- President’s Report-July 2019 (7/1/2019)
At the July 8 Board Meeting, the Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) will present their recommendation to move in 2021 to a single dues structure where all residents will pay the same dues and have access to the pool and tennis facilities. There will be time allotted at the Board meeting for community questions and comments and the Board is prepared to vote on the recommendation. The reason for implementation in 2021 is to allow ample planning time for both for Blue Ridge operations and for residents.
When I first came on the Board as treasurer almost 6 years ago, the Board was already contemplating this initiative so a final conclusion has been a long time coming. Back then, the two major drivers were that we were not funding the long term maintenance and replacement of our assets adequately and that there was a belief that all residents own and benefit from the facilities and properties with an obligation to pay for them. As a first step, we opted to build up our reserves and to establish an annual contribution for long term maintenance that was funded by everyone through the basic CM dues. The LRPC was established to review the annual reserve study and make a recommendation regarding the reserve contribution and the annual maintenance projects. The budget is now structured so that the goal of CM+ dues for the pool and tennis facilities is to pay for their operating costs but it remains a difficult proposition to do this precisely given our business model.
Over a year ago, the Board charged the committee with the second step: to investigate the implications of moving to single dues and to make a recommendation. Although I wasn’t formally part of the committee, I participated in the process. The group analyzed our cost structure, conducted a survey that was highly informative and held two “town hall” community discussions that definitely gave me a full understanding of the differing perspectives on the issue. I can tell you that my views vacillated a bit and evolved during the process.
I hope you have had a chance to read the full proposal which has been emailed to the community and is also outlined further down in this Bulletin. At this point, I favor the proposal but my primary reasons to support it have changed over the last few months.
First, I understand the different philosophical views. The survey revealed that about 45% of the community feels that they should not have to pay for something that they don’t use while the rest feel that everyone should share in the full costs and benefits of all of our assets. At the town halls, residents pointed out that we don’t “pay by use” for our other properties and parks and that the value of our homes are substantially greater because of them (about 20-25% comparatively). But the thing that put me over the edge on this overall point was impassioned commentaries by community members. The sentiment expressed was that we live in a very special and unique place in the city and that we are all one community. There shouldn’t be different in/out memberships and that we are all in this together.
Second, there is definitely sensitivity to the increased cost particularly for residents that may be on a fixed income and facing increased expenses all around. If single dues had been instituted this year, it would translate to a $350 (or $30/month) increase for those currently paying the base CM dues. While the exact amount for 2021 is yet to be determined, the relative difference seems manageable. And part of the proposal includes a provision to institute payment options (e.g. quarterly payments) to help with personal budgeting.
Finally, with my Board hat on, the management of one membership with one HOA dues amount is much simpler and easier. Budgeting is more predictable without the prospect of people opting in or out of CM+ membership and operational tasks and costs are reduced. There are other reasons for support of the proposal, but these are the essential ones for me.
This would be a big change for the neighborhood and our HOA. The current structure has been in place for 20+ years and going back through the history of Blue Ridge before 1998, dues payment was not even technically required so the resistance by some is easy to understand. In the end most on the LRPC feel that this change is in the best interest of the community in the long run.
Right now the plan is for the Board to vote on this at the July 8 meeting – it will be at the top of the agenda at 7:00pm. If you want your voice to be heard and considered, please come to the meeting and speak during the commentary period. If you are unable to attend, send your comments or questions in writing to email@example.com. All written comments will be summarized for the Board. We will discuss all sides of this issue before the formal vote.
- Association Manager Report-July 2019 (7/1/2019)
Mary Ave Trail
The Blue Ridge Club owns several beautiful common areas, including the Mary Ave greenbelt, with a City trail that eventually connects to Carkeek Park. This common area is almost 5 acres and provides a greenbelt of native flora for over 28 properties. As part of a long term maintenance strategy, Blue Ridge recently hired an arbor firm to conduct an assessment of the Mary Ave greenbelt to evaluate and catalogue trees of concern. In a nutshell, their findings were:
1) All trees were rated as low risk, meaning we should plan on mitigation and maintenance measures, but immediate action is not usually required.
2) Compromised trees within target range of adjacent homes and trail are first priority, of these there are approximately 5 trees that need pruning and 5-7 that require snagging within the short term. None require full removal.
3) Removal of non-native species need to be part of ongoing maintenance, mostly ivy often discarded from neighboring gardens.
- When ivy is allowed to grow up tree trunks it can increase the risk of the trees being blown over in windstorms because of its large mass and “sail effect”.
- Because ivy roots are shallow, thick mats covering hillsides can increase problems with slope failure as water runs down under the ivy and entire mats of ivy and soil slide downhill.
- In addition to tree and slope damage, ivy ground cover often host pest animals such as rats.
We have some deferred maintenance to address, but now we have a good risk management tool and a reasonable plan for the next few years.
