You may have read recently of a concern regarding the POA acquiring land and building a road near the new clubhouse site. The unvarnished truth is:
The clubhouse site was (and is) severely constricted space. The new clubhouse would not have been feasible without additional property. Land was purchased from the developer, which enabled 100 additional parking spaces for the clubhouse, prevented the development of 13 high-density units on that land, allowed for a safe traffic flow and minimized the loss of trees.
At the October 2005 Open Board Meeting Billie Ann Rice reported: "The objectives of the negotiation are as follows:
- The POA to acquire additional land for Sconti parking.
- The developer to gain access to his new development, Choctaw Village."
The road plan was part of the architect's initial design considering the results of a traffic study for homes serviced by the road and expected clubhouse traffic. It maximized parking and provided the best vehicular safety. The design was reviewed by volunteer property owners (The Building Committee) and recommended to the Board.
The developer was selected to build the road based on the Building Committee recommendation to the Board. The road saved POA funds as it was done at cost of $142,000. The developer contributed $50,000, so the net cost to the POA was $92,000. Several decisions related to the constricted space ultimately resulted in a new access road solution.
The old Sconti nearly exceeded septic system capacity. The Building Committee did a thorough analysis of options and concluded the most cost effective was a sewer connection. Options evaluated included a POA-operated treatment facility and multiple septic systems.
All of the expenditures are being controlled and are in either the Building Committee scope and budget or in the POA budget.
There have been no unnecessary expenditures, the POA has benefited by the options selected, the land purchase was essential and the resulting access roads contribute to safety and additional parking for our clubhouse.
The design is cost effective, safe, functional and an environmentally sound solution. While Billie Ann Rice was the only current elected director who was on the Board when discussions of the land purchase began, either she or I can confirm these facts.
The assertion is an example of a general theme, espoused by a tiny group, that elected directors make decisions beneficial to the developer at the expense of the POA. This whispering campaign sounds very ominous but has no basis in fact.
All elected directors participate in decisions. The POA governing documents require a majority of the Board to pass a resolution. An individual director cannot make Board policy. At least three elected directors are required to support a vote against the POA interests. The directors who were not involved would be obligated to "blow the whistle" on the others. This has never happened, as there has never been cause.
The directors annually sign a Standard of Conduct which states:
"WHEREAS, the Directors serve for the benefit of the POA and its members and shall recognize
that acting in the best interest of the POA is their primary concern, and shall discharge the duties
of their position in the best interest of the Association regardless of personal considerations."
There has never been an example supported by facts of a Board decision that favored the developer at the expense of the POA.
The elected directors work to achieve decisions that are in the best interest of the POA. This is the manner in which Board business is conducted. The relationship with the developer is respectful and based on mutual trust. The benefits of this relationship include:
- The developer has surrendered his supermajority vote. The supermajority allowed the developer to have one more vote than all property owners combined. The transition documents of 2004 meant to surrender that developer right. A statement in Article X allowed the developer to retain the supermajority. He gave up the supermajority in a letter dated May 9, 2006.
- Another loose end from the transition involved the 4,750-limit on Big Canoe development. The documents stated the cap was on family dwelling units that are defined as improved lots. That would open the possibility of selling unimproved lots beyond the 4,750 limit and there being a race to build the 4,750th family dwelling unit. Lot owners beyond that number would be unable to build. The Developer agreed that this was not the intent of the transition and defined the cap as 4,750 lots plus family dwelling units. When the total of family dwelling units plus lots reaches 4,750 the cap will have been met.
- The developer has, either on his initiative or through negotiation, made significant financial contributions to the POA. In addition to the contribution for the road, he agreed that new property owners would pay a pro-rata share of the Special Assessment, agreed to assist in the purchase of land should it be donated to Dawson County for a Community Center and recently offered to assist in funding a program to improve the appearance of Wilderness Parkway. These payments to the POA are estimated to total $264,000.
- The inaccuracy of some county records raised the question of POA ownership of some of our common property. The developer agreed to a Quit Claim Deed signed June 30, 2006 to remove any doubt.
The property owners and the Developer have the same fundamental goals such as protection of the environment, providing a safe and secure community, excellent service, improving the appearance of our surroundings and a rich collection of amenities, all of which lead to increased property values.
While most of our interests are common, occasions do arise that require negotiation. It is my belief that POA interests are best served by a respectful relationship rather than contentious confrontation.
The professional working relationship has been beneficial to the POA and I trust that it will continue to pay benefits in the future.
The construction of the new clubhouse is progressing nicely. It is exciting to see the cart barn/Duffers and the clubhouse begin to take shape. The building committee has offered to host tours of the site when it is safe to do so. The POA is developing a plan to provide quality food service upon opening of the clubhouse.
As a side note, the North Gate project took much longer than expected. The grading contractor was overextended with work at the North Gate, the Blackwell Creek reservoir, the chapel/tennis parking and the clubhouse. While this delayed the schedule, the good news is this was the most cost effective and best quality vendor.
Your vote is important
The SPLOST V referendum for registered voters of Dawson County will be conducted Nov. 6. Each and every vote is important to express the desires of the property owners of Big Canoe. The SPLOST package contains $1 million for a community center in west Dawson County.
The Articles of Incorporation prohibit the POA from attempting to influence legislation. Consequently, the Board cannot take a position on behalf of the POA. As an individual property owner and resident of Dawson County I endorse the referendum and will be voting YES.
There is never a dull moment in our quiet little Big Canoe community.