Letter from the President
The Board of Directors held a planning session on June 29, 2022. Below is a list of items that were discussed along with estimated completion dates. Please understand that our dates are often dependent upon the weather.
- CLUBHOUSE REST ROOMS – completed
- FINISH THE WALL IN FRONT OF THE LIBRARY – PAINT – completed
- PAINT CLUBHOUSE – completed
- REPLACE LIGHTS AND LANDSCAPE LIGHTING ALONG THE SIDEWALK TO THE CLUBHOUSE – new fixtures have been ordered.
- RESURFACE ENTRANCE DRIVEWAY – being rescheduled due to rain. Will update as soon as date provided.
- RESURFACE PARKING LOT – rescheduled 9/6 to 9/9 you will be unable to park in the parking lot during this time period.
- RESURFACE THE WALKING PATH – THE COMPLETION OF THIS TASK IS ALSO WEATHER DEPENDENT.
- THE COMMONS LETTER – Draft letter prepared. We are in the process of identifying the folks that are responsible for the management of the Commons.
- MEET AND GREET SOCIALS – Nancy Perry is investigating the possibilities for this type of event. Have received lots of great suggestions!
- FRIENDLY IS STANDARD – Committee is preparing samples to assist our owners who wish to include Florida Friendly in their landscaping.
- TENNIS COURTS – Clubhouse Courts are currently being pressure washed and cleaned up.
- LAKE ISLANDS – that have escaped from their moorings – are being relocated.
- BERKSHIRE AND BELVILLE LAKES – Signs are being installed on these lakes to be sure landscapers/owners use a weedwhacker or push mower to mow near the water, and no insecticides or pesticides are applied within 10’ of the water.
- LAMBTON LAKE REMEDIATION – will begin in January 2023.
At the end of this year, residents will be asked to mark sprinklers with flags (which are available at the Clubhouse office)
The Architectural Review Board meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. We are your neighbors who meet on a volunteer basis to help maintain the beauty of Berkshire Lakes. We are very pleased to report a huge increase in submissions to improve the single-family properties and want to encourage participation in the process of making your home the gem of our neighborhood!
Since we know that there is both a lack of materials available and a shortage of vendors to complete many projects, we do not want to become another reason to delay the completion of your projects. In order to reduce your stress, please refrain from scheduling work crews until you receive approval from the ARB. Also, submitting the completed Alteration Request Form and any additional required paperwork will help us help you meet your goals in a timely fashion.
We would like to encourage you to submit your request to the office as early as possible. Some homeowners may think it is far too early to submit a request 6 weeks in advance; However, we feel 4-6 weeks of lead time is not too early! This is because any of the following can happen to delay the process: We may require additional information such as approximate start and finish dates, plot plan, types of plants or materials, pictures or samples of materials, color numbers or color samples, general clarification of plans, etc. Sometimes a request will be rejected by the ARB and the owner may need to alter the request and resubmit it. This can cause delays for the homeowner, which none of us like. By submitting your request early, it will give us ample time to be able to approve your project without delaying plans to improve your property.
Also, if you are concerned about putting a project start date and completion date on the Alteration Request Form, be assured that we will not hold you to the exact dates. What we are trying to find out from the homeowner is the approximate dates a project will be ongoing. For instance, if you are planning to get your house painted and your contractor tells you they might be able to start as soon as the 1st of February, but it will depend on the weather, just get an approximate timeline of how long the job will take to complete. Then record on the form February 1st for the start date even though it may end up being the 3rd week. If the project may take 2 weeks to complete, record the approximate completion date as 3-4 weeks after the latest time they would begin. Your dates may look like: starting Feb. 1 and ending Mar. 14th, even though you may start on Feb. 14th and end on Feb. 28th. If your contractor falls behind and does not have the job completed until the end of March, we do not hold you to the original timeline. However, if your contractor starts the job in April and has not finished in August, we will be contacting you for additional information, etc. Having approximate dates on your request form will help your ARB do a better job for the community.
If you are wondering where to find the rules to follow for projects, or the form to fill out when planning it, please use the drop-down menu for “Residents”. Below click on “Documents & Forms” and choose “Learn More”. You will see the form listed that you can download and print, as well as the Architectural Review Board Standards. The Standards are the rules we follow for outdoor projects in Berkshire Lakes. If you do not have a printer, you can also go by the office in the main clubhouse and pick up an ARB request form. The office is open 9-2 daily.
When you receive approval for your project, you should have a yellow card to display in your window or other place that can be seen from the street. It is very important that you have this visible and that it is returned to the office when you have your project completed and any final inspections are done. We really appreciate homeowners who help the ARB by using the yellow card and returning it to the office!
The ARB would also like to remind homeowners that many, but not all projects need the committee’s approval. Landscaping projects seem to be the biggest area of confusion for most homeowners. I will try to list some examples of what does and does not require ARB approval below:
- Planting any tree requires approval. This includes replacement of existing trees.
- Planting any bush/hedge requires approval. This includes replacement of existing plantings.
