Town Crier Articles

Posted on July 1, 2019 7:00 AM by Dave Holtgrieve, AMC
Categories: NTRA Business
The Asset Maintenance Committee is executing their home inspection process in the general area of Charlotte Park.  The first phase inspections and notification steps were completed in April.
 
Re-inspections took place on June 17th for some homes on Center Street, Elizabeth Davis Boulevard, Ercil Way, Olive Drive, and Rollison Drive.  Second violation notifications were sent out by the June 21st requesting that owners complete the required maintenance.  If violations are not rectified by the final inspection, the owner will receive a hearing notice to appear before the Board of Directors. 
 
Most owners have been in compliance with the program that was designed to ensure homeowners' real properties are maintained consistent with a "first-quality" development.  
Posted on May 1, 2019 2:47 PM by Mary Cheston
Categories: NTRA Business
So how are you enjoying the new NTRA website?
 
As of April 27, we have 330 residents registered on the site.  ANY resident of New Town may register - owner or renter.  Our website is the best means to keep informed about association policies and activities around New Town.  For example, for the 2019 community pool season, information will be posted on the site rather than using mailings to each homeowner.
 
This web platform has a mobile version that is also user-friendly. Log in to the site on your mobile device and see what you think.
 
Looking for information on NTRA committees?  All Committee records are downloadable from the Newsletters/Committees/Policies menu item.
The Website Team needs your input and help.
 
• Do you have ideas for other web features or some style suggestions for pages on the site? Pass them along or better yet, volunteer to serve with us.
• Are you a Facebook fan? Volunteer to help us spruce up the NTRA Facebook page and keep things interesting for our followers. (This support can be provided from the comfort of your own home – no meetings required.)
 
• Send us photos of your favorite New Town locations or activities – we want to have seasonal pictures to post.  (Horizontal slice/view photos are preferred.)
 
We’d like to hear from you – the hard part of migrating to a new internet platform is done, join us to make the site even better!  Send an email to ntrawebsitecommittee@gmail.com.
Posted on May 1, 2019 2:45 PM by Mary Cheston
Categories: NTRA Business
“Gee, our mailbox post is really looking sad, we need to paint it”, I said to my husband, Ric about 2 months ago. “Not my problem” he replied, and to my surprise he was right.
 
As of the April 18 Board of Directors meeting, the official mailbox maintenance policy is that New Town homeowners are responsible for the box itself – in cases of rust or damage, the homeowner must repair or replace it (except for Village Walk where the metal community boxes are association-maintained).  However, the NTRA will now formally maintain all posts. Currently, there is a backlog of about 100 mailbox posts that need painting.
 
History of Mailboxes in New Town
Mailbox maintenance has taken a winding policy path in New Town. The NTRA Declaration’s protective covenants state that only mailboxes and newspaper tubes approved by the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) are permitted to be used in New Town, and that the ARC may adopt specific criteria that vary by neighborhood. (Article VII, Section 7.1 (z))
 
In March 2011 the NTRA ARC submitted specifications to the Board of Directors for the first “Standard Mailboxes” in New Town. “The cost of the repair/and or replacement are to be borne by the users of the mailboxes, even if these are not located on their property.” Where multiple mailboxes are involved, each user was expected to pay their share of the repairs/replacements. The Board approved these specifications to be provided to existing and future builders.
 
Subsequently, in 2013 the Board of Directors reviewed the policy based on a few complaints about the condition of mailboxes and continued the practice that maintenance of residential mailboxes is the responsibility of the property owners. The ARC started some surveying of mailboxes in disrepair to notify owners of the need for improvements. However, by June 2014 it was clear that shared mailboxes were dilapidated and Town Management agreed with the Board to repair damaged mailboxes “on a prioritized basis.” Mailbox maintenance first became a line item in the NTRA budget for 2015.
 
With the growth of New Town, there are now at least three different types of mailboxes: single home post mailboxes, double mailboxes (2 boxes sharing a common post), and cluster mailboxes (3 or more boxes in a group) – such as the boxes at Village Walk and Roper Park-where multiple mailboxes are grouped together. The reality is that current funding allows Town Management to pay for repainting only about 55 mailboxes a year, according to Community Manager Tim Grueter, and there will ultimately be about 620 homes in our community. This puts Town Management in the position of determining which mailboxes are in the poorest condition.
 
