Lake Forest Master Community Association
The Lake Forest Master Community Association is a Florida Corporation that oversees the management of our community. The Association is governed by Florida Statute Chapter 720 and by our governing documents. The voting members of the association are made up of homeowners, and membership is an automatic privilege of ownership. The Association is authorized by statute and its governing documents to manage assessments and to make expenditures on behalf the members for the benefit of the entire community.
The Association maintains the common areas, and manages the relationship between residents and The Association. It also enforces our rules and regulations and protects the interests of Association members.
Residents of Lake Forest may be elected to the Board of Directors by the Association members during annual elections. All residents are encouraged and welcome to attend board and committee meetings, with the exception of meetings governed by attorney-client privilege. Minutes of all meetings of the Board are maintained in written form and are posted on our residents website for the review of residents.
All common areas and recreational facilities in Lake Forest are available to all members and their invited guests. The Board has adopted reasonable rules and regulations pertaining to their use. Currently we have nine Board members who serve staggered terms.
The Lake Forest Homeowner’s Association committees serve the residents of Lake Forest. Each committee reports to the Board of Directors, elects a chairperson, and meets on a regular basis. Residents are encouraged to get involved in the community by joining a committee and are welcome to attend committee meetings at any time.
- Architectural Review Committee (ARC)
- Buildings & Amenities Committee
- Community Affairs Committee
- Enforcement Committee
- Family Events Committee
- Finance Committee
- Information Technology (IT) Committee
- Lakes & Drainage Committee
- Landscape & Irrigation Committee
- Legal Committee
- Recreation Committee
- Resident Relations Committee
- Roads & Bridges Committee
- Safety & Security Committee
- Social Activities & Events Committee
ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION
MASTER DECLARATION OF COVENANTS, CONDITIONS AND RESTRICTIONS
Rules and Regulations
As defined in the governing documents, the Association’s Board of Directors may issue supplementary Rules and Regulations as required. The purpose of such issuance is generally to further define or clarify the established governing rules and regulations of the Association. The following Supplemental Rules and Regulations have been issued to date:
Board of Directors and Association Committees
The Board does, however, recognize that from time to time, under certain controlled circumstances the community members may benefit from allowing sponsorships of events and /or activities. These activities must be Social & Activities Committee recommended, and Board approved.
Examples might include occasionally sponsoring a Neighborhood or Family Social, reducing the cost to attending members. Events must be open to the community and no solicitation of members will be allowed.
- ARC members do not “look” for violations of the covenants but should look for violations of the building code and follow up on ARC decisions
- ARC decisions report needs to be kept up to date and distributed to the CCC members
- The ARC will designate who is responsible to inspect the compliance of an ARC decision
- Write up the ARC decisions for the newsletter-recap or decisions of interest. For educational purposes.
- A resident can appeal an ARC decision to the BOD. The Board can decide to either hear the appeal or not to hear the appeal.
CCC – COVENANTS COMPLIANCE COMMITTEE
- Each CCC member to handle the roving patrol violation notices for their section. The first notice for a parking violation can be skipped, if desired. The second notice should result in a violation letter from the CAM’s office. Discretionary, on a case by case basis.
- Member sends their violation report to Administrative Assistant with copy to CCC chair
- Violation report must be specific, accurate and timely
- Review the ARC report for approvals and denials
- If a violation has been corrected, the reporting CCC member should take primary responsibility to remove it from the active report. The CAM cannot be expected to verify each violation between each letter.
- Review the CAM’s Violations Report for accuracy, completeness and especially for letter deadlines and upcoming hearings.
- Verify with the CAM that the hearing is still needed before the third letter goes out
- Each CCC member to meet with the Administrative Assistant on a regular basis
- Attend a CE hearing for observation or to support the EC hearing
- Occasionally provide articles for the website and newsletter
CE – ENFORCEMENT COMMITTEE
- Establish guidelines for fine levels for various types of violations
- Schedule hearing dates well in advance so CAM has notice and sufficient time to send notice to resident
- EC and CAM: Writes the third violation letter and notice to attend the EC Hearing – mail to resident
- Prior to the hearing – verify and review documentation and background material with CAM and/ or CCC member
- Writes the Decision Letter and forwards to CAM who should copy the EC, BOD members, the chair of the CCC and the CCC member who initiated the violation notice.
- Writes a recap of decisions for the newsletter for educational and deterrent purposes. No names or addresses. Could also be used in the Q&A section.
CAM – COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION MANAGER
- EC and CAM: Writes the third violation letter and notice to attend the EC Hearing – mail to resident
- Prior to the hearing – verify and review documentation and background material with CAM and/ or CCC member
- Provide the EC with the residents’ file and copies of any violation letters and other documentation prior to the hearing
- E-mail the violation recap report to CCC members each two weeks
- Record violations to the master violation list
- Recording dates of the violation letters and their deadline to the master list must be accurate and consistent
- The time requirement for correcting a violation should be consistent with the guidelines in the written Violation Notice Procedures Letter (immediate, one week, two weeks etc.)
- Manages the timing and necessity of the second and third violation letters
- The CAM should verify with the CCC member, at least two days prior to the hearing, that the hearing is still needed.
- If an EC hearing results in a fine, the CAM should insure that this goes on the “Accounts Receivable” for the resident
- Copy the decision letters to the BOD
- E-mail the ARC report to CCC members
BOD – BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Is responsible to see that all committees follow the intent of our documents.
- Reviews the Decision Letters of the EC for consistency and that they follow the intent of our documents
- Coordinate legal proceedings on EC Decisions when needed
- Appeals of EC and ARC decisions to the Board: the Board can decide to either hear the appeal or not to hear the appeal.
- Monitors the Accounts Receivables for fines levied by the EC
- Coordinates with legal for collection action if needed
It is proposed that a Board Executive Committee be established with the structure and responsibilities described below.
