Conservation Committee Minutes

In attendance: Cheri Calvert, Jane Harris, Greg Ware
Absent: Judith Dauchy, Marleah Llewellyn, Karen Anderson, Mary Robinson, Patty Patterson, Roy and Maxine Ciappini, Scott Huff, Sophia Rose, Sue Simms, Carol Schuler, Dennis and Janet Burkhart, Marianne Thompson.

The Committee discussed and brainstormed an initial list
of aspirations and specific ideas.

They are as follows, in no particular order:

  • Reduce/eliminate pesticide use
  • Reduce water usage (on landscape)
  • Clean up Beach/Bay debris
  • Can we do anything about micro plastics in the bay?
  • How can we encourage environmentally safe boat maintenance in the bay? What is already in practice?
  • Reduce energy consumption through solar power and other strategies
  • Encourage wild life management and pollinator diversity through the use of landscaping and plantings
  • Help manage the Canada geese problem through landscape design, water edge plantings, etc.
  • Revisit community garden proposal
  • Pursue funding sources
  • Develop educational opportunities for committee and HOA residents

The Committee will revisit and add to this list, with the hope of grouping ideas under broader headings in the future.

The Committee confirmed that the following are the
Committee’s Guiding Principles:

  • Conserve Resources
  • Positively impact our environment
  • Maintain or increase quality of life for residence
  • Maintain or increase value of property
  • Develop and share educational opportunities regarding conservation

  1. The Committee agreed to meet monthly, at least for the next few months. The time and day are to be decided through a poll.
    Action: Ask Scott Huff to poll the group.
  2. The Committee acknowledged the importance of communicating and working closely with the Landscape Committee and the Maintenance Committee, and is delighted that the chairs of those committees, Scott Huff and Marleah Llewellyn, have expressed an interest in being members of the Conservation Committee.
  3. The Committee agreed to apply to become part of the Backyard Conservation Program run through Columbia Land Trust in partnership with the Audobon Society. If accepted into the program this will give the Committee access to conservation and design expertise, the ability to purchase indigenous plants at reduced prices, and help to establish further partnership and funding sources. Please note that this action does not commit the HOA to anything. Any recommendations arising from advice and guidance received would need to be embraced by other committees, as relevant, and the Board.
    Action: Greg Ware will apply.
  4. The Committee discussed its responsibilities regarding solar energy, in particular the use of solar panels on condo’s roofs. Given recent and pending legislation that appears to overrule HOA restrictions on individual owners installing solar energy systems, the Committee is asking the Board to take up this issue and possibly assign an ad hoc task force to develop a recommendation. The Committee noted the following language in House Bill 3516 (Oregon Law), “With policy changes to encourage renewable energy, more homeowners are deciding to “go green.” Requests to install solar panels will likely increase in the future. Because no two communities are alike, a case-by-case analysis of the specific language in the governing documents is necessary to ensure the approval process is fair and complies with Oregon law.  HOAs need to be careful when dealing with requests for solar panel installations and should consult an attorney with any questions they may have.” (See Appendix 1).
  5. The Committee adjourned at 8:00 pm. Next meeting will be held towards the end of February, beginning of March, as polling of members availability determines.

Appendix 1

Solar Energy, HOAs, and HB 3516 (Oregon Law)

July 22nd, 2012
Author: Tom Johnson; Jeffrey Coe

In 2012, new legislation went into effect in Oregon involving the installation of solar energy systems on residential and commercial buildings. House Bill 3516 (2011 Oregon Laws Ch. 464, codified at ORS 215.439 and ORS 227.505) was enacted with the purpose of facilitating the installation and use of solar energy systems. The new law makes solar energy an “outright permitted use” in residential zones. This has left many HOAs wondering: “How does this affect us?”

HB 3516 applies to zoning ordinances in counties and municipalities. It streamlines the permit approval process for homeowners that want to install photovoltaic or solar thermal systems that meet certain criteria. It does not apply directly to homeowners associations.  A request to install solar energy panels can be a tricky issue for an HOA; governing documents are often vague about solar installations and many HOAs are left to balance the responsibility of preserving the aesthetics of a community with supporting homeowners’ efforts to be eco-friendly. Where restrictions do exist in the governing documents, boards must do their best to fairly enforce them without violating other Oregon laws. For example, an outright ban on solar energy contained in an association’s declaration would probably violate ORS 105.880. This law, in effect since 1979, voids provisions in real property transfers that prohibit the use of solar energy systems. How the statute affects an association depends on the actual language in the governing documents.

With policy changes to encourage renewable energy, more homeowners are deciding to “go green.” Requests to install solar panels will likely increase in the future. Because no two communities are alike, a case-by-case analysis of the specific language in the governing documents is necessary to ensure the approval process is fair and complies with Oregon law.  HOAs need to be careful when dealing with requests for solar panel installations and should consult an attorney with any questions they may have.