During the Apple Mountain Lake Property Owners Association (AMLPOA) meeting held on September 16, 2020 these questions were asked by those both in the room or on the zoom call.   There was not enough time to answer all the questions, so we will address them here.

As pointed out in the meeting.  A construction project outside the boundaries of the POA is not a matter of the Apple Mountain Lake Property Owners Association as the deed of covenants grants no powers nor requires any action outside the POA’s borders.   This is not to say that having a development next door that will affect the neighborhood is not a neighborhood problem.   This is a neighborhood issue, however the legal entity Apple Mountain Lake Property Owners Association was not created for such matters.   It exists to improve and maintain common areas within the borders of the Property Owners Association (POA).

Now to the questions:

Question: Neighbors want assurances that the Board of Directors for the Apple Mountain Lake Property Owners Association will represent the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Property Owners.

Answer: This would be outside the charter of the legal entity Apple Mountain Lake Property Owners Association. Therefore the AMLPOA board will only conduct business within the POA.

Question: What date was the board first notified by Sheetz that they planned to submit a proposal for this property at the bottom of Apple Mountain?

Answer: The AMLPOA Board and the AML property owners were notified in the August Meeting (8/19/2020).   The President of the Board and our management agent were contacted in late July.

Question: Jorie Martin’s last email states that the board rejected the TWO prior proposals. Prior to the third and current proposal that’s under review, if the last proposal was brought by Sheetz to our August POA board meeting, then when and where was the first proposal presented?

Answer: The President of the board gave early feedback to Sheetz prior to the board meeting on 8/19/2020.   As a result Sheetz brought two sets of plans (Their original and one reflecting the President’s feedback) .  During the 8/19/2020 meeting the board and AMLPOA property owners gave Sheetz feedback that resulted in the third proposal with no truck stop.

Question: Why did the board entertain any proposal without first seeking any input from the community?

Answer: The board was asked to let Sheetz come present at a AMLPOA Community Board Meeting.  As to most of these requests the time was granted and they were put on the agenda.   This meeting was open to all AMLPOA property owners in good standing and a few were there.  The board did not entertain any proposal.   The board and property owners that were present listened to the proposal, and gave their feedback.   No vote, motion or or approval was given in any way.  Therefore nothing was entertained.    

Question(s): Is Jorie Martin a representative or standing officer of the board of directors for the Warren County Economic Development Authority? If yes then why should it be acceptable for her to represent Apple Mountain Lake at the same time as the EDA? This is a CONFLICT OF INTEREST. How is this going to be dealt with?

Answer: Yes Jorie Martin is a new member of the Warren County EDA.  There is no Conflict as Mrs Martin is our Management Agent for the AMLPOA Board which has nothing to do with sheetz.    We will continue to ask Mrs Martin to serve as our Management Agent and thank her for the important volunteer work she does on her personal time. 

Question: Coventry Group has always said that they represent the board’s interest, not the community’s. So, if the board decides to support the wishes of AML Property Owners and oppose the Sheetz proposal, will Coventry Group support this decision, too?

Answer: Coventry Group is our management company.   They serve at the pleasure of the board.  If any vendor fails to follow direction, that vendor will be replaced.

Question: What gives the POA Board the authority to represent homeowners in matters that extend outside the boundaries of AML property lines and the scope of our POA Bylaws? 

Answer: Nothing. Therefore the AMLPOA will remain neutral. 

Question: Does the POA have any official authority to represent our extended community interests? If so, can you please cite the regulation?

Answer:  No, Therefore the AMLPOA will remain neutral.

Question: : Is the board aware that at least 150 AML Property Owners have signed petitions AGAINST the Sheetz proposal, not including the number of signatures obtained from surrounding residents? Will this information be included in whatever response the board gives to Sheetz?

Answer: A petition was mentioned during the board meeting.  The board was not able to review these documents. 

