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TRUCKS IN FALLSMEAD - INPUT NEEDED
Posted on Posted on Oct 24th, 2020
In 2010, the Fallsmead homeowners, by a vote of 202-46, adopted our current covenants that include a list of prohibited activities. In that list is a prohibition of the overnight parking of (1) commercial vehicles, and separately, among other things, (2) trucks, unless garaged.  These two covenants do not bar homeowners from owning trucks or commercial vehicles, or using them in a business.  It only requires that these vehicles be garaged overnight.
 
The covenants provide no guidance on what is defined as a truck other than its structure, that it is something distinct from a commercial vehicle. These same covenants were distributed to every home in Fallsmead in 2010 and have been provided to every new homeowner since then. 
 
The Board of Directors has enforced this covenant in response to complaints of possible covenant violations. The definition of “truck” that has been used to enforce this covenant has been essentially “A vehicle with a flat/cargo bed, and/or a physical divider between the passenger cab area and the other portion of the vehicle OR a vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVHR) 10,000 pounds or greater.”
 
In light of the apparent disparity in the covenants that allow very large SUVs to park overnight in the neighborhood without being garaged while small trucks, often used as personal vehicles, are required to be garaged, the Board obtained legal advice regarding the options it has enforcing this covenant (the Board does not have the option of not enforcing a covenant).
 
In response, the attorney advised the Board that under Maryland state law, even when the SUV is built on a truck chassis, it is not considered a truck, but instead is classified as a “multipurpose passenger vehicle.” The attorney further provided an analysis of different definitions of the word “truck” for the covenants and recommended that the Board issue a Rule and Regulation no matter what definition it chose in order to provide clear guidance to the community. 
 
Following this legal advice, in the beginning of the year the Board created a committee to study the issue. Following a solicitation for committee members in the Fallsmead Forum, a committee of six volunteers was formed. The committee conducted research into the history of the covenant and had multiple meetings during which the committee discussed different options. Ultimately, the committee presented a definition of truck that the Board has been using and presented two other options that could be considered to allow for a less restrictive definition. These three definitions were distributed to the community in the September issue of the Fallsmead Forum, which also advertised that the options would be discussed at our October community meeting.
 
At our community meeting last Wednesday, there was a vigorous discussion of the issue, including a claim that the covenant had never been enforced against light-weight/pickup trucks. The Board, after reviewing prior Board meeting minutes and consultation with three past Board Presidents, has found no support for this claim.  Having heard from the community during this meeting, the Board intends to discuss the options at its November 9th meeting.  
 
If anyone who could not attend the meeting has an opinion on what definition the Board should adopt, please send an email with your comments to president@fallsmead.org by no later than November 8, 2020.
 
An excerpt of the covenant is below along with the three proposed options that were put forward by the special committee that studied this issue (one of which was slightly modified by the Board).  Each option contains a description of the option followed by a specific definition of “truck” and “commercial vehicle” to be adopted as a Rule and Regulation. 
 
Article VII, Section 4 of the Covenants requires the overnight garaging of:
1.           Commercial Vehicles of any type, and 
2.           Trucks, trailers or unlicensed motor vehicles of any type.
 
Options 
 
1. No change. The current practice effectively requires the garaging of all trucks – i.e. vehicles with flat beds – as well as commercial vehicles. This includes all light trucks (aka pickups). Although unwritten, the current interpretation of the terms is:
 
Definition of a Truck:  
 
A vehicle with a flat/ cargo bed, and/or a physical divider between the passenger cab area and the other portion of the vehicle OR a vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVHR) 10,000 pounds or greater.
 
Definition of a Commercial Vehicle:
 
A passenger vehicle or truck that is designed for or used in a commercial business. Examples of commercial vehicles would include, but not be limited to: taxicabs; panel vans; vehicles designed to carry more than 8 passengers and vehicles with lettering and other business logos prominently displayed on the exterior.
 
2. Light trucks with cabs and covers exempt. Permit overnight parking in driveways and the street of light trucks so long as they had a cab or cover over the flat bed such that all cargo - including ladders, tool chests, and equipment – be wholly contained and not visible. This would make them not dissimilar to SUVs, which are currently allowed under the Fallsmead Covenants.  All commercial vehicles would still have to be garaged overnight.
 
