Date: Sunday, February 11, 2018 (snow date Sunday, February 18, 2018)
Time: 2:00-5:00 PM (doors open at 1:30 PM with refreshments)
Location: The Dickinson Fine and Performing Arts Center at Piedmont Virginia Community College
Cost: .Free; seating is first-come, first-served
The Mill Creek Board is sharing information about the screening of this film, as it can be used as a resource for homeowners as they care for the natural habitats in our neighborhood. From the PVCC Horticulture and Environmental Club webite, https://pvcchorticulture.wordpress.com/:
Wildlife habitat isn’t just wide open spaces and dense green forests. Habitat can be created almost anywhere. This free educational event features a screening of Hometown Habitat: Stories of Bringing Nature Home, the acclaimed film that shows homeowners, landowners and community leaders how to improve wildlife habitat and revitalize ecosystems right in their own backyards and neighborhoods.
Hometown Habitat: Stories of Bringing Nature Home is produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Catherine Zimmerman and highlights community landscaping projects that use native plants to support local ecosystems (https://themeadowproject.com). Based on the scientific research of Dr. Doug Tallamy, author of the acclaimed book Bringing Nature Home, the film includes interviews with Tallamy, who describes how native plants in our landscapes are crucial to sustaining insects, birds and other wildlife. Zimmerman will be in Charlottesville for the February 11 event to introduce the film, and selected segments will be shown.
Immediately following the screening will be a panel discussion by a great line-up of local experts, including landscape architect Kennon Williams, Gem Bingol of the Piedmont Environmental Council, and Devin Floyd of the Center for Urban Habitats.
Event participants will receive a free copy of the Piedmont Native Plants Guide (one per family). Exhibits by local organizations that promote native plants and habitats will also be available,and free native plants will be given out as door prizes.
This “Hometown Habitat” Screening Event is SPONSORED BY the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Habitat Partners© Program and the Piedmont Virginia Community College Horticulture and Environmental Club.
FOR MORE INFORMATION about this Event and other Native Plant activities in Central Virginia, CONTACT Liz Sidamon-Eristoff, email@example.com
As summer approaches and many of us get out more, this quick note about an important Mill Creek Covenant restriction will help us live in greater harmony with each other and our neighbors.
The Mill Creek HOA owns five parcels (Common Areas) comprising over 57 acres of wooded lands. All of these parcels serve a storm water resources function, as defined by state and federal regulations that are monitored and enforced by our county government. Our common areas abut hundreds more acres of wooded lands that are owned by various other public or private entities, such as our neighbors in Lake Reynovia, Mill Creek South and Foxcroft. Some parcels, such as 'A5' outlined in the accompanying photo, have foot trails running thru them which are part of a wider network of trails. Mill Creek common areas constitute the HOA's 'back yard' and are open to all Mill Creek homeowners (in good standing) and their guests. Because these areas belong to all homeowners, they must not be altered by anyone not expressly authorized to do so. To underscore this point, our Covenants, which are typically broad and open to interpretation by the Board, are very specific in regards to use restrictions in the common areas, stating in Article VIII, Section 1. (g) "Nothing shall be altered or constructed in or removed from the Common Area, except upon the written consent of the Association."
As the next big storm nears, there are several things we should all do to prepare, survive and recover:
- If you have a high school aged snow shoveler in your home, let your neighbors know by commenting here, or email the Board at HOA@MillCreekClassic.org . Blizzard conditions are a good time for strong backs to make money, while helping the community!
- Move all vehicles OFF the street. Park at the end of your driveway, but not beyond it. If you think your neighbor isn't getting this important safety message, please remind them. This is absolutely essential for snow plows to clear our roads and first responders to ensure our safety. If you need help clearing your driveway after the snowplows deposit a wall of snow there, just ask.
- Ask your elderly or infirm neighbors what help they might need. Keep an eye on them and be ready to assist.
- If a tree falls and blocks a Mill Creek street and you are unable to move/remove it, email us immediately at HOA@millcreekclassic.org
- use www.511virginia.org to check local, regional or state road conditions after any major storm. Use the Albemarle County Schools page for parents, or the UVA closing information page for school info. Comment to this article and share any other helpful resources/info with your neighbors.
