From the Board President

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2015 Projects – 7/21/15

Concrete – Repairs of driveways, sidewalks and street curbs is scheduled to begin the first week of August.

Asphalt Paving – Everlast Asphalt paving is scheduled for July 30, 5015.  A portion of River Ridge Tr and White Pine Tr will be closed until midnight July 31st.  Please do not go around the barricades and drive on the lawns.

Porch Staining – Staining of porches will begin July 21st and continue through August.  We hope the weatherman holds off on the rain during this period.

Web Site Update

Recently Google started notifying web sites that it would be rating them negatively if they were not mobile-friendly.  Our site was built just before “responsive” sites, those that can adjust to the device that is being used to view them, became available.  Although our Google ranking is not one of our driving needs, making it easy for our residents to access the site, is.  So over the next few days, you’ll begin to see some changes.  We appreciate your patience.

Crime Watch 5/10/15

The Farmington Hills Press reported in their Crime Watch section on May 6, 2015 that there has been several automobile breakins and larcenies in the neighboring Creekside Apartment complex.  Criminals are targeting Fort Fusion and Tarus models.  We have 15% to 20% of our residents parking in their driveway.  This encourages criminals to go through our complex looking for opportunities.

Cars or trucks should not be parked in driveways for more than 30 days.  Everybody has a garage so please make an effort to park in the garage. 

Sump Pump 3/17/15

Have you checked your sump pump lately.  We are quickly coming into the season where the sump pump could be running a lot.  With the spring thaw beginning those units that need sump pumps will have lots of water to discharge into the storm sewer or you will have a basement full of water.  That’s not a desirable situation.

So, check it out by dumping a gallon or two ow water into the sump pit and the pump should start.  If it doesn’t call a Plumber and get it going before you have a flood. 

Garage Door Keypad 2/23/15

The Association would like to remind residents, If you have a keypad for your garage door (typically mounted next to the garage door, you might want to consider replacing the btteries every couple of years.

The keypad is part of the garage door opener and is the responsibility of the co-owner.

Also, it would be a good idea to replace the batteries in the remote controls.

Winter of 2015 – 2/12/15

We made it through January but February has been a challenge.  This is the  time of year we get snow nearly every day.  During the day we get melting and at night it freezes.  It’s the season of “slips and falls” so be careful and do not become a victim.

Snow Storm of 2015 –

We survived the 3rd worst snow storm in Michigan history.  Now we are trying to survive the clean up.  We are 2 to 3 days after the storm and clean up continues.  The roads and driveways have been cleared so people can get in and out.  Sidewalks are now done and most porches have been shoved or at least part of them. It looks like most of the fire hydrants are buried either under drifted snow or piles from the snow removal effort.  We expect Greenlawn to get to this starting today, Wednesday Feb 4th. There is no doubt in my mind that we are going to have to have Greenlawn move and/or lower some of the piles of snow.  This will cost us $1,000 to $2,000 per day depending on how many End Loaders Greenlawn uses. Today, we received another 3″ of snow and more is promised over the weekend.  No one complained in January about the limited snow but now in February the “Boo Birds” are out.  We need to encourage residents to be patient and most are but the usual 5% to 10% are out in force.  McShane is getting numerous complaint calls as well as Bob Goodman. Everyone is doing the best we can so we appreciate your support.  I’m not going to list the complaints but most are unreasonable for the situation we have.   I do not know when the snow piles will be worked on but that should start in the next day or so.

Traffic Control 1/11/15

Traffic control signs, like STOP and 19 MPH, are installed throughout the complex with the express purpose of safety for pedestrians and other drivers. I see more and more residents ignoring these signs and not even slowing down while passing through a stop sign. They treat the speed limit signs as a joke. Fortunately we have not had an accident but the “walkers” complain all the time that they have to jump onto the lawns to avoid being hit. Every co-owner agreed to abide by the rules and regulations of River Pines when they purchased their unit. The STOP signs and speed limit signs are River Pines regulations. Cooperation by all co-owners and residents is critical to the success of the Condominium Association. You cannot pick and choose which rules you will conform to and which ones you will ignore. The Board of Directors has the responsibility of enforcing the rules and regulation along with the requirements of the Master Deed and Association Bylaws. The only enforcement tools the Board has are warning letters and fines. We have not used either of these tools regarding drivers running through stop sings of speeding. We may have to do so in the near future.

