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February 2024 Meeting Minutes (Annual Meeting)

1. Call to Order

  • Ray called to order at 7:02 PM.

  • Pat agreed to handle presentations/slides (and take notes).


2. Roll Call

  • Five present (quorum met)

  • Ray (President, present at CMS Library)

  • Tom (Vice President, present on MT)

  • Jean (present at CMS Library)

  • Mike (present on MT)

  • Pat (Treasurer, present at CMS Library)

  • Two absent

  • Kristen

  • George


3. Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

  • Pat noted January minutes were forwarded January 10.

  • Ray moved to approve.  Jean and Mike seconded.  All in approval.


4. Officer/Committee Reports

Committees

Maintenance - Mike

  • Maintenance contracts

  • Sisu’s contract (mowing and snow removal) extended through March 31, 2024.  (Will be reviewed by the incoming BHOA Board.)

  • R & D’s contract (spraying) extended through March 31, 2024.  (Will be reviewed by the incoming BHOA Board.)

  • Items for 2024

  • Yard lights.  There are many street lights/lamps out throughout the neighborhood (especially the west side).

  • Negligent yards/lawns.

  • Issues with clearance and encroachment along footpaths.

  • New Salem walkway

  • Paths at Belding/Binghampton and west of Belding/Sandlewood (unlit path).

  • 20 ft. clearance required for safety and maintenance.

  • We may need to check with homeowners for easement information or permissions granted by previous boards.


Nominations - Jean and Pat

  • Ballots

  • Pat and Jean met January 20 and February 11 to tally ballots.  (Mike assisted with opening/organizing envelopes on January 20.)

  • Jean Zwier 63

  • Kristen Leary 63

  • Kayla Byrd-Daniels 6

  • Chrislyn Particka 3

  • Jim Rypkema 3

  • Lynne Page 3

  • Elizabeth Pahl 2 (Reserve, should an individual decline.)


President

  • No report.  Thanked the 2023 BHOA Board for their efforts.


Vice President

  • No report.  Thanked Ray and the BHOA Board for their efforts in 2023.


Treasurer (Presentation)

  • Accounts as of March 14, 2023:

  • Savings $###

  • Checking $###

  • Total $###

  • BHOA started moving budget/books from Google to QuickBooks.

  • BHOA 2023 budget was recorded in QuickBooks with bills/expenses recorded throughout the year.

  • Easier to record electronic payments to/from BHOA.

  • There is still a manual element to receiving/recording dues.  (And I am working through 2024 dues notices and the corresponding invoices.)

  • Plans to have dues entered and reconciled by March meeting.

  • Still working to resolve issue with account reconciliation, bills vs. expenses, and the classification of transactions.

  • Plans to have all accounts reconciled by December 2024 (if not sooner).

  • The “big” expenses in 2023

  • Garden Fence $7,200.00

  • It should be noted that installation of the Briarwood Community Garden fence was approved in 2022 - but payment was made in two installments, April and May 2023. (So it carried over to this year's expenses.)

  • 08/23 Storm Damage $2,200.00

    • Emergency work/Sandlewood footpath.

  • Maintenance $2,048.60

    • Limestone along Briarwood Nature Park path.

    • Washout of path off Belding/Binghampton.

    • Clearing Belding path to Chippewa.

  • Accounts as of February 13, 2024:

  • Savings $###

  • Checking $###

  • QuickBooks $###

  • PayPay $###

  • Total $###


Events - Pat

  • No report.  Looking forward to working on events with the incoming board.


ACCE

  • No report.


Welcoming - Jean

  • No report.


5. Garden Project

Presentation - Jean Zwier and Michelle Szidik

  • Fencing Project Phase 1 (Complete)

  • Materials

  • Proposed cost: $5,600

  • Actual cost: $7,000

  • HD Community Grants: $5,600

  • Community Donations:: $1,400

  • Labor

  • Proposed cost: $7,200

  • Actual cost: $7,550

  • BHOA Paid: $7,200

  • Community Donations Paid: $350

  • Expanded Garden

  • 112ft by 200ft

  • 24 full plots (8 plot expansion)

  • Able to offer smaller 4’x5’ plots

  • 24 No-till plots for perennials

  • Current charge is $25/plot - $576

  • Expected tilling charge is $250

  • 2024 Community Support and Donations

  • Greater Lansing Community Garden Grants and Volunteers

  • Compost - 15 cubic yards

  • Mulch for walkways - 15 cubic yards

  • Hoses and connectors - 13 hoses, 6 sprayers, 4 connectors

  • Deloitte Volunteers - 26 people

  • Fencing Project Phase 2

  • Landscaping and shed estimate: $4,763

  • Cypress 6’ x 3’ Shed $950

  • 2-Teak Wood Outdoor Benches $723

  • 4-Anchors and cables $70

  • 7-Heavy Duty 100 ft. No-Dig Edging $400

  • 200-2 cu ft. Mulch (3’x2.4’x3”) $900

  • Organic Bug Deterrents

  • Diatomaceous Earth, etc. $40

  • Tools - Shovels, hoes, etc. $180

  • Reprogrammable Shed Lock $100

  • Landscaping coverage and arbor $1400

  • HD Community Grant Total: $5,023

  • Memorial Plaque - Community Donation $100

  • Home Depot Grant Information

  • Kate Hannah is the contact at Home Depot for the grant (6am -2pm, M-F)

