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DATE: Wednesday, January 6, 2016
TIME: 7:12 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Recycling and 2016 Maintenance Fees
TYPE: Community News

There were some problems with the Middlesex County recycling trucks, so they are running behind this week and will either have the recycling picked up later today or tomorrow.

The Board of Trustees has not yet reached a decision on the 2016 operating budget, so for now the monthly fees remain at $171/month for regular units, and $57/month for affordable Mt. Laurel units.

There were some issues with the on-line credit/debit card payment processing last night and today. After investigation, the problem is with the card processor and not us. We assume it will be fixed soon.

We have responded to the court on the issues explained in the last community email, and sill expect some sort of a decision sometime in January. Since this decision will have an impact on our 2016 budget, we might not finalize that budget until we have the decision.

Thank you to all the affordable unit owners that returned surveys. We have received nearly 80 responses (out of 106), and the current tally is around 50/50, with just slightly more saying they want the controls to end.

Happy New Year to all..



DATE: Friday, January 22, 2016
TIME: 6:55 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: IMPENDING SNOW, Annual Meeting, Package Thefts, 2016 Fees
TYPE: Community News

Couple of updates for everyone-

Impending Snow Storm
The various forecasts seem to be converging to a significant snow event for the area over the next 30 hours. Strong winds will likely accompany this storm, which will complicate removal efforts. Assuming the current predictions are accurate, snow will begin tonight (Friday) around 10pm and continue through 10pm tomorrow night.

The current plan is to have crew on-site both Saturday and Sunday. Snow removal efforts on Saturday are likely to be limited due to the heavy snow and high winds. We will try to keep the roads passable and at least the breezeway steps as clear as practical. We are aware that there are a handful of residents with essential services jobs that still need to get to work during the storm.

Weekend storms are also complicated by the fact that most residents are home and their cars are parked in the lot. This makes it very difficult to efficiently clear the snow from the parking spots. Even in the best of conditions, clearing the parking spots is very tedious. Since it will be snowing all day Saturday, we do not plan on clearing any parking spots until Sunday morning. Even then, it would be best to just wait till Monday to clean the spots since residents will be back to work.

We realize that parking is tight in several areas in the complex, and that several residents have had to park along the street. While we can plow around these vehicles, it definitely makes snow removal more difficult. If you do park on the street, please try and keep an eye on the snow plowing and relocate to a street that has already been plowed. Typically we plow the main roads, Buckingham and Chesterfield, first, so cars can be relocated to those streets temporarily after they are cleared. Avoid parking on Buckingham and Chesterfield before they are plowed though, because the town might issue a ticket (Buckingham and Chesterfield are township-owned streets).

If you park in the street where we have placed orange cones, try to relocated your car to a plowed street as soon as one is available. Also, if you have not registered your vehicles with the association office, please give us a call so that we can enter your vehicle in our system in case we need to contact you to move your car.

2015 Annual Meeting
We have finally received enough proxies that we should be able to hold the 2015 annual meeting next Tuesday, January 26th, 7PM at the clubhouse.

Package Thefts
Although the number of incidents has dropped, we have still received reports of a few package thefts over the last few weeks. One was on Bedford, and another two were on Canterbury. One resident mentioned to us that it is possible to have packages delivered with either the local UPS or FedEx stores, and then picked up later. Although this is less convenient, it is safer.

2016 Maintenance Fees
At the January Board of Trustees meeting, the board discussed the 2016 budget but has not yet come to a final conclusion. Therefore, the fees are still the same for now - $171/month for regular units, and $57/month for affordable units. We are still waiting for a decision from the judge on the Mt. Laurel lawsuit. I will pass that on as soon as we hear. Since that decision could have an impact on the 2016 budget, we might try and wait until we get the answer.


DATE: Tuesday, January 26, 2016
TIME: 1:18 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Annual Meeting TONIGHT, Storm Cleanup
TYPE: Community News

The 2015 Annual Meeting and Election is still on for tonight, Tuesday, January 26th, 7PM at the clubhouse. We need volunteers to help with the proxy and ballot counting procedure, so if you can help out please contact the office sometime today. We have around 290 proxies so we should be able to meet the quorum requirement. There will be something small to eat. The proxy and ballot processing usually takes a few hours, so the actual annual meeting portion probably won't be until about 9pm.

We are still working on cleaning up from the recent storm. There are still some parking spots to clear, due to cars that were still parked in their spots. We had some trouble with the snow blowers during the storm, so we are just getting to the condo walkways today. The bike path and sidewalk along Buckingham and Chesterfield will get done eventually, but it's just not a priority right now.

Fortunately, we didn't have any major equipment issues during the storm so we were able to keep on top of it. With this much volume of snow, all the big machines need to be working and they were.

There were quite a few vehicles parked on the streets this time, and many are still not registered with the office. Again, if your car is not registered, and especially if you frequently park on the street, please register it so we can contact you if we need it moved. We know there is a shortage of parking spaces and are trying to accommodate everyone. We worked around all the street parked vehicles this time, but it makes an already tedious job even more difficult and eventually one of those cars is going to get hit by the equipment.

I think we have made it through the long list of special requests. It is always a bit challenging to work those in the queue, but again we try to accommodate disabled and special needs residents. We had a lot of phone calls again from townhome units about the front doors being snowed shut. We began shoveling before the storm ended so we did what we could to get to those as quickly as possible. We had over 10 additional workers but there was just a lot of snow and the wind drifted it even higher. In an emergency, if you are in a townhome and really need to get out, please remember that there is a sliding back door which should not be impeded by snow. There were dozens of units with this problem, and if we have to keep jumping around it decreases our efficiency considerably.

This storm reminded me again of how difficult it is to clear the parking lots during weekend storms with all the cars here. I am still looking for a way of better coordinating those efforts, but it is not so simple. It is almost impossible to move all the cars from every lot, because there is usually one or two that are out of town or can't be moved for some reason, and as soon as just one car remains in the way, the efficiency drops considerably.

Trash collection will be normal this week. Apparently they were here early Monday morning so some residents missed the pickup. Most of the dumpsters are back to their normal locations. We had to move them temporarily to make space to stack up the snow. Recycling is NEXT Wednesday.



DATE: Wednesday, January 27, 2016
TIME: 4:42 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Annual Meeting...continued
TYPE: Community News

At the Annual Meeting last night, we didn't make it all the way through the proxy and ballot processing procedure. Therefore, the meeting was adjourned to Thursday, January 28th, 7PM.

We are almost done with the snow removal work from the recent storm. There are still issues with the snow blowers, so we will be manually clearing snow from the bike-path side of Buckingham and Chesterfield. We probably won't clear the sidewalk side until the blowers are repaired, but by then it may be melted anyway.

We are still waiting to hear back from the judge on the Mt. Laurel litigation. As soon as that comes though I will pass it on.

I see a few recycling bins out today - recycling is next Wednesday. Trash collection is tomorrow. The truck might come early, so plan accordingly.



DATE: Friday, January 29, 2016
TIME: 7:54 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Election Results, and Master Policy Deductible
TYPE: Community News

The 2015 Annual Meeting and Election finally concluded last night. The results of the ballot counting are as follows:

Carlysle Chan - 167 votes
George Tsacnaris - 141 votes
Douglas Sanford - 119 votes
Pushpa Sharma - 90 votes
Farhan Qamar - 79 votes

The top-three vote getters win seats - Mr. Chan, Mr. Tsacnaris, and Mr. Sanford. These were the incumbent board members, so there is no change to the board. The officer positions will be determined at the next Board meeting on February 16th.

There were a few motions made at the annual meeting. One relating to where any additional revenue would go if we prevail on the Mt. Laurel litigation, and another relating to board member delinquency status disclosure. More details will be in the meeting minutes which will be available soon.

We are still waiting for an update from our attorney on the Mt. Laurel litigation.

By the way, the master insurance policy for the association for 2016 now has a $10,000 property damage deductible. If you have an HO6 policy for your unit, you might want to check with your agent if you need to make any adjustments to your policy. Remember that the association has had a resolution in place for many years that puts the responsibility for that deductible on the unit owner with the claim. Therefore, you want to be sure that your HO6 policy covers that deductible.



DATE: Friday, February 12, 2016
TIME: 2:02 AM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: **Mt. Laurel Decision**, Community Mt. Laurel Meeting TUESDAY, February Board Meeting, Frozen Pipes
TYPE: Community News

On Monday afternoon, Judge Wolfson issued his opinion on our lawsuit against the Township of Piscataway on the expiration of the affordable housing controls. The judge found in favor of the association. Therefore, as of Monday, February 8th, 2016, Society Hill at Piscataway no longer had any affordable housing units, with one catch.

The opinion is very clear for any original affordable unit owners - those that bought directly from the builder in 1985/6. Those units are definitely released from control, as of this last Monday. For subsequent affordable unit owners - those who purchased from a prior affordable owner, and not the builder - the case isn't as clear. Many of those deeds were "voluntarily" modified as the units changed hands over the years. If the deed does not contain the original language, consistent with the original affordable housing plan, then those units are probably not yet released from control.

Most likely, the association will go ahead and file another motion asking the court to clarify the status of the affordable units that have modified language in their deeds. From a legal standpoint, any such modification is illegal, even if it was done "voluntarily", however the opinion currently doesn't acknowledge this.

We will also be filing a motion asking the court to award the association its attorney fees. In other words, we are going to ask the court to force the town to pay our legal bill since they did something illegal and lost, which by the time this is over will probably be in the $100k range.

Judge Wolfson's opinion is a matter of public record, and therefore it is available at:

We are currently uncertain if the township will file for appeal. The opinion does a good job of addressing all their attempts at modifying the affordable housing plan, and clearly concludes that every single one of them was illegal. We feel there is little room for a legitimate legal challenge to the decision, however it is conceivable that logic will not dictate the towns response.

For affordable unit owners with the original deed language wishing to sell restriction-free at market value, as of Monday February 8th, they may do so. If the town appeals, the decision still stands. The only thing that could suspend its effect is if the town applies for a "stay" and the court grants their request. If that happens, everything would have to go on hold.

Affordable unit owners with modified deed language will probably have to hold-off until we receive clarification from the court on that topic. I wouldn't expect that to take too long.

Although no mention is made in the decision about accommodating affordable unit owners wishing to voluntarily remain affordable, we are certain that the court still expects the association to make some accommodation for them. The details of this will have to be worked out in the next several weeks, and hinges somewhat on how the town responds to the decision. It is also unclear at this point as to how the town will handle the property taxes of affordable units that have definitely expired. There is also the issue of the fact that technically the controls expired in June of 2015, which was 8 months ago, which creates some possible retro-activity complications.

We are also in the process of sorting out the plan with the association maintenance fees for the expired affordable units not wishing to extend. Technically, the fees should change as of Monday the 8th, but it will take some time to sort things out so that's probably not going to happen. I did attempt to work though the details of some possible internal plans on how to handle the transition to regular status, but put most of that on hold pending the outcome of the case.

So that's the facts... now for my editorial. This litigation, and the association's involvement in it, has not been without controversy. We have invested $60k thus far, with that number likely to climb to near $100k. Several residents and some board members have questioned that investment, and understandably so. Although it's still not over, the recent decision in the associations favor clearly validates our assertion that the town has acted illegally, and it a big way. Although I'm sure most won't agree, even solely as a matter of principle this lawsuit was justified in my mind, as were many of my past battles on principle. It is unfortunate that such conflicts are allowed to arise by those in power, and equally unfortunate that those in power were unable to foresee the futility of their position. A very similar case in north Jersey settled out of court when that town saw the writing on the wall. Piscataway was given ample opportunity to do likewise, but instead took a bull-headed approach. When we "common people" do something illegal, we are ticketed and fined or worse, and yet when the politicians do something illegal, they suffer no such consequence? Their consequence, at least in this case, is only political in nature, and only if someone chooses to make a point of it...

February Board Meeting Reminder
The February Board of Trustees meeting will be this coming Monday, February 15th, 7 PM at the clubhouse. The preliminary agenda is available at:

Mt. Laurel Community Meeting
Although our attorney handling the Mt. Laurel lawsuit won't be at the Monday board meeting due to prior commitments, we will be having a community meeting on Tuesday, February 16th, at 7 PM at the clubhouse to address any questions or concerns related to the courts decision and how the association will be handling the transition. The decision has come at a very busy time for me - I am currently engrossed in the final design details of the maintenance garage, but will obviously have to make time to deal with the affordable unit transition plan.

Impending COLD
The forecast is for sub-zero temperatures this weekend, which means our pipes are in danger of freezing. Almost every winter we have a pipe catastrophe, so we are reminding everyone yet again to make sure their heat is working, and is turned on, over this weekend.



DATE: Tuesday, February 16, 2016
TIME: 6:48 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Mt. Laurel Meeting *TONIGHT*, Community Cardio Wednesday, and Lost Cat
TYPE: Community News

This is a reminder that there will be a community meeting tonight at 7PM at the clubhouse on the recent Mt. Laurel court decision. The Association's attorney, Steven Eisdorfer of Hill Wallack, will be at the meeting to give an overview of the decision and answer questions. This meeting is open to all homeowners, affordable and regular, since all of us are impacted by this case, the decision, and the plans going forward.

As of last Monday, February 8th, most of the affordable units in Society Hill were released from affordable housing control. We will be formulating a plan to accommodate those affordable units wishing to remain affordable, and some of that discussion will probably be tonight. Based on the survey we conducted about 2 months ago, a little less than half of the affordable units wish to remain affordable.

There are still a lot of details to sort though on the transition plan, and we have yet to hear back from the town on how they will react to the recent decision. There is pressure to bring everything to a conclusion soon, so we expect things to be worked out in the next several weeks. Again, if you have any questions or concerns, the attorney will be at the meeting tonight so this is your chance.

Community Cardio Workout
One of our residents is hosting a community exercise event at the clubhouse, starting tomorrow (Wednesday) evening at 7PM. If you are interested, please feel free to show up, and if you have any questions contact Nicole at 732-331-0731.

Lost Cat
One of our residents is looking for their lost cat that ran away about 2 weeks ago from a unit on Hampshire Ct near Harwick Ct. The cat is a black female with a small white patch in the throat area. If any one spots such a cat please call 732-672-3312. A picture can be seen here:

2016 Budget
At the February Board meeting last night, the Board still has not made any changes to the monthly maintenance fees. Therefore, regular units are still $171/month, and the affordable units are $57/month, for now...

Finally, some residents may have received two copies of the community email from last week. It's seems there is a new "feature" in Google Chrome whereby closing a window may cause a form to be re-submitted. I will try to avoid letting that happen again.


DATE: Sunday, February 21, 2016
TIME: 9:45 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Mt. Laurel Meeting Summary, Vehicle Registration, and Editorial Comments
TYPE: Community News

Last Tuesday evening, there was a community meeting to discuss the recent court decision on our lawsuit against the Township of Piscataway. Our attorney, Mr. Eisdorfer, was present to give us an overview of the decision and answer questions. There were about 30 residents in attendance. There was some new information not mentioned in prior emails which I will cover here.

Our attorney did speak with the township attorney, Mr. Baker, a few days prior. At that point Mr. Baker did not know how the town was planning to respond, as the town had not yet had an opportunity to meet to discuss the issue. While it is probably true that the mayor and council had not discussed it yet, I'm sure there was some back-channel discussion, but nothing that anyone has revealed to us.

It turns out that on the same night as our meeting, the town had their council meeting, so presumably they discussed the topic, in private I'm sure. Nothing further has been communicated to us at this point. The town has 45 days to appeal the decision, starting February 8th, which means the appeal deadline is March 24th. There are currently no indications from the town on whether they are going to file an appeal. From a legal perspective, it would be quite illogical, but it was illogical to fight us in the first place (remember the Mahwah case?), but they did, so if we are in a no-logic-zone then who knows how much deeper a hole they will dig for themselves.

In the meantime, Mr. Eisdorfer is filing a motion for clarification on the status of affordable units with the illegally modified deeds. He is also filing a motion for award of attorney's fees, since the town did something illegal that cost us money to fix. There is legal precedent and apparently also legislation which awards legal fees to the plaintiff in these situations. We expect both of these motions to be sorted out in the next couple of weeks.

Given the various loose ends, Mr. Eisdorfer advised all the affordable unit owners wishing to sell that they should probably talk to him first. Although the units with the original deeds are probably clear to sell, it might be prudent to wait for the dust to settle first.

There was quite a bit of discussion at the meeting on exactly how the association and the town will handle the affordable units that wish to remain affordable. The details of this plan will depend somewhat on how the town responds to the decision. If they cooperate with everyone, that's one plan, if they don't cooperate, then that's a different plan. Therefore, we will need to wait for some indication from the town.

Given what the town already tried to do to modify the affordable housing plan, it is likely they will offer the same terms if they agree to extend the controls for owners wishing to do so. That is, 30 year fixed term extension, and "recapture" of the "windfall" profit when the unit is finally sold out of controls.

In the meantime, the association fees for the affordable units will remain at the reduced rate for February and March. However, if you are an affordable unit owner wishing to continue free of control, when everything is sorted out you may be retroactively billed to February 8th for the other two-thirds of the maintenance fees. It is unlikely you will be billed all the way back to June, 2015 for the other two-thirds, although technically that is when the restrictions were originally supposed to end.