Stroke – 12/1/14

Stroke has a new indicator -They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue STROKE: Remember the 1st Three Letters….. S. T. R. STROKE IDENTIFICATION: It only takes a minute to read this. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke…totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. RECOGNIZING A STROKE Thank God for the sense to remember the ‘3’ steps, STR. Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: S *Ask the individual to SMILE. T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. Chicken Soup) R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. New Sign of a Stroke ——– Stick out Your Tongue! NOTE: Another ‘sign’ of a stroke is this: Ask the person to ‘stick’ out his tongue. If the tongue is ‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved

Emergency Preparedness – 08/26/17

The Farmington Hills’ Emergency Preparedness Commission has a resource page.  You can never over prepare for emergencies.

Farmington Hills, MI – Emergency Preparedness

Gutter Cleaning Update – 10/22/14

The gutter cleaning schedule has been updated. To review go to the Home Page, Owners, Major Project Schedules to find your address and schedule.

Asphalt Project – 10/22/14

The asphalt work has been completed on White Pine Tr and River Pines Ct.  We had complete cooperation from all the residents and had no incidents of people driving on the fresh asphalt until the barricades. were removed. I want to extend a special thank you to all the residents for their help and cooperation.

Asphalt Work 10/17/14

The 2014 asphalt repaving will be on Mondaym October 20th, weather permitting.  If the weather delays the work, repaving will be reschedule for Tuesday, October 21st.  See the notice at all the mail stations for further information and a map of the affected area’s.

Porches and Decks 9/18/14

Last night at our Annual Association Meeting we announced to the attendees that we have discovered an error in the Exhibit B drawings of the Consolidated Master  Deed.  We were glad to report that all units have porches at their front entrance and therefore the association has responsible for maintenance, repair and replacement when required.  Previously we had indicated that some units had porches and some units had decks at their front entrance.  Residents with decks have complete maintenance, repair and replacement responsibility Correction of this error will require an amendment to the Consolidated Master Deed which will occur sometime later this year or early next year.  This information will be forwarded to all co-owners when available.

Tree Cutting – 8/16/14

Greenlawn started this week cutting down trees that have overgrown the space provided.  Branches are over the roofs of many of the buildings and in some cases damaging the shingles not to mention filling the gutters with leaves.  We talked about this project at the spring meeting and we have had articles in the newsletter. Many of the trees being removed are the River Birch species.  Some residents consider these trees a nuisance and other see them as beautiful.  We are not cutting them to aggravate residents but rather to reduce and control our maintenance costs and avoid damage to the units Once the trees are cut and the stumps removed from sight we will be adding top soil and planting grass.  The Grounds Committee will be evaluating each area where trees have been cut and determine if a replacement tree is required. This is Phase I of the 3 phase program.  Next we will be looking at street trees and determine whether they can be trimmed or need to be cut down   We want to keep tree growth limited to the curb line wherever possible.  And the last phase will be evaluation of yard trees.  The entire project is expected to take 3 to 4 years.

Irrigation System- 8/16/14

We have been inspecting, repairing and adjusting the entire sprinkler system over the past 2 to 3 weeks.  This is called a mid-season adjustment.  We found several sprinkler heads leaking and we have replaced over 150 rotor heads.  Many of these heads are over 20 years old and nothing works forever.  This is a expensive proposition but necessary.  We do not have a final invoice but it looks like we will have a $10,000 bill.  Friends and neighbors parking on the lawn is not helping our maintenance cost.

Waterfall – 8/16/14

We got the waterfall going again in July and now it’s down again.  Seems that we have a power supply problem from DTE and they will have to install a new power supply to the Guard House.  That’s where the power for the waterfall pump comes from.  We hope DTE can get this work scheduled for next week but they are always busy and always have some other priorities.  We will try to patient.

Concrete Work began 7/10/14

As you can see the “concrete season” is upon us.  Allen Contracting will be on-site for about 2 weeks.  Please remember,  if you have new concrete slabs in your driveway or a section of curbing replaced “Do Not Drive On It For 5 Days”.  It may not crack immediately but it will later on.

Spring Info Meeting 5/26/14

The meeting was held on Wednesday, May 21st and we had good attendance with some lively discussion.  The entire presentation is on this web site under the menu item “Events”. On the Tree Management subject, many were concerned that the area around their unit would be barren after trees are cut.  They were assured the Grounds Committee will be evaluating these areas after restoration and will determine if additional trees will be required. On porch or deck replacement, some owners were concerned that they might not be able to afford to replace a deteriorated deck.  Deck replacement is no different than a furnace replacement.  You need to anticipate such replacements and do the financial planning so you can cover the cost when it occurs. On the Betterments and Improvements (B&I) subject, the main message was to be sure you get with your insurance agent to make sure you have sufficient insurance to cover the things that are your responsibility.  That includes all B&I made to your unit especially a finished basement.  Don’t forget damages from sewer backup and sump pump failures.

