OFE GAZETTE ©
Second Tuesday of each Month
Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 13014 Olive Blvd.
Corner of Fernview and Olive Blvd. Please enter at rear of church
7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
ISSUE 69 First Issue 2016
THE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
“In the good old summertime, in the good old summertime” goes the refrain in this song and indeed, summer is upon us with all that it entails: BBQs, baseball, bugs and being outside, not to forget hiking, biking swimming and all the other things we were thinking about during the winter. One of the things I like best about summer is coming home from work and sitting on my deck, ice cold drink in hand while watching the bright summer light of day melt into a brilliant sunset.
Summer is also the season for vacations and door to door sales people. Don’t forget that the St. Louis County Police Department offers a ‘house check’ for you while you’re out of town. They will send a patrol car and officers will literally get out and check your home while you’re away. All it takes is a phone call to 636-529-8210 and let them know when you’ll be gone and when you’ll return.
If your doorbell rings and someone tells you they are selling something, ask to see their permit from St. Louis County. If they’re legitimate, they’ll have one.
Have fun, be safe and enjoy the Good Old Summertime. It’ll be winter again before you know it.
Kathy Schweitzer, President
Maryland Park Lake District
“What’s that?” you might ask.
It is the name that has apparently been given to the 1,800 acres proposed for development in the Howard Bend Levee District.
“Where is the Howard Bend Levee District?” you might also ask.
Go out of the front of the subdivision, make a right turn onto Creve Coeur Road and drive for a little bit. It’s right there. It used to be called a ‘flood plain’.
The developers are supposed to be filing a proposal with the City of Maryland Heights on June 30, 2016. This proposal would outline the development plan. Maryland Heights has already granted preliminary approval to tax incentives for this project early in 2016.
They have also set up a special website that has a Timeline for upcoming Maryland Heights meetings, workshops and Planning Commission hearings, lists Plans and Studies for the area, includes a history of development in the area and has maps of the area showing proposed mixed use residential/commercial and recreational areas. It can be found on-line at mplakedistrict.com
An opposing viewpoint to this development can be found at the Maryland Heights Residents for Responsible Growth website on-line at: marylandheightsresidents.com
Kathy Schweitzer, President
PROPERTY TAX CREDIT (CIRCUIT BREAKER) FOR SENIORS AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
The Missouri Property Tax Credit Claim (also known as Circuit Breaker) gives money back to people who are 65 and older, and people aged 18-64 that receive SSI, SSD or Veterans Disability, for a portion of the rent or real estate tax that they paid for that year. People living in tax exempt buildings are not eligible to apply.
The credit is for a maximum of $750.00 for renters and $1,100.00 for owners who owned and occupied their home. The amount the person receives is based on the amount of real estate taxes or rent paid and the total household income (both taxable and nontaxable).
For Renters –
-Must have income less than $27,500 or less if single, or $29,500 or less for a married couple filing jointly.
For Homeowners –
-If a person owns and occupies their home for the full year, they must have income of $30,000.00 or less for a single person or $34,000.00 or less if a married couple filing jointly.
You can find information about this program and the application can be downloaded from dor.mo.gov look for the Missouri Property Tax Credit application.
CORRECTION OF ARTICLE
DEAD TREES ALONG COUNTY RIGHT OF WAY
I apologize for my typo in the last edition of the Gazette for this article. The correct number is 314 615-8538. I understand that at least 15 phone calls were made to the incorrect number. I called that incorrect number and stated that I was the one at fault and that I’m sorry for the inconvenience. On the positive side, it’s nice to know that residents are concerned about their property.
OFE HOUSE AND GARDEN TOUR?
Being head of the Architectural Review Committee for the last few years has given me the opportunity to view some of the many wonderful improvements residents have made to the inside of their homes as well as to the outside. When I share some of these ideas with others, I often hear them say how much they wished they, too, could see some of these modifications – to get ideas for their own homes and yards. A house and garden tour would satisfy that curiosity and spark creativity in our own projects. Maybe there could be just a house tour or just a garden/yard tour or a combination of the two.
If you are willing to organize a house and/or garden tour, let me know. I will help. (Maybe it could be a small fundraiser to buy plants for the front entrance of the neighborhood or even a kitty deposit for that elusive community garden?)
Mary Anne Speck
From the Gardening corner…
If anyone wants seeds for super sweet cantaloupe or small yellow marigolds, let me know. I will be glad to share some with you. I have plenty of both.
Hints on planting garlic:
Choose garlic toes the size you want for the desired whole bulb. Plant 3” deep with the pointed side up in late fall or even winter if the ground is not frozen.
Harvest in June. The garlic I planted in January is now three feet tall! I have not tried planting garlic in the spring, but don’t know why that would not work as well.
