Board Meeting Minutes

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes April 30, 2022 at the home of Kelly Watson, 10 A.M.

Attending: Jeff Kirves, Kelly Watson, Bonnie Lovejoy, Joyce Leath, Mark Stubbs, Trina Britt

Absent: Libby Glosson, who has resigned from the board effective May 31, 2022.

Minutes from the last board meeting of April 2 were previously approved and posted on our site.

Old Business: Email addresses need to be set up for board members to use for board business. This will be left for the new board to do in F/Y 2022-23.

Annual Meeting Plans: Kelly presented his slides which will be presented at the June 4th annual meeting. There was discussion and revision of the slides.

Joyce led a discussion of the proposed budget to be presented at the meeting and along with the emailed notice of the annual meeting.

Bonnie presented the proxy for the meeting. There is still one seat on the board in need of a nominee. It was decided that in lieu of paper ballots at the meeting, we will continue our practice of using a show of hands for the board election and for the approval of the budget.

Nominees will be asked to briefly introduce themselves to the attendees.8

Roads: Yellow stripes on the center lines of the roads will be recoated by a contractor in June. Volunteers will paint stencils “25 MPH”on the road in various strategic places. Volunteers for road work are always needed.

More Annual Meeting Plans: At the annual meeting, Jeff will speak about rental properties in Sassafras Mountain Estates, with regard to owners’ responsibilities. Also, someone will speak briefly about fire safety on the mountain.

Trina will buy waters and cookies to serve after the meeting. Keurig coffee will be offered. Mark and Bonnie will bring paper and serving supplies, a recycling receptacle, plus a roll of toilet paper to donate to the station. Bonnie will get helpers to sign attendees in at the meeting.

Joyce will email the annual meeting documents to all owners on 5/16. The date of the meeting has already been posted and distributed to owners. Dennis Leath will place announcement posters at the tops of the roads toward the end of May.

The board meeting was adjourned at 11:20. Board members need to arrive at the fire station at 9 A.M. on Saturday June 4 to set up for the meeting.

Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes April 2, 2022, hosted by Jeff Kirves, 10 A.M.

Attending, all board members: Jeff Kirves, Kelly Watson, Bonnie Lovejoy, Joyce Leath, Mark Stubbs, Trina Britt and Libby Glosson.

Minutes from the last board meeting of March 14, 2022 have been approved and posted on our website.

Treasurer: Joyce reported the balance at Community Bank of Pickens County is $29,699.61. The board discussed the proposed budget for the fiscal year (FY) beginning July 1, 2022 to be presented for approval at the upcoming annual meeting on June 4.

Joyce will contact Nowack regarding our need to update the corporate Registered Agent.

Covenant Compliance: Our attorney George Nowack is preparing a letter to an owner who is installing a trailer as a permanent structure, in clear violation of SME Covenants. Kelly shared a draft copy which was reviewed for our approval.

Road Committee: Beginning in the new FY mowers and contractors we hire will need to sign a liability agreement. Joyce will send the board a copy for review. We may need to consider gas supplements for the mowers if the price of gas continues high.

Trina is collecting suggestions from owners for placement of “25 mph” stencils on the road.

Database of owners: Joyce keeps an ongoing updated list of all lots and property owners. The list is kept private. We should send her any new information about owner contacts.

Newsletter: Trina shared her draft for a newsletter to be emailed to every owner who has provided us an email address. She will send it to the board for final proofing, and then email it out.

Annual Meeting June 4 at the fire station: Kelly will prepare charts about happenings in SME for the year. Mark will provide a projector, and Trina will run it at the meeting. The presentation will address fire safety (including that owners of rentals are liable for damages caused by their tenants), and every lot is under covenants (it’s not a personal choice).

Mark will print 20 copies of our “Overview of Covenants” for hand-outs. The Overview is available on our website as well.

Bonnie snd Kelly will work on Jeff’s Call to Annual Meeting letter, and the proxy/ballot. We will need more nominees to fill the board positions. Joyce will prepare the budget for approval.

We plan to purchase cookies and water to serve at the meeting. Notice of the meeting will be emailed to owners. The board has given prior notice multiple times to everyone that all future communications will be electronic only. Dennis will place signs at the top of the roads.

Next board meeting will be Saturday April 30 at Kelly Watson’s home at 10 A.M.

Meeting adjourned at 11:45.                      Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes March 14, 2022, 10 A.M. at the home of Mark Stubbs

Attending: Jeff Kirves, Kelly Watson, Bonnie Lovejoy, Libby Glosson, Mark Stubbs and Trina Britt. Absent: Joyce Leath

Minutes from the last board meeting of January 23, 2022 were previously approved and posted on sassafrasmountainestates.com.

Treasurer’s Report: Jeff gave the report that Joyce prepared. Bank balance $29,079.71. Joyce bought a new stamp for checks at a cost of $59.51. She also renewed our corporate registration for 2022, $30. Paid so far this fiscal year: 49% of the owners. Bonnie brought up the need to update our corporate Registered Agent at the Secretary of State Office. She will do some preliminary study into what to do. 

Road Report: Jeff gave the report prepared by Dennis Leath. Pothole filling is planned for the spring. The yellow centerlines are to be renewed. We hope that second coat would last for several years.

Several volunteer road workers plan to retire at the end of this fiscal year June 30. 2022: Mike Jolly and Kris Lovejoy. Dennis Leath will retire from his many years of being Road Chair, but will still help out with labor. The Board is seeking replacements for these volunteers. We also need someone to volunteer storage space for the Tar Patching Machine (“Tar Baby,” about the size of a tiller) and its supply of tar blocks.

