The Velvet Valley Neighborhood Association’s Board is comprised of a maximum of 20 elected volunteer directors. While the directors execute and implement many of the programs, the Board keenly solicits and welcomes resident volunteer participation in many of the community activities and programs.
An annual meeting is combined with a picnic every summer to build and enrich neighborhood friendships, have fun, and elect Board members who have previously expressed interest in serving on the Board. The picnic offers wonderful, free food to all paid-up family members. Annual picnic/meetings are held in September after Labor Day, at the beginning of the Board’s fiscal year, to maximize attendance and avoid family vacation conflicts.
The Neighborhood Association holds its annual meeting for all paid resident members at the end of the summer, with dates announced well in advance. As an accommodation to new families, they may register and pay at the annual meeting if they have not yet paid. The annual meeting includes our family picnic, with catered food and dessert trucks and activities for children.
The annual meeting is used to elect the slate of new Board directors for the coming year. Residents are strongly encouraged to volunteer on the Board to help voice and implement new ideas, assist with programs and activities, and represent viewpoints of neighbors. Board volunteers are solicited via email in advance of the annual meeting. Proposed board candidates do not need to attend the annual meeting, only to be fully-paid Association members.
Shortly after the annual meeting, the first new board meeting is held, and at that meeting, the Board elects its officers for the coming year. The Board holds three or four meetings a year, and committees may meet separately.
The camera surveillance system was installed by the Neighborhood Association in 2010, contracting with a dedicated local digital security company and coordinating with BGE and Verizon for internet connectivity and operation. Two sophisticated cameras are installed at each of the community’s three entrances: at Park Heights Ave. and Velvet Valley Way and at Velvet Ridge, and at Caves Rd. and Baronet Rd. At each location, motion-detection videos, including with night-vision, are taken of (1) the entire vehicle, and (2) close-ups of the license plate. The cameras record both live and time-stamped recorded images, and video is stored on hard drives for roughly 30-days.
Video images are shared as requested with residents who are members of the Neighborhood Association for specific incidents. Images have proven helpful to residents, with examples including a car speeding past a stopped school bus, and another of a stopped pick-up truck that shined a flashlight on a home after nightfall. Furthermore, unmarked trucks are frequently recorded entering the community and rapidly turning around and departing when they notice the security apparatus.
Since the installation of the camera system, there have been no crime incidents reported in our neighborhood, which is in stark contrast to other bordering communities. This attests to the deterrent effect of the camera system, with its flashing blue lights and street signage alerting all entering traffic.
Maintaining and operating the security camera system is expensive, entailing electricity, Verizon internet connection, insurance, ongoing maintenance contracts and occasional parts replacements. The system’s reliability and effective deterrence make this an incredibly worthwhile investment for our community, and is made possible by membership dues.
The Neighborhood Association continues to offer schedule a growing number of programs for residents, with the number of activities limited in part by having enough resident volunteers to plan and execute programs. Volunteers even beyond Board members are welcome and invited to help with ongoing and new desired activities. Committees include the following list, but new ones can be developed with initiation and dedication from other residents as well:
- Landscaping of corner entrances and speed islands
- Annual meeting and picnic planning and implementation
- Member enrollment campaigns
- Resident referrals of services (e.g., painters, plumbers, snow plowing and lawn care, tree cutting, etc.)
- Kids events (e.g., Halloween costume party and summer event)
- Adult happy hour socials
- Special community programs (e.g., shredding and dumpster days)
- Welcoming Committee for new residents
- Newsletter development and hardcopy distribution
- Real estate tracking of for-sale and sold homes in the neighborhood