Definition of a Truck:  
 
A vehicle with an exposed flat/ cargo bed, and/or a physical divider between the passenger cab area and the other portion of the vehicle, OR a vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVHR) 10,000 pounds or greater. An otherwise exposed cargo bed is required to be covered by a fitted and intact covering such as a tonneau cover - a tarp is insufficient - to avoid being categorized as a truck by the Fallsmead Covenants.
 
Definition of a Commercial Vehicle: 
 
A passenger vehicle or truck that is designed for or used in a commercial business. Examples of commercial vehicles would include, but not be limited to: taxicabs; panel vans; vehicles designed to carry more than 8 passengers and vehicles with lettering and other business logos prominently displayed on the exterior
 
3. Light trucks under 10,000 gross vehicle weight exempt. Define trucks in such a way as to not include light and light medium trucks i.e. explicitly permit class 1 & 2 light and light medium trucks, which are defined by the Federal Highway Administration as having a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVHR) of less than 10,000 pounds. All commercial vehicles would still have to be garaged overnight.
 
Definition of a Truck:  
 
A vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVHR) 10,000 pounds or greater.
 
Definition of a Commercial Vehicle: 
 
A passenger vehicle or truck that is designed for or used in a commercial business. Examples of commercial vehicles would include, but not be limited to: taxicabs; panel vans; vehicles designed to carry more than 8 passengers and vehicles with lettering and other business logos prominently displayed on the exterior.
 
 
HALLOWEEN MESSAGE FROM THE FALLSMEAD BOARD
Posted on Posted on Oct 13th, 2020
Halloween is a cherished tradition in Fallsmead. Neighbors love seeing the extensive decorations many of us put up for the holiday. Costumed kids from throughout the neighborhood and beyond stroll through the streets with parents in tow. It is a sight to see. In many years, some houses even set up tables to provide refreshments and a social outlet for the parents as the kids go door to door. This year, however, things will be different.
 
In light of the ongoing pandemic, many people have sought information from our HOA about whether there will be trick-or-treating in Fallsmead this year. Our Social Committee is continuing the tradition of sponsoring a Fallsmead Halloween House Decorating Contest. The committee is organizing two Spook-tacular Halloween Scavenger Hunt events the afternoon of Halloween, being careful to limit the number of people gathering at each event to less than 50 in compliance with County guidelines. Trick-or-treating, however, has always been an organic tradition that just occurs from each individual’s choice to participate. The Board has little ability to impact whether that happens. 
 
The Board is aware that some neighbors have posted on the neighborhood Facebook page about their efforts to have socially-distanced trick-or-treating. Attached is a map of neighbors who have said that they will be participating in socially-distanced trick or treating by leaving candy on tables for trick-or-treaters to take. Contact neighbor Alina Entin with questions about this map at alina_entin@hotmail.com. Please be safe out there, watch out for costumed kids running in the street, and stay healthy. 
 
And remember the Halloween guidelines from Montgomery County and the Centers for Disease Control (below).
 
 
Avoid these activities
Traditional, door-to-door trick-or-treating, due to the challenge of maintaining proper physical distancing on porches and at front doors.
However, if individuals do so, please make efforts to ensure that everyone answering or coming to the door is appropriately masked to prevent disease spread.
 
 
If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.
 
Moderate risk activities
Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)
If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.
 
Higher risk activities
Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:
Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door.
FALLSMEAD HALLOWEEN HOUSE DECORATING CONTEST
Posted on Posted on Oct 3rd, 2020
Let's see Fallsmead's spookiest and creepiest house decorations in our popular Halloween House Decorating Contest!
 
We will be awarding prizes for overall theme and most original decor. All displays will be judged on Sunday, October 25th, from 5-9pm. House decoration winners will be announced and prizes distributed on October 26th. Prizes will be provided by one of our favorite local businesses, Potomac Pizza. The contest encourages everybody to get in the spirit of the holiday in a safe and fun way. Selection criteria ultimately will be up to the judges.
 
The contest cannot happen without judges! Please contact social@fallsmead.org if interested in judging.
THE COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE NEEDS YOUR HELP!
Posted on Posted on Aug 4th, 2020
Fallsmead is looking for volunteers! The Communications Committee is looking for a new Chair and people to help with the Fallsmead Forum and Communications Committee duties.
 
The Communications Committee is a group of volunteers that manages the communications for our HOA. Committee members manage the Fallsmead website and Facebook page, distribute written and electronic communications to the community, and publish the quarterly issues of the Fallsmead Forum. The Committee Chair is responsible for managing these responsibilities and reporting to the Board of Directors about the Committee’s activities. 
 