Old Business: Having received no response from our letter to an owner who is establishing a camper as a permanent structure in violation of Covenants, we will now have our attorney send a letter.

We plan to develop and begin use of a Release of Liability for mowers, and for contractors we hire.

To enhance communication with the owners, Kelly is working on a very inexpensive method in which messages will come through a single email address on the website, i.e., the Webmaster, who will forward the messages on to the individual members of the board.

Trina will begin to assemble some newsletter topics about happenings in SME that we can send electronically to owners.

New Business:

Speed Bumps have been investigated and were discussed. The Board is not recommending them. Our fire station stated that Bumps impede their vehicles and raise liability issues regarding delayed emergency responders. In lieu of Bumps, road volunteers will stencil yellow “25 MPH” markers onto the road in strategic places. SMEPOA already owns the equipment for them. We seek input from owners as to the best locations for these stencils.

The Annual Meeting will be Saturday June 4 at the Monument Road Fire Station at 10 A.M. Elections for the Board will be on the agenda for that meeting (or by proxy ballot if not attending the meeting). Trina Britt will run for re-election. Joyce Leath, Kelly Watson and Bonnie Lovejoy will retire from the Board upon the end of their terms on June 30, 2022. Continuing as Board members will be Jeff Kirves, Mark Stubbs and Libby Glosson. The Board seeks nominees willing to serve two-year terms which begin July 1, 2022.

The next Board Meeting date was revised to SATURDAY April 2 at 10 A.M. Place TBD.

Meeting adjourned at 12:05.

Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes, Sunday 1-23, 2022 at Britt home, 5 P.M.

Attending: Jeff Kirves, Kelly Watson, Bonnie Lovejoy, Joyce Leath, Mark Stubbs, Trina Britt and Road Chair Dennis Leath. Absent: Libby Glosson

Minutes from the last board meeting of November 13, 2021 were previously approved and posted on our website sassafrasmountainestates.com

Treasurer’s Report: Balance, $28,096.68. Joyce said that the check stamp she uses is worn out, having been in use since the founding of SMEPOA in 2002. She was authorized to order a new one for $60.

Joyce said that in talking to owners, she received requests for a community newsletter. Trina will begin work on a newsletter. The board will plan to send out a postcard containing a reminder to pay the annual $600 per house/$300 per vacant lot Road Maintenance for our private roads.

Covenant Compliance: Our attorney Nowack is being asked to send a letter regarding a serious covenant violation, $350.

Joyce attended a Zoom class given by Nowack, and learned that we can get a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) quite simply by contacting Nowack’s office. This would be in case we become aware that some owner is causing conditions that could cause injury or damage.

VRBO/AirB&B rules need to be clearly communicated via a letter to owners, especially regarding fire. Any damage or fire violations cause by renters will strictly be the responsibility of the property owner. 

Website: Currently, the website shows all board members with their personal email addresses. Kelly will research how, as recommended by Nowack, each board member can have an email that is owned by SMEPOA for board business. The emails would be through WordPress, the service Kelly uses for the website. Kelly will write an article for the website about the great expense of being airlifted off of Burnt Mountain for a medical emergency. Personal insurance for that is highly recommended.

Road Maintenance: Dennis said there are about 5 bad potholes that could be filled with asphalt patch, since there is not enough money in the treasury to cover repaving any road, the price of which is driven by the price of petroleum. Trina will research products and prices for patching. Someone asked why we don’t hire a service to clear ice and snow from our roads. Our answer is that if there existed such a service, they probably could not get up here through icy roads, and then we could not afford to pay for it. Therefore, we rely on neighbors who volunteer to clear the roads as needed using their own equipment. We are extremely grateful to these volunteers. Dennis said he gets comments from neighbors who are grateful for the solid yellow lines on the roads. The striping will be recoated this year to intensify the yellow visibility. Dennis will plan to retire from the road chair position on June 30, 2022.

Next meeting dates, places TBA: 

3/7 Monday at 10 A.M.

4/4 “

5/2 “

Meeting adjourned at 6:28 P.M. Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes November 13, 2021, Kirves home, 10 A.M.

Attending, all 7 members: Jeff Kirves, Kelly Watson, Bonnie Lovejoy, Joyce Leath, Trina Britt, Mark Stubbs and Libby Glosson

Minutes from the last board meeting of July 31 had been previously approved and posted on our website sassafrasmountainestates.com.

Treasurer’s Report: The board discussed reaching out to owners who usually pay but have not paid so far this year (FY July 1). Joyce said that the annual retainer renewal for our attorney Nowack-Howard is due now and that the rate has increased from $1200 to $1500. The vote to renew was unanimous, the board recognizing that it is wise to maintain legal backing for a corporation such as ours.

Roads: There are numerous potholes on our private roads that need to be patched. Kelly and Tom Britt will identify and assess them. Volunteers can be used for applying patch material, hopefully before the weather gets too cold.

Legal: The board had asked attorney George Nowack about liability of volunteers as they perform work in the subdivision. It was determined that the volunteers’ own insurance would apply to any injury or loss suffered.

New Business: The board discussed various covenant issues and complaints regarding compliance of owners, outlining next steps to address them. Attorney Nowack will be asked to send letters.

Rental of Homes: The board will ask Attorney Nowack to prepare a document that can be provided to owners who rent out their homes, establishing guidelines and restrictions, thereby limiting SMEPOA liability.

