Hardwick Mountain Owners Association

Barboursville, Virginia

Roads and Assessments--Hardwick Mountain

From HMPOA Board of Directors

Updated 7.18.12

(This is the fourth update to a road plan initially adopted by the Board in 2006;
the phases and targets remain the same; the timeline is extended for one year due to cost increases)

A. Summary
Our roads are a tremendously important asset to each lot owner and to the Association. Keeping all 1.2 miles in good repair is the board’s primary role. We’re doing our best to maintain them for both the immediate and the long term. Indeed, owners spent over 100 hours on the roads in each of the past two years. Taking care of the roads is also a responsibility every property owner assumes by virtue of buying land here.

Re-surfacing prices have increased dramatically over the past five years, due in part to shifting from tar and gravel to asphalt, and in larger part due to major petroleum price increases. The rate we have paid for re-surfacing increased from $2.54 per square yard in 2001 to $15.00 per square yard in 2012 an increase of 490%. Over the same time period our assessments have increased from $220 a year for the first lot owned to $351.38 an increase of 59.7%. 2012 is the 5th year our assessments have remained flat, and we do not expect them to increase in the near future. (see graphs reflecting the cost and income comparison in Appendix)

Our goal is to have our three main roads (Hardwick Mountain Drive, Chestnut Lane, Turkey Ridge Road) and two side roads (Doubletop Lane and Montagna Lane) asphalted by fall 2013, and we’re on track to achieve that.

B. Our Roads
Hardwick Mountain Property Owners Association owns the road system consisting of 50’ rights of way in the subdivision. The paved roads consist of the following:

1. Hardwick Mountain Drive 3,424' end to end
2. Turkey Ridge 1,197' end to end
3. Chestnut Lane 876' end to end
4. Double Top 456' end to end
5. Montagna Lane 275' end to end
Total 6,288 (1.19 miles)

The Association owns one other section of right of way that has not been graded between lots 30 and 31. There is another 50’ right of way with limitations on the southern edge of lot 17.

C. Road resurfacing history
When developer Don Ober put the original roads in for the Hardwick Mountain subdivision in 1972-73, he was not restricted by VDOT as to incline (hence the steep road on the south entrance). Hardwick Mountain Drive was originally all gravel, and Don had tar and gravel applied from the entrance to the top a year or two later.

Over the years board members have talked with various paving companies, but found few good companies willing to work on our steep roads. We selected C&G Paving as reliable and reasonably priced. Each road paver and VDOT rep we talked with told us that tar and gravel should last 4-5 years on our roads, and asphalt should last 10-15 years. Up until a few years ago they also told us that asphalt would cost two to three times as much as tar and gravel. This made the value of the two alternatives roughly equal, but asphalt’s initial cost made it prohibitive – so all of our roads were tar and gravel.

In 2006 Jeff Gray at C&G Paving encouraged us to consider asphalt, which had not increased in price as much as tar and gravel had - so that in summer 2006 asphalt cost only 30 - 40% more, rather than 100 - 200% more. Thus asphalt had become a much better value than tar and gravel, although the initial cost was still higher. At that time the board elected to pave Chestnut Lane and Turkey Ridge with asphalt - thus upgrading part of our system and providing an opportunity for us to compare asphalt vs. tar and gravel on our roads over time.

Once we had these new cost and durability numbers and a chance to observe the benefits of asphalt on the two roads, the board adopted the Road Plan in early 2006 – the goal of which was to get all of our main roads asphalted by 2012. This plan was discussed in detail at the June 2006 annual meeting, and described in May and July mailings to all lot owners, as well as at every subsequent board meeting and annual meeting. Phase 1 was completed in late July 2006 - asphalt applied to Chestnut Lane and Turkey Ridge, tar and gravel applied to 560’ of Hardwick Mountain Drive and to Montagna Lane, and Doubletop patched. Phase 2 was completed in September 2009 when asphalt was applied to 1489’ of Hardwick Mountain Drive. In Phase 3, asphalt was applied in summer of 2012 to 1,369' of Hardwick Mountain Drive. Phase 4 will consist of the remaining 557' of Hardwick Mountain Drive and Montagna Lane.

