Thursday, June 23rd 2011 7:30 PM held at 1558 Brookshire Ct. This was a special assembly for Brookshire Cluster home owners to review, discuss and vote on large scale projects for the cluster such as the Drainage Project and Extra Street lights. The objective of the meeting was to approve plans for both projects and approve of the recommended special assessments required to complete both projects.


15 of 26 (58%) houses present, Quorum of 40% achieved.  Cluster President Mike called the meeting to order at 7:42PM.

Welcome Notes

Mike began our meeting at 7:42PM once the 40% quota requirement had been clearly achieved, Mike welcomed all Brookshire Cluster members and outlined the agenda for the meeting which was to present the following material and vote on the special assessment to cover costs:


7:30PM                 Welcome notes – Mike

7:35PM                 Discuss Drainage Solutions – Aaron/Doc

7:45PM                 Discuss Lighting solution – Deirdre

7:55PM                 Present Special Assessment structure and time-frame – Ann

8:10PM                 Vote on Special Assessment structure and time – Mike

8:20PM                 Discuss Long-term renovation concepts – Board

Open items:

8:45PM                 Meeting Close

Drainage Solutions Discussion

For over two years, the cluster has discussed the lack of drainage at the top of the cluster between 1540 and 1550.  The lack of drainage causes water and mud to cascade and pool over the walk way often, making it very slippy and dangerous in colder weather conditions.  At the last General Assembly in Feb 2011, a special committee was assembled to address the issues, gather proposals to correct the issues and decide on the best approach for the community both in terms of a full drainage solution and reasonable cost.

Aaron represented the special Drainage committee and presented the optimal drainage solution to the cluster members.  He noted that the more expensive options including re-grading the sidewalks but there would be no more guarantee that it would solve the drainage issue. 

Aaron had an arial chart of the houses 1540-50 and topography around the drainage area (attached as a separate PDF file to you) and explained the optimal Proposal  which outlined the following corrections and repairs:

Problem identified

The two worst areas for non-drainage are in front of German and AnnMarie’ s house (1544) and in front of Mike & Cathy’s house (1552).  Water flows from the downspouts on the row of houses and has nowhere to go, water and mud run off the slope between the two sets of stairs at an alarming rate. The drains don’t seem to work correctly along the pathway and do not correctly flow the water away from the area, so it pools on the sidewalk as a mass of water, mud and slippery ice in the winter.

Solution Steps

 1.    Repair or replace the existing PVC drainage pipe that runs from 1550 (Burke’s) to 1540 (Doc’s). As the repair team won’t know the state of the existing drain until manual digging begins, the crew will replace the 6” diameter PVC pipe only if needed.   If a replacement is necessary, it will run parallel to the existing pipe right beside the pathway on cluster terrain.

2.    Relocate exit  pipe to daylight downslope towards the creek by Doc and Ann Marie’s house.  It will exit under the bushes and out of the main green area.

3.    Install new drainage collection points along the path in three spots:  1554, 1552 and 1540. These drainage boxes  will be 8” to 12” square and are inset into the ground. They will be inset enough to collect the roof water run-off and the surface run off from the slopes.  They will be installed right by the grassy corner where the private house pathways and main pathway converges.

The Drainage box is open to the top, ground level and connects to the 6” re-used or repaired PVC drainage pipes. The top grate is NDS square Polyolefin w’ UV inhibitor/ Cast iron/ Galvanized steel grate. Underneath will be crushed stone for extra drainage. The surrounding soil will be compacted and will slope downwards towards the drain.  More detail on the drain outline:

Installed View of collection drain.

4.    Up by Doc and AnneMarie’s house (1540) on the corner of the grassy area, remove extra grass and lower the elevation of the soil to facilitate overland drainage from the sidewalk and surrounding areas. The area will be re-finished with new sod to seamlessly merge with the rest of the grassy area.

