• Meadows Messenger

    Published by the Fairlington Meadows Council of Co-Owners in Historic Fairlington


    From time to time, one hears commentary about our condo dues—the amounts imposed, how and when the dues are spent, why they are spent, etc. The following is a brief synopsis of current or upcoming expenditures in the Meadows which will be paid using our condo dollars and/or accumulated reserves. The next time you write your condo dues check (or see the debit from a bank account), you’ll know more about how that money is put to use on your and the community’s behalf.

    On a daily basis, our onsite personnel Steve Coombe and Jack Clark are making the rounds of the Meadows’ 22 acres of buildings and grounds and performing such tasks as picking up debris, replacing burned out bulbs in our post lights, repairing light fixtures and court signage, etc. They also regularly repair/maintain Meadows’ tools and equipment housed in their shop and fenced enclosure and have routine maintenance performed on the work truck.

    When units are placed on the market for sale, Steve performs a resale inspection of the unit and prepares a report which becomes part of the resale package for the new owners.

    If you read this issue’s article from the Buildings and Grounds Committee (B & G), you’ll know that there are a variety of projects planned for this spring from lawn spraying to pruning to plantings.

    You may see Don Hook’s company removing dead tree limbs and pruning certain designated trees. In February, in order to prevent damage to cars, his company was hired to remove dead limbs from an elm tree overhanging the parking lot in Court 13.

    Our landscape company, STM, has already begun spring tasks such as cleaning out and edging the flower beds, cutting back liriope, etc.

    Additionally, our arborist, Jerry Dieruf, will be making his rounds and offering recommendations on pest control, pruning, etc. Dieruf will also be involved as the Meadows moves forward with more parking lot reconstruction to insure that we take the proper precautions to protect mature trees, shrubs, and green space.

    Last year, our onsite personnel conducted a survey of masonry repair work needed on our front porches. It was found that almost every porch needed some repairs. Kelly Cummins of Brik Wurks was selected for this work by the Board and has been doing a good job of re-pointing the mortar and securing loose bricks on stoops throughout the Meadows.

    He has also begun recoating the concrete retaining walls at rear areaways of the B-Building steps to common basements. The concrete walls will receive a new “breathable” coating and additional weep holes to relieve hydrostatic pressure (to allow moisture to come through, instead of building up behind the wall, and dissipate through the areaway drains). He’s also involved in a new project suggested by the B & G Committee in Court 7 (see B & G article).

    This year’s painting cycle involves Courts 4, 5, and 6 and will probably begin in May. Patio fence staining in these courts will hopefully begin in March in advance of building painting and the growing season. The proposed staining and painting schedules are subject to weather, of course. Our onsite personnel have been making necessary repairs to the fences in anticipation of the upcoming staining.

    Although the painting contractor will provide coverings, our maintenance office will once again offer free drop cloths to residents with special patio needs. Contact Steve or Jack at 703-820-6799 if you would like to pick up a drop cloth for use during this time.

    If you have ivy or other plants growing on your patio fences, please remove them entirely prior to fence staining.

    As many of you know, we have recently reconstructed 11 of 15 parking lots and have Courts 3, 8, 12, and 14 remaining. The Board has been provided with a copy of the construction drawings and specifications by Seal Engineering and has decided to reconstruct two lots this year, hopefully beginning this work in May or June.

    As organized with the ownership of the other reconstructed lots, Courts 3 and 12 owners will receive an information packet by mail regarding this work as well as notice of a special meeting to hear and consider residents’ comments and concerns.

    Blake Giddens of Seal Engineering is currently soliciting preliminary bid information from several area contractors, including Applicators, Inc. (our contractor for the first 11 lots), for the proposed work. The Board will then review the bids and select a contractor.

    Our onsite personnel make regular trips to the county dump to remove debris (trash, tree branches, broken shutters, etc.) they pick up throughout the grounds. For a small fee, they also make special trips to the dump for residents with large items for removal. If you have items that cannot be picked up by our trash contractor on the first Saturday of each month, contact Steve at 703-820-6799 to make special arrangements.

