Cypress Isles News
The official newsletter of the Cypress Isles Homeowners Association
Summer 2002 Edition - Published Quarterly

In This Issue...
The Prez Sez…
Board to Pick Management Company at July 16th Meeting
Contact List (removed from the Web version of the Newsletter, please email the Webmaster for questions/comments)
Yard of the Month
63 Trees for Cypress Isles
Donuts in Cypress Isles?
Can I water anytime?
A Note from The Neighborhood Watch
Limits of Authority
Hats Off Commendations
Cypress Isles Plans Fall Festival
Upcoming CI Meetings
Orange County Community Conference


The Prez Sez…
Building Our Community
Hello Neighbors! As I write this, we are in our second week of almost daily rain. After three years of drought, the rain is very welcome, even if it is creating some problems for our yards. I had even forgotten that I REALLY need another French drain in our back yard!

One particular area that your Board of Directors is committed to is "community building". Many of us grew up in a neighborhood where we knew our neighbors and knew that we could count on them and they knew that they could count on us. A friendly hello and a "do you need a hand?" were often heard when a home project was being tackled or the holiday lights were being put up. In turn, we helped our neighbors when they needed a hand. As kids, we couldn't get away with mischief since all of the neighbors knew our parents and helped keep us in line. When you look at our beautiful tree-lined streets and our well kept homes, do you feel like you are part of a neighborhood? Do you know your neighbors? Are you comfortable letting them know about a problem they should be aware of? Would you be happy that they thought enough of you to let you know of a problem you should know about? Take a minute and think about it. If your neighbors didn't cut their grass, would your first instinct be to call the homeowners association to report the "violation", or to go to the neighbor to see if there was a problem and if you could help? What kind of neighborhood do YOU want to live in?

Following on the heels of the hugely successful tree-planting event, Cypress Isles will see its first community-wide social event! Thanks to the energy and commitment of a number of homeowners, the long discussed, but little acted-on dream of a Neighborhood party is now in the planning stages. Meetings have been held, initial spending has been approved and the logistics are being worked out. Look for details in the near future. This and other social activities will help us be a true neighborhood, rather than just 140 homes that happen to be in the same area. Please make every effort to attend the party and consider lending a hand at this or future activities.

Your Board is handling the regular business of our Association. One of the "CI" letters came off the first entry wall and is being replaced. We continue to work with Orange County to jump through the multiple hoops necessary to get our entry lights installed, but unfortunately, no install date is in sight. At the last meeting, the Board approved putting $8,000 into a Certificate of Deposit to earn some interest until the funds are needed. There is also a committee working on developing a way to welcome new homeowners and inform them of various community services as well as ensuring they are aware of their responsibilities as Cypress Isles homeowners. Please feel free to attend any of the Board meetings to see what is happening.
The Board of Directors is committed to making and keeping Cypress Isles the BEST neighborhood in Waterford Lakes! We appreciate your support as we work to achieve this goal.
Larry Sheeler, President

Board to Pick Management Company at July 16th Meeting
The Cypress Isles Board will select a management company for the next 1-3 years at the July 16th meeting at the Library (on Colonial, east of the Olive Garden), starting at 6:30 p.m. The contract with Penn First Management ended in June.
The Board is responsible for Cypress Isles, but the management company does the actual work. The management company handles all day-to-day operations, weekly property inspections, and maintenance of the common grounds, structures, and equipment. Management contract activities account for about 30% of our total yearly costs
Three Management Companies have submitted bids for the management contract: Attwood Phillips ($9,600 - $12,000/yr, depending on the number of board meetings); Leland Management ($6,000/yr); and Penn First Management ($6,720/yr through December 2003 and $7,140/yr through June 2005).
There are no current issues with Penn First Management, which has had the contract since the beginning of Cypress Isles, but the Board felt it prudent to open the bidding to other management companies. Board President Larry Sheeler is also President of Penn First Management, and is abstaining from all aspects of the contract renewal decision to avoid conflict of interest.
Even though the Board is empowered to select a management company on its own, the directors decided to postpone the selection until the July 16th meeting to allow time for residents' input. (See more discussion in the June 18th meeting minutes on the Cypress Isles website.)
The Board welcomes residents' comments by email until July 15th. A special open forum will be held on July 16th from 6:30 to 7:00, just before the meeting, to hear additional comments. Once the meeting starts, however, discussion and voting will be limited to Board members.

Yard of the Month

Recent Yard of the Month winners are:

Mike & Sharon Cirello, 620 Spring Island Way (April award, displayed in May)
Jeff & Angie Wallace, 524 Divine Circle (May award, displayed in June)
Bill and Carol Marcella, 755 Spring Island Way (June award, displayed in July)

Congratulations on your exemplary homes!