Credit Cards In other news: the business office now offers credit card payments for HOA dues, key fob and rental fees!!! Previously, credit card payments for dues were hand processed through our athletic portal and not available for other payments. We now have an in-office credit card terminal compliant with PCI data security standards. Mobile terminals have also been ordered for swim team and Events. The processing fee is still 3% for all transactions and paid by the card holder.
Many thanks to Treasurer, Andrea Durbin for her relentless efforts towards more efficient and secure banking. She also spearheaded an increased savings rate and now working on decreasing the loan rate for Blue Ridge.
- Architecture Report – July 2019 (7/1/2019)
In June, the Board:
- Approved project modifications – 1711 NW Greenbrier Way – Carlisle
- Also approved was an extension of the construction start date until September 2020 for the Carlisle project
In July, the Board does not have any presentations scheduled.
- Security Report-July 2019 (7/1/2019)
The past month has been mostly quiet regarding reports of safety and security concerns. As there is increased activity on our streets, at our parks, at the clubhouse, and on the beach, make sure to look out for others. Some concern has been raised in the community regarding driftwood structures, so please remind your kids to be careful with anything found on the beach.
- Membership Report-July 2019 (7/1/2019)
Summer is here and with that comes a flurry of activity in the neighborhood! The pool is open and I don’t know if I have ever seen so many little swimmers and new families. Swim team and tennis are off to a terrific start. Lots of houses moving on and off the market… The flowers are in full bloom, and the sunsets have been beautiful. Hope you are getting outside and enjoying our stunning neighborhood.
And while you are at it, please keep a lookout and give a warm welcome to our newest neighborhood family on Radford, Charlie Butt & Jen Hodges, and their children Jasper, Kai, Dylan, Niko, and au pair Tina.
Please don’t ever hesitate to let me know if you have any resident questions I can help with.
Cheers, Jen Henninger
- Events Report-July 2019 (7/1/2019)
June was quiet but has been a month of preparation for all the summer fun coming in July. Thank you so much to Amanda and Ryan O’Rourke for taking on the Fourth of July again this year. It is an event we all look forward to and we really appreciate all your hard work to prepare for the big day.
The adult summer party is back with a twist! This year it will be an elegant affair in white at the beach park. Please see the flyer below for more information. We hope to see you there in white! Please sign up early as the event may sell out and no tickets will be available at the door. Many thanks to the Summer Party team including Barbara Sinn, Kristi Dwight, Anna Brunette, Margaret Giesa and others for organizing this amazing event!
Fourth of July
Fourth of July is only a few days away! Please come out to celebrate and sign up to help with the festivities. More information about the event schedule is included below.
This event is 100% volunteer powered – here is the link to sign up, or contact Amanda O’Rourke at firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F044EABAE23AAFB6-blue1
Fourth of July Parade and BBQ- July 4th Summer BBQ at the Beach Park- July 20th Oktoberfest- September 27th Family Halloween Party- October 31st Holiday Open House-December 5th
If you have any questions or would like to volunteer I can be reached at email@example.com
- Pacesetters Report-July 2019 (7/1/2019)
Our next Pacesetters meeting will be Wednesday, September 18. We hope everyone has a wonderful summer!!We will be continuing our monthly Happy Hour at Pono through the summer. I know there has been discussion of changing to the first Thursday of the month, but at this time we are staying with the first Friday. We will keep you updated.
📣First Friday of the Month Pono Happy Hour🎵
Joanne Kennedy and Karen Hansen would once again like to invite any Pacesetters who want to join in for a Friday Happy Hour/and or dinner.
Date: Friday, July 5th
Time: 5:00 pm(ish)
Place: Pono Ranch Restaurant at 4502 Shilshole Ave NW
Reason: Get together and enjoy the long summer days. Hope to see you there!!
- Pool & Tennis Report-July 2019 (7/1/2019)
Pool & Tennis Report – Brooke Walker
I’m packing up for the first swim meet as I write this and the excitement
in my house is overwhelming. We love this time of year! Speaking of
swim meets, please mark your calendar for the three home meets (6/27,
7/11, 7/18) and plan to come to the Clubhouse for dinner. As a new
feature this year, Cat & Jake Burns have volunteered to make pulled porksandwiches to sell at each home meet in order to raise funds supporting
the All City swim meet in August. Please consider swinging by to cheer on our swimmers and enjoy some yummy food.
Given the positive feedback received from the new “please no parking”
signs last year (THANKS traffic committee!), we are placing them out
again this year. You have likely noticed them already if you drive down
15th Ave NW. Please remember how many children are crossing that
street to get to/from the pool and tennis courts the next few months and
slow down to 10 mph.
Based on a few requests regarding long term visiting guests and pool
usage, we’ve created a few new punch cards available for guest fees. Theoriginal guest fee card remains at 10 punches for $45. You can also now
purchase 20 punches for $85, 30 punches for $120 and 40 punches for
$150. Unlike previous years, these cards will expire at the end of the
summer season so be sure to plan ahead.
Finally – we want to hear from you! Please feel free to send questions,
comments and concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great summer!!!!
