Stedwick Homes Corporation

Home | Financial | Trash and Recycling | Policies | Resident's Handbook | Reserves Planning | Architectural Criteria | E-mail the Stedwick Board


Planning for Repairs and Replacement of Major Assets

Every July the Stedwick Board reviews the inventory of SHC assets. As of July, 2014, the replacement value of these assets, if replaced today, amounts to about $6M. An inventory of SHC assets is available.  The inventory contains estimates of replacement costs and estimates of lifetimes. These estimates are based upon engineering judgment and experience from a variety of sources. 

From this inventory, a replacement schedule and estimated future replacement cost is produced for each asset over the next 20 years and beyond. Estimated future replacement costs are driven by an estimate for inflation, which is formally established by the Stedwick Board for planning purposes. Frequently Board members personally inspect, often accompanied by professional engineers and contractors, assets which are due for replacement or remediation. 

The graph "Projected Cumulative Expenses and Reserves Fund Balance," shows expenses through 2020 will amount to about $1.6M. This replacement schedule is very dynamic.  Sometimes things must be replaced earlier than scheduled; an example is a retaining wall that failed to reach its projected useful life. Other times we can stretch out the life of assets like we are doing in 2015 through 2019.  A 5-year Plan will be found on page 3 of the foregoing inventory of SHC assets. 

At the new assessment ceiling of $620 per homeowner, the Board can budget about $190,000/yr contribution to reserves.  Under this scenario, we have  achieved a more healthy reserves fund balance of about $1.4M in May, 2015.  Our current projections indicate that we will maintain this level out to about 2020.

 

Among assets to be repaired or replaced within the next ten years, or assets which are beyond their useful life and have not been replaced due to lack of funds, are:

 •  Streets
 •  Paths
 •  Lights
 •  Retaining Walls
 •  Trees
 •  Tot Lots
 •  Concrete

 

Streets

Stedwick owns over eight miles of paved roads, or about 40 acres of asphalt (pavement/streets/paths)! While all our streets were scheduled to be replaced over the next ten years, we are fortunate that our streets have withstood wear exceedingly well. We have been using crack fill ($15K per year), and some patches, to extend their useful life.

Over the next 10 years, homeowners should expect to see a lot of crackfill and patches which is probably acceptable to the vast majority. But, this cannot continue indefinitely! Eventually the pot holes and broken pavement will begin to appear as shown in these photographs taken within Stedwick. 

The current long-range Maintenance Plan for paving from the years 2025 through 2032.  Most of our streets will need to last for 35 or more years!

The cost of repaving our streets today is about $1.2M. In 2030, with inflation at a modest 2.0%, the cost will be about $1.65M, or about $1,300 per homeowner. 

 

Back to Top

Paths 

These photos show instances where deteriorated bike paths need to be replaced or repaired. 

Bike Path in Clusters I Visible from Stedwick Road Sunken Bike Path in the Heights
Another Deteriorating Bike Path

 

Back to Top

Lights, Street

Street lighting upgrades in the Clusters, Frenchton Place, The Ridges and The Heights have been postponed again and again.  We have upgraded lighting in just one section of Clusters I with more energy efficient lamps with improved light output.  No lighting upgrades are currently scheduled before 2015. Without an increase in the assessment ceiling, upgrades will not occur until well beyond 2020.  This detracts from the ambiance of our community, quality of life and threatens property values, but we are spending money for maintenance of street lighting systems that have reached their useful life span.  Repairs of street lights averaged in excess of $10,000 per year over the past six years!   
New lighting in Clusters I Less effecient lighting beyond useful life span, note the rusted pole. 
Back to Top

Retaining Walls

The photo on the left shows one of three large retaining walls in Stedwick (There are other smaller walls).  This wall is known as a crib wall because the horizontal and vertical ties form a crib.  Behind these ties is filter cloth to keep the ground behind the wall and let water flow through..  These walls need constant maintenance to keep the ground from seeping through the filter cloth.  You can see evidence where ground is "leaking" through in this photo.  Overmore, what we are learning about these crib walls is that their useful life is somewhat less than originally estimated. 

One very large wall, shown in the right photo, was erected in 2009 to replace a failing crib wall.  The cost of the replacement wall amounted to in excess of $200,000.  Structural engineers deemed that the old crib wall was a potential hazard and would no longer support the homes built behind and above it.  The newly erected wall contains modern design features including a process called "ground nailing" to stabilize the soil behind the new wall.

 

Back to Top

Trees

Our trees in Stedwick are among our most important assets. They are a capital item of significant value and thus are included as a line item in our reserves budget. They clean the air and refresh us as we walk the miles of bike paths, many with tree canopy. It is so pleasant to walk these paths even in the heat of the day. The trees give us the feeling of living outside the concrete world that is all around us.

We believe that the trees are a big selling point in Stedwick. One can find thousands of single family houses and townhouses but generally not with the forested look of Stedwick. This is especially true for the townhouses. Driving through the townhouse communities of Stedwick a person sees the trees first and then the homes. We would not want to see the reverse situation. The trees also encourage wildlife to come and stay and provide habitat. If we take care to properly dispose of trash the rodents and raccoons will stay away from our homes and live within their natural habitat.

In 2008, Stedwick spent $148,111 from tree reserves. Of this amount, merely $585 was spent for new trees. We had severe storms which caused significant damage so there were extraordinary costs for cleanup.

In 2009 we spent $26,015 from tree reserves. Again, merely $846 was for the planting of new trees. Over the years 2010 through 2013,Stedwick spent an average of about $30,000 per year for trees, about 5% for new trees. 

Our trees are among our most important assets and we are neglecting them. Without investments in new trees, eventually Stedwick will be denuded. Newly planted trees take time to mature. But first, they need to be planted and this is not occurring. We are replacing only a very small fraction of trees that are lost due to storm damage, age and lack of pruning.

Area on Capehart Drive Denuded of Trees Area of Racine Court  Denuded of Trees

Many homeowners are cutting down their trees and not replacing them. Thus, it is even more essential to have new trees planted on community property. Then there is the issue with our beloved deer. The pockets of small forested areas we have throughout Stedwick, such as the Burlingame Way creek bed, are not reforesting themselves. According to the Village arborist the deer are inhibiting reforestation. 

The Maintenance Committee constantly adds new trees to our "take down" watch list. The Committee also maintains a "wish list" for planting of new trees. The "wish list" is shown below.  Your neighbood has a good chance of being included on the list!  It can happen only if homeowners approve an increase in the assessment ceiling.  Tree Replacement Areas pertain to dead or storm-damaged trees.  Replanting Areas are landscape changes being considered  (like five former white pines being relandscaped to three spruces and seven laurel bushes).

Back to Top

Tot Lots

Stedwick owns three tot lots whose value is depreciating year after year. The playground equipment is old and beyond its useful life. It is unappealing to children and their parents.  It is also costly and difficult to repair because parts are no longer manufactured.

We anticipate replacement of some tot lot equipment in 2015 through 2017.





Back to Top

Concrete

Throughout Stedwick concrete steps, sidewalks and curbs are abundant and must be maintained and, when necessary, replaced.  These photo show instances where repairs have been postponed due to our poor financial situation.  What you see are precast concrete curbs with attached drain pans.  Proper repairs require replacement of the curbs and pans in sections.  

Stedwick Homes Corporation
10120 Apple Ridge Road
Montgomery Village, MD 20886-1000
Phone: 301-948-0110 ext 2329

Revised: September 24, 2016.