We are currently looking for volunteers for the following positions:
 
  • Committee Chair – Manage the Communications Committee and provide reports to the Board of Directors. No experience necessary. 
  • Fallsmead Facebook Administrator – Help manage the Fallsmead Facebook page.
  • Fallsmead Forum Assistant Editor – Assist in the publication of the Forum by collecting articles and columns to be published in the Forum and obtaining advertisements for the Forum.
  • Fallsmead Forum Contributors – Occasionally contribute an article or column to the Forum
If you are interested in joining the Communications Committee, please send an email to communications@fallsmead.org and president@fallsmead.org expressing your interest.
FALLSMEAD SPRING/SUMMER 2020 INSPECTION
Posted on Posted on Jun 6th, 2020
The ACC's delayed annual Spring Inspection will be conducted during June. ACC members examine each home for needed maintenance and repair or for changes that have not been approved by the ACC. Typical maintenance or repair needs most commonly noted by the ACC in past Inspections involve the following:
2020 SWIM TEAM SEASON CANCELED
Posted on Posted on May 23rd, 2020
We regret to announce that the MCSL 2020 Swim Season has been CANCELLED.
 
The MCSL Executive Board delayed the final decision as long as possible so they could use the most up-to-date information. As of Thursday, May 21 (when the decision was announced) the county had yet to remove the “stay at home” restriction and was awaiting a sustained downward trend in key COVID-19 metrics. There was no way to predict when those circumstances would occur nor when the outdoor pools would be allowed to open. Additionally, if the outdoor pools eventually open, the expected restrictions would make it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to execute competition in a safe manner.
FALLSMEAD POOL OPENING DELAYED
Posted on Posted on May 19th, 2020
Montgomery County health officials announced yesterday that public pools (county run, as well as swim clubs and neighborhood pools) throughout the county will not be able to open for the Memorial Day weekend.
 
As a result, the Fallsmead Pool will remain closed this weekend. The county has not announced a date when they expect pools will be allowed to open (best estimates are mid-June to early July).
REOPENING OF THE FALLSMEAD TENNIS/RACKET SPORTS COURTS
Posted on Posted on May 8th, 2020
In light of Governor Hogan's amended stay-at-home order, the Fallsmead Tennis courts will be reopened as of 09 May 2020. To best protect tennis players and residents, the Fallsmead Tennis Committee has introduced the following steps to reinforce existing court reservation rules, and to add a few new recommendations and actions to help limit any unnecessary exposure to players as follows:
DELAYED: FALLSMEAD SPRING 2020 INSPECTION
Posted on Posted on Apr 28th, 2020
With the Governor’s Stay At Home Order in effect until further notice, the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) has decided to delay the annual Spring Inspection for at least 30 days. The Spring Inspection, which usually occurs in May, will occur when the Stay At Home Order has been rescinded.
2019 HOLIDAY HOUSE DECORATING CONTEST WINNERS
Posted on Posted on Dec 16th, 2019
Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Fallsmead Holiday House Decorating Contest! Winners and Honorable Mentions, in no particular order, are as follows:
 
Winners
  • Teague - 1120 Pipestem Pl
  • Marcus - 1414 Fallsmead Way
  • Roemer - 5 Infield Ct S
  • Murphy - 21 Infield Ct N
  • Fellman/Brauer - 7 Trail House Ct
  • Nanos - 5 Trail House Ct
Honorable Mentions
  • Bucsa - 1853 Greenplace Ter
  • Sauder/Qi - 3 James Spring Ct
  • Ribulotta/Delrio - 1064 Pipestem Pl
Click here to see pictures of all of the winning houses! And thank you again to the Runko family for being our judges. 
 
SOCIAL COMMITTEE NEEDS YOU!!
Posted on Posted on May 24th, 2019
The heart of our community is the relationships we have with our neighbors. Our community social events facilitate these relationships. But, these events need to be planned and executed, and we need your help. Without your help, these events simply can’t happen.
 
So it is up to you, neighbors, to make sure that we have amazing events and opportunities to connect with each other – whether celebrating the pool opening, July 4th, Halloween, or pool parties.
 
To make sure that we have these events, I need you to volunteer to plan an event.
 
Please contact me to let me know which event you want to work on. The time commitment is minimal overall.
 
Best part of taking lead on a project - you can have creative license and we’ve even developed tools to make it easier for you to pull off.
 