Trina is working on our Spreadshirt.com link to make it more visually appealing. The hope is to gain more customers for the Sassafras Mountain logo products offered there. SMEPOA gets a percentage of the sales. The link is on our website sassafrasmountainestates.com and on the Sassafras FaceBook page.

Ideas are under consideration for a possible fund-raiser BBQ.

There was discussion about the best time for board meetings, respecting the several members who have jobs. It was agreed that we should meet every month or at least every other month. Zoom could be utilized as well.

Next meeting: Sunday December 12 at 5 P.M. at Trina Britt’s home, 2143 Lower Sassafras.

Following meeting: Sunday January 23 at 5 P.M., Location to be decided.

Meeting adjourned at 12:15 P.M.                 Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

SMEPOA BOARD MEETING MINUTES JULY 31, 2021, LOVEJOY HOME, 10 A.M.

Attending: Jeff Kirves, Kelly Watson, Bonnie Lovejoy, Joyce Leath, Libby Glosson and Mark Stubbs. Also attending, Road Chair Dennis Leath. Absent: Trina Britt

Minutes from the last meeting on June 26 had been approved previously and are posted on the website sassafrasmountainestates.com.

Treasurer Report: Joyce said the balance at Community Bank is $27,016.73. This is following payment of the annual liability insurance premium and a payment to Steve Watson Paving of $51,960 for 0.4 mile of paving done on Upper Sassafras last Wednesday. Bonnie will notify Kenneth Tate that he may schedule a load of crusher run gravel (from Fred Warden Grading, $550) to be delivered to Paw Prints Trail. Kenneth has volunteered to spread the gravel himself.

Roads: We had a bid for solid yellow center lines on all roads. If Upper and Lower got double lines, the total would be  $12,717.00. If all roads got single lines, that would be $7,8857.57.

Joyce moved that we order a single solid yellow center line for all roads for a price of $7,857.57, a saving of $4.859.43. Following a second and discussion, the motion carried 5 to 2, including Trina’s vote cast previously by email. The board decided to abandon the idea of No Passing signs at this time.

Wild Pigs: There are possibly 3 sounders (family groups) of wild pigs on the mountain, observed ranging from far up Monument Road all the way down to the bottom of Falls Trail/Paw Prints Trail, and also on Upper. They can cause severe property damage.  DNR has been called, but they do not deal with pigs since pigs are not “game”. Wild pigs can be killed at any time because there is no “hunting season” for them. The board discourages random shooting within the subdivision as that is a violation of covenants. Stray bullets can travel great distances, endangering us at our homes. The professional trapper we used in the past is gone. SMEPOA has included an amount in the budget for wild pigs, should we need to spend money on them. A meeting of mountain residents is planned soon to address this problem and seek solutions. Resident input will be welcome.

Covenants: Kelly will write a letter with instructions for any owner who is doing home construction regarding keeping the roadway and shoulders clear. There are several locations where gravel is in the road and heavy equipment has torn up the shoulders. Also, large machines and building materials are left on the shoulders. Lots are supposed to be maintained in a neat and orderly condition.

Next meeting will be at Jeff Kirves’ home at 909 Upper Sassafras. The date will be decided later based on the meeting date of the anticipated wild pig meeting, as we will want to address those issues.

Meeting adjourned at 11 A.M.

Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes June 27, 2021 at the home of Leath,

10 A.M.

All 7 board members attended: Jeff Kirves, President; Kelly Watson, Vice President; Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary; Joyce Leath, Treasurer; Trina Britt; newly elected Libby Glosson and Mark Stubbs. Also attending, Road Chair Dennis Leath.

Minutes from the 6/5/2021 Annual Meeting were previously approved and posted on our website sassafrasmountainestates.com.

Treasurer’s report: Joyce said our balance at Community Bank of Pickens County is $64,569.14.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Checks totaling $7500 for the 4 volunteer mowers have been prepared for distribution to Dennis Leath, Mike Jolly, Kris Lovejoy and Kenneth Tate. The money for them is a consideration for gasoline, oil and maintenance, etc. of their personal machines.

Election of officers was held for the upcoming fiscal year July1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.

All 4 officers were reelected to their current posts, listed above.

Roads: Kelly suggested we get double yellow stripes on Upper and Lower Sassafras, and single on all the smaller roads. Dennis will check on the prices for this. There was discussion about ordering 2 “No Passing” signs to achieve more road safety. Trina will get prices and design. Joyce will ask for recommendations from Attorney George Nowack regarding how to deal with speeders.

Dennis said we will plan to pave .4 mile on Upper Sassafras, probably in August. This portion is deemed to be in the worst condition at this time.

Joyce will compose and send an email to all owners notifying them that a new road contribution period is beginning for the new FY. We request $600 from owners with a house and $300 from owners with no house.

Next meeting will be Saturday July 31 at Trina Britt’s home,

2143 Lower Sassafras Pkwy.

10 A.M.

Meeting adjourned at 10:53 A.M.

Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

Annual Meeting Minutes of Sassafras Mountain Estates Property Owners Association

Saturday June 5, 2021 at Fire Station 10, Monument Road, Jasper, GA 30143 at 10 A.M.

The meeting was called to order by President Jeff Kirves, who then welcomed everyone and introduced the other board members: Kelly Watson, Bonnie Lovejoy, Joyce Leath and Trina Britt.

