Stonebridge Ranch News September 2020

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September 2020

Vol. 8, Issue 9

www.stonebridgeranch.com


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September 2020

Vol. 8, Issue 9

STONEBRIDGE RANCH NEWS The official publication of the Stonebridge Ranch Community Association (SRCA) This monthly magazine is published at no cost to the SRCA and is mailed free of charge to all Stonebridge Ranch residences.

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Cartoon Ranch

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Community Calendar

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Why We Love Stonebridge Ranch!

Residents share their favorite things about our community

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Keeping Our Amenities in Top Shape

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Flying the Flag

Resident volunteers serve to enhance our portfolio

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Dog Ownership Etiquette

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Curb Appeal Corner

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Save the Date October 2020 Events

Copyright Š 2020. All rights reserved. Published by Community Matters, Inc.

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Curb Appeal Notices

What to expect when you receive an SRCA postcard or letter

Tips if you wish to install a flagpole or house-mounted flag

Cover Photo by Erica Lee Stonebridge Ranch dogs bring joy to many of our households. Read the article on p. 21 for etiquette tips related to dog ownership.


The Coronavirus is still with us and likely will be for the foreseeable future. The changing government restrictions make it very difficult to schedule events. We are planning to hold events later in the year if at all possible. Watch for E-blasts and check the association’s website (www. stonebridgeranch.com) and its Facebook page: Stonebridge Ranch Community Association (SRCA) for regular updates and current information. The pools have been open at 50% capacity and have had a steady attendance. In this month’s issue, there is an update on Amenities Committee activities, the Compliance Notification process, and an article about our residents’ Top 10 favorite things about Stonebridge Ranch.

hold many of F ROM T HE P RESIDENT the activities we normally schedule due to the virus restrictions. Check our web site regularly and watch for E-blasts for the latest information from the Association. These decisions are subject to changing conditions and will be updated to comply with any new government orders issued. In our continuing review of operational guidelines, we reviewed and updated guidelines for the Collections Committee, Finance Committee, and guidelines for Insurance for any homes owned by the Association.

Board Meeting, July 16, 2020 The Board meeting of July 16, 2020 was called to order at 12:30 PM. This Board meeting was held in our HOA office Board room. All Board members were present ( Joe Closs and Amanda Batson via Zoom) along with our Director of Operations, and by phone, CMA’s CFO and President. The meeting began with a Homeowners Open Forum. Five homeowners appeared. One to discuss a violation, one to discuss the proposed Event Center at Virginia Parkway and Lake Forest, one to request we contact AT&T to request they install fiber optic cable throughout Stonebridge, and one to request we allow Polygol (or equivalent) roof covering for Pergolas/Arbors. The next item of business was to ratify the minutes of the previous Board meeting and all decisions made since the last Board meeting. We also approved Linda Reith to the Landscape and Grounds Committee.

Executive Session The Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Treasurer Michael Kaltenbaugh effective July 31, 2020. He is moving back to Australia to take a senior management position. He will be missed as he made many significant contributions during his time on the Board. In view of the resignation, the Board approved Norm Counts to continue as Vice President and temporarily serve as Treasurer. Secretary Norton was appointed to the Collections Committee. The Board reviewed and approved the Foreclosure Report. We approved the recommendations of the Appeals Committee. We also reviewed and accepted the Collections Committee Report, the Violations Report, and the Project Expenditures Report. The Director of Operations updated us on pending legal issues. We also discussed the status of our partnership and contract negotiations with our Irrigation contractor. From the Homeowners Open Forum, the Board approved the use of Polygol as a roof material for Pergolas/Arbors. The Modifications Committee will be writing the design guidelines for its use and presenting them at the August BOD meeting for final approval. We also declined a request to change the guidelines to permit front yard swings. We approved the acquisition of two fish feeders to determine if that was a viable way to feed the fish in our ponds.

Old Business We discussed the Covid-19 virus to decide what actions to take during the next several weeks. > Allowing up to five guests per household to use the pools at normal fees or with the guest pass. > The office is open. Appointments are still required for meetings with a specific individual. You can “walk in” for an ID. > Facemasks are required to enter the office. > The Community Room is reopened at 50% capacity for rental and use. We postponed or cancelled most of the events scheduled for August except for Homeowners Meet and Greet on Aug. 12, the Adult Pool Party on Aug. 14, Coffee, Cars & Cycles on Aug. 15, and Bingo on Aug. 11, 19 and 27. We approved (subject to change) the following events for September: > Homeowners Meet and Greet on Sept. 9. > Bingo on Sept. 8, 16, and 24. > Labor Day at the Beach Club on Sept. 7 with a DJ. > Book Club on Sept. 14. > Stonebridge Ranch Day scheduled for Saturday, Sept 19. In addition to the pool being open, we are planning an evening concert and fireworks. We will not be able to

New Business We discussed beginning negotiations to have two Pickleball coaches to provide lessons to interested homeowners. We approved a new five-year agreement with our current auditors, Timothy Devolt & Co., to conduct the Association’s annual audit.

