It’s puzzling to realize how fickle we are. Many times I arrive home, check my phone messages, and comment on how many return calls I have to make. Then there are the days I check my messages and there are none. “No messages?? What? Can’t be. Am I forgotten?”
This relates to the weather as well. For weeks conversation has been focused on how empty and dry the canals are and the lack of water for our sprinkler system. The grass was turning brown and our plants were dying. It was upsetting. Go forward to this week. “What torrential rains we are experiencing! How terrible. Can’t go out. No outdoor activities. Did you hear the thunder and did you jump at the lightning?” What a task in trying to keep us satisfied!! We always have to have a topic of conversation.
Wednesday we lost power at the clubhouse and the cafe. We had no control over nature. It was not our fault. You may have wanted to blame us for another issue you are unhappy with but please keep in mind that we did not do this!! Hopefully by the time you read this, we should be fully functional once again.
CLUBHOUSE AND OFFICE HOLIDAY CLOSING
The Clubhouse will be closed on Monday July 5th due to the July 4th holiday taking place on a Sunday this year. Security will be present at the front desk. The staff will be absent.
JULY 4th GATHERING
Date: Sunday, July 4th
Time: 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Place: Main Pool
Entertainment by Jonny Loew
NO ADMISSION FEE
Please keep in mind that our cafe remains closed on Mondays.
The cafe will be closed for vacation from August 2nd to August 8th.
We continue to ask your patience with the lack of services at our cafe. We anticipate that employment will open and we will have the required servers necessary to function fully as before. Gradually food services will increase their distribution and variety of menu items. There isn’t any reason to be rude or disrespectful to our cafe staff. They are trying very hard to please you. It’s a stressful situation for them to be in as is and we do not want them leaving us due to the behavior of a few.
REMINDER OF CHLORINE FLUSH OF PALM BEACH COUNTRY WATER SYSTEM
The Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department has issued notice that their annual chlorine water flush will take place this week. You may notice a slight chlorine taste or color in your tap water but these conditions will not cause adverse health effects.
Should you be sensitive to the taste or odor you can refrigerate the water for a few hours to allow the chlorine to dissipate.
FREEDOM WEEK SALES TAX HOLIDAY
The state sales tax holiday begins July 1st and ends on July 7th. This was designed to encourage Floridians to return to normal events by tax exempting purchases during Freedom Week for camping supplies, concerts, sporting events, museums, movies, state parks etc. Do not be shy in asking store keepers if their merchandise applies to the exemptions.
RENOVATION CURRENT PERMIT STATUS
As of Wednesday, June 30th, the following is the current permit status:
The permit has passed for fire, zoning, and electrical.
Comments from the county have been issued for building, mechanical, plumbing, and water utilities.
Comments are pending from landscaping and health.
Please note that the Building Dept. is designating this project a Threshold Project, which requires a 3rd party structural inspector.
As of this moment, no meetings are scheduled for next week.
Have a wonderful July 4th weekend. Hopefully the sun will shine for us.
(The following document was sent to a resident yesterday in response to an email which lamented the “lack of progress” on our clubhouse renovation project. It turns out that this resident was totally not aware of what has been done. He has not attended meetings, not read our emails – you will catch on as you read this response. We are including as part of the weekly Community Connection so that everyone is aware of everything mentioned herein.)
As I sit in “da” Bronx reading my July 1 NY TIMES I cannot help but share my thoughts about a front page (albeit below the fold) article titled “As Condo Boards Squabble, Disaster May Loom” written by Mike Baker and Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura. The sub-headline reads “Fixes Often Delayed by Fights Over Money.”
Of course, the article is about the Champlain Towers South, but it could be about any condo, co-op, or HOA association. The problem: The Board of Directors has only $X in its reserve account but knows that the association needs many times that number for repairs. To take care of the known problems a sizable special assessment to the residents is necessary.
In Surfside some Board members quit because they felt they must live in the community and did not want to be known as someone who caused the assessment. Other Board members did not want to vote for the assessment because they thought they would never be re-elected.
And so, association repairs in Surfside and elsewhere are often deferred or only partially done until more money is accumulated. The health and welfare of the association’s residents are repeatedly decided by volunteer Board members with little expertise in finance or maintenance to avoid infighting with neighbors and to heed pressures to keep the expenses low.
In 2019 the existing HPA BOD hired Akouri Engineers, an independent engineering company, to identify all the health and safety items that need to be addressed in our clubhouse. Our Board knew the clubhouse was nearly 30 years old and it was time to take a good look at our building. The most critical finding concerned our old, faulty HVAC system: the quality of the air in our clubhouse needed to be updated/upgraded. There were also many other findings. That report was/is available to any resident.
