02 Dec Directory and Handbook Introduction
Welcome to Fearrington Village! Whether you are a newcomer or an established resident, we hope you will find this 2023 edition of the Directory and Handbook informative and useful. The Fearrington Homeowners Association (FHA) publishes this book to answer many of the questions that residents have, and perhaps bring to your attention some important matters that may have escaped your notice.
Residents of Fearrington Village choose to live here for many reasons, but most are here because the Village has so many attractive qualities. Responsibility for preserving these residential qualities is vested primarily in the FHA Board of Directors. The Board administers the FHA covenants that regulate all residential property in the Village, and maintains much of the common property. A list of the Board members and their specific responsibilities can be found in this book and on the FHA website, fearringtonfha.org.
Governance of some developed areas is shared by the FHA and eleven separate Service Groups, each of which is responsible for a particular section of the Village. Each Service Group is a separate homeowners association with its own by-laws, covenants, and responsibilities. Service Groups are explained in greater detail below. They generally hire private management companies to manage various aspects of their communities. For the FHA, Associa H.R.W., Inc. provides accounting and technical services required by the Board.
Many other clubs and groups are available within the community. These groups reflect the range of interests that Village residents enjoy; they range from the Adopt a Highway group to Women of Fearrington. Information about Village clubs and interest groups is available on the FHA website and in this Directory and Handbook.
Most of the content in this Directory and Handbook was produced from information provided on the FHA website, and is up to date at the time the document is sent to the printer. Of course, the information will change throughout the year, especially the resident directory. You can find the most current information by browsing the website, fearringtonfha.org.
Fearrington Village 101: Who Does What?
While this Directory and Handbook and the FHA 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? What does the FHA do and who belongs to it? How does it fit in with the Service Groups, and what exactly is a Service Group? What role, if any, does Fitch Creations still have in management of the Village and its overall development? How close to “finished” is Fearrington? Here are some answers.
Building the Dream
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. By the end of 2022, approximately 1400 units had been completed. An average of 15-25 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. The Fitch Creations website is www.fearrington.com.
The Fearrington Homeowners Association
To preserve the qualities that attract us to Fearrington Village, Fitch Creations established the non-profit HOA Fearrington Homeowners Association, Inc. (the FHA) in 1976. In 1980, a Board of Directors composed of volunteer residents was established to represent residents. The purpose of the FHA is 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 residents 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 these areas can be found on the FHA website. The FHA Board has responsibility for establishing a budget and a reserve fund, collecting dues, maintaining the common areas, 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 and Pickleball Association maintain and control their own facilities. Members of the FHA 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?
As Village phases diversified, Fitch Creations established 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, while 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 Group, as outlined in each set of covenants. See the following table.
/SERVICE GROUP MANAGEMENT COMPANY
Phases I – IV
|Countryhouse Closes||Yes||Yes / Mill House Properties|
|Bush Creek Townhouses||Yes||Yes / Associa H.R.W., Inc|
|Bradford Place||Yes||Yes / Towne Properties|
|Henderson Place||Yes||Yes / Associa H.R.W., Inc|
|The Knolls||Yes||Yes / Associa H.R.W., Inc|
|Millcreek Circle||Yes||Yes / Associa H.R.W., Inc|
|Millcroft Close||Yes||Yes / Community Focus of NC|
|Weathersfield||Yes||Yes / Mill House Properties|
|Montgomery||Yes||Yes / Fitch still controls|
|Rutherford Close||Yes||Yes / Associa H.R.W., Inc|
|Camden Park||Yes||Yes / Associa H.R.W., Inc|
As an HOA, each Service Group has its own Board of Directors, as listed on the FHA website and in the Service Groups’ Directors and Management section of this book, 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 Guide to Covenant Compliance section of this book, and are available 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, covenants questions for areas without a Service Group, the Belted Gazette newsletter, or the Gathering Place, we contact our FHA. If we 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 area in which we live. When in doubt, we call our Service Group if we have one, and the FHA if not.
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 email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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. Contact Karen Vaca at email@example.com for tennis or Betty Robie at firstname.lastname@example.org 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. A section later in this Directory and Handbook outlines the services that FC provides.
Fearrington Utilities: 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 email@example.com.
Preserving the Vision
Because the Village has been developed in separate phases, 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 or market conditions. Despite the changes, 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 required to keep the Village operating are contributed by an army of over 200 volunteers. Services range from serving on the Board to helping to staff the FHA hospitality office in the Gathering Place and answering questions to editing this book to acting 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and type”Volunteer” in the subject box.
We all likely moved here for some of the same reasons the Fitches bought this property: the beautiful farm and the tall, old-growth pines that whisper in the wind. Thanks to Fitch Creations, our FHA, the Service Groups, and hundreds of volunteers, Fearrington Village continues to provide a quiet country lifestyle residents are happy to call home.
“Fearrington 101” is based on a 2020 newsletter article by Helene Carlson.
Want more? If you haven’t already, we encourage you to register on the FHA website and in the Village Directory. The FHA website contains more detailed information, much of which cannot be accessed without a log-in. Providing an email address in the Directory also ensures that you will be sent newsletters and important emails from the FHA Board. To register for the website, go to fearringtonfha.org, choose “Login/Register” at the top right of the page, and follow the instructions. To enter your information in the Directory, choose “New Residents” under the “Directory” tab and follow the instructions.