Community News
Fall, 2021
Upcoming Meeting Dates

2021 SMHOA Board Meetings
3rd Tues. each month @ 7:00-8:30 PM.
Dial-in number (US): (425) 436-6381 Access code: 365233#

All homeowners are welcome to attend meetings. Please join us.
The monthly HOA BOD meetings are being conducted by teleconference and virtual meetings. You are still welcome to join us. Please check your email before the meeting for instructions on how to join the meeting

Remember your SMHOA community does not have county leaf collection services. Homeowners are responsible for collecting and properly disposing of fallen leaves from their property and the street curbs along property lines. For Montgomery County pick-up, the raked leaves MUST be bagged in recyclable paper bags (purchase at Home Depot, Giant or Safeway) or loose in a garbage can (reusable and green) and placed curbside on your recycling day.

Following the SMHOA Lawn and Yard care policy, leaves should be picked up off lawns multiple times throughout the season and just not once when all of the leaves have fallen. The HOA will again perform a yearly leaf pickup inspection. Those not picking up and properly disposing of their leaves will be sent a letter to either pick up your leaves now or the HOA will have them picked up and bill the homeowner for the service. 

Please do not stuff leaves or grass clippings down storm drains: Doing so is illegal (enforced by the County Environmental Protection Agency with fines of $500) and will block the drain causing flooding. Also, please don’t throw your leaf and yard waste on SMHOA common property or pile it in the curb area in front/or adjacent to your home (this creates a safety hazard to pedestrians, walkers, school children, school buses, and car traffic, and is unsightly).

Please practice being a good neighbor and keep your leaves regularly picked up.

You can download our Lawn and Yard Care Standard Operating Procedures from our website.

School days bring congestion: School buses are picking up their passengers, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, harried parents are trying to drop their kids off before work. It's never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school.

If You're Dropping Off
Schools often have very specific picking up/drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids. The following apply to all school zones:

  • Don't double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles
  • Don't load or unload children across the street from the school
  • Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school
  • Never block driveways

Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians 
According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they're walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe:

  • Don't block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic
  • In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection
  • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas
  • Don't honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
  • Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way

Sharing the Road with School Buses
If you're driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

  • Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you're on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
  • Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks

Sharing the Road with Bicyclists
On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.

  • When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
  • When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass
  • If you're turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals
  • Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this
  • Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods
  • Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars
  • Check side mirrors before opening your door.

As a community, we take pride in how our yards enhance the appearance of our community. Preparing your yard for fall can help ensure it stays looking great year-round!

Here are a few quick tips to get your yard ready for Fall:

Fall is a great time to plant new trees and shrubs, giving them time to grow roots. Trim dead or damaged wood from your existing trees and shrubs but avoid over pruning. This may cause fewer flowers in spring or kill the plant all together. As temperatures cool, our plants need less water. Check your plants/yard for water logging and adjust your watering schedule as needed. As the weather cools, replace summer annuals with cool weather annuals. Divide and replant any spring blooming perennials. Fall is the perfect time to fertilize your yard one last time before it goes dormant for the winter. This will help keep your grass strong in the winter so it wakes up lush and full in the spring! Rake those falling leaves! Keeping leaves raked prevents harmful bugs and pests from making homes under the cover and prevents your grass from dying. Pull those pesky weeds! Our grass goes dormant in the winter and stops fighting the weeds. If weeds are left to grow while the grass is dormant they can overtake the grass and leave you with a yard full of weeds in the Spring. If you have questions about how to best care for your yard, local nurseries and landscaping companies can be a great resource.

Its time for the HOA Board of Directors to present the FY 2022 budget to the community. There will be a meeting on open to all homeowners to comment on the budget. Due to the great fiscal management of our HOA, there will be no increase in assessments for 2022. The BOD has managed to keep our operating expenses low by looking for lower cost contractors and ensuring that everyone is paying their assessment. The finances of your HOA are in exceptional condition. We continue to have one of the lowest assessment of most of the HOAs in our region. 

What does my assessment pay for? The HOA (YOU) own approximately 20 acres of grass and forested lands throughout our community that are owned by each of us jointly. Our yearly assessment contributes to the maintenance of these areas including cutting the grass and trimming/removal of trees on these common lands, management company, garbage pickup on common land, covenant enforcement, communications, and snow removal on E. Randolph Road sidewalk. The HOA also maintains three entrances, a memorial park at the intersection of Aventurine and Serpentine and a small garden. These community gardens are specially decorated each spring to make our community more welcoming. If you live in a townhome association your TH assessments pay also for street maintenance including snow removal.

