Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Emerson HOA Election Results

Three Board members were chosen at the Emerson elections on 2/20/13. The candidates selected were:
  • John Jurgensen (new to Board)
  • Erica Root Cikanek (new to Board)
  • De Von Saunders (current Board President)

The rest of the meeting consisted of an open forum to ask questions of the prior Board while the results were tallied.
  • Fire lane issue: parked cars block fire trucks and hydrants
  • Howard County Councilwoman Jen Terrasa to be at NLCC on Thursday, 2/21/13 (info updated below 2/22/13 - this was a North Laurel Civic Association meeting to discuss Zoning issues)
  • Maintenance issues
  • Financial Questions
  • Request to establish a process for sub-HOAs to propose architectural changes
  • Neighborhood Composition
  • Elections

  1. Fire lane/fire hydrant issue
    1. Serious safety issue with cars parked along streets that are blocking access by fire trucks, and to fire hydrants
    2. Issue brought home by townhome fire in November
      1. 12 trucks responded because of concern that it would spread among multifamily units
      2. Fire Department quickly checked the unit that burned and the two adjacent units
      3. Were able to quickly contain by tapping multiple fire hydrants
      4. These hydrants had no cars parked in front, but cars had parked there in the past
    3. Can we get curbs painted or no parking signs placed?
      1. Board said the streets belong to the County
      2. Another resident said that Skylark Ridge contacted Howard County and had this done
      3. Board suggested that everyone call Howard County individually to drive home the point rather than take this on for the whole community
      4. Emerson HOA not sure County would respond to them alone, had not in past
      5. Provided card for Councilwoman Jen Terrasa's office
  2. Howard County Councilwoman Jen Terrasa will be at NLCC
    1. Date: Thursday, 2/21/13 @ 7 pm
    2. Location: North Laurel Community Center, 9411 Whiskey Bottom Road, Laurel, MD 20723
    3. Update: This was a meeting of the North Laurel Civic Association, which meets every third Thursday at 7 pm in the NLCC. Scheduled guests from Howard County Government were: Councilwoman Jen Terrasa, Tom Carbo, Director of Housing, Marsha McLaughlin, Director of Department and Zoning, and representatives from the County Executive’s office.
  3. Maintenance Issues
    1. Request that Emerson HOA plant trees near stormwater ponds where sub-HOAs are not allowed to, cost is $300/tree; plus other landscaping issues
      1. Board will look at, try to get it on either the Spring or Fall schedule
    2. Query about vacant house where tree has fallen down
      1. Board was not aware of it, will investigate
      2. Can remove tree and charge owner of record
      3. Contractor (Architect) reviews all properties twice per year (Spring, Fall) and issues violations; will check to see if this is already on report
  4. Financial Questions
    1. Concern that HOA delinquency rate is high and loans will not meet FHA guidelines
      1. Would particularly affect townhome owners trying to sell/refinance
      2. Management clarified that the delinquency rate is not the ratio FHA uses (% of units delinquent) but rather the monetary ratio ($ delinquent over total $ owed)
      3. Resident requested that the FHA ratio also be reported at Board meetings
        1. Management agreed since number of households is already reported
        2. Request that the number of months delinquent also be reported; management concerned about privacy issues
      4. Plan to reduce delinquency rate?
        1. Improved a lot in past 6 months (hired lawyer to enforce one year ago; went to monthly payments; improving economy)
        2. Some may be only technically delinquent (even an error of 10 cents is enough to make it delinquent)
        3. But cannot project when will reach target
    2. Why are fees so high?
      1. Primarily attributed to large loan which must be paid off
    3. Where would Board spend the fees which are delinquent?
      1. Pay off loan
      2. Facilities improvements, e.g., clubhouse
        1. Planning refresh of clubhouse decor
        2. Had looked into building a second story; structure can support, but not enough parking spaces to meet County Code
  5. Process for sub-HOAs to propose changes to architectural standard?
    1. Presently sub-HOAs do not have a formalized process to adopt alternate architectural standards for their cluster
      1. Can Board establish a process, or does this require change to bylaws?
      2. Not seeking for individual owners to petition Board
      3. Rather, allow owners to work with sub-HOAs to develop alternate standards
      4. There is huge variation in what is allowed, and townhomes in particular are held to more restrictive standard
      5. But even single-family owners do not have a process
      6. Typical examples are fences and decks
    2. Board says all decisions rest with Board
      1. More willing to listen if approached by sub-HOA/cluster
      2. But only appeal is a hearing (unclear if this means going to court)
    3. Changes to bylaws require 66-2/3% of households to approve
  6. Neighborhood Composition
    1. As of January 10th: Total Residential (Class A) is 1003 units
      1. 444 Single Family Homes (44.3%); 522 Townhomes (52%); 37 Builder Lots Unsold (3.7%)
    2. As of January 10th: Commercial (Class B)
      1. 9 commercial properties
      2. 2 apartment buildings
    3. Question: What about a village center?
      1. Not enough residents to get a grocery store to commit
  7. Elections
    1. 162 proxies, 17 present, two Class B commercial properties: quorum was met
      1. Needed 1/6 each of Class A and Class B
      2. 9 designated proxy holders named, three were not in attendance representing three votes (counted toward quorum, but votes were not counted)
    2. Two election inspectors volunteered to count votes with Management in attendance
    3. Four candidates for three open positions were each given the floor for short period
    4. Vote was held
    5. Ballots were counted in private by election inspectors
    6. After Q&A session, results were announced. One Board Member re-selected; two new Members.
      1. Note: Of the other two positions, one represents the Developer and one position will be up for election in 2014.
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