- Prepare for power outages! Fill your clean bathtub with water, know the nearest shelter, stock supplies, etc. For official guidance, see: FEMA's Winter Storm Preparathon
- Did you know you should bang on your car hood after storms, to warn cats that might be sheltering there? Or that your dog benefits from boots too? Winter pet safety tips are a Google search away. Don't forget to bring your pets inside!
Under the heading of 'how one person can create change and make a difference,' we present the following. Last year, Gristmill Drive resident Pam Riley left our HOA Board to pursue master planning with a small, dedicated group of Avon Street Extended area leaders. Since then, she has become Mill Creek's area planning and development expert and a dominant voice for safe infrastructure changes in the County's Southern Area Comprehensive Master Plan. Today, she reports on the Safe Routes to School Committee, as well as an important upcoming Board of Supervisors Candidates Forum to be held on September 21st at Monticello High School.
Avon Street Extended Safe Routes to School Committee Report by Pam Riley
Last fall, area HOAs and interested residents formed a coalition to address local planning, development, and infrastructure issues in the Southern Urban Neighborhoods. Our group is called the Avon Street Extended (ASE) Safe Routes to School Committee.
This group was established to follow-up on the master plan process in the area and to advocate for transportation, economic development, recreation, and greenway improvements, (i.e. sidewalks and crosswalks, road improvements, bike and walking trails for health and connectivity, library and other recreational facilities, etc.).
The Mill Creek Board has amended Article III, Section 3.01 of the Bylaws to address the concern by homeowners that January is just too "cold and dark" for our Annual HOA Meeting. Unless amended again at some future date, The Annual Meeting will now be held at 7PM on the third Wednesday of April. Election of the Board of Directors shall take place at the Annual Meeting.
At least one member is leaving the Board and a vacancy already exists. Please self-nominate or convince a motivated neighbor to accept your nomination. HOA service is a great way to meet your neighbors and make a difference in your neighborhood. Contact any Board member for questions or more information.
Following an impressive term as Treasurer of the Mill Creek HOA, our neighbor Sharon Herbert has resigned and her duties will be temporarily handled by the President until a new Treasurer is appointed by the Board. The Treasurer is an officer position which has often been filled by a Board member (but probably shouldn't be). Sharon ushered in several key changes and provided a professional's touch which resulted in greatly improved HOA financial processes. The current Treasurer position now enjoys the reliability and security provided by the accounting firm of Wills & Associates, as well as the assurances imparted by a named co-signer when endorsing invoices, checks or other HOA financial instruments. Sharon streamlined Mill Creek's financial procedures, making them more transparent, efficient and secure - which leaves the next Treasurer in a really good place. If you see Sharon out and about, be sure to thank her for the many hours she spent making the Association more sound financially.
So what's the good news for anyone interested in the job? The Treasurer isn't required to make sit-down meetings, so the position is self-scheduling and very flexible. The job involves overseeing the HOA's finances by maintaining contact with our accounting firm and providing reports to the Board on a recurring basis. The Treasurer also manages the fiscal requirements of Mill Creek HOA contracts, which generally involves landscaping services. A bookkeeper is assigned to the Mill Creek account at Will's & Associates, which is helpful to say the least. No special skills are required for the position - just a desire to want to serve Mill Creek and the ability to do basic arithmetic. Please contact Brian Lewis or Jim Aitken for any questions.
Signs in yards, failure to mow grass, unauthorized paint colors, fences beyond house fronts, potholes, roofing materials, commercial vehicles on lawns, unauthorized live tree removals, big sheds and bad mailboxes. These are just some of the complaints your Mill Creek HOA is currently addressing. Most of them relate directly to the bylaws and covenants which provide for governance in our neighborhood.
There is only one take home point to this article: it is NOT better to beg forgiveness than ask permission when it comes to projects on any property, lot or common area of Mill Creek. Communication with your HOA is easy, so it is better not to guess about whether your plans require approval. Simply contact an Architectural Committee member, or anyone on the Board via email or regular mail. Boards have answered many email questions in hours or even minutes in some cases. But if your plan requires formal approval, you will be asked to complete the request form, submit it and await approval or disapproval.
This week, a Little Free Library opened, adjacent to the sidewalk across the street from 131 Mill Creek Drive. Interest is high and trading has been brisk.
What is a "Little Free Library?" It is a place where neighbors can share books: "take one, leave one." So come see the books available for children and adults.
Who built our library? Volunteers worked over several months to build and install the library. Though small in size, the neighborhood project required research, site surveys, drawings, Miss Utility, Cabinetry and construction skills and approval from the Mill Creek Board of Directors. Gristmill Drive residents Janet Eden and Addeane Caelleigh were the project instigators - Janet installed the post. Special thanks go to Susan Patrick (Gristmill Drive) and Peter Kleeman who designed and built the library. They used recycled materials from their own projects. On behalf of those involved, Susan and Peter thanked the Homeowner's Association for its support in making a Little Free Library possible in Mill Creek: "From salvaged materials a library was constructed to be a meeting place for readers young and old and a source of pleasure and knowledge for all. We invite everyone to take a book, leave a book."
Want to know more about Little Free Libraries around the world? See http://www.littlefreelibrary.org to learn more about this community-based movement.
Living in the beautiful, alpine environment of Mill Creek has its benefits. Among them is easy access to existing trails along Biscuit Run Creek, which will one day connect us to an 1,195 acre State Park between Routes 20 and 631. The trails meander through heavily wooded countryside that presents an ever changing landscape. A landscape that was interrupted when Mother Nature decided to impede human travel by way of a 9,000 lb tree across Mill Creek's trail. Several residents complained, so the new HOA Board took action.
The first formal election of a Mill Creek HOA Board of Directors was conducted in compliance with our bylaws at the March 12th continuation of the January 15th Annual Meeting - which had been adjourned for lack of a quorum. The intervening period saw the establishment of an independent Election Committee and a number of volunteers dedicated to obtaining a quorum for the March vote. On March 12th, five nominees were elected to the five Board of Directors seats. Approximately 65% of homeowners participated in the election. The newly elected Board members would like to extend their deepest appreciation to homeowners Nancy Meserve and Sue Voreis for their tireless efforts in achieving a quorum and developing a standardized procedure for future election committees. But most of all, this election could not have happened without the participation of those homeowners who actively voted, assigned proxies, or abstained. Your active participation allowed us to meet a quorum requirement that had not previously been met in over 20 years.
Cars on streets prevent VDOT from plowing.
Please remove cars from streets before it snows.
Do you use www.511virginia.org to check local, regional or state road conditions after a major storm? How about the Albemarle County Schools page for parents, that provides everything you need to know about closings and delays? Or the UVA closing information page? There must be dozens more of value to your neighbors - everything from tree removal to generator usage and product buying guides. If you use a web resource, TV/radio station or other service when weather is a problem, please share it with the rest of us! You can provide a resource via the comment link above, recommend a contractor on our recommendations page, or email the author. Let's all crowdsource a helpful list for people to use when weather is brewing. In the meantime, does anyone know how to help a small or elderly dog to poop outside after a big snowfall? How about this?
At a public hearing January 8th, the Albemarle county Board of Supervisors voted to extend the RSWA contract at Ivy for one year, thus suspending a move to place one of three proposed "convenience centers" in either Mill Creek or Keene by June 2014.
The vote followed about three hours of public commentary from over 60 residents of Keene and the Mill Creek/Avon Street Extended area - all of which reflected opposition to the county's proposal to place the first convenience center in one of those areas.
Residents of Avon Street Extended neighborhoods, along with area business leaders and school officials, met with newly seated Albemarle county supervisor Jane Dittmar and county staff to hear information and voice concerns regarding the placement of a proposed "convenience center" behind the Monticello fire station. The red area in the GoogleMaps image above, denotes the approximate site about 50 feet from Tandem Friends school athletic fields and across the street from Monticello High School. Coverage of the meeting by The Daily Progress can be found here. The Mill Creek HOA Position statement follows here:
A group of Mill Creek homeowners is interested in having a "Little Free Library" in Mill Creek.
Communities across North America have erected small structures for sharing donated books with their neighbors. Go to the Little Free Libraries website to see what our neighbors across the country have done! http://littlefreelibrary.org/
The idea is simple: families or neighbors build a small "library" box and install it on a post along the street. It is filled with donated books available to everyone, and most have a mix of books for adults and children. This grass-roots movement began with one box in Wisconsin in 2009, and there now 10,000+ around the world, with more being installed every week.
If you are interested in planning one for Mill Creek, get in touch with Addeane Caelleigh (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Janet Eden (email@example.com).
Charlottesville has at least three Little Free Libraries: one on Palatine Avenue in Belmont, another in Key West/Cedar Hills, and the newest one in Greenbriar, pictured above.