The missing two-thirds of the maintenance fees for affordable units wishing to extend the affordable controls is going to have to be handled somehow. This is a concern because a promise was also made to the regular unit owners that the subsidy for the affordable units was ending after 30 years. To avoid creating another aggrieved class of owners, the missing two-thirds of the maintenance fees will have to be paid by someone, at some point in time. We have a few ideas on how to handle this but first we need to see where the town stands.

As I believe I mentioned in a prior email, the other two-thirds of the subsidized affordable unit maintenance fees calculate out to $145,000 a year. Over a 30 year period, assuming only a 1% per year average increase in maintenance fees, that works out to over $5,000,000 in less revenue to the association, had the affordable housing plan been continued across the board, as the town was attempting to do. This is a significant amount of money, which is another reason this detail can't be overlooked.

I did write up a very detailed analysis of various ways of extending the controls to affordable owners wishing to extend, however it has not yet been publicly distributed. I will wait another week or two, and either way will probably send it at that time.

I keep forgetting to include the link to the Middlesex County land records website. You can download a copy of your deed, in case you can't find the original or don't have it. Several affordable unit owners have been asking if their deeds were modified. Go to:

Click the button on the left labeled "Start Searching", then scroll down and click "I agree" on the website disclaimer, then click on item 2, "Search by Party Name". Fill in your first and last name, as it appears on the deed, and push "Search" (you can narrow the search by entering more information in other boxes before pressing "Search", but it is a bit tricky). The system will come back with a list of documents recorded under the name you searched on. Somewhere in that list will be the deed. You might have to click on a couple of documents before you find it. The deed is usually document type "DD1", or "DEC", but not always. If you need a clean paper copy of your deed, there is some way to request that from the court house, and there is a nominal charge I think.

If you can't find the documents for your unit on the land-records web site as described above, it is probably because you are not entering your name correctly. You need to check your property tax bill and enter the name exactly as it appears on that bill. If you don't have your tax bill, there is another web site you can go to and look up your tax record and you can find the name on there, which you can enter in the county land records web site. The property tax web site is at:

The site is self-explanatory. The only trick I've encountered is when you search by street address, do NOT include any punctuation in the street address. For example, enter "13 canterbury ct", NOT "13 canterbury ct." That period after "ct" will cause the search to not work.

Once you have a copy of your deed, the thing to look for is any language mentioning a Township of Piscataway ordinance. If they mention an ordinance, then your deed has likely been illegally modified. If you find mention of "windfall", or you find mention that the agreement is extended another 30 years from time of purchase, then you definitely have an illegally modified deed. There will be language in the deed mentioning the affordable housing plan - which is supposed to be there, and I believe was supposed to be copied word-for-word from the association's master deed. It's the additional language that the town might have added that was illegal.

Vehicle Registration
Back around 2008, the association began requiring that any vehicles parked in the association on a regular basis be registered with the association office. The vehicle registration program was one component of a plan to deal with the ongoing parking problems in the complex. Another component of that plan was the second assigned parking spot rentals, and the request to the Township to create resident-only parking on Buckingham and Chesterfield. The town is still sitting on that proposal, after we did several thousand dollars of design and engineering work on it.

It is important that we can contact the owners of all the vehicles regularly parked in the association for at least three reasons. During snow storms, there are always a few cars parked in the streets which make it very difficult to efficiently remove the snow. We need to be able to contact the owners to get the cars moved during the storm. There are times when we need cars moved in order to do maintenance on the trees or walks or other common elements. Occasionally, residents park in the assigned spots of other units, which often prompts a call to the association office asking us to removed the illegally parked vehicle. To save everyone a lot of aggravation and cost, it is convenient to be able to look up the vehicle, call the owner, and have them move their car.

Over the last few weeks, we have been going through the parking lots and putting notices on un-registered vehicles. If you find such a notice on your car, and your car is not registered with the association, please complete the form and stop by the the office to pick up a parking sticker.


There are instructions on the above page to recover your password if you forgot or lost it. If you do register your cars yourself, you will still have to stop at the office sometime to pick up a Society Hill parking decal for your car. This is necessary so we know your vehicle is registered - otherwise you will continue to get notices asking you to register your vehicle! In addition, when we eventually get the parking signs changed on Chesterfield and Buckingham, the decal will be necessary to avoid a parking ticket from the town if you park on those main roads.


Editorial Comments - Greg Machyowsky - Trustee

HOMEOWNERS ALERT! As I feared and emphasized in my letter carried in the last community email news, the push to start the maintenance-fee escalator is on and almost successfully took off at the January 18 board meeting.

The surprise introduction of first-term Trustee George Tsacnaris' (now regrettably re-elected, in my humble opinion) proposal for a $12-dollar per month increase in fees for this year's everyday operating budget almost passed the governing body, with disappointing "yes" votes from two trustees in addition to Tsacnaris, and "no" votes from Kevin, Atif Nazir and me - the tie vote thus barely keeping this first $12 increase from passing. Zahid Khan, the seventh member of the board, who probably would have voted against the increase, was unfortunately absent.

The "barebones" budget submitted by Tsacarnis at the meeting was hardly even discussed before the vote, and that fact alone makes the board action pretty irresponsible, in almost casually deciding on taking an additional $144 per year in fees from the pockets of most of our 545 homeowners without spending more than a few minutes on analyzing Tsacnaris' proposal.

Please remember, once tacked on to the current fees paid by
owners, the hike will be part of every subsequent year's total fee assessment, and, even worse - if past experience is any teacher, will soon be added to with additional fee hikes almost routinely coming in forthcoming budget years (maybe even during the same budget year, according to sentiment voiced by one of Tsacnaris' allies on this vote).

To avoid or at least minimize this result, owners should get the "sense of the people" out to the governing body that fee control must continue as in the past eight years to be the top priority of the Association; one-million-dollars-plus a year (with small adjustments if at all necessary) must continue to be the cap figure for everyday costs of operations.

Calling the office (732-463-3434) or contacting Tsacnaris or other trustees directly (leave a message for forwarding by management if their individual phone numbers or email addresses are not released to you; only some trustees make these available (Trustee Tsacnaris doesn't).

Holding the line this way has been the policy for all the past eight years under self-management; it's well known there has been only one small fee increase in that time, balanced with at least one small fee reduction in the same period. That's solid evidence that costs can be kept under good control, if you have a board very serious about cost control; it should continue to be the policy under present circumstances.

Otherwise, get ready for the old practice coming back of getting on the fee-increase escalator and expecting fee increases, or special assessments, routinely in future budget years. Worse yet, and as Trustee Tsacnaris strongly advocates - it was the main point of his recent campaign statement -- building a very hefty capital improvement fund - and I mean millions, not just several hundred thousand dollars, to pay in advance for improvements and large repairs, will be an additional special assessment or fee-increase charge added to our monthly condo bill . The trustee apparently puts the organization's "fiscal stability" far above any concern for the pressure on owners' already-tight budgets (and tight budgets is surely the case with most owners, except for a small group which I would guess includes the trustee).

For the past eight years, we've managed to provide good services and low fees; I don't believe our constituents want to abandon that approach in exchange for the extreme fiscal philosophy Tsacnaris plans for a "cash-fat" organization. Moreover, one can fairly ask what, in his 30 years' residence here has he done, especially in the first twenty years of our poorly-run government, to evidence any interest in the real economy and reform that was brought about by the effort of the current board leadership. What that leadership promised, it produced; should we casually abandon it for just the empty prospect of doing better by spending a lot more?

None of the professional monitors (auditor, monthly tracker, investment adviser) of our finances have voiced any negative concerns I know of about the present financial situation of the Association, only George and his small entourage of mostly well-heeled supporters. They're quietly engineering a power shift here that will quite possibly result, I fear, in driving out of their homes low and moderate income owners because of excessive condo costs, to be replaced by upscale owners wanting a complex peopled by mostly their own.

My suggestion to all current owners: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"!
Greg Machyowsky, Trustee


DATE: Wednesday, February 24, 2016
TIME: 6:15 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Mt. Laurel Update, Community Cardio Tonight, and Editorial Comments
TYPE: Community News

The Association's attorney has filed the motion to clarify the status of all the Mt. Laurel owners who have deeds that were illegally modified over the last 30 years by the Township of Piscataway. The motion is a matter of public record, and can be viewed at:

The Association will also be filing a motion to claim its attorney's fees. We expect these last two issues to be resolved in the next several weeks. Once that happens, we will be able to finalize transition plans.

Community Cardio Workout

One of our residents is hosting a community exercise event at the clubhouse, this evening (Wednesday) at 7PM. If you are interested, please feel free to show up, and if you have any questions contact Nicole at 732-331-0731.

Editorial - George Tsacnaris, Trustee


That is a sound we might hear and not know where it came from or what it is. We can either investigate - because something might be broke - or we can ignore it and say "nothing was broke in the past so it cannot be broke now".

The responsibility I signed up for as a Board Member is to review and analyze the world as it exists TODAY and may exist TOMORROW. And base my actions on the ever-changing situation. Looking in the rear view mirror and saying "we did X 10 years ago and it worked for us - so let's always keep doing X" is not how I choose to act.

The facts that I have shared before remain compelling.
Some key ones are recapped below.

FACT: the revenue upon which all expenses (Operating, Capital) of Society Hill must be paid comes from the maintenance fees the Owners pay each month.

FACT: in the recent past Society Hill Reserve Fund had a balance of $2.5 Million

FACT: today the Society Hill Reserve Fund has a balance of about $800K.

FACT: every month the expenses taken from the Reserve Fund exceed the amount put into the Fund. Translation: the fund balance will keep decreasing if the status quo is maintained. Even in months when NO Capital work at all is done. Why is this? Because we have full-time staff allocated against the Reserve Fund that get paid every month. That total salary is greater than the contribution to the Fund.

FACT: at my request in mid-2015 an independent company was hired to conduct a study of our community to determine what our Reserve Fund balance should be. This would be the funds to replace roofs, repair Roads, build new facilities (Garage), make improvements (Pond), replace equipment, and all other capital upkeep that is required in any community. The study result stated that a Reserve Fund balance of over $4 Million (not a typo) is appropriate for Society Hill.

FACT: several years ago the Owners authorized improvements for a Garage and Pond. The total amount these projects will require is estimated between $500,000 and $700,000. Whatever the actual amount, this money will come from the Reserve Fund.

FACT: The Board and Management have not been able to implement an actual true balanced Operating budget in recent years. The Owners, via a vote, have asked the Board to have a true balanced budget (2014 Annual Meeting).

FACT: The Owners, via a vote, have asked the Board to allocate any additional Fees resulting from the Affordable Housing situation to the Reserve Fund. (2015 Annual Meeting, held January 2016) I am the individual that proposed this motion. These Fees will help stabilize the dwindling Reserve Fund but still does not cover projected future expenses.

I will close with an OPINION: based upon all the FACTS above it seems prudent for the Board to take some action. At least consider what actions are appropriate. Isn't that what the Board's main function is? Ensure the financial integrity of the community along with the physical integrity. They go together.

We need to look FORWARD in an open and transparent manner. Deal with our situation as needed and not live in the past because it is more convenient for us.

I would fully advocate an open community discussion on these matters. If at least 15 owners respond and indicate they would participate we will do this.


DATE: Monday, March 21, 2016
TIME: 5:22 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Board Meeting Reminder, Mt. Laurel Update, and More
TYPE: Community News

This is a reminder that the March Board of Trustees meeting is tonight (Monday), 7PM at the clubhouse. The agenda can be viewed at:

Preliminary minutes of the prior meeting will be available shortly at:

Since the last community email, we have finally heard back from the township's attorney regarding discussion of the Mt. Laurel transition plan. The town asked for a two week postponement of the two new motions we filed, to allow time for a meeting. The motions were postponed to April 1st, so there are about two weeks left for some discussion to take place. Aside from that there is nothing else to report. The maintenance fees are still at the reduced rate for all the Mt. Laurel units, but if this drags on too much longer we are going to have to come up with an interim plan.

In other news, design work continues on the maintenance building, with most of the issues resolved. I have been spending most of my time on this project, trying to get it pushed along as quickly as possible. There are some complicated systems in that building, and the design was further complicated by the various restrictions placed on it by the town. In the end we still need to have a functional building.

I recently received another data point on the cost of community-wide internet service. That project still moves forward in the background. Conduit has been buried up to all 48 buildings, with just one 200 foot run missing in front of building 31. The missing run will be installed when we repair the walkways in front of that building in the near future. Over the winter when there wasn't much else to do we installed the pull-lines in all the conduit, in preparation for the eventual installation of power and fiber cables. The cost of bulk service continues to come down, with the monthly recurring cost now in the $4/unit/month range.

We are formulating a plan to re-configure all the walkways in front of the 3-story condo buildings. There are several issues with the current layout. The walks in front of building 30, 31, and 32 are quite deteriorated and are not going to pass DCA inspection next year. We want to have this plan together before any walkways are repaired so over the years as they need to be fixed, they will all be done in the same uniform style.

The Knights of Columbus is collecting dry and canned food for less-fortunate families. There is a donation box at the clubhouse for anyone wishing to give.

The Wednesday group exercise event has gathered some momentum and is still taking place every Wednesday, 7 PM, at the clubhouse. Unfortunately the town shot down the idea of any community space in the new maintenance building, but we can still accommodate quite a big group at the clubhouse. If there are any questions contact Nicole at 732-331-0731.

Most of the people reading this are already aware, but in case there are some new-comers, we wanted to remind everyone to put their trash inside the dumpster and not on the ground outside the dumpster. Although the crew goes around to all the dumpsters at least 3 times a week, we don't go every day and trash can sit on the ground for a few days, especially over the weekend. We have had some pretty serious problems in Society Hill in past years with animals and rats going through the bags. Things improved in the condo areas when we put the dumpsters in several years ago, so we don't want to end up back where we were.

The irrigation system will be turned back on this week and any broken sprinkler heads repaired. The crew is also going around cleaning up the remaining leaves, branches, and other debris on the lawn in preparation for the spring turf treatment and fertilization, which will be taking place in a few weeks.

Finally, we are making an extra effort lately to get all the vehicles registered which are routinely parked in Society Hill. We had quite a problem during the big snow storm this winter with vehicles parked in the street with no contact information. If you receive a yellow flyer on your car, please stop by the office to register your vehicle and get a parking decal. You can also register your vehicles yourself, which I believe I explained in a prior email. You would still need to stop at the office to pickup a decal though. The parking decal helps us identify which vehicles are registered so we know not to put a yellow flyer. Also, at some point in the future when/if the town lets us paint parking stalls on the main roads, the decal will be necessary to avoid receiving a parking ticket. This is why the decals need to be placed on the rear window behind the driver. This makes it visible from the street-side of a parallel-parked car.



DATE: Saturday, March 26, 2016
TIME: 11:18 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: **IMPORTANT** Mt. Laurel Update, and Recycling This Week
TYPE: Community News

There are several new developments involving the Mt. Laurel litigation. The 45 day appeal deadline passed last Thursday, March 24th. To my knowledge, the Township has not filed an appeal, and their actions subsequent to March 24th confirm that.

Late Thursday afternoon, I was advised through another channel that the township was planning to send a letter to all the affordable unit owners, advising them that their units are no longer affordable, that their property taxes are going to increase, and that there will be a meeting on April 6 at the Piscataway municipal building.

By Saturday afternoon, I began receiving word from some residents that they have indeed received such a letter. My original understanding was that some form of negotiation was going to take place first. Either that negotiation has already taken place without the association's direct involvement, or there has been no negotiation.

An email from the township's attorney to our attorney last Wednesday seemed to indicate that the township is at a different place in the "negotiations" than the association is. Presumably any such agreement would need to be reviewed by the board, and thus far nothing has been officially presented, and the town is already sending out a letter implying that everything has been settled and a plan is in place, to be presented on April 6th.

The two motions that the town asked us to postpone, which we did, are scheduled for Friday April 1st. That is 4 business days from now. The town attorney is asking for another 2 week postponement of those motions. If you recall, these motions are for award of our attorney's fees, and clarification of the status of the affordable units with the modified deeds. It is very clear to me that the town is trying to get us to drop the motion for award of attorney's fees, which are predicted to end up at over $100k.

Even though there is a chance that some real negotiation will finally take place early next week, I can't help but get the feeling that once again plans and decisions are being unilaterally made without our involvement.

The Township's letter was clearly written to make the association look like the "bad guy" in this matter, at least to the Mt. Laurel owners wishing to keep their units affordable. I think we have done a reasonably good job of communicating the complexities of this case to all our owners, regular and affordable, and that owners will not be panicked and my phone won't be ringing day and night, as the letter clearly anticipates. In case there is any remaining concern, the association, with or without the cooperation of the Township of Piscataway, still intends to follow through on the plan to accommodate the affordable unit owners wishing to remain affordable, and at the same not burden the remaining unit owners with another 30 year subsidy.

Word has filtered back to me that the town may have already approached some affordable unit owners regarding re-enlistment of their units in affordable status. If this is true, as far as the association is concerned, there has been no mutually agreed transition plan between it and the town!!! There is probably some legal question as to whether the town can even enter in to such an agreement with an affordable unit owner without the association's approval. Therefore, we would strongly caution all affordable unit owners against signing anything presented to them by the Township until a mutual agreement has been reached between the association and the town. If this negotiation doesn't take place early next week, then we would also strongly caution against signing any agreements presented to affordable owners at the April 6th meeting at the township.

