committee
 Do you have something to say about the exterior maintenance issues you observe as you walk or drive around the neighborhood?  Do issues like peeling and fading paint, exterior mold and missing or broken shutters, gutters or flashing make you think the neighborhood just doesn’t look like the first-class community you thought it was?  
Then the Asset Maintenance Committee (AMC) is for you. We have members who will be getting ready to rotate off next year and the year after so the AMC is looking for new members.  
The AMC is dedicated to maintaining the FIRST-CLASS COMMUNITY home exteriors in New Town.  Our job is to review the professional inspector’s assessments, communicate with the homeowners working through the process of resolving maintenance issues, and bring maintenance issues to resolution while collaborating with the property manager and the Board of Directors.  
The AMC is a very important part of what attracts homeowners to want to purchase a home in New Town.  Everyone wants to live in a neighborhood that looks great!
We meet approximately quarterly, and our meetings usually last about an hour.  This is a great committee to serve on if you enjoy the satisfaction of getting things accomplished. Contact Dave Holtgrieve, chair, at, for further information or interest.
New Town’s Emergency Preparedness Committee
If you have lived in eastern Virginia for years or even months, you know we are not immune to disasters and emergencies including power outages and flooding. Our weather is unpredictable and often dangerous. High winds, heavy snow and rain may affect our area, often without much warning. These are the times when our Emergency Preparedness Committee goes to work.
Under its Charter established in May, 2016, this committee coordinates safety plans to residents in incidences of dangerous weather, civil emergency or any disaster in the area.  During these times, the committee members are in immediate contact with the James City County Police Department for further information. They report to residents on the nature of the emergency and plans for safety, including evacuation if necessary, through e-blasts.  They also have access to the HOA-owned trauma backpack stored in the pool building, a valuable first-aid kit.
Under the leadership of Chair Tom Nichols, the committee has grown to nine members, including seven who are CERT trained (Community Emergency Response Team). CERT is a 20-hour nationwide course that trains volunteers in disaster response skills.  Teams of First Responders and other qualified trainers serve as instructors for this rigorous course. In addition, three members are licensed operators for ham radio, a crucial part of communication in case of loss of electrical power and cell towers.   
As winter approaches and storms may threaten, feel secure knowing that the dedicated members of this team are working to ensure your safety through communication and response. Keep alert and stay safe.
Emergency Preparedness Committee –Tom Nichols, Chairman
The Holidays Are Here
We all look forward to the Holiday Season to be with families and friends.  We will be attending Parties, Dinners, Local Events plus seeing the Decorations in New Town and on Duke of Gloucester street in Williamsburg. We have been fortunate that we have had no disasters in our area that affected New Town this year. Even with no area disasters, we need to be prepared for personal disasters.
Weather and Personal Disasters
We have just entered the Freeze Season with ice, snow and freezing pipes (as some can attest with freezing back flow piping). We need to pay attention to things that could lead to Personal Disasters and try to prevent them: Home Fires, Falls on Ice (home steps, walkways, parking lots), vehicle accidents on ice and snow covered roads, break-ins at home and in your car, and theft of a wallet or purse plus Robberies. 
Staying Safe- These are some of the ideas to help you enjoy the Holidays and prevent Personal Disasters:
Fire- Cooking- stay with Food being Cooked. Do not leave items on a stove that will burn (boxes, candles, papers). Do not wear loose clothing while cooking to prevent the danger of clothing catching on fire. 
Candles-Control use of candles. Know where they are burning, keep away from Children/curtains/combustibles and pets, use only in one room at a time which you monitor.
Electric Wiring- Keep all decorating wiring, tree lights and power strips maintained (throw out questionable items) do not overload a circuit. Do not run wires under a rug. Do not use extension cords with Portable heaters (cord could overheat)
Fireplaces- Please cut it off if not being used, keep it maintained (have checked yearly), keep combustibles away from them like live Christmas trees. Make certain that your home has functioning Carbon Monoxide Detectors (one each floor)
Christmas trees- Real trees can catch fire easily and burn out a room in 2 minutes or less, keep trees fresh, watered, and when getting brittle or browning, Throw them away. NOTE: if a tree catches fire, CALL the Fire Department, use a proper ABC fire extinguisher on it if YOU KNOW how and at the start of a fire. A real tree can burn up in 45 seconds; Artificial trees burn slower.
Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors- change batteries yearly and test every month. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors should be REPLACED every 10 years since they lose sensitivity and could be slow in sounding an ALARM which could be deadly.
Falls on Ice- keep walks clear of snow, use ice melt on sidewalks/steps (only use ice melt that will not damage concrete or wood steps), use Kitty Litter or Sand on steps as a back-up (does make a mess). Wear winter boots/shoes.
Driving-Review Winter Driving Safety. Keep Kitty litter or sand in the car to use to help you get un-stuck from ice/packed snow, have a small shovel on hand in your car. Have your CELL PHONE available, DO NOT TALK ON CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING. 
Break-ins- Keep doors locked (use dead bolt locks, have pins in windows, keep curtains and shades drawn at night, keep porch lights on as needed. Do not open a front door to a stranger
Car thefts and personal theft- Keep packages covered in a visible trunk of a SUV or back seat. Park and walk in lighted areas where you feel safe, if you sense danger, stay away. Use purses with a long strap around your body to prevent a purse snatch, use caution with wallets when you visit in crowed areas (put wallet in a safe zippered area of a coat or in the front pocket of your slacks). Stop mail and papers if away.
