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What are the actual current rules and restrictions?

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:20 am
by Developer
There has been a lot of controversy over the years, as to what are the actual rules and restrictions for Rose Lake Forest. I'm happy to say it seems we're much closer now to having that settled.

At the annual Spring meeting (2019) it was announced that then-president Janet Crystal had done much research in the County Register of Deeds Office; the Board had reviewed her findings, as had the Board's attorney, and decided the Developer, Mr. Wood was correct: the two documents which had been previously recorded, claiming to amend the Original Covenants, had been done incorrectly; the Association would henceforth recognize the Original Covenants as the only binding restrictive covenants.

Hurray!

The Board had the Original Covenants reprinted into a new pamphlet, and handed them out to all members present at the Fall meeting in September. I was present, and received a copy.

After looking over my copy, I found a problem. The pamphlet contained "additional rules" which did not appear in the Original Covenants.

Over the next several weeks I spoke with the new president Darrel Tue, and the former president (Janet), regarding this discrepancy. A good while later, Janet got back with me and said the Board had decided to allow the additional rules to stand for now, pending further debate.

I waited.

During this time a man who had bought a lot from me expressed concern because he wanted to do something which was prohibited by one of the Association's "additional rules". He ended up canceling his contract. Naturally this concerns me, as I view those "additional rules" as illegitimate and, therefore, believe the Association does me an actual, actionable damage by continuing to publish said rules.

On September 23rd I emailed the following letter to the Members of the Board, which the Association President later confirmed by phone they have received:
September 23rd, 2019

Members of the Board
RLFPOA
P.O. Box 64
Leroy, MI 49655

Re: Covenants and Rules

Notice and Demand

Dear Members of the Board:

I am writing with regard to concerns I have about the new “Covenants” pamphlet prepared by Janet Crystal.
Before I begin I want to say how pleased I am that we are finally on the same page as to the lawful status of the Original Covenants. The Board’s acknowledgment of this fact is in large part due to Janet’s hard work and research, and she has my thanks.

Janet’s use of the first page of the pamphlet to highlight the additional restrictions with regard to mobile homes and camping on selected lots was succinct and to the point. Well done, Janet!

The main body of the document seems to be photocopied from an old pamphlet which my dad had printed back in the 1970s, and which was again reproduced in the 1980s. The copy is a little rough, having obviously seen some wear, and includes some hand annotations. I don’t know if the annotations were Janet’s, or if they were already present on the copy she used as her photo-source.

On the one hand I might have liked to have seen the document re-typeset, for appearances sake. On the other, realizing the source is from an old original copy saved me from feeling the need to scrutinize and compare every word.

On the whole I prefer the latter, at least for now. Insofar as the document is faithfully reproduced, I cannot take issue with the contents, since this is the original declaration of restrictive covenants which we all agree has never been changed.

I do, however, take issue with the content of the last two pages of the pamphlet, which appear under the title “RLFPOA have implemented additional rules.” This section lists eleven paragraphs containing alleged rules which do not appear in the Original Covenants. I see them as divided as follows:
  • Common Properties: 1, 9, 10, 11
  • Original Lots: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Insofar as those rules affect the Common Properties, I have no objection. It is the Association’s express duty and bailiwick to make rules regarding the use and maintenance of the Common Properties. Insofar as those rules purport to affect Original Lots, I hereby give notice that I object, and formally challenge their legitimacy.

Within thirty days of your receipt of this Notice and Demand, please either remove the offending lines, or respond with any and all basis in authority upon which the Association relies for it’s purported enactment, publication, and enforcement of the alleged rules in the pamphlet, identified above under the heading “Original Lots”, together with copies of any and all evidence in support of same which may be in the Association’s possession.

If the Board fails to timely satisfy this Demand, then without further notice I will presume in good faith that the alleged rules are illegitimate and without basis or merit; the Board Members have included these alleged rules with full knowledge they are illegitimate; and the Association and/or its Board Members will take full responsibility for any damages or losses caused by the reliance upon the Association’s publication or enforcement of the alleged rules, whether such reliance is by a Member, or a prospective Member. Further, I reserve the right to publish notice of this good faith presumption to all the Members and/or the public in any manner I deem prudent or reasonable, and to take any other action I may deem reasonable to protect myself from damage or losses inflicted by the Board in this regard.

