This handbook has been prepared by the Potter Pond Board of Trustees for the benefit of all residents of the Condominium, whether unit owners, renters, or guests. Changes in this handbook are made from time-to-time and are announced in the Potter Pond Newsletter. Residents are requested to make appropriate notations in their handbook, if they so desire. It is not the intent of this handbook to replace or alter any of the rules or restrictions contained in the Master Deed (Amendment Number Seven, 1997 Amended and Restated Master Deed of Potter Pond), Declaration of Trust (Amendment Number Three, 2001 Amended and Restated Declaration of Trust), or any amendments thereto. The Handbook is intended to summarize that information likely to be of most frequent use, and to convey a sense of welcome to our community.
The Trustees invite comments and suggestions for the revision of this document. To make this an effective working statement, we have attempted to be brief, yet informative. With few exceptions, the topics covered in this handbook have been arranged alphabetically, and do not include details that can easily be obtained elsewhere.
Phase One - Forty Units
Phase Two - Eighteen Units
Phase Three - Forty-Two Units
As condominium residents, we gain the benefit of having much of the work of home maintenance and management done for us, but sacrifice individual control. At the same time we have to accept the fact that while the appearance of the community is very pleasing and, perhaps, motivated our decision to move here, many decisions affecting us and Potter Pond are no longer able to be made individually but rather by consent of the Board of Trustees that represents all of the owners.
The organization through which the homeowners at Potter Pond manage and regulate the condominium is called the Potter Pond Association. The Association meets no later than April 30th of each year to conduct a business meeting and to elect new members to the seven member Board of Trustees. Trustees serve three year terms, with at least two terms expiring each year. Election is by majority vote of the beneficial interest represented either in person or by proxy at the annual meeting of unit owners.
The trustees are given the responsibility of managing the operation of the condominium. They in turn employ a management agent to be responsible for the day-to to-day operation of the condominium. The management company assigns an area manager to the property who works from the management company's office with occasional on-site visits, and an on-site manager who is present on the property Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The on-site manager is on call for emergencies and can be reached locally when on site or by contacting the management company's emergency call number for real emergencies that occur after hours.
The Board of Trustees meets as a body on average about once a month to make policy and operational decisions in the areas of finance, insurance, maintenance of buildings and grounds, architectural control, security, and safety. Meetings are held at the homes of the trustees and are open to the entire Potter Pond community. Shortly after each monthly meeting, the minutes of the meeting are mailed to each resident and homeowner in the form a newsletter.
The names and contact information of the current Trustees and the property managers can be found in the section on Management Co., Trustees, & Committees on this website or in a supplement to the newsletter following the Annual Meeting.
The Annual Meeting of the Potter Pond Association is held not later than April 30th of each year. Homeowners are notified by mail of the exact date and time of the meeting and provided with a copy of the agenda, an absentee proxy ballot for use if necessary, as well as a nomination form for new trustees.
In general, homeowners own and are responsible for repairs to the insides of homes and are responsible for the upper or inner surface of the floors and walls and the ceilings that serve as inner surfaces of the roofs. In addition, homeowners are responsible for the repair and replacement of unit and garage doors, unit windows, skylights, sliders, window and door frames, and screens, as well as decks, patios, porches, and fences added by you or a previous owner. The Association is responsible for repairs to the outside of homes, including roofs, exterior walls, stoops, and foundations. While fireplaces and chimney flues are the responsibility of unit owners, the brick, wood, or cement exteriors are maintained by the Association.
Massachusetts mandates that Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors be installed in Homes. The homes at Potter Pond were built with central smoke detectors that are hard-wired into the electrical system. These detectors need to be checked and replaced every few years, as they may no longer sound when smoke is detected. It is strongly recommended that each home have at least one battery operated detector installed on each floor in case the electricity is off at the time of a fire.
