Archives for March 2013

Hear What the 2013 BCA Board Candidates Had to Say

Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM
If you missed the NRC's annual "Meet the Candidates" event on March 12, 2013, you now have the opportunity to hear how the five BCA Board candidates answered questions posed by meeting attendees. Participating candidates were Donald E. Blom, Thomas D. Leonard, Robert J. Malek, Robert A. Strickland and Brett A. Vassey.

Proxies/ballots will be mailed on March 15, 2013, and the BCA Annual Meeting will be held on April 15, 2013. Please remember to VOTE!

NRC chair Mamie McNeal moderated this question-and-answered event. The order in which the candidates responded to each of the questions below is indicated by the sequence of their names - the first to answer being at the left of the list. To hear a candidate's response to a particular question, click his name directly below the question/picture. Note: Your computer will need to be able to play .mp3 recordings.

The NRC thanks the five participating candidates and especially thanks all the residents who attended this meeting and submitted the following questions.

Opening Statements by Candidates

Donald E.

Thomas D.

Robert J.

Robert A.

Brett A.

Questions Answered by Candidates

1. What have you personally done to help the community?
Bob Strickland, Brett Vassey, Don Blom, Tom Leonard, Bob Malek
2. What will you do to accelerate Master Plan implementation?
Brett Vassey, Don Blom, Tom Leonard, Bob Malek, Bob Strickland
3. What should be the No. 1 priority of the BCA Board for this upcoming year?
Don Blom, Tom Leonard, Bob Malek, Bob Strickland, Brett Vassey
4. Brandermill was once voted the “best planned community in America”. Most residents do not think that this is the case today. What is one thing that can be done to make us more competitive with newer developments?
Tom Leonard, Bob Malek, Bob Strickland, Brett Vassey, Don Blom
5. What sort of services or amenities should the BCA consider adding? Keep in mind that adding would likely increase quarterly dues.
Bob Malek, Bob Strickland, Brett Vassey, Don Blom, Tom Leonard
6. Have you ever been convicted [cited] of a covenant violation? What was the violation?
Bob Strickland, Brett Vassey, Don Blom, Tom Leonard, Bob Malek
7. What qualities do you have that will improve Board performance and leadership?
Brett Vassey, Don Blom, Tom Leonard, Bob Malek, Bob Strickland
8. Some of the Board members have pushed for an additional fee for new families moving into Brandermill (even though it has been defeated several times). How do you feel about any additional fees or assessments above the current annual assessments that we have now?
Brett Vassey, Don Blom, Tom Leonard, Bob Malek, Bob Strickland
9. Do you think high staff labor cost is something to be reviewed by the Board?
Don Blom, Tom Leonard, Bob Malek, Bob Strickland, Brett Vassey
10. The Village Mill is an expensive operation. What are your thoughts on making changes in its current operation and cost?
Tom Leonard, Bob Malek, Bob Strickland, Brett Vassey, Don Blom
11. What do you plan to do to protect the buffer around the lake to keep the lake healthy?
Bob Malek, Bob Strickland, Brett Vassey, Don Blom, Tom Leonard
12. What do you think you can do to improve relations with the commercial members?
Bob Strickland, Brett Vassey, Don Blom, Tom Leonard, Bob Malek
13. The most recent survey of residents favored universal pool access (55% to 45%). What is your position on universal pool access and what would you say to the substantial number of residents on the other side of your position?
Brett Vassey, Don Blom, Tom Leonard, Bob Malek, Bob Strickland
14. On several occasions, residents have asked questions during the Member Voice section of a Board meeting. Are you in favor or would you support that all questions, after research is done, be answered at a Board meeting?
Don Blom, Tom Leonard, Bob Malek, Bob Strickland, Brett Vassey

Please remember to VOTE.