Association Reports We reviewed and approved the Financial Reports including the Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Variance Report, Reserve Budget, Accounts Receivable, Bad Debts and Investments. Board Liaisons presented updates on committee activities reflected in Committee minutes, and updates to our Strategic plan. The meeting adjourned at 5:50 PM. Jon Dell’Antonia President, Board of Directors

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September 2020

Vol. 8, Issue 9

STONEBRIDGE RANCH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, INC. 6201 Virginia Parkway, McKinney, TX 75071 Office Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ph: (214) 733-5800 Fax: (214) 778-0595 website: www.stonebridgeranch.com Courtesy Patrol: (214) 794-4945

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE Jon Dell’Antonia, Erica Lee, Dave Wiest

BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Jon Dell’Antonia

Vice President Norm Counts Secretary Jim Norton

Director Kristen Vartian

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Director Joe Closs

Director Amanda Batson

STAFF Professional management by RTI/Community Management Associates Inc. (CMA) Director of Operations Greg Herbst

Maintenance Supervisor Michael Cawley

Landscape & Grounds Manager Brock Whetstone Lifestyle Director David Wiest

Executive Assistant Rony Peterson

Maintenance Assistants Eric Ortega, Daniel Vine

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website: www.communitymattersinc.com

Stonebridge Ranch News is the only authorized publication of the Stonebridge Ranch Community Association, Inc. It is published on behalf of residents for informational purposes only. The Association does not guarantee any work or claims made by advertisers herein and claims no responsibility or liability for statements made in the publication. The Association does not support or take responsibility for services, whether paid or volunteer, mentioned herein, nor for statements published in articles or letters herein which are not endorsed by group decision of the Board of Directors.


Top 10 Reasons for Living in Stonebridge Ranch By the time this issue went to print, almost 2,000 people had joined our new official Stonebridge Ranch Facebook group. You can see the group policies and get the link at http://www.stonebridgeranch.com/ official-srca-facebook-group/. The volunteers of the Communications Committee have been combing through the responses to the optional “Join” questions. We thank everyone who answered! Your insights will inspire future topics we cover in our various communication channels. We’ve especially enjoyed reading the responses to the question “What is your favorite thing about Stonebridge Ranch?” Some of the answers have surprised and delighted us, including those from new residents who are eager to discover their own favorite things about Stonebridge Ranch. As one newbie said: “We haven’t moved in yet, but I am excited

to learn about & experience everything!” We couldn’t fit the hundreds of answers into this issue, so we’ve compiled a Top 10 list of responses with a few select quotes instead. Turn to page 8 to learn if your favorite thing about Stonebridge Ranch made the cut!

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1. I love many things. The Communications Committee is pleased that the biggest group of respondents (hundreds of people!) did not name just one favorite thing. We think this says a lot about Stonebridge Ranch. It shows that our association has depth. Due to our size, longevity, and dedicated oversight, we can offer more value to our residents than smaller or younger associations.

“The beautifully maintained properties. And we LOVE the tree-lined streets. We’ve lived here for 6 years and love it!”

“Too many to list! We love the beautiful landscaping, the Beach Club, the location of our home, the trails, the beautiful club house, etc.”

“The activities for the children and all the parks and walking trails.”

“The sidewalks, the amenities, the HOA.”

“Everything!”

Save the Date

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December 5 & 6 stonebridgeranch.com

2.

Quality Landscaping & Maintenance. Many people noted their appreciation for the well groomed landscaping of our common areas and medians. This response is encouraging to our volunteers and staff because the largest portion of our annual budget is allocated to our landscaping, tree care, and irrigation bills. Following our 2020 switch to new landscaping vendors, we are happy that many residents receive positive benefit from these efforts and expenditures.


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“This is a beautifully landscaped, bright, cheery community.”

“Just one favorite thing? The beautiful landscaping along Stonebridge Drive, from end to end.”

“We’re new to the neighborhood. Maintenance seems top notch.”

“Well maintained landscaping throughout the HOA. Love it!”

3.

The beauty of the trees and nature. Following the landscaping, many people praised the natural beauty of our community, particularly our trees. We agree that our mature tree canopy simply cannot be matched by younger associations. We employ professional staff and tree experts to keep our trees as healthy as possible. This year, the volunteers of the Landscape & Grounds Committee oversaw an expansive revitalization project involving 1,200 trees of various species. You may have noticed our vendor partners working the tree lines in past months, pruning, shaping, and lifting our canopy.

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“The trees!!!�

“My drive home, seeing all the trees

“I love the trees and greenery that have been preserved around the community.�

“We just moved here, so our favorite thing so far is our home—that and all the beautiful shady trees.�

4.

Access to walking paths and open green space. Judging by the high response rate for #2-4 on this list, we see that one of our greatest assets is the great outdoors! A high number of respondents noted the value of our miles of sidewalks, trails, and the underground tunnels at intersections. During the shutdowns related to COVID-19, usage rates on the walking trails increased. We are thankful we have a wide variety of amenities which allows people to stay active—even when social distancing!