Next was a talk by two representatives from the Firewise organization, as SME is a certified Firewise Community. They offered extensive information and warnings about the dangers of forest fire to our neighborhood and all the communities on this mountain, which comprise 15,000 acres of woodland. Mark Wiles of the Forestry Commission warned owners to make an evacuation plan and to make a defensible space around their homes. Firewise personnel will make a free assessment of a property upon request, making recommendations on how to improve fire safety around the lot. He also warned that the state will relax requirements for burn permits after July 1. That will greatly increase the risk of wildfire, and the move seems to defy logic. There were many questions and comments from owners who recognized the seriousness of the risks and the responsibility we all bear to prevent fires. All open fires must be covered by a fire screen.

Station 10 Commander John Tarantini showed a dramatic video of the fire in Gatlinburg that illustrated the danger that exists here. He said our station has one engine and one tender (water tanker), plus a 45,000 gallon water tower. Having an adequate fire station in the community has dramatically lowered our property insurance rates. Clayton Preble made a strong appeal for much-needed new fire support volunteers.

Bonnie Lovejoy certified that a quorum was present, being 58 attendees representing about 43 lots. A quorum is 10% of 161 lots.

Jeff gave an overview of the past year, followed by a Road Report by Chairman Dennis Leath. Dennis said that mowing will continue to be done by 4 volunteers who will share in the budgeted total of $7500 which is reimbursement of some of their expenses. The board wishes to thank Dennis Leath, Mike Jolly, Kris Lovejoy and Kenneth Tate for their mowing, as well as numerous others who help with tree clean-up, ditch work, gravel, patching, and other labors that enhance the safety and beauty of the community. Dennis said owners should keep up their own ditches and roadsides, clearing their culverts and keep the trees trimmed back from the road. He said the plan is to pave insofar as contributions will allow (one-half mile = $63,600), followed by striping of all roads with solid yellow centerlines for the low bid of $7858. An owner asked what happened to an offer of free yellow striping of some of Lower Sassafras. Trina said, “The person making the offer withdrew the offer for personal reasons, and we respect that.” Several new signs have recently been installed on the main roads. Dennis called for more volunteers to do road work.

Joyce discussed the proposed budget, led a discussion of the past year’s expenses and answered several questions about the past and future budget. One person questioned why we paid $3000 in attorney fees. Joyce explained that $1200 is the annual retainer which allows us to email questions and get professional guidance. The rest of the money was for his review of the judgements against us when 2 owners sued, so that we know exactly what we can and cannot do. She said every single lot in SME has covenants which are tied to the land and cannot be rejected by an owner; this is not optional, and should have been included information given to buyers as they purchased their land. Even if that did not happen, the covenants still apply to every lot. Specific covenants can be found at the county courthouse if your closing attorney failed to provide them. Failure to adhere to the covenants makes owners subject to lawsuit.

Kelly announced a new fee structure for paying to support our private road maintenance. Beginning July 1, we ask that owners who have a house send $600 per fiscal year, which is $50 per month (payments can be sent monthly, quarterly, whatever works). This fee is in line with the neighboring subdivisions, e.g., Monument Falls. But those without a house are asked to send $300. Our website sassafrasmountainestates.com can accept partial payments or annual payments. Kelly showed a breakdown of the potential, saying that if more owners would be agreeable to $300/no house, that would potentially bring more funds for much-needed paving and road upkeep. He said it is worth a try, since only about 50% of owners send any money at all. Joyce pointed out that many full time residents drive the roads every single day and send no help for their roads. Kelly said he sees it as a moral obligation for owners. The new proposal appeared to be well-received by attendees.

Someone asked about trouble with wild pigs. Joyce said that there is not a trapper any longer in this area, so there must be absolutely no feeding of pigs. This rule applies to feeding of bears too, which can also be dangerous and destructive if acclimated to human food.

Trina spoke as a new board member, saying she had learned so much about the hard-working board, and had gained appreciation for the challenges faced. She urged everyone to come together as a community and with a spirit of cooperation.

Jeff called for a show of hands vote to accept the proposed budget. Budget was approved unanimously.

Then Jeff introduced the 3 nominees for new 2-year terms on the board and they spoke briefly to introduce themselves. By a show of hands, unanimously elected were: Libby Glosson, Mark Stubbs and Jeff Kirves (re-elected).

In closing, Kelly restated that every lot has covenants, and he also encouraged everyone to utilize our website for information about Sassafras Mountain Estates.  SME Logo items are for sale on the site, and any purchase earns SMEPOA a portion to apply to the road expenses. He also explained that FaceBook is not a board-authorized site, but it can be used for neighbors to communicate among themselves.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 12:21 P.M. to a delightful lunch provided by the members of the board.

Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes Monday May 17, 2021 at the Leath home, 10 A.M.

All board members attended, plus Road Chair Dennis Leath.

Minutes from the last board meeting of April 20 had been previously approved by email and posted on our website.

Treasurer’s Report: Joyce said the bank balance is $69,430.96. There was discussion about making a change in the distribution of the dollar amount for the volunteer mowers for next year. 

Joyce and Kelly will formulate questions forAttorney George Nowack regarding where liability lies should a tree fall on our private road and cause damage.

Plans for the annual meeting were finalized: lunch, handouts, presentation and agenda. Board members should arrive around 9 A.M. to set up.

There was discussion concerning the merits of merging 2 adjacent lots with board approval, and also the ability to subdivide a lot with board approval so long as there is a minimum of 5 acres per lot.

