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.
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)
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.
Earlier this month an email was sent out from the board letting everyone know we suspended the enforcement of putting up decorative lights as a way to show each other support. It's been great to see folks shining their lights in this dark time. Grand Oaks owners and residents alike continue to be an inspiration in all that they do for their neighbors and local businesses.
As you may already know the city of Austin has issued a Stay-At-Home order. As a result we will be placing signs at the pavilion and playground stating that they are closed. We fully recognize that people are going to want and need to get outside. However, in addition to the Stay-At-Home order we do not have the capabilities to regularly clean or disinfect the surfaces at the park.
Based on the current guidelines, there is no reason to close the trail. Please be safe and courteous as you use the trail. There is plenty of room for two parties to move to the side for a safe six foot passing distance.
Furthermore, we recognize that this pandemic is affecting a large number of people financially. The HOA still has mandatory functions to carry out, such as maintaining HOA infrastructure as well as paying for insurance, utilities, and necessary vendors. Proper funding is critical for those functions. Because of these mandatory obligations, we cannot suspend assessments. However, payment plans will be available as needed. Homeowners who can pay their dues on time should do so, and homeowners who cannot pay their dues on time should promptly reach out to CAM, the property manager to request a payment arrangement. Please email email@example.com to communicate about necessary payment arrangements. I can't stress enough how important it is that you begin that line of communications with CAM. If you're not sure you can make your payment, you know you'll miss your payment, or even if you're already behind on payments you need to email CAM. We are committed to working with each and every homeowner individually to setup a payment plan that works for you.
Lastly, there is currently and HOA Board of Directors meeting scheduled for May 7th. While that is over a month away we are prepared to host the meeting using an online video conference service.
I'm very pleased to announce that we have selected Valley View Landscape as our new landscaper. While the contract doesn't officially begin until March we are off to a great start. They saw that our previous provider, BrightView, was not keeping the neighborhood up to their standards and did a pre-contract service at no cost. We had been having issues with BrightView for sometime and put the contract out to bid. Valley View came in somewhere in the mid-range of pricing, but the references and communications we have had with them during the bidding process is very exciting and promising.
Valley View will be coming out to Grand Oaks on Wednesdays. The schedule is as follows.
Below are all the details of the service so you can see what will be done.
This proposal is based on 32 annual visits for Common areas, and 12 visits for Trails Each Visit will consist of the following services as needed per schedule:
Miscellaneous Trail Areas (12 Visits per Year)
News updates from the HOA Board.