Friday, May 22, 2009

Major [?] Water Conservation Efforts in St. George has an amusingly reported story on the "major effort" to save water in St. George. It's short, so I'll post the whole thing:
ST. GEORGE -- A major effort is underway to conserve water in St. George.

The city council passed a new plan that asks residents and businesses to voluntarily take steps to save water. Those steps can be as simple as washing only full loads of laundry, checking for leaks and repairing sprinkler heads.

The council also agreed to restrict watering during daytime hours.

WOW! I sure hope that the residents can handle these sacrifices!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Utah Case Regarding Fiduciary Duties

At today's CAI trade show, I spoke about a case issued this morning by the Utah Court of Appeals, Stevensen 3rd East v. Watts. It's an interesting case dealing with fiduciary duties, if you're into that sort of thing; I'll blog about it in the next few days, but if you just can't wait, you know have a link to the 23 page opinion.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Trade Show Tomorrow!

The Utah Chapter of CAI's Trade Show is tomorrow afternoon and evening; exhibitors and presenters (myself included) will be providing valuable knowledge and information to community association members, board members, managers and service providers.

The event will be at the South Town Expo Center in Sandy, Utah; more information on the show, and a link to register, can be found here for the dinner and show, or here, for just the show.

Best Practices -- Green Communities

I'm pleased to announce that the Best Practices Report on Green Communities, which was presented at the recent CAI National Conference in New Orleans, is now available for free download. And, the report can be reproduced and distributed:
Readers can download and reproduce this report for community association managers, board members, individual homeowners and community association-related industry professionals without permission of the Foundation for Community Association Research provided the following terms are met: the document,including the use permission statement, must be reproduced in its entirety and may not be added to, modified, amended, or otherwise altered from the original as presented here. Readers and users agree not to sell copies of this document or otherwise seek compensation for its distribution.

I'd like to thank all of the following, for their assistance in compiling and supporting the report:

Foundation Representatives
Ellen Hirsch de Haan, ESQ., Becker & Poliakoff, P.A.
Lincoln W. Hobbs, ESQ., Hobbs & Olson, L.C.
Sandra Matteson-Pierson, LSM, PCAM, Capital Consultants Management Corporation
Team Members
Amy Bray, Esq., Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C.
Joe Bunting, CMCA, AMS, LSM, PCAM, Kiawah Island Community Association, Inc.
Leslie Fellows, CMCA, Today Management, Inc.
Marjorie J. Meyer, CMCA, PCAM, Associa, Inc.
Harry Richter, CMCA, Charter Management
Debra A. Warren, CMCA, PCAM
Foundation Staff
Sara Drake, Community Associations Institute
Jake Gold, CAE, Community Associations Institute
David Jennings, CAE, SPHR, Community Associations Institute
Terry White, T&S White Company
Special Thanks
A special thank you to the CAI Large-Scale Managers Committee for supporting the development and distribution of this Best Practices report.

Monday, May 18, 2009

City Creek in The New York Times

A recent New York Times article gives some great coverage to Salt Lake City and the City Creek Center project that is quickly changing downtown Salt Lake City's skyline.

Most of the information on the project has been covered before, but there are a couple of new and interesting details in the article. For one, the project will include "Fountains that include fire and bells — designed by the company responsible for water features at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas . . . " (Does that mean that what happens at the fountain will stay at the fountain?)

Another interesting fact is that one bedroom, Temple view condominiums are being sold for more than $900,000. The price isn't that surprising; the fact that they're building and selling one bedroom units with that view is. Then again, I suppose there aren't that many families who could afford a larger condo with the same view. (Interestingly, a New York Times article from about 18 months ago made me speculate, in an earlier post, just how much the view would be worth.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

They're Not Just in Your Brain, Anymore

This interesting tidbit about micro-chipped trees was in the Daybreak Community Update:

Understanding the importance and value of trees, the Daybreak community has made trees an integral part of everyday life. This effort coincides with their commitment to be a sustainable and walkable development. This is evidenced by the anticipated investment of 100,000 trees to be planted throughout Daybreak of which 8,500 have already been planted. Collectively, the urban forest has the ability to improve the air quality and reduce energy consumption while contributing to a beautiful and memorable community.

In response to this need, Daybreak is working with the Salt Lake County Million Tree Program, South Jordan City and G. Brown Design, Inc. to develop an urban forestry management program. This program is the system by which the trees will be properly monitored and provide a streamlined management approach through the use of a tree inventory and mapping system. The inventory contains information about each tree including: Unique Tree # using a RFID (Radio-frequency identification) tag that is 1/2” long x 1/8” diameter glass capsule embedded into each tree, Scientific Name, Common Name, Location, Tree Condition, Caliper Size, Canopy Size, and Photo. After the tree has been tagged and evaluated, it becomes part of a tree database and computerized mapping system.

