Community Association of the Year

Small Community Association of the Year: Longfellow Condominium

Longfellow Condominium Unit Homeowners Association was named Community Association of the Year in the Small Category.  They are managed by Legum & Norman, Inc., AAMC. This is the essay submitted with the community’s application. 

By Janai Walters, Longfellow Board of Directors, Longfellow Condominium Unit Homeowners Association

Longfellow Condominium, located in Northwest, DC, is an energetic multi-ethnic enclave. Among shops, parks, the conveniences of Georgia Avenue, it’s situated between bustling Silver Spring and DC’s most vibrant neighborhoods, bringing the best of metro-DC to the doorstep of its residents and owners of the Longfellow Condominium Unit Owners Association (LCUOA).

The Longfellow Condominium was a residential conversion project in 2007. The property consists of sixty-six units and limited common elements of storage and parking spaces in a below grade parking facility. The LCUOA had a cloud over it after the declarant transition in 2010. The volunteer Boards were left to learn many hard lessons on their own about community association management. In 2014 the association passed a very difficult but required special assessment of $400,000 for major building maintenance, security system installation, and eventual reserve capitalization. This action helped stabilize the association and allowed the volunteer Boards thereafter the foundation to move the LCUOA in a positive direction and provide all homeowners with the confidence that a harmonious and consistent environment will be preserved within the community.

The association is governed by the originally recorded Bylaws, Covenants, and Declarations. The governing documents direct all manners of business of the association and property including the constitution of: (1) the Board-its roles and responsibilities, the required terms for staggered lengths of service to preserve Board institutional knowledge; (2) the definitions of rights and responsibilities for owners/residents; (3) the managing agent working partnership with the Board and community; and (4) the operations, rules and regulations, communications responsibilities and due process. All association documents are made accessible both physically and electronically to the community for inspection and use.

As described by its business partners, the LCUOA Board is a “very active and involved” team. The Board holds regular bi-monthly meetings to carry out its duties, and the President conducts bi-weekly status meetings with the managing agent for progressive delivery of goals and objective. Additionally, the Board meets on a quarterly basis with the community in evening meetings to encourage information sharing and gathering feedback. The Board has opened access to all association meetings through email invitations, remote teleconferencing capability, and by posting minutes, monthly financials, and announcement updates on our community management portal that connects neighbors, board members, owners and the managing agent.  This combination of efforts has enabled a broader reach and engagement of community members. As needed, the Board conducts regular Violation Hearing meetings

providing owners an opportunity to be heard in a fair dispute resolution forum. Lastly, the Board may conduct Executive sessions to discuss personnel, litigation, contract and violation of bylaws or other sensitive business.

The LCUOA seeks to be a gracious neighbor. In prominent view on the comer of Longfellow and 8th streets, LCUOA has conducted numerous external building projects to refresh and beautify the corner landscape. Now the Board, residents, owners and management team are focused on the internal beautification of the property, delivery of amenities for residents, and increasing property value for all owners… as the “Jewel-of-Longfellow”.