In the past the Officers of the Association met on a regular basis without the rest of the Board Directors to discuss a number of issues and make some quick decisions on issues not deemed necessary to bring to the full Board. This had the advantage of allowing a
smooth flow of operational activity, without having to place things on hold until the next Board meeting. The disadvantage of this approach was that several Board Directors felt they were being kept in the dark about much of the Association’s activities and felt that the actions of the Officers should have been brought to the full Board in many instances. This proposal is intended to replace this prior role of the Officers with a more formalized role, with more clearly defined responsibilities and improved communication to the rest of the Board and other appropriate parties.
Composition of the Committee
It is proposed that the committee be comprised of 4 Board members, to allow quick meetings without the requirement for notice of a quorum. It is suggested that the President of the Association be a mandatory member and chair of this committee.
It is recommended that the remaining 3 positions on the committee be filled initially by the remaining Officers, but on an ongoing basis by a vote of the Board taken annually at the same time that Officers are elected.
The primary purpose of this committee is to facilitate the continuing smooth operation of the Association, addressing agreed-upon issues between regular Board meetings. As such it is expected that the committee would meet at least twice each month.
The following is an initial list of proposed responsibilities that the committee could address without further approval from the full Board. This list may be added to or reduced over time, at the discretion of the Board.
1. Communication editorial role: this is the final decision-making responsibility for any newsletter article or other forms of resident communication where there is any level of controversy over the content or tone. It would replace the need for the previously (4/18/07) agreed upon Editorial Team (4 officers + Resident Relations Chair).
2. Resident response role: this is the formulation of responses to residents that formally address the Board. It would require an amendment to the previously agreed (4/30/08) Board Responses Procedure, which would alleviate potential “rotating email quorum” claims. Formulated responses would still need majority Board approval.
3. Resident feedback review: this is the review of all comments in the Resident Discussion part of Board meetings to determine the appropriate course of action, if required.
4. CAM feedback and direction: this is a regular review with the CAM of any day-to-day operational issues where the CAM requires clarification or direction. It is also an opportunity for the committee to monitor the CAM’s ongoing performance and provide guidance, as necessary.
5. Spending approval authority to $5000. Upon agreement of 75% of the committee, any Association expenditure may be authorized up to $5000, without the necessity of a vote of the full Board, where it is deemed not appropriate to wait until the next Board meeting.
6. Any other tasks assigned to the committee by the Board.
Any actions taken by this committee and any decisions made by this committee will be documented and distributed to all Board Directors on a monthly basis, prior to each Board meeting.
1) The president of the association will inform all board members, in writing (incl. email), of an official vacancy on the board once he/she is formally informed of the vacancy. This date shall become the official ‘date of vacancy’ for the open position. The purpose of the ‘date of vacancy’ is an official start date for the process of filling the position; it need not necessarily be the same as or after the date of resignation.
2) The board vacancy will be advertised in the next available community newsletter and concurrently advertised on the community website and all other existing channels of ‘Association to Member’ communication.
3) All candidates will submit the same information that would be required at an annual election of board members.
4) All candidates will be asked to present to the board at a regularly scheduled board meeting, no earlier than 3 weeks from the distribution of the newsletter.
5) Additional candidates may make their interest known and present at the same board meeting, without advance warning, for consistency with the Annual Election process.
6) The board, upon reviewing the candidates, will select from the candidates for the available board position(s), using the voting procedure described below, at the same board meeting.
7) The board may circumvent this process, if circumstances dictate a more urgent replacement is needed, by obtaining a vote of not fewer than 75% of the remaining board members.
Voting Procedure for Board Member Replacement:
(A) If the number of candidates is not more than the number of open positions, the remaining Board members will vote on each candidate becoming a board member and filling a vacancy. The candidate will be elected if he/she obtains votes from a majority of the Board members present. No newly elected Board member will become an official Board member until all voting is complete.
This vote will be viva voce (by the voice) as is standard for most Board votes.
If there are 3 vacancies and 2 candidates, the board will vote on whether candidate 1 should join the Board (requiring at least 4 of the remaining 6 votes). The board will then vote on whether candidate 2 should join the Board (again requiring at least 4 of the remaining 6 votes). Note that candidate 1 will not be eligible to vote, as a newly elected Board member, for candidate 2.
(B) If the number of candidates is more than the number of open positions, each present Board member will vote for one candidate for each vacancy. The votes will be tallied and the candidates with the highest number of votes will fill the vacant positions. In the case of any ties, the tie situation is resolved by a new vote that may only include the candidates that were tied for the positions still remaining unfilled. If there is still a tie at this stage, it will be resolved by a coin flip.
This vote will be conducted by ballot, with each Board member selecting on paper as many candidates as there are open positions. A nominated moderator will collect the written votes and read the selections of each Board member. Note that the vote by ballot is not for secrecy, but to maintain the fairness in voting through the concept of ‘same time voting’.
If there are 3 vacancies and 5 candidates (A thru E), each Board member will vote for 3 candidates. The votes will be tallied. If there are 3 candidates with more votes than the remaining 2 candidates, those 3 will be elected.
If the votes resulted in the following situation:
Candidate A: 6 votes
Candidate B: 4 votes
Candidate C: 3 votes
Candidate D: 3 votes
Candidate E: 2 votes
…candidates A and B would be elected and there would be a second vote, involving just candidates C and D, to fill the remaining 1 vacant position. Note that candidates A and B would not yet be eligible to vote. The candidate with the highest number of votes would
fill the final position.
If the second vote results in both C and D having 3 votes, a coin flip will decide which of these 2 candidates assumes the final position.
(C) Any situations that arise, not clearly covered by these voting rules, will be clarified by a majority board vote.
