I sometimes assume that all homeowners know about all of the “inner workings” of the Association, especially those who are long-time residents. Then someone will ask about something (or I’ll see a post on NextDoor) that serves as a reminder to me that maybe there is some basic information that should be repeated from time to time. I’ve taken the opportunity this month to do that in my column.
I know that it’s sometimes very confusing to keep track of who takes care of what among all the common areas within Kentlands. So, here’s a little refresher on that.
The streets, with the exception of the mews, are the responsibility of the City of Gaithersburg in the Kentlands. They repair them, clean them, plow them and provide leaf removal. The Kentlands Citizens Assembly (KCA) is responsible for the mews (alleys). That includes repairing, repaving, plowing and leaf removal for those areas. In 2013 and 2014 approximately one half of the mews were repaved and the plan was to repave the rest of the community in 2015 and 2016. With the failure of the retaining wall on Quince Orchard Road in March of 2014, many planned maintenance projects were deferred as the Board made a decision to stabilize the entire wall, not just the portion that failed. The KCA is currently having specifications written to bid out the remaining paving work and that project is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2017.
The sidewalks are also the responsibility of the City of Gaithersburg. However, this gets a little trickier as the KCA does have some sidewalks and stairs that belong to the Association. If you are in doubt as to whether a sidewalk is the responsibility of the City or the KCA, please call the Clubhouse at 301-948-2071. We have a very detailed map that allows staff to make that determination. The city’s code specifies that the homeowner whose house abuts the city-owned sidewalks is responsible for shoveling them. If you live on the corner, that also includes the side street. And clearing snow from around fire hydrants that abut your property are your responsibility as well, per the city code. The Association shovels KCA-owned sidewalks.
The curb strips, that area of land between the street and the sidewalk, belong to the City, as do the medians in the Kentlands including the one running down Kentlands Boulevard and Tschiffely Square Road. The KCA has a Memo of Understanding with the City to maintain these areas (mow and fertilize) and the KCA receives a reimbursement for providing this service. This does not extend to tree maintenance or tree replacement in these areas, that is still the responsibility of the City, specifically its Neighborhood Services Department.
Street lights belong to the City as well. Most street lights have a number on them, if you see one that needs maintenance, you can direct that information to the City of Gaithersburg Public Works Department, along with the number on the pole.
Garbage removal in the Kentlands, because it occurs in the mews, is the responsibility of the KCA. However, recycling is provided by the City. Any comments or concerns regarding recycling should be directed to the City; garbage removal questions or comments to the KCA. The City has a great website, and you can find phone numbers and email addresses for all the departments mentioned here under the Services tab, or you can call the main number at (301) 258-6300, and they will direct your call.
The Kentlands has many tree saves and pocket parks as well as large expanse of lawn at the Clubhouse, and obviously these areas are the responsibility of the Association to maintain. In 2014 the KCA Board of Trustees agreed to apply only organic products to all of the tree saves, pocket parks, tot lots and the Clubhouse lawn. For the first two years the KCA employed two contractors, one for the organic areas and another contractor to mow, blow, fertilize and mulch the curb strips and medians. In 2016 the KCA changed its landscaper in favor of one who could do everything including experience with organic turf maintenance. With that change came a different business model that put a small crew on the property every day instead of a large crew who “swarmed” the property two days a week. The property has been divided into five areas and the onsite crew works one area per day, weather permitting. The Clubhouse lawn is always done on Friday to ensure that the lawn is groomed for any KCA-sponsored weekend activities on the lawn.
There is a schedule for the landscaping services (leaf removal in winter, pruning in the spring, mowing in the summer, etc.), but please feel free to bring any concerns or questions you have regarding landscaping (or anything else) to my attention. You have paid staff available Monday through Friday, 9 AM – 5 PM at the Clubhouse at 301-948-2071, who can answer questions about many topics.
So, just when you think it’s clear as mud, I need to mention that there are eleven condominium associations that are a part of the Kentlands as well as other entities that were annexed into the association after the community was built (Colonnade, Beacon Place and The Kentlands Manor). The KCA is not responsible for any snow removal, garbage pickup, parking lot or building maintenance for those associations or entities. Those services are paid for through their condominium associations; consequently, they pay lower assessments to the KCA as they receive fewer services. And of course the Mansion and its lawn, the Arts Barn and the Green nearby all belong to the City of Gaithersburg.
It’s hard to go into detail about all aspects of who does what here in the Kentlands in one article but I’ve tried to answer a majority of the most frequently asked questions. There are a lot of “moving parts” to the Kentlands, but that’s what makes the Kentlands, the Kentlands.