63 Trees for Cypress Isles
Resident platoon, led by Jean and Joka Thomsin, plants new street trees.On Saturday May 11th, Jean Thomsin oversaw the planting of 63 trees along the streets of Cypress Isles. Over 40 volunteers divided into teams and planted all the trees in just over two hours. Jean, Secretary of the Cypress Isles HOA Board, along with his wife, Joka, both Master Gardeners, have been the driving force behind this tree-planting project for the past 6 months, as an alternative to presenting ARC violations to the homeowners with dead or dying street trees. Their tireless efforts involved walking through the neighborhood; identifying trees in need of replacement; researching the best trees for our soil conditions; locating new sites for additional trees; obtaining commitments from homeowners; coordinating with Orange County; and organizing volunteers for the planting event. Each tree recipient signed a form pledging to care for and maintain each adopted tree. Orange County provided young trees, mulch, and planting demonstrations, without charge, as part of their Streetscape Beautification Program. Residents provided the labor, and the HOA Board provided water and refreshments. The turnout of volunteers for the planting proved to be a wonderful community involvement for Cypress Isles! Thanks to all who participated.
But none of it would have happened without the vision, organization, and persistence of Jean and Joka Thomsin. We gave them a spontaneous standing ovation when we were standing around at the start of the planting, and the trees will continue to commemorate their efforts as they grow.

See photos - in virtual color - on the Cypress Isles website.

Donuts in Cypress Isles?
A tree without a donut has a good chance of dying.
Have you seen any 40-inch donuts in Cypress Isles lately? If you have a tree, there should be one around its base!

It is very important to keep a circle of 3 to 4 feet in diameter around your tree free from turf and plants. Turf that is too close to the tree absorbs nutrients from the soil faster than a tree can, so turf always wins. Moreover, a weed whacker or similar device trimming grass near the trunk can damage the bark. Bark is the lifeline of a tree, sending water and minerals from the roots to the leaves, and bringing sugars and other materials from the leaves to the roots. When bark around the trunk is badly damaged, the tree is going to die.

Staking an unstable tree with ropes too tight around the trunk will also damage the bark and hurt the tree.

To make the donut, first remove the grass. An easy way to remove grass is to slice it with an edger making squares of approximately 6 x 6 inches. These squares can be loosened and lifted out fairly easy with a spading fork. After the grass is removed, the circle should be filled with a 2 to 3-inch-thick layer of mulch. Keep mulch 2 to 3 inches away from the trunk to prevent moisture from initiating bark decay.

So give your tree a donut to let it grow and help us to beautify Cypress Isles.
Jean Thomsin, Orange County Master Gardener and Cypress Isles Board Secretary

Can I water anytime?
Not so fast….
Nope. The Orange County mandatory water restrictions are still in effect. Although we were finally blessed with lotsa rain the past few weeks, it did little to compensate for our long drought.

According to St. John's Water Management, only 12 percent of our rainfall ends up in the aquifer. In our area, for every 50 inches of rainfall, there's 38 inches of evaporation, 6 inches of runoff, and 6 inches to the aquifer. It could take several years to replenish the aquifer.

So, you know the drill by now. Even- numbered houses can water on Thursday and Sunday; odd-numbered houses on Wednesday and Saturday. NO watering at all on Monday, Tuesday, or Friday; and no watering between 10 AM and 4 PM.

Thank you for conserving our water supply.

A Note from The Neighborhood Watch
This past quarter was relatively quiet. A landscaper's locked truck was broken into and his equipment taken while he was mowing a customer's lawn around the corner. He was one of four reported landscapers that day in Waterford Lakes who were victims of similar thefts.

But guess what - it's summertime again!

Overnight on June 24-25 a resident's locked car was broken into (window smashed) and the stereo taken. The thieves tried to break into another car in same driveway at the same time, but were scared off. There were 8 other incidents reported to Orange County Sheriff's Dept. throughout Waterford Lakes on the same night, and previous reports of same-type incidents in the past month in neighboring developments.
Another unlocked car was entered in a different driveway on a different night.

As a reminder, please keep your cars and garage doors locked, and don't leave your garage remote in any car in the driveway.

Also reported in Cypress Isles - vans driving very slowly through the development during the day -perhaps casing the area. A homeowner got 1 tag number and will report to OC Sheriff. Please be alert to this.

Just a few reminders now that vacation time is here:
* Have a neighbor take in those papers and assorted flyers from the front door.
* Make sure that a neighbor has a number where you can be reached in case of an emergency. Also line up someone who can shut down your audible alarm if triggered. A close lightning strike can trigger them -- this has happened to several homeowners. These alarms don't have to be set for them to go off when lightning strikes close to the home.
* Use timers inside and outside the house.
* Those who have new trees please have them watered.

Have a nice safe summer from your Watch Coordinators…


Limits of Authority
"Tension is the great integrity."
R. Buckminster Fuller

"You're not the boss of me," protested my little brother when we were both toddlers and I tried to tell him what to do. He was right, of course. Mom and Dad were the bosses of us; they had all the power. Mom's and Dad's authority became more limited as ours became more developed, forming a model for a lifetime of balanced-power arrangements.

