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MUIRFIELD NEWSLETTER - NOVEMBER 2013

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ASSOCIATION'S WEBSITE GETS MAKEOVER

In this electronic age, it's so easy to become dependent upon our phones, tablets and notepads. The problem is that they become obsolete - almost overnight! Seems we have to continually upgrade, add-on or trade in our communication devices so we don't get left in the 'dark ages'. The same is true of information processed through the worldwide web.

The association's website has been a good, basic site to get information to our residents and advertise who we are to the world, but, as with our personal electronics, the site needed to be updated to be more compatible with today's technology.

We have a 'techie' on staff now, Erin Hull, who has pretty much single-handedly developed our new website, making it simpler, cleaner, more relevant and easier to manage using today's cell phones and other electronic devices. Erin has developed a site that will allow staff to perform the 'behind-the-scenes' techno-gibberish that tells the site how to run and how to communicate with you. Besides performing her regular office duties, she has spent the last few months developing the new site and brought it live in early October. You will notice a clean, simple homepage with information easily retrievable. Among the changes is the ability to get the Declaration, By-Laws, Articles of Incorporation and the Resident Handbook downloaded and printed; no more trips to the office to pick up a copy. You'll also notice that information is updated more regularly - and it's prettier! A secure Members Area is in the works and you'll hear about that later. Take a minute to let us know how you like the new website!

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FIREWOOD FOR SALE

With the devastation of so many Ash trees, the association has an abundance of firewood for sale to our residents. Ash is among the hardwoods suitable for burning and will be a good portion of the firewood we are offering to our residents. A whole cord, 4'x4'x8', is $160 delivered and stacked at your home. A half cord, 4'x4'x4', is $90. Both of these are great values, especially when you consider the wood will be split, delivered and stacked! If you are interested in being added to the list of firewood orders, order online or call us at 889-0922. The list is growing, so don't wait too long to place your order!

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PRESIDENT'S CORNER

Many of you will be hosting friends and family during the Holiday Season. I suspect you're looking around the house before hosting to decide what needs touched up, updated and/or a little TLC to prepare for your guests. Well, the Board and the Association staff wanted to do something similar this year given the uniqueness of 2013.

As we look back on this year, it was an exciting time for our community and a year of opportunity for the Association. We were the community host of an international PGA event and another successful Memorial Tournament; both allowing us to showcase Muirfield Village. To match the momentum and excitement, The Board and staff looked around our community and decided what needed to be touched up, updated and/or a little TLC. As a result, we had another successful year of improving the amenities and facilities.

There were many upgrades across the entire Village; to name a few:

Pools - We added several trellises. The large Glick Road Pool trellis was completed with a professional paver design and shade screens. It now doubles as a kids/family party rental location for residents. At the Holbrook Complex, three new trellises were built for increased shade area too. New security cameras, additional lighting and upgraded sound systems were installed at both pools. Muirfield General Manager, Walter Zeier and his staff completed these projects in-house saving us approximately $30,000. The Glick Road pool parking lot was resealed and painted as well!

Gazebos - Lake Denise (east end of Memorial Drive) got a new cedar shake roof and Muirfield Drive gazebo had the decking sanded down to bare wood and refinished with weather-resistant paint.

Tree Removal - We removed over 200 trees and replaced many of them, trying to maintain the unique, mature wooded areas of our community.

Enhanced Landscapes - Many street entrances were updated and common grounds enhanced beyond the usual spring/fall flowers and mulching.

Dedication Program - Initiated by Tom Oleksa and the Grounds and Facilities Committee, this program was established for our residents to honor living or deceased family or friends. We offer benches, swings and/or tree options and have approximately 10 dedications completed throughout the Village already. Permanent plaques with professional engraving accompany whatever option you choose.

Property Handbook - This guide was completely revised and updated in coordination with our Legal Counsel, Jeff Kaman, Office Manager, Sandy Moreland, and staff members Mary Bozman, Erin Hull and Sue Leonard.

Association Website - The website is new, too, with increased functionality and updated cosmetics. Erin Hull, one of our Association staff members, successfully completed the project start to finish saving us money and improving our site.

