//Draft Minutes--Board of Directors accepted on October 9, 2006--pending approval by general BTPOA membership//
Bent Tree Property Ownersí Association
Property Owners Annual Meeting Minutes
Thursday, September 14th, 2006
Board Members: Gail Bates, Duane Fitch, John Heiser, Kathy Decker, and Debbi Maser. John Heiser presided.
Property Owners: Listed in Appendix A
1) Presentation: Welcome to the BTPOA
a) At 6:45 pm, John Heiser welcomed all attendees and, in accordance with SB05-100 and SB06-89, presented an Owner Education slide-show, discussing the history of Bent Tree, the Bent Tree organization, Bent Tree property owner rights and responsibilities, and a summary of the governing documents.
b) Sign-up sheets were available for attendees to determine count of properties represented to determine if a quorum had been established.
c) Sign-up sheets were distributed to the attendees asking for volunteers for the various Bent Tree committees.
d) The BTPOA attorney, Mr. Lebel, was introduced.
e) BOD and ACC members were introduced.
2) Determination of quorum:
a) Steve Bassett III, Jim Maser, and Patrice Stevens volunteered as tellers. A motion was made by Helen Fichtel to approve these residents as official tellers. The motion was seconded by Duane Fitch. All votes were in favor. Upon review by the tellers of the sign-in rosters, quorum was established with 56 lots represented (needed 39 for quorum).
3) Call to order, welcome, and conduct of the meeting:
a) Meeting was called to order at 7:20pm. John provided brief summary of the conduct of the meeting, to include overview of the rules that would be applied to speaking, motions, debates, voting, elections, and adjournment.
4) Motions to approve the agenda and accept the election officials:
a) A motion was made by Richard Johnson to approve the agenda and accept the election officials. Motion was seconded by Bruce Bates. All votes were in favor.
5) Approval of the minutes of the September 16, 2005 Annual Meeting and the February 16, 2006 Budget Meeting:
a) A motion was made by Steve Fuhrmann to approve both the 2005 Annual Meeting minutes and the 2006 Budget Meeting minutes. Motion was seconded by Richard Johnson. All votes were in favor.
6) Revised BTPOA Rules and Regulations (R&Rís):
a) John Heiser presented the Revised BTPOA R&Rís, to include background information that the R&Rís distributed in 2004 and adopted in 2005 were 11 pages, and the revised version was 21 pages, predominantly to incorporate the requirements of SB05-100 and SB06-89. Compliments were given to Steve Fuhrmann who had drafted the previous version.
b) A question was asked who is on the Covenant Compliance Committee (CCC), and was answered that Gail Bates is the current CCC POC. A brief description of the covenant compliance process was given:
i) When the CCC exhausts its efforts for a resident to comply with the covenants, the violation is turned over to the BOD. A hearing is scheduled by the BOD and then the BOD determines what action is required.
(1) Violator must correct the violation and/or fines may be imposed.
(2) The fines established are steep to prevent violations.
(3) Non-payment of fines may result in additional fines or liens on the property.
ii) A question was asked by Patrice Stevens if the BOD keeps records of CCC violations and actions taken? Answered with yes, records are maintained by the CCC and, in accordance with the SB requirements, it is now required that written records are kept of all correspondence between the HOA and residents.
iii) A question was asked if hearings would be held at the regular BOD meetings. Answered with yes, and that the BOD meetings are now scheduled to be held monthly, and that residents who had been notified of non-compliance were encouraged to attend.
iv) A question was asked by John Decker if the attendees at this meeting were going to vote on the changes to the R&Rís. Answered no, these changes had, in accordance with the BTPOA roles and responsibilities, already been approved by a vote of the BOD. Homeowners are encouraged to attend the BOD meetings and provide input to the BOD. Attendees were informed that if they wanted email notification of future BOD meetings, to provide their email addresses to the BOD. E-mail notification sign-up sheets were circulated. The BTPOA Bylaws require a three-day prior notification of BOD meetings, and Steve Fuhrmann has been posting these notices on the Bent Tree website. Those without e-mail or web access, may request notification by phone or mail.
v) A statement was made that it would be prudent to have covenant complaints made by the CCC, rather than pit neighbor against neighbor. Bruce Bates recommended that complaints should remain anonymous to prevent retaliation among neighbors, and that the CCC should be identified as the complainant to the violator. It was agreed that this was the most appropriate way, however in some cases, the CCC may not be able to verify the violation (e.g., barking or loose dogs, fireworks, noise or nuisance complaints) and complainants may want to attend the hearings at the BOD meetings.