  • Funds need to be requested through a non-profit and their tax ID number utilized

  • GLFB is a 501c3 and has okayed us to use them and gave us their tax ID number

  • Briarwood needs to be added to GLFB’s liability insurance

  • On 12/1 GLFB sent in request to insurance carrier to add Briarwood as an additional insured

  • Jean and Michelle would go to Home Depot to submit the grant with Kate Hannah

  • Process takes about 45 minutes

  • Decision made in 2-6 weeks

  • If awarded the gift card is sent immediately via email

  • Grants will only cover material costs NOT labor

  • Volunteers will cover labor costs


Garden Questions/Discussion

  • Resident requested confirmation of whether the water is potable.  If not, then it is recommended we post a sign near the facet.

  • The water is not potable.  2024 BHOA Board will need to consider whether or not a sign is necessary.

  • Resident inquired as to whether a liability waiver is necessary for non-resident gardeners.  While it is a community garden, it is on BHOA common property.

  • Jean said that a waiver has never been required or requested.

  • Resident inquired as to whether BHOA residents have precedence over individuals who are not residents for a garden plot.

  • Jean and Michelle said that everyone who has requested a plot, has a plot this year - but we need to keep in mind that we obtained grants from Home Depot and the GLFB in order to build/expand the garden - so it is a community garden that cannot be restricted to only BHOA residents.

  • This item may require further discussion with the 2024 BHOA Board.

  • Resident inquired as to the locations of the garden shed and benches, whether they would be inside or outside the garden fence.

  • Jean and Michelle said that is being determined and a plan will be presented when available.


6. Recreation Park Playscape Proposal

Presentation - Elizabeth Pahl

  • History

  • The old playscape was a wooden structure that was erected in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s. 

  • The 2021 Briarwood Homeowners Association Board (BHOA) voted to tear down the old structure due to excessive wear and tear, unmanageable upkeep, and the dangerous conditions of the structure.

  • The structure and two benches were taken down in July 2021.

  • The 2021 BHOA Board then approved a budget of $20,000 for the replacement of playground equipment at the Briarwood Recreation Park in August 2021.  (See August 2021 BHOA Board minutes and Fall 2021 newsletter.)

  • Three playscape options were presented to the 2022 BHOA Board.  (See August 2022 BHOA Board minutes.)

  • The 2023 BHOA Board approved moving forward with 1) the presentation of a playscape from August 2022 (Option #3) and 2) the proposal of a special assessment for the remainder of the total cost of a playground.  (See September 2023 BHOA Board minutes.  Additionally, notice of the presentation accompanied the annual dues notice and 2024 ballot mailing in December.)

  • Purchases

  • Penchura, LLC (Brighton, MI)

  • Working with Carl Pietila, Certified Playground Safety Inspector. 

  • Carl inspected the land and helped determine the structure that fits our needs (wide-range of children, budget friendly)

  • Landscape Structures

  • The structure, swings and bench is made by Landscape Structures. Many of the Meridian Township playscapes are made by this company.

  • Proposal: 

  • Playscape - 

  • Chinning Bar

  • Clatterbridge

  • Double Slide

  • Firepole

  • Handloop

  • SlideWinder2

  • Square Peak Tile Roof

  • Transfer Point

  • Wiggle Ladder

  • Wire Barrier with Maze Panel

  • Wire Barrier with Steering Wheel (2)

  • Belt Bridge

  • Corkscrew Climber

  • Loop Arch Climber

  • SpyroSlide™

  • Wire Barrier

  • Wire Barrier with Steering Wheel

  • Swingsets - 

  • Standard swings (2)

  • Infant bucket swings.