Carbon monoxide may occur from a wood burning fire, from a faulty gas heater exhaust, from the motor of a car left running in the garage, etc. It is silent, odorless, and deadly. Detectors are now widely available. They are relatively inexpensive ($30 - $50). They are simply plugged into an electrical wall outlet. Combination gas and carbon monoxide detectors are available at Home Depot and local hardware stores. Since most units at Potter Pond are heated by gas, it is a good idea to have a detector that will warn you of both gas and carbon dioxide.
As we have come to accept smoke detectors as essential equipment in every home, it is now recommended that every home be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors on every level.
Section 12D of the Amended and Restated Master Deed makes clear that "no Homeowner shall make any addition, alteration, or improvement in or to his or her Home, which (a) may affect the Common Elements or any portion thereof, the structural integrity of the building(s), or any other Home; (b) which may affect the dimensions of a Home; or (c) which cause any dislocation or interruptions of the Common Elements, without the prior written consent of the Trustees."
Any Homeowner desiring to add or change a patio or deck, for example, must request approval by notifying the Trustees in writing setting forth in reasonable detail the nature of such addition, alteration, or improvement. Requests to install storm doors and wrought iron railings on steps require the same Trustee approval and must conform in appearance to the others at Potter Pond. The Trustees will review the request and may require that the specific conditions for approval outlined in Section 12D of the Master Deed be followed. Homeowners who are considering making alterations to their Homes or to their Exclusive Use and Limited Common Areas (the 20 feet directly behind the Home) should review carefully Section 12D of the Amended and Restated Master Deed.
Changes to the landscaping around the Home also require the approval of the Trustees. A planting plan must be submitted to the Landscaping Committee and ultimately to the Board of Trustees for approval. If you wish to make changes to the shrubbery in the planting beds near your home, such changes must be reviewed and approved by the Trustees in advance of making the change. An exception to this is the planting of herbaceous flowering plants. Approval is not needed to plant flowers near your Home. The trust assumes the responsibility for replacing dead bushes when funds are available; however, if a unit owner upgrades or replaces shrubbery in the foundation planting beds, these changes are an expense of the homeowner making the change.
The Trustees entertain each request seriously. While not all requests are approved, no request is unreasonably denied. The Trustees are committed to preserving the beauty and integrity of Potter Pond, those characteristics which made it attractive to you in the first place.
Once the Trustees have approved a change to the outside of a home, the homeowner is expected to complete the work within a year. If a building permit is required to make the change, the homeowner is required to apply for the permit from the Town of Lexington. If the work is not completed within a year after approval is granted, the homeowner must return to the Board for an extension, or the approval expires.
Each homeowner has a choice of having their monthly condominium fees deducted by direct debit from a checking or savings account of their choice or of paying the condominium fee monthly by check. Those unit owners who wish to pay by check will receive a coupon booklet and set of remittance envelopes annually in December along with a notice of their new monthly condominium fee for the following year. Monthly fees are due and payable on the first of every month. Any fees not received at the office of the management company by the 15th are considered in arrears and may be subject to penalty.
If the owner of a rental unit fails to pay the fees in a timely fashion, under State law, the renter then can be required to pay them to the Association directly.
The condominium fee covers the following items:
From time to time special assessments have been required in the past and may again be required at a future date for major capital projects such as the roofs. When such special assessments are approved by the trustees, unit owners are given notice in writing in advance as to the due date, amount, and reasons behind each special assessment. The trustees are extremely sensitive to the need to adequately inform unit owners of the reasons such assessments are considered necessary. The trustees also are committed to keeping such special assessments to a minimum.
Please get to know your neighbors. When you are on vacation: stop your mail and newspaper deliveries or ask a neighbor or friend to pick them up daily; place some lights on timers; and do not leave messages on telephone answering machine identifying how long you will be away. Help keep your absent neighbor's house safe by removing any packages, fliers, or papers from the door or stoop so they don't become an announcement of an empty house. Report any suspicious activity to the police (781-862-1212) and the on-site manager (781-861-8616).
