What are the functions of an HOA board?

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There must be some functions that are beyond the responsibility of the board of trustees of a homeowners' association, or we end up with a situation where a handful of individuals speak on ALL matters for ALL residents. Does anyone have any thoughts on where the board's authority over matters that affect our daily living end, or, from another viewpoint, what the functions of an HOA board are? This is my first experience with a homeowners' association, and, although I have lived here for seven years, this has never been quite clear to me.

On a related matter, a criticism I have heard (from more than one person) regarding this discussion site is that it is not "board approved," or "board sanctioned." Why on earth would we need permission from our board of trustees to enter into an open dialogue with one another?

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), May 28, 2000


On the HOA issue - I also remain unclear on the functions of an HOA board. An outline posted here or on the KentlandsUSA.com site would be very helpful.

On the Kentlands forum site - while I can't be sure, I think the board first declared that this forum session would not be "board approved" or "board sanctioned" because they were concerned about liability. Without re-hashing the disturbing dispute that lead to the creation of this forum, I think it is time that the board reconsider their action on this one.

I too was concerned when this forum was initially created, because I was uncertain as to the motivation behind it. I saw far too many opportunities for it to be "Kentlands Gossip Central," and in fact, there was a fair amount of pointless whining in the beginning.

However, this forum has evolved into an amazing source of information exchange. There are so many people in this community who can and want to contribute ideas covering a multitude of issues. Yet before this forum was established, we never heard from anyone (but for a select few). I think it would be well worth the board's time to at least read the comments of the residents who participate in these discussions.

-- Robin Caldwell (rcaldwell@paint.org), May 30, 2000.

Robin, I am not sure what you mean when you refer to "the disturbing dispute that led to the creation of this forum." An initial attempt to provide a Web forum for community discussion dates back to July, 1999, and, in fact, contributions to the discussion site created at that time remain on greenspun (see "Kentlands Community Dialogue" in the list of inactive discussions). My understanding was, and still is, that the intent of this site has always been to open up communication within the community and foster dialogue between us, with the goal of "building community."

Building community is, I believe, very much what the Kentlands Community Foundation is about. Initially, I accessed the greenspun Kentlands Web forum (then, "Kentlands Community Dialogue") through the KCF Web site (currently being reconstructed, but accessible at the time). The first question on the forum was posted by the president of the KCF and asked, "What are the issues facing this community? What problems do we need to address to make this community work better?"

I do not recall if there was anything on the KCF site saying whether they were endorsing the greenspun Kentlands discussion site or just providing a link to it--to be honest, I did not even look. I just assumed, since the KCF president posted the first question, and the forum was accessible from the Foundation's site, that it was being endorsed, if not sponsored, by the Foundation. Certainly, it would have been consistent with their philosophy of building community.

Also, the KCF had sponsored an even earlier attempt to create a public forum for community dialogue. The forum in this instance was modeled after the town meeting. I think there were only about 4 or 5 of these meetings, before they were discontinued. The topics and discussions were always interesting, and the moderator was great, but at the time not enough people were attending.

In my mind, at least, the seeds for this Web discussion forum were planted with those early town meetings. Others who have lived here longer than my husband and I may know of still earlier attempts to create a forum for promoting dialogue within the community. In any event, I agree with you that this forum has evolved into something quite wonderful. For that, we owe Michael Berney a large debt of gratitude.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), June 01, 2000.

I agree with Mary--kudos to Michael Berney for providing a venue for us to discuss a variety of issues. Let's hope that as the word gets out, more and more Kentlands residents will begin to participate.

-- Dee Aronson (deearonson@erols.com), June 03, 2000.

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