Positive note: so far no creature has shown a liking for eating my garlic!
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."
Mary Anne Speck
DOING EXTERIOR WORK (INCLUDING A FENCE) TO YOUR HOUSE? LET TRUSTEES KNOW…
Spring and summer are the main times residents choose to improve their yards or exteriors of their houses and this spring has started off with a bang. Already over half a dozen residents have contacted trustees concerning such things as new retaining walls, new or replacement fences, a deck and even a new front porch to extend the length of the house. Trustees are always pleased to see so much improvement going on in OFE. It means people are maintaining and improving the value of their homes which, in turn, spills over to benefit all residents.
Please contact a trustee if you are even contemplating such an improvement. That way you will have ample time to gather required paperwork and give trustees ample time to schedule a visit to your home to review your project with you.
Trustees are volunteers who are dedicated to helping maintain the home values of OFE, but we need residents’ assistance. We want to assist you in a timely manner, so give us the time to do that. Please notify the trustees at least a month prior to when you plan to commence with your project. Your project will be presented for approval at the next trustee meeting after trustees visit your home. Trustee meetings take place every second Tuesday of the month, so please plan accordingly.
Mary Anne Speck
I have been asked by numerous residents to place the following request: Please ask your kids to not ride their bikes cutting across lawns. It damages stressed lawns and dogs become agitated.
COMMUNITY GARDEN? NEIGHBORHOOD ORCHARD?
In a previous Gazette I proposed the idea of starting a community garden on the common grounds and asked for residents’ response to the idea. Several residents responded and though all were positive, at least one worried that it would become another point of contention if any neighborhood money were to be spent on a community garden. I have not given up on the idea though and, in fact, have been presented with another idea that could be done in lieu of a garden or even in addition to one---specifically, a community orchard. An orchard might take less upkeep and less water. I believe that with true creativity and productive problem solving sessions, we can resolve water and money issues for one or both of these ‘gardens.’ .Resolving the issue of wild creatures raiding the garden might be more difficult, but is still possible.
If you or someone you know might be willing to spearhead either or both a community garden and/or orchard, I would assist. Let me know. I have lots of ideas. There is much information out there in cyber space for starting such gardens and much experience right here in St. Louis that can guide us.
Mary Anne Speck
COMMERCIAL SIGNS IN YARDS OR STREETS ARE PROHIBITED
Several residents have questioned the legality of other residents displaying signs advertising a business (their own or others’) in their own yards or on County property maintained by residents (that is, the space between sidewalks and streets). In short, County regulations prohibit such commercial signs.
If you are having your house remodeled, the contractor may display his sign in your front yard for thirty days. Political signs are allowed to be posted. Permanent placement of signs advertising your own business or a friend’s company are not permitted.
Mary Anne Speck
LIMITED REIMBURSEMENTS AVAILABLE FOR CUL-DE-SAC MATERIALS
The 2016 OFE budget allocates a total of $2500 to reimburse residents for out of pocket expenses for materials they purchase that produce permanent or long term improvement to their cul-de-sac. The policy and process/guidelines for reimbursement follow:
POLICY: Up to $100 allocated for each of 23 cul-de-sacs and up to $200 for the large cul-de-sac on Fourposter may be allocated for materials such as mulch, hedges, trees, bulbs, perennials, stones, concrete, and the like. Money for each cul-de-sac will be distributed to those who apply first for that cul-de-sac.
Reimbursements will not be made for labor, utility bills, mowing or watering costs.
PROCESS/GUIDELINES for requesting reimbursement:
1. Submit to the head of the architectural review committee (Mary Anne Speck) via email, in person, mail no later than November 1, 2016:
before and after photos (phone photos great);
receipts with total amount spent clearly marked;
a brief written description of the improvement;
your name, address, phone number, email and location of the cul-de-sac
2. Approximately once a month, the committee will review and approve requests based on their compliance with these guidelines, notify residents and submit the approved requests to the treasurer.
3. The OFE treasurer will reimburse residents’ expenses according to guidelines upon notice of their approval.
We urge you to work with your neighbors to make sure your cul-de-sac money is spent to its maximum benefit and that expenses are not duplicated.
County-owned (like the lawn between your sidewalk and street), the cul-de-sacs are like ‘extra yard’ for those living around them---but also extra work. As funds are available, your homeowners’ association is happy to supplement your expenses in caring for these islands.
Comments or questions? Please contact a trustee directly. All trustee addresses, emails and phone numbers are in the OFE Directory.
Submitted by Mary Anne Speck
THE SWIMSUIT EDITION OF THE OFE DIRECTORY IS OUT!