It is very likely that any agreement conceived of by the town is going to include a "re-capture" clause, which is going to allow the town to grab most or all of the excess profit when the unit is finally sold out of affordable control, presumably in 2045. In another 30 years this could amount to an even larger sum of money, which in the original plan was intended to go back to the affordable owners. Although 30 years is a ways out there, this is a considerable compromise that should be carefully considered.

In addition to trying to recapture the eventual profits, the town is also suggesting to stick the association for at least some of the lost maintenance fees from the extending affordable units. This has come up at a few of the meetings and I highly doubt the association is going to be agreeable to this, and if such a plan is somehow forced on us it will likely lead to further legal conflict.

Finally, and call this an editorial if you like, I would caution everyone about entering in to agreements with the township in general. Remember this is the same town that has unilaterally, and somewhat surreptitiously, changed agreements it has made in the past, and stood by that change in spite of contrary evidence. What is there to say that at some point in the future they won't try to unilaterally change the new agreement? And then come back again with the line "if you don't like it, sue us". I doubt many other association boards would have assisted with this issue as we have, and there is no guarantee that such support is going to be there in the future when and if it is needed again. I'm sure the town is aware of this, and I wouldn't trust them, but that's just me.

Obviously, there will be further updates this coming week as required, and certainly another before the town's April 6th meeting. Recycling is this coming Wednesday.. still seeing some bins out on the off-weeks. WEB site calendar is correct:



DATE: Wednesday, April 6, 2016
TIME: 1:51 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Township Mt. Laurel Meeting **TODAY**, Food Drive, Editorial Comments, Recycling NEXT week
TYPE: Community News

As far as I know, the Mt. Laurel owner meeting scheduled by the Township of Piscataway for today, Wednesday, April 6th, 7PM at the municipal complex on Hoes Lane, is still on. I have received word that the town has been calling some residents, asking if they will be attending or not, so that is why I assume the meeting is still on.

Unfortunately I have no further word on the agenda for the Township's meeting. I do know that as far as any mutual settlement agreement between the Township of Piscataway and Society Hill is concerned, there is currently no such agreement. We are still in the negotiation phase. There has finally been some exchange between our attorney and the town's attorney. I don't know if the town will be trying to present any documents for signature this evening - if they do, those documents and the agreement they might represent have not been reviewed by Society Hill or its attorney. I can't believe they would try and do this, but lately I wouldn't put anything past them.

As I mentioned in a prior email, I would CAUTION AGAINST SIGNING ANYTHING AT THIS POINT, until the association and its attorney has had time to review it.

For those Mt. Laurel owners wishing NOT to re-enlist in the affordable housing plan, you do NOT have to do anything. Your unit is already released from control if you are an original owner (bought in 1985/6), and probably released from control even if you bought later and your deed was modified by the town. Just sit tight and give us another month or so to tie up the loose ends. You might still want to attend the town's meeting, just to see what they are up to. For instance, there is a chance they will try to "bribe" affordable unit owners in to re-enlisting their units.

For those Mt. Laurel owners wishing to re-enlist their unit in the affordable housing plan, you WILL have to sign something at some point in time, probably with the Township of Piscataway. The exact terms of that agreement are still under negotiation, so I will have to reserve comment until that is sorted out. Some more information might be released at the meeting tonight. Again, there is a chance they will offer some form of cash incentive to re-enlist, but there will probably be a catch in there somewhere.

Most likely, a part of the settlement agreement will be that the association drop its two motions pending before the court - the motion requesting clarification of the status of the affordable units with the modified deeds, and the motion asking the court to award the association its legal fees. In exchange, the town would agree to some form of settlement with us.

Personally, I would be very reluctant to give up the motion for award of our attorney's fees, which are probably going to be near $100k by the time this is all over. The town had ample opportunity to negotiate some sort of agreement with us, especially in light of the Mahwah case several months prior. Our attorney sent a detailed letter outlining that case and suggesting negotiation, and I and about 30 residents attended a council meeting last year to encourage the town council to do the sensible thing and talk to us. Instead, Mayor Wahler refused to engage us and furthermore directed his council to do the same, and they all immediately complied. Mind you, these are our elected officials, presumably elected to represent us, or at least talk to us. This was all prior to the lawsuit being filed. Finally, shortly after we filed suit, even the judge encouraged the town to settle with us - which they also ignored!

As I said before, when they think I'm over here doing something illegal, they start writing me tickets. Now when they do something illegal, and especially something on this scale and involving millions of dollars, I can't write them a ticket. There has to be some consequence to the arrogance. They took a calculated legal risk - and lost. They are hardly "innocent lambs" in all this.

See you tonight at 7, unless they won't let me in!!!


Food Drive

The Knights of Columbus are still conducing their food drive. Anyone wishing to donate can bring items to the clubhouse and put them in the box.

EDITORIAL - Word to Society Hill at Piscataway Homeowners - Re-signing on to Expired Mt. Laurel Controls

My immediate reaction to what clearly is Mayor Wahler's policy and letter mailed to Society Hill Mt. Laurel owners (regardless of being signed by one of his administrators), setting up an April 6 meeting to promote re-signing of the former 106 unit owners to the expired Mt. Laurel restrictions, would be singling out his apparent intention to continue the subsidy of the those re-signed units by the 439 full-pay unit owners. That subsidy has involved for 30 years the payment of two-thirds of the usual monthly maintenance fee charged - a great deal of money out of full-pay owners' pocketbooks for the 30 years ended in June, 2015.

Continuing that subsidy seems implicit in the Mayor's call for the April 6 meeting, and full-pay owners should vigorously oppose continuing it. One alternative would be for the Township to provide it, given the strong financial interest the Mayor seems to think the Township has in having as many as possible of the 106 former Mt. Laurel units resume Mt. Laurel status (thus avoiding the Township's requiring builders to provide replacement units).

Requiring full-pay owners once again to subsidize Mt. Laurel unit fees for 30 years involves a lot of money being drawn from market rate owners' pocketbooks over the years for the subsidy; they must now show the energy and interest to make very clear to city hall their determined opposition to any such plan.

One effective way, among others that might be considered, is owners very soon and prior to the to the meeting "flooding" city hall with phone calls to the Mayor's office: (732-562-2301); in addition, full-pay owners as well should attend the meeting to make very clear by rising to speak their adamant opposition to any plan tor the continued subsidy.

Society Hill's two councilmen, elected from our Township's 2nd and 3rd Ward respectively, and who as far as I can tell have been fully supportive of the Mayor's housing policy (including the many actions ruled to be beyond the Township's authority in the recent court opinion of February 8, 2016) should also hear from their constituents - on the subsidy question, as well as two further issues mentioned below: Councilman Jim Bullard, Ward 2: 732-463-3927, and Councilman Steven D. Cahn, Ward 3: 732-748-1224; both should be called, too.

Also, continuing the just-expired policy (termed the "recapture clause") forcing Mt. Laurel owners who choose to sell their units to turn over to a Township "building fund" the difference between what the Township will determine to be the controlled selling price and the true market value and obtainable sales price (the former is far less than the latter) are also two features of the just-expired Mt. Laurel Township policy, which, presumably, are sought to be renewed and from an owner's point of view are highly objectionable.

For those former Mt. Laurel owners who have been depending on eventual use of the accumulated cash value of the unit as collateral to refinance debt owed on the property or otherwise raise cash, they should ask whether the restrictions will interfere with that goal; availability of reverse mortgages seem from my research to be especially problematical in that respect.

These questions should be seriously and knowledgably addressed by Township officials before asking homeowners to commit to restrictions affecting sales price or refinancing. The Wednesday, April 6 meeting at 7 p.m. should be the forum at which any such restrictions homeowners are being asked to sign on to are frankly and fully discussed.

Greg Machyowsky, Trustee


DATE: Monday, April 11, 2016
TIME: 8:18 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Township Mt. Laurel Meeting Report, Water Company Letters, and Missing Bike
TYPE: Community News

The Township's Mt. Laurel meeting took place as planned on Wednesday the 6th. There were about 45 people in the audience. A presentation was made by the township's attorney, Michael Baker, with occasional comments by another township attorney, Jim Clarkin, and a third attorney from Mr. Baker's firm, Emil Philibosian. There were no other Township representatives present, nor Mayor Wahler.

Mr. Baker stated that the purpose of the meeting was to gauge interest amongst affordable unit owners in extending the affordable controls on their units. He gave an overview of the Mt. Laurel plan and the recent litigation between us and the Township. Since the details of the settlement plan have not been worked out yet, he couldn't provide too much more information. However, there was mention of a possible cash incentive to affordable owners who re-enlist in the plan. Presumably, the incentive is to cover the additional maintenance fees, although I'm not entirely certain, and there are other ideas being discussed to handle the maintenance fee reduction for extending affordable owners.

There was one comment from the town that I need to address. They claim all this was an innocent mistake, and that they were given bad legal advice. Be that as it may, after the Mahwah case, it should have been pretty clear that the advice was bad, however the town refused to acknowledge that possibility and instead pushed us in to litigation. On top of that, the judge suggested settling months ago, prior to everyone spending a whole bunch of money, which in retrospect sounds like he was giving everyone a hint.

Even though I feel that we have put out a lot of information on the Mt. Laurel subject over the past several months, fielded questions at board meetings and one-on-one, and held two well-attended public meetings with our attorney present, there still seems to be some confusion. One resident at the meeting even thought the association lost the case. Just to clarify - the association won the case.

There is also some misunderstanding over why we entered in to litigation in the first place. The affordable housing plan for Society Hill was supposed to expire in June of 2015. That's written in black-and-white. The Township, innocently in their mind, changed the plan. They were not allowed to change the plan - it was a contract. We sued them to force them to change the plan back to the original plan. We won. The motivation was not the association or me or anyone else trying to get anyone to pay more money. It was to get the town to honor the original agreement. If agreements such as this have no force, then it undermines the concept of making agreements, which has far-reaching ramifications.

We have gone, and continue to go, way out of our way to come up with a plan to accommodate affordable unit owners that wish to keep their units affordable. Most likely we will come to some agreement that will allow them to continue at a reduced property tax assessment and reduced maintenance fees. This has to be done in some way as to not aggrieve the other 439 plus unit owners, a point which came to the surface at the meeting.

Some of the misunderstanding is a result of the Township's actions. They altered the deeds of many affordable units at the time of sale, which understandably left the new owners with the impression that their unit was going to remain affordable well in to the future. I doubt anyone thought to question them, or research the terms of the affordable housing plan on their own. It is unfortunate this happened, but this is not the association's fault.

Some affordable unit owners didn't even realize until recently that they owned an affordable unit. I have no idea how this misunderstanding originated, because presumably an application process is required, and there is a waiting list, and the town is involved in the whole process.

At the end of the meeting, there was a sign-up sheet for anyone wishing to receive future information from the town on extending the affordable controls. If you couldn't make the meeting and want to be added to the list, I assume you can call the Community Development department at the township.

Letters from NJ American Water
A handful of residents have called the office over the last few weeks saying they have received a letter from the water company regarding a water meter change. The letter is legitimate, however the water company has incorrect information on the location of the water meters. All water meters in Society Hill are outside the unit. While there is no need to be home when they come to change the meter, you will still have to call them and let them know that.

Missing Bicycle
A resident in the Manchester/Norwich Court area reported that they are looking for an orange and black kid bicycle what seems to have gone missing Friday night. If anyone has seen such a bike, please let us know.

Recycling is this week.



DATE: Monday, May 16, 2016
TIME: 2:55 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Board Meeting Reminder, Mt. Laurel Update, and More
TYPE: Community News

This is a reminder that the May Board of Trustees Meeting is this evening, May 16th, 7PM at the clubhouse. The agenda is available at:

Unfortunately, we are still waiting on the Mt. Laurel negotiation between us and the town to finish. We were expecting this to be done by now, but the back-and-forth with the town on the details of the settlement is taking some time. Thus, the 2016 budget is still up in the air, so there isn't likely to be any decision on the budget or the settlement agreement at this board meeting.

The Middlesex County Tax Board has sent out letters to all the Mt. Laurel owners advising that there will be a change in the property tax assessment for their units. This is similar to the letter already sent by the town a few months ago. Even though the status of the affordable units with the illegally modified deeds are still in limbo, both the town and the county have sent these letters to all the affordable unit owners.

As with any change in property tax assessment, there is an opportunity to appeal the new assessment if you feel it is not accurate. The letter mentions a date and time if you wish to dispute the change before the County Board of Taxation.

Both of these letters were sent prematurely. The status of the affordable units with the illegally modified deeds should have been sorted out first, either through negotiation with the town, or by the court. Next, the units wishing to remain affordable should have been identified. At that point, the property tax assessment letters could have gone out to the affordable unit owners wishing to end the controls. That would have made sense.

Under the current sequence of events, the property tax assessments for ALL the affordable units will be changed, and then they will have to be changed back for the affordable units wishing to remain affordable. The judge intentionally did not decide on the fate of the affordable units with the illegally modified deeds. He probably had a reason for leaving them in limbo. By sending out their letter a few months ago, the town has unilaterally decided that the restrictions have ended for ALL the affordable units. This directly contradicts what the judge ruled, but once again, I guess the town doesn't have to follow the rules.

Maintenance Garage Update

The construction deadline imposed by the Township Zoning Board in December of 2014 has obviously been missed. We were supposed to have the building completed by December of 2015. As a formality, the association had to go before the zoning board to apply for an extension on the construction deadline. The Zoning Board granted a 10 month extension, and has asked for monthly reports on the progress of the project. Mayor Wahler is still interfering heavily with the zoning board from behind the scenes. I see there are also several misconceptions over the situation here, which I will be rectifying in those monthly reports.

There has been considerable progress with the building design over the past few months. Specifically, most of the fuel storage and dispensing detail have been sorted out. Some final changes have been made to the footprint, and the architect is presumably working on the heating, plumbing, and electrical details.

One of the restrictions imposed by the zoning board ("imposed by Mayor Wahler" is how that should really read) is that the pile of dirt at the pond be either removed or submitted for approval before permits will be issued for the maintenance garage. Someone contacted me last week who needs dirt and if that works out they will haul away the hill for free. That would resolve the issue with the hill, however it would change the plan with the pond landscaping improvements.

You may have noticed that we have cleaned up around the clubhouse area. Any of the tools and materials that are not in active use have been moved to off-site storage. This was to satisfy the town and the Zoning Board. There are still some areas around the tennis court that we are working on cleaning as well.

Tennis Courts

We have begun repair on the clubhouse tennis court. Most of the parts are here, however we are still waiting on the posts. The net system has been redesigned to tolerate the forces exerted on it by people sitting on the net. The posts are being upgraded to 6" diameter, buried 7' in the ground. The cable is being upgraded to 1/2" thick, 6,000lbs rating, and the tensioning crank is being replaced by a turnbuckle for safety and vandal resistance reasons. The holes were dug because we weren't sure what what in the ground and didn't want to discover after-the-fact that we couldn't dig down as far as we wanted.

Nearby Burglary

I received a report last week of a house burglary on a street nearby Society Hill. As these events usually occur in bursts, keep an eye out.


The pool is scheduled to open for Memorial Day, weather permitting. It's been pretty cool this spring, so hopefully it will warm up soon. The pool was drained and resurfaced a month ago. We are having some issues with the salt chlorine generator - it blew up after only two years - but we will get that sorted out and in the meantime we have a backup chlorine system so it's not a problem really.

If you don't have pool passes, stop by the office sometime and we will print them for you. If you have passes from prior years, those are still good unless they have expired, in which case we need to take a new picture and print a new pass.

Recycling is NEXT Wednesday.



DATE: Monday, July 18, 2016
TIME: 7:01 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Board Meeting Reminder and Annual Picnic
TYPE: Community News

This is a reminder that the July Board of Trustees meeting is tonight, Monday, July 18th, 7PM at the clubhouse. The agenda for the meeting is available at:

There is currently only one item on the agenda - the settlement agreement between the association and the town in the Mt. Laurel litigation.

Minutes of the prior meeting are available on the WEB site at:

The Annual Picnic is currently scheduled for Friday, August 5th, 4 to 8PM in the usual place.



DATE: Friday, August 5, 2016
TIME: 6:26 PM
TO: All Residents
TYPE: Community News

The Annual Society Hill at Piscataway picnic is TODAY, Friday August 5th, from 4 to 8 PM in the field next to building 5.



DATE: Friday, August 5, 2016
TIME: 6:26 PM
TO: All Residents
TYPE: Community News

The Annual Society Hill at Piscataway picnic is TODAY, Friday August 5th, from 4 to 8 PM in the field next to building 5.



DATE: Wednesday, August 24, 2016
TIME: 8:39 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Affordable Housing Survey, and Editorial Comment
TYPE: Community News

After several more rounds of negotiation, we finally have an extension offer from the Township of Piscataway that we can present to the affordable unit owners. The details of the township's offer are as follows:

1-The extension would be for 30 more years, expiring in 2045.

2-All the past restrictions would still apply, such as the unit must be owner-occupied, it can't be rented, and it can only be sold to an eligible low or moderate income buyer at a controlled price.

3-The property tax assessment would remain at the reduced affordable value and therefore the property taxes would remain reduced.

4-In addition, after the controls finally expire in 2045 and the unit is sold any time after 2045, the township would capture 95% of the difference between the full-market price and the controlled price.

5-Although as provided in our master deed, maintenance fees automatically increase to full rate, Piscataway would subsidize maintenance fees so that they remain at one-third the full rate for approximately 4 years.

