Fearrington Village 101: Who Does What?

Fearrington Village 101: Who Does What?

While the Directory and Handbook and this website provide a great deal of essential information, it is sometimes hard to put it all together and understand who does what.  Why do I pay dues to two organizations. Why do I pay dues to two organizations? What does the Fearrington Homeowners Association (FHA) do and who belongs to it? How does it fit in with the service groups shown on this website, and what exactly is a service group? What role, if any, does Fitch Creations still have in management of the overall development? How close to “finished” is Fearrington Village? Here are some answers. Building the Dream

Vollis Simpson Whirligig

The Fitch vision was to develop a quiet country lifestyle with a vital and attractive village center, parks, open spaces, recreation, and housing to meet different lifestyles. In 1975, Chatham County gave the approval to Fitch Creations to create a Planned Unit Development (PUD). The first area of single-family homes, now known as the Historic District, was developed in four phases and was completed in the early 1980s. Since then, more than 15 additional phases have been added. Each time Fitch Creations is ready to develop a new area, it submits plans for layout, construction, and governance for approval by the Chatham County Planning Department and county commissioners. All plans must comply with county regulations that were in place at the time that the PUD was approved in 1975. Fearrington Village was initially approved to have a total of 1,602 residential units on 934 acres (not including Henderson Place and the Woods, which are outside the PUD). The PUD has been amended from time to time to include additional neighborhoods such as The Woods and Whitaker Ridge. By the end of 2022, approximately 1,400 units had been completed. An average of 15 to 25 new homes are added every year. The FHA acts as an umbrella homeowners association (HOA) for the entire Village, and is the only HOA to which many single-family homeowners belong. Some phases of the development also have their own additional HOAs, that we refer to as Service Groups, to meet their needs. (See below for more information.) The retail center continues to be wholly owned by Fitch Creations, which has complete control of the center’s merchants and maintenance. Fitch Creations or an affiliated company also owns and maintains Camden Park, the playgrounds, tennis courts and bocce court at the end of Benchmark, the wastewater treatment facility, the Fitch residential compound, some of the paths, and those parts of the Village that are yet to be developed. Fitch Creations has its own website, fearrington.com. The FHA

Yancy Square

To preserve the qualities that attract us to Fearrington Village, Fitch Creations established the nonprofit HOA, the FHA, in 1976. In 1980, a board of directors composed of volunteer residents was established to represent residents. The purposes of the FHA are to maintain and preserve its common areas, enforce the governing covenants and restrictions, and promote the health, safety, and welfare of Village residents. To fund these services, all members pay a nominal annual fee. All homes in Fearrington Village, including those outside the original PUD, are members of the FHA. The Gathering Place, four mail kiosks, the Creekwood nature trail, and all strips of land between development phases are also under FHA jurisdiction. A map of those areas can be found HERE. The FHA Board has responsibility for establishing a budget and a reserve fund, collecting dues, maintaining the common areas under its jurisdiction, receiving complaints, enforcing the terms of the covenants and restrictions, and generally protecting the interests of residents. Some important elements of Fearrington Village remain outside the jurisdiction of the FHA. In particular, roads in the Village are generally under the jurisdiction and control of state and county authorities, including speed limits, signage and pedestrian crossings, as well as road maintenance and repair. The properties and facilities under the control of Fitch Creations and related companies are described above. As further described below, Fearrington Cares, the Swim and Croquet Club and the Tennis Association maintain and control their own facilities. Members of the Board maintain regular contact with Fitch Creations, Fearrington Cares and other Village organizations and service groups. The board also monitors the activities of various levels of government on issues concerning the community and, if necessary, expresses the views of the community on those issues. For example, the Board was active in representing residents’ interests in turning back a proposed major change to our wastewater treatment facility. The Health, Safety and Security Director speaks regularly with the Chatham County Sheriff and highway officials regarding safety issues affecting our community. Previously, the Board has been involved in planning postal facilities, emergency services, cable television, and appropriate fire insurance rating codes; the need for a stop light on U.S.15-501 and additional street lighting; property valuations; proposed construction of Compact Communities; and preserving the rural character of Chatham County. What Is a Service Group?

