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The meeting was called to order by Larry Smith, President at 10:00 A.M.
Directors in Attendance in person: McKnight
Directors in Attendance by telephone: Beneke, Ames, Faliero, Foster, Freeman, Johnson, and Potts.
Staff in attendance: Brown, Gwozdo, and Wyatt.
Smith announced that discussion of the motel acquisition would be held in closed session.
Upon motion made by Beneke and seconded by Foster, minutes of December 20, 2015, were approved.
Board received the December 31, 2015, financial report from Louise Wyatt. Additional entries and inventory must be made before the year end financials are complete.
Wyatt noted that the number of assessments collected in 2015 increased by 5 homes and 30 lots, which had been in arrears and are now current. Expenses for December were normal.
Beneke reported that the 2016 assessments are being paid at a good pace. Approximately $210,000.00 has been received in just a few weeks.
President Smith asked for a motion to accept the financial report. So moved by Beneke and seconded by Ames. The December financials were accepted unanimously.
Roads: Jason Brown
- So far this season we have had around 6” of snow, which saves our salt inventory and equipment. The roads are in good condition although rough.
- We have repaired a truck after water got in the power steering pump during the cold spell. A couple of broken lines were also replaced. Both tractors have been serviced by the dealer per factory recommendation and condition of the warranty.
- Brown was contacted by a contractor with a surplus of large boulders and committed to providing us with 100 loads. The material is free we will be paying for the loading and hauling only. This will result in a savings of one half the normal cost. The boulders are used to shore up areas of erosion and slides. A contract has been signed by RMS and the South East Land Trust to store the boulders at the old stables property, which is owned by Trust. Potts said that Brown had contacted the Road Committee and the Committee felt this was a no brainer. The savings are substantial. He said the loading and hauling of the material will be contracted.Smith asked for a motion by the Board. Beneke so moved and Ames seconded. The motion was approved unanimously.
Security: Sandy Gwozdo
The calls to security this month were less, probably due to fewer of our property owners in residence.
- The gate was contacted by a housekeeper reporting a strange vehicle in the driveway. The Security Patrol responded to the Hawberry site. The vehicle belonged to a subcontractor and he was asked to move his vehicle and warned not to park on private property again. The contractor was also contacted.
- Neighbors reported to the Security Gate that there were lights on in a house that was supposed to be empty. The Security Patrol contacted the Madison County Sheriff and observed the house (although he saw no lights) until the Deputy arrived. It was determined that the house was secure and there were no sign of anyone having been there in some time. The property owners and the person who made the report were informed.
- Gate has received numerous reports of a dirt bike in the May Apple Lane area. Patrol has yet to find the bike however he has spoken to the young man who is the prime suspect.
- A Resident reported that a vehicle switched lanes and tailgated him through the bar code lane. Review of data and cameras proved the second vehicle had a bar code.
- The Security Patrol responded to Phacelia Lane and confirmed the dogs, which have caused so much concern since mid-summer, were once again loose. The shepherd lunged at the open window of the Security truck as Porche was speaking to the son of the owner of the dog. The son denied any knowledge of leash requirement. Photos have been recorded. It is time to send a second letter and levy fines on the property owner.
- Late afternoon on Sunday 1/3/16 the Gate received a call from a property owner reporting a dead deer on the side of the road, 30 minutes later they reported the deer had been moved. As it was late in the day and the light fading fast I did not call anyone. Monday morning Jason was notified and easily determined that the deer had been dragged up the bank to a home on May Apple Lane.Jason called a Game Warden that he knew and after verifying that someone was in the house the Game Warden agreed to come out. The home and shed were searched and a hunting bow was found. The game warden questioned the property owner’s son and he rolled on his friend, the friend was questioned and he rolled on several others.Jason was in Burnsville at Little David’s, a popular place to have game dressed and packed and noticed the names of some of the suspects on packages waiting to be picked up. Jason notified the Game Warden.On Sunday, 1/10/16 I met with the Game Warden to provide sign in logs from the gate showing the date and time and vehicle of visitors to the property. Wednesday the group was charged and fined.
I’m awaiting a summary report from the Game Warden with charges and amount of fines and names of any additional people involved.
Last week, I notified the Gate Staff that entry to this property had to be authorized by the owner only and not by any family members. With your permission I would like to write a letter of thanks and commendation from RMS to the supervisor of the Game Warden who handled this investigation. I also wish to thank Jason for his invaluable assistance in this incident.
McKnight stated that the Security Committee is drafting letters to the property owners in regard to the dogs and the poaching incidents. Foster and the Legal Committee will review the letters. The Security Committee will write a letter of commendation for the Game Warden and another to the property owners who made the initial report.
