2017 Meeting Minutes

Lost River Valley Home Owners Association

Annual Meeting, June 3, 2017

The Guest House

Board Members Present: Belynda Hicks, President; Bob Earl, Treasurer; Glenn Cudaback-Cox, Secretary; Dewayne Lawrence, Member-at-Large (Roads). Absent: Stuart Pham, Vice President. 

Call to Order

The meeting commenced at 1:04 p.m. with a quorum of members in attendance as determined by Belynda Hicks, President; verified by Glenn Cudaback, Secretary.

Belynda directed the membership’s attention to the meeting agenda and asked if there were any additions, to which the membership responded that there were not.

Belynda communicated that the meeting was being recording for the purpose of translating notes for the final minutes of the meeting.

Treasurers Report: Bob Earl

Bob Earl reported that actual 2016 expenses were $46,375.00, in line with original budget of $49,960.00. Actual 2016 income was $42,606.24. The reserve fund balance stands at $62,900.18. This has not been used but may be relied upon to pay for future road work.

For 2017, expenses are expected to be $50,478.00, with estimated income at $45,580. The forecast for the reserve fund is $63,800.

It was noted that mailing costs have gone up but otherwise stable for 2018. Bob reported that the board doesn’t see any need of dipping into reserves for 2017 unless we decided on new major projects. Because of the mild/light winter, snow removal expenditure was lower than expected. If the next winter is also mild, we may see some savings again.

Nineteen property owners are delinquent as of June 3, 2017. The board will review all records and moving forward, will put liens on all multiple year delinquencies.

An attendee asked if Dick Heidelmeier was on the delinquent list, the board confirmed that he was not.

Regina Corry asked whether property owners can opt out of physical mailing and opt in for electronic mailing to save postage; Belynda Hicks explained that bylaws require physical mailings twice a year (annual newsletter with the invoices, and one for the annual meeting notification), and noted that the By-laws have been amended to allow people to opt in for electronic mailings.

It was noted that only a few people have done so to date. It was noted that the current communications methods with property owners was not conducive to pinging for opt in, but that future website updates might help. It was noted that although it would be great to go to electronic email exclusively to cut the expenditures, we can’t go exclusively to email because there are some residents who only have regular US postal service.

Robert Earl noted that there are some residents whom the board does not have phone numbers or mailing addresses. This has occurred when properties transfer. We can only have a complete database when every home owner/lot owner/responsible party for a lot provides contact information. Bob Earl reported that the board does its best to try to keep people’s info up to date about new owners when we get information on new owners from real estate agents or from the seller. When the information is not reported, he tries to reach out to get the updated information.

Regina Corry also asked about the Construction fee on the treasurer’s report, and asked why the income was not higher. Belynda Hicks reported that it is reflective of compliance, not construction activity. She also explained that the fee is not a requirement. It is property owner’s voluntary contribution; thus, the line item is not as high as possible. The board encourages those – especially with heavy construction to participate to offset the impact of the wear and tear on the roads. Robert Earl reported that it was higher last year due to new construction projects. Robert Earl also reported that it was not prudent to project revenue based on new applications as there is no confirmation that the voluntary fees will be paid.

Steve Taylor asked what the voluntary contributions were. Belynda Hicks noted that new construction was $300, with a sliding scale downwards for smaller projects. Bob Earl clarified that the application was on the website, as well as the descriptions of tiers for voluntary fees. Steve Taylor also asked if we could make construction fees mandatory vs. voluntary. Belynda Hicks noted that it would be possible to review the overall Covenants – (the overarching guidelines for the association) and see if it would be possible to change this in the rules and bylaws (the interpretation of the covenants and how they apply to the LRVPOA on a daily basis). Belynda Hicks noted that the bylaws can be changed with a simple majority of a quorum at an annual or special meeting. She also explained that a covenant change would require support of 75% of property owners in the LRVPOA subdivision – which is difficult to achieve. Belynda noted that she would need to review the covenants and the bylaws to see if a new fee like a mandatory construction/improvement fee would require a simple bylaw change or a covenant change.

Robert Earl noted that if the fee were enacted, we would have to consider the need for policing of the entire association for notification and compliance. The Board would need to then assess magnitude of project for scale of fee. Currently, the Board does not receive construction forms for all projects and things that are going on in the development. DeWayne Lawrence provided the prospective that the roads are also impacted more regularly by non-construction related use by deliveries from Fed Ex and UPS, as well as home maintenance services’ vehicles (trash, lawn care, gas delivery) – and this wear and tear use is uncompensated.

