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Thursday, February 11, 2016

TWO NEW ARTICLES WERE ADDED IN THE LAST 24 HOURS. STAY TUNED!

HERE'S ANOTHER RESIDENT LETTER FROM THE CORRESPONDENCE FILE, THAT VIEWED WITH OTHERS IN THE FILE, CAUSE MANY QUESTIONS

I'm providing the following information to the best of my ability.  I did not ask for copies of the letters in the Correspondence file, but I took notes.  I recommend that you write the board, make an appointment, and review the files yourself for verification.  Having reviewed the letters, I have formed an opinion, and will note comments in red.

I reviewed about 30 letters in the file.  Approximately 50% of the letters related to poor lot maintenance.  Some of the complaints had board response letters attached, and others didn't.  One resident wrote letters about compliance, and fines.  As I thought through their situation, and your board's apparent actions - there wasn't a board letter to the resident in the file, I couldn't help but wonder how the board could so blatantly go after one resident, while failing to hold other residents feet to our governing documents, then fines, and the collection of fines.

We'll start with what appears to have happened, spoken through the resident letters.  The resident was replacing the roof on their house, at least the main part of the house, with the exact same color, and roofing material.  The contractor started the work.  It appears that the resident was notified by ARC that they hadn't filled out the proper paperwork.  The resident apologized, supplied the paper work, and the work continued.  It also appears that somewhat later, the resident was notified that they should have paid a $50.00 ARC fee when they supplied their paperwork.  Then it appears by the writing, that the resident received notice that they owed $100.00.  Since I don't have board responses in the  file to review, one can only assume that the second $50.00, is a fine.  

It appears from the resident writings, that the resident asked to be forgiven the fine, viewing the lack of following ARC procedure, as not only a mistake, but misunderstanding.  It appears that the resident viewed the roof project, as a repair.  They were maintaining their roof, and they weren't changing color, material, anything.  It also appears that the resident is being threatened through the collection policies, with a lien on their home.  The resident states that they have lived here over 2 decades, and paid any billings from the WPA, every time, on time.  

Think what you want about the above resident situation with the board, but then consider other situations presented in the file, and  your board's apparent failure to act - notice to offending resident, clean up the mess, charge, and fine a resident.  In most cases, in fairness to the board, they have a poor (maybe intentional ) filing system - we don't have a response, an appropriate file on how the board proceeded. 

Remember, we provided a letter in the file yesterday, - the escrow letter.  That individual had written many times, and your board did nothing to the offending party, over a substantial period of time.

Then there is a disturbing dilemma presented in the file.  It appears a resident in the canal area, has written the board (more than once), about a poorly maintained lot that includes a tree that is precariously hanging over the canal, and presents inconvenience to boaters on the canal, possible danger of falling onto a boater, or blocking the entire canal, if it falls in.  Our board Grounds Chair writes, I'm not sure to who, because - as should be names are blocked out.  I'm not sure whether he writes to the complaining resident, or fellow board members.  He writes stating  that the property is owned by an elected official in the area (He states the title of the elected official, but I have chosen to leave it out, otherwise the potential offending lot owner would easily be identified). He states that the apparent offending lot owner, has threatened to have him arrested if he enters the boundaries of his lot.  It appears that the complaining lot owner has asked for contact information, and they are advised by our Grounds Chair to look it up - it will be easy to find because of the person's community title! 

COMMENTS:
To the letter writers mentioned above, I'd advise you to go to the office, ask for copies of letters that support the increasing level of concern in this community regarding property maintenance violations, and your board's apparent inconsistency, governing by omission, and careful selection of what violations, and who, they will enforce our governing documents, and relating fines, and the collection process on.

Where is our Compliance Committee?
Where is our Legal Committee?
Where is our Community Liaison?
Where is our PRESIDENT

Why isn't this file complete?  There was a time when every letter from a resident held a board response, and follow up stapled to it!  

Think this isn't important?  Think again!  Will a situation on your home front, or lot, make you the next discipline, fine, and collection target, while they ignore selective others?  Are you like the lottery game - their next "easy pick number"?  It is bigger than that.  Go back and read the articles, and review the two documents on the SETTLEMENTS - not RULINGS, of the two "failure to pay", canal lot owners.  In general, a board that fails to govern with consistency loses in the court room. This board usually puts a smile face on, calls it a win, sometimes a significant ruling when it is a settlement, and we all lose.  To the escrow, and roof writers, remember the term governance by omission.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BOARD. WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO PROTECT THE VALUE OF YOUR PROPERTY, AND THE PROTECTION OF AN HOA?

