First, we want to thank Ryan Steans for his service this past year. Ryan will be resigning his role as a director come November. Thanks for all you've done Ryan, we appreciate your contributions.
That brings us to open positions. We currently have four out of the five director positions up for election. We have our two regularly scheduled positions in the three-year term up as well as the replacements for Ryan Steans and Russell Hackworth. Currently Matt Mintz is serving in the Board-appointed position for Russ' previous term.
If you're interested in being on the ballot please let CAM know. You can download the form here. There was also an email sent out with the form and a postcard is being sent.
Due to the limits on gatherings we will be hosting the annual meeting over Zoom. The HOA lawyers have advised us that based on our governing documents we will need to hold a mail-in/email vote for the election of the directors.
The timeline will look like this.
The Board approved maintenance on the trail and work is expected to begin on September 21. More of the pavers will be installed to improve the trail and prevent future erosion. This work was originally discussed in the May meeting, but scheduling was delayed until now. The map below indicates the sections of the trail that will be improved. We will communicate out to everyone when we have more information on scheduling so that everyone can avoid those sections of the trail and be as safe as possible during the work.
As part of our contract with our landscaping company, Valley View, they will go through the neighborhood once a year and raise the tree canopy to 8 feet above the sidewalk in the common areas. They will be performing this maintenance soon and could be out as early as this weekend. For more information on the city of Austin right of way regulations see the city page on right of way maintenance.
There are a number of trees along the trail on the southern end that need to be cleared. Some of them are leaning across the trail and others are dead and pose a threat to individual passing underneath them. We will work with our landscaping company, Valley View, do you have those trees cleared as soon as possible. Below is another map that shows the placement of the trees that will be cleared.
Parks & Trails Signage
With the increase use of the park and trails along with concern expressed by homeowners the Board has decided to move forward with posting signage indicating that this is private property along with other useful information. One large sign will be posted at the park and another smaller one posted at the Western trail entrance near Keepsake and Campfield. Future small signs may be added. The signs will explain that it is private property, list hours, remind folks about pet waste, and include the HOA web site. Below is the expected text of the sign.
When you need to make a change to the exterior of your house or yard approval is required by the Architecture Committee. Currently, that approval is achieved by sending an improvement request to CAM who then forwards it on to the Architecture Committee for discussion and a vote. Beginning in 2021 we will move the improvement request process online. We will be utilizing a site called SmartWebs and their SmartArchitecturals product. We currently use their SmartViolations product for CCR enforcement. This will allow better tracking and visibility into the product for the submitter, the Architecture Committee, and the Board.
We began discussing the particulars of the annual meeting coming up in November. The election of the board members will be held ahead of time via a mail in vote. The meeting will then be conducted virtually over zoom. In the meantime if you are interested in running for one of the three open board of directors positions you can contact CAM. During the annual meeting will give a review of the board activities for the year and review the upcoming 2021 budget.
Amenities Closure and Reopening
As the Board has no medical experts we are following the example set by the city of Austin. So far the city has slowly began reopening various elements but have yet to reopen any playgrounds. As such, our playground will continue to be closed. It's just been announced that starting Saturday, Sept 12 the city is reopening tennis courts, outdoor adult equipment, and disc golf course (among other items). This information was not known and will be taken into consideration as we discuss a possible partial opening of the park.
The Grand Oaks Owners Association Board of Directors will meet virtually on Thursday, September 10, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. You are invited to attend -
Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/93835511536?pwd=T25iSTZhS2JpS1hYZDRzdHhETUhYdz09
Meeting ID: 938 3551 1536
Topics may include general association business, including unfinished business and new business, covenant enforcement, budgeting, and assessment collection. Executive session matters may include personnel matters, litigation, contract negotiations, enforcement actions, confidential attorney communications, matters involving the invasion of owners’ privacy, or matters involving parties who have requested confidentiality and the Board has agreed to honor that request.
Following the resignation of Russell Hackworth from the Board of Directors, Matt Mintz has been appointed to fill the open Board position until the Annual meeting in November. The position will then be open for voting along with the other two positions up for election.
July also brought about the resignation of Kevin Lindley from the Architecture Committee. Susan Rossi has been appointed to the Architecture Committee. She will fill the third voting member position while fellow Board member Ryan Steans will remain on as a non-voting member. Architecture Committee members do not have a term limit, but rather serve until resignation or a Board vote to remove them.
We welcome them both and thank them for volunteering their time and expertise.
As the community ages and we go through various drought cycles the trees in the neighborhood are needing attention. We've had to remove a few trees from the park area that were dead and posing a safety risk. Other trees in the neighborhood are being identified for potential trimming or removal. As we look to the 2021 budget we'll be considering the increasing cost of tree maintenance.
Our Landscaper - Valley View
While there were no votes or issues to report, we wanted to mention how pleased the Board has been with our new landscaper, Valley View. They have taken an active role in maintaining our community property including being proactive about correcting and reporting issues found. As a Board, we hope you're happy with the work they are doing as well.
Short Term Rentals (STRs)
Our CCRs prohibit Short Term Rentals (i.e. AirBnb) defined by any lease less than 6 months. There have been some recent complaints regarding STRs and the Board discussed the possibility of using a service to monitor the neighborhood for infractions. No action was taken, but we are going to continue to look at our options.
Trail Maintenance Update
The previously approved trail maintenance from the May meeting has not been completed. We are reaching out the the vendor for an update.