NTRA Previews 2020 Budget for Residents
Rick Fisher, Chair of the NTRA’s Finance Committee, briefed residents on November 21 at an open meeting about the 2020 budget.  A 25-page handout with the details was distributed.  Residents can submit written questions by November 26 to Tim Grueter at Town Management (  The Committee’s expectation is that at the NTRA’s Annual Meeting, the budget will be accepted as approved.  Some key points follow.
The NTRA Finance Committee is composed of five New Town residents drawn from several neighborhoods.  There are no members other than residents.  Tim Grueter works with the Committee as the Town Management representative.
The Committee followed a documented process to identify requirements, forecast their costs and communicate their recommendations.  They have been working the process since August 20, 2019.
NTRA expenses include both “per door” requirements, which increase as New Town adds residences, and operating expenses, such as legal services and pool maintenance.
Landscaping services is the major “per door” expense.  It accounts for 43% of the NTRA budget.  The cost of landscaping services is set by contract.  The Committee has budgeted a $42K increase for 2020.  The Landscape Advisory Committee requested an additional $12K which is aimed primarily at refreshing the landscaping in a mature common area of Chelsea Green.   An additional $4K has been budgeted for legal support to help with the transition of the Board of Directors to resident control.  The NTRA will use our current lawyer who specializes in HOAs and is recognized in Virginia as one of the best.
The Committee’s recommended budget keeps a sharp watch on reserves.  The objective is that reserves build consistently over the years so that if an unplanned capital cost suddenly appears, the HOA can afford the work without a special assessment on residents.  An engineering firm has studied New Town’s assets and provided a recommended annual contribution to replacement reserves.  NTRA will meet its 2019 reserve goal and, if adopted, the 2020 budget will maintain it.
The total 2020 budget is $808,540, which is $110K above 2019.  Of that total, $69K are “per door” costs and therefore do not affect fees.  Operational expenses are basically static and so likewise do not affect 2020 fees.  HOA fees will need to rise to meet the recommended replacement reserve objective.
The budget reflects different costs and fees for Village Walk since exterior maintenance of individual homes (e.g., painting, roofing) is part of their homeowners’ agreement.
NTRA will maintain its fee structure, divided among cottages, detached homes and town homes.  Fees are budgeted to rise annually for each, respectively:  $44, $96, $52.  Village Walk town homes will have an additional $40 annual increase to cover their exterior maintenance.
Posted on November 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Town Crier Staff
Categories: General
Halloween  …. A scaredy and fun time for all the youngsters and the young at heart.  The unseasonably warm weather made it possible to show off great costumes… to get ready for the coming holidays!
Many residents have made plans to travel for Thanksgiving.  Let's hope everyone gets a chance to visit with loved ones, either here in New Town or some distant point.  It's important to keep in touch with friends and relatives, especially during the holiday season.   It's a time for reminding yourselves to relax, have some fun, and enjoy the holiday gatherings.
The Finance committee continues its work on the 2020 budget.  Members are hoping to explain and review the proposed budget at a meeting at Legacy Hall, November 21, 2019 beginning at 6:30 p.m.  The budget meeting was successful last year in explaining where your money is going, so we're trying for a repeat.
The NTRA is in the process of changing banks for the collection of HOA quarterly dues. Quarterly payments will now be made to Alliance Association.  Please see the article by David Burket on the website.  Also be aware there will be an eblast from Town Management with information on your HOA dues payment for the year 2020.
The activities committee is enthusiastically working on the Annual Holiday party, being held on Friday, December 13, 2019 at Legacy Hall.  Watch for eblast with the particulars as the date approaches.  This is always the best attended of all our activities.  What a great time to wish your neighbors a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. 
There will also be our annual NTRA meeting at Legacy Hall on December 5th starting at 6:30 p.m.  There will be reports from all committees.  Again, all the committees will be looking for recruits for their individual committees.  There have been many residents who have retired their duties this year… please think about serving on a committee….we need friendly, dedicated people to continue the work started by previous members.  
Happy Holiday season to all!!!!
NTRA To Change Banks For HOA Dues Collection
Beginning January 1, 2020, the NTRA will be using a different banking firm for the collection of our homeowner dues.  The new banking entity is Alliance Association Bank with its home office in Chandler, Arizona.  Their business focuses on homeowner associations and is backed by the national strength of Western Alliance Bankcorporation.
This change from BB&T to Alliance will be of financial benefit to the NTRA in that there are no service fees applied on our deposits and they will pay interest on monies in the checking account.  It should be noted the NTRA currently has a long-term Certificate of Deposit (CD) with Alliance Association Bank.
The NTRA will be providing more information to our homeowners on this change prior to January 1, 2020.  
NTRA Finance Committee
The Finance Committee is currently staffed as follows: Chairman Rick Fisher, Vice Chair Chuck Stetler, Secretary Jim Carey, and members Everett Lunsford and Angela Lesnett.
The responsibilities of the Committee include:
·     Monitor monthly/quarterly financial reports and investigate significant variances to Budget. Advise Board of Directors
·     Work with the Managing Agent (Town Management) in preparing the NTRA Annual Budget.
