Table of Contents
Select a section below to learn more about that topic.
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The following are reports and studies that have been completed within the last few years.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Why are the ponds a topic of discussion now ?
After many years of neglect, sediment build-up has caused the ponds to become shallow. The shallow nature decreases the ability of the pond to redirect run-off during heavy rains and increases the likelihood of flooding area residences and streets. It also increases algae growth forcing WFCA to expend more to eradicate it and other invasive vegetation. During dry spells the algae can develop noxious fumes and allergens. Low water levels have created muddy marsh areas that are not only unsightly, but are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Erosion threatens property and exposes the pond liners leading to additional water loss. Low oxygen levels inhibit fish populations that can serve to improve water quality. The low water level also prevents the use of aerators and pumps that can increase oxygen level and keep water circulating. The longer the solutions are delayed, the costlier they become to resolve. A recent report, The Conceptual Design has triggered the most recent discussions.
I don't live close to the ponds, why do I need to pay for their upkeep?
WFCA residents benefit from the drainage that flows into the ponds. However, the WFCA CCRs are specific that every household in WFCA is to be charged the same annual assessment.
WFCA CCR: "3.1 ...Each Owner of a Residence in Winslow Farm shall automatically be a member of the Community Association..." and "1.20 ..."'Regular Assessments" means the total annual budget for the Community Association based on the estimated cash requirement for the Community Expenses in the ensuing year as set forth in said budget, divided by the total number of Residences in Winslow Farms."
What are the relevant pond requirements for WFCA ?
Per WFCA CCRs, WFCA can only expend funds on specified common areas. They specifically state: " 8.2 Ponds and Pumping Equipment. The ponds and pumping equipment located within Winslow Farm are Community Areas. The Community Association shall insure, maintain, repair and replace the ponds and pumping equipment to keep the waterscapes in first-class condition. The Community Association apply pesticides to the ponds if necessary to eradicate undesirable insects and weeds using commercially accepted treatments. All costs incurred by the Community Association discharging its duties under this Section will be a Community Expense."
Why doesn't WFCA do something about my concerns in my neighborhood?
WFCA may only expend funds for Community Area Maintenance. The CCRs state: "1.7 Community Maintenance Area means the entrance Signage, the ponds and pumping equipment, and the pedestrian walkways to Winslow Woods Park located within Winslow Farm. 1.8 Community Expenses means the expenses of administration of the Community Association, expenses for the upkeep, maintenance repair, utilities, pesticide treatment and replacement of the Community Area and all other costs and expenses incurred by the Community Association for the common benefit of all Owners."
With the exception of approving the installation of fences, WFCA has jurisdiction only over its designated common areas, NOT private property, many complaints are NOT subject to WFCA monitoring. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Maintaining sidewalks and the removal of dead trees are the responsibility of the homeowner in the neighborhoods outside of the three HOAs. (MC, MCV and Bayberry are responsible for sidewalks in their respective neighborhoods.)
- Complaints about lawn violations, disturbances or nuisances fall under the jurisdiction of the city.
- WFCA is community association, it is NOT a homeowner’s association. The regulations and responsibilities are different. However, each of the single family neighborhoods have their own CCRS which regulates such external issues as color of roof and trim. Each neighborhood is to have an Architectural Committee to oversee requests for external changes. When no Architectural Committee exists, WFCA Board serves as the default authorizing body.
How does the design of the ponds influence what can be done?
During the development of WFCA, seven ponds were created to replace a natural stream system. Run-off from approximately 160 acres drains into the WFCA waterway. Developed hard surfaces such as streets, parking lots and buildings contribute more run-off than undeveloped land. Drainage water enters all the ponds, but a flow occurs from the highest point at the northeast pond next to Highland Street through all the ponds ending at the southwest pond located closest to East Winslow Road. Excess water flows from pond 7 to eventually merge with Clear Creek. There is a change in elevation between P1, P2 , P3 down to P4. However, P4-P7 are essentially at the same level making a redesign to a stream channel more challenging and expensive.
What is The Conceptual Design report that we will be asked to vote on?
The Conceptual Design report was submitted to the WFCA Board in May, 2021 by Mr. Andy Knust of Bledsoe, Riggert, Cooper and James. It is a complex report providing very informative details in order to compare two alternatives. The results addresses issues of design, flooding data and estimates for installation and a little about maintenance.
Scenario #1 Pond Renewal essentially dredges and installs new liners in the current configuration. Scenario #2 builds upon the natural topography of pond #3 to redesign the area into a stream channel that would drop from pond #2 down to pond #4. The weir between P3 & P4 would greatly be altered (removed) to allow the free flow of the water.
Pond #4 would also be somewhat reconfigured. However, due to topography and a permanent concrete structure under the Moss Creek Drive Bridge water would backup in the area. The report suggested that a rain garden be installed to mitigate the negative effectives of standing water. The estimates did not include the majority of the costs for such. Ponds #5-7 would be dredged and have new liners installed in both alternatives.