Lake Forest Board Committees should continue to be an advisory role to the Board and, as such, cannot implement new rules or processes without the Board’s approval of recommended changes. Committees can, however, get Board approval of overall projects and, at the Board’s discretion, the authority needed to implement the details of the project without further Board review. The following
committee structure has been implemented:
• Finance – This committee should continue to be chaired by the Board Treasurer and provide oversight to Sentry’s accounting function as well as contracted audit and accounting firms.
• ARC/Covenant Compliance – Combining these two committees will improve communications with residents and will provide more resources for monitoring compliance with ARC approvals. In order to eliminate the need for a change to the Declaration of Covenants, the ARC members should continue to be elected by residents and the remaining members of this committee be used for advising and monitoring compliance only. Note: This proposed combination must be discussed with the HOA attorney prior to implementation.
• Enforcement – This committee should continue to stand alone as a separate committee. Residents who serve on this committee should not be allowed to serve on the ARC/Covenant Compliance committee.
• Roads/Bridges* — This committee will be responsible for the maintenance of existing Lake Forest roads and bridges. Oversight of related outside contractors will also be the responsibility of this committee.
• Lakes/Drainage* — This committee will be responsible for the maintenance of existing Lake Forest lakes and drainage. Oversight of related outside contractors and regulatory permit compliance will also be the responsibility of this committee.
• Buildings/Amenities* — This committee will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of existing Lake Forest buildings and amenities. Oversight of related outside contractors will also be the responsibility of this committee.
*Note: A required monthly information-sharing meeting will be held between the Road/Bridges, the Lakes/Drainage and the Buildings/Amenities committees.
• Landscape & Irrigation – The selection and oversight of contracted landscape and irrigation services will be this committee’s purview.
• Resident Relations – This committee’s functions are currently handled by the Communication’s Committee. The committee will be responsible for all aspects of communication with residents and lot owners, including overseeing the Block Captains program and informing residents through the website, newsletter, bulletin boards, front notice board, mass emails and/or other means as well as
encouraging and analyzing feedback from residents and lot owners via surveys, Q&A sessions, etc.
• Social Activities & Events — This committee will plan all the social aspects of the community and will be responsible for oversight of the use of existing Lake Forest resources such as the clubhouse and tennis courts and for recommending the addition of other resources for residents such as playground and fitness equipment.
• Safety/Security – The oversight of the contracted security firm as well as all issues relating to the safety and security of the community, including the security gates and the security camera system as well as maintaining relations with local law enforcement authorities, are the responsibility of this committee.
• Community Affairs – This committee will continue to be responsible for monitoring the activities and plans of government agencies, developers and other business and civic groups with respect to issues impacting Lake Forest. The Board will decide which of the issues to actively support or challenge but the committee will be responsible for implementing the Board’s decisions and communicating the necessary information to residents through the appropriate communications’ channels. At some point in the future, this committee may no longer be required.
• IT – This committee will be created to oversee the maintenance of existing technology and to recommend the acquisition and use of other technology to create efficiencies wherever needed.
Other issues that arise from time to time may require implementation of Ad Hoc resident committees. For example, Ad Hoc Documents Review committee(s) will be formed as needed and will be the responsibility of the Board Secretary. Also, subcommittees of the
above committees are acceptable if deemed appropriate by the committee, e.g. the Tennis subcommittee of the Social Committee.
Ideally, residents serve on no more than two committees at any given time and Board approval will be required for residents who desire to serve on more than one committee.
Committee members will nominate a committee Chair that will be reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors at the June Board meeting each year. With the exception of the Finance committee, the Chairs should be non-Board members to allow more residents to be a part of the Association’s decision-making process. In addition, no more than two Board members should serve on any committee.
Each committee will be provided a format for use in the development of a 2009 Annual Plan and Budget (if appropriate). A sample format and a list of areas to be addressed for monthly reporting of the committees’ activities to the Board will also be provided. If the current accounting system can accommodate it, a monthly financial/budget update should be provided to the respective committees.
The CAM will continue to be responsible for communicating with the various committee chairs and should not take direction from other committee members.
Since the objectives for this work is to involve more Lake Forest residents in the management of the Association, the Resident Relations committee should be tasked with developing a plan for communicating these committee structure changes to the residents.
This procedure is for any cases where a written document (incl. email) is received by the Community Association Manager (CAM) or by a Board Director, which is addressed to the Board of Directors. It is proposed that the Board Executive Committee takes primary responsibility for responding to such communications, as per the process below.
Receiving the Correspondence
If the document is received by someone other than the CAM, the document should be passed to the CAM for Association official records. The CAM should then copy the document to all Board Directors and file the original.
The first step in responding is to identify the source. If it is confirmed to be a resident, the following steps should be followed:
• The CAM should issue an acknowledgement that states:
“Thank you for your [letter/email] to the Board of Directors, dated [date]. Your opinions are important and have been passed to the Board for review. You will receive an official response within the next few weeks.”
• The Board Executive Committee will facilitate a response by drafting an appropriate reply, engaging others as required, based on the topic(s) of the document. The draft reply should be completed in no longer than 1 week.
• The drafted reply will be passed to all Board Directors for review and approved or amended at the next Board meeting.
• If agreement cannot be reached at the next meeting, the resident will be sent another response to inform them that the Board is still deliberating and the Board Executive Committee will make further changes for approval at the subsequent meeting.
• The agreed response will be sent to the resident by the CAM on behalf of the Board.
• If a received question is the same as a prior one, the prior response may be reissued without Board approval if the CAM and the Board Executive Committee agree it is still relevant.
If the source of the document is identifiable, but not a resident (e.g. an attorney, realtor, etc.), the Board Executive Committee will decide as to appropriate level of response, if any.
If the source is unidentifiable, no official response will be sent but the CAM should issue an acknowledgement that states:
“Thank you for your [letter/email] to the Lake Forest Board of Directors, dated [date]. Your opinions have been passed to the Board.”
