Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Notes: Emerson HOA Meeting 2/17/15

Summary of the Emerson HOA meeting which was rescheduled from January 2015:

  1. Board selects its 2015 Emerson HOA Officers
  2. Town Halls to engage residents on issues and initiatives - perhaps as early as April
  3. Activities
    1. Children's events went well but want to have activities for older children and adults
    2. Picnic planning beginning, to include interactive events for residents
  4. Clubhouse Renovation
  5. Security
  6. Architectural Covenants
  7. Finances
  8. Miscellaneous
    1. Parking
    2. Tennis Courts
    3. Playground Replacement
    4. Stormwater Pond Management
    5. Pool Contract


  1. The Emerson Board selected its new officers:
    1. Jack Jurgensen: President
    2. Narsimha Doma: Vice President
    3. Erica Root Cikanek: Secretary-Treasurer
    4. Notes:
      1. Will look into what bylaws say about staggering terms
      2. Probably will move elections up in November so they don't fall during Thanksgiving Week
  2. The Emerson Board proposed holding Town Halls on a regular basis to solicit resident concerns and tee up major issues of interest.
    1. This would allow the Board Meetings to focus on completing the business on hand while improving communication with the residents.
      1. Approximately 60-90 minutes
    2. Tentative date for first Town Hall: April 2015
      1. Possible subjects: 
        1. Clubhouse Renovation
        2. Placement of Pet Waste Dispensers
      2. Followed by Open Forum
  3. Activities
    1. Past events
      1. Children's events went well (Costume Event, Holiday Open House)
      2. Examining lessons learned (these have always been formally documented)
    2. CMC would like to find ways to create events for adults and older kids
      1. Board discusses an idea from another community where they use a large tent installed from Spring to Fall to host large-scale events while they plan a community center
      2. Possible ideas include Super Bowl Party, Wine and Cheese Event, etc.
      3. CMC is receptive to ideas but suggests they need a year of planning and scheduling so would be geared toward 2016
    3. Beginning planning for Picnic
      1. CMC focused on developing a schedule of activities trying to get everyone involved
        1. For example, basketball tourneys, etc.
      2. Board also suggests reaching out to other middle school jazz bands
  4. Clubhouse Renovation
    1. Committee has done preliminary assessments and studies with small budget
      1. Have determined a second story is feasible
    2. Committee briefed Board, have submitted a budget wedge for the final amount
    3. Board denies the request for now
      1. Wants Committee to provide an updated briefing to the Board by the next meeting
      2. Discussion that they would be more likely to approve funding architectural drawings that would determine the final possible budget
    4. Board also brainstorms alternatives
      1. Building on another parcel
      2. Temporary tent to develop events while working on permanent clubhouse (see above)
    5. Financial issues
      1. Banks may want 40% downpayment and low delinquency rate
        1. Board does not want to raise HOA fees
      2. Board later asks CMC for graphs so they can see delinquency trends
        1. Also want to try to identify if there are any changes that can be made to enhance collection
        2. Need to ensure future cash flow can support this debt
      3. Unsure yet whether to consolidate loans
    6. Resident concerns
      1. Please communicate overall goals driving the project, including prioritization and how they map to the resident survey conducted a year ago
        1. At that time, priorities were a gym and a party room/meeting place
        2. Clubhouse is too small for a community this size
      2. Suggestion that the Board consider various economic models including ones where the clubhouse can be at least partially self-sustaining
        1. For example, rentals
        2. Could help drive design and budget decisions
      3. Generalized concern about large cost and debt carried forward
        1. Board wants to keep HOA fees the same
        2. Have tentatively allocated some monetary savings from renegotiated loan
  5. Security
    1. Resident asks about security during open forum including Emerson patrols and trends
      1. HCPD officers donate time
    2. HOA will also try to get statistics from Howard County
    3. Asked about the connection of Skylark to MD-216 and its effect on security
      1. Will not happen unless the commercial parcels are developed there
      2. No current plans for that development to happen
  6. Architectural Covenants
    1. Have asked Emerson Architect to update and consolidate Architectural Guidelines
      1. General goal to make appearance of community much sharper
        1. CMC is also holding ongoing discussions with the landscaping contractor on how to improve the appearance of Emerson
      2. Also want to make all electronic (searchable PDFs versus scanned pages)
    2. Violations reduced dramatically from 72 pages to 25 pages
      1. New Assistant Manager has found it is much more effective to reach residents via email when known
        1. More likely to read than a letter
        2. Residents appreciate outreach
        3. Can also work with residents (e.g., can defer work that is impossible in the winter)
        4. Makes a note of every call and interaction with residents
  7. Finances
    1. Clubhouse Proposal (see above)
    2. FY16 Budget must be posted by 4/22/15
      1. CMC will submit items by early March
        1. Need to run through assessments to know income
      2. Prepare draft budget for review in March
    3. Investments
      1. Financial advisor recommends reinvestment of maturing CDs/bonds to continue laddering
      2. Board will consider, but Treasurer recommends only doing this for replacement reserves
        1. Suggests Board wait 30-60 days until financial obligations clear regarding paying down balloon loan, and Clubhouse renovation
  8. Miscellaneous
    1. Parking
      1. County only reviewed parking issues in one neighborhood
        1. Did not conduct comprehensive survey
      2. Board would like to get them to address entire Emerson all at once rather than piecemeal
        1. Will contact Howard County, but County has cut staff drastically
        2. Will also review site plans to see if there are any signs that were approved during planning but not installed
        3. Looking for cases where the situation actually violates code, and is enforceable
      3. Biggest issue is blocking traffic by parking on both sides of a street
        1. Cars cannot get through
        2. Informal arrangements fall apart during holiday season when people have parties
      4. May require Town Hall of entire community to vote on actual restrictions
    2. Tennis Courts
      1. Board has received some complaints about usage of tennis courts
        1. Unclear if there is a published policy
        2. Management will research, present to Board
          1. Policy if one exists
          2. Policies from other communities that use tennis courts heavily
        3. Then Board can decide policy
      2. Miscellaneous question about tennis court lighting taken off-line for discussion
    3. Bradwell Park Replacement
      1. Board approved contract for replacement of playground in Spring
      2. Inspection in July identified need for replacement, RFPs went out
    4. Stormwater Pond Management
      1. Stormwater ponds within commercial area, but belong to HOA
      2. Commercial tenant requested that Emerson pay to have maintenance brought up to par with residential areas
      3. Board approves
    5. Pool Contract
      1. Board awards new 2015 contract from several proposals
      2. Last year went well, but have to work closely with management company on hiring and policies
    6. Board ratifies several items
      1. Sidewalk repairs (already completed)
      2. Pool Tot Lot Fence
      3. VOLO Village Fees

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