Sounds of the Grapevine
The Sounds of
the Grapevine is a meant to be a fun, information and gossip column that
should not be taken too seriously, but may give the readers some insight
into happenings in Lake Forest. The webmaster makes no promises of
accuracy, but does promise not to print out and out lies.
Vulgarity will not be allowed. Nothing that could be considered
libelous will be printed. Anyone who is interested in Lake Forest
is welcome to contribute. Unless the contributor specifically
indicates that we do so, we will not print his or her name.
However, we will not accept anything that is anonymous. The most
recent contributions are listed first, so if you would like to read the
story in the order that it was presented, you might want to jump to the
bottom of the page and work your way back up. The text that is
seen in bold and italicized print is usually a cut & paste of someone's
contribution. Anything submitted may be filtered to avoid the
above mentioned no-nos. Determining what content is inappropriate
for the Sounds of the Grapevine column is at the sole discretion of the
webmaster. Statements proceeded by a
are comments made
by the webmaster. A submission to the Grapevine may be made
by Email to the webmaster or selecting the Suggestion Box graphics ()
from one of its many locations on this site.
Miitch, have you just grown tired of answering questions or run out of answers? :) If someone was not allowed to hit golf balls on a Sunday there had to be a good reason. Having just read the comment, I will admit that I do not remember the circumstances at the time. However, I would bet the range was muddy due to recent rains and balls sink in upon impact making it not profitalbe to allow practice. While I do not believe we do everything right, I do believe we try to turn a profit.
I don't want to hear anything about the golf course or the POA needing money ever again. I went to hit two buckets of balls on Sunday and was told the driving range was closed on Sundays. 1. Why would you close the range during business hours in the first place, 2. If it has to be closed, why on the weekend when people would have more free time to use it, 3. No one was on it, so why not let someone hit balls onto it for money 4. Not taking my 6.00 for two buckets defeats the purpose of your business: taking money for people who want to hit golf balls. Perhaps all we really need to help ma ke the association profitable is someone with common sense to run it. BTW, take down the Christmas wreath on Ridgewood by Lawson. Whats the point of having new roads if we are just going to trailer up the lots surrounding them.
Now along with the nice weather comes the joggers, walkers, etc. onto the golf course. I thought this was prohibited except during non-playing hours. I am now told that you can not prohibit a member from doing this whenever he so desires as ruled by the AG State of AL. If this is the case, I can go to the swimming pool and hit golf balls or take a basketball and toss it around during a board meeting -same principle. It seems to allow any activity without further cost in the area as long as the area was not intended for that purpose. In other words, it cost extra to play golf on the golf course, but not to jog, etc. (TELL ME IT AIN"T SO)
I was hoping someone could help me understand the rules on keeping Christmas decorations hung year-round. I have no problems with a few twinkle lights, but a certain house near one of the main entrances still has a huge Christmas wreath hung up. Ive heard some very negative comments lately about Lake Forest looking trashy. While I always 'stick-up' for our neighborhood, it is pretty hard since some owners obviously have no pride of ownership.
Lake Forest is still a lovely community, although we always have to keep working at it. You and the next contributor can call the architectural person at 626-0788 and report the problem. All such reports remain confidential.
We have new neighbors who park anywhere from 2 to 6 cars at a time. They park on the grass along the street and even on the street on an empty lot a few houses down. I sure don't want to start my relationship with my new neighbors on a negative note, but it's looking like a car lot! How should we approach this situation? We don't want them to know we complained.
Covenant expiration may or may not allow the owner to remove himself from the association. That has yet to be fleshed out. I would think the board would take legal action to prevent the association from going broke.
I'm afraid you are indulging in some wishful thinking. The requirement for a property owner to be a member of the association is established in the covenants. The covenants expire on January 18, 2023. The covenants also establish how property owners can go about changing or renewing those covenants. It requires an 85% vote of the property owners. The "property owners" are anyone who owns anything that was part of Lake Forest in 1973. That would include a little island out in the bay and the waste management facility currently owned by the City of Daphne.
I've owned property in Lake Forest for 37 years. Never, not once, not ever have anywhere close to 85% of the property owners voted on anything. Even if one throws in Friday Construction's property, one could not come up with 85%. Furthermore, considering the attitudes of property owners in Lake Forest, if you were able to get 85% to vote, at least 60% of them would vote NO. Of course, you and I would not do that, but, unfortunately, we would be among that 40% minority. It's sad to say, but part of our problem has been the attitudes of some boards over the last 30 years that alienated much of our membership.
