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Governing Documents Advisory Committee

We're making steady progress with the CC&Rs in 2024
 
Thanks for the terrific response to our first CC&Rs survey
 
More than 150 people completed our April survey on landscaping issues and left us with a good idea of our community's thinking. They not only answered our questions but also left 134 helpful comments. Here is a summary, here is the complete survey itself and the following are the highlights.
    • Driveways
      • 61% favor the HOA maintaining driveways
      • 84% favor the HOA paying only to repair driveway damage caused by the roots of open area trees
    • Sidewalks
      • 84% favor the HOA maintaining sidewalks
    • Who inspects
      • 79% say the HOA should inspect open areas for tree root damage, 30% say homeowners should
      • it's 50/50 who pays for tree root damage in an owner's yard if the owner did not alert the HOA to the problem
    • Controlling costs
      • 72% say the HOA should make repairs based on budget and risk .. only 10% favor a cap
    • Removing trees
      • 95% say the HOA can remove hazardous trees without asking for homeowner consent
      • should the HOA obtain homeowner consent before removing non-hazardous trees
        • 60% say yes
        • 34% say consent is not needed
        • 15% don’t care
 
Yes, we're in the midst of revising Creekside’s CC&Rs
 
After the community voted in July of 2023 to approve updated Bylaws, Gov Docs turned its attention to our CC&Rs, which date from 2000. In October the Board approved our CC&Rs Project Plan. The Project goal is to complete new CC&Rs by late 2024 in time for a homeowner vote at the March 2025 Annual Meeting. Our strategy is to begin by engaging homeowners in discussions about what changes they would like to see in the current CC&Rs that can be approved by 75% of homeowners, as required by the CC&Rs. We are simultaneously beginning work on document revisions with the lawyers. 
 
Homeowner Involvement. As requested by the community, we are inviting homeowners to help us evaluate potential changes to CC&Rs regarding practical matters (mostly found in Article VII Use Restrictions) that no longer reflect how people actually live here. For example, the CC&Rs forbid parking in driveways but everyone does it. Should there be CC&Rs-level restrictions on parking in our driveways, such as a ban on blocking the sidewalk or on the number of vehicles that can be parked at once on a driveway? And what about possible parking congestion due to garage conversions? To learn what homeowners are thinking about these and other practical issues we are setting up homeowner task forces and using Survey Monkey to survey the membership..
 
Task Forces. The following task forces are now active under the direction of Gov Docs members and other volunteers: 
  • Real Estate (ADUs, rentals, mortgage rules) - Lewis Richmond, chair.
  • Vehicles and Parking - Steve Weiner, chair; Leo Murphy, Gov Docs liaison.
  • Animals -  Lewis Richmond, Beth Ann Farris, co-chairs.
  • Landscape - Larissa Abeling, chair.
  • Architecture - Lisa Lai (chair).
  • Insurance - Leo Murphy, chair.
As each task force completes its work it will issue recommendations for CC&Rs changes. Gov Docs will then survey all homeowners to gauge their support for the recommendations. Additional task forces may be set up to address other issues if there is sufficient homeowner support.
 
Landscape Task Force. In March, the Landscape Committee and Landscape Task Force volunteers met to discuss who should be responsible for trees, open area landscaping, sidewalks and driveways. You can see the slideshow here. Then we circulated our first CC&Rs survey so all homeowners could weigh in on the same questions. Gov Docs welcomes homeowner comments on the survey and on the CC&Rs Project generally, using CONTACT US.
 
Here’s how we brought our 2007 Bylaws up to date last summer
 
The Creekside Bylaws, last revised in 2007, were becoming become badly out of date. Over an approximately five-year period in the late 2010s, Creekside volunteers began working with the Berding|Weil law firm to revise those Bylaws, but their progress was uneven. Because so much had changed since 2007, Berding|Weil advised the board to start with B|W’s template and customize it to meet Creekside’s needs. This is the normal process followed by law firms updating old corporate documents, but the new documents tend to look very different from the old documents.
 
At a Town Hall in June 2021, the board presented to the membership a set of draft Bylaws prepared with Berding|Weil, along with new CC&Rs. Member reaction was negative, so rather than advance the drafts to a vote by the membership, the board asked a task force to create Bylaws that would be acceptable to the membership and to deal later with the CC&Rs.
 
On September 21, 2021, the board gave the process additional life when it created a Governing Documents Advisory Committee, approved its charter on February 23, 2022, and revitalized it again with this rationale under the leadership of Lisa Lai. That committee first studied various concerns that members had expressed in 2021 and then published its first Goals Statement as a guide to updating first the Bylaws.
 
Many had asked for greater clarity, particularly seeking a document directly comparing the new proposals with the existing 2007 Bylaws. But because there were so many changes, a traditional “redline” or machine comparison was found to be unworkable. That need for a comparison didn’t go away, of course, so in August of 2022 the Committee issued this Redline Equivalent.
 
Some suggested that only changes required by law - mandatory changes - should be included in the new Bylaws. Others felt that changes that were not mandatory - discretionary changes - could be adopted but only with very good reason. To provide more clarity on these questions, the Committee issued a Mandatory vs Discretionary Provisions chart in September of 2022. It identified various Bylaws provisions as mandatory or discretionary and explained why the changes might or might not be necessary. It also posted these additional resources on the Creekside website:
The Governing Documents Advisory Committee then made some serious progress. In early May of 2023 it released three versions of a Bylaws proposal and asked members for their feedback.
  • 2023 Draft Bylaws - this is the document the committee will ask the board, and then the menbers, to approve after all member and board suggestions have been considered.
  • 2023 Annotated Bylaws - here the committee explains in the margin how the 2023 Draft Bylaws are different from the 2007 Bylaws currently in effect.
  • 2023 vs 2021 Redline - which points out the differences between the 2023 Draft Bylaws and the 2021 Draft Bylaws side by side.
In mid-May, the committee invited members to meet with them in small-group discussions, and it circulated a survey seeking written feedback.
 
After a final fine-tuning, the 2023 Proposed Bylaws were approved by the board on June 8, 2023, clearing the way for a vote by the community. The committee then sent all homeowners a final explanatory letter, along with this explanatory Bylaws + Commentary comparison again.
 
The ballots were mailed June 25th, to be returned by July 25th. On July 26th the board announced that Creekside homeowners had overwhelmingly approved the revised 2023 Bylaws and released this election report with vote totals.
 
Although the process was not an easy one and required hard work from a dedicated crew, the final result is a set of up-to-date HOA Bylaws with which the community can be very pleased.