Oxford Place   

Fort Mill, SC          

2007 Spring Newsletter

Thanks to all who attended the Oxford Place Property Owner’s Meeting held on Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 7:30 p.m., at the Doby’s Bridge Presbyterian Church. The neighborhood had a very successful meeting; 38 of 106 properties were represented in person or by proxy. Unfortunately, with only 36% of the residents present, we did not reach our current quorum level of 40%.

Bob Katz, President of the Board, opened the meeting with his welcoming remarks and reported that Oxford Place has been recognized by the Founders Federal Credit Union, which means that all OXP residents are eligible to join the credit union and enjoy the many benefits it has to offer.

2007 Board Members

At the annual meeting a call for nominations was made for 2007 Board members. Bob Katz, Libby Pretty, and Kelly Wascher agreed to serve again, or step down if others wanted to serve this year. Brooke Tunstall and Marc Vigeant volunteered to fill the two vacancies on the board that were previously held by Angie Bivens and Angela Alfredson. Since the neighborhood did not have the required 40% quorum in attendance at the meeting, we will utilize a provision in the bylaws to conduct a vote by mail. A ballot has been added to your 2007 invoice to allow for the certification of the board.

The board members for 2007 are:

Bob Katz        802-xxxx   824 Savile Lane
Libby Pretty    548-xxxx   611 Kingston Way
Brooke Tunstall 548-xxxx  1058 Croyden Court
Marc Vigeant    547-xxxx  1430 Doe Ridge Lane
Kelly Wascher   396-xxxx  1431 Doe Ridge Lane

The main reason why Oxford Place has been able to keep such a low annual fee compared to other neighborhoods is that we do not contract out any of the management of the association. When you have a concern, please consider that the board members are volunteers with very busy schedules just like you. If you feel strongly about an issue, we may need your help leading the effort.


Jayne Guchone, co-chairperson of the Landscaping Committee, reported that earlier this year, the board learned that our current landscaper, Kevin Thomas, would be retiring due to physical issues with his knees. Kevin has completed all terms of his contract as negotiated by the then landscaping committee two years ago and renewed last year by full board approval. The only remaining item on his contract is the final two months of mowing. To replace him, landscaping committee members Jayne and Winston O’Reggio sought bids for a new landscaper and presented the bids to the board. The board accepted a bid by Shamrock Landscaping Inc. Shamrock Landscaping has been in business many years and has a great reputation. The company is owned by Fort Mill Councilman Ken Starnes. The contract covers weekly mowing, cleaning, weeding, irrigation system management, mulch, pine straw, flowers, pruning, fertilization, aeration, over seeding, fungicides, insecticides, and more. The price of the contract is $7442. This is more than our previous contract, $6,000.00, but is due primarily to the irrigation maintenance. If you would like a copy of the contract emailed to you, please send an email to oxfordplace@gmail.com.

Those in attendance continued to support placing attractive boulders at the Oxford Place West entrances to protect the entrances from truck damage. The stakes have been somewhat effective, but are not very attractive. The money that was saved by not placing boulders last year was used to repair and upgrade the outstanding landscape lighting we all now enjoy that makes our neighborhood visible at night.

We received a quote of $350 per boulder, which includes the installation and surrounding landscaping. The landscaping committee, along with boulder enthusiast Linda Hood, will be researching boulders and making recommendations for placement. As in the past, we continue to hope to defray the overall cost by accepting free boulders as was offered during the meeting.

During the ensuing discussion, it was brought to the Board’s attention that there may be drainage problem with a culvert that runs in front of the playground. It was agreed that this problem would be looked into and a determination made if anything needs to be done to correct any problems.

Two residents have volunteered to serve on the landscaping committee and provide guidance to the new landscaper. If anyone else would like to join the landscaping committee or provide input about landscaping or boulder procurement, please contact Jayne Guchone.

Jayne Guchone       547-xxxx
Winston O’Reggio  802-xxxx

Budget and Annual Fee

The board presented four budget and annual fee proposals to the homeowners in attendance. Fixed fees include (1) maintenance landscaping; (2) electricity for street lights, wells, and entrance lighting; (3) insurance and legal; (4) printing & supplies; and (5) a reserve of 15%-20% to cover unexpected expenses. Other items, such as adding low voltage lighting to the medians and adding minimal landscaping to the recreation lot were not previously budgeted and were discussed with those in attendance. Unfortunately, adding low voltage lighting to both medians was projected to cost $3,500 per median primarily because the conduit previously installed with the wells is not adequate to run additional wiring. At this price, the homeowners in attendance decided against adding median lighting. Those in attendance were also concerned that without a water source at the recreation lot, adding additional landscaping would not have a strong chance for survival. Ultimately, on motion made and seconded, those in attendance approved budget option 4 by majority vote with one vote against, and set the annual fee at $245. This is the same amount as in 2006. We have enclosed an invoice for $245 with this newsletter. Please be sure to make your payment promptly by the deadline specified on the invoice. If you were not able to attend the annual meeting and would like a copy of the 2006 expenses or the 2007 budget, please send an email to oxfordplace@gmail.com.

