Letter from the President
Summer is just around the corner and this weekend’s rain is proof it’s here to stay!
This month, we’d like to address a recent concern that was brought to the attention of our Board of Directors, that some of our homeowners think there’s a lack of communication within the community.
There are 1639 residences in Berkshire Lakes, composed of 669 single family homes and 970 condo units. Though our board meets monthly, only a very small handful of owners attend these meetings either virtually using Zoom, or in person. ALL regular, monthly BLMA committee meetings are open to our residents and are posted at least 48 hours prior to the meetings on both bulletin boards at the clubhouse as well as on our website in various places to ensure the best opportunity to view them. Additionally, all of these meetings are held at our Clubhouse at 495 Belville Blvd.
Our highest and most effective measure of communication is our website at www.berkshirelakes.org. The BLMA Website is kept up to date with current and upcoming meetings and ongoing information about our community. These dates are listed on multiple pages of the site, as well as the BLMA Calendar which is also posted. The website also provides electronic access to all BLMA documents for Real Estate transactions, Architectural Review Board forms and Standards as well as BOD minutes for each preceding Board meeting.
Any current community projects like the Lakes Remediation, is also highlighted and regularly updated. When necessary, we also send out occasional e-blasts for urgent information or to assure we reach all community members, especially those who may not have access to the website.
We encourage homeowners to attend the monthly BLMA Board of Directors Meeting (held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7:00 pm,) as we value your input, want to hear about your concerns or suggestions, and are there to answer your questions / concerns. The Master Association Board meeting notification is sent via email 48 hours in advance and provides information instructions on how to access Zoom via the internet, if you are unable to attend in person.
For our homeowner’s convenience, the BLMA office is also open M-F til 2pm daily. You are welcome to come in and ask Allen Bouley, our property manager, or Barbara Courtney, our office admin, questions or pick up documents or participate in one of our clubs or committees.
Currently, we have only 29 owners who volunteer to serve on our Board and sub-committees. Many of these members serve on more than one so while we thank them greatly for their participation, we certainly could benefit from a greater number of participants. PLEASE COME JOIN US! We look forward to seeing you at the next BOD Meeting June 15th at 7pm.
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 – June 22, 2022 9:30 am Clubhouse
Compliance Meeting -July 27, 2022 10:00 am Library
Fines Meeting – Tuesday July 5, 2022 4:00 pm Library
Past Meeting Minutes
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 JUNE 2022 –
And the Congratulations go to….
June Yard of the Month – 812 Belville Blvd
June Most Improved Yard of the Month – 120 Lambton Lane
2021-2022 Lake Remediation
January 21, 2022
Seabreeze Erosion Solutions, our contractor for the remediation of the five lakes for which the BLMA is responsible, has nearly finished working on Belville Lake. Riprap has been installed on the single family side of the lake and the remaining areas have been prepared with jute and proprietary fill for littoral plantings. The plants themselves; blue flag iris, golden canna, pickerel weed and spike rush, will be installed closer to the rainy season.
Berkshire Lake is next on the agenda and work may begin by the end of January. Once again the crews will install riprap along the single family side of the lake beginning at Belville Boulevard. Homeowners are urged to mark sprinkler heads in the back and side yards. Sprinkler heads that are in the riprap area or are too close will be cut and capped. Upon the completion of the riprap, crews will begin grading the shoreline to meet Collier County guidelines and will lay jute matting and pack it with fill dirt specifically designed to nurture the littoral plants. Seabreeze will install plants in both lakes as weather conditions dictate.
The Lakes Committee is pleased to report that all remediation thus far has stayed well within budget and seems to be effective. Under our warranty Seabreeze will be replacing some plants on Horseshoe Lake which failed to survive, possibly due to faulty planting schedules.
Many thanks to our residents who have been tolerant of all the inconveniences associated with the turmoil of repair and maintenance. You have been great.