From The Blog
Second Vote on Covenant Amendment to Formalize Covenant Enforcement Process
As part of the 2018 Annual Meeting, association members are being asked to vote for a second time on a proposed amendment to the KICA Covenants. The original proposal, which was part
of the 2017 Annual Meeting, received overwhelming support last year (78% voting in favor) but failed to reach the necessary quorum requirement for voting.
The Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions(or simply, the KICA Covenants) are a key component of community association living. These are non-governmental legal restrictions that apply to land, and hence, also apply to the owners of this land. They are legally binding, though the hierarchy of controlling laws and legal instruments place covenants subordinate to federal, state and local statutes. In a community association, covenants establish the framework for setting community standards, rules and guidelines intended to support the quality of life and property values in a community.
On Kiawah, the KICA Livability team is charged with enforcement of the covenants, and the overwhelming majority of our members abide by them. Minor violations occur from time to time, but are almost always corrected in a reasonable time frame, and a majority of members share KICA’s desire for a quick resolution. Occasionally there are delays, most often because so many members aren’t here full-time. For that reason, the Livability team is extremely reasonable and flexible with members, as long as there is a clear commitment to resolution.
Unfortunately, there are a handful of instances where KICA options to enforce the covenants run out. There is no formal authority for the establishment of fines, or a means to compel action. These violations are the worst of the worst – properties so unkempt that they border on health and safety issues (see below images for examples). It’s hard to believe this could exist on Kiawah, yet occasionally it does. In one recent instance, after seven years of attempted KICA action, the association worked with the Town of Kiawah Island to initiate condemnation proceedings. The town’s assistance was greatly appreciated, yet the surrounding residents still had to live next to an absolute eyesore for seven years. It is clearly frustrating to the neighborhood, it’s frustrating to KICA, and no one on Kiawah should have to live with that type of blight.
For that reason, the KICA Board of Directors voted unanimously to submit a covenant change to the membership for approval at the 2017 Annual Meeting. Being the first vote on the proposal, it required a 60% quorum and an affirmative vote of at least 75% of those voting. Though it received enough support to pass, it did not meet the quorum requirement. The board then decided to bring the proposed amendment back to the membership at the 2018 Annual Meeting. A second vote of the amendment requires a 50% quorum with a 75% favorable vote to pass.
The document as drafted by KICA’s attorney and approved by the Board of Directors deletes existing Article VIII, Section 3 (enforcement) and replaces it with new language that, among other things, authorizes the implementation of a reasonable schedule of fines, and institutes a mechanism for attaching a formal notice of non-compliance to the land record. Notably, there is a process to appeal to the full Board of Directors, assuring that members have an opportunity to contest the enforcement action. For the full language of the proposed amendment, visit kica.us/proposal. A paper copy can also be obtained by contacting Holly Newman, 843-768-9194 or [email protected].
While this change will not impact the majority of members on a daily basis, it will be enormously helpful in protecting the quality of life for all, and especially those who find themselves living near an unfortunate situation. The board strongly encourages you to vote YES. If you have questions, please contact KICA at [email protected] or 843-768-9194.