Board members and homeowners present:
Chip Crane, Dennis Horazak, Larry Sheeler, Bill Snook, Cookie Symons, Jean Thomsin and Ron Wiley.
In addition there were 5 homeowners present.
1. Call to Order
President Dennis Horazak called the meeting to order at 6:32 p.m.
2. Certify Quorum
7 of the 9 board members present. Quorum established.
3. Proof of Notice
Proof of Notice was given.
4. Approval of minutes from previous meeting
The minutes of the March 18, 2003 meeting were approved as submitted. At the next meeting we will approve the minutes of the Organizational Board Meeting of April 22, 2003.
5. Financial Report
A. April 2003 financials: Larry Sheeler discussed the Income/Expenses Statement for April. We have a positive net income of $608, which raises our equity to $18,033 at the end of April.
B. Collections status: We are in good shape with our homeowner collections. Six homeowners are late with more than one quarterly payment. Intent to Lien letters (ITL) have been sent to Lots 23, 27, 35, 43 and 99. They will be contacted by Myron Davis and Steve Hartman after 30 days. The homeowner of lot 92 sent a letter to the Board claiming that they are relatively new and was never told that two types of quarterly fees are involved. She objects to the fees of $30 caused by late payments. Jean suggested that this cost could be absorbed by the board, Penn First Management and the homeowner, each for one third. Myron and Steve will be authorized to offer this three-way split, if it seems appropriate, during discussions with the homeowner.
C. Review letter from Lot 22: The homeowner of lot 22 has requested a waiver of a late fee of $5.00 due to the slow processing of his payment by the bank. It was agreed to credit his account for the $5.00.
6. Committee Reports
A. ARC and Violation report: Chip Crane mentioned the ARC group (Chip Crane, Steve Hartman, Bill Snook and Cookie Symons), had a fruitful meeting on 5/7. A drive-around had taken place on 4/24 and 11 doorknockers were handed out mostly for weed problems. The plan is to have a meeting after each monthly drive-around from now on.
B. Neighborhood Watch report: Cookie Symons mentioned that it has been quiet in the neighborhood. The only issue has been the fact that some cars drive by the construction site too fast.
C. Entrance lighting: Ron Wiley reported that the installation at the four entrance corners is complete except for the Florida Power (Progress Energy) meters due to an administrative mistake on PE's part. The meters will be installed within a few days. Chip and Ron will buy some low-voltage lights for the back entrance and all lights will be up and running within a week or so. Some of the grass dug up for the under-drain construction can be used to replace the grass we have removed to dig the trenches.
D. Entrance signs & background: Larry Sheeler reported that no estimate for a tile-background has been received from Blaine Bartosavage yet. A committee, existing of Ron Wiley (chair), Myron Davis, Ramona Ramos and Cookie Symons, was formed to study the alternatives including costs and recommend a chosen alternative.
F. Entrance walls & columns: Chip Crane and Jean Thomsin have pressure washed all four walls and columns segments. Chip mentioned that he could obtain enough dirt from the Spring Island Way construction crew to fill the 12 (= 4 x 3) columns. However, we would have to fill the columns ourselves by hand. It was agreed to leave the columns empty and concentrate on capping the column top with a support structure.
H. Entrance plants: Chip Crane, Myron Davis, Steve Hartman and Jean Thomsin have planted 30 Indian Hawthorns supplied by our landscaping contractor free of charge. Since the Indian Hawthorns are susceptible to leaf spot fungus (Entomosporum mespili) Jean suggested that we make a plan to replace all Indian Hawthorns with hardier plants, such as Ilex Cornuta (Chinese Holly 'Rotunda'), one group at a time, over the next several years. A similar plan has to be developed to replace the dying wax myrtles which are prone to disease (Fusarium wilt, etc). A good replacement would be the Sweet Viburnum which is virtually disease free and attractive. It was agreed that Jean Thomsin and Myron Davis will develop a longer term plan for both the Indian Hawthorn and Wax Myrtle replacement.
I. Sewer upgrade: The project is underway. The Board understands that Orange County's plan is to resurface all of Cypress Isles approximately 6 months after completion of the under-drains on Spring Island Way. Larry Sheeler suggested that, as a courtesy to all homeowners on Spring Island Way, interested Board members and management do a walk-thru with the contractor upon completion of the under drain project.
