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The meeting was called to order by Larry Smith, President, at 9:00 A.M.

Directors in attendance: McKnight, Beneke, Ames, Freeman and Johnson.

Faliero, Foster and Potts joined by conference call.

Staff in attendance: Brown, Gwozdo, and Wyatt.

President Smith

Minutes

Upon motion made by Freeman and seconded by McKnight, minutes of October 16, 2015, were approved.

Finance

Board received October 31, 2015, financial report from Louise Wyatt.

Committee Reports

Legal – Sharon Foster

  1. RMS has no liability in the Monroe property issue and a letter will be sent stating same.
  2. The date for the Martin appeal is 11/26/15. We have heard nothing to date.
  3. Nat Pieper continues to assist with collection of past due accounts.
  4. Foster recommended payment to Etheridge for legal fees re Martin case. Beneke made motion and Freeman seconded. Board directed Wyatt to send payment.

Communications & Community Relations – John Ames

Roads – Jason Brown

  1. All winter equipment has been prepared for the snow season. There are 3 loads of salt from last year and 2 loads delivered this year stock piled.
  2. Leaves and debris have been cleaned from all ditches. And the roads are in good shape.
  3. We obtained a box trailer, similar to a U-Haul and removed the box and are using the bed for transporting equipment. This after our equipment trailer broke in half and sent a truck flying down a hill. I have found an equipment trailer rated for 20,000 pounds. New trailers run between 7,000 & 10,000 dollars. This one is used and needs a new bed. The cost would be $4,500 plus an additional estimated cost of $500 to replace the bed.Beneke stated that we must provide Brown with the proper equipment to do his job safely and made a motion to authorize Brown to purchase the trailer and replace the bed. The motion was seconded by Freeman and the motion passed unanimously.
  4. Our blue dump truck is now a heavy duty pick up after the frame broke and the bed fell off. The cost of a rental dump truck is $2,500 a month. Brown has found a 1996 Ford heavy duty truck being sold for $25,000. It will be available in January. We will need a dump truck in April. Brown has sent Potts the specifications for this vehicle and Potts recommended the truck be purchased.Brown was directed to provide the Board with a full proposal. Beneke will investigate the cost of financing.
  5. The RMS building sustained water damage from the heavy rains early in November.Brown hired a restoration company to spray for mold and dry out the room at a cost of $3,000. The insurance inspector is scheduled for Monday. Apparently the rain water got behind the gutter and entered the building around and under the sliding glass doors.

Larry Smith reported that he and Sharon Foster have been negotiating with the owners of the property where the road maintenance shed is located. There was never a written agreement between BMDC and the owners. The property was used by road maintenance in lieu of any property assessment. The owners now have listed the property for sale.
The last proposal sent to the owners was that a written agreement be made for a yearly payment of $2400.00 by RMS and we would forgo the assessments or RMS would relocate and yearly assessments would be paid by owners. There has been no response by owners.

Security – Sandy Gwozdo

  1. Our Security Staff now numbers 6 with 1 relief guard and 1 patrol. Due to the approaching ski season, we are looking for another relief guard.
  2. We have replaced belts in each gate arm mechanism and will replace the current 4 overhead light with LED fixtures. The LED lights previously have proven very efficient and maintenance free.
  3. A letter was sent in October to a property owner of long term rental property on Phacelia.The renters have 2 dogs, one which has been creating a safety issue for the neighbors. The renter promised to restrain the dog but to date has not. We now have a neighbor who carries an air horn with her on walks. It’s not to deter the dog but to alert the owner so the dog can be taken home. The dog has enlarged his territory and has been seen on neighboring roads. We have received photos of the dog menacing neighbors on the deck of their homes. This should not continue and I ask the Board to write a letter stating punitive action for each occasion the dog is found unrestrained.Smith asked Becky McKnight and Sharon Foster to work with Gwozdo on this issue.

ARB – Chuck Freeman

  1. The ARB investigated two tree cutting incidents resulting in the collection of $700 in fines for cutting without permit.
  2. Currently there are 2 approved tree applications and 1 pending application.
  3. Board continues to work with one new construction.

