Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Notes: Emerson HOA Board Meeting 9/29/15

The Emerson HOA Board of Directors met on Monday, September 30, 2015 in the Emerson Clubhouse at 7 PM.


  • Emerson Facebook page approved
  • Still no recommendations on Clubhouse Renovation (cost & scope)
  • Emerson looking into improving safety patrols, examining other vendors as well
  • New Architectural Design Guidelines approved
  • Board approved repair of broken sidewalks in Emerson common areas. Whether/how to include sub-HOAs and homeowners and/or reimburse them is TBD.
  • Emerson HOA Board terms of office will be staggered at next election.
  • Board voted to have Howard County Fire Marshall mark fire lanes. Garden Ranges asked for clarification.
  • Meeting dates set:
    • Next Town Hall: Monday, October 26, 2015
    • Annual Meeting: Monday, November 16, 2015 (moved up one week)

  1. Activities
    1. Yard Sale for Gorman Crossing Elementary PTA was held Saturday 9/19
      1. Q: Liability concerns? No, a resident signed up for event
    2. Teen Tailgate - TBA soon
    3. Children's Fall Costume Event: Saturday, October 24, 2015 from 12 PM - 1 PM (Clubhouse)
      1. Will include parade, game, pumpkin decorating, photo op (new this year), goodie bag and surprise treat
      2. RSVP via email to Emerson
      3. Volunteers also sought to help
  2. Communications
    1. Board approved Emerson Facebook page
    2. Plan to send a mailing to everyone outlining terms of service, so everyone is aware that the page will be moderated and inappropriate comments will be removed
      1. Lawyers have approved wording
      2. Will probably piggyback notice on another mailing to save on postage
      3. New homeowners will receive with their packets
  3. Finance Committee
    1. No recommendations ready for the Board
      1. Have not been able to schedule meeting with Clubhouse Renovation Committee
      2. Finance has also experienced turnover due to new job commitments, has new chair and secretary
    2. Committee wants to understand the scope and context of what residents want, suggests a survey of residents
      1. Jack feels this is exceeding their purview, they should be focused on telling the Board how much can be afforded
    3. Also some discussion of having checks and balances on what the Board can commit Emerson to do financially
  4. Safety
    1. Emerson is asking current security contractor for more information (a log) of their activities when patrolling
      1. Have received some logs
      2. Conforms with practice of random patrolling through neighborhoods
      3. Steffanie might provide to community via email
    2.  Also doing comparisons with other security vendors
      1. Channel will provide a package to Board by October 14
  5. Resident's Forum
    1. Q: Is it allowed to rent a basement to multiple unrelated families?
      1. Will need to research, might be prohibitions in bylaws or County regulations
      2. Might be classified as a group home
    2. Q: Trash problem: Cluster of houses with a common concrete pad for putting out trash cans and recycle since trash trucks cannot go down that private road. 
      1. Someone is putting out trash and yard/tree trimmings improperly and it is staying there until Emerson pays Brickman to remove them.
        1. Also leaving recycle bins there all week.
        2. Cost is becoming significant to Emerson.
      2. Emerson will send the entire grouping of houses a letter asking them to please follow trash/recycle procedures correctly.
        1. If cannot get voluntary compliance, may need to look at enforcement options, but want to ask nicely first.
    3. Q: Wallington: Status of sidewalks? Lack of sidewalks is a safety issue for residents/children trying to walk to Emerson Pool and Clubhouse.
      1. Want to keep this on Jen Terasa's radar, especially with increased traffic from new bus route (every 20 minutes)
      2. County was supposed to also fix bridge to raise out of floodplain
      3. Resident also makes a pitch again to connect Skylark to 216 - response is this is not going to happen any time soon
    4. Q: What is construction off Gorman Road next to Haddon Hall? (This question has been asked multiple times over the past six months.)
      1. Knott (Developer) is finishing Eternal Rings Road as called for in the plan for many years
      2. Will be turned over to County and patrolled
  6. Management Report
    1. Architectural Review
      1. Board approved revised Design Guidelines which had been posted to the community for public comment
      2. Current status of annual review:
        1. Shows lots of new violations, but reporting had some delays
        2. Many of the smaller violations have already been addressed, and Steffanie is working with the homeowners on the others
      3. Q: From Board: Why doesn't the annual review systematically address broken sidewalks (which are a safety hazard) versus aesthetics like flower bed edging?
        1. CMC: He does routinely report
        2. Some discussion of whether this is for new sidewalks only, versus maintenance of existing sidewalks
    2. Concrete Repair
      1. Emerson wants to systematically repair all sidewalks in community to improve safety
        1. Was able to get one contractor (highly recommended by other contractors) to do a comprehensive review of all concrete repair issues in Emerson, with detailed report and cost proposal
        2. Two other contractors failed to bid
      2. Discussion of what Emerson should cover: only areas strictly its responsibility; or also include sub-HOAs; or further include sidewalks that are homeowner responsibility
      3. Board decided to do this in two phases:
        1. Approved funding for the entire proposal BUT only authorized immediate action on areas that are Emerson's responsibility
        2. Will also look into establishing a mechanism for a group buy for other areas (sub-HOAs and homeowners) to get a better price by doing the work all at once
          1. Questions:
            1. Will Emerson reimburse homeowners and sub-HOAs? If so, how will this be determined?
            2. How can we ensure the quality of the work is up to standard, unless they all go through the same vendor?
            3. Is Emerson setting a precedent for repairing things outside of its responsibility (i.e., homeowners and not HOA/sub-HOA)? Probably not
    3. HOA Board Terms of Office
      1. Board voted to stagger the terms of officers to ensure continuity
      2. At next election:
        1. Highest vote total will receive 3-year term
        2. Next two will be 2-year term
    4. Fire Lanes
      1. Board voted to ask Howard County Fire Marshall to proceed with designating fire lanes as recommended
      2. Garden Ranges asked for clarification of where the fire lane is proposed
        1. If at end of island (2 spaces) the residents believe it makes sense, but not down length of island (14 spaces affected) as street is 25 feet wide
    5. Replacement of trees
      1. 3 mature spruces on HOA common area property were destroyed when a car jumped a curb
        1. This has resulted in people walking through the yard of the affected homeowner
        2. Insurance is expected to cover it, but Emerson is proposing to replace them now at $750 each
      2. Board voted to have CMC:
        1. Look into lowering the cost by installing younger/smaller trees
        2. Or, only proceed with higher cost if sure that insurance will reimburse
    6. Miscellaneous
      1. October Town Hall
        1. Probably fourth Monday (26 October) from 7 PM to 8:30 PM
      2. Annual Meeting
        1. Moved up one week to 16 November to avoid Thanksgiving Week
      3. Board also approved:
        1. Shaded Day landscape enhancement
        2. Replacing playground equipment at Haddon Hall
          1. Note that this is much faster than previous parks, which took 2 years to fix
        3. Purchase of new pool covers
        4. New pool disciplinary procedures
        5. Waste Management Trash Service
      4. Unexpected expense: Had to pay $2K for new stock of 200 pool access cards because got many new residents from The Enclave 
        1. These apartments pay the same pool fees as everyone else, but it did require new expense for the access cards

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