Friday, August 31, 2007

The Salt Lake Tribune's Coverage on Energy Saving Condominiums

Condos take energy savings to new level
By Paul Beebe
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 08/30/2007 11:44:01 PM MDT

Condominiums, which stand in what was once a patch of ground where three drug houses once cast a pall of fear over a West Temple neighborhood has been brought back to life by a Salt Lake City company that builds super-efficient dwellings.
Earlier this week, the Blue Conservancy took the wraps off of the Rowhaus Condominiums - two buildings containing 24 condominiums that look like East Coast row houses but take energy efficiency to new heights.
"We're trying to provide comfortable living spaces that have a long life span and utilize energy-efficient design and building techniques," Mark Wisniewski, principal officer of the conservancy and a freelance anesthesiologist, said earlier this week.
The condos at 1130 S. West Temple St. are separated by foot-thick insulated concrete partition walls that virtually stop sounds from traveling between units. The same material was used recently to construct sound-proof walls at movie theaters in West Jordan and Ogden, Wisniewski said.
Floors withstand ground temperature fluctuations, cutting heating costs. White membranes covering the roofs reflect summer solar energy away from the building. Gas-heat and air-conditioning units are mounted on the roof to minimize interior noise.
Each unit is priced around $300,000, which buys 2,000 square feet of living space - there is virtually no wasted area in the building, Wisniewski said. Each condo also comes with a 500-square-foot garage and a yard with sprinklers for gardens or xeriscaping.
Perhaps best of all, pets are allowed.
The neighborhood around 1100 South and West Temple used to be a high-crime area. That began to change 15 months ago after the drug houses were burned down by the Salt Lake Fire Department and construction began on the Rowhaus project. Over time, as some of the condos were sold, children returned to a park across the street that police say was notorious for drug-related crime.
"The Rowhaus project not only turned a former crime scene into a much-needed training experience, but also served as a catalyst in turning the neighborhood around," Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank said.
"Where we used to get four or five calls per day to investigate criminal activity at the park, we now see a true community gathering place where people can walk safely," the chief said.
The conservancy has constructed 12 energy-efficient houses in Virginia, Montana and Salt Lake over the past decade. The Rowhaus project is the group's biggest effort, Wisniewski said.
So far, nine condos have been sold. Buyers include a University of Utah professor, a retired couple, a young family with one child, and two professional couples without children.
"They appeal to a wide range of people," Wisniewski said.
Another two units are for sale, and the rest will come onto the market at a rate of about two a month. Babs DeLay, owner of Urban Utah Homes and Estates, is the agent.
"There are certainly other projects that utilize sustainable design elements. But Rowhaus is an outstanding project in terms of energy-efficient design and efficient use of electricity and other resources," said Patrick Thronson, a spokesman for Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

You Think Your Association Has Problem Owners?

A New York cooperative isn't unique among community associations in having to pursue collection against one of its tenants, Courtney Love, but the amount being pursued is a bit higher than I'm used to. Her $18,000 lien wasn't paid, so attorneys decided to pursue another $5,611.10.

Because she still didn't pay, the association, as of the last reporting, had filed a lien for $122,594.35.

Oh yeah, and then there are those other issues, also published by the Smoking Gun, which resulted in a threatened lawsuit.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

KSL Reports....

Local Neighborhood Cleans Up and Goes Green
August 28th, 2007 @ 6:20pm
Jed Boal Reporting

A new condo development in Salt Lake City is serving as a unique catalyst to help revitalize a neighborhood. These "green" townhomes help solve several community troubles.

The Rowhaus Condominiums on West Temple strike a new look for an area in transition.

Just a five minute walk from a TRAX station and Franklin Covey Field makes the location attractive, but it did not used to be.

Dealers sold drugs out of three homes and in the park across the street. "We had received dozens of calls for help in this area, calls coming into our drug hotline, saying, ‘There are drugs going in and out of this house.' These three homes were the site of six search warrants by the police department alone, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank said.

The developer bulldozed the drug houses 15 months ago. Now new homeowners are moving in, and these three level townhomes are energy efficient, too. "This is the kind of project that is definitely a trendsetter as people become more concerned about cost efficiencies, about doing things in an environmentally sustainable fashion," Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson said.

Blue Conservancy Developers used a different type of wall insulation; foam blocks pumped with concrete. "It's a reclaimed product, has a long lifespan. It's very quiet separation, you don't have to hear your neighbors, and provides superior energy savings for cooling and heating," explained Mark Wisniewski, builder and developer.

That savings can up to $100 a month, and the wall is solid in an earthquake.

The homes include Energy Star appliances, tinted windows, 2,000 square feet of space and prices are starting at $300,000.

Twenty-four units are built, 18 are ready to go and nine have been sold. Who are the buyers? So far it's retirees, young professionals and a university professor.

"When people have vested interests in their neighborhoods, we have a great partnership that forms, and we can keep out the bad elements," Burbank said.