Highlights of March 4, 2013 BCA Board Meeting

Posted March 9, 2013 at 7:27 AM
Important Note: The below highlights are reported based on unofficial notes taken by NRC representatives who attended the above BCA meeting. Although we believe the below reporting is reliable and strive for accuracy, we cannot assure 100% accuracy. It is recommended to all readers that they read the approved BCA Board Meeting minutes when published.

President's Report

President Guthrie stated that the BCA held a breakfast meeting on February 25 which was well attended by County and VDOT officials. Topics of discussion included the Brandermill Inn and some County infrastructure improvements, and the BCA Board was able to observe some very good discussions between VDOT and County officials about some of their concerns. President Guthrie hopes that these discussions will help to identify road conditions within Brandermill and to establish some priority on addressing those conditions within our community. President Guthrie feels that there was some progress made in creating a good working relationship with VDOT. Discussions also included County economic development projects within the greater Brandermill area.

President Guthrie received an e-mail from Clover Hill District Supervisor Art Warren, announcing a community meeting on Tuesday, March 19, 7 p.m. at Monacan High School to garner resident input regarding Chesterfield County’s proposed 2014 budget. He encouraged interested residents to attend.

Community Manager's Report (see page 6 of the March 4, 2013 Board Packet)

Manager Bailey reminded residents of the NRC’s “Meet the Candidates” event to be held this coming Tuesday, March 12, 7 p.m. at Brandermill Woods. A letter with voting instructions from President Guthrie and proxies/ballots (approved by the BCA Board later at this meeting, see pages 17-18 of the March 4, 2013 Board Packet) will be mailed on March 15, 2013. The BCA annual meeting will be held on April 15, 2013.

A “day-long” (10 a.m to 3:30 p.m.) meeting between BCA staff and A Touch of Technology yielded enthusiastic response of the new design/development of the web site.

He also announced that he will be speaking at Community Character Committee’s March meeting. (See for dates and times of committee meetings.)

Manager Bailey stated that he attended the landfill public meeting and had just learned that Skinquarter Land, LLC will be changing its zoning request to drop the fly ash inclusion in the County application and that there was a community meeting scheduled for March 5. Additional information was made available at the BCA Board meeting for attendees.

Assistant Community Manager’s Report (see pages 8-9 of the March 4, 2013 Board Packet)

The BCA Board unanimously approved Miguel Chueca (Winterberry Ridge) to serve as a member of the ARB.

Assistant Manager Raimo attended the BICC litigation hearing at General District Court on February 26; the case was continued until March 12.

President Guthrie noted that several Brandermill projects (e.g., replacement of wooden signs, landscaping at Old Hundred Road and Brandermill Parkway, Sagewood playground) are scheduled to start this spring. He also commented that Manager Bailey has now traveled through each neighborhood in Brandermill.

Discussion on Pool Subcommittee Meeting

Director Bettin noted that Manager Bailey had attended PARC’s pool subcommittee meeting. As there was not yet a report from PARC, Director Livingston asked Manager Bailey for an overview of that subcommittee meeting.

Manager Bailey stated that the subcommittee members (Bobby Joyner, Mel Burton, Frances Hillman, Jack Bettin, Chuck Rayfield and Manager Bailey) began viewing the pool situation with an open mindset. The subcommittee considered the pros and cons of (1) owning no pools and (2) owning pools.

The pros and cons of the BCA owning pools were discussed in general. Further discussion included the situation that if the BCA did own pools, what might be the best way to operate the pools, e.g., the same way we have been, membership program with revised fee structure or universal pool access.

A discussion was also held concerning the potential number of pools to be owned by the BCA. Manager Bailey noted that if we were to reduce the number of pools, according to our County zoning requirements, the BCA must maintain the area of the “closed” pool as open space.

Director Livingston commented that the subcommittee began its work by studying the pool ownership “from the beginning”. Director Bettin said that was true, as the subcommittee members had varying knowledge, backgrounds and biases of the pools. It was thought best if all could begin on the “same page” with a development of a methodology that would lead to a firm recommendation to the BCA Board and a recommendation that could be explained to residents. He also noted that it was very helpful that Manager Bailey was able to provide data to the subcommittee so that the recommendation could be made based on facts and not emotions.