  • 1 Bench (w/ Back)

  • Materials

  • Play structure: 

  • Galvanized Steel

  • Proshield® finish

  • Polyethylene

  • Recycled Permalene ®

  • TenderTuff™ Coating

  • Swings: 

  • 5" Diameter steel frame with a 5" diameter aluminum beam

  • Proshield® finish

  • Bench: 

  • Galvanized Steel

  • Recycled Polyethylene 

  • Budget

  • Breakdown:

  • Structure $39,220

  • Bench $1,290

  • Swings $4,110

  • Freight $4,250

  • Mulch $5,600

  • Concrete $730

  • Equipment Rentals $1,500

  • Site Supervision $4,500

  • Sales Tax (6%) $3,300

  • Assessment Mailings $500

  • Estimate $65,000

  • Future Expenses

  • Maintenance $0.00

  • Mulch Topdressing $TBD

  • Liability Insurance         $350/year

  • Special Assessment

  • Estimated Project Total $65,000

  • HOA Contribution (Capital Expense) $20,000

  • Special Assessment Estimate $45,000

  • Special Assessment Proposed $44,715

  • Special Assessment (406) $110

  • Special Assessment, empty lot (1) $55

  • Special Assessment Vote

  • Initial proposal was to hold the first vote on March 12, 2024 at 7PM.

  • If a quorum is not met in March (243 households), then each subsequent monthly BHOA Board meeting will hold a vote for the special assessment until a quorum is met.

  • How to vote:

  • In- Person at monthly meeting(s)

  • Proxy Votes

  • Online

  • A postcard will be sent by the end of this week with a unique code. Use the code listed below your address to submit your vote online. This ensures we do not get fraudulent votes.

  • Vote at www.briarwoodhoa.org/playground.  (Link will be on the postcard.  The proposal will be at the link.)

  • Postal Mail

  • Include your vote, address and any comments.

  • Email

  • Email info@briarwoodhoa.org.

  • Include your vote, address and any comments.


Playscape Questions/Discussion

  • Resident inquired as to preserving the soccer field and possibly running it N/S rather than E/W.

  • Elizabeth stated that could be considered if the vote is brought forward and the playscape proposal passes.

  • Resident inquired about keeping non-residents off the property and/or how to prevent an issue with liability.

  • Elizabeth noted that we would renew liability coverage for a playscape - same as was in place for the old structure - and that signs are already posted in the recreation park.

  • Resident noted the total sum and that the playscape has a lot of “asks” within the proposal.  She wanted to know what are “wants” and what are “needs” for BHOA.  (Where can we settle for less?)

  • Patrick noted that each residence is free to vote for or against the playscape as presented - but, right now, this is the proposal, should the 2024 BHOA Board move forward.

  • In a follow-up question, the resident inquired about obtaining grant funds or exploring other funding options.

  • Another resident asked if this was possible.

  • Resident stated that if or when the playscape comes to a vote that any residence that does not vote would be considered against the proposal.

  • Patrick noted that is not in line with Robert’s Rules; the vote is first and foremost dependent on quorum and the vote passing is dependent on the majority of the votes cast.

  • Resident (former BHOA Board member) wished to confirm the total amount quoted for the playscape as it was lower than the presentation in 2022.

  • Elizabeth confirmed the current price for the structure is correct - and is lower than the original quote in 2022.

  • Resident recommended that, if we proceed, that we confer with Meridian township to confirm what level of liability insurance they maintain, how they protect themselves.

  • Resident noted that the BHOA Board did not provide adequate notice for a vote in March. Due to the sum involved in the proposal and the amount of information in the presentation, a packet with the presentation and other options should have been mailed to each home.

  • Patrick disagreed and noted that is factually incorrect; written notice was supplied with the dues notice and 2024 ballot in December.  Notice of a proposal is not the same as a presentation, which was the purpose this evening.  The December notice was nearly 60-days advance for the meeting this evening and 90-days notice for March - and (again) this presentation was meant to be the introduction to the proposal in its entirety.

  • Elizabeth noted that a postcard with basic information on the playscape and where to find the presentation on the BHOA website was supposed to be mailed last week - but there was an issue with the formatting that had to be resolved.  We are still planning to send that out so everyone has the opportunity to review the proposal.  If anyone should have any questions on the mailer, want a printed copy, or want additional information, they are free to call or email the BHOA Board (and the Communications Committee).

  • In a follow-up statement, the resident asked that the BHOA Board be open to considering other playground opinions and options for the recreation park.

  • Patrick noted that other options are welcome, but, as nothing had been brought forward in 2-3 years, the 2023 BHOA Board voted unanimously in favor of the president’s motion to move forward with presenting this option to the neighborhood.  Patrick also noted (again) that this presentation was meant to be an introduction to the proposal - and if or when a vote occurs, each residence is free to vote for or against the playscape as presented.

  • Resident (on Microsoft Teams) thanked the Communications Committee for their work on the presentation (and the pending mailer).  He asked if the board had considered traffic on New Salem, or considered an alternative location, such as along Cavalier - which is where most of the traffic will come from to visit.

  • Patrick requested clarification on whether the resident meant an alternative location in BHOA on New Salem or he was just asking about traffic coming from that direction.

  • Resident confirmed he meant traffic and an alternative location within the recreation park.

  • Elizabeth noted that Penchura originally suggested a location near the east backstop/soccer goal - but there was no shade, no protection from the sun.

