Call to Order and Quorum
The North Shores Homeowner Association Annual Meeting was called to order by President Bruce Wilson at 10:10 a.m.
President Wilson welcomed homeowners attending the meeting and thanked them for their interest in the community. He introduced the members of the current board; Debbie Director, Paul Salditt, Helen Hoart, and Louisa Hollman. Secretary Debbie Director confirmed a quorum was established for the meeting, allowing business of the community to be conducted.
President Wilson stated there was a full agenda for today’s meeting and asked for a motion to approve the 2018 Annual Meeting Minutes. Draft minutes of the May 26, 2018 homeowners meeting were made available on the community’s website and mailed to all homeowners in April as part of the Annual Report Package. The floor was opened for comments on the minutes. A motion was made and seconded to accept the Minutes as submitted. The motion to accept the minutes was passed by voice vote unanimously.
President Wilson informed the homeowners about several items of neighborhood business affecting the community.
The second phase of a community wide paving and drainage capital project was completed earlier this spring for Cedar and Harbor Roads. This project is pending for the next phase of the project, the north end of the community.
President Wilson reported the pool fence had been replaced this spring after more than 30 years with a new fence of similar style. New landscaping is also planned for the area in the near future.
A pilot program to install gas lamp style street lamps is planned to evaluate the replacement of the current cobra style lights attached to telephone poles throughout the neighborhood. At least one test lamp will be chosen and installed for consideration.
Plans for the replacement of the equipment maintenance building are progressing but not as quickly as originally hoped. President Wilson further explained that more time would be needed before preliminary plans would be in place for review by the community.
President Wilson introduced Robert Valihura, a former state representative and experienced attorney in private community representation and litigation, as the outside counsel representing North Shores and it’s directors in the pending litigation brought by a homeowner. A report was included in the April mailing to homeowners. Mr. Valihura explained to the homeowners the importance of defending the community against this type of litigation for the future of the community. Mr. Valihura explained that a motion to dismiss the case had been filed and would be considered by the court following briefings by the parties.
President Wilson explained there were two other matters impacting North Shores after receiving correspondence from attorneys that typically are a prelude to litigation. The first involving the validity of the North Shores covenants regarding the construction of a fence. The second seeking damages from the community for alleged negligence related to security incidents over the winter. The insurance carrier for North Shores has been informed about both issues.
Water and Sewer Rates
President Wilson advised homeowners, after meeting recently with the City of Rehoboth, rate increases could be expected as early as July of this year. The city plans to implement new rates for all users that could result in an increase as much as 60% over the current rates. The DNREC mandated ocean outfall that was completed in 2018, and improvements to the municipal water and waste systems, were cited as the primary reasons for the rate increase. The City of Rehoboth plans to replace all water meters in the North Shores community. President Wilson advised homeowners to locate and uncover their meters to minimize disruptions to their landscaping.
Treasurer Helen Hoart reported the community continues to be in good financial shape. The current budget does include an assessment increase for the first time in five years. The increase was necessitated by rising operational and payroll costs. Treasurer Hoart explained the community will continue with the planned improvements for roads and drainage. The 2019 budget results in a deficit this year, reserves will be tapped to cover a portion of the capital expenses planned for this year. Financial statements were included in the April 2019 mailing.
President Wilson asked if there were any questions or comments on the budget. There were no questions, comments or objections, and the Board’s proposed budget was ratified by a show of hands.
Security Supervisor, Lee Stewart, reported one security incident this year over the winter. The Delaware State police investigated a break-in that involved local teenagers. Lee encouraged all homeowners to report any unusual activity to Security so it could be investigated.
President Wilson reminded all homeowners that security is primarily a homeowner’s responsibility. He requested that homeowners alert Security in the offseason if their home is unoccupied and to consider installing secondary security measures such as an alarm system or monitoring device. The owner of the home involved in the break-in thereafter spoke about her experience and the damage to her home.
Bath and Tennis
Bath and Tennis Manager, Maureen Brown, welcomed everyone back for the summer. She reported many of the lifeguards had returned from last year but there were some new hires this year. Pool passes are available at the pool office for pick up and the pool is heated again this year. Lap swim is every day from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. and water aerobics will begin June 9th. The beach will be guarded every day until Labor Day with a reduction in the number of lifeguards when schools are open in August. Maureen asked homeowners to watch their children carefully if they are using paddleboards and to please fill in holes that are dug before leaving the beach at the end of the day. Umbrella equipment orders can be made using the website if you have a seasonal order, otherwise orders can be made through the pool office. Homeowners have requested the pool hours be extended until 7:00, and President Wilson commented on the staffing changes that would be necessary to accommodate the extended hours. The Board will evaluate the staffing needs and costs to accommodate the requests. Extension of the pool hours into the shoulder season would also require staff to maintain the pool.
