Account of the 5/23/18 VOCA Board meeting
The last board meeting was well attended with a dozen or more members attending in addition to all seven board members. Unfortunately there was difficulty dialing into the public conference line so the members who tried to listen in via phone were not able to.
Aside from the normal officer and committee reports there were two items for discussion that are worth noting. The first is the issue of a sewer line easement that passes through one homeowner’s yard and part of the golf course on its way to joining the main sewer line on highway 179. A gentleman, David from the engineering firm involved with the project reported that the affected home owner in the Fairway Oaks subdivision had recently agreed to the easement, so the only remaining step was to obtain VOCA permission for the easement across a portion of the golf course. He reported that no one in the area would be forced to connect to the sewer line, but that those in the area could opt in if they wished. Additionally if a homeowner’s septic system in the area did fail, then they would then be required to tie into the new sewer line. That seemed well enough until a member spoke up and pointed out that a Big Park Domestic Wastewater Improvement District ordinance exists that states that any home within 100 feet of a sewer MUST tie in to it:
“Section 401.A – Mandatory Connection (http://www.improvementdistrictservices.com/images/Ordinance_2016_ADOPTED.pdf)
Any property within the boundaries of the District with a sewer mainline running adjacent to or within 100 feet of the property is required to connect to the District wastewater system in accordance with the provisions of this Ordinance. “
Despite the concern and information raised by the member, the president of the board, Greg Mann called for a motion and vote on the easement. The motion passed 4 to 2 to 1 as follows: Gregg Mann – Yay, Jim Kautz – Yay, Jan Lisowski – Yay, Cal Woods – Yay, Dee Doyle – Nay, Steve Hertel – Nay, Gwen Hanna – Abstain.
This was disappointing for a few reasons, but mostly because there was no effort made by our new president to put the brakes on and fact check the ordinance (which only took me five minutes to confirm on line at the link above) nor did he pause the process to make sure potentially affected residents had a chance to understand and comment on the issue. The ordinance information was not presented at the board meeting and the ordinance does not align with what David, the engineering firm representative, stated at the meeting. However this red flag was ignored and the vote proceeded. Also of concern was the fact that neither the proposed easement written document nor a design plan were included in the meeting documents provided.
The current sewer easement issue was introduced at the 5/3/2018 ARC meeting and was discussed at the 5/17/18 ARC meeting. However, there was never an open forum or survey of impacted members coordinated by VOCA prior to it showing up at last week’s board meeting:
From the 5/18/18 ARC meeting minutes:
- Jorge from KonTexture (architect) & Rodica (Mike) Stamo (property owner) presented concept drawings for a multi-family complex on Fairway Oaks Lots 72-73-74. The project includes a Big Park sewer line and the owner contributing to bring sewer to the sight [sic]. … Deb will get information from both Big Park sewer possibly reducing the amount the owner will pay for the sewer and also find out the process for a Fairway Oaks vote to allow the 12 unit variance. Deb will contact the owner and architect next week with more information”
The second discussion item of note was regarding the process used to select the date for the first meeting of the new board, at which the board was to elect officers for the board. Despite Steve’s proactive efforts to engage in the scheduling discussion and ensure his participation, a date was ultimately selected by our HOAMCO employees (based on the observed discussion in the board meeting, they were the only ones with all the “available dates”), which excluded Steve and Cal and made it extremely difficult for Gwen to attend, who was out of country in Asia on the selected date. This is extremely disappointing, as while the board is expected to select officers between 5 and 10 business days post the election, they do have the option to agree to a meeting outside of this window via a unanimous e-mail vote to do so. Doing so, would have allowed ALL members of the board to participate in the officer election process. Despite multiple requests being made by Dee, Steve & Gwen to do exactly that, the incumbent board members & HOAMCO refused to cooperate with inclusive alternatives. As a result we are left with a vote that was favorable to a select few and further emboldened behaviors as noted above without each board member representing the voice of us, the members.
Several members asked for more details on how this organizational meeting was designated for a date when it was difficult or impossible for 3 of the 7 board members to attend. Unfortunately, due to clerical errors by HOAMCO employees, this agenda topic was tabled until the June meeting.
There was some good progress on the committee front with new committee members getting approved along with a couple folks in attendance who volunteered to step up and help out in a couple committees with immediate needs, most notably the activities committee and the newly formed ad-hoc comminications committee. It is good to see more members coming forward to be involved!
Finally, the 5-acre parcel plans are progressing, the current proposal being evaluated, if ultimately selected and approved, would lead to 9 homes with at least 1/3rd of the area given to green space. We were specifically told that the re-platt would take that parcel out of VOCA. Expect to hear more at future meetings as this is a lengthly process.
Please feel free to comment and add your perspective below, weather you were in attendance or have input on the observations provided here.