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The meeting was called to order by Nat Pieper, Vice President, at 10:00 A.M.
Directors in attendance: McKnight, Beneke, Faliero, Freeman, Johnson, and Potts.
Absent: Kaney and McCaghren.
Staff in attendance: Brown, Gwozdo, and Wyatt.
Upon motion made by Johnson and seconded by Freeman, Minutes of August 21, 2015, were approved.
Board received August 30, 2015, financial report from L. Wyatt.
- Yancey County has foreclosed two properties for taxes and Madison County has foreclosed one property. All three are vacant lots. Both counties pay the RMS assessment until they are sold. While RMS does not collect the outstanding balance on these properties, historically, seized properties are sold and the new owner maintains the account.
- When questioned about a $4500 entry on the balance sheet from The Preserve, Wyatt explained that it is a retainer held against work contracted to RMS by The Preserve.
- The Madison County Mapping Department has corrected their website. Wolf Laurel properties are now rightfully shown in Wolf Laurel not in Scenic Wolf Ridge.
- Wyatt will be meeting with the Yancey County Tax Department, armed with maps to assist in correcting “neighborhoods” used in determining the county real estate tax. Many of the Wolf Laurel properties in Yancey County were compared with properties sold in The Preserve prior to the 2008 re-evaluation and were taxed at a higher rate. The hope is to correct the “neighborhoods” for the 2016 re-evaluation.
- A map of the land transferred from the Preserve to the Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land, Inc. is now available at the office.
- Wyatt reported that the ski slope has made a partial payment.
When ask if the slopes were building a new road for entrance to the lower lodge, Brown and Gwozdo explained that the road was to enable maintenance and emergency vehicles to reach the tower on the ridge. The skiers will continue to access the lower lodge via the Wolf Laurel gate.
Legal: Nat Pieper
- The final agreement with the Ridges concerning roads and assessments has been signed by representatives of the Ridges and the Association. Under the agreement, in the future each of the Ridges property owners pays full RMS regular annual security assessments and 50% of the RMS regular annual road assessments. RMS has no obligation to maintain the roads located within the boundaries of the Ridges. Those roads are solely the responsibility of the Ridges POA and its members.
- As a result of the action taken by the Board at the August meeting, several of the Ski Slope 13 lot owners have recently paid their delinquent assessments through 2015. We anticipate all will have done so by October 1, 2015, resulting in income of $16,850. If any are unpaid by October 1, 2015, the Board will consider forwarding on to collection counsel.
- We are in the process of domesticating judgments totaling $33,936 for collection purposes in Florida.
- Counsel advises that the Association’s lawsuit against Anthony Martin and another for wrongfully cutting trees on the Association property will most likely be tried beginning October 5, 2015. Trial preparations are well in hand.
- Counsel has sent Ski Wolf and the other English-related companies a demand letter preceding suit to collect the outstanding debt.
Public Relations: Warren Johnson
- The background material for evaluation of our web site will be forwarded to the Board in time for discussion at the October meeting.
- Beneke has written an article for the Top of the Bald reporting on the “Firewise” meeting. He asked that the Board review and approve prior to publication. There were no objections.
Nominating: Ken Faliero
Voting packets for the Board of Directors election were mailed on September 9th.
Biographies of the six candidates, a letter of instruction, ballot(s), a ballot envelope, and a return envelope with return address were included in the packet. There were 55 property owners who requested that we hold their packet at the office. Returns are arriving in goodly number. Ballots must be received by 4:00 P.M. on September 30th.
Anthony Martin, property owner and candidate, stated that he has received numerous complaints from property owners regarding the posting of information for the nominating committee candidates on the website negating information of the petition candidates.
Pieper stated: “I am unaware of any official position of this Board concerning the endorsement of candidates. Until now this Board has received no notification of what you claim.” He then suggested that Mr. Martin submit in writing his complaint and it would be considered by the Board and the Nominating Committee.
