Buckner Farm neighborhood board raises HOA fees — but not as much as first proposed — after backlash from residents

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The emergency Buckner Farm Community Association Board of Directors meeting Wednesday on Zoom followed 10 On Your Side coverage about a large Virginia Beach community fighting back against its homeowners association.  

Resident Robert Chamberlain was one of 10 who spoke following a 10-minute board meeting on whether quarterly fees would be raised. They were raised, but not as much as first presented last week.

The decision last week to raise quarterly dues 122% created a firestorm inside the Buckner Farm community — which led to calls to 10 On Your Side. 

Fees are being increased because retention ponds in the neighborhood need costly upgrades to the concrete aprons surrounding them. The HOA said it needs to more than double the fees they have been getting to make the repairs.

“It’s as if the board didn’t hear anything we were saying. They never said they understand our concern,” Chamberlain told us after the Zoom.

Actually, the five-member board of directors didn’t even comment on all the concerns raised following the 10-minute special meeting. The vote was four in favor of raising the fees, none against, and 1 abstaining because she said she had not been given enough information to make a decision.

The hike decided upon Wednesday was lower, at 40% instead of the 122% first advertised.

Board President Anna Shumate told the roughly 80 homeowners on Zoom that those who wished to record the meeting needed to give the board notice. WAVY was watching the meeting with homeowner Phil Maliniak, but decided not to use any video once we were informed the meeting was for Buckner Farm residents only.

Maliniak blasted the board for what he calls indifference.

“When you had 100 people on the original Zoom last week asking ‘Why are you doing this? This is not the right time. Please reconsider.’ Everyone on the board basically said ‘That’s great, but we don’t really care what you think,’” he said.

Chamberlain has a lot to say about Shumate’s involvement with the board. She also works for the Select Group, which manages Buckner Farm.

“It is terrible what she is doing. She has a conflict of interest, and that is one of the reasons I’m running for the Board of Directors… The appearance of impropriety is quite frankly something we can’t stand for. It is just wrong… She is making financial decisions that could positively impact the company she works for.”

Chamberlain seems to have some early support. While we were with him, people stopped him to talk to him since they saw each other on the Zoom call.  

We got comment from the Board of Directors on Wednesday.

“The Board heard and recognized the homeowners’ concerns regarding the increase in assessments, while also taking into consideration the numerous complaints and concerns raised about the significant deterioration around the lakes.” 

“It’s too little too late, quite frankly. It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and they voted to raise our dues by 40%. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed,” Chamberlain said. “They heard us, but they didn’t listen. They decided to continue to railroad us. Railroaded us and our views, our options, and the hardship people are feeling.”

In the statement the Board of Directors sent us, they added that “Despite what a few homeowners may seem to believe, taking no action for 6 months, including repairs to the lakes is simply not an option.”

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