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Thursday, October 16, 2008

GNWCIA Meeting Report: My Notes...

My wife and I made the short trip down to the Lodge of the Great Northwest to attend the monthly regular Board meeting of the Great Northwest Community Improvement Association (GNWCIA). I'll keep the notes brief, or not.

Members to Speak: A resident and former board member, Mr. Bill McDonough provided a great proposal to the board and offered comments to the audience regarding a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and that is the upkeep of major right-of-ways within the GNW community. Even if you don't live in the Great Northwest, Bill's comments and recommendations are noteworthy, as was the response.

The background of his issue is that many of the thoroughfares within our community are faced by the back fences of private homeowners. Many of these homeowners simply do not maintain these areas. The best example is along Timber Path Road through the Commons and Stagecoach Run sub-divisions. Timber Path runs through the back fences of these sub-divisions, so for a stretch of almost a quarter of a mile, the road and sidewalk runs between two privacy fences with no homes facing the street.

For whatever reason, most if not all homeowners/renters on this stretch simply do not mow/weed eat the one to two foot section of grass behind the fence - and frankly, these people probably never see it or even think about it. But to residents who care and to potential home buyers, this is an eyesore and a symptom of a neighborhood on the decline.

Please understand - these strips of grass and weeds do not belong to the City or the GNW association, yet over the years, volunteers including the group I belong to, the A-Team, have attempted to maintain these areas, but not with any consistency.

Bill suggests that in the best interest of home values, the association spend some money to contract out the occasional weed eating of the sections of this property - even though we don't own it.

98 percent of the audience gave the proposal applause. But of course, there is always one person who has read the community by-laws and is ready to extinguish common sense and progress with the rules.

I have grown to admire former GNW Board member, Mr. Joe Martinez, and I have learned much from our brief discussions and e-mails on matters like this.

After rattling off the specific by-law lines and regulations essentially poo pooing the proposal, he then pointed out that if you mow one person's yard, you have to mow every body's. Further, he points out that it is the responsibility of the association and the City to make people maintain their yards. Fine.

First, enforcement by the City is hit or miss at best; don't count on it. Second, would you pay the legal fees of the association lawyers to file lawsuits against 40 homeowners when you could pay a couple of 14 year-olds with a weed eater and a lawn mower to resolve the issue twice a month? Seriously, sometimes you have to pick your fights.

And to those people who would complain that we trimmed the fences along Timber Path or near the other entrances to the neighborhood, but didn't show up to mow their yards, I would ask them to pay their lawyer to file suit against us - and then suggest to them that they could hire a few 14 year-olds with a weed eater and a mower for a whole lot less, then I'd get the lawyers to sue them if they don't maintain their yards. I can deal with whiners all day long. I'm only joking here, but the point is that this is a weak excuse not to do what is in the best interest of the association.

People, this is where you as GNW residents need to get yourself in gear and send e-mails and letters to the Board and to the Community Manager, and tell them you support this proposal (or at least want to know more). Bill put forth a solid suggestion here, and it is time that we provide our elected Directors with some feedback.

Mr. Martinez did bring up a valid, unrelated comment about an ongoing problem with how the agenda for the meetings are printed/layed-out, as well as the wording on the forms for signing up to speak, and the board accepted his comments for action.

Community Manager Report: Darin provided some info on the financial stuff (a letter from the auditors, and comments about needing to find an auditing firm closer to San Antonio).

Recreation: Darin also reminded us about the Adult Halloween Party from 8PM to midnight Friday the 17th of October (This Friday). More info at the Lodge, but my wife and I will be there with costumes on.
  • He also made note of the Haunted House on October 30-31 at the Lodge and they can use volunteers. Again, check with the folks at the Office.
  • GNW Night at the San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks on 4 Nov. Tickets are $30 at the Lodge and the proceeds go to the GNW Scholarship Fund.
  • Chili Cook-off on 8 November. Details where? The Lodge!
Old Business: Tezel Road Project - if you recall from the last meeting, there was discussion about possibly taking over responsibility from the city to maintain a strip of land along Tezel Road. Darin got with the city and turns out, what they need is more people calling 3-1-1 and demanding they mow. Squeaky wheel gets the grease.
  • Bill McDonough made a suggestion to work with the city to establish a recycle program for leaves. Instead of you trying to stuff all your leaves into a bag for pick-up a few times a year, we could work to have them mulched, then use them in areas around the GNW, like the Tezel Road area. Good idea!
  • If you would like more information on Bill's suggestions, e-mail me and I will put you in touch with him. Great guy with a lot of solid ideas.
  • Director Besing had information that part of the Tezel Road area may be taken up by the church located near it.
  • Again, if you see areas that need work and are the responsibility of the city, 3-1-1 is your number to dial. Call them early and often.
New Business: It was brought to the board's attention by Director Besing that GNW has some IT issues that need to be addressed. Following a short briefing, it was suggested by Director Mifflin and Chairman Garcia that the Community Manager should prepare some information and some bids to be discussed at a later time.

And off they went to the closed session

Thoughts? Comments? Discussion? Do it below, or
e-mail me.


Anonymous said...

Dave, Great coverage and, again, I appreciate the blog. My only fear is this may further discourage attendance at board meetings (at least mine!) If I can get great notes like this I feel better about not going! haha

Great job, and lets hope the cleanup ideas proposed by Bill gain support.


Lynne said...

I disagree, Brian! Hopefully, Dave's notes give people more of a reason to go... and provide some much-needed insight to those of us who - for whatever reason - cannot make the meetings.

Keep up the good reporting, Mr Stone. Thanks!

Dave said...

Lynne - so formal! Now I really feel old.

Glad you enjoy the reports. I do understand that people can't attend all the time. I just wish we could get more people to check them out for the first time.

But as long as I'm there, I may as well jot down a few notes.

Anonymous said...

Lynne: So formal, and so critical! Maybe if my coach would quit scheduling soccer games every night, I may have the energy to attend Board meetings! (Actually, I think the night games were way cool.)

Dave: I think you know I was joking and truly appreciate your notes. (and I didn't call you Mr. Stone....) Keep up the good work! B

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I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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