Welcome to the Foster's Creek Homeowners Association website. Here you can find information on current issues in our community, Board meeting information, copies of our governing documents, the names of our HOA Board of Directors, contact information and more. We appreciate you taking the time to visit and welcome your feedback.
August 2015 Updates:
Home Maintenance - A Few Reminders
This summer's weather has been a rollercoaster ride of heat, humidity and thunderstorms with plenty of sunny days mixed in. No doubt the lengthy span of rain we experienced toward the end of July and into early August has had a profound effect (on our homes AND our moods) and most of us are more than happy to put those days behind us and get back into our regular pattern of afternoon downpours.
The excessive moisture has certainly taken its toll on many of the community's homes and lots even in just a short period of time. While pressure washing mold and mildew from your home, aluminum lanais and mailbox may seem like a futile effort when we have several weeks of rain still ahead, it's important to remember that our deeds state that homes are always to be kept in clean and attractive condition. Here are a few key issues:
Paint - If you've recently received a notice informing you that your home needs to be painted (for more information on that topic please see the following section) please note that Sentry Management and the Board recognizes that this time of year may not be optimal for that. Waiting until the cooler and drier months arrive, usually around October, is typically better for outdoor painting projects and in most cases the Board will grant a little extra time to get this violation cured. Communicating with Sentry Management is key so if you have received a violation notice for painting, please contact our property manager to discuss the time-frame to get the work completed. Simply ignoring the notices because you intend to paint your home a few months down the road is not recommended as this could be taken to mean you are not addressing the issue. This could result in a referral to our Fining Committee or the Association hiring a contractor to perform the work on your home sooner at your expense.
Lawn Maintenance - Let's face it, no one wants to push a mower through a saturated lawn and in many cases it could leave deep ruts/tracks making your grass look worse. However, once the weather has dried out for even a day or two it is expected that all homeowners will address the issue of overgrown lawns in a relatively short amount of time. Lawn maintenance during the summer months should be done at least once a week to keep lots looking tidy. Again, we understand the recent stretch of rain has made this nearly impossible but now that lawns are starting to dry out it is a good time to get this taken care of.
Tree Trimming - Keeping your trees trimmed regularly serves a number of purposes and are also part of maintaining your home/lot. Overgrown trees can block your house number from view (not only a safety hazard for emergency vehicles but a Manatee County Code Enforcement violation), block street signs and just generally give your home a less-than-neat appearance. It is advised that you prune shade trees once every three years (source: www.midfloridatreeservice.com) but longer, overgrown branches may need to be trimmed more often.
Please remember that for larger tree branches and limbs that are too large for trash cans or trash bags Manatee County Utilities Department requires yard waste be put in bundles no longer than four (4) feet in length. Bundles cannot contain branches larger than six (6) inches in diameter and any branch larger should be cut in half length-wise, tied and bundled with heavy-duty string. https://www.mymanatee.org/home/government/departments/utilities/faqs/yard-waste.html
If your yard waste is not picked up by the County on its designated day, you can call MCUD Customer Service at 941-792-8811, Option 1. If you do not take action in making sure your yard waste is picked up by at least the following designated day (one week following) you will be considered in violation of our deeds and will receive a notice to remove it immediately at your own expense. Large piles of loose tree branches, limbs and palm fronds can be considered a nuisance and safety hazard if they extend into our residential streets and absolutely will NOT be tolerated. Please follow the County's guidelines to ensure they are picked up on the assigned day.
Pressure Washing - pressure washing your home on a regular basis can keep it free of mold and mildew and from becoming an eyesore to those neighbors around you. While many homes can get away with being pressure washed once per year, many of those that sit on our community's lakes may require more frequent attention. Vinyl siding that doesn't get much exposure to sunlight will also show mold and mildew more quickly and will require pressure washing more often.
In addition to homes, mold/mildew will grow on a number of other surfaces which homeowner are required to keep maintained as well. The original plastic mailboxes installed when the development was new have essentially outlived their usefulness and we recommend replacing with a white metal mailbox which are more mold resistant and easier to clean.
Pool, porch and lanai screens are susceptible to mold growth and should be cleaned regularly as well. Just because your patio lanai isn't visible from the public street in front of your house doesn't mean it can't be seen from an adjacent street as well as those neighbors in homes around yours Cages allowed to turn green and black with mildew are extremely unattractive and care should be taken to ensure they are maintained with the rest of your home and lot.
Last but not least, sidewalks and driveways are surfaces where mold and mildew can grow and both should be pressure washed as needed to prevent them from becoming dangerously slippery. Special concrete cleaners can be purchased to add to pressure washing machines but many times just water and persistence is enough to make a big difference.
If you don't own a pressure washer consider renting one or even borrowing one from your neighbor. There are also local companies that provide pressure washing services and will happily provide homeowners with bids to complete the work.
