Hurricane Ridge News
Sam, let me add that Rob did not enter this discussion until you approached him, asking for his opinion on the pavilion. It is hard for him to not mix legal and personal since he has practiced law successfully now for 15 years. As a close family friend he would never want to be disrespectful; however, as most know him, he is a man of strong character, ideas and opinions. He will, also, be no one’s “yes” man. He has many at HR in addition to his immediate family for whom he holds a great deal of respect. Please don’t make him appear to be intrusive, when you asked for his opinion and got it.
Jim Gamble to Friends of Hurricane Ridge
August 31 at 10:33 AM ·
Copied below is a recent post from Sam Jones:
I want to add my thoughts regarding Rob Walls opinions on the pavilion project point by point.
There are biting flies and insects all over HR, my yard in particular. We live with it.
As for parking, the development is such that, without parking being available on the shoulders of the roads, very few homes have room for more than 3-
Our insurance agent estimates an increase in property and casualty and liability coverage cost to be approximately $150 for the basic structure.
We currently maintain the landscape of this area so no additional cost there.
Hunters will most likely continue doing what they do regardless of the presence of a pavilion.
Our road system will continue to be the largest potential source of liability we face. But apparently we feel this is an acceptable risk for which we insure.
I see no need to increase fees as a result of building a pavilion using voluntary funds.
The cost of providing electricity, water, septic and bathroom should be investigated, analyzed and reported prior to approving the basic structure even though we may not have the voluntary funds to add these items initially.
The use will be infrequent but the cost is to be met voluntarily without coercion. The long term maintenance should be minimal and well within out budget capacity under current fee structure.
We should be sensitive to the adjoining and adjacent homeowners but this area has been designated as a recreation area with numerous plans put forth over 30 years.
It goes without saying that the Board must promulgate and enforce rules and directives concerning use, maintenance, garbage, sanitation and parking etc.
We currently have over $50,000 in general reserves and probably will add to that as a result of budget surpluses in 2018.
The same is true with water reserves.
All of these observations as well as the work done by the architectural committee, in essence, is a feasibility study.
Environmental impact could be studied I suppose. I wonder if Haywood County could assist in this?
Usage would indeed be infrequent for large gatherings but so is every other similar structure I’ve encountered. Since the funds are voluntary, what is the problem?
Gus Beckstrom mentioned playing basketball and badminton inside the structure. This was news to me. I’m not sure that is a good idea.
These are my thoughts.
Jim Gamble to Friends of Hurricane Ridge
August 31 at 10:31 AM ·
Copied below is a recent message from Rob Wall:
Don and the Board,
My parents forwarded the email you sent yesterday regarding the proposed pavilion. Obviously, you have by now read some of my legal and procedural objections to the pavilion from the emails that I sent to you and Sambo Jones in which he asked for my input. Based on the information posted on the website, it appears that the procedural issues related to the motion from last year have rendered that motion invalid and that motion has been withdrawn. My parents have now asked me to provide additional input, both from a legal and a practical perspective on the proposed pavilion. Below are some of my additional concerns which the board should take into consideration even before presenting a proposal at the annual meeting. In my view, based upon the reasons cited below, if the board or the association is still committed to proceeding with the proposed pavilion, I still think that a feasibility study, including analysis of the legal ramifications, the practical use of such a facility, the short term and long term costs, and the overall value, is warranted and required:
1. Location. Has anyone advocating for this pavilion actually spent any amount of time at the location on which they propose it? If so, they would recognize that this particular location is Times Square for black flies and other biting insects (or, for those from the southeast, "5 PM traffic in Atlanta"). I actually do frequent that spot, as I take my dogs to run in the small field and more rarely take my boys down there to throw a ball. For at least 9 months out of the year, it is unbearable to be down there for more than 20 minutes. If you go very early in the morning, it is not bad, but if you are there after around 9 AM, it is very difficult to do anything but swat flies. I doubt very seriously that this problem could be alleviated through spraying pesticides (if this is even wanted or allowed) or even through citronella candles (another hazard which I will also address). The pesticide issue raises a whole host of potential legal issues if it is even being considered. Given that our mountain is adjacent to a national park, one this may be most famous for some of its insects, I would suspect that any large scale use of pesticides (assuming they would be effective) would invite a considerably negative reaction from the federal government. In short, I don't think the "bug problem" is a fixable one at this time and location;
