SRA Board of Directors
April 19, 2013
CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order at 3:00 p.m.
CONFIRMATION OF QUORUM: Seven of nine members were present, therefore a quorum was established. Those present: Paul Atchison, Katie Boczek, Michael Coltart, Don Hardy, Trevor Hoskins, Bryan Johnson and David Steward. Absent: Don Gongaware and Len Saunders.
Also in attendance: Debbie Smith, Executive Director.
Katie welcomed the guests and introductions took place. Trevor Hoskins introduced the main topics for the presentation. Community concerns included: certain parts of Semiahmoo and particularly the effect they have on the value of properties (he said that Semiahmoo is a paradise!) and it must be kept that way. Mr. Hoskins introduced Jean Cartwright who had prepared several photographs of the community and with Mr. Hoskin’s narration, illustrated the guests concerns where maintenance is needed. Ms. Cartwright was thanked for her presentation. The guest presentation included:
Al Mason – Mr. Mason said that the community is not looking “sharp” and it needs upgrades with more effort to improve the appearance.
John Raczkowski – Mr. Raczkowski said he lives on Peregrine Way and has empty lots on either side of his property and that trees have fallen and hit his property. He has written to the neighbors regarding their trees, but no action has been taken. The open space behind his property [which belongs to the St. Andrews Green I & II Association] has trees that need to be removed and he was told they could be removed at his expense. Mr. Raczkowski plans on writing a letter stating he will sue the association [SAG I & II?] if damage occurs from this property.
Mike McBride – Mr. McBride said that the appearance of Carnoustie is discouraging. He also has a concern about absentee owners maintaining their lawns; and said there are two examples on Quail Run. Mr. McBride wondered if the SRA could be of assistance as it relates to the garage on Drayton Harbor Road (just before Drayton Hillside Gate 1) that has slid down the bank.
John Dugdale – Mr. Dugdale said he owns two properties, and gave Paul Atchison accolades for improvements that have been made on a property next to his home in the St. Andrews Green neighborhood. Mr. Dugdale said the entrance to St. Andrews Green Gate 1 is a mess. He expressed concern about a dump truck that was parked near his home overnight that did not have any type of warning light or sign and the possibility of an accident. Lastly he mentioned overhanging trees at the entrance to Boundary Ridge.
Larry Donovan – Mr. Donovan said he wants a commitment from the SRA for action on the topics reviewed via photographs and by the guests. He reviewed the procedure for amending the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and thought it could take up to five years! The ASC did allow removal of one tree on the vacant lot next to his house, but more are needed. He finished by saying Semiahmoo has slipped and needs help and action.
Pat Corcoran – Mr. Corcoran said he has served on the ASC and the SRA Board. While on the ASC, he recalls several debates about tree removal; and he thinks the ASC has basically done a good job and has been consistent. Mr. Corcoran referred to lots and common areas and asked if it would look better to remove a tree, shouldn’t removal be allowed, although this is not the way the CC&Rs are currently written. He referred to the alder trees in the Stonehaven native buffer and wondered now that the cedar trees are established, would it look better to remove the alders as they don’t seem to serve a purpose. He mentioned that the CC&Rs are over 25 years old and are not holding up to today’s standards in regard to clean up of trees that is needed. Mr. Corcoran asked for the CC&RS to be amended to allow the removal of alder trees without ASC approval. It was agreed that this could be an item voted on for the annual meeting. He hopes changes can be made moving forward.
Jerry Williams – Mr. Williams said he supports the removal of alders, and also suggested including cottonwood trees. Both species are “thirsty” and grow rapidly. Mr. Williams also suggested that the CC&Rs be more rigorously enforced as it relates to over-night parking on the street and RV and boat storage. He has lived in Semiahmoo for 12 years and there has been a kayak stored in a neighbor’s driveway for a long period of time. He finished by saying the CC&Rs need to be changed to have “teeth”.
Mr. Hoskins read an email dated April 19, 2013 from Penny Senov, who was unable to attend the meeting.
Thank you for brining to the boards attention that Semiahmoo is in need of a "spruce up" in terms of maintenance and grounds keeping.
The community is now over 20 years and starting to show it's age. We are competing, whether people are buying homes, selling homes or pondering the quality of life current residents have here, with much newer, younger and well kept communities both in Washington State and other areas.
