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POA board contines work on policies

by Lynn Atkins | May 24, 2023 at 8:00 a.m.

Bella Vista's Property Owners Association's Board of Directors will have one new member and, possibly, a new chairman in June, but the work session held on Thursday, May 18, was a meeting of the current board.

New board member Jeff Hendren will start his term in June. The board will select a chairperson and vice chairperson at a closed meeting before the regular June board meeting.

The board heard about second readings of a number of bylaws and the policy concerning definitions will also be a second reading while a policy on docks was changed under the advice of the Architectural Control Committee. That policy will be considered for a first reading for the next vote. Policies become official after two readings have been approved.

One new policy will also be considered although the Rules and Regulations Committee had not recommended it because of timing, POA Chief Operating Officer Tom Judson explained. The change includes a clear definition of an improved property: "Improved property is a lot for which the water tap has been paid, a water account has been created and a water meter has been set."

Improved properties pay a different monthly assessment than unimproved properties. Occasionally members will challenge the POA's definition so the clarification was necessary, he said. The policy also states that improved properties cannot revert to unimproved status. Some members have suggested that if they remove their water meter, their lot -- which might include a home -- should be considered unimproved.

"We try to be consistent with everyone," staff attorney Doug McCash said in response to a hypothetical situation of an existing house that had been abandoned after a fire. Even if the water meter is removed, there may be infrastructure in place that makes the lot improved.

Technically, a home on a property doesn't make it improved. The courts have weighed in on the assessment structure and developed the criteria to consider a lot improved, he reminded the board.

The rules have always been in place, board member Sandy Fosdick pointed out, although she might consider a variance for some extreme cases.

In other business, Judson said the POA received a "clean audit" from an outside auditing firm. The board may vote to accept it at the next board meeting.

Typically, votes are not taken at a work session. The votes are scheduled for the next board meeting on Thursday, May 25.

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