Fearrington Homeowners Association Open Meeting
February 16, 2021
An open meeting of the FHA Board was held at 7 pm February16, using a Zoom Webinar. The presenters were Tony Daniels, Steve Stewart, and Jesse Fearrington. Carl Angel gave an introductory address, and Gordon Pitz was master of ceremonies.
The meeting was attended by 210 residents. This is probably an underestimate of the number of viewers, since several couples may have watched together with only one person signing in.
Speakers addressed two topics:
Community Assessment Survey, Results and Implications: Tony Daniels and Steve Stewart
The Future of Beechmast Pond: Jesse Fearrington
A question-and-answer session was held when the presentations had ended (see below).
A recording of the webinar is available on-line. You will need a password to access it, which is 9k$K?c9@
Note that the meeting does not begin until 6 minutes (0:06:00) into the recording. Before that all you see is a Welcome sign and a countdown clock.
You can click on this link to view the recording. When asked for a password, use 9k$K?c9@
Due to limitations on available storage for Zoom meetings, the board may need to remove the recording when space is needed for more meetings. We shall try to ensure that it is available for at least two weeks.
Questions and Answers
Viewers were able to type in questions as they watched, and several took advantage of this opportunity. Over 60 questions were submitted. Not all addressed the two topics on the agenda.
Questions have been divided into three broad categories, general questions, those concerning the survey results, and those concerning Beechmast pond. Click on a link, below, to go to a particular category.
They are not listed in the order they were asked. Rather, they have been sorted first into the three categories, and within a category into a number of separate topics. Some were comments rather than questions, so often an answer was not provided. Sometimes more than one answer was provided to a particular question.
The list includes a number of supplemental questions dealing with Beechmast pond that were submitted separately.
Answers were provided by the speakers, and by other board members. They are identified by their intials, as follow:
GP: Gordon Pitz WO: Warren Ort JF: Jesse Fearrington CA: Carl Angel SS: Steve Stewart TD: Tony Daniels PB: Pam Bailey CJ: Chris Jaeger RK: Rose Krasnow
|1||Judith Andersson||Will the recording be available later to everyone?||GP||Yes, it will be available for a limited period of time. See the link provided on this web page|
|2||Kathy Hotelling||The golf cart issue was asked at the last meeting and I have not seen an answer. It was my understanding there were no golf carts, but there is one that periodically comes down Millcroft to the Park. And left there, I assume while someone walks, but that is an assumption.||GP||The response was published in the January issue of the newsletter, https://www.fearringtonfha.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6680#board2|
|3||Margaret Pearson||What is the policy concerning golf cart usage in Fearrington Village? When will the Board formally announce that policy? For everyone’s safety, the rules governing golf cart usage on both the NC State roads and the private roads should be available. Many thanks.||WO||The comment about golf carts that appeared in our January newsletter (see above) reflects our FHA thoughts at this time. While I am not aware of any cart restrictions on community owned roads in the village, if you want to drive to the village center or Camden park you will be driving on a road with a yellow line down the center, which is a state road. With all the walkers, bikers and cars on the road if you get into an accident you’d better have a license for the cart and yourself. If not you are going to face a serious liability problem. A warning!|
|4||Ed Colby||To Carl Angel: How many residents have paid their 2021 FHA Annual Dues, even with the issues?||JF||As of 2/18, we still have over 380 accounts that payments have not been processed. Down about 20 from yesterday.|
|5||David Fleming||I am very familiar with Associa and they are an excelletn company. What does the HRW designation mean in the title||CA||Associa, a national company, acquired HRW and kept the name, since they had significant business in the area. The meaning of HRW is unknown. It may be the first initials of people who stated the company, but we have no confirmation of that.|
|6||gary kibler||I'm sometimes infuriated by the number of walkers on streets when there's a perfectly good trail 30 feet away. What is wrong with walking on the trail, especially the one that parallels Milcroft?|
|7||Julie Bishop||Regarding people not walking on the trails, I’ve asked people why they walk on the roads and not the trails. Some feel the gravel is too large and make them feel unstable. Others think the gravel is too slippery. Perhaps we should look at a better type of gravel. we should look at the accessibility of the trails.||JF||There is a walking path committee that has been formed to discuss the transfer of the maintenance of the paths to the FHA. One of the items that this committee will look at is the surface material of the walking paths. Currently surface material has been narrowed down to either 78m crushed rock or another crushed rock material referred to as either "rock dust" or "screenings". The goal is to make the path surfaces better for everyone.|