The maintenance and appearance of the community is a bit shabby, the trails often unclean and full of debris, fallen trees just stuffed into the edge of the bushes rather than properly disposed of, tree limbing and trimming, replacement of gate intercoms (ours had a resident who did not live her for two years still listed!) that look old and make shift sections of unpainted 2"x4" wood nailed on to keep gates from rubbing all give the appearance the community is a downward spiral. These are just a few things that are top of mind. No doubt with a closer look a longer list could be compiled.
Anything that can be done to really put a good effort forth to give the community a makeover and big clean up would certainly benefit all of the residents and help keep property values up.
Mr. Hoskins went on to say: “We understand that it has been a tough year for budgets, both for the SRA and the City of Blaine. However, as far as the city is concerned, it is our opinion that the SRA has never put sufficient pressure on them to get our share of their budget used in Semiahmoo. Perhaps we are wrong but it seems, certainly to me, that about all they appear to do is mow the grass on Semiahmoo Parkway a few times in the summer. I have no idea what the difference is between the tax we pay to the city and what they receive from the residents of Blaine but most of us feel that we are not getting a bang for our buck. We have a new Public Works Director who I am working closely with about the tree situation on the parkway but she has a limited budget and I am sure her understanding is that most of it goes to the City – in other words the squeaking wheel….I think we need to squeak louder and more frequently.
We recognize that only so much can be done inside Semiahmoo by the SRA board and while we hate to speak about committees perhaps it is necessary for a group to be appointed who could study these issues in detail and report back to the board.”
Mr. Hoskins also suggested a strong email to all residents and a stronger letter to lot owners to clean up their property, or the SRA will hire someone to do the work and bill them. He went on to say “one of the issues affecting these clean ups would be the removal of alder and cottonwood trees. He proposed this to the ASC at their March 28 meeting that removal of alder trees should be excluded from the need to obtain approval. Bryan Johnson was present at this meeting and I believe he supported my submission. I don’t know how long it will take to make this change but I would like to think it can be done quickly, so folks can get on with clearing their lots.”
Mr. Hoskins said he is seeking approval from the board to form a group to do a fairly intensive study of Semiahmoo and come up with a list of actions that we believe are necessary, then we can see what we can afford from existing budgets and where we will need additional support. While he can’t speak for everyone, some residents have indicated that they would be willing to pay, for Semiahmoo’s appearance to be improved.
In closing, Mr. Hoskins said he thinks that we need to create a little more pride in where we live. We used to have a community party on the Spit with which Debbie was very involved. With the availability of the Semiahmoo Park building, perhaps we can be looking at running a similar event. Mr. Hoskins thanked the resident attendees and the board for their time.
Katie thanked the guests and Trevor for their time and presentation. She said it would be great to have more help. There are currently Ad Hoc committee’s and one of Trevor’s Ad Hoc position involves trees. Katie chaired a task force a few years ago. The CC&Rs are outdated and need to be reviewed and kept up to date. The board has legal looking into this. The board favors Trevor enlisting help and forming a task force to review the issues raised during the presentation.
John Dugdale asked if a task force is formed, will the board listen. Katie replied, “Yes, we will listen”. Mr. Dugdale then asked will the ASC and SRA work as a team. Don Hardy replied that we all live here and are not on opposite sides and will look in the same direction. Other comments included; realize there is a problem, and want solutions; ASC is a committee of the board and with proper direction may be able to streamline the tree removal issue; the CC&Rs are not being abandoned; the alder trees in the Stonehaven native buffer could be a starting point on improving the appearance along Semiahmoo Parkway. Bryan mentioned that committees’ change over time, and he agrees with Trevor that alders aren’t necessary, but does not want to see “cart blanche” removal. Mr. Corcoran replied that if it improves the appearance in the community, trees should come down which could be applied to future decisions.
Katie said the next board meeting will be held in three weeks and asked the task force to itemize a list of concerns; review the CC&Rs; and come up with possible solutions and report back next month. Trevor replied that he thinks the task force can come up with a list by the next meeting. It was suggested that a “cross section” of community members be included on the task force (retirees, those currently working, those with children, etc.). Trevor replied “we can try”. Katie thanked the guests and Trevor again for their time and presentation. The guests departed the meeting at 3:40 p.m.
