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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, Ames, Faliero, and Foster.
Directors in Attendance by telephone: Freeman and Potts
Johnson was unable to attend.
Staff in attendance: Brown, Gwozdo and Wyatt
Upon motion made by Beneke and seconded by McKnight, minutes of April15, 2016, were approved.
Board received April 31, 2016, financial report from L. Wyatt via e-mail.
- That assessment collection is less then April of 2015 by 10 lots and 10 homes.
- The operating expense for Roads shows an increase over April of 2015 and Security expenses remains constant.
- Administrative cost show an increase as funds are transferred to an equipment reserve bank account.
- Beneke reported that in the past payment of fines by property owners were collected immediately and were shown in “other income.” The procedure has been changed as we now have an unpaid fine. We will generate an invoice for all fines in order to have an improved audit trail.
Smith called for a motion to accept the April 31, 2016 financial report. Faliero made the motion which was seconded by Beneke. Motion carried.
Roads: Jason Brown
Since last report: No severe weather has been experienced.
- All gravel roads have been scraped and rolled and all ditches and ditch work that can be done with our equipment has been done.
- Wolf Laurel road pavement edges have been shored up with stone.
- The drainage project of replacing eight broken culverts has been completed plus three more that needed replacing and one more large culvert that was added to Wolf Laurel road to prevent erosion along with a sediment pond that is not yet completed between El Miner and Oakridge. $12,237.07 YTD.
- The mowing of road right of ways began last week but has been put on hold due to equipment failure.
- The pavement repairs and patching of Wolf Laurel road and McKinney Gap is scheduled for next week weather permitting.
- The landslides on Wonderly Lane, McKinney Gap, and El Miner have been repaired.
- The road right of way day-lighting has been completed along Wonderly Lane since the equipment was in the area fixing a slide.
- The perk holes have been dug on the POA property in coordination with a POA representative.
- The trees along English Ridge that had been knocked down in a March thunderstorm have been removed.
- New gates have been installed on Big Bald, behind the mailboxes on English Ridge, and at the end of Weaver Lane.
- The piles of brush along Buck House road, Buckeye road, Flame Azalea road, and near the old stables were scheduled to be taken care of by the NCFS but since I have had no response I have coordinated with ECFD to have them do a controlled burn in place and will let the gate know when this is scheduled.
- The Vermeer mower that is used to cut the RROW’s has a broken gear and shaft and the parts are on order to have it fixed.
- The 416 CAT Backhoe is having some fuel pump issues and will have to be serviced by a CAT technician.
- The 2005 green 2500 HD Chevrolet had to have a new transfer case installed due to a hole in the side of it.
- The 2003 grey 2500 Chevrolet is still limping along but will need to be replaced before the winter.
- All other equipment is in good working order.
- RMS Office:The painting of the exterior wall of the front room is scheduled for the first of next month the whole building needs to be painted ASAP to prevent the wood siding from rotting I will get some quotes by the next meeting. Also I need some recommendations as to what to do about the flooring in the front room that was damaged.
- North Carolina Forest Service Daylight Project is still on hold.
- USFS Big Bald Extension Project:All grading work that was proposed in our meeting by the USFS on 4/19/16 has been completed and all that is lacking is to spread 2 ½ loads of gravel along the steep section of road near the AT all I need is a few days of dry weather to be able to get up the roadway with a dump truck and then it will be available for 4×4 vehicular traffic.
- Maintenance Shed Property:Tuesday I received a phone call from Mr. Dale England the operator for the Banks Family Properties that own the maintenance shed property who informed me that eviction proceedings have begun for this property and I should begin to relocate out of the area. I have two areas in mind one in which we do not own but I have begun negotiations the other would be the motel property. The salt shed will be relocated to behind the mailboxes at English Ridge. This process will take up a significant amount of the RM crew’s time and reallocation of some funds to get done that being said some other projects will become less of a priority. All other conversations about this situation will be deferred to the board.Smith reported that he had spoken to England who claimed no knowledge of prior communication by the RMS with the former agent for the Banks family. The original agreement was the use of the property as a maintenance shed in lieu of assessments.The RMS asked for a new agreement that the assessment fees would be paid if eviction became a reality. The Banks family also owns property on Hanging Rock and has not paid assessments. RMS would collect on both properties. According to RMS records the Banks family has been paying taxes on the Hanging Rock property but not the maintenance shed property. England insisted that this was incorrect and an error in the tax office.