Since the NTRA had assumed some responsibility for repairing mailboxes, they were not included in the 2017 home inspection and exterior maintenance policy. At its January 2019 meeting, the Residential Advisory Board (RAB) discussed how to practically resolve this issue and how to handle it under future home inspections. The RAB requested to include an inspection item for the mailboxes, but there were varying opinions from the Board of Directors on how to correct existing deficiencies. So, no final decision was reached until the April meeting.
 
Under the new policy, home inspections will include mailboxes and this report will serve as the basis for painting/repair. The Asset Maintenance Committee will oversee implementation of the new policy. So Ric, thanks for putting this on your “honey do” list and painting our post anyway.  Next time, you can take the afternoon off!
 
 
Posted on May 1, 2019 2:40 PM by Bill Voliva, Chair, LAC
Categories: NTRA Business
With the spring rains and the heavy yellow pollen residue taking over our community, the Landscape Advisory Committee (LAC), working with our landscaping contractor, Virginia Lawns and Landscape, has established the spring/summer landscape maintenance plan.
 
The weekly mowing schedule will begin in Village Walk on Mondays, Abbey Commons and Savannah Square on Tuesdays, Charlotte Park on Wednesdays and Thursday/Friday in Roper Park and Chelsea Green (weather permitting). Please be sure all fenced-in areas are open and easily accessible for the mowing and trimming crew.
 
Virginia Lawns and Landscape has a new on-site foreman this year whose focus will be attention-to-detail and clean-up.
 
For those areas with irrigation, start-up is scheduled for the first week of May by Hampton Roads Irrigation.
 
A landscape enhancement plan will be completed by our landscape contractor around the pool in time for the Memorial weekend opening.
 
Don’t forget the LAC will be conducting a landscape services survey. The survey schedule is:
 
• send the survey out to homeowners by May 15
• collect responses from homeowners by June 15
• communicate results to homeowners by July 15
 
Your participation and comments are an important factor in the ongoing efforts to provide quality landscape services from our contractor.
 
Enjoy your spring and summer.
 
Posted on March 30, 2019 11:33 PM by Rick Fisher, RAB Member
Categories: NTRA Business

The Transition Program Team is continuing to plan for the turnover of the NTRA from the Developer controlled Board of Directors (BOD) to a Homeowner controlled Board.  The Team has been expanded to include all of the Committee Chairs.  The turnover is officially scheduled to take place on April 1, 2020. This specific date can be found in the Amended and Restated Master Declaration of Protective Covenants and Restrictions.

 

The Transition of a Master Planned Community from Developer to Owner control is the most critical Phase in a community’s growth.  A smooth Transition benefits both the Homeowners and the Developer.  In our case, the Developer recognized early on that there was a need for continuing Owner involvement and education in Association operations.  The Resident Advisory Board (RAB) was specifically formed for this purpose and has been functioning at the direction of the Board of Directors.  The BOD asks for and highly values RAB recommendations.

 

Transition is a process.  In a well-planned and implemented Transition Program, “actual turnover is a  formality that marks one event, during an extended process, when the Developer relinquishes control of the Association.”  In the case of New Town, the RAB and standing Committees have been in place for many years. Having a strong Committee structure in place is key to the future of our community.

 

Legal work will be required to review existing NTRA documents, make modifications and draft new documents as needed.  This will be done by an independent third party.  In addition, a financial review/audit will also be accomplished by a third party accounting firm.  These are just two of the major work elements.  We will be reporting on all the work being done in future Town Crier issues.  

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Posted on March 30, 2019 6:24 PM by Mary Cheston
Categories: NTRA Business

 

We are so excited to welcome the new NTRA website. Our goal with this newly designed website is to create a user-friendly and informative browsing experience.

