Your Opinion Should Matter to the POA, and Why It Doesn’t?

March 29, 2012

This is not an effort on my part to convince anyone to agree with whatever my views are on the Gatehouse Project.

Your opinion should matter to the POA, and the only way of effectively having a voice in our Williams Island community is to make sure that our building’s POA representative knows how you feel.

I believe that our opinion does not really matter to the POA, in part because of how the POA works and in part because of how our POA representative works. And if you would like to know why, I explain it further below.

But believe it or not, I am the eternal optimist. Just maybe – with your expression of interest – the upcoming special POA meeting may bring about a change.


You owe it to yourself to read Mr. Lurie’s letter:

PLEASE read the letter sent to all of you on March 29th by our POA representative Bill Lurie about the April 5th POA meeting and “proposed” assessment for the Gatehouse Project. (Here is a copy in PDF format for your convenience).

Mr. Lurie “would like to hear from more residents before the April 5th meeting”   and his letter contains “information [which] may help in understanding what is proposed and why.”

Every unit owner should carefully and thoughtfully consider the information presented by Mr. Lurie, and communicate your feelings about the project right away.


Why I believe your opinion doesn’t matter to this POA Board:

There are many reasons I could (and probably will) point to for my belief that our views don’t matter to this POA Board, but Mr. Lurie’s letter really says it all.

Think about it for a moment: a week before the POA votes on a special assessment for the Gatehouse Project, our POA representative wants to hear from you.

I know I highlighted it, but did you catch it the first time around or in the title of the letter or the description of the special meeting? The meeting is to pass an assessment.

Why does Bill Lurie want to know what we think NOW?  Our POA has already approved the project. The POA has already taken out the building permits. The POA has already bid the project out. The “Special Meeting” isn’t to give a thumbs up or down to the project. It is simply to make us pay for what they want (as opposed – heaven forbid – what the consensus of residents want).

At best, it is a (belated) public relations effort at smoothing over criticism. At worst, it is insulting to anyone with common sense and is (intellectually and otherwise) dishonest.

If those words sound harsh, please hear me out.

Until today, I am at a loss to find any information about the Gatehouse Project provided to our unit owners that “may help in understanding what is proposed and why” prior to the project being bid out and construction permits obtained.

Have you ever been asked for your input about the Gatehouse project and assessment since it was “begun” in 2010?

The POA Board is assessing Island unit owners over $1.9 million dollars for a new gatehouse and a new “Porte Cochere entry feature”, plus a few other things. The justification is that the current entry does not do our community justice, nor does it compare well to our competition. Sounds good, right?  I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know we were competing with anyone – and what are we competing for? Who is “our competition”?

I actually can understand and appreciate the entryway is old, and that alone for me could justify a new Gatehouse area. But do any of you know what it is going to look like? (Bob Shelley promised we would have renderings at our building within three days when he spoke at our residents’ meeting on February 15th. I wonder where that promise went. And of course, this is after the design has already been settled upon and bid out.) Most communities will provide alternative design renderings and place them on display in each building, and often ask the residents to vote. Not only are we going to be assessed for a project that is already a done deal, we are going to be stuck with the taste of less than a dozen people instead of the consensus of almost 2,000 unit owners of Williams Island.

Then there is the new guardhouse at the exit. Apparently, it is “justified” by the small price ($75,000) and the preliminary results of a survey that suggests security is important to Island residents. What about the cost of having the guardhouse manned – three guards to cover 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (salaries, insurance, workers compensation, bonuses, vacations, overtime)?  About that survey – which wasn’t about how to improve security, but what people liked about Williams Island – the exit guardhouse was decided upon before the so-called “demographic” survey was sent out.

Finally, to suggest the renovation of the Resident Gatehouse to include a bathroom so that the toilet in the driveway of our building would be removed is just a plain old lie. The POA had absolutely no intention and gave no consideration to removing the toilet in our driveway until our own Association Board forced the issue. Until approximately one week ago the POA didn’t even know if they could build a bathroom in the Resident Gate.

Heard enough?

Express yourself. And tell your neighbors and friends on the Island to do the same.

Arthur Shanker