Summary: October 31, 2016 Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting of The Fort Sumter House Association was called to order by the president, Glenn DeBiasi, at 6:30 on Monday, October 31, 2016. 

Members of the Board of Directors in attendance were:

  • Glenn DeBiasi – President
  • Granice Geyer-Smith – Vice President
  • Steve Anastasion – Treasurer
  • Beth Dixon – Secretary
  • Beau Clowney – Board Member

Also present at the meeting was:

  • Joy Jarvis – Admin Manager of FSH
  • Joe Yetsko – Former Building Manager of FSH

1. Calling of the Role and Certifying Proxies

Joy Jarvis confirmed that we satisfied the quorum requirement (>50%) for a valid meeting. The percentage of ownership is based on square footage owned, not headcount. We had a quorum of 73.98% which includes those owners present at the meeting and those owners who sent in a proxy. Thank you to all who sent in proxies!

  • Present: 30 Owners (61.51% of ownership)
  • Proxy: 13 Owners (22.51% of ownership)
  • Not present / no proxy: 9 Owners (15.98% of ownership)

2. Proof of Notice of the Meeting

Proof of notice of the meeting was confirmed. The letter scheduling the meeting was dated and mailed on October 14, 2016, meeting the requirements of the Master Deed.

3. Approval of Last Meeting Minutes

A motion was made to approve the minutes from the 2015 Annual Meeting and it was seconded. The minutes were approved and are posted on Fort Sumter House web site (fortsumterhouse.org).

4. Welcome to New Owners

This year there were two sales at Fort Sumter House:

  • Jack Callaghan bought Apt 603
  • Jim and Lee Breeden bought Apt 204 – they currently own Apt 207

5. Financial Report

The 2016 Profit and Loss statement (as of Oct. 15, 2016) was provided to those owners present at the meeting. We are on track for our 2016 budget.

Steve Anastasian, FSHA Treasurer, also provided a summary of the Reserve account, including the amount of each expenditure made in 2016.

Information was also provided on the special projects being funded by the 2016 Budget Supplement, including the contract prices and the amounts paid (as of Oct. 27, 2016) on each project. We are on track and within budget.

An audit / review of our financial records was conducted in September 2016 as required by the Master Deed and By-laws. No irregularities were found.

6. President’s Report

Glenn’s slide presentation covered the following topics about FSHA. You can view the slide presentation located here: http://fortsumterhouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016-Annual-Meeting-Presentation.pdf.

A. Property Values

The trend in property values is going up. In 2012, the average price/sf of a unit here sold for $540. For 2016, the average price/sf is $724. Generally the smaller units and those that have been recently renovated sell for a higher price per square foot.

The resident mix in the building is:

  • Owners/residents – 70% (21 full-time and 17 part-time)
  • Owners who rent – 30%

B. Board Goals

  • Ensure financial viability and integrity of FSH
  • Maintain physical facility
  • Ensure safety, cleanliness, and livability for the residents
  • Govern within Master Deed, By-laws, and Rules & Regs
  • Ensure effective and efficient operation of the building
  • Upgrade the physical facility, when feasible within financial constraints

C. Hurricane Matthew

The basement and crawl space were flooded during Hurricane Matthew. We also sustained some damage to the pool fencing, landscaping, and the front lobby ceiling. There were various water leaks in the front vestibule and lobby as Statesville Roofing had not completed their work on the second floor roof/terrace. We want to thank everyone who helped clean up after the storm!

D. Mold Remediation Project

In early 2016, we discovered mold in the basement and in the office and storage areas on the first floor. The basement had a dirt floor and the dryers vented into the space which exacerbated the moisture problem. Mold remediation was completed to correct the problem. Now there is a new sloped concrete floor and the dryers are vented to the exterior of the building. We also added 2 sump pumps to help drain water from the basement. After Hurricane Matthew, we had to hire Disaster Plus to pump all the water out and restore the basement and crawlspace to good condition. The cost is about $68,000 but flood insurance should cover approximately $53,000 of this.

E. Elevator Modernization

This project is in process. As of the writing of this summary (12/9/2016), one elevator is completed. Otis is now working on the second elevator and this one should be completed by mid-December. The improvements made to the speed and efficiency of operation is noteworthy. We have ordered new mahogany elevator interiors and these will be installed in February.

F. Shed Roof

The shed roof over the bike storage area where the cooling tower for the new HVAC system is located was leaking. Statesville Roofing re-roofed it and we are pleased to report that it did not leak during Hurricane Matthew.

G. Water-Proofing the Roofs

The resurfacing of the roofs/terraces is almost complete. These surfaces are to be considered primarily roofs and must be treated as roofs. During the project, the contractors found water under the “waterproof” membranes, in the metal rails, under pavers, and in places where water should not have been. We believe this was a major source of leakage into the lobby and first floor apartments. Railings cannot penetrate the surface. The Guidelines for these roofs/terraces are located on the web site here: http://fortsumterhouse.org/?page_id=110. For example, metal and cement planters and other items are not allowed on the roof to protect the surface. All owners with units adjacent to the roofs/terraces must follow the guidelines and notify the Board prior to placing anything on the surface. Please read the Guidelines for more detail on what is and is not allowed.