Gwozdo stressed the importance of property owners reporting directly to the Gate any unusual observations. After the fact, neighbors in the May Apple Lane area admitted that they had observed lights in the woods at night but did not call the Gate. Most of our calls prove to be false alarms or easily explained but what if it’s not a false alarm?
Smith asked from whom the letters would come from.
Foster explained that procedure is that Security drafts the letter, Legal reviews and the letter goes out with signature of the Director of Security.
Communications & Community Relations: John Ames
- Committee Organization and Procedures – Documents prepared and submitted to the Board for review and approval on December 7 were approved.
- Standing Committee News Release – Distributed December 15, 2015 via email to all property owners on our email list. It was also posted on the WLRMS website and the Committee Chairs and committee members were posted under the Board tab on the website.
- Email address request – Insert was included in the annual assessment invoice mailing sent on December 31, 2015.
- WLRMS Website – A proposal to modify our website was received from David Biddix of Pegasus Creations on December 17, 2015. Proposal has been distributed to the committee for review. A formal recommendation from the Committee to the Board will be submitted in February, 2016. Jim Landry withdrew his offer to provide web services to WLRMS. Newly elected Board Member Bio’s were posted on the WLRMS website on December 20.
- Motel property purchase Letter to the Community – Email was developed, approved by the Board and sent to the entire property owner email list on December 18, 2015. It was posted on the WLRMS website on December 20. A follow-up email to the same email list will be sent Friday, January 8, 2016 to provide an update on the closing and pledges and donations received to date. A final email will be developed after closing and we have determined all donations have been received.
- Delinquent Payment Email – Is being developed with John Beneke and Sharon Foster for community wide distribution to inform and educate property owners about the impact non-payment has on our financials and the operation of the Board. Distribution is anticipated week of January 25.
- Forest Service Project Communications – Will work with Charlie Potts and his committee to develop a communications plan when he is ready.
- Home Fire Article & Email – Is being developed with input from Sandy Gwozdo as a precursor to the Forest Service project related to fire prevention in the community. The article will be submitted for inclusion in the next TOB edition and also an email for distribution in February.
Foster expressed appreciation for the good work Ames and his committee are doing.
Finance Committee – John Beneke
- The donations for the purchase of the motel property now stand at $36,850.00. This includes pledges and funds received. Beneke suggested that while it is appropriate to list the names of contributors, the amount of individual contributions should be kept confidential.
- The term sheet for the loan ($600.00 a month) for the dump truck was forwarded to each of the Board Members. Due to the age and mileage of the dump truck Beneke feels confident in recommending the terms. Beneke made a motion to accept the terms and Faliero seconded. The motion was unanimously passed.
Beneke thanked Louise for preparing the documents and McKnight for meeting with the bank and completing the transaction.
Road Impact – John Beneke
The Committee’s report as sent to each of you last week:
The Impact Fee Committee met by phone on January 6, 2016. Members Present were John Beneke, Lisa Baldwin, Cassandra Bradham, and Sandy Gwozdo.
- At my suggestion, we decided to change the concept from Impact Fees to Commercial Vehicle Road Use Fees (CVRU) to reduce confusion. We already have Impact Fees as administered by the ARB. These fees are specifically related to construction and at present, to the best of my knowledge, we can only collect these fees on construction projects within Wolf Laurel. In addition, the use of CVRU hopefully feels less intimidating and hostile.
- The implementation of Commercial Vehicle Road Use Fees are provided for in Section 9.1 of the Amended And Restated Declaration Of Protective Covenants, Restrictions, And Reservations as quoted here:9.1 Right to Impose Fees. The right to impose building fees permit fees, user fees, inspection fees, impact fees, storm water retention or damage fees, ditch maintenance fees, a capital reserve fee, and any other reasonable fees as may be determined by the Board from time to time.
- There are two obvious basis for CVRU fees; weight and wheels. Based on information provided by Lisa on approximately 25 communities in the Hilton Head area, it seemed evident that wheel would be fair and the least difficult to administer. This document includes or suggestion for the basic fees along with some suggested exemptions from the fees. It is difficult to estimate how much revenue will be generated as it is heavily dependent on the volume of construction.
- Before proceeding with the development of Administrative Procedures, we felt that is was essential to have board approval of the concept and fee structure. Once we have that approval, we will work on the details to be approved by the board.
