Community Newsletter (February/March 2017)

Happy February everyone! We hope that you enjoyed the holidays and the 3 days of Winter that we had this season.

First off, we would like to thank everyone who completed the Community Feedback Survey. We received a lot of great ideas/requests that we are going to be looking into as part of our annual planning. There is a section later in the newsletter that will go more in-depth about these items. Once the plan is complete, then we will make sure to post it on the website (www.KnollcreekHOA.com) so it is available to everyone who wants to review it.

Also, we wanted to remind everyone that our Annual Meeting will be taking place on Saturday, May 13th at 12pm (Noon). During this meeting, we will be giving an update on the state of the community over the last year and be voting on the unification of the two Knollcreek Associations and electing new Board Members. We will need a quorum of votes from residents in the Community, so please make sure to attend the meeting and cast your vote!

We are looking forward to 2017! We encourage you to provide the Board feedback and to continue to work with each other to improve the quality of our community!

Thanks,

Knollcreek HOA Board

Community Survey Results

The results from the 2016 Knollcreek Community survey are in! This article goes over the details of the survey and will review some of the recommendations that were made to the Board to improve the community. There is also a video walkthrough of this information if you would prefer that format instead: http://knollcreekhoa.com/2017/02/2016-knollcreek-community-survey-results/  

The Numbers

There were 46 respondents from the 544 households in Knollcreek. This means that approximately 8.5% of the association took the survey. At 95% confidence interval, this provided a sample with a 13.8% margin of error. 93.5% of the respondents owned a home in the neighborhood and it was their primary residence, 6.5% of the respondents were renters, and 0% of the results came from people who owned a home and rented it out to others.

The question “would you recommend that a friend or family member live in Knollcreek?” was a variant of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) question used in business to determine customer loyalty. The NPS scale ranges from -100 to 100 and our community scored a 7. A score of 80+ suggests a “world class” organization. Scoring groups are divided between “promoters”, “passives”, and “detractors.”

Sentiment and Themes

Across all groups, there was positive sentiment regarding the family friendliness of the neighborhood, location of the neighborhood, increase in community events, and improvement in communications. Negative sentiment items among all groups were communications from RealManage, lack of understanding into the plans and priorities of the Board, and residents who are not maintaining their properties to neighborhood standards.

Next, each group of respondents was reviewed for the top requests for community improvements. Promoters requested decorative fencing along the perimeter of the neighborhood (similar to Longs Creek), addressing mailbox theft, improvements to the pool and park areas, and improving the lighting in the park to improve night time security. Passive respondents requested repairs to the streets, Longs Creek-style fencing, pool improvement, more aggressive enforcement of the The Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (DCC&Rs; AKA “Property Bylaws”), and to address issues with RealManage. Detractor residents requested park improvements, better landscaping for community entrances and common areas, Longs Creek-style fencing, more aggressive enforcement of the DCC&Rs and improvements to the pool.

The following list of items are being sent to RealManage to provide preliminary estimates so the Board can prioritize incorporating them into a long term strategic plan for community improvement as our annual budgets are unable to do everything in one year. In no particular order:

  • Build Longs Creek-style fences along the perimeter of the neighborhood and around the homes on the main drive
  • New playground equipment, park benches, tables, dog stations, and grills.
  • Pool monitors
  • New pool furniture
  • Remodeling the bathroom at the pool
  • Heating the pool
  • Install vending machines at the pool
  • Paving the walkway in park
  • Install motion-sensor lighting in the park
  • Install lighting in the tennis courts
  • Resurface the tennis courts.
  • Install a half court basketball fixture in the tennis court.
  • Building a dog park.

Communications Feedback

Respondents preferred communication channels, in descending order, were email, the Knollcreek website (www.knollcreekhoa.com), traditional mail, social media, and physical bulletin board. Feedback to improve the website included adding the DCC&Rs to the site, email alerts for new items, more items in the FAQ, and posting summaries of Board meetings and the Board’s multi-year plan. Recommendations on improving Board communications included the creation and publication of summaries for the Board meetings, publication of the Board’s multi-year plan for the community, and improving the communications (content and timeliness) of items sent from RealManage.