We have learned that a multistory condominium complex is being planned for the empty space north of the new hospital behind Target.

Community Associations, Inc. (CAI) has been our HOA’s managing agent for almost 20 years. Our community has been well served by their management. The HOA learned a few months ago that CAI was merging operations with Comsource, Inc., a large HOA management company in Olney. All residents have received written notice about this change. The CAI staff that you have gotten to know, will now be with Comsource. Charles Lasky will continue to be our manager. Comsource is a larger company than CAI and we are hopeful that the move will be advantageous to our HOA. More information on this change will be forth coming.
New email addresses: 

Snowdens Mill HOA Board of

Snowdens Mill HOA Covenant Enforcement

Snowdens Mill HOA Managing Agent-(Charles Laskey)-

The biennial covenant inspection has concluded and was an enormous success. During the first inspection our contactor identified about 160 violations of our maintenance standards, with the most prevalent maintenance issue being dirty siding. The entire process consisted of a total of three consecutive inspections. After the final inspection there were only 12 unresolved violations with 4 promised to correct soon. That is a decrease of ~93% from the initial inspection, the best response that the HOA has ever seen. The BOD would like to thank all of the homeowners who did a magnificent job correcting their maintenance issues.

Those who haven’t resolved their maintenance issues were immediately turned over to the HOA attorney to resolve through the legal avenues. It is the fiscal responsibility of the board of directors to maintain property values by ensuring that all homes in our community are in good condition. 

This was contributed by one of our own

Classic French Onion Soup


  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 cups thinly sliced onions (about 3 pounds)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup port wine
  • 2 cartons (32 ounces each) beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 24 slices French bread
  • baguette (1/2 inch thick)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 3/4 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese


1. In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons oil and butter over medium heat. Add onions; cook and stir until softened, 10-13 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Add minced garlic; cook 2 minutes longer.

2. Stir in wine. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add broth, pepper and salt; return to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet; brush both sides with remaining oil. Bake until toasted, 3-5 minutes on each side. Rub toasts with halved garlic.

4. To serve, place twelve 8-oz. broiler-safe bowls or ramekins on baking sheets; place 2 toasts in each. Ladle with soup; top with cheese. Broil 4 in. from heat until cheese is melted.

If you have a recipe that you would like to share with your community please send it to
The Communications Committee is always looking for newsletter content. Send your ideas/input to Charles Lasky.
My Neighbors Tree is growing over my fence, what can I do?

We would suggest that you first talk to your neighbor and see if you can work something out to have the limb removed. There is the Massachusetts Self Help Law. One of the most common issues homeowners face is when a tree's roots or branches extend over the property line onto a neighbor's adjoining property. In this situation, Maryland has adopted the “Massachusetts Rule.”  Melnick v. CSX Corp., 540 A.2d 1133 (Md. 1988); Dudley v. Meadowbrook, Inc. 166 A.2d 743 (Md. 1961). The Massachusetts Rule generally limits a neighbor's remedy to “self-help,” which means that when your land is invaded by branches and roots of trees, you may protect yourself by cutting them off to the extent that they invade your property. When a neighbor uses such “self-help,” they must be sure to not to prune the tree past the property line, as doing so may be considered a trespass upon the owner's property. Furthermore, the neighbor using “self-help” may not kill or otherwise cause substantial harm to the owner's tree. Consequently, a neighbor using the “self-help” remedy should hire a professional arborist to perform the trimming so as to ensure that the owner's tree is not significantly harmed. In Maryland, there is generally no cause of action or right to file a lawsuit for tree encroachment and remedies are limited to “self-help.” However, there is an exception to this rule that under certain circumstances, specifically in urban areas, an owner may be subject to liability if a dead or dying tree limb falls and injures someone. 
Board of Directors:

  • Tracy Shahan, President
  • Earl Gamache, VP
  • Neil Pedersen, Treasurer
  • Becky Meadows, Secretary
  • David Golden
  • Mitiku Kelkay
  • Renu Simon
  • Maqsood Tariq
  • Nikki Miltcetich
  • Ryan Woodlee

Snowdens Mill HOA is managed by:

3414 Morningwood Drive
Olney, Maryland 20832

301-924-7355 x153
Useful Telephone Numbers:

For medical and other emergencies, call 911. Following are other useful numbers:

  • County Info/services 240-777-0311
  • PEPCO (Outages) 877-737-2662
  • Miss Utility 800-257-7777
  • Missed Trash/Recycling 240-777-0311
  • Animal Control 240-773-5960
  • Poison Control 800-222-1222
  • Police Non-Emergency 301-279-8000
  • Street Light Outage 240-777-0311
  • Street Tree Damage 240-777-7623