|8||Martha Adcox||Topic: Road walkers vs path walkers. Assume some people walk on the road since they are afraid of ticks.||JF||We have heard the concern about ticks. A couple of important points here: 1 - ticks do not like crushed rock, so you will not find ticks on the paths. Our current landscape contract requires our landscaper to trim any overhanging branches from the trails to minimize the risk of a walker from coming into contact with vegitation and ticks. 2 - NC law requires pedestrians walking on a state road to walk on the LH side and to step off the road onto the shoulder when a car approaches. Stepping onto the shoulder and into grass is high risk for tick encounters since ticks love grass. So, our walking paths are safer from ticks than walking on the roads.|
|9||David Fleming||In discussing walking…why are there signs stating no one is allowed to walk in Galloway Villa area?? Is this private property??||See answer provide next, item 10.|
|10||Kathy Hotelling||David Fleming.....COVID restrictions have been in effect for a long time there, that includes non GR people not walking there, so GR residents can walk without potential exposure.|
|11||Amy Ghiloni||I would like to know what percent of people living here are betweem 50 and 73 please.||SS||24.5% of residents are bewteen 50 and 69 years old. 54.4% are between 70 and 79|
|12||Kathy Hotelling||I think the demographics from the survey are those from those who filled out this survey. 14 years ago when I was 56 I probably would not have filled out this survey because I would not have had time. There are so many more children here now than when I moved here....and also there are lots of people who are not retired...yet everyone keeps stating 72-73. Statistically, this cannot be true due to the changes.||SS||Kathy, I too was surprised. However, I have to go with the statistics. Statistically, the respondents were representative of the village as a whole. These data mirror those reported in Gus Reed's "Book of Fearrington" in both the 2010 and 2016 editions.|
|13||Amy Ghiloni||I agree Kathy. I am surrounded by young families.||GP||No survey is immune to bias, of course, but every effort was taken to minimize it, such as deliving paper copies to those who did not have email, and sending two reminders to everyone. Until a better survey is conducted, our best estimate of the average age is still 73|
|14||Hyman Muss||considering the survey completion rate, what math was used for you to be 99% confident results are correct.||SS||The easy answer is to use a computer program developed by Survey Monkey. The real answer is a formula based on calculations of probabilities.|
|GP||More precisely, one can calculate a confidence interval for response proportions. For a proportion p and sample size of 900, the 99% confidence interval is p ± 2.58 * (√ (p * (1 - p) / 900), i.e., p ± 5%. This assumes a random sample, of course.|
|15||Donald Niedringhaus||Will the raw data from the survey be made available so residents can help analyze data? Suggest in CSV or Excel format.||TD||Response frequencies, as well as more extensive summaries , are available on the FHA website. The raw data, however, constitute a very large data matrix, each cell sometimes containing several selections or written comments. It will be easier to get data questions answered using Survey Monkey software than other alternatives. If anyone has in mind conducting a particular analysis, we request that they contact Tony Daniels or any other board member.|
|16||Helene Carlson||What is meant by “technology” being inadequate in the Gathering Place?||SS/TD||Having just been involved in the Fearrington Cares construction, technology may include an integrated, simple AV system using a TV screen rather than a projector. It probably will include a hearing loop for those with hearing issues. There are other new available that may be considered.|
|17||Helene Carlson||If clubs are the ones needing better technology in the Gathering Place, shouldn’t those clubs pay for those improvements rather than the FHA? FHA funds come from many residents who are not part of those clubs.||SS/TD||Clubs do pay rent to use The Gathering Place.|
|18||Matt Alexander||Tony, since there is little interest in expanding the Gathering Place will all the costs associated with its expansion ($450,000) be removed from the reserve study?||TD||The survey reflects attitudes and perceptions at a certain point in time. The concensus based on the survey is that we don't need a countryclub building but as the Village population grows certain modifications will be needed. There will be further study made before determining how much to transfer and where.|
|Paths and Trails|
|19||Kathy Hotelling||Steve....are trails and walkways the same in this survey?||SS||Yes, many or most folks have little idea as to the difference so we lumped them to|
|20||Rosemary Claudy||Which trails are NOT the responsibility of FHA?||JF/TD||Currently the FHA is responsible for the walking path in front of the Gathering Place and in front of the Smokehouse mail kiosk. All other paths are the responsibility of someone else. One caveat: This excludes the nature trails along Creekwood and North Langdon that are maintained by volunteers with supplies paidby FHA.|
|21||Jan Kowal||Will more gravel be put on the walking paths at Camden Park? There are many bald, and some highly eroded areas following the recent storm. Much more gravel is needed to cover the mud on much of the paths currently.||JF||The walking paths in Camden Park are maintained by Fitch Creations. We have raised concerns about the condition of the walking paths in several locations that they are responsible for.|