Muirfield Village is approaching 40 years old. We will continue making improvements and helping our community evolve to be competitive. Thus, we are doing everything that we can to maintain high standards for our residents.

Home sales remain strong in the community, but we still struggle with a number of properties falling below the high standards our residents expect. Partnering with the residents and our legal team, we will continue to work to ensure that property owners to do their part.

2013 did not come and go without controversy such as the Muirfield Village Golf Club fence. Some residents were passionately in favor, others passionately opposed, many were neutral. We worked with Club Leadership for a fair resolution, looked for ways to meet both Club needs and resident wishes, and had several meetings to do so. While the Muirfield Association, Inc., the homeowner's association, is mandated by your warranty deed, the Muirfield Village Civic Association, a voluntary membership association, has the Civic Action Committee led by Bob Fathman, which took a leadership role, forming a "Team Solutions" effort to look for ways to successfully resolve the conflict. Bob and I (and other Board members) represented our community professionally to find a win-win solution. In the end, the fence became temporary, not permanent, and it has been removed until the 2014 Memorial Tournament.

The Association is in a very good and stable financial situation heading into 2014. The Board found ways to capitalize on the local 2013 events and keep our 2014 capital improvement programs strong and active. As you know, we partnered with the PGA and Muirfield Village Golf Club, renting the open area next to the Holbrook Recreation Complex so that they could create the President's Cup Fan Experience area. We also rented the Glick Road pool parking lot for President Cup patrons. Some much-needed path widening was provided at no charge to our Association and the area used will be more than restored to its previous state. It will be improved with new trees, grass and a more level field. The rental will enable us to replace the aging rebar fences around each pool this year, and we have added another six-figures to our financial bottom-line through these partnerships. Everyone benefited from this cooperative partnering!!

In closing, I want to thank our Board and staff for another good and productive year, and to the residents who make this neighborhood a community. We have a great place to live and hope you enjoy the Holiday Season!

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GOLF COURSES ARE PRIVATE PROPERTY

The Presidents Cup is over and the excitement has died down. Outside contractors started removing the fence just days following the event and much of the restoration is complete.

The golf club's private property is now open and in many areas has no visible markers to define their property. For reasons of privacy, concerns about theft and vandalism, avoiding liability and protection of land and possessions, our neighboring golf clubs ask all residents to respect their property boundaries. They invite you to appreciate the beauty of the courses without trespassing on the land. The Association offers 29 miles of beautiful, meandering paths to walk, run, jog or bike.

It is apparent that some folks haven't gotten the message that the Muirfield Village Golf Club course and its paths are private property. Almost as soon as the fence came down, 18 persons, some with dogs, were asked to leave the private golf course paths. It is important to remember that the fence coming down does not mean that the golf club land is a public park. Unfortunately, the golf club has had to take measures to eliminate trespassing. Reluctantly, the club has started contacting police to have trespassers cited. Please remind your guests, your children and their friends, that the golf courses are private and we must respect others' private property.

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INTERESTED IN BECOMING MORE INVOLVED IN YOUR COMMUNITY?

The Nominating Committee was appointed at the November Board of Directors meeting. This committee is made up of three directors who are charged with collecting a roster of Muirfield residents interested in serving as representatives for their community as members of the Board of Directors or on the Grounds & Facilities Committee (G&F). Nominees must be residents of Muirfield Village and willing to follow the Code of Ethics (next article). This year's Nominating Committee members include: Michael Grodhaus, Diana Evans and Paula Linehan.

There is always a challenging issue or ambitious project for these groups to deal with. Over the past year, the G&F Committee developed and initiated the highly-successful Dedication Program; the Board of Directors joined discussions with the PGA and the Muirfield Village Golf Club regarding the Presidents Cup; and they both worked together to select the best summer swim facility use.

The nine members of the Board of Directors are responsible for setting policies pertaining to the Muirfield Declaration, By-Laws, and Articles of Incorporation. They approve the annual operating budget and capital expenditures budget. The Board of Directors meets at 4:30 p.m., at the Association office on the third Monday of every other month. This year, three members will be elected to serve three-year terms.