    Jack has already made one circuit around the 15 courts and started a second round of repairs to our slate roofs. The Board has directed funding for purchase of the appropriate tools and either new or salvaged slate for Jack’s use in these essential repairs.

    If you read the enclosed article on this issue, you’ll find that our sewer lines are small, lengthy, and costly to repair/maintain. The next scheduled maintenance is due in May.

    Due to age or high winds, shutters will often fall off our brick buildings. Steve and Jack keep a handy supply on hand and replace them as necessary. Windy springs are often the primary time for this work although a number of shutters were replaced in February.

    At the request of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, Steve and Jack have purchased and installed three new black perforated metal trash cans to replace existing metal cans at the tennis court, playground, and basketball court. The cans are larger and more attractive and have been used successfully by other communities in Arlington (and in the neighboring Glen, for example) in the past few years.

    Steve and Jack empty the containers daily to avoid odor build-up and overfilling. Residents are asked to please refrain from placing household garbage in these containers.


    Dear Editor,

    In response to the “Sewer Status” update in the December 2001-February 2002 newsletter, I write to advise my neighbors in the Meadows to attend carefully to the planned review of sewer lines. I suggest that they participate as observers in the “TV-ing” of the lines, ask for the criteria by which a line is determined to have a problem; and understand the level of risk that may be undertaken to avoid the cost associated with replacement or refurbishing of defective pipe.

    My home is still recovering from a sewer backup that occurred in late October, 2001, the second in three years. The backup occurred two weeks after the sewer line was snaked by the contracted plumbing company.

    As part of clean-up, I sat with the maintenance team as they “TV-ed” the line. Roots gnarled and caked against the sewer walls were in high evidence. I stayed while the plumber worked for close to an hour re-snaking the line. It is my understanding that pictures shown to the Board of Directors were taken after the additional work. Apparently, the film showed no major breaks in the line. As a result, the condition of the sewer was considered to be acceptable, not in need of repair.

    My personal situation is only relevant as an example. Please take seriously the review of the sewer lines. A pipe does not have to be severely broken to cause havoc. Cracks that allow roots to permeate the pipe and snag refuse cause a comparable mess. The property damage and serious health hazard posed by a backup warrants concerned involvement in decisions made about the state of the sewer lines, as well as the need to replace or refurbish them.

    Based on my experience, the condominium association only pays the bills after a backup. It is the condominium owner who deals with the health hazard and ends up seeking a contractor, getting the estimates, scheduling the work, etc. The time an owner puts into preventing this type of messy disaster well outweighs the time an owner spends trying to recover.


    Mary Ellen Finigan

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Ms. Finigan’s letter is appreciated. See following article.


    The primary function of the “Messenger” is to keep our resident owners, renters, and non-resident owners aware of pertinent issues and activities within Fairlington Meadows and the surrounding community. The “Letter to the Editor” from Ms. Finigan published in this issue reminded this editor that there is a tremendous amount of Meadows’ activity that probably warrants additional coverage. In past issues, sewer lines were only briefly discussed. This article and this issue’s “Your Condo Dues At Work” attempts to give our readers a little more knowledge about some of the many items tackled on monthly, bi-annual, or annual basis as directed by your Meadows Board.

    There are several elements of the Meadows that are considered long term and “large ticket” items for expenditure. These would include parking lot reconstructions, slate roof replacements, and sewer line repair/replacements. Over the years, the Board has hired various consultants to provide information as to the remaining life of these three major components and decisions were then made as to how to tackle each. Reserve accounts were set up and funded to accommodate future work. As you know, we have recently reconstructed 11 of 15 parking lots and plan to redo two more this year. Slate roofs were deemed to be in good shape for now but certain ones (like the Bangor slate roofs) were given priority as to future replacement.

    Historically, the major cause of sewer line problems has been tree roots. Rather than spend large sums of money in replacing sewer lines, around 1980, the Board directed use of a root-burning chemical in an attempt to control the problem. It was determined after a number of years that it was more effective to snake the small 4″-6″ diameter lines and physically cut any roots once a year than spend money on chemicals that did not appear to provide the promised 10-year residual effect throughout the thousands of feet of piping.

