White Birch Lakes Annual Meeting

Unapproved Minutes of Saturday July 20, 2002 Annual Meeting



President Gail White called the Annual Meeting of the Membership to order at 1:30 PM. Present were 1st Vice President Tom Dorcey, 2nd Vice President Todd Graham, Directors Bob Adair, Larry Franklin, Don Kuester and Marv Richardson and Manager Tim Fall.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE was made by the membership.


Anne Hobart, Lot 454, moved to accept the minutes of last yearís Annual Meeting as written. Gary Farnham, Lot 637, seconded the motion. All in favor. Motion Carried.



For the fiscal year ended February 28, 2002, the Treasurer reported income of $384,839.14 and expenses of $393,400.90. Cash Balance at February 28, 2002 was $17,649.62. Gary Farnham, Lot 637, moved to accept the Treasurerís Report as presented. Motion was seconded. Motion carried.



Committee Chairperson Mary Richardson expressed thanks to outgoing Board Member and President Gail White for her guidance during the past year for the new Board Members elected in July 2001, and for the service she has given to the membership for the past 6 years. We sincerely thank you Gail White. Mary stated that there are presently four nominees. 1St nominee is Chuck Bailey, Lots 43-44, 2nd nominee is Larry Franidin, incumbent, Lots 909-910, 3rd nominee is Scott Hayer, Lot 538, and 4th nominee is Don Kuester, Lot 656, Incumbent. Each nominee is asked to introduce himself. 1st nominee, Chuck Bailey, was excused because of illness. Larry Franklin introduced himself, listed his qualifications and his thoughts for the future of White Birch followed by Scott Hayer and Don Kuester. In view of recent unforseen circumstances, candidate Don Kuester informed the members that he could possibly be gone for 5 of the winter months. In view of disparaging comments from a member regarding this nominee, the ruling quoted states that at this point anybody can be nominated. Your options are to vote for the person or not. The opportunity to run cannot be denied. No other nominations forthcoming from the floor, the motion was made by Gail White to close the nominations. Seconded by Todd Graham. Motion carried. In response to Walter Sonnichsen, Lot 1377, concern about not having introduced the nominees prior to the ballots being cast, President White suggested that the Manager will next year identify in the Birch Bark that there will be an introduction of the candidates at the annual meeting. Barb Adair, Lot 60, requested that, in the absence of nominee Chuck Bailey, his letter of intent which had been published in the Birch Bark, be read to the attendees. Patricia Walker, Lots 15 1-152, asked, that in view of these unforeseen circumstances, could there be a motion to rescind the above closing motion. President White, quoting from Robertís Rules, stated the motion can be rescinded by the winning side. The rules provide that the vote to close having been unanimous, anyone can make the motion to rescind. Motion to rescind was made by Al Isaac, Lot 514. Motion seconded by Bob Pelfrey, Lot 527. Motion carried. Gary Armbruster, Lot 376, made the motion that the existing ballots be invalidated. Seconded by Sharon Sonnichsen, Lot 1377. Discussion followed. At this time, Robertís Rules will be researched to determine if invalidation of the ballots already cast is legal. Discussion followed about the policy of candidates submitting letters of introduction and intent in the Birch Bark and nominations from the floor. Gail White stated that letters have been requested from any interested candidates so that the candidatesí information can be published in the Birch Bark for all members to review. Absent members may therefore be informed of the positions of the known candidates when submitting absentee ballots. Floor is now open for nominations. Patricia Walker nominated herself. No other nominations from the floor, the motion was again made to close the nominations. The motion was seconded and motion carried. Mrs Walker introduced herself, stated her past job experiences and her thoughts regarding White Birch Lakes. Barb Adair, Lot 60, asked if Mrs Walker would be able to attend all meetings. Other candidates were also asked about attendance .Questions directed from the floor - Gary Armbruster, Lot 378, made a motion that everyone who has voted get his ballot back. Sharon Sonnichsen, Lot 1377, seconded the motion. Discussion followed as to the validity of the proposed motion. At this time the President has asserted her power to move the vote further down the agenda. She thanked people for their nice comments and stated it has been an interesting 6 years. She commented on how much the Association has grown and felt fortunate to have been able to work with good board members who have had the interest of the Association at heart. Also she thanked people for their input and stated that the board members have considered the interests of the Association rather than their own personal agendas. Her parting thought Ė the definition of association in the dictionary is an organization of a body of people who have interests in common - remember that word interest