H. Other Projects Completed in 2016

  • Rebuilt the domestic water pump
  • Replaced walkway on loading dock ramp
  • Added security on the back door at loading dock
  • Added insulation on the chill water pipes in north stairwell
  • Installed new shower and water fountain at the pool
  • Purchased uniforms for staff
  • Did some much needed spring cleaning
  • Completed an appraisal of the building for insurance
  • Completed a financial review

I. Future Projects

There are more projects to do. Some of these are:

  • Repair pool surface (replaster)
  • Resurface pool deck
  • Repair sections of the pool fence
  • Install wall around parking lots (with entry gates)
  • Repair wooden window sills on outside of building
  • Repair / replace lobby chandelier
  • Convert current apartment electric meters to digital
  • Repair plaster in lobby (damaged by leaks from 2nd floor roof/terrace)
  • Repaint wainscoating in lobby
  • Replace pool furniture
  • Install light in pool area for security purposes
  • Recoat building (Permacoat)
  • Landscape parking lots
  • Enlarge exercise room

7. FSH Vision & Building Front

Beau Clowney showed some slides of a possible “vision” for the layout of the lobby and first floor space. The vision would be to return the lobby to the “Peacock Alley” floor plan, like it was when FSH was a hotel. The alley would run from the front of the building straight to a new back entrance and there would be a new expanded exercise room, a loft area for office space to rent, and many other changes and improvements to better utilize the space on the first floor. This would be a major project that may be something to think about for the future. You can view detail drawings in the slide presentation located here: http://fortsumterhouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016-Annual-Meeting-Presentation.pdf.

The project to redo the front of the building (King Street) will begin in January. This project was thoroughly discussed at the last two annual meetings. The BAR approved the plans in the fall of 2016. The new awning will extend out 6 feet and will allow more light into the lobby. There is enough room to stand under the awning, but it will no longer extend to the street. The front stairs will be widened and a center railing will be added. You can view the drawings on display in the lobby, and also in the slide presentation located here: http://fortsumterhouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016-Annual-Meeting-Presentation.pdf.

8. Asbestos / Permitting

Granice Geyer-Smith summarized the situation with asbestos and lead paint. The building was built in the 1920s and renovated in the 1970s, so we have to assume that there is asbestos and lead paint in the building. Some history:

  • In 2003, asbestos was banned in all building construction.
  • In 2013, the city of Charleston mandated that all building permits required asbestos and lead paint testing. If these materials were detected, then remediation had to be done.
  • In 2015 some projects at FSH (Apt #201 and other apartments) did the required testing, and no asbestos or lead paint was found.
  • In September 2016, no asbestos was found in Apt 202 when sheetrock work was done. However, asbestos and lead paint was found in the sheetrock mud and tile grout in Apt 707. Remediation has been done.

This is an old building and there are isolated cases of asbestos and lead paint here, however the reported percentages of asbestos have been low.

In September 2016, the Admin Manager found a study that was done in 2000 that identified some asbestos and lead paint on the exterior of the building. This was about the same time that the remediation in Apt 707 was being done.

It is important to note that asbestos does not pose any danger if it is contained and not disturbed. Our goal is to implement asbestos and lead paint guidelines so that we have a protocol to follow prior to any work being done in common areas. In addition, we will require all employees to sign a document stating that they understand and will follow these procedures.

For individual apartments, the Master Deed requires that any proposed renovation be reviewed and approved by Management and the Board to insure the structural integrity of the building. It is up to the owners to hire contractors and get the appropriate building permits (which require the asbestos and lead paint testing).

9. Personnel Issues

Our former Facility Manager quit without notice on October 24, 2016. Since he hired an attorney, we also had to hire an attorney. To protect FSHA, our attorney advised us not to discuss personnel issues with anyone. Note that this advice is given to any corporation facing possible legal jeopardy. Our attorney also advised us to implement the no trespassing order. We are managing the situation appropriately and are acting in the best interests of all owners, which is to protect the Association and minimize legal risk and expenses.

10. Unfinished Business

There was no unfinished business.

11. New Business

From Julian AvRutick: Julian suggests that we have more meetings to keep owners informed. Glenn noted that we have a web site and periodically send out and post updates to all owners.

From Martha DeBiasi: The FSHA is a business and most owners do not know what is really involved in managing and running the building. It is a big job. The Board members are volunteers. They spend a lot of their time on projects and often get criticized by other owners. Martha encouraged other owners to get involved.

From Hal Cottingham: Hal suggests that we be more proactive in creating a capital reserve fund. He pointed out that some owners sell after living here for only a short period of time. They use all the facilities (elevators, carpets, security system, new doors, etc.), and leave before assessments are made to repair/replace the facilities that they used. Thus they never share in the replacement costs. It doesn’t seem fair.

From Cathy Carabello: Cathy raised a question about a provision in the By-Laws of our Master Deed that states that 1 of the 5 Directors must receive votes from a majority in ownership interest of the commercial units on the first floor AND a majority in ownership interest of the residential areas on floors 2-7. In the current election, Beth, George and Gordon each received votes from a majority in interest of the entire building, but not the first floor. The results of last year’s election were reviewed to determine if Steve or Granice received a majority in interest from the first floor AND the upper floors. Both Steve and Granice received a majority of the upper floors, but only 45% of the first floor. Time was needed to consult with legal counsel prior to announcing results.

12. Election of Board Members

A notification letter about the Annual Meeting and election of officers was duly sent out on October 14, 2016, as required by the Master Deed. Beth Dixon, George Boniface, and Gordon Strauss were elected to the Board by majority vote for two (2) year terms.

13. Adjournment

A motion was made to adjourn the meeting and it was seconded.

 

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