·     Conduct an Annual Budget Meeting focused on presenting a detailed review of the Budget to homeowners.
·     Work with the Managing Agent to ensure responsible management of financial assets in accordance with accepted financial practices.
·     Review Replacement Reserve Study and ensure that its guidance is reflected in the Annual Budget
·     Advise the Board of Directors in all financial areas
·     Conduct studies as directed by the Board of Directors
·     Act solely for the benefit of the New Town Residential Association (NTRA)
To learn more, be aware that the ANNUAL TOWN HALL BUDGET MEETING will be on held on November 21st from 6:30 - 8:00PM in Legacy Hall.  The Preliminary 2020 NTRA Budget will be presented to Homeowners. Homeowners are encouraged to attend to ensure that all of their questions are answered.
NTRA Activities Committee
Your NTRA Activities has planned another great Holiday Party this year.  So, mark your calendars for FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13th, 6:00-9:00 at LEGACY HALL! This is just one of the many fun events which the Activities Committee enjoys putting together each year for our residents:  Noon Talks at Center Street Grill, Kentucky Derby parties, summer parties at the pool, the Holiday party and more. 
Over the years, the committee has experimented with various activities and is always looking for new ideas to include more families and other residents while being mindful of cost efficiencies.  
The “AC” consists of seven voting members plus other interested residents and meets once a month for about an hour.  The meetings are fun and putting together the events for you is rewarding.  Voting and non-voting members of the committee over this last year have included Tracy Acompara, Karen and Richard Durst, Gloria Engelberger, Bill Haas, Mike Reilly (our leader), Eileen Reilly, Susan Schlimme, Phyllis Sizoo, and Tim Weidman (RAB).
Each year there is opportunity to join the committee as some members move on. So, please come and join us.  Just call Mike Reilly (843 450-5665) or Tim Weidman (757 564-1818) for more information.
NTRA Communications Committee
The Communications Committee carries on the work of informing residents of events, activities, and policies that affect residents of New Town, including information on landscaping schedules, new neighbors and businesses, emergency preparedness, and social events. Working with members of other committees such as Activities and Landscaping, the members of Communication provide an outlet for news and special features of interest to residents provides information by way of a monthly online newsletter, the Town Crier.
The Town Crier has been available online since its beginnings but in a formal newsletter format.  As of mid-2019, that format has changed to individually posted online articles easily available to residents on the NTRA website.  Here a reader may also find a resident directory, an archive of past issues and timely posts. Featured in each release of articles is a file (absent pictures) that enables readers to print out the whole newsletter if they prefer.
Currently the Communications Committee is staffed with six members:  Mary Cheston, Kathy Mullins, Beckie Roberts, June Dawkins, editor Phil Casey and chair Lucy Painter. Dave Burket serves as RAB Liaison. As we enter 2020, this committee will need new volunteers, including those who love to edit, to talk with neighbors and new business owners, to write, and to work with the technology involved in publishing online. If you are interested, please contact Lucy Painter at 941 323-7037.
How to Contact a Committee
Have a question for the Landscape Advisory Committee or want to suggest an event for the Activities Committee?  Can you volunteer to serve on or even provide specific help to one of our committees? There’s an easy way to reach us through the NTRA website.
·      Use the “Report an Issue” feature under the Residents tab on the NTRA website (see screen shot below). 
·      Select the drop down title closest to your interest. 
·      Then let us know what you are thinking.
The website software provides the fastest way to reach appropriate NTRA personnel and allows us to track how your concern is addressed. You can check back later to see how your comment was handled.
Remember, this website feature is not limited to reporting something wrong to NTRA management. We’d love your suggestions and ideas as well!
Shirley Park
You may have noticed the feminine theme for many of the streets and parks in our community. The final section of New Town continues this trend with Shirley Park, but just who was Shirley?
Shirley (Wong Kit Mui*) Quan was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and immigrated to Canada as a young bride at the age of 20.  First and foremost, she was a wife and young mother but her independence led her to venture into the hospitality and culinary industry. When her husband, William, opened his first restaurant, the Golden Eagle Restaurant in Calgary, Alberta, she would, in its infancy, aid in all facets despite working full-time and maintaining a household.  She loved gardening, her daily walks and spending time outdoors, especially in and around Banff and Lake Louise. She also enjoyed being hostess to large gatherings of family and friends and would whip up 8 course meals like it was a breeze. She loved a good conversation and good debate about worldly politics. Above all, she was most proud of being a wife, mother and doting grandmother. According to her granddaughter, Samantha Forsyth, Shirley set an example as a business leader – she encouraged her three daughters (and grandchildren, two being granddaughters) at an early age to be independent, strong and confident.  She also urged them to pursue their dreams and to never have to fully rely on a spouse.
Shirley was also the beloved mother-in-law of one of the developers of New Town. Samantha’s father, Jody, and New Town developer Mike Youngblood have become the best of friends and business partners as Mike continues to develop residential phases in New Town, including Shirley Park. Although Shirley was unable to visit New Town, the progress of this venture was part of her family’s daily conversations.  When the developers were looking for a strong female presence to memorialize in New Town, honoring Shirley seemed like a good fit.  Shirley passed away in 2017 before groundbreaking for the new section occurred. “She would have loved it here,” said Samantha.