2. Logistics. As I understand the proposal, presently, no bathroom is being considered. It sounds like it would be a great place to be social with nowhere for anyone to relieve themselves. Do the people advocating for this pavilion expect those with houses close by to simply open up their houses for use by whomever is using the facility? Or are we to expect both men and women to simply wander off behind a tree? Kind of unsanitary if you ask me. And potentially a problem for our water supply as well (that is, assuming that this facility would actually get used by enough people to justify the expense);
3. Parking. This is both a logistical problem as well as a legal one. In the information Sambo provided me, he included the restrictive covenants. In those covenants there is a specific covenant barring parking on the roads. Do we expect everyone to walk to this facility? Are people planning to park on the property? Or are they planning to trespass and park on someone else's property? Not providing for a plan for parking and the costs is potentially in direct violation of the restrictive covenants and, were a member/property owner to raise the issue, would be incredibly costly to the association to defend and likely lose in court. From a legal standpoint, I do not think that the board (or a majority of the membership) can even raise a proposal at a meeting that would violate the restrictive covenants without express unanimous consent of the entire membership. I think that this point renders the entire proposal moot, as the "renderings" and the proposal, as it currently stands are potentially in violation of the restrictive covenants. I think, legally, it is, or should be, dead in the water. Again, absent a feasibility study or even a poll on usage, how can we know what sort of issue parking may be?
4. Actual use. Based upon my understanding of the proposal, the advocates for this pavilion want to spend north of $30,000 to construct a facility. As best I can tell (and I am probably not invited to all social functions on the mountain, and, after this current proposal and my rebuttal may be invited to even less), the pavilion may be used 3 or 4 times a year (pending the insect situation cited above). I am not sure how much or who would use it more than that, but perhaps the survey should address that as well. If not, at that price, it would seem more cost effective to spend $10,000 every time someone wants to throw a party and rent wedding tents and have catering and third party bartenders and shift some of the liability off of the association. It just doesn't seem to be a reasonable or cost effective manner of doing things. This is not "Field of Dreams". Just because you build it doesn't mean "they" will come (especially, again, in light of the insects). What will come, assuming that food will be served and trash will be accumulated at said socials, is more insects, spiders, rodents, snakes, coyotes, and bears. Sure, this might not bother those who live at a distance from the property, but if I lived close to it, the thought of attracting additional creatures, particularly rodents, snakes, coyotes, and bears is kind of off-
5. Maintenance and upkeep. Who cleans it and prevents the aforementioned critters from taking over the place? Also, who oversees who uses it? Will there be a sign up sheet? Would a deposit be required to ensure that those who use it clean it up properly so that the next people who use it will have the same level of enjoyment (assuming it gets used more than three or four times a year)? Seems like an administrative nightmare to me. Additionally, as we all know all too well, the weather and the elements are hard on property and improvements in the mountains. Even after all of the funds are raised, are we to assume that the association will be tasked with the costs of maintenance and upkeep of the facility? If so, then I think that those advocating for this pavilion must go back and ask for additional funds to set aside to cover what might be exponential costs of upkeep. I will discuss other long term costs further below;
6. Attractive nuisance. As most of us know, apart from the neighborhood critters that occasionally join us on the mountain, in the very recent past, there have been reports of other locals, particularly hunters in the winter, accessing the property, breaking into houses and using homeowners' properties. What is to prevent those who trespass from utilizing this facility, damaging this facility, and potentially harming themselves (and then holding the association liable for injuries incurred. yes, North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, but tell that to a Haywood County jury when one of their own injures themselves on the property of "out of towners"). A facility such as the one proposed would be an ideal place for a local hunter to field dress and clean some sort of game like a deer or a bear, but the risks associated with the improvements could be costly. Which leads me to my last point;
7. Long term costs. As mentioned above, the costs of long term maintenance and upkeep are potentially problematic. Yes, the advocates for the pavilion are raising funds for the initial construction, but, based on my review of the proposal, the association, and thus the homeowners/members would be burdened with the additional costs. Apart from the actual maintenance and upkeep, other cost considerations would include additional road maintenance and parking and an increase in liability insurance. Our insurance carrier would have to consider the potential use of the property by people without permission (the aforementioned attractive nuisance issue), the potential for fire or other catastrophic event (when you consider the use of candles to control pests or fires for grilling or other uses), and alcohol use on the property when people are going to presumably leave the area and drive (although it is assumed that any functions would by BYOB, because it would be acknowledged that alcohol would be used on the premises and that people would be driving, it would likely increase potential liability for an insurance company insuring the association).
