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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, Beneke and Freeman
Directors in Attendance by telephone: Ames, Faliero, Foster, Johnson, Potts and Smith.
Staff in attendance: Brown, Gwozdo, and Wyatt.
Upon motion made by Freeman and seconded by McKnight, minutes of February 19, 2016, were approved.
Board received the February 29, 2016, financial report from Louise Wyatt.
- Collection of assessments continues to surpass that of last year.
- The road operating cost is higher in payroll and repair.
- One addition to income and expense is the purchase of the motel property and treatment plant listed under Administrative.
- The adjusted end of year financials will be posted to the web site.
John Beneke reported that the 2015 audit report is available and the 2015 income tax return (form 1120-H) has been filed.
- Since the last meeting we have had 2 wind events which brought down approximately 20 trees and 2 snow events which totaled 8 inches.
- One hundred tons of ballast has been spread due to mud and all roads were rolled. We are working on cleaning ditch lines and culverts and reseeding. This should be completed in a month.
- There is a possibility that we will hire two seasonal employees in order to have a two- man team to mow and do regular maintenance and a second team to replace culverts.
- The 9’ blade for the tractor arrived and was installed as was the new plow for the yellow truck.
- The dump truck arrived and has been used on a daily basis.
- The jake-break switch was stuck in the on position and the noise resulted in a number of complaints from property owners. The switch has been replaced and hopefully the problem solved.
- The grey pickup has not been repaired.
- RMS Building repairs: facing boards and gutters have been replaced on the front side of building. The loose tin on roof has been repaired and snow guards installed. The back decking has been cut back as per our agreement with the POA. We are waiting for the Insurance Committee to give the go ahead for the rain damage repairs.
- Projects for the year:
- The bridge is scheduled for painting.
- Striping for Wolf Laurel Road and the sharp curve on McKinney Gap is schedule for mid-June at a cost of between $1000 and $1500 per mile.
- We will be meeting with the paver for an estimate for paving repairs.
- Weather conditions prevented the delivery of boulders and will be rescheduled.
- There is a long list of culvert replacements that will be completed but it will take time.
- Two wellness checks.
- Five property owners notified of wind/storm damage to residences.
- Major water leak on Flame Azalea reported to Carolina Water. Gate notified of closure and cones put out.
- Contractor broke the gate arm and paid immediately.
- During the last snow event the owners of numerous vehicles parked along the road, in ditches or in neighbors driveways were tracked down and asked to move their vehicles. These were visitors and property owners who did not want to be inconvenienced by parking in the village and convinced that their 2-wheel drive vehicle would get them to their residence.
- A Property Owner on Granny Lewis reported 4 young people strolling on various properties and decks of residences. Patrol responded and found them with the aid of the reporting home owner at an abandoned house. They identified themselves as the children of another property owner. Patrol informed them that they were trespassing and they apologized.
- The rider of a dirt bike who has been reported for months on Buck House, May Apple, Trillium, Grouse Thicket and Flame Azalea was finally caught. An off duty staff member saw the bike and followed, at the same time a property owner called the gate and Ken who was waiting in the area responded. The son of a May Apple property owner was seen riding the bike into a shed. Security blocked the drive and waited for the man to emerge. When he did, he was informed that riding a dirt bike was not allowed within Wolf Laurel. He became irate and argumentative. He was told that the fee for the violation was $100.00 and the property owner would be informed.
- Security responded to two reports of smoke in the Fox Den / English Ridge area. Both were unfounded.
Communications & Community Relations
- Motel property purchase follow-up emails – an email announcing the completion of the purchase of the motel property was drafted and approved. Distribution to all property owners with emails on file was distributed February 23 and was also posted on the WLRMS website. In addition, an email with donor list corrections was sent on March 8 and also posted on the website.
- Drones Policy email – at the request of Becky McKnight a draft of an email announcing the adoption of a Drone Policy has been developed and approved for distribution. It was distributed February 26 and also posted on the WLRMS website
- Winter Roads email – was drafted by Mel Poole and approved for distribution. Distribution was on March 2 and also posted on the website.
- Election Bylaws email – was requested, drafted and approved on March 9. Distribution was completed on March 10 and also posted to the website on March 11.
- WLRMS Website – a meeting via conference call was held with David Biddix on February 20. Joyce Poole and John Ames participated. The meeting was to review and discuss his proposal for the WLRMS redesign and maintenance. The C&CR committee intends to make a recommendation to the Board in March for review. We hope to have a new website up and operating by May 1, 2016.
- Forest Service Project Communication – the C&CR Committee has established contact with Steven Rutherford of the Roads Committee for coordination of the community communications. Awaiting input to move forward.
All covered in Louise’s report.
The Committee met last Tuesday and discussed viability of enforcement under the covenants. To date the ongoing investigation of gated communities in western North Carolina has revealed none which charge a commercial use fee, but we did find that the annual assessments are far greater than that of Wolf Laurel.
- Maintenance Shed Property
No further developments of which I am aware.
- Julia Monroe’s proposal to surrender her lot for common use.
I have told Monroe’s attorney that their package will be rejected unless they can supply a certificate of non-perkability, which is absent from the present package. This provides additional time for us to consider a lot donation policy. Suggestions as to the draft policy made by Board members and the community members of the Legal Committee have been added to the draft for your review. A brief discussion followed and Item 4 was removed and Brent McCaghren recommended that a warranty deed replace a quick claim deed in the policy.
- Drone Policy
The amendment to the Covenants and Restrictions should have been recorded by the time of the Board meeting.
