Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Proposed rule prohibiting hard surfaced flooring

448 Bellflower Blvd #201

Long Beach, California 90814

 September 22, 2008

 To:       Board of Directors

            StoneyBrook Villas Home Owners Association

 From:  Mitch Mason, owner


I have the following questions regarding the proposed rule.

 I purchased my unit (Building #3, unit 201) in July 2005 and hard surface flooring was already installed in the unit.  While I appreciate and understand the noise concerns of residents residing below units with such flooring, I was not made aware of any moratorium regarding flooring at the time of my purchase.

  1. Will units with hard surface flooring be allowed to be "grandfathered" in and allowed an exception to the proposed rule?

     2. If not, by what date must units with hard surfaced flooring comply with the proposed rule?

     3. How does the Board of Directors plan to expect compliance if this is so decided?

     4. Will the hard surface flooring need to be removed from the unit prior to installing with carpeting and sound-deadening under-layment, or can the carpeting and under-layment be installed over the existing hard surface floor?

Thank you for your consideration of these questions.  I will be unable to attend the Board of Directors meeting on October 15, 2008 so would appreciate a written response from the Secretary of the Board.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Poll on fencing safety

This is a quick poll.Do you feel safer with the new fence system?

--BPeacher2008-02-21 14:49:13 GMT

Compare association documents

Have you recently purchased your unit? If so, did you get an up to date copy of the last year's board meeting minutes and governing documents?

Contact me so we can compare them with what we have here on line. I want to be sure the buyers are getting a correct copy of the Bylaws with the amendment to the member meeting quorum requirements.
Thank you. Contact Don Appleby at deappleby@donevanappleby.com or call me at 562-498-8784.

Why does our reserve account have to be fully funded?

First, let me say that I own a one-bedroom unit and no others, and I am not a realtor. I am a retired person, living on a more-or-less fixed income. I like the complex, and I love my apartment. I would not like to have to move on within the next two years because I could no longer afford to live here. Am I the only one of my kind here at Stoneybrook? I ask this question because I have not heard many complaints or concerns regarding the complex’s financial troubles, and I have great concern on this subject.

At the February HOA Board meeting, the Board approved a 20 per cent raise in HOA dues and a special assessment of $210 per unit based on the perceived under funding of our reserve account. In addition, the Board discussed raising the dues another 20 per cent in each of the next two or three years. If that happened my dues would be approximately $385 in 2009, $452 in 2010, and $543 in 2011. Those with larger units would pay more. The only alternative, according to the Finance Committee, would be an additional assessment of around $2,500 per unit. Then perhaps, but no promises, the additional raises in the dues might not be necessary.

Currently, we have about $1.5 million in reserves, and at the end of this fiscal year, the operating account has a surplus of approximately $100,000. In three to five years the buildings that were not re-roofed last year will need new roofs. In addition, we apparently have some serious water intrusion problems, and, well, I forget what else. It appears that we are in trouble because of past financial neglect; however, I guess there is no point in dwelling on that now, except to say that it seems unfair somehow that folks living here right now should have to bear all the burden of the past and the future.

At the March Board meeting, the Board voted to apply the operating surplus to the reserve account and discussed the need for the additional special assessment mentioned above. A $2,500 special assessment would have to be approved by the Association (you and me), so I expect we will hear more about this very soon.

The Finance Committee is a hard-working group; however, I wonder if they have considered all possible alternatives to raising dues and special assessments? Have they thought about this from the point of view of homeowners who may not be doing too well in the current economy? Why does our reserve account have to be fully funded? Many associations do not have fully funded accounts, and do quite well. If there are current needs that will cost a lot of money, why not think about a loan? And finally, if we are in such dire straits, why not put out a clear and complete report to the members of the Association explaining the problem? Perhaps there are residents with financial expertise who might have helpful ideas.