In government terms, this project is what we would refer to as an "unfunded liability." Any supposed "value" this would "create" in increased property values due to it being an "amenity" would be more than offset by the long term costs of maintaining and insuring the property and the property surrounding it. I think the best analogy I can use to illustrate this is the City of Macon/Bibb County, Georgia where I grew up and from where many of the people on the mountain come. Several years ago, the City passed a SPLOST (a special purpose local option sales tax) which would use a one cent increase in the sales tax as revenue, in part, to improve the recreational facilities in the City. The tax passed and the funds were created to drastically improve the recreational facilities (a "lifestyle" improvement that, it was argued, would enhance the City and thus increase the value to property owners and citizens). The facilities were improved. Fast forward to this year in which the City now has all of these nice recreational facilities. The costs of maintaining those facilities and staffing those facilities has continued to increase, but the revenues from property taxes have not, and the pressure is on those running the City to cover amenities and control costs. The City was forced to raise property taxes by north of 20% simply to keep the libraries open, while cutting operating hours for those fancy recreational facilities. In our situation, no one is even considering the costs or keeping this facility maintained, and when you couple that with the roads and the water system, and state law that prohibits the association from raising association fees by more than 10% per year, and this is a recipe for a financial disaster. That might not matter for some of those folks who are advocating for this thing because ten or fifteen years down the road, they might not be with us, but for those of us who are planning to be on the mountain for hopefully decades to come, this pavilion is a potential financial boondoggle. As a child of a CPA and a financially savvy mother, and as a tax attorney myself, and as a fiscally conservative Calvinist, I cannot fathom spending money on a project for which there is no financial plan for the future. It is simply poor planning.
In his email to me, Sambo cited Jim Bruce as one of the men who originally advocated for the pavilion. Mr. Bruce was one of those men whom I admired in my youth for his professional talent, but also for his strong Christian ethos. Up until the time that his widow Dot sold her place on the mountain, I remained close with her as well. Years ago, I remember when Mr. and Mrs. Bruce left our church in Macon because they did not agree with the church incurring liability in order to finance some project or another at the church. Mr. Bruce strongly believed that the Bible was opposed to the church incurring debt. He was correct. We are to be good stewards of that which is provided to us. Acknowledging that I have my own debt (amongst my many other sins), I wholeheartedly agree with Jim Bruce on this one. Saddling the next generation of owners of HR with the unconsidered debts of a luxury, a "want, not a "need", is not only immoral, it is flat out wrong. This whole exercise is frankly counter to what I know to be true financially and what I believe to be true in my own personal belief system.
I guess that you can tell that the Wall family is vehemently opposed to this whole pavilion idea. Although I do not always speak for my parents, I am doing so now. I do not think that this idea is well considered or well thought out or well planned. I think it is a solution looking for a problem to fix. It seems to be creating one more issue that all of us will have to deal with for a long long time. I don't want or need any more problems, and especially on the mountain. Apart from the occasional bumpy road, I and my family think that the mountain is pretty close to as good as we can get on this earth, and, frankly, if it ain't broke, why in the world is anyone trying to fix it? If there are those who cannot find contentment on that mountain, I am not sure what advice I can give to help them. Our family enjoys our time at the mountain because we are able to escape these types of issues and politics that so often plague us at home. We do not agree with the necessity of, or the feasibility of, a pavilion, as proposed and conceived, on the mountain.
As always, if you have any questions for me, please feel free to email or call me to discuss them. I plan on spending as much time as I can on the mountain in the coming months and I look forward to seeing you.
