Excellent turnout – 15 of 26 (58%) houses present, Quorum of 40% achieved.  Cluster President Jennifer Tether called the meeting to order at 7:16PM. In attendance were the following:

Current Residents At General Assembly Spring Gutters Cleaned  Y / N Bags of Mulch @ $4.75
1528 Mark Moody and Leann Yoder Y Y 0
1530 Watt Hamlett and Julie Price Y Y 14
1532 Ann Deegan Y N 0
1534 Nicholas Black, Michelle Pepino
1534 Owner Carole Aucott
1536 Sara & Travis Sigler Y ?
1538 Sherry Dereuter Y Y 0
1540 Ann Marie and Doc Bezold Y Y 10
1542 Jessica & Branden Lawless Y N 16
1544 owner Phil and Melissa Jones
1544 renter **TBD**
1546 Amanda McGill Y
1548 Catherine Field Y
1550 Sanders & Kristina Krager
1551 Amanda & Charles Lincoln Y Y 6
1552 Owner John and Lucy Fay
1552 renter Erica Weiss


Mulch will be delivered by Meadows farms by mid-late March with 3 cubic feet double-shredded hardwood mulch at $4.75 per bag. Please let us know how many bags you would like.  As Meadows Farms will be delivering here, let us know if there any trees/plants/bags of stone you want to buy and throw on the truck.

Gutter Cleaning will occur in late May, after the spring cat tails fall. This is with Gutterman services. Middle units will be $135, end units $155.  If you haven’t already signed up for 2020, please let us know if you would like to schedule your gutters to be cleaned.

Payment:  the cluster will invoice you directly for the goods and services, you pay Brookshire Cluster directly and the cluster then pays the vendors.

NEW: Brookshire Guidelines:  Reston Organization published an updated set of guidelines/requirements for Brookshire. Note the last few pages are ‘recommendations’ vs. strict guidelines.  Reston Org noted that any changes should go through DRB just in case.   Online Brookshire DRB Requirements guidelines:


2019 Landscape Review

Thanks to Sherry and Ann for all their hard work and dedication to updating and maintaining the cluster gardens through the year.

Focus was on building onto what existed in the cluster.

Ann planted Marigold seeds and then planted the flowers which both grew tall and bloomed all summer long.  Sherry planted daffodil bulbs which should be coming up shortly.

The tree folks came out to take care of overhanging branches and some older trees. In addition, there were a number of tree emergencies that had to be addressed throughout the year that ate into the tree allocated budget.

Cluster cleanup cleared the butterfly bush garden near the volleyball court. 

2020 Landscape Plan

Tidy up front garden by the steps – left side and right side.  Left garden still has a budget from the special projects budget for a complete makeover.

Repair soil run-off by new retaining wall on front right as you enter cluster.

Repair major soil run off by the tunnel and up along the pathway.  Reston redid drainage areas with granite rock up nearer the volley ball court that we should replicate further down the path towards the tunnel.

Build up soil area and resod in front of 1530 where new pathway grades in towards houses and causes water to pool.

Replace tree by back staircase near tunnel and on the same path up near the tunnel (copper birch).  Add soil or drainage granite rocks by the steps to prevent run-off.

Replace dogwood tree by snow spots at back of the cluster.

Remove poison-ivy build up between our cluster and Chatham Colony cluster.


2019 in review

2019 was a good year socially. We bid a fond farewell to Jackie who moved to Denver, Colorado, and separately to David who moved to Ashville, NC.  We will miss them but wish them the very best in their new homes!!

With open arms, we welcome Sara & Travis to 1536, and Youssef & Titania to 1571.

With delight, we will hopefully welcome three hale and hearty new babies between March and August – Amanda & Charles, Sara & Travis and Youssef & Titania. Congratulations to each parent. The neighborhood will truly celebrate with you.

In May, we celebrated the summer picnic under a tent up near the top of the cluster and it was a very successful event. We bid Jackie farewell. We also got to see Phil’s new head and had a chance to congratulate him on his remarkable recovery from brain surgery.

Thank you to Charles and Amanda for hosting a July 4th complete with viewing of the 1776 movie followed by a nice sing-along (Charles sez this will be a recurring event).

Thank you to Leann and Mark for hosting yet another excellent Halloween party at their home. It was the perfect night to sit outside and chat with neighbors and friends.

Thanks to Shari and David for hosting the Christmas holiday party. They changed it up to be a Sunday brunch event coupled with a very funny white elephant gift giving session. The quilted-mâché-concrete cat had to be the funniest fought-over gift.4

Back L-R: Travis’ leg, Sara Sigler, Jennifer Tether, Jessica Lawless, Amanda Lincoln, Catherine Field (in red), Shari True (in green), Mark Moody, Chris McCoy (in tartan), Chris Centner, Julie Price (with red scarf), Leann Yoder in green, Watt Hamlett (brand new tartan scarf), baby Noah and Mom Allison Heider, Scott Heider in blue, Irene Napora in burgundy.

