|Reposted by San Lorenzo Express|
SAN LORENZO VILLAGE HOMES ASSOCIATION
MEETING NO. 1471
May 19, 2016
1.0 MEETING CALLED TO ORDER –- The regular meeting of the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association Board of Directors was held on Thursday, May 19, 2016. President Clowser called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
1.1 SALUTE TO THE FLAG -– President Clowser led the audience in the pledge of allegiance.
1.2 ROLL CALL –- Directors Michelle Clowser, Kyle Carlson, Diane Wydler, Steve Kirk and Kathie Ready were present.
2.0 PUBLIC COMMENT Items not on the Agenda –- A member was concerned about boats in driveways and the issue of CC&R violations and how to report them. She asked that a link be put on the Association website to report issues. A member urged the Board to work together and to get along. He said the Association is looking for a new Administrator and encouraged the Board to look within the organization for a replacement. A member said she was concerned about the negativity in the community and online regarding the item to remove the current Board President, Michelle Clowser. She said she is starting a recall petition to remove Board member Steve Kirk. A member asked that approved paint samples be placed on the Association website. A member asked why the Board meetings are not videotaped; she was concerned with how the new Fence Policy was being proposed and asked why the Association needed a new policy. She said that if President Clowser is removed as President of the Board, she would sign a petition to recall all the Board members who vote in favor of her removal. A member said it was nice to see new people at the meeting and encouraged them to continue to attend; it takes more than one meeting to understand what is going on in the Community. A member said that he is concerned about some of the Board members being rude to each other and the public; he urged them to work out their differences and to be respectful to the membership. A member said that he had been part of a recall several years ago and he suggested that members get both sides of an issue before they move forward. It is important to get information first hand.
*5.1 CHP (Timed Agenda Item 7:40 p.m.) -- Officer Adam Copp announced that they are holding free driving classes for both seniors and teens at the San Lorenzo Library. He said that the CHP takes traffic complaints in their Castro Valley office; homeowners can call 510-581-9028 (M-F 8a.m. to 5 p.m.). He said in the past his office has had very few complaints from San Lorenzo. He encouraged residents who see stop sign violations, speeding or other traffic issues to call. Director Wydler said there is a speeding issue on Via Toledo and asked for more patrol in that area. Officer Copp said that CHP Officers were out in that area last week, and will continue to patrol it. He urged residents to call in any concerns and to report any problems in their neighborhoods related to traffic.
**7.2 Review of 2nd Story Addition (809 sf) Over Garage (prelim. Design), Greg Diaz, 17089 Ganley St. (Timed Agenda item 8:00 p.m.) -- Staff explained that these are preliminary designs for a second story. The homeowner still needs to take his plans to the County for approval, and then back to the Association for neighbor review and a final approval by the Board.
The homeowner’s plans were displayed as well as pictures of the surrounding neighborhood. There were four (4) other second stories in the immediate vicinity of this proposed addition. Director Wydler asked about the balcony on the second floor. She said neighbors may have concerns about someone being able to look into their back yards. The homeowner stated the balcony is very small and is set back 30 ft from the property line. Staff stated that if the Board approves these preliminary designs, neighbors will have time to review these plans with the balcony and make comments. Director Ready moves to approve, Director Kirk seconds. Discussion: A member stated that the homeowner is improving his home and the Board should approve the designs. Director Kirk stated there are eight (8) second-story houses on Bandoni Ave and three (3) on Keller Ave. The motion carries unanimously.
3.0 MINUTES FROM THE PREVIOUS MEETING
3.1 Approval of Board Meeting Minutes # 1461 on March 17, 2016 –- Director Carlson moves to approve, Director Kirk seconds. The motion carries with four (4) ayes (Carlson, Clowser, Kirk and Wydler) and one (1) abstention, (Ready).
3.2 Approval of Board Meeting Minutes # 1465 on April 21, 2016 -- Director Kirk said that the Board just received the minutes. Director Wydler stated she has some corrections. Director Kirk moves to postpone the approval of these minutes until the June 16, 2016 Board meeting, Director Wydler seconds, the motion carries unanimously.
3.3 Disposition of Executive Session Minutes #1466 on April 25, 2016 -– The Administrator reported that the Board met in Executive Session to consult with legal counsel about the proposed Fence Policy that was previously voted down at the January 2016 Board meeting. The attorney gave his recommendations to the Board on this Policy and it is on the Agenda for tonight. The Board also discussed the resignation of the Administrator and Code of Conduct violations.
