Status Update as of June 17

Recap of June 5, 2014, Quarterly Membership Meeting

The Paving Project, which has been in various stages of planning for more than four years, was voted on at the June 5, 2014, Quarterly Meeting. The members voted to authorize expenditure of up to $990,000 from reserves, for the fixed-price contract with Ruston Paving Company, Inc. ($929,000), and associated engineering and project management expenses. The members also voted to approve the increase in capital contribution, from the previously approved level of $25 to the new level of $130 per member, per month, for the 6 months beginning July 2014, through December 2014. The additional funds collected through this increased capital contribution ($61,110) may be used for contingencies necessary to complete the paving project, if unforeseen circumstances arise during the course of construction. (It is a customary precaution to allocate 10% or more of the cost of a fixed-price contract to allowance for such contingencies; our existing reserves plus the additional capital contribution will make up the 10%.)

As stated in our previous letter, the paving contract, from Ruston Paving Company, Inc., is for (a) a new 12-inch thick road-bed using soil stabilization/full-depth reclamation with cement;  (b) a new 3-inch thick asphalt surface; (c) installation of concrete curb and gutter on nearly all sections of the roads (as shown on the site plan) to permanently improve stormwater drainage; and (d) remediation of adjacent walks, driveways, fences, and soil that have been disturbed or dislocated. The contractor is also responsible for surveying and testing to ensure that the finished product meets specifications.

Technical consulting on the project will continue to be provided by Jeff Lewis, of Site Solutions, Inc., who managed the site survey, developed the plans and the bid specification, and managed the bidding process. Jeff is responsible for making sure the contractor meets all our technical requirements and the finished roads comply with all specifications. He will also work with the contractor to address any unforeseen technical issues that arise during construction.

The Board of Directors has selected Shawn Goldstein for the role of Community Liaison. Her primary responsibility will be as a point of contact for members who have questions or issues with the project. There will be a lot of logistical details which members need to be aware of and cooperate on, such as making sure all vehicles have been moved away from the sections that are about to be worked on, and making sure there is an effective plan in place for closing off of sections of the roads when necessary. We have included a page with this mailing to introduce Shawn to the Community. If you need to contact someone, she is the best person for you to contact. Please keep her contact information handy. We have also included a diagram which represents how Shawn fits into the overall organization.

Shawn and Jeff represent the “associated engineering and project management expenses” part of the budget, referred to in the first paragraph. Jeff will continue to bill CJG on an hourly basis, as he has done throughout the project, and he will only be called on when his specific engineering expertise is needed. Shawn will bill CJG on a per-week basis for her services, as long as major work is underway and her services are needed.

Plans, Schedules, and Key Players

Members of the Board of Directors held a kickoff meeting with the Ruston management and the Community Liaison on June 10. Work is scheduled to begin during the week of July 7. The first signs of actual construction you will likely see in your neighborhood will be staging of equipment along the western part of Ericsson Rd. and surveying. We do not yet know with any accuracy when you will begin to see streets closed and under construction, but it will likely be early July and you will be notified before it happens.

Ruston has proposed a plan which calls for the paving to be completed in 14 weeks. We have included a page with Ruston’s “Phasing Plan,” and the “Construction Schedule” or sequence of events that take place within each of the 7 phases. Please familiarize yourself with this document and understand where your house falls in the overall schedule. The work is expected to begin with the far northwest corner of the community, including Russel Rd. and part of Ericsson, and end with the east end of the community. Within the next few weeks, as on-site surveying work gets under way, this tentative phasing plan will be firmed up and you will be notified of exactly which phase(s) will affect your house. While each phase will likely last for 2 weeks, we hope and expect that the total project may be completed in less than 14 weeks, if coordination goes smoothly, and the contractor is able to begin work on subsequent phases while the previous phase is still being completed. Members should nevertheless expect some disruption from this project to last at least until September, and possibly through October.

Before July 7, you will likely see people studying trees and shrubs that are growing very close to or overhanging streets in the community, and possibly the tree crew from Hughes Landscaping trimming them back. Establishing vertical clearance all along the roads is an unavoidable side effect of the paving project. The very large equipment that is brought in to pulverize the road bed and then to lay down the pavement, is quite high and needs room to pass right up to the very edge of the street. If you have concerns about how the trees and plants in front of your house are going to be handled, please contact Shawn and discuss these issues with her as soon as possible. Please do not try to interfere with the workmen from Hughes, as this will only add to everyone’s expense and possibly delay the project. If you have specific tree issues, related to vertical clearance at the street, that you need to discuss with the Board, please contact the Manager to request time on the BOD meeting agenda on July 7. The Board of Directors intends to devote as much time as needed to answer questions about the paving project at our July 7, 2014, regular meeting. Please plan to attend at 8:00 pm.

The community needs volunteers to serve as Block Captains, with one volunteer assigned to each phase (as described in the “Phasing Plan”), who will hopefully be a resident in that particular phase and who knows who lives in each of the houses in that area. The Community Liaison will meet with the block captains before construction begins, individually and perhaps as a group, to develop a plan for each phase and to discuss issues that can be anticipated, such as problem vehicles, construction sites, people with special access needs, etc. Shawn will work with each block captain to figure out solutions to such issues, and the block captains will help to communicate needed information to the residents on their block. This is an extremely important function that we anticipate will help to minimize disruption and hardship for residents and possibly avoid cost escalation. If you are interested in getting to know your neighbors better, or simply interested in helping others, please consider volunteering to be a block captain. Either contact Shawn or send email to paving@cjgardens.org.