“I love our wide sidewalks along Stonebridge Drive.�

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“The common space is amazing. I’ve been here for 24 years.�

“Taking walks with my family and enjoying the beautiful scenery.�

“The natural areas and trails add to the health and well-being of the community.�

5.

The positive impact of neighbors. The many responses we received about the people in this community illustrate an important point: neighborliness can increase property values! For those seeking kindness and engagement with others, this benefit cannot be underestimated. We sincerely appreciate all residents who extend a welcoming hand to those who live next door and down the street. Why not strive to be the reason someone loves living here?

The Board of Directors and staff learned a lot this year in our efforts to open the pools at reduced capacity. We thank our residents for your patience as we’ve worked to follow changing state guidelines. The last day of pool season is Sunday, Sept. 27. For pool dates and hours, please visit www.stonebridgeranch.com.

“I love the two pools!�

“Even though I very seldom go, the Beach Club is my favorite. That’s the one place I always take my visitors.� “When my kids were younger, we loved the Beach Club.�

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“The Aquatic Center

7.

We Have Community Pride. Wow! It’s humbling for volunteers and staff to see that pride in Stonebridge Ranch made this list. Community pride is not something that we can manage, direct, or create. It results from so many different efforts—not just unwavering oversight, but the daily choices residents make throughout each year to invest in this association. To everyone who feels pride in Stonebridge Ranch, we mirror it back to you. Thank you for all you do to make this a great place to live! “I love the community feeling and being a part of a wonderful community.� “Sense of community.... It just feels good to live here.�

“Friendly community and neighbors.�

“My neighbors are the best!�

“The people, the friendliness, the feeling of ‘being at home’ from the moment we moved here three years ago.�

“It’s an active, vibrant community with lots to offer.�

6.

“Keeping in touch with other residents.�

“We have lived in Stonebridge for 20 years and love our community!�

We have two unique pools. It’s clear from the responses that many residents love swimming here each summer. The Beach Club, with its iconic lagoon and view of Stonebridge Lake, has figured prominently in many childhood memories. Likewise, the Aquatic Center is a popular hangout for residents of all ages.

8.

The amenities. While many respondents shared their love for our pools, others mentioned the wide portfolio of amenities. You can find details about each via the website at http://www.stonebridgeranch. com/premier-amenities/. Due to Texas weather, residents can enjoy many of these throughout the year. If staying active is important to a resident in

stonebridgeranch.com


your household, Stonebridge Ranch has a lot to offer compared to other associations.

“I love having amenities close by.”

“I love all the amenities! Beautiful area.”

“I enjoy the amenities of this neighborhood– the walking trails, ponds, parks, pools, etc.”

9.

The family-friendly atmosphere. With so many young families living in our villages, Stonebridge Ranch attracts prospective residents with children. But we are perfect for family members of all ages! Many folks retire in Stonebridge Ranch, including a large number who move here to be close to their grandchildren. As you drive the tree-lined streets, notice the wide variety of ages exercising on our sidewalks. It’s inspiring!

“This has been a wonderful community to raise our girls. We have wonderful amenities and activities throughout the year, and we are in walking distance to schools.”

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“It’s quiet and a very pleasant place for our family to live and play.” “I love the quality of life for all ages…. Came here with young kids 24 years ago and now looking forward to being able to retire here. If one day we are blessed with grandkids, there’s plenty for them to do when they visit.” “The community! I feel safe raising my kids here.” 10. Cleanliness. Rounding out the Top 10, many residents noted cleanliness as their favorite aspect of life here. The Stonebridge Ranch Community Association (SRCA) employs two full-time staff who rotate daily throughout the community, emptying trash bins in parks, clearing wind-blown debris from common area, and the like. But when you consider the sheer size of Stonebridge Ranch—over 70 villages spread across more than 5,000 acres, with over 500 acres of green space—the input of countless residents in this category is clear. Quite simply, we can’t keep Stonebridge Ranch tidy without you! It takes a village to keep a village looking beautiful. Cleanliness results from securely storing trash bins, picking up stray wrappers from the sidewalk, and so much more. The good news is that our daily actions add up to big impact: higher property values for everyone! “I like how our neighborhoods remain nice and clean.” “How clean and organized our community is.” “It’s tidy look.” “It’s a beautiful, clean community to be proud of.” That’s quite the Top 10 list, and it’s one we authored together. If someone asked you why they should purchase a home here, what would your response be? We’ll close with a simple quote from one homeowner that may sum it up perfectly. Q: What’s your favorite thing about Stonebridge Ranch? A: “The fact that I live here!” ◀