APPROVAL OF MARCH 15, 2013 BOARD MEETING MINUTES: The minutes were corrected. A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes as corrected. Motion carried. Paul made a brief presentation on the process for reviewing the minutes and accepting the minutes as written, then sending them to the entire board for approval to post to the SRA Web site. Katie mentioned that it is important for the board to be transparent and that all are “on the same page”.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS’ REPORT:
a) Financial Report – The financial statements for March (Profit & Loss Analysis of Budget vs. Actual, Balance Sheet and Accounts Receivable Aging Summary) were reviewed. A motion was made and seconded to accept the financial statements as presented. Motion carried. Don Hardy mentioned that in regard to legal fees, he is suggesting more management of the SRA attorney’s time.
Resort Hotel Dues – The semiannual dues (January 1 to June 30, 2013) were paid on March 21, 2013.
Intent to Lien Letters – In follow up to last months meeting, the two residents who received Intent to Lien letters have each brought their account current.
b) Employee Health Insurance Renewal – The Board reviewed the summary sheet Debbie prepared for Regence Innova Plan (current plan) and Group Health Alliant Plus. After discussion, a motion was made and seconded to change all eligible employees to the Group Health plan. Motion carried. By changing to Group Health, there is an approximate $3,000 savings for employee health care from the current plan.
c) Reserve Consultants Reserve Study Contract – In follow up to the new requirements for reserve studies for homeowner associations’, a motion was made and seconded to proceed with a reserve study which includes a site visit (this will satisfy the Washington State’s requirements) performed by Reserve Consultants at the cost of $2,200. Motion carried. Don Hardy, Paul Atchison, Allan Tozier, SRA Maintenance Supervisor and Debbie will meet with the consultants on May 14, 2013.
d) Troon Lift Station Monthly Billing from the City of Blaine – Debbie received a request from Jon Syre, Trillium Corporation requesting that the SRA take over the monthly utilities cost for the lift station (located on the golf course). After discussion, Debbie was directed to respond to Mr. Syre, with a copy to the City of Blaine that this billing is not the responsibility of the SRA.
e) Mother’s Day Artists Studio Tour – The email dated April 4, 2013 from Neil Engledow saying the artist tour would once again take place this year on May 11 and 12 between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. was noted.
a) Let’s Move Blaine (LMB) – No report due to Don Gongaware’s absence.
b) Remaining “Action” Items from the October 27, 2012 Annual Meeting – The board continues to work on the following topics. In follow up to the guest presentation, Katie asked Trevor if he would review and clarify as it relates to the new Task Force. Trevor found this acceptable.
1. Railway – Delay in Emergency Responders response time to Semiahmoo due to trains – improve delay at the crossings in Blaine
Engaging with the City of Blaine (as City Liaison Len Saunders has been doing) will continue as it relates to this topic (which is actually Federal). This topic will remain on the agenda.
2. Horizon (at Semiahmoo) – Improve appearance of entrance to the neighborhood on Semiahmoo Parkway
Trevor said he has heard that the new owners are seeking quotes to maintain the entrance. This will be an ongoing topic.
3. Amtrak and saving the Train Station
This topic is included in the spring edition of the newsletter.
4. Improve “Y” at Blaine and Drayton Harbor Roads
Since this intersection is located in the County, the 2013 Whatcom County Liaison will be asked to communicate with the City of Blaine to seek leverage with the County.
5. Review auditor situation in 2013
Don Hardy said that he and Debbie are currently seeking quotes from potential new auditor firms.
6. Develop processes and procedures for levying member dues
It was mentioned that there are important financial implications and to let people know what dues are for. This is an ongoing topic that will continue to be discussed as the October Annual Meeting date gets closer.
7. Develop processes and procedures for undertaking capital projects
This is an ongoing topic that will be discussed during future meetings to establish timelines.
c) Drayton Cove Recreational Easement (DCRE) – In follow up to last month’s meeting, it is anticipated that a joint meeting between the SRA, affected Drayton Cove owners and Michael Jones, City of Blaine Community Development Director will be held in early June (as it is anticipated that the “snow-birds” will have returned to Semiahmoo by that time) to help educate them on the importance of proper hillside drainage, as it is in their best interest to remediate for long term erosion control on their property.
Paul is awaiting photographs from Michael Jones showing properties that have properly functioning “tight-line” piping; and those who do not. There has been significant erosion on certain properties that have caused trees to come down in the ditch.