Pool Manager Report – Luke
Hello everyone. The July early closure dates for open swim at the pool are listed on the front window. We have 3 home swim meets this year on June 27, July 11th and July 18! The new schedule is out so Mon-Fri we have open swim from 2-8:45 pm along with an adult only lap swim from 1:15-2 pm. 4th of July is coming up and we will be running a Saturday schedule! Get ready for floaties, licorice and lots of fun! If you’re interested in
Group or private swim lessons please reach out to email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
- Board President Report-June 2019 (6/5/2019)
As I look ahead to the busy summer and the next two Board meetings, I thought I’d cover a couple of topics that will relate to key agenda items at the June and July Board sessions.
Blue Ridge Properties One of the special things about our neighborhood is that we all, as members of the Blue Ridge Club HOA, own several properties and amenities on those properties that can be enjoyed by all residents. There are the high profile properties such as the Club House which is often used for community events and can be rented for private ones. We have Woodbine Park that has open space, a relatively new play structure, and a court that will soon be repaved and striped for both basketball and pickle ball in June. Pickle Ball will be a new option for us and concerns have been expressed about potential noise and use by non-Blue Ridge residents. Use guidelines (hours etc.) will be established and the concerns monitored. There will also be a review on the feasibility of fencing Woodbine as well.
As mentioned last month, now is the time when the Beach Park gets real use with cabana rentals and impromptu picnics. With June and July you get the extreme low tides and it seems on the weekends that everyone is out there walking the beach, paddle boarding and for some brave folks swimming in the Sound. We own three tide flats just on the other side of the rail road tracks. Our special right of way access to the beach is provided by a “lease” with BSNF Rail Road. In the coming months the pathway down to the beach will be repaired and resealed for safety and maintenance. We also will coordinate with BSNF to put a concrete pad on the tracks to provide a safer path to the beach that will put us in compliance with crossing standards.
Some may not know that Blue Ridge also owns 3 tracts of “open” land. Two tracts go through the woods from Mary Ave., under the Woodbine Bridge to Carkeek Park. These tracts involve an easement with the city for the trail and abut 28 private properties. At the June 10 Board meeting, the Board will review an arborist report on the overall health of the trees as it looks like there are a few that may be in danger of coming down. The third tract is the hillside above the rail road and below Blue Ridge Drive and Culpepper.
These properties are assets for all of us. We benefit from them in many ways and there is significant effort that goes in to maintaining them for us to use. It is why we have dues to support our ownership. You’ll note that I did not mention the Pool and Tennis facilities above. It is another asset that provides immense benefits to our neighborhood. And this leads in to the major topic for the JULY Board meeting………
Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) Dues Structure Recommendation
At the July 8 Board Meeting the LRPC will make their final recommendation for a Board vote on the dues structure question that they have been working on for the last year. After reviewing Blue Ridge business operations/costs and gathering feedback through a survey and “town hall” discussions, the overall recommendation from the committee is to move to a single dues payment that would allow access to the pool and tennis facilities for all residents in 2021.
The full recommendation will be included in a community eblast and available on the website for all residents the week of June 10 and will include the committee’s reasons for the overall proposal and a set of implementation recommendations that attempt to address concerns brought up during the feedback process. The recommendation will also be published in the July Bulletin. With due consideration and recognition of different views and cost concerns from some residents, the committee concluded that it is still in the long run best interests of our Blue Ridge community to make this move. In a nutshell, the committee believes that the recommendation provides equity in shared costs/benefits of all of our assets, stability and predictability in management and budgeting, and fosters community unity.
All residents are encouraged to read the full recommendation and to attend the July 8 Board meeting where another community question/comment period will be provided.
- Association Manager Report-June 2019 (6/5/2019)
In the business office, the summer months mean it’s time for the Annual Audit and Reserve Study. While the audit looks at the past year and the Reserve Study at the coming year, both are important tools necessary for budget season in the fall.
Park Closures – June 3 & 4 Asphalt repairs, reseal and restriping are scheduled Mon, Jun 3 and Tues, Jun 4 at both Woodbine and Beach Parks. This work is weather dependent, if Mother Nature cooperates, the parks will reopen sometime Weds, June 5.
Annual Audit Like many homeowner associations, Blue Ridge contracts with an independent auditing firm to review the prior year’s financial procedures and processes. Noted in the Audit Report are exceptions and recommendations to better protect homeowner funds and comply with IRS and accounting standards.
Reserve Study A Reservist compiles a list of every asset component, its value, useful life, and remaining useful life over the next 30 years. The numbers are crunched to determine how much we’d have to save each year to afford scheduled replacements. Each year, we review the component list, make adjustments based on recent projects or findings, and the numbers are crunched again. It’s a tedious process, but critical to avoiding unplanned failures and special assessments. Both the Audit Report and Reserve Study are available for review by homeowners and prospective buyers. Not exactly great beach books, but if you love spreadsheets and balance sheets, they could be the read for you!