Recommendations to the Board

There were a number of recommendations that were submitted to the Board for consideration as we move forward. The list of recommendations that was submitted:

  • Non-liability community improvements being considered for prioritization should seek to address Longs Creek-style fencing and pool improvements first since those affect all NPS groups. Park Improvements and enforcement of the DCC&Rs should be the next highest priority for the Board.
  • The Board needs to create a list of all items with quoted/estimated costs and place documents on the website. This includes items recommended by the residents as well as liabilities.
  • The Board should place meeting summaries on the website so people can understand actions that are going to be taken by the Board. These items will also be placed in the newsletter.
  • The different communication channels need to be defined with the type of content that is published in each channel, publication frequency, and the costs associated with using those channels.
  • Residents need to be educated on channel contribution models so they can understand how to contribute on their own and effectively use existing resources.
  • The Board needs to organize and create a 3 – 5 year plan for the community and publish this resource online via the website.
  • The plan needs to be revisited at least every year to make sure that established priorities continue to make sense.
  • Annual surveys (such as this one) are needed to collect feedback to drive board action.
  • Execute on an education series to inform the residents on how they can influence change and make their voices heard in the community.
  • The Board needs to make more frequent use of digital surveys when determining which items we need to take action on next (or to save for later) when the path is uncertain.
  • Educate the residents on how community events are planned, funded, and executed so more individuals will be empowered to run those on their own.
  • Designate funds into an “events pool” so more items can be sponsored by the Board.
  • The Board needs to create a list of items that they can directly execute on and gather information on resources that can be leveraged that go outside of their control.
  • The Board needs to educate residents on what items can be addressed by the Board and which items fall into the jurisdiction of the local or federal governments.

We hope that you found the results from the survey helpful as enlightening, and the Board would like to thank everyone who took the time to give their feedback. The Board will be working over the next couple of months to create a plan to execute on the feedback collected in the survey. If you have any questions regarding the survey, you can reach out to our Board Secretary Stuart Bankey at secknollcreek@gmail.com.

 

New FAQ Items from the Feedback Survey

The recent community survey provided some new questions to add to the FAQ section of the website. These answers will be adding to the website soon, but in the meantime we have answered them in this article:

Q: What can be done by the Board regarding the mailbox theft in the neighborhood?
A: Mailbox theft and vandalism is a Federal offense, as they are the property of the United States Government. It has been suggested to the Board that we request the Board, the Police, or the United States Postal Service install cameras to monitor the mailboxes. Unfortunately, the Board and Police cannot do so without infringing on personal property and creating a potential legal issue for the Association and homeowner. A member of the Board has reached out to the Postmaster to see if he can come to the neighborhood to discuss the issues with everyone, but we haven’t been able to get confirmation on a date for that meeting yet. We will continue to send out communications as we continue to arrange that meeting.

Q. Which Board members organize events in the neighborhood and how do we suggest ideas?
A. Almost all of the events in the neighborhood are organized by residents in the community, not the Knollcreek Board of Directors. These are fellow members of the neighborhood that are putting in their time and energy into creating fun activities for us all to participate in. Normally, residents request funds from the Board to ensure that they aren’t paying for events out-of-pocket. We recommend getting clearance from the Board before requesting reimbursement to ensure that there are appropriate funds within the budget.

Q. Can the DCC&Rs be added to the neighborhood website (www.knollcreekhoa.com)?
A. The Board is looking into ways these can be posted that is easy to find on the website. An announcement will be sent to all homeowners once these are posted.

Q. Why does the Board use the current communication strategy and how much does it cost for each channel? Why are Board members not active on social media?
A. The Board is leveraging different communication channels for specific purposes. Last year, the Board passed a social media policy banning current and future Board members from being members of Nextdoor and Facebook groups with any association to Knollcreek. This was performed under the advisement of our attorney. The website is maintained by the Secretary of the Board and is the official, digital channel for communication from the Board. The annual cost for the website is $250.

The newsletter is mailed out every two months and contains the same information that is posted more immediately on the website. The schedule for the newsletters is February/March, April/May, June/July, August/September, October/November, and December/January. The cost for each newsletter that goes out to the community is $250 (or $1,500 a year). Finally, emails are sent out by RealManage for required notifications, such as Board meetings, or at the special request of the Board of Directors when the Board feels it necessary to supplement mail and website communications. Each email outside of our contractual limit with RealManage cost the Association $35.   

Q. Can a brief summary of the board minutes be added to the website for those that cannot attend?
A. The best way for any resident to know what occurs at a Board meeting is to attend in person. This will allow you to ask questions and get clarification on any issues. We recognize that many of residents are unable to attend for many reason such as work schedules or childcare issues. The Board is looking into how we can generate a short summary of future Board meetings and have those items posted on the website within a couple days of the meeting.

Q. Can the board provide information about the details covered in executive session?
A. Due to their sensitive nature, items covered in Executive Session can only be discussed and reviewed by members of the Board of Directors.

Q. Where can we find the official board minutes?
A. The official minutes are approved in the month’s meeting after the session has taken place and uploaded into the Ciranet (RealManage) portal. For example, the January meeting minutes are approved at the February meeting and uploaded within 1 business week of that session. All homeowners have access to the RealManage portal and the link can be found on the HOA website.