We distributed a survey today to all the affordable unit owners, asking for a final decision based on the town's offer. To help with that decision, some further detail on the terms are provided below:

1-The duration of the extension is for 30 years. The town was not interested in a shorter or a variable-length term. Originally we were hoping to end the extension when the extending owner sells or dies, however the town insisted on a fixed term of 30 years. It is difficult for them to plan if the terms are variable.

2-All the restrictions of the old plan would still apply to the new plan. However, the town has declined to "re-qualify" extending unit owners. This means that they don't care if the income situation of the affordable owner has changed enough that they no longer qualify, and they are not interested in using this transition to confirm owner-occupancy. The enforcement of the rules would be left as it currently is, with the town basically relying on other owners or the association to report possible violations.

3-The property tax assessments would remain as they were after the recent township-wide revaluation. After the revaluation, the property taxes for many affordable units went up dramatically. Low-income affordable units are now paying around $1,900 a year, and moderate-income affordable units are paying around $3,800 a year.

Although extending the affordable control would keep the property taxes lower, it is not much of a difference for the moderate-income affordable units. The full-market rate property taxes are going to be somewhere around $4,200 a year, meaning a savings of only about $400 a year in property taxes for the moderate-income affordable units. The low-income affordable units would save about $2,300 a year on property taxes, if they elected to remain affordable.

4-Under the old affordable housing plan, affordable unit owners selling their unit after the 30 years are allowed to keep the "windfall" profits - the difference between the full market value of the unit and the controlled affordable price. In other words, if you are an affordable unit owner and you chose to end the affordable controls and sell your unit today, you would keep all the profit from the sale. One affordable unit recently sold for $188,000. The low-income controlled price was $70,000, so that is a difference of $118,000, and an additional profit of $118,000 for the selling owner.

If the unit was a moderate-income unit, the controlled price would have been around $115,000, leaving a windfall profit of about $73,000. Keep in mind these numbers are based on the selling price of one particular affordable unit, which may or may not be what others sell for in the future.

Under the new affordable housing plan proposal, the town will include the "95/5" clause, which will allow them to take 95% of the windfall profit. In the example above, that would amount to the town taking $112,000, and leaving the owner with $6,000. The town already tried to do this by modifying the old affordable housing plan, however the court ruled that action was illegal. They CAN, however, legally do this going forward under a new affordable plan.

Recapture is an important issue to consider when thinking about renewing the affordability controls for another 30 years. If you renew, you are walking away from a considerable amount of money when you eventually sell the unit. However, all that money will be tied up in the equity of the unit until it is sold, and not immediately accessible. You might need it now for paying increased property taxes and maintenance fees, or other expenses. There are financial instruments that might allow access to that equity immediately, but at the cost of a smaller profit in the future.

Another significant factor to consider is the length of time you plan to remain in the unit. If you are staying for another 30 years, the savings on property taxes and savings on four years of reduced maintenance fees is more significant than if you only stay for another 5 years. For example, in the case of a low-income affordable unit, the property tax savings is currently about $2,300 a year. Over a 30-year period that would amount to at least $70,000 - and probably more, because taxes will go up. The savings on the reduced maintenance fees for the first four years would amount to around $5,500, for a total savings around $75,500. If you only stay for another 5 years, total savings might be around $16,500.

For a moderate-income affordable unit the savings would be considerably less since the property taxes are already close to the full market property taxes. Over 30 years, $400 a year of property tax savings totals to $12,000, plus the $5,500 maintenance fee savings, for a total savings of $17,500.

The value of the units 30 years from now will probably be more than it is now, but difficult to predict exactly. Over the past thirty years, the units have almost tripled in value. In all the above cases, even if the units only double over the next 30 years, the savings in property taxes and maintenance fees are not enough to equal the increase in equity over that period of time. Again for example, assume a low-income affordable unit could be sold in 2045 for $380,000. The windfall profit is $310,000, which is far greater than the $75,500 that was saved in property taxes and maintenance fees. At the end of 30 years, you would have an extra $234,500.

Even if the unit was still the same price in 2045, the windfall profit is still $120,000, which is $44,500 more than the savings. At the end of 30 years, you would have an extra $44,500.

5-Our master deed provides that the maintenance fees go to the same full-market rate for all units in 2015. This means that technically, the maintenance fees for all the affordable units, regardless of their affordable status, was supposed to change to full market rate in June of 2015.

Presumably, all affordable unit owners were aware of this, and had adequate time to prepare for the change. However, as a result of the towns interference in the affordable housing plan, many affordable unit owners might have been left with the understanding that the fees would not change for many more years. As a result of this, the settlement proposal contains a provision wherein the township will subsidize the increased maintenance fees for the extending affordable units owners for a period of approximately 4 years. The reason we keep saying approximately 4 years is because the subsidy is actually stated as a dollar amount of $5,472 per unit. At the current maintenance fees of $171 a month, the extending affordable unit owner would be paying $57 a month, and the town would be kicking in the remaining $114 a month. The town would do this until the $5,472 was expended, which works out to 48 months, or 4 years. If the maintenance fees change over the next 4 years, the length of that subsidy would change as well.

The original plan was for the town to subsidize the maintenance fees until the current owner sells, however the town declined after realizing the possible money this amounts to and the open ended nature. It is impossible to predict when the units would sell which makes budgeting difficult. The settlement agreement does leave open the possibility of the association deferring some portion of maintenance fee payments on affordable units after the township subsidy is expended. This concept had been previously floated but not everyone was comfortable with it.

Again, a survey form was delivered to the door of every affordable unit in the complex Wednesday morning. If you didn't receive one, contact the management office for a replacement, or you can download it at:

Please try to have the survey back to us by Monday August 29th.


Editorial Comments - Gregory Machyowsky, 448 Lancaster Ct.


There are two main concerns which you should keep in mind as the Board of Trustees acts on winding up the Mt. Laurel issue:

1- You want the inevitable monthly fee increase of $114 - to cause you a minimum of financial hardship;

2- You want to be able to sell your unit at full market value, not at a much lower Township-controlled price from now on.

The Township "settlement agreement" does not really help very much with either of those objectives:

It binds you legally FOR THE NEXT 30 YEARS to sell only at the controlled price set by the Township, and only to a buyer who has been placed on a list of buyers who qualify for low and moderate-income housing.

AFTER 30 YEARS you, or whoever is the owner of the unit at that time, can sell at full market value but MUST TURN OVER TO THE TOWNSHIP TREASURY 95% of the difference, between the controlled price of the property and the much higher full (market) value of the property, for use for "community housing" purposes. Remember, this is money which you were promised under the original Township affordable housing plan to be yours after expiration of the 30-year period of the original plan.

In addition, the Township plan binds you legally as owner to occupy the property, not to rent it out, and observe the other original plan restrictions.

In return, you'll be assessed the full-pay monthly maintenance fee (now $171) but 2/3 of that fee will be paid by the Township for you, to a cap of $5,472 (enough for 4 YEARS SUBSIDY AT 2/3 of $171); AFTER THAT, YOU HAVE TO PAY THE FULL MONTHLY MAINTENANCE FEE ON YOUR OWN. Also, in return for signing on to the Township plan, YOUR PROPERTY WILL BE ASSESSED FOR 30 YEARS AT THE CONTROLLED PRICE.

So, in exchange for a few thousand dollars' subsidy and probably what amounts to a few hundred dollars a year in property tax savings, you'll be giving up a substantial property right, that is, the right to sell your property at full value, for 30 years, and after that, 95% of the difference between the controlled and market value price will have to be paid to the Township upon sale of the property, plus you'll be bound by the other restrictions of the expired plan.

In almost all cases, this proposed deal would seem to be of more financial advantage to the municipality than to the homeowner. There are 104 Mt. Laurel properties at Society Hill (not to mention the total of units in other Piscataway condo communities which may be in the same legal status as we in terms of Township controls), and the amount of money to be "recaptured" by the Township , as a result of in effect confiscating 95% of sales price increases over the years being turned over to the municipal treasury, is, simply staggering (see Kevin Wine's examples in his current community email). That is money that would ordinarily go into the property owners' pockets, as was intended by the original affordable housing plan for Society Hill.

And the fee relief (subsidy) for four years, in the form of the Township's paying the first 48 months of the $114 fee increase, seems relatively slight compared to what the Township eventually gains. The end result is that the plan offered by the Township does very little to accomplish the important objective of easing the increased fee burden on Mt. Laurel owners, and nothing to accomplish the other main objective for Mt. Laurel owners, namely, permitting them to sell at market value from now on.

A simpler, and more equitable, arrangement can and should be made, and it needs no participation of the Township in any "settlement agreement" or any other legal action: In brief, it calls for letting the NJ Superior Court's judgment in New Brunswick of February 8 stand, and not be "vacated" by the Board of Trustee's accepting the Township plan. It requires only our Board of Trustees' politely declining rather than agreeing to the Township's offered plan.

Since the judgement unequivocally holds that the Township's original Mt. Laurel plan, with its controls on sales price, fee payments, occupancy and all other restrictions, expired on June 15, 2015 and can't be arbitrarily renewed as attempted by the Township council. MT. LAUREL OWNERS ARE NOW FREE TO EXERCISE THE SAME PROPERTY RIGHTS AS ANY OTHER UNIT OWNERS AT SOCIETY HILL, INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO SELL AT FULL MARKET VALUE AND KEEP ALL THE SALES PROCEEDS, SO LONG AS THEY DO NOT SIGN ANY NEW AGREEMENT CURTAILING THAT RIGHT.

But what, you might ask, does the simpler plan to be outlined here do about the increased fees?

Here the answer lies entirely with the board. You can't simply ignore the bylaws, master deed and other Society Hill legal documents clearly calling for the original affordable housing controls, including the reduced maintenance fee, to which both Mt. Laurel and full-pay original owners agreed at the time of purchase, just as you cannot ignore the direction of those documents that the controls expire after 30 years, but THE BOARD CAN CERTAINLY MINIMIZE THE FINANCIAL HARDSHIP OF PAYING THE LEGALLY-REQUIRED AND MUCH-INCREASED FEES FOR MT. LAUREL UNITS. How? By assessing the new monthly fees but DEFERRING PAYMENT until the owner sells the property (and presumably has extra cash to pay the fees).

Deferment would take the same form as is usually applied to money owed the Association, that is, by placing a lien on the unit to secure payment, and perhaps assessing a modest interest charge. This lien approach is actually suggested in the Township's proposed plan, when any owners signing up for the Township's plan and having used up the 4-year fee subsidy might look to the board of trustees to authorize deferring payment of subsequent fees until the first sale of the property following expiration of the resale controls.

Deferring payment may actually make the difference between some Mt. Laurel owners being able to continue to reside here, given the fee increase, and being forced to move because of the increase. So the board should not hesitate to come up with a measure like this to avoid undue hardship.

That's where you, the current Mt. Laurel owner come in. It's of utmost importance that you get word to the board that you do not favor joining the Township's new control plan on affordable housing units and instead want the board to let the court's decision of February 8 taking controls off stand and a deferred payment plan or similar procedure be set up by the board to minimize the hardship the new fees will be causing.

A call or email to the Society Hill office (732-463-3434 or management@societyhillpiscataway) asking that this message be passed on to all trustees would be very helpful. And attendance in person at the next board meeting, scheduled for Monday, September 19, 7 p.m. at the clubhouse, would be even more effective. The stakes are high for all Mt. Laurel owners, I kid you not! So please act to have the right to sell your property at full market value and minimize the hardship of paying the new fees. I can't think of a matter that's come before the board more important to individual owners than this one.


Greg Machyowsky
Trustee, Society Hill at Piscataway Condominium Ass'n.


DATE: Monday, August 29, 2016
TIME: 1:58 AM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Mt. Laurel Survey Reminder
TYPE: Community News

As of Sunday, we have received 25 survey responses, which is about 25% of the remaining 104 affordable units. On Monday (tomorrow), the office staff will be contacting all affordable unit owners who have not yet responded. The results of this survey are critical to our negotiations with the township over the proposed affordable housing settlement agreement. If you have not yet returned your survey, please do so asap. If you lost it or didn't receive it in the first place, you can download it from:

A few questions have come up that I wanted to address:

-The survey is only for the affordable units. If you are in a regular unit, you do not have to return a survey.

-Some affordable owners did not notice that the town's offer subsidizes the maintenance fees for only a period of approximately 4 years. For the remaining 26 years of the extended controls, the maintenance fees would be the regular full rate (currently $171 a month).

-Every affordable unit would have the option of extending controls, independent of the other affordable units. In other words, this is not an all-in or all-out agreement. Even if only one unit wants to extend controls, they could still do so, and the remaining affordable units could be regular.

-We still don't know when the maintenance fee increase will begin for the expired affordable units, and if the increase will be back-dated. We also don't know exactly when the property tax assessments will change, or if those will be back-dated as well.

-We are not anticipating any special assessments to cover the legal fees (which are over $100k by the way) for this lawsuit. The additional revenue from the regular maintenance fees of the expiring units should cover the fees in less than a year, plus under the proposed settlement agreement, the town is kicking in $25k towards the fees - not much, but it's something.



DATE: Tuesday, August 30, 2016
TIME: 3:26 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: ***Special Mt. Laurel Meeting TONIGHT***
TYPE: Community News

There is a special meeting of the Board of Trustees scheduled for tonight, Tuesday, August 30th, at the clubhouse, 7PM. The purpose of the meeting is to come to a decision on the Mt. Laurel settlement agreement between the association and the town.

We are advising all residents, both affordable owners and regular owners, because this lawsuit and the proposed settlement effects everyone. If anyone has any further comments regarding this case, this is an opportunity to convey them to the board. Since this matter falls under the "pending litigation" exception to the open public meetings act, some portion of the meeting will probably be closed to the public as there are still a few strategically sensitive topics relating to the settlement agreement that need to be discussed by the board.

We have received back 75 of the affordable housing surveys. The vast majority of affordable unit owners wish NOT to extend controls for another 30 years. We are still waiting to hear from the remaining 29 affordable owners.



DATE: Monday, September 19, 2016
TIME: 5:46 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: September Board Meeting Reminder
TYPE: Community News

This is a reminder that the September Board of Trustees meeting is tonight, Monday, September 19th, 7PM at the clubhouse. The agenda can be viewed at:

Minutes of the last regular meeting, and the August 30th special meeting, can be found at:

The 2016 Annual Meeting and Election is currently scheduled for Monday October 24, 2016. The election mailing will go out in early October. We are a bit delayed on the annual meeting announcements this year, with the candidate profile deadline already passed but I assume the board will be extending that deadline at the meeting tonight. The hard deadline is about a week before the mailing goes out, which would be around September 30th.

There are numerous other issues that I need to report on, but they will have to wait for the next email.



DATE: Friday, September 23, 2016
TIME: 1:24 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: September Newsletter and Editorial Comments
TYPE: Community News

We have been trying to get the next newsletter out for several months now and finally succeeded. The September 2016 issue is available at:

Hardcopies have been delivered to all units, and mailed to all the non-resident owners. This issue originally contained two editorial articles but due to space limitations, had to be distributed electronically. The two editorials are included below.

Things have been very busy in the office over the last several months, with several major issues consuming administrative hours. The fire damage repairs to building 32 were contracted out, but there was still a lot of administrative work required, especially at the end of last year. I have also had to spend quite a bit of my time moving the maintenance building project and other capital repair projects forward, as another deadline is looming. The affordable housing litigation still needs attention from time to time, and we conducted a survey a few months ago which required administrative time. A lot of new residents have moved in recently, which has created the usual problems with parking and trash, and the ensuing phone calls to the office. We also had the temporary summer help here that worked on the weeding, mulching, litter-collection, power-washing, and painting, which added considerably to the management workload. At one point a few months ago, we had 5 concurrent plumbing leaks in various units. Leaks often get complicated due to the fact that not all unit owners have insurance, and dealing with those cases burns up administrative hours. On top of all that, I've been through the fourth round of dealing with visits by various government agencies, including the county health department, the town, and the police, all apparently as the result of complaints lodged by an angry resident. Although each of these issues is manageable by itself, when they all converge together the frequency of interruption and the management workload get out of control. Although I've had temporary help in the office since Damian left, we were a little short on office staff during those times.

As a result, tasks have been re-prioritized frequently over the last few months, with many important items getting demoted. I have about 25 pages front and back of resident requests that have been accumulating, in addition to all the facilities maintenance tasks. If you have something on my "list" and it hasn't been done yet, I still have the list and things should be lightening up soon and we will be able to start working on those items.

Last year the board adopted a revised annual election procedure, with significantly stepped up timing - things were supposed to happen earlier than in prior years, with the whole process beginning around the time of the picnic. Due to the administrative workload this year, that sequence ended up getting de-prioritized as well. Typically the candidate profile deadline for any homeowner interested in running for the board was late September. However, under the new procedure, the deadline was moved up to early-September, and the mailing announcing the meeting and the candidate profile deadline was still not out at that time. As a result, the board extended the deadline, just for this year, back to around the usual time, September 30th. This has created some controversy, which is the main subject of the two editorials you will find below.