Front L-R: Charles Lincoln, David True, Alana, Saim and Mike Hedrick

Missing from the event are Travis (by Sara on left), Kalum and Deirdre (taking photo).

Leann created and published a survey for the cluster to find out how happy folks are with communication, landscape, finances etc. and invited feedback on open items. The results were illuminating and gave some great ideas for upcoming cluster cleanups and social events. For communication, 50% were very satisfied, 17% Satisfied, 17 neutral.  For the website 33% don’t know it exists, 50% use it and 17% use it once a year.

What would you improve for the cluster cleanup garnished some great answers and will be addressed in either the clean-ups or as a separate project:

1)     Do you need assistance in your own garden where multiple hands would make a project much easier?  If so, please let Travis know so we can co-ordinate that in the clean up.

2)     Redo the garden by the steps in front of 1563

3)     Help remove poison ivy behind 1551 (maybe rent a herd of goats)..or round-up as an option.

4)     New concrete path in front of Ann’s/Julie & Watt/Leann & Mark’s houses not graded properly so the water builds up when it rains. We would need soil to raise the dirt level over the pathway and improve drainage.

Planned social activities for 2020

March 7th: Noah’s first birthday party and social gathering will be held at 1555 with Scott and Allison.

March 20, Mandatory Recess (Watt’s Band) at Kalypso’s – 9pm

Baby shower(s) for Amanda, Sara and Titania expecting April thru August (date(s)  tbd)

May/June BCA Yard Sale – A Saturday in Spring, after the Farmers Market Starts, Date TBD

July 4th – Movie and Cookout/pot luck event.

4th Friday of Every Month, Monthly Book Club (Ongoing Mystery Theme), Doc Anne Marie’s Home (1540) for now

October, Halloween Party [Need a Host]

December, Holiday Potluck / Gift Exchange [Need a Host]

Random socials, impromptu happy hours, etc.


QuickBooks Moving to Online Option:

For multiple great reasons, the board decided during 2019 to move financial management of the cluster banking from a single PC/single manager to online QuickBooks with two+ managers (board members) with check writing authority. This move allows some great new advantages:

  • Creates Back-up options for the Finance Director to have another approved board member pay vendors invoices.
  • Provides an online specialist to assist Finance Director & Board in ongoing support
  • Instills new guideline options for multiple signatures required for larger checks
  • Allows direct invoicing for home owners for quarterly dues, and miscellaneous services like gutter-cleaning, mulch purchase and concrete path construction.
  • Allows direct payment options from home-owners to pay the cluster bank directly via online options including bank-to-bank, checks, mobile payments, paypal and credit card payments with minimal fees of $0.15 per transaction (compared to paypal).
  • This options moves QuickBooks costs from a one-time software fee (per PC) to a monthly software charge of $20 per month and setup fee of $50. This is reflected in the 2020 budget.

Website Redesign:

Late in 2018, the website hosting company for our website transitioned to using WordPress as a site building tool, this is apparently the new norm for all website development.  Unfamiliar with the tools, and unable to access any older tools, we were unable to adjust or update content on our website without the whole site being disrupted and illegible.

To correct the site, the board recommended that we hire professional web developers to transition our site to the new norm using WordPress and to add more interactive functionality for all home owners. Our requirements were to redesign and rebuild the website and to integrate  online QuickBooks to the site allowing the board to invoice for dues and special events like gutter-cleaning and mulch, and most importantly for home-owners to be able to pay online directly using a range of payment options like direct banking, zelle, paypal and credit card payments.  The original proposal estimates were:

  • WordPress Design & Development           $2,500
  • QuickBooks Integration                                $800

With the experts, we also requested advancements in more social integration for the site totaling $880

  • Social Links/Icons Integration                    
  • Add Google Calendar integration into back end and front end     
  • 2 Hours training                                                           
  • Add news and functionality to upload & manage newsletters      

The web develops agreed to a bundle discount of 12% so the entire project is anticipated to cost $3,681.  The payment for this was deducted from the 2019 extra cash. 


2019 in review

Under Budget:  (excluding Capital Reserve) Common grounds, corporation costs, electricity, general assembly fees and snow removal came in under budget $2,610.96 for the year.

