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CLHA publishes newsletters each year reviewing community events and other information about the neighborhood and its residents. What would you like to see in our newsletters? Submit a suggestion.

Newsletter – Q1 2020

Playground Renovation Project and Delinquent Dues 

As many of you know, one of our goals is to update the playground equipment at the community park. One way of ensuring that we can do that is collecting on past due accounts, which are upwards of $35,000

Several delinquent accounts have been sent to the Law Offices of Richard M. McGill for collection. Once accounts have been transferred to the law firm, the HOA can no longer accept payments toward delinquent dues. 

The yearly dues for 2020 are now $56.81. Keeping your dues current is extremely important. If you are unsure of your payment status, please submit this form or contact dues@clha.org as soon as possible to avoid further action on your account.

Gun Laws and Hunting Regulations

There has been lots of chatter in our social media community about firearms in our community.  We did some research for you and have found the following information for your reference. More regulations and safety tips can be found at the Maryland DNR website (dnr.maryland.gov)  and the Municode Library website (library.municode.com). 

Maryland DNR: “It is illegal to hunt, shoot or trap wildlife within 150 yards of any building or camp occupied by human beings without permission of the owner or occupant. For archery hunters this distance is 50 yards in St. Mary’s county.”

Municode Library: “In St. Mary’s County a person may not engage in target practice with or discharge a gun or weapon on certain lands without first obtaining written permission of specific individuals; provided that violation of said Act is a misdemeanor; and provided certain penalties on conviction of a violation of said Act.”

If you have concerns regarding events taking place on or near your property and you believe them to be in violation of local laws, please contact the local Sheriff’s department.

Who Owns and Maintains Our Community Roads?

We get this question in our voice mail, e-mail, at meetings, and on community facebook groups. Often enough to make it a frequently asked question here on our website. The answer reads “The roads belong to the County thus St. Mary’s County is responsible for the upkeep of the roads.” We wanted to expand on that answer to provide more clarification.

Who Owns the Roads? The County, as agreed on June 2, 1976 between the developers and Board of County Commissioners of St. Mary’s County. When it comes to maintenance, the main agency involved from the County is the Department of Public Works (DPW).

Following is a list of certain scenarios that may have us questioning what to do. We hope to provide you reasonable answers and advice. Here goes:

Who Maintains the Roads When It Comes To…

…Vandalism? Rare, but not unheard of, spray painting on the roads should be reported to DPW and optionally the Sheriff’s office.

…Potholes? Never nice to drive around, let alone through, and often easily patched: DPW.

…Cracks? Often filled in with tar (making unfortunately unsightly ‘tar snakes’), rather than a full width coat, DPW.

…Sinkholes? As has happened on Asher Rd and Cox Dr where sections of the road collapsed – creating not only a hazard but a closing off of some of the only 3 official access roads to this and neighboring developments – DPW.

…Snow on the roads/shoulders? DPW. However, you will often see residents with snowplows going through the roads as well, rather than wait for DPW, and also offer to clear your driveways (for a fee or for free).

…Snow around fire hydrants? Residents. While not officially required, the County will not clear the area around fire hydrants preemptively. Snow build-up around hydrants can delay fire crews’ work significantly. If a hydrant is on your property, consider clearing it up to 3 feet around, and a path out to the street. The MVFD will be very grateful!

…Driveway aprons? DPW. While many may consider the end of the driveway that flares out into the roads to be part of their property, work on the apron and any underlying culvert pipes is the responsibility of DPW. Performing unauthorized work yourself can even lead to fines and the work being undone, and re-done to DPW’s specifications.

…Lighting?

Through County official installation, often as part of a special taxing district after a decision by the Board of County Commissioners, DPW.

Through the HOA, via rental from SMECO. The HOA currently rents a single light and pole at the intersection of Asher Rd and Mechanicsville Rd for visibility and safety purposes

Through individual residents, via rental from SMECO. Before considering renting a street light, consider the cost as well as the impact on surrounding properties; not everyone may appreciate a street light near their property.

2020 Dues Notice

Our yearly dues are now $56.81. You can expect to receive dues statements for 2020 around June. Please check here or contact dues@clha.org if you have any questions about your status.

