HELENA, MONTANA

TSA Homeowners Association dues of $25 are due every summer. To pay, send a check (make it out to TSA Homeowners Assn) to  Treasurer Terry Atwood, 4230 Wolverine Dr., Helena, MT 59602.

If you have a question on a TSA matter or want to get on our email list, let us know at: sshirleymt@gmail.com 

Treasure State Acres sits just outside -- to the south -- of the county's proposed flood mitigation zone. To see a map of the zone, you can go here.


Those residents living within the proposed zone would be required to pay $100 a month to pay for the RID program.


If you want to see maps that show how 25-year and 100-year floods could impact the Helena Valley, you can go here.

A new report done for Lewis and Clark County called the  “Infrastructure Economic Analysis” uses the 46 Degrees North subdivision, proposed for the area just south of TSA, as a case study to examine the issue of whether it is cheaper to build infrastructure for residential housing in the county, outside city limits, than it is inside city limits. It essentially determines that it is cheaper for developers to build outside city limits. To see a pdf copy of the report, go to this link.


Meanwhile, the Helena Independent Record recently reported that the Catholic Diocese of Helena has plans for a large retail development just north of Lowes and behind the Target store and cemetery. The development would include an extension of Sanders street. This is relevant to TSA residents because it might provide an access point to the 46 Degrees North subdivision, which is required to have two streets entering and leaving the subdivision. Current plans call for 46 Degrees North to tap into TSA's Beaverhead Road. Here's a link to the Helena IR story.

To get a look at the proposed new covenants for Treasure State Acres, go to this link.

To see a PDF copy of the covenants for Treasure State Acres, go to this link. This copy is a old compilation of all of the covenants for each of the districts within the subdivision. This map shows what zone you live in. To get the official covenants for your district, you can go to the county clerk and recorder's office.


To see a PDF copy of the Peccia & Associates analysis of our TSA drain problems and recommendations of what to do about them, go to this link.



To see a PDF copy of the Peccia & Associates planning document for future repairs and improvements of TSA streets, go to this link.


MINUTES FOR TSA HOMEOWNERS MEETING ON NOV. 8, 2018


President Steve Shirley and Attorney Abby St. Lawrence opened the meeting by talking about work that has been done to draft proposed new covenants for Treasure State Acres. They noted that the goal of the overhaul is to make it easier for homeowners to locate and interpret the covenants, as there are about eight sets of covenants now covering different parts of the subdivision.

“That’s the whole idea, to have one simple, straightforward document,” St. Lawrence said.

St. Lawrence went over some of the changes made to the proposed covenants based on comments received by the homeowners association to the first draft. Among the changes:

In the section that says trailers and mobile homes cannot be used as residences, clarifying that Capitol Mobile Estates is an exception. 2. Added minimum and maximum footage for utility easements on the rear of lots. 3. Took out a suggested restriction on fireworks due to inability to enforce it. 4. Added a requirement calling for the timely removal of pet waste.

Those at the meeting also discussed the content of the proposed covenants. Including one section that says no owner or occupant shall construct or maintain their own sewer or water system. Richard Chowning noted that several TSA homeowners have their own wells, and St. Lawrence noted that there is language in the covenants to grandfather in existing uses. However, the board decided to add language to the sewer/well section to make clear that existing uses are grandfathered.

Jed Breker had several questions, including why the covenants will restrict homeowners to three-car garages and why one section will give the board power to review “significant renovations” of properties – a phrase that seems somewhat vague.

St. Lawrence said the phrase was left purposely vague to give the board some discretion to act. Treasurer Terry Atwood said the garage restriction is there to prevent enormous garages that don’t fit the character of the neighborhood.

Breker also wondered if the new covenants shouldn’t define terms used such as manufacturing, commercial and industrial properties. St. Lawrence said TSA can rely on the definition of those terms in state code.

St. Lawrence noted that most of the existing covenants require the approval of 80 percent of the property owners to make a change while others need just 50 percent. Those working on the proposed covenants decided the 80 percent figure is “unworkable,” and so replaced it with a two-thirds vote in the proposed covenants.

More fine-tuning will be done to the proposed covenants and then they will made available on the TSA web site (www.treasurestateacres.com) on the reports and documents page. Probably early in 2019, the proposed covenants and ballots will be mailed to all TSA property owners for a vote. The new covenants would go into effect in the zones that pass them, and the association could try to come back in the future and pass them in the ones that don’t immediately enact them.