Kate Davis asked if the board could get notifications from the Hardy County Planning/Assessor to trigger fee requests. Bob Earl explained that the local board would not report to the LRVPOA, we would have to monitor their records. Rob Earl added that of those property owners filing plans for approval, we generally have good compliance of the fees when the board is actually notified, since they know upfront about the fees before the board provides approval.

Jaime Baisden commented on the treasurer’s report, noting that the board was managing expenses well, keeping things under budget for the past two years. Jaime asked why both years’ budgeted income line item, without the additional fees, was not achieving income from the payment of LRVPOA fees. He wanted to make sure that the trend of the income was occurring by people not regularly paying fees, and noted on record. Belynda Hicks explained that this was correct, and was attributed to a number of accounts in arrears (estimated to be at 19 accounts at the time of the meeting). Belynda explained that the regular occurring delta was the number accounts in arrears multiplied by $175, in addition to a factor of those in arrears for those several years in arrears. Belynda explained that the board has placed liens in prior years, and will continue placing liens. Bob Earl explained that having additional cash on hand allows us to mitigate the impact of this lack of income, and not have to enter the discussion of increasing assessments.

Matt Brandt asked how many of the 19 delinquent accounts were multiple year; Bob Earl estimated that it was not even more than half that were multiple year, with a mixture of half dues and full dues per lot. He explained that some are from multiple lot owners, and some are from people the LRVPOA has no contact information for (mail is returned, no visitors to the property) – these are situations where legal action will need to be taken to actually get something into the hands of a responsible party or an estate owner. Belynda noted that in these situations/cases with liens, we will need to wait until the properties change hands.

Jaime Baisden gave the first motion to approve the Treasurers report, Kate Davis seconded, and it was unanimously approved.

Roads Report:  DeWayne Lawrence

Road Maintenance: DeWayne Lawrence reported that the Spring Road Work was recently completed, weather had delayed the completion. Culvert posts are back up from snow removal, and were painted orange for visibility.

DeWayne reminded owners that culverts are property owners responsibility – it keeps water off the road and minimizes road damage from water flow. This occurs when culverts get clogged. It was noted that these are easy to maintain if done on a regular basis. It was also noted that our roads crew is careful not to push material into culverts.

Snow removal was minor this year, and roads were plowed only once this winter.

It was reported that boom trimming and tree removal was completed in the fall, we do this every other year (as it is expensive) therefore we will not do it this fall in 2017. Dewayne noted that the boom trimming is cheaper than the manual trimming that we used to do. It was noted that Spurs Access does have a small section that requires trimming on an annual basis, at an average cost of $400.

DeWayne explained that with spring roadwork completed, we will be placing new signs that post the 15MPH speed limit: One sign for every one of the 11 miles of road. We have enough for “the coming” direction, but not “the going” direction and will therefor order another set of 11. In addition, no solicitation signs will be placed at the intersections and entrances of each of the developments (like Moonshine Hollow, Settlers, etc.) Robert Earl noted that with the addition of more and consistent signage, that give law enforcement more support on enforcement, e.g. dealing with hunters running dogs.

It was also noted that public utilities (i.e. fiber optics installation) do have an easement on our roads for installation via our covenants, and in the state of West Virginia. Dewayne provided an update on Update on SVW WVDOH Maintenance. There were numerous complaints during the year about the condition of the entrance to Settlers Valley Way off Mill Gap Road. It was noted that we have a cease and desist order from the state to not fix road leading up from Mill Gap on Settlers Valley, as the first 0.5 mile section (up to intersection of Whispering Pines) is the responsibility of the WVDOH.

As a next step the Board will put the WVDOH State Road contact Lee Thorne’s phone number, email address and the website for WVDOH. There was discussion on possibilities for reclaiming legacy ROW of WVDOH road by getting everybody to sign a petition.

Potholes were discussed as a problem-Dewayne encouraged property owners to keep reporting them, and we will continue to remediate them.

Bob Alcock made note of road segments on Whispering Pines Way where potholes regularly appear, and attributed it to the assessment that the roads are not crowned, they are flat. He asked if we would crown roads with extra money, dig more ditches, bring shale in for those segments, and amortize the expenditure over two or three years.