The Resident Relations committee is proposing to enhance our already effective communications system by adding survey capabilities to allow the board and/or the various committees to gather the opinion of residents on various issues. The committee is looking to leverage the emergence of viable and cost-effective online survey tools. This proposal details the considerations, technologies, and steps to be performed in adding such a system.
In creating this proposal, the committee feels that it is important to recognize the following considerations when establishing a survey system:
• Appropriate Expectation Setting – The committee recognizes that the HOA must avoid creating an expectation in its use of surveys that it will make decisions on the basis of “opinion polls” or that it will be bound to act on all of the suggestions it may receive
through surveys. To achieve this, care would be taken in the usage of the system and the wording of surveys, to avoid creating these types of expectations.
• Reasonable Frequency – Surveys would be sent no more frequently than is reasonably, such that recipients do not feel inundated with HOA requests and begin to “tune out” or delete survey requests.
• Proper Use – Steps would be taken to ensure that the survey system would be used solely for HOA and/or Committee business, for issues with reasonably broad appeal in the community.
• Offline Availability – Although this system would primarily revolve around the use of an online survey tool, the committee feels it is important to make hard-copy versions of surveys available to those who require this method. The results of hard-copy surveys can be input into the online survey system, such that total results can be analyzed.
3. Technology and Costs
The proposed survey system would take advantage of online survey tools available on the market today. The committee has narrowed its choice to two vendors: ZapSurvey and SurveyMonkey. Although the committee has performed an initial comparison of the two systems, it has not yet made a recommendation on the system to be used. The committee plans to work with the two Lake Forest committees that plan to use surveys in the immediate future, in order to determine the best tool.
Either tool allows board and/or committee members to create, manage, and analyze resident surveys online – without needing to hire programmers. Surveys created would be distributed via an embedded link in resident emails, as well via a link on the HOA website. The cost of the Zap Survey tool is $20 per month for up to 1,000 survey responses per month. The cost of the SurveyMonkey tool is $19.95 per month or $200 per year for 1,000 survey responses per month.
4. Steps for Creating Surveys
Once the system has been established and is ready for use, authorized persons (defined in Section 5 below) would create surveys as follows:
• Receive input and requests from the board and/or committees;
• Receive proposed survey questions from responsible board or committee representative;
• Review survey questions and potentially edit for conciseness, bias, etc;
• Create survey using the selected online tool;
• Decide on a survey completion deadline;
• Open the survey for use though the online tool;
• Embed the link for the survey into the body of an email and include the survey completion deadline;
• Make survey available in hardcopy format through CAM office;
• Monitor survey results;
• Enter hardcopy survey results into online tool;
• Close the survey on the deadline date;
• Analyze the results.
5. Email System Oversight and Controls
In order to maintain control over frequency, content quality, appropriate use, community expectations and potential bias, the committee recommends that all surveys be approved by an authorized group. This approval could either come from the existing Resident Email Oversight Group or from the board. A board member and/or representative from a committee would make a request to the Resident Relations Committee to conduct a survey. The committee, working with the requesting group would 1) determine the best timing, 2) review the wording of the survey, 3) bring the survey to the authorizing group for approval, and 4) send the survey.
6. Motion to Establish the Survey System
The committee recommends that the board vote to pass a motion similar to the following:
A motion is made to adopt a survey system using the technologies proposed, subject to the considerations and procedures described in the Survey System proposal of August, 2008, and further to allow the Community Affairs Committee and the Social Activities & Events Committee to conduct the two surveys which they have currently planned and discussed with the Resident Relations Committee.
The purpose of this process is to define the steps by which approval is granted for the Association to take legal action against lot owners and/or residents of the community.
Legal action should be considered an option of last resort in the enforcement of the Associations covenants, codes and restrictions.
For legal action to be considered, the Enforcement Committee (EC) must have reviewed a case and provided the lot owner or resident with an opportunity to attend a hearing.
The EC should consider the viability and likely success of the other remedial actions available to them (e.g. fines, suspension of rights, etc.) prior to consideration of legal action. The EC may recommend legal action to the Board of Directors if they feel in
their sole discretion:
1) It is the most effective means of ensuring compliance
2) The violation is a clear breach of the governing documents
3) The violation is a significant issue, worthy of extreme enforcement
Once the EC refers a case to the Board of Directors for legal action, the Board should review the case and vote to pursue legal action or not.
If the Board of Directors approves legal action, the Association’s attorney should review the case and provide the Association with a determination of the merits of the case.
Legal action will only be pursued if the attorney determines the case to have 80% or better chance of success.
In some cases, the Executive Committee may decide to refer a case to the attorney for determination prior to the Board vote, based on their understanding of timing and sensitivity issues.
This process is suggested as a way to manage the selection of landscape contractors for the Village section of Lake Forest. It puts the decision whether to rebid the contract each year in the hands of the Village homeowners by majority vote. The survey system would be used as the means for gathering this input from the residents. If the majority votes to rebid the contract, then an ad hoc committee of Village homeowners will be formed to review proposals, interview perspective contractors and make the final selection. A majority will be based on the number of survey responses submitted, not the total number of lots in the Village (22). In the event of a tie, the contract will not be rebid.
If a single landscape contractor provides services for the Village for five consecutive years, the contract should automatically be rebid in order to ensure the contract pricing and terms remain competitive.
Below are the procedures to be executed annually to support this process:
1. CAM: Notifies/reminds current landscape contractor that next year’s contract is due the first week of July.
1. CAM: Receives next year’s contract from current contractor.
2. Finance Committee: Determines the next calendar year’s Village landscape assessment.
3. CAM: Sends survey to Village residents. If possible, allow two weeks for residents to respond. Close survey no later than July 31. A copy of a suggested survey is in the PDF sent with this document.