Committee Reports

CCC Board liaison Joan O’Hanley emphasized the Community Character Committee’s work with Jennifer Strader and the Activities Committee on a home and yard improvement seminar to be presented by CCC member Diana Ragsdale and Kate Tuttle. This seminar is tentatively planned for early fall.

NRC Chair Mamie McNeal noted that there has been a recent issue with Verizon customers not receiving e-mails from the NRC ( This issue has now been resolved, but the NRC e-mails are being placed into the Junk folder on each Verizon webmail. Verizon customers will need to visit their their webmail at ( and manually move the NRC e-mails into their Inbox. [Note: For detailed instructions on how to achieve this, read the “Allow List in the Preferences” section of Verizon’s help page]

With regards to the pools, President Guthrie said that some members of the Woodlake Board have indicated that they will hire Club Source Design to review the long-term needs of the Swim & Racquet Club to serve the aquatic community and how it should operate. Some may remember that Woodlake spent about $4 million in acquiring the Swim & Racquet Club last year.

2013 Proxy/Ballot for Annual Meeting of BCA Members

Director Hillman asked if the capital fee should be addressed as part of the proxy/ballot since the opportune time for the question to be raised is during balloting. She recognized that it is probably too late to include this on the ballot this year. However, she commented that Brandermill has captured most of the “low hanging fruit” savings related to the budget.

President Guthrie gave a brief history of the capital fee discussion and past actions. This went out as part of the annual ballot two years ago. It requires 75% of the vote to pass and came in at 74.9%. The measure would have allowed the BCA Board to raise the capital fee from the current $150 for new residents to a maximum amount equal to current year’s annual assessment. This is the model currently used by Woodlake.

The current capital fee of $150 for each new resident results in approximately $30,000 of revenue. It only applies to folks moving into Brandermill for the first time. The BCA Board supported the proposed increase two years ago.

It went out again during the summer and only received 65% in support on a separate ballot. President Guthrie agreed with Director Hillman that the Finance Committee should probably consider putting this on the ballot again. It seems that there is a better chance of the measure passing if it goes out as part of the annual election ballot.

Director Bettin asked about Woodlake’s current capital fee. Director Guthrie stated that it is roughly $450-$460 or the amount of its annual assessment. Director Guthrie then noted that the argument in favor of the one-time capital fee for new members is that they are moving into a community with amenities which have been funded and maintained by current residents. Directors Livingston and Hillman noted that normal turnover of homes in Brandermill is between 100 and 200 homes per year, so the increased capital fee could produce approximately $70,000 to $90,000 in capital revenue.

President Guthrie noted that this is important for the new BCA Board to consider because the amount in the Capital Improvement fund is decreasing, while the size of our improvement projects under the Master Plan is increasing. Very shortly we will only have the amount that we can raise each year in capital improvement fees because our charter is very specific concerning how our Reserve fund can be used.

Director O’Hanley said that Forward Pass is working on initiating on-line voting and asked if we could have this capital fee ballot conducted on-line. President Guthrie noted that this would be a good discussion for the new board. The BCA Board then approved the proxy ballot as submitted.

Discussion of the BCA’s Skinquarter Landfill Position

President Guthrie opened the discussion by noting that the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors has asked the BCA to take a public position regarding the Skinquarter Landfill’s application to expand its operations to receive “fly ash”, which is a byproduct of coal combustion and “fluff” (i.e., auto shredder residue) into the landfill.

Director Davis then noted that there is a community meeting scheduled for March 5. He asked about the resolution included in the BCA Board’s packet. (See initial draft on page 19 of the March 4, 2013 Board Packet. The final approved resolution was modified from this initial draft.) President Guthrie briefed the BCA Board on the resolution, stating that he felt the primary issues were related to the increase in traffic on Route 360. He noted that Woodlake and Magnolia Green have both taken public positions opposing the expansion of the landfill.