Snow Piles 4/3/14

They are almost gone and not too soon for most of us.  The grass is in terrible shape but some sun and warm rain will fix that I’m sure.  Come on Spring.

Mail Stations

April 3, 2014 The Mail Stations are almost done. All we have to do in purchase and install the bulletin boards and information boxes.  We have them on order and hope to receive them soon.  Pasko did a great job with the construction and painting under some adverse weather conditions, but they turned out well.  Thanks to everyone for their patience while we were under construction. January 9, 2014 I’m sure you have seen the 3 new mail stations on River Ridge Trail.  We have 8 more to complete this winter or early spring.  We need some reasonable weather to continue the project.  We also have one to rework on Lone Pine Lane to accommodate the new mail boxes.  When we built this sample enclosure we were not planning on replacing the mail boxes but learned later that mail box replacement was necessary.

Wind Damage 11-17-13

On Sunday, November 17th we had a pretty severe storm and we lost a pine tree at the front entrance.  It fell across the road and essentially blocked the entrance. It looks like several residents couldn’t resist the temptation and had to drive across the lawn to get both in and out.  Apparently it never occurred to them to use the Bridgeman entrance   They didn’t leave their name or address so I guess we will have to fix their mess.

Roof Replacement

Completed –July 16, 2013

The last roof was completed on July 15, 2013. The project was started in December 2002 and every summer since we have continued the process doing anywhere from 25 to 40 roofs each year.  Eleven years of construction; what an accomplishment. Over these years we have spent $2,203,905.  In 2002 we projected we would spend $2,4 million.  Although we have absorbed many price increases over the years we have had the funds to complete the project and did so 2 years earlier than expected. So we owe a great “Thank You” to all the residents of River Pines from the beginning in 1988 through 2013.  Their foresight and support over the years has set us up with the financial resources we enjoy today.  Thank You everyone.   

DTE Power Line Upgrade – 3/21/13

You may remember the power outages we experienced this past summer during the hot and humid weather.  And as you know we have had numerous power outages over the past few years at the east end of River Pines.  DTE initiated a power improvement project last summer. You may have noticed the DTE trucks and Contractor vehicles along Bridgeman the past few months.  This was a DTE project to improve the power integrity for the east end of River Pines, the GillElementary School and many of the residents along Bridgeman.  The first part of the project that began this past summer was to cut trees away from the power lines.  Then they installed new utility poles along Bridgeman and behind the GillElementary School.  And to complete the project they installed new high voltage power lines from 9 mile road along Gill road to Bridgeman and then along Bridgeman to the entrance of River Pines. This should be a great improvement to the eastern part of River Pines and the 70 or more units that have been affected in the past. Survey Responses – March 7th We have received nearly 200 responses to the co-owner survey we sent to everyone in February.  We received 205 responses in 2005 when the survey was conducted the first time.  Overall, the results this time were very favorable in that the co-owner satisfaction has improved from the previous survey.  Almost every survey returned had personal comments on the back of the form and provides good insight as to how co-owners feel about River Pines today. We are currently summarizing the survey results and looking at possible ways of disseminating this information to you.  The May Information Meeting might be the most effective way to share these results.  In addition, we are reviewing the comments and will develop responses to the most common issues mentioned. Thanks again for your participation.

Unit Break-in  on January 10th —

By: Bob Goodman (Site Manager) On January 10th, a unit on River Ridge Trail near Blue Spruce was broken into sometime between the hours of 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm.  Some personal property was removed from the unit.  The Farmington Hills Police Department investigated and asked us to check our surveillance cameras. Thanks to the surveillance of a neighbor we were able to get a description of the vehicle.  We reviewed our camera files from both the front and back entrances.  We located files showing the suspect vehicle entering the site from 9 mile road at 2:38 pm and leaving the site through the back entrance at 2:52 pm.  In addition to a positive ID of the vehicle, we were able to read the license plate number. The Farmington Hills police were able to identify the owner of the vehicle and put the individual under surveillance.  Sometime before January 29th, the Redford Police captured the suspect while involved in a break-in in Redford.  The suspect was carrying a gun and is now housed in the Redford jail. We have not heard anything regarding the recovery of the stolen merchandise.  However, the Farmington Hills Police were very grateful for the files from our surveillance system and indicated the license plate information was a major contributor to the capture of the suspect.