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Active Lifestyle Amenities Enhance Our Quality of Life Some might say that the linchpin of Stonebridge Ranch amenities is the Beach & Tennis Club located at 6201 Virginia Parkway. Completed in 1988 and prized for its expansive view of Stonebridge Lake, the beach has been here since the beginning and proved instrumental in drawing young families to purchase our community’s first homes. Folks were invited via the Grand Opening brochure to “Come by the Beach & Tennis Club, where kids under 12 will receive a free beach ball while supplies last!” Over the past three decades, our portfolio of amenities has grown to include far more than the first beach lagoon built in North Texas. The Stonebridge Ranch Community Association (SRCA) now owns many assets which support an active lifestyle for residents of all ages. These include the junior Olympic pool at the Aquatic Center, many parks with play grounds, eight tennis courts, three pickleball courts, the Community Room, six lakes and ponds designated for sports fishing, miles of sidewalk trails, two staging areas for outdoor concerts, several open play fields, and Stonebridge Plaza with

its water fountain, picnic area, and ropes obstacle course. (To learn about each one, visit https://www. stonebridgeranch.com/premier-amenities/.) One small group of homeowners goes above and beyond to protect and enhance these beneficial assets: the seven members of the Amenities Committee. As stated in the group’s charter, they volunteer “for the purpose of advising and assisting the Board of Directors in the oversight of association pools, lakes, playgrounds, courts, and parks.” Let’s take a closer look at the time and energy these volunteers donate to their neighbors. How are they serving you in 2020?

BENCHMARK STUDY The committee is currently conducting a benchmark study comparing the SRCA to other homeowners associations. The volunteers are looking at comparable communities within a 25-mile radius which have 1,000 households or more. (As a reminder, we have over 9,400 homes.) Says Tom Fredericks, the committee Chair, “We are looking at numerous attributes to see how we stack up, from age and size to assessment fees, acreage, onsite structures, and active lifestyle offerings.” To complete their research, the volunteers are reviewing community websites and social media feeds. They are also making phone calls to management companies and onsite offices. Unlike the SRCA, they’ve found that many associations post information behind website logins, for access by residents only. This makes it difficult for anyone—most importantly, for prospective residents—to find out more about an HOA’s services and One of the original amenities built in Stonebridge Ranch, our tennis courts provide an guidelines. exercise opportunity for residents of all ages.

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The Amenities Committee oversees maintenance and upgrades at our parks and playgrounds, such as this major facelift at Plainfield in 2018.

“One of the feelings I get as we do our research,” notes Tom, “is that other associations and developers look at Stonebridge Ranch to see what we are doing. I think that means we’re doing something right.” Norm Counts, Board Director and liaison to the Amenities Committee, agrees. “The Board made this study a strategic priority because we want to know what it really means to call ourselves a ‘premier community.’ We’re finding we compare favorably in many areas. But the study is also serving as a SWOT analysis of sorts. It’s helping us determine our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, especially as we look at the amenities we have to offer. Once we’ve completed our research, we hope to share more of our findings with other committees and residents.” LAKES & PONDS REPORT Members of the Amenities Committee are also authoring a new Lakes & Ponds report to share with residents later this year. It will catalogue which bodies of water we own and maintain, and which are designated for catch-and-release fishing. (It will also document which ponds we do not own so residents can be aware. Several ponds in and adjacent to Stonebridge Ranch are owned by other entities, so they are not for our use, nor do we manage their upkeep.) Notes Tom, the COVID-19 shutdowns earlier this year seem to have inspired a new generation of residents to go fishing. “It’s the perfect sport for social distancing,” he says. “You can bring your cooler with snacks and a drink and just sit back and relax. The other day I was driving home by Millard Pond, and

I saw about 10 people on the bank with their fishing rods. I was really happy to see people taking that opportunity.” The initial findings in the benchmark report show that our lakes and ponds are one of our most unique assets, providing beautiful vistas while families exercise in our neighborhoods. Did you know that we own over twenty large bodies of water? Given land development in McKinney and surrounding areas, other communities simply do not have the room for such installations. Says Tom, “Many have at least one pond with a big fountain, but no one has as many as we do.” DREDGING Naturally, with ownership comes responsibility. One of the expenses we face as an association is the imminent need for dredging several of our lakes and ponds. Says Norm, “Over time, the ponds fill up with runoff and silt. This can lead to the clogging of fountains, which are important not only for aesthetics but to keep the water moving.” Shallow water also encourages the growth of unsightly algae, which can negatively impact our fish population. The committee monitors silt buildup by mapping the subsurface through periodic silt studies. This spring, the volunteers and management staff oversaw our largest dredging project to date at Winter Haven pond. Tom counts the project a success. “It worked out very well,” he says. “We were able to stay on budget. And the complexity of the operation provided an important learning curve we can apply to future dredging projects.” STONEBRIDGE RANCH NEWS

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ONGOING DUTIES Beyond the unique projects the committee is tackling this year, the volunteers oversee many others on an ongoing basis. These include: > Physical inspections of parks and playgrounds on a monthly, rotating schedule to identify maintenance issues and opportunities for expanding or upgrading. > Budgeting Repair & Replacement funds and appropriating money for ongoing maintenance of all assets. > Conducting periodic fish studies with a vendor partner and analyzing the results to determine the health of our fish population. > Surveying residents as needed to determine homeowner satisfaction and learn opportunities for improvement at our amenities. UPCOMING PROJECTS Next up, the Amenities Committee is excited to oversee a pilot program to save money and improve the quality of our bass for our sporting fishermen. Rather than purchasing tilapia yearly as feeder fish,