Director Davis stated that the BCA should go on record as opposing the landfill’s application to expand its operations.

Director Rowe noted that the EPA doesn’t always get it right, and she felt the environmental concerns are valid.

Director Davis then commented that the landfill has existed since the 1980’s but that no inspections have been conducted until recently (just prior to the recent public meetings). He noted that the County has not yet done a “full source analysis” relative to the environmental issues.

Director O’Hanley commented that based on her research, she felt the environmental concerns are minimal.

President Guthrie commented that everyone will have a different level of concern regarding the environmental issues, but that the increased traffic impact should be a definite concern for everyone. Director Davis agreed with this assessment, noting that we already have the most dangerous intersection in the county at Old Hundred Road and Hull Street Road.

President Guthrie stressed that the County has asked the BCA to take an official position on the issue.

Director Hillman commented that she didn’t believe that the landfill’s increased operation would bring any more truck traffic along Route 360 than the increase in commercial development, e.g., Walmart supply trucks.

Director Bettin responded that he would like to see our area devoted to commercial development on Hull Street Road rather than to a landfill. He noted that there’s a big difference between traffic from commercial development and landfill traffic.

Director Davis noted that he would like to hear VDOT’s analysis of the projected impact on traffic.

President Guthrie emphasized that we need to “weigh in” by taking an official position or risk losing our influence regarding future decisions by the County Board of Supervisors.

Director Livingston questioned the urgency of approving the resolution immediately. He noted that there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

President Guthrie responded that the landfill application will come to a vote in April and again urged the BCA to take a position by approving the modified resolution.

Director Livingston stated that he doesn’t feel the data (neither the environmental nor traffic impact data) supports the BCA’s taking a position opposing the application.

Director Davis then noted that he had not heard any other comments, other than those fielded by the agents of the landfill operator in support of the application. Director Livingston responded that Magnolia Green and Woodlake are much closer to the landfill site and that Brandermill is much farther away. He again stated that he didn’t feel the data supports the BCA using its political capital to oppose this application.

President Guthrie called the resolution to a vote. Four BCA Board directors voted to approve, two Board members voted against passage of the resolution, and one abstained. The motion passed.

Common Interest Community Complaint by David Schein

The BCA Board generally addressed the CICB complaint filed by Mr. Schein and went into closed session to consider its legal response to the complaint.

Conclusion of BCA Board Executive Session

Upon completion of its executive session, the BCA Board approved the Forward Pass contract for the BCA's association management software.

The BCA Board also adopted the formal "Response to Complaint" to Mr. Schein.

Meet the 2013 BCA Candidates

Posted March 8, 2013 at 2:28 PM
Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 7:00 p.m. Brandermill Woods When asked "what would you like to accomplish as a member of the BCA Board of Directors," the candidates had the following to say (in alphabetical order).

DONALD E. BLOM: I am running for the BCA Board in order to support actions the Board can take to make Brandermill more attractive to young families moving to the area in the future. This includes various steps to make certain that Brandermill remains an attractive, well-kept community; completing and implementing the Brandermill marketing plan currently under development; implementing the elements of the Brandermill Master Plan most relevant to young families; and taking steps to make the Brandermill swimming pools more affordable and more accessible to all residents.
THOMAS D. LEONARD: I want to ensure that all homeowners and commercial establishments have all the facts and full input on issues affecting them personally and the community as a whole, so that the board can make prudent decisions.
ROBERT J. MALEK: Brandermill is at a crossroad; our community is showing signs of aging, and unless we establish as a primary goal the need to continually maintain or improve the overall appearance of Brandermill, we risk a serious deterioration of the value of our homes and property. If elected, I would expect to accomplish the goal of improving the physical appearance of all common areas, which is the responsibility of the BCA itself. I would also work to make sure our assessments are used in the most efficient manner possible. In addition, I hope to make the decision-making process more timely. We face a number of difficult issues and decisions that cannot be continually kicked down the road.
ROBERT A. STRICKLAND: I want to ensure our community's offerings continue to support a thriving, family-minded community. We need to strengthen our commitment to maintaining the standards set for each of our neighborhoods. We need to find ways to connect with the neighborhoods in re-vigorizing the pride that can carry from neighbor to neighbor and from neighborhood to neighborhood. At the root of our community's challenges are being fiscally responsible and making financial decisions that balance the short-term needs while fulfilling the longer term requirements of sustaining a thriving community. I believe I can help in managing these conflicting priorities.
BRETT A. VASSEY: The Brandermill community is an unmatched resource that can become a gold standard for communities due to its unique assets and citizens.