Q. Can we get more notice about Board meetings?
A. The Board is working with RealManage to see how we can improve the notice for Board meetings. As a rule of thumb, Board meetings are always held at the pool house on the second Monday of every month, except for the May Annual Meeting. You can also go to the calendar section on the Knollcreek HOA website (www.knollcreekhoa.com) to find when the meeting will take place in any given month.

Q. What is the Board’s plan for community improvements?
A. The Board focuses on repairs that are liabilities for the Association first. Then we review improvements that will make the biggest impact on NPS groups and fall within our budget. We are working on creating a plan that addresses projects over time but we have not completed that planning at this time.

Q. What can the Board do if my neighbor is excessively loud or has a dog barking at all hours of the night?
A. The Board has little they can do in these matters. We can send a letter to the homeowner informing them that we have received a complaint, but the Board has no jurisdiction for enforcement. We recommend that you talk to your neighbor about the issue first. If they do not take action to remedy the problem, then call San Antonio Code Compliance so they can investigate the problem.

If you have any other questions that you would like to see on the FAQ section of the website (http://knollcreekhoa.com/faq/), then please email them to secknollcreek@gmail.com.

 

Amenities Repairs

In January, the Board approved the following repairs to Association property.

  • The electrical fixtures at the entry monument near Jung road were malfunctioning. This issue has been addressed by an electrician.
  • It was reported to the Board that the Kiddie Pool had a chip in the surface at the bottom. The Board approved the repair of the problem and it was completed on January 16th.

 

Airport Noise

Many of our residents have noticed a significant increase in the airport noise as compared to this time in previous years. An airport official who manages the noise complaint line said the following about the early morning flights we’ve been hearing:

  • We can expect an increase in air traffic over our neighborhood at least through early April, due to construction on another runway. Unfortunately this does include early morning shipping companies.
  • On mornings that are clear, the preferred route for the shipping companies goes over our neighborhood, so we can expect these 4am flights to continue. It won’t be every day, but many days.
  • If anyone else wants to talk to them and get more information, the officer provided his number (210-207-3471).

Hopefully by the summer we won’t have quite so many flights. Thank you to resident Katie Barbera for taking the time to call the airport and to report back what you found out!

 

Seeking New Board Members

As we quickly approach our annual meeting in April, we are seeking individuals who are interested in serving on the Knollcreek HOA Board of Directors. Our volunteer Board is comprised of homeowners in the neighborhood and each year we elect new members to fill expiring terms.

There is great momentum in the community right now and YOU can be part of the great work being done! If you are passionate about our neighborhood, are interested in helping evaluate what repairs and improvements need to be addressed, and want to help increase community engagement and events, we invite you to run for the Board. Please contact our RealManage at knollcre@ciramail.com to express your interest.

 

Parking and Community Guidelines

Over the last few months, the Board has been receiving a growing number of complaints regarding residents using the streets for permanent parking instead of their driveways. As a reminder, section 17 of the DCC&Rs states that “No automobile, truck, camper, motor home, mobile home, boat or other vehicle, trailer, machinery or equipment of any kind shall ever be parked on any lot or on any street right-of-way, easement or common area adjacent to any lot, except for temporary parking incident to the contemporaneous use of such object or as otherwise approved by the Board of Directors…”

Essentially, if you need to park your car in the street for a few hours, then you’re fine. However, the street is not a good solution for long-term parking. Since the complaints have been increasing, the Board made the decision in the February meeting to enforce this section of the DCC&Rs. Please submit a request to RealManage for Board consideration if you have a circumstance in which you cannot use your driveway and/or garage for storing your vehicle.

 

COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS

Winter in the Park & Holidays

What a fun Holiday season! Thank you to everyone who helped make the Winter in the Park event so fun for our kiddos. The games, crafts, photo booth, and other activities were all planned by residents in our neighborhood and the children had a blast! Thank you to Nicole Nagle and her son, Renee Baker, Allison Rogers, Haley Bankey, Brandy Hamel, Katie Barbera, Cheryl Olivieri, Kirsten Northrup, and Mary Samplaski for making it happen!

Also, congratulations to Ray and Renee Baker for winning the Holiday Yard Decor Contest. Their extravagant painted wooden displays sparkled and made the evenings shine! They won a $50 giftcard to Target courtesy of our Board of Directors.

 

Bunco Christmas!

Our long-running Ladies’ Bunco Group celebrated the season with their annual Christmas party including a fun gift exchange. This group has been meeting monthly for almost 20 years and they are still going strong! Thanks for sharing the photo ladies!

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

HOA Board Meeting Schedule

All homeowners are welcome to attend the monthly meeting of our HOA Board of Directors. If you own your home, you should receive the agenda one week prior to the meeting via email. The Board meets at 7:00 PM on the 2nd Monday of every month. Mark you calendar and we hope to see you there! (Meeting dates: January 9th, February 13th, March. 13th, April 10th, May 13th, June 12th, July 10th, August 14th, September 11th, October 9th, November 13th, December 11th)

 

Spring Community Wide Garage Sale – April 1 & 2

The spring Community Wide Garage Sale will be the first full weekend of April. We will have signs posted along the main thoroughfares and the HOA will be purchasing a permit for the whole neighborhood again! Residents are encouraged to do some spring cleaning and have some fun.

