VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — This past weekend, nearly 800 homeowners got a flyer at their door with the headline “Buckner Farm Needs You.”
“JOIN US!,” it read.
- Reverse the unacceptable and unneeded dues increase
- Elect board leadership consisting of homeowners willing to listen to fellow neighbors
- Fix governance and management of the association
- Promote ongoing community engagement through virtual meeting and voting options.”
“On November 16th the Board of Directors for Buckner Farm unilaterally voted to increase our HOA dues from $86 per quarter to $191 per quarter. A 122% increase! During a pandemic and economic downturn,” the flyer read.
Last week, 10 On Your Side received messages from some people living in Buckner Farm. We reported that retention ponds in the neighborhood need costly upgrades, and the HOA said it needs to more than double the fees they are getting to make the repairs.
Footage from WAVY’s Chopper 10 shows the massive Buckner Farm with five villages and seven retention ponds.
Many of those ponds have concrete aprons that are breaking down. The apron is the downslope from the grass to the water.
But residents argue the homeowners association’s timing to jack up quarterly dues from $86 to $191 per quarter is ill-timed in times of COVID-19, and they felt the board members were not listening to the opposition,
“The only real way to get their attention was to come to [10 On Your Side] and you basically [have] given us hope that we can open lines of communication,” said Buckner Farm resident Phil Maliniak.
When board members did not return 10 On Your Side’s calls, or call back after visits to their homes, we confronted the property management company, the Select Group, that manages Buckner Farm at their office. The president of the HOA Board is also a Select Group employee.
A woman who did not identify herself told 10 On Your Side we were on private property and needed to leave.
“This is private property. This is a private entity,” she said.
We said we want to know why the board was are raising the quarterly dues in a time of COVID-19.
She repeated we needed to leave the property. When we asked the question again, she indicated she would call the police if we didn’t leave.
The visit did not come without results.
The next day after the visit to the Select Group, we got a call from the property management attorney saying the homeowners association board could be changing its mind. She wouldn’t say what that change would be.
Homeowners are encouraged by that news.
“I think it’s a really good thing. I think they need to be confronted because they haven’t been forthcoming with information, and they haven’t wanted to speak with the homeowners. They have been signaling it through a single point of contact. I feel like it is a real good thing, and I’m glad you confronted them.”
While interviewing for this report, resient Robert Chamberlain got a text that indicated there would be a special Board of Director Zoom meeting this Wednesday. He hopes they are going to amend the 20-21 budget in some shape or form.
It should be noted the budget approved last week included a budget of over $1 million dollars.
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