But enough about me. This is about the relationships between the Waterford Lakes Community Association (WLCA), the Cypress Isles Neighborhood Association (CINA), and you (you). Each one has limited authority over the other two.

Like any representative government, both the WLCA and the CINA derive all of their authority and most of their power from legal documents. The rest of their power comes from the people they represent. Legal documents authorizing the WLCA are contained in those white-and-navy Waterford Lakes binders that were handed out last year. Those documents establish the community wide standard for the entire Waterford Lakes community, all 3,104 homes of us, and recognize the importance and authority of the Neighborhood Associations and Neighborhood Representatives. The legal document authorizing the CINA is crisply titled as the Declaration of Neighborhood Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions of Waterford Lakes Tract N25-A Neighborhood Association, Inc.

WLCA Article III, Sections 1 and 2, define Membership in WLCA and Allocation of Voting Rights. Article VII, Neighborhoods, authorizes the senior official in each neighborhood to cast all the votes for that neighborhood when WLCA business calls for voting by the Members. Basically, you vote for CINA board members once a year, in person, at the CINA annual meeting. Your CINA representative votes for WLCA board members once a year at the WLCA annual meeting. The elected Directors then deal with the business of the Association at their public meetings for the length of their term.

With so little popular voting, what keeps things from going wrong? Limits of authority and transparency. Limits of authority as specified in legal documents ensure a balance of power, and transparency allows everyone to see what is going on. The ARC, for example, has broad powers to maintain outside property appearances (Articles VIII, Architectural Control, and IX, Enforcement), but the ARC must stay within specified guidelines concerning materials, location, harmony with surroundings, and effects on adjacent properties (Article VIII, Sections 2F and 4). The ARC cannot specify how you decorate the inside of your house, but is required to ensure that exterior colors are in keeping with community standards. On the other hand, residents have limited authority as well, and cannot, for example, advance personal agendas that conflict with community standards by trying to intimidate board members at monthly meetings.

Transparency removes the stickiness from otherwise sticky situations. Some situations may have the potential for conflict of interest, but as long as the potential conflict is publicly recognized beforehand, the process can be adjusted (such as abstaining from voting) to make sure that nobody has an unfair advantage. Our president is also the president of Penn First Management, our management company, so he disclosed this fact prior to the election at the Annual Meeting and was subsequently elected by the members. To prevent any conflict of interest, he abstains from voting on issues related to the management company. If he, as the senior official of CINA, were to be faced with a need to abstain from voting at the WLCA level for an issue regarding the management company, his abstention would unfairly remove Cypress Isles from the voting process, so another CINA Board member is likely to vote in his place. Other examples of transparency are published meeting minutes and annual audits, both mandated by the legal documents to provide full disclosure of all transactions that are funded by our dues. Boards that exceed their legal limits of authority are subject to civil action.

Without limits of authority and transparency, homeowner associations could become arbitrary dictatorships. Fortunately, legal documents keep them in check, and the residents have full access to what is going on.
Dennis Horazak

Hats Off Commendations
Doorknockers are friendly reminders to mow, trim, maintain, replace, move or remove, or repaint something. Hats Off awards are given to homeowners who do exceptional property maintenance.
The Doorknockers and "Hats Off" for April and May are shown below.









 Hats Off




The ARC did not issue doorknockers or hats offs for June because we've had nothing but rain. Even the most dedicated weeder hasn't had a chance to get out and clean up.
Remember - grass clippings are NOT to be blown into the street. If you hire a lawn maintenance company, be sure they are aware of this also.

Cypress Isles Plans Fall Festival
The Cypress Isles Festival Committee has announced plans to have a Fall Festival for residents. The event will be on Crystal River Drive on a Saturday in late September, and will be at least partially funded by our Homeowners Association.
The 7-member Festival Committee is off to an excellent start, meeting at the end of May to brainstorm a great variety of topics including date and time, location, theme, fun for neighbors, fun for kids, food, funding, and other issues.
If you would like to help on this committee, please contact Allen Huck at 407-384-6806, or e-mail him at
Look for a flyer in your door with more details as they develop.
Allen Huck, Festival Committee Chair

Upcoming CI Meetings
All CI Board meetings are held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month. The next few meetings will be:

July 16, Aug. 20, Sept. 17, and Oct. 15

Mark your calendars, and try to attend. They are interesting, informative, and offer a chance to meet your neighbors, as well as see your board at work.

Orange County Community Conference
Remember that Community Conference - "Neighborhoods in Action" -- that you didn't attend last year? Well, here's your chance to go this year. It will be held at the Expo Center on August 17th. We the editors attended last year and thoroughly enjoyed the workshops. It was well worth the $10 per person, which included continental breakfast and lunch. You must be pre-registered, no on-site registration. By the time you get this newsletter, the registration forms & current fee information should be available at Penn First Mgt. Office - 453 Mark Twain Blvd. Stop in to pick up a form, or call them at 407-282-9988 to have a form faxed.