It’s been a year since The Territory HOA began to see some major changes. We would not know just how big those changes would be until February 2017, however.
I’ll never forget that phone call I got at halftime of the Super Bowl that let me know just how big a job I had inherited as the new president of our HOA!
We’ve covered all this ground in Facebook posts, Nextdoor notices, post to the Web site and physical mailings. I'm told Bixby mail service is unreliable, so if you haven’t checked into any of those online forums, please do so. We try to keep official postings to a minimum so they aren’t annoying hit-after-hit items, but we definitely want everyone to know what their HOA board is up to.
This letter is coming to you now because November, normally, would be the month for our annual meeting and we would be announcing the amount for annual dues for the next year, with a deadline for payment on February 1.
However, we really didn’t get on our feet until April 2017, after we secured the services of HOA Administrators, got our books balanced and paperwork transferred, and we sent out HOA dues notices. Several people noted that they appreciated the dues notices coming at that time of year rather than during the holidays – including several board members.
In a recent board meeting we discussed the topic and voted to make April our time to renew the landscaping contract, figure our budget and collect dues.
In the future, the dues amount notices will be issued in the spring and dues will be due on April 1. The board is hopeful we will have good news in the form of reduced dues for 2018 – fingers crossed!
I want to personally thank Vice President David Morgan, Secretary Emily Worley, Treasurer Christa Sutherland and board members Kevin Wilson and DeAnna Bostian, and especially Sam Sullivan of HOA-Administrators for helping to get our HOA back on track this year.
Read more newsletter items online (or look for your annual newsletter in the mail) to see what these fine folks have been up to.
Happy holidays and best wishes to all,
The Territory HOA President
Pocket gophers are a plentiful problem in The Territory. They have chewed electrical wires for landscape lighting and sprinkler lines at the entrances to cause damage that has already cost well over $1,000 to repair – and we still haven’t assessed all the damage or know the full extent of the issues.
We are in the process of consulting with electricians and sprinkler-system installers.
Gophers digging in the common areas also caused erosion and our storm drain areas will require shoveling/cleaning to prevent water pooling and creating places for mosquitoes to multiply.
HOA President Kelly Bostian volunteered to trap gophers in the large common area this summer and kept the population at bay for most of the season that the young soccer players were practicing on the field.
He finally drew the line when he reached 30 gophers. It was simply too much work to stay ahead of them on a volunteer basis.
During a meeting the first week of November the board awarded Barry’s Pest Control a contract to remove gophers from the two main common areas and the entrances where wiring and sprinkler lines are located.
PLEASE if you see orange flagging around the entrances and common areas DO NOT DISTURB the traps. The flags are attached to wires that hold the traps in place. Please alert your children to leave those flags alone.
The Territory will be charged a replacement fee for traps that are lost/stolen.
We are happy to work with a Territory resident business owner on something that will help the entire neighborhood.
Good riddance, gophers!
After a number of thefts last spring several residents raised the idea that The Territory should become a gated community to add to the safety of our neighborhood.
Given what seemed to be persistent interest in the idea, we asked HOA-Administrators to do some research into what would be required of us to become a gated community and what the gate construction would cost.
The short answer to becoming a gated community is it is not recommended by local authorities, would be extremely expensive, and would require involvement of the HOA board at a level beyond what any found palatable.
The board was skeptical to begin with, but we all did our best to keep an open mind.
However, after hearing reports on the research the idea no longer has enough support among board members to merit further discussion or research.
We first reached out to Marcae Hilton, City of Bixby Planner on what would be the responsibilities of The Territory if we erected security gates.
She consulted with others at City Hall on the potential of The Territory becoming a gated community and reported the following:
She said the first step to becoming a gated community would require us to ask our attorney and hire an engineer to re-plat the streets and work up a new deed of dedication. That’s because everything inside our fences would become private property and all street and storm sewer maintenance would become the responsibility of the neighborhood.
Hilton said street and storm sewer maintenance costs, “could become very difficult for a small neighborhood to cover.”
Every inch of the property – including storm sewers and curb/gutter – would need to be newly surveyed to legally show precisely where our private property ends and public begins. We did not research the cost of that survey work (we could assume it would not be cheap).
Hilton said all plans, including detailed gate construction plans and how the neighborhood would manage the gates, would have to be submitted to the Planning Commission and then the City Council for approval. She said that gaining Council approval would be a months-long process.
Two strikes would be against us from the start, she said. Both the police and fire chiefs commented specifically against The Territory (but she said they do in general for most neighborhoods) becoming a gated community.
Gates make it more difficult for emergency responders to make random checks and routinely are a problem for police and ambulance response, she said.
“This would not be a favorable change from the City’s perspective,” she said.
Sam Sullivan with HOA-Administrators approached two contractors to provide bids for the job of building a main gate at the 160th Street entrance and a secondary gate off Riverview.
One was a no-show, but Jenks Fence, which builds neighborhood fences all around Tulsa, came through with a bid of $45,520, not including costs for required electrical and telephone hookup to residences. The construction amount would nearly drain all our savings, unless we charged residents a separate construction fee over and above dues to get the job done. The gates would require annual maintenance and we would need to budget for that as well.
The effort required for the months-long process to get the gates approved, the high cost of gate construction, and the recommendation against gating the community from the chiefs of both city public safety departments led The Territory board to dismiss gates as an public safety idea for our neighborhood.
Both city public safety officials said Alert Neighbors programs and regular use of tools like the Nextdoor App to keep residents in touch are more effective at preventing crime than are physical gates.
In its November meeting the board discussed some options for Play By Design and they are working up quotes to help us make a final decision.
When the decision is final we will announce the planned changes and let everyone know about the work schedule with postings to The Territory Facebook page, Nextdoor App and this Web site.
Territory residents should be aware that the covenants demand prior board/architecture committee approval before construction or painting is done that changes the outward appearance of your home.
It is a simple process. An architecture form can be downloaded from this web site. Submit the form to the board of directors for approval and we will get it back to you asap with approval or to let you know if there is a problem with your plans.
It’s much easier to avoid building something that doesn’t mesh with neighborhood covenants than to have to correct the problem later. We do not recommend asking for forgiveness after the fact. The rules are clear on most topics and they apply to us all equally.