Seriously, the 2016 Directory features several young ladies happily jumping into the beautiful OFE pool. The pool is one of OFE’s outstanding features and we are proud to showcase it this year on the cover of the directory as we continue our cover tribute to the seasons, this time to summer!
If you did not receive your copy of the Directory, please contact your district trustee who will have extra copies of the Directory to distribute to those who did not receive theirs in the mail. If you don’t have an old directory and do not know who your district trustee is, contact me and I will forward your information to your trustee. Enjoy!
Mary Anne Speck
Congratulations to our new At Large Trustees, Edwin Trogler, Armetira Rowey and Carol Dempster. Retired trustees Secretary Dave Voeller and Recreation chair Betsy Waxberg chose not to run. Thank you Dave and Betsy for the hard work these past years.
Melinda Morgan takes over for Mary Anne as chair of the Architectural Review. Contact Melinda for exterior home changes and Review Form.
At the June Trustees meeting, your Trustees voted for the following officers for the next 18 months:
Mary Anne Speck -Vice-President
ANIMAL CONTROL ORDINANCE
Please be considerate of your neighbor’s property when walking your dog. A frequent problem is an owner not cleaning-up after their dogs defecate on neighbors lawns. This situation is a violation of county ordinance 611.210. Citation for violation is 611.230 and penalty is 611.240. Call animal control at 615-0650 and supply the owners name and address.
IT’S POOL TIME!!!
While the past winter was rather tame compared to others, it’s nice to see the warmer temperatures upon us. The days are getting longer, thanks in part to Daylight Savings Time. Bulbs have bloomed, trees have budded out and the grass is starting to grow; like crazy with the rain. All this and warmer temperatures mean summer is just around the corner. As the heat and humidity of St. Louis approaches it time to think about how to stay cool this summer. Sure you can stay inside in the AC, at least until the next power outage or the sight of your next electric bill, or you can join the fun at the Old Farm Estates Subdivision Pool!
The OFE pool is an asset to the neighborhood and adds to the value of our homes. The pool is owned by all residents of Old Farm Estates, so don’t miss out on taking advantage of this great value. In addition to the pool itself, OFE has both Swim and Dive Teams for our children that compete with other pools in the area.
The pool is an enjoyable way to keep cool and a great way to reconnect with old friends and neighbors after the long winter, as well as meeting new friends. In addition to the main pool, there is a Kiddie pool for those families with small children. We have a multitude of picnic tables under the two covered cabanas, several umbrella tables and a deck full of lounge chairs for everyone to use. Several Weber Grills are available for all members, so bring your own food and beverages with you for a summer Bar B-Q with your family and friends. (It also keeps you from heating up the kitchen). It is also a great place to have a Children’s Birthday Party or a Family Get Together. Members are allowed to bring pool guests for a $3.00 fee per guest.
Registration forms have been mailed to all OFE residents. The membership rates for returning members will be:
Family Membership $350.00
Couples Membership $220.00
Individual Membership $205.00
Additional information is posted on the OFE website, or for answers to any questions, call Mike or Tammy Davis at 434-4572.
FINANCIAL REVIEW FOR 2014
Trustees Melinda Morgan, Anthony Brown and Phil Treacy served on the Committee to review OFE's financials ending in December of 2014.
All income and expenditure transactions were reviewed including all products and services charged to OFE, checks issued and received, and reserve account. There were no discrepancies or concerns.
TO OUR RENTERS
At the June 2016 Trustee meeting, the Trustees voted to complimentary mail the Gazette to renters. Why the change? The board believes that we are all neighbors. A renter, should be aware of our events and the advantages in living in Old Farm Estates, such as joining for a fee the swim club. Contact Mike Davis 434-4572 for info.
Only home owners have the right to vote at elections. However, please attend our meetings. (See masthead page 1 for time and location). As a temporary resident let us hear of your experiences residing in other communities. How do we compare favorable or unfavorable with other neighborhoods? What can OFE accomplish to maintain and improve our subdivision? And, when speaking at a meeting please identify yourself as a renter. Your comments will offer feedback to the board and justification of mailing the Gazette.
A web site utilized by our residents and neighboring subdivisions is NextDoor.com. As their homepage states “A Private Social Network for your Neighborhood.” It’s useful for buying or selling items, finding yard help or locating a lost pet. Note. This author and OFE do not assume responsibility for its use.
As a Trustee I hear numerous complaints of speeding cars. About a year ago, the county police placed a speed monitor along North-South Old Farm Drive. I have no idea if that had any impact. My suggestion, call the 2nd District St. Louis County Communications Center at 636 529-8210. Supply as much information as possible, time, location car identification.
If cars are blocking any street or when loud and uncontrollable parties occur that’s a 911 call.