We've asked CAM (our association management company) to look into the cost and options for some additional signage at the park and along the trail. The discussion centered around communicating to visitors that this is private property, leash requirements, and setting forth some basic rules at the park.
Board of Directors have scheduled a SPECIAL CALLED meeting with one agenda item on Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/98732579822?pwd=L1M1Vy9IRm44Sit6THRrQVhzV3d6Zz09
Meeting ID: 987 3257 9822
The Grand Oaks Owners Association Board of Directors will meet virtually via Zoom on Thursday, July 23, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. You are invited to attend using the following link:
Topic: Grand Oaks Board of Directors Meeting
Time: Jul 23, 2020 07:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 957 0303 4300
Please see the attached agenda - Topics may include general association business, including unfinished business and new business, covenant enforcement, budgeting, and assessment collection. Executive session matters may include personnel matters, litigation, contract negotiations, enforcement actions, confidential attorney communications, matters involving the invasion of owners’ privacy, or matters involving parties who have requested confidentiality and the Board has agreed to honor that request. Thank you.
After 7 years of service Russell Hackworth has resigned the Board of Directors for Grand Oaks HOA. We are very appreciative of Russ’ service. His insights will be missed.
When a board member's seat is vacated the board is charged with appointing a new member to serve until the next annual meeting. We are seeking people who are interested in serving through our next annual meeting in November. If you are interested, and you're a homeowner, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information about yourself.
Thanks for your time and if you have any questions feel free to use the same email address above to reach out to our community manager, Stephanie.
The Grand Oaks Owners Association Board of Directors will meet virtually using Zoom on Thursday, July 23, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. Topics may include general association business, including unfinished business and new business, covenant enforcement, budgeting, and assessment collection. Executive session matters may include personnel matters, litigation, contract negotiations, enforcement actions, confidential attorney communications, matters involving the invasion of owners’ privacy, or matters involving parties who have requested confidentiality and the Board has agreed to honor that request.
First, a big thank you to everyone who was able to join our online meeting tonight. We had great representation from the board, committees, and even some homeowners who were attending their very first board meeting. This is possibly the first time the board has ever met via an online meeting. While the face-to-face interaction would have been nice, holding it in this fashion enabled some people to join that would not have been able to join otherwise.
Davis Lane Clearance Project
The Davis Lane clearing project is almost complete. The landscaping company, Valley View, has finished clearing the city-required 5 foot strip and will be mowing it this coming Wednesday, May 13. Once they've mowed it we will notify the city so they can close the incident report. Valley View also had to pick up a good amount of litter that was strewn across that strip. As one neighbor pointed out, it is unfortunate that we had to clear all the way to the trail for a short portion on the western side, but overall it is a big improvement. Turning from Empress onto Davis Lane is definitely much safer.
Old Fence on Community Property
There was also some discussion about the old fence along Campfield near Sweet Clover. It was brought to our attention by some homeowners on Alabama Dr. a few months ago that it was ailing and needed attention. The consensus was that the fence that was shared with the homeowners is their responsibility – the same as those of us who share a fence along community property. However, there is a relatively short section of fence where there is no homeowner sharing it. As that part is now covered with greenery, the decision was made to table removing that part of the fence until winter when it will be more visible and more easily accessed.
General Trail Maintenance
A few more sections of the trail have been identified for repair using 2020 budget money. Those sections are as follows.
Our park and its amenities continue to be closed. While the state may be relaxing forced closures, we discussed the right timeframe for reopening our park. The board in general favors caution over expediency. We will be watching both the city and the medical community for guidance on when we can reopen the amenities safely. We will be providing more on this in the upcoming weeks.
Other items discussed include the following.
The city has informed us that it is the community's responsibility to cut back the growth along Davis Lane. The notice states that we need to, "have private trees and vegetation pruned to provide 14 feet of clearance over the street from edge to edge, as well as provide 5 feet of cleared vegetation from the edge of the payment back to your property".
We were originally given only 10 days to correct this, but due to some great communication between CAM, our landscaper (Valley View), and the city they were able to better define exactly what needed to happen to be in compliance and schedule it appropriately, albeit quickly. The stay-at-home order worked to our advantage as Davis Lane traffic is much lighter right now.
The bids on this project ranged from $14K to $33K. The big difference in the cost is that Valley View, who we ultimately awarded the contract to, was willing to approach the project from the trail instead of the street. This means they did not need to stop Davis Lane traffic with additional crew members and appropriate city permits. Fortunately for the HOA, we had money in the budget for maintenance that we can allocate. It doesn't cover the full cost of the work, but will go a long way. We'll likely further discuss the budget impact at our next HOA Board meeting.
As you may have seen if you have your email address on file with CAM, work began this morning. The crew has already started and cleared the brush by placing it in piles – taking care not to block the trail. Tuesday a crew will come in and use a chipper to grind up the trees into mulch. Redistributing the mulch back onto the cleared strip will help to suppress the rapid regrowth of weeds along Davis Lane. Going forward, that strip along Davis Lane will be mowed monthly. The monthly landscaping contract will increase by $150 per month to cover this additional mowing.
While none of this work was planned or budgeted for, the Board in consultation with CAM and our lawyers deemed it necessary to perform the work as quickly as possible. This is to stay in compliance with the city as well as drastically improve the visibility of turning onto Davis Lane from Empress Blvd.
News updates from the HOA Board.