January 21, 2018
EcoVillage Board Meeting
In Attendance: Tanja Woldt (Chair), Sandy Lockhart (Vice-Chair), Barbara Weber (Treasurer), Ernest Solar (Secretary), Ken Kukovich (OR), Peggy Maslanka (OR), Mike Weber (GM), Annette Hartung (External), Eirik Harteis (GC Rep – LSFM Chair), and Tom Regan (GC Rep – Social Chair).
Tena O’Rear (SSLLC) was absent.
Moment of Silence
Approval of Minutes: The minutes of the October 2017 Board Meeting were approved on December 1, 2017 via email.
Regular Board Meetings: March 18th, May 20th, July 29th, September 30th, and November 18th
Shadow Dates: No shadow dates
Treasurer’s Report: Please see attached Treasurer’s Report in the Appendix.
General Manager’s Report: Please see attached report.
- Covenant Compliance Committee – Please see attached General Manager’s report.
- A&E Committee – Please see attached General Manager’s report.
- Social Committee – Please see attached General Manager’s report.
- Finance Committee – Please see attached General Manager’s report.
- LFSM Committee – Please see attached General Manager’s report.
- Economic Development Committee – Please see attached General Manager’s report.
Owner’s Representatives Report: No report.
Developer’s Report: No news.
Board Chair Report:
- No news on the tree incident
- Still many inquiries for tiny houses to be built on the unimproved lots
- New General Circle format to include more members of the community on the committees.
- A spreadsheet was created to keep track of membership and terms of community participants of all committees and board of directors. The spreadsheet is posted on the community internal website.
MATTERS OF CONTENT
Election (Board chair and Treasurer positions): The board itself elects its own officers (chair, vice-chair, treasurer, secretary).
- Nominations for Board Chair: Tanja
Mike proposes that Tanja be voted a second term for Board Chair for a two-year term. The proposal was seconded by Tom. Tanja accepted the position.
Proposal passed with no objections.
- Nominations for Treasurer: Barbara W. and Ken K.
Tanja proposes that Barbara be voted a second term for Board Chair for a two-year term. The proposal was seconded by Tom. Barbara accepted the position.
Proposal passed with no objections.
Determining the Best Path Forward (Peggy’s discussion): Please see attached report as submitted by Peggy Maslanka via email on January 19, 2018:
- Sustainable living and co-housing was a determining factor to moving to EcoVillage.
- There is a belief that EcoVillage does draw potential land and homebuyers.
- What is our purpose and why is that important?
- Our community should have an intention
- There is concern that we are perceived as every other community.
- Our daily sustainable practices aren’t very different from other communities
- With no new building in several years, how relevant is the difference
- We are still perceived as different (good or bad)
- For example we maintain building codes
- We remove invasive trees in environmentally friendly methods
- A&E is streamlining building guidelines that will help generate new building within the community
- The A&E guidelines still distinguish us from other communities in regards to green building.
- We should either become truly different in our daily practice or admit we aren’t different (please refer to page 9 of this document to review the full attached report by Peggy Maslanka)
- The community is not marketed in a way that promotes and generates interest from people who are unaware of EcoVillage ideas and goals.
- Try making connections to larger environmental organizations.
- There was a time for about 5-years where the community was focused on environmental issues, but that has faded away over the years.
- We don’t have a common house, no agriculture, not a self-reliant community, and low-cost plots of land for sale
- Besides image, we have to figure out what we want to be.
- The guidelines don’t allow the community to publically support or back any political view or organizations.
- There was a request to bring this same topic to the General Circle for a larger discussion.
Board Goals 2018:
Previous approved goals for 2017 included the following:
- Finalize and approve A&E Guidelines – Work in progress
- Creation of a capital budget for EcoVillage – Completed
- Begin a trial period of a new governing structure for EcoVillage – Completed
- Increase participation in community activities (for example; including at least two community meetings and two visitor days) – Work in progress
- Tanja suggested four goals:
- Finalize and approve A&E Guidelines
- Increase participation in community activities
- Complete a reserve study in 2018
- Make the capital budget visible to the community and have the finance committee maintain the capital budget.
- Mike suggested two goals:
- A goal on publicizing methods and content for a narrative about EcoVillage communicated to the public.
- Holding the General Circle responsible for doing its job.
- Barbara suggests one goal:
- That all community members pay HOA fess electronically.
- Eirik suggested that we continue to brainstorm on goals for the community.
- Peggy suggested that an addition be made to Mike’s goal related to what EcoVillage aspires to be.
- Ernest recommends keeping the goals for 2018 to no more than four or five overall goals.
- Annette recommends we make the goals a part of each regular board meeting.
Eirik proposed that we continue to discuss and brainstorm on goals for 2018 and vote at a later board meeting.
Proposal did not pass with one objection.
Ernest proposed the following goals for 2018:
- Finalize and approve A&E Guidelines
- Increase participation in community activities (for example; including at least two community meetings and two visitor days)
- Develop a marketing and communication plan involving methods and content of a narrative about who, what, and aspirations of EcoVillage communicated to the public.