|22||Amy Ghiloni||I would like to know more information concerning the future of Creekwood Trail upkeep. Specifically are we considering the option of moving the responsibility to the HOA.||JF||At this time there is no plans to transfer trail maintenance to the FHA. The FHA is focused on the walking paths (gravel paths installed by the developer) and improving the maintenance of those.|
|TD||The FHA does pay for the materials such as lumber and signage for the nature trails. Cost is minimal. Additional nature trails could be considered on other FHA common land, especially as additional tracts are transferred from the developer.|
|GP||There is often some confusion here. "Trails" sometimes refers to the gravel walking paths. Creekwood trails, however, are intentionally left as nature trails. They are maintained by a crew of volunteers, affectionately known as the "Light Cavalry", and led by Jim Fink. There are no plans to change this.|
|23||Helene Carlson||what it the projected date of completion for FV build-out?||JF||Projected completion of course is based entirely on the robustness of the real estate market. Traditionally, Fitch Creations has built about 18-24 homes a year. There are approximately 200 remaining lots. So that would lead us to believe we are looking at between 8 - 11 years.|
|24||Jan Kowal||When the Village is built out, will there be as much of a need for all the space Fitch Creations has at their offices? Might it be posssible to rent space for Associa/HRW to use, so that more space at The Gathering Place could be used for gatherings, possibly with remodeling the inside space of The Gathering Place? My big concern is for parking if The Gathering Place is expanded. Is there any plan to increase the parking area?||TD||Jan, this is a valid thought, but the Fitch Creations owns their office building and is a commercial enterprise. I would think they would expect some type of rent for space. As technology increases our needs will change along with the management company and FC. As the Village grows so does the needs of the GP. Parking access is a concern with the GP and eventually more space will need to be found.|
|25||Helene Carlson||It might be helpful if you put a list of topics and points of contact in the next Newsletter for folks to volunteer on areas in the Village needing improvement.||TD||Helene, the process will surely evolve and we will find a way to reach out and find volunteers. Both the Board and Long Range Planning Committee are considering ways to do this. Listening and communicating will be essential.|
|PB/CJ||The Board is in the process of developing a volunteer program now. Please be on the lookout for more information, bith in the newsletter and on the website.|
|27||JoAnn Davis||Where is Beechmast Pond? I don’t see it on maps.||JF||Beechmast pond is located near the wastewater treatment facility off of Beechmast. The best and most enjoyable way to get to the pond is to walk the Creekwood trail starting near the village. You can also find the pond at the end of Creekwood. A trail from the cul-de-sac to the pond can be found there.|
|28||Deborah Granger||At the end of Creekwood—go down the path at the fire hydrant. It will take you to Beechmast Pond.|
|29||Amy Ghiloni||Beachmast Pond is at the end of the Creekwood Trail.||GP||The wastewater plant is just below the dam to the pond|
|30||Deborah Granger||DON’T KNOCK THE PLANT. People have been walking the trails beyond it more and more….|
|31||Deborah Granger||@Gordon I like the first route….|
|32||Lisa Hall||How long has the pond been there?||JF||Not sure, but we believe that the pond was created in the 1980's.|
|33||Deborah Granger||Sedimentation and Erosion Control Pond, says the plat|
|34||Deborah Granger||The plat that came with my house.|
|35||John Divine||Are there available committee discussion notes and other resources relating to choices?What are the environmental benefits and deficits of each plan? For instance, choice 2 offers the great wetland benefits of increasing native species diversification and their numbers. Has this been shared with the larger community as well as the possible problems of mosquitoes and other possible downsides.||JF||There are risks and rewards with all of the proposals. As mentioned, financial risks triggered the study. The engineering company did mention the mosquito risk with option 2, but said managing the flora could help mitigate that problem.|
|36||Deborah Granger||How well would Concept #3 deal with stormwater?||JF||It is our understanding that grants are only available when restoring back to the original environment prior to "man" making modifications. However, great question and we will ask.|
|37||John Divine||What are the strategies available to reduce the amount of sediment bearing water that comes through point and nonpoint sources?||JF||There is no way to control the amount of water coming into the problem area.|
|38||Brian Paren||With option 3 wouldn't the stream eventually clog with sediment?||JF||This is very unlikely due to the slope of the land.|
|39||Lisa Hall||Have you all determined the liklihood of risks associated with maintaining the pond as is? If so, what are those.||JF||No, we have not determined the likelihood of the risks. The primary risk is the cost of dredging increasing, we know for sure that will happen. However, risks such as pollution and having to take dredged material offsite is not reliably predictable. We know these are risks as well. Also, we have seen an increase in storm intensity and rainfall over that last many years and science predicts that this trend will continue due to global warming. So, our need to dredge will also increase along with the increased storm activity.|