Smith, on behalf of RMS had proposed 3 options:
- At the Banks family’s request and a written agreement to pay assessments RMS would vacate the property
- RMS would lease the property for $2400.00 yearly and forego the assessment.
- Continue the current agreement.England indicated that the Banks family wishes to market the property but would review the proposals with the Banks family and respond to Smith.Beneke, speaking to alternative maintenance yard sites, stated that he felt that the motel property was not an appropriate site for the maintenance yard and asked about the old stables property on Buck House Road.Brown replied that he had negotiated with the owner, South East Land Trust, to store material at the stables and that they may be interested in selling the property.
Smith commented that RMS owns property in the area of Lucky Way which is adjacent to the trust property and perhaps a land swap would be possible.
Smith explained that storage of salt must be on or near a paved road and suggested the motel property or the area behind the Hampton Gap mail boxes.
Foster recommended that the Board endorse negotiations with the Land Trust. Beneke so moved and was seconded by Foster. The motion carried.
Security: Sandy Gwozdo
- Patrol has been tracking an ATV that has been reported on Buckeye and Grouse Thicket.
- Investigation of a possible intruder on Pisgah Pass proved unfounded.
- Returning resident reported damage to their water meter. Patrol contacted Water Company who admitted they had not repaired the damage they caused.
- New property owner called for assistance in getting their moving men to leave the property. Patrol mediated as all waited for Yancey County Sheriff. After being paid the movers required the assistance of a tow truck. Brown was called to inspect roadway for damage.
- Property Owner notified that his garage door was open. Patrol secured the door.
- Property Owner reported workmen on neighbor’s deck. Patrol investigated and found an authorized lawn care company on property.
- Porche and I briefly met with Russell McIntosh of McIntosh Construction. He is the on- site manager of the Preserve and also the man responsible for the construction of the 5 new homes in the Preserve. I had heard rumors that the Preserve Gate might be manned during the day and thought it best to touch base with him. Manning the gate was discussed but currently has not been authorized by the owner. Should they man the gate McIntosh promised to meet again in order to set up procedures for the Wolf Laurel property owners. McIntosh will make any repairs required at the gate. We do have a key to the gatehouse in order to access the videotapes.
- The Preserve Association has amended their Covenants to allow the use of ATV and UTV vehicles on their roads. The gate Brown erected at the end of Weaver lane was to keep out any lost riders in the Preserve and deny them easy access to Wolf Laurel. There have been signs of frequent activity in that area.
- As reported last month Diane Horst retired and Jon Crain’s last day is today. He is moving to Asheville. Two property owners: Mary Argueta and John DiPetta have been hired and have just completed training.
- As usual with the return of our residents the number of reports of speeding vehicles has increased. Some apparently see Wolf Laurel Road, Big Bald Road and McKinney Gap Road are as interstate highways. Patrol has been warning both residents and service providers or pulling out ahead of some to keep the driver at 25MPH. After discussion with the Security Committee, Becky McKnight and Carol Krueger, it was decided to write a letter to the worst offenders.
Brown offered to rent the portable speed sign for a few weeks as we did last summer.
Beneke, who has also noticed the increase in speeding vehicles, presented a website for an affordable radar gun. He also suggested that the Roads Committee consider placing a speed bump on McKinney Gap Road by the water company pump station in order to slow traffic prior to El Miner Dr.
These suggestions will be taken under advisement by the committee.
Smith reported that he and McKnight met with Bob Daffer, agent for the Preserve. Mr. Daffer was requesting that RMS contribute to the cost of road improvement of Ridgeway Road to the Preserve Gate. This request was denied.