J. Newsletter: Sandy Horazak mentioned that she is still waiting for promised copy to come in, but that the next newsletter will come out late in May.
7. Old Business
A. Formation of Bylaws Committee: Jean Thomsin made the motion to transform the Proxy Committee into a Bylaws Committee, seconded by Chip Crane and accepted unanimously. It was agreed that the following will be members of this committee: Dennis Horazak, Matt and Ramona Ramos, Bill Snook, Jean Thomsin (chair) and Ron Wiley. Jean mentioned that, after having spoken to Scott Justice, the President of the OCHAA (Orange County Home Owners Association Alliance), he was directed to use the Bylaws from Hunters Creek Home Owners Association as an example to be used and tailored to our use. Jean will go through the text of the bylaws and give it a first 'update' and send it to the other committee members for their comments. Shortly thereafter Jean will call a committee meeting to discuss the updated text.
8. New Business
A. Storm shutters: Cookie Symons and Chip Crane presented the ARC request from a homeowner to install steel hurricane shutters. The permanent top and bottom tracks would be painted in the color of the house. Larry Sheeler made a motion to approve the ARC application for installation of hurricane shutters contingent on compliance with guidelines for use that will be developed. The motion was seconded by Cookie Symons. It was noted that the ARC application will also have to be acted on by the Master Association.
B. April 7th and 28th WLCA Board meeting report: Dennis Horazak attended both meetings. His report is Attachment A.
C. Presidents Forum report: Dee Parzych (President of Finns Cove One) called a first meeting of all Presidents of Waterford Lakes Neighborhoods (or their representatives) on May 10th.
Both Larry Sheeler and Jean Thomsin attended the meeting. Dee Parzych's notes of the meeting are attached as Attachment B. Statistics on the 23 Waterford Lakes Neighborhoods are in Attachment C.
D. July 12th OCHAA Conference: Larry Sheeler mentioned the all day OCHAA conference and recommended that the board members plan to go if at all possible. Larry Sheeler made the motion to join the OCHAA as a member for $75 per year, seconded by Jean Thomsin and approved unanimously. Larry Sheeler will obtain the application form. It was agreed that the 4 'officers' and Cookie Symons (for copies to the other board members) will be receiving the OCHAA newsletters.
E. Festival 2003: It was agreed to organize another event like last year, but do it later than September (November?) because of the heat. The suggestion was for Sandy Horazak to place an ad for committee members/volunteers for the Festival Committee in the upcoming Cypress Isles newsletter.
F. Longer term planning: It was suggested that rather work only on the ongoing issues, we think of the neighborhood's needs over the longer term. Sandy Horazak will place an ad for committee members for a Strategic Planning Committee in the upcoming Cypress Isles newsletter. In the meantime Jean Thomsin will work on a longer range plan for upgrades/replacements for the entrance plants.
9. Open Forum
Matt and Ramona Ramos of lot 5 (Spring Island Way) submitted a letter to the board that questions the board (ARC) decision to allow a neighbor to erect a playground structure with a height of 14 feet and close (3 feet) to their 6 foot high fence. Since they object to this structure for privacy reasons it raises the question why they had not been involved in the decision. Chip Crane (ARC) responded that when the issue had come up the ARC had approved the structure as reasonable and in compliance with the documents, and it had been an oversight that the neighbors had not been included in discussions prior to the decision. The board suggested that only if Orange County rules would preclude a structure like that something could be done. Mr. Ramos mentioned that Alvin Little (Master ARC) will look into this.
10. Schedule next meeting
Ron Wiley made the motion to change our meeting frequency from monthly to bi-monthly. This was seconded by Cookie Symons and accepted unanimously. This means we will meet on the odd numbered months from now on. Therefore the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Larry Sheeler made the motion to adjourn, seconded by Ron Wiley. The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.
Notes submitted by Board of Directors
Secretary of the Board
Attachment A - WLCA Board Meeting Report (by Dennis Horazak)
On April 7, 2003, the members of the Waterford Lakes Community Association
elected a new Board of Directors at a Special Meeting. The elected Board
is: Joseph Alvarez (Jade Forest) President; Patrick Carey (Sapphire Place)
Vice President; Fernando Santos (Bradfordt Lakes) Secretary; Alvin Little
(Bradfordt Village) Director; Brian McCrary (Lakeshore Landing) Director.