Search this Web Site –

November 25, 2012 – The web site has been modified recently to provide a “Search Box” at the bottom of the Home Page and each Menu item.   This is a quick and easy way to get around the site and find the topic you are looking for.  However, the Master Deed and Bylaws must be accessed and then you must use the File menu and then select “Find”.  From there you can enter your topic or keyword and then hit “enter”.  Hopefully this information helps you find what you are looking for.  If not, send an email to John Fahrner via the Contact menu.  Good luck. 

STOP Signs  10/27/2012

We have installed STOP signs at River Pine and Blue Spruce.  This is a “test” to see if we can slow down traffic and reduce the speeding on River Pines Dr.   The sign in the center of the street is there temporarily to catch the attention of approaching drivers. Some co-owenrs are stopping and others just ignore the signs.  Do we need an accident before people will realize the danger to pedestrians.

Soliciting – 9/20/2012

Soliciting within River Pines is not allowed. The Farmington Hills Police Dept will issue a permit for soliciting in the neighborhood and the solicitor’s enter the River Pines complex without permission. Political candidates contend they are not soliciting and the police department seems to be in agreement. If a solicitor comes to your door you should advise them of our “No Solicitors” policy. You should advise them that you are going to call the Farmington Hills Police and they will be escorted from the premises. They may show you a permit but generally it does not apply to River Pines. Solicitors are constantly trying new tactics. I often get telephone calls from solicitors telling me that they will be in the neighborhood on such and such a day for distribution of their information. I always tell them we are a condominium association and do not allow solicitation. They always hang up. Just be aware that those planning “break-ins” want to do so when you are not home. You don’t have to open your door but you can speak loudly through the door and tell them we do not allow solicitors.

Recycle Bins –

August 22, 2012

All co-owners have received their new Recycle Bin from Waste Management.  There are instructions on the lid of the bin that tells you how to orient the bin when you place it at the curb.  Please check the lid and orient the wheels toward your unit. Also, Waste Management will eventually be using a truck that will pick up the container and dump the containers automatically.   To facilitate this automatic pick-up, please set the recycle bin on one side of your driveway and your trash container on the other side of the driveway. 

Security – August 20, 2012

This is an expectation that is hard to deliver as everyone has a different definition.  Essentially, we have a very safe community but once in awhile our security is threatened by various criminals and undesirables.  There is not such a thing as complete security.  The best protection we can utilize is to be prepared for that unexpected knock on the door. The few break-ins we have had are almost always when no one is home.  The Farmington Hills Police tell us that most break-ins happen during the day, usually between noon and 6:00 PM.  They come to the door and knock or ring the bell.  If no one is home they have an opportunity.  We don’t know how they decide to break into one unit and not another.  It appears that once they break into a unit and get what they want, they make a quick exit from our complex. Again, the police tell us the criminals are looking for cash and jewelry and usually go directly to the Master Bedroom.  They don’t stay inside the unit very long; usually 1 to 2 minutes and they are gone. We have many elderly living within River Pines and many are single women.  The best defense we can recommend is to be prepared and have a plan as to how you are going to deal with the unexpected knock on the door.

  1.  When someone comes to your door be sure you recognize who they are.  If you don’t know who they arre don’t open the door but rather, speak loudly through the closed door, and ask them to identify themselves.  Then you can decide whether you want to open the door.
  2. We do not allow soliciting within River Pines so if someone is at your door selling something you can be fairly sure they have ulterior motives.  Ask to see their permit.  Sometimes the police have been known to issue a permit but most times the solicitor does not have one.
  3. Try to get a description of the solicitor.  Male or female, height, age, clothes, etc.  The more information you can give to the police the better chance they have of finding the offender.
  4. Look for a vehicle they are driving and try to identify it.  Car make and color are helpful.
  5. Try to get the license plate number of the vehicle.  This is the most valuable information you can provide to the police.
  6. Call 911 as soon as you can.  If someone is with you in your unit, have them call the police and tell them you are afraid, concerned and suspicious and to come immediately.  Being alone and elderly is good information for the police to know.
  7. Remember, the more information you can give the police the better the chances are of apprehending these individuals.

We have not had instances where the criminals have forced their way into a unit that is occupied.  That could happen and if it does, be calm and let them do what they are there for.  Pay attention and try to remember the details of this intrusion.  Again, the more information you can provide the better the chances are for the police to be effective.

