|1201 Membership Meeting|
SUMMARY OF THE DECEMBER 1, 2001
Bob Tippett, President, called the Official Annual Meeting of POA Members to order at the Big Canoe Chapel at 10:00 a.m. Directors attending the meeting were Bob Tippett, Rod Lee, Jim Deach, Mickey Gallagher and Nancy Zak, Secretary. Assistant General Manager, Anita Michele and Recording Secretary, Debbie Pickett were also in attendance, along with an estimated 250 Members. Bill Byrne and Troy Ledbetter were absent from the meeting.
Mr. Tippett introduced members of the Board and Management and welcomed the Members to the meeting. Ms. Zak then introduced the motion before the Members to appoint Frazier & Deeter as independent auditors for the year ending December 31, 2002. After counting the votes cast in person, she announced that Frazier and Deeter had been approved by a vote of 5,893 in favor and 19 against.
Mr. Deach next addressed the meeting regarding the Platt Award, first recapping the many achievements of Dr. Platt and his contribution to Big Canoe. He was a resident of Big Canoe for 17 years until his death in 1998. He was instrumental in setting the course for the natural environment here at Big Canoe.
Mr. Deach went on to explain that the Board created the Robert B. Platt award for environmental achievement several years ago, not as an annual award, but only to be awarded to someone making outstanding contributions to Big Canoe. This award has been granted only once. Mr. Deach stated that it was his pleasure to announce that the Robert B. Platt Award for Environmental Achievement was awarded to Fred Shaw. Mr. Deach went on to recognize Mr. Shaw's many contributions to the community, as a Board Member of the Homeowners Association, a dynamic leader and chairperson of the Trails, Lakes and Environment Committee, as past President of the Big Canoe Animal Rescue and as Adoption Chairman of the Animal Rescue. Mr. Deach noted compassion for animals and love for the environment and his willingness to use that background to tackle a thankless job as head of the committee to study the deer management issue. The actual award will be made later as Mr. Shaw was not able to attend the meeting.
Mr. Tippett next thanked the two very outstanding candidates who ran for the Board this year. They were Gary Cherry and Linda Greer. Mr. Tippett requested both of them to stand and be recognized.
Ms. Zak proceeded with the report on the election for the Elected Director. She stated that she was happy to find that 56% of all homeowners submitted their ballots, which is a relatively high percentage. About 30% of all lot owners voted, which could have been better, but there was still a good turnout with an average of nearly 50% of all eligible votes for the property owners having been submitted. Ms. Zak then announced that Linda Greer had carried the election and she welcomed her to the Board.
Ms. Greer addressed the Members saying she was very honored by the support of so many people and by the opportunity to represent the Membership for the coming three years. She stated that she was particularly honored since the other candidate for this position, Gary Cherry, was such a worthy candidate and would have done just as good a job as she hopes to do. She stated that she is especially looking forward to getting to know more of the Members. She said that she had been impressed and encouraged by the level of interest in the election and in the issues facing Big Canoe. She reported that she has learned so much from talking with owners. She said that she hoped that everyone would continue to talk with her during the next several years, so that she will know what their concerns and ideas are and how she can better represent the owners of Big Canoe. She again thanked everyone for his or her support. Mr. Tippett thanked Ms. Greer for her comments.
Mr. Tippett reported that prior to the Annual Meeting, a Special Meeting of the Board of Directors was called to elect the Board Officers for the coming year. Mr. Tippett went on to announce that Mr. Deach would be assuming the office of President, and Ms. Zak was re-elected as Secretary. Mr. Deach was welcomed to that position. Mr Tippett then confirmed that the Developer Directors for 2002 would continue to be Bill Byrne, Nancy Zak and Mickey Gallaagher.
Mr. Tippett continued by praising for the contributions of outgoing Director, Rod Lee. Mr. Tippett went on to say that, through all of the nighttime phone calls, faxes, meetings and meetings to get ready for meeting, Rod has been single-minded and determined in his effort to represent the best interest of Big Canoe property owners. For her patience and support over the last three years for all of us, Mr. Tippett also presented Mrs. Lee with a dozen roses.
Mr. Lee next addressed the members saying he was struck by Ms. Greer's comment that she hoped she would hear from you folks. Rod stated he could assure Linda that she would! He thanked the community for its support and cooperation during this time, saying it has been a privilege to serve the community in this particular position. Mr. Tippett then presented a plaque to Mr. Lee as a token of appreciation for all of his hard work on the Board.
