Questions & Answers
Responses to Owner Questions/Comments – 2023
- QUESTION: Does the BOD plan to allocate funds in 2023 to keep the pools open later in the season? Pre-COVID they were open until mid-October and many people expect that.
RESPONSE: The latest the pools were ever open was the third Saturday in September. However when COVID hit and the income from the Fitness Center was down dramatically, the BOD looked for other places to save money. The attendant at the Oceanfront Pool, who had served in that capacity for several years, had repeatedly reported that almost no one used it in September, except to use the bathrooms. The Lakeside Pool was without an attendant in September. To save money, the BOD made the decision to close the Fitness Center one hour earlier each day after Labor Day and to close both pools after Labor Day to save on salaries to employees, daily pool maintenance fees, and cleaning the bathrooms.
- QUESTION: When will RAP [the Rental Advantage Program] be billed for and will it be $650 for the year?RESPONSE: If you usually participate in the RAP, you should have received your renewal notice in the mail by now. The fee is $650 for this year and includes the Fitness Center, Pickleball and Tennis Courts; previously it was only the Fitness Center. If you have not used the RAP and would like to participate, please get in touch with Bryan Smith via email at email@example.com.
- QUESTION: Is there any way to remove spikey thorns from the perimeter of the [Sand] Volleyball Court in our cul-de-sac [at Fourwinds Ct]?RESPONSE: Grounds Pros will spray the perimeter of the Sand Volleyball Court. However, the success of the treatment will depend on the surrounding properties that might also have spikey thorns. If that were the case, the wind could carry new seeds to replace what had been killed off.
- QUESTION: The beach accesses shared with Ocean Hill need improvement and should be a joint effort to insure they are maintained properly.RESPONSE: In 2009 there was a legal agreement signed between the VOH and Ocean Hill that gave the owners within the VOH pedestrian access through Ocean Hill to the beach accesses into perpetuity. However, it also made it very clear that Ocean Hill, and only Ocean Hill, would maintain their accesses.
- COMMENT: Please loop us into assistance with climate change issues.
RESPONSE: Please explain your comment.
- QUESTION: How is the HOA addressing beach nourishment with the County Commissioners?
RESPONSE: Commissioner Bob White will be a guest speaker at the 2023 Spring Membership Meeting to talk about the County’s position and any potential plans for beach nourishment.
- QUESTION: Is the HOA part of the lawsuit regarding county misappropriation of rental taxes?
RESPONSE: No, the fiduciary responsibility of the BOD is restricted to meeting the operating and replacement needs of the association.
- QUESTION: Will the HOA support a beach push in the meantime since the county is delaying any action on beach nourishment?
RESPONSE: Yes, the BOD had a beach push done in front of the beach access at Sharky’s to protect the integrity of the Oceanfront Pool.
- QUESTION: Would like to propose the BOD commission a working group comprised of 2 full-time residents, 2 property owners, and 1 BOD member to review the 2024 budget for the purpose of recommending options to the BOD that would reduce VOH assessments for 2024.
RESPONSE: The BOD is happy to explain to the membership how the budget is developed beginning with the fact that Bryan Smith drafts the initial budget and presents it to the BOD for consideration in July. The BOD and Management then work together on the budget with the goal of having it completed by the third week of August.
If you look at the operating budget there are 27 categories and of those, 12 are contracts for specific dollar amounts (pool operator, accounting services, insurance, landscaping repair and maintenance, trail maintenance, management fees, taxes and licenses, pest control, website maintenance fee, trash roll back service (e.g., to roll back trash cans during the peak season), reserve study, and parking lot attendant). A thirteenth category, wages and salaries, increasing each year by .50 an hour for our one full-time employee and .25 an hour for our part-time employees. These 13 categories account for $340,701 of the 2023 operating budget of $453,001.
Our Management Contract carries an automatic 2% annual increase and includes the salary of our site manager. In 2024, the contract with Grounds Pros will be up for renewal. Over the past 18 years, landscaping contracts were renewed every three years. After a 5% cost of doing business in the first year, no additional increases occur in the second and third years.
Other categories that are not contracts, but are significant draws on the operating budget are utilities which run about $20,000 a year; general maintenance which would include repairing beach walkways, tearing down old beach accesses, shoveling out beach accesses, and painting, which runs about $31,000 a year; and storm water drainage maintenance runs about $8,500 a year. Add to these items things such as postage and community information packets, you have the full operating budget.
The BOD is always open to hearing ideas from the membership, but the thought that we are going to be able to cut the budget in 2024 unless one of the amenities has an exceptional year is probably unlikely. We recently had a Reserve Study done. The Study is suggesting we are underfunding our Reserve Fund and need to take a look at that.
- QUESTION: What amenities are available to renters?
RESPONSE: See the updated VOH Community Information & Map brochure that outlines community amenities. The brochure is also posted to the VOH website (https://villagesatoceanhillcorolla.com) and under the website’s Owner Area. Owners may obtain copies at the VOH Fitness Center.
- QUESTION: We received 2 parking passes. How do renters use them?
RESPONSE: All owners are mailed 2 “Owner Parking Permits” for their use. For those owners who rent, a Renter’s Packet is provided to Property Management Companies to provide 2 “Guest Parking Permits” to renters upon check-in. For 2023, we revised the Guest Parking Permits to stipulate when valid (e.g., “Valid after 4pm on Check-In Date thru 10am on Check-Out Date”). For those owners who self-manage, you can pick-up Packets at the Fitness Center. Passes have been renamed as Permits to align with the signage at the community parking lots.
- QUESTION: Is there a “How to Guide” for Owners & Renters?
RESPONSE: The BOD is looking into the suggestion for a guide for owners. Many owners who rent also produce their own guide for renters.
- QUESTION: Has the BOD considered solid glass instead of wood pickets on railings facing the ocean (just for homes facing the beach, rear only)?
RESPONSE: The Environmental Committee’s position on glass panels on the backside of houses facing the ocean has not changed. They are allowed but we caution owners about the possible etching of the glass due to sand blasting.
Responses to Homeowner Questions/Comments – 2021
- QUESTION: What is the current level of the Reserves?
RESPONSE: The Association presently has $358,550 in Reserves.
- QUESTION: What is the purpose of paying more into the Reserves? I prefer a no Reserve approach where HOA assesses extra in case of shortfall.
RESPONSE: Our governing documents charge the BOD with the fiduciary responsibility to adequately plan to meet the immediate and future financial needs of the Association. In order to do that we must have a Reserve Fund to cover planned expense such as repaving the west side roads which is part of the five-year renovation plan for the VOH. Our documents state that in order to impose a special assessment, we must put the notion of an assessment to a vote of the membership and it would take 2/3 of those voting to pass. If the special assessment did not pass, the BOD could not move ahead no matter how badly a repair might be needed.
- QUESTION: The VOH dues were increased by an extra 2% for the year 2021 to cover a projected budget shortfall caused by low income at the Fitness Center, (COVID-19 situation). If the budget shortfall does not occur, will the extra dues income be applied as a credit to the VOH dues for 2022?
RESPONSE: The Budget for 2022 will be finalized in August so that it can be sent to the membership for their review as required by our governing documents. We will not know at that time what our year-end financial statement will look like. If the Association ends the year in the black, the extra money will be deposited in the Contingency Fund for unexpected or un-scheduled expenses that may arise.
- COMMENT: HOA Dues Getting Too High!
RESPONSE: I know we all want to keep our dues as manageable as possible, however a community the size of the VOH with the amenities we have, costs money to operate. Last year with the Fitness Center being closed for six months of the year we experienced a deficit that forced the BOD to increase dues by 4% this year, which hopefully we will not have to do again. If you review the Operating Budget for 2021, I think you will find that there are no frivolous line items, but rather your basic items required to operate the community.
- COMMENT: Pave Clearwater while the price of materials is down.
RESPONSE: The west side roads are scheduled to be paved in 2022 and Bryan Smith, our manager, has already begun to meet with contractors regarding obtaining bids.
- COMMENT: It would be nice to know which owners are full-time residents.
RESPONSE: Neither the BOD nor Management is at liberty to give out a list of full-time residents, but I would suggest that if you go to the Owners’ Website you may be able to identify some of the full-time residents by their addresses or if they self- identify as full-time residents.
- QUESTION: When will I get a members directory?
