Dear Raspberry Falls Homeowners:
The weather is warming up, and the flowers are beginning to bloom in our beautiful neighborhood!!! Our highly regarded amenities, the award-winning Golf Course, and all landscaped common grounds are presently being serviced by our vendors to ensure they are well maintained, aesthetically pleasing, and ready for us all to enjoy during the upcoming summer months.
First and foremost, I would like to extend a tremendous debt of gratitude to my fellow Board members who have voluntarily given so unselfishly of their time, energy, and personal resources to Raspberry Falls. In addition, a sincere thank you to Sr. Property Manager John Adams and the Cardinal Management team for their tireless work on our behalf. While our responsibilities are not without challenges, the cooperation, teamwork, and willingness to put aside all personal agendas for the good of the community have been exemplary.
In last fall’s seasonal message, I mentioned that one of the most ambitious and critically important projects for our community is the 2022 Reserve Study. One of the primary business duties of an HOA is to maintain and preserve the property values of the residential units and the common property. Therefore, the replacement Reserve Fund has a tremendous impact on our association’s future. Consequently, we wanted to be sure that we met the legal, fiduciary and professional requirements pertaining to Raspberry Falls per the governing laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
We contracted MillerDodson, a nationally respected Capitol Reserve Consultant who has specialized in providing replacement reserve studies to community associations for over 30 years, to do our analysis. In concert with their experienced team of professionals, Cardinal Management executives and legal counsel, and the Raspberry Falls Board of Directors (with the advice of several trusted community members), we felt very confident that we could have the most comprehensive and accurate assessment to protect and enhance the physical aspects of our community, establish the fairest and equitable means to fund the reserve, and create the soundest financial plan for funding our commonly owned components and easements,
As you may be aware, last August, we received the 107-page preliminary draft from MillerDodson, posted on our community website. A special Zoom HOA Board meeting was held with the MillerDodson Senior Reserve Analyst, Bruce Bennett. An open mic opportunity was provided for all residents with the expression of questions, suggestions, or concerns enthusiastically encouraged.
At the time of this writing, a second draft of the Reserve Study has not yet been finalized. Unfortunately, the project has taken longer than anticipated, but we are exercising patience as we feel this study must be done with total accuracy and objectivity. Any inadvertent omissions or discrepancies that were present in the previous study cannot reoccur. We are confident that MillerDodson, together with Cardinal Management, will have the next draft finalized in the immediate future and submitted to the Board of Directors for approval.
To help expedite that process and update our residents on the present status of the project, we have arranged for a Special Meeting on April 20, 2022, at 6 pm via Zoom. Further details will be forthcoming.
A second issue that will have a dramatic impact on the quality of life in Raspberry Falls is the Route15 project. On March 11, 2022, the Loudoun County Planning Commission approved CPAM – the widening of the road from Montressor to the Point of Rocks Bridge. It will now be submitted to the Loudon County Board of Supervisors for approval.
Several of our residents, led by David Goodrum, Jim Lewis, Elaine Borakove, and Laura Maschler (among others), have been instrumental in convincing our local officials to approve safety, aesthetic and financial proposals that favor our community. They have been relentless in their efforts and selfless with their time on our behalf. Thank you all for your passionate involvement and total commitment to Raspberry Falls. Residents like you are what make our community so special!!!
On another positive note, while our nation’s economy appears to be uncertain, the investment we have made in our homes continues to trend upward!!! The aesthetic appeal created by upgrading our amenities and our high maintenance and design standards has been significant in the dramatic increase of our property values. As we begin spring landscaping and home improvement plans, please be mindful of the impact your choices may have on your immediate neighbor and how it ultimately affects the aesthetic appeal of the entire community. Formal applications are required for outdoor home improvements and most landscaping projects. Guidelines are posted on the website for your review.
Without a doubt, part of Raspberry Falls’ unique and special appeal is our golf course. It provides us with an award-winning and nationally recognized amenity that is a tremendous asset to our community. Our relationship with General Manager/Director of Golf Willie Lutz and his entire staff is outstanding. The resident membership discounts for 2022 have been posted on the community website for your convenience. In addition, the award-winning Jr. Golf Camp, exceptional adult teaching pros, renovated clubhouse, social activities, and tournaments are available for your enjoyment. Golf course activity and event notices are posted regularly.
Last year we chose to renovate our community pool house. Since its initial 2004 construction, it had been neglected, was in disrepair, rift with mold, and had insufficient plumbing and ventilation. Our contractor (Kris Orendorff) and designer (Jennelle Marshall) of Creative Works turned an unattractive liability into a beautiful, functional, and upscale venue. New furniture adorned the pool deck last summer to compliment the overall quality of our entire complex. Feedback from residents was overwhelmingly positive, complimentary, and appreciative of the first-class amenity provided for their families to enjoy.
The pool is scheduled to open this summer on Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 28, 2022. Once again, the venue will be under the management of Continental Pools, Inc. However, this season, all pool passes will be distributed to residents in both digital and printed formats. Cardinal Management will be sending out announcements with details in the immediate future.
In regards to another amenity, several months ago, our tennis courts were in total disrepair. Unsightly, unplayable, a safety hazard, and a potential liability issue. There were 350 linear feet of cracks in the surface – some as wide as 2 inches. Our Board voted unanimously to hire nationally recognized and award-winning Bishops’ Tennis, Inc. to resurface our venue. The courts are now USTA compliant, the highest quality playing surface for our recreational players (pro cushion), and aesthetically pleasing. The courts have been applauded by our avid tennis community and now provide premium play for the enjoyment of all ages and abilities. To finish the project, at the request of our enthusiastic tennis residents, two more benches and awnings were recently added to provide shade and protection for both players and spectators.
Our landscaping vendor, Blake Landscaping, Inc., continues to provide our community with exceptional service under the direction of Patrick Frye. Crews have begun their general Spring evaluation and maintenance program – aeration and over seeding of the common areas, flower rotation at the front entrance and Hamlet beds, bush trimming, edging plant beds, mulching, adding Riverstone to the drainage channels, general clean up, maintenance and special requests from residents.
The most prominent concern within the community, however, continues to be the condition of our trees. Upon the arborist’s examination of the dead, deceased, and rapidly decaying trees throughout the neighborhood, it was determined that 25 trees had to be removed in order to enhance the overall aesthetic appearance of the community, address safety concerns, and curb the spread of disease. Special service was provided for Fox Creek Lane with several hazardous trees requiring removal, cleaning up many deadfall limbs, and cutting back encroaching vines and brush.
On another landscaping note, to resolve the problem of our local deer population devouring the mature conifers surrounding the pool and tennis courts (after a temporary solution of deer retardant spray and granular treatment), four feet of height was added to the original fence. The extension has curtailed accessibility to the trees and appears to be a permanent solution to the problem.
In conclusion, during the 5-month term this Board has been serving our community, much has been accomplished. Combined with the continued enthusiastic work and expertise of our vendors, the sincere and helpful suggestions from our management team, and the heartfelt, honest and impartial counsel from our valued residents, we can ensure that, in the future, Raspberry Falls will remain a source of pride to us all and one of the most desirable places to live in Northern Virginia!!!
Enjoy what we look forward to being a beautiful spring season in this great community we call home!!!!
Al Saunders, President