Ashford Park Homeowner’s Meeting Minutes
September 8, 2015
6:30 PM
Gulfway Church

 

Call to Order - Bob Webb

 

30 Owners were present, plus 7 Board Members, Bruce Stone, Board Attorney, and 1 Gulf Shores Policeman

 

Pledge of Allegiance - Diane Saunders

 

Prayer – Bob Webb: Heavenly Father: Give us open minds to see the perspectives of others, hearts large enough to understand their feelings, and the strength to bring fairness for all………Amen

 

Vision Statement - Diane Saunders

 

Board Communication Policy - (Implemented at March 2015 Board Meeting) The Board handles issues, complaints, comments, etc. using the “Contact Us” menu tab on the website or letters via U.S. Mail at Ashford Park HOA P.O. Box 1078 Foley, Alabama 36536. The purpose of this policy is to provide Board Members with a written account of each matter, time to conduct research as needed, and time to respond as a group in an official capacity. This procedure also eliminates non-productive, time consuming emotion-based arguing that was experienced at the February 12, 2015 Annual Meeting.

 

Three Gavel Rule – The Board uses a 3 gavel rule when in session.  The 1st gavel will be struck if someone is disrupting the meeting, the 2nd gavel will be struck if that person continues disrupting and is then asked to leave the premises, and the 3rd gavel will be struck if police intervention is necessary.  It is our hope that we can conduct tonight’s meeting in a peaceful and productive manner. Please understand any screaming or yelling after the meeting will be immediately handled by the police.

 

Security: Bob Webb - The Board, based on the yelling that occurred after the July Board Meeting, voted to hire an off-duty police officer at a cost of $140 to insure the safety of all people attending tonight’s meeting. We have a 3 gavel rule when in session.  Roll Call - Bob Webb.

 

Legal Report - Bruce Stone, Board Attorney-Mr. Stone spoke about his history, which began in early 2014, in representing the Board,  the events that led to filing of lawsuits against Tim O’Leary and Tom Abernathy for libel, slander, and interfering with the Business of the HOA. The events included distributing false information about the Board and Tom Abernathy’s decision to not take a vacant Board seat when it was offered. He also spoke about potential lawsuit against Adams Homes for their responsibility relative to the retention ponds. 

 

Treasurer’s Report

 

We need to make a Line Item Budget Amendment

  • We need to move:

    • $ 16.65 from Computer/Office Supplies 

    • $   6.00 from Income Tax & Prep 

    • $ 29.00 from Insurance 

    • $125.00 from Facility Rental 

    • $   8.00 from PO Box Fee 

    • and $ 86.88 from Utilities, which totals $271.53 

 

  • And move it to the following line items:

    • $ 16.13 to Printing/Reproduction

    • $   0.40 to Website/Web Services 

    • $ 30.00 to Audits 

    • and $225.00 to Legal, which also totals $271.53

 

We need to make a Budget Amendment. 

  • We need to move $5,780.00 out of Reserves 

  • And we need to move 

    • $   280.00 to a new line item:  Security 

    • and $5,500.00 to Legal

 

Informational Item - (Handout) January-August Budget Analysis Report/Balance Sheet

 

Action Item – Line Item Budget Amendment Passed by 6-0 Vote

 

Action Item – Budget Amendment-Move $5500 to the Legal Services line item from Reserves Passed by 6-0 vote

Informational Item Budget Amendment result-$280 was placed in a new line item labeled “Security”

 

Committee Reports

(1) Maintenance

 

At the meeting on the 25th I presented to other committee members and neighbors in attendance the costs to this date on maintenance issues that need to be addressed by the HOA for 2016 and beyond. Groups put together options to pay for the costs of these projects to include possible increase in HOA dues or special assessments. I am still seeking bids from other contractors for the lowest possible costs involved for these projects.

           

In early August the board approved a bid from Lee Steiner of $300.00 for cutting the center portion of the Hickory Street pond. Due to weather and water on the center portion of the pond Mr. Steiner has been unable to get his tractor out into the center of the pond to cut the overgrowth. In a phone conversation I had with Mr. Steiner on Friday Sept. 4th I was advised by Mr. Steiner that he believed the center of the pond was now dry enough to cut and he would be attempting it on Wed. Sept. 9th.

