Voting is in progress about purchasing the former golf course property and Clubhouse. If 2/3 of 60% of homeowners DO NOT SPECIFICALLY vote YES on the question of increasing HOA fees or before December 16, 2019, and 2/3 of 100% of homeowners do not vote YES to agreeing to finance the purchase price and renovation costs, the property will almost certainly be sold to one of the five competing potential buyers who put in offers (per Official Board FAQ #16) or to someone else. As homeowners, we now have one last chance to own, control, and protect the center of our neighborhood and add valuable amenities to improve quality of life in Virginia Oaks.
On November 9, 2019, the HOA Board and former golf course owners executed a Purchase Agreement for the sale at a price of $1.75 million. If approved, the HOA will acquire the 7,648 square foot Clubhouse building at the center of the community to use for community gatherings, playgroups, senior activities, clubs, places to work or read, private resident functions, and more. We will also gain 157.5 acres of private park, fishing ponds, lake views, and five miles of walking trails. We gain space to potentially build additional parking for the townhomes, an additional playground, a dog park, or other amenities down the road (see Official Board FAQ #11).
Purchase by the HOA is contingent on the outcome of the community vote to approve a loan and increase HOA fees by $180 per quarter ($720 per year). This figure has been provided by the HOA Board and fully validated by an outside, independent 30-year maintenance reserve study and an outside, independent Certified Public Accountant. Incorrect information was recently emailed by a resident claiming that the increase will need to be much greater to keep cart paths maintained. That claim is categorically untrue. and was refuted by the HOA Board on 11/17/19.
Not voting on Question 1 is the same as voting no. We must have a YES vote from 2/3 of 100% of all HOA members in good standing. Online voting instructions will be mailed out by Survey & Ballot Systems, an independent contractor engaged by the HOA Board, starting November 15, 2019. Look for the Virginia Oaks logo on a white envelope with a return address c/o Survey & Ballot Systems in MN. It will contain a fact sheet with important information from the HOA Board, a letter prepared by the attorney summarizing the terms of the Purchase Agreement, and your voting instructions and online login credentials.
HOA members can also vote by proxy or in-person at a meeting to be held at the Clubhouse on December 16th. Only one vote will count per household and votes will be validated to ensure integrity.
Please continue reading below for more detailed information, or use the top menu under THE FACTS or FAQs to jump directly to the information you find most important.
The HOA Will Acquire the Clubhouse Plus 157.5 Acres of Private Park and Walking Trails
No HOA common area is being sold (see Official HOA FAQ #1). There is no intention to sell the front property now or in the future. Also, selling it would require a separate vote of approval from 75% of 100% of all homeowners plus 66 2/3% of the banks who hold mortgages on homes in Virginia Oaks would have to specifically write in to give permission. There is no way this would happen without community support or behind anybody’s backs.
Instead, the HOA has secured a $2.5 million line of credit, payable over 15 years, from Wintrust/Barrington. This loan would finance the whole acquisition plus rezoning plus renovation of the building and cleanup of the ponds, street frontages, and former cart path. The loan would be backed by future HOA assessments, not by the HOA front property or any other currently owned real estate, and not by the Clubhouse or land. This loan payment is included in the $180 per quarter ($720 annual) fee increase.
Annual HOA Dues Increase Breakdown
The HOA Board briefed a breakdown of the validated costs budgeted for the Clubhouse and land purchase. The verified increase would be $180 per quarter ($720 annual) per household, resulting in TOTAL quarterly fees of $430 ($1720 annual) for single family homes and $460 per quarter ($1840 annual) for townhomes. Average single family HOA fees in local communities near Gainesville are $416.50 per quarter ($1,666 per year) (see Official Board FAQ #30).
