Unapproved Board Meeting Minutes of

Nov 8, 2003


President Todd Graham called the regular monthly meeting to order at 9:00 AM.  Present were 1st Vice President Marv Richardson, 2nd Vice President Scott Hayer, Directors Bob Adair, Chuck Bailey and Brian Kozlowski and Manager Gail White.  Director Larry Franklin was excused.  The meeting opened with a salute to the flag and a prayer.



Marv Richardson moved to approve the October minutes as written.  Seconded by Chuck Bailey.  Motion carried unanimously.



The Secretary-Treasurer being absent, a Treasurer's Report will be presented at the December meeting.



1.  Public comment time is an opportunity for members in good standing to share their thoughts, feelings and issues pertaining to the business of White Birch.  If you have a comment to be made, please raise your hand to be recognized.  Once recognized, please state your name and lot number.  Director Kozlowski will then check our register for lot member status.  If you are a member in good standing having all monies owed the Association paid in full, you are welcome to make your comments. Comments from members not in good standing will not be recognized.  This is from the original policy this board passed in May 2003.

2.  Legal Issues will not be discussed.  Any comments attempted on any legal issue will be ruled out of order and not recognized.

3.  If your comment is a question, the Chair will ask if any Director would like to respond.  If your question relates to something that would have been better asked of a committee or the General Manager, the question will be directed to the appropriate committee or the General Manager.  You will be contacted with the information.  Please understand that in order to effectively answer your question there may be times research needs to be done and the answer sent you at a later date.

4.  Please be respectful of each other and allow the member in good standing recognized to speak.  Disorderly and rude behavior will not be tolerated.



Roberts Rules of Order provide that minutes of a meeting include only the following information:

the members of the board present, the secretary and treasurer's reports, all main motions made, their wording and disposition, notices of motions, points of order and appeals and the hour of adjournment.

Therefore personal comments are not included as a part of this report.



On behalf of the Association, I would like to thank Bob and Barb Adair for the generous donation of a 3 stage walk behind snow blower to be used at the club house.  A reminder concerning the ORV opportunity we have in our community, which will be placed on the January board meeting agenda. We have received dozens of pieces of correspondence from members with great ideas and we will put these all together in developing proposals to bring to the board meeting.  The fiscal year 2002-2003 audit has been completed and no discrepancies have been discovered.  Any member in good standing who wants to see the report may make an appointment to stop in and review it.

Bylaws Committee -  At the October meeting a motion was passed requiring that I form guidelines for the continuation of the bylaws committee.  Seven guidelines established are as follows:

1.  The committee will consist of seven members including as stated in the current bylaws the president of the board.

2.  No other board members will be appointed to this committee.

3.  Following precedents set forth by previous boards one board member will be appointed as a liaison officer to this committee.

4.   You must be a member in good standing defined as any and all monies owed the Association paid in full to be considered for appointment to this committee.

5.  Committee will be required to meet at least twice monthly.  The first meeting is scheduled for Saturday January 24, 2004 from 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM.  At this meeting the members may set their future meeting dates and they will be published in the Birch Bark..

6.  The committee shall stand until completion under due process.  No re-organizations or additions of members on this committee.

7.  A sign-up sheet has been posted and will remain posted until December 15, 2003.  Members in good standing who have signed up must attend a confirmation interview conducted by the board of directors immediately following the January 10, 2004 board meeting.  Committee members will be decided by a vote of the entire board following this interview session.      


In answer to questions asked at the October meeting the following is for your information:

Regarding the water level restoration at Teal Lake, the Clare County Health Dept says "the well is an irrigation well therefore the permit should be residential.  A commercial well permit is required only if the well is serving more than 25 homes as a single community well source".  Also according to the Health Dept this pump will not affect the aquifer unless 70 gallons or more per minute are being pumped.  The pump installed at Teal Lake only pumps 50 gallons per minute.  Any members with additional concerns are asked to contact the Health Dept directly by calling 989-539-5092. 

In answer to Mr. Bryant's question "why a single member of the board was charging him with the business".  At the June 14, 2003 board meeting a letter addressing this was unanimously approved, signed by each director and mailed to Mr. Bryant.  In addition this board must follow motions passed by previous boards.  At a board meeting January 14, 1989 a motion was passed and I quote "Lot owners that are past due in assessments have three options, either pay their dues, go to court or deed the property over".  Additional discussion was added and again I quote "When collecting past assessments lot owners owing the most should be targeted first".  This motion was made by Steve Bryant, seconded by Frank Cooley  and passed unanimously by the board.  We are simply following procedure established by yourself.


At this point the agenda order was amended to allow the Manager's Report to follow the President's Report.