The HPA BOD then began a long process to plan and institute our clubhouse renovation. The Board has tried very hard to maintain a methodical process every step of the way. When necessary, we hired professionals who are degreed and certified in their area of expertise. When the candidates appeared before the BOD, the residents were included; the Board has been transparent every step of the way.
In December 2019 we began with seven focus groups allowing residents to tell the professionals and the Board what features our owners wanted to include. (The residents were also invited to the Ballroom to select a color scheme for the renovation.)
Our architect created plans based on the focus groups. In our theater in February 2020 at an open meeting, he showed slides of what existed at that time and what will exist in the future. We learned that we now must adhere to all the current ADA requirements, and those were also built into the plans. These plans were available for any owner.
Our Interior Design Group created renderings of the selected furnishings. The renderings were available for everyone to see. Included too were samples of flooring, wall coverings, tiles, etc.
And then came the pandemic and life in the entire world changed. We were one of the first communities in South Florida that opened our outside activities. This was done in steps so that we obeyed the CDC and PB County. The HPA BOD was very concerned with the health and safety of our residents. Despite all of this, the renovation plans continued.
All meetings were open meetings; all contracts with the professionals are on our website; Robo calls and/or email blasts alerted residents of future meetings, interviews, etc.; our president updated everyone in her weekly emails; now that we are getting closer, we include a renovation update in recent Lifestyle magazines.
There was an open auction of the existing clubhouse furnishings. Residents were able to purchase items without paying an entrance fee; outsiders were charged such fees. A separate line was created in our financial documents to separate the auction money so that it is used only for the renovation.
Recently our permit plans were submitted to PB County. The county has already approved some aspects of the permits and questioned other aspects. Sometimes changes are required; sometimes further explanations are requested. In one instance an opening needed to be one inch larger to assure that someone in a wheelchair could turn around.
In the meantime, as changes are made, updates are made by the still-to-be-hired GC so that the pricing reflects the latest plans to avoid change orders in the future.
The HPA BOD also approved hiring an Owner’s Rep to represent us every step of the way. He will begin as soon as our attorney and his attorney agree on the text of his contract. Interviews for this position were open. If you zoomed in as we met our new Owner’s Rep, you know that the selected Owner’s Rep understands concrete, plumbing, electricity, mechanicals, etc. and has many years of experience in areas of expertise we need.
That sort of fills you in on where we are and what has happened at HP to get us to this point.
And yet —-
- Some residents still tell us that they have no idea what is going on. All the HPA BOD can do is to share the information. If our residents did not come to the focus meetings or send suggestions to the Steering Group, do not listen to meetings, do not look on the website, do not read the Friday Community Connection, do not read Lifestyles, etc. etc., that is not a problem of the BOD. The BOD is sharing everything; it is doing the best it can.
- Our residents still ask what the assessment to them will be. If the BOD had that information, we would make it available. We still need the GC’s pricing. We know that we do not have enough reserve money (see the beginning of this piece) and will have to go to banks for a Line of Credit. NO BANK WILL TALK TO US UNTIL WE HAVE A SIGNED GC CONTRACT WITH PRICING as well as many, many other documents (all of which are ready for the banks). We have announced this many times, but the assessment questions never stop. Usually, the assessment question is followed by “What is taking so long?”
- Our residents continually ask our president and members of the HPA BOD if activities could take place in the clubhouse. Everyone knows what the Akouri report said. Some small groups think that we could make an exception for them so that they can meet. The BOD will just keep denying club/organization access to the clubhouse.
- The BOD has been asked again and again if residents could just use the inside pool despite the known ventilation problems that exist. The BOD cannot approve use of the inside pool.
On the other hand, most of our residents are aware of what is going on and thankful for the meticulous detail that the HPA BOD openly is providing for this project.
Unlike the Champlain Towers South BOD, recent HPA BOD know and understand that we have no choice with many of the repairs that are part of the clubhouse renovation plans. Our HPA BOD is not afraid to move forward. Our HPA BOD is not afraid to take a stand and make unpopular decisions. As said, your BOD realizes that the health and safety of its residents takes precedence over everything. And remember, every member of the HPA BOD will pay the same assessment as every other owner.
Rest assured, when there is some news regarding the HPA clubhouse renovation, the news will be publicized. We hope that those who care will avail themselves of the news.
Thank you for your patience.
The Steering Group
Enid Friedman, Architect
Phyllis Sandler, Phase I
Sue Loeser, Phase II
Shirley Kafka, Phase III
Susan Levine, Phase IV