Jim Gamble to Friends of Hurricane Ridge
August 30 at 1:00 PM ·
The following message was received from Bob Lasater:
To all you guys and gals: It makes me very sad to know that Judy and I will never get to go to one of your parties at the pavillion. She is now, as many of you know, in alzheimer's care at the Brookdale High Point North facility.We keep her as happy as possible and the facility are very good and thoughtful in all they do. I live with daughter Helen now and spend every afternoon at Brookdale, and many times have supper with them.
Now, I want to share some of my thoughts with you.
(1) With the little experience I had in engineering while I lived there, I never met an engineer in Waynesville that I would trust for this job. Same goes for a contractor unless he was using proper drawings and proper construction protocol which they usually ignored.
(2) In order for the pavillion to withstand high winds, proper bracing, both vertical and horizontal, will have to be used. Make the exterior trusses with a bottom horizontal chord that will be at the elevation as the truss bearing. Over time, scissor trusses will start deflecting due to just the weight of the truss material, plus roofing. This means the trusses will start pushing the exterior bearing in an outward direction.
(3) In my opinion, you would make a terrible mistake if you don't have kitchen and especially bathroom (just 1) facilities.
(4) If you continue with the project, to protect yourselves, you MUST hire a good, licensed, professional engineer with adequate (your call) professional liability insurance. I'm sure George will agree.
(5) If you can find someone with an auger, confirm that you have soil (not solid rock) where the columns are located. The engineer can help you determine the best solution.
(6) Since I have 0 confidence in local engineers, I took the liberty to call Meade Willis here in Greensboro. He is a young engineer who opened an office a year or so ago. I have a lot of confidence in Meade and he indicated he would like to talk with whomever. # is 336-
My regards to all and best wishes for a successful pavillion,
Jim Gamble to Friends of Hurricane Ridge
August 29 at 2:33 PM ·
Gus Beckstrom requested that the BOD post his message to Facebook:
to hrpoa.bod from Gus Beckstrom
I just finished the email. I have additional comments that were not addressed in the survey.
I do not believe that all property owners are aware that the ceiling would be 14feet high. Why you may ask. The intent of the high ceiling will allow for basketball/badminton to be played. There is an intent to install a basketball backboard.
1) Not against a pavilion for social gatherings only by property owners with restrictions that maintains the peace and quiet of the mountain.
2) Totally against the pavilion if it is also going to be used for sports.
The association does not allow ATVs and shooting on the mountain because of the noise that is created. But it is ok to have a facility that will allow unsupervised children with the possibility of loud music, hollering and screaming to occur.
Makes no sense.
Social gatherings are one thing but also using the facility for recreation will interfere with the peace and quiet of the mountain. and those living around the pavilion will have to put up with it.
Why do you and I own property on the mountain? The Beauty and the peace and quiet. If I wanted a recreation complex I would have bought in a neighborhood.
Carolese Cole Gullatt to Friends of Hurricane Ridge
August 28 at 9:46 PM ·
Our family, including our daughters and their families, view this as a positive for our beautiful mountain community. We have eagerly anticipated having a picnic area for HR. Thank you to the architectural committee for their tireless efforts in searching out many ideas. We support this project and look forward to being with our neighbors in our new proposed gathering place!
Pat Wall to Friends of Hurricane Ridge
August 28 at 5:41 PM ·
I was trying to find Jeanne Nottingham’s post, which I read on our HR FB page last night; and out of deep love and respect for her & George, I hope to respond with that same love, respect and kindness.
I realize now that I responded to last year’s vote out of the emotion from George’s presentation of a “want” not need for a pavilion. It was something that had been promised to the first people, establishing homes on HR by the developer. I am unsure, but I gather the developer may not have honored other promises. It was even more moving to me that our beloved Jim Bruce had already drawn plans for a pavilion. He and Dot were the reason we chose HR. I have often said, after the fiasco of building our house, that Jim could have drawn our’s on a napkin and every aspect of it would have been perfect. Anyway, my reasons at the POA meeting in 2017 for thinking positively were emotional and far from rational.
Now, when I look at the prospects of this pavilion, I see it causing dissension in our community before it even comes up out of the ground. Yes, we have enjoyed many fun times with this family of friends on HR, especially at certain holidays. The crowds have gotten larger, as families have grown and many have brought guests for the 3 major holidays.
