Thirty-six people showed up for last night’s POA meeting, among them Mayor Schafer, Councilmen Knobloch, Rech, and Sislow, City Manager Clovis Reed, and Building Official Ron Jones. Presumably they were there to help end delays on Diamondhead’s citizen-proposed and financed dog park.
Dog Park Leaps Forward
POA manager Mark Boyd reported that he and Darrell Kinchen met with Reed and Jones on August 5 to resolve several issues, including a zoning ordinance prohibition against chain link fencing planned for the park. Reed agreed to support text changes to permit the fence and said that restroom facility and asphalt or concrete parking were required but could be delayed 18 months for the POA to see if park usage would merit its continuation. Later, the restrooms were waived entirely, and it was agreed to seek a text change that would allow for use of pervious parking materials.
As dog parks are not a use by right in city districts zoned Public Facility and Recreation (PFR), a conditional use permit must be obtained by the POA from the city which, by law, must notify the neighborhood and hold a public hearing on it. The permit application costs $500 to file and is ready. Together with proposed text changes it can go before the P&Z Commission on September 22, and pending their approval, before the council on October 6. On a motion by Craig Harvey, seconded by Uwe Seitz, the POA board voted unanimously to pay the $500 filing fee.
Before the vote, Directors Don Crosby, Marshall Kyger, and Sharon McCulley, normally enthusiastic about every big spending project, developed cold feet about this one, carefully voicing queries and caveats about limiting the spending. As McCulley ominously put it, in case it costs over $500 “the dog park is gonna be sacrificed.”
East Rec Playground Temperatures from 112° to over 150º
Director Mike Schaefer reported that after taking his 3 year old grandchild to the playground which she deemed “too hot,” he took 5 days of readings with an infrared thermometer that showed temperatures in the shaded area of 112° and in unshaded areas greater than 150°. He moved, seconded by Seitz, to seek prices for installing shade canopies for the 2016 budget, but withdrew his motion when it was determined that the recreation committee headed by Director Kelsey Johnson was already investigating the cost of shade sails.
The board chose the black rubber tire mulch that covers the children’s playground at its March 20, 2015 meeting, as reported in those minutes. There is no mention of summer temperatures when black rubber mulch heats up substantially and releases toxic gases, but the minutes reflect that documents relative to its safety were presented by Jerry Weber and Sharon McCulley. They are attached to the minutes but not available online. Parents and grandparents should ask to see them.
Info on Expiring Covenants “Completely Inappropriate” for Property Owners to Hear
Schaefer also moved, seconded by McCulley, that a covenants committee be formed to begin figuring out what can be done to maintain the amenities once the covenants expire. Kyger objected on grounds that past boards have already obtained two legal opinions (Newton opinion in 2010 and Tubertini/Gutierrez opinion in 2014), the covenants were adopted into the bylaws per the Newton opinion, and that “this is a completely inappropriate topic for a public discussion because it will almost certainly entail litigation.” President John Fletcher agreed that it should not be discussed except in a closed workshop session. The motion, favored by McCulley, Schaefer, and Seitz, was voted down by Crosby, Fletcher, Harvey, Kyger, and Montjoy.
Quarterly Meetings Suggestion Moved Behind Closed Doors
Schaefer noted that monthly meetings are not required and not normally attended lately by more than 12 to 22 people. He said there had been a couple of meetings where there was nothing to discuss and he thought they could cut down to seven meetings, the three mandatory ones plus four quarterly ones. The president stated that they would discuss this in a workshop session as they had no prior notice of it.
Hailey McNamara Law Firm Gets Board OK
A motion by Craig Harvey to retain the Hailey McNamara law firm passed after much discussion including the untimeliness of opinions recently requested from another attorney, excellent past work by Hailey McNamara’s Rick Tubertini and John Gutierrez, and ability of the POA to hire based on expertise as needed on various legal matters.
Interesting Stuff to Know
In answer to a property owner’s questions about the dog park, Fletcher replied that a nearby resident will provide water, no electricity is needed or provided, and liability is covered under the POA’s policy. Regarding covenant enforcement, he stated that Darrell Kinchen and the Architectural Committee are responsible. Kinchen added that where loose dogs were concerned, he must begin by writing a letter to the owner, if that can be determined, so those as well as other violations take time to resolve. If a dog presents an immediate problem, the sheriff’s office should be called. Knobloch further added that the city has a contract with an animal control officer.
The last 2015 board meeting minutes available on the POA website are April’s. The Diamondhead News has published April’s and June’s but not May’s. Responsible parties need to fix that.