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the volunteers are looking to install fish feeders to strengthen our bluegill population. We anticipate the first fish feeders will serve the ponds in Wellington. The committee will work with our vendor partners to ensure the program meets its goals before installing more elsewhere. THE GOAL The primary goal of all this oversight is to twofold. First, we hope to enhance the quality of life for residents by providing many active lifestyle opportunities. This is one reason why Tom purchased a home here, and it serves as the inspiration for his volunteer service. “I appreciate what we have in Stonebridge Ranch,” he says. “It’s unique, and I like having an active part in caring for it and adding to it.” Homeowner Betty Timmerman echoes the sentiment. “The Stonebridge Ranch pickleball courts are our favorite amenity by far. They afford my husband and me a chance to exercise, and we’ve met fellow neighbors. We get to be outdoors, soaking up the beautiful weather on most days.” Her extended family benefits as well. Says Betty, “We introduced our children and grandchildren to pickleball, and they are now regularly playing and enjoying the game. It’s great to see three generations interacting and having fun.” She adds, “For the past five years, our grandchildren have also loved going to the small park near our house. It’s so nice to be able to walk there and not deal with all the buckle-up required with car seats. And everyone we meet there is so Texas friendly. Moving from the Northeast to Stonebridge Ranch has been one of our best decisions in life.” Beyond the enjoyment felt by current residents, the chance to access our amenities continues to draw prospective residents to our community. Whether a household chooses to use our amenities or not, they are an important factor in keeping our property values high. As one homeowner noted in response to a 2019 Amenities Survey, “Although our household doesn’t use the amenities that often, I think it’s VERY important to have them available for those who do want to use them. And it’s important to our property values to have those amenities built into our community.” ◀


How to Be a Good Neighbor When You Own a Dog If you own a dog here in Stonebridge Ranch, what does it mean to you to be responsible? It’s a question worth asking because the most common pet complaints we hear at the association office relate to dog ownership. While many pet owners consider their animals to be members of the family, the benefits of living with a pet don’t necessarily extend to one’s neighbors. Fortunately, there are many things we can do to ensure our fur babies don’t inconvenience others.

LEASH LAW 101 The City of McKinney leash ordinance states that “all pets must be on a leash no longer than six feet when in public places.” This requirement applies even in open green space owned by the Stonebridge Ranch Community Association (SRCA). Tempting as it may

Please help us maintain the cleanliness of Stonebridge Ranch by always picking up after your pet.

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Dear Friends and Neighbors, Twenty years ago JR & I started Ben Franklin Plumbing. We want to celebrate our 20th Anniversary by giving back to the friends that have supported us over the years. We know YOU are the HEROES in our community. You work hard to provide for your families, help with homework, drive the carpool, coach the sports teams & support the many charities in McKinney. When plumbing problems appear you just want someone you can trust to get in quick, fix the problem and restore your family back to normal. A company that will protect your family and your investment.

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be, for the safety of all: do not permit your dog offleash to play in common area. Why? No matter how well-trained your dog, animal behavior is unpredictable. Further, it is impossible to know what might be coming around the next corner. From one second to the next, your dog might be in close contact with residents who are exercising, domestic or wild animals, or fast-moving bicyclists or motorists. Keeping your dog on leash can protect your dog and others from injury. THREE CHEERS FOR TRAINING Walking obediently on leash does not come naturally to many dogs. And when dogs meet on-leash, it’s rarely on their own terms. The Animal Humane Society reports that “when off-leash and in their own environment, dogs naturally greet from the side (in an arc) and sniff... They don’t approach head-on and make hard eye contact unless a fight is about to start.” When meeting other dogs or new people on the sidewalk—head-on and while restrained—some pups react with over-excitement, anxiety, or even aggression. Because you can’t control the training of

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Going for a walk with the family pet on leash is a relaxing and enjoyable ritual for many dog owners in Stonebridge Ranch.

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other dogs, your best chance for a calm walk is to train your own dog well and to give strangers space when you see them coming. There are many online and professional resources to help owners and pups master this vital—and required—skill. CLEAN UP Unfortunately, we hear reports of dog owners who disrespect their neighbors’ lawns by leaving their pet’s waste matter on private property. Such behavior can damage the camaraderie in a neighborhood. We ask all resident dog owners: please don’t leave your pet’s waste for others to smell, step in, or pick up for you. This includes in green belt areas and landscaped and mulched beds adjacent to walkways. The City of McKinney notes other reasons for dog owners to be vigilant: “Cleaning up after your pets reduces odors, insects, transmission of diseases, and it keeps stormwater drains and local water systems free of pollutants.”