Communications & Community Relations: John Ames
The activity for the C&CR Committee has been relatively light the past month.
- Winter Road Repairs – The email, written by Mel Poole of the C&CR Committee, was sent to all property owners in our email system on April 22. It is also included in the current issue of the TOB. Thanks to Charlie Potts, Jason and Sandy for their contributions to make this terrific topic come to life.
- WLRMS Website – We are ready to share the first draft of the new WLRMS Website with the Board. I have requested an Executive Session with the Board for that purpose immediately following our May 20 Board meeting.
- Quick Notes Email – This email focused on three issues that affect the infrastructure of our community: broadband service, in-home water quality and traffic safety. This email was distributed May 13 to all property owners.
- Big Bald Access Email – An email has been prepared and approved by Becky McKnight, Jason and Sandy to announce the pending re-opening of access to the top of Big Bald. This email will be sent to all property owners once Jason provides the green light that everything is complete and ready for vehicle traffic.
- Community Survey Project – The C&CR Committee is preparing a series of 3-4 surveys of RMS property owners. It is anticipated that the first brief survey of approximately five questions will be sent on or around May 23. The results will be quickly reported back to the property owners. We do not anticipate a high response on the first survey. But we anticipate that the property owners will come to value expressing, and RMS soliciting, their opinions on topics of community focus. The Committee anticipates launching additional surveys in July, October and February.
- Forest Service Project Communication – the C&CR Committee is still awaiting input to move forward with the development of communications to the community.
Smith asked if the review of the new website would take place at the workshop on June 8th.
Ames replied that it would.
Finance Committee: John Beneke
Beneke called attention to the balance sheet line item, Road Deposits, showing $46,850. This is the amount held in escrow on ARB projects. He and Louise have gone over each application, some going back to 2006. We found that some of the road deposits had been used to repair the road damage caused by the building project but the funds were never transferred to the roads account. Beneke presented a print out of all the projects explaining the status of the project and each road deposit. He had concluded that $17,350.00 should be transferred to the roads account and letters written to a few of the property owners whose project was started a number of years ago and the status unknown. The others listed are current. He suggested that the ARB could better monitor the project and make it clearer that it is the property owner’s responsibility to contact the office on the completion of their project.
Legal Committee: Sharon Foster
MATTERS UNDER REVIEW
- Julia Monroe’s proposal to surrender her lot for common use.I have not heard from Monroe’s attorney regarding a certificate of non-perkability for the property she wishes to donate. The donation policy is still under review.
- Collection MattersThe Sheriff has returned the order of execution after failing to locate any assets subject to levy in the county. The next step is to bring Martin in to question him about his assets. I should have an estimate of cost by the Board meeting.Collection of the Ridges assessments proceeded according to the settlement entered into after last summer’s mediation. Only one property owner has failed to pay and we are bringing suit.All other collection cases are proceeding smoothly. I have not heard from Larry Leake regarding the Pate litigation, but will follow up once I am up there.
- Violation Enforcement MattersThe violation letter regarding hunting and dirt biking has been hand delivered to the resident lot owner. Fines have been imposed. The dog nuisance letter has also been delivered and fines imposed. Failure to pay will result in the fines being added to the lot owner’s assessment due.
- Policy and Procedure HandbookThis is my summer project.This morning we received a second proposal from Monroe regarding the donation of her lot. I suggest that the lot donation policy be discussed at the workshop.The continuation of the collection of judgment will cost $500.00. I recommend that we follow through.
Insurance: Warren Johnson
Road Maintenance & Equipment: Charlie Potts
- Our committee will review the suggestion of speed bumps to decrease the speeding issue but we do not budget for such issues and we are working with limited funds.
- As stated last month the committee will evaluated all equipment in July and report findings to the Board.
- As Jason mentioned in his report some of our ditches require renting a jackhammer in order to split through the rock. The committee will be reviewing the worst of these ditches.
- As you will remember the cost for drainage improvement in the Road report was very high and the rock formation on the mountain is a major factor. It is also present on Big Bald and makes drainage for the road to the summit difficult.