vi) Claude Todaro asked for further explanation regarding the BODís ability to modify the R&Rís. Mr. Lebel stepped in to answer this by first complimenting John Heiser on his presentation and that he was very impressed with Johnís answers to the various questions being asked. Mr. Lebel proceeded to explain the governing documents of the BTPOA using an analogy to the Constitution of the United States as follows: The Constitution is the ďsupreme lawĒ but doesnít address the specifics of how the laws will be enforced. Enforcement is done thru Congress which appoints committees and we elect officials who define the specific application of the laws, but that those laws cannot conflict with the Constitution. Mr. Lebel compared the Constitution to the BTPOA covenants, which from these covenants, the interpretation of how to enforce them is defined in our BTPOA Bylaws and R&Rís. It was then asked if owners didnít agree with the revision to the R&Rís, what actions could they take, which was answered that all owners are encouraged to attend the BOD meetings to share their opinions for the BODís consideration in modifying the R&Rís.
vii) Dean Hawk asked why the owners werenít notified of the changes and Debbi Radke asked why didnít the BOD send our letters advising the owners of these changes? John Heiser stated that volunteers to help achieve SB05-100 and SB06-89 had been solicited at prior meetings. Those who volunteered were included on e-mail circulation of the drafts of the revised R&Rs. John stated that in addition to the added expense of frequent mailings, homeowners are invited to attend any and all of the BOD meetings. Duane Fitch stated that the BODís goal in revising the R&Rís was to be fair to the homeowners in Bent Tree, and that hours of research had been done with other HOAs, and the ultimate goal was to ensure compliance with the SB requirements. He also reiterated that residents are invited to be involved in the actions of the BOD, and that owners are encouraged to the meetings to express their opinions and concerns to the BOD.
viii) Bill Dunston commented that he agreed that the BOD should enforce the rules, but suggested that if there is a violation and a fine imposed, that the owner could then take the HOA to court, and suggested that perhaps the HOA should hire a lawyer to resolve issues. Mr. Lebel responded that even if the BOD didnít adopt the revised R&Rís, that in accordance with state statues, the ability for the HOA to fine owners is still legal. The R&Rís protect the homeowners by providing consistency and the opportunity and method to resolve issues without going to court (which would probably be more expensive than a fine due to legal fees). Mr. Lebel was also emphatic that if the covenants are violated, that owners deserve to be fined, citing not only Biblical references and that the covenants are a promise made to other owners to obey the rules, but also that the covenants are a legally binding document owners agree to when they purchased their property in Bent Tree.
ix) Matt Dunston asked if someone violates a covenant and cannot pay the fine and cannot afford a lawyer, could there be a lien put on the property? Mr. Lebel answered, yes, and that could even lead to foreclosure on the property. Matt Dunston asked if the possibility exists to be fined in accordance with the schedule of fines in the R&Rís, how has Bent Tree functioned in the past? Mr. Lebel responded that there are many homeowner associations that have never had to fine and have never had lawsuits. The fines structure defined in the R&Rís will only apply if the rules are broken.
x) Claude Todaro stated that he thought the changes shouldíve been discussed with the residents. Mr. Lebel restated that the R&Rís protect the residents and the association, and that the prior R&Rís had been approved, and the current version incorporates the state mandates.
xi) Jan Jones asked how much was the BTPOA paying for Mr. Lebelís services. Mr. Lebel answered that he was being paid $215/hr for the time that he was speaking.
xii) Jan Jones asked if there was a limitation on the fines. Mr. Lebel answered there is no limitation.
xiii) Steve Bassett III stated his understanding that the SB has given homeowners the right to consistency thru the R&Rís. Mr. Lebel agreed, stating the in case there are issues, the R&Rís defined a consistent process for Bent Tree.
xiv) Jim Maser summarized his understanding that the covenant process defined in the R&Rís is not an automatic fine process. The process is defined that upon notification and verification of a covenant violation, the CCC sends a letter to the violator putting him on notice to correct. If the violator does not correct the violation or repeats the violation, the issue is presented to the BOD for review and potential resolution. If the issue isnít resolved, the violation is not corrected, or is repeated, then the owner is fined, but the fine is the last resort. The fine structure is put in place to put ďteethĒ behind the covenant enforcement process, and if there is no fine structure, the BOD has no recourse to enforce the covenants. Jim Maser said that there is a defined process before it ever gets to a fine situation. Mr, Lebel added that Jimís summary was absolutely correct, well stated, and exactly right.