Based on the survey results, if the majority of Village residents do not want to rebid the contract:
1. CAM: Notifies the Village residents that the contract will not be rebid. If the majority of Village residents do want to rebid the contract:
1. CAM: Sends an RFP to at least three landscape contractors by August 5 with a due date of August 25 for the proposals.
o The contractors selected to bid may include those suggested in the survey by Village residents, as well as any others selected by the CAM or recommended by the Landscape Committee. The maximum number of contractors selected to bid will be eight. The CAM and the Landscape Committee will make the final selection of contractors to receive the RFPs.
o The contractors will be required to submit their pricing in a standard template provided with the RFP so that proposals can be easily compared. (A template exists which has been used for past proposals.)
o The RFP will include a copy of the Lake Forest Master Community Association Statement of Work for the Village, dated January 2011.
2. CAM: Publicizes the names of the ad hoc committee volunteers to the Village residents via mass email. At least three homeowners from three separate lots must volunteer for the ad hoc committee, otherwise, the responsibility for deciding whether to rebid the contract and selecting the landscape contractor will default to the regular Landscape Committee.
1. Committee (Ad hoc or Landscape):
a. Reviews proposals.
b. Chooses contractors to interview.
c. Conducts interviews.
d. Selects contractor.
e. Notifies CAM and Finance Committee Chair of the landscape contractor selected.
NOTE: If, as a result of the negotiations with the contractor, the Committee decides it wants to modify the Statement of Work (SOW), the following process will be followed:
1. Committee documents the modifications and the consequences of not modifying the SOW (e.g. increased cost, etc.).
2. CAM sends this information to the Village residents at least five business days prior to contract signing and requests their feedback.
3. Committee assesses the resident feedback and makes the final decision.
Finance Committee: Finalizes the Village landscape assessment for the following calendar year.
Amenities and Compliance
Parking is appropriate for use of the pool, recreational areas and the clubhouse.
No storage of vehicles is permitted nor is overnight parking of vehicles permitted. To alleviate on street parking, if a resident has visitors and there is not sufficient parking space at the residence, a request may be made to the Community Association Manager on a case by case basis.
Temporary parking, if authorized, will be for the lower lot only.
Vehicles include auto, truck, boat, trailer, motor home, camper or anything similar.
Vehicles parked without authorization may be subject to tow at the owner’s expense
The developers of Lake Forest and the original governing documents envisioned that trees are a major amenity and a desired asset that enhance both the beauty and value of our neighborhood. It is the intent of the Board to follow this vision and enforce the documents as they are written, with sensible flexibility.
If a tree falls or is blocking public access, take immediate steps to protect your property and/or public access. It would be appropriate to take pictures of the tree(s) in question. If the situation presents an imminent danger, take what you consider to be appropriate measures and immediately notify the Community Association Manager. In emergency situations, the CAM can approve removal of trees that present an immediate danger without waiting for approval from the ARC.
In all other cases, the standard procedure is to request removal of a tree or trees by use of the Lake Forest Existing Residential Application Architectural Review Application form that is available either on the website or from the CAM’s office.
In general, the ARC will issue approval for removal if:
1. The tree is diseased, damaged or injured or
2. In imminent danger of falling on pedestrians, vehicular traffic or in such proximity to existing or proposed structures so as to endanger such structures.
In general, the ARC will not issue approval for removal just because the tree “may fall sometime in the future and hit my house or car”.
The Declarations, Article VII, Section 18 states that “trees . . . having a diameter of two inches (2″) or more (measured four feet [4′] from ground level) may not be removed without prior approval of the ARC. All requests for approval of tree removal shall be submitted to the ARC along with a plan showing generally the location of such tree(s).” The ARC approval procedure is outlined in Article V of the Declarations. Notice of approval or denial of the request is required within thirty (30) days after the ARC’s receipt of the request.
Planning, Construction and Development Criteria, September 1, 2005 (Planning Criteria): Landscape Character and Style, IV. (Page 18) also states that trees within a homeowner’s property may not be removed without prior approval of the ARC.
The Declarations, Article IX, Section 1 and as amended by the Fifth Amendment, Paragraph 5 states that a violation of this procedure (removal of a tree(s) without ARC approval) could result in a fine. The fine could be up to $100.00 per day for each violation up to a maximum amount of $5,000.00.
The ARC will approve removal of an obviously dead, diseased or dangerous tree after an inspection. The application must include the owner’s plans for replacement. If it is not obvious that the tree is dead, diseased or endangering property, then the lot owner should obtain a written opinion of a state certified arborist stating the condition of the tree and submit this report to the ARC.
If the ARC approves the removal, the ARC can require that a replacement tree or trees, approved by the ARC, be planted within 30 days.
If the ARC denies removal, the lot owner can submit the opinion of a state certified arborist and the decision will be reconsidered.
The Association and/or the ARC have the right and the duty to require owners to replace trees that have been removed with or without authorization.
The Declarations, Article VII, Section 19 states that “anyone violating the provisions of Section 18 will be required to replace such trees with trees of like kind, size and condition within thirty (30) days after demand by the ARC.” The ARC will use common sense when deciding what constitutes “like kind, size and condition” and will decide on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration the existing landscape of the lot in question. A fine of up to $100.00 per day up to a maximum of $5,000.00 can be imposed for not replacing trees as required by the ARC and the Association and/or the ARC may initiate legal action against the Owner.
The Declarations, Article VII, Section 7 provides that the Board of Directors may promulgate rules and regulations regarding tree removal.
If the Association elects to proceed forward with a fine, it must follow the fining procedure outlined in Article IX, Section 1 of the Declarations, as amended by the Fifth Amendment, as well as the procedure in Section 720.305, Florida Statutes.
