January 2009 Board Meeting Minutes

Rhondda Homeowner's Association
Minutes of Board Meeting
January 19, 2009
The President called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.

A request to the Architectural Committee from a resident to install new windows was discussed and approved by all members.

Minutes: It was clarified that a former board member resigned for personal reasons and that filling a vacancy with the candidate who has the next highest number of votes is "tradition." The minutes were approved as corrected.

Maintenance Report 
Winter duties performed include clean up of iced damaged trees and trips to the dump. Priority items include: 
installation of heat wraps on water pipes in the Hankin Center, waterproofing and painting of a wall in the Farm House, a new "Rhondda" sign at the entrance at Bausman Road and Ship Road. 
Spring projects include stenciling the parking lots, playground maintenance, filling in ruts with soil, seed, and straw on the courts, and trimming trees in "high profile" areas such as Bausman Road. 

The tennis courts were discussed relative to fence needing repair and the arborvitaes needing attention because they are falling over. The tennis court in the middle of the others is sinking and it might be more cost effective to convert it to a basketball court. The arborvitaes could be removed and replaced with wind fences which Rhondda has in storage. Concerns about noise and vandalism remain. A Neighborhood Watch and security needs to be established before any new activity is added to the area.

In regard to security, efforts must be made to engage the Uwchlan police to enforce trespassing after dark even if the individuals are Rhondda residents
. Curfew is 11 p.m. for youth. A few kids are doing serious things, but the majority of Rhondda kids are good citizens; building a relationship with the police and getting more activities going for teens might help. A meeting with the police will be scheduled to discuss this issue. Residents will also be asked via the President's Message in the Roster to leave lights on at night.

Maintenance will continue the brush clearing project in progress based on what the budget allows. The project was begun because there weeds were crowding out more desirable plantings and areas were being used for underage drinking. There is money allotted for clearing and spraying (if desired).

There are new safety rules for swimming pool drains that need to be implemented before the pool opens. The pool company will evaluate what is needed and the cost could be between $200 and $2,000.

The Maintenance Committee met with a painting contractor and toured the courts with cedar to get an idea of the current problems. Options are being explored for above the roof line; vinyl siding is the most cost effective product, but homeowner party wall responsibility and access must be very clearly defined. The recommendation is that the decision to replace well-maintained cedar be left with the homeowner. A solid color stain is another option; fiber cement is not recommended for above the roof line it is more expensiv

Property Manager's Report 

Dues: Many telephone calls were received by the office and made by the office staff to homeowners whose January dues had not yet been paid to alert them about the new $18 late penalty. Typed letters were also put in doors of homeowners who could not be contacted by telephone. A strategy for residents who pay but pay late would be for them to pay a month ahead so that they are never late.

The Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon is scheduled for Sunday, January 25th. A guest pass for the pool will be sent out to each volunteer as is customary.

W2's, 1099's and the tax return are on schedule.

Service Directory: Those who want to be listed for a service should be responsible for calling to make changes or to remove themselves from the list. Calls will be made to individuals to ensure the accuracy of their listing.

Treasurer's Report
The amount budgeted for snow removal in 2008 exceeded the amount paid out for snow removal in 2008, so the difference was deposited in the Emergency Snow Fund. Details are included in account summaries distributed with the agenda. 

President's Report
Election Platform: The new Board members publicized their "platform" to residents prior to the election and feel a responsibility to uphold those promises. The platform included the following:
  • full disclosure of Board meetings/actions
  • decision-making power in the hands of the residents on a court-by-court basis, if necessary
  • guidance provided to residents to assist them with the above process
  • updating of community appearance
  • launching of the website
The above plan was approved with emphasis on putting the decision-making power in the hands of residents on a court-by-court basis, especially as it pertains to updating the appearance of the community. One Board member was opposed to the this plan because it is a very "fragmented approach"; individual dues are paid for the common good and not for the individual courts to make their own decisions. The Board member was assured that it would not be a means for individual residents to do as they please, but a means of breaking the community down into manageable groups to have court meetings and a democratic process for reaching a decision. 
Filling of open Board position:
The procedure used for filling the term of the Board member who resigned in December was discussed, i.e. the person with the next number of votes fills the term and the Board members vote on the decision was reviewed. The  December 15th vote approving another resident on the ballot to fill the term stands. It was suggested that the procedure 
which has become the custom should be written into the bylaws or whatever document can be used to record the process; this suggestion was not acted upon.

Old Business:
Confidentiality Agreement: The document drawn up by the attorney goes too far in limiting information to the community and not far enough in regard to mutual respect. A "hand shake" agreement to be respectful to one another and to residents was agreed upon with all members in favor.

The community needs to be involved with the Board so all discussions should be respectful; the meeting will be stopped if discussions get too heated. If a Board member or committee member makes a habit of being disrespectful, it is grounds for dismissal. All were in favor.

The Rhondda website can now be accessed on the Internet even though development is still in progress. It will be possible for minutes to be viewed and commented on by Board members on line; once approved, they can be available to residents for viewing on the website within a very short time.
Other uses of the website could include automatic debit/transfer, access to rules and regulations, and alerts to urgent community matters. Freecycle Rhondda may be approved in the future. The web address for Rhondda is www.rhonddahoa.org.

New Business:
Violations of Architectural Guidelines and failure to pay dues:
Best practice for homeowner's associations encourages mediation. The consensus was that a mediation committee might successfully negotiate the paying of dues, but it is not as likely to be successful in resolving disputes between neighbors. 
Residents should be encouraged to sit down with the property manager to work out a payment plan.
Retaining wall dispute:
Per the advice of counsel, a letter will be sent to the resident with a copy to their attorney stating that this is a dispute between neighbors and must be settled privately by the two parties involved. 

Architectural Violations:
Sanctions against two residents due to changing their cedar finish from clear to solid color stain without prior approval were removed since rules governing the cedar are still under consideration. Pending a decision from their individual court, these residents are expected to comply with their court's cedar decision. There was dissension from one Board member who felt that "the line needs to be drawn somewhere" and abstained from vote; all others voted in favor of this decision. 
Caution was urged based on past history.

Concerns about the extent of committee authority to approve changes to homes without Board consultation were discussed; there must always be a Board liaison involved in each committee. Individual interpretations of what is an exact replacement makes it difficult to have maintenance actions that do not require committee approval. Best practice suggests that associations strive to have fewer rules and strict enforcement of the rules they do have. The checklist for use during the annual walk-through is nearing completion. It is desirable to post the walk-through dates ahead of time so that homeowners can have a face-to-face meeting with the inspectors. These changes are meant to build community. Seasonal reminders about mowing, snow removal, etc. in the Roster are helpful. The Board's goal is to know what alternatives are going to be offered homeowners by the end of February and meet with courts during March with the majority of homeowners weighing in on the decision.
Volunteer of the Year Award:
There were three individual names submitted for the award. The winner was chosen to receive the award.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 p.m.
Next meeting:  Monday, February 16th 

Respectfully submitted,