Shirley said work on TSA’s impaired French drains continues to run behind schedule. He said the original plan was to have contractors install expansions to a number of drains this year, but the engineering firm got busy with other projects. He said he hopes to have meetings with impacted homeowners this winter and see the work done next spring. Stay tuned for news.

The work would involve installation of horizontal drain tubes on to the barrel drains that would, in many cases, have to go under the lawns of nearby homeowners. Although the underground tubes would be under the homeowners’ lawns, they are located in the public right-of-way and not on private property. Nonetheless, any lawns, sprinkler systems or other property disturbed by the construction work would be restored.

Shirley said he would soon order candles for the Christmas candle luminarias display and distribute candles and bags in early December.

 Atwood said homeowners association has about $13,000 in its account.

 The officers at the meeting decided to delay election of officers until spring because there were so few attendees at the meeting. All offices will be up for election. We have two unfilled offices: Vice president and secretary. Please consider helping us out by offering your time (which isn’t a lot).

 Report by President Steve Shirley & Treasurer Terry Atwood



MINUTES FOR TSA MEETING ON MAY 24, 2018

President Steve Shirley opened the meeting by talking about the work being done to overhaul the TSA covenants. He noted that TSA has no comprehensive set of covenants, but many covenants that cover different zones within the subdivision. The goal of the overhaul is to make it easier for homeowners to locate and interpret the covenants, he said.

 Attorney Abby St. Lawrence noted that some of the existing covenants require the approval of 80 percent of the property owners to make a change while others need just 50 percent. This is a high bar to jump, she said, but it can be done. She said she helped homeowners in an East Helena subdivision revamp their covenants. She also said that, if some zones enact new covenants and others don’t it doesn’t invalidate the new covenants. The new covenants would go into effect in the zones that pass them, and the association could try to come back in the future and pass them in the ones that don’t immediately enact them.

There wasn’t an extensive discussion of the draft covenants that St. Lawrence and the committee have been working on. One provision that drew some discussion was item No. 8, which says “No noxious or offensive activity including public or private nuisance as the same are defined by Mont. Code Ann. 27-30-101 shall be allowed on any lot.” St. Lawrence said she will include the actual language in the state law in the covenants.

The committee decided not to include fireworks in this section because they felt it would be difficult to get 80 percent of the subdivision’s residents to support a ban on fireworks. One of the problems, they felt, was that the homeowners’ association had no ability to enforce such a ban if one was written into the covenants.

Another item that was discussed (No. 12) says that residents shall not park RVs, boats or trailers on TSA streets for more than 24 hours between Dec. 1 and April 30. It also says that they cannot put inoperable vehicles on their lots unless they are enclosed in a garage. St. Lawrence said language will be added to note that the definition of inoperable vehicles will be expanded to RVs and boats, so that residents can move them off streets and onto their lots in winter months.

One of the homeowners in attendance said a structure on his property would not be in compliance with the setback requirements in the covenants. St. Lawrence said the covenants will apply only to “things going forward” and old practices and structures will be grandfathered in.

St. Lawrence said one of the major changes in the covenants is that the Architectural Control Committee called for in some of the covenants will be eliminated as it is rarely used. The officers of the homeowners association will instead approve or disapprove requests for variances in covenant codes.

St. Lawrence will make more refinements in the covenants, and she will prepare a cover letter. In several weeks, when they are all final order, they will be sent out to TSA property owners for approval.

Owners will be given a certain amount of time to get their ballots back. Those at the meeting discussed how volunteers will have to be recruited to go door to door to get TSA residents to return ballots. (If you want to volunteer for this project, let us know). This probably will take place later this summer or fall.

If and when covenants are approved, finalized copies will be distributed to homeowners.

 One couple expressed concern about vegetation and other problems caused by their neighbor’s property. They were advised that they should be able to cut back vegetation that grows on to their property, and that other problems may require them to get legal assistance.

 Others at the meeting expressed concern about potholes and curb problems that developed during the winter. President Shirley said he’d contact the county to find out what their schedule will be for filling potholes this summer and, what, if anything, they can do about broken curbs.

 TSA officers Shirley and Terry Atwood also noted that plans for work on TSA’s impaired French drains are running behind schedule. The plans call for repair of about 16 drains this fall at a cost of about $120,000. TSA’s RID currently has about $130,000, but that amount will grow as spring and fall tax collections grow.

The work would involve installation of horizontal drain tubes on to the barrel drains that would, in many cases, have to go under the lawns of nearby homeowners. Although the underground tubes would be under the homeowners’ lawns, they are located in the public right-of-way and not on private property. Nonetheless, any lawns, sprinkler systems or other property disturbed by the construction work would be restored.