*in Chinese culture, surname appears first
There are probably very few people who are as enthusiastic about Williamsburg and all it has to offer than Samantha Forsyth. Samantha is a resident of the Federal Towns townhomes here in New Town and an attorney in the New Town offices of Kaufman & Canoles.
Samantha first visited Williamsburg the summer after 5th grade as part of a camping trip with her parents. The Forsyths were traveling from Calgary, Canada and exploring historical sites across the United States, and came to Colonial Williamsburg after visiting Gettysburg. Williamsburg became a vacation spot for many future summers allowing the family to absorb the historic atmosphere in combination with, of course, Busch Gardens. Samantha’s parents eventually bought property in New Town and then Governor’s Land, and currently spend half of their time in the area. They developed close friendships and business relationships with the principals of Twiddy Realty, and are actively involved with William & Mary.
While their love of history drew the Forsyths to Williamsburg, Samantha found something else – a “welcoming, small and high caliber” college that became her first choice when it came time to apply to college. She attended William & Mary as an international student, graduating in 2015, and then decided to pursue a law degree. After considering several schools, Samantha “just kinda knew” that she couldn’t match the warm and engaged educational community she had found at William & Mary. So William & Mary Law School became her home for the next 3 years.
When law school was over, Samantha expected to move on and explore new places. She had enjoyed a variety of internships and work in Canada and throughout Virginia, so 7 years here seemed like plenty. Once again fate intervened and she was offered a business law position at Kaufman & Canoles, which currently offers her exposure to many different practice areas. Samantha loves her work and the benefits of Williamsburg, which is “nestled away” from urban environments, yet enjoys proximity to the beach as well as Washington, D.C.  
The biggest adjustments for this “Canadian Williamsburgite” are definitely the humidity and our political system - how American elections have become so polarized and how the government is grappling with issues that Canada resolved years ago. Samantha explained, “In Canada, I think people share the same fundamental values and want the same things – access to healthcare, a strong educational system, etc. – we may just differ on how to achieve these outcomes.”
While Samantha was a college student, her local “go to” family was the Youngbloods and McCarthys. She would frequently tease Mike Youngblood that since she was surrounded by New Town streets named after women, when would someone name a street after her? So when Roper Park was being designed, Mike Youngblood rolled out the plans for “Samantha Lane.” It was “a surprise and an honor” to be included in this development, she said. Even more so, because she shares this honor with her grandmother (see the related story on Shirley Park.)
Four Generations of Strattons
Does New Town provide sufficient living options, services and social opportunities to satisfy young and old?  Team Stratton thinks so.  Four generations of Strattons have found their way to New Town since 2011 and are happy to call it home still today.
Their story starts with John and Tara, who we will call the third generation.  John and Tara met in 2001 in DC.  At the time, John had been a native of Colorado his whole life.   Tara grew up in an Army family and had lived all over the world.  Now John was starting his career as an Air Force officer.  In 2002, while he was stationed at Langley AFB and Tara was working at GuideStar in Williamsburg, she discovered New Town in its infancy.  Seven years would pass during various assignments, but each year Tara would travel back to Williamsburg to reconnect with GuideStar colleagues and check what was new in New Town.  In 2011, the Air Force brought John back to Langley AFB.  The decision about where to live was simple; John, Tara, and the fourth generation (Jack and Lila) moved to Charlotte Park.  Tara says, “At the time, we felt like pioneers.  We  were surrounded by trees, and only 6 houses stood in all of Charlotte Park.  We loved the open space in front of our home for our young children to play.  We loved that we could walk to everything.”
Fast forward to 2017 when generation two (Brick and Barbara) were both a couple years into retirement at home in Colorado.   They had children and grandchildren in Texas and Virginia.   Barbara says, “We had not had the opportunity to cultivate the relationship with Jack and Lila that we had with our other three grandchildren in Texas, so we talked about making a move to New Town. Because both of us had never moved out of Colorado, it was both scary and exciting to consider such a big change.”  They took the leap and chose a condominium in The Bennington.
And in an even bolder move, the first generation, represented by Brick’s mother Barbaralee, also decided to leave her life-long home in Colorado and join the team forming in New Town.  She lives at Edgeworth Assisted Living where all the family members can drop by to visit with her every day.  That kind of routine that proximity makes possible is valuable to all of the family.  “We can see our grandchildren off to school in the morning at the bus stop right down the street, they can walk to visit their great-grandma, we can pick up "Mom" and meet the family at one of the local restaurants, hang out with the grandkids at Barnes and Noble, and ride the trolley into Colonial Williamsburg.”   
Each generation has quickly become embedded into social circles in New Town.  Tara says, “Another young family lived across the park from us and our children played together.  Our neighbors on either side of us moved in the same week we did, and although we were separated by nearly a generation we found quickly that these would be life long friends.”  Jack and Lila have met more friends as they grow in the community and like to hang out with them at the community pool.  Tara returned to work at GuideStar (in the SunTrust building) so her home and work communities are together.
Soon after moving to New Town, Brick and Barbara joined Ironbound Gym and the Williamsburg National Golf Club, landing in two terrific networks of friends. Barbara says, “We developed friendships within the community:  in our building, at the gym,
in Foundation Square, at Edgeworth, at Town Management and in the local businesses. Now we feel like we have a number of strong friendships in our New Town home.”