Bylaws Amendment

The board is recommending that the bylaws be amended to reduce the quorum requirements for the annual meeting. Since the current 40% quorum was not present at the annual meeting, some in attendance felt that a mailed ballot would be more appropriate than a voice vote added to another call for proxies from those who did not attend.

It was recommended that we amend our current bylaws to lower our quorum requirement to 30%. Therefore we have provided a ballot on your invoice to allow you to vote on this issue. In order to be counted, votes must be returned by the date specified on the invoice/ballot.

The proposed amendment is as follows:

Section 4. The presence in person or by proxy at the meeting of members entitled to vote thirty percent (30%) of the votes of the membership shall constitute a quorum for any action except as otherwise provided in the Articles of Incorporation, or these Bylaws.

A 30% quorum is quite common among neighborhood associations and would allow for the orderly conducting of elections and other business. A 30% quorum would have been helpful considering the turnout at the meeting.

Entrance Signs

At the annual meeting, Mark Ostendorff expressed a concern that our entrance signs were too close to Doby’s Bridge Road and encroached on the SC Department of Transportation’s right of way. He was further concerned that, if someone were to crash into them, our current liability policy may not cover us if we were sued. On motion made and seconded, the homeowners in attendance agreed that the board should investigate this matter by a majority vote, with two opposed and six abstaining.

The board is actively investigating the concerns regarding the entrance signs.

Architectural Review

The Architectural Review Committee will retain the same members as last year.

Laura Bradford  802-xxxx   628 Kingston Way 
Roger Guchone   547-xxxx   603 Kingston Way
Lenny Sernulka  548-xxxx   805 Savile Lane 
Johnny Webster  802-xxxx   202 Oxford Place Drive

Per item 27 of the C&Rs - No construction, reconstruction, remodeling or alteration of any building, improvement, or structure shall be commenced without prior written approval. Basically the architectural review committee wants to make sure plans meet the conditions of the C&Rs (square footage; 90% brick, stone, or stucco; cement driveway; extra walls etc.) and some other common sense guidelines (not a duplicate of house next door, etc.). The architectural review committee is happy to answer your building questions or concerns.

Covenants & Restrictions

Residents are all responsible for meeting all of the C&Rs. If you need a copy of the C&Rs please send an email to oxfordplace@gmail.com. As a reminder, fines will be assessed for any ongoing violations of the C&Rs that are not addressed in a timely manner.

Ongoing Legal Matter -

Homeowners asked for an update regarding the partially constructed dwelling on Cabin Creek Court.

The owner of the property on Cabin Creek Court is in violation of the following C&R items: Item 2 "Once construction of a residence has commenced, the exterior thereof, including finished siding material, shall be completed within (6) months thereafter" and Item 6 "All driveways must have a concrete wearing surface." The property owner is also building without an approved architectural plan. The foundation was laid in November 2001. The owner obtained a Certificate of Occupancy and has been living in the partially constructed dwelling since December of 2005.

In January 2006, the property owners’ association filed a Small Claims action to encourage the homeowner to complete the exterior construction of his home. In response, the homeowner filed a counterclaim, which further delayed the process and moved the matter to a higher (Circuit) court. This action has been defended by Forrest Wilkerson, an attorney retained by the neighborhood’s insurance carrier. Shortly thereafter, the board retained the services of Matt Niemiec, an attorney, for $2500 to pursue this matter. Mr. Neimiec informed us that the best course of action was to first have the counterclaim dismissed. On January 11, 2007, Mr. Wilkerson was successful in having the counterclaim dismissed. Before Mr. Neimiec was able to see the neighborhood’s case forward, the property owner appealed the dismissal of the counterclaim. Mr. Wilkerson is now seeking to have the appeal denied. Once we are able to move forward, Mr. Niemiec will be seeking help from the court with encouraging the property owner to meet the C&Rs as well as seeking reimbursement of the legal fees already incurred by the POA, $2500, along with any further legal fees incurred by the neighborhood in this matter.

ATV and 4-Wheeler Concerns

A few homeowners expressed concern and frustration about ATVs & 4 wheelers being driven on the rear part their properties along the power lines. This type of activity frequently occurs along the power lines between East and West. Some attendees did not realize Oxford Place residents own the land up to the power lines. Various utility companies have an easement along the power lines and need access, but Oxford Place residents actually own the land and would have to grant permission for others to ride on their property. Driving ATVs on other's property without permission is prohibited by law, but this is not covered by the C&Rs and therefore is beyond the scope of the HOA.

We suggest that concerned residents talk to the ATV drivers, post no-trespassing signs, and if the problem continues consider taking up the matter with local law enforcement.

On motion made and seconded, the annual meeting adjourned at 8:35 with no further business to be discussed.