No one home can really accommodate everyone. “Macon” has been criticized for trying “to run the show” up here. For all of our Maconite faults, it is usually the Maconites who are gracious and open their homes on holidays to as many as possible; however, who says that on every occasion, there has to be “an event” to include everyone on the mountain? If we do want to (& I enjoy seeing those other than the ones I run in to in Macon), let’s reserve the pavilion on Fines Creek! There is no charge (our amply sufficient taxes built that). There are bathrooms, plenty of parking, a stage, chairs, tables and a playground. It would take some preparation, but it would be a community effort and not just the work of the same 3 or 4 hosts who continue to put themselves out there to work to make us a congenial community. We can make a donation, after wards and all pitching in to clean up. The proposed pavilion would ride on the backs of a few and then to the backs of their children. Let’s think of what we are doing to those we leave behind.
For the October HRPOA meeting, I prefer heat and covered sides to being exposed to open sides and inclement weather-
Whatever the costs are now is minimal to what we are leaving to our children and grandchildren. The roads and our water system will always have to be maintained and costs will rise. Why add an additional unknown maintenance with hidden insurance costs, etc.
Then there is the problem of intruders using the pavilion facilities, littering, loitering, cleaning, managing, maintaining ...
... just a few of my thoughts, opposing the building of a pavilion.
Jane D VanWyke Pat,
Thank you for your kind words here. Our thoughts have nothing whatsoever to do with personal feelings. We love, appreciate and admire the folks who have brought this concept to the forefront. And we feel deeply connected as neighbors up on that beautiful mountain. However we have different ideas on this project and feel like our thoughts should be heard as well.
1. When we purchased our property 10 years ago, there was never (not before and no time after our purchase) any discussion of a future gathering area.
2. We feel any structure that is not substantial and aesthetically pleasing does not add to community property values, which should be of interest to all.
3. Consideration of any structure without bathroom facilities and protection from the elements seems unwise given the climate up on HR.
4. Also, omitting future outlay at the outset is fiscally irresponsible for those who come in our footsteps.
5. Additional costs for bathroom, kitchen, electricity, parking, bugs, landscaping, equipment (grill, refrigerator, chairs, tables, sports items and so on) should not be ignored.
6. Insurance and liability should not be carried by those with no interest in a pole barn plus whatever expenses might follow.
I like the idea of using the existing pole barn down by the firehouse for large gatherings. Or perhaps every other year renting a tent and all that goes with it for something up on Edd Top or the lower space. There are numerous options that would keep us gathering rather than feeling divided.
Please hear our hearts breaking as this feels like it has the potential to create a rift rather than draw us all closer.
Jane & Paul
Pat Wall Jane & Paul,
I was trying to post my comments for friends of HR only; so you see the savvy I lack in technology! Joe and agree wholeheartedly with you both! We absolutely don’t need a rift on our very special mountain, and I am afraid that is what is building! We have missed seeing you very much and look forward to some good times together!
Jeanne Nottingham to Friends of Hurricane Ridge
August 27 at 5:03 PM ·
A review of the ByLaws will show that a recreation facility is and has been planned since the creation of the HRPOA. Heretofore problems and expenses with water system and roads has required full access to funds. These items (especially the water system) are now in good condition.
For many years a few of our owners with larger homes have hosted periodic covered dish dinners. An increase in activity on the mountain plus an increase in attendance has made future mountain wide assemblies impossible. We either become a fractured assembly or a community of friends.Most gated communities with which we are familiar have some sort of central facility. Usually that is the FIRST item constructed.
Samuel P. Jones to Friends of Hurricane Ridge
August 27 at 3:05 PM ·
Also for esthetic purposes, consider covering gable ends of roof structure with wood to give a post and beam or wood truss appearance while hiding the steel scissors trusses.
Samuel P. Jones to Friends of Hurricane Ridge
August 27 at 2:58 PM ·
Please consider 8” wooden post instead of 6”. Would provide s more substantial and visually pleasing appearance since they are 12’ high.
Samuel P. Jones to Friends of Hurricane Ridge
August 27 at 2:52 PM ·
I think the proposed pavilion is a good idea, will enhance community and property values.
Our family support this initiative.
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