  • Resident noted that he had a list of concerns from his emails that he did not feel were adequately addressed by the BHOA Board prior to the meeting this evening:

  • Children will burn themselves on the plastic.

  • There need to be liability waivers for playgrounds.  BHOA should not be liable for anyone hurting themselves.

  • Children from neighboring areas, namely Fox Hollow and the apartments, used the old structure more than Briarwood residents.

  • His property neighbored the old structure.  The old structure was an attractive nuisance; he and his wife had to clean up pizza boxes and cigarettes in the area up until it was torn down.

  • BHOA Board mentioned three options for the playscape, but only presented one.  Why are we only seeing one option?  What are the other options?

  • “We’ve had enough of it.”

  • Resident expressed concern with BHOA liability.  She loves the “idea” of a new structure, but believes continued maintenance and other options must be considered.  She specifically noted the tennis courts that had been installed in the ‘80s that were not maintained and had to be torn out.  She inquired as to whether the playscape had a warranty.

  • Elizabeth stated the structure had a 100-year warranty.

  • In a follow-up statement, the resident noted that neighbors should be granted consideration and a buffer for the neighborhood should be considered.

  • Elizabeth noted that was why the southern edge of the recreation park along Fox Hollow was chosen.  This location has trees on two sides and is over 200 ft from the previous location (away from BHOA properties).

  • Resident raised concern about unaccompanied minors.  What sort of liability would BHOA face if unsupervised children were to play in the park.

  • Another resident responded to the concern, stating that so long as there is adequate signage around the park or playground, there would be no case.

  • Resident asked about surveying households, gauge interest in a playscape or splash park, something to that effect.

  • Another resident noted that course does not address the “attractive nuisance” problem and only presents new nuisances.

  • A different resident (on Microsoft Teams) noted they would like to see whether the playscape passes a vote before starting over and possibly coming back to the same or a similar proposal.

  • Resident inquired about the return on dues.  If a residence is not current on dues and do not pay or does not support the playscape and does not pay, then what happens at that point?

  • Elizabeth noted that was a concern.

  • Patrick added that, according to our bylaws and restrictive covenants, a special assessment passed by BHOA - the neighborhood, not just the board - is similar to annual dues in that the resident would be at risk of a lien being placed on their property for non-payment of the assessment.

  • Resident asked to return to his concerns about the playscape.

  • There need to be signs at the recreation part that state it is private property and closed after dark.

  • If individuals from neighboring communities use the park after dark, police need to be called.

  • He does not want to see a new attractive nuisance in the park after the old one was torn down.

  • Michelle Szidik (Garden Project) asked to speak to a previous comment regarding public funding for projects in the recreation park.  BHOA cannot receive funding for private projects; the garden is a community project and that was why they were able to seek out (and receive) grants.

  • Jean noted that, if BHOA were to seek or obtain any grants or public funds, that would mean the playscape must be open to the public.

  • Resident said that two suits were brought against BHOA in the past that involved the old playscape.

  • Patrick interjected. A broad statement like this was inappropriate, unless the resident had any information on when the suits were brought and what the outcome was after resolution.

  • The resident said to her recollection the last suit against BHOA for negligence was brought by a non-resident who allowed a young child to play on the structure - but the suit was dismissed.

  • Pat asked why the suit was dismissed.

  • The resident said it was due to signage at the playscape clearly stating the playscape was BHOA property and was not open to non-residents and stating age restrictions for the playscape. The signage also said that the playscape was not open after dark, but that was not pertinent to the case.

  • Patrick clarified that the second/last suit regarding the playscape was dismissed due to BHOA having proper signage posted with appropriate age restrictions and time of use.  The resident agreed.

  • Resident (on Microsoft Teams) asked that the new BHOA Board step back from the current proposal and consider alternatives, poll the neighborhood.

  • Resident asked that the incoming BHOA Board consider a special committee to discuss potential capital improvement(s) in the recreation park.

  • Resident voiced her disappointment at the previous structure being torn down “without notice” and her concern at such a quick dismissal of the playscape proposed, given that many of the concerns were addressed during the discussion following the presentation.

  • Kayla Byrd-Daniels, former BHOA Board member and incoming BHOA Board member, noted that the decision to tear down the previous structure was not taken lightly.  It was inspected by the 2021 BHOA Board and it was beyond repair.  Kayla also noted that she hoped the new board would (eventually) create a special committee to consider options for the recreation park.

  • Comments had to be closed at this point as we were past 9:00 PM.


7. Adjournment

  • Ray made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:07 PM.

  • Jean took a moment to thank outgoing BHOA Board members for their service in 2023 - and then seconded.  All in favor.

  • Next BHOA Board meeting will be held Tuesday, March 12, 2024 at 7:00 PM at the Chippewa Middle School library and on Microsoft Teams.

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