Basement Egress Proposal #3 - Creating Safe Pathways Behind Units 14-20

Great Oak Community 2019-09-16


This proposal creates gravel pathways behind units 14-20 and outlines the cost, maintenance, and job requirements for them.


Great Oak has 37 units. When Great Oak was built, 17 units were made with walkout
basements. There was talk during the design and building phase that it would be nice if owners could rent those basements as completely separate apartments, but no formal agreements were made. And more importantly, no official paths were created behind those units.

Now Great Oak is faced with the challenge of whether or not we want to allow the walkout unit to create a second primary point of access or not. And if we do, we have to agree in principle about how to divide the many costs.

The F&L committee has worked on this for over a year in committee, and brought forward several info and discussion pieces to the community, as this is a complex topic. See attached page for a list of links to that historical info.

What is clear is that we have several members with a strong desire/need to do this, strong concerns about safety for the tenants because of the slope and no paths, and a real need to keep everyone's work and financial obligations from increasing too much. This series of proposals gives us a good balance. It splits the costs, and limits what is being built now while still giving access to all the needed walkouts.
Because of the complexity, the original proposal was presented in 3 sections. We have now broken it into 3 separate proposals. Proposal #1 deals with what exactly Great Oak will allow.

Proposal #2 deals with the center stairs, and Proposal #3 deals with creating safe pathways behind 2 buildings.


We propose that:

1 - Great Oak contracts out, but charges back to the unit owners of both buildings, the regrading and building of a gravel path that would be behind them and connect to the center stairs proposed in Proposal #2. Great Oak will allow the initial cost of this work to be paid by any set or subset of the unit owners in the building. But it must be paid in full as we will not be loaning these households money.

2 - Because the cost of a gravel path does not meet the requirements to be added to the Reserve, there would be no Reserve increase. However, gravel will need to be added periodically, and that will come out of Grounds Operating. To be clear, non-walkout owners would not be paying for the construction of paths directly behind the walkout buildings, but everyone would pay for the continued maintenance just like all of the other sidewalks and gravel paths.

4 - Principle of how we divide costs -

a) The walkout owners in the 2 buildings (units 14-20) will need to pay, upfront, a 50% deposit on the portion of the work that will be billed directly to them from Great Oak. The work will not begin until Great Oak receives this deposit.

b) Upon completion, those same units will be billed for the balance of their portion, payable in 30 days.

c) Unit owners in each building will talk and work together to reach agreement about who will pay and the implications people do not want to pay. Their decisions will be recorded. The community will provide facilitation for these conversations if needed.

d) The costs in the addendum are valid through the remainder of 2019, and Hollowell will lock in the price if we commit to doing the work in early spring, 2020. After that, a new quote will be needed.

5 - Maintaining the new Pathways

Great Oak's work program is an ever-changing thing. We require every member and associate member to join. Ideally, the added number of tenants to the work system would offset the additional hours of shoveling created by the new pathways. Over the years most renters have become very active members of our community and contribute significant hours to the work system.

We anticipate that clearing the back GCE pathways will only add 1 shoveling position per winter. This seems a reasonable tradeoff for the many benefits that renters bring to the community.

We are proposing that:

A - All leases for rentals include language that the tenant must join the work program.

This is part of the highest ranked scenario when last brought to the community.

Allows a way forward, so households that are counting on rental income but do not want to share their front entry can proceed with rentals.

Aligns with the high community value of making sure tenants and their guests, have a safe way to enter their apartments.

Aligns with the recommendation of our lawyer.

Shares the costs.

Passing this now, even if the 2 buildings decide not to do it at this time, saves us future work because the mechanism for doing it has already been agreed upon.

Using gravel instead of concrete both saves money and lessens the impact on the

We will be building more infrastructure that we have to both pay for and maintain.

Converts natural/wild area into more hardscape.

The added labor pool may not offset the additional work hours involved for snow

Assumes that Proposals #1 and #2 have been consensed upon.

Addendum - Cost scenario and historical links

The total cost of regrading and adding a gravel path behind units 14-20 is $7000.

Each of these 7 units would be charged their portion of $7,000. Each unit owner would be charged $1,000 for construction costs. This would be done in 2 bills. The first bill would be the 50% deposit of $500 before construction, which must be received before we begin, and the balance of $500 which must be received 30 days after we bill for project completion.

RESERVE Contribution Increase

There won't be any, because the overall cost of the gravel is less than the minimum needed to be added to the reserve.

Operating Budget Increase

The Operating budget will need to be adjusted slightly to periodically add gravel as needed.

Operating costs are divided equally between all 37 units. Gravel is inexpensive, and since we'd only be adding small amounts as needed, the impact shouldn't be more than $100 per year total, or approximately $0.25 per unit per month.

Important key financial things to consider:

Our Shortfall Special assessment of $4.15 per unit per month ends with the 8/2020

Our loan for the workshop, which is wrapped in the budget at $3.16 per unit per month ends July, 2021

Survey Results

Legal Stuff

The Scenarios

Process Comments:

*Consensus on Proposal #3 reached at 8:01. No stand asides or blocks.*