Shirley and Atwood said the affected landowners will be contacted at some point for a public meeting at which the work involved will be described in greater detail by representatives of the county and the Peccia engineering firm.

Shirley also noted that the homeowners association is hoping to hire someone to work on a plugged drain on Kodiak across from the LDS Church that carries water to the common area to the north.

Treasurer Terry Atwood said homeowners association has about $11,500 in its account. Some of it will be spent on lawyer’s fees and the effort to get covenant ballots distributed, he said.

 The officers at the meeting decided to delay election of officers until the fall because no one has expressed interest in running for vacant offices. We have two unfilled offices: Vice president and secretary. Please consider helping us out by offering your time (which isn’t a lot) when we have elections in the fall.

 Report by President Steve Shirley & Treasurer Terry Atwood



MINUTES FOR TSA MEETING on NOV. 2, 2017
 
President Steve Shirley opened the meeting by introducing Attorney Abby St. Lawrence, who provided an overview on the process of overhauling the TSA covenants. She noted that TSA has no comprehensive set of covenants, but a series of covenants that cover different zones within the subdivision. She said that, to change the covenants, some will require the votes of 80 percent of the homeowners while others need just 50 percent. She said one of the reasons for rewriting the covenants is to harmonize differences between the covenants that cover different parts of the subdivision. 

She said the homeowners association began looking at changes in the covenants after encountering troubles with getting the fireworks stand at the entrance to the subdivision to comply with covenant rules. She noted that some of the covenants are quite old and may be outmoded. She noted, for example, that the Architectural Control Committee called for in some of the covenants isn’t used in a consistent fashion. She asked whether it should it even be included in a new set of covenants. 

The covenants also have vague definitions for topics such as “noxious” activities and parking that make them difficult to enforce, she added.

St. Lawrence suggested reconvening a committee to create a new set of covenants that would consolidate the half a dozen or more covenants that cover the different districts in TSA. She said she learned the job won’t be easy from helping the Eastgate subdivision in East Helena, which also updated its covenants, but it would be a worthwhile endeavor. Even if only a portion of the districts in TSA approve the changes, she said, it would be an improvement and it would lay the groundwork for getting the change in other districts.

When asked, St. Lawrence said any changes would only affect future construction and uses and would not be applied retroactively.

There was some discussion of how the covenants aren’t always consistent with county zoning rules, and there’s a need to iron out those differences. TSA resident Ken Varns analyzed that problem in a report for the subdivision that could prove useful in putting together a new set of covenants. 

Those in attendance talked about assembling a committee that would meet in early January to review our current covenants and recommend changes and ways to consolidate them into one document. (If you have any interest in helping with that project, which could involve several evening meetings, please let Steve Shirley know by email.)

Shirley and TSA treasurer Terry Atwood also outlined plans for work on TSA’s impaired French drains. They said the Peccia engineering firm was preparing a plan to repair about 18 drains next summer at a cost of about $110,000 – an amount that would fit within the subdivision’s RID budget.  

They said the work would involve installation of horizontal drain tubes on to the barrel drains that would, in many cases, have to go under the lawns of nearby homeowners. Although the underground tubes would be under the homeowners’ lawns, they are located in the public right-of-way and not on private property, they said. Nonetheless, any lawns, sprinkler systems or other property disturbed by the construction work would be restored. 

Shirley and Atwood said the affected landowners will be contacted at some point this winter for a public meeting at which the work involved will be described in greater detail by Peccia officials. 

(As most of you probably noticed, Otter from Bobcat to Wolverine was recently reconstructed. Similar work was scheduled to be done on that same stretch of Kodiak, but the weather dashed plans. It likely will be done now in the spring.) 

Some homeowners wondered about the status of Beaverhead and other TSA roads that might be impacted by 46 Degrees North. When the county approved the new subdivision, it did so with the condition that the developers would pay money into TSA’s RID fund for impacts to our roads from traffic coming out of 46 Degrees North. 

Dwight Rose suggested that TSA might offer to forego the funds from 46 Degrees North if the money would help construct a bridge over the irrigation ditch that would allow Sanders Street to be extended on north into the new subdivision. It was also suggested that TSA might want to get a traffic counter put on Beaverhead to determine levels of traffic before and after the new subdivision comes in. 

Shirley said he’d talk to county officials about those ideas. 