Our neighborhood has come a long way in recent years and we're happy to see some recovery from the housing market crash that impacted our area greatly a number of years ago. Home values and prices in Foster's Creek are trending upward and that is a sigh of relief to almost everyone. Believe it or not, keeping your home maintained and our community in attractive condition goes a long way in keeping these values high. First impressions are very important and we want to keep our neighborhood looking its best and a place we can all be proud to call home.
How Often Should I Paint My Home?
This is a question we've received on a few occasions recently as more homeowners receive notices that their homes are in need of new paint. We understand the answer may not always be clear-cut so we contacted a representative of Sherwin-Williams who informed us that five to seven years is about the maximum length of time a stucco home's exterior paint can be expected to last in Florida with our extreme climate conditions. This recommendation appears to be in line with most local painters' opinions as well. Two homes recently painted on 50th Avenue East were given a paint guarantee of seven years by the contractor.
We did our own Google search on the subject and found a number of sites with valuable information on how long you can expect paint on a stucco home to last, paint types to choose from and whether or not your home needs primer applied before painting. Here are a few of those helpful links: http://southernpainting.com/ask-the-painter/ask-the-painter-how-should-i-repaint-my-stucco-exterior; http://paintorlandobeautiful.com/2015/02/20/how-often-should-you-repaint-a-stucco-house-in-florida/; http://www.sherwin-williams.com/press/consumer/story/repainting-stucco/; http://www.trimlinepaintinginc.com/5-ways-to-know-that-your-house-needs-painting-2/.
There are some websites out there that will tell you the paint on a stucco home can last ten to twelve years and while this may be true with the latest high-quality exterior paints available now, this is most likely not the case for homes in our region and with our local climate. Also keep in mind that many homes in the community were built fifteen or more years ago and have NEVER been repainted. Additionally, most (if not all) homes were built and painted quickly to get them sold and inhabited in a short period of time so the chance that multiple coats of a high-quality paint was used is very small.
Homes on the water can realistically expect to need repainting more frequently than those that are not. Many of our residents with homes on our community lakes can attest to the fact that pressure washing and painting is needed more often than their neighbor's house across the street. In fact, one home on 49th Place East has already been repainted twice in the past five years.
Darker-colored homes will often show the need for repainting more frequently than those that are lighter. Additionally, darker trim on a home will often streak or fade before the lighter base does. And if you've tried pressure washing your home and still see dark or gray spots through the paint, this is most likely the paint being worn enough that the concrete is showing through. At this point it's time to paint your home.
The bottom line is that maintaining your home is required by our governing documents (First Amendment to the Declaration of Maintenance and Land Use Provisions of Foster's Creek, Section 4.3 (b)) and this may include painting. Sentry Management and the Board understands that this is a significant expense for most homeowners and we encourage anyone who has received a letter informing them their home is in need of paint to contact our property manager and discuss their options regarding length of time to cure the violation, whether or not the home would benefit from just a through pressure washing or if the home's trim can be painted initially to improve its appearance.
Please remember that before you paint your home you must select colors from our approved list and you must submit an Architectural Review Form for approval.
We thank you for your attention to this matter.
Security Patrols and Street Parking
UPDATE: While the occurrences of street parking have declined in recent weeks we still have a number of vehicles reported being parked overnight within the community. Any vehicle with two or more street parking notices will now be referred to our Fining Committee for further action.
PLEASE ALSO NOTE: parking vehicles in your yard is not permitted as a way to get around a street parking violation. Vehicles are only to be parked in garages or on your own home's driveway pad. We have noticed an increase in vehicles parked in yards and many of these violations have been documented via photos and notices will be mailed to those residents.
The Association has contracted with an external security company to help enforce our restrictions against overnight street parking. The patrols began on June 19th and at the first visit 14 vehicles were found to be in violation, including one inoperable vehicle. A second security patrol was done in the very early morning hours of June 22nd and a total of 15 vehicles were found to be parked in our residential streets.
Per Section 4.4 (c) of our First Amendment to Declaration of Maintenance and Land Use Provisions of Foster's Creek, "No vehicles shall be parked overnight except on driveway pads or within garages".
Notices have been placed on those vehicles in violation of our deeds and those who continue to park overnight on the street will be subject to a referral to our Fining Committee and subsequently have fines levied against those residents responsible.
If you have received a notice for street parking please take immediate action to prevent this going forward. The Board will not hesitate to use any means available to ensure all residents are in compliance.
New Board Member
We are pleased to announce that Bob Meredith has joined our Foster's Creek Board of Directors. Bob expressed an interest in joining the Board a couple of months ago and was voted in unanimously at our June 9th meeting. He will hold the Director/Member at-large position and we know his input will be of tremendous value to all of our residents.
Bob is a long-time resident of Foster's Creek who takes a great deal of pride in his home and is looking forward to taking an active role in the community.
Welcome, Bob and thank you for being a part of our great team!
New and Prospective Foster's Creek Homeowners and Residents
In recent weeks we have received several email inquiries from individuals looking to purchase or rent homes in our community with questions varying from the amount of our annual dues to what our rules are. First of all we would like to extend a warm welcome to any new homeowners and those considering taking up residence in our community. We look forward to having you as neighbors and hope you'll let us know of any concerns or questions you may have.