I feel I need to write a brief response to the claims about the association's financial status, which is characterized as "precarious" in one of the editorials. I have addressed this multiple times in past emails, but it keeps getting brought up. I do not share that characterization. We have burned through about 3/4-ths of the capital fund over the last 8 years, but we have done quite a bit of capital work - walkways, conduits, pond, irrigation piping, roof, a lot of design and approval work on the maintenance building, and we purchased several pieces of equipment. The fund is around $500,000 at the moment, so to say we are "broke" is a bit misleading. There are some pending demands on the money, such as the maintenance building, but there are also some pending revenues. I don't feel the board has failed in any of its responsibilities, financial or otherwise. The association's board is in charge of a community with nearly 2,000 residents, and with that comes some social responsibility, which I feel is almost more important than all the other responsibilities.

I guess some of this is a matter of perspective. In my mind, a company in a "precarious" financial situation has little or no cash on hand, is crazy in debt, can't pay its creditors, can't meet payroll, bad credit rating, high receivables percentage, declining revenues, loosing litigation, accounting anomalies, problems with the IRS, and so on. It would be a stretch to apply any of these situations to us. I also think it's a stretch to say we are headed there, and sometimes I wonder if such accusations have other motives.

The redacted content of the editorial which is mentioned below was some text that had strategic significance in our negotiations with the township on the affordable housing settlement. I know I had mentioned before that it was best not to get in to the particular topic, so, I blanked that part out. The editorial was subsequently revised to omit that text. I'm certain I have mentioned the legal fees before (see community email archive link below). We will probably be in this around $125k or more by the time it is over. Our motion to recover those legal fees from the town is back on the court's calendar.


Editorial Comments - George Tsacnaris, Trustee

Shining the Light - The Spring Fall edition

In April our Property Manager/Board President advised that a Newsletter was to be published (only 13 months after the previous one). I wrote an editorial which was headlined as The Spring Edition. Fast Forward to September and a couple of seasons later. Will a Newsletter actually come out this time? I don't know until we all see this in print. This will be an 18 month gap between Newsletters. I am trying to make a point here. Is it that hard to produce a Newsletter? If so, we need more frequent email updates to keep everyone aware of what is going on in the Community. Why can't the Property Manager give a monthly update? We should not expect less.

In April I attempted to outline what was going on with a couple key issues, one of which is the Affordable Housing situation. However, the Property Manager/Board President decided to redact portions of the update. Interesting. I guess the Property Manager is deciding that you - the Owners - should not know how much we have spent on legal fees? And how much more we should expect to send before the entire matter is settled.

My message this time will simply be to remind both the Board and all the Owners WHY THE ASSOCIATION ENTERED INTO A LAWSUIT AGAINST PISCATAWAY. The ONE and ONLY REASON was to RECOUP MORE MAINTENANCE FEES. That's IT. Does this make me a mean and uncaring person because I do not support additional subsidies of any kind implemented or paid for by the Association (meaning the Owners) for the Units that formerly were designated as Affordable? I would say NO. My duty is to ensure the financial stability of the entire Community. Unfortunately the Association's role is not to act as a charity or provide subsidies to certain owners. In my personal life I support many charitable organizations. These are separate activities.

The financial status of the Association is precarious as any independent reviewer could determine by looking at our records.

The extra Maintenance Fees that will come in (and should have started to already; why not? What is the Board waiting for?) from all 100+ Affordable unit owners will help, but does not in any way solve our financial problems.

For the most part the Board has FAILED to execute it primary responsibilities and should be held accountable by the Owners. How can you do this? I would strongly recommend that if any incumbent Board Members are able to run in the upcoming election you cast your vote for others - the new blood.

LATE UPDATE: After the above was written the Board made a decision at the September 19 meeting. The deadline for Candidates to run for the Election is clearly defined as 6 weeks before the Annual Meeting. There is no dispute about this fact. The 2 incumbent Board Members "forgot" to submit their profile before the deadline. Ultimately that is their fault. Actions should have consequences. After I pointed this out - the Board retroactively changed the deadline to allow the incumbents to submit profiles. This is both arrogant for personal benefit and sleazy. "Outrageous" as one of these folks always says. Unfortunately I expected this behavior which is another reason why I wrote the previous paragraph.

Editorial Comments - Gregory Machyowsky, Trustee

A QUESTION TO TRUSTEE GEORGE TSACARNIS: What - are you serious - no meaningful notice to the public of the filing deadline for seats on the board in this year's late October board election??

The new election procedure resolution adopted last year is for notice publicizing to the community the specific filing deadline for owners seeking election to the board of trustees. The obvious reason for that of course is to facilitate owners' participation in the board election process, whether as candidates or otherwise as interested citizens.

Your absurd premise that owners must remember the new election resolution and look up and compute the filing deadline for themselves places both an unrealistic and unnecessary burden upon owners. Please understand that the board's action at last night's (September 19's) meeting to extend slightly this year's usual filing deadline, in terms of the number of weeks before the actual election that a candidate's profile must be submitted, by a simple amendment to the general election procedures resolution for this year's election, setting September 30 as the filing deadline, is an unexceptional exercise of a board's authority to amend its prior enactments, and was made for the very good reason that our practice has been, in every Society Hill annual election we have held, to publicize the filing deadline. An oversight occurred and the usual deadline has passed without being publicized, so the board by its action last night insured that adequate notice will be given to the entire community.

Contrary to your transparently erroneous assertion that this deadline extension is intended for only the incumbents up for reelection, you surely know it is for every owner here who might be interested in seeking a seat on the board and need not, and should not as a citizen of the community, be expected on his or her own to search out the election resolution and compute a filing deadline for this year. We have never, and should not ever, require that - not if we claim to have a resident-friendly association seeking to operate democratically, rather than tyrannically, as in the past.

To characterize that resident-friendly accommodation as "sleazy" and for "personal benefit" makes no sense, and that description indeed seems more suitable to describe your attempt to keep public announcement of the candidates' filing deadline from virtually the entire community of owners, except the one or two who have filed early and, frankly speaking, I suspect have been put up to doing so as part of a board-takeover effort by you.

After all, if only two persons have filed before the filing deadline date has been brought to the community's attention, and no other names are permitted to be submitted because that non-publicized deadline has just passed, then those are the only names that would be on the ballot for the two seats up for election.

Stated another way, if the filing deadline is deemed to have already passed and has passed without any word of it put out to the public, and is thereby claimed to bar any further filings, you would be cutting out all others who have planned on running (and I understand there are several), so there would be no contest and your candidates would win simply by having no other candidates on the ballot.

A nice, cynical ploy but one that makes even clearer the board's action at the September 19 (last night's) meeting as the obvious sensible thing to do in a supposedly democratic process. Furthermore, you're walking out of last night's meeting in an unsuccessful attempt to leave the board without a quorum to address this year's filing deadline by means of a brief amendment to our basic elections procedure, demonstrates what I increasingly perceive from your actions on the board to be virtual disdain for a high-priority board objective of resident-friendly governance, whether through low maintenance fees or other policies putting the people's advantage and assistance first in decision-making.

All of which leads me to exclaim - in only partial jest, "Heaven help us" if you somehow succeed in your board takeover and, for the next several years, residents are required to live under your board presidency and possibly even under you as community manager. For one thing, I doubt very much that the extraordinarily resident-friendly service Kevin renders to the people here would continue by your keeping him in office with board control in your hands.

Greg Machyowsky, Trustee


DATE: Friday, September 30, 2016
TIME: 1:05 AM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Candidate Profile Deadline Sept 30, and Numerous Other Updates
TYPE: Community News

Below is an update on several important issues and projects-

Candidate Profile Deadline
The deadline for filing an application to run for a seat on the Board of Trusttees is tomorrow, Friday September 30th, 2016, 4PM. If you wish to run, please make sure your approximately 1 page candidate profile statement is delivered, emailed, or faxed to the office by 4PM Friday. The ballot position drawing will be Monday, October 3rd, 7PM at the clubhouse. The candidate night is currently scheduled for Monday, October 10th, 7PM at the clubhouse. That date may change, since we don't know who all the candidates are at this time and their availabilities.

Inoperable Vehicles
The association is still under considerable pressure from the town and internally from some residents to deal with the many inoperable vehicles that have accumulated on the property over the last several years. The last clean up was around 2008, which was 8 years ago. An inventory of such vehicles has been made, and the owners, if known, will be contacted shortly. We have identified 31 vehicles that are clearly not in use, are disabled, have flat tires, expired inspections, no license plates, or are being used for storage. Some of these vehicles have been here for several years. The association is willing to assist in their removal, either through donation to a charity or sale to the scrap yard. Although 31 spaces out of 1,147 may not seem like much, it is still 31 less spaces, some of which are on streets or in areas where parking is very tight.

For vehicles where we are unable to determine the owner, we will be applying to the DMV to obtain title, so that we may dispose of the vehicle. At the very least, this will identify the owner, who in some cases may have moved out of the complex. If that doesn't work out, then we will have to have the vehicle towed to off-site storage and the owner will have some period of time to claim the vehicle and pay the towing and storage fees.

Some more of the bulk items in the parking lot between building 26 and 33 will be moved off-site for the winter, and some of the piles of materials (mulch, topsoil) will be used up soon. This will create more space in that lot, and help to satisfy some requests for further cleanup of that lot.

New Residents
With the end of summer comes many new residents to Society Hill, and once again owners are reminded to please provide the office with name and contact information for all occupants of their unit. Any vehicles routinely parked overnight on the property also need to be registered with the association. Many associations charge a fee to the owners that rent out their units. We still do not do that here, nor do we charge anything to register vehicles with the association. Resident contact information is very useful in resolving parking problems, getting cars moved instead of having to tow them, getting access to units to investigate leaks (very common here), and helping residents resolve community living issues. Although the management office can handle contacting a few unit owners who have not registered their tenants and/or their vehicles, it is a considerable administrative burden to contact all of them, so please make an effort to provide the required information to the management office. Also please keep in mind that Society Hill is a residential community, and many of its residents enjoy the peace and quiet it provides.

Lancaster Dumpster
Most of the dumpster locations on Canterbury, Lancaster, and Hampshire are accessible and out of the way, with the exception of the dumpster by the Lancaster tennis court. There is just no good location for it. Removing it is probably not an option as that would create a rather long walk for residents of a few buildings on Lancaster. There were some complaints about that dumpster at the board meeting last Monday, so as a temporary solution a second dumpster was moved back to that location and placed on a temporary pad. One of the problems with the dumpster(s) at that location was the dumpster truck could not get to the dumpsters. The truck needs to pull in straight to the dumpster, and the truck is about 40 feet long. The new arrangement makes it much easier for the truck. It also frees up some parking spaces.

Meanwhile, we are still going back and forth with the engineer that is handling the dumpster pad/corral design to try and come up with the best possible location for those dumpsters. Although all the other dumpsters are in better locations, none of them are ideal because in the winter, it turns out that the dumpsters are all in the way of where we pile the snow.

Condo Walkways
Over the past five years, we have been slowly replacing the townhouse walkways. Many of those walks had started to deteriorate and were creating a safety hazard. Although we had already started replacing them, the situation became more urgent in 2012 when the DCA inspector cited us for about 25 of them that needed immediate repair. After fixing those, we continued to repair others in anticipation of the 2017 DCA inspection, which is coming up next year.

A similar situation is occurring with the walkways in front of the condo buildings, specifically on Lancaster at buildings 30, 31, and 32. Those walks were borderline at the time of the 2012 inspection, and I am sure will not pass the 2017 inspection. There are several problems with the current configuration of the condo walkways, so we are trying to not just replace them, but also reconfigure them to address the problems. The one foot wide strip of grass between the parking lot and the existing sidewalk is being removed. Many cars pull forward in their parking spot and cover the grass, making it impossible to mow. We end up having to use the string trimmers to "mow" it, which sprays grass-juice all over the cars and generates complaints to the office. The sprinkler heads in the strip will be relocated, because often they end up watering the engine of cars that have parked over them, and are vulnerable to damage. The cars that park over the grass shade it which creates dead areas, and the snow plowing in the winter scrapes it up, creating a lot of extra turf and sprinkler head repair work in the spring. There are chronic drainage and freeze/thaw issues at several of the condo building, including 26, 32, and 33. The new plan will capture all the run-off from the downspouts in pipes and route it directly to the storm sewers. The new design will also relocate the front walkways at least a few more feet away from the curb, in order to create space to stack the snow. In every snow storm, after clearing the walkways, we end up having to go back and clear portions of them again after we plow the parking spots because the snow gets pushed back up on the walks. Worse yet, all that piled up snow between the walks and the parking lot melts on warm days, runs into the parking spaces and the walkways, and then re-freezes at night, creating a hazardous situation. The new configuration will create an area to capture the snow melt and safely route it to the drains. The new walkways will be ADA compliant, allowing wheelchair access to all the ground floor units in all the condo buildings. The steps will be consolidated, and will have railings. Several of the large trees in front of the condo buildings will be in the way of the relocated walkways. Although I know this is going to be controversial, the plan includes new trees, of a type that don't dribble fruit, seed pods, acorns, and sap all over the cars and walkways, and won't grow quite as out of control as the current ones.

Below is the original concept drawing I made several months ago:

And here are two preliminary versions from one of our engineers. One of them has a straight walkway in front of the building, offset several feet from the curb. The area between the curb and the walk would be planted with something that is compatible with a lot of snow being piled on it in the winter, but probably not grass as we are trying to keep the grass away from the cars. The other drawing is a similar, but with a curved walkway:

Tennis Courts
In just the last 2 years, the tennis courts really started to fall apart. Both the clubhouse and Lancaster courts developed large cracks, and the net posts started to "heave" out of the ground and tilt inward. The heaving is caused by the freeze/thaw cycles in this climate zone, and the inward tilt is caused by residents sitting on the net. It doesn't take much weight at the center of a 40' cable span to put an enormous amount lateral force on the posts. That same force also ends up stressing the gears in the cable tensioner, which caused the gear teeth to break on the clubhouse court. The tensioner was replace about a year ago, but the new one didn't survive the abuse either.

Not wanting to replace the old posts with the same type and still have the same problems, I spent quite a bit of time searching for a stronger post and net system. It turned out that such a setup didn't exist, so one had to be custom designed. This consumed some administrative time. The new posts are 6" diameter steel traffic bollards, and they are buried 7 feet in the ground in concrete. It will be impossible to bend these ones, and the 7 foot depth will prevent them from heaving out of the ground. The cable for the net was upgraded to 1/2" diameter, rated at 5,000 pounds, so nobody is going to be stretching that one out. The tensioner was replaced with turnbuckles, also rated at 5,000 pounds. There were some issues with how the cable sat ontop the pipe, but that was worked out satisfactorily. Although the posts and turnbuckles are steel, all the other hardware is stainless steel.

Due to the way the posts were concreted in to the ground, we have to hold off on putting back the asphalt around the posts for at least a year. This is to allow time for the soil around the concrete to settle. In the meantime, we filled the last 6" with gravel. This will not interfere with play. The center net tie-down was also replaced, and that has been temporarily backfilled with gravel as well. Due to the shallow bury depth of the original tie-down, it was starting to heave out of the ground as well.

The cracks in the courts, especially the Lancaster court, are going to be a bit difficult to fix. There was no reinforcing mesh placed in the asphalt, and it is impossible to add reinforcing mesh after the fact, so I am still assessing ways of filling the cracks that won't result in a new crack the next year. Installing reinforcing mesh would require ripping up the entire court and repaving it, so that is saved as a last resort. The minor scrapes and gouges created by the heavy equipment when we dug the post holes can be patched pretty easily and the surface re-coated.

I know this is a lot more than anyone every wanted to know about the tennis courts. It is a small example of the many similar challenges I constantly run in to here. Another is the gate to the tennis courts. Unfortunately, I can't find any ready-made gate systems that are going to solve the issues we have with the current gate system, so that is probably going to be another custom design and more administrative hours.

Maintenance Building Status
I'm sure some residents are tired of hearing about this project. Believe me, so am I. This building was supposed to be built and done YEARS ago. Although it is going to cost some money, not having it is also costing us money in terms of decreased efficiency, equipment and materials disorganization, and accelerated wear and tear. Trying to function out of the clubhouse, the connex, off-site storage, and collections of materials and equipment under tarps is not pleasant, especially in the winter.

A variety of forces have conspired to delay things. While the town has been responsible for some of the delays, the design of the building itself has not been straightforward or easy. This is a complicated building, even by my terms. It has to satisfy a range of needs, from temperature-controlled equipment and materials storage, equipment washing, equipment repair and maintenance, fuel storage and dispensing, pesticide storage, salt storage, backup power, crew facilities, and space for the switching equipment for the community-wide communications system. In addition, we want an energy-efficient, low-maintenance building that isn't going to create more problems than it solves. The heat can't fail, the doors and the gate can't freeze shut, the fuel dispenses can't break, the roof can't leak, and so on.

The design was hung up for quite a while of the fuel storage and dispensing system. Although we had always planned on including some fuel storage and dispensing capability, the full scope of those systems wasn't solidified until after the second major hurricane two years ago. At that point, the on-site fuel storage and backup power requirements became more serious. We spent quite a bit of time searching for an engineer to handle the fuel system design, and had conversations with several of them. However, they all had their own "favorite solution" they were pushing, none of which were consistent with our plans. In addition, they wanted a lot of money to design solutions that I didn't really want. There were also a considerable amount of building code interpretation issues between us and the town, which consumed many hours of my time. As a result, I ended up doing most of the code review and fuel system design myself. A lot of those hours were on my time, since it is impossible to do anything that requires any concentration in the office during the day, but there were also a lot of phone calls, voicemail, emails, and meetings that burned daytime administrative hours.