Chick Witchell, Lot 648, Chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee, introduced the members of the Committee. They are Barb Adair, Lot 60, Charles Hastings, Lot 78, and Ron Tagg, Lot 246. For the month of July, approval was given for 3 new campsites, 6 tree removals, 5 other lot improvement apps and 3 new residences. During this year campersí packets and building packets have been developed. For the year there have been 19 new campsites, 12 contiguous lots established, 11 driveways, 13 new residences, 27 tree removals and 2lapps for other improvements. We need one more member for the EPC Committee. At the present time we have 257 residences and 4 new residences pending. During the coming year we plan to develop a new updated map.

Don Kuester. Liaison for the Future Planning Commission stated that the Chairman, Bob Vonderheid, was unable to be present. Don requested that members who have not returned their surveys from a recent Birch Bark, please do, so that the Committee can get some kind of demographics for the Association. Even though the cutoff date for the drawing was July 15 continue to return the surveys for a couple of weeks.

The President called for a 10 minute break to research Robertís Rules.

Following the break the President reported that the rules researched by Anne Hobart declare the motion on the floor to revote is an invalid motion according to Robertís Rules. Since we started the meeting under Robertís Rules, we have to continue under this set of rules.

More questions for the candidates - Harold Kimmel, Lots 936-937, asked about deficiencies for recreation - his interests being primarily ORVís. Chuck Hastings, Lot 78, asked if the candidates have some ideas on how to solicit more participation from the membership at large. Other questions from the members were directed to each candidate. Each candidate expressed his or her perceived view of the problems and solutions or attributes at White Birch Lakes.

Mary Richardson announced that the ballot tellers are Pat Zakalowski, Cora Walker, Sherry Graham and Mary Frayer. Ballots are to be cast, picked up and counted by these 4 persons. There being no further questions this portion of the meeting is over.


Continuation of the Committee Reports.


Anne Hobart, Lot 454. Chairman of the Covenants and Restrictions Committee, stated that the Commission had had 5 members, some of whom had worked from the beginning of the project. The purpose of the project was to review the 1991 Covenants and Restrictions. She explained that most any zoned property is subject to some kind of restrictions, the advantage of which is to protect the value of the property. The original restrictions were set by the developer for each section in this development. There are now 5 sections, each of which had slightly different restrictions. One of the jobs was to determine if all sections were operating under the same set of restrictions and to eliminate the powers given to the developer who no longer exists. Legal issues which had been given to the developer were transferred to the Board. Some changes were made in response to written comments made by the membership. The project was 2 years in the making and all meetings were advertised. Members were invited to attend and provide input. Although the meetings were held directly after the monthly board meetings there was little or no member participation at the meetings. The completed proposed copies were sent to the Board and the Board then requested that proposed copies along with the old restrictions be sent to all of the members. In all, the process has taken 3 plus years in which we constantly asked for input. It is now my understanding that we have well over a majority of affirmative votes to pass the proposed amended restrictions. These will now be recorded at the Clare County Clerkís Office and will replace those Covenants and Restrictions which were in effect since 1991. My thanks to the Board and to the Committee.

Fred Witchell, Chairman of the Campground Committee, wants everyone to know the Committee is making changes at the campground. There will be a volleyball court, we have done additional mowing where there will be a ball field and possibly a soccer field. As for the emergency helipad, the location we now have will not support enough weight. We are searching for another location. The 31St of August there will be music and food at this pavilion from 6PM until? for membership activities. Please contact Fred with ideas for improvements at the campground.


