With I’s dotted and T’s crossed, the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board of Directors voted unanimously to accept the revised and updated SLLA Bylaws during the Wednesday, February 26 Open Meeting.
After months of edits, discussion, and fine tuning there was nothing left to discuss. The board and audience applauded the efforts and final draft.
SLLA Dues Payment Plans
The Association has adopted two options for monthly payment of dues. Landowners can chose up front to make monthly payments either by check or by auto draft over the course of the year, but may not use a check one month and auto draft the next.
Or landowners may choose the time-honored option of paying the entire year's dues at once. Those paying monthly will incur an annual $50 administration fee, plus interest of one percent per month on the outstanding balance.
“The fee is not to make money," SLLA President Steve Ritter said. "It is to offset the cost of the extra work and time created by processing the monthly payments. The community should clearly understand that this was an additional charge that was not paid in the past.”
Preparing for the Next Storm
SLLA management and staff coped well with the equipment on hand during the recent winter snow storm. Eight inches of snow and ice convinced Ritter that some additional capabilities are necessary.
“I can’t believe we don’t have a four wheel drive vehicle in our fleet,” Ritter said.
“Giving the conditions and the careful preparation, I think [Community Manager] Ray [Sohl] and his staff put together a plan that was about as good as we could expect," Ritter continued. "Our staff was out there with tractors and did the job with machinery that was probably not designed for snow removal -- but we still did it. The snow turned out to be more and more. Going through that process, it became clear to me that it is never an issue, until it is an issue.”
Ritter recommended that the issue be added to the agenda for the Board's Monday, March 10 Work Session and offered two possible solutions: either to purchase equipment that is designed for emergency needs or to contract with a local company that has snowplowing capability.
"We need to either get into the snowplow business, so that we can clear our streets, or have a contract," Ritter said. "There are 25 miles of roads.”
Combined Lots a Challenge
After careful review and research, Treasurer Conrad Meyer confirmed that SLLA policy has always required the owner of a combined lot who desires to subdivide it to pay all dues back to the date when the lots were combined.
“A resident who has a combined lot requested to uncombine those two parcels and asked the board to waive the back dues of that parcel,” Meyer said. The board voted unanimously to deny the request.
Meyer recommended that SLLA should no longer allow lot combinations and suggested that it be brought to the board for discussion.
Allowing lot recombination is rare in other homeowners associations, but not in the SLLA. Lot recombinations have been allowed since the beginning of the community.
“It is unusual for associations to combine lots," Sohl reported. "Combining lots reduces assessment fees property wide. The reduction becomes an encumbrance for the entire community.”
Pool Repairs, Before and After Swim Season
The Northside wading pool needs another drain for safety requirements. The work will be completed before the opening of the pool season. Safety hand rails will also be installed.
After pool season is over, damaged concrete sections of the pool deck and basin will be removed and replaced.
Director Chuck Leach presented other possible pool related upgrades that could be undertaken in the Fall, including replacing some of the damaged concrete patio sections with soft-scapes that would include “planting trees, shrubs, and grass that is cheaper than putting in more cement and that will add some beauty to the area.”
Catch of the Day
SLLA Fishermen can now harvest bass between 10 and 14 inches. Reducing the mid-size bass population will help promote the growth of larger fish. Fisherman will also be allowed to keep one trophy fish of 20 inches or greater.
SLLA members will be made aware of the new regulations in the newsletter, on the web, and through signage.
Replenishing the Herd
The recent resignation of Stable Manager Kate Pennington has decreased the SLLA herd size by one horse, because Pennington used her personal horse to lead trail rides.
“This Board determined some time ago that the necessary herd size is eight horses and two ponies," Director Bob Darr said. We are now down to seven horses and two ponies. We will soon be down to six horses. One has to be let go due to health reasons.”
Darr recommended a large-sized replacement horse.
“We have some pretty big people showing up to ride," he said, "and we need a bigger horse to handle them.”
The unusually cold winter has decreased the number of days the stables were open.
“Here we go with Spring," Darr said, "and we need to get ready for it and get the herd back to the size that we need.”
You’re on Camera
The resolution and quality of motion-activated security cameras has increased while the purchase price has decreased.
The Safety and Security Committee was given the chance to meet with a camera vendor and see “some of the latest and greatest cameras that are available,” President Ritter reported.
Cameras would help monitor the debris site.
“At least one if not two down at the debris center could be used to take photos of the gate and show who the violators are," Ritter said. "We are still finding inappropriate items dumped including railroad ties.”
Ritter also recommended motion-activated cameras for the pool, “primarily to let the front gate know when anyone gets into the pool after hours.”
Debris Site Overruns
Illegal dumping at the debris site has become costly.
“We are still experiencing considerable budget overrun at the debris site," Manager Sohl reported. "It continues to run over significantly — $16,000 to date.”
In March, a barcode-activated security gate will be installed to control access to the debris site.
Annual Meeting is March 23
Registration for the SLLA Annual Meeting begins at 2:30 pm on Sunday, March 23; the meeting starts at 3:00 pm. The meeting will be held at the Joralemon Fellowship Hall of Seven Lakes Chapel in the Pines.
“It is critical to get as many residents as possible to attend," Ritter said. "Ten percent is required to conduct business,” Ritter said.
In other business during the Wednesday, February 26 SLLA Open Meeting:
• The Board voted unanimously to contract with Jewell Engineering Consultant as their on call dam consultant.
• Manager Sohl reported that Riley Paving has failed to address or correct the pavement failures on Firetree Road — and has not responded to correspondence on the matter.
• Due to time constraints resident Eric Richey will revert back to an alternate on the judicial committee,” SLLA Board Member Bob Racine reported. Donna Stephan will become a full member.
• Easter egg stuffers and hiders are needed for the annual Easter event held the Saturday before Easter, Director Darr announced. Volunteers are needed in the near future to organize a swim team.
• Director Rich Faraci has been absent from the last several meetings due to a recent surgery. Ritter reported that he is doing much better and hopes to be at the next work session.