Coyote Concerns

According to the Maryland DNR, Coyotes now inhabit all counties in Maryland. Here are some common sense steps to reduce the possibility for conflict. Read the full article here.
— Remember coyotes are wild animals—respect them and give them plenty of space.
— Don’t try to approach or feed them.
— Don’t leave food out where they can access it, as this only increases the chance they lose their natural fear of people.
— Feed pets or livestock inside homes or barns. If you must feed them outside, give only enough food for one meal at a time so there are no leftovers to attract unwanted guests.
Find more resources at the Maryland DNR website.

Pets: Lost and Found

We often hear of pets escaping their yards/homes. Please be mindful of this when walking/driving through the neighborhood. Special thanks for all our neighbors for helping to locate, capture, and temporarily foster missing pets until their owners can be found. Facebook is a great place to communicate when your pet is lost or found. Word travels fast!

Holiday Decorating Contest Winners

In case you missed it, our winners for the 2019 Holiday Decorating Contest are listed here. Each of our winners received free dues for the year.

26869 Kelli Ct

26372 Tin Top School

26744 Tin Top School

Please remember that winners must have their dues paid in full at the time of the contest. We had a few contenders this year that could not win because of delinquent dues. Contact us to check on your dues status.

Happy New Year! See you at the next HOA Meeting and other events throughout the year!
View all 2020 events

Newsletter – October 2019

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Upcoming Events (see event calendar for details)

Trunk or Treat – Oct 26, 2019
HOA Meeting – Nov 12, 2019
Santa Visits the Park – Dec 8, 2019
Meet and Greet & Board Elections – Dec 15, 2019
Holiday Decorating Contest – Dec 15, 2019

1st Annual Craft and Vendor Fair a Success!

Country Lakes HOA would like to thank all the residents, vendors and general public who joined us on September 14th for our First Annual Vendor & Craft Fair Fundraiser. The event was held at the community park and was a great success.

A number of local vendors came out to showcase their unique products. We had vendors selling their own business products such as skincare, pressed flower art, tobacco stick crafts, jewelry, scrapbook supplies, and cakes/cake pops (she sold out of every dessert). Others sold some of the brands we all know and love such as Tupperware, Scentsy, Pure Romance, doTERRA Essential Oils, Origami Owl and more. Many of our vendors and local businesses donated raffle prize items that were raffled off. Many of our residents were winners of these prizes. Congrats!

While vendors were able to keep any profits from their own sales, funds raised from the vendor space rentals and raffle ticket sales went towards the fund for upgrades and maintenance to our community park and playground. The event generated $1015.27 for our community park playground!

Feedback from our vendors and patrons alike was very positive and many are already planning to join us next year. Mark your calendars because we are already making plans for the Second Annual Vendor & Craft Fair Fundraiser. The tentative date of September 12, 2020 is penciled on the calendar. The HOA is working on including food truck vendors to add to the event. If you or someone you know would like to participate as a vendor in next year’s event, please stay tuned. We plan to begin seeking vendors the beginning of 2020. Thanks again to all who made our first event a great success and we look forward to seeing everyone next year!

Fire Prevention this Fall

BURNING LEAVES THIS FALL? Until recently, we’ve had a very dry summer/fall, so please take precaution to keep yourself and your neighbors safe.  Don’t burn near any buildings; don’t use an accelerant; don’t burn when it is windy outside;  please call the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department at (301) 884-4709 to let them know when you plan on burning.  You can also visit their website for more helpful fire prevention tips.

Join the Adopt a Road Clean-up Crew

We organize two of these clean up events each year where neighbors and community service members join together to clean our streets.  It’s a chance to volunteer your time to a good cause we can all appreciate. We post the dates in our events calendar and on Facebook, so please reach out if interested. Sign up here.

Park Use

The park is a great place to walk and play with your pets.  Please remember to clean up after your pets. Neighborhood children also play at the park and should not have to worry about stepping in your pet’s mess. 

Become a Board Member or Volunteer

Call 301-884-7297 or complete this form. When calling our voice mail, your phone number must accept blocked numbers to receive a call back and please allow a week for us to respond.

Join our Facebook Community

We currently have 827 followers on our online community. That is 153 NEW friends since 4Q 2018! Join your neighbors today and stay up to date on happenings around your community.