My reason for this Notice and Demand is because the alleged rules in contention unjustly deprive me, and other Members of our private property rights, and the past publication and enforcement of such alleged rules have already caused me real monetary damages, and have the potential to cause me continuing damages and losses in the future.

In the spirit of cooperation, I will share with you my opinion as follows:

If I’m not mistaken, I believe those rules come from the Association’s bylaws. It seems to me that over the years, various Board Members have been confused as to the difference between the Covenants which restrict the Original Lots, and the Association’s bylaws, which simply set forth rules under which the Association, a non-profit corporation, will operate.

The Covenants empower the Association with the ownership, maintenance, and management of the Common Properties. Nowhere within the Covenants is the Association empowered with the authority to enact, publish, or enforce rules with regard to the Original Lots.

Not even a vote of the Members is sufficient to place restrictions upon Original Lots. The Covenants list exactly two purposes for which the Members may vote:
  1. The levy of special assessments for the purpose of construction, reconstruction, unexpected repair or replacement of a particular capital improvement upon the Common Properties (Article V, Section 4);
  2. A change in the basis and maximum of annual assessments [dues] (Article V, Section 5).
Both of those items deal with the Members’ money, which is the Members’ private property. They are the only items allowed within the Covenants upon which Members may vote to affect the private property of other Members. This includes, but is not limited to Original Lots.

The Association’s bylaws may allow the Members to vote on other issues as well, such as the election of Board Members, and the management of the Common Properties. It is not necessary to list these additional issues in the Covenants, because such issues affect exclusively that which is within the purview of the Association: The Common Properties.

This is an all-important distinction. What it means is this: If any Member at a meeting makes a motion to enact a rule restricting Original Lots, the Board Member who has been designated as the Board’s parliamentarian has a responsibility to immediately strike down the motion on the grounds it exceeds the authority of the Members to enact such a rule. It also means that any such rules which have been enacted in the past, were done without authority, and are not lawful.

It is not my wish to confront the Board in such a direct manner as this, however due to damages I have already suffered over matters directly related to this, and the potential such damages may continue and even multiply, I believe it is crucial the matter be addressed now and forever.

We have a common interest in the well-being of The Forest. Thank you for working with me so far, and let’s please put this matter to rest.

Sincerely,
PRTC Trust, RLF Developer


Gregory Wood, trustee
As you can see, the Association was given thirty days to respond. Today is December 3rd, they've had forty days, and they have failed to make any response. I view their failure to respond as an admission the "additional rules" are void.

Re: What are the actual current rules and restrictions?

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 6:10 am
by Bonsai49
Where does this "no campers or camping on lots 44 through 55" in the recent pamphlet come from? Someone saw someone camping and decided they didn't like it there?

Re: What are the actual current rules and restrictions?

Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 5:31 pm
by Developer
Actually there is no restriction which says:
no campers or camping on lots 44 through 55
There is a restriction in the Original Covenants which says, with regard only to the plat South Rose Lake Forest,
The use of campers or camping equipment shall not be permitted after 1980 on the following described lots:
  • Lots 44 through 53 inclusive
  • Lots 61 through 92 inclusive
Please keep in mind Rose Lake Forest is actually made up of fifteen plats, of which South Rose Lake Forest is only one.

You can find a map showing Limited Use information covering all fifteen plats at this link:

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=79723#p79933

Re: What are the actual current rules and restrictions?

Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 9:16 am
by Bonsai49
Thank you for clarifying. And thank you for your hard work in ascertaining and putting a lot of this stuff into laymans terms. Otherwise who knows what people would try and get away with. I am trying to wrap my mind around how after all this is clearly laid out and the legalities are obvious, the association turns right around and does the same thing, tries to change things they have no power or right to. The main reason people are trying to make a lot of these changes is because of the individual permanently in a camper right in front of the sub. They legally cant do anything if the facilities are open, so what do they do? Close it earlier and open it up later! Everyone's complaint is "where is he going to the bathroom" so what do they do? Close the bathroom.... Im not condoning people not following health codes, but you are really gonna short EVERYONE else just to try and get this guy out? I brought these concerns and some hard questions out on the Forests facebook page, and 5 min later they are all deleted and I am blocked from commenting. Questions like who voted on this? what were the results of the vote? Why werent people made aware a vote was even taking place? Its all a bunch of bologna.