Ms. Michele next presented the Management Reports. She referred everyone to handouts. She continued that the POA has had a very good year. After the audit is complete, management will be putting together a stockholders-type report. This will be a concise, year-end package that will be produced every year going forward so that owners will have the detailed information they seem to desire. The POA is looking very good and expects to out-perform budgeted Net Income by about $850,000 for the year. After additional capital expenditures, about $450,000 of that will drop to the very bottom line and will be carried forward into next year. She stated that management and the Board felt that we need a reserve this at this time and should have an ongoing reserve for future uses. She thanked those who have worked on the committees, the chairmen and the people who call and give the POA ideas, comments and questions that need to be handled. Ms. Michele also thanked the Members for their contributions to the employee Christmas Fund for the POA employees.
Ms. Zak next provided the Developer's Report. She stated that new neighborhoods are being introduced into Big Canoe in a steady and planned fashion. The new neighborhood going near the main gate will have properties available in the late spring. A few neighborhoods within the new Wildcat area in the upper northeastern corner of Big Canoe are also now under development for a late spring release. Construction is proceeding near the Swim Club area on a new neighborhood of a second home product called Laurel Ridge, designed by architect John Tee. The two units under construction will be models, and there will be 44 homes in that area.
Regarding amenity news, Ms. Zak stated that the first phase of the Wildcat Recreation Area will be underway in early spring. Phase I of this project, approved several years ago under the Amenity Package, will be the ball fields. The Board is also discussing the possibility of including a pavilion in that first phase. Phase 2, which includes the pool and bathhouse, will come at a later date. The entire Board felt it was a good idea to wait and evaluate the growth in demand for anther pool to determine its best size and character.
While cautioning that it was a little premature to announce anything formally, Ms. Zak said that Big Canoe Company was proceeding with discussions with a name designer for an 18-hole course golf course on the other side of Steve Tate, the area currently called Potts Mountain. This would be a very high quality 18-hole course that is likely to be structured as a membership club.
Mr. Lee provided an update on the Long-Range Planning Committee's activities for this year. Mr. Lee explained that a series of study groups were formed of property owners with background and experience in specific areas to be reviewed. The Telecommunications study group came up with an excellent analysis of where we are, where we need to be and the issues that need to be looked at in the coming years in regard to technology. Their report has been completed, approved by the Board and is available to property owners to review.
Mr. Lee went on to describe the activity in the waste management area. The Board is looking at how we can handle our garbage in a more effective manner, not only currently but in the future. We are exploring both internal options for handling garbage as well as strategies to work with one of the adjacent counties in a way that would be beneficial to Big Canoe. A Financial Advisory group has also met several times this year. Their advisory comments have already found their way into some of the areas that will be discussed later. Another study group was formed to look at the water supply. Mr. Lee stated that, while the water company is doing a credible job at this point of providing good quality water and an adequate supply, this group will be looking at the data to see that the growth of the community can be effectively accommodated. Other initiatives have been identified by the Long-Range Planning Committee for study over the next several years.
Mr. Deach next reported on the newly formed Community Council. The Community Council was created to facilitate two-way communication between the Board and the community. The Community Council was formed with a Steering Committee who selected facilitators for each of the ten neighborhoods in Big Canoe. These facilitators then conducted the selection of both a representative and an alternate from each neighborhood to attend the meetings. While a representative will typically serve for two years, one-half will come off after the first year so the makeup of the council will change every year. These representatives will be meeting with the Elected Directors on a quarterly basis. The first meeting of the Community Council was held November 12 and every neighborhood was represented. Mr. Deach stated that he thought it was a success after one meeting and looks forward to its continuing. The next meeting will be held probably in February 2002.
Mr. Tippett continued with a review of the year and a report on financial projections for the coming years. He stated that the year will end with enough cash to carry us into 2002 without requiring an increase in assessments for operations. However, as we looked down the road to the various capital projects on the horizon, the Board determined it prudent to start setting aside a cash reserve to help defray their costs. The Board has therefore approved an increase of $2 for lots and $3 for homes (total) in 2002. The Board has additionally adopted a policy of implementing small annual increases in assessments for operating expenses starting in 2003. Mr. Tippett stated that the Board feels that this approach is better than one of postponing increases for several years and then bearing a major increase.
Mr. Tippett went on to discuss other issues the Board addressed in the past year. One of the questions is the management of the deer herd. Following a great deal of investigation and education, a straw vote was conducted asking property owners if they support management of the herd size. The vote has come back 943 - yes, 150 - no. That information will be very helpful to the Board as deliberations continue in January on this question.