As the SRA is responsible for the recreational easement in relation to the drainage ditch (although caused by neglect), a mini excavator may be needed to dredge the ditch so it can once again flow properly. The thought is to split this expense with the owners and the SRA. Bids will need to be obtained for this work. The City of Blaine has indicated their interest in possibly helping on this matter.
d) Review Money Market Accounts – Don Hardy
Don Hardy said that in follow up to last months meeting when Michael presented the 2012 Audit Report in his absence, he disagrees with the wording in Note 7 as it relates to the Mutual Funds that SRA has with Vanguard. Don and Debbie have a conference call scheduled for April 24 with Bernadette Halliday, Archer Halliday, PS to discuss this matter. Don will report back next month.
e) Appoint Two New Election Committee Members – Debbie (for Carol Selby,
Chair, Election Committee) – In Carol Selby’s absence, Debbie presented the Board with two candidates; Michael Lulu and Doug Todoroff to serve a two-year term on the Election Committee. A motion was made and seconded to appoint Mr. Lulu and Mr. Todoroff to a two-year term on the Election Committee. Motion carried.
f) Section 10.16 Pets – Trevor
It was mentioned that when amending the CC&Rs to allow for two (2) dogs per household (with a grandfather clause for existing owners), that “absolutes” be avoided. This also would apply to the amendment for alder trees. This topic will be moved to Ad Hoc Committee Reports, number 2.
g) Trees in Stonehaven Located in Native Buffer along Semiahmoo Parkway – Trevor
In follow up to last month’s meeting, Trevor said he met with a representative from a local tree removal company to see if the trees could be cut at no cost and allow the representative to have the firewood. Trevor said the cost to remove 101 trees within the evergreens in the native buffer (from the golf course along Semiahmoo Parkway just before you reach St. Andrews Green Gate 3) would be $17,000 (this includes a $1,000 discount for hauling the trees away). This fee could possibly be raised through a Special Assessment. Trevor is recommending that the SRA ask Ravyn Whitewolf, Blaine Public Works Director to trim back the tree bows on the opposite side of the Parkway.
AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORTS
1. City of Blaine Liaison – Len Saunders
No report due to Len’s absence.
2. Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) Review – Len Saunders
Although Len was absent, the two topics currently being proposed for amendment to the CC&Rs are:
3. Architectural Standards Committee (ASC) Liaison – Bryan Johnson
ASC Meeting Minutes – The ASC minutes from March 28, 2013 and draft minutes from April 11, 2013 were noted.
March 28, 2013 Meeting – As mentioned earlier in the meeting, Trevor attended this meeting to talk about allowing alder trees to be removed without ASC approval. Trevor asked Bryan if the ASC has approached the owner of lots 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Stonehaven regarding their alder trees. Bryan was not sure, but said he would inquire at the next ASC meeting. Bryan said the ASC is currently seeking clarification on how the Stonehaven Homeowners Association was dissolved in 2008. In regard to amending the CC&Rs to exclude alder trees from ASC approval it was determined that the Task Force will be reviewing this issue.
Marin – The landscaping plan was approved which includes a fire-pit area. The ASC is reviewing the “flags” at Marin.
Burnside Tree Clearing – The City of Blaine issued a Land Disturbance Permit to perform selective tree thinning on the Burnside parcel (located at the four way intersection of Semiahmoo Parkway and Semiahmoo Drive). Logging has begun on this parcel and the work is scheduled to be complete in mid May. Work hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. An SRA Email News was sent on April 10, 2013 on this topic.
Plat of Muirfield – The email dated March 27, 2013 from Alex Wenger, City of Blaine Community Planner II titled; The Plat of Muirfield Update was noted. Bryan said the ASC is currently in a “holding pattern” on this plat as they are awaiting additional information from the city.
New Home Submissions – In follow up to last months meeting, Bryan reviewed an issue with the ASC during their March 28, 2013 meeting as it relates to a comment regarding a new home in the St. Andrews Green neighborhood that does not seem to be in keeping with the aesthetic appearance for the Semiahmoo community. The Board is hopeful that the ASC will continue to do their best while reviewing new home submissions as it relates to Article X requirements, which lists aesthetics as a criterion.
Landscaping Plan Review – Bryan was asked to have the ASC look at a landscaping plan in the Drayton Hillside neighborhood to ensure that the proper amounts of trees are being planted/replaced. Bryan agreed to do so at the April 25, 2013 meeting.
Joint Meeting between the SRA and ASC – A suggestion was made that with the proposed changes to Article X of the CC&Rs that a joint meeting be held with the SRA Board and the ASC after the Task Force has submitted their recommendations. The Board found this agreeable.
4. Maintenance Committee – Paul Atchison
A property in the Turnberry Wood neighborhood that is in need of exterior improvements continues to be addressed by Paul and Debbie. There have been some improvements to the exterior of this house and landscaping. In follow up to the guest presentation, Paul was asked to review empty lots in need of maintenance; along with a home in the Royal Troon neighborhood.