RESPONSE: The Members Directory appears on the Owners’ Website. Those members who wish to have their information shared, appear there with a varying degree of information. To date, only about 110 members expressed a desire to share their information. Each year when the package is sent out to the membership with the bill for the dues, there is a Membership Information Form included which gives the members the opportunity to update the Membership Directory if they want to, but many people do not want to be included in the directory.
- COMMENT: The HOA should require owners to keep their property clean of garbage.
RESPONSE: The Management and EC will and does take action when properties are observed having excessive garbage or debris left lying around. If you observe this, contact Bryan Smith firstname.lastname@example.org or Dave Halla at email@example.com and notify them of any situation you encounter.
- QUESTION: Is it possible to install no parking signs on Windance? Twice this year I was almost hit by a car, because of parked cars! Guess we could also use speed limit signs? The trash pickups are hampered by parked cars on Homeport Ct.
RESPONSE: There are No Parking signs along Windance, but two additional No Parking signs have also been added. We also plan to install a speed limit sign. The Sheriff’s Department will ticket cars parked along the street if they are contacted.
- COMMENT: It would be nice to have some kind of VOH specific “Landscaping Tip” document, that shares what plants, trees, shrubs, etc., do well in VOH and in these climates, or compliment the VOH esthetics. We know curb appeal and keeping up appearances are important to everyone, including the VOH, so some kind of document would help. Perhaps consult with Grounds Pros. The document can outline tips, VOH lawn/property maintenance guidelines, bulk pick-up vs. dump of clippings, best time of year to trim/prune, evasive vines, common vegetation found in the VOH, what services are included with the landscape contractor, can owner contract or tap into the landscape contractor, etc.
RESPONSE: That is an interesting suggestion and one the Landscape Committee could consider. The Landscape Committee was formed in 1996 and Tim Leah, who owned Leah’s Landscape Services, began servicing the VOH in 2001. Tim sold his business to the Grounds Guys in 2018 that became The Grounds Pros in 2020. Tim has remained with the company and the Association’s constant contact as if he had never sold his company. There was basically no landscaping in the VOH when we became a homeowners’ association and the Association has put in all the landscaping and the majority of it under Tim’s guidance. So, to say that Tim Leah and Kyle Barniak, his associate for the past five-six years, know the plants that grow and thrive in the VOH is an understatement. The Grounds Pros are available for hire to maintain individual property owners’ homes from March-October as well as having a year-round maintenance contract with the Association. Tim and Kyle have guided the Landscape Committee over the years in terms of which trees, plants and bushes to try to grow on either the east or west side of the community. On the west side we have many Crepe Myrtle trees that would not survive due to the wind and salt spray on the east side. We can plant Knockout roses on either side of the community although they do better on the west side. However, Mexican Petunias and Miss Huff Lantana are perennials that do very well on either side of the community and are drought tolerant. And then if you want a privacy bush around your pool there are always Russian Olives that need frequent trimming, but will survive almost anything. Oleanders are also lovely, but do better on the west side because of the salt spray and the wind. When it comes to bulk pick-up you need to bundle and call for a special pick-up because that is not the responsibility of the Grounds Pros. They are responsible for maintaining the common property of the VOH and not private property. In summary, I would suggest that you drive around the community and see what your neighbors have successfully grown. You will find that most of the full-time residents are on the west side. The combination of people being around to take care and water their plants, and also the fact that the plants are protected from the wind and salt spray makes it possible for owners on the west side of the community to grow a wider variety of plants. On the east side, the selection will be more limited, but the experts can offer you suggestions to maximize your options. Consulting an expert is the best advice the Landscape Committee can offer.
- QUESTION: Similarly, is there a list of local resources, specific for owners? For example, it has been difficult to find different contractors, arrange visits/estimates, and get some needed work done.RESPONSE: The Association does not maintain such a list, but often the realtor who assisted you in the purchase of your new home may have recommendations or your rental company will have a list of preferred providers. Also, trying getting recommendations from your neighbors.
- QUESTION: We would be interested in some facts, figures and history of VOH. Could these be added to the VOH website?
RESPONSE: Thank you for the suggestion. Ocean Hill Properties Inc., its developer, recorded the Villages of Ocean Hill (VOH) lots 1-141 in the office of the Register of Deeds of Currituck County on November 9, 1989. Subsequently, additional phases were added as the Sketch Plan calls for a total of 272 residential lots and eight acres of commercial area. The VOH was originally part of the neighboring community of Ocean Hill. It was removed from that community by the original developers of Ocean Hill Properties Inc., Gerald Friedman and Jim Bickford, who owned both communities to establish a PUD. Under NC Law the VOH had to become a Homeowners’ Association when a certain percentage of its lots had been sold or by a certain date. That date was January 1, 1996. In September of 1995, the Developer Gerald Friedman, had his Management Company, Sterling Parker, contact the various owners to see who would be interested in attending a meeting at the law offices of Brumsey and Brumsey with the Developer to hear about the requirement to set up a Homeowners’ Association and what was involved. There were fifty-seven homes in the community at that time. Three homeowners responded and attended the meeting; Tom and Beth Lutton, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Thompson and Miriam Weiss. After hearing what was required, Tom Lutton assumed the responsibility of writing to the membership informing them of the necessity of forming an Association and of a meeting to be held Thanksgiving Weekend November 1995 at the Firehouse Station in Whalehead. At that meeting the first Board of Directors for the VOH was elected and the VOH became an HOA on January 1, 1996. At the time the Homeowners’ Association was established, the Developer had built two pools and two tennis courts. There was no Developer financial contribution to the community. Since the Homeowners’ Association has been established, it has built two additional tennis courts, a basketball court, a playground, the Fitness Center, renovated the oceanfront and lakeside pool surrounds walkways and the turtle walks and all the roads on the east side of the community. The Association is in the process of replacing what were the original two tennis courts/sports court with two pickleball and sand volleyball courts and plans to resurface all the west side roads in 2022. The Association has also planted all the landscaping and installed the irrigation system we have. The Association also protected the pedestrian beach access rights of its members at the Tasman parking lot and at the southern end of Windance in a lawsuit with Ocean Hill that lasted from 2002 until 2009. Ocean Hill blocked our community’s access to their streets so that our members could not access the beach entrances through their community and we took them to court to regain the rights that the Developer had granted us in our original documents. This case was heard three times as Ocean Hill kept appealing its losses up to the NC Supreme Court. Defending the Association’s pedestrian access to the beach through Ocean Hill cost the Association about $200,000. Phase 6C, which is the three lots off of Windance, if you make a left off of Ocean Blvd East, has just been platted. The Developer of those three lots plans to start building soon. That leaves only Phase 2 to be developed. Phase 2 is the 15 unplanted lots on the west side of the community that are owned by the Estate of Gerald Friedman.
- QUESTION: How does VOH compare to other homeowners’ associations? What makes VOH different? Has anyone compared amenities to costs to annual fees? We ask these questions to help us promote VOH as one of the best and to attract renters/guests.
RESPONSE: I will answer by comparing the VOH to Ocean Hill, Corolla Light, Whalehead and Monteray Shores. Neither Ocean Hill nor Whalehead have any amenities. By our governing documents, Ocean Hill members are entitled to purchase a recreational membership to use our amenities and we charge interested parties $1,200 a year. We typically have about 6 Ocean Hill owners a year who purchase a recreational membership. Ocean Hill has a mandatory homeowners’ association and their dues for 2021 are $325. Whalehead does not have a homeowners’ association, but does have a volunteer association and the dues are $50 a year. NCDOT owns the roads and the County maintains the parking lots and beach accesses in Whalehead, therefore Whalehead is totally open to the public. The VOH permits outsiders to use our Fitness Center and we have owners and renters from Whalehead who use the Fitness Center for a fee. These communities that are strictly ocean side have half-acre lots and people who rent there are mainly interested in the beach and not amenities. Ocean Hill and Whalehead have no landscaping and there is not a community feeling. Corolla Light offers an array of amenities including a number of pools, but the last time I checked, which was about two years ago, they were charging over $3,200 in annual dues and then additionally charged $185 a week for a facilities fee. So, if you rent your house for fourteen weeks a year, then you pay an additional $2,590 in facilities fee added to the $3,200 in dues. If you rented your house more than fourteen weeks you would pay more than that. These higher fees allow Corolla Light to employ a large staff and offer a variety of services that the VOH does not, and cannot afford to, but you pay for what you get. Corolla Light does not have many full-time residents. My husband and I had an investment property there for seven years and there were other expenses that we didn’t focus on when we purchased our investment property like the fact that we were required to have grass and an irrigation system that resulted in hefty water bills and having grass meant landscape maintenance bills. Corolla Lights’ oceanfront parking lot is about the size of the VOH’s, therefore, they have a trolley car system to carry their guests back and forth to the beach. The VOH use to have a Long-Range Planning Committee and one of its members interviewed Don Cheeks, the Manager of Corolla Light, about the feasibility of their trolley system. He was quoted as saying that it was a necessity due to their limited parking at the oceanfront and the percentage of their homes that are located on the west side of the community, but that it was an expensive and unreliable amenity. Corolla Light is the only one of the communities that offers a comprehensive indoor facility with a pool, indoor tennis courts and several small weight rooms that are open year-round. In summary, it is a lovely community, so it depends on what you are looking for in an investment or a rental property. Monteray Shores is a sound side community. They use the public parking lots and beach accesses through Whalehead. As of about three years ago, about one hundred of the homes in Monteray Shores were rental homes and the rest were true second homes or year-round homes. Monteray Shores has its own sound side swimming pool, two tennis courts, two combo tennis/pickleball courts, basketball court, playground, boat ramp, and small fitness center. Their dues for vacant lots and non-rental homes for 2021 is $1,100 and for rental homes is $1,630. As a sound side community, they do not face the expenses of maintaining walkways or oceanfront accesses that are quite costly to a sound to ocean community. I think each one of us can read and make our own comparisons between the various communities and decide what we were looking for in ownership and what attracted renters to our community. Although the communities differ, owners in the VOH have never had difficulty in attracting renters.
