Transcribed Notes from Annual General Meeting Video (above):
Hello, my name is Clifford Cockrell and I am the Pitman Creek North HOA President. I would like to welcome you to the first ever “virtual” Annual General Meeting. We are in this position today as a result of the highly unusual events that have taken place over the last few months. I am certain that there is not a single person hearing my voice today that has not somehow been affected by the dramatic appearance of Covid19 or “Corona Virus” in our everyday lives. Normally we would be meeting with you in person at a physical location but due to “social distancing” and “stay-at-home” recommendations, we felt it was wise to try an alternative form of communication at this time in order to address the neighborhood. I sincerely hope that each of you is currently well, safe and managing successfully during this time of difficulty for our nation. This message may be brief compared to past meetings, but we did not want to go another full year without having some type of communication with the neighborhood regarding the events of the past year.
With that being said, I would like to begin this meeting by giving a huge “Thank you” to all the members of our HOA board who have volunteered countless hours of their own time to keep this organization up-and-running day in and day out, week to week, month to month, and year to year. Some members have served on the board as little as a year while others have served for many years. Every time there is a social event, a newsletter, a garden revitalized, a membership sign (sticker) brought to you or a welcome packet left on your front porch that is the result of our tireless board members at work. Next time you see or hear from one of them, please say “Thank you”. Currently, we are fortunate to have most of the board seats filled but it seems as though we are always looking to find good, reliable volunteers who may want to donate their time to help our group get things done. If you might be interested in volunteering your time to serve our neighborhood, please let one of us know. Any of us can be reached through the neighborhood’s website email address at pcnha.org.
The website pcnha.org is a wonderful resource to find out information about our organization. There are transcripts from previous meetings, copies of old newsletters, history of our organization and most recently the ability to pay yearly dues online. In the past few months, I have heard from several residents requesting the mailing address for our group so they might mail in their payments. I was amazed at how easy it was to go to the website and enter my credit card/debit card information and pay my HOA dues online. We can still take your mailed-in check to pay your dues, but you may want to check out the new online payment option for an easier payment method. While on the subject of dues, I would like to remind everyone that when you pay your yearly dues you will receive a yard sign/sticker for your yard to show that you are a proud member of the Pitman Creek North HOA. Here is the sign that we have chosen to use with our signature logo. Once you receive the sign then you will receive a renewal sticker every year when you pay your yearly membership. Our dues are $50.00 per year and I can assure you that we are on the lower end of affordable dues when you look at other neighborhoods in Plano. I have had the opportunity to communicate with other voluntary HOAs in our surrounding area and some of them are charging their members anywhere from $75 to $100 or even $150 per year. As of May 2020 our membership in Pitman Creek Homeowners Association was at 163 of our 491 homes, or 33%. It has never been easier to pay online with the addition of the online payment feature. This year’s orange membership sticker needs to be on every membership sign!
Our very best year was back in 2015 when we first started the yard sign campaign. We ended that year with 260 members! I know we can do that again! We need every residents help this year. Join now, and if you have already joined please put your orange sticker on your yard sign.
Almost everyday we see names on social media, either Facebook or Nextdoor of residents that live in our neighborhood and are speaking out but are not listed on our records. Please reach out to us and let us know who you are. We can send our Welcome Wagon Team over with a packet about the area if you are new to Plano. Having everyone on our list is very helpful in case of emergencies. If you are active on social media please actively support our membership. If you want change, be part of your neighborhood. Join PCNHA.
The money we collect in dues goes directly towards operating our organization and making improvements to the neighborhood. We are responsible for paying for everything from water for our neighborhood gardens, to mowing/landscaping services, to paying for social activities like Spring Social and Fall Fest in Hackberry Park. There has been talk of raising the membership dues, but we would like to try to keep the cost low to encourage participation.
While on the subject of “online” activities I would like to remind everyone that Pitman Creek North has a Facebook page for our residents to communicate and find out many things that are currently taking place in our community. I understand that not everyone uses Facebook but I have noticed over the past year that it is an excellence tool for communication with community members and neighbors that I may have never met. Several board members and myself are currently attending neighborhood leadership classes sponsored by the City of Plano and one of the classes discussed the benefit that a strong online presence can have in improving community involvement and engagement. I cannot tell you how many times I have logged into the Pitman Creek North Facebook page and been so happy to see how our residents respond to each other in times of need. Pitman Creek North currently only maintains a Facebook page however there are other online avenues for neighborhood connection such as Nextdoor, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Zoom. While our neighborhood doesn’t currently have a presence with all these platforms, it is exciting to think that someday soon we may be able to reach a much wider audience through many different online sites. I would encourage everyone to explore the possibility of using at least Facebook or Nextdoor to see what your friends and neighbors are up to and chatting about with regards to Pitman Creek North.