I can understand the facilities not being open during the winter, but April is not the winter. "Its up to the person opening the well" I was told.... well then why was there a "vote"? Dont piss down my back and tell me its raining. Lets call a spade a spade, There are people who dont want "weekenders" or campers in their forest, so they are doing what little they can to prevent people from being there as much as possible. Many people would like to use their land during hunting season and have access to the facilities, cause why not? Nope, gonna close it up on opening day! Doesnt matter what the weather is! Then complain when someone throws shit in a dumpster? April is an important month for a bonsai tree nursery, gardener, I have to be up there, so I guess now I am gonna have to rent a big huge bright yellow handicapped accessible porta potty and put it right next to the road and lets see how many people like that! I have half a mind to pay for anyone else who needs one too. We will dot the Forest with yellow porta johns every spring and fall, see how fast they open it back up.

Re: What are the actual current rules and restrictions?

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:35 am
by Developer
Usually I'm not in the Forest before Memorial Day, or very long after Labor Day, so I may be wrong about this-- it has always been my impression that the bathrooms are opened up shortly before Memorial Day, and closed not long after Labor Day.

The issue with the recent vote, to my understanding, was not about the bathrooms. It was about closing and winterizing the two Association water wells at the same time the bathrooms were closed. Those wells are well-insulated, and equipped with frost-free faucets. When I was a kid both wells used to be left open all winter long. I myself used to camp up there on the weekends in the winter, and I remember many times getting water at the pump above the beach.

If enough members want the water wells open all year, they can vote to make it so. If the Board doesn't listen, vote them out and elect a Board that listens. If more members were subscribed to this Forum it would make these kinds of issues easier to sort out.

As for the bathroom issue-- I recommend putting in a septic, and then you won't have to deal with anyone's crap (pun intended). In the short term, I've been told there's somebody renting porta-potties by the month, and they're priced fairly reasonable. Maybe another member has that info and will post it here?

I remember someone complaining last year about somebody putting a cooler in the dumpster that was full of feces, and how disgusting that was. I couldn't help but wonder-- it seems to me if it was in a closed cooler, would it even stink? How was it discovered, was there somebody digging through the dumpster? Why? Isn't digging through a dumpster disgusting? Who would do that? I decided at the time that whoever found it was probably just mad because they were trying to garbage-pick the cooler! Yes, rather than be disgusted, I thought that was pretty funny.

Maybe I have the facts wrong, but it does seem to me too many people are whining and complaining without much cause. But isn't that the same just about anywhere these days? I don't have much patience with the professionally offended. I don't get the impression it's a common thing for feces to be thrown in the dumpster, and I agree that closing the bathrooms prematurely might tend to make that problem worse, rather than better.

It comes back to what I said above. Please realize that Board members are volunteers, and it's pretty hard to find good people who are willing to do the job. The "live and let live" types of folks usually tend to never volunteer, and then Board positions get filled by people who want to get in everyone's business. That's why it's important we all understand the rules, and the limitations of the Association. Most of the current Board members are pretty decent folks in my opinion, but sometimes that changes. It always helps to get more people involved.

Participating in the Forum helps, and if you really want to help, you might consider getting on the Board-- I'm not just writing this to the original poster, but to everyone.

Re: What are the actual current rules and restrictions?

Posted: Sat Apr 11, 2020 6:22 pm
by Bonsai49
When the more recent alleged poop dump happened n was posted on fb I couldn't help but think.... could it possibly be made up, to bring more negative attention on certain folks? Or place it there knowing they would be blamed? And also thought? Who found it, how... why. Someone asked specifics "what was it in etc" but was never responded to.

Last year after getting my lot I was only here about a week... in July. Had pitched a tent. I was at the facilities and struck up a convo w a person who turned out to be on the board. Nice enough person, after a cpl min of small talk they say to me "so everyone wants to know what you're doing" !? Really? I said who is everyone? And what's it to them? Well they want to know how long you're staying? Really dude!?.... the board has one job, that's to maintain the common properties. Nothing more, nothing less.