- QUESTION: In reading some past newsletters, we noticed the issue about limited parking. Has the VOH considered separating or identifying different parking options? Such as separate “bike”, “golf cart”, “handicap-parking”. There appears to be various common spaces that can be repurposed into such additional parking. Surely the community members would not mind if it helps ease the load.
RESPONSE: Parking is an issue the BOD has been looking at for several years with an eye to the expanding community. With that in mind, we looked at the common property that the Association was entitled to from the developer that hadn’t been conveyed. We approached the County in 2018 and asked if either of the two parcels along Rt. 12 could be converted to auxiliary parking for the oceanfront parking lot. After the Planning Committee discussed our inquiry, they informed us that the parcel closest to the oceanfront parking lot met the requirement of being within 1,000 ft. of the existing lot and therefore they would entertain the VOH submitting an Amendment to our Sketch Plan. The BOD is taking legal action to obtain the deeds to the common properties that the Developer has failed to turn over in spite of repeated attempts to obtain these deeds. Once the deeds are obtained, we will have the parcel surveyed to see if it is feasible to put a parking lot on it. If it is, then the BOD will go through the process of having the Sketch Plan amended with the County in order to proceed and expand our parking areas.
- QUESTION: Is it safe to assume the VOH will be updating the VOH Community Map to reflect the forthcoming Pickleball Courts and fees, posting to the VOH website, and informing owners of an updated map?RESPONSE: The VOH Community Map has been updated to reflect the forthcoming pickleball courts and sand volleyball court, and the map has been posted to the VOH website. In addition, we are in the process of making content changes to the website to include information pertaining to fees.
- QUESTION: We see there’s a “Guest Information” section on the VOH website and eventually an owner is made aware of the “Owner Area [Portal]”. It would be nice for the VOH to have a “Welcome Aboard” section that provides general information to “new owners” (public or behind the Owner Area). Maybe some kind of formal method to welcome new owners can be created?
RESPONSE: We are in the process of updating the VOH website content to include an introductory/ explanatory “Welcome”, along with general community information for owners and visitors. For other suggested changes/additions, please provide detailed examples of specific modifications to be made to the website content, and such revisions will be considered where feasible.
- COMMENT: Given the number of renters and guests that come to the fitness center over the course of the spring/summer/fall, we would like to suggest that the scheduling system be kept in place in order to limit the number of individuals using the gym at one time. The current scheduling system is SIMPLY AWESOME.
RESPONSE: The current scheduling system will continue to be utilized throughout the year for fitness center appointments, as well as for tennis and pickleball court reservations. One of the functions of maintaining the scheduling system is to monitor and control the number of patrons that have access to the fitness center at any one time, and appropriate limits will continue to be implemented.
- QUESTION: Given the CDC’s recommendations for gyms (increase in capacity), would the Board consider:
- Look at options to open two ellipticals and two treadmills?
- Another option would be to have the current opened elliptical and the treadmill at the end opened – and use the elliptical and treadmill that are next to one another as swing equipment? If one is being used, the other is closed to use?
RESPONSE: As the capacity/occupancy guidelines regarding gyms and fitness centers are revised, we will consider putting additional pieces of exercise machinery into active status and/or reconfiguring the placement of equipment, while maintaining at least the minimum recommended distance between the pieces.
- QUESTION: The CDC does recommend not having “difficult” equipment to clean (such as mats and balls) not available for use in gyms. However, is it possible for gym patrons to bring their own workout mats to do floor exercises? This would be much appreciated!! RESPONSE: As noted, the fitness center has removed certain types of exercise equipment (e.g., workout mats, balls, resistance bands, etc.) due to the difficulty in cleaning them between uses. Additionally, although the fitness center floor is vacuumed/swept on a daily basis, it is not disinfected in the manner that the exercise machines are maintained, and this could potentially increase exposure to any COVID-19 virus that may inadvertently be brought into the fitness center. Furthermore, the amount of open floor space is limited, and placing mats on the floor could hinder the movement of other patrons within the facility. For these reasons, the BOD does not advocate the practice of allowing patrons to bring their own workout mats into the facility at this time.
- COMMENT: As a regular gym user, it is evident that despite CDC recommendations, many gym visitors ARE NOT wiping down equipment before and after its use. Also, there are more incidents where patrons are “circuit training” and consuming two to three pieces of equipment at the same time and not cleaning the equipment between use. Given the small nature of our gym, it may be helpful for patrons to receive a flyer that reviews some of the processes and gym etiquette that apply specifically to our gym.
RESPONSE: It is unfortunate that you have witnessed some patrons not wiping down equipment before and after its use. However, this is not a widespread practice, as the vast majority of users do abide by the rules and wipe down the equipment after they are finished using it. There are currently numerous signs and notices posted throughout the fitness center that address the use of equipment and the proper cleaning thereof. However, if you feel that circulating additional flyers would be helpful, please feel free to create one and submit it for the BOD’s consideration.
- QUESTION: I do applaud the HOA board for their quick and responsive actions in ensuring the safety of our community by following the CDC guidelines with regard to COVID-19. One recommendation that the CDC has made is that gym facilities allow specific periods of time for individuals that may wish to use the gym and not come in contact with those that are not part of their established COVID bubble. Would the HOA consider allowing a specific time per day for permanent residents who have a well-established COVID-19 bubble in order to minimize exposure to renters / guests? As a healthcare professional, I am aware that there are a number of permanent residents in our community who may embrace this opportunity as a measure to protect their health and well-being.
RESPONSE: Limiting fitness center access to permanent residents only (even for a specific time of day) does not reduce the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus, as even individuals within a perceived “well-established COVID bubble” can be exposed and contract the virus. The action plan established and implemented by the BOD during the recent COVID incident will again be implemented in the event of any future occurrence of a positive COVID-19 case. Until the public is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and restrictions are lifted, the health and well-being of all individuals utilizing the fitness center is best protected by following the CDC guidelines of wearing face coverings, maintaining appropriate social distancing, and washing hands.
- QUESTION: In terms of the capital budgeting, at the fall meeting, it was mentioned that updating some of the gym equipment may be beneficial. Is there an update on this request?
RESPONSE: In the current COVID environment, the number of pieces of gym equipment that are actively being used is limited, and they are functioning properly and are serviced on an annual basis. Although there are no plans to replace any equipment at this time, as we look to bring more pieces online in the future, we will consider the potential replacement/upgrade of such equipment, if required.
- COMMENT: Request that you repair the entrance to Windance Lane. There is a pothole as you turn in.
RESPONSE: VOH Management has contacted NC Department of Roads and they have agreed to fix the hole. If it were on VOH’s road they would not fix it because they are private roads belonging to VOH.
- COMMENT: The home next to mine needs substantial upkeep and should be cited.
RESPONSE: This year of COVID has created a hardship for the EC in carrying out its duties as dictated by the EP&P guidelines which state that home inspections be conducted in November and December and notification sent to the homeowner if there were any discrepancies to the home itself or landscaping problems. It was impossible to perform this function this year because the EC could not get together as a group. But I can assure you that now that all 4 members of the EC have been vaccinated, we will address this request forthwith and appropriate action will be executed.