    Our on-site Maintenance Supervisor, Steve Coombe, reports that all suspect sewer lines are now automatically checked (and at least 13 suspect lines are snaked) twice a year by our plumbing contractor, Eddie’s Plumbing. Jim Cowell, our CMC Property Manager says that last year, $8052 of our condo dollars were spent on this work.

    In January, an additional $4200 was paid to Dwyer Plumbing to remove and replace an approximate 20 foot section of fractured sewer line and provide a new cleanout access port near 3375 S. Stafford Street in Court #3. Although the pipe was deemed still usable, there was a depression in one area that could have caused items to collect and cause a blockage. The Board decided to replace the fractured section as a preventative measure. The remainder of the approximately 100 foot line appears to be in good shape. Some of this recent expense was handled through our annual budget, and some was drawn from our reserve account. The next scheduled maintenance of the sewer lines is slated for May.

    Most of the sewer lines run underneath our parking lots. Before the lots are reconstructed, the sewer lines are “TV’d” prior to start of work. The lines are videotaped using a television camera. The videotapes are then reviewed for any problems. This measure has been taken with the previous lots and will be taken before the remaining four (3, 8 12, 14) are reconstructed.

    To help in keeping our sewer lines free of clogging items other than tree roots, residents are asked to please not flush “disposable” baby wipes and diapers in your toilet! These items (along with “disposable” feminine products) have been found clogging our sewer lines and can cause a sewer back-up into unit(s). Please ask your nannies and housekeepers to be very careful about what they flush in the toilet also as cleaning rags, wads of paper towels, and other such items have been found as well. Remember that obstructions can and have caused backups to more than one unit at a given time.

    Jim Cowell reports that when someone has a sewer backup, they should immediately call and notify CMC (703-631-7200). If the basement has retained water, Service Master will be called by CMC to remove the water, place fans to dry the spaces, spray disinfectant, and clean or remove any carpet, if necessary. If the carpet is destroyed, then the owner needs to shop for a replacement carpet which will be paid for by the condominium’s insurance.



    As most of you know, our monthly condo dues or “assessments” are due and payable on the first day of the month. Most owners still send their assessment coupon and check, in advance of the due date, by mail. An increasing number of owners have opted for direct debit from their bank account to insure timely payment.

    Since it has been a while since our assessment collection policies were published in the “Messenger”, here’s a recap: If the payment is not received by CMC by the fifth day of the month (or the first working day thereafter if such day is Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday), the account is deemed late and automatically charged a $3 late fee. A late notice is then sent to the owner requesting payment. The cost of processing the late notice is $10.

    If payment in full, including the $13 in late and adminstrative processing charges, is not received by the 30th of the month, a “Notice of Intent to Accelerate Installments and File a Memorandum of Lien” shall be mailed by certified mail/return receipt to the unit owner and their mortgagee (if known). If full payment is not received within 30 days after this lien notice issue, legal counsel shall place a lien on the unit. The owner and mortgagee will again be notified of this action. Costs of mailings, court filing fees, attorney fees, interest on the unpaid amount, etc. will be added to the unpaid assessment balance. Within 10 days of lien filing, additional legal action may be taken by the association’s counsel.

    In any accounting year, if two or more checks from an owner are returned for insufficient funds, the Board may require all future payments to be made by certified check or money order for up to 12 months.

    At the February Board Meeting, CMC Property Manager Jim Cowell reported that the above measures and the offering of direct debit services have resulted in a continual decline in assessment delinquencies over the past few years.


    Messenger Volunteer “Staff”:

    Carrie Quinn, Editor
    Rose Stack, Distribution Manager
    Pamela Hudson, Webmaster

    Article Contributors:

    Chuck Edwards
    Janet Filer
    Ed Hilz
    Rose Stack

    Send Letters, Articles, or Recipes for Consideration to the Editor:

    3395 S. Stafford St. B-1
    Items submitted are printed at the Editor’s discretion.
    Letters must be signed.

    Board of Directors:

    President: John Stack
    1st Vice President: Ronald Quinn
    2nd Vice President: Tim Tereska
    Treasurer: Dave Laufer
    Secretary: Victoria Hughes

    Send Board of Directors Mail to:

    Fairlington Meadows Board of Directors
    c/o Community Management Corp.
    (see below)

    Request for Board Meeting Minutes:

    Contact Jim Cowell (see below) or see Community Bulletin Board at Pool House

    Property Manager:

    Jim Cowell, Division Director
    Community Management Corp.
    12701 Fair Lakes Circle, #400
    P.O. Box 10821
    Chantilly, VA 20153
    631-7200 Phone or 631-9786 Fax
    or email Jim at JCowell@cmc-management.com

    Towing Requests:

    Call A-1 Towing of Northern Virginia


    The monthly Meadows Board meetings, which begin at 7:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month, are open to all Meadows residents (owners and renters). To request sign language interpreting services in order to attend the meetings, contact Jim Cowell (a minimum of seven week days in advance of the next meeting) at 703-631-7200 on weekdays (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays). Interpretation will be provided if the Board receives timely notice (in order to line up interpreter services) and the requesting resident attends the meeting.

    For those that cannot or do not wish to attend, approved Board minutes are posted at the Pool Bulletin Board, and most of the agenda items are discussed in Messenger articles. Note: Minutes are typed after a Board meeting and then approved at the next month’s meeting. If no corrections are required, the minutes are then posted.


    By Kym Hill

    Set aside Saturday, July 13, 2002 on your calendar for the Meadows Patio and Garden Tour. The first Patio Tour, held in the summer of 1999, was an unprecedented success with over 120 visitors touring more than 25 patios and common-area gardens throughout the Meadows. This year’s tour will be equally as notable.

    Neighborhood garden tours can be a great inspiration for “promising” landscapers or for residents who are merely looking for new and simple ways to transform a non-descript patio area.

    Are you looking for innovative ways to incorporate raised beds into your patio or to find a unique way to camouflage the grill when not in use? Do you have too much shade or too much sun and are unsure what to plant? Is it a priority to make your patio “child-friendly” or safe for your pets? If so, the tour will likely provide you with tons of new ideas and creative solutions.

    The Meadows Buildings and Grounds Committee would like to include in the tour as many interesting and unique patios as possible. If you would like yours to be included, please get in touch with Chuck Edwards, Buildings and Grounds Committee Co-Chair, at (703) 379-7256.

    In the weeks ahead, look for more details on the specifics of the 2002 Patio and Garden Tour.


    By Chuck Edwards and David Manning, Committee Co-Chairs

    Spring Planting: The Building and Grounds Committee is in the process of reviewing requests from residents for a spring planting. Committee members met in February with our landscaper for suggestions concerning areas for new plant material. We hope to have this planting project completed in late April or early May.

    The Committee asks residents to water all shrubbery and trees, new and existing, because of the extremely dry weather during the past fall and winter. Residents are asked to place a hose at the base of shrubs and trees and allow a steady trickle from a hose to soak the root areas. This should be done for twenty to thirty minutes, two or three times a week. Even in winter, plants can be severely damaged by drought. Watering will help the new plants to establish themselves and help older trees and shrubs survive.

    In addition to this general planting, the committee decided to put in red, white and pink begonias again this season at the circle in front of the community center, at the entrance at 33rd Street, and in the flower bed at the corner of 34th and Utah Streets.

    NOTE: If any resident would like us to consider trimming existing shrubbery or planting new shrubbery or trees, please contact the committee by writing Chuck Edwards at 3460 A-1 South Stafford.

    Lawns: The Board approved the Committee’s recommendation for lawn spraying to control the growth of weeds. We feel that this is important to maintain the appearance of the community, especially with the possibility of a prolonged drought. Dry periods give unsightly weeds a chance to grow and destroy even established grass. Our management company, CMC, will notify residents when the spraying will occur this spring.

    Brick Border: The Board also approved the recommendation that a brick border be installed in Court 7 (4205 – 4223 South 35th Street), where the flowerbed and sidewalk meet, to retain earth and mulch. This project will improve the appearance of the area and enhance the overall look of the community. Brik Wurks will supply the materials and labor for this new installation.

