MPOA BOARD MEETING NOTES JULY 18, 2020
First, thank you to the 30 or so owners that participated via Zoom. We know it was a long executive session before we resumed. We are still working on learning Zoom to hold our meetings and I am confident that we will get better with each meeting.
Operations at the pool are going well, attendance is up, and we thank our homeowners for maintaining social distancing on the pool deck and in the water. We will continue to allow only MPOA owners (no guests) and MVOA owners (they are fully paid members of MPOA).
The amenities that are open are doing well and generating good income for the association.
The MPOA office is still closed to foot traffic due to the small size. We are not able to have more than two visitors at a time. You can call the office if you need to meet with someone, they will work something out with you. Thank you for your cooperation in keeping our employees and visitors safe.
Political signs. We voted to allow political signs as follows: A maximum of two signs not to exceed 4 sq. ft in the front yard. The signs will be allowed 21 days before an election and must be removed the day after the election. Despite mindfulness about community aesthetics, the Board believes allowing political signs during elections is necessary to be in compliance with freedom of speech.
Water and Sewer. The county is moving forward on forming the sanitary authority which would be used to purchase the system. There is a public meeting on August 12, 2020 at 6:00 pm (Rockingham County government building) which is the first step in this process. On the MPSC front Orris Hambleton has formed a small working group to analyze the data from the SCC filing and create some talking points against the rate increase. He will be providing that information to owners when the group completes their review.
Great Eastern Negotiations. We have filed for Arbitration with the American Arbitration Association. Under their rules we are required to mediate the dispute in good faith before the arbitration hearing. This action requires a mediator and both parties have agreed on a retired judge. Our attorney will be meeting with GERM’s counsel next week to begin the mediation process.
Police. First and foremost, this topic has nothing to do with Great Eastern. The Police Department is the responsibility of MPOA. As you know we have been discussing the Massanutten Police Department for several months. We held an open forum that was attended by 100 people. The sentiments expressed by the group in that forum have been carefully weighed in this decision-making process. As a private police force, we do not have sovereign immunity like the county Sheriff, and this is crucially important point over which we have no control. We have an insurance policy with a $5,000,000 limit. If we were sued and the award was over $5,000,000 the person(s) would then file a claim against all the real property and assets owned by MPOA to get their settlement. Given all that has occurred recently with law enforcement around the country this is not a risk the board was willing to take. In addition, two officers have left for other jobs and one officer is currently out sick, so our force is now two officers. Thus, we do not currently have 24/7 coverage. The sheriff’s office will respond to any 911 calls for emergencies and for non-emergency call 540-434-4436 when our police are not available. By having a small force, we have at times struggled to be sure we have the 24/7 coverage. The Sherriff has a much larger force to call on to meet the law enforcement needs of the county. We have tried to rebuild our ranks in the short term but have not had any applications from trained and certified officers. Thus, to rebuild our force we would need people that would have to be trained at the criminal justice academy and then complete training with an experienced officer. This would take well into 2021. We believe the Sherriff can provide capable law enforcement. The sheriff deputies protect us when we exit Massanutten and they protect our children in the county schools. The board intends to maintain our current level of service and will work to that end. We will look at the options of using a private security firm that will provide 24/7 unarmed patrols of our neighborhoods and paying the county for additional deputies. Please bear with us as we work through this transition.
Short term rentals: The board and MPOA staff have heard several complaints regarding noise, bad behavior and parking on the streets by guests at these rentals. If you own short term rentals, please let your guests know they are staying in residential neighborhoods and we have quiet hours. Parking on our narrow streets is a violation and makes it difficult for others driving to their homes and emergency vehicles need the room so their vehicles can access our neighborhoods. Consider meeting your neighbors and providing phone numbers to call if guests are excessively loud or exhibiting bad behavior. Otherwise residents currently need to call 911 to report parking and noise issues. Residents can also file rules complaints against the owner of the home.
Other issues: The Board voted to continue the contracts with our trash company and our auditor.
Your Board is made up of owners that volunteer their time for MPOA. We all take our job seriously. All decisions are discussed thoroughly, after seeking the advice of our legal counsel, auditor, accountant and staff as needed. We want to make the best decisions for MPOA. When controversial issues make it impossible to please everyone, we are diligently working to insure we make decisions that help our community to thrive and our association to be fiscally sound.
MPOA Board President