The board clarified that the official corporate communication vehicle is our website sassafrasmounatinestates.com. The Sassafras Mountain Facebook page is not part of SMEPOA, but is enjoyed by owners for social purposes.

Next meetings:

Annual meeting, Saturday June 5 at the fire station, 10 A.M.

Board meeting, Saturday June 26 at the home of Joyce and Dennis Leath, 597 Upper Sassafras at 10 A.M. The board will elect officers at that meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:45 P.M.

Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes 4-17-2021 at the Leath home, 10:00 A.M.

Attending: All board members. Jeff Kirves, President; Kelly Watson, V.P.; Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary; Joyce Leath, Treasurer; and Trina Britt. Dennis Leath attended as Road Chair.

Minutes from the last board meeting of March 20 were previously approved via email and posted to the website sassafrasmountainestates.com.

Treasurer’s report: Joyce said the balance at Community Bank of Pickens is $69,419.49.

Signs: Trina brought the new signs to show everyone. There are 4 total. Tom Britt has volunteered to install them.

Striping: Trina got a bid of about $20,000 to paint solid yellow centerlines on the roads. Dennis will get a bid from Stripe It Right that we used 2 years ago.

Roads: First, Dennis was asked to get a price for resurfacing Falls Trail, likely in a lower grade of paving material because (a) it will be more affordable, and (b) there is a low volume of traffic on that road.

Following the paving, the striping can be done there and on the other roads.

Variance: The board agreed to grant Angela Albul a variance on lot 134 of 75 feet from the center line of Upper Sassafras due to the steep terrain on the lot. Bonnie will prepare and mail her a letter.

Annual meeting plans: The meeting will be at the fire station on Saturday June 5 at 10 A.M. Jeff is working on the slate for the board election and proxy.  The budget was finalized to 2021-2022, as well as the President’s Call to Meeting letter. Bonnie will prepare the proxy when the slate is finalized.

Joyce will send an email to every owner linking to all the meeting materials. Since we do not have all the email addresses, some owners will require paper mailing of the notice. All notices will be out by May 7 via email, postal mail, website, and Facebook.

John Tarantini will give a short presentation about the fire station and fire safety. Kelly plans to discuss the fee structure going forward. We will also ask for road volunteers and road captains. The board will provide a light lunch for attendees after the meeting. Owners need to R.S.V.P. to smepoa@mindspring.com so that the food can be planned.

Next meeting; MONDAY May 17 at the Leath home at 10 A.M..

The meeting was adjourned at 12:29 P.M.

Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary 

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes March 20, 2021 at the home of Kelly Watson, 10 A.M.

Attending: Jeff Kirves, Kelly Watson and Bonnie Lovejoy

Minutes form the February 27 meeting had been approved by email and are now posted on our website sassafrasmountainestates.com

Signs: We decided on the words for 2 replacement signs for the top of Upper and Lower.

Private Road

Property Owners Only

Covenant Protected

sassafrasmountainestates.com

Trina Britt will work with sign companies to get quotes. Bonnie will send the board the words and a photo of the old sign for comparison. Additional signs may be chosen later for the roads.

Striping: The offer for partial free striping from an owner ran into many objections from board members. The offer was subsequently withdrawn. It was decided to ask Road Chair Dennis Leath to get bids for a single solid yellow line to be applied to the several roads.

Financial: The budget for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021 was discussed and values applied. The budget is being prepared for vote at the annual meeting. Kelly proposed making adjustments to the amount of donation money we request from owners. This will be finalized as plans for the annual meeting are completed.

The annual meeting is set for Saturday June 5 at the fire station on Monument Road. Chief John Tarantini will book the date there and will have the building prepared for the meeting at 10 A.M.

Ballot: Jeff agreed to be placed on the ballot for another 2-year term on the board. Jeff will contact some additional prospects for open board positions. The board also seeks additional candidates.

Bonnie moved that the board accept the recent resignations of Mike Wimberley and John Hartridge from the board. The motion was seconded and carried.

The next board meeting will be Saturday April 17 at the home of Jeff Kirves, 909 Upper Sassafras.

The meeting was adjourned at 12 noon.

Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes February 27 at the home of Trina Britt, 10 A.M.

Attending: Jeff Kirves, Kelly Watson, Bonnie Lovejoy, Mike Wimberley, Trina Britt and Road Chair Dennis Leath.

Absent: John Hartridge and Joyce Leath

Minutes from the last board meeting on January 23 were previously approved by email and have been posted on our website.

Treasury: Dennis brought Joyce’s treasurer’s report. Jeff reported that there is a balance in Community Bank of Pickens County of almost $70,000.

Roads: 

Signs—Trina will contact several sign companies regarding 4 new road signs. She will have proofs to send to the board members for approval.

Striping—Trina will pursue the ideas from owners regarding repainting stripes on the roads in the spring.

Paving—Using the low bidder for repaving the worst 8 tenths of a mile would cost $95,000 which far  exceeds the treasury. We may consider repaving in increments, as long as so many owners fail to pay any contribution toward upkeep of their private roads. We need much better participation from owners, and greatly appreciate those who do share in this responsibility.

The next meeting will be Saturday March 20 at Mike Wimberley’s home, 1911 Upper Sassafras Pkwy. We will plan the annual meeting at that time.

Jeff will contact the Fire Station for a suitable annual meeting date. 

Meeting adjourned at 12 noon.

Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes Jan. 23,2021 at the home of Bonnie Lovejoy, 10 A.M.