- Our plan is to have documentation prepared to include the fee schedule along with a letter detailing the why, what, and how. That letter will be mailed to all the owners of commercial vehicles, placed on the website, distributed by email, and given to the driver of each commercial vehicle as it comes through the gate. That letter will be distributed beginning March 1, with the implementation of the fees to begin on May 1, 2016.The Committee recommends the exemption of the USPS, UPS, FedEx, Emergency and Law Enforcement Services, deliveries to RMS, individual service providers (housekeepers, caretakers and lawn care providers) individual employees of a commercial enterprise using their private vehicles.Beneke spoke to the amount and the collection of fees suggesting an escrow account or annual payment may be more convenient.Smith asked if a property owner, who owns a business and using a company vehicle to travel in and out the Gate would be subject to the fee.
Beneke replied that in his opinion the property owner would not be subject to the fee as he pays the annual assessments and. We have numerous realtors who are property owners and pay the annual assessment. Exemptions will continue to be discussed by the Committee and information drawn by other communities will be considered.
Beneke stated that there are administrative procedures to be developed and would meet with Mcknight, Gwozdo and Brown, while continuing to work with the Committee.
After some discussion the Board directed the Committee to prepare a draft for circulation and comment, and then using the comments writes a final draft for Board approval.
Legal: Sharon Foster
Matters Under Review:
- Maintenance Shed Property – This matter has been assumed by the President. I have no information.
- Julia Monroe drainage claim – Ms. Monroe wishes to surrender her lot to RMS, paying all costs associated with the transfer, for common area usage (which might result in no tax implications for us). I have asked her attorney to prepare a formal, written proposal that includes statutory support for the non-taxable use, a quit claim deed, and specification of financial responsibility. I am awaiting this package for review and presentation to the Board.
- Collection Matters – No problems to report. Development of Policies and Procedures – I am continuing to prepare a document that will specify our policies and procedures.
- Repurchase of 125 Valley View Circle – Staunton Norris is performing the title search. He is set to close for us.
- Covenant Review – We are undertaking a review of the issue of applicability of the covenants to particular timeframes.
- Cagney property is with the Roads Committee
Foster nominated Dennis Cohrs to join the Legal Committee. Mr. Cohrs has voiced interest in serving on the legal committee as a community volunteer. He is a Board Certified Real Estate lawyer which will bring needed expertise to the Committee. Beneke seconded the nomination and Mr. Cohrs was appointed unanimously.
Insurance – Warren Johnson
- The insurance claim for damages at the RMS building remains in limbo. Committee member, Willie Romero has been in contact with the company. They were to send an engineer to review the cause of damage. To date we have not been contacted. Romero will continue to monitor the situation.
Road Maintenance & Equipment – Charlie Potts
- The Cagney property – The culvert in question has been in place for years and the situation addressed by prior Boards. In the past it has been deemed a private property issue. Brown will again meet with the property owners so they can suggest their own solution and then we would try to work with them in implementing the solution.
- Tennis court embankment – Our recommendation is to decrease the size of the deck on the RMS building and move the boulders currently in place back by about 5 feet. It is important to maintain the width of the creek as any narrowing of the creek will result in increased erosion putting the RMS building at addition risk. On the tennis court side we recommend that boulders be placed on the bank, this with concurrence of the WL POA or perhaps they have suggestions. Brown would coordinate the work. Potts asked for concurrence of the Board to move forward with the recommendation. The motion was seconded by McKnight and passed unanimously. Smith asked Brown if he had the equipment to do the work. Brown replied that he would do the work on RMS side of the creek. He had the equipment and man power to cut back the deck, remove the extra material and replace the boulders. As far as the other side of the creek he did not want to be held liable for future problems. Dick Moeller, POA Board Member in charge of grounds was present and was asked to respond. Moeller said he would very much appreciate it if Brown would handle the entire thing. We (the POA) would not expect him to accept liability and if needed would pay him for his time. Brown asked if he could have that in writing. Potts stated that from a business stand point and for the sake of future Boards, both POA and RMS, any agreement should be written and signed. Foster agreed. Moeller said he would relay the information at the POA meeting this afternoon.
- Fire Wise Project– This is a project that the committee agrees is for the benefit of all of Wolf Laurel. The Committee is concerned that property owners be made aware of all details of the project before the rumor mill generates mis- information. Committee member, Steve Rutherford has volunteered to work with Ames and his committee on communication regarding the project. Brown will be working with Forest Service and coordinating the project. This project will not affect the private property of our property owners. No work will be performed private property. Ames welcomed the additional assistance and suggested scheduling a meeting.
- Boulder acquisition – Brown is to be commended for locating and acquiring the boulders. We should take whatever amount that we can accommodate and handle. The savings will be substantial and the material is sometimes difficult to come by especially in an emergency situation. Beneke asked if the boulders are too large for our excavator to handle. Brown explained that some are. The boulders range in size from 1’ to 6’ in diameter. In previous work repairing slides part of the work was contracted. Potts added that in this type of work it is best to contract the work saving wear and tear on our equipment.
