To all of our neighbors and friends. Many thanks to all those who attended the informational meeting at the Club House on Monday evening. We, the newly elected Board, welcomed the opportunity to bring everyone up-to-speed on where we are in the transition process. We will keep you informed during this last month before the transition is complete.
And we welcomed your feedback on the landscape issues. Following the meeting, and taking into account the strong "sense of community" expressed there that we should take immediate remedial action with our grassy areas and offset the cost of that by mulching only every other year, your Board made the following decisions:
1. The lawns are badly in need of lime treatments (ph is 5.4 whereas recommended range is 6.0-6.8). In large areas the grass is also badly compacted, and there is a thick layer of thatch. As far as we know, in the 6 years or so since the Fells development started, there has been no lime application, no de-thatching, and no aeration. This has resulted in sorry-looking grass in many areas and has contributed to the spread of weeds in the lawns. Without remedial treatment the situation will only get worse. For this Spring we have contracted to have the grass de-thatched and to apply the first round of lime (it will take a few seasons for the ph to achieve the desired levels). The cost for this is approximately $6,000 and is not included in the budget. In the Fall, if we can find the funds, we will contract to have the grass core-aerated, limed, and over-seeded at a cost of approximately $6,000 - again, not included in the budget.
2. Artillery spores. These occur naturally in forests and feed on decaying wood. All the bulk mulches available to landscape companies contain large amounts of chipped up wood from a variety of sources and little or no bark, so the mulch is the suspected source of the spores. However, the spores may well be native to our development, as Labrie uses exactly the same mulch at The Reserve in Milford and the artillery spores are not in evidence there. Nevertheless, the mulch is, at the very least, providing "feedstock" for the spores. There is no apparent easy solution to this problem short of removing all mulch and replacing it with ground covers, decorative stones, or an artificial mulch such as rubber chips from recycled tires. The Board has decided not to apply another layer of mulch this year, and to use the savings of approximately $6,000 to fund the de-thatching and lime application this Spring. There is not yet a decision on how to deal with the spores long-term, but several homeowners are planning to plant ground covers in their own limited common areas to remove the necessity for mulch.
We are very concerned about our costs, and that the decisions made so far not cause us to exceed our total budgeted expense. Our goal is to not have an increase in monthly dues, and to avoid any special assessments if at all possible.
Thank you all again for your support during this challenging transition period.
Ken Bridgewater, Doug Keith, John Post