Attending: All except Trina Britt. In Trina’s absence, Bonnie swapped the location for the next meeting. Dennis Leath also attended as road chair.

Minutes from the December 12, 2020 meeting were previously approved as corrected via email.

Treasury: Joyce reported that our bank balance is $69,035.42. She also reported that she has paid to renew the corporate registration, as SMEPOA is a 503-C Corporation in the State of Georgia.

She has also paid a bill from our attorney Nowack-Howard for research into how our original covenants can be utilized.

Roads: We plan to install 2 new signs to the effect that these roads have no outlet, so as to curtail entry by trucks and vehicles which can find no place to turn around. Also we need to replace 2 signs because the website has changed to www.SassafrasMountainEstates.com. Bonnie will convey the information to Trina who is heading up the sign project. The board will then review the proofs and pricing for the 4 new signs. We hope to get prices from 2 local companies.

Dennis said he is looking into a new type of pothole patch to apply in the spring, particularly on Upper. He also is exploring various asphalt contractors that could do paving on our private roads when we can amass enough contributions for such a project.

There was discussion about striping center lines for the roads. The preferred color is white. We will investigate prices and contractors who can paint the lines, possibly in solid lines rather than the broken lines which we now have, for greater visibility in bad weather. We will need to check prices.

Fire Safety: Kelly has prepared the letter from the chief officer of our fire station, John Tatantini, regarding no open fires without a screen and no fireworks. The letter will be sent to SMEPOA owners via Facebook (by Trina), email blast (by Joyce) and our website (by Kelly). There are 170 members on the Sassafras Facebook account. These methods will get this important safety message out to all owner.

Next Meeting: February 27 at the home of Trina Britt, 2143 Lower Sassafras Pkwy, at 10 A.M.

Meeting adjourned at 12 noon.

Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes December 12, 2020 at Leath home, 10 A.M.

All 7 board members attended the meeting. Minutes from the meeting of November 7 had been previously approved by email. Minutes from previous meetings will soon be linked from our website at SassafrasMountainEstates.com to our  Sassafras Mountain FaceBook page. This will enhance communication between the board and the SMEPOA property owners.

Treasurer’s report: Joyce said our bank balance is $69,417.36. So far this 2020-2021 fiscal year, we have received donations for our private road maintenance from 57 owners. Joyce has sent reminder notices to every owner who has not contributed this year. She also sends a thank you message to every owner who does contribute. The board approved payment of $1200 to the law firm Nowack Howard for the annual renewal of the retainer for a second year. 

Road report: Kelly said that Garcia’s Tree Service will come next week, weather permitting, to cut down some trees identified by SMEPOA that create a risk to the roads and those traveling on the roads. Some owners will also pay Garcia that day to remove trees from their own lots.

Covenants: The board discussed various violations of covenants that need to be addressed. We decided to have our attorney create a letter that the board can send out via email, or copy to our website, to be available to every owner in Sassafras Mountain Estates restating that the original covenants do apply to their property, in perpetuity. The deed and/or plat of each property states this fact.

Website and Facebook Page: Kelly will post a notice about Garcia on our website SassafrasMountainEstates.com.

Trina posted a similar notice on our FaceBook page, Sassafras Mountain.

Kelly asked Joyce for a copy of the letter from the head of the Monument Road fire station, John Tarantini, so that we can publish it to the owners. The letter explains the dangers of wild fire in the forests of our mountain communities, and states that there must be no open fires. All owners must inform their guests and renters as well.

We discussed the possibility of a social event, but decided it is too soon to plan, due to ongoing concerns about the covid pandemic. The subject will be considered at a later date.

Next meeting: January 23, 2021 at Trina Britt’s home 2143 Lower Sassafras at 10 A.M.

Meeting adjourned at 11:40.

Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes November 7, 2020 Home of Jeff Kirves, 10 A.M.

All 7 board members attended. Minutes from the October board meeting were approved via email prior to this meeting. They have been posted on the website, sassafrasmountainestates.com

Treasurer Report: Joyce said that 54 people have paid a voluntary 2020-2021 contribution for road maintenance. The requested amount remains the same, $550 per lot per year, though the board is happy to accept whatever amount an owner is able to send. The SMEPOA bank account stands at $70,914.83.

Roads: Kelly said he and Dennis identified a number of dead trees that could fall on power lines, and they have requested Amicalola EMC to remove them. Bonnie also said that she has called and been assured that the trees will be cut down. However, Tropical Storm Zeta came through north Georgia last week, so obviously that storm cleanup and power line work will delay our requested work for some time.

Kelly will call Garcia’s Tree Service about some other trees that are likely to fall across our roads. Also, Kelly will send thank you notes to a couple of residents who have volunteered many hours of clean-up on several lots which had become unsightly.

Asphalt paving prices have risen to $11 per cubic yard, which we cannot possibly afford. We will investigate a different contractor in hopes of a better price. Upper Sassafras Pkwy. and Falls Trail continue to be in need of paving work.

Firewise: The board discussed a plan to send a letter to every owner warning of the danger of fires in the mountains and the risks of fireworks and open fires, and of the need to inform visitors/renters. All outdoor fires need to be covered.

Covenant issues: There was a discussion about the kind/size of signs allowed under the covenants. A letter has been sent to an owner who has a trailer with permanent decks installed, a clear covenant violation. Three owners have made significant erosion improvements on their properties in response to our friendly requests. Several other covenant violations will be addressed as well. Every lot within Sassafras Mountain Estates is subject, by their deeds, to the original covenants. Those covenants can be found at the county courthouse records.