- Adding a planting bed requires approval
- Planting anything near the street requires approval (No mulching near the curb without a barrier that will prevent mulch from running into the street. This protects our lakes because street runoff goes into our lakes.)
- Planting or changing any landscaping near a property line requires approval.
- Removing healthy trees requires approval.
- Planting flowers or small plants in an existing planting bed does not require approval. This includes replacing plants with the same or smaller plants than were in the previously approved planting bed.
- Defining the edges of existing planting beds with borders does not require approval.
- Replacing sod or killing weeds in order to resod does not require approval.
Below are some additional projects that do not require ARB approval as stated in the ARB Standards found online:
- Repainting house with same existing color scheme.
- Repainting of mailbox (black only).
- Replacement of lamppost lighting fixture with BLMA approved fixture (see appendix)
- Repair or replacement of driveway that maintains original dimensions and materials
- Replacing windows or doors with same appearance
- Replacing garage doors with same appearance
- Refinishing pool
- Replacing pool/lanai deck
- Replacing sod
- Removing dead or diseased trees
If you are not sure as to which projects require approval and which do not, please read the ARB Standards. If something is unclear, please fill out the ARB Alteration Request Form and we will take a look at the project. Almost anything that alters the appearance of a single-family home will need approval. The only exception is hurricane resistant glass and hurricane shutters. Your ARB would like to thank all of the single-family homeowners for all they do to beautify our neighborhood!
BLMA Board of Directors
ARB Meeting – September 28, 2022 9:30 am Clubhouse
Compliance Meeting -October 26, 2022 10:00 am Library
Fines Meeting – Tuesday September 20, 2022 4:00 pm Library
Past Meeting Minutes
August 17, 2022
July 20, 2022
June 15, 2022
May 4, 2022
April 20, 2022
March 16, 2022
February 16, 2022
January 19, 2022
December 7, 2021
November 17, 2021
October 20, 2021
September 15, 2021
August 18, 2021
July 21, 2021
June 6, 2021
May 19, 2021
April 21, 2021
March 29, 2021
March 17, 2021
February 17, 2021
BEAUTIFICATION AWARDS FOR September 2022 –
And the Congratulations go to….
September Yard of the Month – 626 Lambton Lane
September Most Improved Yard of the Month – 6633 Eastbourne Place
2021-2022 Lake Remediation
Since the Seabreeze crew left, the Lakes Committee has been monitoring the progress of the littorals on those three lakes which have been completed; Horseshoe, Berkshire and Belville. In most places the littorals are thriving but not in all locations. Belville has a stretch of littorals that will have to be replanted under the warranty and on Berkshire Lake the Muscovy ducks are shredding many of the canna lilies. The Committee will request an estimate from a wildlife control company to relocate these exotic and invasive animals. Homeowners have been informed about their destructiveness and urged not to feed them to no avail. Muscovy ducks will relocate if they are not induced to stay with food. They are not foragers and cannot feed themselves without human intervention. Because we have been unable to dissuade certain homeowners from feeding the exotic ducks, we must resort to removal.
Advanced Aquatics presented the results of their quarterly water testing to Allen, President Richards and the Lakes Committee on the ninth of September. Of greatest interest to all were the results pertaining to Henley Lake where the aerators had been recently installed. Preliminary results are promising. Total nitrogen counts are down and clarity has improved. Results of the aeration effort will be monitored regularly with the quarterly reports. Mike Sweeney of Advanced Aquatics said that our ponds are in amazingly good shape. Older community such as ours deal with muck build up from poor maintenance practices and high concentration of nitrates and phosphates. Fortunately, about six years ago, the Berkshire Board realized the benefit of following Florida Friendly guidelines for pond maintenance.
Money to install aeration in Horseshoe Lake will be included in the budget for next year. Mike Sweeney was asked to give the Committee an estimate for a floating barrier to be installed at the Devonshire boat ramp. With every rainstorm an inordinate amount of trash is washed into Horseshoe from the parking lots at Berkshire Commons and a physical barrier might be the way to prevent that trash from permeating the entire lake. The barrier would have to be cleaned regularly but that task could be added to our regular maintenance schedule. Our heavy rains recently have washed unknown quantities of toxic and/or hazardous compounds from the Commons which may have exacerbated the algae buildup in Horseshoe. White we are dealing with those algae blooms; the fountain will be turned off because it draws water from near the surface and becomes clogged.
Lake shore owners are requested to instruct their landscapers NOT to spray herbicides such as Roundup at the edge of the riprap. No chemicals should be used within ten feet of the lake. Killing vegetation at the top of the riprap can provide an avenue for increased runoff and erosion which may invalidate our warranty with Seabreeze.
Please remember that our lakes really are water retention ponds whose job it is to clean the runoff water from our developed lands before that water enters the Golden Gate canal and makes its way through the Gordon River to the Gulf of Mexico. As long as we use fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides; we will have algae in one form or another. As we reduce our use of these chemicals, we will reduce the excess nitrogen and phosphates in our pond water which will reduce the growth of algae. It’s up to us.
Your Lakes Committee