3.4 Approval of Executive Session Minutes #1466 on April 25, 2016 –- Director Wydler moves to approve, Director Kirk seconds, the motion carries with three (3) ayes (Carlson, Kirk and Wydler), and two (2) abstentions (Clowser, Ready).
3.5 Approval of Work Session Minutes #1467 on May 2, 2016 –- Director Kirk moves to approve, Director Carlson seconds, Director Wydler asked that the following be corrected, item 3.0, second paragraph, first sentence where it says “...public process of electing ‘officers’ goes out to the members…”, be changed to “...process of electing ‘directors’goes out to the members…” Director Kirk accepts the amendment, the motion carries unanimously.
3.6 Approval of Work Session Minutes #1468 on May 10, 2016 –- Director Carlson moves to approve, Director Ready seconds, the motion carries three (3) ayes (Carlson, Ready, Wydler) and two (2) abstentions (Clowser, Kirk).
3.7 Disposition of Executive Session Minutes #1468 on May 10, 2016 –- The Administrator reported that the Board met in Executive Session to review four (4) bids to replace and install a new HVAC system for the Association Hall and Bohannon Room. The Board gave the bid to Albert Nahman Plumbing and Heating. The Board also discussed the salary range for the Administrator job posting. The salary was set at $77,000 to $84,000 per year.
3.7 Approval of Executive Session Minutes #1466 on May 10, 2016 –- Director Kirk moves to approve, Director Wydler seconds, the motion carries with three (3) ayes, (Carlson, Ready and Wydler) and two (2) abstentions (Clowser and Kirk).
***7.3 Appeal of Paint Color (completed), 1056 Via Palma, Gary Robbins (Timed Agenda Item 8:15 p.m.) –- Staff showed a picture of the house and reported that it was painted prior to Association approval. The homeowner said he did not realize that he needed approval prior to painting. He painted the house to coordinate with his landscaping. He said he has had several compliments from his neighbors, and wants to keep the colors as originally applied. The Board said that the house is very bright and reminded the homeowner in the future to submit plans prior to any exterior work on his home. Director Wydler and Director Kirk said that if the garage door or other accents were painted a different color it may help tone down the color. Director Ready stated that she must recuse herself from the vote because her husband and the applicant are good friends, however, if some of the accent colors on the door and awning were changed, it may help add more contrast. Staff said that if the homeowner took the lighter brown that currently is on the outer frame of the garage door and applied it to both the awning and the screen door, it may help with the colors on the home. Director Carlson moves to have the homeowner modify the color on the awnings and the screen door to match the “brown color” that is currently around the outside frame of his garage, President Clowser seconds. Discussion: Several members liked the house as painted and asked the Board to approve the color as is. A member agreed that if the red accent colors were changed to brown on the door and the awnings, it would look better. The motion carries with four (4) ayes, (Carlson, Clowser, Kirk and Wydler), one (1), abstention (Ready).
4.0 COMMITTEE REPORTS
4.1 Community Event Committee -– Director Wydler stated that the Earth Day Event was very successful, litter was picked up throughout San Lorenzo and new plants were planted in front of the fire house and in the Association’s garden area. Tomorrow night Hayward Area Recreational District and the San Lorenzo Little League are hosting a free “Movie Night” for the community. “The Good Dinosaur” will be playing and Assembly Member Bill Quirk will have a booth with face painting and free give-a-ways.
4.2 Ad Hoc CC&R Implementation Committee –- Chair, Diane Wydler, reported that committee has not met because there have been no other policies to review. The Board was working on a Solar Panel Policy, however, at its last Work Session; it gave it back to the committee to review. The committee will be meeting again next month to look at developing this policy.
5.0 COMMENTS FROM PUBLIC AGENCIES
*5.1 CHP (Timed Agenda Item 7:40 p.m.) -– See timed agenda item above.
5.2 Sheriff's Department -– Dept. Rob Griffith introduced himself and said that he is with Crime Prevention. He said he has been assigned to the area and asked that anyone who has issues contact him. Dept. David Swallwell said the crime statistics are on the back table. He had nothing to report for the last month in the San Lorenzo Area. A member asked what the crime prevention unit does. Dept. Swallwell said that they work M-F and take neighborhood reports of residents who have issues with crime in their neighborhood. A member thanked the Sheriff’s Department for helping with the Association’s Earth Day. The Sheriffs also had a “Take back drug day” on that day, where over 200 pounds of prescription drugs was collected. A member asked what number to call for the Crime Prevention Unit. Dept. Swallwell stated it is best to contact him by email and if anyone is interested to let him know. Otherwise you can call the main Sheriff’s line and ask for the Crime Prevention Unit.
