By the mid-2000s, the Bay Isles community of Winding Oaks was deteriorating: Roofs were beginning to leak, the pool was developing cracks and the siding of some units was in disrepair.
“I was very concerned,” said Bill Urban, current president of the Winding Oaks board of directors, who purchased his unit in 2005. “The only maintenance being done was must-do things.”
Today, the 26-year-old community, which consists of 56 units in 28 one-level buildings, is nearing the end of approximately $3 million worth of updates that began in 2007. Renovations began with new paver driveways and walkways; new tile roofs followed two years later. The community got a new Infinity pool and new signage, mailboxes and stands, landscaping lighting and exterior painting, and replaced its siding and trim. The neighborhood is in the process of updating its landscaping, uplighting and irrigation.
How did the community persuade owners of its 56 units to pay $3 million — or more than $50,000 per unit?
“It’s never easy to get money out of people,” Urban said.
He and a group of likeminded owners rallied to elect a new board after the former board rejected calls for major renovations. The group persuaded owners in the community to support the project little by little, often holding meetings for eight or nine individuals around someone’s kitchen table.
“We weren’t thrilled, but we realized it needed to be done,” said Julie Flaherty, who purchased her unit in 2007. “It wasn’t done for the previous 18 years.”
The largest assessment in 2009 for replacing pavers and roofs amounted to approximately $30,000 per unit. The board tied the assessments to maintenance fees, requiring payments of $5,000 per quarter over an 18-month period.
Melanie De Carlo purchased her unit in 2009 and had always lived in single-family homes where she alone was responsible for maintenance. She said she and others were “surprised and disappointed” that the property had not been maintained.
“So many of the problems that seemed to be manifesting themselves was from things that should have been taken care of,” De Carlo said.
Today, De Carlo believes the renovations were a good investment.
Flaherty said the association is now working to build its reserves so that money will be there for future maintenance.
Winding Oaks experienced the same issues that any older community will face, Urban said.
“You have to renew the community, or else it’s going to go downhill,” he said.
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