The Wedgefield Examiner has a lot going on.  Most would declare that they needed an assistant.  My only assistant is Wonder Dog Brady, and he can't type, and for sure can't compose!  I owe you a article about the "open" Board Meeting.  I've visited the WPA Office, and secured some copies of legal papers.  I'm working on a project, on my own, about the dumping of evergreen trees in the canals, to legally make fish beds.  Yet, I was struck by a letter in the WPA Correspondence file.  It was a subject that I covered earlier, and as the saying goes, "it curled my hair", as I read it.  Earlier, I had reported about the resident who had placed their 2016 assessment in escrow.  This was reported by Legal Chair Garrison, and I took umbrage,  at his response, as he reported from the board table.  Why?  Because your Legal Chair, prior to entering the Board, blessed as Legal Chair by President Walton, had written residents during the canal dredging drama, along with two other "Bobs", and recommended that residents place their canal dredging assessments (legally voted on by a previous board), in an escrow account.  Now, he was reporting that he had told the resident to pay, or be fined!  Yet, your board, had failed to live up to the governing documents, in regard to property maintenance. 

First, attached to the letter, the resident presents what appear to be legal documents in the establishment of a escrow account, and deposite of $500 for the 2016 assessment, with the sole purpose to pay the assessment, after it is proven that your board has met the stipulations of our governing documents.   We start the direct letter language quote shortly after the letter subject introduction.

"at such time that the following occurs:
1) The neglected lot adjacent to me, which I HAVE REPEATEDLY REQUESTED TO BE KEMPT as REQUIRED by the WPA Conditions, Covenants & Restrictions, is cleared and maintained to those standards for a period of at least 120 days without my intervention, and

2) I have received in WRITING, a letter from the WPA, as per the Conditions, Covenants & Restrictions, and will be billed to the property owner, as also established in the Conditions, Covenants & Restrictions.  The purpose of this second part is to provide me reasonable assurance that these long-standing lot conditions will no longer occur, as it is obvious the owner will not accept this responsibility himself.

The 2016 funds will remain in escrow, and future assessments will be deposited into same escrow account when invoiced and due, UNTIL such time as the WPA FULFILLS their responsibilities and obligations to ME, or the matter is decided BY A COURT OF PROPER JURISDICTION.

I am VERY DISAPPOINTED that the situation has come to this. This is not the way I ENVISIONED our relationship would be with either our neighbor or the WPA."

COMMENTS:
Well, Well!  This is just another resident, who bought property in Wedgefield, with the thought that the board would operate according to the governing documents, and got a "cohesive" board's agenda!  I don't know who the resident is.  I do believe that they relied on our GOVERNING documents before they bought land here.  Many of us have been burned by the promise of protection of our property values, under the governing documents provided to them as they moved forward toward purchase.  Poor souls, they failed to acknowledge, or be aware of this current board's agenda.

I have to congratulate the writer!  Whether the individual knew of Garrison's writing about escrow accounts,  they have hit the nail on the head.  Regardless, this brave resident, has tested the board in what appears to be a real legal challenge.  Thank you, resident.  I wish you luck with this wishy washy - COHESIVE BOARD, can't think for your individual self board, who let's disregard for our governing documents, business, or prudent thought, keep them cohesive.  It should be noted, that the board's response to this letter was not included in the Correspondence file.  Yet, Garrison, almost humorously, reported at a recent monthly meeting, that he HAD responded (WHERE?), and as I recall, told the resident pay, or be fined, and suffer the full action of the collection policy.  

My message to the unknown resident:  "Keep up the good work!  You have a RIGHT to ask the board to uphold the governing documents - your promise at purchase.  I believe that you have a right to withhold your assessment, when your board fails to adhere to our governing documents.  If all else fails, get a copy of the 3 Bob's letter recommending escrow accounts.  Tell your attorney  that the WPA Legal Chair, recommended it, and give them, or the court the letter.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

THERE IS GOOD NEWS, AND THERE IS BAD NEWS, REGARDING THE TREE DUMPING IN THE CANALS

First, a lot of people worked making calls, and sending emails, to get to the good news portion of this article.  We thanked every one in a previous article, and emails went to all of those who helped.  

The good news is, that according to a DNR officer, the men who dumped the trees in the canals, will come today - Saturday, to remove them.

The bad news is, according to DNR regulations/laws, the practice is lawful, and can continue.  So the next fisherman, who decides to come in, and make fish beds, will be a problem, a potential risk to boats, and the people who ride in them.  The current DNR regulations do not appear to consider, the size of the body of water, or in the case of the canals, who paid to open the water, the increase rate of silting, or the exceleration of the need to pay again, for dredging, that resulted from the public abuse of our canals.  In this case, if you consider intention, these guys first tried to dump a truck load of trees, and when that didn't work, they brought a boat load in.  What about obstruction of navigation in our canals, for the people who live here, and paid for the dredging?  They only had to pay for a fishing license, and a boat registration.  SC is full of large bodies of water, where they can make fish beds.  These two had to come in through the Black River to bring the trees in!  Last summer, we had fisherman in boats, 4-5 days a week.  There is no problem with their right to fish.  They shouldn't be able to obstruct navigation, and increase the rate of silting.