 

The new site is using a completely different software platform from our original website, so NO prior registration information could be transferred. Take a few minutes to register your family on the new site.  The URL is:  www.ntrawilliamsburg.org

 

One advantage of the new site is the ability to list members of your family on your membership. Once Town Management has confirmed the primary user’s registration, you may add other users such as a spouse. (Both owners and renters can register at the same address. Tenants will be asked to renew their registration annually so that the NTRA knows you are still living in New Town.)

 

Another opportunity the site provides is that the NTRA can go electronic for the bulk of our communication. By July, we anticipate that information currently published as the Town Crier will be posted on the site and there will no longer be a page-oriented Town Crier prepared for electronic or printed distribution. Check out the site’s Crier Article section. Messages from our RAB Chair, Chuck Stetler, will be posted as a feature “From the Chair” each month, or more frequently as needed.

 

So what new things might you want to enjoy now?

 

  • Calendar– you have a full month’s view of all the NTRA events in New Town, and the ability to export the calendar for your use.

 

  • Report an Issue– you can submit a request (select a topic) to Town Management that will be tracked electronically so that you will know its status and can check the site until it’s resolved.  Organizing requests by topic also allows the association to more readily determine where concerns are and should give our committees more visibility to issues.

 

 

  • Search – are you looking for information on a certain NTRA committee or policy? Just enter the topic in the search tab (under the “Residents” drop-down menu).

 

  • What’s New – wondering what you might have missed?  The What’s Newtab (also under the “Residents” drop-down menu) lets you specify a time period and then identify any content that has been added to the site during that period.

 

 

  • Other new content – if you’ve wondered how New Town was created or are new to the community, look for helpful information under the “About” drop-down menu.  We’ve expanded the Frequently Asked Questions to provide useful info as well.  And we can add more questions if you let us know what you think is missing.

 

Some features that can be activated as needed in the future include a Survey function and a news bulletin.  As we gain more experience with the site and learn what you, the members of our community, would like to see, modifications may be made since the software platform has many different options enjoyed by other associations. Contact ntrawebsitecommittee@gmail.comwith your suggestions.

 

So why not join us on this journey?  We are looking for a few volunteers to help us to maintain the site and keep both the web and our Facebook page current and meaningful.  Contact Communications Committee Chair Lucy Painter at hokiegirl70@gmail.com.

 

Posted on March 30, 2019 6:19 PM by Bill Voliva, Chair, LAC
Categories: NTRA Business

The Landscape Advisory Committee (LAC) will be conducting a landscape services survey. Plans are to circulate the survey to ALL homeowners of the NTRA later this spring. Information gathered will be used to establish policies, create a budget and update specifications for the landscape contract, which expires at the end of this year. Your participation and comments are an important factor in the ongoing efforts to provide quality landscape services from our contractors. 

 

The LAC has set itself on a tentative time-line as follows: 

 

  • complete the final draft of the survey by April 30
  • send the survey out to homeowners by May 15
  • collect responses from homeowners by June 15
  • communicate results to homeowners by July 15

 

To help homeowners answer the survey questions, we think it is important to first understand what landscape services are the responsibility of the contractor. To that end, we reprint here (with a couple corrections) from a document available on the NTRA website called “Living in New Town; A quick guideline for the homeowner living in New Town.” 

 

Homeowner Responsibilities*: 

 

  • Providing clear access to yard for landscaping contractor?(contractor is not responsible to move items out of yard for maintenance) 
  • Contacting the irrigation company if the homeowner’s system needs repairs (repairs are the homeowners expense) Hampton Roads Irrigation – 757-877-3748
  • Ensuring homeowners irrigation system does not over/under water homeowners property 
  • Replacing dead/dying shrubs and trees (with similar kind) located on homeowner’s property 
  • Landscape enhancements and plants (with LAC approval) that are additional work above landscaping contractor’s responsibilities 

* New Homes Plants and irrigation systems are maintained by the builder for 1 year from closing on new homes (if stated in warranty) 

  

NTRA Responsibilities

 

  • Community pool/pool facilities and surrounding grounds 
  • Playground facilities and grounds?- Designated trails within New Town?- Park and common areas within New Town 
  • New Town banner flags?
  • Street trees (on NTRA controlled roads) 
  • Light bulbs for street lighting?
  • Pet stations 

 

Landscaping Contractor Responsibilities:?

