August 2016 meeting attendees: Patrick Ball, Gerard, Bohorques, Darlene Bonnet, Lori Bulla, Nathan Carlson, Sandy Ericksen, HPD Officer Frank Escobedo, Cheryl & Alvin Fritsche, Wendy Gonzales, Marilyn Harper, Ken Jayne, Pierce Knight, AD Koen, Jeff Morrison, Cathy & James Tiemann, Lori Perjak, Eva Podraza
Wendy opened the meeting at 7:33pm. Board members introduced themselves by name and position. The meeting was an open forum held at Don Jose Restaurant. Officer Escobedo introduced himself and expressed his role in community outreach. He expressed that HPD can contact the owners of the abandoned homes in our neighborhood and point out the importance of securing the house. If the abandoned owners are not cooperative, they will receive a 10 day written warning which points out the city code violations. If there is a continued lack of cooperation, HPD can help assure that citations will be written and fines collected even to the point that the city can put a lien on the house according to city ordinances. Officer Escobedo let us know there are regular community meetings at the HPD command station at 9455 West Montgomery. The next meeting is August 16th at 7pm. The speaker at that meeting will address homeless outreach. Officer Escobedo also brought to attention the various ways to communicate with HPD including email, phone, coming by your location in person as well as visiting the HPD storefront at 1334 West 43rd across the street from the Kroger. He also mentioned an “Action Request” form for recurring problems in the neighborhood such as vagrants in abandoned homes. He gave the web address of houstonpolice.org. This link may be helpful: http://www.houstontx.gov/police/services.htm He offered that a call can be made to HPD to come out and review the concern with your information and you will receive a response as to the outcome. The email provided is [email protected] AD asked if there is a place that we can look up SEAL reported incidents in our neighborhood within HPD. Officer Escobedo recommended looking up the crime statistics within the HPD website. Here are the statistics I was able to find: http://www.houstontx.gov/police/cs/beatpages/cs3b10.htm Darlene mentioned a recent issue with her back gate and garage as well as her appreciation for the recent SEAL and HPD meeting held July 30. Another neighbor mentioned ongoing issues with solicitors. Wendy asked Officer Escobedo what our rights are concerning unwanted solicitors. He responded that there are 2 key elements. 1) Solicitors are required to have a city permit to pedal their goods/services on public property. That permit is only good for public property. 2) Solicitors are prohibited from pedaling goods/services on private property. You may either avoid opening your door to them or if you speak to them ask them to leave your property and you may let them know you will call the police if they don’t leave. If the solicitor becomes aggressive or won’t leave, shut your door and call 911. If the solicitor leaves but continues to knock on other doors, call the non emergency police number (713) 884-3131 or (713) 755-7628. You should also call SEAL at (713) 422-2770 to report the incident for our neighborhood SEAL report. Ken recommended a camera system named Ring https://ring.com/users/sign_in which is a wireless and motion sensor activated door bell which snaps a photo or records a 30+ second tape depending on your personal setting. The ongoing service cost is inexpensive at $30/Year and photos can be viewed from your computer or smart phone and is maintained in The Cloud. Conversation can also be held remotely through Ring if you choose to speak to the person at the door. Officer Escobedo also recommended putting up “No Soliciting” signs at your home. He purchased his from Home Depot. Candlelight Oaks has “No Trespassing” signs posted near neighborhood entrances. Darlene offered to take orders for “Smile, You’re on Camera” signs since she believes she can get 100 signs for approximately 10 cents per sign. Officer Escobedo suggested multiple signs to keep solicitors/trespassers away from your home.