I mentioned “gardens” a minute ago. Since the beginning of our organization we have worked in conjunction with the City of Plano to care for the city-owned gardens. We have a total of 8 areas that we care for with the help of neighborhood volunteers. Over the past two years, our landscaping chairperson has set about the process of completely overhauling and revitalizing the gardens in our neighborhood.
Many of you may remember the removal of the two massively overgrown oak trees at the corners of Rio Grande and Park as well as the one at Columbia and Park. These trees had outgrown those corners and were creating any number of issues with the power lines above them or the walkways below (falling limbs). In their place, our landscape chairperson planted two new wonderful Vitex trees which will provide color and curb appeal for many years to come. In addition to those corners, our landscape volunteers have worked to revitalize the garden at Columbia and 15th as well as major maintenance to several of the irrigation lines in the neighborhood. In addition to ongoing projects and maintenance to the gardens we also pay to have the grass mowed in the Spring and Summer months. In a nutshell caring for the neighborhood gardens is probably the most costly, and labor intensive responsibility we have as an organization.
In addition to garden revitalization, our group was also finally able to get some new lighting for the front entrance. For many years there were old electrically-powered lights that illuminated the front entrance sign; but over time, the wiring that flowed to these lights wore out and the cost of replacing the wiring and supply of electricity was going to be far beyond what we could afford. I cannot tell you how many countless hours were spent trying to come up with a solution to the lighting problem at the entrance. In the end we decided to attach solar lights to the sign in order to illuminate it at night. This ended up being an easy and cost effective solution to a huge problem.
There has also been discussion of replacing the old and dated sign at the front entrance. This would not be a simple or inexpensive undertaking. We will continue to investigate the possibility of sign replacement and will keep the community updated on any progress.
In the coming year we would like to possibly start looking at getting some type of signs for the North entrances of our subdivision. Wouldn’t it be great to see the 2 newly remodeled gardens at the North entrances with some type of modern Pitman Creek North signs? Now that we have solved the lighting issue at the front, perhaps we can now focus our energies and money elsewhere.
Another big step we took over the past year was to finally switch our financial/accounting year. For many years, our financial year had always began in May and ended in April for the benefit of the annual membership drive which starts in May. A few years back, the decision was made for us to become incorporated, so it made more sense for us to follow a more traditional beginning and ending for our financial recording for tax purposes. We have been fortunate to have had good money managers currently and in years past.
If you have any questions about our finances or accounting, you can check the website for the annual budget or email the treasurer. We believe we are planning on including a copy of the budget in the email message that we are sending out. I won’t try to go into all the numbers in this video (posted above).
Our neighborhood is such a wonderful place for social activities. I do not know how many of you got to experience the mobile concert we had last month to raise morale during this pandemic. Our social activities chairperson was able to book a talented musician to play guitar and sing while riding in the back of a pickup driving up and down our neighborhood streets. As well as the live music, we were also able to have a visit from Ruthie’s food truck at Hackberry Park. This was just another example of how our HOA is trying to bring people together even while maintaining social distancing and observing stay-at-home restrictions. During normal times our organization has taken upon itself to organize other neighborhood social functions like National Night Out, Spring Park Social, and monthly book club.
If you have any suggestions on possible events you would like to see in our neighborhood in the future, please feel free to communicate them to us. We are always open to suggestions. Once again the website is pcnha.org. There are email addresses there where we can be reached.
I did not want this video to end without mentioning something regarding “voluntary” vs “mandatory” HOAs. Quite often we get notified by people in the community regarding issues that we as a voluntary HOA have little control over. We do not have any type of regulatory power over any of our residences. Although we would love for everyone to be neighborly and act in a manner consistent with the best interest of community in mind, we realize that not everyone is going to do that all the time. If you feel you need an issue resolved pertaining to property standards or other perceived violations your best avenue is usually to contact the city. Our door is always open to listen to any concerns someone might have about a particular issue but you must understand that we may not have the power to resolve every issue that is brought to our attention. The City of Plano has a non-emergency police number at 972 424-5678 or Property Standards at 972 941-2436. Again, we as a non-mandatory HOA have no enforcement power to require our members or non-members to follow any set of rules or guidelines for being a resident of our neighborhood.