- COMMENT: There was concern from the owners of Lot 11 about the swales to be created around and behind the new house being built next to them.
RESPONSE: The new house was recently issued a use and occupancy permit. The EC made sure that all proper swales dictated by the County of Currituck were installed according to the approved site plan and that the Storm Water Management people of Currituck were directly involved in making sure the swales were constructed properly by the builder.
- QUESTION: There is a plastic chair in the lake on the west side on the northern end. Perhaps it could be removed? Have floating fountains been considered for the lake to add movement to the water and perhaps reduce the number of mosquitoes?
RESPONSE: The chair has been removed. Floating fountains were researched several years ago and it was found that it was not practical and the number of fountains required and the electricity required was not financially doable. There was a study done several years ago by one of our residents at the time. The depth of the lake in some places is 35-40 feet. The oxygen content is well within an acceptable range even when we have algae growth. The biggest suggestion to come from the study is to stay away from fertilizers that have Phosphates in them which promote algae growth.
- QUESTION: Could “separate” guidelines be drafted and available to owners specific to “cottage signs” for their beach house?
RESPONSE: Good question. The EC has addressed sign limitations for “Construction Contractor”, “For Sale” signs, “Rental Signs”, “Open House Banners”, “House Number Identifiers” issued by Currituck Fire Department but no specifics on “Cottage Signs”. The EP&P manual is a live document. This is one suggestion the EC will act on. Thank you.
- QUESTION: Specific to the EC Guidelines for Roofs and House Paint Colors, could there be a supplemental list that includes 1. The colors, 2. Swatches of the colors (from comparable vendors/ brands), and/or 3. Links to webpages to see the colors and different images or a combination of?
RESPONSE: To begin with, for any painting where the color is changing, EXHIBIT C needs to be filled out, the form is located toward the end of the EP&P. If the existing color changes, then there is an application charge. If you are changing your color then the color needs to be selected from the VOH color pallet available at the fitness center. The color pallet is cross referenced by EXHIBIT D which can be researched on the internet under Pittsburg Paints. If you choose another paint manufacturer a copy of the PG color can be duplicated. If there is a roof change then EXHIBIT C again needs to be submitted and if you choose a metal roof the acceptable colors are listed on EXHIBIT E.
- COMMENT: Specific to the EC Guidelines, it may help all parties to assemble a factsheet of sorts that outlines the typical things to be aware of for house renovations (e.g., egress, setbacks, permeable space, surveys, plats, zoning issues, permit process, etc.) and provide to owners for their awareness. Such a factsheet would ultimately save time, patience, costs and any confusion.
RESPONSE: The one major concern being a Board Member, Committee Member or management position is that we represent the members of VOH and misinformation can get you into legal challenges. There is no one person that knows everything that is being addressed in this question. That is why, for instance, Currituck County has become a network of specialists dealing with special operations, e.g., plumbing, electrical, licensing, storm water management, zoning, inspections, etc. Your officers and Management of VOH know enough that we can refer you to answer people in the Currituck Satellite office which adjoins the library.
- QUESTION: Is there a list of annual events, activities, etc., that take place locally or specific to VOH? We didn’t find anything on the VOH website. Beth: Thanks for giving us a head’s up on the VOH Annual Meeting in October. We’ll add that to our calendar. Maybe VOH can host “Movie Nights (preferably outdoors of course) and sell popcorn to cover expenses. We, and surely others, would enjoy!
RESPONSE: Locally, you should check out the Historic Corolla Park for specific activities throughout the summer at the Whalehead Club, Wildlife Education Center and the Currituck Lighthouse. The new Currituck Boat Museum is also slated to open soon. The Corolla Civic Association communicates information of local interest through newsletters, Facebook or their website. They host monthly meetings with the community to discuss critical issues and bring in relevant guest speakers and programs. The Corolla Library has various summer activities and also has an active volunteer group. VOH manages an extensive amenity package for owners and renters from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but no annually scheduled events just for owners. The concept of a movie night is interesting, but since we have daylight/twilight until around 9pm in the summer, it would make for a very late movie night!
- COMMENT: Please address drainage issues west of Rt. 12, specifically the Nature Trail behind Clearwater Lane, Crystal Lake Court and Fairwinds Lane.
RESPONSE: In 2019, the Board notified all owners and provided information relating to a water retention issue in the Nature Trail behind the westside houses on Clearwater Lane, Crystal Lake Court and Fairwinds Lane. The Nature Trails are Common Areas, and the responsibility for the VOH under the Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions is to keep them in good, clean, attractive and sanitary condition, order and repair. There is no duty to drain the trails. After severe storms, mosquito pellets have been used. Ballots were sent to all owners that described the issue and potential options and at the Spring Membership Meeting in April 2019, the water retention issue was discussed, with construction drawings posted around the room showing potential alleviation of the issue. The Ballot asked whether there should be a $200 per home Special Assessment to handle Internal Nature Path Drainage. Bissell Engineering did an extensive study of the issue and we then obtained information on the costs. Three options were available: (1) installing a drainage system in the Nature Trails which would have emptied into the Lake with underground pipes and pumps; (2) professional pumping, as needed; or (3) take no action. Option 1 which would have resulted in the Special Assessment of $200 would have required a 67% vote of those present or who had sent in their Ballot. 113 Owners voted. 35 voted for Option 1; 10 voted for Option 2; and 68 voted for Option 3. It was announced that VOH, by more than half of those voting, determined they did not want a Special Assessment to pay for installation of a drainage system in the Nature Trail. The Board, however, indicated that in the event of prolonged rain, they would consider (2) professional pumping of the area which would not result in any Special Assessment. Mosquito treatments would be made, as necessary. Based on this vote in 2019, the Board doesn’t believe there is any reason to consider another vote for a Special Assessment to install a drainage, pumping system. There have been no events of prolonged rain since April 1919 that have required using Professional Pumping, but the Board would consider that measure, as necessary.
- QUESTION: Will the volleyball court on Windance at Fourwinds Court continue to be operational?
RESPONSE: Yes, VOH will have a new westside volleyball court beside the pickleball courts and will continue with the eastside volleyball court on Fourwinds Court. Like the basketball court, there is no reservation at either.
- COMMENT: The trash situation has become simply abhorrent. While I fully understand that many owners are not present for Wednesday pick-up and thus pull their cans to the curb and allow the FULL cans to sit for two and three days until pick-up, more and more of the trash is being blown around the neighborhood and animals are getting into the trash. To be honest, some parts of our community look like an “inner city ghetto” with the amount of trash left on the curbs and the presence of rats (seen on Windance). While I do not have any solutions to offer, this needs to be addressed.
RESPONSE: Trash bins have often been a complaint, whether it’s that they are overfilled and don’t close, allowing the wind to blow the lids open and/or varmints and other wildlife to tip them over. The Board stresses the need for adequate bins for the house and to notify the trash company if any lid is broken and does not close completely. The trash company generally replaces the bin within a week. As you know, VOH Fall/Winter/Spring trash/recycling pick up is only Wednesdays (30 weeks – “off-season”). Commencing the first Saturday in May, through the last Saturday in September (22 weeks – “in-season”) there is trash/recycling pickup both Wednesday and Saturday. Keeping our neighborhood neat with no overflowing bins and not sitting on the side of the road is a necessity that reflects on the attractiveness of the neighborhood for everyone and enhances home values. The current cost to the VOH for a roll-back service of trash bins for the in-season period on Saturdays only is $4,290 which is part of the our current VOH annual assessment (dues). However, if the roll-back service for Wednesday is added in-season, it would be an additional $4,290 for the 22 weeks. Year-round roll-back twice a week in-season and once a week off-season would be a total of $14,430. This would get the bins back to the houses but doesn’t help with the bins curbside for days. Having a roll-out service is the only way not to have bins sitting at the curb before the day before pickup. Everyone would be instructed they should NOT roll-out their bins before the day before pickup. In-season only roll-out and roll-back twice a week is approximately $17,160.00. Year-round roll-out and roll-back twice in-season and once off-season is $28,860. Expanding from one day a week roll-back at $4,290 current charge already included in the Budget to year-round and including roll-out is approximately $28,860 or an increase of $24,570 but we don’t have trash bins on the side of the road and it’s great curb appeal for owners and renters. The Board will be discussing this in a Board meeting shortly.