Over Budget:   Trash with annual Fairfax hike 3% in July, Landscaping due to extra garden activities, Tree service with unexpected tree & limb removal during the summer, no collected late fees, Mosquito spraying totaling $1,202.08

Typically the extra cash from 2019 $1,408.88  ($2,610.96 – $1,202.08) would be added to the capital reserves but this year was used to fund the Website redevelopment of $3,681 and QuickBooks online setup fee $50. The remaining costs were taken from the reserves:

               Extra Cash from 2019      $1,408.88

               Reserves                             $4,451.58


               Website redesign             $3,681

               QuickBooks setup            $     50

               Total Reserves for 2019   $2,129.36

Brookshire Cluster Finance and Budget 2019/2020

Brookshire Cluster Finance and Budget 2019/2020



January – December 2019


January – December 2020




Variance over Budget
















Bad Debt Expense







HOA Dues







Int Inc







Late Charges







Total Income











Gross Profit



















Corporate Expenses













QuickBooks Online  ($20 monthly)






Web Domain Annual fee






Web Domain Hosting fee ($4.95/mth)






Utility Expenses:






Electric (Dominion)







Trash Removal (Republic Services)







Insurance Reserve







Landscape and Environmental:






Common Grounds







Landscaping  (Cardinal)







Tree Service (BrightView)







Mosquito Spraying (Enviro. Pest Control)







Snow Removal (Perfect Landscapes)







Special Projects:







2020 Website Rebuild in WordPress





2020 QuickBooks Online Set-up fee





General Assembly







Reserve Capital






























Net Income






Initial Reserve Capital contribution for 2019. 


Recommend $3681 of this go to website rebuild and $50.00 for QuickBooks online set-up in in 2020. 

Final Total to go to Reserve Capital for 2019


Note: Ongoing Operating Reserve intact


2020  Budget in review

Most vendor estimated charges remain the same for 2020.  Our Mosquito vendor provided a 5% discount if we paid upfront vs. monthly and the Website redevelopment provided a 12% bundle. discount. We anticipate Trash to have a 3% Fairfax landfill cost rise in July.

Board review

President Jenn issued documents for all roles and responsibilities in the cluster, and invited all homeowners to review and if willing, volunteer for any open role. This produced remarkable results with four home owners stepping up to take over board positions with ease and no cajoling of any kind – truly a wonderful occurrence.

·        President:

o   Jennifer offered to stay on for another year as President which was cheered, seconded and unanimously approved by all participants.

·        Landscape: 

o   Sherri and Ann are stepping down from the Landscape team.  Many thanks to both for all the work they did on the cluster landscape throughout the year.

o   Travis volunteered to take over as Landscape Director, was seconded and unanimously approved for the role.

·        Social:

o   Leann and Amanda will stay on as Social Directors (was seconded and unanimously approved).

·        Finance:

o   Scott is stepping down from Finance Director as Scott, Allison and Noah will be moving back to Colorado. Thank you to Scott for his work this past year.

o   Charles offered to take over the role of Finance Director for the cluster, was seconded and unanimously approved for the role.

·        Secretary:

o   Deirdre offered to stay on as secretary.

o   Youssef Baker offered to take over as secretary throughout this year and was unanimously approved. 

·        NEW!!! Website Co-Ordinator:

o   Jessica offered to take over the (new) website maintenance and update once the re-build is complete.  Unanimously approved.

Open forum session for all

·         Parking is an issue again.  With single residents moving out and couples moving in, we have insufficient spaces for every car. Just a quick reminder that each house has ONE dedicated space and the right to have ONLY one more car in a guest spot IF the guest space is free. We have about 12 guest spots and 17 extra cars which means, five homeowners have to park on the street.  Those at the back of the cluster would ask those in the front (closer to Moorings) to try and park on the street if possible as it is a long haul between Moorings and the back of the cluster.

·         Cluster clean ups are a great way to both meet-n-greet neighbors and help our community stay beautiful.  As we do this twice a year, in April and in October, we realize not everyone can be available to assist.  For those that cannot participate on the day, please let Travis know if you’re able and willing to take on a project at a more suitable time.  If you’d rather donate (yes this is very optional) money to the landscape budget, that is very welcome indeed!

·         By law documents are mostly complete and will be posted on the redeveloped website Docs page

·         Dumpster: Cathy apologized to all for having a dumpster in the lot for such a long time while her house was being renovated.

·         Book Club: Doc noted that there is an informal book club in the cluster and invited any and all to attend. It is on the 4th Friday night of every month (currently) at 1540.  The current book is a mystery book “Still Life” by Louise Penny.

·         Distro Email Address: President Jenn created a Brookshire email address for quick distribution of news and information to all homeowners.  More detail to follow.

·         Poison Ivy: Charles and Amanda noted the over-growth of poison Ivy in the land between our cluster and Chatham Colony next door.  Options to remove it included hiring a herd of goats to clear it and/or spraying with poison-ivy specific round-up.  More detail to follow.

·         Reston Community Yard Sale:  There is a Community yard sale in Reston available as an option for anyone who wants to take part in a bigger yard sale. It is $45 to participate as a seller in the event on May 2nd Sat 8:30AM – Noon. More details and registration information is available here:

Meeting concluded at 8:26PM