Newsletter – December 2018

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Santa Claus is Coming to Town

We are happy to announce that Santa will be making his yearly visit to Country Lakes on Sunday, December 9th from 1-3pm.  Let’s hope the weather is delightful for a fun event with neighbors and kids!  Spread the word and come visit Santa and mingle with friends.  HOA board members will be on hand offering hot chocolate and snacks!

HOA Board Elections and Holiday Decorating Contest – Same Day – Do both!

Our HOA Meet & Greet and Board Elections will be held on Sunday, December 16th from 3-5pm at Christ Church Parish Hall in Chaptico.  If you want to make a difference in your community, this is the event to attend. Take part in the election and meet your board!

Afterwards, head home and get ready for our annual Holiday Decorating Contest.  The board members will drive around and choose their favorite homes!  There will be 3 winners and each will receive a prize! The contest is from 6-8pm on Sunday, December 16th.

Neighborhood Tips & Reminders

PARK USE
The park is a great place to walk and play with your pets.  Please remember to clean up after your pets. Neighborhood children also play at the park and should not have to worry about stepping in your pet’s mess.

GOT PROPANE?
Make sure to clear the path to your tank of debri and leaves. Your propane company will thank you.

LEAVES, LEAVES AND MORE LEAVES
Those dreaded leaves—they keep falling and falling.  Try raking or blowing them multiple times throughout the fall/winter seasons to prevent a huge project and burden for yourself in Spring time. Thinking of burning your leaves? Keep yourself and your neighbors safe.  Don’t burn near any buildings; don’t use an accelerant; don’t burn when it is windy outside;  please call the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department at (301) 884-4709 to let them know when you plan on burning.  Because embers are typically burnt leaves and thus small and lightweight, they can easily become airborne. During a large fire, with the right conditions, embers can be blown far ahead of the fire front, starting spot fires several miles away. Please use caution!

JOIN THE BOARD – or just attend a meeting!

Monthly HOA meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.  Our next meeting is Tuesday, Dec 11th at 6pm at Christ Church Parish Hall on Zach Fowler Rd. Please consider attending a future HOA meeting. It truly is the best way to make a difference in your community.

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAM

Participate in making your community a better place to live. Learn more about the NWP by emailing WATCH@CLHA.ORG

View our Remaining 2018 Events

 

Newsletter: First Quarter 2018

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Join the NEW Neighborhood Watch Program

Several residents have expressed concern over events happening in our community. We all want Country Lakes to be a safe place to live and raise families. The HOA is listening and responding to the demand for an increased law enforcement or community outreach presence around the neighborhood.

We have formed a new Neighborhood Watch Program (NWP), led by volunteer resident Zach Brightwell. We appreciate Zach’s willingness to take on this responsibility and are looking forward to community participation to make this a success.

Zach has been in discussion with the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s department on how best to move forward and how to work together to ensure safety for Country Lakes residents.  We need your help! We understand you are busy with life in general, but being part of the NWP doesn’t require much effort. Your involvement may require nothing more than communicating with the NWP when you see something that doesn’t seem right.  We can all help to make our community a better, safer place to live.

If interested in learning more about the NWP, please sign up here.

2018 Dues Notice

Your 2018 dues statements will be mailed on June 1 and the annual dues are $51.53 for the 2018 year. To avoid late fees, please submit payment by July 1. We appreciate everyone that contributes every year to the upkeep of our community. Check my dues status.

Join the Board – or just attend a meeting!

Monthly HOA meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month.  Our next meeting is Tuesday, April 10th at 6pm at Christ Church Parish Hall. Please consider attending a future HOA meeting. It truly is the best way to make a difference in your community. Volunteer

2018 Board of Directors and Members

The following is the outcome of the Dec 2017 Meet and Greet and Board Elections:

  • Elaine Green remains as your HOA President.
  • The Vice President position remains open.
  • Richard Annema is your new HOA Secretary.
  • Jim Loveless remains as your HOA Treasurer.

Your board members are as follows:

Mark Pullium, former Secretary, is still volunteering on the board. Will Gillingwater will continue as a board member. Bud Tarbox remains as your event coordinator and board member. Kim Beachy is your property manager. Jen Burtchette is your web manager. Zach Brightwell has joined the HOA as a board member and leader of the new Neighborhood Watch Program.