In the event of a police or fire emergency, contact the appropriate local authority first. Then inform the on-site manager either by calling the site office, or the management company's emergency number. If you are unable to reach the on-site manager or the management company, and if the situation warrants it, contact one of the Trustees.
We request that all owners and renters provide us with the names and numbers of whom to reach in case of an emergency. Events constantly remind us of the importance of our having this information...whether in case of fire (which occurred here in January 1994), health emergency, or some other emergency situation. Please provide the information if you have not.
In the past we've had medical emergencies at Potter Pond. Some were false alarms, others were real emergencies, and the fire, police, and EMTs responded. Forced entries were made into the homes when required because no key had been provided to the on-site manager (see Keys) or a neighbor. While appropriate information or rapid availability of keys might not have avoided these problems, they could in the future.
All of the safety experts recommend that every home be equipped with a small fire extinguisher on each floor. Make sure that one is readily accessible near the kitchen stove. One should also be kept near the home heating unit. If you have an electrical fire in your heating unit: first shut the electrical power off; then use your fire extinguisher.
Each unit at Potter Pond has at least one garage. The garages all have doors. The responsibility for maintaining, repairing, and replacing the garage doors and electric openers (which are optional) are the responsibility of the unit owner. Garage doors are to be kept closed to prevent animals from getting into the garages and for security purposes except when in use. The on-site property manager has been directed to close open garage doors for security purposes. Garage doors will be painted during the normal painting cycle. Cars should be parked in the garages or adjacent parking sites, and not parked on the street whenever possible. Overnight street parking is not permitted. Overflow parking and guest overnight parking may be found adjacent to the tennis courts. Garages are intended to be used primarily for cars and not as storage areas. The cleanliness of each garage is a unit owner responsibility. Please use care when entering or leaving the garages by car. Repair of damage to the garage is the responsibility of the unit owner.
Our property has an abundance of wildlife: ducks, geese, muskrats, turtles, fish, frogs, turkeys, deer, and many other creatures. The proliferation of Canada geese in the area has the potential to become a continuing problem at Potter Pond. Various methods have been tried to encourage the geese to leave their calling cards elsewhere. While none of these methods has proved totally successful, Potter Pond continues to employ a variety of techniques to discourage geese from nesting here. Of late these techniques have had positive results. Therefore, please do not feed the geese or any other wild animal. Feeding will attract more of them, especially geese.
A master insurance policy is maintained by the Association. It covers all-risks to the roof and home after a $10,000 deductible, which is borne by the unit owner. Damage, in excess of the deductible, done to the inside as a consequence of damage to the outside would likely be covered, subject to the deductible. Our master policy covers all common and limited common elements. It includes installed fixtures, interior walls, alterations, appliances and additions including those within a portion of the unit used exclusively by an individual unit owner. Installed items include wall-to to-wall carpeting, domestic appliances, cabinetwork, and plumbing fixtures. This write-up, however, is a general statement, not a specific one. Each homeowner is entitled to a copy of the policy which can be obtained through Potter Pond's insurance agent. Each unit owner should also carry a personal HO-6 Insurance Policy to cover personal contents and liability. Contents such as furniture, clothing, and other personal belongings are not covered under the master insurance policy. Unit owners who rent their homes should require tenants to purchase an HO-4 tenants policy. If you need to order a certificate of insurance from the insurance company that provides the Master Policy, please contact W. T. Phelan Insurance either by telephone at 617-484-4600 or via the Internet at www.wtphelan.com.
There is no facility for the management company to accept a duplicate key to a resident's unit. The best solution is to give a key to a friend or neighbor. In the event of an emergency, it is helpful if the on-site manager knows who has a key to your unit. Similarly, a duplicate mail box key would prevent delays in mail resulting from the loss of the primary key necessitating mail box lock replacement.
Under the direction of the on-site property manager, the grounds are maintained by a landscaping contractor, who also prunes the shrubbery in the spring and the fall, and an arborist who serves as a consultant on trees and shrubs. The arborist also feeds and trims those trees that require special care. Residents are requested to make sure that the grassy areas are free of any lawn furniture, toys, or equipment on weekdays when the landscaping crew cuts the lawns.