Seminole County Ordinance No. 2004-3: Dealing with Trees and Arbor Regulations
– Requires a permit for the removal of trees from undeveloped residential lots
– Establishes fines and specific replacement requirements
It is the opinion of counsel that if a healthy living tree in this community falls that it is an act of God and the HOA will not incur any liability. On the question of liability if a tree falls, injuring person or property: the Association should not be found liable unless it acted negligently. A court will typically find that a party has acted negligently if it failed to exercise reasonable care and such lack of reasonable care caused another party’s injury.
1. Vertical step separation of 3/4 inch or more
2. Horizontal separation or crack width of 3/4 inch or more
3. Holes, depressions or spalling away (flaking off) with an area of 2 square inches or more to a depth of 1/2 inch or more
4. Grade change where there is a slope greater than 1:12 (one inch in 12 inches)
5. Cracking so that no piece of a single square is greater than one square foot or resulting in multiple loose or unstable individual pieces within a square.
6. Any part of the sidewalk missing to full depth other than at normal separation between slabs such as expansion joints.
7. Cross slope in excess of one inch per foot
8. Vegetation or other overhead obstruction lower than 120 inches above the sidewalk. This limit applies to vegetation when dry.
For assistance in selecting repair options please refer to the “Sidewalk Repair Information” document on the Lake Forest website or contact the HOA Managers Office to get a copy.
1. General Information:
Approval from the HOA is not required for repair or replacement of an existing sidewalk and a permit is not required from Seminole County. However ARC approval is required if the sidewalk is to be relocated or if a tree is to be removed.
Where tree roots are a sidewalk problem it is suggested that to preserve the tree, the roots only be cut as a last resort and before cutting that an arborist be contacted to make recommendations as to the effects of this on the health and stability of the tree. Depending on the size of the root and distance from the tree trunk, cutting roots can not only kill the tree, it can also weaken its supporting structure allowing it to blow over. Contact the HOA Manager’s Office for more information regarding available arborists. Suggested guidelines are to root prune no closer than 3 to 5 times the diameter of the trunk. Even this may weaken the tree support enough to allow it to blow over. Please investigate, and if possible, use one of the other repair options such as ramping the sidewalk over roots or rerouting the sidewalk around the tree before cutting roots.
If roots must be cut residents are encouraged to investigate having the branches pruned by a professional to reduce wind resistance and the possibility that the tree will be blown over in a storm.
If the tree roots are cut it is recommended that a fabric root barrier such as “Biobarrier” be used to prevent re-growth under the sidewalk. Biobarrier technical and purchasing information is available on the web at www.biobarrier.com and at the HOA Manager’s Office.
Residents are reminded that if there will be any excavating done in conjunction with sidewalk or tree work that there is a free service available from Call Sunshine that will locate and mark all utilities and wires in the area. Call 811 to request this service. This is a caution note from the locating services website www.callsunshine.com “Smart digging means knowing where utility lines are buried before you dig in order to protect yourself from injury and prevent damage to underground utility lines. One easy call to 811 starts the process of getting underground utility lines marked for free. Homeowners often make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked, but every digging job requires a call – even small projects like planting trees and installing or replacing a mailbox. Digging without calling can disrupt utility service to an entire neighborhood, harm you and those around you, and potentially result in fines and high repair costs. Call 811.”
When pouring new sidewalk sections near tree roots it is suggested that steel or fiber mesh be used to strengthen the concrete
2. Information Available on the Internet
The University of Florida has a website with detailed guidelines for cutting tree roots. Copy and paste this web address in your browser window to reach the site: http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody/rootpruneguidelines.html
The University of Florida also has a website with instructions for pruning branches to help prevent storm damage. Copy and paste this in your browser window: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP31600.pdf
The Quikrete concrete company website, www.quikrete.com, has information and detailed instructions for many sidewalk repair methods including realigning slabs and pouring concrete on top of existing slabs.
If you do not have internet access the Managers Office can give you a copy of the instructions that are on these websites.
3. Approved Repair Options for Lake Forest Sidewalks – No Approval Required:
The following repair options have been determined to be acceptable and conform to the requirements of the Declaration of Covenants, Planning Documents and the ARC. No approvals are required for any of these repairs either from the HOA or Seminole County.
a. Grinding or horizontally saw cutting off an uplifted slab edge to level it with the adjoining slab.
b. Repositioning uneven slabs to make them flush with adjoining slabs
c. Pouring a special thin set concrete mix on top of a section of sidewalk either to ramp it up or down to make it flush with an adjoining slab or to resurface an uneven surface.
d. Removal and replacement with new concrete in the same location with or without cutting the tree roots. Note that in some cases, to save removal costs, it may be feasible to break up a damaged section into small pieces and pour new concrete over it.
e. Injecting a special expanding polymer type material under the lower slab to lift it up hydraulically to the level of the adjoining slab.
4. Approved Repair Options – ARC Approval Required:
a. Relocating a sidewalk.
b. Any sidewalk repairs requiring removal or relocation of a tree. Prior ARC approval is required before removing or relocating a tree.
5. Unapproved Repair Options:
a. Use of any material other than concrete. This includes rubber sidewalks, asphalt, pavers, and stone.
b. Concrete artificially colored or tinted
c. Reduction of the width of the sidewalk.
6. Horizontal Sawcutting or Grinding Information:
The Managers Office has the contact information for a company that will grind down uplifted edges. This is a low cost option for repair of uplifted sections where the vertical separation is small. The cost is proportional to the thickness of the vertical uplift to be removed and varies from approximately $60 to $80 for 1/2″ to $180 for 1 1/2″.
The grinding contractor will contract the work directly with the homeowner.
Note that in the area where the sidewalk is cut or ground it will have a slightly different appearance due to the cutting and exposure of the gravel in the concrete. An example of what it looks like after saw cutting can be seen in the sidewalk going up to the clubhouse near the mailbox. The grinding contractor will apply a thin coating of concrete on the ground area to make the surface match the adjacent concrete.