5.    Create new and deeper edging of the landscape that comes in contact with the pathway between 1540 and 1550. Creating a mini trough just one or two inches wide and deep can completely help drain water away from the path and alleviate the mud-run-off. This mini trough or moat will need to be maintained by our landscaping crew.

6.    Remove the larger crab apple tree for extra light on the affected area and for installation of the new street light.

7.    Renovate the sloping areas between the stairs.  Currently grass does not survive on the slope so the goal is to remove the larger crab apple tree, expand the mulched area and plant shade-tolerant grasses or ground cover to stabilize the entire slope strip. Pachysandra as a ground cover is an option but takes approximately 3 years to take hold so it may be a mix of ground cover  or sod which looks good immediately. The sod may also survive for longer with the crab apple tree-shade gone and more natural sunlight on the slope.  With this, there will also be proper edging (mini trough) to facilitate proper drainage.

8.    Improve the gradient of 1544 (Martinez) yard to flow water away from the house and towards the new drainage collection drains. This would include re-sodding and/or replanting.  Currently only one house is included in the re-grading. All houses on the row may take advantage of the project and labor to re-grade front yards, please check with Aaron on the options available.

9.   Expand flower bed at the top of the slope and excavate/trim by the pathway.

Estimated Costs for Drainage:

Estimated costs for the project are $4,580 but may run to $7,000 if the PVC drain pipes need to be replaced and run parallel to the older pipes. This part could not be evaluated and assessed until the area is dug up and the current pipe functionality exposed.  From a proposed budget estimate,  we based the special assessment on the higher value of $7k. If the costs come in lower, the assessment will be reduced to reflect the actual price paid for the project.

Vote on Drainage Solution:

Mike put the proposed drainage solution to the members present at the General assembly for a vote and all 15 houses unanimously voted YES and approved the planned drainage solutions. The members also thanked the special committee for their work and Aaron for his thorough and informative presentation of the steps involved in the drainage correction project. 

Installing two new lights to the cluster

Brookshire Cluster has long been a safe community, and our goal is to maintain and improve safety levels wherever possible. Recently with the light outages, we had a mugging in the neighborhood and realized that our cluster is fairly dark overall. With kids growing up and with metro/Lake Anne renovation, it behooves us to add more lights to brighten pathways and our parking lot for increased safety of the neighborhood. Deirdre presented the plan is to install 2 new lights to illuminate houses deep into the cluster.  Both lights will be black colonial lights similar to the lights we have and in accordance with Brookshire’s overall architecture. 

Problem identified

The main density of houses in the cluster (1528-1538, 1540-1550, 1551-1554 rely on one single light source in the cluster.  The light does not provide enough coverage for the parking lot or for the common pathways along the rows of houses. Recently while the light was out, a cluster member was mugged, held in a chokehold and her bag stolen.  This clearly identified a need for improved lighting conditions in the neighborhood.

Solution Steps

Install two new lights in the cluster. The planned locations for the lights are:

1.    In the back corner of the Brookshire lot where the crab apple tree is being removed. It is on the curb of the parking lot between two sets of stairs, near the steps between Amanda and Sherry’s houses. This will light up the pathways along  1542 to 1550 and along 1538-1534.  It will also illuminate the parking lot in the area. 

2.    The second light will be on the opposite corner of the parking area deep into the cluster. This light will be in the midst of the bushes between the pathway and the parking lot in front of Julie & Watt’s house.  This will light up 1528-1538 and 1551, as well as the parking lot area.

3.   The lights to be installed are standard black colonial lantern 12’ from the ground with 100 watt bulbs.  To reduce glare into the nearby houses, one side of the four glass panels will be frosted while the rest are clear for better illumination to the traffic areas. The lights will be run and managed by Virginia Dominion Power.

Planned Light Fixture

The Colonial style luminaire is frequently used in residential areas, pedestrian lighting applications, and in parks and small parking areas.