Communication: Trina will contact former board member Rich Howard to request help in gaining administrator status over the SMEPOA Facebook page.

The next board meeting will be Saturday December 12 at the Leath home, 597 Upper Sassafras.

The meeting adjourned at 12 P.M.

Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes 9/26/2020, Watson home 10:00 A.M.

Attending: All except Mike Wimberley. Dennis Leath attended as Road Chair.

President Jeff Kirves called the meeting to order.

Minutes from the last meeting 8/22/2020 were approved as written.

Treasurer Joyce Leath reported that 48 owners have paid so far. Bank balance at Community Bank of Pickens County was $68,616.69.

Road Chair Dennis Leath said that because a previously used road patch product has not held up very well, he suggested we try 2 bags of a different product as a test. Dennis said that he had received a quote for paving of $95,000 ($11 per square yard) for 8/10 of a mile on Upper Sassafras. Since this is not possible at this time, he suggested we might consider an overlay in the spring 2021 to repair the worst places in the road. These road projects are totally dependent upon owners taking responsibility for the upkeep of OUR PRIVATE ROADS.

The board agreed that the centerline stripes still look good and will get us through the winter, with a likely re-striping in the spring. Professional work by Stripe It Right has been a good investment.

Signs: Trina Britt reported on her research of road signs, showing several examples and pricing. We wish to install several on the 2 main roads and 3 additional roads, to the effect that these are private roads/ no trespassing. Trina will send us a final for our approval.

Trees in Right of Way: A group of volunteers cleared an area along the right of way on Upper where fallen trees that had been an encumbrance for over a year, since the promised clean-up had not happened by the owner. Dennis and Kelly Watson will ride around and note any dead trees that appear to be threatening to fall onto the roads. Bonnie Lovejoy will contact AmicalolaEMC about a large dead tree that is beside a power line on Lower. If they agree to remove it, that will save us a lot of expense.

Cameras: Jeff and Bonnie both reported that the 2 SME trail cameras that were in use along Upper and Lower have failed and were out of warranty. Kelly moved that we purchase 2 new cameras, as they provide a bit of security, tracking vehicles going up and down the roads. Joyce agreed to research some reliable, affordable and effective new cameras.

Covenant Compliance: Several neighbors are being contacted in a friendly, neighborly manner to ask them to clean up their property (e.g., old abandoned cars and equipment; erosion into the roadway; creek obstruction). The board has observed with appreciation several recent improvements on some properties. One owner has installed 2 over-sized signs along his right of way that we plan to address.

Kelly will post on our website warnings about feeding bears. “A fed bear is a dead bear.”

Postcards: The board discussed wording for additional postcards to solicit contributions from owners who have not sent any donations this year.

New Business: John Tarantini, Officer in Charge of the fire station on Monument Road, has sent a letter for all these mountain subdivisions addressing fire safety. He wrote about the dangers of fireworks and of open campfires, which can cause vast wildfires similar to those occurring in California. The board will discuss this further at the next meeting.

Next meeting: Following the schedule we all agreed to for the year, the next meeting will be at Jeff Kirves home, 11/7 at 10 A.M.

Meeting adjourned at 12:20 P.M. Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes, August 22, 2020, 10 A.M. at the home of John Hartridge

Attending: Jeff Kirves, Joyce Leath, Bonnie Lovejoy, John Hartridge, Kelly Watson and Trina Britt.         Absent: Mike Wimberley

The meeting was called to order by Board President Jeff Kirves.

Minutes from the last meeting of November 9, 2019 had been approved by email as submitted by Secretary Bonnie Lovejoy.

The board welcomed new member Trina Britt, and returning board member Kelly Watson. As a result of the mail-in written ballots for the Annual Meeting, these members plus Joyce Leath and Bonnie Lovejoy have been elected to serve two-year terms.

Financial: Treasurer Joyce Leath reported that the balance on this date is $62,384.50. She said 39 people have paid already for the new fiscal year 2020-2021 which began July 1, 2020.

Our attorney George Nowack of the firm NowackHoward, LLC., retained by the board in November 2019, has confirmed that all lots in Sassafras Mountain Estates are subject to our Original Covenants. However, he also confirmed that because of the court order resulting from two owners’ lawsuits, we may ONLY seek voluntary contributions in order to meet the legal requirement that SMEPOA maintain our private roads within the subdivision.

The board discussed several lots that are in violation of Original Covenants. The board plans a combination of personal visits and friendly letters to attempt to get owners to comply with specific Covenants. This is in an effort to maintain property values, to which every owner is entitled.

Bonnie reported that, unfortunately one of the SMEPOA trail cameras has completely failed. Bonnie gave the 2 SD cards to Joyce for use in the other SMEPOA camera.

Kelly moved that minutes from meetings be approved by the board via email, rather than waiting for the next board meeting. Bonnie seconded the motion. Discussion: this will allow for a more timely posting on the website and better communication to the owners. Motion carried.

There was a suggestion that we have an alternate fee structure for owners who have no home on their property. Kelly will work with Tom Britt to write a proposal that without a house, owners may pay an amount less than the standard requested amount of $550 per lot.

The board drew numbers to establish the sequence among us to host board meetings. 

1. John     2. Kelly    3. Jeff    4. Joyce    5. Trina    6. Bonnie    7. Mike

Wild pigs are a continuing problem. The board is seeking a suitable place for a trap to be set up.

