July 2007

Minutes from The Gayle Home Owners Association Summer Meeting

July 28, 2007

Owners in Attendance:
Denali Van Ness (Board President) Unit #203
William Lint (Secretary) #301
Holly Viola (Newly-elected Treasurer) #105
Lisa Holley #201
Easton Richmond #304
David Vogel #302

The meeting was hosted by David Vogel in unit #302 and called to order by the board members. Laura Porto, the outgoing board treasurer, was unable to attend the meeting. A final written report by Laura which summarized the buildings current assets and general financial standing was distributed. This was followed by a discussion of raising the monthly maintenance fees by 9 percent. Since there have been no fee increases since 2004, the owners agreed to make a phased increase in the monthly fees assessed to each unit in two stages:

A 5% increase beginning in September 2007 and another increase of 4% in January 2008. Holly Viola volunteered to take over the role of treasurer from Laura, which was met with approval from the assembled owners.

The discussion moved on the exterior masonry concerns. An estimate from Pioneer Masonry was circulated. Pioneer was on site in early July to examine the exterior of The Gayle, provide an assessment of the condition and furnish an estimate of the repairs costs. The report they produced was highly specific and much more detailed than the one made by Moore Masonry and Restoration a few months ago. The Pioneer report states that the overall health of the masonry appears good with the exception of a few small areas of deterioration which are non-emergent and could be addressed proactively in the future as appropriate. New information suggests that the exterior masonry faults may not be responsible for the recent leak damage that occurred in unit #105; the leak, according to the plumber who opened up the ceiling, seems very likely to be from the radiator in the unit above. Furthermore, the representative from Pioneer suggested that the leak in #203 may be a result of water entering the building under the deteriorated wooden window sill of the unit above and suggested the owners enlist a specialist in window frames, a company called Legacy, to make a detailed survey of the framing and the window sills to check for any signs of deterioration. That appointment has been scheduled for early August. In the event there is any doubt as to the source of these leaks, the secretary has contacted a company, American Leak Detection, which uses high-tech means to ascertain the source of problem leaks and is highly recommended by a local condo management company.

In summary, the owners felt that there is no cause to take immediate action on the exterior masonry matter. We will continue to gather information and carefully assess the situation. Repairs of some sort will eventually have to be made to the building exterior but we may be able to wait for another year or more before proceeding. We will concentrate on what we now believe to be the real causes for the leaks in two units and proceed with the appropriate repairs.

Denali presented a list of rules intended to clarify the scope of acceptable activities that may take place on the roof of the building. The memo also spelled out specific responsibilities for the owner of unit #304, which has direct access to the roof. Unit #304’s current owner, Easton Richmond, was present and offered his reaction to the list of rules. He was amenable to most of what was presented on the list but questioned the ban on any cooking materials (a barbeque, for example) on the roof. He offered to construct a new deck from fire-resistant materials to allay fears of a fire hazard. Easton also wondered if it might be permissible to walk on parts of the roof not covered by his deck if he first secured the permission of the units directly beneath the roof, assuming that the structure of the roof is not being compromised. Other owners expressed concern that any walking on areas of the roof not covered by his deck would likely prove harmful to the structure of the roof and that barbeques would present an unacceptable fire hazard, even if precautions were taken. It was agreed that our insurance carriers should be consulted before making any final decisions regarding these matters. Easton suggested that the exterior hatch to the roof from the back stairwell should be weatherproofed and hinged for better access, which most other owners signaled agreement with.

A general discussion of the building finances was optimistic. Since the water damage to units #105 and #203 may not be due to exterior masonry problems, there is no cause to precipitously spend large sums of our cash reserves on exterior repairs. Our cash holdings are currently around $70,000, which includes a fund set aside for the eventual roof replacement. The proposed increase in HOA dues will allow us to accrue more money that will be held in savings and could be used for exterior masonry repairs and any unforeseen expenses. Laura Porto has mentioned in prior board meetings that other buildings try to keep cash reserves of approximately $5,000 per unit on hand. Holly, Easton and Lisa volunteered to investigate some new ways for us to invest The Gayle’s money that will give us greater returns in interest, such as a money market account.

Denali mentioned the use of the common areas and the increasing appearance of junk in some of those places. Some discussion ensued about the best way to remind owners that the common areas (including the floor space outside the storage units) are not to be used for the storage of personal items.

Denali also reminded the owners that she is the keeper of spare keys for the building. If any locks are changed, a copy of the key should be given to Denali.

The secretary suggested that a contact list for the non-owner residents be compiled. It should include phone numbers and emergency contact information.

David Vogel observed that loitering seems to be on the increase around the The Gayle, particularly in the alley behind our building. He also sited a couple specific instances where he observed apparent drug-related activities. David mentioned that a representative from our neighboring building, The Glengary, suggested that our two buildings pool resources to find ways to enhance security. They proposed a small-scale fencing plan along the Northern property line which joins our properties to promote greater security. The Glengary rep suggested that the costs of any such project be split between the two buildings. The assembled owners agreed to consider that idea. The secretary agreed to act as a liaison to the neighboring building in this matter and reported that he had already contacted the local police precinct to ask for increased patrols of our area. The desk sergeant emphasized the importance of not approaching or contacting individuals who appear to be engaged in illicit activities. A non-emergency police hotline and the number for the local precinct has been posted in the common area, along with a memo asking residents to exercise due caution.

The secretary proposed that the ownership consider seeking professional management for The Gayle. He suggested that a management company might have access to resources and experience that may prove beneficial to the building. The reaction from the other owners was generally positive and the secretary agreed to look into the matter in depth and present some possible options at a future meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.

Copies of all memos, reports and estimates mentioned in the text of the minutes are available on request. Please contact Will Lint.

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