7. Concrete Removal and Replacement Contractor Information:
There are many contractors that will remove and replace damaged concrete in Lake Forest. While the HOA can’t recommend any contractors, the Managers Office has contacted several and has a list of contractors available that have provided estimated costs for work in Lake Forest. Due to the cost of mobilization the cost decreases with the amount to be replaced. They have quoted prices based on minimum quantities varying from 400 to 600 square feet. Most will do smaller amounts at a higher cost per square foot. As a service to the homeowners, the Manager’s Office will keep a list of homeowners that wish to have their damaged sidewalk removed and replaced at a group rate and can arrange for the contractors to provide quotes to the homeowners when the minimum quantity has been met.
8. Hydraulic Lift Method of Repair Information:
This is a method of uplifting a slab to make it flush with adjoining slabs by injecting a special expanding polymer under the slab. The cost is dependent on the amount of polymer required and can be significantly reduced if many locations are done the same day. This will not work in all cases and like most of the other methods is not permanent if the roots are not stopped from uplifting the slab. URETEK ICR makes the product and the local installation company is WRS Foundation Solutions of Winter Springs. The polymer has a 10 year product failure warranty – not a warranty against further uplifting by the roots. More polymer can however be injected at any time. The company will have to look at each location to see if it can be done and estimate the cost at each location. The Manager’s Office will keep a list of homeowners interested in this method and will call WRS when there are enough homeowners interested in doing it. WRS will bill the homeowners separately and requires a release from liability from each homeowner. Homeowners are encouraged to read the information on the URETEK ICR website at www.uretekicr.com or read the brochure in the Manager’s Office. Please note that the HOA has no experience with this product or WRS Foundation Solutions, Inc.
Sidewalk Repair Group Rate Request Form
The Manager’s Office as a service to homeowners is able to arrange group rates from some of the sidewalk repair contractors. The contractors discount based on larger quantities of work. Please note that there are other contractors doing this type work and that groups of homeowners may be able to arrange their own repairs- possibly at a lower cost.
If you are interested in participating in obtaining a group rate for repairs, please complete this form and send or bring it to the Manager’s Office within 21 days of receiving the notice that your sidewalk needs repair.
Lot Number: _______________________
If you are interested in obtaining quotes for only specific repair methods please check those that you are interested in, otherwise leave this section blank:
1. Concrete removal and replacement. ________
2. Grinding or horizontal saw cutting off a raised end. ________
3. Hydraulic lift by polymer injection by WRS Solutions ________
4. Slab realignment to raise or lower existing slabs ________
5. Application of thin set concrete on top of existing slab ________
When enough homeowners have submitted requests to qualify for group rates the Managers Office will have the contractor(s) contact you to provide cost estimates for your repairs.
Cast aluminum mailboxes should be washed once a month with mild soap and water. We also suggest waxing it once a year, Similar to car care. It is very important to do this to extend the life of the paint on the mailboxes. Please be aware that dog urine will cause the paint to peel. Bird droppings must be washed off immediately as they will also make the paint peel.
Painting/Refurbishing Your Mailbox
First you want to remove any paint that may be flaking off. Then lightly sand the entire box and wipe off with damp rag. Paint the box with Rustoleum gloss black enamel paint. It comes in a 1-quart can and is sold at Home Depot etc. Use a good paintbrush.
Replacement numerals, flags and logos are available to order at Beautiful Mailbox Company, phone: 1-800-856-6983 – ask for retail sales. Gold numerals are $1.50 each, logos are $3, and flags are $7.50. Your order will be shipped to your home, or you can make other arrangements for pick-up.
Only Approved Vendor
Beautiful Mailbox Company
In the conduct of normal HOA business, it is often necessary to mass email all residents or a large subset of residents. In order to minimize the risk of resident email addresses falling into the hands of unscrupulous marketers and to minimize the risk of unwanted
‘spam’ emails, the following guidelines have been drawn up for use by the LFHOA board of directors, management, block captains and committee members.
General Conditions of Use
Any email lists created by the HOA board or its agents are to be used only for specific HOA purposes. The following 2 general restrictions on use should be observed:
• No HOA-created mailing lists may be used for non-HOA purposes without the express permission of the board.
• No resident personal information may be provided to any person not a member of the HOA BOD or committees without the express permission of either the board or the resident.
Specific Guidelines for Mass Emails
Whenever a mass email is to be sent, the following guidelines should be observed:
• The person sending the email should address the email to themselves (i.e. the “TO:” field should include their own email address)
• The recipients of the email should be blind copied (i.e. the “BCC:” field should include the email addresses of all the intended recipients)
• The body of the email should begin with a “To” statement to let all the recipients know who received the email. (e.g. if the recipients are all residents in block 8, the body of the email should start with “To: All Block 8 residents”)
• Add disclaimer on the bottom of your email, as follows:
Email Message Disclaimer
“This message and any attachments are intended only for the use of the addressee and may contain information that is privileged and Confidential. If the reader of the message is not the intended recipient or an authorized representative of the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, review, retransmission, dissemination, distribution, copying, printing, or any other use or
Action taken in reliance upon the communication is strictly prohibited.
If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by replying to the e-mail message; delete the message and any attachments from your system.
Although the sender attempts to sweep e-mail and attachments for viruses, it does not guarantee that either is virus-free or accepts no liability for any damages as a result of viruses.”
The above guidelines should be followed whenever communicating information to a large group of residents. The following common situations fall into this category:
• Block captains emailing all residents in their block
• Any member of the board, management or committees emailing all residents, all residents in a section or all residents meeting specific group criteria (e.g. all residents with transponders).