Security: Rebecca McKnight
As Jason reported there has been a short delay in allowing vehicular traffic to Big Bald.
The staff is fully prepared and the property owners will receive an email which includes the rules for signing out the gate key as soon as the gravel is in place.
ARB: Chuck Freeman
- The past month the ARB Board approved two major renovations, one minor renovation and one tree application. Two new constructions applications are waiting additional information.
- The ARB met with Robert Super and recommend to the Board that he be hired.McKnight concurred that Mr. Super’s credentials were outstanding.Potts added that Mr. Super has been working with Brown on various projects and his expertise has proven invaluable.Smith explained that Mr. Super would be hired as an independent contractor. Beneke moved that Super be hired and was seconded by Faliero. Motion carried.
Smith expressed his hope that Super, as the ARB administrator would provide more consistency within the ARB.
Long Range Planning: Larry Smith
Smith reminded the Board of the June 2nd at the WLCC. In attendance will be the POA, Blue Mountain, The Preserve, and local realtors. The objective is to identify common issues that could be solved collectively.
WLPOA Liaison Report: John Beneke
In Beneke’s absence, Smith represented RMS. Smith said that Fred Tygart, President of the POA, Jim Landry and Dick Moeller were taking the lead on the Sewage plant issue. He explained that there are three things that the POA and RMS are working on in a cooperative way to solve. He asked the Board to authorize him to continue to work for a solution regarding the closure of the sewage plant treatment plant on the motel property.
Beneke asked if this discussion could be held in the workshop and was told no authorization was required
Smith explained two options:
- A drip system, with the POA buildings, the RMS building and the two homes on the same system, would have construction and maintenance cost as it would be tied to the sewage plant.
- Add a second system but it would only serve us.
- Potentially identified 3rd option: A two septic tank system. One septic tank for the POA and RMS building would be located on the bank above the basketball court. Cost estimate: $15,000. – $20,000. This location has been tested. A second tank for the two homes above the motel would be located on motel property and require that RMS grant an easement to allow the property owners to connect. Estimated cost: $10,000.00. This site would have to be tested.
The two septic tank system would cost roughly $30,000. + $800. for testing.
There is no sense in moving forward if the Board is not interested in pursuing this 3 option.
McKnight asked if the two homeowners, whose homes are connected to the sewage plant were aware of the plans and costs.
Beneke asked if the POA and RMS were obligated to provide a solution for the homeowners. Landry stated that we have a moral obligation to the homeowners and that Fred Tygart has talked with the homeowners.
Beneke disagreed and said that if RMS agreed to give the homeowners an easement that was sufficient. Landry replied that he was not suggesting we pay for the system.
Foster asked Smith if what he now was presenting to the Board was what the homeowners wanted. Smith said no but I can’t tell the homeowners that this is the solution to their problem without the Board’s authorization.
Ames commented that this issue has been going on for a long time and every time we talk about it is like revealing yet another layer of an onion. We are talking tens of thousands of dollars and not once has there been an email with any documentation.
Landry replied that is not correct. It is just that at every step there are complications. He has arranged for an individual to come in 3 weeks, at no charge and take a look at the perspective site on the motel property to see if it will work.
Ames asked why the rush for an answer from the RMS Board when you don’t have a definitive answer that the plan will succeed.
Smith said that he could handle this totally different. I can do it the way Fred is doing it. I can wait until it is a fait accompli and give to the Board with no input from the Board. Jim and I are asking if the property will perk and the homeowners are willing to share the cost of the septic system is there a probability that the Board will grant the easement.
Ames: When you say the homeowners are willing to pay a portion. What is the portion and downstream if there problems with the system, who owns the problem?
Smith responded that we have not worked out every point.
Ames: Yes you can. If you say the homeowners are willing to pay, how much are they willing to pay?
Faliero asked if it is known fact that the homeowners do not have sufficient property to create their own system.
Smith replied yes.
Landry said there are other options.