Roads: Jason Brown
- All storm damages have been repaired with the exception of a culvert to be replaced at Woodfern Lane and May Apple Lane and the project at Buck House Road and Flame Azalea Lane, which as reported last month, must wait until next year.
- Two homeowners have offered to cover the cost of pipe and gravel to repair their roads. The repairs are not in the budget or on this year’s schedule, but with the big cost covered by the two individuals, Brown asked the Board to permit the use of RMS man and equipment hours to make the needed repairs. These are not driveway culverts but road culverts. The Board gave permission.
- Equipment: The grader is gone; it was traded last week. The paperwork for the excavator was signed and the tractor purchase should be negotiated next week. The tractor will cost about a quarter of what the grader cost to operate and is much more versatile. We may need to keep the Hertz rental dump truck until November, as we have not been able to locate a bed for our truck.
- We will be “day lighting” the back roads where French Broad is not working. In some areas a tunnel of trees form over the road. We will cut this back and clean along our right- a- way. These are areas where winter storms will bring down the trees and where the sun is prevented from melting snow and ice or drying mud. The Board directed that emails be sent to notify the property owners.
- The paving on lower El Miner has been completed. We have filled the pot holes below the Gate and are crack sealing on upper El Miner. We will continue as long as weather allows; once the ground temperature is below 42 degrees, the solution will no longer work.
- Bob Daffer, agent for The Preserve, would like to meet with the Board on October 6th during their annual visit. Pieper recommended that Charles Potts and all available Board members attend the meeting, as in the past these meetings have proven beneficial.
- Pieper asked if Brown had been contacted by the Town Homes Association regarding snow removal. Brown said that he is currently in negotiations with them.
Security: Sandy Gwozdo
Security has had no issues outside of normal operations. We had a $130 repair to the camera system and are currently awaiting the repairman for the bar code, which has developed a minor glitch. It is working, but not recording the data.
Johnson asked about relations with the Bird Banders. Gwozdo replied that relations have never been better. Currently a large group of University of TN students were working with the Banders. As reported last month, the Banders have been very busy and extremely cooperative.
ARB: Chuck Freeman
- The ARB has been quiet with only a few tree applications submitted and approved.
- A homeowner complained that he had lost a prospective buyer for his home when he could not guarantee that the buyer had the right to trim trees that would infringe upon the view. The property owner incorrectly thought he had the right to trim the trees forever after submitting an application in 2013. After review of the application, it was found that two trees on the property owner’s land had been approved for topping, but the other two had not been approved as they were located on a narrow strip of Reserve property. On further inspection at the time, it was found that the trees in the Reserve had previously been topped, apparently without permission.Freeman will be meeting with the property owner and asked if he could suggest that the property owner purchase the Reserve property from RMS.Pieper suggested that this may not be a good idea. If a property owner came to the Board with a request to purchase a Reserve property, it would be considered on its merits. But to remain consistent, the post-developer Board has always denied the cutting or topping of trees in a Reserve.Freeman stated that he has informed the property owner that there would be an investigation of the topping of trees in the Reserve adjoining his property in 2013.
Beneke reminded the Board that the property owner would still be required to submit an application to top the trees.
Road User Fee/Impact Fee Study
Pieper stated that he has turned over all collected material to McKnight for the new Board. He strongly recommended that the Board form an Ad Hoc Committee and move forward as quickly as possible to generate alternative funds and protect our major roads.
There being no new business, Pieper asked for comments from the audience.
Dick Moeller asked that a pot hole on Hampton Gap be repaired.
Anthony Martin asked why property owners with a residence get two votes while a property owner with a lot gets one vote.
Freeman reminded all that prior to the Board’s vote on the 2015 amendment of the covenants, the document was posted on the website for review and comment by property owners; and no comments were received in regard to voting rights.
Moeller said he felt that the voting ratio was correct as property owners with a residence have a more vested interest in the community.
Martin asked that a continuing explanation be given during tabulation of ballots so the observers could better understand the process. He was directed to the Voting Committee.
Next meeting scheduled for October 16, 2015, at 10:00 A.M.
The meeting was adjourned