The new Board had its first working meeting on April 28th. The Directors introduced themselves, and then got down to business. The failing irrigation tank has been replaced and the entrance fountains in front of Winn Dixie are operating. There were two bids to replace the sprinkler heads in the median of Lake Underhill with rotating sprays that water the grass instead of the traffic. Bids are out to clean the entranceway signs, and a pool attendant will be hired.
The Board then staffed the three main committees: a 5-person Architectural Review Committee, a 9-person Operations Committee, and a 5-person Finance Committee. Over 30 homeowners had applied for committee positions.
The financial report was a long, detailed list of over $450,000 in cash and receivables followed by the simple statement that liabilities plus ownership equaled the amount of the assets. The Board voted to waive all late fees for the first and second quarters of 2003 because of confusion associated with the change in management companies, and to retain Zimmerman and associates to handle pending litigation.
The open forum was a mixture of legitimate questions by concerned homeowners and unsubstantiated venting by recently disenfranchised factions, each of which was handled with decorum by the Board.
The May 19th WLCA Board meeting was equally productive, reporting the progress of irrigation maintenance, pressure washings, and sod replacement. The Board is focused on landscape maintenance and other daily operations. Brian McCrary was voted to be Treasurer to replace Carolyn Polomski, who resigned.
Alvin Little reported that the ARC met on May 15 and dealt with most of the backlog of homeowner requests. The ARC plans to review their forms, streamline the procedures throughout Waterford Lakes, and have more personal contact with homeowners proposing questionable projects. Dee Parzych and Tom Iversen reported that the Operation Committee met twice and described progress on their principal projects. The Committee is focusing older projects before tackling new ones. Traci Drew reported that the Finance Committee has been unable to meet, but is still trying.
Joe Alvarez announced new spending policies. The management company may spend up to $1,000 on budgeted line items without other approvals. Expenditures between $1,000 and $5,000 require the approval of the President, and expenditures over $5,000 will require Board selection from among three competitive bids. All checks will be signed by two Board members, but not by the management company.
Auditors investigating the 2000 sod replacement concluded that the records were in disarray and could not be audited. WLCA will hire temporary help to organize the records for the eventual audit. The sod replacement dispute will probably be sent to arbitration.
WLCA does not have an official website, but they will ask the custodians of the unofficial websites to state that those websites are not official websites.
Five people spoke in Open Forum about issues that were important to them. Speakers' remarks were limited to five minutes apiece.
Attachment B - Spring President's Forum Notes May 10, 2003 (by Dee Parzych)
Dealing with Difficult Homeowners; common issues & delinquency
1. Neighborhood Disputes: Air space - Discussion regarding very
large play structure (14 ft. high) and how it is affecting neighbors. Also
brought up, were extremely bright security lights that are left on all night
rather than the type that is tripped by movement. Although everyone was
sympathetic, it was agreed the rules are written for reasonable people.
If a neighbor doesn't wish to cooperate, this is an area, unless specifically
addressed by the docs, over which we have little control. It was suggested
that close neighbors might be consulted if playhouse is about to be built,
and that board members might try to offer a solution to each party, but
little else can be done. Suggestions were made to make the playhouse as
"natural" as possible avoiding bright colors on canvas and wood.
It was suggested that success stories of how neighbors negotiated similar
disputes might be written up for the WL Newsletter or Official Web site.
2. Delinquency Issues - Discussion regarding when lien might be
placed. Most neighborhood associations agreed that no one should get more
than 2 payments behind before being officially warned of a lien. Payment
plans were most successful when homeowner suggested them. A final warning
notice signed by board members rather than the management company also seemed
to be useful. Visits to homeowners were saved for violation issues rather
than financial issues.
3. Woodlands is establishing a system of fines. It is still in planning
stages and they will report back how well it works.