|40||Deborah Granger||Not the dam so much but the spillway is being breeched more frequently.|
|41||Lisa Hall||I was wanting to know about the liklihood of those risks|
|42||Helene Carlson||In order to weigh pond options, it would be helpful to know what high pollution risks exist nearby. Did I hear someone say that some homes in the historic district are heated by oil, thereby having oil tanks on their property?||JF||We do not know if there are any homes in the historic district that are heated by oil. This was just an example of a potential danger to the pond. Maybe this was a poor choice of example dangers.|
|43||Lisa Hall||Thank you all! To clarify my question - how likely are the identified risks to occur if the pond is maintained as is?||JF||See item 39 above|
|44||Deborah Granger||That is why I asked about Concept #3 and how it will handle increased stormwater runoff and sediment from whatever source.|
|45||Deborah Granger||Let’s just hope there is not ever WWTP interconnect pipes in that area below the pond. For now: no go.|
|47||Deborah Granger||I have natural gas.|
|Bridges and Trails|
|48||John Divine||If option 3 is chosen will a bridge be needed to span the earthen dam area?||JF||A bridge will be provided|
|49||Pam Bailey||Would returning Beechmast Pond to a stream open up new areas for trails?||JF||Not really. There is already a trail that runs along Creekwood down to the pond. By taking the pond out, this would not really open up an area for trails since the pond occupies such a small area.|
|50||Deborah Granger||@Pam Bailey. There will need to be a bridge over the stream for those who normally walk across the dam.||JF||If the pond is restored to a stream, a bridge would be provided in that area to cross the creek.|
|52||Steven Krull||To Jesse Fearrington: is the matching grant from the federal government only or is part or all of the grant from the state? In any case, the community should be told the likelihood of obtaining this grant before the community decides to accept option 3.||JF||Grants are available from multiple entities, including federal, state and private grants. There is no one provider.|
|53||Deborah Granger||@ Jesse Fearrington Are there grant opportunities for Concept #2?||JF||It is our understanding that grants are only available when restoring back to the original environment prior to "man" making modifications. However, great question and we will ask.|
|54||John Divine||What are the facts about grant availability for option 1 or wetland option 2 ? Who funds the grant and what are its requirements? What is application timeline?||JF||See item 52 above|
|55||John Divine||Fitch Creations has been and continues to contribute significant amounts of sediment from the town center. Are they committed to pay their share of costs?||JF||There is no evidence that Fitch Creations is contributing to the sediment problem. The engineering study identified that the primary contributor is along the creeks in the historic district.|
|56||Sue Clark||With balance left after grant, would Fitch consider sharing the cost?||RK||The costs are entirely the responsibility of the FHA. Fitch creations has other financial concerns at this time, and it is very unlikely they would provide any help.|
|57||John Divine||Will there be an impact fee for any future building of dwellings, roads, and parking lots that will be future contributors to the sediment bearing water?||JF||No impact fees are being discussed at this time.|
|58||John Divine||Who would pay for the rain garden and other projects in the town center parking lot shown ?||JF||We are unfamiliar with any rain garden planned for a town center.|
|59||Helene Carlson||It seems like the Financial Cost chart for the pond options includes only costs directly related to the pond. Does it include the costs of landscaping that entire pond area once filled in, and mowing / annual landscape maintenance costs?||JF||The financial projections do not include landscape maintenance costs. The projections do include the cost for the initial landscaping during the construction phase. This is consistent with the "do nothing" projection.|
|60||Matt Alexander||Will all contracts for construction on Beachmast be for a fixed amount?||JF||We have not been presented any contract proposals, but we cannot image signing a contract that is not a fixed priced. Granted, all construction contracts have assumptions and contingencies built into them to cover unexpected items that could result in pricing increases.|
|61||John Divine||How much more time is planned for further community discussion and when and whom will make the final decision on these 3 alternatives ? How will it be paid for?||JF||There will be another Open Meeting discussion on the pond in either late April or early May. A survey will then be sent to the residence, like the Community Survey, to gage community opinions. The FHA Board then plans to make a decision in late may using the community feedback as one of the measures.|
|62||John Divine||Will a vote on any grant related option be delayed until all financing details are worked out and the grant has been awarded. If a grant is not assured will the decision be made independent of subsidy?||JF||If option 3 is the choice, this will start the grant process and project execution would depend upon that grant request.|
|63||Chris Kaman||what about the wastewter plant needs?||RK||The wastewater plant does not draw water from Beechmast pond. They are quite separate.|
