WHAT IS MEANT BY GOVERNANCE?
Simply stated Governance is the legal structure by which business is conducted within any given organization. With the Old Brook Farm Association it is the Covenants and By-Laws that define our organization. Covenants are attached to the property and follow, or go with, the property as it passes from owner to owner. Covenants take precedence over anything else except where the Covenants provide options.
Our Covenants provide us the option of developing a By-Laws to further define our Governance structure. Together, the Covenants and the By-Laws define and direct how we do things as they pertain to the day-to-day business of our Association.
The Old Brook Farm Addition is divided into eight sections. Because each section was developed separately we deal with eight sets of Covenants. This is not a problem because the Covenants all read about the same from section to section especially when it comes to defining Governance. The Covenants and the By-Laws are reproduced and published here on our website. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of these documents and we are reasonably certain they are accurately represented. None-the-less, homeowners may wish to obtain an official copy of their Covenants at the City/County Building. A nominal fee per sheet will be charged. The By-Laws are maintained by the Secretary-Treasurer of the Old Brook Farm Association.
THE OLD BROOK FARM ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING
"a) The owners of the lots in said Addition shall be deemed to be and constitute an Association with the name Old Brook Farm Association. The owners of each lot in said Addition shall automatically be members of said Association and entitled to one joint vote for each lot or tract owned by them. Meetings of this Association may be called by member of the Association, or by the President or Secretary thereof, by written notice mailed or delivered 5 days prior to the date of such meeting, but notice of any such meeting may be waived either in writing or by waiver endorsed on the minutes of the meeting." (Quote from Covenants)
"SECTION 1. Annual Meeting. The annual meeting of the members shall be held on a yearly basis, for the purpose of electing Directors and for the transaction of such other business as may come before the meeting." (Quote from By-Laws)
"SECTION 6. Quorum. Thirty percent of the members of the corporation entitled to vote, represented in person, shall constitute a quorum at a meeting of members. If less than thirty percent of the members are represented a meeting, a majority of the members so represented may adjourn the meeting from time to time without further notice. As such adjourned meeting at which a quorum shall be present or represented, any business may be transacted which might have been transacted at the meeting as originally notified. The members present at a duly organized meeting may continue to transact business until adjournment, notwithstanding the withdrawal of enough members to leave less than a quorum." (Quote from By-Laws)
Our Annual Meeting is usually scheduled for sometime in the first quarter of each year. Every effort is made to schedule the meeting for sometime around March first, however, we are forced to deal with meeting room availability. An Official Notice of the Annual Meeting must be delivered to property owners no less than 5 days and no more than 30 days prior to the meeting. We generally include the notice in a newsletter and include an Official Notice of Annual Dues Assessment. The Reaper is the official newsletter of the Old Brook Farm Association.
BUSINESS CONDUCTED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING
Contained in the official meeting notice is a recap of business to be conducted at the meeting. While this is not a full meeting agenda the recap does contain most business of interest to the Association members and contains information required by our Covenants and By-Laws to be published prior to action. These include Elections and any proposed changes to the Covenants or By-Laws.
Typical business conducted at the Annual Meeting includes, but is not necessarily limited to, Elections, approval of Minutes and financial reports, delivery of other reports, approval of the Annual Budget, vote on any proposed changes to the By-Laws and Covenants, and Old and New business items.
ADDITIONAL REASONS FOR ATTENDING THE ANNUAL MEETING
In addition to the conducting of business, the Annual Meeting provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of matters and issues important to our Association Members. At appropriate times the floor is open to our members for speaking out on concerns and issues. Its a chance to speak with neighbors who might not live next door but who share in our lives as residents of Old Brook Farm.
In recent years the Board has engaged outside speakers from our governmental bodies. These speakers have included our councilmanic representative to City Council, the Northeast Area Advocate from the Mayor's office, Our County Council Representative, our Township Trustee, representatives from the Police Department, Fire Department, Waste Management, and others.
WHY DO WE HAVE AN ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL COMMITTEE?
"5. APPROVAL OF IMPROVEMENTS a) No building shall be erected, placed or altered on the lots in this Addition unless the plot plan and proposed finished grades have been determined for the location of said improvements and the design and plans shall be first approved by the Architectural Control Committee. An Architectural Control Committee is hereby established consisting of Harold Palmer, Louis L. Bloom, and Howard Biggs. Any two of these three members may act on any matter submitted for approval. In the event said Architectural Control Committee fails to approve or disapprove any plot plan, design, plan, or fence location within twenty-one days after submission, approval will be deemed to have been obtained." (Quote from Covenants)
The Covenants attached to every property in the Old Brook Farm Addition specify that an Architectural Control Committee is to exist and shall have final say as to changes to the erecting, placing or altering of buildings, amenities and improvements to any property in the addition. Originally three individuals were named to serve on the Committee. When these folks passed on or moved, on the Executive Committee assumed the responsibility. In 2008, the Board of Directors felt a need to revisit this practice and decided to once again formally staff the Architectural Control Committee. The Committee now consists of one member from the Board of Directors, one Association Member who is not on the Board, and the Committee is Chaired by the Vice-President of the Association.
WHAT IS THE INTENT OF THIS PROVISION?
A drive through portions of Fort Wayne, indeed, any city, will reveal deteriorating neighborhoods. Such deterioration in a neighborhood is almost certainly accompanied by a deterioration of property values in that neighborhood--including the values of property that has been maintained. The developers and early homeowners of Old Brook Farm did not want that to happen to our neighborhood. The Architectural Control Committee, along with the Covenants and the City of Fort Wayne Neighborhood Codes, is intended to protect our property values. By regulating standards within the neighborhood we are better able to maintain the investment we have made in our homes.
In addition to enforcing the restrictive provisions stated in the Covenants, the Architectural Control Committee will be sensitive to any changes in a home's architectural style if said changes in style would bring about significant deviation to the physical appearance of the home. Homes that don't seem to "fit" into the style and vintage of the neighborhood and surrounding homes can seriously reduce property values of all homes in the addition.
Before beginning construction of planned remodeling it is necessary to submit your plans to the Architectural Control Committee. AND... a Building Permit is required.