THE EARLY YEARS
In the beginning there was Harold D. Palmer, builder, Louis L. Bloom, attorney, and Harold Boggs, consultant. These three individuals envisioned a community of up-scale priced housing with an association of homeowners that would maintain a well-organized and well-run neighborhood for the betterment of all property owners. A pool, tennis courts and a covered bridge were portrayed as a part of the community ambiance.
The minutes of the first two meetings of homeowners, May 5, 1967, reveals that a majority of the property owners were present and that James E. Reynolds was elected Chairman of the meeting and Louis Bloom chosen as Secretary of the meeting. Three individuals were nominated as the Corporations’ Directors: Frank Irich, Fred O. Walter, and James E. Reynolds.
A second meeting was held immediately thereafter to select temporary Officers of the Corporation. James E. Reynolds became President, Donald Newman, Vice President, Donald McConiga, Secretary, and Fred O. Walter, Treasurer. These Officers and the temporary Director, Frank Irich, elected in the first session, retained their positions until the first Annual Meeting held in March of 1968. The other important items of business at this meeting were to set the annual, mandatory dues at $5.00, accept the corporate seal of the O.B.F.A., and opening a bank account.
Other meetings held between May 9, 1967 and the first Annual Meeting, March 3, 1968, had numerous items on the agenda. They contracted with the builder, Harold D. Palmer, for snow removal for the price of $7.00 per hour and only after the snow accumulation reached six inches. A special assessment of $5.00 was levied on each property for snow removal for the first winter (1967-1968). Other items included mosquito spraying, having a ball field constructed, the building of a covered, wooden bridge over the Krueckenberg Ditch on Sunbury Dr. which had been promised by H.D. Palmer, Inc., the status of a pool and its financing, clearing mud from the streets caused by construction vehicles and equipment, and the erection of street signs by Mr. Palmer. Since the streets had not yet been approved by either the Allen County Highway Department or the City-County Plan Commission, the builder was supposed to supply and erect the street signs. The minutes of every Board Meeting thereafter contain ample evidence of the increasing impatience with Mr. Palmer on this matter.
At the first Annual Meeting in the Spring of 1968, the main items of discussion were: clearing mud from streets, the continuing issue of street signs and the election of the Officers and Directors. Don Newman was elected President, Ron Deitrick, Vice President, Fred Walter, Treasurer, Don McConiga, Secretary, and three Directors: Steve Merz, Don McConiga and Bruce Oliver.
OLD BROOK FARM ASSOCIATION: THE "GAP”
Between 1968 and 1974 the Association fell into a period of general inactivity. The reasons are difficult to discern, but frustration with the builder over the issue of street signs, the scotching of plans for the bridge on Sunbury and the swimming pool and tennis courts on what later became Summerwood Court, may have contributed to the malaise. Or the disinterest of homeowners in attending the Annual Meeting in 1969, which the lack of a quorum to conduct business left the affairs of the Association in limbo, may have caused the cessation of activity.
Possibly, the problem was caused when several residents, besieged by visits from Board members pushing for financial commitments for the proposed pool and tennis courts, were frightened by the projected costs of these plans. Alas, maybe the blame could be placed on the Officers and Board members who didn’t exert the necessary interest and energy in maintaining citizen interest in their community? Who knows for certain, but Newton’s 3rd law of physics came into play: for every action (inactivity in this case) there is an equal and opposite reaction (a rekindling of interest among the body politic). Many new residents moved in, some of the previous leaders “saw the light,” and the result was a new life for the Association.
WHAT DOES A NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION DO?
Neighborhood associations, and ours in particular, do many things in the interest of our homeowners and residents. Our Association provides for and contracts services to the neighborhood, represents the addition homeowners at governmental units, negotiates with governmental units for neighborhood services and improvements, calls for the enforcement of neighborhood codes and statutes, and strives to enforce the Covenants.
The Association is headed by an elected Board and Officers who oversee the business of the Association. The Board is directed by a sense of mission and maintains a vision for life in our addition. As volunteers, our Officers and Board members invest hundreds of hours each year into the business of the Association on behalf of the members of the Association. What motivates us and makes it all worth while is our sense of mission and our vision for what living in Old Brook Farm can and should be.
THE OLD BROOK FARM ASSOCIATION MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Old Brook Farm Association is to conduct business in pursuit of the best interests of our homeowners and residents.
THE OLD BROOK FARM ASSOCIATION VISION STATEMENT
We envision a neighborhood where property values keep up with and exceed the rate of inflation, where families can live safely and where homeowners and residents can speak with pride of their homes and neighborhood.
WHY DO WE HAVE AN OLD BROOK FARM ASSOCIATION?