The nine Grounds and Facilities Committee members serve as liaisons to the Board of Directors. This committee was developed to gather recommendations and make suggestions to the Directors pertaining to maintenance of pathways, landscaping, lakes and capital projects for the common areas as well as making recommendations pertaining to the rules, maintenance, safety, programs and capital projects for the pools and tennis facilities. G&F Committee members meet with the General Manager at the Association office on the fourth Monday of every other month, February through October, at 5:30 p.m. The Chairman of the committee presents a report at the Board of Directors meetings. This year, three members will be elected to serve three-year terms.

If you are interested in serving, email [email protected] and include the following information:

The deadline for accepting the nomination application is March 1, 2014.

CODE OF ETHICS AND RULES OF CONDUCT FOR BOARD MEMBERS
  1. Board members agree to abide by all association rules and be current in the payment of all association fees and assessments.
  2. No drugs or alcohol will be used during association or board meetings.
  3. It is understood that differences of opinion will exist. They must be expressed in a clear and businesslike fashion. Confidentiality of other board members' opinions will be respected and not criticized outside of a board meeting. The board is a team and will not criticize one of its own outside the confines of the board meeting.
  4. Dissenting votes will be reflected within the official minutes of the association. A dissenting board member is always permitted to put into writing the reasons for the dissenting opinion and have the writing attached to meeting minutes.
  5. Language at board meetings will be kept professional. Yelling, swearing, and/or personal attacks against fellow board members, the manager, contractors, owners, or residents is prohibited.
  6. Board members agree not to make promises or assurances to any owner, resident, contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or anyone else unless the promise or assurance was approved by the board as a whole.
  7. A board member will not knowingly misrepresent facts to anyone involved regarding any issue within the community.
  8. No board members may use his/her position to enhance his/her financial status through the use of certain contractors or suppliers or in any other manner whatsoever. Any potential conflict of interest must be immediately disclosed.
  9. No contributions will be made to any political parties or political candidates by the association.
  10. No board member will harass, threaten, or attempt through any means to control or instill fear in fellow board member, the manager, a member of the staff, or any owner/resident.
  11. Confidentiality of other board members' personal lives, all residents' personal lives, the managers' personal lives, as well as employees' personal lives, will be respected and preserved by the board members.
  12. No board member will interfere with the duties of the manager, contractor, or any staff member.
  13. Any board member under investigation for a felony will request a leave of absence from the board of directors during the investigation and trial period. Any board member convicted of a felony will immediately resign.
  14. The board will use its best efforts at all times to operate and make decisions that are consistent with high ethical principles, to protect the safety of the residents and to enhance the value of the property.

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If interested, contact the Country Club at Muirfield at: http://www.tccmv.com

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ATTENDANCE AT HOME IMPROVEMENT SEMINARS HIT ALL-TIME HIGH

Over the past few years, The Country Club at Muirfield Village has graciously hosted our Annual Meetings and the very successful Home Improvement Seminars. We are very thankful for the pleasant surroundings, their courteous attention, and tasty food service. This past June and July, the Country Club hosted the latest Home Improvement Seminars where all Muirfield residents were invited to FREE information and resources to help with their prospective improvement projects.

The June seminar was conducted by Leesa Bennett, an Interior Designer and previous instructor at the Columbus College of Art and Design. She took the participants through her personal renovations process here in Muirfield. Additionally, she discussed today's popular design trends.

The July event was a "Mini Trade Show". This seminar provided those present with the opportunity to discuss their unique home needs with two interior designers, two architects, a cabinet designer, a countertop supplier, a flooring specialist, and a plumbing fixture supplier.

Attendance was at an "all time high" with over 100 attending each seminar. Updating Muirfield homes is proving to be very worthwhile. Home values in Muirfield Village, year-to-date, have increased by 8.4% when compared with the same period last year. Additionally, the number of sales is up 8%, from 75 sales in 2012 to 81 sales so far this year. And, homes aren't staying on the market long with an average number of days on the market at 78 days! We encourage you to keep updating your homes and you will be adding value to your equity!

As always, we appreciate the support of our Muirfield residents who attended the seminars and the Country Club for their hospitality! If you have suggestions for our seminars in 2014, please contact Paula Linehan at 614-395-0423 or email her at [email protected].