- QUESTION: Could the VOH look into its own weather station and enable owners/guests to view the results on the VOH website? When we looked at our weather app on our iPhones, it’s pulling weather from Coinjock.
RESPONSE: We do not think this is feasible from an initial cost basis or maintenance requirements. However, there are many resources you can access. There is an App: WeatherSTEM that can be downloaded and then the Corolla Fire Station location can be selected, which is obviously closer to the VOH. We are determining if a link to that App can be added to our website by our webmaster under “Area Information”. Twiddy & Co. provides weather and tides for various parts of the OBX. Other rental agencies provide similar information.
- QUESTION: Has there been any interest from owners to install a security camera overlooking the community beach access parking lots and/or community pools?
RESPONSE: The Board at times considered a security camera for the pools. Lights based on motion would be necessary too as no lighting is permitted after 11 PM. Since we have not had any incidence of theft or other vandalism that would make this necessary and there is no overnight parking allowed in any lot, we have determined not to consider this expense. The Fitness Center is security equipped and contacts the police and our manager if there is a breach.
- QUESTION: Has there been any interest from the community to install a webcam at one of the beach access points (e.g., the Oceanfront Pool Complex) that simply scrolls left/right to show the conditions, beach traffic, etc.? There’s a website that shows all available OBX webcams and it would be nice for VOH to have their own (https://www.visitob.com/outer-banks-webcams/) and for owners/guests to refer to.
RESPONSE: As you may know, although North Carolina beaches are public, access to them can be controlled, especially if the owner does not allow public parking. There is no public parking in VOH. Someone could access the beach by walking into the VOH or walking north or south from other beaches. A website seems like an expensive project with maintenance costs required. We believe that many of the rental companies (Twiddy.com, Corolla Classic Vacations at livebeaches.com, Village Realty at villagerealtyobx.com, and Resort Realty at resortrealty.com provide a webcam that scans the northern beaches).
- QUESTION: Does the VOH have a Yahoo Group, Listserv, etc., for owners to subscribe to? We know there’s a Facebook page, but not sure if it’s “official” and/or widely used. It’s easy to create a free listserv at https://groups.io, which our community uses in Washington, DC.
RESPONSE: No. We have no Facebook for owners. With more than half of the owners desiring privacy even from a directory, it’s not something the Board considered. Any owner could start one if they so desire. If an owner is interested in starting one, the Board would provide a paragraph in a newsletter advising owners of this. The Board would not recommend no support this as a VOH activity.
- COMMENT: As new beach house rental property owners, maybe a “Prepping for the Rental Season for Owners” checklist or flyer would be helpful…from a VOH perspective of course. We would find it helpful.
RESPONSE: Please contact your rental agent. Each Spring, the VOH provides updated informational packets to all the rental agencies for each renter that includes the current map, hours the pools and fitness center are open, tennis courts, pickleball (this year), costs, parking passes, wild horse etiquette, beach rules, etc. The VOH has recently sent every owner the updated map which includes the location of amenities and times of operation. Owners with homes (not an unimproved lot) also received two parking passes.
- QUESTION: There was reference in the newsletters how some Board members and volunteers were monitoring the community beach access parking lots during changeover days to help police parkers. It was mentioned a flyer was produced to redirect renters to the Corolla Beach and public parking until they can check into the property. We would like to share such information with our renters. Could the VOH post as a resource in the Owner Area to share?
RESPONSE: You are correct. Last Summer Board members volunteered to monitor the parking lot at Sharky’s. This year we plan to hire someone to do this and have budgeted accordingly. The rental agents have been instructed that the parking passes for the VOH lots are only valid after the official check-in time for the renter. They have suggestions for what the renters can do until the check-in time including local restaurants, parks, and free beaches.
- QUESTION: Are there separate policies/guidelines for owners or renters having pets? Maybe something specific about this can be posted to the VOH website?
RESPONSE: Owners or renters are required by Currituck County law not to allow dogs to run at large. VOH Environmental Policies and Procedures require that dogs must be leashed. There is no limit to the number of dogs. Dogs cannot be housed outside. With the coyote population, and at least one small dog taken by a coyote, we would suggest that neither dogs nor cats be allowed outside without supervision, even if an Environmental Committee approved split rail fence with chicken wire attached (See Environmental Policies and Procedures) has been installed. There are 4 dog stations with bags and trash cans (in front of Sharky’s), at the top of Tasman Parking Lot, by the Tennis Courts, and to the side of the Fitness Center. Signs are posted throughout the VOH to pick up after your pet. Whether you, an owner, allow dogs or cats in your rental home is a personal decision and is between you and your rental agent.
- QUESTION: What’s the process for renters to use the community pool? We didn’t find specific information about this. Is there a flyer, guidelines, pass, factsheet, or similar?
RESPONSE: Each Spring the VOH provides informational packets to all realty companies for your renters for each of the rental weeks. It includes the prices for the fitness center, hours, parking passes, reservations and costs for using the tennis courts and pickleball courts (new) rules and times the pool is open, etc. All who enter the pools or fitness center must sign in with their name, cottage location or lot number and phone number (in case later they may need to be notified). There was a COVID limitation to each pool and the fitness center. Whether this will be State mandated by Summer is unknown.
- QUESTION: Can the “Members” list under the “Owner Area” on the VOH website be enhanced to also show the VOH property address, in addition to the owner’s names (vs. having to click on them individually to see more)? We would highly suggest the Board strongly encourage owners to update and maintain their contact information. Have the ability to obtain contact info of fellow neighbors and owners is important? From what we have been told, only 10% of the VOH owners are full-time residents. Being able to identify and contact other owners would be helpful for (1) introductions, (2) security, (3) community policing, (4) arranging get togethers, (5) soliciting advice and support, and so on.
RESPONSE: Unfortunately, the Board cannot provide that information. As of this date, only 110 owners have indicated they want any of their contact information made public as part of the Owner’s section which is log-in by owners only. If there is a specific owner you may want to contact personally, you could go to the address on the Currituck County Real Estate website and pull up the mailing address and contact them at their mailing address. We believe that every owner has the absolute right to privacy. Every year we ask owners if they want to be listed in the Owner’s Section— most do not.
- QUESTION: Could the VOH website be enhanced to show all members of the Board of Directors, Committees, etc., to include their photo and short bio, in addition to their contact information?
RESPONSE: The VOH Board members are volunteers, and as such, do not feel that it is necessary or appropriate to have their pictures or bio on the association website. Every year there are elections for new or returning board members. Candidates submit a bio that is mailed to owners in August prior to the October annual meeting. At the fall meeting all board members introduce themselves and candidates for office have a chance to speak. Committees also consist of volunteers, and anyone has the opportunity in October to submit their name for consideration for the committee of their choice. Contact information for board members and management is provided on the VOH website.
- QUESTION: Can the VOH either post something on their website or include in its welcome package to new owners about the rules and restrictions in using the United States Postal service? We were shocked while renovating the house to order items from Amazon and be informed through automated messages how our packages had several failed attempts and ultimately returned. We went to the local Post Office (at the gas station) to be told that mail/packages are not delivered in the VOH. We were too shocked to grasp this and plan to call the servicing Postmaster about this. How would a new owner know this?
RESPONSE: Thank you for this very important question. A potential new owner might notice that there is no mailbox in front of the property and ask their real estate agent about postal delivery before closing. If VOH posted something on the website or in a welcome package, that would only be available to an owner after closing, and therefore not very helpful. The VOH Board has had conversations on postal delivery and recently surveyed the association about the possibility of owners joining together to purchase and install a sixteen-slot cluster mailbox. To date there have been very few responses to the outreach. You might contact Assure Property Care in Corolla; at one time they were accepting packages for rental owners. Finally, owners who have mailboxes grandfathered in at their homes can receive packages from Amazon and other online ordering companies.
- QUESTION: Is there an update on the status of the parking attendant for the summer season (Memorial Day through Labor Day)?
RESPONSE: VOH has budgeted funds for a parking lot attendant for Sharky’s on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Our management company is searching for a capable employee, but most businesses in Corolla are displaying “Help Wanted” signs. If any owner has a candidate in mind that could handle this position, they should let a board member or management know.
- COMMENT: It seems that some of the homes are parking cars in the yard on a regular basis.
RESPONSE: VOH has an expectation that owners and renters will use the available parking spaces at the home they are occupying and not park on our roads, which would impede traffic flow and create a hazard for pedestrians. The association cannot limit the number of cars at homes, however, parking is only permitted on driveways or beside driveways, and not on the side of the house or on the street.