Welcome to Our New Web Site

Welcome River Pines residents to our new 2012 web site. We want the web site to be a a place where you can get the important information about River Pines and answer your questions.  We have the Master Deed, Bylaws along with the Board Rules and Regulations that set the standards and requirements for those living in River Pines. We also have a “Coming Events” menu where we list dates for the upcoming Spring Information Meeting and the Annual Meeting.  From our Contact menu you can send us an email for those questions that are more personal and require a more immediate response. The Contact menu on the right is new.   The form is easy to fill out and we will provide a response to your questions. We hope the new web site is helpful to you and if you have any suggestions please feel free to let us know what you think.

Reserve Projects

Under the amended Bylaws of 2010, Article II, Section 2 (a) – “The Board of Directors of the Association shall establish an annual budget in advance for each fiscal year and such budget shall project all expenses for the forthcoming year which may be required for the proper operation, management and maintenance of the Condominium, including a reasonable allowance for contingencies and reserves.” In addition – “An adequate reserve fund for maintenance, repairs and replacement of those Common Elements that must be replaced on a periodic basis shall be established in the budget and must be funded by regular monthly payments as set forth in Section 3 below rather than by additional or lump sum assessments.” Authority – “The Board of Directors shall have the authority to increase the general assessment or to levy such additional or special assessment or assessments without Co-owner approval as it shall deem to be necessary.” In October and November of each budget year, the Budget and Finance Committee updates the current Reserve Plan for the following year. With an updated reserve plan the committee then develops an Operating Budget for the upcoming year. A copy of the budget is sent to each co-owner in late December. Since an interest has been expressed in the items contained in the 2012 Reserve Plan the following information is provided:

  1. Garage Door Replacements
  2. Garage Door Sectional replacement – prior to 2004
  3. Grading, elevations & drainage improvements
  4. Gutter Modifications to 118 interior 4 plex units
  5. Gutters and Downspouts Replacement
  6. Garage Light Lens Replacement
  7. Roofs, Asphalt Shingles Replacements,
  8. Roofs, Asphalt Shingles Replacement, Phase 2 & 3
  9. Brick Inspection Tuck Pointing
  10. Unit Paint Finishing and Caulk
  11. Unit T-111 Siding Replacement incl fascia boards thru 2011
  12. Window & Door repair & replacement
  13. Wood Decks, Front Entrances, Stain Applications
  14. Wood Decks, Front Entrances, replacement & repairs
  15. Asphalt road inspection, repair and/or replacement
  16. Asphalt walking path inspect, repair and/or replacement
  17. Catch Basins, Inspections and Repairs
  18. Concrete curb and gutter Inspection, repair and replace
  19. Concrete driveways Inspect, repair and replace
  20. Concrete sidewalks, Inspect, repair and replace
  21. Fence, Tennis Courts, Chain Link Metal
  22. Irrigation System, Pumps, (Pumps replaced in 2008)
  23. Irrigation System, Pipe Replacement
  24. Landscaping, Tree misc replacement (Maint Bldg)
  25. Light Posts and Fixtures
  26. Mailbox Stations (Including light)
  27. Maintenance Building (Roof, Siding, Garage Door)
  28. Pump House, Exterior Renovations
  29. Retaining Walls (Replace with Masonry)
  30. Ponds, Dredge
  31. Signage, Street Intersections and Entries
  32. Tennis Courts, Color Coat and Repair surface cracks
  33. Tennis Courts, Surface Replacement
  34. Site Manager Project Management Allowance
  35. Tree Replacement (Pine Wilt Disease Areas A, B & C)
  36. Extend Walking paths in Areas B and C
  37. Association General Manager
  38. Waterfall pond liners
  39. Chimney cap inspection and replacement
  40. Reserve Project Construction Management Fees
  41. Purchase unit @ 22104 RPD
  42. 2004 Remaining Reserve Expenditures
  43. Reserve Study Update with Site Visit
  44. Mulch Common Area Tree and Shrub beds
  45. Develop a Consolidate Master Deed for River Pines
  46. Security Cameras for entrances

The items listed above primarily consist of facility replacements. However, this list does include some repair items for association facilities such as item #10 Unit Painting and item #12 Window Repair. The Condominium Bylaws state, “The funds contained in such a reserve fund should be used for major repairs and replacements of Common Elements.” If any co-owner has questions regarding the items in this reserve plan or would like further details as to what is planned, please contact John Fahrner our Administration and Financial Manager at (248) 765-1220 or e-mail him at If you want to address the Board of Directors, a written request for such information must be sent to the Board of Directors for consideration and scheduling.