  • Decorative cast aluminum housing with a matte black paint finish.
  • Top mounted horizontal lamping with clear refractive acrylic panels with a Type III distribution.
  • Vertical base down lamping with clear refractive acrylic panels with a Type V distribution.
  • High pressure sodium lamping in 70, 100, and 150 watts.
  • Horizontal Foot-candles Scale: 1 Inch = 12 Ft.
  • Light Loss Factor = 0.80
  • Total Lumens Per Luminaire = 9500
  • Mounting Height = 12.00 Ft
  • Maximum Calculated Value = 2.44 Fc
  • Arrangement: Single
  • Photometric Toolbox Professional Edition (c) copyright 1995-2007 by Lighting Analysts, Inc.
  • Calculations based on published IES Methods and recommendations.

Results derived from content of manufacturers photo-metric file.

 Estimated Costs for Light Installation:

Estimated costs for installing the two new lights are in two parts:

a)   Initial installation is $6,724.71 with Dominion Virginia Power.  

b)   Ongoing monthly maintenance and usage cost per light is $4.25 per light, this increases our annual electric budget by $102. This fee includes all usage, maintenance and repairs to the light structure, bulb etc.  

To help reduce costs, we evaluated a couple of options:

1.    Install the lights separately over time but with that, we lose the cost efficiencies of installing both lights together and it increased the cost factor by $1,300. Hence we disregarded this option.

2.    Install the lights with a private vendor and save installation costs.  Kolb Electric quoted $6,100 for the installation. Repair and maintenance would be separate charges @ 50% of current residential rates.  In addition to repair and maintenance costs (unknown), this option drove the annual electric budget up by $15 per light meter + usage =  $432 increase per annum so we discounted this option also. 

3.    Negotiate discounted rates with Dominion VA. Dominion said the rates for the work are tariffed and as such, remain stable and consistent.  Dominion Virginia Power did agree to look into subsidizing the costs involved in installing the light.  With a subsidy, the installation costs would be reduced somewhat.

Cathy T asked if we are replacing the crab-apple tree with a lower ornamental tree.  We responded that we currently do not plan to replace the tree so we can maximize the light footprint of the new lights. We noted that the light from the existing center light is blocked to Bill/Jessica and Diane’s houses because of the beautiful dog wood tree in the way. We don’t want to recreate a scenario of diminished light because of a newly planted tree.

Deirdre presented the single vendor – Dominion Virginia Power – installation and maintenance option of $6,724.71 to the cluster as the best lighting option for the cluster with a caveat that the final price may be less if we received a subsidy from Dominion Virginia Power.  From a proposed budget estimate,  we based the special assessment on the higher value. If the costs come in lower, the assessment will be reduced to reflect the actual price paid for the project.

Vote on Light Installation

Mike put the proposed 2 new light installation solution to the members present at the General assembly for a vote and all 15 houses unanimously voted YES and approved the installation of the two new street lights. The members also thanked Deirdre and the board for its work on the project, and commiserated with Amanda  as the victim that enabled this project. 

Presenting special assessment to the cluster

Ann presented the sum total of both projects as $7000 for drainage and $6720 for the lights which totals as $13,720 worth of work. This netted at $527.7 cost per house to complete the two projects.  Ann reiterated that should actual costs be lower, the special assessment charged would also be lower.  Ann presented the option to add $75 special assessment per house for 7 consecutive quarters ($525) to cover the costs.  Starting 3Q2011, this would raise the quarterly dues per house from $250 to $325 through 1Q2013.

Vote on Special Assessment:

Mike put the 7 quarters @ $75 per quarter special assessment to the members present at the General assembly for a vote and all 15 houses unanimously voted YES and approved the special assessment for drainage and new lights.

Ann noted that any house could pay the full amount of $525 up front and retain the quarterly dues of $250 as an option.  Ann noted that her invoice to each homeowner for the 3Q2011 dues would reflect $325 to include the special assessment.

