Almost all planned developments have a homeowner’s association (HOA), which bears the responsibility to operate, repair, replace, and maintain the development’s common areas, such as parks and trails, owned in common by all the development’s homeowners. Usually, HOAs are nonprofit corporations, and typically, when you buy a home in a planned community, you automatically become a member of its HOA. Most HOAs are run by a board, usually made up of a small number of HOA members, elected by a vote of the other HOA members. The Vistoso Community Association (VCA) is required by the governing documents to have 7 (seven) members, comprised of 5 (five) single family, 1 (one) multi-family and 1 (one) commercial seat.
These developments cannot function, however, unless there are dedicated homeowners willing to help run the community by serving on its HOA board of directors (the “board”). You might hesitate to serve on your HOA board if you don’t know what a board member does, or what’s expected. Hopefully, this article may help you understand what’s commonly involved with serving on the VCA-HOA board.
To learn about the responsibilities and powers of VCA Board of Directors and HOA, we suggest that you review the governing documents, specifically the HOA’s articles of incorporation and bylaws, and the declaration of conditions, covenants, and restrictions (CC&Rs). These documents are located on VCA website. In connection with its responsibility for the common areas, the board is required to adopt an annual budget, and collect dues and assessments from the development’s homeowners to pay for the budget. Beyond that, the VCA-HOA also has the power to adopt and enforce rules and regulations, and to hire personnel (or a management company) to help carry out HOA responsibilities.
Board members are required to act in good faith, act in the best interests of the HOA as a whole, work together as a united group, be informed before acting, not taking actions without proper authority, and not take negligent or harmful actions. One of the most important board member qualities is diplomacy. To be a highly functioning board and collaborative board members, all individuals need to act as a proactive team player, by using discussion and negotiation rather than contentious confrontation.
The VCA and many of the neighborhoods is an aging community – some homes and areas over 30 years old. The infrastructure is also aging which requires the board to spend significant time discussing and planning replacement, repair and maintenance issues. Much preparation and due diligence goes into obtaining bids and completing projects. There are many opportunities for board members to help by contributing time in review and making recommendations as well as joining in “walking tours” of projects, which give greater insight into the work that is needed.
There is typically a General Session Board meeting held the last Thursday of each month. The meetings usually last 2 to 3 hours. There is also an Executive Session Board meeting, normally held the day before the General Session. The Executive sessions last up to 2 hours, depending on the workload. A board packet of documentation is provided to each board member prior to each meeting with appropriate information included for each discussion point on the Agenda. Board members are required to read through and study the material and ask questions of the staff prior to the meeting to help facilitate an efficient meeting. Very often the board member will want to drive by a location we will be discussing to get a point of view and scope of the project or issue.
Board members are also required to Chair or act as a board liaison to our standing committees. A reasonable expectation of time commitment to serve on the VCA Board work is between 10 to 15 hours per month. If you are elected as a board officer, that time commitment increases significantly – running 40 to 80 hours per month. This time commitment fluctuates based on the needs of the community, the number of projects we address and the personal commitment you are willing to make.
All VCA homeowners will receive a post card from our management partner FirstService Residential for the “call for candidates” around December 15, 2020. This post card will give the necessary information about running for a board seat. The VCA Annual meeting is scheduled on March 25, 2021. There are three (3) single family board seats and one (1) multi-family board seat up for election.
Although serving on the HOA board can be difficult at times, it can also be rewarding. Volunteer board members are essential to the harmonious functioning of our neighborhoods. If you are interested in serving on the Vistoso Community Association Board of Directors, give it a try. You just might like it!
(Article is contributed by a joint effort of Board members and Communication Committee members).