In answer to the controversy surrounding the use of the 2002 supplemental assessment of $50.00 the monies were spent in addition to the boilers at a cost of $18,967, a GMC truck was purchased for $14,851. a blade for grading at $6,057, a spreader for the salt and sand $8,140  for a total expended for $48,015.  Of the $60,000 assessed there is still approx $9,000 uncollected.  We are starting up the neighborhood watch program again as was done years ago. Bill Ferrell has volunteered to head the watch program.  In the Birch Bark we are asking for comments from the members regarding the program.  In the forecast policy you will be glad to know that damages done to the entrance gate will be the responsibility of whoever does the damage.  The cost of the most recent repairs has been reimbursed to the Association.

Removal of trailers from the lots has been wonderful. Members have been very cooperative.  There are a few left, some for special reasons.  All have been contacted and they are moving well.  We are getting back to nature as it should be.  Due to a new policy of this board, realtors must pay for an attendant at the gate for open houses.  ERA has already submitted payment for an attendant tomorrow, Sunday November 9. Would also like to thank Barb & Bob Adair for their donation and to let you know we have found a new use for the Mickey-Minnie house in the winter.  I'd like to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving this month.



An unofficial list of accounts payable will be sent to the directors' at a later date and will be presented for review at the December Board meeting.



In response to Mrs. Obrecht's first letter, the President recalled information from the Management Board Meeting October 8, 1994 which indicated the same debate has been going on for a long time and it needs to be ended.  President Brandt wanted to clarify a few points about White Birch - we are a Not-For-Profit organization not a Non-Profit organization and not bound by the rules of a Non-Profit organization.  We are bound by corporate rules, the board also uses Robert's Rules of Order for meetings.  We may have an open meeting but it is a board of directors meeting and comments from the floor should only be addressed to the issue, if you are called upon by the chairman.  Motions from the floor are not permissible at the board of directors' meeting - only at the annual meeting.  The Manager stated that we are classified as a 50C7 organization - not a charity organization.  Director Kozlowski stated that all board members had received a copy of a letter from Theresa Obrecht and he took exception to the letter concerning the donation of association funds to charity.  As indicated earlier, the purpose of the assessments is to promote the recreation, health, safety and welfare of the Association in particular for the improvement and maintenance of properties owned or operated by the association.  If you are familiar with how most Sheriff;s Depts. operate there's a good chance that most of the time in this area  of the county you might have one car available - probably an exception if there's a serious accident over on 10 or 127.  It's a fairly small dept and for these individuals to come forward and to extend a patrol to come in here, which is really private property, they are really granting an extension which is beyond that required of their duties.  They are only required to come if assistance is needed - not required to patrol here.  They are doing a further service to their community on an individual basis and  I think it is very noteworthy of the caliber of people the Sheriff is hiring.  Secondly, I don't think that a lot of people know what goes through the mind of an individual who has chosen a profession which by nature is a dangerous profession.  By the very nature of what you do, you place yourself in harm's way.   I think it is the welfare and safety of this community for us to recognize our community and our charity to reach out to these people.  I think it was the right thing to do.

A letter received from Bruce Lester, Lot 100, advised that he would not be able to work with the Future Planning Committee.

Another letter received from Jim and Ellen Sipes, Lot 347, stated how much they enjoy White Birch and noted the positive changes - the flowers at the entrance, the activities, the pool, clubhouse, miniature golf, availability of books and videos, the pavilion, new office, boat dock improvements and improvements at the campground and clubhouse.  We want to complement everyone on the grass roots effort of really trying to turn this place around.



ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE - Chick Witchell, chairman, reported things are quieting down and the committee is now meeting only once a month.  For this month we had tree removals, a 12 x 24 addition to an existing residence, lot 247, approved 2 new residences, Lots 359 and 1257, which will bring our residents to 284 homes.  Most campsites are cleared and we are working on the rest.  Most campers left their lots in very great shape and we thank you for the back-to-nature look.  Propane tanks must be removed as there is a danger especially to adventurous kids.  Those having left propane tanks will be advised to remove the tanks.  The Christmas party is December 13, 2003 at 6 o'clock.


Chairman Shirley Brandt thanks Tina Hayer and Joe Romine and all the people who helped with the Halloween Party.  She is very pleased with the volunteers who have come forward to help with activities.  The Embers Dinner is planned for Thursday, November 20.  There is still a sign-up sheet if you would like to attend.  The Christmas party is December 13, 2003 at 6:00 for Tree Trimming Santa.  We adopted 2 needy families from Lincoln Township. There is a list here of the needs of the family and you may sign up for a donation of your choice.  This is a potluck and bring a dessert to pass.  Again I wish to thank the volunteers and it's been a pleasure working with all of them.