Salt Lake City Green includes environmental programs that help conserve resources, reduce pollution and combat global climate change.

CAI Utah Chapter Trade Show

2007 Tradeshow: Legal Issues in Community Associations

Come join us for food, prizes and of course, top-notch educational programs.

Held at:
Salt Lake Community College
Miller Campus
9750 South 300 West
Sandy, UT

8:00am: Exhibitor Set-Up
Registration & Meet the Exhibitors
9:15am-9:45am: CAI and Rights & Responsibilities
9:45am-10:30am: Exhibit Hall
10:30am-11:30am: Legal Panel
11:30am-1:00pm: Volunteer Awards, Grand Prize Giveaway, Vendor Raffles

Registration Information
Pre-Register by September 21st and Save!
Early Registration Fee: $20
After September 21st:
Registration Fee: $25

Register at

Friday, August 24, 2007

South Salt Lake Doesn't Want Renters, Either.

The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that the City of Salt Lake is jumping onto the anti-rental bandwagon:

Rentals: All units will now pay fees

By Cathy McKitrick
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 08/24/2007 01:05:44 AM MDT

SOUTH SALT LAKE - Landlords of single-family homes and duplexes now will be expected to obtain business licenses through the city.
In January, the City Council passed an ordinance to require the new licenses and associated fees for rentals with three units or more. Wednesday night, council members extended the law to apply to one- and two-unit rentals as well.
The program also requires that landlords evict tenants who engage in criminal activity, said City Attorney David Carlson.
In this older urban area directly south of Salt Lake City, 62 percent of its 23,000 residents rent rather than own. A study identified an estimated 1,156 units that fall in this category - at $24 each, those units would net the city $27,744 in revenue.
However, the new law is aimed more at reducing crime than filling the city's coffers.
"We're not doing this to get money," said Council Chairman Casey Fitts. "We're doing it to clean up a problem."
Carlson expects enforcement to be largely complaint-driven.
"We don't expect 100 percent compliance," said Councilman John Weaver. "This is an added tool for our staff to make headway on something citizens have deemed a priority. We can assess its effectiveness in the future."
At least one council member, Mike Rutter, is a landlord. He said he plans to comply.
"I applaud what's being done - even though it will cost me a little more money. It's important," Rutter said.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

To Incorporate, or Not to Incorporate

I attended and audited the M203 course today, and during breaks talked to two different community managers, each of whom had recently spoken to two different lawyers, and both of whom were led to believe that the incorporation of associations had become undesirable, in light of the Park West v. Deppe case.

I hope to get those two lawyers to confirm or deny these understandings, (and perhaps to start a lively e-dialogue on the subject), but for now, I assure you that I continue to recommend the incorporation of community associations.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Good Summary of the Utah Nonprofit Act

One of the initial recommendations that I make to all associations is that they register themselves as nonprofit corporations. There are lots of reasons for that recommendation, that I've mentioned before (and will undoubtedly mention again).

In the interim, I just ran across this great summary of the Utah Revised Nonprofit Corporation Act, prepared by Bruce Olson, Esq. With thanks to Bruce (and he's not the Olson of Hobbs & Olson), here it is:

Nonprofit Act Summary

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Twin Rivers Case

Many of you will be familiar with the case of Committee for a Better Twin Rivers v. Twin Rivers Homeowner’s Association.

For those of you who are not, a brief background:

Twin Rivers was a huge planned community in New Jersey, and at least one resident thought the community was unduly restrictive. So, keeping with the American Way, he sued. His lawsuit led to an intermediate appellate opinion, in which it appeared as though the Courts of New Jersey may have been required to assure that associtions were providing consitutional-level rights to their residents.

Needless to say, the case created quite an uproar in the community association business.

Anyway, several weeks ago, the case was reversed by New Jersey's highest court. There has been lots of commentary since.

Friday, August 17, 2007

CAI Releases New Governance Guidelines

The Community Associations Institute (CAI)'s Center for Community Association Volunteers (CCAV) developed the Community Association Governance Guidelines (PDF)—12 principles that can help homeowner volunteer leaders build better communities.

ANNUAL MEETINGS. Conduct at least one membership meeting annually, providing at least two weeks notice to homeowners and more than two weeks if specified in the governing documents or dictated by state statute.

ASSESSMENTS. Collect assessments and other fees from homeowners in a timely and equitable manner and in accordance with state statutes and board-approved procedures.

COMMUNICATION. Provide at least one form of regular communication with residents, and use it to report substantive actions taken by the board.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST. Disclose all personal and financial conflicts of interest before assuming a board position and, once on the board, before participating in any board decisions.

ELECTIONS. Hold fair and open elections in strict conformance with governing documents, giving all candidates an equal opportunity to express their views and permitting each candidate to have a representative observe the vote-counting process.

FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY. Share critical information and rationale with residents about budgets, reserve funding, special assessments and other issues that could impact their financial obligations to the association. Give members an opportunity— before final decisions are made—to ask questions of a representative who is fully familiar with these financial issues.

