Special meeting-WLHO Common Area Project Update 3-06-24 - WLHO- Westlake Homeowners Association

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Special meeting-WLHO Common Area Project Update 3-06-24



DATE:   March 6, 2024 at 1:30

SUBJECT:  Special Meeting - Westlake HOA Common Area Project Update

ATTENDEES:  Tom Berridge, Chris Heuer, Lev Volod, Bill Scharwatt, Rolland Royce

GUESTS:  Terry Flanagan – Teragan, Jack Halsey- Oswego Lake Watershed Council

Preliminary results/comments of Teragan study, OLWC rep

Lots of trees/limbs blown down.  Survey of Tracts A/B are complete.  Tract C to be completed in next couple days.  These are preliminary surveys:  additional review of individual trees will be needed to assess their conditions.  
Amount of debris on ground now and in the future – needs to be managed to reduce fire hazard.
Trees/branches left in common area need solid contact with ground to accelerate decomposition.
Self-propelled chipper could be used to minimize brush/branches – being careful of tracks made by chipper and potential damage to common area.  Jack can provide names of companies that could handle necessary cutting/chipping.

Quite a bit of encroachment into common area by adjacent homeowners, including regular dumping of grass clippings and other debris as well as one-time dumping of debris caused by the January storm.  
Use of GPS locators will enhance results of study and subsequent tree removals
Minimizing fire risk to be part of common area management, which will require cutting as described above and some general clearing.  

Previous 2021 survey was effective in mitigating damage from January 2024 storm  Risk levels:  Low, Moderate, High, Extreme.  Previous focus was to remove all Extreme and High, as well as some Moderates.  Current focus will include all Extreme and High and a more detailed look at trees graded Moderate.  Approach is to focus attention on trees with significant risk of hitting houses.  Likelihood of trees falling on people deemed very low as people are typically not outside in storms.  Teragan also takes into account sidewalks and driveways where activity is more likely.  HOA can provide input on this risk assessment.
Water runoff was directed into common areas at the inception of the development of the neighborhood, resulting in wet soil which oak does not do well in.  As a result, the long-term prognosis for oak is generally not positive.  Mitigation (reducing runoff or including trees nearby with better root systems) can help this issue.  Jack will check with the City to obtain input on potential for reducing runoff from streets.

Other planting options discussed:  cottonwood, willow, among others, which are better able to deal with moist soil, provide screening.  Cottonwood not recommended because they grow fast and fail quickly; too big and risky unless planted in the center of tracts to reduce risk of falling and hitting homes.
Teragan report should be ready by March 18
Immediate attention will be focused on trees identified as Extreme in Tract B:  three trees were discussed, with two subject to immediate removal, with the third waiting until the assessment is complete and a plan to handle is adopted.
Teragan/OLWC focused on safety of residents and overall health of trees and the ecosystem, with the board to discuss screening and other aesthetics (potential cutting/chipping or spreading of some cut-up sections of trees on the ground).  Large trees would likely be expensive to address at this time.

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