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MITIGATE BARKING Due to COVID-19, we have more residents than ever working from home. Stonebridge Ranch is also home to many young families with children who take naps during the day. Maintaining peace and quiet by preventing incessant barking is a sure way to strengthen your relationship with your neighbors. Have you ever had a frank conversation with your nearest neighbors (including those behind you) regarding the behavior of your dogs? If not, you might find it surprising. Your neighbors can help you identify barking patterns you may be unaware of when you are away from home. Knowing your dog’s patterns is the first step to finding a solution if your neighbors identify a barking problem. THANK YOU To every dog owner in Stonebridge Ranch, we celebrate the beautiful bond you have with your pet! We thank you for every action you take so that your neighbors can enjoy your dog’s presence in our community, too. ◀ i

www.mckinneytexas.org/1559/Responsible-Pet-

Ownership ii

www.animalhumanesociety.org/behavior/managing-

leash-reactive-dog

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Timely Notices Protect Property Values Our governing documents legally require the Stonebridge Ranch Community Association (SRCA) to mail notices to homeowners regarding curb appeal issues. This oversight is a benefit the SRCA provides on behalf of all our homeowners. If you receive a compliance postcard or letter from the SRCA, please be assured, our goals are to: > Make sure you are aware of the curb appeal issue. > Help you understand the guidelines which relate to it. > Encourage you to correct the issue in a timely manner. Our volunteers and staff support this process because the SRCA exists to protect property values. When we identify issues and residents are responsive to notices, we can increase the value of a single home— and hopefully that of other homes along the street, in that village, and in our community as a whole! Such a lofty goal is made possible when we work together. 10 PERCENT The cohesive appeal of our community matters because eight to 10 percent of Stonebridge Ranch homes are bought and sold each year. We want each family’s investment in our community to remain profitable. If you choose to sell your own home, we hope the SRCA attention to detail will serve you well. Even better, when everyone works to keep their properties in tip-top shape, our daily quality of life improves. Through cleanliness and maintenance, we can make each twist and turn along our streets pleasing to the eye for both current and prospective residents. STANDARD POLICY The average homeowner benefits when impartial, professional staff send curb appeal notices according to a standard policy. This service relieves neighbors from having some uncomfortable conversations across the fence regarding common maintenance issues. Further, by following the steps of a publicized guideline, staff can communicate in a fair, orderly, and expected manner with each individual. As we have repeated in previous articles, rumors sometimes circulate about the role of the management

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company in this process. Please note the following: > Our staff are not paid for each compliance notice they send. They are paid an hourly rate for their work. > Our staff are assigned no quotas. > Our staff are given no incentives to write notices. > Our staff do not vote regarding Stonebridge Ranch curb appeal requirements. SRCA guidelines are determined by historical governing documents and by approval of the homeowners who volunteer on the Modifications Committee and the Board of Directors. IT’S A PROCESS Receiving a notice can provide the jump-start a homeowner needs to get the mower blades turning or to purchase a can of fence stain. We encourage homeowners to review the steps of the SRCA Covenant Enforcement and Fining Policy.* For curable issues, the multiple-step process begins with a simple postcard reminder. We then advance the chain of communication at regular intervals to allow time for correction. At every step along the way, we encourage homeowners to contact our staff if needed. Importantly: ignoring official SRCA communications does not make a curb appeal issue go away, nor does it stop the covenant enforcement process. View the chart on p. 27 to see the basic flow of our communication process. Please also keep the following in mind.

To alert homeowners to curable modification issues, the association first mails a postcard. The postcard is meant to be informative. It can aid owners as they learn to implement Stonebridge Ranch standards of maintenance.


1. We contact homeowners regarding a wide variety of issues. The most common maintenance reminders we send relate to the upkeep of fencing, lawns and landscaping, and exterior paint, as well as proper trash can storage. Maintenance issues naturally follow the season of the year and are somewhat predictable. The need to repair hail damage follows spring storms, for example, while yard upkeep is a more pressing issue after spring rains and in the heat of summer. The communication process is similar for exterior modification issues. Most common: we send notices when homeowners do not submit a required Modification Application†, or when they do not follow the specifications of their approved application. 2. We want to communicate with you. We save valuable association funds by adhering to a single process which includes automated steps. Because our community is so large, we utilize postcards and letters to initiate communication with homeowners. However, we also employ

Bare and brown spots in the lawn are common summer curb appeal issues. Others include fencing upkeep, secure trash can storage, landscape weeding, and maintenance of shrubs.

full-time staff to serve you. Unlike smaller associations which cannot support onsite staff, we are able to rise to the level of communication you need. Notes Compliance Coordinator Pat Liles, “We’re here to help educate homeowners and advise