In order to ensure that a tree is correctly associated with the data, a RFID tag is embedded into each tree which provides the ability to identify and track individual trees. Once embedded into the tree, the tag can be read by waving a RFID scanner in close proximity to the tag. The RFID scanner functions similar to a barcode scanner at a grocery store. The ID# is then read by the scanner and transmitted to a computer via a Bluetooth connection. This number can then be used to properly identify and update any tree specific information. For example, if a homeowner association member locates a tree that needs to be maintained (i.e., pruned, removed, staked, etc.) then the tree can be identified using the RFID technology. This RFID # and associated map location could be included in a report given to a maintenance crew. The maintenance would then be recorded as part of the tree inventory. In this way, information about a tree can be transmitted effectively, thus saving time and resources.

Trees provide both environmental and aesthetic contributions to the Daybreak community. As the seasons pass and trees mature, they develop their own unique character and beauty while contributing to an overall look and feel of a place. The urban forest is a significant and valuable investment to residents of Daybreak. With proper monitoring and maintenance, Daybreak’s urban forest will remain healthy and viable into the future.

So, I wonder when we'll be able to get an IPhone application to read info about trees in the urban forest.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About HOA and Condo Insurance...

but were afraid to ask.

Two former executive directors of the Utah Chapter of the Community Associations Institute, Marla Mott-Smith Bowers and Tiffany Dominguez, are in the process of starting a new professional education provider, and for their first seminar, they've arranged for a presentation by two of the nation's foremost authorities on community association risk management.

The Seminar, Community Association Liability, Insurance & Risk Management, will be held on Thursday, May 28. The speakers will be Cliff Treese, recent recipient of the Community Association Institute's Byron Hanke Award for his support of education and research for homeowners and homeowners associations, will be speaking with Joel Meskin, Esq, another national authority on Community association risk management issues.

Mr. Meskin is VP Community Association Products McGowan & Co., Inc., a leading provider of Community Association and Property Manager Insurance Products nationwide. For 15 years he was a trial attorney specializing in insurance coverage and related litigation.
Joel has insured over 50,000 community assocations nationwide. He has produced insurance policy products and engaged in risk management. He lectures to organizations and associations nationwide about homeowner association related insurance issues: fraud, claims, property manager claims, and association risk management.

Mr. Treese is a nationally recognized practitioner in common interest community underwriting, risk management and insurance. His community association management experience includes asset management, information services and technology, human resources and payroll processes, and national quality award criteria and ISO
9000. Cliff has worked with developers and general contractors in all phases of the association development and construction.
He is a past national president of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) and its Research Foundation and a recipient of the Institute’s Distinguished Service Award. He has been involved for over two decades in CAI professional management development programs and has authored several publications for the institute.

Additional information on the seminar is available at this link.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Live Blogging The Managers' Munch -- Problem Board Members

I’m here at the Utah CAI Chapter's Monthly Manager’s Munch; the presenters are John Morris, Jamie Nopper and a law clerk, Michelle Kasteler, from the firm of McKay, Burton and Thurman. Today’s topic is “Dealing With the ‘Problem’ Board Member”.

The first archetype of the problem board member is “No Show Ned”. That description is pretty self-explanatory. Recommended suggestions include the creation of expectations for attendance and follow-through; in-person communications with Ned about his obligations; possible removal (with a strong recommendation of legal counsel.

“Power-Crazy Patty” is a common participant on association boards; characteristics include decision-making and acting alone; failure to share information, and the bullying of members. Suggestions for dealing with Patty include education about her status as a member of the board; standard procedures for distribution of information; and (once again) removal. (And another reminder about the importance of obtaining legal advice.)

Next is “Rules-Don’t Apply to Me Ronald” First, the board (or manager or counsel) needs to remind this board member that he will be treated like others; excuse him from voting on issues in which he is directly concerned; and lastly, “seek legal advice on removing him as a board member”.

"Agenda-Pursuing Agnes" is the somena who ran for the board with a personal agenda; the example given being the woman who wants to get her cousin hired as manager. She only wants to focus on her agenda, and has little or no concern about the well-being of the association as a whole. Suggestions inclued the identification of her conflict of interest and dealing with them pursuant to the association's governing device. Then you may need to resolve that issue (which they ironically refer to as her "pet" issue); with timeframes for reconsideration, if necessary.

"Contentious Carl" thrives on conflict, is insulting and offensive; he turns every meeting into a shouting match. Sometimes these individualys threaten violence. Suggestions inclued formal procedures and protocol during meetings; call the police if necessary.

"Terri Traitor" leaks the association board's privileged information; she may be suspected of aligning herself with dissident owners. Suggestions for her type include reminders of the importance of confidentiality, including a written acknowledgement of the need for confidentiality. If the board member's opposition is known, she can be excluded from strategic sessions; if it is suspected, a separate committee can be formed to consiere and address the meetings. John Morris is considering an amendment to his stock documents requiring the preservation of confidential and privileged information.

"Penny Pincher Pete" never wants to spend association money or raise assessments, defer major projects, and complains about all of the bids being "rip offs". First suggestion here is to advise him of his duties and responsiblities; secondly, get advice from the manager and other professionals; lastly, invite Pete to seek and obtain other bids.

"Suzy Stickler" is described as "the one board member who always reads the documents and knows what they say". (Most of the "Suzy Sticklers" that I know only think that they know them.) The panel's position (probably related to their definition as opposed to mine), is that these types are not a problem. The board's suggestion is that she may not, in fact, be a problem. Compliance with the rules, they say, is a problem.