Design studies and criteria revisions approved by MVF Board

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by Mike Conroy
Since 2014, the Architectural Review Board (ARB), in coordination with the Architectural Standards Department staff and the Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) Design Consultant, has been working to produce “Design Studies” for each homes corporation, which encapsulate the essential details that make those communities unique.

As each draft study is completed, input is sought from the homes corporation it would benefit, and then it is presented to the MVF Board of Directors for approval. The Northgate and East Village design studies were both approved by the Board at the January 28 meeting.

As a result of the design studies, often community criteria are also updated to reflect the essential features identified in the study, and provide a little more flexibility in the other features. At the January meeting, the Board also approved new criteria for all of Northgate and East Village, at the recommendation of the ARB. Some revisions were clerical, some are a result of new materials in the marketplace and others reflect a more accurate account of what the ARB is approving based on homeowner requests; the most common changes dealt with security lighting and storm windows. All the new criteria are available at the MVF Office, 10120 Apple Ridge Road, or online at, through the resident dashboard.

Agenda Items
The Board also considered a number of Recreation items, including policy revisions and the potential to heat the Apple Ridge Pool, when renovated for the 2017 swim season.

The Recreation Committee recommended that Non-Designated Users (those residents who only pay the MVF assessment fee) be able to rent MVF facilities such as Lake Marion or North Creek community centers for private engagements. The committee noted that a slightly higher rental rate and proof of residency should be required for rental privileges. The Board approved this change to the Procedures on the Private Use of Facilities. Revisions were also approved for the Community Center Use Policy and its corresponding fee schedule. Fees for the 2016 Annual Pool Memberships, which can be purchased by non-Village residents, were also approved, based on 2016 Assessment Rates.

The Board also considered cost estimates for adding a pool heater as one of the design elements to the proposed renovation to Apple Ridge Pool. After consulting with Keller Construction Management and Paddock Pools, and reviewing bills associated with the Stedwick Pool heater costs, staff estimated it would cost between $47,000 and $51,000 to install a heater at the Apple Ridge Pool. This estimate, though, is without additional costs that may be incurred from Washington Gas to connect a gas line from the street to the building.

In order to accommodate the heater, a larger storage space would be needed. Additionally, to use the pool beyond normal pool season hours, similar to Stedwick Pool’s operating hours, staff and operational costs would increase. Given that the renovation plan calls for relatively shallow water in most of the pool, the heater would not be heating as large a volume of water as at Stedwick Pool. In a split vote, the Board ultimately decided not to add a heater to this pool during the renovation process.

In financial matters, the 2014 MVF Retirement Plan audited financial statements were accepted. Additionally, the Board authorized the EVP to negotiate and execute a sole source contract for database integration services with the new website. This expenditure allows the website and the resident database to communicate on a secure level and populate homeowner information on the custom member dashboard now part of the website.

Finally, the Board approved a request from the Transportation, Development and Public Facilities (TD&PF) Committee to formalize a proposal on a series of community forums regarding the quality of life in Montgomery Village. Potential topics for these educational forums may include: retail development; education of Village students; environmental concerns; and senior-related issues. Information shared at the proposed forums would include that which may have been presented to the TD&PF Committee by county or state agencies. The overall goal of the forums would be to help residents develop solutions to issues affecting the community and become more involved in community affairs.

President’s Remarks
MVF Board Vice President Pete Young led the meeting in the president’s absence. Young acknowledged and thanked the candidates for the 2016 MVF Board of Directors election for attending the meeting and speaking with residents beforehand. He also thanked all those who worked to clear snow in Village communities, noting that it was an irregular storm, which made it hard to deal with on many accounts.

Young noted he had recently provided testimony before the Montgomery County Council regarding changes to the Commission on Common Ownership Communities (CCOC). He said the proposed changes to how the CCOC operates are not a benefit to MVF.

EVP Report
Executive Vice President Dave Humpton spoke about the Montgomery Village Master Plan, referencing the details in January 22 article in the Village News. Humpton said that through negotiation with the county, the master plan is better now than it originally was; details and language regarding zoning and roads will benefit Montgomery Village.

The EVP also reported that the legislative session was heating up, with proposed laws that would affect Montgomery Village or homes corporations and condominium associations. He mentioned that he and General Counsel Christopher Hitchens would monitor legislation and report on issues that could affect Village operations.

Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Beth-Ellen Berry reported on the financial health for both the month of December 2015 and the unaudited year-end projections for 2015. Berry said that overall, Revenue was on par with the budget with camps and classes, assessment fees and investment income running unfavorable to the budget; on a positive note, $125,000 was recently received from the state for the South Valley Park Restroom and Concession facility.

Personnel Costs were favorable to the budget by approximately $150,000, due to unfilled positions throughout the year and less than expected seasonal staff costs. Operational Expenses were also reported favorable to the budget by $200,000, with only legal fees being projected over budget, including bad debt fees.

Contributions to Reserves were made in accordance with the budget for both December ($82,250) and for the year, with the total year-end balance at $987,000. Berry noted the Capital Contribution Fee yielded another $10,000 in December and a total of $136,000 for the year. MVF spent approximately $1.3 million on Reserve Expenditures in 2015. Net Income for the year is projected to be $778,000 for the year, which is favorable to the budget by $334,000.

Berry said the Balance Sheet reflects MVF’s solid financial position, showing over $7 million in Cash and Investments. At the end of the year, MVF showed $1.5 million in Undesignated Reserves and $5.9 million in Designated Reserves. The Delinquency Rate was reported at 8.5%, which was down from 11% from the same period in 2014.

Next Meeting
The next MVF Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26 in the North Creek Board Room, 20125 Arrowhead Road. This meeting is open to the public, and residents are welcomed and encouraged to attend. Residents are invited to “Meet the Candidates” at 7 p.m., and the regular Residents Time begins promptly at 7:30 p.m.