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The meeting was called to order by Michael Kaney, President, at 10:00 A.M.
Directors in attendance: Pieper, McKnight, Beneke, Faliero, Freeman, Johnson, and McCaghren.
Staff in attendance: Brown (via phone), Gwozdo, and Wyatt.
Upon motion made by Pieper and seconded by Freeman, Minutes of June 19, 2015, were approved.
Board received June 30, 2015, financial report from L. Wyatt. She stated that the collection of annual assessments for lots is better than in 2014, while the collection for houses remains the same.
Wyatt reported that the Madison County Mapping Department has made the corrections on their maps now showing Wolf Laurel lots that had been designated as Scenic Wolf Ridge as Wolf Laurel. This should be reflected in their web site update in August.
Yancey County is preparing a reevaluation of their real-estate tax in 2016 and has asked for a meeting. Wyatt will assist them in designating lots within Wolf Laurel and those in the Preserve.
Kaney stated that since the gravel budget for 2015 has been exhausted, all expenditures will require additional scrutiny and prioritized.
Long Range Planning
The review and update of the 2008 road study continues by Kaney, Brown and Charles Potts.
- On July 1, 2015, we met with the Ridges Homeowners Association to resolve the assessment dispute between the two Associations. After ten hours of a cordial but strongly contested discussion, it appears we have a settlement. The lawyers are finalizing the formal agreement, and it should be ready for signatures in a week.
- Several Board Members met with Frank Schlitt Jr., representing the Schlitt Properties Association, after being approached by several property owners who wished to be a part of Wolf Laurel RMS. The Schlitt property is an extension of Double Back Dr. and Gardenside. There will likely be an agreement; however, the Schlitt family is currently re-evaluating their plans.
- The law suit the Association brought against Anthony Martin and others for cutting trees on community property has been pending since 2013. Counsel has informed us that it will probably be set for trial in September or October 2015.
- Ratification of By-Laws McCaghren moved that the Board ratify the By-Laws approved on June 19, 2015, after a vote on the weighted voting system. This was seconded by Freeman. This was met with unanimous agreement.
Johnson, who attended the three Town Hall meetings on the Road Proposal, thanked the presenters, Becky McKnight and John Beneke, for a job well done under difficult circumstances. All three meetings were well attended by interested Property Owners.
Faliero announced that the committee is comprised of: Carol Krueger, Lynn Matthews, Cecil McManus, and himself. There are five property owners considering the nomination: John Ames, Robin Bradbury, Ron Coppenbarger, Mel Poole, and Willie Romero. Two property owners, Tim Carrigan and Larry Smith, have expressed interest in response to the email invitation; and the Committee will meet with them.
President Kaney announced the election date as Wednesday, September 30, 2015.
The ballots must be mailed on September 10, 2015 (21 days prior to the election).
The Nominating Committee must submit the list of nominees to the Board on August 31, 2015.
Beneke asked if the Committee could submit the names of more than 6 candidates. After review of the By-Laws, which state that the Committee shall submit two candidates for each seat, the answer was no.
- Brown reported that the dump truck was back in use and repairs were $600.00, much less than originally estimated. There is no word from Caterpillar on estimate for the road grader. New tires for the back hoe cost $1500.00, and the Dodge pickup is out of service due to back order for an exhaust manifold.
- Ditches and intersection on Phacelia Lane and Hamlin Lane have been completed.
- The material stockpiled on Town Mountain Rd. has been hauled to the Big Bald staging area to be used for phase 4 of the Big Bald project. The road to the top of Big Bald will not be open until the spring of 2016.
- New signs have been posted on Hamlin Lane, Tear Shirt Lane, Grouse Thicket Rd., May Apple Lane, and Town Mountain Rd. warning motorists who insist on using GPS that there is no exit or turn around and not the way to Burnsville. This in an attempt to deter delivery trucks in particular that too often end up stuck in a ditch or at the end of the road causing road and property damage.
- The mower was down and we are behind in the mowing. We will no longer be mowing in the Preserve as they have contracted with a landscaper.
- All our roads were damaged to various extents by the storm delivering 6.5 inches plus of pounding rain in a 36-hour period. The worst of the damage is in 12 locations and includes 18 separate slides. This has created some significant safety issues. Repair will take approximately 40 work days and cost between $18,000.00 and $22,000.00 for material.As the gravel budget has been depleted, Brown suggested that all funds budgeted for paving be used for storm repair.Kaney asked how long lower El Miner Dr. would be closed. Brown said it may be a week.
Kaney directed Gwozdo to notify the Property Owners by email. The Gate will continue to reroute deliveries around that section of El Miner.