Clubhouse Renovation and Immediate Landscape Cleanup
Renovation of the Clubhouse and clean up of the general property, based on validated contractor estimates, is anticipated to cost $571,993. This includes new heating/cooling units, a new water heater, new roof, exterior repairs, painting, etc. It also includes $100,000 for cleaning up ponds; removing weeds, brush, and dead trees from around the former cart path; and bringing up the landscaping along the streets and Clubhouse to the same standards as the current HOA common area. The cost of this renovation is included in the loan.
Long-term Maintenance and Operating Costs
The cost of maintaining the additional property has been calculated for thirty years in a maintenance reserve study performed by PM+ Reserves. This is the same outside, third-party contractor who performed the most recent reserve study on current HOA facilities. Day to day operating expenses of the new land and Clubhouse have also been calculated and projected in a budget prepared by the HOA Board. This includes all expenses from insurance, utilities, landscaping, irrigation, pond maintenance, security, WiFi access, and cleaning to additional overhead and potential dues delinquencies. All such costs are covered within the $180 per quarter ($720 annual) fee increase. Each expense has a verified basis, either through outside, independent sources or through verifiable historical expenses. These expenses were validated by an outside Certified Public Accountant with HOA expertise.
Landscaping, Maintenance Responsibilities, and View Improvement
The HOA would own ALL former golf course property except the 2-acre maintenance shed lot on Route 29 and the 10-acre lot recently purchased by the Virginia Oaks Conservancy, LLC that was established by the Boones. The cart path would become a private paved trail for use by residents, and the HOA would take over specific landscaping for the new land purchase. The trail would be kept free of weeds by the HOA, and one mower width would be mowed along either side. The ponds would be maintained, and all street frontage and the area around the Clubhouse would be landscaped (see Official HOA FAQ #10). This maintenance cost is included in the $180 per quarter ($720 annual) fee increase.
The Boones have provided a deeded easement to allow HOA members to use the Boones’ approximately .3 mile portion of the cart path to keep the path contiguous.
The HOA will have no responsibility to maintain the Nutrient Bank except that homeowners may not cut down or kill the newly planted trees (see Official HOA FAQ #24). As part of the purchase, the sellers and the Nutrient Bank sponsor, Conservation Plus, have agreed to delegate their right to restrict access to the Nutrient Bank areas back to the HOA (per HOA Board Member, November 6, 2019). They have also agreed to provide an application process for individual homeowners to obtain approval to trim weeds and underbrush from around the newly planted trees and/or plant native vegetation in Nutrient Bank areas (per Conservation Plus, HOA Informational Meeting, November 6, 2019). This approval would be valid for 10 years and filed with the HOA management company in the same way as current Design Review Committee (DRC) applications are filed. This process would provide the HOA and homeowners with flexibility to manage views and surroundings.
Maintenance Shed Lot Remains Part of VA Oaks Residential Planned Community with Use Limitations
The Maintenance Shed lot is being sold separately by the current owners to a developer.. The community is not involved in that sale and has no recourse to stop the sale (see Official Board FAQ #43). Prince William County officials have advised the HOA (per informational meeting June 24, 2019) that it is highly unlikely that the Virginia Oaks HOA can block rezoning forever. As part of the Clubhouse and land purchase, the HOA Board obtained agreement from the current owners to require any future purchaser to keep the Maintenance Shed lot on Route 29 within the Virginia Oaks Residential Planned Community (RPC) instead of allowing it to be removed and rezoned as an independent commercial lot. They also agreed to require deed restrictions on the sale to permanently limit the allowed uses on that property to those compatible within an RPC neighborhood (per HOA attorney, November 6, 2019). This affords the HOA input into future uses, buffers, and additional terms (per Stephen Donohoe, PWC Assistant Planning Director via HOA Board member). The HOA Board will send a letter to Supervisor Lawson supporting rezoning under these conditions. This does not preclude individual homeowners or groups of homeowners from objecting to Maintenance Shed lot rezoning (per HOA attorney, November 6, 2019).
