Thursday, November 29, 2012

Autumn Walk Snow, Maintenance & Final Handover

Update 12/22/12: Howard County informed us that we are not on the dedication schedule for February, so it will be March or April before the County takes over maintenance of the street. So we have even more reason to be thankful to Miller & Smith for handling the snow plowing one last winter season!

Lots of news about the community. The highlights:

  • Snow plowing will be covered by Miller & Smith!
  • 3-year Contract for Full Mowing
  • Final handover of community (punch list)


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Emerson HOA Notes 11/26/12

Highlights from the meeting of the Emerson Master HOA Board of Directors on 11/26/12:

  • Quorum was not achieved, so elections were delayed to Monday 1/28/13 (quorum will be established by whoever shows up at that time).
  • Murray Hill Middle School Jazz Band will perform outside Clubhouse at Emerson Holiday Open House on Sat. 12/8/12 (weather permitting). Deadline to RSVP for Holiday Open House is 11/30/12.
  • New Adults Games Night event scheduled for Saturday 1/12/13 from 4-8 pm in Clubhouse (cards, checkers, chess, TV, whatever people want). Email coming out soon to RSVP.
  • Next quarterly Safety Committee meeting Thursday 1/10/13 at 7 pm. Howard County Police have praised Emerson's program, urge residents to leave outside lights on, use alarms, close garage doors at night. Howard County Police have new iWatch app for iPhone/iPad/Android.
  • Three new pet waste stations to be installed on 12/5/12.
  • New pool policies regarding guests to be finalized at January meeting. Plan to solicit feedback prior.
  • Lengthy Q&A session:
    • How to be a Board candidate (nominations all closed, no write-ins allowed).
    • Services provided by Emerson
    • Snow removal responsibilities
    • Emerson budget and debt
    • Repairs and reforestation area, and demarcation of responsibilities


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Homeowner Responsibilities

We hope everyone is expecting a great Turkey Day! We've been asked to clarify some issues and to remind the community:

  • Guest Parking is limited, so please use your garages and driveways as your primary parking spaces. If we can, let's save those spaces for visitors. (By the way, you probably noticed M&S striped the parking bays yesterday!)
  • Each homeowner is responsible for maintaining your mulched beds (weeding, pruning, and mulching). 
  • However, Autumn Walk will take care of the mowing and trimming again in 2013, including inside fenced yards for the first time (though we will have to set policies regarding unlocking your gates, and posting notices if you do not want them to mow inside the fence).
  • When snow does come, you must clear your sidewalks within 48 hours.
  • We will be posting pet waste disposal signs to remind residents and visitors to pick up solid waste when walking their dogs.
  • Howard County's Traffic Engineer has recommended that the Autumn Walk speed limit be reduced to 15 mph for safety reasons. Until the signs can be installed, please reduce your speed voluntarily.

It helps us save time (and your money) when everyone does their part.

We will address matters when they are brought to our attention, but so far we've been fortunate that simple reminders have been sufficient, for which we offer a big thanks!

P.S.: Our HOA has also decided that Emerson's Architectural Review is so stringent that we will not require an additional review by Autumn Walk for external improvements. We will periodically revisit this question.

P.P.S.: Finally -- no, these classy "No Parking" signs aren't permanent, we're just glad the parking spaces got their stripes!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Calendar of Events

Last Update: 3/25/13

A reminder of the events that are coming up in the next month, starting with the Autumn Walk HOA Meeting tomorrow (we hope to see you there!).

If you cannot attend, we would appreciate knowing your thoughts or questions ahead of time.

Autumn Walk HOA:

Mon. 11/19/12 @ 7 pm
Emerson Clubhouse
Autumn Walk HOA Budget Meeting (adoption of FY13 Budget and setting of HOA fees); detailed info on our Facebook page
Mon. 3/11/13 @ 7 pm
Jenny's House
Fri. 5/10/13 @ 7 pm - 9 pm
Wherever the Flamingo Has Landed
Flamingo Friday
Mon. 6/3/13 @ 7 pm
Emerson Clubhouse
Autumn Walk HOA Elections (election of 2013 Board, details to be posted to our web site and  Facebook page

Will also vote on proposal to expand Board
Somewhere in Autumn Walk
Autumn Walk Social - Community Picnic (volunteers needed to organize!)

