Grounds

Description

The grounds of Harbour Towne Condominium Association (HTCA) include the land, trees, shrubs, dune grass, turf areas, and other perennial plantings and the lagoon within the community. These areas are identified in HTCA’s Governing Documents as General Common Areas. Also included in HTCA’s grounds responsibilities are mailboxes, mailbox bollard stands, bollards, irrigation systems and pest/animal control.

Responsibility

The HTCA Board of Directors is responsible for:

  • oversight, management, and maintenance of HTCA’s grounds. Grounds management goals include maintenance of the landscaped/paved areas and preservation of the natural setting of the community.
  •  contracting with appropriate service providers to provide the landscaping, snow removal, irrigation, and pest/animal control services performed on HTCA’s grounds.
  • putting in place specific rules and regulations that support the goal of preserving HTCA’s natural setting and consistent appearance of our community.

The Management Company is responsible for administration of the Board approved grounds contracted services.

Co-Owners are responsible to comply with all Rules and Regulations of HTCA including those specifically related to grounds maintenance and management. See HTCA Rules and Regulations and Co-Owner Responsibilities for Landscaping. Co-owners are not allowed to make any modifications or alterations to HTCA’s grounds without obtaining prior written approval of HTCA’s Board of Directors or designee. Designees include chairpersons of approved and authorized Committees and the Management Company.  

Landscaping

The Landscape Committee (LC), in collaboration with the Board, has developed a landscape plan and guidelines that include the Mission Statement, Governance, and Operational Objectives of the Committee. The LC assists the Management Company with the handling of all Co-Owner CCIS requests for planting, removals, and other landscaping related issues. The LC also works directly with the contracted service providers to provide oversight of landscaping projects on behalf of the Board.  Read about the Landscape plan here.

Approved Plant and Tree Replacement List

An approved plant and tree replacement list has been adopted based on consultation with professional landscapers and arborists.  The list is revised periodically, taking into consideration past planting success, incorporating native species and consideration of deer destruction.  This list is utilized as closely as possible when plantings are replaced, and it is provided to Co-Owners as guidance for any approved plant replacement they are paying for on their own. See an Approved Plant and Tree Replacement list here and Guidance section below.

Co-Owner Responsibilities for Landscaping

Co-Owners are responsible for submitting a CCIS request and receiving written approval prior to planting any perennials, shrubs, and trees anywhere on HTCA’s property.  Co-owner plantings without approval will be removed at Co-Owner expense.  All Co-Owner plantings are the responsibility of the Co-Owner for all maintenance, trimming and/or removal.  Co-Owners should seriously consider the long-term maintenance responsibility of their plantings for both themselves and future Co-Owners. Planting of any invasive species such as spearmint, peppermint, irises, ferns, vines are prohibited at HTCA.   Co-Owners who are approved to trim or remove any HTCA tree, shrub or plantings are responsible for disposing the debris by putting it in lawn/leaf bags for City of Muskegon trash collection.   

Co-Owners must immediately collect and properly dispose of all pet fecal matter and are responsible for repair of any lawn damages caused by their pet including damage due to pet urine.  Co-Owners are prohibited from placing any ornamental materials such as statuary, bird feeders, exterior lighting, furniture, implements, rocks/boulders, fencing or other decorative items on HTCA’s grounds except as approved by the HTCA Board or as expressly allowed in HTCA Rules and Regulations. For additional information regarding landscaping, see HTCA Amended and Restated Bylaws, Article VI, Section 13.

For more questions about how, where, and what to plant around your unit, please read the Guidance section below or contact the Management Company to request assistance from the Landscape Committee.

Guidance for Co-Owner Self-Funded Planting

The LC has developed guidelines for co-owner requests for self-funded planting of trees and shrubs.  See the Guidance for Co-Owners Requesting Approval for Self-Funded Planting of Trees and Shrubs at HTCA prior to submission of the required CCIS Request.  Approval will be based upon compliance to HTCA’s requirements.  Co-Owners are reminded to not remove or plant any trees or shrubs prior to receipt of the Association’s approval. 

Brush and Composting Piles

HTCA does not allow any brush and/or compost piles on HTCA’s grounds.