- COMMENT: The beach access at Tasman Dr. is extremely difficult to access the beach on. It is very steep and our parents were unable to walk up and down it without 2 people helping them. It’s just dangerous for seniors; this needs to be addressed before summer 2021.
RESPONSE: The path beginning at Tasman and connecting to Atlantic Avenue and across the dunes to the beach is owned by Ocean Hills. VOH only maintains the landscaped section at the entrance to the path where there are two seating areas. After a lengthy and expensive lawsuit years ago with Ocean Hill, we won the legal right to use the walkway through Ocean Hill to the beach. We can advise our neighbors if there are problems, but VOH cannot access the area to make repairs. Within the past several weeks Ocean Hill has installed rope fences to assist in the walk to or from the beach.
- COMMENT: Concerns have been expressed about maintaining the common area between owner’s house and the Fitness Center pool. RESPONSE: The VOH Board recognizes the owner’s concerns about the common area between his house and the Fitness Center. While the association has previously cut back the area in question, it is not our policy to regularly maintain sections of VOH common property that are not gathering points for owners and guests in general. Another example of this policy in action is the internal path on the west side of VOH. While the path is maintained during the summer season, the community open spaces along the path are not cleared or landscaped for the use by owners or renters. VOH has extensive common areas that are landscaped and manicured year-round for the enjoyment of owners and guests.
- QUESTION: Could the VOH educate owners and promote the topic on “Light Pollution”? Maybe a section on the VOH website or a resource we can direct renters/guests to. It’s an important subject. There’s nothing on VOH website about turtle nesting season, wild horses, etc.
RESPONSE: In the VOH Community Amenities brochure for renters, which is posted on the VOH website, the Dark Sky concept is addressed at the bottom of the Community Notices section: Help support our community’s “Dark Sky” effort by ensuring all exterior lights are turned off by 11:00 pm. Also, under the Area Information tab on the website, various topics are addressed, including information about the wild horses, wildlife education, the estuarine sanctuary, etc., with links to the appropriate organization’s websites.
- COMMENT: I understand that renters receive a packet when visiting our community. The following are some suggestions that may be helpful to be in the renter’s 2021 packet:
- Guidelines for gym use (see above items) and directions for the reservation system.
- CLEAR DIRECTIONS regarding trash, recycling, and bulk pick-up in the community. With the current challenges of garbage and recycling, having clear guidelines may be helpful for renters. Also, for the past summers, broken chairs, tent frames, and boogie boards are often left out on the ground with the trash for “someone” to pick up. As we know – our garbage is automated, thus “that someone” is not coming around to pick up trash on the ground unless bulk pick up is called. To be honest, the garbage and trash on the ground makes our beautiful community look unkept.
- Along the same alignment of trash, we may wish to include something about NOT leaving trash on our beach – this includes chairs, umbrellas, etc. Some renters do have the misconception that “someone” cleans up our beach every evening.
- Other important information:
- The wild horses — Staying 50 feet away, not feeding them, and calling County Dispatch (252-232-2216) if they see a horse on the beach or in the neighborhoods. We have a group of volunteers right here in the community to respond, so please call and do not approach the horses.
- Digging holes in the sand and leaving them! Holes are not only dangerous to individuals on the beach, but to the turtles and to the horses. (There was a huge hole dug over by the Adriatic crossover that would have been detrimental to an individual or a horse if they fell into it. KUDOS to John Hunt for addressing it.)
iii. Staying off the sand dunes. The ONLY thing that separates our community from the ocean are the sand dunes. They are not “hills” for children to “sled-ride” on…
- PLEASE address the need for visitors to clean up after their pets.
- Asking renters to keep in mind that there is NO STREET PARKING in our community. Also, I am noting that more and more cars are parking on yards (Homeport Court West, the house on the right).
RESPONSE: Thank you for your suggestions. An additional information sheet will be included in the renters’ packet that addresses the concerns you have identified.
The VOH Membership Information Forms that are included in the annual dues invoice mailing invite owners to share their questions, comments, suggestions and concerns with the Board of Directors and Management. Responses to each are featured below and will soon be be updated with those from the 2017 Forms. Thank you to all of you who took the time to share your feedback!
Posted March 2020
1. Question: Can the posts on the walkway to Bismarck be removed? They make it cumbersome to bike or walk through the area, especially when carrying items for the beach. Also, the trees along the path are low. Can they be trimmed?
Answer: The posts along the walkway from Windance to Bismarck cannot be removed. They are there because of three lawsuits during the 90’s with Ocean Hill involving beach access between the two neighborhoods. VOH legally won the right to use the Tasman and Bismarck access points to the beach, but Ocean Hill can limit the types of vehicles that enter their neighborhood. The posts are designed to prevent golf cart access to and through Bismarck.
The trees on the VOH side of the path can be trimmed, but we cannot cut back limbs on the Ocean Hill section of the walkway.
2. Question: Why are unimproved lots assessed at such a high rate? These lots do not increase the load on amenities and add to the drainage field for surrounding properties.
Answer: The Master Covenants state that “Assessments levied by the Association shall be used exclusively to promote recreation, health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Properties and in particular for the improvement, maintenance and operation of the Common Area and facilities” (Master Declarations – Article V Section 2a). All lots, both improved and unimproved, benefit from varied and well maintained amenities. Roads, landscaping and management fees also are financed through assessments. If the fees for unimproved lots were lowered, the association would have to replace the lost revenue, which could trigger a rate increase for all owners. Finally, if rates were reduced for one group (owners of unimproved lots), then all owners would have a right to request equal consideration.
Posted March 2019
1. Question: What can be done at night to illuminate or help identify major streets in the VOH that run off of RT. 12?
Answer: The BOD with the assistance of Management, has requested that NC DOT paint “white hash marks” across all major streets that run off Rt. 12 and into the VOH. These white markings are visible at night and help motorists to anticipate turns. In addition, the BOD has requested a pedestrian cross walk be outlined across Rt. 12 from Ocean Blvd. East to West to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety when traveling from one side of the VOH to the other.
2. Question: Is the $500 allocated to reserves a one time charge?
Answer: No, every year $500 is taken out of each members dues and placed in the VOH Reserve Fund. The Reserve Fund is used exclusively for the repair and replacement of the existing amenities. In 2018 it was used to cover the cost of the renovations to the oceanfront pool decking and walkway. In 2019 it is being applied to the repairs needed to the lakeside pool, pool deck and turtle walk. In 2020 we will have a Gap year where we will not take on any major repairs but will save toward 2021 when the westside roads will be resurfaced.
3. Question: Why does VOH spend association funds on the maintenance of the internal westside pathways?
Answer: The association spent approximately $2100 dollars in 2018 on the maintenance of this area. This was necessary because the connecting pathways are an advertised amenity for rental homes and noted on the map VOH provides to rental companies. The association has an obligation to maintain the pathways for the safety and enjoyment of rental guests and owners who choose to use
them. In addition, many homes in VOH have been listed and sold since the westside path was constructed, and new homes have been built. These recent owners bought into the association with the understanding that the internal paths were an amenity VOH offers along with the pools, Fitness Center, tennis courts, etc. As such, it’s likely that they have the expectation that this area will be maintained as other common properties are maintained.
Posted April 2017
1. Question: Suggest better food, shirts and beach stuff at Sharky’s.
Answer: VOH is pleased to offer rental guests and owners the services of Sharky’s Snack Bar at the oceanfront pool during the summer season. Several owners have inquired about the variety of food offerings and the assortment of other items for sale in this concession. We currently stock snack foods, frozen microwaveable pizzas, ice cream and drinks. Ice cream and water are by far our biggest sellers. We have considered bringing in freshly prepared sandwiches from a caterer for sale but the cost and shelf life of these items is prohibitive and the demand doesn’t justify this service. Sharky’s is not equipped to prepare fresh food on site without a major renovation which is an expense the association has not budgeted. Beach related items for sale at Sharkey’s include sand buckets and toys, sun screen, sunglasses and VOH Tshirts. These items are relatively expensive to purchase since we don’t have enough demand to place orders in the large quantities required to lower the cost per item. In summary, Sharky’s is an amenity many homeowners and rental guests enjoy during the summer season, but at the present time the sales volume does not support the expansion of services there.