Barbaralee likes to talk with the other Edgeworth residents at meal times and enjoys the many activities that Edgeworth offers. Best of all is having family members so close that they can pop in for a visit.
People are universal in enjoying New Town as a walking neighborhood with easily accessible entertainment, restaurant, shopping, doctors, etc.   But Team Stratton is amazingly specific and voluminous in discussing what they like doing in New Town and the surrounding area.  Here is a sample:  early morning walks to get coffee at Panera on weekends; special desserts at Sweet Frog; taking the trolley into CW to go to the Farmers Market; the pool; all the activities hosted by the activities committee; Sunday Brunch at any one of the great local restaurants; Christmas Pops at the Kimball Theater; the Grand Illumination; Bingo at Edgeworth; Busch Garden events; Music in the Park this Fall at Pecan Square; William and Mary baseball; kayaking at Waller Mill; riding the Jamestown Ferry.  Wow!  But mostly what comes through in interviewing them is how much they enjoy living close to one another and being a part of each others’ daily routines and special occasions.
Tara sums it up this way: “Even though we move where the Air Force sends us, we always come back to New Town - every year. And when John’s Air Force career comes to a close, New Town is where we intend to stay. We, and our children, love each trip back.  We have unique perspective.  When you step away from New Town and come back you see all the good; how things have grown and well things have been maintained.  We are always excited to come ‘home’.”  In fact, at this particular time, John, Tara, and their children (third/fourth generations) are stationed at RAF Lakenheath, England and look forward to returning home to New Town.
·      The next American Red Cross blood drive will occur December 26th on New Town Avenue.  No times available yet. 
·      Christmas Carol-oke and Cocoa will happen in front of the Regal movie theater the first three Friday’s of December (5:30-7:30PM) this year with Fat Cat Productions. 
·      Remember:  before starting any digging project you should contact Miss Utility to begin the process of getting utility lines marked. All the info you need is at
Posted on November 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Town Crier Staff
Categories: General
·      The next American Red Cross blood drive will occur December 26th on New Town Avenue.  No times available yet. 
·      Christmas Carol-oke and Cocoa will happen in front of the Regal movie theater the first three Friday’s of December (5:30-7:30PM) this year with Fat Cat Productions. 
·      Remember:  before starting any digging project you should contact Miss Utility to begin the process of getting utility lines marked. All the info you need is at
Posted on October 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Town Crier Staff
Categories: General
Autumn is here.   Halloween approaching…….then why does it still feel like summer ???
This has been a long hot summer with not much sign of the heat disappearing. Guess we just have to think “cool”….
September has ended with our annual “Octoberfest” at Paul's Deli on the 29th. Starting at 4 PM, a nice crowd of friends and neighbors gathered for food, music, and of course, some German libations.  Nice way to kick off the fall holiday season.
The Finance Committee has been busy working on the 2020 budget.  A Town Hall meeting has been scheduled for November 21st at Legacy Hall to discuss the proposed new budget.  An eblast will be sent out to residents reminding you about the importance of your attending.
The new website has 495 people registered.  We sent out a postcard to all residents who were not registered. There's lots of great information on the website…good way to keep track of what's happening in New Town.
Update on the recycle trash program.  The contract states that you must call JCC to opt out of the recycle part of the contract and ask to have the recycle bin picked up. Also, if your old recycle bin wasn't picked up, please call 757-253-6700 (JCC).
Save the date…..Friday, December 13, 2019 …… the annual Holiday Party at Legacy Hall.   The Activities Committee is working on making this your special party to attend during the holiday season.
Lastly, reminders were sent out to residents about repairing all items noted on the home exterior maintenance inspection notices.  Violation notices will be sent to residents not in compliance after a period of time.  Our community is looking great.  We strive to continue looking that way. Thanks to all residents for their continued support.
Much of the landscape preparation for next year’s growth has already been executed:
Mowing height has been lowered
The ground has been aerated
Lawns have been over seeded
No doubt you have seen plugs of sod left from the aeration process and wondered where the lumps of clay came from. Besides promoting grass growth, this may help some lawns drain better.
There is still work to done in 2019:
Pruning will start around October 28   
An application of winter weed killer will be done in December, but the exact dates depend on the weather.
Reporter Alexa Doiron of the WYDaily calls it, “A new business . . . to help children’s creativity bloom.” I think too that it’s a magical place for kids of all ages where intellect and imagination develop, create, and party! It’s Kidz N Art, an amazing new art studio for all ages with a focus on pre-school through middle school age children.
You’ll find the studio at 4345 New Town Avenue, Suite 107B right behind Paul’s Deli and Restaurant. It opened this past June, just in time for summer vacation. Shaunda Armstrong, founder and owner of Kidz N Art explains that the goal of the studio “is to develop out of the box thinkers and leaders who thrive on innovation and problem solving.” This is not your ordinary art studio; it’s extraordinary.
When you arrive, look at the beautifully decorated windows that showcase artists’ work. Gaze through the glass door. Go inside. Wonderful colors are everywhere. Colors that pump one’s spirit, tempt one’s thinking processes, and entice one’s creativity. You’ll find a great open studio for all ages to work on artistic creations in all mediums. There is a “creative space” for working in groups on school projects from poetry to story development and more. There is even a mini library for support. The studio provides the Girl Scout curriculum to complete the drawing badge and they offer fundraisers and birthday parties.