The regulations governing the operation of Potter Pond Condominium are contained in the Master Deed and Amendment Number Three to the 2001 Amended and Restated Declaration of Trust of Potter Pond Association, which includes the By Laws of the Association. Each homeowner should have received a copy of these documents when they purchased their home. Additional copies, if necessary, are available from the management company. To see those documents, please follow the above links.
Each unit has a private locked mailbox. When a package is delivered, the U.S. Postal Service leaves a note in the box and puts the package in the larger mailbox within the set of boxes. Several of the mailboxes have slots for stamped outgoing mail. If you know your neighbor is away, please remove mail or packages from the larger mailbox or doorstep and hold it for the homeowner so as not to notify people that the homeowner is away.
The Maintenance building (also referred to as the On-Site Office) is located next to the tennis courts. It contains the on-site manager's office, some landscaping and snow removal equipment, and a lavatory for use of tennis players, contractors performing work at Potter Pond, and residents. The office has a mail slot on the wall, to the left of the garage door. Mail for the on-site manager may be dropped in the slot. The telephone number at the maintenance building is 781-861-8616.
Barkan Management Company, an Accredited Management Organization with the Institute of Real Estate Management and the premier manager of condominiums in New England, has management responsibility for Potter Pond. Barkan's Regional Director for Potter Pond, Donn Rawson, a Certified Property Manager, will visit the property regularly. Potter Pond’s on-site manager reports to Donn. Phone numbers for Barkan Management are listed under the Section of the Handbook entitled "Emergency and Other Important Phone Numbers."
The physical layout of Potter Pond lends itself to a Neighborhood Watch system. For the most part, our homes are in clusters, so no home is truly isolated.
We recommend that you make a point of knowing the people in your own vicinity. Know who has key access to their homes. If you see any suspicious activity, don't ignore it. If you notice something unusual during the day, call the on-site manager who may know that there are workers on the premises. After hours, call the police. It is better to err on the side of caution. The police would prefer it.
Minutes of the monthly Trustees' meeting are sent to each unit owner and resident in the form of a Potter Pond Newsletter which is published and mailed shortly after each meeting. The date of the next meeting is announced in the newsletter. Residents are invited to contribute community announcements, and participate on committees. A list of houses currently for sale or rent is also listed.
Many items that come before the Board should first be reviewed by the appropriate committee. In order to facilitate this review process, please submit your requests with plans to the on-site manager or management company at least 7 days prior to the Board meeting at which you want the item considered. The committees will be responsible for reviewing the item in advance of the meeting with the homeowner and for reporting their initial recommendations to the entire Board at the meeting. Items that are not submitted at least a week in advance of a Board meeting will automatically be deferred to the next trustees’ meeting.
The residents of each home have the exclusive use of their porch or deck and the yard area within 20 feet of the rear wall of the Home. Other than outdoor furniture in season, residents are not allowed to store any materials in yards, or on decks, terraces, patios, porches, or steps, except with the approval of the Trustees.
Presently, 20 homes are stained and painted annually. The color scheme at Potter Pond was architecturally selected so that the colors of adjoining homes complement each other. In general, color changes are not permitted unless a color has been conclusively proven to not hold up well over time. If an owner wishes to request any change in the color of his or her home, the owner must obtain approval from the Trustees. A color change can only take place in the year that the house is scheduled for repainting. If a change of color is approved and a second coat of a new color is needed to cover the original color, the additional cost would be the responsibility of the homeowner. Painting includes garage and front doors, but does not include outside decks, fences, etc. which may have been added by you or a previous owner. Maintenance and painting of these additions are the responsibility of the unit owner. You may contract to have this work done by the Association’s painter, or someone else, but if it is not done at the time the house is painted, the Association’s painter at the homeowner's expense will do the work.