5.3 Supervisor Wilma Chan –- No report, no staff present.
5.4 Zoning Adjustments –- The report was left on the back table.
6.0 FINANCIAL REPORT (motion required)
6.1 Approval of April 2016 Expenditures –- Director Wydler moves to approve, Director Carlson seconds, the motion carries unanimously.
6.2 Approval of Bank Reconciliations, 1st Quarter 2016 –- Director Wydler moves to approve, Director Ready seconds, the motion carries unanimously.
7.0 OTHER BUSINESS (motions may be required)
7.1 Approval to Re-publish Revised Fence Policy (May/June Village Briefs) -- The Administrator stated that this policy is identical to that published in the November/December 2015 Village Briefs, which was denied by the Board at its January 2016 meeting. The Association’s attorney met with the Board this past month and gave input on the revised policy and the ruling of the board. The Board reviewed the attorney’s legal opinion, and has made no changes to the revised policy and wants to bring it to the Board for approval.
The Administrator reported that there are 42 sets of CC&Rs for the various tracks in the Association. Each is almost identical with a few minor variations. The Board has considered consolidating the CC&Rs into one document. However, this requires member approval. An attorney would have take the 42 sets and consolidate them into one document. Any minor differences in the sets would be identified in the consolidated document. It would then go to the membership for a vote. In order to pass, 75% of the members would have to vote on the issue, with 50% of those voting, to vote “yes” to consolidate. This would be very difficult to accomplish, historically Association Board elections have not received 50% of member participation. The next step would be to take the issue to court and get the CC&Rs consolidated, and then they could be re-written and modernized to reflect the present day. In the 1940’s and 50’s, there were very few fences and those that were built were three (3) feet high in the back yard. The Association’s attorney has interpreted what is allowed under the CC&Rs for fencing. Board policies can be changed without a member vote, but not the CC&R’s. That is why this issue is before the membership again. The policies of the Board need to be in line with what the CC&Rs allow.
Directed Wydler made a motion to re-publish the Revised Fence Policy in the May/June 2016 newsletter, Director Ready seconds. Discussion: Director Wydler said that the attorney looked at the policy and gave the same direction twice. She said to ask for legal advice and then ignore it is to invite a lawsuit. Director Kirk said he did not get a clear answer from the attorney. He said that the Association had a meeting where almost 100 members voiced their concerns with the policy. Director Ready said the attorney gave a legal opinion, and whether or not she agrees with him personally is not the issue; the Board is bound by what is in the CC&Rs. President Clowser said that she was not at the last meeting where the Board voted to re-publish this policy and she does not feel it is ready to be re-published. A member stated that he has seen pictures of San Lorenzo in the 1940’s and 50’s, and there were no fences. Times have changed since the 1950’s and residents who have corner lots have serious safety issues depending on how their house is set back from the street. Several members who had residences on corner lots were concerned with their privacy and security and felt this policy would jeopardize them. Several members said that the wording of the revised policy was contradictory and unclear. A member suggested that no new fence policy be voted on at this time and suggested the CC&Rs be re-written with respect to fencing. A member said that she thought the “privacy” issue was ridiculous and said her bedroom window faces the street; however she would not think to put a six (6) foot fence across her front yard. A member was concerned with how the definition of “street line” was changed and felt this fence policy would negatively impact property values. Director Kirk said he is not comfortable with the Board’s definition of “structure” in the fence policy and felt that if approved, the policy would negatively affect San Lorenzo property values. He suggested that the policy be re-written to take out any reference to “corner lot” fences. The Board can take these corner lots on a case by case issue for approval. Director Wydler said that this would make the Board’s decisions seem arbitrary. The motion fails with three (3) nays (Carlson, Clowser, Kirk) and two (2) ayes (Ready, Wydler).
**7.2 Review 2nd-Story Addition (809 sf) Over Garage (prelim Design), Greg Diaz, 17089 Ganley St. (Timed Agenda Item 8:00 p.m.). -– See timed agenda item above.
7.3 Appeal of Paint Color (completed), 1149 Via Coralla, Gary Robbins, (Timed Agenda Item 8:15 p.m.). -– See timed agenda item above.