Additional Renovation and Enhancement projects

Ann explained that the current Brookshire budget covers planned repair/maintenance of the asphalt and concrete throughout the cluster.  The budget currently does not cover other projects that would enhance the neighborhood such as fixing the retaining walls, fixing the swing, getting a snow-blower, renovating the front garden, renovating side gardens, doing serious tree planting, building a sturdier barrier along Moorings and our green space,  and other projects  yet to be defined.  

Mike proposed that we extend the special assessment for another quarter (or more) of $75 per house to cover such renovation projects. He noted that we would get and present detailed plans with work quotes for each project to the entire cluster members before we commence work. 

Vote on Special Assessment Add-on for Enhancements

Mike put the proposed special assessment extension for renovation projects to the members present at the General assembly for a vote and all 15 houses unanimously voted YES and approved the extension of the $75 assessment for additional months as needed and defined by approved projects.

Open Items

Enhancements a great idea:

Chris C noted that the extra dues for cluster enhancement is an excellent idea and is very welcome. He noted how much he and Irene love being in the cluster and fully approve of any project designed to enhance the environment and increase our property values.  He also noted that our dues are classically lower than average for any homeowner’s association. Many attendees nodded their approval and murmured their agreement with Chris’ positive outlook.

Leann and multiple members of the cluster mentioned the front garden renovation as a hot priority. Deirdre inevitably mentioned the front entrance sign otherwise known as ‘monument’ but recognized this may be a lower priority than other projects.

(food for thought)

Concrete Projects:

Jackie noted that her concrete path and back yard were in need of repair and asked if anyone else in the cluster wanted to combine concrete/pavement work for a better combined price. If you are interested in redoing your yard or pathway, please contact Jackie to  combine projects and reduce costs.

Definition of Repair costs and ownership:

There seems to be some confusion about who ‘owns’ repair costs from a service vendor – the home owner or the cluster.   The board wants to clearly outline who owns costs for installation, repair and maintenance of any service like water, electric, phone, fios or gas:

  • If the homeowner is using the service –the home owner pays all related repair, maintenance and installation charges – even if it goes through cluster property.  The cluster is just a conduit for your service. Simply put,  you use the service – you pay the cost.
  • If the cluster is using the service – like electricity for the lights, the cluster pays the installation, repair and maintenance charges.  Simply put, cluster uses – cluster pays.  Homeowner uses – homeowner pays.

Safety Watch and Patrol:

Amanda outlined the need for a safety committee in the neighborhood where any neighbor could call on a list of neighbors for help when needed.  Amanda would gather a list of volunteers to help and circulate the contact information to the cluster members.  

In addition, Amanda proposes we re-instate the neighborhood watch program within the cluster. All those interested in joining the neighborhood watch for increased safety, please contact Amanda.

More information on the Neighborhood watch program can be found at:

The Neighborhood Watch Coordinators Meeting is held prior to the Citizens’ Advisory Committee meeting at 6:30 p.m.  All Neighborhood Watch Coordinators are welcome to attend.  If your neighborhood is interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch, please contact the Reston Crime Prevention Office at 703-478-0799 or e-mail  

12000 Bowman Towne Drive, Reston, VA 20190

Local number for Reston Police: 703-478-0904    
Fax number: 703-318-9872


Mike thanked all members for attending. Meeting terminated at 8:43PM. 

Updates since meeting:

June 24th: Tysons Tree quoted a group project amount for the removal of a number of trees including the crab apple tree – which is covered by the Landscape maintenance portion of the 2011 budget.

June 27th: Design Review of Reston approved the removal of the crab apple tree.

June 27th: Design Review of Reston approved the installation of 2 new lights in Brookshire Cluster.

June 27th: Design Review of Reston approved the house lights’ standards for the cluster. Details to be published online.

June 27th: Dominion Virginia Power offered a subsidy of 50% of the cost of installation ($3,362.55 reduction in cost) to Brookshire as a sign of good will and as a mission to improving the safety of the neighborhood.