- Usage Fees
I have referred this matter back to the Impact Fee Committee to attempt to locate a NC gated community that imposes usage fees. Lisa Baldwin has agreed to do the research.
- Violation Enforcement Matters
Each certified letter notifying the two lot owners of hunting violations by their family member and guests was refused. In addition, there was another violation by the family member of the restriction against motor bikes. This violation was observed by security personnel. Therefore, we drafted another letter with the additional violation and will hand deliver it to the resident lot owner. As soon as the clock starts ticking, we will move to impose fines.
Foster recommended that unpaid fines be added to the RMS assessment as provided by the Covenants.
Smith and Beneke agreed.
- Election Bylaw Amendment
Foster presented the Amendment. Smith called for a motion. So moved by Beneke and seconded by Freeman. Motion carried unanimously.
- We have heard from the insurance company in regard to our claim for weather related damages to the RMS building. They tell us that no more inspections are necessary and we can proceed with repairs. We have not been informed if the damages will be covered.
- The cost of workman’s compensation has decreased.
Road Maintenance & Equipment
- We still do not have a scope of work from the USFS. We will review and present to the Board on receipt.
- The Roads Committee will be preparing a detailed description and condition of all equipment as soon as all members have returned. This report will be maintained and assist in anticipating potential needs.
Smith asked Potts to consult with his committee regarding the striping of additional paved roads.
The end of the ski season seems an appropriate time to thank the security staff for all they have done this winter.
Again, ARB report is slim for the past month:
- Four recent requests for tree trimming/cutting that are in progress. One is a request to top trees previously topped and the other is a new request.
- One minor renovation approved.
- We have been advised that a request for new construction of a modular home on El Miner, discontinued last fall, will be reinitiated in the near future.
Long Range Planning
The Committee will begin forming as our property owners return to the mountain.
Smith suggested a workshop in late May with RMS, POA and others to discuss some of the issues facing the Wolf Laurel community, such as property values and marketing the community and an understanding of the problems of each organization.
Ames said he understood the motivation of the suggested discussion group but reminded the Board that the RMS Mission Statement does not include marketing and property values but is concentrated on roads, security, covenants, bylaws and ARB. While he would support a different body or organization to pursue these issues, he feels it should be outside RMS. RMS has limited its job and urgent priorities time to do which RMS needs to concentrate on.
Smith agreed with this concern however believes that a discussion with the various organizations would better define the issues and a group who would address them.
- POA President Tygart has asked Dick Moeller to sign the “Step One Agreement” with RMS. This is the first step in investigating the possibility of closing the sewage treatment plant and installing a septic system. McKnight added that the agreement has now been signed by both parties. “Step One” stipulates that RMS will pay a provisional 20% of the cost for the preliminary soil evaluation.
- Tennis court bank behind RMS building – preliminary work of moving the RMS deck has been completed.
Yancey County Tax Evaluation
Wyatt has contacted the Yancey County Tax office and was told that every Wolf Laurel lot in the county was being hand pulled and reviewed since errors had been made. A new assessment should be received by lot owners by the first of April.
Home owners must contest the assessment directly with the county.
Request for support by Southern Appalachian Raptor Research for permit from USFS-
Smith recommended that RMS support the permit.
Gwozdo reported that she had contacted the USFS and was told that the 2015 permit with all provisions would most likely be renewed in 2016. Since 2015 proved a vast improvement in communication and cooperation between security and SARR, Security would support for the permit.
Beneke moved to support the USFS granting the same permit to SARR for 2016. Freeman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Smith asked for the status of the road work on the Bald.
Brown explained that all work approved by the USFS was completed last fall and the USFS had asked that we let it rest and let the grass grow. He added that the road project called for 4-wheel drive accessibility only.
Gwozdo reported that the rules and procedure for obtaining a key to the gate has been in place for 3 years after being negotiated by Daniels and Eller and the USFS. As soon as the USFS gives permission, we are ready and volunteered to contact the USFS.
Anthony Martin questioned why the RMS files an 1120H when it is clearly not a HOA.
Beneke explained an 1120H is filed because that is what the RMS accountants advised.
Mel Poole inquired of the status or number of property owners not current in the payment of assessments.
Smith said this was his first concern when he took office and has discovered that RMS has made great headway since the departure of the developer in recovering the past due accounts. He said the aggressive action has resulted in approximately 95% of our property owners invoiced having? current accounts. Work continues with property whose ownership is not clear or caught in the settlement of estates.
Rich Ashley asked if all-wheel drive vehicles would be allowed on the Bald.
McKnight said she would find out and respond to him.
Ashley thanked Freeman and Ames for their articles in the TOB and suggested that the next article might be the work of the USFS project if the details are known in time.
Ashley mentioned that the “Step One” agreement states that if RMS has the staff, time, and equipment they would do the work for a fee.
McKnight agreed and said a cost estimate will be given to the POA as soon as the scope of work could be defined.
Mel Poole gave his support to the long range planning work shop and asked if the WLCC would be included. Smith replied that they would along with all other organizations and associations on the mountain.
Beneke reported that the POA had been approached by Preserve management, who are resuming development, regarding membership in the POA and Village Club for potential buyers.
Smith said he understood that the Preserve was building 5 homes and voiced his concern regarding truck and construction traffic on RMS roads.
Brown, who has met the contractor/Preserve onsite manager, said that the construction gate in the Preserve is being used for all construction traffic.
Next meeting scheduled for April 15, 2016, at 10:00 A.M.
The meeting was adjourned.