Residents Disagree on New Community Association

Approximately 40 Woodbrook residents met to discuss the future of the Woodbrook Community Association.
Approximately 40 Woodbrook residents met in the Woodbrook Elementary School cafeteria on September 29, 2016, to discuss the future of the Woodbrook Community Association. The Association had become inactive on October 1, 2014, when its officers failed to call an election. Woodbrook resident Audrey Kocher convened the meeting, and Woodbrook resident and attorney Peter Roane led the discussion.

Unfortunately, all the Woodbrook Community Association documents were lost sometime during or between the tenure of Susan Reed and that of Susan Fisher. However, since Dan Gould had scanned over 900 pages of Association documents in 2010, the history of the neighborhood and Association starting in 1972 has been preserved to that point.

Mr. Roane presented two options: either revive the existing Association or start a new one. Working from the scanned documents, Mr. Roane proposed that we start afresh with a new constitution and set of bylaws to replace the 1972 documents which are still in effect. “I vote for new,” said Woodbrook resident Gerry Petencin.

“Don’t you think that people not attending is a vote?” asked one Woodbrook resident. “A vote which way?” asked resident Beth Gould. There ensued a discussion as to whether declining to participate in the process was a vote in favor of or against reinstatement of the Association.

“It concerns me to use the word association, especially when I’ve seen it used at public meetings with elected officials not understanding the difference,” said Woodbrook resident Ryan Burdge.

“I’ve spoken to people that didn’t come because they don’t want to be represented by this group, and they are voting ‘no’ by not coming,” said resident Mary McIntyre. Mary went on to say that should the Association form, it should be required to clearly state publicly how many residents it represents. “We are representing 20 out of 212 homes,” she said, as an example of how the Association should represent itself in a public venue. “That way the people in the County won’t be misled and think that the whole neighborhood thinks something that necessarily only 20 people actually think,” she added.

“An organization that has even a few members is going to have more clout than somebody who just comes in as a voice in the wilderness and is the only voice speaking on the topic for any County board, and I think we would soon come to regret that—I really, really do,” said Roane. “There is a balance between representing, making sure that everyone’s views are represented, and not falsely stating that everybody is behind it, and having nothing at all,” Roane added.

Resident Dan Gould talked about how the neighborhood has been handling advocacy during the past two years in which the Association has been inactive. He cited, as an example, the possible loss of left turn access at Woodbrook Drive and US 29. In that instance, Gould and resident Heather Rose Dorsey floated a petition in 24 hours to make clear the neighborhood’s position on the issue. The petition was hand-delivered to Rio District Supervisor Brad Sheffield within only a few days.

Audrey Kocher presented several ideas for social functions that might be launched by an association, one of which was a “book exchange” where small mailbox-sized libraries are set up throughout the neighborhood. “If there were purely a social and informational organization that then could encourage or find like-minded people go speak on certain issues, I know, based on the folks I know who are opposed to it, [people] would be more in favor of  joining and being a part of it.”

“I’d like to say that the bylaws haven’t been followed in years. What is the point of making a new constitution and bylaws? The fact that the Association lapsed and had no election is why we’re here now,” said Beth Gould.

“If you were at the school board meeting where they heard [the dugout issue]… you had residents… yelling across and yelling to the School Board there’s not a real association,” said Burdge, reflecting the concerns of some that no association can truly represent Woodbrook views as a whole. “I’d be so much happier if [people] started it at the social level and information sharing level, and go from there,” he added.

“We’re not going to do it like this,” said resident Morgan Perkins, referring to the meeting process. She encouraged residents to submit their ideas for a new association in writing.

The meeting was adjourned with no clear path towards a viable resolution. Full audio of the meeting follows:

6 thoughts on “Residents Disagree on New Community Association

  1. Jim and I are in favor of a new association. It is silly to think because people did not or could not attend, they were speaking one way or the other. I am very involved with the Blue Ridge Home Builders Association and we had an event to attend that evening.
    Jim and Nancy Brewer

  2. We are not in favor of any association that suggests it is speaking on behalf of Woodbrook residents. We prefer to deal directly with our elected representatives for ourselves when the need arises. We did not attend because we do not support this.

  3. I would have liked to have come to the meeting but I work a lot of evenings.

    I like having a way to communicate with the community and would love to get to know my Woodbrook neighbors better.

    Thanks for having this discussion!

    Susan Barnard
    316 Eastbrook Dr.

  4. My argument is that absence from a meeting is NOT an implied “in favor of” or “don’t care” vote. This is an issue in which the opinion of every Woodbrook resident must be taken into account in a fair and transparent way.

  5. I used to be treasurer many years ago. We had two social events a year and banded together to fight several issues. I was also a block captain. I could not attend because of work. We had a voice. They wanted to open a road into Carrsbrook. We banded together to stop it. The association would be the group keeping an eye on and informing us of what potential decisions might affect our neighborhood. We need that to keep our neighborhood the great place it is to live. For those who want to speak on their own behalf to the elected officials, go ahead. I want the numbers behind me.

  6. Maybe the “association” model worked years ago, but our last Board did not keep us informed. Even worse, they let the association become inactive, by not holding an election.

    Although we haven’t had any real leadership in three years, we are more informed than ever. Neighbors are sharing ideas and news via Facebook and this blog, and all without a formal association.

    We can all contribute to keeping our neighborhood great, and not just depend on a select few elected persons that may or may not do their jobs effectively.

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