The next design hang up was over the building HVAC, and specifically the heating. I had asked for a radiant floor heating system since the beginning, but the engineer that ended up handling the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design ("MEP") was not a fan of radiant floor heating systems, and declared it would not work in this climate zone. He went ahead with his solution which involved a mix of overhead gas-fired radiant tube heaters, gas-fired forced hot air, heat pump, and electric heat systems. Since the MEP engineer was a sub-contractor of the architect, I didn't have direct control over that part of the design. After numerous email discussions, technical analysis, and conference calls (more of my time burned up) with the original engineer, I finally decided to find an engineer that was willing to design the HVAC system as originally intended. We have recently located and directly engaged with a new engineer that is comfortable designing such a system. Although a radiant heating system is generally a little more expensive than a conventional system, it is more gentle on the building contents and occupants, and it is less expensive to operate. As this building is supposed to last "forever", it is important to design it so as to minimize the monthly operating costs.

After we straightened out the fuel storage details, we realized it was necessary to adjust the form-factor of the fuel tank room and the generator room. Unfortunately, even such a minor adjustment to the plan requires a revisit to the zoning/planning board. Since we have to go before the board again, we are consolidating three other projects in the same application to save money on legal fees and mailing expenses. Some, but not all, of the pond landscaping improvements will be included on the application, specifically the mound of dirt between building 29 and the pond. Resolving the disposition of that dirt was one of the zoning board conditions that was placed on the maintenance building. The renovation of the walkways in front of all the condo buildings will also be on the application, along with the dumpster pads/corrals on Canterbury, Lancaster, and Hampshire. All of these items are going to modify the original site plan, and thus need planning or zoning board approval. We hope to have the applications submitted in time for the early November meeting.

Irrigation System
Almost all of the 26 odd acres of grass in Society Hill is irrigated. The system has 135 zones on 13 controllers, delivering water to over 1,500 sprinkler heads. The system is divided in to four main loops, each serviced by a pump to provide sufficient pressure to the furthest zones. The main loops are 2-1/2" PVC pipe, containing roughly 2,000 feet of pipe in each loop. The mains are looped to provide more flow, and some redundancy in case of a main break. The zone valves are "tee-ed" off the main, and use a variety of polyethylene pipe up to 1-1/2" in diameter, downstream of the valve. The system includes over 50 "QCV" ports, where a special adapter can be used to connect an ordinary garden hose. This is how we get water for the pressure washers and other purposes. I mapped out the whole thing myself several years ago, and the map hangs on the wall in the office.

The irrigation system continues to be a maintenance nightmare, with continual leaks, non-functional zones, broken wires, broken heads, and pinched pipes. In some years, I have had one person pretty much dedicated to doing sprinkler repairs and only sprinklers repairs the entire summer. The system is under control, but the problems never seem to end. By now, almost all the zone tees have failed and have had to be replaced - and it is not a simple repair. Almost all the zone valves have been replaced. Numerous heads have been replaced. We have had several cases of pinched poly pipes, where large trees were planted right on top of the pipe. Over time, the tree roots grow around the pipe and pinch it shut. These repairs are usually very difficult, as a "bypass" pipe has to be run all the way around the tree, or the tree has to be removed. This has been the situation with zones in front of many of the buildings, especially the condo buildings. We have also had several wiring failures over the years. The irrigation system has taken a lot of abuse in the past, as it seemed that utility contractors made little or no effort to locate the sprinkler pipes and wires before installing their lines, and cut the thing to pieces. I have painstakingly repaired numerous failed splices where the entire bundle of wires were previously cut and insufficiently repaired.

Perhaps the most annoying thing about the irrigation system is that to really keep the grass green, you need to put a crazy amount of water through it. The soil conditions in most of the complex are such that a lot of the water runs right off into the road and down the drain in to the pond. Several short watering intervals per day are needed to get the water to penetrate. You might have noticed we were doing just that in several zones this summer. The water bill is large this year, but there is some green grass. Even without the extra daytime watering cycles in some zones, we still end up with a large water bill and only slightly less-brown grass than non-irrigated areas.

Although we could probably save about $80,000 a year in water, parts, and labor if we just turned the whole thing off, I know that's not going to fly with some residents. Instead, the ultimate plan is to use pond water in the irrigation system. This will reduce the cost considerably to just parts and repair labor, and some electricity to run the pumps. The system can also be run as much as we want, since the runoff will just go back in to the pond and be recirculated. All the main piping needed to reconfigure the entire system to use pond water was installed over the last several years, concurrent with the Buckingham/Chesterfield walkway and pond dredging projects. The intake piping and primary filter has also been installed in the bottom of the pond during the dredging. The four main irrigation loops still have to be disconnected from the city water and reconnected to the reclaimed water mains, and the pumping system to suck the water from the pond still has to be designed and built. The pump system design is not trivial, with the main complication being all the suspended solids in reclaimed water which have to be filtered out. If they are not removed, they clog up the downstream piping, valves, and sprinkler heads, creating a huge maintenance problem in the future. The sand filter covering the intake pipes under the pond should filter out most of the debris, and a secondary filter at the pump should take out the rest. As with any filter, things needs to be cleaned, and this is what complicates the pumping system as it needs to frequently and automatically run backwash or cleaning cycles on the filters to keep them operating efficiently. The intake piping was designed with four redundant lines, allowing some to act in suction while the others can be switched to backwash. It remains to be seen how this all works after another 4 feet of sediment build up on the bottom of the pond over the next 30 years.

We recently started repairing the four irrigation pump sheds located around the property. They have been falling apart for years. The switch to reclaimed pond water may require modifications to some of those sheds, which is one reason their repair was delayed. With more details of the reclaimed water system in sight, we are going ahead with the repairs. The issue with the sheds is that all the plumbing in them may have to be reconfigured to allow the use of the reclaimed pond water. It won't be clear if this is necessary until the new main pump is in place and we can see if sufficient pressure can be obtained without using the existing pumps. Even if the existing pumps can be decommissioned, they will probably be left in place as a backup. If they end up being needed, then the plumbing and pumps will have to be renovated as they all are suffering from a variety of problems.



DATE: Tuesday, October 11, 2016
TIME: 3:29 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Candidate Night HERE TONIGHT - Come see Hillary and Donald, and Editorial Comments
TYPE: Community News

This is a reminder that the 2016 Meet the Candidates Night is taking place this evening, Tuesday, October 11th, 7 PM at the clubhouse. This is your chance to meet the candidates in this year's Board of Trustees election and ask any questions you might have.

The 2016 election mailing was sent out on October 6th. If you still haven't received it, the candidate profiles are available on-line at:

The proxy form can be downloaded as well:

The ballot can not be downloaded, so if you end up needing a replacement copy of your ballot, you will have to stop by the office.

Affordable Housing Update

After the association declined on the settlement offer, the Township apparently asked the court to schedule a settlement conference between them and us, and on Friday September 30th, that conference took place. Unfortunately it was just between the judge and the attorneys, so we were not able to hear the discussion first-hand. As I understand it, the outcome of the meeting was that the town is going to present a new offer with different and presumably better terms.

The premise of the entire "settlement discussion" concept is a bit odd, as such discussions usually occur BEFORE the court issues a verdict. Recall that the town REFUSED to talk to us about this topic prior to the judgement on February 8th. Now, after the fact, and specifically after loosing, they suddenly want to talk about it. We indulged them, to see what they had to say, at the expense of additional attorney fees and further delay. As it turned out, the offer was just not very good, for both the association and any affordable owners considering extension.

Had the shoe been on the other foot, and the association lost the case, do you think the town would be indulging us on an after-the-fact settlement offer??

October 17th Board Meeting

Although originally not planned, there MAY be an October Board of Trustees Meeting after all. There are a few minor things that have come up, but mainly the meeting would be to come to some final decision on how we are going to handle the extending affordable unit owners. Recall that in the last survey about 10 of the 85 responses indicated they would like to extend. In the past, the court indicated it had some concern for affordable owners that had been led to believe, due to the town's actions, that they were going to remain affordable for many years to come. The association, with or without coordination with the town, is still trying to comply with the court's wishes.


This is election time, and as such, we have some editorial comments, including one from me. See below..



Back in about 2006, when our maintenance fee was $189 per month and we were still being run, like the great majority of condo associations, by a condo industry management company, an officer of the company came before the Board of Trustees and told us that about $200 per month maintenance fee was "right" for our association. We didn't take the suggestion, instead began reducing fees down to as low as $165 per month and leveling off at $171 per month, where we are today, and in the process we initiated our self-management program under the remarkably gifted and very conscientious leadership of Kevin Wine, supported in his efforts by yours truly (Greg Machyowsky) and Atif Nazir.

Since 2012 when Trustee George Tsacnaris joined the board, we are being told that our financial situation is not, to use Tsacnaris' phrase in his profile this year, "fiscally sound". Yes, he's running against us incumbents, believe it or not, after just being elected last year for a second 3-year term and, and even more unbelievably, he is asking in his profile that no one vote for him - can you believe the confusion this board member is creating in order to try to undermine Atif and me and get some free advertising space in this year's candidates' profiles for his irresponsible and fearmongering poppycock that the "sky is falling" financially and that we have to be removed (Kevin as well presumably) to restore fiscal stability!

This is the line he has been peddling for four years now, while the same amount of virtually-guaranteed revenue from maintenance fees - over a million dollars per year - is coming in and being used to cover everyday operating expenditures quite adequately. Tsacnaris and Mary Thomas, his endorsed candidate, have both made it quite evident that raising fees substantially for a prolonged period of time - just like the management companies - is their solution to the Association's current challenges.

Ms. Thomas' reference in her profile to our finances being at a "critical point" and she is going "to help the board make the right decisions to avoid fiscal insolvency" surely doesn't mean she is going to hold the line on fee increases or reduce them, obviously, but rather she will join Tsacnaris on a continual and prolonged fee-raising "escalator" - her idea, too, apparently of a flush association treasury being the main goal of good condo government.

So when you consider putting candidates with that kind of governing philosophy in office, consider what would have happened if the board followed the management company's advice and brought fees up from $189 in 2006 to $200 per month, and possibly more, for the 10 years following to now. That would have been 120 months at $11 per month , or $1,320 extra out of your pocket, and, as I say, probably a lot more as the $200 fee would not likely stay static for all of a ten year period. We will be getting on the same course by putting Ms. Thomas and any of the other candidates offered by Tsacnaris to unseat Kevin's supporters, Nazir and Machyowsky.

Kevin's administration has brought us astoundingly good long-term fee control and quality and economical services, as well as truly people-oriented, resident-friendly open government, and should be resoundingly endorsed in this year's election rather than placing into office those who offer fee-raising and a fat treasury as their main instrument for providing good condo government. And, even if you believe any of the complaints offered by the opposing candidates, it would be an especial shame to repudiate a public servant having the totally selfless and brilliant concern that Kevin has for constituents, including many he has personally assisted over the years, and replace his leadership with profit-oriented and too-often impersonal and indifferent management bureaucracies such as we had in the "bad old days".


Greg Machyowsky, Trustee


It has been eight years since the association went in a radically different direction in the way maintenance and administrative services are delivered. As many of you know, I have been at the center of that, along with some other board members over those years, and together we have made it work. Two of those members, Atif Nazir and Greg Machyowsky, are up for re-election this year.

Although it has been eight years, we are still not entirely finished with that change - notably missing is the maintenance building which will consolidate all the materials and equipment in one place. In the prior email I updated everyone on the status of that project. We are close though, and I am still committed to following through on the final stage of the plan.

In reading the candidate profiles, and especially that of Mr. Tsacnaris who isn't even up for election this year but is running anyway, you will probably get the feeling that there is an effort underway to undermine my support by getting different members elected to the board. I can tell you that it's more than a feeling, and that indeed, an effort is being made to remove the board leadership.

I want to make it very clear to everyone this year, that your choice of candidates could have an immediate impact on the direction of Society Hill. Although I'm not up for election, two of the members that have supported me are, and if they are no longer on the board, the future will become VERY uncertain. Although there is considerable momentum behind our current maintenance configuration, the whole thing could be dismantled very quickly by a board majority wishing to go in a different direction. There would be a considerable cost to changing course at this point in time, however it could be done and I'm sure it would all be blamed on me!

Whatever your preference is, I want everyone to realize that is what you are voting on this year - are we staying with the current approach, or are we changing direction. It might not be an immediate change, but it's a big step in one direction or another.

I have lived in Society Hill for 20 years now, so I've seen the before and after. For over 12 years of those 20, I've had a front-row seat. When the board leadership started to change in 2006, the maintenance fees were going through the roof. The board had lost control of the situation and the association was at the mercy of the management and the service providers. A lot of upset homeowners came together, and collectively we put an end to the exploitation.

Claims are being made of impending financial collapse, and insolvency, and bankruptcy. Since I can't be blamed for high fees, I have to be blamed for low fees instead. Although these are alarming claims that may scare some people, I'm pretty sure the candidates making them are expressing their true concerns. I have acknowledged their concerns in prior emails and responded to them, however I guess my replies are not understood fully or not taken seriously. Some of it comes down to simple differences of opinion and differences in risk tolerance.

Although we have spent some money over the last 8 years, we have gotten a lot done. We have burned through about 3/4-ths of the capital fund over the last 8 years, but we have done quite a bit of capital work - the Chesterfield and Buckingham walkways and bicycle path, the retaining walls and improvements to the irrigation system along those paths, the berry plantings, endless repairs to the irrigation system, thousands of feet of trench were dug and over 50 thousand feet of conduits were buried, along with 100 junction boxes, the pond was dredged, 2000 feet of re-claimed water piping was buried, the building 3 roof was replaced and the building was re-wired for cable, internet, and dish service, the tennis net posts were improved, and a lot of design and approval work on the maintenance building was done.

The capital fund is around $500,000 at the moment, so to say we are "broke" is a bit misleading. There are some pending demands on the money, such as the maintenance building, but there are also some pending revenues. Also as I know I have explained before, some of the capital improvement projects will either reduce our operating expenses in the future, or produce revenue in the future. For example, when and if we switch the irrigation system over to using water from the pond rather than fresh water from the water company, our yearly irrigation expenses should drop by over $40,000. On average, we spend about $50,000 a year on sprinkler water. It varies from year to year, and there were some broken water meters the last few years, but green grass is expensive.

As another example, the association as a whole can purchase internet service in bulk for a lot less money than it currently costs from a service provider. The recurring cost is less than $10/month per unit. When and if that system is finally in place, some of the money from it can be sent back to the capital fund to repay the capital equipment costs. Although the system is an expense to the association and an increase in cost, to the residents it is still a net reduction in costs since they would be getting something that used to cost $50/month for must less than that.

As a third example, the maintenance building, which will certainly not be cheap, will make us more efficient, which will reduce operating costs in the long run. Also along these lines, we have made an investment in the tools and equipment needed for re-roofing, which will reduce the cost of that project going forward. All of these examples are "investments" that were made with capital money, that can, in time, return value, unless someone interferes with the plan.

In addition, the affordable housing litigation will eventually end, and with it the association subsidy of the affordable units. One way or another, this will result in an increase in yearly revenue of around $145,000, assuming the maintenance fees are left at the current level. The board has already agreed to allocate this additional revenue to the capital fund. There is also still a good chance that some or all of the associations legal expenses from the affordable housing litigation will be recovered.

A few years ago, the association's reserve study was updated. This study is a summary of all the components of the property that wear out and need to eventually be replaced - the roofs, the siding, the walks, the roads, etc. The study attempts to estimate remaining lifetime of the various components and the cost of replacement, and sketches out a timeline for the repairs and how much money needs to be put aside in total to make them. According to the current study, there is not enough money in the capital fund. This is not a surprise. However, given the overall picture and the pending revenues and investments that have been made, I still don't feel this is panic time. This is what I meant when I said some of this argument comes down to a matter of opinion and risk tolerance.

Typically, the capital replacement projects are handled by contractors, and are done on an all-or-nothing basis. In other words, a contract is signed to replace all the roofs, or all the siding. Some large projects done on that basis need a lot of funding. However, under our current configuration, we don't have to operate that way, and instead can spread out major projects over a number of years. Furthermore, work that is contracted out usually costs more than that same work done in-house, as contractors have additional expenses and overheads that we do not have, in addition to a profit motive.

It is also unlikely that we will face any large-scale simultaneous failures that all need to be fixed immediately and thus require a lot of money all at once. In other words, all the roofs aren't going to fail catastrophically at the same time. They may all be ready for replacement, but we have control over that schedule. All the large-scale failure scenarios that I can envision are more along the lines of a hurricane, fire, earthquake, or other disaster, all of which are already covered by insurance. Sure, it's nice to be sitting on a big pile of cash, and it makes some people feel better, but for us at this point in time, not really necessary in my opinion. If interest rates were back up at 5 or 10%, and we were under the contractor model, than maybe it would make more sense. But now, this is the time to be spending the money and doing the work (and borrowing money since rates are so low :)



DATE: Monday, October 24, 2016
TIME: 7:35 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Annual Meeting, Garage Sale Nov 5, Updates, and Editorials
TYPE: Community News

The Society Hill at Piscataway Annual Meeting is today, Monday, October 24th, 7PM at the clubhouse. We have received about 165 proxies thus far. The delinquencies as of Friday were around 75 units. This leaves us short ((545 - 75) / 2) - 165 = 70 proxies.