Question: Is the board aware that no less than 6 independent local environmental groups are willing to join in our efforts of opposition, as well as at least 5 local business owners? Will this information be included in whatever response the board gives to Sheetz?

Answer: The board does not have any information on supporting entities. For answers given above the board will remain neutral. 

Question:  If the board is “not endorsing Sheetz”, as previously stated by Jorie Martin, but rather is just trying to ensure a more acceptable outcome for the community should Sheetz succeed in their re-zoning attempts, then what preventative measures will be taken to ensure that no further construction will take place, such as their building a Truck Stop here in the future against our wishes?

Answer: Per answers given above about the charter of the Board and that Sheetz was asking for feedback after a community proposal.   The board will remain neutral.   Feedback was given in the Open August meeting that no one there wanted a Truck stop.  Sense Sheetz has not asked to present at any further meetings the board will remain neutral and no further feedback will be given. 

Question: Has the board submitted anything in writing yet to Sheetz? If not, will the board support AML Property Owners’ wishes when they do respond in writing? When and how does the board intend to respond?

Answer: In the September meeting the board adopted a resolution of neutrality that will be sent to Sheetz. 

Question: Has the board been contacted by any external parties apart from Sheetz, such as Warren County BOS, Warren County Planning and Zoning, neighboring Property Owners Associations, outside Developers, any environmental Groups, or any other concerned parties? If so, who are they, and what contribution did they have? And, if any of these agencies do contact the board, will the board make residents aware?

Answer: There has been on communication from any of the parties listed to the Board.  Any contact regarding sheetz will be redirected to the Apple Mountain Health & Safety Alliance.

Question: What’s the board’s intended process, if any, for obtaining homeowner input (positive or negative)?

Answer:  We will continue to hold monthly meetings where any Property Owner in good standing is welcome to come and provide input on any POA subject. 

Question: Jorie Martin has mentioned that Coventry Group will start sending weekly updates by email. What days can we expect to receive them, and will they include all applicable information?

Answer: As Coventry Group is our registered agent and as such Sheetz contacted AMLPOA through them early in their process.   Jori has been emailing out information as it comes in.  As referenced above this is not a function of the POA.  As such we have asked Sheetz to interface with the Apple Mountain Health & Safety Alliance and not Coventry Group. 

Question: Has the School Board or Transportation Department approved Sheetz’ newly revised plans?

Answer: We do not know, this is a question for the School Board.

Question: Has the County indicated in what direction they might be leaning, for or against?

Answer: We do not know, this is a question for your county representative Tony Carter.

Question: If Sheetz prevails, and ultimately succeeds in re-zoning, and builds a C-Store/Gas Station at the entrance to AML, will the POA consider making us a gated community? If so, will the gate be manned by a guard? If not, why?

Answer: A gate and guard will be quite costly.   If the membership wants such a feature then it will affect the budget and your dues.   This board makes every effort to not increase dues.  Therefore without large Property Owner Support this would not be a consideration.

Question: Are there any other proposals Property Owners haven’t been made aware of, and will you let us know in the future immediately if anything else comes up?

Answer: No,  All board business is Open to any Property Owner in good standing.  All meeting minutes are posted on our website as soon as they are ratified at the following meeting.  Executive Sessions (Time where the board meets in private) are ONLY! Used to discuss individuals financial standing.  We do this for Property Owner privacy.   Your board is committed to transparency. 

Concern: Neighbors oppose allowing a change in Zoning from Agricultural to Commercial. Nothing in the current proposal meets agricultural zoning requirements, which were implemented for a reason; likely to preserve our watershed and view shed. Especially given that commercial uses already exist on the south side of Exit 13. 

Response: These are valid concerns. 

Question: Has Sheetz, or any organization working on behalf of Sheetz, already purchased any of the property at the bottom of the mountain? If not, then we can still appeal to them to change their minds before they do.

Answer: We don’t know,  The community is welcome to contact Sheetz for such an appeal.