Shaunda also highlights the hands-on programs, such as the Young Business Visionaries program, which teaches children business skills and promotes the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity. There are “Sip Juice and Paint” groups that, incorporate painting with reading, math, and other subjects to support the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum.
A mural of Van Gogh’s Starry Night is the backdrop for the open studios where easels line up at attention to serve eager young artists. Kidz N Art offers Little Painters classes for children 2-7 years. The cost of a class or session includes all materials too.
Check out the Kidz N Art website if you looking for something to do as a family? You can visit an exclusive open studio. The site promises that, “... Creative assistants will also assist in color mixing and answer any questions you may have.” It goes on to say that if “you are looking for something more in depth or a one-on-one lesson, please ask about private art lessons. Children over the age of 13 may be dropped off without a parent in the studio and adults without accompanying children are also welcome anytime.”
You will find a sense of welcome and purpose throughout the studio. Splashes of brilliant color foreshadow the wonderful activities, things to be learned and friendships to make that await everyone at Kidz N Art. This is definitely a valuable addition to New Town!
The New Town Commercial Association inaugurated another fun social event this month:  Wednesday evening concerts in Pecan Square (at the corner of Discovery and Ironbound Road).
Johnny St. Clair kicked off the series on September 18 with an easy going program that put the emphasis on old school country tunes.  The weather was perfect for an evening of music and many New Town residents were in the audience.  Johnny performed solo but he provides his own bass accompaniment for his guitar using pedals as an organist would.  There is a lot happening in a Johnny St. Clair live performance but he makes it all sound super smooth.
On September 25, Jocelyn Oldham performed.  As she sang Van Morrison’s “Moondance”, with its lyric about October skies, it perfectly suited another beautiful outdoor evening in the neighborhood.  Her set included covers of such artists as Sheryl Crow, Leonard Cohen and John Prine.
If you missed these two shows, do not fret!  There are two more announced concerts in the series for 2019.  Bring a lawn chair or blanket and come out for a couple hours of live entertainment under the magic of October skies.  New Town entrepreneur and guitarist Scott Wise will appear on October 2 and the dual guitar line up of StonesThrow takes the stage on October 9.  Concerts are 5:30 to 7:30PM.
Special thanks to The Local Scoop and Next Door Neighbor Magazine for making these concerts possible.
New Town residents are busy people with work and families, yet many find time for a hobby. Now that the weather is cooling off, maybe it's time to get out the bicycle that has been sitting in your garage and join some of your neighbors in a hobby that many enjoy.   
One avid biker is Bill Haas of Charlotte Park.  Bill road bikes recreationally with his family but also seriously with groups organized by Conte's Bike Shop located here in New Town.  Conte's publishes ride schedules online, and its employees are always willing to talk with you whether you are a long-time biker or new.  The shop also organizes mountain bike rides, some along a trail with access across from Opus/Panera that opens onto a vast system for mountain bike riding. It is at Panera on Saturday mornings that as many as 11 bikers meet at the end of their ride, neighbors who are happy to talk with you about their experiences.
We are fortunate to live in James City County with its many trails for bikers of all levels.  Rider Tom Carter, a mountain biker, uses trails at Freedom Park at the end of Centerville Road and York River State Park.  Both have wider, flatter trails good for beginners as well as single track (narrow) mountain biking trails.  These are more challenging with changes in slope, twisty turns, root obstacles, and narrow gaps between trees.  Riding here requires that you have the right bike for the terrain.
Area bikers also have access to Virginia's Capital Trail, a favorite ride of Tom's. It begins next to the parking lot at Jamestown Settlement and ends about 50 miles later at Shockoe Bottom in Richmond although no rider has to go the entire distance. The trail is wide, flat, and off road to avoid cars. Benches along the way offer rest.
No matter whether you tackle the Capital Trail or enjoy our neighborhood streets, the object, as Tom says, is to "have fun."
As you know, much of what goes on in New Town does so because of dedicated volunteers who work on different committees to keep our community running smoothly.  With this issue, we begin a look at these different groups that impact our everyday lives.
Do you go to pool parties, talk with neighbors at the December Holiday parties, learn about happenings outside of our area at Noon Talks?  Thank the Activities Committee. Do you know what to do in an emergency, how to prepare, where to go in case of evacuation?  Thank the Emergency Preparedness Committee. Are you reading this article online? Thank the Communication Committee.
These are only three of the seven committees that operate here. To let you know what each does and how it functions, we begin a series of articles highlighting their work and, in some cases, how you may get involved.
We begin with two committees that currently do not require volunteers - the Architectural Review (ARC) and the Transition Committees. The Board of Directors appoints these members, unlike other committee volunteers.
According to the ARC Charter, the "ARC is empowered to provide for efficient review, approval, or disapproval of all plans submitted by Owners within the Association for additions to or alterations of the exterior appearance of completed structures of a property itself."  Vice Chair Libby Flowers explains that such changes are permanent alterations to the exterior of a home such as addition of fencing, storm doors, satellite dishes, solar panels, patios and decks, and change in exterior paint colors.
Once the ARC receives an application, its members visit the site of the proposal to see how that change would affect the neighborhood.  Traditionally the ARC members have worked to maintain the appearance of our community, the orderly and maintained sense of place it now has.