Mr. Tippett next discussed the recently proposed parent operated youth center at Big Canoe. A number of enthusiastic parents are supporting this idea and they have been asked to flesh out an operating plan. From that point, the Board can help determine how this could operate and what commitment the POA can make toward it. Also, the Board will take up the question of where it would be located. The group that is sponsoring this has expressed an interest in the squash court building. The Facilities and Land Planning Committee has been asked to work with the AECD architect to determine the feasibility and cost of bringing that building up to code. The Board has also discussed and suggested the possibility of the youth center being located in the Wildcat Recreation area.
Mr. Tippett continued saying another issue that has been of particular interest recently is that of architectural control and its role in building code enforcement and quality assurance. He stated that the starting point for quality construction is a knowledgeable owner and a knowledgeable contractor who have a specific set of plans and enter into an enforceable contract within a jurisdiction which has a governing authority. Mr. Tippett stated that Dawson County has an inspector and Pickens County does not, which has been a problem at Big Canoe. Mr. Tippett was happy to report that our General Manager has obtained a commitment from Bill Newton, Pickens County Commissioner to have an inspector in the field by February of the coming year. Mr. Tippett stated that Pickens County will receive the same cooperation as we extend to Dawson County regarding enforcement of stop work orders. The AECD has also embarked on an educational initiative to help owners to understand homebuilding, particularly in Big Canoe. It is also preparing a builder's application test on guidelines, rules and regulations within Big Canoe.
Other issues that the Board has dealt with and resolved in the past year are erosion control, the marina, the trademark agreement, and the various emergency plans. Ongoing issues include recycling and the planning of the Sconti area. Mr. Tippett thanked all those who have volunteered on the various committees and groups, stating that this has been an exciting and full year. Mr. Tippett further praised the members of this community for being challenging and stimulating and thoroughly dedicated to making life in a nature preserve work for all of us.
Mr. Tippett stated that the business portion of the meeting had concluded and the floor was opened to questions and answers. The following is a summary of the issues raised in this session:
Numerous questions were raised concerning Big Canoe's water supply, Lake Petit as a source and plans to supply a growing population. Ms. Zak discussed the continuing drought, its negative impact on lake levels and the need for conservation during this period. She stated that the Utility Company has been in active dialogue with the state regarding the required outflow from the lake and has reached an agreement on reducing this outflow by a significant amount. Ms. Zak explained that the state must be satisfied with the supply of water before a new neighborhood can be started. The Utility Company is looking at a number of options to address. These include expanding the treatment plant utilizing Lake Petit as well as other sources such as other watersheds within Big Canoe and the reopening of some wells. She confirmed that, at this time, the Potts Mountain area is planned to be part of Big Canoe and be connected to the Big Canoe water system.
Mr. Lee added, that based on the investigation of the Long Range Planning utilities study group, there is plenty of water within Big Canoe's watersheds to serve the community's growth needs. Additional treatment facilities will ultimately be needed, and these may be located to take advantage of other abundant watersheds, such as Disharoon's. If you add those capacities together, we have plenty of water here, but we have some work to do in order to be able to access it appropriately.
Ms. Zak discussed the Utility Company's efforts to minimize water lost as a result of leaks. Further measures are being investigated to assist in this process. However, it would be cost-prohibitive to the users to undertake the replacement of all of the aging water lines in Big Canoe. Ms. Michele further confirmed that the POA works with the Utility Company to coordinate road paving with any planned utility maintenance activities.
In response to a question on the new Wildcat neighborhood, Ms. Zak explained that the area had been carefully planned to include over 15 miles of trails and more than 40% preserved green space in the form of meadows and forests. She invited anyone interested to come to her office to see these plans. Following another question, she confirmed that the Developer is in support of the establishment of zoning in Pickens County and is working with the County to help in this process.
The Board was both commended for carefully studying the deer overpopulation issue and urged to take quick action at this time. Mr. Deach explained that action would be taken as soon as possible in January, based on following criteria: for charities maximize human safety, minimize stress to the deer, make effective use of the edible meat, and to do so in a cost effective manner.
Members expressed their desire for cellular service in more of Big Canoe and the hope that the Country Store would be improved. Mr. Tippett agreed to prepare an article for Smoke Signals on restrictions on the POA's use of green space. Concern was expressed over the density of homes in the Developer's new core neighborhoods. Ms. Michele confirmed that the Board was working to address speeding issues, and that the new speed indicator sign was a first step in enhancing enforcement of speed limits and addressing the Safety Committee's recommendations.
This report is an incomplete and unofficial summary of the activities at this meeting which is produced prior to approval of the official minutes for purposes of timely property owner communication.