Highlights of SIPOA Board Meeting November 14th

Here are some highlights from the SIPOA Board Meeting held Monday, November 14th. These are compiled from editors’ notes and are not official minutes.

All Board members except Mr. Kortvelesy were present.

Board President Gorski requested that property owners raising issues or problems on social media should not expect fact-checking, responses or monitoring of the sites by Board members or SIPOA staff. [Note: the POA is establishing a separate e-mail address for property owners to forward questions, concerns and comments. More on that below.]

Treasurer Feldman stated that $152,000 has been spent to date on cleanup activities. He expects the final amount will be in the $300K to $350K range. His concern is that this amount could offset any excess revenues now anticipated and leave the Island’s cash balance in a tight position. That situation could possibly entail the need to tap into the Island’s line of credit and result in both principal and interest payments. Accordingly, he said a special assessment of no more than $150 per household “may be appropriate”. Not all services performed by contractors have been invoiced and the final amount is still in flux, but he expects that a much clearer picture will emerge by the end of November.

Both Mr. Feldman and Ms. Gorski noted that no decision has been reached, and that this report was just a “heads up” on the situation.

On a related note, Ms. Gorski noted that it does not appear that FEMA funds will be available to SIPOA to pay for cleanup expenses behind the gate (although they could be available to individuals who experienced damages). However, there are rumors that similar communities have been able to obtain funding. Executive Director Heather Paton is following up with inquiries on this matter.

Ms. Gorski noted that certain materials in meeting packages given to Board members are available on request from the POA office, and she went on to describe the sort of materials that are distributed to Board members either prior to or at the start of a meeting.

Traffic control at the gate area during construction of the new gate house will include one outbound lane and two narrower inbound lanes at the existing gate house. From time to time, one of these lanes could be closed temporarily for construction vehicles. When known in advance, notice will be given in the e-blast and on Tidelines.  Estimated completion date for the project is March 2017.

The canned food drive has already met its initial target of 1,000 pounds of goods, so a new target of 2,000 pounds has been set. Property owners attending Tuesday’s (Nov. 15th) “Get the Scoop” meeting are encouraged to bring cans to donate.

Committee reports followed:

Mr. Orris reminded those present of the tour about the Cap’n Sams project by Tim Kana of Coastal Science & Engineering on Tuesday, November 15, beginning at 1:30 PM at the Oyster Catcher Community Center. He also noted the laudatory article in the Post & Courier about the project. [Information about both items are available from Tidelines.]

Mr. Henry reported that podcast interviews for the four SIPOA Board candidates will be released in January. There will be a “Meet the Candidates” night in early January; the event will be videotaped.

Mr. Gimson reported the Spinnaker regime had suggested installing a dedicated bicycle path along Seabrook Island Road at the Spinnaker villas, and also a rope barrier to prevent parking on the villas’ lawn area. Mr. Gimson stated that the bike path was not in the strategic plan nor in any budget, and said that the Spinnaker Board would have to be responsible for any studies and implementation. Mr. Squire responded that details of his proposal had yet to be finalized and that disposition of the matter at this juncture was premature. The Board agreed to defer action until more details became available.

Mr. Gimson reported that the second phase of the streetscape project had concluded with the removal of “totem pole” signs around the Island (i.e., multiple street/regime name signs stacked one above the other). The Board agreed to replace all STOP signs on the Island (of varying vintages, colors, and sizes) with one of reflective material that meets current standards. All 15 mph signs will be removed, except for those near the Island House, between the Atrium Villas and the Beach Club villas. He said that existing “Dead End” and “Hidden Drive Ahead” signs will be taken down, noting that these conditions exist all over the Island. In all, there will be a net reduction of 6 signs on the Island.

Mr. Houff reported that the Board will not be filing an amicus brief in a lawsuit involving the Callawassie Island homeowners association. Legal expenses would be sizable to do so, and Mr. Houff feels that the circumstances of that lawsuit are not applicable to Seabrook Island because our Bylaws are quite different from Callawassie’s.

Mr. Houff also noted that a dedicated e-mail address for submission of property owner concerns and comments on any matter has been established: publiccomment@sipoa.org .  Property owners are encouraged to use this as a means of voicing concerns on a variety of matters. Comments will be summarized for and made available to all Board members for information and response as appropriate.