The developers and early homeowners got together and decided that an association would be helpful in their effort to preserve and protect the investments of homeowners who bought homes on the addition. They wanted to ensure that the Old Brook Farm neighborhood would be a great place to live and raise families for years to come. With that end in mind, they wrote provisions for an association into the Covenants. Excerpts from the Covenants are below:
"6. OLD BROOK FARM ASSOCIATION"
"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 any 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. The Association may adopt by-laws to govern the organization, meetings, election and tenure of officers and other matters. The Association shall elect a President and a Secretary-Treasurer and such other officers as it may choose and fix and determine their respective duties and authority. This Association shall have the duty and authority to take such steps as may be necessary or desirable from time to time to keep the streets, public drives, and any areas in the Addition that may be conveyed to the Association or be subject to its control, and including lights, lighting system and other matters affecting the Addition and said tract as a whole, in good repair and condition and to make improvements thereof, including authority to provide for the cutting of grass and weeds and the removal of ice and snow, and to make contracts to accomplish such purposes in the name of the Association, and to pay any taxes or charges on land or property conveyed to or owned by the Association for the use and benefit of the Addition. A proper record shall be kept by the Secretary of all action taken by said Association and of all contracts entered into for the above purposes and of all expenses incurred in connection therewith, and at a meeting of the Association duly called for that purpose, the obligations incurred for such purposes shall be spread upon the records of the Association and an assessment entered on the books of the Association against each of the lots in said Addition in an amount equal to their pro rata share of the total amount of the expenditures so approved. If desired, the Association may levy a similar assessment on each lot in the Addition for the purpose of raising a fund in advance to enable the Association officers to defray the cost of such repairs and improvements. This Association may be incorporated as a non-profit Indiana corporation, in which event the powers and duties above set forth shall be transferred to it."
The Old Brook Farm Association has been active since its inception. Some of the functions and services provided by the Association include contracting for snow removal, negotiating improvements and amenities with the City of Fort Wayne, informing the membership of community and governmental actions and plans, and enforcing the Covenants.
A WORD ABOUT DUES ASSESSMENTS
"SECTION 7. Assessments. Assessments for annual dues for membership and special assessments for other purposes, and their method of payment shall be established from time to time by the Board of Directors." (Quote from By-Laws)
"A proper record shall be kept by the Secretary of all action taken by said Association and of all contracts entered into for the above purposes and of all expenses incurred in connection therewith, and at a meeting of the Association duly called for that purpose, the obligations incurred for such purposes shall be spread upon the records of the Association and an assessment entered on the books of the Association against each of the lots in said Addition in an amount equal to their pro rata share of the total amount of the expenditures so approved. If desired, the Association may levy a similar assessment on each lot in the Addition for the purpose of raising a fund in advance to enable the Association officers to defray the cost of such repairs and improvements." (Quote from Covenants)
Each year the Board of Directors meet to prepare a Budget and then determines the amount of dues to be assessed for the coming fiscal year and provides an Official Notification of Dues Assessment for the year. The notification is published in "The Reaper" the newsletter of the Old Brook Farm Association, or is delivered to homeowners as a separate document. Association Dues Assessments are due and payable on or before the 15 days following the publishing of the Dues Assessment. The Board extends the grace period to include the days prior to and including the date of the Annual Meeting. This year (2010)that date is March 21st. From time to time discounts are offered to homeowners who choose to pay their dues assessment on or before the date of the Annual Meeting.
The Annual Dues Assessment
The Board of Directors meets to discussed the annual dues assessment each year. Many factors are taken into consideration such as the costs for snow plowing, liability insurance, postage and maintenance along with the potential need for funding neighborhood improvement projects, etc.
Currently a $5.00 discount for early payment remains in effect.
Take advantage of the discount on your dues each year by mailing your check for your current year's annual dues prior to or while attending the Annual Meeting. Payments postmarked or delivered after March 9, 2014 will not qualify for the discount. Mail Checks to: Old Brook Farm Association P.O. Box 15764 Fort Wayne, In 46885. After March 9, any unpaid current year Association Dues Assessments will be declared delinquent and become subject to the filing of a lien against the property.
Prior year Association Dues Assessments have not been paid for only a few of our properties. Formal liens for delinquent dues will be filed and recorded against these properties as provided for in our Covenants. Liens against property can show up on credit reports and can cause delays in closings when homeowners go to sell their homes or property parcels.
Paying Association Dues Assessments is a part of living in Old Brook Farm and, indeed, most additions in Fort Wayne. The assessment of dues is provided for in the Covenants that are attached to all properties in the addition. Covenants are passed to a homeowner when a property is purchased, “and they shall be considered a part of the conveyance of any lot in said Addition without being written therein.” Homeowners cannot opt out of agreeing to the Covenants, “they shall run with the land.“ The underlined are quotes from the Covenants. Annual dues are discounted when paid at or before the Annual Meeting. If you believe you might owe back dues it is in your best interests to check into this matter. Contact our Secretary/Treasurer and take care of this potential issue sooner rather than later.