What You Need To Know

The Board recognizes the need for timely and effective communications with the members during the course of the paving project. The Cabin John Gardens web site (http://www.cjgardens.org) will be the primary source for the most up to date information about the project, and project managers will rely heavily on email to communicate with members about schedule details, closures, vehicle issues, commitments, etc. However, there are still a number of residents who do not have reliable email, so they will need to be contacted by phone or in person. At critical points during the project, the Community Liaison and block captains will rely on hand-delivering notices to member houses, telephone calls, and email to guarantee that high-priority directions get delivered. Once we have found enough volunteers to have a block captain for each phase, you will be notified who your block captain is.

If you have not yet signed up to receive official communications from CJG via email, now would be an excellent time to do so. Due to constraints in our by-laws, this election must be made by submitting a signed document to the CJG office. You can find the necessary form on the CJG web site at:

http://www.cjgardens.org/home/forms-resources/electronic-communications-request

You can mail it in or bring it to the Community House. Even if you choose to continue receiving official communications by regular mail, which costs the community extra money and effort, please at least make sure we have your current working email address and daytime phone number. You can send this information to manager@cjgardens.org or paving@cjgardens.org. Some members who have recently submitted the form may still receive this notice by regular mail, as we are still updating our contacts system. Look for a “welcome” email soon to confirm your form has been received.

There will be another mailing to members in early July, with your revised monthly payment information. This information is not being provided now because we still don’t have it; Montgomery County determines when the monthly property tax assessment is available for each property, and we will process this information as quickly as possible once we receive it.

You can find links to all the information we have published to date, on the paving project page of the CJG web site: http://www.cjgardens.org/home/projects-and-issues/paving-project

There will eventually be a sub-page for each phase of the project, with schedule and details related to that phase, and a page for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). There is a form on the project page which anyone can use to submit questions to be added to the FAQ. We will aim for updating the web site on a weekly basis, with the latest information we have on scheduling, and also update the FAQ as needed. The community liaison and block captains will be able to update the web site more frequently.

Shortly before construction begins, the block captains should plan a meeting with the members on their block to present the schedule for their phase and identify any issues with that phase which may come up from their members, and which can be anticipated. The Community Liaison will be responsible for keeping track of these issues and working with the block captain and contractors to resolve them.


If you have an issue which could impact the paving project, such as those listed below, please be aware of when your phase of construction is scheduled and make sure you are here to take care of it in a timely fashion, or make arrangements well in advance. We will do our best to keep all members well informed of the schedule as soon as we know it, and whenever it changes. Check the project page on the web site, and sign up for email updates, to make sure you have the most current information.

Potential Issues for Members

1.     All vehicles parked on the street, including cars, trucks, trailers or other vehicles will need to be removed during the critical stage for your phase, or at least moved well within your reserved use boundary, away from the street. Please inform Shawn what plans you have made for your vehicle. Shawn will be instructed by the Board to take swift action to have any vehicles towed that are not moved out of the way on schedule, and which threaten to delay that phase.

2.     Members who have dumpsters or storage pods will need to have them removed during the critical stage for your phase, or at least moved well within your reserved use boundary, away from the street. Either way, you should arrange to review the plan with Shawn, just as you would normally present your plan to the Board for a new dumpster or pod permit.

3.     Members with ongoing construction projects will need to coordinate carefully with Shawn on when their section of their street must be cleared, and when it will be closed, and make sure their contractors understand these limitations. It is likely that work stoppages will be inevitable, depending on what stage of your construction you are in, and your general contractor needs to understand and accept this well in advance. There will be no delays for the paving company because a general contractor wants more time to complete something. At the least, your contractors must be willing to find alternate locations to park during critical times, and walk to the site, without impacting parking spaces other members may need to use. Deliveries to the site will not be possible for at least several days, and possibly longer.

4.     Some members’ fences will be too close to the street to allow the clearance needed by the paving machines. If Ruston determines that a fence or other structure on a member’s reserved use area will obstruct the equipment, they will inform Shawn of the problem and Ruston will plan to temporarily dismantle the fence when the work begins at that site. Ruston is responsible for putting the fence back the way they found it, in the latter stages of that phase of the project. This type of dislocation will last approximately 2 weeks. If you wish to dismantle your own fence before your phase of construction begins, please coordinate your plans with Shawn.

5.     Some members have trees and shrubs that crowd or overhang the edge of the road, which would prevent the passage of the paving machines. Shawn will be working with Hughes Landscaping over the next few weeks to prune back or remove the trees. If any members want to perform this work themselves, to maintain more control over it, they should discuss this with Shawn in advance and make sure it is completed on schedule. For all other members who want the work to be done at CJG’s expense, the landscaping contractors will work exclusively under the direction of the Community Liaison and the Manager; members should not try to interfere with their work.