Article provided by Board member, Paula Linehan

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ASH TREE REMOVAL TIPS

As the Dedication Program in this issue points out, Muirfield Village, along with the rest of the state, has experienced a rapid decline in ash trees due to infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer. Once infected, these trees can quickly become a safety hazard as the wood dries very rapidly when dead. A 60' tree can snap 30 feet up, even if it seems sound at the base. Because of this possibility, many tree companies will not climb trees that have been dead a year or longer. It is best to remove these trees as soon as they show signs of dying.

The Association is aware that residents need to take preventive measures to protect their property by removing Ash trees as needed. We understand it takes time to get on a tree removal service schedule and when the service company is available, you need to act. So, the Association asks that in situations where Ash trees are going to be removed before the normal approval process can be followed, you inform the office of the number and location of ash trees removed and your intention for replacing them in the upcoming spring time of the year. We understand there are locations where trees would not need to be replaced, such as heavily wooded areas or locations too near the house, but in most cases, replacement trees are required to assure the continued natural beauty of our community. The Design Control Committee looks at each request individually; the turn-around time for tree removal requests is very quick.

If you have questions about the tree removal approval process, please contact the Association office at 889-0922.

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HAVE YOU RETURNED THE "ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGY" FORM TO THE OFFICE?

Over the past six weeks, the Association office has sent two reminders asking for your agreement to receive Association notices, invoices, and other documents electronically rather than through posted mail. If you agree, you can make payments online (but are not required to do so), vote in Muirfield elections online instead of by paper ballot, and if the Association would ask for your agreement or consent, your response via email would count as your signature.

Click to download the complete Amendment to the Code of Regulations for the county in which you live:

Download the Use of New Technology Amendment (Franklin County)
Download the Use of New Technology Amendment (Delaware County)

If you haven't taken time to respond, take a minute to do so, it's simple! Visit to either sign up or opt out. You may also email [email protected] along with the following statement, your name, Muirfield home address, Lot #, and the email address you wish to use for contact.

"I acknowledge receipt of the Amendment to the Code of Regulations. I agree to receive any required notices through electronic means. I may also make a payment; provide my signature, vote, consent or approval through electronic mail, electronic transmission, or any other technology so available in the future."

You may opt out at any time by informing the office in writing or by email.

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DEDICATION PROGRAM

Early this spring, the Ground & Facilities Committee, as liaisons to the Board of Directors, offered a Dedication Program to our residents. Our community, like most others in the state, has experienced a rapid decline in healthy Ash trees due to the infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer. All seem to be suffering the effects of the borer and are dying or are already dead. Our community has been devastated by the onslaught. Removing these trees has been a safety priority for the Association and the Board of Directors is looking for a long-term solution for the number of trees that have had to be removed.

While working to find a resolution, the Muirfield Grounds & Facilities Committee announced a new program that will enhance the common grounds with replacement trees and provide homeowners an opportunity to share in beautifying the community while remembering loved ones in a special way. Thus far, this dedication program has been highly successful!

For a donation of $300, association staff will plant a deciduous tree dedicated to a special family member, friend or neighbor, and install a plaque identifying the family member or loved one. The tree could be planted in an area mutually agreed upon by the family and our general manager. For $850, you could donate a bench or for $1,400, you could donate a swing - both come with a memorial plaque. These are especially nice when installed along the paths or near the playgrounds or lakes.

We won't be planting any more trees or installing benches and swings until next spring, however, we will continue to take orders throughout the winter. If you are interested in participating in this program, contact Sandy at the Association office, 889-0922, for details and ordering information.

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THANK YOU!

To all the residents who've thoughtfully donated to the Dedication Program. At this time, six trees, three benches and a swing have been dedicated at various locations around the community. The program enhances the common areas while honoring those special people who've traveled through our lives.

Unfortunately, the weather has not been very favorable for taking photos of the trees or plaques, but the Waldron family managed to snap a picture of their family enjoying the bench they dedicated to their daughter, Katie. It is located along the path, near their home on Muirloch Drive. All residents benefit from the Waldron's generous gift!

Photos of the families who've participated in the program will be featured in future newsletters. Besides the Waldron family, those folks include:

THANKS TO ALL THE FAMILIES WHO'VE SUPPORTED THIS PROGRAM!

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