Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Ah, the Subject of
Leaves, Leaves, Leaves


I enjoy a slow travel through the streets of the institute and figuratively bumping into folks I know. Doing a quick conversational update is so satisfying. It also gives me the chance to see some of the great work that people are doing with their cottages, gardens and lawns. 

The highlight of Autumn is, of course, the colored leaves. Once they have fallen and turn brown and crispy, their beauty is considerably more limited. Some even think they are downright ugly as they make lawns and yards appear messy and undefined. Beyond appearance, they are a fire hazard, and residents have agreed that they need to be cleaned up and eliminated.

Just within the past few years, the issue of leaves came up to the extent that it became an agenda item at the Trustees meeting. There seemed to be some misunderstanding as to what residents were expected to do with the leaves that accumulate on their property. Some were under the impression that leaves could be piled neatly at the sidewalk or street line. 

This misunderstanding is understandable since our northerly neighbors are, in fact, asked to do just that--pile the leaves at the street line--in preparation for their vacuum truck which comes along and sucks them up as they've been doing along Camp and Walker roads this week. Our residents can easily observe this "vacuuming" and cannot so easily observe what the SLI rules are for leaves.

As I traveled this week around the grounds, I discovered three large piles of leaves interconnected with one another looking more like a mid level brownish "fence" piled right along the street line in the right of way. My first, silent reaction was "Why do they want to challenge the simple rules that all leaves must be bagged?" My second, silent reaction might have been closer to reality: "I guess they just don't go out of their way to know the rules by which we live." My third, silent reaction was: "Is it the residents' responsibility to research what SLI's rules are or is it SLI's responsibility to more readily state and/or make obvious, what the SLI rules are?"

This question was answered years ago when it was determined that the Trustees would publish an SLI Handbook so residents could learn, at their convenience, the policies and rules by which we live together. The first concern arises when the Handbook is not published on a regular schedule and becomes outdated. The last printed hard copy is estimated to be 2002 with two later updates not even making it into hard-copy print. 

The second concern is that there doesn't seem to be a direct process whereby new policies or by-laws adopted by the Trustees not only make it into the Trustee Minutes, but also make it into the then-current Handbook--a methodology which has not been spelled out and therefore does not get done. A few years back, the suggestion of a loose leaf binder would allow for new additions without publishing a whole new book but did not suggest who would be responsible for keeping it current. 

The loose leaf suggestion was replaced with one that keeps the new additions posted on the electronic copy of the Handbook which is stored on the SLI website (silverlakeinstitute.org). The last remaining concern is for anyone making a motion for a policy or by-law change or addition, must include the appropriate Handbook category, subdivision, and page, under which the new policy or by-law would be listed. 

Failure to identify the location within the Handbook will prevent the change or addition from being added. (That's how it's happened all these years!) Without the maker of the motion to do this, someone else would have to be appointed to take responsibility for adding it. It would need to be added to the Handbook's electronic copy located on the website after every meeting that adopts or clarifies policy. Without this, we will continue to have a monthly outdated Handbook.

You are invited to comment even before this story is published. We would love to incorporate your experience and opinions of Leaves at Silver Lake. Write me at SLDN@mail.com. You may request anonymity. The comment section is also available.

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