Improving Meeting Attendance and (local) Board Participation
We are all part of mandatory homeowners associations. If by some awful chance the entire board quits, a receiver will be appointed and paid to run your association. Several years ago the Estates neighborhood chose to dissolve its home association and be governed by the master association. Although it is a cheaper alternative, it provides very little voice for the individual homeowner. Violations are written by the management company employed by the master association. Individual homeowners may not vote for candidates for the WLCA Board or choose their management company. The WLCA Board election process allows each individual HOA president or designated representative to cast votes corresponding to the number of houses that are in their subdivision. (For example, Finns Cove One has 117 houses, 117 votes toward any candidate.) In the Estates case, the designated representative is the only one to cast a vote and if a project needs to be done (signage, landscape issues etc.), assessments are levied to finance the project. Their ARBs are approved by the WLCA Architectural Review Committee only.
Suggestions to improve meeting attendance & neighbor participation included block parties, planting parties, door to door visits by board members for proxies. Some neighborhoods use a nominating committee to solicit new board members. Others asked "retiring" board members to seek a replacement. Quarterly meetings were suggested; and moving the agenda along quickly so no one felt their time was being wasted attending a meeting. It was also suggested, going back to our last topic, to involve or appoint neighbors who seem to be the most vocal or critical - perhaps they are untapped resources.
Improvement Projects HOA has done and Vendors used
Several Associations have taken advantage of grants offered by Orange County to improve or repair entrances. The process can be rather involved but there are free workshops to assist homeowners to learn how to prepare the grant paperwork. The streetscape program, which offers FREE trees to communities, was also mentioned. This is another opportunity to get as many people involved as possible. Jade Forest and Cypress Isles got a large percentage of their residents to adopt trees. They are hoping in a few years to have mature trees line their streets. Personal involvement of as many neighbors in the community as possible will also assist meeting attendance. Socialize to create a sense of community.
Crime and Vandalism
Several neighborhoods have formed block watches. Several neighborhoods have had letters stolen from their entrance signs. HOAs that have had to replace signs have started to switch to carved lettered signs. Entrance lighting was found not to be a deterrent as many of the HOAs that had letters stolen also had their signs well lighted.
Neighborhood Communication (local newsletters & web sites)
A few neighborhoods have their own newsletters ranging from quarterly to yearly. WLCA is looking into having an official web site that HOAs can link onto with their own information. Additional suggestions were an electronic bulletin board for community issues, success stories, and FAQs.
Traffic and Safety Issues - Parking woes
The master association does employ a deputy to give warnings and citations for speeding, as well as patrol. Some HOAs have employed deputies to ticket cars improperly parked. (facing the wrong way, over sidewalks etc.) Requests can be made to not park on the street, but some households with several drivers and short driveways find it almost impossible to keep all the cars off the street all the time. (Need I mention small garages also factor in here?!) Off Duty Deputies can be employed for approximately $24 an hour. It was recommended that, if an HOA chooses to employ a deputy, its homeowners should be forewarned about the items the deputy will be looking for.
Orange County Home Owners Association Alliance (OCHAA) President Scott Justice also attended the meeting. He spoke about the organization, which was founded in 1973. Its primary missions are education; legislative advocacy; administrative and political advocacy; and acting as a clearinghouse for ideas and practices that encourage successful operation and management of homeowners associations located in Orange County. He spoke of the importance that a community the size of Waterford Lakes carries politically. Membership for OCHAA is $75 a year per association, which includes newsletters for up to 5 board members and entitles your association to voting rights. Their next meeting is June 14th (9am - 3pm) at Hunter's Creek Town Hall. (Registration is $5.00 to defray costs, and lunch is included) Several short seminars will be held including a discussion led by an attorney about special projects, contractors and insurance. Someone from the Orange County Citizen Corporation will discuss emergency response training in the post-9/11 climate. There will also be the ever-popular "Ask a Lawyer" session with attorneys available to field questions. For more information regarding OCHAA contact Scott at 407-828-1760 or email him at Scott.A.Justice@disney.com
A special thank you to all those who participated in the Waterford Lakes HOA Survey and took the time to either attend the meeting or send me information about your neighborhood! We are very fortunate to have a wonderful bunch of hard working people who passionately care about their community enough to give their time and expertise. It was my sincere hope that this first Forum offered the opportunity to get to know each other better so we may share our successes in dealing with the difficult challenges we all face. I believe we can plan to make this an annual event!
Dee Parzych. President, Finns Cove One
Attachment C - Statistics on the 23 Waterford Lakes Neighborhoods (by Dee Parzych - May 2003)