While the Association does not have records for when each section of road was originally coated with tar and gravel, we do have records of expenditures for re-surfacing for the past 19 years. Those are as follows:

Date of Re-surfacing Amount Spent
July 1991 $5,079 (no record of which roads done)
June 1994 $10,979 (no record of which roads done)
November 1997 $3,374 (C&G, Chestnut Lane)
December 2001 $20,000 (F&H did 7,866 sq yds/79% of roads, double coat tar and gravel)
March 2005 contracted with F&H to apply tar and gravel to all roads for $25,435 - which they failed to deliver
July 2006 $38,092 (C&G applied asphalt to Chestnut Run and Turkey Ridge; tar and gravel to 560´ from entrance of Hardwick Mountain Dr. and patched broken areas; tar and gravel Montagna Lane; patch Doubletop.)
October 2007 $7,500 Asphalt Doubletop (Yetzer paid)
September 2009 $30,000 (C&G applied asphalt to 1489´ of Hardwick Mountain Dr, starting at 239´ and going to 1728´ for total of 2581 sq yds @ $11.62/sq yd)
July 2012 $30,000 (C&G applied asphalt to 1,369' of Hardwick Mountain Drive for total of 2,000 sq yds @ $15.00/sq yd)

Over the years there has been a continuous increase in traffic due to the addition of more homes (and more cars per home, and more heavy vehicles). More traffic means more wear and tear, which means the roadways need more care than they have in the past. Additionally, asphalt is thicker than tar and gravel, and requires a build-up of crusher run on the edges to minimize damage.

(See “Annual assessment due for first lot by year in Appendix)

D. Assessments - Income

(See "Resurfacing cost per yard paid by HMPOA" in Appendix)

Current assessments are $351.38 for the first lot owned (x28 lots = $9,838.64); and $175.69 for additional lots owned by one family (x14 lots = $2,459.66); for a total annual income of $12,298.30.

Annual expenses for everything but road re-surfacing have averaged roughly $1,100 / year (except for winter of 2009/2010, when we had to spend $2,612 – of which $2,275 was for snow removal). Treasurers reports are distributed at each annual meeting detailing these expenses, most of which are for the roads (primarily snow removal and gravel for edges).

E. How we can each help maintain the roads, so we have to spend less repairing them
How we treat our roads significantly impacts how well they stand up over time, and how soon we have to repair or resurface them. The work to build up the edges with crusher run where the asphalt drops off is an example of how individual owners can help. Owners have spread 72 tons of crusher run to the edges of Hardwick Mountain Drive, Turkey Ridge and Chestnut Lane during 2009 and 2010.

There are some things each of us can do to maintain our roads so they require less maintenance.

1. Maintain your driveway connection to the road so it is even

2. Stay off the edges as much as possible

3. Schedule heavy work (heavy trucks / loads) for cooler months (not June through August), as asphalt can be most damaged when hot, by heavy loads - especially if heavy vehicles stop or turn on the hot surface. Ask contractors to schedule early in the day deliveries, and where possible to use smaller trucks. Do not allow any track vehicles on our roads. Treat the roads as if they were yours…because they are!

4. Volunteer to help us spread and smooth crusher run along the asphalt edges.

5. Notify a board member if you see damage or deterioration anywhere on the roads.

F. FAQ’s

Could VDOT take over our roads?
For years we thought this might be a possibility, as Orange County set aside a small portion of the road funds received from the state for upgrading subdivision roads to VDOT standards.

However, after discussions with attorneys, VDOT and Orange County supervisors, we realized this is not a viable option for us due to high cost to bring our roads up to VDOT standards. For more info on this, see 10.16.07 notice from HMPOA board to all members.

Once our roads are all asphalted will we be able to reduce assessments?
Until we learn how well asphalt holds up on the southern slope of Hardwick Mountain Drive and how repair and replacement costs are going to change, we don’t know what assessments will be necessary in the long term. We don’t want to get into another situation where our assessments are artificially low while the cost of resurfacing continues to climb. The current board believes there is no need for further increases in the next several years - but we think it is premature to consider reducing assessments.

Got other questions, or suggestions? Check out the Forum on hardwickmountain.org, or contact any board member (see Board of Directors link at left)


Annual Assessment --first lot

Back to discussion above.

Resurfacing Cost

Back to discussion above.

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