Snow Removal

Routine snow removal services on driveways and walkways will be done by HTCA’s contracted service provider when HTCA receives 3” or more of snow.  Snow removal usually begins during the late night and continues into the early morning hours due to the size of our complex.  Snow removal is limited to one time in a 24-hour period.  HTCA’s service provider is also responsible for snow removal of Channel View Place and Marina View Point which are HTCA private drives.  The City of Muskegon is responsible for snow removal and application of ice melt on all City of Muskegon streets within HTCA including side streets of Pigeon Hill, Sand Dock and Sand Bar Courts.  During major snow events, the City of Muskegon prioritizes main streets first before side streets which may cause delays in plowing of the streets.  HTCA’s provided snow removal services do not include the application of ice melt on driveways or walkways. 

Due to our location, HTCA is often subjected to both “lake effect” and blowing/drifting snow.  While every effort will be taken to keep driveways and walkways as clear of snow as possible and as quickly as possible, Co-Owners should be prepared to remove limited amounts of snow from their driveways and walkways.   

Any issues or concerns with snow removal should be reported through the CCIS/Request System or by contacting the Management Company. Any building or garage door damage must be reported by April 15 to be considered for repair/reimbursement by the snow removal service provider.

Lawn Care

HTCA’s contracted service provider mows lawns on a weekly basis from May through September.  Trimming around bollards, mailbox stands, and trees/shrubs is also done weekly.  Mowing is scheduled to occur each Thursday, however the day of the week may change due to weather, or the mowing frequency may change during periods of slow growth as often occurs in the late fall.  Edging is done on a bimonthly basis. 

HTCA, using a schedule recommended by our lawn care provider, applies weed pre-emergent, grub insecticide and fertilizer to all turf areas multiple times during the growing season.

Other Grounds Services-Bark, Pruning, Weeding and Seasonal Clean-Up

Bark top dressing is provided by HTCA every other year on even numbered years.  One inch of fresh brown bark is applied to currently barked areas.  During years between bark top dressing, Co-Owners may add mulch on their own.  The top level of mulch should be a minimum of 3” below the lowest siding board and only BROWN mulch may be used.  Please remember to remove excess mulch before adding more to maintain the above level. 

Once during the summer, landscape plants, shrubs and trees are pruned.  (Pruning is limited to no higher than 15 feet above the ground.) For trimming of trees at heights greater than 15 feet, Co-Owners should submit a request using the CCIS/Request System.

Bed weeding is done once per month from May through September.  A combination of herbicide spraying and hand pulling are used.  Dune grass areas will be sprayed with an herbicide monthly from May through September to manage broadleaf weeds.

In the spring and fall, landscaped areas will be cleaned of debris and ornamental grasses trimmed/cut back.  During spring clean-up, the landscape provider also trims excess grass and debris from between the landscape areas and the lawn to define between these areas.

Irrigation System

HTCA’s irrigation system waters our lawns and the planted areas around the grounds.  The number and type of irrigation heads (sprinklers and drip lines) were upgraded to provide coverage to all lawn and plant beds. Most dune grass and natural areas around HTCA are not irrigated.  The water supply for our irrigation system includes water pumped from HTCA’s own wells as well as water supplied by the City of Muskegon.  The irrigation system runs six days per week.  The system does not run-on days when mowing and fertilization occur.  The system cycles through each zone beginning in the late night/early morning and continuing until the late morning. 

The system start-up occurs each spring. During the start-up process, it is common for HTCA to experience the greatest number of repairs taking longer than usual and may result in system downtime to make larger scale repairs.  

On a weekly basis, maintenance and repairs to the irrigation system are made in response to Co-Owner submitted CCIS Requests.  Maintenance includes completion of assigned projects and regular addition of a rust preventer to HTCA’s wells.  The most common repair includes replacement of missing or damaged heads.  Co-Owners should be careful to not drive over irrigation heads lining driveways. Co-Owners are prohibited from making any changes to system settings in control boxes or providing direction to the contractor’s staff.  Repairs are addressed on a “first come-first served” basis.

If you notice a malfunctioning irrigation hear or any other issues, submit the request in the CCIS/Request System or contact the Management Company providing the description and location along with photos, if possible. To expedite repairs, Co-Owners are asked to mark malfunctioning or broken irrigation heads with a red marker flag. Red marker flags have been placed in the area to the left of the HTCA shed located at the end of Channel View Place for Co-Owners to pick up and use as needed.