We have received more proxies this year than we normally do for the first attempt at this meeting, but unfortunately we are still short. Therefore, the only purpose of the "meeting" today, for those that show up, will be to decide on the adjournment date. Usually, we postpone it to late November just before Thanksgiving, or December just before the holidays.

One of our residents is planning a garage sale at the clubhouse for Saturday, November 5th. If anyone else is interested in joining, please contact the office and we can help coordinate.

It was good to see a turnout at the "Meet the Candidates" night back on October 11th. We had 5 candidates and about 25 residents in the audience. We were there for almost three hours and covered a wide range of issues. Most of the time was spent on the candidates, however there was a bit of a "complaint session" theme to the evening with a few residents venting their various frustrations and concerns. Topics included the reserve fund, reserve study, FHA certification, affordable housing litigation, legal fees, Mt. Laurel survey, self-management, property insurance deductible, geese, trash, litter, tenants, breezeways, grass, violations and fines, parking, temporary summer workers, delinquent owners, abandoned cars, board member attendance, and the appearance of the community. Resident interaction has always been lacking here in Society Hill, so on the one had it was good to finally see some discussion, however I found myself biting my tongue several times as it was clear that some residents were only hearing one side of a story. I will say more about that in the editorials below, in which you will also find editorial comments from three of the candidates.

The weather has been better than usual this fall, and as a result we are still able to work on our large list of backlogged maintenance issues. Eventually we will have to divert resources to winter preparation, with the irrigation system winterization, possibly one final lawn-mowing, and leaf collection top on the list. We are still trying to do a fall planting, and time and weather permitting, we will continue to replace townhouse and breezeway walks. The swimming pool has sprung a serious leak and all the water ran out last week, so that will have to be sorted out and fixed before winter. All the snow removal equipment which was moved off-site earlier in the year will have to be hauled back on-site very soon, assembled, and tested. Concurrent with this we will take some more material out of the Hampshire parking lot and put it in storage for the winter.

We are also very busy in the office trying to get several projects lined up for another site-plan application to the zoning/planing boards. Phase one of the pond landscaping, the improvements to the condo front walkways, the dumpster enclosures, minor adjustments to the maintenance building footprint, the re-claimed water pump system shed, and the Hampshire Court speed bumps are all going to be submitted for review very soon. A lot of my administrative time goes in to these applications, which I know is invisible to the residents. I also ended up handling the reclaimed water system design myself, which took about 3 weeks of sideline time. This has to bring my free design work contribution to the association to at least $60k, between the re-claimed water system, the fuel systems for the maintenance building, the fiber communications system, and the internal building wiring design.

Our FHA certification application was kicked back to us early last week, and we spent most of the week gathering the additional items that were requested and getting them to HUD. We are optimistic that the association will be FHA certified shortly. Due to the administrative work required for these applications, a lot of associations have not bothered to renew. Under a management company arrangement, I'm sure there is an extra charge (probably considerable) for this service. Although it is helpful to have this certification for some mortgage loans, it is not required by all lenders and many buyers have been able to get loans with no problems during the last few years. For others, it has apparently been an issue.




Thank you to those small group of residents that participated in the Candidates Night. Pass on the messages you heard from the candidates. Think about it.

It is unfortunate that one incumbent was unable to receive and answer questions from the community, whatever the reason for the absence was. It is very important for all elected officials to dialogue directly with the residents in an open forum - we only do this once per year.

As I said previously - please do not vote for me in this Election. I will remain on the Board no matter what transpires. My reason to submit my name again was to share my concerns and message that some of you will read. I strongly encourage you to vote for NEW Candidates - Mary Thomas and Jack Sarhage. They spoke well and truthfully. I may not agree with some of their positions but respect the effort they have shown and will further demonstrate should you decide to elect them.

This is your chance to make a change.

George Tsacnaris

For the record this note was provided to our Property Manager on October 12, the day after the Candidates Night. There should be no acceptable excuses for such a lengthy delay. To simply send an email. Think about why the Property Manager would do this - if he was being fair and neutral and not favoring certain candidates.

The Reserve Fund has gone from 2.3 Million Dollars to under $500,000.

Neither Atif Nazir nor Gregory Machyowsky has voted to put money back into the Reserve Fund.

If elected, I will make it a priority to build up the Reserve Fund so that the complex will not become moribund.

Mary Thomas, 193 Hampshire Ct.

George and Another in His Bag of Political Tricks to Oust Kevin's Board Supporters

George Tsacnaris is running for one of the two seats open on the board this year, but his campaign statement tells voters to vote against him (as well as the two incumbents, namely Atif Nazir and me, Greg Machyowsky ); that in my view disqualifies him as a candidate, and his name and profile should not be included in the roster of this year's board candidates. Why? Because common sense interprets candidate to mean a person SEEKING ELECTION to the available seat on the board.

Filing as a candidate and declaring you don't want to be voted for is basically a ploy to draw votes away from certain candidates, probably the better known candidates, and permit a candidate the person filing wants to win to prevail, as well as providing a free forum to distribute campaign propaganda to all voters.

It is a cynical interference with the democratic election process and should be banned. George's name and profile should really have been excluded from the balloting materials, on the grounds he is not a bona fide candidate in the current Association election because of running but asking voters not to elect him.

This practice of filing and urging no vote has little to do with an incumbent's filing for a different open seat on the board in a forthcoming election, as long as the candidate is seeking election ( to win a seat, that is) and vacates his incumbent seat immediately on such election. If filing with an explicit intent not to win continues to be permitted, we would be encouraging incumbents, maybe several in any one year, to file and urge no vote on their "candidacy", in order to "muck up" the election to help their favored "shill" candidates.

The democratic election process shouldn't be tampered with in this manner. Tsacnaris, who claims he doesn't want to take control of the board, certainly has some interesting tricks up his sleeve, like his attempt last month to limit the candidate's listed on the ballot to just the two persons for two seats who filed for election in time to meet a relatively new and little-noticed deadline change into the established election procedures George was pushing for sometime ago, moving the candidates' filing deadline way up from where it had been.

And what of his blatant published allegation that the Mt. Laurel case is "only about" collecting more fees, when he knows full well the issue came about as a rule-of-law matter, that is, the Mayor's and Council's unlawful refusal to grant full-pay owners relief from subsidizing Mt. Laurel owners' reduced maintenance fees for another 30 years starting in 2015, plus the right of the Mt. Laurel owners (1) not to have to wait another 30 years to sell their units at full value as legally promised and (2) not to have to fork over to the Township most of the difference between controlled sales price and full- value price when they will have been finally permitted to sell at full value decades from now (at least if the ever-mayor Wahler is not successful in somehow continuing to impose his will and succeed in neutralizing the unambiguous February court victory won by our Association for both full pay and Mt. laurel owners).

Tsacnaris should hardly be considered the authority on this litigation, incidentally, since he voted against even considering suit against the Township; if he prevailed on the board on that score, 434 full pay owners would be now living under another 30-year obligation to subsidize reduced fees for the 106 Mt. Laurel owners, as well as the Mt. Laurel owners not being permitted to sell their units now for full market value, instead being required to sell at the Township-controlled price for another 30 years.

We would also would not, without the February court decision. have the estimated $146,000 yearly ADDITIONAL revenue to our treasury that is the result of the court's ordering enforcement of the legal promise made in the bylaws and other Society Hill governing documents for Mt. Laurel units to pay the same maintenance fees as all other units 30 years after the date of recording of the bylaws.

Of course that money will come in particularly good stead in replenishing the reserve fund without placing any heavy reliance at all on increased maintenance fees (which I continue to maintain are, at almost and virtually guaranteed $1,000,000 a year from homeowners' pockets, plenty for the ongoing everyday operation of our medium-sized condominium development, contrary to what is the basic premise of those wanting to oust Kevin, Atif and me - the incredible assertion that maintenance fees are too LOW, not too high - believe me, I've never heard of candidates' using that line to unseat incumbents before! For now I'll leave to you to speculate on what their goal seems to be, and I suspect has been for some years, but just a hint: It has to do with the income level of owners who they prefer to occupy both townhouses and condos here, and it runs directly contrary to the accepted public policy of the state for years now.

Whatever the motives of the apparent coordinated and serious effort of our opponents, specifically George Tsacnaris the "non-candidate" who somehow has illegitimately inserted himself on the ballot, and his coordinating allies, candidates Mary Thomas and Jack Sarhage, I and Atif Nazir stand by Kevin and his PROVEN RECORD of keeping fees low and services and improvements high, and earnestly ask your support in completing that agenda (one of the items of which is a cable and internet system almost ready to provide service at far less a monthly cost than the unnecessarily high costs we're now forced to pay), all while showing respect for the law and, especially for residents and their pocketbooks.

Consider also that, despite Trustee Tsacnaris' insistence for four years, since the day he took office, that the Association is on the verge o f a financial meltdown of sorts - that the financial "sky is falling" - a campaign tactic being dutifully echoed by Thomas as Tsacnaris' election surrogate - neither our Association's auditor nor bookkeeper has once during that time provided any cautionary warning on finances; it is customary for auditors at least to issue a "management letter" with the annual audit when problematic situations like that arise.

Years ago, the old boards encountered an even worse situation, when the board's auditor during the tenure of our longtime management company at the time, actually declined to provide an audit, advising the board instead that the financial records were in such disarray that an audit could not be done. It was that kind of a situation that was remedied under Kevin's self-management program and leadership, and since that time until the present we have not had any negative evaluation from our auditor in any year. The negative conclusion has originated with Tsacnaris and obviously form the basis of his strategy to take control of the board and build a cash-fat treasury.

His dire critique is based mainly on one of our two main funds, the capital reserve fund, which obviously and not unexpectedly needs reasonable replenishing - something that can and will be done but without impacting homeowners unduly with large and routine fee or special assessment burdens - after very large expenditures to get our physical plant of repairs and improvements in shape. But the trustee and has little to say about the near 1-million dollars per year available from maintenance fee for the operating fund, used to pay for the everyday operating costs of the Association; that near-million dollars per year is virtually guaranteed because of the usual flow of monthly maintenance payments, and no claim is made that fund is anywhere near "financial collapse" points up the misleading and politically-motivated nature of his argument. And, to my knowledge, no one has, or is, complaining about not being paid promptly and in full on any of their documented billings to the Association.

So don't let George's (or Mary Thomas') fear-mongering about a fictitious "financial collapse" mislead you to give an unintended o.k. to setting in motion a financial escalator and regular fee and special assessment increases intended to achieve a flush treasury, which, given the absence of outside state monitoring of condo association budgets and other fiscal affairs can easily invite abuse turning association funds into a public trough for the industry and others to feed at.

Likewise, with Kevin's continued leadership at stake in the choice you make in this election for the two board of trustee seats, I believe each of us homeowners has literally thousands of dollars in unnecessary condo fees and assessments at stake over the next few years - money which can and properly should be used for other household purposes than greatly fattening the Association treasury.

Please, take the time to defend your pocketbooks and cast your vote by mail or completed ballot delivered to the clubhouse soon for ATIF NAZIR and GREG MACHYOWSKY. In effect. You'll be voting approval of KEVIN WINE'S BRILLIANT AND SELFLESS SERVICE to the people of Society Hill, which has saved you already thousands in fees for the past eight years of self-management, with more savings to come, and something that merits an expression of appreciation, not repudiation.


Greg Machyowsky, Trustee

I'm Naming Names

I assume that the slightly better than average proxy return is due to the clear choice facing us this year - do you want to continue down the path we are on, or do you want to take a U-turn and go back to where we were several years ago? I think it was clear from the profile statements who represents which path, and that made it easy for the owners to select candidates, one way or the other. I think we have demonstrated that it is possible to run an association of this size ourselves. It is not easy, but it is possible. I also think it is sustainable, however the board will need to work at making it work, and the residents will need to support the board in that effort. If they do, we will continue to benefit from the economies of this configuration, and avoid the exploitation of the past.

I do worry a bit about what happens when I inevitably depart from the scene, as the wolves will always be watching from the sidelines, waiting for their opportunity. I'm sure there are other people out there that could run the association successfully, although it might cost a little bit more. We did interview several managers years ago, and I know one or two of them would have been able to handle the task - for a price. They are probably not going to know the technical side of the operation, but they would know how to find and retain people that did - again at a price. I have no immediate plans, and am still committed to following through on the major projects, especially the maintenance building, but at some point the haters are raising a legitimate question - what happens when Kevin leaves?

There were several issues that came up at the candidate's night that I need clarify. I didn't chime in at the meeting, but I will now. There was considerable critique of the temporary summer workers this year. While I agree that they generally not as efficient as the regular staff, they are paid a little more than half what the regular staff gets, so if productivity is 60%, we're about even. It would be nice to get 80 or 90%, and some were performing at this level, but on average, it was probably between 60 and 70%.

We allocate considerable time to litter collection and dumpster clean-up. We check the dumpsters at least 3 times a week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Sometimes we check Tuesday and Thursday as well. Litter collection is almost daily during the summer. Now it's at least twice a week. The breezeways are blown out less frequently, but on average every 2 or 3 weeks we go through. Usually we do this on pay-week, just as a way of remembering an every-other-week schedule. Often I save breezeway blowing for when it's raining though, because it's all covered and keeps the crew busy during bad weather. Rezkom used to allocate 12 hours a week to breezeway blowing, which is crazy. It takes 15 minutes per building, and there are 12 buildings. That's 3 hours.

I will continue to object to the characterization that the association is in a "desperate" or "dire" financial situation, and that the reserve fund is "barren". This is simply not true. There is around $500,000 in the reserves, and we take in almost $1,000,000 a year in maintenance fee income, with another $150,000 a year coming soon. There is a chance we will recover a good portion of the affordable housing lawsuit legal fees, which would likely go back into the reserve fund. We allocate about 20% of the operating revenue to reserves, contrary to the comment that it is only 10%, which is not true. I have gone over this issue multiple times in past emails, so I will refer the reader to those emails (archive link below). It was pretty clear from the candidates night that several residents are either not getting these emails or not reading them.

I also don't agree with the "reckless spending" characterization. This is a very un-informed accusation. Keep in mind that a large part of my job is to spend money. We are non-profit, and we are supposed to be spending the money on maintaining and improving the property. While we could argue about how much money should be put aside for this, the bottom line is that it's supposed to get spent on the work. If that is "reckless", then that's a different definition of reckless than I have.

Maybe I need to remind everyone of what I would consider reckless spending from the past?? Remember the $600,000 wing-wall repair project and the special assessment for it? I've commented on this before, how even in the wildest of estimates, I can't possibly come even close to $600k for that work. Nobody on the board at the time had any construction background so we all got taken for a ride. Then there are the legal fees from the past, which I have also talked about before - couple hundred thousand at least, with little or no return. And snow removal - a lot of money for plowing a day after the storms, and ice everywhere. These are things that I would call reckless.

One resident commented that an affordable housing survey was never done. Also not true. In fact, two surveys were done.

The board is copied on all the delinquent collections matters, and is aware of the work being done to collect on past-due accounts. All of the high-dollar accounts are in some form of collections. We have liens on many units as well. Collections is a complicated topic, and effective collections work is not straight-forward. It is easy to spend money going after delinquent owners, however getting money back on that is another story. Each account is different and the approach has to be tailored to the situation. It is a gross miss-characterization to say we are doing nothing. That's simply not true.

While some areas of the complex are not perfect, overall the place is not that bad looking in my opinion. I know there is still some stuff stored around, but we are working on consolidating that before winter, and moving some more of it off-site. This will all be taken care of when we have a building to house everything. There are a lot of reasons the grass isn't as green as it used to be, and I have explained those reasons before.

There has always been some controversy around the switch to self-management, especially in the beginning, and then more controversy when I ended up working for the association in an administrative capacity in 2011. Most of that subsided, until recently, when it is clear that a few people, one of whom I don't even know, are clearly bent on killing what we have created over the last several years. I have eluded to this in past emails, but it has come to a point now that I feel obligated to inform all the owners about what is going on. I'm sure some would like to see me go, but I know there are others that would not, so I think it is appropriate for me to bring home the realities of what some are trying to do.

I draw your attention to the owner of 257 Hampshire Court, Michele Timper. This is a 2nd floor condominium unit in building 26 near the bend. The unit has been rented to a relative of the owner for several years, Lynn, who is a frequent pool user. I don't really know Lynn personally, but I have know her as a resident for several years and never had any problems with her or the unit she was in, or the owner, Ms. Timper. Over this last summer, something must have changed, and Lynn seems to have gotten in to various altercations with other pool users, one of whom is also a resident of Society Hill, and another who is a guest of that resident. The swimming pool is not like it was in the old days - there are far fewer people, so I have not been too concerned about a few extra guests. For reasons that are a bit awkward to mention, Lynn had an issue with some particular guests at the pool, and asked me more than once to do something about it. In the context of the request, and knowing more about the dynamics of the situation, I brought the issue up with the other guests but did not take it any further than that. I didn't feel it was appropriate to pursue, given the totality of the circumstances. If I am pushed in to elaborating on this in a future email I gladly will, but I can guarantee some people are going to be very embarrassed.