7.4 Removal/Election of Officer (President) –- President Clowser handed the gavel to Vice President Carlson for this agenda item. The Administrator stated that the Association By-Laws give the Board the power to remove or reassign an officer with or without cause during a regular Board meeting. A motion is needed to discuss this item further. Director Wydler moves to remove Michelle Clowser as Board President, Director Ready seconds. Discussion: Director Wydler said that she does not have the confidence that President Clowser can unify and lead the Board in the direction it needs to follow. The Association is faced with hiring a new Administrator, and she does not feel the Board will be able to accomplish this under President Clowser. Director Ready said she is very concerned with the information that is being discussed on Social Media. The Board cannot discuss anything that has been said in Executive Session, thus many members do not have all the information to properly address this issue. President Clowser is a good person and great for the San Lorenzo Community. She has done a tremendous job getting information to the membership and bringing people to our events. However, to be Board President, one needs more time and experience in order to lead the board as a unified body. If President Clowser is removed from her office, it does not mean that she cannot be President again. She may be better prepared in the future, with more time and experience on the Board.
Director Kirk said that he does not want to violate the confidentiality of the Executive Session. He said that at the February Board Meeting, prior to be seated as President, Director Clowser gave a presentation to Deputy Stewart on behalf of the San Lorenzo Community. None of the other Board members were aware that she was giving this presentation and it upset them. President Clowser said she objects to this being discussed, citing that it was part of the Executive Session. Director Kirk said that the item was not discussed in Executive Session, but was during an open Board meeting. President Clowser disagreed. Director Kirk said that after the February meeting they tried to talk with President Clowser. The Administrator warned Director Kirk that further discussion on this issue would violate the Executive Session.
Director Kirk apologized and moved on to state that recently after being out of town, he received a letter of resignation from the Administrator. In the letter it stated that her resignation was due to the fact that President Clowser has been telling her how to do her job for the past three (3) months. President Clowser said she objects again, citing this issue was discussed in Executive Session. Director Kirk said this letter was sent prior to the Executive Session and it was sent to each Board Member via U.S. mail. President Clowser said that the Administrator’s resignation was discussed in Executive Session and it is improper to talk about this in an open meeting.
Director Wydler said that this is the problem with bringing this item before the membership. There is information that is important to this matter that cannot be discussed or disclosed in an open meeting. It is critical that the Board have a leader that can unite it moving forward, especially as it looks for a new Administrator.
Director Kirk stated that when he was first elected to the Board it was in the process of hiring a new Administrator. The selection was very difficult and the Board took a lot of criticism for its decision. However, the current Administrator has exceeded his expectations. She has implemented and completed many successful projects which have been positive for the community and the Association. The resignation of the Administrator is a very serious matter, momentum on many issues is now lost and a new person must be trained. This is all due to one Board member’s unilateral behavior. President Clowser said this item before the Board is detrimental to it. She cited the Association By-Laws which allow for an annual election of officers as well as allows for the removal of any officer “with or without cause” at an open Board meeting.
President Clowser also said that there is a Code of Conduct Policy that provides strict protocol to follow prior to attempting to remove someone from office due to an actual violation. She did not understand how a President could be removed from office without cause with a simple Board vote, yet someone who has violated the Ethics Policy has more protection from such an action. The By-Laws have to be interpreted as a whole and with common sense. A strict interpretation of one clause, could allow the Board to seat a new officer without “cause” every meeting, and she did not believe that this was their intent. The clause that allows removal of an officer prior to the end of their term was most likely for an officer who dies or is ill, during their term. President Clowser said that removing an officer prior to the end of their term without just cause is a political tactic and should not be permitted. Constant battling for office puts a wedge in the Board and is not in the best interest of it. This action seeks to divide, not unite the Board and she believes it sets a very bad precedent. Director Kirk said that he is also concerned that President Clowser has yet to attend any legal or educational classes. All other Board members have taken classes. President Clowser said that these meetings are in the middle of the day and conflict with her job.
Director Wydler stated both Davis-Sterling and the Association by-laws allow for officers to be appointed at the pleasure of the Board. They can also be removed with or without just cause. The Board has a very important task before it, to hire a new Administrator. It is important that they have a leader who can direct and lead that process. President Clowser said that she is not sure how she will hinder that process; she has attended all Board meetings, only missing one with the death of her mother. Director Wydler said the President acts at the discretion of the Board, things that have been done unilaterally by President Clowser are of serious concern and effect the decisions the Board makes as a whole.
Several members said that without all the information, it is difficult to comment one way or the other on the item. Several members said that President Clowser is good for the Association and she has brought in a lot of volunteers and is a positive influence, they urged the Board to reconsider her removal as President. One member said that if the President is acting unilaterally without the Board’s agreement that she should be removed from office. Several members were concerned that this issue was more about how the Board is getting along as a whole, rather than one person’s actions, and urged them to work their differences out for the good of the Association. A member urged the community to reconsider a recall. It not only costs a lot of money, it polarizes the community, if you want to support the board or a board member, then come to the meetings, get active in the community and make the Board accountable to you and to each other.