Another important committee that impacts our community's future is the Transition Committee, now in process of completing its Charter.  In response to our request for information, Rick Fisher provided the following:
The Board of Directors (BOD), at the June 2019 meeting, directed that a Transition Committee be formed to ensure that a due diligence review is performed by an independent group of homeowners prior to the Transition from the Developer.  The Transition Committee will have an approved Charter and membership.  The Charter will become a self-explanatory document that will be shared with all homeowners and will outline specific tasks that will be accomplished by assigned Committee members.
During this process, there are many categories of work planned that cover our community from its fiscal to its physical health. Some categories included are review of documents, existing policies and procedures, nomination and election processes, insurance coverage and vendor contracts. More details of the scope of this committee will be available as the Charter is approved.
In future issues of Town Crier, look for more information on what is happening around you and how you may want to get involved.  (Editor’s Note:  After three years as editor, I solicit a volunteer to replace me.  Please send me a note to
Our pool is buttoned up until the 2020 opening, but 2019 was a successful season.  Attendance was steady from the year before and never became a problem.  The biggest crowds during the year were in fact during the NTRA sponsored pool party events for which attendance was estimated at 150.  This was the second year that we kept the pool opened for use during extra weekends in September.  The weather was good each weekend, unlike 2018, so we got a better idea of use.
The year end maintenance went smoothly with no major investments or maintenance actions known to be required to open in 2020.  Town Management will investigate costs for painting the “mushroom” fountain and for design modifications to the gazebo to prevent water capture and wood rot.
The furniture we bought to begin 2019 was integrated with existing furniture and will continue to be cycled through as indicated by wear.  To date, the new furniture is wearing well and the extra umbrellas provided welcomed shade throughout the season.
It was a quiet year regarding pool policies and rules.  No new rules were identified for consideration.  In fact, the only issue identified by residents to Town Management during the season was about the temperature of water coming from the newly installed drinking water fountain.  Speaking of that, we saved about 450 plastic water bottles via the new feature for filling reusable containers.
New plants were added around the pool border in 2019.  It turned out that the hydrangeas we used could not tolerate the heat well.  The landscaper will replace them with a hardier variety.
We were very lucky with our lifeguards this year.  They were a steady presence fthrough the whole season.
So, that marks the close of the pool for 2019.  It’s a great year when the most pressing issue is that the drinking fountain dispenses too cold water!
Iron-Bound Gym will offer flu shots on Tuesday, November 5th from noon to 3 PM.
Anyone is welcome.  Simply bring your insurance card and you will be all set.   
DID YOU KNOW - Early November/late October is the ideal time for flu shots.  The big box stores are pushing shots earlier and earlier in the season (just like holiday displays), but that can make them less effective.  It takes 2 weeks for the shot to be effective and the highest incidence for the flu is from December to May.
The “Coming Soon” sign is coming down at 4919 Courthouse Street.  AXE REPUBLIC  has arrived. Opening festivities will take place October 25–27, according to business-owner Nikki Montero, who has leased the property.  Have you experienced axe throwing?  This centuries-old sport, with ties to knights, Vikings and lumberjacks, is known to evoke primal competitive feelings in participants. 
“And, it’s really fun,” adds Nikki.  “Axe throwing can be enjoyed by both men and women and a wide range of age groups. You don’t need any special skills to throw one.”
That’s something she discovered herself when she was introduced to axe throwing by a friend for her birthday. At the time she was exploring options for a new venture, and immediately delved into some intense research about the flourishing axe throwing rage.  Before long she was convinced that this rapidly growing sport would be a great fit for New Town. 
More and more sports, from rock climbing to sky diving to pickleball, have created indoor versions that can be experienced year round in climate controlled indoor space. Participation is not weather dependent. Devotees are able to maintain training year round and entrepreneurs can count on steady return from their business investment.  Add axe throwing to the list of newly “indoor” activities.
The New Town location is ideal, Nikki noted, citing the convenient parking, proximity to shopping areas, Colonial Williamsburg, the college and other places where she might draw interest. “Most local residents of all ages maintain active lifestyles. The movie theater, restaurants, pubs and fitness centers, all contribute to a lively nighttime vibe. Sidewalk traffic is abundant in this walkable community and that increases our visibility and our chances of walk-in business,” she said.
Nikki Montero, the sole owner of AXE REPUBLIC, is confident about her own abilities and brings a unique set of skills to running the business.  She has traveled widely as a former military wife, worked in the stock market arena, been a stay-at-home/active-in-the-community Mom, and most recently worked as a school nurse with Williamsburg/James City County Schools at D.J.Montague Elementary. 
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Nikki Montero, owner of Axe Republic, in front of a target. 
Opening celebration will take place October 27 - 29
Her enthusiastic support team includes husband Eddie, who owns and operates two The UPS Stores; their college-age children, CJ and Hannah, who are enrolled at UVA and JMU; parents Ron and Francine; and, other family, friends and community associates. Friends and family members assisted with the demolition process, removal of debris, painting and construction of lanes; while contractors created a kitchen suitable for handling the food and beverage needs.
Though axe throwing is quite safe, safety is taken seriously. Precautions and lane rules are reviewed before guests enter the throwing area and lanes are monitored.  Come prepared – all players must wear closed toe shoes (no high heels or sandals allowed). No intoxicated person may throw. And, should you own an axe, leave it at home. Except in League competition players must use house axes.