FUTURE PLANNING COMMISSION - Merle Harmon reported that 6 members attended the last meeting and he thanks Pat Zakalowski for doing the minutes since he was unable to attend.  We discussed the survey regarding the gate, lake weeds, capital for Future Planning Committee and the lakes.  The committee members who were present felt the following five issues were important for our committee to address:  1.  Neighborhood Watch Program which is in the works, additional security - looking at providing additional personnel in the future in light of the increased break-ins,  2.  To improve the moral of the membership,  3.  Future of camping on lots - possibly sending out a survey on that issue, 4.  Improvement to the clubhouse for social events - to increase the capacity and to improve our existing programs and other assets.   5.  No dogs on beaches and to improve the tennis courts.  Next meeting is December 3, 2004 at 7:00 PM.

CAMPGOUND AND SECURITY - Fred Witchell announced that campground storage is moving along well.  At this time we have two openings which are probably already taken.  Parking spaces are all organized and the roads are all open.  Breaking and entering violations have slowed down considerably.  There will be hardly a day that you will not see the sheriff's patrol and you will begin to see the State Police here.  If you see people in the area whom you do not recognize, please try to contact him (588-6797) or the police dept and they will send a car out.  We now have increased patrol because Lincoln Township has increased the patrol budget for Lincoln Township.  We applied for and were approved for a grant for a dry hydrant which will enable the fire dept to quickly draw water from White Birch Lake.  After making some changes at the boat dock, this hydrant could be installed by December.  After installation of the hydrant there is a possibility that insurance rates could be lowered. He and a group of people went to the entrance to determine what would be the safest place to build a bus shelter for the school children.  He has multiple bids, however they would like more time to determine alternative positioning of a building.  A complete package of bids will be submitted at the next board meeting.



As requested by the board, Bob Adair looked into the possibility of a communications system.  There are about 3 or 4 different quotes.  However the testing of the systems has thus far failed.  Every time we test a system we learn a little bit more and change the equipment.  We are still working on a system.  The goal is to be able to have people on security communicate with the clubhouse and among themselves in case of medical emergencies or crime.  He hopes to have recommendations within the next month or two.

Marv Richardson asked about information concerning the purchase of a road grader.  The Manager advised that the road commission had decided not to sell the road grader which had been offered.  However, they may have another grader available in about a month.  Doug will be going to look at that grader.  We have also been in contact with Caterpillar.  We have been looking into doing the grading under contract.  In the next meeting the Manager suggests that Doug Lake be included as he has definite ideas as to what is needed.  Marv's concern is that the roads, especially the main thoroughfares, be worked up prior to the time they freeze.  He was advised that there will be stonecrete put on the road from the guardhouse to Wolf Lane since that is one of the worst stretches of road because of the volume of traffic.  Bids for repair of the pool wall have not yet been received.  Some have refused the job.  Also waiting to hear from Sam Hershberger who did the office addition.

Website Update - The survey passed out at the annual meeting and printed in the Birch Bark to update our website to allow on-line voting and surveys.  Better than 80% of the hundreds of respondents supported that idea.  Updating this would involve investing $800.00 in the future of our community, doing this would allow greater member participation including several around the country who can't always make it to the annual meeting. This would be done through a secure cyber site and you must be a member in good standing with a login password so it would be completely secure.  Scott Hayer made a motion to update the website.  Seconded by Brian Kozlowski.  There was discussion concerning the update of current information and could there be answers to some of the members questions and could information about amenities be provided to potential buyers.  Motion was approved with 3 ayes and 2 no's.



Mathew Lucas, Lot 405, had submitted a contiguous lot status and it was rejected by the Environmental Protection Committee.

Therefore, he is appealing to the board to overturn the Committee's decision.  The President stated that prior precedents regarding contiguous lots, and there are many dating all the way back to December of 1985. There were various motions adopted by either the board or the EPC granting one contiguous lot only.  This information strongly supports one contiguous lot only.  In addition there have been two other members who had previously requested a second contiguous lot status and were also denied.  Mr Lucas stated that he was told when they purchased property that the Covenants and Restrictions does say two or more lots.  It seems to be a kind of common sense thing that pieces of property which are either non-buildable or non-campable or non-usable for anything else except for the adjacent owner should not be assessed..  The lot for which we are asking contiguous status is 44 feet wide and runs along the road on 2 sides.  It would be extremely difficult to be 100 feet off the road as required for camping, it would be extremely difficult to build on that lot and extremely difficult to sell the lot.  We proposed to leave it natural as a wooded area.  At this time Marv Richardson made a motion that the board consider contiguous lot status as requested.  There was no support therefore the motion was defeated.  The President commended Mr. Lucas for presenting his request within the guidelines of white Birch.



Bob Adair made a motion to adjourn.  Seconded by Brian Kozxlowski.  Motion carried unanimously.  Meeting adjourned at 11 AM.


Respectfully submitted,


Priscilla Moore