2021 Very Large Community of the Year: Dominion Valley Owners Association

Dominion Valley Owners Association of Haymarket, Virginia was named Community Association of the Year in the Very Large Category. They are managed by Associa Community Management Corporation (CMC). This is the essay submitted with the community’s application.

By Gary Clukey

I have called Dominion Valley, our community nestled in Haymarket, Virginia, my home for 18 years. I have experienced it blossom from barren soil to almost 2,500 homes with diverse and rich amenities.

Eight years ago, we inherited, from our developer (Toll Brothers), a robust set of Governing Documents. Our 7-member Board understood the criticality of strong governance and efficiently established 10 volunteer committees (each with corresponding charters) to assist our on-site CMC Management Staff. Resolutions (consistent with WMCCAI’s Best Practices) have been added and refined over the years. Continuously leveraging insight from CAI, we developed Strategic and Business Continuity Plans and scorecards to provide an additional framework for clearly defined and measurable objectives so that our Leadership Team have a methodology to track and communicate progress.

Our Leadership Team believes strongly in the pursuit of continuous improvement and preparation, which are pillars of good governance. Our $5mm annual budget contains a fully funded Reserve account, which has enabled us to keep annual dues increases below 3% without ever having to levy a special assessment.  And I’m particularly proud of our Association’s resilience and adaptations during the past year in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our number one priority was the safety of our residents and families, but our vision was to enable our close-knit community to be somewhat of a refuge. Working with our legal advisor, we created a brand-new reservation system and revised facility policies and procedures referencing CDC and State guidelines, as well as CAI recommendations. As a result of these actions, we opened all amenities while many other surrounding communities remained shuttered.

We also pursued, via our all-volunteer Access Control Task Force, a major capital improvement project to replace our access control system at our eight gates. We successfully adapted and held our annual clean-up day and a modified winter holiday event. We updated our design guidelines to permit solar panels consistent with our vision to advancing sustainable initiatives and partnered with the Fire Department to create fire lanes to facilitate emergency response. Each of these efforts brought a discreet benefit to our community.

Our CMC Staff flawlessly executed our Business Continuity Plan by closely coordinating with our many providers to keep all essential services operating without disruption. Our monthly Board and Committee meetings and the Annual Owners’ meeting (including resident forums) were conducted virtually, and the Association continued the use of our multi-channel engagement leveraging blast email; Facebook and Website posts; our quarterly Valley Voice periodical; US Mail; town halls; banners at access gates; posters at recreation centers; and resident surveys. Knowing many residents felt a sense of dislocation during the pandemic, we made every effort to bring us closer together as a community.

Dominion Valley was selected as WMCCAI’s 2015 Very Large Community of the Year, and 2019 Communicator of the Year. We value this recognition as a testament to our ongoing efforts and would be honored to become the standard-bearer of WMCCAI’s Best Practices and 2021 Very Large Community of the Year.