A Response to A Need to Consider Other Values at the Cloister

Careful readers of the contributions of John Eley will notice several extreme assumptions regarding decisions taken by several HOA Board members. Mr Eley’s statements are in RED

There is nothing to support the following statement…..

Mr. Eley: a perspective that regards  low  cost maintenance as the supreme value and objective of the Cloister Board.

We see no indication that any other values are regarded as legitimate or worthy of serious consideration.

I think “fixation” and “obsession” are extreme descriptors and tend to shut off any dialog and don’t fit in any problem solving mode.

Mr. Eley: It is not at all clear that Cloister owners share this single mindedness.To many owners this fixation, or as some call it “obsession” with less expensive maintenance produces planting rules that sacrifice too many important values.

There is room for serious differences in the judgement of what is beautiful,   preservation vs renewal, and some remote impression regards health benefits of plants and trees,and considering stubby tree trunks sticking out of the ground with  all major limbs amputated considered beautiful

Mr. Eley: Many owners have expressed grave reservations about a mind set that does not include the value of beauty, the preservation of nature, the health benefits of plants and trees, and the joy that gardening and being surrounded by beautiful trees brings to the hearts of residents, especially those who have come to the Cloister after years of dedicated efforts to develop and preserve the natural environments around their homes.

The above statements remind me of the extremeism of the tree-huggers of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Some of them would “spike trees” which would threaten the safety of working loggers. They sometimes won. The rabid of those bought homes in the wilderness and now watch as overgrowth and old growth decayed trees fuel wild fires that are consuming their homes.

Let’s tone these things down a bit!

16 thoughts on “A Response to A Need to Consider Other Values at the Cloister

  1. Donna, I agree and if revived the Chairman should make periodic reports at both board meetings and through The Cloister News as well as the official Cloister website. At this time each Committee Chair is an appointee by the President of the HOA Board.


  2. Pete,
    I think John Eley was responding with appreciation to some of us homeowners who are tree huggers, but he knows some of well enough(his wife for one!) to know that we actually do not advocate extreme reactions at all, just an appreciation for God’s gift of nature and its beauty and benefits.
    This is a worthwhile discussion to have I believe, as even the President of the COA suggested that we might want to revive the Beautification Committee. I would agree with him that that would be a timely act, because I think that those values do not seem to be reflected at all in the Plantings documents, in my opinion. Donna Scott


    As a previous board member and president of several years, I concur with Mr. Eley’s suggestion of more OPEN board meetings. I, as president, benefited from Executive meetings where everything was settled only by members of the board without the INTERFERENCE of non-board home owners. It did make our job easier for we did not have to consider home owners input. This system was in effect for many or most of the Cloister’s existence.
    That did not make it right; I do believe that home owners should have some say, before board member’s votes, in the matters before the board. Now, how you can accomplish this, I do not know. I can visualize meetings lasting for many hours unless you can devise a way to limit discussions. I think the present board meetings are held following “Roberts Rules of Order for Meetings of Boards.” I hope what I write here does not confuse you; I was thinking as I wrote.

    Jim Tohill

    • Jim Tohill
      Thanks for your comment. I think that there is a simple reform that could make a big difference. Simply put: all general rules should be developed by the Board as interim rules which are offered to the Cloister owners for comments and suggestions. Upon receipt of comments the Board issues a final rule and a statement indicating how it has treated the comments. The Board then calls a special meeting at which owners are asked to concur with the final rule before it takes effect. This process might require a special meeting once a year. What do you think?

      • Nothing can be done without open and frank 2 way communications. Meetings are great but many of us have active lives and don’t wish to spend at lot of timre at meetings. Recent discussions and comments on this blog are very important but the Blog format is not efficient or easily organized. Could we possibly use a Forum format like in this example? http://vets.yuku.com/directory

  4. I certainly admire your dedication. Perhaps you can dedicate your energy to establishing a non-profit to raise funds from contributions to fund increases in the Cloister capital budget to provide all the wonderful things you desire on our behalf. The fact is our association fee is considerably higher that those of any other Rochford Construction developments. I for one want the HOA Board to dedicate themselves to efficient maintenance of our properties. Lets us not act like the politicians who have great principles but have a voice devoid of any details.

