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September 2009 Quarterly Meeting Minutes

Rhondda Homeowners Association

Quarterly Homeowners Meeting

September 8, 2009
 
Meeting called to order at: 7:02 p.m.

The President welcomed residents and said that she is happy to see the large turnout; residents are here about the election, but there are other subjects to discuss such as the tennis courts (repairs), the last day of the pool leading on to snow and problems related to snow removal such as lots jammed with parked cars and the plan to paint snow zones on court pavement.


Brush trimming issues are to be addressed shortly. It is recognized that some courts have been earmarked for asphalt repair; Maintenance will provide leadership in this area; there has been an issue of not adhering to a set schedule, but it is in the budget to do the repairs.


Landscaping: The committee is getting ready to do some specific plantings in the Bausman area with plants native to Pennsylvania. There are areas in the courts where the grass has been worn away by residents parking on the turf; notes should be put on windshields when cars are parked on the grass.


Other questions about maintenance:  A Talgrath resident brought up the issue with overgrowth behind their row and an "awning" that is falling down and is close to pulling the neighbor's gutter down.


The "walkthru" process continues in non-cedar courts and volunteers are always needed; the plan is to gather volunteers from each individual court and to pair with residents who are experienced in the process. There was a question about aggregate showing in sidewalks and what passes and what doesn't. It was clarified that when the concrete breaks away from the aggregate producing pitting and gravel, a sidewalk is nearing the need for replacement; "needs improvement" is a great notation for residents who need to begin planning for sidewalk replaciement. There were no further questions about the walkthru process.


The Color Selection Process for cedar is moving forward on the courts where residents were able to reach consensus. The President described the process on Caernarvon Ct.; having a small group of residents research colors to make a recommendation, canvassing of owners and then coming to the Board with a 91% agreement of all residents.


A resident asked why an anticipated letter was not sent out to residents about the color selection question. He also suggested that the Bylaws say the Board cannot have decisions made on a court by court basis. The President clarified that the Bylaws don't say that the Board can't do that as a means of surveying the residents. Another resident  asked why the Bylaws weren't changed; in the past a committee was convened to revise the Bylaws and then taken to the Board to make the change.


A resident voiced her hope that residents can be calm about change and pointed out that a committee was established two years ago to review guidelines and then disbanded by the Board who decided that they would make the decisions themselves. The question of cedar maintenance/ treatment was discussed with the argument that everyone must go back to pristine cedar, but the question is how all residents would be able to do that. Last year, a Board member did a court-by-court survey using another Board member's home as a standard; 84% of the residents in cedar courts had wood that would require more than routine treatment to return it to pristine condition. It is a Board initiative to have court residents take some responsibility for the appearance of their court. An investor said that it was getting harder to sell the houses. Caernarvon Ct. residents want to be respected for coming to consensus the right way with the knowledge that there is no chance that residents are going to put in a skate park, or something objectionable. There are minor procedural issues that must be addressed to go forward, but it is being done to build property values and a sense of community.


Another resident voiced her main complaint that a court's cedar will not be uniform if both clear and solid color stain are allowed; another resident pointed out that the courts are not uniform as they are with Lampeter and other brick townhouse courts having different colors. If a court doesn't want to change, then they don't have to, but residents of a court should make their decision together. The idea of using a solid color stain was brought before a previous board as a means to improve the community and it was turned down flat.


Another resident thinks the Architectural Committee has not done sufficient work to address the houses that need work. A Board member pointed out that the new walkthru process is a means to gain consistency. A resident brought up the fact that there were color options for each court and if Caernarvon Court has selected a different color scheme with other options why should that be an issue for other courts. A resident of Rhondda for 18 years and a cedar unit for 15 years pointed out that there are all different colors on our cedar; clear cedar with little or no maintenance has been going on for a long time. The whole goal has been to get some uniformity in a cost effective manner; it cost one resident $1400 when he was required to return his wood to pristine cedar in order to sell his house. The Board has been trying to come up with a cost effective solution;  solid color stain only needs to be reapplied every 10 years. There have been many changes since the homes were built; pigments used originally are not available. The Color Selection Process has been discussed all year long, at every board meeting. To stay with clear cedar, it must be brought back to pristine condition and then retreated every two years. The President repeated that the idea has been to allow courts to come to consensus - always to allow the courts to discuss and come to agreement. A resident of Conway Ct. said that she doesn't know what her neighbors thoughts are, but she would like to know. She knows it is her desire to work towards consensus, but who is supposed to take the responsibility for further discussion. She would like the results from her court's initial meeting. The President acknowledged this request.


A resident of S. Snowdon Ct. is in agreement with the need to update the look of the community. She wants all the doors the same color and if the cedar is going to be changed, then it all homes on the court need to change. Storm doors are an issue because they are not made to be painted.