Each of 12 throwing lanes accommodates 2-6 players at a time. A single walk-in customer might pair up with another single player who is hoping for a match.  Larger groups can reserve multiple lanes. Booking lanes online is recommended (  The minimum age for axe throwing is 14 years.  Groups that contain 14- to 17-year olds must include at least one playing adult. The cost to throw is $27 per person for 75 minutes of lane time.
Novices will be able to learn how to throw an axe on site and then consult with those experienced Axe Coaches - called “Axeperts”-  as they play. 
Montero shares today’s consumer preference for “EATertainment” venues, those that combine activities with food and beverages in one place (29%, according to a survey conducted by research firm YouGov). AXE REPUBLIC is designed to be an all-in one place entertainment/recreation establishment. 
The interior ambiance at AXE REPUBLIC is a mix of rustic features and modern industrial surfaces created with both wood and hi-tech materials. Wire fencing, metal mesh and poles, and wood panels define the boundaries of the throwing lanes. At the head of each lane there is a raw wood backdrop displaying a large round target outlined in black with a bold red bulls-eye at the center. 
Nikki says, “The comfortable lounge area has a different vibe. It is separate from the throwing lanes, but has a view of them. Watching the competition is part of the excitement.” 
The lounge is furnished with high top tables and stools Here patrons can enjoy gourmet hot dogs, cookies from Celli’s Chocolate Chips and other exceptional snacks and varied beverages including craft brews from Virginia Beer Company. “Some patrons will visit us to demonstrate their existing skills; others, to learn the art of hurling an axe at a large wooden bulls-eye target,” she said. “Games can be friendly rivalries, or fierce competitions. It’s up to the players. There may be customers that come in just for the food and beverages,” Nikki anticipates.  
When it comes to attracting customers, Nikki Montero sees many possible directions.  “We expect AXE REPUBLIC to be an exciting date night destination. The novelty aspect of axe throwing will draw in some curious folks and also position us as an interesting venue for birthday, bachelorette, office parties and other events. I envision business colleagues coming in after work.  College students should find this a great place to have fun – my own kids included.  Groups of friends or couples could meet here before a movie or stay all evening. This will be a lively place where tourists and families can get something to eat and drink and either watch others play or join the games themselves.  It works on so many levels,” she said.
Defined by distinct shapes and forged from varied materials, axes have been used for centuries in many capacities – as tools, weapons and even as amulets to protect crops from bad weather.  It’s not hard to imagine how throwing these implements became a competitive pastime for those who handled axes regularly and had time on their hands. Yet today, axe throwing is a rapidly growing craze that captivates all sorts of participants, many that have never handled a tool of any sort. 
“Everyone wants to experience something that’s new and different,” suggested Nikki. 
League competition has encouraged interest in and promoted skill building for bowling, archery and many other individual and recreational sports.  Now leagues are being developed for axe throwing.  AXE REPUBLIC Williamsburg has affiliated with the World Axe Throwing League (WATL).  This means that local players can join competitive league matches on Tuesday nights beginning with the 8-week Winter Season that starts January 14, 2020.  Local winners will qualify to compete in regional and national contests.
In a press release announcing the lease of 4919 Courthouse Street, Kelly Voss of Developers Realty, the company that manages New Town’s commercial properties, expressed her pleasure with the new business, saying, “We’ve been searching for the right user to activate this corner location for some time and believe we’ve hit the bull’s-eye with AXE REPUBLIC!”
Drew Haynie, of Cushman and Wakefield | Thalhimer said, “Nikki is a true entrepreneur and an energetic early adapter bringing a fantastic and nationally trending new concept to New Town.”  
He also offered an upbeat projection about the potential impact of this new business, stating, “Watch for more entertainment/EATertainment and family friendly concepts coming to Main Street in 2019. New Town Main ownership has really made a big commitment to keep the center relevant and dynamic by attracting fresh offerings and hot concepts that offer something for everyone.”
One final note: Nikki Montero is not only an entrepreneurial business owner in New Town, she is also a resident.  She and her husband reside in the Village Walk neighborhood. She says it’s an added bonus that she can now walk to work, so keep an eye out for her on the sidewalks and give her a welcoming shout!                 
Monday:                                      CLOSED
Tuesday:                                      Leagues/ Special Events
Wednesday–Thursday:                    5 – 9 PM
Friday:                                          5 – 10 PM
Saturday:                                     11 AM – 10 PM
Sunday:                                        12 NOON – 6 PM
Posted on June 19, 2019 12:00 PM by Phil Casey
Categories: General

Changes are coming to the James City County (JCC) recycle program.  NTRA does not facilitate the recycling program for New Town residents.  Each homeowner who wishes to participate in recycling deals directly with JCC.

The JCC website is the most authoritative source of information about the changes to the recycle program: 

In particular, there is a fact sheet at this link:

Here are some important points made in the fact sheet:

  1. Old carts (gray with green lid) will be collected following the last collection in June. 
  2. Leave carts at the curb following collections after June 15. 
  3. New carts (gray with a tan lid) will be delivered between June 15-30. 
  4. Recycling will continue to be paid by the County through Sept.30. 
  5. Residents will pay $7/month per cart for the curbside service beginning Oct. 1
  6. Additional information will be delivered with the new cart and can be found online at