Governing Myrtle Trace A Twenty Year History Governing Myrtle Trace A Twenty Year History In this year of 2008 let’s stop and celebrate our accomplishments during the 20 years that we have governed our own community. Although we generally think of our community being 25 years old, since 25 years is the age of some of our buildings, we did not have full control of our own community--Myrtle Trace Condominium Association, Inc.--until 1988. Control and ownership of our Myrtle Trace community was passed to us from the developer, Plantation Associates (PA), in 1988 making us a self-governing entity in The Plantation. This anniversary year is a good time to look back and assess our accomplishments over that 20-year period. How well have we have governed ourselves, and who of our owners contributed to building today’s well-managed, attractive residential community of Myrtle Trace? I. Self Government Comes to Myrtle Trace In June 1988 at a Myrtle Trace Board meeting the directors of Plantation Associates resigned and passed ownership of the Association over to the unit owners. Myrtle Trace owners were elected to the Board: President, Bruce Rohn; Vice President Ivan Green; Secretary, Jean Dodge; Treasurer, Tom Sullivan and committees were formed. An existing Turnover Transition Committee consisting of Bob Normile, Paul Hepler, Tom Shannon, Bill Dohl and Jean Dodge remained in force to deal with turnover issues still to be resolved. The new board appointed members to various committees including Clubhouse and Pool; Buildings; Lawns and plantings; Roads, Driveways & Lights; Lakes, Drains & Bridge; Irrigation, Pumps & Fountain; Ombudsmen. II. Property Management for Our Community At turnover Myrtle Trace contracted with Mike Harrington to continue as property manager. He was already Plantation Associates’ property manager and he had office space on Harrington Lake Drive. Our prior property managers over the years were: 1986 Norm Woodward 1987-1991 Mike Harrington 1991 Vince McCormick 1992-2004 Advanced Management of Southwest Florida (AMI) 2004-present Lighthouse Management. During his tenure Mike Harrington prevailed upon PA to purchase and erect the building that currently houses the PMA Management personnel as he and his staff were in temporary quarters on Harrington Lake Drive. He hired Alex Carpenter as our Myrtle Trace maintenance person and Alex served us for many years. In 2004 we selected Lighthouse Management to replace AMI as our property manager, and at that time Alex resigned and Joe Doria was hired. Joe retired in 2007 due to ill health and our current maintenance man, Tim Houser, came aboard. III. A New Independent Board Goes to Work in 1988 The newly formed, independent Board of Directors identified problem areas that Plantation Associates was required to correct before completing the transaction. At a subsequent meeting later in the year the new Board obtained owners’ agreement to set up a Reserve Account for major capital improvements. As noted above, committees had been established. IV. Accomplishments and Problems Overcome in the 20-year Period. Rat Infestation Problem A problem encountered early on was that of rats appearing around the property and even getting into our homes. Apparently the new construction in the neighboring Southwood development drove them from their nests there. They fled in the direction of Myrtle Trace and infested some of our homes. There was one attic from which ten rats were removed! The project to exterminate and control the infestation was an expense for our Association even though the residential infestation was attributed to poor construction, because Myrtle Trace Condominium Association had already accepted ownership from Plantation Associates when we became aware of the problem. If you have ever wondered about those ugly black boxes of poison up against your building the answer lies way back then. Regarding the Southwood construction, our Board President was instrumental in getting a barrier between our communities and had it registered in the County. Our current Board is addressing this issue for violations. Roads and Driveways Maintenance. All roads within our community were repaved over a two-year period probably 1994/1995. Driveways have been repaired and resealed periodically every 4 years with the last being in 2007. Pool and Clubhouse Maintenance. Pool lining has been replaced several times. The pool heater was replaced some time in the 1990’s and again in 2008. These repairs and updates are simply a matter of upkeep. Umbrellas for our tables at poolside were purchased by the ladies of the social committee back in the early 1990’s using surplus funds they had accumulated from our monthly pot luck parties. These were the first umbrellas we had for the tables. The social committee also purchased the