2. Question: Why do the dues keep going up and why can’t there be a tiered system based on year-round residents versus renters, renters versus nonrenters; occasional second home users versus year-round residents and renters? Why do the dues have to be collected in January right after the holidays? Dues are out of line for the services that are provided? Why can’t the VOH dues structure be like Corolla Light or Monteray Shores?
Answer: To answer your questions, we need to look to: our By-Laws; Master Declarations: and the increasing expenses and realities of our aging community. The By-Laws of the VOH dictate that our fiscal year begins on January 1 of each year. Our Master Declaration dictates how our fee structure is set for developed and undeveloped lots and does not allow for a tier structure. And as an aging community we have been facing the need to refurbish and maintain our commonly owned roads and amenities over the past few years and into the near future.
According to the Reserve Study done in 2012, the Reserve Fund, which covers the cost of replacing or repairing the roads and amenities was being under funded by $13,700 a year. Accumulatively, that meant that the Reserve Fund had been under funded by $68,500 during that five year period from 2012-2016 and the 2% yearly increase was not making up for the deficit or keeping up with inflation. This deficit is what prompted the BOD to increase the dues by 10% for 2017 and to establish a Contingency Fund.
All members, whether they rent their homes or not, have the option of using the amenities such as the fitness center, pool, or tennis courts and many of them do. Some owners who no longer rent their homes were originally attracted to the VOH for the amenities packages it offered to potential rents. The pools and the original tennis court were constructed by the developer
and were a known quantity before the VOH ever became a homeowner’s community. The Fitness Center was voted on and built by the membership, but is funded primarily thorough the membership dues paid by associate members; the Renter’s Advantage Program (RAP); and by summer guests who rent homes that do not offer the RAP.
In regard to the comment that “Dues are out-of-line for the services the VOH provides”, we suggest that the Homeowner Newsletter sent via e-mail on 1/30/17, provides a good overview of the Operating Budget and outlines the services our Management Company oversees. Many of these categories can be further subdivided into categories or responsibilities such as hiring or supervising.
Several members asked questions wanting to compare the dues structures of the VOH to Corolla Light and Monteray Shores. Corolla Light is a resort that offers sound and ocean amenities where Monteray Shores only offers sound amenities. Corolla Light’s annual dues is $3,232 a year and for those renting an additional weekly fee is imposed. Their Association has a Reserve Fund of
$3,000,000. Monteray Shores’ Covenants permit them to have a tiered dues structure. They are a community of 385 lots/homes with 300 homes. Of those, homes 100 are in rental programs. They have one lakeside pool, tennis courts, a fitness center, and a boat ramp. Their yearly dues for rental houses is $1480 and $980 for lots and non-rental houses. However, with 131, more members than the VOH; only soundside amenities to maintain; and Covenants that permit a tiered dues structure they are not a good comparison to the VOH.
3. Question: Assess the drainage issues on the Westside. After the storm in the fall of 2016, there was a lot of standing water on various properties. Some was due to run-off from the public areas.
Answer: Regarding standing water on private property, this remains the owner’s responsibility, and not the VOH. The depression or basin behind Lot 34 is prone to flooding, runs a distance towards the East, between many homes that abut each other, and is a shared responsibility between affected owners, should they feel a water drainage solution is needed. VOH is responsible for maintaining its roadways free of significant flooding and standing water. With few exceptions, and certainly in the area of your lot, the westside VOH roads are well graded and not prone to residual flood water.
When considering water run-off from public areas onto private property, NC property laws (as also set forth in the Currituck County Website under Drainage Issues; www.co.currituck.nc.us/more-news-five.cfm) regard a “reasonable” flow of water onto another’s property as an act of nature. Realistically, we can’t eliminate this during the more severe storms.
4. Question: The drainage pit located in the HOA right-of-way no longer infiltrates (or does so slowly) because it’s clogged with fine (very small particles). It receives drainage from the roads and requires cleaning. The same appears to be true for the “ditches” located across the street that receive parking lot runoff. Since these are on HOA property and manage HOA storm water, please consider maintaining these structures. We can provide info. on mucking out and maintaining infiltration pits if it would help. Also, the wooden bollards located at the edge of the pit are not set in the soil and fall over. This is an issue when the pit floods. If the bollards aren’t in place, a car could drive into the pit (once again, HOA property; you don’t want to end up buying an axle). Since the HOA set these.
We also ask that you complete and implement the Windance Lane drainage plan as soon as you can. It would have significantly reduced or eliminated the flood damage seen on the street. We realize this is a tall order that you may not be able to accomplish all at once, but hope you can fast-track the drainage system.
Answer: Regarding the drainage pit on your property. This was contracted by the previous owner, installed by Leah Landscaping, was not a VOH project, and has therefore never been an HOA responsibility to maintain. Its location within a roadway easement distance has no bearing on maintenance or repair responsibility. Regarding the ditches and drainage pipes across the street, that’s a different situation. These were installed by the HOA, and remain our responsibility to maintain. Directors and our Management evaluated this area following the fall storms, and recognize the need for regular cleaning and perhaps occasional excavation. This has been addressed this winter and will be addressed on a regular basis.
Despite the proper maintenance of piping and ditches at the front of these lots along Windance, many driveways in this area of Windance and Fourwinds Court are prone to flooding, due to the low-lying elevation of particular properties. Our VOH policy, since its inception, is to not expense VOH funds for projects on private property. Solutions to remove such standing water on these properties is therefore the individual owner’s responsibility.
Regarding the Windance drainage plan, all VOH drainage plans and previously contracted engineering solutions have been completed and fully implemented. If you’re referring to the decade old drainage solution that preceded completion of the above mentioned VOH projects along Windance, this was a study contracted by one of the Community’s original developers. This was not a VOH project, nor was it ever considered for use by our VOH. As we understand his intent, this was a developer solution for water removal from many of the low-lying lots throughout this area he had either completed or had future plans for construction. A plan involving water removal on private property would never be an option for our HOA’s use.
5. Question: My home was flooded with over $18,000 in damage with the last storm. All of this was caused by the water backing up from the drainage. The holes are clogged and the water backs up as it cannot get thru quick enough. I had Distinctive clean it out and I cleaned it out prior to the last storm but I can only get the entrance to the drainage hole on my property. I feel with
these intense rainfalls these drainage areas need to be taken care of. I cannot afford for this to happen again. I experienced 7 inches of water in my lower level. Our fee increased this year – please check into this and let me know.
Answer: As fellow homeowners contending with similar storm impacts, the Board of Directors has great empathy for your losses. We’ll offer a review of the various factors that contributed to your flooding damage and explain who has responsibility for each portion.
The Directors and Management have had multiple on-site evaluations of the east side areas in VOH following the unprecedented “double storm” in fall 2016, including your home. Sadly, many of our other homeowners suffered from lower level water damage, as well. All have in common the low-lying elevation of their lots relative to the surround. A lot’s elevation, relative to its surround, with the funneling and flow of water into the area of the home from higher ground, is the most significant contributing factor to these homes flooding.
Water flow from your drain starting at the roadside front of your house moves west, draining into the retention ditches running alongside Route 12. This portion of the roadway was water covered, and the swales overflowing, following this “double storm”. It is the responsibility of NC DOT to maintain and excavate swales along public roads, which they did following the fall storms, including those running the length of your back property line.
The problem of backup within your drain during this intense rainfall had likely more to do with having no place to go than a blockage within your pipe, though maintaining the drain free of debris is important. Perhaps contracting an engineer specializing in storm water drainage solutions, to propose additional options to what you currently have in place, might be helpful. Unfortunately, in future severe storms, if the Route 12 swales fill to capacity, your system won’t function properly. Please also see the Currituck County Website under Drainage Issues; http://www.co.currituck.nc.us/more-newsfive.cfm.
VOH is responsible for roadway flooding control, including installation and maintenance of drainage systems placed by our HOA. The drainage pipe on your property appears to have been installed by the original developer, home builder, or a previous owner; this was not a VOH funded project or drainage pipe placement. Debris removal maintenance in the unreachable portions of this drain are therefore the owner’s responsibility. The VOH maintains a strict policy of never expensing Community funds on private property for improvement, modification, repair or maintenance of a privately owned system not installed by VOH. This would be cost prohibitive and would result in a huge increase of dues for many years and would not be fair to other owners.
6. Question: The beach access paths on Tasman and southern Atlantic Ave. continues to be in disrepair and dangerous. This community has a responsibility to coordinate with Ocean Hill and contribute to better beach access maintenance and a mutually respectful beneficial alliance on this subject for all concerned.