Information Packet for March 4, 2013 BCA Board Meeting

Posted March 8, 2013 at 2:28 PM
The information packet for the upcoming BCA Board meeting is now available for downloading. We encourage residents to attend BCA Board meetings to learn of Brandermill "happenings".

Highlights of February 21, 2013 MPOC Meeting

Posted March 8, 2013 at 2:28 PM
During a discussion to better formalize a MPOC project process, Manager J.B. Bailey asked how individual residents could suggest potential MPOC projects. NRC Chair Mamie McNeal responded that generally the NRC referred residents with those types of ideas to BCA committees whose charters addressed such topics. The question was raised as to whether a resident could present potential MPOC projects directly to MPOC itself. Majority of the attending MPOC members felt that individual residents could bring ideas or potential MPOC projects to committees for consideration. If a committee decided to not pursue the idea, the committee chair would so inform the resident, and the resident could then present the idea directly to MPOC.

McNeal presented a MPOC Calendar and MPOC Funding Form for MPOC consideration as a means to better crystallize the MPOC process. After discussion, ARB Chair Andy Wyman move to accept the documents, and Community Character Chair Dianne Cardea seconded the motion. This motion was passed unanimously.

Marketing Committee Chair Dennis Peterson read a statement which, in part, asked that the Marketing Plan be moved into the Operating budget. Although unable to attend the meeting, Finance Committee Chair Buddy Whitfield sent an extensive e-mail to MPOC Facilitator Al Raimo who read it into the record. Whitfield shared several concerns, one of which was the impact of financing the Marketing Plan on the overall budget. He suggested that perhaps the BCA Staff and the Finance Committee should work toward a long-range budgeting strategy to advise the BCA Board of its yearly impact. Whitfield also thought that implementation of the Marketing Plan should remain as a MPOC project for at least another year.

Majority of the MPOC meeting attendees supported the Marketing Plan and what the BCA Board approved for implementation during its February 2013 Board meeting.

As to whether the Marketing Plan should remain an MPOC project or become an Operational line item, a motion was duly made, seconded and passed (5:3 vote) to have the Marketing Plan become an Operational line item.

Parks, Amenities and Recreation Committee (PARC) Chair Mel Burton asked that MPOC consider the concept of "off-road trails" as an MPOC project for 2014. The concept was approved by MPOC meeting attendees. The NRC was asked to host a community meeting this spring to get resident feedback.

Volunteers Needed for Career Day

Posted March 8, 2013 at 2:28 PM
Message courtesy of Community Character Committee
The Brandermill Education Ambassadors (BEA) announces the need for volunteers to participate in a Career Day at Swift Creek Elementary School on Friday, May 3 from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided for the participants. For detailed information, please contact Dianne Cardea (

The BEA will also hold its next monthly meeting with Dianne Smith, Clover Hill's School Board Rep, on Wednesday, March 20, 9:30 a.m. at Clover Hill High School. If you are interested in learning more about the program and joining the BEA, please attend. As always, we welcome all BEA members to share their experiences with the children. Please enter the school at the front entrance and present your driver's license to the staff in the front office. They will direct you to the conference room.