 

  • Mowing, trimming, and edging property (edging is done every other week) 
  • Mulching (once a year in the Spring)?
  • Pruning shrubs and trees (up to 10 feet), (as per schedule on website) 
  • Weed pre-emergent application (once a year in the Spring) 
  • Weeding around trees and shrubs will be done on an as-needed basis - Fertilizing (as per schedule on website)?
  • Aerating and over-seeding (once a year in the Fall)?
  • Lawn insect control application (as per schedule on website) 

 

Irrigation Support Contractor Responsibilities:

 

  • Irrigation Systems (startup*, backflow testing, 1 mid-season inspection, and shut down) 

*Systems are started and checked to make sure heads are working and spraying the appropriate area 

 

 

 

 

Posted on March 15, 2019 8:07 PM by Susan Stetler
Categories: NTRA Business
The crews from Virginia Lawn and Landscaping have been busy cleaning the common areas and yards of branches and debris around New Town before spreading mulch.  The mulching is scheduled to be finished the first week of March, depending on cooperation from Mother Nature.  
 
Pre-emergent weed control will then be applied to the lawns.
 
Pruning of shrubbery and small tress is scheduled to start by the second week in April.  However, if we continue having warm weather, pruning will start earlier. The crews want to prune before too many buds appear on your shrubbery.
 
As we get the schedule from Virginia Lawns, we will post on our community website.
Posted on March 15, 2019 8:04 PM by Phil Casey
Categories: NTRA Business
Town Management was founded in October 2006 and took as its first clients the New Town Residential Association (NTRA) and the New Town Commercial Association (NTCA).  At the time, New Town consisted of a handful of homes and businesses and a lot of ongoing construction. Over the years, Town Management has grown and now provides association management services to about 20 different HOAs and Condominiums not only in New Town but also in McLaws Circle and in other areas of James City County, York County, and the City of Williamsburg.
 
Licensed by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) of the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Common Interest Community (CIC) Manager, Town Management offers an array of services to associations. The staff handles bookkeeping and AP/AR and provides financial reports; supervises contractors; works with CPAs, attorneys, reserve specialists, insurance agents, and other professionals; maintains association records; provides association disclosure documents to prospective owners; and assists association boards in their various duties and obligations as defined in the association governing documents.
 
Randy Casey-Rutland is the founder and president of Town Management. He is a certified Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM), the highest professional certification in the industry and one that requires several years of initial work and study and regular continuing education. He also holds the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) certification.
 
Corina Paulson joined Town Management in early 2007. As the Administrative Manager, she oversees all the workings of the office and supervises office support staff. She also is responsible for on-site bookkeeping and AP/AR services. Corina is the best source for information on most things financial, including late fees, assessment payments, and billing.
 
Tim Grueter joined Town Management in April 2016 and holds the CMCA designation, an international certification designed for managers of homeowner and condominium associations. As the senior community manager, Tim has oversight responsibility for association management services and is the primary staff person working with the NTRA Board and most NTRA committees. A transplant from Boston, Tim is a professionally trained golf course manager and a US Army veteran with five years of service in the military police, both domestically and abroad.
 
Chelsea Adams joined Town Management in January 2018 as a community manager, bringing skills developed through experience in customer service and in work with another association management company. She works with Tim and has primary responsibility for more than a dozen associations. She also is the primary contact for the NTRA AMC committee and home inspection process.
 
Donald Bassett probably has the most experience working in New Town. He joined Town Management in January 2011 but worked previously for the landscaping company here. Donald can be found driving a “gator” around New Town, picking up litter, servicing the doggie stations, helping with events, and generally working to keep New Town neat and clean.
 
Richard Minor joined New Town in June of 2017 and wears (at least) two hats. He works with Donald performing all kinds of routine but vitally important chores around town, and he works in the office staffing the front desk and providing office support.
 
Cathie Upton, who also lives in New Town, has for more than five years managed the marketing, promotion, and event-related services that Town Management provides to some clients.