           

I was made aware of a letter sent by the City of Foley to the HOA board on Wed. Sept. 2nd. The letter was a notice dealing with the overgrowth of weeds and stagnant water. I met with the city on Fri. Sept. 4th. At the meeting I met with Leslie Gahagan environmental manager and Jaqueline Trimble environmental assistant. I showed the survey completed in June of 2014. I explained to them that the pond is a retention pond and not a detention pond. I explained to them that the design of the pond and the water that is held in the canals around the center. At the end of the meeting they requested an e-mail be sent to them to go over the things I had explained to them at the meeting. 

 

(2) Architectural

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) Finance-Legal

Our August 25 Committee meeting was treated as one big Finance Committee meeting.  Prior to the meeting, there were 2 homeowners handing out letters outside the library, and in some cases, during the meeting.  There was one Board member removed from the meeting when she objected to the letters being handed out during the meeting.  And there 

was one homeowner who was reprimanded by our President for talking while a table leader was giving her report.  

 

But, back to the purpose of the meeting:  Those present from all Committees, plus all homeowners present, a total of 37 in attendance, worked together to suggest various alternatives for our annual dues amounts for the next 3 years to cover the optional maintenance items as they so chose.  Those present split up into 4 smaller groups and discussed options and which items they wanted to pay for in which year, if at all.  We did have 11 dues alternatives turned in by the end of the night and we will use our next Committee meeting in October to further discuss these and other dues alternatives.  You, the homeowner, have a chance to be heard again in this big decision, so please plan to attend on October 27, 6:15 pm, at the Foley Public Library.

 

 

(4) Tech Communications

Regarding database accuracy, we started 2015 with less than 50% accuracy.  We are now at 87% accuracy.  We are lacking 28 owners updated database forms.  Board Member, Rosemary Kitchens has volunteered to knock on doors in Phase 8 where 15 of the 28 reside, who have not completed and returned their database update form.

 

(5) Covenant/By-Law Board Ad-Hoc Committee

We had our first meeting 9-04-15.  We started off with the documents as prepared by Dale Torrence and his sub-committee earlier this year.

 

We set a deadline of October 27 for completion of this work, but sooner would be better, since November 10 is the last Board meeting in 2015, and any proposed changes need to be ratified at that time.

 

Then these proposed changes will go before the homeowners — our voters — at the January 2016 Annual Meeting, but will be on the website before then for your review.

 

Our goals are to be simple and concise when possible, never have a Covenant or By-Law contradict another Covenant or By-Law, move the proper things into the proper document:  Certain things should be a Covenant and not a By-Law, and vice versa; and last, but certainly not least, to maintain property values in the neighborhood.

 

If you feel like you didn’t have a voice in the latest Covenants and By-Laws dated 2012, here’s your chance.  We would like input from homeowners — send us your ideas for Covenant and By-Law changes.  Our Committee will review all suggestions sent to the website or mailed to the PO Box and received or postmarked by October 12.  That gives us all a good month from today.  The time to speak up is NOW, not after the work is all done.

 

 

(6) HOA Outside Management Committee Ad-Hoc Committee

 

My lonely little Committee of one has gotten just one quote so far.  My first  contact was The Property Shop out of Daphne, who comes highly recommended by Bruce Stone, our HOA attorney. 

 

Their quote shows a cost per home of $504 if all 279 lots pay on time, and $563 per home if we use 250 as our number of homeowners who paid their dues on time, as we had this year.

 

This number represents all the duties that are currently being done by volunteers.  Speaking for myself, after the hundreds of hours I’ve personally put in just in the last few months, we have too few volunteers to continue to produce the level of service we’ve been providing on everyone’s behalf.  We need to have many more people not only volunteer but actually follow through, roll up your sleeves, and share in some of the hours of work that  benefit us all and keep us from needing a management company.

 

This number DOES NOT include all of our out-of-pocket expenses such as postage, insurance, income taxes, and groundskeeping, to name just a few.  Again, it mostly covers only the free hours of volunteer time we are getting currently. 

 

Because the election speeches have begun flooding the airwaves, I have one final closing comment:

Ask not what your HOA can do for you, but what you can do for your HOA.

 

 

Secretary’s Report - Diane

 

Action Item-approval or amendment of the July 14, 2015 HOA Board Meeting Minutes (3 corrections were made see meeting minutes corrections below)

 

Old Business-Items decided by E-mail or vote since the last meeting.