Answer: Pursuant to a mediated settlement agreement reached under the General Court of Justice, Superior Court Division in Currituck Count, dated July 30, 2008, Ocean Hills I (“OHI”) granted a nonexclusive pedestrian easement for ingress and egress to the Atlantic Ocean along the following routes: (a) at the intersection of the Villages of Ocean Hill (“VOH”) property and Pacific Avenue to Bismark Drive (Part A) to the Atlantic Ocean and (b) at the intersection of the VOH property and Tasman Drive (Path B) along Tasman Drive across Atlantic Avenue to the Atlantic Ocean.
These paths were constructed by OHI and pursuant to the agreement are maintained by OHI at its sole expense. VOH has no right to maintain the paths. Further, OHI has the right to use and maintain roads and beach accesses within the OHI subdivision in a condition that OHI deem appropriate. VOH single-family members, their guests, tenants and successors in title shall use the paths at their own risk.
The VOH Board and Management Company has again requested that OHI maintain these access paths. In response, OHI has recently replaced the guide roping and some of the posts on the paths to the west of Atlantic Avenue. It is obviously in OHI’s interest to maintain the paths for their homeowners and tenants use as well.
7. Question: Concerned with the difficulty in seeing traffic and pedestrians coming out of Headwind Way.
Answer: Several VOH homeowners have expressed concern over poor visibility in exiting Headwind Way onto NC 12. This is an issue the VOH Landscaping Committee has recognized and recently addressed. Last year the yucca plants that hindered visibility were removed. In March our landscaper cut back the junipers, trimmed the pine tree on the south corner of Headwinds and removed the persimmon that was obstructing views. Going forward members of the Landscaping committee will monitor the growth of vegetation in this area and trim as necessary.
8. Question: Crosswalk at Main Entrance where people cross to go to the Fitness Center and pool.
Answer: The VOH board appreciates and carefully considers any question submitted by homeowners that relates to the pedestrian safety of owners and rental guests. One such question referenced the need for a crosswalk across Route12 from the east side of the neighborhood to the main west side entrance at the playground, tennis courts and Fitness Center area. Because the Currituck County greenway path was deliberately curved around the landscaping berms at the west side VOH entrance for pedestrian safety there is no logical place where a crosswalk in this area could directly attach to the west side walking/bike path. Stop signs have been placed on the county walkway where it intersects at the roadway through VOH to enhance biking and pedestrian safety in the area. In addition there are already three crosswalks in our neighborhood that are located coming off the county path and connecting to the three VOH east side concrete walkways. Two other
crosswalks are located off High Dune Loop and between the north entrance to Lakeside Drive and Windance. The association will continue to consider all possible measures to ensure the pedestrian safety of our owners and guests throughout the neighborhood.
9. Question: Use email more effectively. I would have appreciated an email telling me that the meeting in October was still on. I was there in OBX but assumed it was cancelled. I would be willing to assist at this going forward. Also put a Pickle Ball court in.
Answer: We are very sorry that you missed the October meeting. Just an FYI, most people were without internet connections including the management company and the folks on Sandcastle. Nevertheless a few of us showed up and decided to see if anyone else showed up. We certainly will put something in place for future meetings held during the hurricane season. Again, we
apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. And, we have information on Pickle Ball and will put it on the agenda to discuss at a future BOD meeting.
Posted March 2016
1. Question: Request that BoD consider removing the over growth, dead trees and debris that border the lake and sound.
Answer: In 2004 the roughly 26 lots that border the lake and sound along Lost Lake Lane and Bear Foot Path were purchased by individuals and LLCs. When the property was first purchased, some of the trees and brush were removed, swales constructed, and roadsides seeded. This is privately owned property and the swales and sides of the road are maintained by the owner’s landscaper. Therefore, the VOH has no right or responsibility to maintain these lots or remove overgrowth, dead trees, or debris. According to the VOH By-Laws, the community must have a Landscape Committee that oversees the maintenance of only the Common Areas of the community.
2. Question: Concerns about wild grasses creating a habitat for snakes.
Answer: The grasses throughout the community help stabilize the sand from constantly blowing onto private properties and Common Area landscaping. They are natural to the environment. Owners have the option to cut back the tall grasses on their own property in an attempt to reduce or eliminate habitats for snakes.
3. Question: Can the VOH provide beach volleyball equipment in-season?
Answer: The County requires that a beach volleyball set-up be attended and then removed entirely from the beach before nightfall. The VOH is not staffed for that type of service. However, there are two other locations within the community where there are community-owned volleyball nets: a sand court on Fourwinds Court and a hard-surface court in the Sports Court on the west side of the community.
4. Question: Can trash can roll-back service be increased and consideration be given to a community dumpster?
Answer: Roll-back service could be increased, but it is extremely costly. The 2016 VOH contract for roll-back service is $5,000 for 21 Saturdays (May – September). Increasing it to Saturdays and Wednesdays for 21 weeks would be $9,000. Roll-back service for Saturdays in-season and Wednesdays for the remainder of the year would be $13,000. To obtain roll-out and roll-back service in-season would be $20,000 and roll-out and roll-back year-round would be $33,000.
The VOH had a dumpster in the Fitness Center Parking lot last year. However, it was quickly filled with broken chairs, grills, discarded hot tub covers, etc. and became unsightly. Bulk item pick-up can be arranged with Bay Disposal at no charge by calling (252) 491-5105.
5. Question: Please extend the wooden pathway at the Tasman Dr. beach access.
Answer: The VOH property ends a few feet beyond the benches located just off the Tasman parking lot. The remaining path to the beach goes through Ocean Hill and is on their property. We are permitted to access the beach over the dunes because this is considered a County easement to the beach, but we do not have the right to extend any pathway at the beach access.
6. Question: It is difficult to see when heading from Head Wind Way onto Rt. 12 due to vegetation. What can be done?
Answer: The Landscape Committee met with the VOH’s Landscape Maintenance Service who has since removed the Yucca plants at the front of the island, cut back the juniper on the island, and removed the young trees growing on the south side of the entrance to Head Wind Way.
7. Question: When will a Membership Directory be available?
Answer: The BoD recently approved the expenditure for an online Member Directory and it is currently in the works. Because there has been, and continues to be, a significant turnover in property ownership, an editable online directory would be the most efficient way to keep the information current.
8. Question: Prevent rentals to high school groups.
Answer: Rental management companies require the signature of someone 25 or older for any contractual booking. This is occasionally abused by a younger group of individuals. Any inappropriate behavior of such a group should be reported to the home’s rental company, who if asked, will review the contract. Also, calling the Corolla Sheriff’s Department to respond and report to the rental company will expedite the investigation.
9. Question: Include a “no drones” policy in our By-Laws.
Answer: North Carolina passed new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) laws in December 2015. Currently, privacy issues are the only illegal offenses, as it pertains to VOH. A Sheriff’s Department citation may be issued, for example, for flying a drone manned with a camera, over private property without permission. No laws prohibiting UAV’s with regards to public safety, nor beach restrictions, currently exist in NC. If owner complaints occur, or if there’s a personal injury incident, the BoD will contact the County to inquire about revised legislation.
10. Question: Concern over private company beach chair rental and use of prime oceanfront space.
Answer: The beach chair rental amenity is very popular amongst vacationing guests and creates a resort atmosphere. The company was immediately responsive to our request to spread out their set-ups to be sure they are not monopolizing prime beach spots. The best location and appearance of their storage area is frequently discussed and under constant scrutiny.
11. Question: Pre-plan for VOH impacts if the Mid-Currituck Bridge is indeed coming.
Answer: The Mid-Currituck Bridge has been discussed for 15 years. If a plan is approved, funded, and construction eminent, VOH would still have several years to discuss potential impacts and prepare accordingly.
12. Question: No alcohol at Sharky’s.
Answer: The sale of additional items at Sharky’s is anticipated for the 2016 season. Not alcohol. Plans to expand into a more extensive commercial enterprise are not moving forward. Such plans would require membership approval, as would the serving of alcohol at this facility. This and future Boards should only consider any commercial commitment after homeowner approval.
13. Question: Issue of slow-moving vehicles (golf carts, two-seat mini-cars, mini-motorcycles) on VOH streets as a safety issue.
Answer: VOH policies tend to mirror those of Currituck County. Such vehicles are permitted on County roads with a posted speed limit sign of 35 mph, or less. Our community has taken it a step further, and posted 15 mph speed limit signs on all our private roads.