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them as they rectify issues. Some residents don’t know that fences need a trim cap, for example. The first time they may realize this is when they receive a postcard from us. It’s nice when we can work together to keep Stonebridge Ranch looking beautiful.” If you receive a mailed notice‡ regarding a curb appeal issue and have questions or feel confused, please do not hesitate to contact the staff at 214.733.5800, srca@cmamanagement.com, or www.stonebridgeranch.com/submit-a question/. If you prefer a face-to-face chat, you can make an appointment to visit with a compli ance staff member at the office (6201 Virginia Pkwy., Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM). 3. The communication process takes time, and it’s personal. As you can see from the chart on p. 27, for curable issues we send multiple notifications to a homeowner before the SRCA begins to assess fines. Sometimes residents contact us regarding an ongoing issue they see in a neighbor’s yard

and ask what the SRCA is doing to correct it. The answer is that many steps are going on behind the scenes when an issue isn’t rectified in a timely manner. State law protects each homeowner’s right to privacy. If you notice a maintenance issue in a neighboring lot and notify our compliance staff, be aware: we legally cannot provide you with information about that property, the owner, or the compliance steps that are being taken. The homeowner’s right to privacy can also impact renters. We send SRCA notices to the homeowner’s mailing address as noted in their private online account at https://cma. cincwebaxis.com/. To communicate directly with renters regarding an ongoing issue, SRCA staff must be authorized to do so in writing by the homeowner. Though this right to privacy can cause a delay in correcting issues, when homeowners and tenants communicate with each other and with staff, the process runs much more smoothly. ◀ *We post this file publicly (along with our other governing documents) at www.stonebridgeranch.com/governingdocuments/. † Note that if the issue relates to non-submittal of an application, the SRCA does not start communication with a postcard. Instead, the first communication a homeowner receives is a letter (see chart). To learn more about modification applications, see www. stonebridgeranch.com/modifications-applicationprocess/. ‡ SRCA representatives are required by state law to

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communicate with homeowners via mail within 30 days of observing a compliance issue. The SRCA goes beyond this basic requirement by notifying homeowners sooner and following a multi-step process for curable issues. All violations which result in mailed notices are also noted on the homeowner’s account at https://cma.cincwebaxis. com/ immediately on the date of witness. Because there is always a possibility of postal mishandling, you can log into your private account once or twice a month to make sure no issues have been logged. If you need help

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registering or updating your personal account, contact the Customer Care team at 972.943.2828.


It takes a village to keep a village beautiful! Our compliance team is here to help, too. Our staff visit each village every two weeks to review exterior home upkeep. If they observe an issue that does not meet the standards of the Stonebridge Ranch Community Association (SRCA), they follow the steps required by our Covenant Enforcement & Fining Policy based on the type of violation (see the flow chart below). The process includes posting a notice to the homeowner's private online account at https://cma.cincwebaxis.com/ and mailing a postcard or letter. (You can read the complete policy at www. stonebridgeranch.com/association-policies/.) We can help you understand guidelines so you can correct the issue going forward. If you receive a notice and have questions about the observed issue, SRCA governing documents, the time frame for correction, or how to appeal to the Board of Directors, please contact us as soon as possible! Staff are available by email at srca@cmamanagement.com, by phone at 214.733.5800, or via the website at www.stonebridgeranch.com/submit-a-question/. Office hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 5 PM.

MODs and Apps

These occur when an owner implements a modification without submitting a required application and getting approval, deviating from an approved plan, or installing a modification the committee has denied.

CURABLE

These are issues which can't be fixed, in most cases because they have already occurred. One example is hosting an event which is not permitted by SRCA guidelines, such as a garage sale.

CURABLE

These are curb appeal issues which can be fixed. They are the most common type we see and include lawn upkeep, fence staining, trash can storage, paint and gutter maintenance, etc.

IN-

*Per the policy, if the same issue reoccurs within six months, staff are required to reopen the violation on the owner's account and escalate it the next level. (I.e. if an owner receives a postcard related to trash can storage and staff observe a repeat of the violation, the next notice the owner receives is the first letter, not another postcard.) †Once a fine is assessed to an account, it is due even if the issue is corrected. If the same violation occurs again within six months, staff reopen the violation and escalate the fine to the next level per the policy. (I.e. if an owner reaches the $100 fine level the first time, staff are required to reopen the violation at the $200 level.) ‡Per the policy, "Attorney's fees and all costs incurred by the Association in enforcing...become the obligation of the owner." This requirement is outlined in Section 5.1.D of the SRCA Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions (see www.stonebridgeranch.com/ governing-documents/).

Upon observing this type of issue, we mail a letter requesting a response within 10 days. The homeowner may choose to remove or correct the exterior modification before the next inspection. Or, they can contact our staff to discuss options, including how to prevent fines.

Upon observing an incurable issue, we mail a letter. It notifies the homeowner that a $300‡ fine will be assessed to their SRCA account in 30 days. Within this 30-day period, the resident may pay the fine or appeal to the Board of Directors. If the resident does neither, staff mail a letter noting that $300 is due.