Will the end of covenant protection be the end of the world for Lake Forest? It probably will not. Yep, the amenities will be big trouble. The board will lose what now amounts to about a million and a half dollars a year in dues. If we are lucky, we may still have a couple of hundred thousand dues dollars. Some of the covenant rules that many of us like will go away, such as no boats in the driveway, no enclosing of garages, and limits on outbuildings. On the other hand there will still be city ordinances that protect all homeowners in Daphne. And, those ordinances are enforced. A property owner will still not be able to trash his or her property or allow it to grow wild. Rules about animals are enforced by a genuine animal control department. So, life will go on and Lake Forest will still be a nice community. Remember though, many of these houses will be over 50 years old. If the association really wants to save the community, they will start now with an ongoing campaign to encourage community pride. Who knows, such a campaign might even persuade more people to vote YES.
Shame on you for ignoring the fact you lack the common courtesy to quit letting your dogs bark to where they are a nuisance to your neighbors. If your dog barks all day, night or both, that is your problem and you should either get rid of the animal, since you don't have time to train it, or buy an anti barking device. It is beyond me how anyone could get upset at a neighbor complaining about their animal being a nuisance. There are two homeowners in my area who let their dogs bark at all hours of the day. We grin and bear it but should not have to. You, as a pet owner, took the responsibility for that an imal when you bought it. Part of that responsibility is protecting the public from the animal and barking at all hours counts as harm to many people. If you don't like people who complain about your negligence, move to the @#$%^& country where no one but you and your family will hear it.
I suggest that you get these home owners that have nothing else to do than worry about the natural bark of a dog and play golf or go swimming and use some of these %^&*@#$ things that I and other home owners pay for whether we use them or not. Look forward to ya'll actually stepping up and standing by the home owners.
We are all home owners and we all knew that when we bought our property in Lake Forest that this was a recreational community, where the home owners share in the cost of those recreational facilities. But have no fear. On January 18th 2023, less than ten years from now, the covenants will expire and those who want can leave the association. Hopefully in the meantime, the leadership of the association will find a way to make everyone want to remain members
In response to the 2-25 post, the dues should never pay for the amenities. The amenities should pay for themselves and the dues should be applied to something that benifits the whole not the user. Food and beverage minimum....are you nuts? Close the Yacht Club and sell the property for development. Save 194K by closing the doors. I know the Golf course has issues as well but at least it is a potential revenue generator, just not in it's current state. I am not trying to attack the poster just my opinions (as were his).
The association owns all of the amenities, which represent a great deal of value. As with any valuable asset, the owner will certainly maintain it. That is what the membership fees are supposed to do. Hopefully, the user fees will pay the operating expenses. The Yacht Club sits on a very valuable piece of property. One day most of the members will be glad that we own it.
We received a post today that did not identify the sender. Those are not published.
Sent in my proxy. Not much to discuss or vote on in the annual meeting. I also understand that the last meeting was poorly attended. My thoughts are this..the board has turned over their responsibilities to Vision and nothing is getting better. Sooner or later, we neeed to face the music that dues need to pay for the facilities we have. We really should look at a food and beverage charge.
Has anyone received notice of business to be voted on at the annual meeting on March 18? As of today, (February 19), I have not received anything, including information regarding candidates for the Board. The Bylaws created and approved by the Board in 2011 state, "Any business voted on at the meeting must have been presented to the entire membership at least 30 days prior, in the notice of the meeting." Since February only has 28 days, the information should have been received by February 16.
Recent boards have taken liberties with the by-laws, including changing them without member approval, to the point that I'm not really sure what the rule is anymore. You are correct. At one time they did say that the members had to be notified 30 days in advance. What is really more disturbing is that the members no longer seem to care. The Lake Nine of the golf course has been closed and, as I understand it, is not being maintained. Yet, I've not heard anyone complain, including the people who actually live on that part of the course. This lack of concern by the members doesn't bode well for the future of the association, not to mention it makes it pretty boring on the website.
Pointing to other bad behavior to justify your own is silly. Quit parking in the median and on grass so that others will not think it is okay to do so.