Please park cars in garages and designated areas. Parking or driving on the lawns causes permanent damage to the grass, and could damage the irrigation equipment. No overnight parking is permitted on the main roadways at Potter Pond. There is ample parking available in the driveways and parking areas near each cluster of homes. In the event that additional parking is required, there is generally room in the small parking lot near the tennis court. The exterior parking spaces may not be used for parking or storing trucks, commercial vehicles, boats, campers, trailers, or other non-motor vehicles, items, or goods. Inoperable or unregistered vehicles are prohibited from the exterior parking spaces.
Common household pets, excluding dogs, may be kept in the Homes at Potter Pond. All pets must be registered with the Potter Pond Association. Pets kept in the Home must meet all licensing and inoculation requirements. Pets are not permitted in the common areas unless carried in a pet carrier. Stipulations concerning pets are included in Section 12E of the Master Deed of Potter Pond.
The following tips came from the Lexington Police Department as reported in the town newspaper, The Lexington Minuteman. We have taken most of the information directly from the article, but made a few adaptations where appropriate to a condominium community:
The Lexington Police Department is reminding residents to take some basic steps to prevent crime. Among the 40 ways to protect a home are the following:
There are three ponds on the property that provide a home to a variety of wildlife. The ponds occasionally acquire an overgrowth of algae and become unsightly and odorous. Fountains were installed in several of the ponds to aerate it to mitigate this problem. The trustees work with the Lexington Conservation Commission and a consultant to try to keep the ponds healthy. One of the techniques used is to prevent grass clippings and lawn treatment chemicals from entering the ponds by keeping a barrier of natural growth around the edge of each pond during the growing season.
The Potter Pond Directory is a list of residents and owners, their home telephone numbers, and possibly their email address. Our interest in listing the information is to create the atmosphere of a neighborhood, and to add to the security of our environment. We hope no one will see it as intruding on their privacy. The Potter Pond Directory, which is updated annually, is distributed at the Annual Meeting and mailed to those unit owners who are unable to attend. You may also request a copy in the directory section of this website. The Potter Pond Directory should never be distributed or provided to anyone outside the community.
If you plan to be away in the winter, leave your thermostat set at 60 degrees or higher to prevent freezing of your water pipes. People living in units where the water meter is located inside a closet (primarily A and B units without basements) should make sure that the door to the closet containing the water meter is left open while they are away to prevent the air in the closet from getting too cold and freezing the pipes. If you plan to be away for an overnight during the winter, the trustees recommend that you shut the water off at the meter and open the faucets to give the remaining water in the pipes room for expansion should the pipes freeze. If the pipes do break, the amount of water that will enter the home should be minimal. If you plan to be away for a long time, it might be advisable to turn off the water at the meter and to have a plumber drain the water from the pipes after the water has been shut off.
Unit owners who rent their units should follow the provisions of Section 12.C in the Master Deed. Under the regulations, homes may be leased or rented with a written lease for terms of six months or longer provided that a copy of the lease agreement is delivered to the Trustees prior to occupancy, and certain, specific provisions outlined in the Master Deed are included in the lease.
Owners selling their unit will require a 6D Certificate to close the sale. The 6D Certificate must be requested from the management company and signed by a representative of the Board of Trustees. This Certificate simply asserts that the owner is up to date on all fees and fines owed to the Association.
Plowing of the roads and driveways will be done by the snowplow contractor as soon as it is feasible after a snowfall. Walks and steps will be shoveled by a crew under the direction of the on-site manager. To facilitate driveway and roadway plowing, please move your car if the plow is in your area. If you would like to keep a bucket of ice melt at your home for personal use in the event stoops, walkways, or driveways ice up, the on-site manager will fill it and return it to you.
The tennis courts are for the use of owners, renters, and their guests. Guests of unit owners should always be accompanied by a resident when using the courts. People claiming they were invited by a resident must wait for the resident to arrive. If the resident is absent, the guest will be asked to leave. Proper tennis footwear is required on the courts. No bicycle riding, skateboarding, or roller skating is permitted on the courts. Play is limited to one hour if others are waiting. For security reasons, gates are secured with combination locks. The on-site manager will provide the combination numbers on request. The last person to leave the site should insure the gates are locked.