Which event is the one you want?
  • Pool Opening Party
  • July 4th – in coordination with the swim team
  • Summer Happy Hours by the pool
  • Fall Party & Halloween Parade (aka community cookout or campfire)
  • Winter party for kids (aka Santa in the Park)
  • Winter Party for adults
  • House decorating contests – Halloween & Christmas
Contact me at 410-627-8264 or social@fallsmead.org or lauragab26@gmail.com.
 
Laura Szabo
Social Committee
NEIGHBORHOOD HOME SALES
Posted on Posted on May 1st, 2019
Current residents, if you are planning on selling your home, there are two things you need to do: 1) contact our neighborhood treasurer, Jeff Cornish, at treasurer@fallsmead.org for the packet of official Homeowners Association Resale Documents; and 2) obtain a resales clearance from the Architectural Control Committee. The fee for the HOA resale documents is $100 and can be paid via check or online. Click here for more information about each of these requirements (in the Finance section of the FAQs).

If you are a new Fallsmead homeowner and haven't received your new homeowner's welcome packet, please also be sure to contact our Board Treasurer and he will get it to you.
FALLSMEAD@50 FUN FACTS ARCHIVE
Posted on Posted on Jan 3rd, 2019
We hope that you enjoyed reading the Fallsmead@50 Weekly Fun Facts throughout 2018 about Fallsmead's history and important events in Fallsmead's past as much as we enjoyed writing them! Although they ended at the conclusion of our 50th anniversary year in 2018, you can continue to access all of the 2018 Fallsmead@50 Weekly Fun Facts at fallsmead.org/blog.php. They are still open for comments, so please feel free to share your thoughts and memories!
DRIVEWAY EXPANSION GUIDELINES
Posted on Posted on Feb 13th, 2017
At its January 2017 meeting, the Fallsmead Board approved new Driveway Expansion Guidelines for the neighborhood for use on an interim basis pending results from a survey of neighborhood driveways during the 2017 spring inspection.
 
Following are the Driveway Expansion Guidelines. These will be updated and made final after the ACC reviews the results of the driveway survey:
NEW SOLAR PANEL INSTALLATION GUIDELINES
Posted on Posted on Jun 15th, 2016
If you have attended a recent community meeting or have read the Fallsmead Forum, you know that the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) has been drafting guidelines for solar panel installations in the Fallsmead. The ACC's proposed guidelines, published in the last issue of the on-line Forum for community review and comment, were approved by the Board at its June meeting and are effective immediately. The guidelines comply with federal, state and local regulations and will be updated as those and the technology evolve. Similar guidelines have been successfully used in nearby communities.
 
A solar panel installation is an exterior addition as defined in the Covenants. Fallsmead residents should be aware that the ACC will use these guidelines in its review of any proposed solar panel installations. The guidelines should be  taken into account early in the planning of any installation. The ACC will work cooperatively with residents planning solar panel installations so that those installations are safe, minimize visibility to the extent practical without degrading performance significantly, and harmonious with Fallsmead's design and aesthetic.
 
Click here to see a copy of the guidelines. If you have any questions about the solar panel installation guidelines or their applicability, please contact the ACC at acc@fallsmead.org.
UPDATED TRASH CAN SCREEN GUIDELINES
Posted on Posted on May 11th, 2016
The Fallsmead Board has approved new ACC guidelines for trash can screens. The updated guidelines are noted below.
 
"Screens to hide trash and recycling containers are permitted subject to the following: 
  • The design, color, size and location are subject to review by the ACC. A gate may be incorporated into the design.
  • Screens may be made of wood or other suitable material in harmony with the Fallsmead community.
  • Screens may be left unpainted to weather or painted to match or complement the Owner’s Private Dwelling Unit.
  • The screen’s height shall not exceed four feet."
Visit the FAQ page to see more information about the proper storage of trash cans in Fallsmead.
WEBSITE REGISTRATION PROBLEMS?
Posted on Posted on Sep 15th, 2013
If you registered at Fallsmead.org and never heard back from anyone, please let us know at communications@fallsmead.org! Once we manually approve people (which we usually do within a few hours of people registering), the website automatically generates an email that includes your password. You should have gotten this email within 24 hours of registering.

We suspect that some of these registration emails may have gotten lost in spam for some people, but this is something that we can easily fix as long as you let us know that it is a problem.

For any future registrants, if you don't hear back within 24 hours of registering, please let us know. Thanks!