On first glance, it appears that the stream channel option is less expensive. But with further inspection a third option which combines details from both alternatives emerges. Mr. Knust confimed that it is appropriate to pick and choose details. OPTION B POND RENEWAL becomes a third choice and using Mr. Knust's figures is the least expensive of the alternatives. The Practical Proposal is built upon OPTION B POND RENEWAL.
What are some of the concerns associated with the stream channel option?
The most significant concern is what can amount to $154,000 in costs for required engineering plans, surveys, permits, legal fees, and relocation of utilities that were not included in the report estimates. The plan acknowledges that water could pool into what is now P4. The installation of a rain garden could abate the development of an unsightly weedy muddy marsh. But previous bids for a smaller rain garden indicate that this could be an expensive. It also raises questions as to which organization would be responsible for the upkeep of an area (WFCA or Moss Creek). Even P3 will need extra landscaping in the initial years after installation to ensure that it does not become a weedy mess..
What are some of the potential additional costs for the stream channel?
The Conceptual Design Report, as well as the Davey’s Report, both discuss the need for required preliminary studies to include sediment assessment, bathymetric studies, topographic studies. Engineering plans will be required before permits can be requested. A Davey's representated recently instructed to plan for design and survey work to cost 20-25% of the project cost. For P3 and P4, 25% of the estimate of $221,00 is $55,250.
Federal and state permitting can be complicated and it is advisable to hire a specialist to handle the application process. Permitting costs could run $5,000–$6,000. This does not include the cost to hire a project manager.
Legal services for property adjustments (An official property line survey conducted by Deckard Land Survey in 2017 “…found that a significant portion of P3 lies outside of the WFCA common area…”) This issue will need to be officially resolved, especially if a stream channel is reformed in the existing area. An estimate of $1800-$2,000 may be low.
Relocating present utility lines buried around east sides of P3 and P4 will be necessary. The estimates for such were not available, at the time of this writing.
One unusual requirement is that a multi-year natural wildlife study must be conducted to determine how redesigning the waterway impacts wildlife. An estimate of $7,000 was obtained.
Given the complexity of the project and miscommunications that occurred in the past, it is advisable to hire a part-time experienced project manager for such a complex undertaking. Such costs are undetermined.
Even though some landscaping costs are included in the report estimates, Mr Knust admitted that additional landscaping would be needed to include the creation of a rain garden in what is now portions of P4. A few years ago, WFCA explored the idea of creating a rain garden just in the smaller northern section of P3 and found that the cheaper plan would cost over $35,000 (the other bid, from EcoLogic was well over $88,000). Considering that the area in question is much larger and inflation has increased costs, estimates could run close to $100,000. Additionally, the new landscaping will need more attention in the first few years to ensure that invasive unsightly vegetation does not take over. This, in turn, will requires additional maintenance funds.
The ancillary costs to convert P3 and P4 to a stream channel could be approximately $154,000, Added to the estimate of $221,000 to create the actual stream bed and install minimal landscaping, the total to redesign P3 and P4 could instead be closer to $375,000. (This does not include the identified costs associated with alterations to pond #5 that are to be done simultaneously with P3 and P4.)
What is the Practical Proposal?
The Practical Proposal creates OPTION B: POND RENEWAL. This option reconfigures Scenario #1 and uses estimates for Pond #6 and #7 from Scenario #2 of The Conceptual Design. Even Mr. Knust indicated that components from the estimates could be "mixed and matched “OPTION B” recommends the renewal of Ponds 3–7, one-by-one over a period of what could be no less than seven years. Acknowledging that the cost estimates for dredging may be lower from other contractors, this proposal still uses the estimates in the report from Mr. Knust.
The Proposal discusses the issues of
- flood and erosion control
- fiscal costs of installation
- Ancillary costs of installation
- Long-term Maintenance Issues
How does the Practical Proposal suggest that this project be funded?
- A separate budget in a targeted reserve account must be created specifically for pond improvement projects.
- A minimum of $40,000 should be initially transferred from the WFCA reserve budget to the Pond Improvement Budget as a good faith initiative to start the accumulation of the necessary funds.
- Since WFCA cannot assess residents who live closest to the pond at a different rate, seek contributions from Moss Creek and Moss Creek Village HOAs designated to be used only for pond improvement efforts.
- Submit a detailed Pond Improvement Budget for approval at the WFCA Annual Meeting, presenting a multi-year proposal for dues and specified expenses.
- Create a budget plan requesting an annual increase in WFCA dues targeted for Pond Improvement of no more than $100 per year.
How may I become involved in the decision making process?
- Browse this website for additional information.
- Organize a neighborhood small group information session.
- Urge the WFCA Board to present the Practical Proposal to the WFCA Annual General Meeting.
- Read the linked reports, become educated about the issues.
- Attend the WFCA Annual General Meeting and vote.
- Volunteer to participate on a pond committee.
- Serve on the WFCA Board.