ARC Head, Paul Salditt, reported the number of applications for new homes continues at high level again this year, many involving the demolition of an existing home with so few undeveloped lots remaining in the neighborhood. It has been 14 years since North Shores homeowners passed changes to the covenants and indicated re-evaluation of some covenants might be beneficial. He reported that some architects are aggressively interpreting the covenants to take advantage of areas in ways that were not permitted by the current set of covenants. His primary concern involved the areas below base flood elevation that were never intended to be used as finished floor space under the original covenants. He reminded owners that covenants do not call for the Board to approve plans based on aesthetics.
Homeowners attending the meeting raised questions about some of the new homes under construction having the appearance of multifamily dwellings or possibly not meeting the covenants. Paul confirmed that all homes under construction, despite some with numerous garages, have floor plans indicating normal single family home usage and do meet the covenants.
President Wilson sought input from homeowners about the Board’s consideration of forming a committee to review some technical aspects of the covenants and make recommendations about changes that may be appropriate for modification after 15 years. He encouraged anyone interested to contact him.
Community interest in extending the hours of the pool, into September as well staying open later, was brought to the attention of the Board again this year. President Wilson commented on the logistics of arranging for pool care maintenance after Labor Day as well as the difficulties of finding lifeguards.
President Wilson asked homeowners if the community should explore working with one trash removal company that would service the entire neighborhood. The objective benefits would be: an efficient rate structure, improved safety by reducing the number of trucks servicing the area, and wear and tear on the roads. A show of hands indicated there was strong but not unanimous interest in the proposal. One homeowner asked if it would be possible to opt out of the program. President Wilson commented that opt-outs would afford individual homeowners more flexibility in their own arrangements, but would not improve the safety objective. The Board will consider the matter further.
Parking along Holly Road in the North Shores designated spaces in the ocean block was a homeowner concern. President Wilson indicated the location of the spaces would improve to allow for deeper spaces in the future. The speed bump on Holly Road was also indicated by a homeowner as needing repair. A resident of S. Rodney would like the installation of a speed bump explored again. President Wilson reminded everyone the Rehoboth Fire Department had requested no speedbump be installed on S. Rodney because it is the main access road to the pool area for emergency vehicles. He will ask the Board to consider other traffic calming solutions for the area.
Election of Directors
The next item on the agenda was the election of directors. President Wilson announced the candidates and thanked them for their willingness to serve. This year’s election had three candidates for the two open board positions. Each of the candidates were invited to give a short speech and did so. Biographies for Joan Churchill, Louisa Hollman, and Evan Thalenberg had been included in the April Annual Mailing.
President Wilson made a motion that was approved by all to begin the voting. The Board retained attorney Robert Valihura to inspect and certify the election results. President Wilson announced the polls were open and invited homeowners to mark their ballots and deposit them in the ballot box at the front of the room. At the conclusion of the voting, President Wilson announced that preliminary results of the election should be available in the afternoon. [Subsequent to the meeting, based on the certification from Mr. Valihura, the Board announced that Louisa Hollman and Evan Thalenberg had been elected to the Board, each to serve for a three-year term.]
Before concluding the meeting, President Wilson thanked Paul Salditt, ARC Head, for his sixteen years of service on the Board and countless hours spent on North Shores business that included drafting the 2005 covenant changes. He noted that that Paul had served with grace and dignity throughout his many years on the Board. Paul will continue to serve the community in his role as the ARC Head and as a Director Emeritus member of the Board. President Wilson presented Paul with a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired rendition of a stained-glass window as a parting gift, with the hearty thanks of the community for his many years of service.
President Wilson acknowledged those who had served this Memorial Day weekend by remembering three U.S. Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice on April 8, 2019. Remembered for their service when they were killed after their Humvee was destroyed by a roadside bomb were:
Sgt. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, NY;
Staff Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31, of York, PA; and
Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, 43, of Newark, DE.
President Wilson moved to adjourn the meeting, the motion was carried and approved by all.
Meeting was adjourned at 11:48.
Deborah M. Director