Shirley said he’d also soon order bags and candles for Christmas luminaries. He said that, while interest in the Christmas tradition has waned some in recent years, there still seems to be enough to keep it going. (If you have any interest in helping with the assembly and distribution of Christmas candles on your street, let Shirley know so he can put you in touch with your street representative.)

Report by President Steve Shirley & Treasurer Terry Atwood

 


MINUTES FOR TSA MEETING ON MAY 25, 2017

President Steve Shirley opened the meeting by introducing Attorney Abby St. Lawrence, who provided an update on work that had been done so far by a small group discussing the overhaul of the TSA covenants. She noted that TSA has no comprehensive set of covenants, but a series of covenants that cover different zones within the subdivision. She said that, to change the covenants, some will require the votes of 80 percent of the homeowners while other need just 50 percent.

St. Lawrence said one of the reasons for rewriting the covenants is to harmonize differences between the covenants that cover different parts of the subdivision. Some residents also have expressed concern that the current covenants aren’t adequate to address problems such as rentals, parking on streets of RVs and other vehicles, and other issues.

St. Lawrence said that TSA resident Ken Varns produced a report that took a look at how the subdivision’s covenants compare to the county’s zoning rules – a valuable starting point for doing a rewrite of TSA covenants.

After some discussion, those at the meeting authorized St. Lawrence to draft a set of comprehensive draft covenants to be presented to the homeowners’ association in the fall. She estimated the cost of the project at around $1,000.  Some discussion was done on how we will get homeowners votes on the new covenants, with the hope that most of the work will be done by mail, but may require door to door canvassing.  Treasurer Terry Atwood will work with the water and sewer treasurer to make certain we have valid addresses for all homeowners. 

Those at the meeting then discussed a letter sent earlier this year by the developers of the 46 Degrees North subdivision to the county asking for a change in the way the funding for impacts on TSA roads is handled. St. Lawrence said it appears the developers want to modify the payment schedule so they can use lot sales to pay for road impacts.

(After the meeting, Lindsay Morgan of the county planning staff confirmed St. Lawrence’s reading of the letter. She said the developer is asking that he not be required to make the payment for impacts to roads such as Beaverhead up front, but to delay payment. The money will always be there via a line of credit when it is need to repair TSA roads, she said.)

Steve Garrison gave a short presentation on the county’s new flood mitigation plan. He noted that TSA sits just north of the flood mitigation zone, which covers a 100 year flood zone. That means homeowners here won’t be hit with a special fee the county plans to charge. He said most home insurance policies don’t have flood insurance but some do. It is up to homeowners to decide if they want to add coverage for floods.

Shirley said TSA got finance numbers too late to come up with a plan this summer for reconstruction of its faulty French drains and streets. The county says the TSA RID fund currently has about $122,000 in it, which does not include the May receipts of around $40,000.

Shirley said he’s been talking with Jess Whitford of the county road department about reconstructing short sections of TSA roads with money available in the RID fund. The most pressing need is to rebuild Otter from Bobcat to Wolverine, as it was badly beat up over the winter. Parts of Kodiak, Cayuse and Appaloosa also were ID’d in a previous engineering report as high priorities for repair. Whitford told Shirley it would cost $50,000 to $60,000 to fix that section of Otter.

Steve Garrison wondered if that cost would include a subgrade fix of Otter.

(After the meeting, Whitford told Shirley that the $60,000 figure includes subgrade work. Whitford also said that he doesn’t recommend doing more than $80,000 in repairs this summer because rules would then require that TSA would have to pay a lot more for engineering fees, etc.  Shirley asked him to do as much as he could while keeping the cost under $80,000.)

Marilyn Clark briefly discussed a web site sponsored by nextdoor.com that includes a discussion board that covers TSA, and said she finds it contains useful information on the subdivision.  Those at the meeting also heard a brief discussion on potential improvements in the park and that some of the repairs have not been done to swings because of the need for a special tool that is several hundred dollars to purchase.

Report by President Steve Shirley & Treasurer Terry Atwood

 

MINUTES FOR TSA MEETING ON NOV. 7, 2016


President Steve Shirley opened the meeting by introducing Attorney Abby St. Lawrence, who provided an update issues related to the 46 Degrees North subdivision. She said that, given the county’s date of review for the new subdivision, it will have multiple small wells providing water to homes. If the developers of the subdivision applied for any new water rights for 46 Degrees North it would be posted on the Department of Natural Resources website, but TSA residents wouldn’t necessarily get direct notice. They would have a chance to object unless and until DNRC made a preliminary determination to grant the application.