What do you think about all this?
Pat Donley, 436/105, pdonley@msn.com

Get Ready For More New Fencing

Did you know the Board is about to authorize the new phase II fencing for in front of 412 and 436 at a cost of $48,000, after discussing it with those who wish to do so. The board also discussed painting the existing new phase I fence at past Board meetings, but the board authorized spending over $6,000 for painting the existing phase I fence a teal color green even though the majority of the owners clearly told the board they wanted the new fence painted black to match the rest of the old fence.
The Board already has a bid from the original contractor who agreed to stand by his original bid even after steel price increases. Building 412 with the fence under the owner’s balconies is to cost $16,000 and the building 436 is to cost $32,000 for a total of $48,000. Please keep in mind that the original bid for the existing phase I new fence was $78,000, yet phase I ended up costing us in excess of $200,000 for a fence that did not even need to be replaced. Rich did a drawing of the proposed building 412 fencing, which is to just plug the holes to the garage and plant roses to climb the pickets of the fencing. Rich’s drawing is on Don Appleby’s Unofficial Stoneybrook Web Site. In the Architectural Committee meeting today Rich suggested the Board could authorize the special assessment to be made in payments. He thought there could be interest collected.
The phase III fence along the north half of Bellflower Boulevard is budgeted in the reserve study at a cost of $78,000 and phase IV fence (the church block wall) is budgeted for $240,000.
According to the February 2008 Financial Statements the Fencing reserve account is already ($73,778.35) overdrawn. I know it doesn't make any difference to Rich whether the specific account has no money in it. I had hoped that we were going to try not to spend any more money unless it was absolutely necessary until we got out of our current financial crisis, which will be causing the problem of the inability to get financing for sales of units because our reserve percent funded will be ZERO during 2009 and 2010!
I just read an email from an owner who listed their unit for sale after learning the dues would be going up at the last board meeting for a third year in a row. This owner was lucky to jump ship before it sinks. This owner bailed out for $355,000 for a two bedroom. This is about $100K less than the two bedrooms were selling for two years ago. How much more do you think our property values are going to decrease if we have three more 20% increases in dues in 2009, 2010 and 2011?
Hopefully the Board will decide the roofs ($1.2 million), waterproofing the deteriorating foundations ($2 million) and painting the buildings (.5 million) are the top priorities.
We currently have about $1.5 million in cash in the reserve account. If the Board will stop spending any money on reserve items except for emergencies and replacing something that breaks, then in two years we will have built up the reserves $1.8 million from the dues plus the current $1.5 million in cash for a total of $3.2 million, which will cover replacing all three top priorities with a special assessment of $1.2 for the roofs. If the board continues to spend money on reserve items other than the top three priorities, then we are going to have to postpone dealing with the roofs, waterproofing and painting the buildings.
By Bill Whitecloud 4-14-2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why people don't vote - August 29, 2008

What is the problem? There is a lack of a quorum of voters to do business.
A. Reasons for lack of quorum - Why people don't vote.
1. There is apparent apathy of the members when they are needed to vote. What is 'apathy'? It is a lack of interest or enthusiasm, indifference. Most of us need to be worked up about the issues and candidates in order to get engaged in the political process. One result: Candidates bribe voters under the guise of lowering assessments.
2. Voters feel "Why vote when my vote makes no difference."
3. There is entrenchment of incumbents who are indifferent to citizenry.
4. There isn't enough difference between the candidates to make make voting worthwhile.
5. Voters are uninformed about the issues.
6. Voters feel that candidates can't be trusted to do what they say.
7. Voters don't know enough about the candidates or issues to differentiate them.

B. What should be done about not getting a quorum to conduct business?
Who should do what needs to be done to get a quorum?
Should the quorum be reduced so that those voters who do want to vote can conduct the business of the community.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Building 412 boulevard fencing

Consideration is being given by the Board to removing this existing fence in front of building 412 and having the area, right up to the balcony decks open to vagrants, people walking their dogs and trash blowing onto the newly opened area.
At a meeting with the residents of the first floor on the Bellflower Boulevard side, they were only able to consider two options for alternate security: 1) having the holes beneath the balconies plugged with pickets, or a new fence similar to what was placed in front of the Clubhouse and building 552 installed half-way between the sidewalk and the buildings. They were not even allowed to consider a new fence along the sidewalk as it is now on Bellflower Blvd. in front of building 412.
At a time when finances are under so much pressure and constrained, it seems inappropriate to consider at this time the removal of this fence that has provided relative security for the residents of building 412 along Bellflower Blvd. Yes, some attention could be given to its maintenance and temporary measures poorly used to piece it together where the new fence was installed at the vehicle entrances.