While parking on a lawn is really a burr under the saddle for some people in Lake Forest, it would help if we all realized that ours in a middle class neighborhood, with an awful lot of families with children of driving age. Many of these kids also have cars, something that is usually very helpful to the family. They run errands, deliver siblings to events, and so on. Another downside is that most of our homes are on smaller quarter acre lots with little space available for "approved" parking. Maybe everyone can cooperate and try to make nice. The home with the cars can try their best to arrange cars as inconspicuously as possible, not on the medians, and those of us next door try to remember when we had all those kids and cars.
How about before you send a letter to someone about parking in the grass, you stop the other 300 people I pass everyday parking in their grass, or on your medians. ETC. Whats good for one is good for all. I have no problems following the set rules as long as they are being inforced on everyone. Considering I moved my car and the others have not, I have to assume that they were not warned.
I would like to know if the fish in the Lake Forest lake are safe to eat. I'm sure the water is monitored for cleanliness. If you have any information about this, please reply.
I've known several people who fish the lake frequently with no problems and I've not heard of any issues regarding eating the fish. I'm not aware of any source of contamination upstream and the lake, itself, is upstream and on the opposite side of the dam from the water treatment plant. I've also heard the the fishing in the Lake Forest lake is very good. Good fishing!
Help GNC in supporting St. Jude's Childrens Hospital
Download the form for the personal letter
Still in depositions. The lawyers are in charge of what they want us to know. Iím sure when something decisive happens the Board will let people know.
Any word on the court's ruling on the Ponder lawsuit?
If they are going to take the lake nine out of service, it may be a good idea to seek some zoning that would allow some development there. We could possibly sell that acreage and invest the money in a central facility upgrade that would provide a competition pool that meet standards, a rec pool, and a meeting room. That would beat the idea of an eyesore overgrown with weeds and such.
Have you noticed the Lake Nine of the golf course lately? Looks pretty rough doesn't it. I've been told that the bridge leading to the first hole was damaged and the course has been temporarily closed until it's fixed. But, the course is obviously not being maintained at all, which would only compound the problem, if they really do intend to reopen. The greens are growing over. The fairways are becoming terribly rough. Anyone want to take bets that the course is never reopened? Repair of that bridge is not all that expensive by association standards and would not take all that long. Whatever they decide, I hope our home owners association doesn't let it just sit there and become an eyesore, which it has become. Where's the architectural committee when you need them?
I got an email from Kay Ponder confirming the September 25th date. She will send out an email on September 23.
The correct date for the hearing re Gene Ponder 's lawsuit against LFPOA is Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 9:00 am in Judge Wilter 's courtroom in Bay Minette. Please attend!
We've received two different schedules for this thing. Your old weblord has no idea which is right.
Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012',
Time: 9:00 am
Place: Bay Minette Courthouse
Judge Bob Wilters
Regardless of your feelings about the Lake Forest Property Owners Association, your presence is requested next Tuesday in Bay Minette at 9:00 a.m.. Judge Bob Wilters will be hearing the merits of the case filed against the LFPOA and it's Board of Directors for the allegations of illegal By-Law changes, dues increases and election procedures which have taken place in our community over the past three years.
Thanks for the invitation. Been there. Done that more times than I want to remember.
Question regarding political signs on the vacant lots in the division. Are these lots considered public land or is the owner's permission required before placing a sign?
If the owner objects, then the sign will come down. However, I don't know that anyone else can file an objection for the owner.
Did anyone attend the mayoral forum? What was the reaction? Four candidates there, who was the best? Worst?
What is the low down on the board absorbing and or annexing D 'Olive Springs townhomes? I drove through that small subdivision (one street in length) and these properties are old and run down with some short sales listed online. Does the board think they'll bring in extra revenue? I don't see that happening. The board must have "sold " the property owners a lemon! What will the board do next - go after the "pocket " neighborhoods built within Lake Forest and annex them or "void " the "no maintenance" fees for Windsor Drive residents? I didn't realize that the LFPOA was in the business of annexation. Why doesn't the board take care of the business at hand and leave the other things alone?
Have you read the Complaint filed by Ponder on July 27th? Reading it got me thinking about our president's former stint as president of her Tuscaloosa historic neighborhood 's P0A for 10 years!! Obviously, she doesn't understand that LF is not a historic neighborhood - it's just an "old " neighborhood that's been mismanaged and may have some promise with Vision. I would also like to know what constitutes a quorum now that the board is short by 3 directors and who will appoint and or elect the replacement directors? No wonder the members (and I use that term loosely) aren't interested in taking part since their membership vote has been taken away from them.
