On March 17th a board member made a post in the private Meadowcrest Facebook group, providing a link to a web-based article about xeriscape landscaping.  The post stated “a poll will be posted in the near future to determine if a vote is needed to add this as a landscape option in Meadowcrest.”

Mike made a comment asking if prior to the poll being released, members would be given access to the proposed changes so they could complete the poll with as much information as possible. 

The board member replied that the purpose of the poll was simply to determine the level of interest members had in xeriscape.  They went on to say it would take an “extensive amount of work” to create the proposed change, so they only wanted to do that work if the poll showed the level of interest warranted it.  

On April 20th, after no poll or updates from the board, Mike requested an update.  Mike pointed out that the annual meeting was quickly approaching, and it was not going to leave much time for an attorney to draft the proposed amendment, if enough members expressed interest in it.  

The board member replied by stating the board had chosen not to seek feedback from the members and were going to have the proposed amendment drafted for consideration at the annual meeting.  The first the members would see it would be when they received the ballots in the mail.  

The board member seemed to indicate that a precedent had been set when the board previously brought minor amendments before the members at a special meeting. 

The first of the previously proposed change reduced the tree requirements for lots, bringing it in line with existing city ordinances.  This proposed amendment was made following significant feedback from members.  The language used in the amendment was taken from the city ordinance.  

The second of the previously proposed change was to correct errors in the CC&R in which the subdivision was called the “Lake Lowell subdivision” instead of the “Meadowcrest subdivision”.

The board member claiming that correcting errors or reducing restrictions to fall in line with an existing city ordinance constitutes a precedence seems to be a reach.  It is clear that a poll was originally planned, and the scope of the project was deemed extensive.  Why the board chose to backtrack on those plans and not let the members know until being asked for an update is not known.  Large projects like this should involve members.  At the very least, a poll should be conducted to determine if such a change is supported by a majority of the members.  

It should be noted the Facebook post only resulted in 3 individuals writing comments in support of the idea.  There were 8 “likes” however it is not possible to know if the “like” was a show of support of xeriscape or a show of support of the concept and upcoming poll.  The Nextdoor post resulted in 0 written comments in support and only 1 “like” which was made by a person who also “liked” the Facebook post. The Facebook post was viewed by 88 people.  If relying upon only the written positive comments, that would result in only 3.4% of individuals who viewed the post supporting the concept.  If you were to assume that each “like” was a sign of support of the concept, that would still only result in 9.19% of individuals supporting the concept.  Either way, there was clearly not a large show of support by the people who viewed the post.  

Not all members of the association use the Facebook or Nextdoor group and would therefore be disenfranchised from any polls posted in those groups.  Polls for these types of important issues should be announced through email and/or mailings.  Individuals should have been given the opportunity to complete the poll in either in writing or via a web-based poll service using the same voting power standard used at meetings (1 vote per lot).  

For the board to presumably spend association money to have an attorney write what is a significant amendment to the CC&Rs without member input is concerning. The members of the association are entitled be involved in significant proposed changes like this.  

If the board chose not to have an attorney draft the proposed amendment and chose to write the amendment themselves is even more concerning.  This proposed amendment is significant.  The proposed amendment needs to ensure it does not conflict with any other sections of the CC&R’s and/or city ordinances.  It would also likely be prudent to incorporate already existing standards contained in city ordinances regarding turf alternative landscaping.   This type of proposed CC&R amendment is clearly not the same as correcting the name of the subdivision or copying an existing ordinance.  

Screenshots of the Facebook post and applicable comments are copied to the right.  To protect the privacy of the board member involved in the discussion, their identity has been redacted.