Brown mentioned that Zebulon Lane had two slides and additional rain could create a need to close it also but is currently passable.
At 5:15 A.M on Monday lightning struck a house on Hanging Rock Rd. This was determined by viewing the U.S. Weather Service report on lightning strikes. Due to the storm, the hour of the day, and the secluded location, the fire went unnoticed. At 9:00A.M. the gate received a call from a property owner reporting smoke. On arrival I found that the house was a total loss; only the metal framework and half a chimney was standing. Ebbs Chapel Fire Department was called, the electric and water companies notified, and the Deputy Sherriff turned off the gas. Due to all the rain we had received in previous days, there was no fire outside the footprint of the house. Within the footprint of the house, only three small areas were burning. Ebbs Chapel mopped up and returned again that evening when the wind caused a few flare ups. RMS and Ebbs Chapel will continue to monitor the site as it will smolder for days.
Had it not been for the amount of rain we received this month, the fire would have spread, impacting the entire community.
- The ARB has processed 8 tree applications, with 2 pending since the last Board meeting.
- Sediment excavation from a pond was deemed maintenance and outside ARB oversight.
- The ongoing Colvett setback item continues. Appears the ARB is out of this topic and it would fall to the county.
- We are monitoring 3 ongoing major projects and 2 minor projects previously approved.
- We have had initial communication with a property owner interested in building a new home on Hamlin Lane.
- Wolf Ridge Ski Slopes: John Beneke asked for the amount owed by Wolf Ridge Ski Slopes on their annual payment to WL RMS for road repair and security. Wyatt replied that the amount owed was $12,268.62 billed in December of 2014. Beneke suggested that appropriate legal action might be taken as it appears to be a yearly struggle to collect the amount specified in our agreement with the slopes.McCaghren asked for the approximate number of skiers entering through the gate last year.Mr. Bussey, a member of the audience and part owner of the slopes, said after a late opening of ski season there were roughly 22,000 skiers. He also stated that the Board should do what they thought best in regard to the balance owed by the slopes, but he felt that the balance would be paid in the next couple months.
The Board decided to have the attorney write a letter regarding the outstanding balance.
- Fire Prevention Meeting: John Beneke was asked to invite the Board Members from all the Associations in the Wolf Laurel Community to a meeting with Ebbs Chapel Fire Dept. and Forest Service. Brown will act as liaison with the fire department and forest service. The meeting date will be determined.
Helicopter Landing Pad: Ken Faliero
In the past Mission Hospital has landed their helicopter on the putting green or parking lot of the WLCC when responding to a medical emergency. The Club is building a fitness center which will render this area unsuitable for a helicopter landing. Brown said he has discussed this problem with Ebbs Chapel Fire Department and had suggested the concrete pad in the Village. This area where the fireworks are set off was also unsuitable. Brown said that Mission Hospital has strict criteria, space needs to be 150’X150’, no electric lines, not in a hole, etc. Currently the Laurel Valley Church on RT 23 is the preferred location.
Kaney suggested that Brown and Chuck Freeman, acting for the Board meet with the fire department and investigate a suitable site within the Community. If a suitable site is found, Ebbs Chapel is willing to provide lights through a grant.
Scenic Wolf Ridge ski slope lots accessed through Wolf Laurel:
Rick Bussey, owner and agent for other owners of the thirteen lots, made a proposal for settlement of prior year assessments owed to WLRMS. Kaney asked Nat Pieper to review the proposal and make a recommendation to the Board.
President Kaney then asked for Comments from the audience.
Tony Martin asked for clarification of the nominating process
Faliero: The nominating petition must be in by August 31.
Martin: What number will be used for the 10% required signature?
Faliero: We don’t know for certain as we continue to receive payments from property owners. We will provide a number to you.
Martin: What is the procedure to validate the 10% threshold of petition–outside auditor or committee?
Martin: Will Property Owners be permitted to observe the validation of petitions?
Faliero: If the committee challenges a name, you will be able to speak to it.
Martin: Who creates the Bios?
Faliero: The Nominee creates and submits bios to be included with the voting package.
Kaney: The Property Owners must be notified 21 days prior to the election day. The voting package will be mailed at that time.
Amelia Woolf inquired about electric fences and voiced concern about possible injury to children and animals.
Freeman: The ARB has reviewed one situation and in that particular circumstance there may be enforcement problems.
Lisa Baldwin gave helpful comments about impact fees in South Carolina where she lives and agreed to provide user plans or fee schedules that would be helpful so that we could see the procedure other communities have in place.
Next meeting scheduled for August 21, 2015, at 10:00 A.M.
Board reconvened for a closed meeting.