    • I had not intended to attend this meeting but after reading Mr. EEly’s and Mr. Wells blogs I may have to have my say. I FOR ONE CANNOT AFFORD A HIGHER MAINTENANCE FEE. Maybe the writers can but I feel tthat most of the older residents can not, thanks to the current economy.
      I, too, love trees but it has been a problem for quite a while, after all when a giant beautiful tree falls,, it does not just affect the owner of one property but at least two. Before I moved here there were instances when some trees had to be removed as they were dangerous to buildings. We had to have new sewer lines because of root damage at considerable cost as well as foundation repairs when we had damage to our house foundation.

      Dogs have to be controlled, walked and cleaned up after. Many
      people are afraid of dogs, I had Doberman so I am aware of the fear some people have of dogs even small ones, they bite, too.. There is not just the danger to people but to the dogs as well, they get hit by cars and we are near to a majjor highway.. There are some mean people who are a danger to the dogs, I had a six (6) foot fence protecting mine and someone threw poison over the fence to attempt to poison one of my Doberman.

      Get real and consider more factors than just yourself!

      • Please do not assume that I am arguing for higher monthly fees. I am working with others to see if there are ways that we can balance our desire for fees that are as low as possible with our desire to live in a beautiful development where nature is respected and valued. We may have to give up some of what we value in one area for what we value in another. If we can make that decision consciously as a collective body of owners after careful consideration of all points of view we ought to be able to live with the decision and accept its legitimacy. We are asking the Board to take our concerns into account and to allow all of us to have a say. If that happens and we as a collective body of owners decide that low fees trump everything else so be it.

    • Pete
      The Ad Hoc Committee is seeking information from the Board with enough detail to permit a good understanding of the basis for the planting rule. We are not on a crusade to have the fees raised. We may very well be the first ones to accept the new rule and the plans that the Board has developed, but we do not want to be treated like mushrooms who are kept in the dark….

      This is all about tradeoffs among values and we need to put more of them on the table.

  5. Pete
    I believe that a close reading of statements from the Board make it clear that when it comes to plantings low cost maintenance is the supreme value. After all Al Lazaroff said the following “In the Cloister, homeowners have elected board members who have expressed these values:
1. fiscal responsibility- specifically to govern within our budget and not raise maintenance fees (Our maintenance fees have remained the same for the past ten years).
2. handle routine but extremely important matters efficiently, such as: replacing roofs, outside wood, decks, patios, sidewalks, driveways, and lawn care.
3. handle major infrastructure issues such as: drainage, stonewalls, roads, street lighting, and home foundations, responsibility and in a carefully planned way so as not to increase maintenance fees.
4. Protect the value of each homeowner’s property by enforcing rules regarding plantings, building additions, parking, abandoned vehicles, home upkeep and pets.

    Points 1 and 2 reflect a commitment to low maintenance fees. These fees cannot be kept low unless the costs of maintenance are kept low. Since item 2 is between the two references to maintenance fees I think that it is a reasonable assumption that efficiently in this context means as inexpensively as possible.

    Virtually all the communications from the Board on the plantings rule revolve around maintenance costs. So I will stand by my comments on John Sangervasi”s priorities. If this is incorrect John will have clarify his priorities for us.

    Moreover the Board attaches such importance to Al’s statement that it will be reprinted in the Cloister News as the official position of the Board.

    There are many of us who are prepared to hug trees if necessary to keep the actions of the Board from doing irreparable harm to old growth trees. We may be extremists in the eyes of
    those who cannot appreciate the value of nature. Not one of us intends to harm others as you imply by comparing us to extremists who spike trees. Tree huggers are not tree spikers. If we are called extremists then we may return the favor. If we are recognized as reasonable people with legitimate positions, something that has not yet happened in some quarters, we could be less strident in our comments.

Share your thoughts with fellow neighbors...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s