- Contract to complete a reserve study in 2018.
Proposal passed with no objections.
New Business – No new business
Ernest Solar, Secretary
EVCA Board of Directors
EVCA Treasurer’s Report: January 21, 2018
Our bookkeeper has not yet created the end of year 2017 statements due to an oversight on my part. However, all received invoices were paid, there are no outstanding debts, and all but one owner paid in full. We have begun receiving electronic and paper payments for 2018.
The owner of the lot without payment has been sent a final ‘notice of lien’ letter by certified mail. The finance committee chair and board chair have begun the process of placing a lien on that property.
The current balances in our three accounts are as follows:
Calvert Investments: $20,603.98
PNC Business Checking $ 5,543.01
PNC BPMM (savings) $70,663.57
We must contract to complete a Reserve Study this year. We have begun the process of moving all but $10,000 of our PNC BPMM assets to the Calvert Investments to concretize our commitment to sufficient reserves. We will finalize that movement when the signatories to the Calvert account are updated to the current Treasurer and Vice-Chair of the Board.
Finally, the annual audit is very late due to our (former) auditor’s continued lack of attention to our needs and the finance committee members’ insufficient result despite many efforts. Our new General Circle Manager has taken on the task of securing this audit and we hope to have the 2015-2016 years completed in one sweep as soon as possible. We probably will have the annual audit done bi-annually for two years at a time in the future.
Barbara L. R. Weber
Barbara Weber, Treasurer
EcoVillage Community Association
General Circle Report
21 January 2018
To: the EcoVillage Board
From: Michael Weber, General Manager
The General Circle has been reconstituted and has met once in the last quarter. At that meeting, we elected all necessary positions (spreadsheet complied by Tanja is now available on website with all that data). Tom Regan was elected secretary of the GC. We restructured the Economic Development committee and they are about to hold their first meeting.
Currently, all committees appear to be working. I want to remind committee secretaries to either post all approved minutes to the webpage or, if you have difficulty, forward them to me. Briefly, here is what I know of committee activity:
A & E: is drawing the building guidelines review and simplification to a close soon; there is some more work to be done on landscaping, but the main ideas for construction are finished. The document is roughly 2/7ths the size of the old one and written in a user friendly format. It will be shared with the General Circle and a community meeting when it is finished.
CCC: as is to be expected, it has no current agenda.
Economic Development is about to meet.
Finance: has kept the house in good order and has asked me to find a new auditor and I have identified some firms and will meet with them soon.
LFSM: has recently held a trail clearing day on the south 90 acres that improved the usability of those trails.
Social: has continued to offer opportunities for the community to get together, including an information session on a new internet provider.
Please let me know if this is in any way errant so we can correct it.
Anyone with agenda items for the next GC meeting, February 10th @ St. James Church in Lovettsville from 10-12:30, should contact me or Tom 2 weeks in advance.
Determining the Best Path Forward
When we all moved here, the climate change problem was perceived differently. We believed that a community like Eco Village could exemplify a new model for suburban and exurban living that would make an impact on the progression and intensity of climate change. We probably did make a difference. Loudoun County has revised its building standards in ways that serve sustainability and energy conservation. Recycling is ubiquitous, and all rural hamlet communities are required to rid their properties of invasives. Green building practices have become mainstream.
So where does that leave us now? We are still an ecologically conscious community, but no one would argue that we are leading any type of charge at this juncture, or that we are notably different, ecologically speaking, from neighboring communities. Yet, we find ourselves heavily penalized in terms of property values because of our designation as an ecovillage and co-housing community.
I think that given this situation, we have three choices.
- Become notably different — We can up our game, so to speak, by becoming politically engaged in larger climate change movements, and transforming our community into a center for activism. I would volunteer to research ways in which we could accomplish this, and take the lead on getting us involved, if, and only if, the Board agrees to make this a top priority and several others agree to become involved as well. Then, our financial sacrifices will have purpose. Our renewed commitment and excitement will give EV new energy, which could very well translate into a more desirable community, where people want to move and build.
- Stop penalizing ourselves — We can acknowledge that we’ve achieved all that we are likely to achieve with our current model and become a regular community. We can decide that we no longer wish to suffer the financial disadvantages that we are suffering for no impactful purpose. All residents will have to move at some point, and they, as well as those remaining, would benefit from being able to sell at market prices, rather than be forced to rent out their homes instead. It will be even harder to recoup the value of our houses if EV becomes largely a rental community, as it is on its way to becoming now.
- Continue as we are. Our community is well run and we all believe in its purpose, as articulated when we all moved here. People may feel that it is valuable just to live as sustainably as we do in a co-housing community. They may not be concerned about our current resale situation, or they may be optimistic that it may change for the better in the near future.
For the Meeting
Please give this some thought and let me know in advance of the meeting your preferred choice. If everyone picks number three, I will give the Board back my 15 minutes. Otherwise, I will use the time to report your preferences and hopefully propose a step to move us forward accordingly.