We are always happy to answer any of your questions and assist you in any way possible so please feel free to email the Board at email@example.com or our community manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A number of questions about what our deeds permit and restrict can be answered by clicking the Documents section here on our website and referring to our First Amendment to our Declaration of Maintenance and Land Use or to our ARC Guidelines. These outline in the simplest form our community's rules and can help answer questions about making exterior modifications to your home (i.e. fences, exterior paint options, major landscaping, driveway modifications, etc.), what is permitted or prohibited with regard to swimming pools and other play equipment and vehicle parking.
Reviewing and understanding these documents and what our deeds are can help prospective homeowners make a decision about whether or not Foster's Creek is the right community for them and can help new homeowners understand what is required before making any changes to their home's outward appearance.
Once again, the Board welcomes new and prospective residents and look forward to serving you in the best manner possible.
Hurricanes and Severe Weather
June 1st officially marked the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season but our area has already seen severe weather for the past couple of months. A wetter-than-normal April and May has resulted in some minor street flooding in the area and strong storms have blown some tree branches and other debris into our streets. While this isn't necessarily unusual, the recent weather may have caught some residents by surprise.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind homeowners to have a plan when it comes to dealing with severe weather, particularly hurricanes and tropical storms. Be sure your homeowners insurance policy is up-to-date and know become familiar with hurricane evacuation routes and shelters in the rare event our area is required to leave ahead of a storm.
Creating a hurricane kit is a must should you be impacted by a storm. Some ideas for essentials to stock your kit can be found at http://www.hurricane.com/hurricane-supply-kit.php and some great information on how to prepare for a hurricane can also be found at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ready.php.
Have a plan for what will happen to your pets should evacuation become necessary. There are some shelters in the area who will accept pets and others that will not. Research ahead of time which permit these furry members of your family.
Just as importantly, be sure your home's exterior is prepared to handle severe weather. Keeping trees trimmed and free of dead branches can lessen the chance they will blow loose and damage your or a neighbor's property. Making sure fences and gates are in good repair and reinforced is also a good idea. Many of the community's wood fences that have been up for several years are in poor shape and should either be replaced or examined closely for loose boards and posts and repaired if needed.
Items like trampolines or other play equipment should be stored if possible during severe weather or at least secured to prevent potential damage to property. Awnings, canopies, patio umbrellas, etc. should also be taken down and stored when not in use. A strong thunderstorm can pop up in a matter of minutes and keeping these as well as other loose objects such as plastic chairs and tables, garbage cans and other items stored on the outside of your home can keep them from becoming dangerous projectiles.
Our community has been fortunate that we've seen very little in the way of severe storm damage but it never hurts to be prepared for the worst at all times.
Worried you missed our Spring 2015 newsletter? Fear not...you'll be pleased to know our latest edition has been uploaded here to our website in an effort to cut down on printing and mailing costs as well as save a few trees. We will now be moving to this paperless format to bring you all of the latest happenings in Foster's Creek but please let us know if you'd still like a copy mailed and we'll be happy to get one out to you.
Overflow Lot Parking
Closely related to the issue of street parking is that of how our overflow lot at the front of the community is to be utilized. We have noticed a number of trailers parked in the lot and it has come to our attention that some of those are untagged. Notices will be placed on these trailers from Sentry Management to remove them immediately or they will be towed. If the owners of the trailers do not comply, we will contact County Code Enforcement to have them removed as they are in violation by not reflecting any registration.
While there are a few trailers parked in the overflow lot that are used daily by residents we are now asking those to be removed as well. Per our First Amendment to the Declaration of Maintenance and Land Use, Section 4.4 (c) - No boats, boat trailers, campers or any other such vehicle, trailer, or vessel shall be permitted to stay on a public right-of-way or on a lot, street, or common area unless permanently enclosed in a garage and not visible from public view. Our overflow lot is considered a common area and the regular parking of unauthorized vehicles in this area will no longer be tolerated. This lot was never intended to be used as storage area for commercial or recreational trailers and these vehicles must be removed immediately in order to be in compliance with our rules and regulations.
The overflow lot will be the designated parking area for guests of residents so that street parking in the community can be avoided. No vehicles will be permitted to be parked in the overflow lot long-term (in excess of 24 hours).
We Want You...
...to join our Foster's Creek Homeowner's Association Facebook group!
Our Facebook page is a great place for residents to share ideas and concerns and receive community updates more quickly from our Board of Directors. Simply click the link at the top of this page and you will be redirected to our group's page where you can request to join. Once an admin receives your request and verifies you are a resident of Foster's Creek (be sure to check your Messages folder once you've submitted your request in the event we need to get your address and owner or renter status) you will be approved to join our group.
At this time our Facebook page is a closed group and can only be viewed by members in order to help protect our residents' privacy.
If you haven't joined already we hope to see you soon!