Emerson Master HOA:

Mon. 11/26/12 @ 7 pm
Emerson Clubhouse
Emerson HOA Elections (three positions open)

*** Elections postponed to February 2013 ***
Sat. 12/8/12 from 12 pm - 2 pm
Emerson Clubhouse
Emerson Holiday Open House (picture-taking with Santa & His Elves) - must RSVP to Emerson by 11/30/12

Murray Hill Middle School Jazz Band will perform outside if weather permits 
Thu. 1/10/13 @ 7 pm
Emerson Clubhouse
Quarterly Safety Committee Meeting
Sat. 1/12/13 from 4 pm - 8 pm
Emerson Clubhouse
Adult Game Night (hang out at the Clubhouse without kids for TV, cards, checkers, etc.)

E-mail to follow for RSVP 
Wed. 1/23/13 
Emerson Clubhouse or to CMC
**NEW** Deadline for Emerson Board of Directors Candidates (signatures from 20 households in good standing required)
Mon. 1/28/13 @ 2 pm
Emerson Clubhouse
Emerson Nominating Committee (certification of candidates for Emerson BoD)
Mon. 1/28/13 @ 7 pm
Emerson Clubhouse
Emerson Board Meeting 

Guests: Howard County Officials

Will also adopt new pool policies

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Let It Snow, Let It Snow

The Winter Season is approaching us -- we've seen freak snowstorms in early November before -- so even though we haven't made out our holiday shopping lists yet, Autumn Walk HOA has started to think about how we'll handle snow, which is the biggest unknown variable in our budget.

Last year, snow was the builder's responsibility and we had an extraordinarily mild winter.

The forecast this year is for normal to heavy snow, so who will be responsible for clearing the roads and sidewalks?
  1. The builder is in the process of "dedicating" the streets to Howard County (transferring maintenance to the County). You may have seen the surveyor stakes in the ground, but until this handover happens, snow removal is the responsibility of Miller & Smith. (Though you are always responsible for clearing your own driveway and sidewalks.)
  2. Once the County has accepted the public streets:
    1. Howard County will plow the main street.
    2. Homeowners are responsible for shoveling their sidewalks within 48 hours. (You will want to avoid de-icing agents with salts that can damage the concrete and kill your plants.)
    3. The HOA will be responsible for the guest parking spaces and the sidewalks adjacent to common areas. We have decided we will only shovel the walks.
After this first year we'll find out if this plan is adequate!

For those who wish to check the condition of the County roads, Howard County has a

Winterizing Your Home

Here's a reposting of the winterizing tips that Miller & Smith's Warranty Department sent to us last month.

At a minimum, it's probably a good idea to turn off your rear hose bib (from inside your mechanical room) since you likely won't be using the hose anymore and that way you won't forget.

As colder weather approaches you can take a few key steps to ensure your home serves you well through the coming months. Please take time to check these items in and around your home and attend to any that need maintenance.

  • Clean, test and replace batteries in smoke alarms
  • Test and reset ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) breakers/receptacles
  • Change furnace filter
  • Operate heating system; if service is needed it is more conveniently arranged before the busiest part of the season arrives.
  • Adjust registers and dampers.
  • Drain your [outside lawn] sprinkler system
  • "Winterize" exterior faucets to prevent water from freezing and expanding into the pipe causing a broken water line.
  • Adjust or replace weather-stripping on exterior doors as needed.
  • Check the fit of exterior doors; thresholds are adjustable -- use a quarter to turn the screws.
  • Check caulking, inside and out, and touch up.
  • Review safe fireplace operation. Provide professional cleaning at regular intervals.
  • Check the garage overhead door, tighten bolts as needed, and lubricate the rollers in the tracks. Have other repairs done by professionals.
  • Clean gutters, check downspouts and confirm that splash blocks drain away from the house.
  • Check foundation, concrete, and yard for settling; fill in as needed for positive drainage.
  • After snowfall, brush snow off gutters and away from downspouts.
  • Remove ice and snow from concrete and masonry promptly; avoid de-icing agents with damaging salts.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

An Autumn Walk Halloween

Halloween pictures are now up on the Facebook page...and don't forget, this weekend it's time to "fall back" an hour as Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 am on Sunday!

Thanks go out to Jenny in 9847 for organizing the Halloween Kids' Parade, and to all the residents who decorated their homes in spooky fashion! It was great to see everyone outside greeting visitors and passing out candy.