WLPOA Liaison – John Beneke was appointed by President Fred Tygart

Old Business

  1. Standing Committees – Becky McKnight announced the following members:

    ARB Standing Committee: 
     Chair – Chuck Freeman, Jim Landry, Dick Moeller, John Di Petta, Fred Tygart, and Bob Walker, as ex officio member/liaisonCommunications and Community Relations Committee:  Chair – John Ames, Mel Poole, Member at Large; Gwynne Beneke, representing WLPOA; Joyce Poole – representing WLRMS; Sudie Colvett, representing WLCC; Barry Vaughn, representing Blue Mountain; Cary Monroe, representing wolflaurelcommunity.comFinance Committee:  Chair – John Beneke, Ken Faliero, Jim Hill, Louise Wyatt

    Impact Fees Committee:  Chair – John Beneke, Lisa Baldwin, Cassandra Bradham, Sandy Gwozdo

    Insurance Committee: Chair – Warren Johnson, Willie Romero, Tom Eller and Lloyd Parker.

    Legal Committee:  Chair – Sharon Foster, Nat Pieper, Brent McCaghren.

    Road Maintenance and Equipment Purchase and Repair Committee:  Chair – Charlie Potts, Mike Kaney, Jason Brown, Steve Rutherford.

    Security Committee:  Chair – Becky McKnight, Carol Krueger, Sandy Gwozdo, Ken Porche.

    The Board approved and welcomed the new committee members.

  2. 2016 Budget approval – John Beneke
  3. Election of Board Members – Discussion- The board decided to defer discussion until the December meeting.

New Business

U.S. Forest Service proposal: Kevin Robertson, Assistant County Ranger Madison County.

The Community Preparedness Program has offered $60,000 to $70,000 to open the roads or “daylight” the roads in Wolf Laurel. This is a federal program which evaluates communities based on fire threat and number of houses. Wolf Laurel received a ranking of #1 in Western North Carolina for risk of fire. A study of the community and El Miner Road in particular was made. 70 of the 80 houses on El Miner Rd. could not be reached by fire truck due to narrow driveways, which means that fire hoses would have to be pulled up banks and driveways from the road, a time consuming effort. In order to reduce response time for fire fighters, this proposal would clear trees and brush along the road right of way that shade the road. On the upper side of the road this area, depending on vegetation that creates shade on the road, could extend 18’ from the road. The affected area on the lower side of the road would be much less in most locations as vegetation there does not usually shade the road. “Daylighting” allows the sun to melt snow and ice as well as dry the roads, allowing more rapid response to fire fighters and emergency vehicles. “Daylighting” would also create fire breaks which help slow a larger fire.

The USFS would contract out the job and the contractor would work with Brown. The brush and debris would be mulched and used as Brown directs on lower sides of road for erosion control. In addition the brush left behind by the electric company would be mulched and disposed of properly. The work would begin in the Yancey County section of Wolf Laurel RMS road system. A decision to accept the proposal is required by March so that work could be scheduled for May. If the Wolf Laurel Community refuses the offer, the funds will be offered to another community in Haywood or Buncombe County. Comments from most audience members supported the proposal.

Brown reminded the Board that the “daylighting “of all roads in the RMS system is an ongoing roads project and that the offer of $60,000-$70,000 would not cover much road way but would certainly save RMS money. Prior to “day-lighting,” the last roads he worked on an email was sent to property owners and we received only one complaint. The other complaints were because he dumped the debris as he had no dump truck to haul it away. He said he still plans to dispose of that debris.

Nathan Waldo, of Ebbs Chapel Fire Department stated that after many years’ experience in the Wolf Laurel area he does not fear forest fires but house fires started by lightning strike, chimney fire or electrical issues. He also stated that the Forest Service project would make it easier for fire trucks and other equipment to reach properties on our narrow, curvy roads. The faster the trucks can arrive on a fire site the better chance of saving a home and protecting neighboring property.

Smith read a letter from Bill Schroeder. The letter expressed Mr. Schroeder’s concern and his objection to the project.

John Ames asked Robertson for any available documentation from the Forest Service and a copy of the actual proposal and risk assessment. He suggested an email to property owners with a brief summary and full documentation and details posted to the web site.

McKnight stated that a duty of the RMS Board is to safeguard our property owners and their homes. She also referred to the Fire Watch presentation earlier in the summer and suggested that property owners be directed to the website: Firewise.org where they would find steps to better safe guard their homes from fire and see how other communities have lessened the risk factors of fire.

The board vote unanimously to approve the project. 

Because of the failure of the recording device, we do not have an accurate version of the audience comments. Therefore there is no attempt to include them.

Next meeting scheduled for December 18, 2015, at 10:00 A.M.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

John Beneke
Secretary/Treasurer