In the time since our last meeting on the 24th, several homeowners who’ve collectively volunteered to help steer the development of a new petition (the “Steering Group”) have held conversations with the attendees of September’s forum to collect feedback and views on the various aspects of the District, and how we might move forward on a new petition. We’ve seen strong support for the concept as a whole, which is encouraging.
In general, we seem to have nearly unanimous agreement around the following benefits:
1. The agreement that despite being more complicated as a solution than incorporation as a traditional municipality, a Resort Area District is preferable to a municipality because the framework of a District permits voting rights to non-resident property owners.
2. The agreement that Resort Service Fees are a needed benefit, generating $800k or more annually to fund community infrastructure and services that are currently paid for entirely through Mountain Top Assessments
3. The agreement that property owner representation in requesting and managing community funds is a benefit for all involved.
These are and have always been the key tenets of the District concept – in short – provide additional funding to offset the costs of property ownership on the Mountain while also putting more control for how community dollars are spent into the hands of a more representative body. It is for these reasons that a large majority of those polled feel strongly that this idea is important and needed.
In addition, we seem to have general agreement on the following approaches to addressing the remaining parts of the proposal that still require wider-spread agreement before we have ‘the right solution’:
1. The agreement that we desire to achieve our goals without further legislative action if possible due to the uncertainties around our ability to successfully re-open the legislative process a third time.
a. Alternatively, a combination of the petition and the bylaws can be used to further refine our plans and best reflect the desires of the majority.
2. The agreement that some portion of the resort service fees should be used directly to reduce Mountain Top Assessment obligations currently paid by property owners in the form of a credit or reimbursement against MTA fees paid.
3. The agreement between homeowners and Snowshoe; as a means to ensure that Snowshoe does not hold a majority of seats on the Board, that so long as Snowshoe holds majority control over the commercial interests at the Resort, Snowshoe will nominate and vote in the commercial election to elect the 4th highest vote-taker of the residential property class election; or in the case where fewer than 3 HO elections are to be held concurrently, to support highest vote taking non-elected candidate of that HO election.
We’ve also identified five specific areas upon which we must continue discussion and reach a stronger level of agreement before proceeding with a petition:
1. Special assessments
2. District rangers
3. Precinct representation vs at-large representation of homeowner representatives.
4. Term limits for board members
5. Further clarification that properties cannot be attached as collateral for debts. (while all involved agree that this condition must hold true if the District is to have the support of the community, some have asked for further clarification on this issue and it will be discussed in the meeting.)
Having reviewed the feedback received, I am optimistic that together we can achieve our combined goals. We have some very specific feedback and ideas to share and discuss, and so to continue the conversation, we are holding another meeting of Association Presidents on December 11th, at 10AM in the Seneca Board Room @ Snowshoe. The focus of the meeting will be to talk through these five points and to attempt to reach large-scale agreement upon which we might move forward. All homeowners are welcomed attend or to call into and listen to the meeting by calling (866) 853-3901 and entering participant code: 8639019277. Please e-mail Ruth Bachman at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend in person so that we can plan appropriately for crowd size. The meeting will be recorded and made available at www.snowshoerad.com in the days following the meeting.
Thank you for your continued feedback, candor, and willingness to participate in charting a new course for our future together as a community.