Letter from the President
My name is Nancy Perry and I’m your newly elected BLMA President. I’m very excited to roll up my sleeves and dive into this new responsibility here at Berkshire. I have been serving on the BLMA Board of Directors since May of 2022. There are several topics I wish to address during my term and I welcome hearing everyone’s suggestions. My main goal is to help make our community a better place to live in by encouraging a larger involvement of all the residents. Please share your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions any time through our website or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first topic I’d like to address is the way we all communicate. I, as well as other members of the board, have heard from many folks they don’t get their mail, and therefore are unaware of events in the community. To keep everyone in the loop I’d like to initiate a regularly scheduled newsletter that is distributed electronically via email and accessible on our website. In addition, the new Board is also looking into electronic voting as a way to have a more inclusive voter turnout. We believe expanding from strictly paper to also include electronic notices will allow more community involvement.
In the effort to have more community involvement, I’d like to start holding monthly socials as another way for us to get to know our neighbors and increase support for our various committees. Socials build rapport, and strengthen communities. They also offer an opportunity for our homeowners to voice their concerns and share ideas in a less formal environment than a BOD Meeting. We realize everyone is busy, but we are in dire need of new volunteers to step up by offering a small amount of their time to help keep our community safe, valued and beautiful.
Lastly, the new BOD will begin a review of all vendors contracts to become familiar with their terms and ensure we’re getting the best value for the services they provide. We will also look for new ways to streamline processes in the BLMA office that will allow for more efficiency. One example is converting all hard copy documents and files to electronic format where they can be more easily accessed, as well as better protected.
We have a new Board in place with three newly elected Directors and we all look forward to working together, and with everyone in the community! Please join us at the Board meetings either in person or on Zoom.
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
- COMPLIANCE COMMITTEE - Charged with monitoring the neighborhood for Covenant violations and reports them to the BLMA office where letters are administered to homeowners.
- FINES COMMITTEE - Committee takes Board of Directors (BOD) recommendations to fine, reviews the violation, listens to the homeowners response, and makes a decision to fine or not.
- BUFFER ZONE COMMITTEE - Chartered with determining how best to establish access to the perimeter fence structure surrounding the Berkshire Lakes Community for purposes of maintenance and repairs as needed.
BLMA Buffer Zone Committee is chartered with determining how best to establish access to the perimeter fence structure surrounding the Berkshire Lakes Community for purposes of maintenance and repairs as needed from time to time.
BLMA Buffer Zone Meeting Minutes
2021-2022 Lake Remediation
Dear Berkshire Lakes Residents,
As part of the ongoing Lakes remediation being carried out by Seabreeze Erosion Solutions, please be advised that over the course of next several days / weeks, HENLEY Lake will be the focus.
For any resident residing around Henley Lake or in its proximity, be aware of the heavy machinery, stone/rocks on the streets (especially on the cul de sacs). Additional traffic is expected so please drive carefully and call the office should you need any additional information.
Thanks for your consideration!
Your Lakes Committee