When NOT to use these Guidelines
Any communication between board members, management, committee members or other HOA working groups should NOT use “BCC”. These communications are kept within known, defined groups where privacy is not a concern and where use of such guidelines would have a negative impact on effective communication.
Implications of these Guidelines
It is important to understand the following implications of using these guidelines:
• There is no automated way to ensure these guidelines are followed. It is therefore the individual responsibility of the person sending emails to make sure they understand and follow these guidelines.
• Residents receiving mass emails will only see the email address of the sender and will only be able to reply to the sender. There will be no ability to “reply all”.
• If replies to such an email should be shared will all recipients, it will be the responsibility of the original sender to forward those replies to all recipients using the same guidelines.
• Email addresses of residents are listed within the resident directory on the LFHOA website, along with other personal information.
• All resident directory information is available to all web-registered residents.
• Every resident has the option to amend the details held about them on the website and/or make that information viewable by other residents.
Use of Lake Forest Amenities
RULES AND POLICIES FOR THE CLUBHOUSE
- The maximum capacity of the upper level of the Clubhouse is 75 people.
- Bookings for Clubhouse usage, which includes the parking lot, will be based on a “first come, first served” basis.
- Bookings can be made no more than 12 months before the date of the event.
- There will be no Clubhouse rentals on the major holidays (New Years Day, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving weekend, Christmas, New Years Eve) due to the expense of security and monitoring employees.
- The Association calendar will include all known committee and club meetings as well as other community events to be held at the Clubhouse and will be updated regularly on both the website and at the CAM office.
- Children under 18 are not permitted in the Clubhouse without responsible supervision of an adult.
- No running or rough play is allowed inside the Clubhouse.
- Pets are not allowed in or around the Clubhouse area.
- Smoking is NOT permitted in any area of the Clubhouse.
- Report all maintenance issues to the community association manager.
The pool deck is available for limited reservations. A special area on the pool deck has been designated for this purpose. It is located underneath the covered area.
A gate code is required to enter the pool area. In order for us all to stay safe and well, we request that while using these facilities you abide by the following rules:
RULES FOR USE OF THE POOL AREA:
- The maximum capacity of the pool is 94 people. The maximum pool deck area capacity is 300.
- Hours for the pool and pool deck area are from dawn to 10pm.
- A resident must accompany any non-resident who is not an immediate family member at all times.
- Pool furniture is not to be removed from the pool deck. Deck furniture must be left in place as it was when the rental began.
- No running or horseplay is allowed on the deck or in the pool.
- Children under 14 years of age in the pool area must be under the supervision of an adult.
- No glass or breakable items are permitted in the pool area.
- Food and drink is not permitted within four feet of the pool.
- The pool area MUST be reserved in advance with the CAM office for private parties or any function attended by over 10 children under the age of 14. The designated reserved party area is under the covered area. The pool area can be reserved Monday through Friday, or on Saturday before 1 p.m. only. No reservations on Sunday.
- Proper swimming attire is required at all times.
- Shower before entering the pool.
- No bikes, skates, roller blades, skateboards, scooters, or pets are allowed in the pool or playground areas.
- The fitness center is open for RESIDENTS ONLY and up to 1 GUEST PER LOT plus a personal trainer. No guests permitted during peak hours 5-9 a.m. The center is open from 5:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. seven days a week. To gain access to the facility before 7:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. (outside of normal Clubhouse hours), please request a key from the Community Association Manager during normal business hours. A $10 fee is required for a key.
- Due to safety and insurance concerns, children under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult in order to be in the fitness center. Children between the ages of 12 and 14, can use the fitness facilities ONLY with adult supervision and a signed waiver on file with the CAM office. Fitness center patrons 14 years of age and over may use the equipment without restriction.
- Wear proper attire and shoes.
- During peak hours (or while others are waiting) limit your time on the treadmill, stair climber, stationary cycling, etc. to 20 to 30 minutes.
- No food or beverage is allowed except for water.
- Please dispose of all trash in trash cans or recycle bins.
- Wipe down each piece of equipment you use for the next user.
- No dropping of free weights.
Residents may bring in their own tennis instructors to teach them lessons. The instructor must first register with the CAM’s office so that they are properly vetted and on file. Instructors are not allowed to bring in outside clients to be instructed on our courts, however, residents may have their instructor teach their guests along with them.
RULES AND POLICIES FOR TENNIS COURTS
- Courts are open seven days per week from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
- Lake Forest residents shall have priority at all times.
- Court times should be reserved one day in advance. Please use the sign-up sheet in the CAM’s office.
- Play is limited to one hour for singles and one and one half hours for doubles. If the courts are not occupied, play may continue until other players claim the court.
- Proper tennis attire is required. Sneakers/tennis shoes only. No street shoes.
- No play when the courts are wet (standing water).
- Courts are for tennis use only. No other sport use is permitted. No bikes, skates, roller blades, skateboards, scooters or other wheeled items are allowed.
- No pets are allowed on or near the courts.
- No glass or breakable items are permitted on the courts.
- No food or alcohol is permitted on the courts.
- Guest tennis players (other than immediate family members of residents) must be accompanied by a Lake Forest resident, and are limited to three per resident.
- Tennis lessons are available to residents and non-residents. Non-residents (other than immediate family members of residents) taking tennis lessons must be invited by a member of Lake Forest and accompanied at all times. Non-resident lessons will be permitted only if they do not restrict a Lake Forest member’s access to the courts or to lessons. A member may invite up to 3 guests to participate in a group tennis lesson and the lesson group together may use a maximum of one court.
Please be aware of the following rules so that the lake will continue to be an asset to the community for years to come.
- Swimming is not permitted in the lake.
- Please do not dispose of trash in the lake.
- No boats are allowed on common property or docks overnight.
- Only non-motorized boats are allowed on the lake, except for boats with small electric trolling motors.