 

Annual Meeting – May 13th

Our Annual Meeting will be taking place on Saturday May 13th at 12pm (Noon). During this meeting, we will be giving an update on the state of the community over the last year and be voting on the unification of the two Knollcreek Associations and electing new Board Members. We will need a quorum of votes from residents in the Community, so please make sure to attend the meeting or send in your proxy ballot to cast your vote!

 

Pool Opens – May 1

Our park and tennis courts are currently available year round, and with this mild winter, plenty of our residents are taking full advantage of this. Our park is open from dusk until dawn and we ask that residents leave after dark for safety reasons. Our tennis courts are available from 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM year round.

The pool opens for the season on Monday, May 1st, and residents will have their pool cards reactivated if they are current on association fees. New cards may be picked up at the RealManage offices. Pool hours of operation are Tuesday thru Sunday from 5:00 AM – 10:00 PM and Monday from 1:00 PM – 10:00 PM.

If you’re planning on having a pool party this summer, feel free to reserve your space today. The deck is ready for use, the baby pool has been repaired, and new pool furniture will be in place by May 1! Call RealManage to reserve the deck today!

 

REMINDERS & TIPS

Curb Appeal Can Mean Higher Property Value

Property values continue to rise across the city. If you want to take advantage of that opportunity, then here are a few simple things that you can do to increase your value.

  1. Make sure that you keep up with the maintenance of your yard and the exterior of your home. This also includes keeping yards free of clutter and properly storing trash cans and vehicles. Make sure to address the external repairs quickly so they do not become a much bigger problem later.  If you’re having a hard time with it on your own, then reach out to a neighbor or a company that can get those done for you.
  2. Reduce animal noise. Prospective homeowners don’t tend to favor neighborhoods that have a lot of barking dogs or fighting cats. If you own pets, then take steps to reduce their noise (especially at night). If your neighbor has some pets that are making a racket, then go over and talk to them so they understand the situation.
  3. Refresh the paint on your home. Adding a new coat of paint to the home, door, and trim can be an easy, cost-effective way to improve the value of your home. Neutral tones tend to have the best resale values when potential buyers are looking for a new place. As with any external improvements to your home, make sure to submit the proposed change to the ACC before going through with it to ensure that your colors align with the standards for the community.

Do these things really make a difference and why does it matter?
Yes, these small improvements can make a difference on the value of your home. Keeping up with your home shows pride in your investment and it has a large impact on a home’s resale value when everyone takes care of their property.

According to a recent study by Keep America Beautiful:

  • 93% of homeowners said a dirty neighborhood would lower the value of property in their eyes and would definitely influence their decision to buy.
  • 40% of homeowners said litter would reduce a home’s value to them by as much as 10% to 24%.
  • When speaking to Realtors, KAP said 55% of them believe litter reduces a property value by 9%.
  • 60% of property appraisers said if they saw litter they would decrease the value of a property.
  • According to the National Association of Home Builders, litter in a community reduces overall property prices by about 7%.
  • Noisy neighbors/pets or the presence of loose pets can lower home values as much as 5-10%.

I’ve tried to talk to my neighbor but they won’t take care of their property. What can the HOA do to help in this matter?

If the homeowner’s issue violates the DCC&Rs for the association, then the HOA can issue an official warning to the homeowner. If the problem persists, in some cases, the HOA can take the homeowner to court (at the owner’s expense) and put a lien on the home.

In the end, we are all trying to have a nice neighborhood and get the most out of our homes. Make sure to regularly talk with your neighbors and follow the ACC guidelines to ensure that we can continue to maintain the high standards of our community.

 

COMMUNICATION & RESOURCES

Community Calendar & Event Requests

If you would like to make sure that your event is put on the calendar, would like to advertise an upcoming event, or would like to post announcement about something cool (your kid was accepted to a college, want volunteers for an upcoming Eagle Scout project, etc.) then email Stuart Bankey, our Secretary, at secknollcreek@gmail.com. Also, make sure to bookmark our HOA website for future reference: www.KnollcreekHOA.com.

 

Facebook & Next Door Keep You In Touch

Our community is growing and connecting daily on Facebook and Next Door, and we invite you to be a part. All residents (homeowners or renters) are invited to join our private Facebook group called Knollcreek Residents.  If you would like to be a part, find us on Facebook or email Haley Bankey at haleynbankey@gmail.com and she will help you out. Haley is volunteering as our social media administrator and loves bringing our residents closer together.