The Clubhouse Requires Minimal Rezoning Effort for HOA Use
The HOA will need to change the Clubhouse parcel from “Open Space” restricted to golf operations to allow use by the HOA as part of “Community Facilities.” This is the same use as designated for the HOA lot at the front of the community. Per PWC, “this is a straight-forward request” (see Official HOA FAQ #31). As of November, 2019, the costs involved would be a base rate of $5,232.36, with an additional per acre fee of $311.70. There are additional edits that could be made to the HOA’s Proffer Statement. These include removing references to golf, increasing the allowed height of the fence along the former junkyard property so that the current HOA fence is no longer in violation of our zoning documents, and trying to remove the language authorizing the County to build a connector road between HOA homes on Covewood and the day care center. This road would connect Virginia Oaks Drive directly to Linton Hall via Charis Avenue and potentially increase cut-through traffic at the front of the community. The full cost of rezoning the Clubhouse and surrounding acreage, including amending the Proffer Statement and all legal fees is included in the $180 per quarter ($720 annual) fee increase as part of the loan service cost.
What If We Choose Not to Buy?
There are five other offers to purchase the property (see official HOA Board FAQ # 14). As part of the Purchase Agreement executed on November 8, 2019 between the current owners and the HOA, the current owners reserve the right to accept a backup offer (see official HOA Board FAQ #16). At least two offers include not only the Clubhouse lot but also the remaining property and cart paths. At least one of the competing offers is not contingent on rezoning (per owners and Wright Realty August 30, 2019). This means the bidder is confident they would obtain a Special Use Permit from Prince William County and does not believe they need approval or input from homeowners before buying.
A religious organization or commercial enterprise at the Clubhouse location could bring traffic and unknown use and architectural issues into the center of the neighborhood. The uncertainty that has been part of the community for multiple years could continue, but our opportunity for self-determination would be gone.
HOA Board Position
The HOA Board has executed the Purchase Agreement. They have validated all aspects of financing, operating costs, and long-term maintenance. The Purchase Agreement is a legal contract for the purchase of real estate. With an executed real estate contract in place, the HOA Board is legally obligated to act in good faith to support the purchase (per HOA attorney at information briefing September 24, 2019.)
Per the HOA Board (see Official Board FAQ #2), just some of the potential reasons for the purchase are:
- It may protect or enhance property values.
- It will enable the community to determine how the property will ultimately be owned and used, thereby reducing uncertainty.
- It ensures that the property will be maintained at the same class A level as existing HOA common area.
- It provides the community with the opportunity for a new identity as a greenspace community on Lake Manassas with 157.5 acres of private park, five miles of private walking, jogging, and biking trails, fishing ponds, and lake views.
- It provides a central space to gather for HOA meetings, community events and parties, club meetings, game nights, pot lucks, cookouts, childrens’ activities, snow day activities, playgroups, senior events, comfortable work space with WIFI, and much more.
We have an opportunity tol control our identity. If we vote against or do not vote at all, someone else will make these choices for us.
Voting to approve the purchase will consist of two questions. As homeowners, we must each decide if:
- We wish to have the HOA take out a loan to fund the purchase, and
- Whether we authorize the HOA fee increase of $180 per quarter ($720 annual) to make purchase, operation, and long term maintenance possible.
The approval bar is different for each question, but in effect, the HOA will need 2/3 of 100% of all homeowners to vote YES. Not voting on or before December 16, 2019 on Question 2 will count as NO. Note: Voting on Question 1 has been allowed to continue beyond December 16th per the advice of the HOA attorney in an effort to ensure that households wishing to vote all have adequate opportunity to do so.
Regardless of past opinion about the golf course or golf course owners, misconceptions or discussions about selling the front property, or anything else, having the opportunity to make a choice about the future of the community is valuable. If the purchase is approved, the Virginia Oaks HOA will control its surroundings and destiny for the future.
If we own it, we control it. For $180 a quarter, we can have stability, peace of mind, and additional amenities to use and attract new buyers.