In our case, the tree was placed in the middle of the canal.  The deepest cut.  We have about 8 feet of water in the middle at high tide.  I don't know how long the tether tie on the tree is, but you can't see it at high tide.  At mid tide it shows, at lower tides, it is all out there. 


HIGH TIDE
IF YOU DON'T KNOW IT IS THERE, YOU COULD GET CAUGHT IN THE TETHER LINE, OR THE TREE TRUNK

MID TIDE


LOWER TIDE

I've told you before, that I don't care if we ever dredge again.  I am insulted by the state of South Carolina, claiming the water beds, letting every person here pay, and allowing this travesty.  I have some questions for my state officials.  I'll work until I get some answers, and hopefully change.  

TO THE STATE:
If you can't use current regs, why isn't the size of the water way, and who has paid to keep our state waters open,  be considered to make changes to the law? I understand the benefit to the fisherman, but this isn't a lake, river, or large tributary.  When I had to pay all that I did, why does someone who paid for nothing but, a fishing license, and boat registration, get to treat the waters I directly paid to open, like this?  

  You, as my governor, legislators, and enforcement authorities, wanted these waters, wouldn't dredge the canals, and we dredged them allowing them to be navigable.  If we let individuals like these two increase the silting, make them unnavigable, will you dredge them, or give them back to the association, whose developer, dug them?
  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Wedgefield Examiner, has received a email from a canal lot owner, with comments on our tree dumping.  As always, I have removed the writers name, to protect their identify.

HERE IT IS:
(Please note, that the email when enlarged so you can read it on the blog, often moves the print.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

NOTE: AN ADDITIONAL THANK YOU WAS ADDED AT THE TOP OF THIS ARTICLE, ON 2/3 -BOATERS DUMP PINE TREES INTO THE CANAL BEHIND MY HOUSE. DOES ANYONE RECOGNIZE THIS BOAT" A THANK YOU TO SOME BOARD AND A COMMITTEE MEMBER

ADDED 2/3 :  A BIG THANK YOU, to BOB GARRISON, for his multiple calls to our home, working with the pictures I had taken so we can identify the boat owner, and taking extra steps to see if we can protect our canals.

AT 5:00 PM this evening, I noticed a boat in the canal loaded with pine trees.  I watched, and the two men in the boat began to dump a pine tree in the middle of the canal behind my house.  I grabbed my camera, shot a picture, and went out carrying the Wedgefield phone directory, my camera, and a phone, and asked the men what they were doing.  One said, "we're making a nice fishing spot for us."  I told him to stop, he wouldn't do that, and they dropped the tree in.  I told him to get it out.  He said, he didn't have to, this was open water.  My husband said we were going to call the authorities.  I had been dialing people from the board, who might know if they could dump the trees, do what they were doing, or at least tell me how I could stop them.

Some thanks are due to the following people:

*I first called the Garrison home.  Mrs. Garrison should be thanked for taking my call, listening to a hectic description of what was happening.  Bob, wasn't home, but she tried to calm me.

*I moved on calling Al DeMarchi, and he listened, and suggested my best source would be John Walton.  Al, was as helpful as he could be in this situation.

*I called the Walton home, left a message that I had an emergency in the canal, and left a brief message as to what was occurring.  Mrs. Walton called me right back, offered a suggestion, and stated that John had recently had surgery.  She was helpful.

*I then decided to call Ed Wozniak, Water Amenities Committee member.  He got on the phone, and offered advice.  Ed hurried and said that he would go out toward the landing, and see if he could spot them.  Next, the door bell rang, and Ed, and John Walton (recently out of surgery), came to look the situation over.  Ed had seen the boat, with more trees, leaving the canals through the North Channel.  They asked if I had the boat registration number, and I told them that I was shook up calling out to those guys, had a camera, and taken a picture, but that I didn't know what I had.  They advised me to always try and get the registration number, and call DNR.

I thank each, and everyone of the people mentioned above, for helping me, to the best of their ability, when I was concerned about this situation.  Thank you, Mrs. Garrison, Al DeMarchi, Pam & John Walton, and last but not least, Ed Wozniak.

HERE ARE THE PICTURES.  I MAYBE ABLE TO GET THE REGISTRATION NUMBERS IF I HAVE THE PICTURES ENLARGED.  IN THE MEAN TIME, IF YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.