5. Community Courier Newsletter Editor – David Steward and Paul Atchison
David and Paul reviewed the draft newsletter. Paul said that further revisions have been made to the article for the new billboard site on the SRA web site. Debbie was asked to send Jennifer Plombon a thank you letter for her article on wildlife. The newsletter will be sent in the near future.
6. Evaluation of changes in Semiahmoo Resort Master Plan (SRMP)/West Semiahmoo – Katie Boczek and Len Saunders – Katie said she is not aware of any changes since the last meeting.
7. Future Facility – Michael Coltart and Don Gongaware
This topic was moved to Executive Session.
8. Whatcom County and Parks & Recreation Liaison – David Steward
Whatcom County – The scoping sessions for the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for Gateway Pacific are now posted on the Web at; http://www.eisgatewaypacificwa.gov/resources/scoping-report. Of interest, the vast majority of comments were unfavorable to the project. Of further interest many of the contributors considered that the responsibility to the health of citizens of China and other Asian countries and the overall world danger of coal burning was as great as the concerns about local health threats.
The speed limit on Lincoln Road has increased from 35 mph to 45 mph between Harborview Road and the Blaine City limits.
Parks & Recreation
The second annual picnic and Open House will be held at Bay Horizon Park on May 4, 2013 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided at the cost of $2.00, along with games for the kids; who can also pick up their “Let’s Move Blaine” passports.
9. Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club (SG&CC) Liaison – Bryan Johnson and Trevor Hoskins
Trevor said he recently spoke to Brett Eaton, Director of Golf and Mr. Eaton is optimistic that the sale of the resort hotel and golf courses will go through! In regard to the golf course staff receiving their 60 day notice of a potential new owner for the resort hotel and golf courses, the 60 days notice is up on May 3, 2013.
10. Blaine Public Works – Trevor Hoskins
Signage - The board approved the new "Welcome to Blaine
City Limits" sign and one of these will be put up, by the city at each of the
three entries to Semiahmoo, to replace the old "Welcome to Blaine" signs.
The board agreed the suggestion from the city that they
place crossing signs on the Spit at the end of the county park limit/beginning
of the Seagrass development and just around a bend, when driving towards the
The board was not happy with the suggestion from the city to simply put rocks in the small road triangle outside Boundary Ridge and Drayton Cove. Trevor was asked to communicate this to Ravyn Whitewolf to see if it could be improved.
The upkeep by the city on Semiahmoo Parkway was questioned,
and it was suggested more serious discussions take place with the City of
Blaine. Both sides of the Parkway need sweeping and the trees, at least on the
opposite side of the road from Stonehaven, need trimming.
The board accepted the city's agreement to place signs at the Drayton Hillside crossing and, when the weather improves, the crossing signs on the road, in several places, need repainting.
a) Memo dated April 16, 2013 from the ASC – Boral Roofing – Bryan
The ASC memo and sample materials were reviewed. In 2012, Boral purchased Monier in North America. A Monier product had previously been approved for use in the Semiahmoo community, but is no longer available. After discussion, a motion was made and seconded to accept the ASC’s recommendation to add Boral Monterey Shake 600 to the approved list of alternative roofing materials for use in Semiahmoo. Motion carried.
b) Old Wastewater Plant on Semiahmoo Parkway – Trevor asked if SRA is involved in the deeding of the wastewater plant to the Lummi Nation. It was suggested that Len Saunders, City of Blaine Liaison could check on this matter.
A motion was made and seconded to convene into Executive Session at 5:22 p.m. Motion carried. A motion was made and seconded at 5:33 p.m. to reconvene the open meeting. Motion carried. The outcome is as follows:
Sale of Semiahmoo Resort Hotel – The SRA office completed paperwork for proration of the dues for the resort hotel.
Application of Declaration to Non Platted Properties at Semiahmoo – The reply from SRA attorney was noted. It appears that the Thirty-Third Amendment does apply to Seagrass; but not to Burnside.
Lease for 9001 Semiahmoo Parkway – It was determined that Michael and Debbie will work together on redrafting the lease. Once complete they will request a meeting with the assistant fire chief to review the lease.
ADJOURN: The meeting adjourned at 5:34 p.m. A quorum was confirmed for the next meeting that will be held on Friday, May 10, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. in the SRA Conference Room.
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