This News.Blog will use the term, "member" as opposed to "property owner" in order to be as clear as possible that SLI is chartered as an Institute and not a "property owners association." The SLI charter states, "The corporation will have members. Every person 18 years of age or older owning real property upon the grounds of the corporation shall be a member."
The Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) is deep into its work this Summer on the updating of the SLI Handbook. The LRPC is grateful for the work of the 2002 Updating Committee whose work is now forming the basis of the current updates. The 2002 edition never made it into print, but was preserved on CD and hard copies have been distributed to LRPC members working on the current updating project.
One of the biggest changes has been the Board's elimination of the paid Administrator (or Superintendent) who used to be the one to whom the SLI voting members went for permits, permissions based on standing policy, complaints or problems, and supervised the Grounds. This Administrator (or Superintendent) also approached SLI members about rules' violations when necessary. The LRPC is replacing the term Administrator (usually a paid position) with the term "Board Designated Representative" (BDR) which would mean the President of the Board, unless he or she asks the Board to designate another representative to assist in that work. Some presidents prefer to be more hands on than others, and this term, "BDR," allows for that flexibility.
The LRPC got into a discussion about a variety of unenforced rules. They are well aware that many current rules in the Handbook are not being enforced, but the committee still believes they have value which is why they were established in the first place. The committee will keep them in place, but will also make recommendations on how enforcement could be more easily and legally accomplished without pitting relative against relative, neighbor against neighbor or SLI member against SLI Board. One such suggestion was the utilizing of an enforcement management company. The committee is not yet unanimous on this.
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One example of an unenforced rule is the annual registering of golf carts with the SLI, the licensed drivers required, where they are used and where they are not to be used; and where parking of the carts is permitted and not permitted. (This is not new--it has been in the last two published editions of the Handbook.) Another example is the visually open "storing" of unregistered private vehicles and unregistered commercial vehicles with the rationale that they are being "worked on" for sometimes multiple years. A third example is the erecting of a fence without a permit--especially when the private fence encroaches on Institute property.
The discussion got deeper. How do some of our residents not know about the rules of this Institute? That's easy. They use lawyers and real estate firms who are unaware of the facts about the Institute themselves. Agents continue to list SLI properties as "Castile, NY" with no mention of SLI. Their prospective buyers often find out that they are moving into something unusual and/or different the week before, or even on their "Closing Day" when they finally are asked to sign an acknowledgement that they are within the SLI. They are often shocked and angry but things have gone too far for them to want to back out on closing day. This causes problems which continue to affect us in our neighborhoods today.
To demand that realtors and real estate lawyers hand out our rule book, or try to explain the Institute to prospective new members when they themselves do not fully understand it, is simply not the answer. If our goal is to have a Silver Lake Institute in the next 10, 20, or more years from now available to a new generation, we must stop allowing real estate companies to make the sole determination of who becomes a voting member of SLI. It is SLI's responsibility to have a strategic plan that gets to our goal.
SLI needs to meet membership prospects (prospective property owners) and tell them our story--our purpose and charter expectations including deed, permits, and support (taxes) requirements. Give ourselves the opportunity of selling the Institute to the prospective buyers of memberships. Should they not like what they hear, they probably would not be happy among us. If they like what they hear, perhaps we can look forward to a long and happy relationship with the potential of new volunteers. The LRPC does not mean a return to the old, outdated and illegal interviews of the past, but a whole new welcoming and informative introductory session put on by a Welcoming Committee since the Board has a full agenda.
Assignments were accepted by committee volunteers of work to be accomplished and brought to the next scheduled meeting at Stoody.