    Community Pride: The Meadows covers about 22 acres, and all of us need to help with keeping our homes as attractive as possible. Therefore, if you see a bit of debris on the grounds, please consider picking it up and disposing of it. All of us working together will help keep the community looking great.

    New Members: The Committee welcomes any resident with an interest in our buildings and grounds to join us – even if it’s only for a meeting now and then. See the Community Calendar below for upcoming meeting dates and locations.


    MAR. 19: Meadows Board Meeting, Fairlington Community Ctr. (FCC), 7:30 p.m.

    April 3: Buildings and Grounds Committee Meeting at Gordon Wray’s, 3462 A-1 South Stafford, 7 p.m.

    APR. 15: Federal tax returns are due to the IRS.

    APR. 16: Meadows Board Meeting, FCC, 7:30 p.m.

    APR. 27: Meadows Yard Sale, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Fairlington Comm. Center, (rain date: April 28).

    MAY 1: Virginia tax returns are due.

    May 1: Buildings and Grounds Committee Meeting at Judi Garth’s, 3445 South Utah, 7 p.m.

    MAY 21: Meadows Board Meeting, FCC, 7:30 p.m.

    MAY 27: Holiday, NO TRASH PICK-UP

    June 5: Buildings and Grounds Committee Meeting at Janet Filer’s, 3444 South Stafford, 7 p.m.

    JUNE 18: Meadows Board Meeting, FCC, 7:30 p.m.

    JUL 4: Holiday, NO TRASH PICK-UP

    JUL. 13: Meadows Patio & Garden Tour



    By Janet Filer

    The Buildings and Grounds Committee is sponsoring their bi-annual yard sale on Saturday, April 27 (rain date Sunday, April 28), from 9:00am until 2:00pm. It will be held at the Fairlington Community Center.

    You can pre-register with Diane Thurber, at 703-998-8723 if you wish, otherwise just come on down that morning early and set up your table (customers always come very early).

    The B&G Committee asks for a donation of 10 percent of your total sales to benefit their Flower Fund in the Meadows. Also, contributions will be gratefully accepted that day for the White Elephant table (total proceeds go to fund).

    We welcome all sellers, you need not live in The Meadows to participate. Remember that individual yard sales are not allowed within the Meadows so this is your opportunity to make a little cash for yourself AND contribute to the beautification of the community. So, start cleaning out now and get your treasures ready to sell on April 27!!!!



    ABANDONED AUTOS: You can leave a message about a suspected abandoned car and a member of the County’s Parking Unit will mark it and tow it, if necessary. When you call, provide as much detail as possible (license number, make, model, street location, etc.). The number is 703-228-4144.

    HOLIDAYS: Our management company, CMC, is closed on New Year’s, President’s and Memorial Days, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

    Our trash company, Capitol Trash Services, does not pick up trash or recycling on New Year’s and President’s Days, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.

    STREET LIGHTS: If you would like to report a malfunctioning street light, call Arlington County’s recorded telephone line at 703-228-6511. Be sure to have the address where the light is located as well as the pole number when you call.

    TOWING IN MEADOWS: FYI-If you, a guest, or a workman parks in someone’s assigned parking space, you or they may be subject to a $95 towing charge (and potential storage charges), not to mention considerable inconvenience. A-1 Towing also requires payment in cash.

    Also, if you park your car in a visitor’s space for more than 72 hours, you will also be subject to towing!!

    F O O D B Y T E S

    Contributed by
    Janet Filer

    Poppy seeds can be more than a decorative topping. Their special nutty flavor is a pleasant surprise when stirred into muffins or dressings.

    Poppy Seed Muffins

    1-1/2 c. biscuit mix
    1/2 c. sugar
    1 T. poppy seeds
    3/4 c. raisins, chopped
    1 egg, beaten
    3/4 c. sour cream
    1 t. vanilla

    Combine biscuit mix, sugar and poppy seeds; make a well in center and add remaining ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Spoon into greased muffin pan, filling one-half full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until done.

    Poppy Seed Dressing

    3/4 c. sugar
    1 c. vegetable oil
    1/3 c. cider vinegar
    1 T. onion juice
    1 t. salt
    1 t. dry mustard
    1-1/2 T. poppy seeds

    Combine all except poppy seeds in electric blender; process on high until well blended. Stir in poppy seeds. Chill thoroughly; stir well–drizzle over your favorite fruit salad.