Question: Can Sheetz apply with the County for a change in Zoning if they don’t own the property yet, or do they have to buy it first?

Answer: We do not know, this is a question for your county representative Tony Carter.

Question: Since the Board didn’t seek input from Property Owners about the Sheetz’ proposal to begin with, now that the Board knows that Property Owners would not be in support of a change in zoning to commercial at the bottom of our mountain, will Sheetz be notified of this?

Answer: The board operates in monthly board meetings and two semi-annual meetings to seek Property Owners feedback.   As an extra effort, after Sheetz presented in the August meeting information was posted on our website and emails were sent out.    We have also posted the minutes for this meeting.  In the September meeting the board answered questions about the August meeting.   In addition, these questions are being answered by your board members.  This shows transparency and the willingness to provide information.   The board for reasons stated above will stay neutral. 

Question: If Sheetz were to be successful in having the zoning changed with the County, then what’s to stop them from implementing their original plan and disregarding our Board’s input entirely?

Answer: We do not know, this is a question for your county representative Tony Carter.  

Concern: Neighbors want to ensure that contact information for all concerned parties is made available to Property Owners independently of the POA, especially in the event that the Board feels helpless to defend our interests.

Response: We have asked Sheetz to interface with Apple Mountain Health & Safety Alliance.

Question: What is the contact information for the Sheetz representatives and Sheetz’ attorneys who contacted the Board? Will the Property Owners be privy to this?

Answer: We have asked Sheetz to interface with Apple Mountain Health & Safety Alliance.

Concern: Neighbors fear the proposed Sheetz facility would present an attractive hazard to school children and the extended community. Among these concerns are the presence of Alcohol, Tobacco and other disconcerting things at the same site as the school bus stop. 

Response: We are always concerned about the health and safety of children.  In the August meeting Sheetz assured the audience that their employees would not sell any Alcohol or Tobacco to any school children.   In addition I am sure that any concerned parent will not leave their child unattended at the current or new bus stop.  

Question: Since the only main “benefit” to the community that Jorie Martin mentioned in her latest email is that the school bus stop and bus stop parking would be improved, is any attention being given to these other matters?

Answer: The bus stop will be the School Boards concern.  We suggest contacting them.

Question(s): Neighbors demand legal representation to fight on our behalf, given that Sheetz has already involved their attorneys.

  • Has, or will, AML POA utilize Coventry’s in-house attorney for this purpose? 
  • If so, are funds currently available for this purpose?
  • If not, will the POA bring in outside counsel, and how will funds be allocated? Is it necessary to bring this to a vote?

Answer: There are legal expenses in the budget. They are allocated for normal legal expenses such as leans and judgements.   There is no budget for legal fees to oppose a construction project outside the POA.   

Questions: Neighbors want to ensure that our Water Table won’t be unduly burdened.

  • Water Studies are purported to have been done. 
  • By whom? 
  • When were they done? 
  • What was the testing party’s interest in the outcome, if any? 
  • Will AML Owners have an opportunity for independent, unbiased water studies to be done? 
  • If so, will there be sufficient time allowed for this prior to any re-zoning requests with the county?

Answer: Sheetz did report that a hydraulic water study would be done.  That data will be presented to the county, which should be a public record.   These are excellent questions for your county representative Tony Carter

Question: Is Blasting to occur should Sheetz be allowed to build? If so, what’s to ensure that our wells will not be affected by the blasting? Brian’s and my personal well was damaged during the earthquake several years ago. Blasting could cause shifting water veins and subsequent well damage, especially for the closest neighbors.

Answer: We do not know.  We suggest raising this concern with your county representative Tony Carter.  

Question: Originally, per the subdivision records, AML was only proposed to have one well for every four lots. So far, each home has its own private well. Given the rate at which new homes are coming in, and considering they will likely need to dig their own private wells, too, can the water table under AML even support our own needs, much less the high usage demands that a public convenience store would require?