Ducks on lower Camden Pond

As Village phases diversified, Fitch Creations designed Service Groups, which are separate HOAs for individual communities within Fearrington Village that manage and provide additional services to those communities. For example, the Camden Park Service Group provides landscaping services, whereas the Countryhouse Service Group provides landscaping and maintains roofs, siding, garages, and skylights. When developing a given phase, Fitch Creations determines whether a Service Group needs to be established and, if so, defines the necessary legal documents and covenants before lots can be sold. These are then registered with the Chatham County Register of Deeds and specify when management control will transfer from Fitch to the Service Group. While the FHA Board is responsible for enforcement of the covenants and restrictions governing all parts of the Village, Service Groups manage additional services and requirements, as well as covenants and restrictions, for their individual communities. They generally have their own management companies. Residents of those communities pay separate, monthly fees to their Service Groups, as outlined in each set of covenants. (See table.)
Historic District: Phases I – IVYes No
Countryhouse ClosesYes Yes / Mill House Properties
The WoodsYes No
Bush CreekYes No
Bush Creek TownhousesYes Yes / Associa H.R.W., Inc
Bradford PlaceYes Yes / Towne Properties
Henderson PlaceYes Yes / Associa H.R.W., Inc
The KnollsYes Yes / Associa H.R.W., Inc
Burke PlaceYes No
Millcreek CircleYes Yes / Associa H.R.W., Inc
Millcroft CloseYes Yes / Community Focus of NC
WeathersfieldYes Yes / Mill House Properties
RichmondYes No
MontgomeryYes Yes / Associa H.R.W., Inc
McDowell PlaceYes No
Rutherford CloseYes Yes / Associa H.R.W., Inc
Camden ParkYes Yes / Associa H.R.W., Inc
As an HOA, each Service Group has its own board of directors and is subject to its own management. Despite some differences in the language of the various documents, all residents and lot owners in the Village are subject to essentially the same general covenants, and all enjoy the same privileges and responsibilities of ownership. The covenants are summarized in the Directory and Handbook that is furnished to each resident and HERE, and are available in full HERE, on the FHA website. The covenants of each Service Group prevail where they are stricter than the FHA covenants. In sum, some of us pay dues to two organizations because they provide different things to different types of homeowners. If we have questions or concerns about matters related to the responsibilities of the FHA, such as the FHA budget, covenant questions for areas without a Service Group, the Belted Gazette newsletter, or The Gathering Place, we contact the FHA. If we live in a Service Group area and are wondering when our siding will be power washed or who will remove a large tree branch that fell near our porch, we call the Service Group for the phase in which we live. When in doubt, we call our service group if we have one, and the FHA if not. Independent Entities In addition to the Service Groups, Fitch Creations created separate corporations to manage and maintain four important functions:

The Swim and Croquet Club: All Fearrington owners and qualified renters are eligible to join this club for a fee, which provides for the maintenance and management of the facilities. (919-542-7337 or fearringtonswimcroquet@gmail.com)

Tennis and Pickleball Association: The tennis courts are owned by Fitch Creations and leased to the Association, which is responsible for their maintenance and management. The courts are open only to paid members. For information, see the FHA website HERE or contact Karen Vaca at karenallenvaca@gmail.com for tennis or Betty Robie at bettycrobie@gmail.com for pickleball.

Fearrington Cares (FC): Originally formed as two separate corporations to help meet the health and daily living requirements of residents, these organizations combined in 2000 to become FC, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Anyone who needs help with transportation, home repair, medical equipment loans, meal delivery, or nursing services, or who is interested in educational or support opportunities, should contact Fearrington Cares at 919-542-6877 or https://fearringtoncares.org/.

Fearrington Utilities: The wastewater treatment infrastructure for the entire village is currently owned and managed by Fearrington Utilities, LLC, an affiliate of Fitch Creations. To contact Fearrington Utilities call 919-542-4000, or email utilities@fearrington.com

Preserving the Vision

Sheep in Camden Park

Because the village is being developed in separate stages, the PUD has been subject to a number of changes over the years to reflect the changing vision of its creators and changes in housing needs and market conditions. Despite the changes, however, the vision of a country village has remained constant and is being continuously refined and improved. Successfully managing this process requires a great deal of time and energy. With some exceptions, such as fiscal management and landscaping services, the time and energy are contributed by an army of more than 200 volunteers. Services range from serving on the FHA Board to helping to staff the FHA hospitality office in The Gathering Place and answering questions to this website to serving as an Area Coordinator or Block Contact. In other words, your village needs you, and there are many ways you can help. If interested, send an email to community@fhaboard.org and type “Volunteer” in the subject box. Got It Now? We all likely moved here for some of the same reasons that R.B. Fitch and his wife Jenny bought this property: the beautiful farm and the tall, old-growth pines that whisper in the wind. Thanks to Fitch Creations, the FHA, the service groups, and hundreds of volunteers, Fearrington Village continues to provide a quiet country lifestyle that residents are happy to call home. 1Compact Communities support mixed-use development and are anchored by a village center composed of commercial, civic, and residential uses that add to Chatham County’s tax base, help residents meet their daily needs, and preserve Chatham County’s small-town atmosphere. Compact Communities allow for compact village-style development surrounded by protected green space, as a size that is easily walkable and bikable by residents of all ages. (Chatham Compact Communities Ordinance.)

Helene Carlson, with support from Jesse Fearrington, Tony Daniels, Gordon Pitz and Tony Carroll