 

July 21 Board voted to hire a Gulf Shores Off-Duty Policeman to serve as a security officer at the last two Board Meetings of 2015 by a 4-2 vote.

 

August 21 Brenda Trawick resigned from the Board due to her Mother’s health issues.

 

August 21 The Board voted 4-1 to engage Attorney, Bruce Stone to offer an HOA Board position, vacated by Mrs. Trawick, to Tom Abernathy as an act of good faith and attempt to put an end to the bickering in the neighborhood. Mr. Abernathy respectfully refused the opportunity to serve on the Board.  Bruce Stone then made a counter-proposal and asked Mr. Abernathy to speak to his group of disgruntled owners and forward to him a list 5 people that would be willing to serve on the Board with the understanding that only one may be picked from the list. Bruce Stone did not receive a list from the Mr. Abernathy or his group or any further communication.

 

August 27 The Board voted 4-1 to engage Attorney Bruce Stone to file a lawsuit of libel, slander, etc. on their behalf as a Board against Tim O’Leary and Tom Abernathy.

 

August 29 Terry Young was appointed to the Board by a 4-0 vote

 

August 30 While attempting to clarify a correct mailing address, one of our volunteers encountered an owner who has refused to pay her HOA fees for the past 3 years because of the Hickory Retention Pond. A lien has been placed on her home.

 

September 1 The Board voted 5-1 to engage Attorney Bruce Stone to file a lawsuit on their behalf as a Board against Adams Homes for failing to prevent soil from their lots, while construction on their lots took place, from flowing into our retention ponds. The Board provided a retainer to Bruce Stone for $5000. Hampton Park will also file a lawsuit against Adams Homes using their own attorney.

 

September 2 The Board received a notice from the City that the Hickory Retention Pond requires cutting. This was covered in the Maintenance Committee Report.

 

September 3 Treasurer Kevin Welsh submitted his resignation from the Board

 

September 6 Rosemary Kitchens was appointed to the Board by a 5-0 vote

 

 

President’s Report

Action Items

 

Vote to move Diane Saunders to the position of Board Treasurer-(Approved by 5-0 Vote)

 

Vote to place Terry Young as Board Secretary (Approved by 5-0 Vote)

 

Vote to place Rosemary Kitchens as Board Vice President (Approved by 5-0 Vote)

 

Park Avenue Safety Meeting Report-Bob Webb scheduled a meeting with City Engineer Chad Christian that took place on July 23 that was attended by Beth Bolten, Erby Suits, and Bob Webb. Chad presented a potential solution that involved the City adding a median with plants (the boulevard effect) that would decrease the size of lanes and slow traffic.  Chad stated this strategy has been successful in Fairhope in getting drivers to slow down in residential areas and the cost to install and maintain the improvement would be the City’s responsibility. Beth Bolten and her group are concerned with lack of parking on Park Ave. and would prefer Speed Humps.

 

Decision-Bob Webb will request a second meeting Chad Christian, City of Foley Engineer. Beth Bolten, and Erby Suits, residents of Park Ave. will join Bob Webb at the meeting. They were also present at the last meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to ask Chad if we (as a development) have any choice in the potential solutions regarding the Speeding Issue on Park Avenue, and if we do what are those options.  Chad, in the first meeting recommended a boulevard concept (islands of trees down the center of Park Avenue to limit the lane size with opening at every intersection for turns).  Chard stated this was an effective speed deterrent used in Fairhope.  Beth Bolten is concerned this solution would eliminate parking on Park Avenue and is concerned the City would not maintain the islands properly.  Erby Suits verbally supported the Island Concept when asked by Bob Webb.  If options are available, and Ashford Park gets choices, the Board will consider placing the choices on the Annual Meeting Ballot on January 12 since all Ashford Park Owners will be use Park Ave. and will be affected.