Bollards and Mailboxes

The maintenance and repair of the bollards and mailbox bollard stands including the mailboxes are the responsibility of HTCA.  Most of the bollards and mailbox bollard stands are over 20 years old and were installed during the original landscaping.  All the existing bollards have been evaluated and a plan for replacement is part of the HTCA’s long-range plan.  Co-Owners should submit a CCIS request or contact the Management Company for any concerns related to rope replacement and/or bollard replacement.  Requests will be reviewed, and action taken based upon available funding or volunteer availability.  

Many of the current gray mailboxes are also 20+ years old and are being replaced on an “as needed” basis.  When one of the mailboxes on a mailbox bollard stand needs replacement, all the mailboxes on that stand will be replaced with HTCA’s standard black replacement mailbox.  Mailbox house numbers will be put on the new mailbox using white numbers over a black background in a consistent font style approximately 1 ½ inches in height. If you need to have your mailbox replaced, submit a request using the CCIS/Request System or contact the Management Company for replacement.  Co-Owners should not replace mailboxes on their own without prior approval to ensure consistency of mailbox and house number appearance.  

Pest Control

Annually in mid to late May, HTCA contracts with a professional pest control company to spray an EPA/MDEQ compliant pesticide for spiders, bees, and other winged insects to the foundation and under the eaves of each building.  Co-Owners will be informed in advance of the approximate dates when spraying will occur, and notification will include recommended precautions.  Co-Owners with pets are advised to avoid pet contact with areas around the perimeter of the buildings for 24 hours after spraying.  Co-Owners with chemical sensitivity should plan to take additional precautions as it is not possible to honor requests for excluding specific units from spraying due to the configuration of our buildings. 

HTCA does not spray or provide ant control products as there are not currently any products available for long-term management.  Due to our sandy soil and dune scape setting, HTCA is highly susceptible to ants.  Co-Owners can use liquid spray or granules to manage ants.  Spectracide is one of the most recommended brands. 

Nuisance Animal Control 

HTCA provides nuisance animal control services for moles, voles, and muskrats.  For any issues with these nuisance animals, submit a request using the CCIS/Request System or contact the Management Company.  Include in the request observations and general location where the mole, vole or muskrat was seen.  The animal control service provider place underground traps marked with white flags in the area where traps are placed.  Twice per month muskrat traps are placed in the targeted area of HTCA’s waterway and islands, and the muskrats are removed when caught.  HTCA’s service provider does not service Pigeon Key Marina or Harbour Towne Marina as part of their provided services.  

Deer and Other Native Animals Around HTCA

Harbour Towne, Bluffton, and Beachwood are home to deer and other animals native to Michigan and the lakeshore, such as many varieties of birds, swans, geese, ducks, and foxes.  Co-Owners should use caution when approaching any of the native species of animals found in and around HTCA. Many of these animals are used to the sights and sounds of a populated area and they do not run from people or pets.  During certain times of day and times of the year, animal activity increases, and Co-Owners should take extra care when driving to avoid hitting the animals and/or on-lookers stopping to watch the animals.  

The City of Muskegon is responsible for animal control within the City including monitoring of animal related issues and population control.  The Department of Public Works oversees wildlife management in the City and in the past has taken steps to reduce the local deer population through a controlled hunt or culling.  Deer and animal damage to HTCA’s landscape is a concern, however this is not deemed by the city as a valid reason for deer population control activities.  Issues that threaten resident and pet safety are the City’s major concerns and should be reported to the City’s Public Works Department.   

Co-Owners are prohibited from feeding deer in the City of Muskegon by City Ordinance 6-9 (Subsection 8) that prohibits animal feeding. 

Lagoon (Little Pigeon Key Pond) Water Treatment 

Twice per year herbicide is applied to the HTCA’s lagoon (also known as Little Pigeon Key Pond) to control the growth of aquatic weeds and algae.  The application of an EGLE approved product usually occurs in late May and early July.  After application, per MDEQ requirements, signs are posted by the service provider around the treatment area  that provide details for any restrictions or precautions.  The treatment area includes the lagoon and waterway around Harbour Towne Marina.  Harbour Towne Marina reimburses HTCA for a portion of the expenses.