Oxford Place   

Fort Mill, SC          

2005 Spring Newsletter 

Productive MeetingY

Thank you for your attendance and support at the Oxford Place Neighborhood Meeting. 32 of 106 property owners attended this meeting and 3 others sent email beforehand. Therefore, one third of the properties were represented. We discussed entrance landscaping, entrance lighting, C&R issues, the budget, the annual assessment and a few other issues.

Grass is always Greener...

The board presented alternatives to convert the triangular entrance easement areas into low-maintenance natural areas with many bushes, trees, plants, stones, and protective boulders. Several residents suggested that instead of completely converting the entrances to natural areas, that we continue to use grass in the design plan while implementing several strategies to improve the entrances, such as using protective boulders, adding or replacing some plants, moving or trimming overgrown plants, etc. The proposal to continue to use grass in the design plan was put to a vote and was favored by a large margin.

Several residents asked to be part of the planning process and have formed the 2005 entrance landscaping committee. This year, Bob Katz has agreed to lead the group. He will keep in close contact with members during the design process and also serve on the board. The committee members are as follows:

Bob Katz        802-xxxx    824 Savile Lane
Greg McMillan   396-xxxx   1022 Croyden Court
Lenny Sernulka  548-xxxx    805 Savile Lane
Beth Sturdivant 396-xxxx    219 Oxford Place Drive
Randy Jones     802-xxxx   1427 Doe Ridge Lane

The entrance landscaping committee will develop a plan for improving and maintaining the entrances within the budget approved at the annual meeting. Property owners expressed in interest in reviewing a final draft of the plan. If you would like to review this plan, make sure that we have your email address. Send an email to OxfordPlace@gmail.com. Since we need to implement a plan as soon as possible, the turnaround time for comments will be very tight. About 7-10 days after the plan is sent via email, the committee will need to start the implementation. So keep your eyes open for an email in late March or early April.

Lights are always brighter...

Two years ago, the neighborhood was able to obtain entrance lighting with a very limited budget. The biggest part of the cost was running the wiring and installing the electric boxes. Unfortunately, all that we could afford 2 years ago were low quality light fixtures. These fixtures burn bulbs quickly, trap water, look faded and often do not work properly. As part of the entrance improvement plan, the landscaping committee will try to find money in the landscaping budget to address the lights. A big thank you to Akim Staats who has offered to use his sources to obtain sealed halogen lights for us at 25% of retail. We are presently unsure of the cost of purchasing and installing 8 to 16 light fixtures and hope we can do so with the budget provided. The entrance/landscaping committee will explore incorporating lights into the plan.

Budget and the Annual FeeY

From April 2004 through March 2005, our neighborhood expenses were as follows:

$ 6,991 for electricity for the street lights, entrance lights, and wells*

$ 1,839 for liability insurance for common areas and community volunteers*

$ 355 for administrative expenses, such as stamps, envelopes, photocopying, etc*

$14,834 for installing 2 wells and irrigation systems

$ 2,730 for limited landscaping etc. (reduced due to wells/irrigation cost overrun)

(*slightly higher than the meeting worksheet due to March costs being added to the totals.)

Due to the cost overrun for the wells and irrigation systems, the emergency reserve is virtually depleted. A small reserve is needed for routine items such as increases in electricity, insurance, administrative, as well as unexpected items such as repair of lights, repair of entrance signs, late payments, lien filing, minor legal advice, and other unforeseeable events.

Oxford Place has 106 lots. The above figures compute to $66 per lot per year for electricity, $17 per lot per year for insurance, $3 per lot for administrative items, and $6 per lot per year for teenagers to mow the recreation lot. The total of $92 does not include any money for a small reserve or money to maintain and improve the entrances. About $18 per lot to replenish the depleted reserve brings the total per lot to $110.

As you know, we did not have regular lawn maintenance for the entrances over the past year. Initially, we were waiting for the completion of the wells and irrigation systems. After the well installation, we had very little money left due to cost overruns. We could not afford a contract with a professional landscaper and chose to ask a resident to occasionally mow the entrances . In past years, we have found that an annual contract with a passable landscaper is typically $5500 to $7500 per year.

We asked the attendees at the annual meeting at what level would the neighborhood like to fund the maintenance and improvement of the entrances. Three amounts for the total annual fee were proposed ($298, $250, and $225). We put these amounts to a vote. The results were $298 = 12 votes, $250 = 8 votes, and $225 = 12 votes. During a runoff, $225 prevailed and will be our annual fee for 2005. Subtracting $110 for non-entrance expenses, the $225 annual fee will provide $115 per lot or about $12,000 to cover entrance maintenance, improved entrance bushes, trees, plants, protective boulders, and possibly lights.

We have enclosed an invoice for $225. It is very important this year, that all residents pay before April 9. The funds need to be in place to assure the entrance landscaping gets underway in a timely manner.

If you will be selling your property during 2005, the neighborhood annual fee is treated like a property tax on your settlement sheet. The buyer should credit you for the portion of the annual fee that covers the remainder of the year.

Street Lights - Eliminating the Middle ManY

If you notice a problem with a street light near your house please call York Electric at (803) 684-4248. No need to report a street light problem to a board or committee member. York Electric is usually very prompt. We understand that this phone number is also on each pole. If you notice a problem with an entrance light or an entrance sign, please contact a board member or email us at OxfordPlace@Elvis.com.


Residents have complained that teenage drivers, trucks, buses, and others are speeding in the neighborhood and not stopping at stop signs. Please speak with the young drivers in your household. Also be sure to set a good example by obeying the speed limit.

The 2005 Board Members...

We want to extend our gratitude to Kristena Schwartz for serving on the board in 2004. With the birth of her son Benjamin Robert on January 18, 2005, she has her hands full in 2005 and will be stepping down. We would also like extend a hearty welcome to Libby Pretty, who stepped forward at the annual meeting to join the board this year. The 2005 board members look forward to serving the community this year:

Clif Armstrong 547-xxxx  1422 Doe Ridge Lane
Angie Bivens   547-xxxx  1059 Croyden Court
Frank Collins  547-xxxx  1026 Croyden Court
Bob Katz       802-xxxx   824 Saville Lane
Libby Pretty   548-xxxx   611 Kingston Way
Frank Reitz    802-xxxx   417 White Chapel Court 

If you would like to serve on the board, attend meetings as an alternate, or serve on the entrance landscaping committee or architectural review committee, we can still make room. Please call or email us.

Architectural Review...

The members of the Architectural Review committee for 2005 are:

Laura Bradford  802-xxxx   628 Kingston Way
Roger Guchone   547-xxxx   603 Kingston Way
Lenny Sernulka  548-xxxx   805 Savile Lan
Johnny Webster  802-xxxx   202 Oxford Place Drive

Per item 27 of the C&Rs - No construction, reconstruction, remodeling or alteration of any building, improvement, or structure shall be commenced without prior written approval. Basically the architectural review committee wants to make sure plans meet the conditions of the C&Rs (square footage; 90% brick, stone, or stucco; cement driveway; extra walls etc.) and some other common sense guidelines (not a duplicate of house next door, etc.).

In addition to being required, having your plan approved by the architectural review committee protects you. The architectural review committee is happy to answer your building questions or concerns.

If you do not have a copy of the Oxford Place Covenants and Restrictions or a copy of the Oxford Place Bylaws, send an email to OxfordPlace@gmail.com or call one of the 2005 board members.