FORECLOSURE. Initiate lien and foreclosure proceedings only as a last step in a well-defined debtcollection procedure—and only after other, less-disruptive measures have failed to resolve a serious delinquency issue in a specified period of time.

GOVERNANCE AND THE LAW. Govern and manage the community in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. Conduct reviews of governing documents to ensure legal compliance and to determine whether amendments are necessary.

GRIEVANCES AND APPEALS. Allow residents to bring grievances before the board or a boardappointed committee, and follow well-publicized procedures that give residents the opportunity to correct violations before imposing fines or other sanctions.

RECORDS. Allow homeowners reasonable access to appropriate community records, including annual budgets and board meeting minutes.

RESERVE FUNDING. Account for anticipated long-term expenditures as part of the annual budget development process, commissioning a reserve study when professional expertise is warranted.

RULES. Enforce all rules, including architectural guidelines, uniformly, but only after seeking compliance on a voluntary basis. Distribute proposals for new rules and guidelines to all homeowners and nonowner residents. Advise them when the board will consider new rules and encourage input. Once adopted, new rules and effective dates should be distributed to every owner and resident.

Note: Laws governing community and condominium associations vary considerably from state to state. In addition to understanding and adhering to these laws, community
association leaders need to be aware of legislative and regulatory issues that could affect their associations. You can do that by joining CAI and supporting your state’s
Legislative Action Committee.

The Community Association Governance Guidelines are offered by CAI’s Center for Community Association Volunteers (CCAV) to help board members and other community leaders create and sustain more effective, harmonious communities. This initiative supports CAI’s mission of making community associations better—even preferred—places to call home.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Are Your Records in Order?

16-6a-1601. Corporate records.
(1) A nonprofit corporation shall keep as permanent records:

(a) minutes of all meetings of its members and board of directors;

(b) a record of all actions taken by the members or board of directors without a meeting;

(c) a record of all actions taken by a committee of the board of directors in place of the board of directors on behalf of the nonprofit corporation; and

(d) a record of all waivers of notices of meetings of members and of the board of directors or any committee of the board of directors.

(2) A nonprofit corporation shall maintain appropriate accounting records.

(3) A nonprofit corporation or its agent shall maintain a record of its members in a form that permits preparation of a list of the name and address of all members:

(a) in alphabetical order, by class; and

(b) showing the number of votes each member is entitled to vote.

(4) A nonprofit corporation shall maintain its records in written form or in another form capable of conversion into written form within a reasonable time.

(5) A nonprofit corporation shall keep a copy of each of the following records at its principal office:

(a) its articles of incorporation;

(b) its bylaws;

(c) resolutions adopted by its board of directors relating to the characteristics, qualifications, rights, limitations, and obligations of members or any class or category of members;

(d) the minutes of all members' meetings for a period of three years;

(e) records of all action taken by members without a meeting, for a period of three years;

(f) all written communications to members generally as members for a period of three years;

(g) a list of the names and business or home addresses of its current directors and officers;

(h) a copy of its most recent annual report delivered to the division under Section 16-6a-1607; and

(i) all financial statements prepared for periods ending during the last three years that a member could have requested under Section 16-6a-1606.

Enacted by Chapter 300, 2000 General Session


57-8-17. Records of receipts and expenditures -- Availability for examination.
The manager or management committee shall keep detailed, accurate records in chronological order, of the receipts and expenditures affecting the common areas and facilities, specifying and itemizing the maintenance and repair expenses of the common areas and facilities and any other expenses incurred. Records and the vouchers authorizing the payments involved shall be available for examination by the unit owners at convenient hours of weekdays.

Enacted by Chapter 111, 1963 General Session

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Proposed Legislation

As I embark upon my commentary of the pending (and presumably to be proposed) Utah legislation, it seems appropriate to make it available.

So, here you go:

Unused Utah Statutes

Section 2: Creation, Alteration and Amendment

Section 3

Section 3, Revised

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Got Equity?

The New York Times is noting a trend for those who may have acquired equity in light of recent price increases:

Get A Divorce

The author of this blog does not endorse all suggestions referenced herein.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

And Now, a New Project

My weekly case review obviously didn't fare too well, as my last post was well over a half of a year ago.

How time flies...

Meanwhile, The Legislative Action Committee of the Utah Chapter of the Community Associations Institute is reviewing and drafting a proposed comprehensive revision to the Utah statutes dealing with Common Interest Associations, and they plan (at least last I heard -- I think they also are pretty busy), to propose legislation in early 2008.

During the course of an HOA meeting today, I realized I need to get caught up with what they are proposing, and I thus plan (hope?) to take on the draft a bit at a time, and while in the process, to update this blog with my thoughts. Then I'll invite others with whom I deal (and you, if you are reading this), to join in the conversation.

Please do jump in; I'll see your postings, and it just might motivate me to do a better job of keeping up on this blog.