August 22, 2023
The first candidate’s briefing was on Saturday, August 12th. It was well attended. A lot of interesting questions were asked and there was great discussion. Two of the attendees were definitely interested in running for the three open positions on the Board. The next briefing is on Wednesday, August 30 at 7pm.
One of the issues brought up was how do we know if the parking placards are working. Perhaps people are just not going to the beach because of the hassle of needing a placard and that is why the lot is not full? I was down at the clubhouse on Sunday, August 13th. The beach was quite busy and there were about 10 cars lined up on the side of the road near the clubhouse because they were not owners with placards. There were spaces available in the parking lot. People were playing pickle ball and volleyball. The new gravel area by Lakeview was full with vehicles towing trailers and both sides of marina drive were full also. To me, this indicates that the parking placards are working. The lot used to be full of visitors’ cars without barcodes and now that they no longer can park there, the lot is available for owners’ vehicles.
Owners would like a second entry gate to Lake Holiday. Building, Grounds and Safety Committee is actively looking into what would be involved in making this happen. VDOT is the state agency that will have requirements for the road involving the need for ingress and egress lanes. The committee is attempting to find out more about this issue. Then the association would need to look into the costs including electrical service, automatic gates with software that accepts barcodes, etc. Join the committee if you have an interest in this.
There is a new Communication Solutions Committee that is trying to figure out more and better ways to communicate information to the community. They have a lot of great ideas, but need more volunteers. Please consider joining the committee if you feel the Association is not doing a good job communicating!
Because a young man drowned in the lake a couple of weekends ago, I have been asked why don’t we have lifeguards? We used to have lifeguards on the beach, two at a time, and they were our employees. In 2010, there was a drowning. A lawsuit was filed against Lake Holiday claiming negligence. The Board talked to several lifeguard contractors. Most were not interested in a contract that would require them to come such a long distance from their home base. One well regarded company was willing to work at Lake Holiday for $85,000 for the season and housing for their people. Our insurance company at the time came for a site visit and recommended swimming at your own risk to minimize our liability going forward and avoid much higher insurance premiums or losing our insurance coverage altogether. The lawsuit was settled about seven years later with our insurance company paying the full settlement.
In an effort to improve communication with the owners and renters in Lake Holiday I want to inform everyone that we know that the Lake Holiday website is difficult to navigate and find things. We are working on this problem which involves hiring a web design and development company. We had an interview with a Winchester based company last week and they are being considered for at least the first part of this project. Once we have hired a firm and they begin their work on the website, we will be able to consider going back to streaming Board meetings which will be behind the firewall.
In the meantime, to navigate the website to find Board Book materials, which continue to remain on the website for the entire year, go to the menu at the top of the page, go to “SIGN IN” and log into your account. At the menu at the top of the page go to “OWNERS” drop down menu you will see “BOARD BOOK MATERIAL” Click on this to reach the agenda, approved board meeting minutes and all Tabs presented at the meeting. The latest meeting is there first. Click on each item for it to open up so you can read it.
Our rules are located in documents called “PRPs” for policies, rules and procedures. They are frequently updated by Board approval and have information about compliance procedures, common area, clubhouse, lake and entry gate/roads among others. There are also Resolutions that define certain policies implemented within the community. Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation and Deeds of Dedication contain governing policies. All of these can be found on the website. After logging in, go to the “OWNERS” drop down menu and open up “GOVERNING DOCUMENTS”.
I want to review some facts as they pertain to rule violations, the citation/compliance process and payment of violations.
Rule violations involve speeding on Association roads (roads are privately owned by the Association), stop sign violations, parking placard violations, architectural guideline violations and any other violation of a rule for the common areas which are owned by the Association.
The Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act states “the board of directors shall have the power to establish, adopt, and enforce rules and regulations with respect to use of the common areas and with respect to such other areas of responsibility assigned to the association by the declaration” (LHCC Deeds of Dedication).
“The board of directors shall also have the power, to the extent the declaration or rules and regulations duly adopted pursuant to such declaration expressly so provide, to (i) suspend a member’s right to use facilities or services provided directly through the association for nonpayment of assessments that are more than 60 days past due, to the extent that access to the lot through the common areas is not precluded . . ., and (ii) assess charges against any member for any violations of the declaration or rules and regulations for which the member or his family members, tenants, guests, or other invitees (such as contractors) are responsible.
Because our roads and parking lots are privately owned by Lake Holiday and we must maintain them, they are considered common area and we are permitted by law to adopt and enforce rules for using our roads.
It often comes up that we are making money on citations and that is why we are enforcing parking placards, stop signs and speeding violations and why we purchased speed cameras. Paying for two certified letters, stamps, supplies for paper and envelopes, staff time and paying for staff and security to be present at a compliance hearing in the evening, we barely break even.
The two replacement speed cameras cost the Association over $17,000 and this cost did not include the monthly cost of the software, the 12-foot-tall wood telephone poles cemented into the ground in two locations, the metal wrapping the poles to make it harder to cut them down and the man hours involved in installing the cameras and configuring the software.
This is the process for handling a rule violation (according to the Property Owners’ Association Act and PRP 4 Compliance):
- After the office is notified of the alleged violation, written notice is mailed to the owner within 30 days of the incident. For a traffic violation, the owner has an opportunity to pay the assessment ahead of a compliance hearing. The charge in that case is reduced to $40.00.
- If the violation remains unpaid, then the owner has the opportunity to be heard, share testimony, evidence and witnesses and to be represented by counsel before the Compliance Committee (specified in our governing documents). Only owners can present their case at the compliance hearing.
- Notice of the date of the hearing is mailed by certified mail to the owner at least 14 days prior to the hearing.
- After a determination is reached by the Compliance Committee at the hearing, within 7 days the result is mailed by certified mail to the owner.
- The charges that can be assessed to the owner shall not exceed $50.00 for a single offense or $10 per day for any offense of a continuing nature up to a total cost of $900.
- An Owner may appeal the determination to the Board of Directors and be heard at a regular Board meeting. A written notice of appeal must be received at the Office within 14 calendar days from the date of the letter of determination.
- The Board appeal determination is mailed by certified mail within 7 business days of the hearing.
- Until a rule violation is paid, the Owner is considered no longer a member in good standing and loses the rights and privileges of being an eligible member.
- Any unpaid violations are treated as an assessment against the owner’s lot and will begin to accrue late fees and interest. The board of directors may file legal action to seek payment.
As you can see there are many steps to the rule violation process requiring lots of effort from office staff, security personnel and volunteers from the community who have the difficult job of hearing compliance complaints at a mediator panel hearing. Ideally, the Association and the community would love not to have to go through this exercise many times each month.
The rules are fair and not difficult to follow and are for the safety and enjoyment of all community members.
People who move into Property Owners’ Association should read the rules in their disclosure packets, and understand that once you move in, you leave a lot of your freedom to do as you wish at the gate.
Pat Majewski, Board President