Cherise Gardner suggested an engineering assessment, and Dewayne noted that there was one done a few years ago for some more specific concerns, and agreed that it is probably time for a new assessment.

Trees: It was noted that Elm beetle disease is hitting hard, we have removed one tree, five more have it on Spurs Access which will require $1500 to cut. It was notes that the budget for trees is $5000, and it was suggested to double that amount to take care of roads. It was noted that the boundary of the road work tree jurisdiction is 20 feet from center of the road. It was noted that it would not be ideal to have big piles of wood next to the road, therefore we should take care of the removal. 

Mailboxes/Trash:  The Board outlined the plan to work with the local post office to improve the mailboxes with updates. This will include more boxes for letters and packages, and will be rolled out in phases in the different sections of the LRVPOA.

Trash huts were discussed as something to explore in the next year – specifically improving them, increasing accessibility and capacity, and exploring how to mitigate use by non-Envirco subscribers. e.g. Meadow Lane trash area improvement (It is private property, and would need to pour a permanent pad of concrete).

Construction Requests – were covered as part of the Treasurer’s Report discussion.

Open Discussion: It was suggested that it would be great to put story of little house on website. The Board welcomes the submission on any member/members who can draft the story and provide some pictures.

It was suggested that LRVPOA members form a beautification committee, with reps from each sub development with a suggestion of what they would like to do, Abbie Chessler said that she would like to be on a committee.

Speeding was outlined as a continuing problem from both visitors and residents alike. Speed bumps were discussed as a possible solution if the problem persists after the signs are posted. The board requested that LRVPOA members let us know who is a frequent flyer, we can send them a letter.

Website Development: An update was provided by Glenn Cudaback-Cox on the new website, and attendees were given the opportunity to review the progress. It was reported that the site would go live as soon as all content from the old site was completely migrated. Once live, the site will be ready for improvements on functionality based on LRVPOA needs.

Other New Business:

Questions were raised on the status of the Hardy County ambulance authority. This will be a $120 dollar per year assessment; The news over months was that there are some financial issues on the Moorefield side, and not just with Mathias Baker.  This is a separate bill, not part of local taxes.

Michelle Phillips reported that it was windy over winter, causing trash to blow from building sites. Her request was to communicate to builders that trash blowing around is an issue and we need to do some more communication.

Bob Leiston suggested that twice a year, the LRVPOA would have a dumpster come for junk. This would be part of a beautification committee.

Jesse Halpern noted that the community pond was underutilized, and a pond path would be a great resource. It was suggested that the path be cleared for a road for fire tanker access to fill up to help increase public safety and beautification. An alternate was to build a pump shed with enough hose to walk up to the road.

New Farmers Market and change in status was brought up as a concern. Members were specifically concerned that the status may influence the creation of other events and set precedents.

It was noted that the farmers market is an event as defined by county guidelines set in 2014. Belynda Hicks noted that the county was in the process of modifying the entire plan and adding some flexibility into some of the zoning regulations. This includes what constitutes a special event. This definition is being modified as an event held up to four consecutive days, up to 30 calendar days a year. The Board is awaiting information back from the planning commission as to how LRV farmers market will fit in. It was noted that this is a Hardy County planning activity at this point, and not a board activity.

Jaime Baisden and Steve Taylor encouraged the LRVPOA board to have additional conversation on how we define what the expectation on the use of properties; And explore impact of traffic load from state road vs. off an association road. It was also encouraged to explore this “event” definition further to ensure the same consistent expectation in the future. Belynda noted that to amend Covenants on use restrictions would require a 75% approval.

It was agreed to continue with Melissa Scott the Hardy County Planner and contact for zoning, and to get in touch with association lawyer on definition, and on what is interpretation of the law.

There was a request put forth for a special meeting/ a town hall, and invite the attorney, to discuss in an open forum with feedback.

After a 1st motion to approve from Jaime Baisden, and a 2nd motion to approve from Steve Taylor, a special meeting before the end of 2017 for a zoning update/discussion and attorney interpretation of covenants and bylaws was approved unanimously.

Other New Business:

the officers slate was presented for approval:
President: Belynda Hicks
Vice President: Jason Peschau
Treasurer: Bob Earl
Secretary: Glenn Cudaback-Cox
Member-at-large: DeWayne Lawrence

After a 1st motion to approve from Jaime Baisden, and a 2nd motion to approve from Vicky Ames, the officers slate was approved unanimously.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:05 p.m.

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