We have here a committee sign-up sheet which no one has used so far. Members are encouraged to volunteer for committees. This has been 3 years here for me and I have enjoyed it. I have appreciated our Board. There has never been any lack of integrity although we have all made mistakes. All White Birch Lakes meetings are recorded and all meeting minutes are published in the Birch Bark for all to read. Property values have increased substantially. A lot has happened because of volunteers. This pavilion was built by volunteers as we mentioned last year. This project was spear headed by Moe Lombardo. Every committee has accomplished what they have because of volunteers. The Board of Directors is composed of volunteers, not because of political aspirations but because they believe in you. When I encouraged Don Kuester to run for the Board of Directors none of us knew he would be going to Panama. There is a resolution that any director cannot miss more than 3 board meetings without stepping down. The statement made earlier that he knew he would be going to Panama at the time he ran for the Board is absolutely incorrect. The confirmation that he and his wife would be going for an extended stay was received less than 2 weeks ago. There has been an annual parade which is developed by volunteers, we have a new truck with a stainless steel sander, brand new boilers in the clubhouse, a new roof on the clubhouse, new pool equipment, new access control and video system, a computerized accounting system that meets generally accepted accounting principles, we have a new data collection system which enables us to work on past due amounts in an unprecedented fashion which is reflected in the financial statements. These are things which have happened because of the good leadership by the Board members who have the willingness to allow us to operate with integrity and to respond to you. Today we have file folders full of correspondence that comes from our members and goes to the Board or appropriate Committees so that they can act on the things you are interested in. Think about this - board members come and go, managers come and go, maybe some of you might want to get in line, but for many of you as property owners, WBL may be home for the rest of your life. I believe that this Board and I have led with those factors in mind. Even though some decisions may not be what you would personally want, ask yourself what is best for everyone. Recently the national news has brought to the forefront what they call the ďShoot to Kill AttitudeĒ, which is the willingness to destroy the character of others verbally. We have processes to communicate and ways to do business in White Birch and we want you to use them. I challenge you, whether it is this Board or whether Iím Manager or not, make White Birch a place where there is character, where we are careful with our words, where we are not willing to destroy someone elseís good name, and where what itís really about is, a place called home. If you research old news you will find that White Birch was considered aloof, elite and very powerful. Letís make it a point to say ďwhatever we do in the future, whoever is leading, letís be good neighbors, letís build up one another, letís make White Birch a place we are proud to call home.



Rules for comments: 1. Please come up and use the microphone so everyone can hear.

2. Identify yourself and your lot number and limit your comments to 3 minutes

Walter Sonnichsen, Lot 1377, states that he and his wife, Sharon, live about 200 miles away and they live near one of the biggest Michigan state parks, Sterling State Park. White Birch is much cleaner, there you might see a deer once a year and this is a utopia to us. We love it here. As for the glitches in the election, all know there are glitches and when White Birch gets the website up and running everything will smooth out.

Cleo Friend, Lot 601, is concerned about the construction traffic. His fear is that someone will get hurt and he is concerned about the destruction of the roads. His question is ďwhat can be done about itĒ? He was advised to note what company owns the vehicle and report the information to the Manager.

Patricia Walker, Lots 151-152, would like to know the total number of votes which changed the restrictions and what was the majority. She was advised the there had been a good response and from memory there were 467 affirmative votes and 170 negative votes. Actual numbers are available at the office.

Anne Hobart, Lot 454, In light of the problem with todayís ballots she wants to remind the people that absentee ballots were authorized years ago because many of the owners were not able to attend the annual meetings. A review of the minutes from years back allows absentee ballots with the understanding that absentees would not be able to vote for any candidates who were nominated from the floor. My suggestion for the board is to revisit that issue, to consider amending the bylaws, to suggest that the bylaws be amended and be voted on at this time next year. It is possible to amend the bylaws to either eliminate absentee ballots or eliminate nominations from the floor.

Theresa Parzyck, Lot 377, asked how to get a variance since her trailer is not 100 feet from the road and moving back would involve an expensive filling of a drop off at the end of their property. She was advised that the Manager and the EPC Chairman can explain the procedure.



Committee Chairman Mary Richardson announced there were a total of 129 ballots cast, one of which was invalidated

because it was not marked. There were 64 absentee ballots. The new board members are: Charles Bailey, Larry

Franklin and Scott Hayer. Congratulations to the new members. Jerry White, Lot 1259, made the motion to destroy the

2001 ballots. Motion was seconded by Al Isaac, lot 514. Motion carried.


Don Kuester, Lot 656, moved to adjourn the meeting. Seconded by Patricia Walker, Lot 151-152. Motion carried. The next board meeting will be held the 17th of August.