In continuous effort by the Board of Directors to address concerns about basketball courts, please see below a letter from the Board of Directors:
"Our posted rules for use of the basketball courts at Cascade Way and Robey Way are not being followed. There are outside users of the courts - even though the rules are explicit that the courts are for the use of residents only. COVID protocols are not being followed. And rules for responsible behavior are not being respected. At this time the Prince William County Police through our community patrolling agreement are limited in what they can do. We as an HOA Board have been advised by our attorney to not engage in enforcement. Thus, our enforcement efforts are limited.
In the meantime, the increased nuisance that has developed over the past several months to the residents around the Cascade Way basketball court have led to suggestions that the court be closed for a temporary period until effective enforcement measures can be developed. We have listened to considerable discussion at the past couple of HOA Board meetings and clearly understand resident concerns and at the same time the desire for our amenities to continue to be available to residents.
At the most recent Board of Directors meeting, it was discussed at great length several issues that have been occurring on a regular basis at the basketball court at the Cascade Way play area, which not only poses a security and safety issue but an amenity use issue as well. It has gotten to a point where there are residents who want to see the basketball hoops locked and shut down for a designated period to deter non-residents from playing basketball here. While this seems like an easy solution to the problem, it does not necessarily solve the issue in the long term and it also takes this amenity away from those residents who wish to use them.
In the interim, we will lower the height of the Cascade Way basketball hoop in hopes that it will deter non-residents from playing basketball. It has been mentioned that there are leagues playing basketball here quite regularly. While we realize this may increase the usage at the Robey Way basketball court, the basketball court and playground areas are more spread out there than at Cascade Way. It will also give us more time to put into place some new initiatives (see below).
As mentioned in a previous newsletter, we have seen an increased usage of the basketball courts and playgrounds in our community. However, it has been brought to the Board’s attention on numerous occasions that many who are using these amenities are not River Falls residents. Unfortunately, many residents feel they are unable to use the amenities because they are overrun by non-residents at certain times of the day. With the increased usage, we are also experiencing problems such as large amounts of trash being left behind, loud music, noisy use after dusk, and verbal abuse when residents approach these groups to question their activities.
The Board has been and is continuing to work on the issue but as you might imagine, it has been difficult this past year. Unless there is criminal activity, police are not responding to neighbor’s calls and honestly, that is not necessarily how we wish to have this issue addressed in the current environment.
Right now, we are working on transitioning from the current off-duty police patrol to a private security company to give us greater flexibility on our approach on how issues are addressed. It may also help if non-residents find out we have a security patrol which may deter them from continuing to use the courts. We have a meeting scheduled this week with Prince William County police to discuss ideas and suggestions they may have to help us. In addition, we are planning to implement an HOA pass for residents to carry with them, like the current pool pass, that would be for all amenities within the community and would clearly identify someone as a resident. We are planning to hold a Basketball Town Hall Meeting at some point in the spring once we have the new security patrol in place to work together with the community to manage expectations of any new processes and procedures and address any questions or concerns.
Moving forward, this issue has been added as a standing agenda item to the monthly Board of Directors meetings and we hope that you will share your thoughts during this time. We also request your help by asking your children who use the courts to bring to the attention of non-residents that the courts are for use by River Falls residents only. If we don’t get this under control, we will be forced to shut down the courts. These are challenging times for all of us, and we want to keep our community an enjoyable place to live."
Thank you for your attention to this matter.