Since recent changes to the by-laws allow the board to alter them as they wish, I'm not sure what they say now. However, in the past when a director resigned, the bylaws allowed the board to appoint a replacement until the next general membership meeting at which time the position would be filled by vote of the membership. Sometimes the board chose not to fill a vacant position, if the next meeting was to come up in the near future. I'm hate to admit it, but at this point, I don't even know when the next general meeting will be. A quorum at a board meeting is 50%
I was reading this article, "Now It's the Big Banks That Are Getting Foreclosed On" & was wondering if this applies to Lake Forest. The article can be found @ http://www.cnbc.com/id/48259827. POA are foreclosing on homes that banks have foreclosed on to collect back dues. Is this possible in AL.?
Now that you and I have agreement that improvements will increase the marketability of the neighborhood and by doing so, will increase all values; we must set a course and plan to do this. First, the course..what improvements and when have to be decided. This takes strategic planning on the part of the board. This planning was once done by the board with direct GM input and assistance. I do not know where that is today. But a capital plan must be voted on and approved by the board!!! That direction, given to management will then force them to face the second component... The what and when, once established will then be analyzed by the management company and they can provide a written budget for the board to consider. The budget to provide the improvemetns over a given schedule will also require a spending and dues structure plan that will put it into place. Therein is the issue as to why we do not see improvements planned to all the amenties and a timetable for their accomplishment. This board has decided that their vow to not increase dues outweighs the need to increase them to improve the amenities. this funding need was explained to our membership many years ago. I personally asked that the dues be increased with a rigid percentage of the dues to fund improvements. I believe there was placed a proposal to the membership where dues would be $50.00 with $12.50 of that (25%) being set in a capital reserve account and be used only for investing in capital improvements to our common properties. That measure failed. That was three years ago, at least. Since then, the board has now changed the by-laws to allow them to decide the dues we pay. This is a great thing, because we can vote members who will approve a dues structure that will allow for the investment. Of course, the next board then changed the terms of office and have limited our opportunity to get folks who will improve our properties in place. Our properties thus continue to decline. We need leadership with vision on the board, people with the vision for where we can be. Imagine having all the roads improved to the level we are seeing with the latest road work only to see them go past 30 year old, unsightly, and unimproved pools. The urgency should be there to make our facilities look as if they belong next to these new roads. We shoudl challenge the board to do so.
The dues of the association go to operate and MAINTAIN the common properties. The problem has been that we have maintained them in the same condition as they were in the 70s and 80s, pretty much. Nothing lasts for 30+ years without need of major renovation. It is time that we re-invested in our common properties. Some years ago, there were concept plans for each pool location prepared with upgrades and amenity improvements. These included better pool decks, better fencing, additional splash play areas, added shade features, and even a fitness trail possibility. It was my belief then, and still is today that upgrades to our neighborhood pools would create a more attractive place for folks looking to move to the area. Targeted investments like these, if planned and implemented over the next few years could really bring the marketability of our neighborhood up. It is time for the board to see that these things are done. A more attractive neighborhood enhances all of our property values.
I agree. Improvements to the amenities including golf course, yacht club and pools will improve the community making it more marketable.
Would like to say that as a newer member of lake Forrest, there was a Great article in the Sunday paper, that I happen to agree with, as a golfer, I wonder why the course can't carry itself with the green and cart fees it collects, seems to be the burden of the community just like the yacht club, if all monthly dues were used to upgrade the community, we could sell some of these empty houses to the incoming airbus employees, plus I would love to see the P&L monthly statements for the "Yacht Club" , I find it very hard to believe its making any money.
The revenue to the association is from maintenance fees, user fees, and other fees, all of which are to be used for operating and maintaining all of the amenities in Lake Forest. All of the amenities have their users and supporters. Nowhere in the covenants or by-laws does it say that the money is to be used for upgrading the community. That is generally the responsibility of the city, county and state.
Ray Sturch isn't the only one who resigned. I understand that Marie Bidney resigned also and for the same reason. Both told they could not talk to anyone from Vision without the President's express permision. Quite the little tyrant isn't she?
It's been my experience that directors go along with the president, when he or she makes a case that they can agree with. If they don't agree, they do what they please regardless of what the prez says. If these directors have resigned, they did so because they were tired of serving. That's it.