lights that are installed along the walkway to the clubhouse using their funds. The clubhouse has undergone a repainting. A new tile floor has been installed, and new appliances have been purchased. Volunteers removed the old wallpaper and did the painting to cut costs which were extensive. Buildings and Grounds Maintenance and Repair More recently newer, energetic Boards have made great strides in upgrading and repairing buildings, in landscaping, and in numerous necessary although often unseen ways. Their work has already been dealt with in other writings. Painting of Myrtle Trace Buildings. During the term of President Dick Nyberg, in 1994 or 1995, the Board established a five-year schedule for painting our buildings. McKillop was selected on a competitive bid based on best competitive bid for services offered. Their work was excellent and we thought that the buildings had never looked that good before. The original paint job was judged to be inferior to what McKillop did for us. The schedule was changed to six years by a later Board under presidency of Joe Cook and has subsequently been extended by the current Board to 12 years. Roof Repairs and Replacement. In 1995 we were made aware of a serious problem with our roofs. An owner who wished to install gutters was told by the installer that gutters could not be installed because the roof was slipping. Apparently the underlayment of the tile was not properly affixed causing the entire roof to slip. Other roofs were inspected and three additional ones were found to need immediate replacement. It was a jolt to the Board. Where would we get the funds for this essential repair? Using the roof reserve and surplus in the operating account we were able to replace two roofs. The third roof and two additional ones were replaced the following year when funds were available. The roofing contractor, Patnode, performed the work, and quality inspection was by Sy Elakman. Cost was approximately $24,000 per roof covering two units. In the years that followed additional roofs were replaced as they were judged to be in too poor a condition to be worth repairing. In 2005 the Building Committee judged that nearly all the remaining roofs were in poor condition and recommended that all be replaced. The Board subsequently signed a contract with Florida Southern Roofing for their replacement. An agreement in the contract affords us an extended warranty for these 70 roofs, which protects Myrtle Trace from the cost of future repairs. Shower Stall Leaks in Original C and D Units. Owner complaints concerning leaks in the stall showers of the Chelsea and Dover units were numerous. The builder was aware that there was a problem in the construction and did make some effort to ameliorate the situation. He really was not applying sufficient attention to the problem. He did open and repair to a limited extent in response to complaints but the problem didn’t go away. In 2006 the Myrtle Trace Board determined that drastic action was in order. They voted to undertake a major renovation. The walls were opened and inspected and in many cases major damage was noted. Some, however, did not require complete overhaul probably because of earlier efforts to correct the problem. Hurricane resistant glass was installed in all units in order to bring them up to code. Grass. All grass was replaced with St. Augustine plugs over a three-year period around 1994. This is the grass that we have in most areas today. Grounds. Plantings are replaced as needed. The irrigation system underwent extensive overhaul in 2008. That year also saw upgrade of our entrance monuments largely by volunteer participation. Tree Trimming. Trees were trimmed in 2002, but subsequent Boards judged the work as unsatisfactory and in 2006 engaged the services of Arborscape, Inc. at a cost of $5000 per visit three times a year. To avoid paying the County for the right to dump the cuttings, owner volunteers offered their services to spread the woodchip mulch that is generated from the cuttings. V. Communications It is important especially in a large community like Myrtle Trace for the Board to communicate with its membership on a regular basis. News Bulletins Early Efforts: During the early to mid-90’s when our regular assessment notice was mailed quarterly we prepared a two-page update on activities that accompanied the mailing. This was something that could be enclosed with the invoice at no extra cost of mailing. Nothing along those lines was done for a while. Some time later another member of the community prepared a news bulletin, Myrtle Tracings. At the end of 2001, when the editor, Dan Lindsay, was out of town, Roy Boudreaux prepared the paper. Dan subsequently moved from Myrtle Trace. Roy came to the rescue and produced his first monthly issue of the Gazette May 1, 