Security – Rebecca McKnight
In early December the Board received an email request from a property owner that R&S add to our covenants a policy prohibiting drones. Several Board members responded that they thought this was an issue that should be addressed by the Security Committee. The Security Committee did meet and drafted a drone policy. We then sent it to the Legal Committee for their review, and Sharon Foster and her committee made some changes and accepted the policy. I then sent it to the Board members for their review.
D. Drones. In order to promote the safety and privacy of owners, guests, employees, and property, Wolf Laurel Resort prohibits the operation or use of unmanned aerial systems—drones—above or within Wolf Laurel boundaries without prior written permission from the Wolf Laurel Road Maintenance and Security Homeowner’s Association. This prohibition applies to any unauthorized use of drones for any purpose in Wolf Laurel by any commercial, media, journalist, hobbyist, or recreational user.
I make a motion that this Drone policy be adopted and added to our covenants under Section 6.20 – Public Safety, Fires, Fireworks, Drones, Firearms and Hunting – Sub-Section D. The Motion was seconded by Beneke and passed unanimously.
I now turn this policy over to the Legal Committee for the appropriate procedures to be followed. I also request that our Communications Committee post this policy on the website and perhaps send it to the property owners as an email alert.
Ames said he would do so,
ARB: Chuck Freeman
Another very quiet month for the ARB.
- We are still waiting for legal advice regarding the possible tree cutting violation reported earlier. Obviously, the priority has been the legal work for the motel purchase.
- We have received one tree permit request, which was approved, and another, which is in process.
- We have received on minor construction permit for repairs to foundation work, which was approved.
- We received one request for a lot variance to record construction within an offset that was verbally approved years ago by BMDC, which is in process.
- An article regarding tree cutting has been prepared for the TOB and reviewed by Smith and Ames. Scheduling of the release is being discussed.
Board Election: Smith
- Smith called for a motion to proceed with changes in the By Laws to move the election of Board Members to the third Thursday in August. Beneke so moved and Foster seconded the motion. After some discussion Smith explained the process. Election Day will be the third Thursday of August (August 18th).
- The nominating committee will be appointed on the third Friday of June
- The Nominating Committee will submit names of candidates at the July 15 (the third Friday) Board meeting.
- The ballots and voting information will be mailed by July 28th.
- Smith called for a vote on the motion and it was passed unanimously.
It is my understanding that denial of access to Wolf Laurel road to guest, visitors and business visitors is in the covenants. How can the impact fees be imposed when the Covenants allow free access?
Beneke answered that the intention is not to deny access but to raise much need funds to repair the roads. I can’t offer you a specific answer at this point but it is something we will take under advisement.
Martin asked if the changes in the By-Laws will be circulated to the property owners for their review and approval.
Smith suggested that perhaps when the changes are drafted and prior to adoption they be made available for comment.
How a property owner can be fined by the Board?
Foster cited the Covenants.
Caron Jantzen asked if every time she calls a repairman driving a pickup truck will he be charged the usage fee and won’t he then pass the charge along to her.
Beneke replied yes, the repair will be charged and yes he may choose to pass the cost along to you. In this case the cost would be $10.00. He may have many customers inside the gate and elect to pay a yearly fee (approximately $125.) and divide the charge among his customers.
Jantzen also suggested that if realtors were charged they might be less inclined to show homes in the community.
Beneke replied that there was similar discussion regarding realtors within the committee and thanked her for her comment.
Rich Ashley thanked John Ames for his assistance with TOB articles and reminded the Road Use Committee of the number of moving vans, food distributors and Lowes’ trucks using the roads.
In regard to the purchase of the motel with volunteer funds, asked who is going to pay the maintenance cost for the motel building and the sewage system and why was this not put out for a vote by property owners.
Smith responded that both lot owners and homeowners are represented by the Board.
We did not buy the property to run a motel, we are exploring several options, and one possibility is a substation for the volunteer fire department. One of the main reasons we got involved is the cost of the sewage treatment plant to the POA and the village including the RMS building. The plant will be closed down and a less expensive sewage system installed. This will save money for all property owners.
Who is paying for repairs to the tennis court embankment?
Brown said that he (Roads) is not paying for the work. The Road Committees will work with the POA and submit a bid for the work on tennis court side.
Smith stated that RMS is moving the deck and boulders back 5’ from the creek to protect the RMS building and will work with the POA.
Potts explained that the POA will have to protect the embankment which will narrow the stream. The most logical action is to work together and address both sides at the same time in order to minimize the impact of the solution. He has not heard any objection from the POA regarding funding the project.
Next meeting scheduled for February 19, 2016, at 10:00 A.M.
The meeting was adjourned.