Moeller suggested it was a no brainer for the homeowners either they pay into the $10,000 2 septic system or the $15,000. drip system.
Smith said he also would like a better picture of what the homeowners are willing to pay. Fred has initiated conversation with them. Smith has asked Foster to look at the deeds of the two property owners. The deeds appear to say nothing about payment for sewage but refer to prior deeds. Neither homeowner has ever received a bill from Orville English (former owner of the plant). I don’t know if we have an obligation to the homeowners but I do know I don’t want to be caught up in a lawsuit which slows down reaching a solution to our problem.
Ames said he is not opposed to anything but would appreciate a more formal factual documentation in order to make a decision.
Gwynne Beneke asked if we have a perfectly good plant and the only objection is the upkeep and daily testing. Smith said the daily check is mandated by the state and there is no choice but to pay as long as it is operating.
Moeller added that the condition of the mechanical workings of the plant may cause additional costs in the future.
Smith said that the cost of the 25 year old plant was $14,000 a year with the potential of the cost of equipment replacement. If we abandon the plant as a sewage treatment and use it with the drip system we continue to have the potential of equipment replacement. The cost of inspection drops to $3,000. He reminded the Board that the motel property was purchased in order to eliminate security risks and to eliminate the cost of the sewage treatment plant which impacts the community by the cost to the POA.
Beneke said that there appears to be no choice. The septic system by the basketball court should be constructed for use by the POA and RMS. Perhaps we do have an obligation to the homeowners to at least find out if the motel property site will perk. The homeowners can then decide if they want to install a septic system.
Smith said he liked what he was hearing and said he would go back to Fred and tell him the RMS Board would consider granting the easement on the condition that the homeowners pay for their system.
Faliero stated that he believes that the Board’s preference is that homeowners get their own easement directly.
Ames We could have reached this place earlier if we had been given the facts and proposal prior to the meeting.
Water lines in the village: The community center is serviced by a line. The RMS building has a separate line which also is used to service the Pavilion and pool. When the pool is filled and the pavilion is open the POA pays RMS for water usage over the normal RMS bill. This has been the arrangement for years. Since it has been decided that RMS share of the sewage treatment plant would be based on water usage the amount of water should be measured more accurately.
Smith outlined two options: 1. Install a private meter on RMS building to measure the amount of water used by RMS. POA would pay for the water usage of the pavilion and pool. The private meter reading would be used to determine RMS water usage and share of the sewage treatment costs.
2. Stop service on the RMS meter service ($22.00 a month service charge) and use the larger POA meter service ($55. a month) and install the private meter on the RMS building to measure RMS usage. RMS would pay the POA ½ the monthly service charge and the amount of water used. Payment to the POA for sewage plant would be would be measured by the private meter.
Beneke asked if the cost of the meter was around $400. As suggested in an email.
Smith replied that that was the approximate cost.
McKnight asked Brown for his recommendation.
Brown replied that he thought that we should maintain the separate lines and put a private meter on the RMS building. He agreed that a good freeze proof meter would be $400.
Beneke moved that RMS retain their water service and install the meter. Motion was seconded by McKnight and motion carried..
Amelia Woolf expressed appreciation to the Board for the email about possible contaminates in the water of older homes. She tested the Carolina water and found no contaminates but the water in her home contained lead from the homes aging pipes. The installation of a filter was all that was needed. She offered additional information on tests performed by Virginia Tech for $65.
Smith stressed the fact that the contamination was caused by the internal plumbing and not the water supplied by Carolina Water Service.
Barron Burhans thanked the Road Crew for day lighting Wonderly Lane. He also expressed concern regarding French Broad EMC procedure of cutting and not clearing the debris which is unsightly and a possible fire hazard.
McKnight explained that, unfortunately we have no control over the actions of French Broad EMC.
Brown explained that some of the debris is being gathered in various areas and he plans to coordinate with Ebbs Chapel Fire Department to burn it in place. This way additional cost is avoided.
The meeting was adjourned.
Next meeting scheduled for June 17, 2016, at 10:00 A.M.