We are always accepting new board members. Please see what it’s all about by joining an upcoming HOA Meeting. Join us Tuesday, April 10 at the Christ Church Parish Hall to share your views and concerns. View 2018 HOA Meeting Schedule

NEW DATE: Community Clean Up Event

Due to weather, we rescheduled our Community Clean Up event.  It will now be on Saturday, April 21st. We were unable to avoid it coinciding with our Yard Sale event, so please consider volunteering if you won’t be selling that day. A board member will be on hand to manage the event. Meet us at the pavilion at 9am and wear durable clothing and shoes.

All Upcoming Events

Newsletter: 2nd Quarter 2017

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A Letter from the Sheriff’s Office

In our continuing efforts to strengthen community and law enforcement partnerships, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office and the Sheriff’s Citizen Advisory Board participated in a Country Lakes Homeowner’s Association Community (CLHOA) Meet & Greet on May 18, 2017.

The following members of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office participated in the event: Patrol Division Commander, Captain Eric Sweeney; District One Commander/CLHOA Sheriff’s Office Liaison, Lieutenant Eva Jones; Narcotics Division, Lieutenant Richard Russell, Criminal Investigations Division, Sergeant Thomas Hedderich; Traffic Safety, Corporal Brian Connelly, and Patrol Deputy Daniel Holdsworth.

The Sheriff’s Office thanks the CLHOA for hosting this opportunity for their citizens to meet and interact with our personnel, and learn about criminal and traffic laws, as well as services provided for citizens by our agency.

The agency offers a wide variety of services to citizens. Information on these services is available on our website www.firstsheriff.com. The Sheriff’s Office keeps citizens informed through our website news blog, social media outlets to include Facebook and Twitter, and through the Nixle Program. Citizens can sign up for Nixle, a free service, on our website to receive text messages and/or emails on local events and incidents, such as road closures.

The Sheriff’s Office has also instituted a new On-Line Reporting System for minor crimes, suspicious incidents, and reporting lost items. Please see our website for guidelines on using this service.

Anyone having any questions or concerns pertaining to the Country Lakes Subdivision may contact Lieutenant Eva Jones at 301-475- 4200 x*8069.


Eagle Troop Helps Restore Trails at the Park

We would like to extend a very special thank you to Cody with Eagle Troop 1785 for taking the lead and completing a bridge and trail restoration project at the Country Lakes park. Cody approached the HOA board with the idea to repair the old worn bridges and clean the trails. We were happy to approve the project and it was recently completed in June.  We hope you and your families and pets enjoy these trails, located in the wooded section along the existing walking path at the park. Please remember to keep your pets leashed at all times. Not all animals are as friendly with other unknown animals and people as they are with your own families at home. A leash will help avoid any unforeseen problems. Thanks for understanding!


Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, OH MY!

Not quite lions, tigers, or bears… (we hope)… but do your neighbors have odd pets that concern you being so close to your property? If you have questions about pet regulations in St. Mary’s County and the state of Maryland, please visit the following websites for more information:

Maryland Department of Agriculture:
http://mda.maryland.gov/

St. Mary’s County Animal Control:
http://www.stmarysmd.com/est/animalcontrol.asp


Upcoming 3rd Quarter Events (view calendar)

JULY

Tuesday, 11th – HOA Meeting

Park pavilion at 6-pm. All are welcome.

AUGUST

Tuesday, 1st – National Night Out

Park pavilion at 6-8pm. Many of our community organizations and first responders will be in attendance with fun demonstrations, door prizes, food and games. Don’t miss it.

Tuesday, 8th – HOA Meeting

Park pavilion at 6-pm. All are welcome.

SEPTEMBER

Tuesday, 12th – HOA Meeting

Park pavilion at 6-pm. All are welcome.

Saturday, 16th – Community Clean Up

Volunteers please meet at the park pavilion at 9am. Bring gloves and wear appropriate clothing for clean up. The HOA will handle removal of all filled garbage bags.

Saturday, 23rd – Community Yard Sale

Starts at 7am until you are finished! Set up in your yard or at the parking lot on Cox/Asher on a first-come, first-served basis. We will advertise online and post signs in the neighborhood.