When SVLA Board Vice President John Smith and I joined the SVLA Board four years ago, the big threat at the time was having a big box store at the entrance of our neighborhood. The vast majority of the residents were concerned about increased traffic, noise from delivery trucks throughout the night, increased crime, appearance, and environmental issues. Homeowners were willing to have part of their assessment dollars go toward legal fees to address this concern. Scott Eckert, the Board President at that time, embraced this challenge.
Four years ago, an architect was hired to update the SVLA Architectural Manual. The architectural consultant worked with Ilene Bandringa, (the SVLA Architectural Committee Chairperson and former SVLA Vice President), and Association staff to understand the community’s needs and concerns. The architectural guidelines went through multiple drafts with input from the architectural committee, SVLA staff, public comment and the open Board Workshop. The final Architectural Guidelines became effective August 1, 2017.
Four years ago, the Rules and Regulations needed to be updated. A committee of homeowners had already made recommendations regarding changes. Public Safety leaders also had suggestions for changes. John and I pushed to get a draft of these proposed changes out to the community. Committees were asked for input. The Public Safety department made significant contributions to proposed revisions. In an effort to be as transparent as possible, General Manager Alfred Logan organized the information so that homeowners could see the current rule, the proposed rule, and an explanation of the changes. Multiple revisions to the draft Rules and Regulations were made based upon significant homeowner input during the Board Workshop and during public comment periods. The final version became effective April 1, 2019.
Four years ago, it was common knowledge that Meadowlark Park needed a facelift. The sprinklers were due to be repaired/replaced. Although there was money in the reserve fund to replace the sprinklers and excess operating funds had been allocated to improve the park, the Board and Association staff leaders wanted to develop an overall plan for the park before spending any money. Major decisions needed to be made. After seeking input from multiple sources, the Community Planning Committee presented its recommendations for the park to the Board. Christopher Huntingford, a new SVLA Board member, sought additional community input by sending out a new park plan survey, which generated a large response. He presented the results at Community Town Halls and Board Meetings and sought additional feedback. After careful consideration, the Board and Association staff created a plan that attempted to meet and balance the needs of a significant percentage of SVLA members.
While the above projects can be summarized in a few lines, the work involved took months and years. It is easy to get stuck in paralysis by analysis mode. The Board and Association leadership had to constantly push to move the projects forward, while actively encouraging and evaluating homeowner input.
In addition to the high community interest projects, the Board accomplished much more. We worked to protect the assets of the Association through modifications to personnel policies and procedures, promotion of training, review of liability risks, development of a plan for lake liner repair, the hiring of a top-notch general manager and more. In addition, John Smith worked on revising committee guidelines, the board code of conduct, and the budget review process.
There will always be new challenges and opportunities, such as the quality of the lake, completion of the park, the sustainability of the country club/golf course, etc. Societal, technological and legal changes will require regular updates to SVLA rules and regulations and architectural guidelines. Homeowners are encouraged to take an active part in making positive changes for the community. Remember that educated decisions take time.
Thank you to the Board members who served before me and with me. Special thanks to prior Board Presidents: Scott Eckert, for his part in establishing procedures to collect a significant amount of past due assessments and addressing the dog food plant nuisance and big box store threat, and to Steve Garcia, for being a strong leader willing to take on tough issues and accomplishing more by allowing board members to take the lead on certain projects. Thank you to Logan, Jeaneen, Dennis, Dee Dee, and all the staff for their valuable contributions to making our large scale association run smoothly.
As I leave the Board, I know the future of the Association is in good hands. Ryan Williams has made it his goal, from the time he was elected to the present, to learn as much as possible to prepare himself to be a strong leader. Rory Shannon, as former Chair of the Community Task Force, brings his strong experience in issue identification, solution generation and validation, and consensus building. Brian Bickhart, as a member of the Lake Committee, brings his knowledge of lake issues, his willingness to continue to learn and explore short and long term solutions, and a passion to make Spring Valley Lake the best it can be. Deedee Garcia brings her professional experience with public boards and management. Alfred Logan sets higher expectations for himself, his team, and the Association as a whole than expectations any board could set for him.
Good luck to the future Board members. Thank you for your commitment to serving the best interests of the Spring Valley Lake community.
SVLA Board President