    At the December Board Meeting, President John Stack confirmed the chairmanships of the various Meadows committees for a period of one year as follows:

    Buildings and Grounds Committee: Chuck Edwards and David Manning

    Court Chairpersons Committee: David Andrews and Diane Thurber

    Finance Committee: Clay Lovett

    “Messenger” Committee: Carrie Quinn

    Pool Committee: David Langbart and John Thurber

    Recreation Committee: Ed Girovasi

    At the February meeting, there was some discussion by the Board of re-forming an old committee, the Architectural Committee. This Committee would work with the others to formulate new or revise current standards for our buildings. Such standards might involve windows, screen/storm doors, lighting, etc. Additional discussion of this proposed committee will continue in future meetings.


    At the December Board meeting, the Board approved the accounting firm of Ahlberg & Company to prepare the tax returns and perform the audit for 2001. Ahlberg provided these services for the previous year.


    By Ed Girovasi, Recreation Chair

    Another tennis season will soon arrive! Following are the rules for reserved and unreserved play:

    WEEKENDS: Reserved play will begin on Saturday, May 4th and will continue every weekend thru September 29, 2002. A sign-up sheet will be posted at the court bulletin board by 7:30 a.m. each day.

    Residents 16 years or older may reserve a court for one hour by printing their full name and unit number on the sign-up sheet. There is a limit of one hour per unit per day. If the person who signed up for the court doesn’t commence play within 10 minutes after the hour, she/he will forfeit the court to those present.

    WEEKDAYS: Court time is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Two players must be present to establish their place in line when waiting for a court. One player alone cannot hold a place in line.

    Before starting play, set the bulletin board clock to indicate your starting time and place your ID card (pool pass) in the corresponding holder. If you fail to indicate your starting time OR fail to display your ID card in the holder, you must vacate the court at the request of waiting players.

    After one hour (singles), you must vacate if others are waiting to play. Doubles play may continue for two consecutive hours, provided that two residents have their ID cards on display.

    REMINDER: Our tennis courts are available for ONE activity only—-TENNIS! Residents are reminded that all other activity is prohibited. Improper use may result in forfeiture of recreation privileges.

    Contact: Ed Girovasi at 703-931-3735 or John Stack at 703-379-7245.


    A small leak from a bathtub or shower can cause extensive amounts of damage to your unit or your neighbor’s, if you live in a B-building unit. This is especially true if allowed to leak for a long period.The water gets inside the walls or into the floor and causes the wood wall studs, underlayment or joists to rot. Sometimes, the leakage is not apparent until a wall starts to bow or the floor gets spongy. At that point, repairs can be expensive, requiring removal of the floor and/or walls and the affected finishes. Most insurers will not cover this type of replacement.

    To avoid this problem, routine inspection and some preventative maintenance is required. Homeowners (and renters, too) should look for the following warning signs:

    • Look for cracks or holes in the caulking at the top of the bathtub or shower base.
    • Look for mildew and mold on the walls, especially at the intersections of the vertical and horizontal surfaces and at caulked joints. Mold and mildew may be a sign of water getting behind the surface.
    • If the bathroom is above an unfinished space, look at the floor structure from below for any water stains. If there are old stains and you know there are no leaks, look for changes in the stains. The same applies if the bath is above finished space (although this may or may not be in your unit).

    If any of these problems exist, re-caulking of the joints may be required for a continuous, watertight seal along the top edge of the tub or shower base. To repair a caulked joint:

    • Go to Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc. and purchase a tube of white tub-and-tile caulk. (You can buy the squeezable kind instead of the one requiring a caulk gun).
    • Scrape out the old caulk using a narrow bladed screwdriver. Be careful not to scratch your tub or tile.
    • Use a sponge dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean the surface and remove residue, mildew, etc.. Let dry completely.
    • Cut the tip off the nozzle of the caulk tube. Apply caulk along joint and smooth the line with a wet finger or a caulk finisher hand tool.
    • Let dry completely before next use.