March 16, 2008

Learning from Liberty on the Lake

Members of the Board Advisory Group met this week with Sarah Buerkley.  Sarah lived in CPDC’s other community, Liberty on the Lake, when it was transitioned to homeowner control.   She served on Liberty’s master association’s Board of Directors for four years after the transition as President, Vice-President, and Secretary.  Victor Gardens Board Advisory Group asked a number of questions of Sarah in the hope that the group could learn from Liberty’s experience.

Here is a brief outline of what was discussed:

  1. Liberty transitioned in 2003

  2. The transition was planned for a period of months but took effect over the period of one Annual Meeting.

  3. Liberty transitioned as originally planned, as a certain percentage of lots were sold.

  4. The transition was viewed as a very positive experience for residents.

  5. Question: Were there any problems that residents were surprised about or unprepared for?  Answer: Residents had not anticipated the level of costs that CPDC covered as part of the developers marketing budget.  The master association needed to increase dues after transition to maintain the level of amenities and services that residents had come to expect while under CPDC control.  The association also had to adjust their budget anticipate reserve fund needs.

  6. Liberty’s master association is structured with a master board, and 3 sub-association boards.  

  7. Liberty works with a management company whose responsibilities are similar to Victor Gardens management company.

  8. Responsibilities for planning social events and some landscape planning is carried out by volunteers. 

  9. Liberty’s day-to-day administration is carried out by their management company, Durand & Associates.  

  10. The level of service and quality of Liberty’s amenities increased as a direct result of their transition from CPDC control.  This includes landscaping, snow removal, community center, overall appearance, etc.

  11. Liberty’s current association does not rely heavily on volunteers to carry out the responsibilities of their association.

  12. Liberty’s Architecture Review Committee was partially transferred from CPDC at the same time.  Before residents gained full ARC control, CPDC transferred some ARC control, notably to set and enforce landscape and architectural changes to existing homes. 

  13. Liberty’s ARC consists of a group of 5 residents.  

  14. Liberty’s association did not have outstanding debts that residents didn’t know about before transition. 

  15. There were no major financial problems that resulted from the transfer.

  16. Sarah was not aware of any legal problems that resulted from the transition.