I assume at some point the tensions at the pool were relayed to Ms. Timiper, the owner of the unit in which Lynn resides, who decided to enter the conflict on behalf of Lynn. Ms. Timper popped up at the pool one afternoon in June taking pictures, taking videos, and going through the the binders and logs at the guard stand. The next Monday I receive a visit from the Middlesex County Health Inspector, who was following up on a complaint that our pool does not have a certified pool operator, and that the area outside the pool fence is too messy. The CPO complaint was frivolous, since we did actually have a CPO with a valid certificate, and I agreed to clean up more of the stuff outside the pool fence, even though the majority of it had already been removed several weeks prior. Her attempt to shut down the pool, if that was the intent, failed.

Subsequently, I began receiving certified letters from Ms. Timper, 17 in all, over the course of the following month, demanding access to, and copies of numerous association records. Most of the documents were financial records, to which owners are entitled to inspect, and the association responded to all her requests. It turned out most of the documents were already on the WEB site anyway. Many of the letters were redundant with the only difference being the date range of the requested documents. The requests could have easily been consolidate into far fewer letters. She also contacted the State of NJ Department of Community Affairs, and tried to get them involved on her behalf, and she copied nearly 20 state assembly, senate, and federal senate and congress members in that same letter. The board package for the September meeting contained 77 pages of letters and correspondence with Ms. Timper, to give you and idea of the volume of material.

Ms. Timper made another visit to the pool about a week after the photo-shoot. This time she approached me and demanded that I remove one particular guest from the pool area. I refused, again given the context of the request, and her obvious intent to draw me in to a conflict between various adults at the pool.

During the letter barrage, I also received a violation letter from township code enforcement regarding materials stored in other areas of the property. The town has been aware of all the items on the property, and agreements had previously been made on a plan to rearrange or remove items to temporary off-site storage. Code enforcement was made aware of those plans, and the interference Ms. Timper was causing with them, and the issue was dropped. Still not satisfied, several days later I received another phone call from the health inspector regarding trash in the pond and the vegetation growing on the pond surface. Both issues were not really immediate public health threats.

One of the numerous letters from Ms. Timper was an arm-chair lawyer attack on several of the board's actions over the years, mostly relating to capital projects and voting at the annual meeting. All the issues she raised were not new to the association, so I responded to Ms. Timper accordingly. Again, not satisfied, she replied with another critique of my response. This was two months ago. On Friday, I receive a phone call from our insurance broker, advising that Ms. Timper has retained an attorney and that attorney has formally advised him of alleged illegal actions by the board. She has yet to file a lawsuit, but I assume that is what she is up to, otherwise, this is just another of her intimidation tactics. Ms. Timper, and her husband, were at the meet the candidate night event, and it was clear from their questions to the candidates and other comments that she is trying hard to undermine the efforts of the current board and me.

I will not speculate on all the underlying motivation for Ms. Timper's behavior, at least not yet, but I will say that she is consuming association resources, distracting the association from its normal business, and causing me to burn hours dealing with frivolous complaints and requests. She is spending your money. If it was on a worthwhile cause, that's one thing, but this is not a worthwhile cause. I'm sure she considers her efforts a contribution to the betterment of the association, and she is certainly entitled to that opinion, but as an owner here too, I am eventually going to voice my opinion. Her actions are not helpful, they are harmful, they are damaging to the association, they are unnecessary, and even vindictive. She is attaching herself to the "change" movement, but I don't feel this is the right time to be making a U-turn and kill the self-management plan. While I'm here, you are getting a lot for your money. This is a time for doing, not for sitting on large piles of cash at 0.25% return. I don't know what will happen when I'm not here, but I do know what has happened in the past, and I for one do not want to be paying for that again. What I do next depends on the outcome of this year's election. If the majority of owners really think it's over then that's fine - I'm really indifferent on this, believe it or not. But I would like to know, because there are other things that I could be putting my energy and time towards. If it all does get undone, then that's blood on the hands of Michele Timper, and a few others, not mine. And all this coming from a person I don't even know, but now you know.



DATE: Thursday, November 17, 2016
TIME: 8:19 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Society Hill News - Garage Sale, BOT Meeting, and Other Important Info
TYPE: Community News

A couple of residents are planning a garage sale this weekend, Saturday, November 19th, from 9 AM to 3 PM in the clubhouse parking lot. The weather looks good. Contact the management office for more information.

November Board Meeting Reminder
The November Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for this coming Monday, November 21st, 7PM at the clubhouse. The agenda can be viewed at:

The 2017 proposed budget is on the agenda, as well as the affordable housing litigation and how we are going to handle the maintenance fee transition of the affordable units.

Annual Meeting Update
We have received 241 proxies thus far. The quorum requirement is about 240 proxies, so while we have enough proxy envelopes, about 40 of them are usually invalid or disqualified for various reasons so we need a few more to be safe. The annual meeting and holiday event is still scheduled for Friday December 16th, 6 PM at the clubhouse. There will be food and drink, and the 2015 annual audit presentation.

Package Theft Season
Although no package thefts have been reported to the office yet this season, this is the time of year when this problem begins. We had quite a few packages disappear last year. We also had video of at least two of the suspects, including one vehicle that was potentially involved. If anyone sees a black Acura with license plate M43-EEE, please call the police immediately. The plate is invalid, and they would like to talk to the driver.

About two months ago, the office received a report of a missing white Toyota Camary from the building 4 area of Canterbury Court. Subsequently, it appears the vehicle was stolen. There were reports from at least two residents of a tow-truck driving around in that area in the early morning hours. The apparent theft probably took place between 5 AM and 2 PM.

FHA Certification
Despite predictions to the contrary, Society Hill at Piscataway has been successful at obtaining FHA certification. There was an issue a few years ago which resulted in a problem with the renewal, but that problem has since been resolved. This will make it easier for some prospective buyers to obtain mortgages, and some current owners to refinance their existing loans.

Holiday Trash Collection, Recycling, and Office Hours
We think there will be curb-side trash collection for the townhouse units on Thursday, November 24th. If not Thursday, then they will come on Friday. Dumpsters will be emptied on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, as usual.

Recycling is next Wednesday, November 24rd. There has been some confusion over recycling days, and recycling in general. The recycling days are correct on the WEB site calendar, which is available at:

Recycling is now commingled - it has been for over a year - which means you no longer have to separate glass, plastic, and paper. Middlesex County has some posters showing what goes where:

Also, we have several residents which seem to have trouble putting the trash bags in to the dumpsters. It is understandable that with big or heavy trash bags this can be difficult. While we would like to leave a lid open on the dumpster, technically this is against health department regulations, as we have been reminded a few times over the past several years. There is trick to getting a large or heavy bag into the dumpster - you can lift it with both hands and put it on top of one of the two closed lids. Then, hold the bag with one hand to keep it from sliding off the lid, which you raise the other lid with your other hand. Finally, slide the bag off the closed lid and into the dumpster.

The problem with bags left by the dumpster is that other residents immediately assume that the dumpster is full, and they all start putting their bags outside the dumpster. Usually, there is still plenty of space in the dumpster.

The association office will be closed in observance of Thanksgiving, on Thursday AND Friday, November 24th and 25th. Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the office will be closing at 4 PM instead of 5 PM.

Affordable Housing Update
It is likely that the association and the Township of Piscataway will come to some form of an agreement on the affordable housing issue within the next few days. Ideally, the final written agreement will be reviewed by the board at the Monday board meeting. We are aware that there are some sales which are somewhat held up, waiting for final resolution on this matter.

It is still assumed that the township will make some extension plan available to affordable owners that wish to extend the affordability controls for the next 30 years. The association is still trying to come up with some plan to assist the extending unit owners with their maintenance fees, possibly through a deferred payment plan of some sort. This will be discussed and possibly decided at the Monday board meeting.

We are also going to have to resolve the issue of when and how to transition the maintenance fees for the former affordable units. Technically, the controls ended June of 2015, however the court decision wasn't until February of 2016. Additionally, there was still some ambiguity with some units even after the court decision, although some units in that situation have successfully sold. Various plans will be discussed at the Monday board meeting.



DATE: Saturday, December 10, 2016
TIME: 5:03 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: BOT Meeting Reminder, Account Emails, and Other News
TYPE: Community News

We have several updates for everyone - please see below:

December Board Meeting
The December 2016 Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 12th, 7PM at the clubhouse. The December meeting is actually a continuation of the November meeting, so the same agenda is still valid and can be viewed at:

Preliminary minutes of the November meeting are at:

There are several important issues on the agenda, including the 2017 budget, and the final details on how the association will be handling the expiration of the affordable housing controls. Hopefully, the budget will be sorted out at this meeting so the payment coupons can be distributed before the end of the year.

Accounts Payable Reminder Emails
At long last, the maintenance fee reminder emails have been implemented. The system now sends out a payment reminder email 5 days before the maintenance fee payment is due. In order to receive these reminders, you have to check the appropriate box in your resident profile on the WEB site. Likewise, if you don't want these reminders, you can un-check the box.

The system also sends an email a day after your payment is posted to your account. For those on automatic direct-debit through the association, this will be the day after the payment is made. Manual credit-card and debit-card payments will also trigger a payment posted email the next day. For those mailing in checks, or using bill-pay through your bank, this email may be delayed for several days as we do not process incoming check payments on a daily basis. Also, for bill-pay through the bank residents, realize the bank takes the money from your account on the day you specify, even though the association may take several more days to actually deposit the check and receive the funds.

If you have recently sent in a payment and are still receiving a reminder email, just ignore it. Again, it can be several days before payments are actually posted, so the system will still send the reminder even though you sent in the check. The system will also send a reminder if there is a lingering balance or a credit on your account. Several owners have contacted us recently regarding residual amounts on the their accounts that they weren't aware of. Don't worry - we will help everyone get that resolved in the next week or so.

Owners who pre-pay their accounts will still receive a payment reminder email. The reminder can be ignored since there is a credit balance. The reminder is still sent because some of these owners would like to know when their credit balance will be consumed.

The system will also send a payment over-due reminder email, two weeks after your payment due date, if there is still a balance on your account.

By the way, we can accommodate a different payment due date for each unit. Most are set to the 15th of the month, but this can be changed to any day of the month. Contact the office if you would like us to change this for you. For example, some owners receive their social-security checks after the 15th, so for them a due date later in the month is more convenient.

Second Parking Spaces
When we started the additional parking spot rentals a few years ago, the rental charges for those additional spaces and the payments were maintained separately from the individual maintenance fee accounts. Recently, we have been moving that accounting to the maintenance fee payment system. In other words, the charges for the rental of a second spot, and the payments, will appear on the maintenance fee account histories. This will allow us to automate the yearly rental charge. This will result in some charges on the maintenance fee accounts for some owners that have been renting a second spot but during this transition have not been invoiced. If you have had a second spot and haven't been billed for it in a while, we will be catching that up over the next few weeks. The maintenance fee payment reminders might reflect those additional charges at some point in the near future - do not be alarmed.

Annual Meeting
The annual meeting and holiday party is still scheduled for Friday, December 16th. There will be food and drink, starting around 7PM. We should have enough proxies by then, but are still trying to get some more extra ones, since there are always 30 or 40 that end up getting disqualified for some reason or another.

Holiday Office Hours and Trash Collection
Both the Christmas and New Years holidays fall on a weekend this year, so there won't be any changes to the trash collection schedules. Recycling was just this last Wednesday, so the next recycling day is Wednesday, December 21st.

The office will be closed on Friday, December 23rd, and Monday, December 26th, and again on Monday, January 2nd, all in observance of the upcoming holidays.

Package Thefts
It's that time of year again, and while we have only received two reports of missing packages, we need to remind everyone again to be on the look-out. We have pictures of some of the individuals from last year, and we are still looking for that car with the license plate M43-EEE. The maintenance crew is keeping an eye out as well, and remember two years ago it was some of the crew that spotted one of the thieves and we were able to get the police here in time to catch them.


DATE: Friday, December 16, 2016
TIME: 4:00 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Annual Meeting/Holiday Party TONIGHT, Board meeting Monday, and Snow
TYPE: Community News

This is a reminder that the 2016 Annual Meeting is tonight, December 16th, starting at 6:00 PM at the clubhouse. The format is the same as prior years:

-There will be food and drinks - turkey, noodles, fish, vegetables, desserts.

-The proxies will be opened and if a quorum is met, the annual meeting will be held, which includes the counting of the ballots for the election of trustees.

-The auditor will be present for the 2015 audit presentation starting around 7PM.

If you still have not turned in your proxy form, you still have a few hours to do so, or you can vote in person at the meeting. We could probably use a few extras, just to make sure we have enough.

If you are interested in helping process the proxy forms and count the ballots, please let us know or just show up to the meeting. The coutning process will probably begin around 6, with interruptions for eating and the audit presentation.

Weekend Snow Storm

The forecast is sticking to snow for Saturday, but only a few inches at the worst. The temperature is predicted to be above freezing throughout the event, with near 60 degrees for Sunday. We will have some crew on-site Saturday, but if the forecast is correct, it should not be necessary to plow since it will all be melting anyway and the temperature will be above freezing.

Monday Board Meeting

The board met this Monday, the 12th, to finish the agenda from the November 21st meeting. Unfortunately, we still didn't get through all the items, so there is another meeting scheduled for this coming Monday the 19th. The agenda is still the November meeting agenda, minus the items that we did get to at the past two meeting.

Incidentally, the board did vote on the 2017 budget, which will be keeping the fees at $171 a month for 2017. We will try to get a winter newsletter out with the 2017 payment coupons before the end of the year.

The board did not have time to deal with the affordable unit transitions at the meeting on the 12th, so this will be dealt with on the 19th. The affordable housing "settlement" is almost complete - we are currently waiting on the town council to approve the agreement, which is on the council's agenda for Tuesday the 20th. We assume the town will be offering an extension plan of some sort to former affordable unit owners wishing to extend the affordability controls for another 30 years. The details of that offer are still not exactly known at this time. The board will be dealing with the question of how to handle the maintenance fees of the extending units, as well as if and how to deal with the affordable maintenance fees since the court decision on February 8th of this year.



DATE: Thursday, December 29, 2016
TIME: 7:23 PM
TO: All Residents
SUBJECT: Annual Meeting Results, 2017 Budget, Account Emails
TYPE: Community News

The 2016 Annual Meeting and Election finally took place last Monday, December 19th. The results of the election are on the WEB site at:

and repeated here, in the order of votes received:

Gregory Machyowsky - 98 votes
Mary Thomas - 97 votes
Atif Nazir - 94 votes
Pushpa Sharma - 65 votes
Jack Sarhage - 25 votes
George Tsacnaris - 24 votes

There were two open seats, so the winners were Greg Machyowsky and Mary Thomas. We would like to thank Mr. Nazir for his 12 years of service on the board of trustees, and welcome Mary Thomas to the board.

There were a few motions from the floor at the annual meeting, and a preliminary copy of the minutes can be found at:

We are still working on getting a final 2016 newsletter written and distributed, which will contain the 2017 maintenance fee payment coupons.

The town council did approve the final affordable housing litigation "settlement" agreement between it and Society Hill at the town council meeting on the 20th of December. This agreement will resolve any remaining ambiguities in the February 8th, 2016 affordable housing judgment, which was in the association's favor. The agreement will also reimburse the association for most of its legal expenses in the case.

Presumably, the township will still be offering some sort of an extension plan for the former affordable unit owners who wish to re-enlist for another 30 years of affordability control with the township. Based on prior discussions with the town, it is likely the deal will require extending for a fixed term of 30 year. At the end of those 30 years, it is also likely that 95% of the "windfall" (the difference between the full-market value and affordable value, 30 years from now) will be "re-captured" by the town. "Re-capture" is a euphemism for "take". The maintenance fees will also increase to full rate (currently $171 per month), possibly retroactive to February 8th, 2016.

The association board is still discussing possible ways to relieve the maintenance fee burden on the former affordable units that wish to extend controls with the township. For legal reasons, it is not going to be possible to forgive or subsidize the difference between the full fees and the affordable fees, but we may be able to offer some "fee deferment" plan which would keep the fees reduced until the unit sells, at which point the association would collect the remaining amount due. Some modest interest may also have to be charged as this would in effect be a loan. Earlier in 2016, the association did indicate to the court that they would try to make an accommodation somewhere along these lines.

Most of the former affordable units have still been paying the reduced affordable maintenance fees for the last several months. The court ruled on the case on February 8th, 2016. Again for legal reasons, it may be necessary for the association to recover the difference in fees between the full market-rate fees and the affordable fees, going back to February. If this does happen, we are aware of the burden this may impose on some unit owners, and again are internally discussing how to handle this. A similar "fee deferment" plan may be offered here as well, so the difference could be collected at time of sale.

All these details were scheduled to be debated at the last few board meetings, however for various reasons the board has not been able to get to it yet. The topic will be on the January meeting agenda. The board is in the process of determining when that meeting will be.

Finally, various alert and reminder emails are now being sent automatically to all owners regarding their maintenance fee accounts. Two days before the payment due date, which is the 15th of the month for most units, a "payment due soon" email goes out. If you have already paid or sent a check, you can safely ignore the email. It is just a courtesy reminder of the upcoming due date. The email will also contain your current balance, which is useful for confirming that everything is good. Again, we are not posting payments and going to the bank every day, so there is usually a delay of several days between when the checks come in to the office and they are actually deposited to the bank and posted to your account. Therefore, it is possible you will see a balance due of some amount in the "payment due soon" email, even though you have already sent in a check. If that happens, just ignore the email.

You will receive another "payment posted" email when your payment is actually posted. There was a technical issue with these emails in December so some units did not receive the payment posted email notices. This has been corrected and should be working going forward.



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