Trash and material for recycling is collected every Tuesday. If Monday is a holiday, the trash and recycling pickup day will be Wednesday instead. Trash should be placed in trash barrels in plastic tied trash bags.
Recycling is mandatory in Lexington. Use the yellow or blue bins provided for cans, glass, and plastic milk or juice containers. Place newspapers and catalogs in brown paper bags. Heavier items should be placed over lighter ones to prevent wind-blown debris in the area. Boxes must be broken down and cut to 48" x 48" or less and placed under the recycling bin. When multiple cardboard boxes are left for pick-up, they must be tied/bundled together.
Instructions for residents with attached garages (to which the on-site manager does not have access): trash barrels should be used by individuals having garages attached to their units. Trash barrels and recycling baskets should be put on the street and returned to the garages by residents when emptied.
Instructions for residents with free-standing garages that are not along the main roadway: Trash and recycling material will be picked up by the on-site manager. If your garage does not permit outside keypad entry, you may place trash and bagged recycling material outside your garage doors by 7:30 a.m. Trash bags should never be put outside the night before collection unless they are in closed barrels. Recycling materials (i.e., cans, glass, and plastics) should be bagged separately from newspapers and other paper materials. The on-site manager will not remove the trash barrels or recycling bins themselves from the garages on trash day.
Lexington will pick up one large item on Wednesday of each week, such as kitchen appliances, upon request by calling JRM at 1-800-323-4285 in advance to schedule curbside collection of the appliance. In order for the appliance to be collected, a resident must call to schedule the appointment by 3 p.m. on Tuesday. If you prefer, you can advise the on-site manager in advance when you need assistance in disposing of these items. Do not place large items such as appliances outside your unit without checking with the On-Site Manager. He may suggest that the appliance be left by the maintenance building. Please let the on-site manager know you have placed an old appliance there for pick-up. He will arrange a date for removal.
JRM will also pick up unusual items for disposal, (e.g., radio, television, computers, recording equipment), but you must call JRM at 1-800-323-4285 in advance.
There are specific days in the spring and the fall when you can bring other hazardous household items to the DPW Building for recycling.
Trustee meetings are held monthly at the home of a trustee. Residents having interest in a particular meeting are welcome to attend and should notify the on-site manager so adequate seating can be planned in advance. Residents wishing to speak at a meeting, should call the on-site manager or management agent at least a week before the meeting and request to be placed on the agenda. Items that are not on the agenda in advance of the meeting will not be taken up at the meeting. The Trustees attempt to limit the meeting time to two hours. Call 781-861-8616 for the date and place of the next meeting or consult the latest Potter Pond Newsletter.
Heat: All units were originally heated and cooled with electric heat pumps. Most of these original systems have been converted to gas. Gas was installed in Potter Pond in 1991-2 and approximately 90% of the owners have converted their heating systems to natural gas. Requests for conversion to gas are routinely approved by the trustees.
Lighting: The cost of electricity for the outdoor lights on each house and attached garages is paid by the residents. The electricity for the street lights, paths, trees, free-standing garages, and entrance lights are covered as part of the condo fee. The outdoor light bulbs will be replaced by the on-site manager free of charge.
Water: The cost of water usage for individual units is billed by the town to the unit owner twice each year. The irrigation system for the lawns is driven by three wells located on the property. The lawn water is not an expense of the individual unit water meters.
Potter Pond is located in Precinct Three in Lexington. The Lexington Community Center off Marrett Road serves as the polling place on Election Day. Town elections are always held on the first Monday in March.
The on-site manager maintains red Weather Watcher Lights that he will install for the times you are away. These lights go on if the temperature falls below the preset temperature. Placed in a window, the light will alert people to a possible problem in time to prevent to serious water damage.
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