Upon observing a curable issue, we mail a postcard. We ask the owner to fix the issue before the next inspection. (Sometimes the owner does so before the postcard even arrives. This is often the case with proper trash can storage. In such an instance, no further action is needed.*)

If the owner has not corrected the issue by the next inspection date, we mail a letter requesting resolution before the next visit. We mail a second letter if the issue is not corrected within two weeks. This alerts the owner they must fix the issue within 30 days and that fines will begin to accrue at the next step of the process. Note: the SRCA issues fines as a last resort when homeowners do not respond to notices. We sincerely hope owners will work with us to resolve issues before reaching the fine level! If staff observe no correction within 30 days, we mail a third letter noting the issue must be corrected within two weeks. This also alerts the owner that a fine of $50† has been issued to their SRCA account. This fine increases to $100 and then $200 if the issue is not corrected before the next two visits. If unresolved by this point (over three months since first observation), staff bring the violation to the SRCA Board of Directors to consider further action. The Board may increase the fine and/or initiate legal steps.‡

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Curb Appeal Corner

LET’S TALK TRASH! When we follow guidelines regarding trash and recycling bin storage, we

help create a tidy look and feel in our villages. SRCA policies direct when and where bins may be stored. Got questions regarding compliance? Call 214.733.5800.

Trash Day

Bin Storage

• Our compliance staff pay close attention to the City’s scheduled trash days. Staff do NOT inspect your village on your trash day.

To enhance yard aesthetics throughout Stonebridge Ranch, bins must be stored away from street view (from property line to property line of your home). You may store them:

• Proper storage of bins reduces the chances for them to blow over. This helps prevent the spread of windblown trash debris in our community, which enhances the natural beauty.

• Trash and recycling bins may be placed out no earlier than 6 PM the day prior to your trash day. They must be stored by 7 AM the day after your trash day.

CLEANING?

Apps & Forms

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In the garage.

Behind the front building line and screened by large dense evergreen shrubs.

Behind a six (6) foot cedar privacy fence.

Where applicable, in a back alley up against the house or fence.

2’

If stored behind fencing or shrubs, SRCA guidelines require a minimum two (2) foot setback from the home’s front corner.

If you need to leave out bins to be washed by a cleaning service, notify our staff in advance to prevent a violation on your account. We’ll make note for that day prior to our inspection rounds.

Review the Modification Design Guidelines at www.stonebridgeranch.com for complete bin storage details. You’ll find height and material requirements for fencing. To ensure fenced enclosures meet Stonebridge Ranch standards, the Modifications Committee must approve your Modification Application and site plan prior to install. (A Neighbor Acknowledgment Form is not required for bin fencing.)


Getting Your Flag Off the Ground: Tips from Our Guidelines 2020 is a year of big happenings in our nation, including the once-a-decade U.S. Census and the upcoming November Presidential election. If you wish to express national pride by mounting a flag to your home or installing a flagpole in your yard, please read the “Flagpoles/Flags� guideline carefully. You can find it on p. 35 of the Modif ication Design Guidelines posted at www.stonebridgeranch.com/modificationdesign-guidelines/. Here are the basics to get you started: 1. Residents may mount the U.S. flag, the Texas state flag, or the flag of any branch of the U.S. armed forces. Display of these flags must meet the criteria outlined in the SRCA guideline, as well as display regulations outlined by the federal and state government. (See 4 U.S. C

Sections 5-10 and Chapter 3100 of the Texas Government Code.) 2. Pay attention to quality. Whether attached to your home or freestanding, all flag mountings and poles must be constructed of professional, permanent materials and must be maintained to be structurally safe. Freestanding permanent poles must be installed in concrete. Fading or frayed flags must be replaced. 3. Keep it close. Your freestanding flagpole must be located within 15 feet of your home. It may not exceed 25 feet in height. The flag size should be in proportion to the height of the pole and may not exceed 3 feet x 5 feet. 4. Keep it quiet. Requirements regarding halyards are designed to protect the peace and quiet of your neighborhood. To prevent halyard noise, the

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association prefers that you install an internal halyard system. (Alternatively, swivel snap hooks may be covered or ‘Quiet Halyard’ flag snaps installed.) 5. Go easy on the eyes. Check with your neighbors to make sure your night-time lighting isn’t bothersome. If it is, you will be required to either replace or shield your flag lighting, or you can remove the lighting and lower the flag each night. (See federal and state regulations.) 6. Pick your location. You may install one freestanding flagpole (with up to two flags), or up to two house-mounted flag poles. 7. Freestanding = Site Plan. If your flag is not attached to your house, you need to submit a Modification Application with a site plan and receive Committee approval prior to install. Be prepared to document the proposed location, flag size and type, the materials you will use, your illumination devices, etc. We appreciate your attention to the Modif ication Design Guidelines and federal and state regulations. Our compliance team looks forward to working with you regarding your next Modification Application, whether it be a flagpole installation or another exciting exterior project! Please contact us at 214.733.5800, srca@cmamanagement.com, or www.stonebridgeranch.com/submit-a-question/. If you prefer a face-to-face chat, you can make an appointment to visit with a compliance staff member at the office (6201 Virginia Parkway, Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM). ◀

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