Answer: In the Deed of Covenants filed in 1971 and sense replaced in 2001 there is a section that talks about “Water Blocks”  This was 1970 engineering where everyone on the mountain would share a well.  I am happy that this is not the case and that the Load Fairfax District Health Department has seen fit to do a hydriloc study that allows us all to have our own well.    We will leave all matters of water and wells to the experts.

Question(s): If we can successfully prevent Sheetz from having their proposal pass, Neighbors would like to ensure that no future prospective commercial companies attempt to build here, either.  

  • Is it possible for AML POA to purchase these 30 acres to prevent them from becoming zoned commercial?
  • If so, what would that entail, and how long would that process take. Could we purchase this land now?

Answer: According to the Warren County GIS, the land is valued at $559,700.00  This was also the sale price on 1/29/1998 when FOUR-L Corporation acquired the land.   Assuming the owners would sell the land for the county price of about 560k, which is highly doubtful, the price today would likely be 4 times this.  However for this mental exercise let’s stick to 560k.   To do this a Special Assessment would need to be levied on every member of the POA to the amount of about 875.00 per lot owner.   Some owners would have to pay that many times over as they own more than one lot.  Keep in mind in today’s market the land will fetch a much higher price putting the burden of each POA member into the thousands.   There are 2 more problems.  Not everyone in the Association sees fit to pay their dues.  Therefore we would have to increase the assessment to adjust for those who choose a parasitic lifestyle.   After all that, if we own it we must pay the yearly taxes which depending on zoning could range from five or six thousand a year to a few hundred.   This would of course increase dues and our insurance.  This board is unwilling to put this kind of financial burden on the members of AMLPOA. 

Question(s): Neighbors fear what water quality impacts we, and the surrounding waterways, could face from having underground fuel storage tanks for petroleum products installed so close our private wells, and in the floodplain of the Shenandoah River and Goose Creek, along with downstream waterways, and potentially on land that may not perk.

– What’s to stop the following products from entering our water supply and surrounding waterways from run-off, leaks or spills? Such as:

  • Unleaded Gas from underground tank/dispensers for passenger vehicles
  • Diesel from underground tank/dispensers for passenger vehicles
  • Diesel from underground tank beneath electric charging stations, which are required to generate electricity
  • Propane from underground tank beneath propane refilling station (if one is proposed)
  • Diesel from potential future underground tanks/dispensers for tractor trailers (should property become zoned commercial and a Truck Stop is to be added)

Answer: No one on the board is a hydraulic engineer or work for the EPA in any capacity.  We are unable to answer these questions. 

Additional Concerns: The following concerns will be brought to the attention of Sheetz, Warren County Board of Supervisors, and Warren County Planning and Zoning Commission. They’ll be expanded upon in further detail:

  • Decreased Property Values for AML Homeowners
  • Air Pollution
  • Water Pollution
  • Noise Pollution
  • Light Pollution
  • Increased Crime
  • Increased Fire Hazards
  • Increased Traffic Congestion at Exit 13 and on Apple Mountain Road at the main entrance/exit to/from AML
  • Increased Traffic Congestion down Rt. 55 to Front Royal
  • Effects to Wildlife migration / food chain disruptions
  • Urban Sprawl; With two gas stations and convenience stores already existing at Exit 13, and several more at Exit 6, as well as an inland port, is it really necessary for yet another gas station to be built in this area?

Response:  We encourage that the neighborhood bring any and all concerns to Sheetz, and the County.  

Question: About traffic control? Will another traffic light be installed? Will they expand the on and off ramps? Can this area even handle the extra traffic daily? We already have a hard time when its holiday weekends and fall time with the extra traffic.

Answer: We do not know.  These are excellent questions for your county representative Tony Carter

Coventry Group Community Management

2045 Valley Avenue, Suite 100,
Winchester, VA 22601

8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

© Coventry Group Community Management | Association Management in VA
All Rights Reserved | Website: www.coventrygrp.com | Sitemap