Mr. Jones said that a major initiative for next year will be to improve communications for Board meetings. This will involve making it easier for those listening via conference call to hear comments made by members of the audience, and using online remote meeting technologies to enable better participation by off-Island property owners. The Town’s ongoing branding project with the Lou Hammond Group is now in the stages of working on a new single “landing page” for all three Island entities: the Club, POA, and Town. The goal is to present the new website design at the Annual Meeting on February 18, 2017.

Reporting for Mr. Kortvelesy, Mr. Jones noted that the Audubon International Sustainable Communities Program, now in its second stage, will hereafter be called “SI2” (SI Squared) for Seabrook Island Sustainability Initiative. This will hopefully help eliminate a common misunderstanding that the project focuses only on protection of ecosystems and wildlife.  Rather, SI2 focus relates to three “pillars” of community sustainability:  economic vitality, a healthy environment, and good quality of life for all citizens.  Mr. Jones encourages Seabrookers to attend upcoming SI2 Community Meetings held to gather property owners’ ideas and opinions on a variety of topics important to Seabrook Island’s sustainability.

Mr. Houff and Mr. Nagy presented recommendations from a detailed Security Policy review. Contrary to a consultant’s recommendations, use of speed cameras would not be incorporated into the policy. Instead, pursuit and traffic stops would be continued under certain conditions, and fines would be levied for noncompliance with traffic stops, verbal abuse, or challenges directed at security personnel. The full presentation of recommendations will be made available to property owners through the weekly e-blast and Tidelines. Comments will be welcome.

An ad hoc committee has been formed to evaluate rules, issues, and fines related to trash disposal at the island’s Maintenance Area.. Mr. Squire, Mr. Houff, and property owner Richard Siegel will serve as the committee, and SIPOA’s Steve Hirsch will participate as a non-voting member.

The Board approved acceptance of two lots donated by the Greenspace Conservancy: Block 53 Lot 1 at 1196 Oyster Catcher Court; and Block 26 Lot 31 at 3234 Middle Dam.

Mr. Bane received approval for 36 changes to the ARC Policies and Procedures. In response to a question from the audience, he noted that the tree trimming and removal policy has been changed as follows: a) for removal or trimming activity less than $1000 value, there is no fee; b) for removal of trimming of $1000 or more, there is a $50 fee. Tidelines will request a full copy of the revisions and will post this when received.

Ms. McCulloch obtained Board approval of a change in the fee structure for workout classes at the Lake House so as to break even on instructor expenses and eliminate a $1300 monthly shortfall in revenues. New monthly pass fees for owners would rise to $49/month, and a day pass would be $10. Fees for rental guests would rise to $15 and $40 for one- and three-day passes, and $85 for a monthly pass. These fees have not been changed since 2009.

Mr. Jones obtained approval to form an Emergency Preparedness and Recovery Special Committee to be chaired by Ms. McCullough.  Mr. Gimson will participate.  Ms. Gorski announced that the Board asks for volunteers from the community to participate as well.

Ms. Gorski obtained approval to add a $3 per property assessment for the SIPOA Holiday Fund for non-managerial employees.  Owners may opt out of paying this fee when paying their annual assessment.

Ms. Gorski clarified that, at the November 7 Special Meeting, the Board “accepted the slate of candidates” put forth by the Nominating Committee.  She then spoke about the history, role, and Bylaws-dictated responsibilities of the Nominating Committee and stated that she would be discussing the topic in a detailed letter to be published in Tidelines, the e-blast, and the Seabrooker next month.

Ms. Gorski also spoke in detail about the homeowners’ pool at the Community Center. She said extensive confusion had ensued when she asked for an estimate of the operating expenses for the facility, which is $23K to $28K per year, not including electricity and water. The purpose of the inquiry was to determine the maintenance expenses for budgeting purposes, which, for the next 8 years, are budgeted at $160,000 in present dollars. There was never a motion or vote to close the pool, nor was one intended by asking the question.

Official minutes of the meeting will be published on the POA web site when available.

-Tidelines Editors

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