At this time, Wendy moved us along to our usual monthly agenda. The July meeting minutes were approved. A question came up concerning heavy trash pickup. Heavy trash can be placed on your curb on Sunday before the pickup. The city is known to review the trash volume on Monday of the pickup week and it was suggested heavy trash has been picked up on Monday rather than Tuesday. If this should happen and your heavy trash pickup is missed, contact 311 for the trash pickup. Wendy suggested changing our signs to read “Heavy Trash Pickup This Week” to prevent missed trash pickup overlooked on a specific day of the week. Wendy took a moment to thank everyone for coming to the meeting and noted that this meeting was more heavily attended than usual monthly meetings. She encouraged that this is a good time to present something to the board or volunteer your assistance. A neighbor provided the board a copy of “The Guide” which offered city contact information concerning mental health issue reporting including homelessness. He stated that Houston is updating an umbrella organization for mental health services. There is a huge list of charity organizations within The Guide. There are new procedures for getting assistance for the homeless, battered women, mentally ill and more. More details can be found on the pamphlet which Wendy kept. This meeting was less private and little louder than the SEAL and HPD meeting on July 30. For this reason, a different neighbor suggested that future meetings could possibly be held at Our Savior Lutheran Church. He will look into his suggestion further. For the immediate future, the meetings will continue to be held at 5820 Pinemont Drive at the Advent Lutheran Church. Don Jose Restaurant is a temporary location to hold the increased participation at the meetings. Ken reminded everyone that the term Home Owner Association is used for legal reasons.
Finance – no report for this month
President’s Report – Wendy attended a leadership dinner concerning the Houston to Dallas bullet train and confirms that it will get built beginning approximately early 2018. Officially, the bullet train will not run near Candlelight Oaks. The station is to be located at Northwest Mall. The Hempstead tracks are the direction the train is to exit our area. An open house is to be held August 24th to provide more details and Wendy will put more information on the Candlelight Oaks Facebook page. The train track will be set above normal traffic level and scheduled to finish within 5 years. This will be the first high speed train in the USA. It was also mentioned that the current railroad track running near Candlelight Oaks has been quieter due to a new silence law in our area. There should be more upcoming information from Brenda Stardig on the Rebuild Antoine project. It was mentioned that the demolition of the Oak Brooks apartments and other eye sore and high crime properties has not been completed yet. Eventually the area will become a green space.
Security – AD repeated some July summary information from SEAL which was given at the HPD and SEAL meeting on July 30. The SEAL information is a summary of daily reports which is placed online. AD encouraged us to join Facebook to review daily SEAL reports. Wendy places the daily reports into the recent July Acorn issue. Specific street addresses and name details are screened from the public. AD is helping to step up awareness of security issues in Candlelight Oaks. He states that more than 50 residents attended the July 30 meeting with SEAL and HPD. AD also reported that on August 5th several board members met with SEAL security at their headquarters on Blalock Street. Four board members met with Officer Blakely and more leadership from SEAL and received a tour of the SEAL headquarters. They have approximately 200 uniformed officers and approximately 90 guard dogs. AD provided everyone a printed summary of their meeting. He plans to see that bullet points are provided in future Acorn issues. Wendy added that information will also be provided on the Facebook page. SEAL reminds residents to also phone HPD so that a case number is assigned to the complaint. Incidents reported to SEAL will be provided to the neighborhood regularly. The number one complaint in the neighborhood is solicitors. Ken is assisting AD with the HOA security position. To make a report to SEAL, call (713) 422-2770. SEAL believes they can assist quicker with eliminating solicitors than a call to HPD. All SEAL staff are armed, use a K-9 and a taser as defense tools. A SEAL K-9 is not used to track a criminal. SEAL recommends placing “No Trespassing” signs on abandoned homes to help bring criminal charges. All of this action has helped reduce the number of calls concerning the abandoned homes. The board reminds residents that civic matters between neighbors will not be handled by the board. Also, get to know your neighbors and communicate with them directly concerning civic issues. Ken says that if you have a legal document concerning your civic complaint, that document may be brought forward to the board for review as well as SEAL and HPD. It will be handled by SEAL and HPD though and not the HOA.