A resident pointed out that the same conversations were held on Caernarvon Ct. on August 4th. There were concerns about the color of storm doors, but the residents worked through it all knowing that residents don't want to have to replace their doors but also trying to be considerate of neighbors. She said that there were comments to the group who lead the discussion of "wow, you listened to me." There is going to have to be a transition period but it was an added bonus when so many people decided to go ahead with their painting immediately because they realized how great it was going to look. another resident from Caernarvon commented that their whole court is going to be all solid color by the deadline of June 2010, so there will be no differences. A resident from S. Snowdon expressed his opinion that a solid color stain gives a better uniform look and longer life. He doesn't understand why the Board didn't demand total consensus and thinks the Board should do that. A Board member restated that if a court decides to have only a solid color stain that is the final decision, but if the majority wants the pristine clear, then that can be the choice and will be in the architectural guidelines as the requirement for that court. Another resident related her technique for applying the CWF clear and she believes it works well.


Another resident from Conway Court brought up that there are "good number" of rental properties but he hasn't seen the owners to know their choice. He is in favor of having the opportunity to choose colors, but there needs to be a majority and it is difficult to get to that point. There is a need to establish someone in authority to go forward; their court meeting was 1 person short of a quorum. He thinks that a meeting should be set and every court resident needs to attend or send a representative.


The President asked for any other "brief" comments:


A resident said that uniformity still comes down to the cedar and it is always going to be an issue. She thinks everyone on a court should go to the solid color stain with a deadline because everyone trying to return their wood to the natural cedar color will never result in uniformity. It is her belief that the Board should take it upon themselves to say that everyone needs to go to a solid color stain, but allow the courts to negotiate their color, and a deadline should be set for changing to the chosen color. The President explained that clear was left as an option because the previous Board made that decision and it was not the desire of the current Board to overturn the decision.


A resident suggested that there is a need to get in touch with investor owners to address issues with their homes and also to build community. Kudos to the women on Caernarvon Ct. who led their court to consensus.


Another resident offered to assist Conway Court residents with the process; it was clarified that a leader needs to be established to facilitate a "once and for all" decision.


Another resident commented that no matter what their opinion, every court resident needs to be spoken to about the process and choice; this requires a lot of knocking on doors and perseverance.


Another resident who has been in the community for 32 years commented that he has seen a lot of different personalization of homes that he thought was not allowed. He feels that owners take better care of their homes and the Association  should "go after" the investor owner.


A Talgrath Ct. resident stated that they voted to keep their original colors and wonders why would they be forced to change their court. Her understanding is that Talgrath Ct is to be only pristine cedar with no solid color stain.


A resident from Neyland Ct. asked why the Association can't hold a landlord meeting and why don't investor owners come to meetings. She asked if they are ever required to come to a meeting. (No one is required to come to a meeting whether they are residents or investor owners.)


A resident from Talgrath Ct. commented that the decision to have a change in colors happened fast,  and he doesn't feel that the process should have gone forward.The Secretary responded that there is a lot of difficulty with communication. The decision to begin the Color Selection Process has been publicized since the beginning of the year, but if residents do not read the Roster or come to meetings, they don't know what is going on. There has to be accountability on the part of the residents to know what is happening in the community. It was not the desire to delay the process until Summer, but issues such as a very rainy season postponed the court meetings. The same resident commented that he came to one meeting and he did not feel that it was well run.


The Chairperson of the Architectural Committee stated that the Board and Committee are trying to improve many aspects of the community that were not addressed by the last board and to include the residents in the process.


The discussion was ended in order to talk about the upcoming election and nominations.

Fred Vodde, Chairman of the Election Committee mentioned the September 1st deadline for mailing in a nomination. Fred Vodde reminded those present that biographies are needed for new nominees for the October Roster and should be turned in to the office. Ballots will be mailed to residents about mid-October and must be returned in mid-November. Election results will be announced in early December. He proceeded to announce the candidates and opened the floor for nominations.


President - Sue Patt and Debbie Dainis (nominated at the meeting) Jim Anderson was nominated but declined.

Vice President - no advance nomination, Tom McCandless (nominated at the meeting)

Secretary - Sally Burmeister

Treasurer - no advance nomination, Sara Dill (nominated at the meeting)

Directors (3 positions) - Joyce Fedora and, Frank Cetera

Anthony Cotugno, Mike Cassella, Gwenn Melcher, Chris Trevaskis, Barbara Guenst, and Michele DiMichele were nominated at the meeting.


The President recognized David Dunn who is not running for re-election and thanked him for his service. An investor/renter relations committee is an idea that David has supported in the past and one that should be pursued in the future.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Secretary


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