Director Ready said that the Board is in a “no-win” situation. Board members are being threatened to be recalled if they vote in favor of President Clowser’s removal. However, if Michelle Clowser remains as President the entire Board needs reassurance that she will no longer make any unilateral decisions. It is true the Board needs to be unified, and it is the job of the President to do this. She will withdraw her second on this motion only if President Clowser agrees to not act unilaterally on any issue again. President Clowser said that she would be willing to listen to other Board members in the future. She said that she believes she is acting correctly in her capacity as President.
Director Wydler stated that she has been very concerned about the actions of President Clowser without the other Board’s knowledge. If there is a concern about how the Association is being run, there needs to be full disclosure of this concern to all Board members prior to any action being taken.
Director Kirk asked President Clowser if moving forward she would refrain from communicating with the Association staff as she had done in the past. President Clowser said that she was doing so with the direction and authority of what is in the By-laws and the Code of Conduct, however moving forward she will take into account what Board members have to say, separate from these directives. Director Ready said that the By-laws do not say that the President can go to the Administrator without the knowledge of other Board members. Director Kirk said that the By-laws supersede the Code of Conduct. President Clowser said that the Code of Conduct gives the Board President additional directives in addition to the By-laws. Director Ready said that in order to unify the community and move forward, she is rescinding her second to the motion. However, if any officer on the Board acts unilaterally in the future, she will be the first to make a motion for their removal of office. Director Kirk said that if any Board member is concerned with what “unilateral means” they should check with the Administrator and be very clear that they are not doing something without the knowledge or direction of the entire Board. Vice President Carlson asks for another second. There is none. The motion fails for lack of second.
8.0 ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT –- Vice President Carlson hands the gavel back to President Clowser.
8.1 Operations –- The Administrator reported the application for the Administrator position has been published. The office has received seven (7) applications to date and June 3, 2016 is the last day to apply. In early May 307 lien letters were mailed by U.S and certified mail for nonpayment of Assessments for the years 2015 and earlier. The office has been flooded with payments. Homeowners can make monthly installment agreements if they can pay the entire balance due by the end of the year. The Administrator signed the contract with Albert Nahman Plumbing and Heating, the HVAC Company, and they performed an inspection of the Hall and the Bohannon room to determine if there was asbestos. They will be doing the work in three (3) stages. This is to accommodate the Hall’s busy rental schedule. This work will take longer because of this, but is necessary to accommodate renters on the weekends. Director Wydler asked if this company’s part warranty was comparable to others. The Administrator said she researched the issue and they were more than comparable.
9.0 LIENS AND VIOLATIONS REPORT (motion may be required) -- The Administrator said there were two (2) liens released since the April 2016 Board meeting. The violation letters were as follows:
April 2016 Violation Report
Violation No. of Letters Inoperable Vehicles in driveway 10 Recreational veh in front/side yard 3 General maintenance of property 0 Unpaved parking 23 Yard maintenance 123 Holiday lights 7 No signs -- Building maintenance 0 Lean/miss fence -- Working on vehicles 0 Dogs/cats more than 2 -- Barking dogs 2 Prohibited animals 0 Excessive noise 1 No home business 0 Other 13 Multiple violations 36 Plans needed 21 Total 250
Director Wydler moves to approve the liens and violation report, Director Carlson seconds, the motion carries unanimously.
10.0 CC&R HEARING REPORT
10.1 Disposition of Executive Session #1470 on May 19, 2016 – The Administrator reported that we have 15 hearings and one (1) fine appeal. Two (2) homeowners appeared. Of these Hearings, four (4) were closed, three (3) were carried over for 30 days-two (2) for plans and one (1) for registration of a vehicle; six (6) were fined, one (1) of the fines was for $1000 and to replace the front yard tree in the county right of way with a tree mutually agreed upon by the County and the Association, two (2) “thank-you-but” clean up the yard further by edging, and/or pulling weeds. The fine appeal was denied.
10.2 Approval of Minutes of Executive Session #1470 on May 19, 2016 – Director Wydler moves to approve, Director Ready seconds, the motion carries unanimously.
11.0 BOARD REPORTS –- None.
12.0 ADJOURNMENT -- President Clowser adjourned the meeting at 11:00 p.m.
Recorded and Transcribed by: Kathleen Harrigan
Reviewed by: Susan Kleebauer, Administrator