|64||Gary Newman||Is there any interaction, now or potentially in the future, between the pond and the waste management facility?||JF||At this time we do not foresee any interaction.|
|65||Deborah Granger||@Jesse Thanks for clarification of drop from pond to plant.|
|66||Carol Kurtz||Beechmast Stream --This would result in considerable sediment discharge into Jordan Lake. Does that present an issue we need to assess if we go the stream route?||JF||All plans will be approved by the appropriate governmental agency. They are responsible for assessing that impact.|
|67||Deborah Repplier||@Carol To be very honest, I have been the only person who has really given attention to the stream below the Beechmast Dam. Everyone pays attention to the Creekwood trail and stream and largely ignores downstream of the pond|
|Other Areas with Problems|
|68||Dan Freehling||What is being done to ensure that the FHA doesn't get saddled with any more Beechmast Ponds or other common areas deeded by the developer to the FHA?||JF||By NC law, a HOA must assume responsibility of all common areas from the developer. So, we are working closely with the developer: to understand possible future obligations; to anticipate those obligations; and to ensure that when they are turned over that the common areas are in acceptable condition.|
|69||Deborah Repplier||Are any of the other ponds in FV at risk? Or is it that Fitch owns those?||JF||There are only three other ponds in FV, all owned by Fitch Creations. In addition to these, there are two other stormwater retention ponds in FV, but these are dry ponds and only hold water temporarily.|
|70||Deborah Granger||Who exactly made the decision to propose Concept #3 to FV, without substantive input from residents who live on Beechmast Pond? The decision had already been made when the FHA had Mr. Bass do his presentation.||JF||No decision has been made. The Board is providing two open meeting discussions, followed by a community survey, to better understand community opinion in regards to the pond before any decision will be made.|
How might the following information contribute to the FHA Board’s preferred proposal for Beechmast Pond?
“The Village, located in the Jordan Lake watershed and Cape Fear River Basin, is also subject to the 1994 Chatham County Watershed Protection Ordinance and the 2014 Chatham County Soil Erosion and Control Ordinance. However, the development is exempt from the more recent 2008 county Stormwater Ordinance, which is a policy required by the Jordan Lake Rules26, 27. Fearrington Village’s adherence to the appropriate policies requires a 50-foot buffer along both ephemeral and perennial streams28”
|All construction plans will be reviewed, approved and monitored by appropriate governmental agencies.|
|72||Why is FV exempt from the Stormwater Ordinance? Did that play a role in choosing Concept #3, which does not seem to address the increasingly severe stormwater issues associated with pond?||We believe that the exemption would be based upon the approvals that were granted at the time that FV was approved by the Chatham County Commissioners. There was NO consideration given to what regulations may now apply to this issue.|
|73||I mention the above, because I am still not entirely clear what the objectives are for this project, and whose interests are being served, particularly by going with the most expensive option at a time when construction on 15-501 is just beginning (the sediment will keep coming for a number of years), FV itself (based on the presentation) is contributing to the problem, and intense storms are unlikely to lessen in the years ahead. Best practices in stormwater management are—as much as possible—to keep the stormwater runoff reasonably “in place” or to “trip it up” on its path downhill. While I understand a small group of vocal, well-connected residents are concerned about their Creekwood trail, they seem not to have looked into:||
We have had no imput from any "small group of vocal, well connected residents" in regards to the pond. This issue has only been discussed within the Board and the engineering committee.
The Board did invite several neighbors who live near the pond to the presentation by the engineering company on their recommendations and you were one of those participants.
|74||~ educating property owners along the path about how run-off from individual properties could be minimized (none of these properties would be remotely affected even with substantial flooding along the trail, by the way);||The Board would be happy to host such a meeting. However, the FHA has no power to require or suggest such actions be taked by homeowners.|
|75||~doing the same for residents on the pond; in strong storms you will see MULTIPLE “rivulets” flowing down into the pond, exacerbating the stormwater issues;||see above question|
|76||~exploring inexpensive ways to stabilize streambanks along the Creekwood trail/stream (I participated in several of these in the Triangle while I was getting my Stormwater SCM Inspection and Maintenance Certification)||Per Kris Bass engineering, this is not feasible due to two primary reasons:
1- to stabilize the current stream would require removal of many large trees along the stream to all necessary equipment access to the area.
2 - this is a very expensive endeavor.
|77||~exploring creative options for slowing/”tripping up” water as it flows through the Creekwood trail area. (Following Florence/Michael I actually had Mr. Bass come out and advise me on simple things I could do in my yard if the water was going to be flowing through one way or the other.);||see above question|