Over the past week we asked the community if they had any specific questions for our board members regarding our neighborhood. I will now read the questions or comments we received. I will do my best to answer these questions at this time. We will also be accepting questions via email for the next week if someone was unable to submit a question.
Do you have any info on the Senior Living Center on SW corner of Alma and Park? Construction is scheduled to begin in August. We haven’t seen anything recently on the zoning, etc. Just wondering how this will affect our neighborhood and property values. [Curt & Anita Olson]
I have concerns with building that will begin construction in August at Alma/Columbia. Where can i go to see plot of where building will be with boundaries of property? I am concerned about even more traffic on Columbia and what residents will see from Columbia. [Shirley Nelson]
According to the Community Impact Newspaper, construction is scheduled to begin in August. We went to City of Plano (we now have a board member that is working for the City). What they told her was that the article in the Community Impact paper is not necessarily completely accurate. Development is supposedly happening in August on the east side of Alma, behind the Mediterranean restaurant, near the Plano ISD Performing Arts Center. That is our understanding – construction will start there and progress to the west side of Alma. What that is on the west side of Alma, we don’t know yet. Still trying to get more information from the City of Plano. I’ve gotten no information from the City of Plano. We will pass along any information we receive from the City.
[Further clarification from City of Plano Andrea Madison (Vice-President of PCNHA): I would like to offer a quick clarification that the senior housing development project is proposed for the WEST side of Alma, but behind Academy High School. The vacant land at Park and Columbia has the same owner; the construction mentioned in Community Impact will be on Alma drive, south of RaceTrac and adjacent to Academy High School.]
Will a stoplight be installed at Columbia & Park? It is already very difficult to turn left onto Park. [Duncan Kirkpatrick]
As far as we know, there is not going to be a traffic light put in. Of course, things can change.
Drainage problem continues at Columbia and Park (maybe meant 15th?). It has been like this for years and I have called the city but it hasn’t been addressed. [Duncan Kirkpatrick]
The area at 15th and Columbia (right in front of the garden) does have drainage problems. A lot of the time, the area fills up with water after rain (nothing to do with our watering the gardens). There is a low area there. I have contacted the City of Plano regarding your question but they haven’t gotten back to us yet. Will pass along any information we receive.
One thing I noticed was our Pitman Creek North sign is a little sad. It needs to be cleaned. Is this possible? I have a vendor that cleaned my driveway, sides and walkways for under $150. Please let me know if you’re interested in the contact. [Karen Meyers]
Karen is concerned that the front entrance sign needs to be power washed – it is dirty and needs to be cleaned. Our concerns are: #1 – Solar Lights – we now have solar lights on top of the sign and we are concerned that power washing might damage them; #2 Sign Inlays – where the sign says Pitman Creek North (inside of the letters is painted with brown paint); power washing would probably blast that off. The sign does need to be cleaned or power washed and we will look into cleaning it.
Would you be kind enough to tell us if there are any openings/availabilities for officers, appointed or elected, on the board, please. [Margot Mueller]
We currently have a position open – ‘A- Large’ position (may have Crime Watch position open in the future but still in discussion). We also always need volunteers. We would definitely be open to having a conversation with anyone who is interested in being a board member. I could talk to them about the needs of a specific board member duties. Most of the spots are filled; everyone is happy filling their positions at this time. I will be reaching out to the two people who have contacted us about possibly being on the board. Remember, there are many ways to help the board and volunteers. When we ask for volunteer help, we usually aren’t able to get people to volunteer so that would be an opportunity to get involved.
Can anything be done about the speeding on Rio Grande? [Shirley Nelson]
I see this myself and I sympathize with this issue. We don’t have any way to stop the speeding on Rio Grande. I can call the police department and see if they can set up some type of speeding enforcement there – I do see a motorcycle police person patrolling other areas so maybe we can get them to patrol more in that area. Again, I don’t really have any control but maybe we can get some help. I can tell you that I have turned off of Park onto Rio Grande and seen a large traffic control device (speed limit electronic sign) which tells me that the City is aware of people speeding and they are trying to control it.
In closing I would like to once again thank all the current board members who work so hard throughout the year to make Pitman Creek North a better place to live. They have all agreed to stay on in their current roles for another year. I hope you will join me in giving them your unanimous approval to continue in their efforts to make Pitman Creek North one of the best neighborhoods in Plano. Hopefully the restrictions and limitations we have experienced due to Covid19 will only be temporary and we will be able to meet you all in person this time next year. Until then please stay heathy and safe. Thank you!