Kelly plans a FAQ for our website. That page would improve communication within the community and among owners. The comments and questions that were received this month were reviewed, and answers were drafted. The finalized responses will be posted.

Election of Officers: After each Annual Meeting, the board must elect officers.

Serving for the year will be:

Jeff Kirves, president

Kelly Watson, vice president

Bonnie Lovejoy, secretary

Joyce Leath, treasurer

The meeting was adjourned at 12:28

The next meeting: September 26 at Kelly Watson’s home, 1232 Cold Stream Trail, 10 A.M.

ANNUAL MEETING 2020 Sassafras Mountain Estates Property Owners Association, Inc.,

a registered 503-C corporation in Georgia, P.O. Box 1611, Jasper, Georgia 30143

The Annual Meeting of Sassafras Mountain Estates POA was held in an innovative manner due to Covid 19 pandemic restrictions. The normal time for a face-to-face meeting would have been late May but the national shut-down caused repeated delays in planning.

In November 2019, the board retained attorney George Nowack of the firm NowackHoward, LLC, a firm that is expert in real estate law for subdivisions. Mr. Nowack has confirmed that all property owners must adhere to their original covenants, which are tied to their lot and which are recorded in the respective county courthouse, Dawson or Pickens.

In the matter of the Annual Meeting, the board was able to use Mr. Nowack’s guidance on how to accomplish this legal requirement in 2020. There were repeated delays as the Governor of Georgia issued frequent updates to the Covid 19 virus guidelines. Finally, in August, Mr. Nowack devised a plan for us to mail a paper notification to every owner of a lot within Sassafras Mountain Estates. Ballots were to be mailed back, casting votes on the board nominees for two-year terms and on the proposed budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 which began July 1, 2020.

The new board met on August 22 at 10 A.M. at the home of John Hartridge, to conclude the requirements for an Annual Meeting by counting the ballots. At that meeting, the board was pleased to welcome new board member Trina Britt and returning board member Kelly Watson. This was the first meeting of the board since November 2019, due the restrictions of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Ballot results received by the board were:

34 ballots returned (which did constitute a quorum, exceeding the required 10% or19 votes)

Trina Britt-31

Joyce Leath-33 (re-elected)

Bonnie Lovejoy-33 (re-elected)

Kelly Watson-33

Kenneth Tate-1 write-in

Budget approved-33 yes votes

One ballot abstaining on all board members and budget

In conjunction with the Annual Meeting, a request was made to all owners for their comments and questions. The board has discussed each comment, and responses will be posted for all to read on our website sassafrasmountainestates.com. This website is a good resource for owners to learn of happenings in the community, minutes and actions of the board.

Following review by our attorney, the board wishes to remind all owners that the Original Covenants do apply to all lots and that they run with the land. You should have received a copy or a reference to them when you purchased your lot. You may view or purchase a print a copy of your lot covenants at Dawson or Pickens Court Records. There is a simple two-page summary overview of these covenants on our website, which you may find very useful.

The board wishes to acknowledge and thank all the owners who have carefully followed these covenants, maintaining their lot in an attractive and orderly condition. Also, thanks go to all those who have made contributions for maintenance of our private SMEPOA roads. There is not currently enough money in the treasury to pave a road this year, so repairs will be made on an as-needed basis. The bank balance at the end of Fiscal Year 2019-2020 was $52,825.61.

Finally, if you live on Lower or Upper Sassafras, Cold Stream, any of the Huckleberries, Falls

Trail or Paw Prints, we need your annual contribution to support the ongoing road maintenance. We are asking for a $550 contribution for fiscal year 2020-2021. For your convenience you may pay by check, credit card or PayPal. If paying by card or PayPal, go to sassafrasmountainestates.com and click the button to our secure link. If paying by check, please mail to:

 SMEPOA – PO Box 1611 – Jasper, GA 30143. Please send your contribution as early as possible

to allow us to work on the roads in September, before winter weather sets in.

This concludes the business for the Annual Meeting for 2020

SMEPOA Board Meeting Minutes November 9, 2019, 10 A.M., home of Jeff Kirves

Attending: 

Jeff Kirves, John Hartridge, Bonnie Lovejoy, Joyce Leath, Mike Wimberley and Rich Howard

Minutes from the board meeting of October 5 were approved as written. Bonnie said that following investigation of the gsccca.org, it was agreed that we do not need to buy a full subscription at this time. It is possible to sign on to a short term search, should that need arise.

Financial: Joyce reported that the bank balance is $53,812.73.  Donations have been received this  FY from 60 owners, which is 50% of the total owners.

New Business: Joyce moved that we engage NowackHoward, LLC, community association attorneys, as our SMEPOA legal representative for one year at a cost of $1200. Motion carried. The information for our cover letter and the required forms was composed. We have these immediate, pressing questions which will be sent right away, along with our check for the first year:

1. (a) Do property owners have an obligation to adhere to original covenants that were associated with their respective lots?

    (b) If so, what is our recourse against property owners who do not adhere to original covenants?

2. (a) Does the board have the right to collect money to maintain SMEPOA-owned roads?

   (b) If so, then what is our recourse against property owners who do not pay for road maintenance?

Joyce will mail the cover letter on our letterhead along with the application and check  to Nowack Howard.

Next meeting TBD

Meeting adjourned at 11:42 A.M.

Submitted by Bonnie Lovejoy, Secretary

%d bloggers like this: