As Mill Creek homeowners, we normally have our annual meeting in April of the year. Given the coronavirus epidemic and the guidelines on avoiding larger groups, the Board will defer the meeting until a later date.
The major item of business would have been an update on the easement for a trail/greenway along Biscuit Run through Mill Creek HOA open space. We have been through two iterations of this agreement which have been returned to the County in view of provisions with which the Board was not comfortable. A third iteration is now being prepared for the Board’s review. This version will be further reviewed and may become the basis for a homeowner vote later in the year. In any event, the funds for the trail construction would not be available until July 2021, as part of the County’s 2022 Capital Improvements Program, so there remains sufficient time to consider how we proceed on the easement.
Also, the Board is now holding its monthly meetings using virtual meeting software, given that the school and firehouse venues we have used in the past are closed to public use. If you wish to join a virtual meeting in a given month, please send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A computer with video and audio would serve you best, although you can also join with audio only.
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.).
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.
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?
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! [url=http://littlefreelibrary.org/]http://littlefreelibrary.org/[/url]
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 (email@example.com) or Janet Eden (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.