I hear that Ray Sturch has resigned. This needs to be confirmed, although I am 100% sure he is done. Seems the President has mandated certain rules for board members..like all contact to Vision must be approved by the president or something close to that. Got blind copied on a very private email from Ray to the board. If you are on good terms with Ray, maybe ask him about it. Or, if you could care less, just donít worry about it. This leaves some unfilled positions, I think. Go for it, Mitch.
I'm not sure I know what you mean by that last sentence.
Its nice to see someone cleaning and taking care of the pools this year, they are doing a great job! Keep up the the good work
Amen on the catfish comment, I have a crazy thought, how about fresh "local" SEAFOOD or any saltwater item, buying fresh may help bring people into the yacht club
Why are we having cat fish every thursday night ? Not all of us likes that well. Last time you did this everyone got tired of it, why mess something that was good.
The transfer charge is not considered an assessment, or a dues charge. Very simply, like a pool charge or golf charge, it is a cost for having the transfer process done. How the amount is established is up to Vision and the board. It has been waived in some instances.
The following is from the Lake Forest Property Owners Association by-laws.
Section 2.4. Dues, Charges and Assessments. Members of the Association shall be obligated to pay dues, charges
and assessments imposed by the Association. Annual increases in dues must be approved by a majority of the
entire Board of Directors after thirty daysí notice to all Association members. For purposes of any
annual dues increase, the calculations shall be performed on all regular monthly charges due from
members during the prior year, but not charges incurred for facilities usage and prior assessments.
Granted, recent boards have played around with the by-laws so much that the section wording really doesn't make a lot of sense. However, going all the way back to the original by-laws, the board has always had the right to define certain fees or charges. Among those have been the fee for transfering property, since there is a certain amount of paperwork that has to be done when a lot changes hands. The original fee was fifty bucks. At the time that I was on the board, it had been over twenty years since that fee had been established and it really wasn't adequate. So, our board increased it to $250. I don't know when it was increased to $400.
I am trying to determine under what authority the LFPOA assesses $400 for transferring property. I am well aware that the board is authorized to make assessments, but the by-laws specifically state that the amount cannot exceed $50 per year per owner. I have gone back and forth in emails with the board without really getting a straight answer. I am hopeful that you might shed some light on when the board authorized the assessment of $400.
People should really stop letting their dogs poop inside the playground area without picking up after them. We could not enjoy it due to the amount of feces.
I played golf twice this past weekend and looked at the trees. I think they are cutting trees to allow the golf course grass, particularly on the greens and tees, to get adequate sun. The trees are generally around those areas and under them were bare spots on areas where grass would be better. There are plenty of trees still around.
I am wanting to know why so many trees are being cut down behind my house? the tress they cut are the ones that gave me and my neighbors filtered sunrise.. now at 6am the sun blares through our windows so bright! its bad! the tress are what make this neighborhood so appealing.
Your inquiry has been forwarded to LFPOA management.
I had a similar dog problem. I made it clear to my neighbor that if a dog entered my yard it would be killed on the spot, it would be considered a threat, regardless how "nice" you think the dog is. I was not going to live a threatened life. I never saw the dogs out of their control again. Arm yourself against these vicious animals and shoot to kill.
While such an action might be effective, it is also one that could end up in tragedy. It certainly sounds like something that could end up in jail time for you. Such a measure would not recommended by your old Weblord here on the Grapevine. Just keep calling Animal Control in the Daphne Police Department, 251-626-2831. Document your calls and when you have an official record, let your neighbors explain it to a judge. You will also be able to include the City of Daphne in your complaint, since you would have given them ample time to take some action to solve the problem. There are appropriate ordinances and the city has the authority to enforce them. The property owners association actually has no authority in a situation like this except to do the same thing; take it to court. The association's Architectural Committee might join you in the lawsuit if given the choice between being on your side or the dog owner's side in such a case.
I forwarded your inquiry to LF management and received the following response.
Thanks, I think that I know this situation and weíve tried with DPD to get these people but it is so hard to prove.
Was wondering what the by-laws say about people that breed dogs and sale them out of there property location (Pit Bulls) they have been fined by the law and animal control on several occasions, these dogs chased my wife and grandson back into our own house and were barking and clawing at the door until animal control arrived, they have been out on several occasions according to the people around me, I was not home at the time but can assure if there in my yard again it will be there last visit, can we as homeowners appeal to the board for any help here , just seem to be getting ALOT of run around from them??
Michael Davis All Rights Reserved