 

Informational Items

 

Hampton Park Merger Request-Due Diligence Report-Bob Webb, Ashford Park and Bob Schroeder, Hampton Park. Bob Webb discussed his first meeting with Bob Schroeder where Mr. Schroeder asked if Ashford Park would consider a merger with Hampton Park. Bob Webb responded that day by saying “mergers can take many years, require due diligence, to determine if there is enough mutual benefit to proceed legally, action on this type of issue would require an Annual Meeting vote by owners, and it would require legal work that will have a cost.  In addition, both developments would have to eliminate all of their liabilities (retention pond financial responsibilities) before a merger could take place.  Bob Webb at the March Board Meeting informed the Board of this request and volunteered to work with Bob Schroeder to conduct the due diligence.   In late May Bob Webb received the last piece of data from the Ebert Agency regarding individual Insurance costs vs joint insurance costs.  In June Bob Webb informed Mr. Schroeder that he did not see enough benefit to Ashford Park.  Mr. Schroeder agreed after reviewing the numbers and agreed to make the announcement to together at the next Ashford Park Board Meeting.  Due Mr. Schroeder’s travel plans in July, both he and Bob Webb agreed they would make the announcement together in September.

 

Bob Schroeder agreed this was the discussion that took place and Bob Webb reinforced his original finding that there simply was not enough benefit for Ashford Park for a merger. He also told the audience that if anything in the future owners are concerned about, they should send him an e-mail using the contact menu tab, send a letter to P.O. Box or call him.  Bob Webb said there is reason to be worried about something, contact him and he will provide the accurate information.

 

Mr. Schroeder also spoke about an offer that Tim O’Leary made (in the first quarter of 2014) to him after Bob Schroeder asked Tim if he would like Ashford Park to own 100% the jointly-owned retention pond.  Tim O’Leary according to Bob Schroeder relied yes, that he would like to have 100% ownership of the pond, but would not be willing to pay Hampton Park for the Pond.  On March 21, 2014 the Hampton Park HOA voted 3-2 to NOT deed the pond to Ashford Park.  Bob believed it was a bad decision by Hampton Park.  If that would have happened, Ashford Park would be looking at $53,000 bill for the pond in 2016 and a much larger annual bill to maintain the pond. Mr. Schroeder provided the Ashford Park Board a copy of the March 21, 2014 Agenda which included the issue of the sale of retention pond to Ashford Park.

 

Public Notice-from City of Foley informing us of a request to build 34.4 acre - 79 lots single family development community currently zoned R1C was brought before the zoning commission on July 15, 2015 at 5:30. The project will be located on the west side of Hickory Street, North of Orlando Drive. Bob Webb and Dale Torrence attended the meeting.  The Zoning commission tabled their decision until the August 19 Meeting.  Bob Webb attended the meeting.  The Commission granted preliminary approval contingent on the findings of an EPA study that will examine the potential effects of Pebble Creek, Bon Secour, and Fish River. The developer had an independent traffic study conducted and it was concluded that the new development would not cause any updates of Hickory Street. The developer came back with changes based on the homeowner’s concerns and it appears we will have 79 new neighbors to the West of Ashford Park.

 

Fascia/Soffit Recall-There has been a recall on fascia and soffit installed on Adams Homes in Ashford Park.  Bob Webb was contacted by the Contractor, Don Hunold and was provided a process of how to submit claims.  The Board will hand deliver the process to owners in late September/early October and will provide assistance to owners as needed.  If have replaced your fascia or soffit, please locate your receipts.

 

Next Committee Meeting will be held October 27 6:15 at the Foley Library –The recommendation of the 2016 HOA Dues is likely to come from that meeting.  If another meeting is required, the date of that meeting will be November 3 with the location to be determined by crowd size and venue availability. The venue and time will be posted on the website. Homeowners are encouraged to attend and participate.

 

Next HOA Board Meeting will be held Tuesday, November 10 at 6:30 right here at Gulfway Church

 

2016 HOA Dues Invoices will be mailed no later than November 20, 2015

 

2016 HOA Dues are due January 1 and considered late on February 16.

 

The 2016 Annual Meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 12, at the Gulfway Church. Voting will begin at 6:00 and the meeting will begin at 7:00.

 

Board Nomination/Election Process-2016 Board Member Candidates can register on the website at www.ashfordparkowner.com to get on the 2016 ballot from November 1, 2015-January 5, 2016.

 

If there are proposed changes to the Ashford Park Covenants, 141 votes are requires to make the changes.  The Board will review recommendation of the Covenant Changes Committee in late October.  If the Board votes to accept some or all of the proposed changes, the Board will mail the ballot of the proposed changes in the same mailing with your 2016

 

Annual Due Invoice.  You will be able to complete you ballot at home and hand it in (accepted by signature and ID only) at the January 12, 2016 Annual Meeting.

 

Action Item – Adjournment