2002. The paper is an important means of providing social and business information to our residents. All await the volunteers’ delivery of the paper at the front door on the first day of the month. For those who are not currently in residence they can obtain the paper by mail simply by leaving a stamped self-addressed envelope and specifying the monthly issue(s) desired. A Web Site for Myrtle Trace Myrtle Trace now has its very own web site, http://myrtletrace.org/, managed by Ken Buck, Webmaster, where owners can access nearly every kind of news about their community. If an owner is unable to attend Board meetings the news from that meeting is available on the web site as are announcements of coming meetings. Financial information, social activities, and the Gazette are all there. There is also a history of Myrtle Trace written by Elsa Denno that contains a brief history of development of The Plantation, photos from old Plantation Newsletters announcing the planned construction of Myrtle Trace, photos from the 1992 flood, and floor plans for all seven Myrtle Trace models. Myrtle Trace Directory The Directory is another important project of our Gazette editor, Roy Boudreaux. It is more than just a telephone book for our community. Roy first prepared it in 2006 and it has been such an important tool for residents that he prepared an update in 2008. You will find names, addresses, unit number, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses. Additionally, it includes our Rules and Regulations, Companion Piece to Condominium Documents that clarifies terms used therein, Advisory concerning things to do before leaving your residence for an extended period, and even an advisory about handling of garbage, recyclables and yard waste. VI. Keeping Documents Up to Date Condominium Documents It came to our attention that the original condominium documents for Myrtle Trace that had been written by the developer were badly out of date. They did not deal with the current State of Florida requirements for condominium ownership. A completely revised and updated version was prepared and distributed to every owner in the community. The basic condominium rules were unchanged but all references and rules were brought up to date. Rules and Regulations. In 2008 our President named an ad hoc committee to review and revise our Rules and Regulations with a view to making them less restrictive wherever possible in order to enhance our enjoyment of life at Myrtle Trace while still conforming to the condominium documents. VII. Recognition of Those Who Have Served Let no one challenge the assertion that we have accomplished much in caring for our community over the years. It all required dedication of time and effort in governing and donating physical effort. Unfortunately many contribute and their effort is taken for granted, and they are forgotten over the years. We remember some of them and list their names below—first the Board Presidents in order of their service followed by those who served on Boards with them. The list contains only those names this old author can recall or was able to retrieve from the archives of Myrtle Trace. Myrtle Trace Presidents of the Board of Directors Bruce Rohn. Jean Dodge, Ivan Green,Tom Fern, Jack Ames, Dick Nyberg, Bud Brecht, Bill Donnelly, George Wielman, Bill Donnelly, Joe Cook, Leo Boudreaux, Sam Simpson, Bob Banz Served on Boards of Directors (listed alphabetically) Weldon Booth, Bill Baldenko, Geri Becker; Bob Banz, Ken Buck, Sue Clark, Barbara Diehl, Elsa Denno, Robert Doris, Ed Englehart; Barbara Farnsworth, Mary Jane Hepler, Paul Hepler, Bob Jaggard, Dan Lindsay; Arthur Nelson, Bill Reynolds, Tom Sullivan, Larry Saphier, Max Wakeman, Dick Yost. Volunteers These are the often overlooked dedicated people who do many jobs that save the community considerable expense, jobs that often require special expertise, and those that others do not want to do. Listed following are some of them. Electrical expertise: Gerry Mello and Don Shaner Piping systems, controls, and mechanics: Ed Engelhart Information Management: Gazette, Web Site, Files, and Bulletin Boards: Roy Boudreaux, Carole Grace, Yvonne Noel, Ken Buck, Sue Clark, Sam Simpson. History of the development of The Plantation and Myrtle Trace (available on our Web Site) and this Myrtle Trace History: Elsa Denno (text and expertise), Ken Buck (graphics and archives) Horticulture: Ken Buck, Rita Priest, Ricki Boudreaux Social Events: Sue Clark, Joan Saphier, Betty Hastings, Nancy Banz, Peggy and Sam Simpson, Sandy Mumm, Jan Jaggard, Lynn Porter, Betty Fern, Mary Hannum, and many more. Without the perseverance and dedication in applying their expertise and time, Myrtle Trace would not be the great, unique community it is today.
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