Pool – Lori B tells us there are 3 new pool memberships bringing the total to 55 this year. There are 2 more private parties booked. In regard to maintenance, there are a couple of pool lights which have gone out and will be replaced. She proposes signs to be placed near the new pool phone with the street address in case of an emergency request needed at the pool. She also asked for signs stating the pool and playground hours so that trespassing arrests can be made. There have been trespassers at 3am very recently. Wendy requests the pool gate code to be changed to reduce sharing the code. It was agreed by several board members. There is currently no camera at the pool. It was also agreed that more lighting at the pool is needed and should be placed near the playground/pool area. It must be reviewed whether the current electric panel can hold the increased lighting volume before more light poles or lighting can be purchased and used. There has been repeated vandalism of the picket fence around the playground and Lori asked about putting a chain link fence up instead. The overall agreement was to start with increased lighting to prevent the vandalism and continue to review what is happening.
Deed restrictions – Nathan asked that any issues be emailed to the board. Letters to home owners concerning out of compliance will be sent soon. He encouraged volunteers to help him or other positions on the board. We have approximately 282 homes in Candlelight Oaks. There were about 54 homes who will receive deed restriction violation notices. If a homeowner disagrees with a violation notice, they can appeal it via email for review. There are 4 sections in the neighborhood and there are minor differences in the restrictions, but the board is working to consolidate the deed restrictions. It is a long process. If anyone would come forward to assist Nathan with this, please do.
Landscape – Ray is maintaining the sidewalks along Tidwell, the neighborhood medians and the pool. The new “Near Northwest” sign is not yet complete with lighting. Maintaining Tidwell has been a tough task and workers have quit due to the speeding traffic and heavy volume of trash. Ray is working hard to keep up with the maintenance. A question came up concerning oak trees at the 4700 block of Bayou Vista. The branches are breaking off from trash pickup traffic. Sandy said there are no maintenance plans at this time, but the board will look into it. A question came up concerning fencing on Tidwell and broken fencing due to an accident. Nathan stated that fencing will be discussed as part of deed restrictions and a letter can be sent to motivate the homeowner to make repairs. Another suggestion was made to find a contractor discount fencing along Tidwell to help the fencing match in appearance. Nathan reminded us that if the fence meets deed restrictions, a resident is not required to match their fence to others. If someone will volunteer to coordinate the fencing reconstruction and approach neighbors to match, please come forward. We do not expect that it will be successful. Nathan would like to update the deed restrictions for future fence building. Various suggestions were made toward updating the fencing deed restrictions. As a security tip, Ken recommended that the slick side of the fence be on the outside whereby a trespasser can’t use the step of the fence to help themself into your yard. Again, assistance with deed restrictions is encouraged and requested. The topic of placing a metal pipe with your fencing was suggested to anchor the fence and prevent vehicle accidents coming through the fence. It is recommended to consult with an attorney in case placing the metal brace along with your fencing.
Records – are being saved
Social – There will be a September 5th Labor Day party with free swim at the pool this year from 2-6pm. All agreed that fried chicken was a successful menu item at the last party and will be done again for this party. The upcoming Oaks Fest is also being planned and a mailer will be issued as well as advertising in the Acorn. Please begin to come forward to volunteer for positions on the board. Elections are coming up, and your time and talent is appreciated.
An email mailing for the Acorn is being considered. A suggestion to place the link on Facebook for the Acorn was made. The board realizes that some want paper mailings and some prefer email. Another suggestion was made to place the Acorn at the pool mail box to be picked up personally. It was recommended to move from using the US mailbox. A block captain suggestion was also made to help with distribution. A lot of discussion followed but nothing was agreed in certainty as to distribution.
There was no long range planning and no unfinished business.
New business – Board Elections are coming up and a nomination committee is needed. Nominations to positions are being taken now. At least as many persons are needed to fill positions as the number of officers leaving the board. Some board members have fulfilled their elected service time. Please come forward and volunteer in any capacity. You will receive assistance on any role. Even a co-chair assistant that is not an official board position is being encouraged.
The meeting ended at 9:05pm.