xv) Steve Bassett asked how many residents there were in Bent Tree. John answered 257 lots about 200 of which have houses on them. Steve asked how many attended the last annual property ownersí meeting, and John said it was believed to be around 30-40. John once again emphasized that it is the responsibility of the residents to attend and participate in BTPOA meetings.
7) ACC Election to fill one 3-year position (currently occupied by Bruce Bates) ending at the 2009 Annual Meeting
a) Given the opportunity to make a candidate statement, Bruce Bates stated that he would volunteer to continue in his role on the ACC. There are three members of the ACC and he was emphatic that the ACC would take a hard stand to ensure the ACC requirements were met. He said that the ACC had not fined anyone prior to him being on the committee, and that if something is built on your property without ACC approval, you have agreed you will pay the $300 fine.
b) Jan Jones expressed her opinion that the ACC should have a ďhumanitarianĒ approach.
c) Gail Bates stated that Bruce Bates treats everyone the same, works very hard and is committed to the ACC.
d) There were no other candidates for the ACC position. Shawn Raintree made a motion to close the nominations. Motion was seconded by Barry Wyttenbach. All votes were in favor of closing the nominations.
e) Mark Woish made a motion of acclamation for Bruce to fill the ACC position. The motion was seconded by Steve Bassett. There were 35 votes in favor, 5 votes against, and 2 abstained. Bruce Bates was elected to the ACC position.
8) Treasurerís Report Ė Kathy Decker
a) There were no questions on the Treasurerís Report. Gladys Perry made a motion to accept the Treasurerís Report. Motion was seconded by Mark Woish. All votes were in favor; the Treasurerís Report was approved.
9) Confirmation of board member appointments
a) Duane Fitch, position ending at the 2007 Annual Meeting.
i) Duane Fitch said he would stand for election. Given the opportunity to make a candidate statement, Duane stated that a great deal of thought has gone into the revised R&Rís. He totaled it up and determined that each BOD member had put in about 160 hours working on this. He attended NEPCO meetings, and did research with CCIOA to find out what has been done to incorporate the requirements of SB05-100 and SB06-89 in other HOAís. He suggested that the property owners review these, and repeated that the mission of the BOD is to represent the homeowners, and therefore the BOD wants and needs homeowner participation to make decisions that represent the homeowners. He also stated that it was impractical to solicit input from all 250 homeowners, so the BOD had spent a lot of time, did a lot of work, and gave it our best shot, and itís a product we can stand behind which reflects the requirements of the SBís, CCIOA, NEPCO, etc. He mentioned that he also one of the three members of the ACC.
ii) A motion to confirm Duane on the BOD was made by Patrice Stevens. Motion was seconded by Steve Bassett III. All votes were in favor. Duane Fitch was elected to the BOD position.
b) Debbi Maser, position ending at the 2008 Annual Meeting.
i) Debbi Maser stated she would stand for election. Given the opportunity to make a candidate statement, she said she was new to Bent Tree, having moved here in April, and is new to the workings of an HOA and a BOD. She has her degree in Business and is a Vice President of a Fortune 500 company. She shared that the reason she is serving on the BOD now is because she genuinely cares about keeping Bent Tree a nice area and wants to contribute however she can to preserve that.
ii) A motion to confirm Debbi Maser on the BOD was made by Steve Bassett III. Motion was seconded by John Decker. All votes were in favor. Debbi Maser was elected to the BOD position.
10) Director Election to fill position vacated by the resignation of Kathy Decker ending at the 2007 Annual Meeting.
a) John Heiser had received an email from Bill McDonnell volunteering to be on the BOD. There were no other candidates for the vacancy created by Kathyís resignation, so a motion for acclamation was made by Gail Bates for Bill McDonnell to be on the BOD. Motion was seconded by Mark Woish. All votes were in favor. Bill McDonnell was elected to the BOD position.
b) Additional discussion regarding the financial background Bill McDonnell has (MS in Finance). Carolyn Murphy made a motion to recommend Bill to assume the Treasurerís potion. Motion was seconded by John Decker. All votes were in favor.
11) Director Election to fill two 3-year positions (currently occupied by Gail Bates and John Heiser) ending at the 2009 Annual Meeting.
a) John and Gail stated they would stand for re-election.
b) A motion was made by Don Fichtel to re-elect both John and Gail, but was then amended to elect Gail Bates to fill one of the BOD positions. Motion was seconded by Mark Woish. There were 35 votes in favor, 3 votes against, and 1 abstained. Gail Bates was elected to the BOD position.
c) A motion was made for John Heiser to fill one of the BOD positions. Motion was seconded by Shawn Raintree. All votes were in favor. John Heiser was elected to the BOD position.
d) Jan Jones asked if there was still a quorum for the purposes of having a valid election, and Mr. Lebel answered yes, a quorum established at the beginning of a meeting stands for the entire meeting.
12) Resident remarks on items not on the agenda.
a) Dean Hawk stated he had received an email from the Chair of the ACC. Mr. Hawk was very upset and asked to meet with the BOD as soon as possible. He also stated that the BOD was making decisions without owner input. Another resident asked Dean Hawk if he had ever attended any of the BOD meetings to express his opinions, and he said he hadnít. Gail Bates then responded to Mr. Hawkís concerns about the email he received by stating that the CCC had received multiple complaints about the noise nuisance from the church gathering Mr. Hawk held at his house, and that guests at the Hawkís were trespassing on the neighborís property. Mr. Lebel stepped in to reiterate that this meeting was NOT the forum to discuss this issue, and that if there was a covenant violation, it would go thru the process defined by the BOD.
b) Allan Thaut asked for clarification when the Bent Tree covenants could be modified. John Heiser answered that the Bent Tree I and Bent Tree II covenants cannot be changed for 25 years after incorporation, which he believes is 2010. Allan stated that the R&Rís are okay, but with the current contention with the covenants, he wouldnít buy in Bent Tree now.
c) Herb Wetzel asked about paving of Regal Glen. John Heiser stated that that is not done by the HOA. Jan Jones suggested that he contact the County Road Department, and that typically the owners would pay for the materials and the city would pay the labor to pave a road.
d) Cyndi McIntosh stated that the BOD says theyíll listen to the owners, but how is that done? Mr. Lebel stated that owners can come to the BOD meetings, and that there is a process for owners to speak at these meetings.
e) A question was asked about standard communication from the BOD regarding covenant violations, and John confirmed that there are form letters and that the CCC is required to send letters out to owners who have violated the covenants. John also stated that a management company or agent may be needed to provide this support, and this topic may be revisited.
f) Patrick Quinlan stated that he was a new owner in Bent Tree, that he had belonged to HOAís for the last 15-20 years, and that the dues in his prior HOAís increased four times when a management company was brought in to do this, so he really appreciated the efforts of the BOD.
g) Howard Schmitz stated that the trails in Bent Tree are a mess, that there are washouts and ditches off of Higby. John commented that there are issues with how the trails were cut and that they didnít follow the natural terrain, and that there is a Beautification Committee that is looking for volunteers, so hopefully enough people will sign up for this committee and the trails can be improved.
h) John Anderson, Chair of the Forest Management Committee, stated that the residents of Bent Tree have done a good job this year and the year before controlling mountain beetles. He has only received 31 calls this year, and only 4 of them turned out to have problems. He also said heís been getting a lot of calls recently as residents are concerned about the brown needles on the pine trees. He explained that the browning of the needles on lower branches is normal and seasonal, that the trees shed every three years to make room for more growth. However, if the the needles at the top of the trees are turning brown, please call him immediately!
i) Herb Wetzel stated that he thought that there should be standard letters from the BOD. There was discussion about owners getting notifications via email, and people who wanted this were encouraged to sign up and provide their email address to the BOD.
13) A motion was made by Bruce Bates to adjourn the property ownersí meeting at 9:30pm. Motion was seconded by Steve Bassett. All votes were in favor. Meeting adjourned.
Minutes prepared by Debbi Maser, BTPOA Secretary, 9/25/06
Approved at BTPOA BOD Meeting 10/9/06
Appendix A: ATTENDEES
TOTAL RESIDENTS ATTENDING: 54
TOTAL VOTES REPRESENTED: 56 (two attendees have two lots)