St. Lawrence noted that the county planning commission has scheduled a hearing Wednesday, Nov. 16, on a variance request for the subdivision’s wastewater treatment system. She said the county required that developers to come in for the variance when they approved the preliminary plat for the subdivision in 2015. 

(Shirley said later in the meeting that he had talked to Robert Much, manager of the sewer and water board, who felt the variance request was a routine matter and not something that could pose a threat to TSA’s water supplies.)

St. Lawrence also noted that the site for the new subdivision’s wastewater treatment plant was already reviewed and approved by the state. 

She was asked why the developers are able to do so much construction on the site when they don’t have final approval for their plat from the county. She said that is a common practice when it comes to subdivision development.

St. Lawrence also discussed TSA’s covenants, which the homeowners’ association has debated rewriting. She noted that some have been in place for about 30 years, and that there are about half a dozen covenants covering different parts of the subdivision, with some requiring 80 percent approval to be changed and others needing just 50 percent to be overhauled.

She reviewed some of the arguments for reform: The covenants don’t reflect current practices. The Architectural Review Committee is rarely used. There is a lack of uniformity in enforcement. And there are questions about how covenants are to be enforced.

St. Lawrence told how she helped a East Helena subdivision rewrite its covenants several years, a process that took about a year.

Shirley said he had names of TSA residents who had offered to serve on an advisory committee, and he would try to arrange a meeting in early December of the group to talk about whether it makes sense to try to rewrite the covenants and, if so, how to go about it. (If you have an interest in helping with that process, let him know)

Shirley also said he wanted to appoint a committee to plan the new stage of road and drain repairs in the subdivision. Larry Thomas said he was willing to help out, and he would check on another TSA resident. The committee hopes to meet over the winter and have a plan by spring. (If you are willing to help with this project, let Shirley know)

The meeting finished with a short discussion of Christmas candles/luminarias. Some residents expressed concern about how there’s less interest in the Christmas tradition.

Shirley said he has ordered fewer candles and bags the last few years because fewer people are participating. He said he’ll soon put in another order for candles. He will distribute candles and bags to representatives on streets where they deliver them door to door. For residents who live on streets where there are no representatives, TSA residents will be able to pick up candles and bags on designated days before Christmas Eve.




MINUTES FOR  TSA MEETING ON JUNE 13, 2016

President Steve Shirley opened the meeting by introducing Attorney Abby St. Lawrence, who provided an update on concerns about a house on Appaloosa Drive where rooms are allegedly rented out as apartments. She said the owners of the home are violating not only covenants but two county zoning rules. One that restricts parking and another that bans apartment buildings in single-family housing districts.

She has been in contact with county officials who have been investigating and will soon send a letter to the owners demanding action to bring the house in compliance with county zoning rules. The owners will have 14 days to comply once they receive the letter, she said.

St. Lawrence also talked briefly about the 46 Degrees North subdivision.  Among other things, in response to a question she said she didn’t know if the homes in the subdivision will end up with individual wells or community wells as because of uncertainty over the legal status of new wells in Montana. The issue has been litigated recently in the Montana courts.

Shirley, meanwhile, said he recently received a letter from the state Department of Environmental Quality stating that it had reached a decision to issue a permit to approve a groundwater discharge permit to the developer, effective Aug. 1. The letter did add, however, that the state would be changing and strengthening requirements in the permit for monitoring any potential accidental discharges from the new subdivision’s treatment system. Shirley said TSA wrote to DEQ several months ago encouraging the agency to do just that.

St. Lawrence and Shirley also talked briefly about plans to renew efforts in the fall to rewrite covenants for the subdivision. St. Lawrence said the current covenants are outdated and were designed for a much small subdivision. She added that a rewrite would be a very involved process and would require all owners of property in the subdivision, not just those who show up at a homeowners’ meeting, to vote.

Engineer Tom Cavanaugh of Peccia & Associates, who provided an overview of the study just completed for TSA of selected storm drains at eight intersections. TSA’s drains, he said, are under-sized and clogged and can cause damage to the roads when they allow too much water to saturate the sub-base.

The report done by his firm (which is available for viewing on the documents page at www.treasurestateacres.com) suggests a plan for repair of the drains at the eight intersections that could be done for about $110,000. It involves the installation of lateral pipes in the drains that resemble drain fields. 

During a general discussion of TSA’s road and drain issues, Culver Varnado asked Cavanaugh what it would cost to fix the drains, rebuild the roads that need to be rebuilt, and do annual maintenance of roads. An earlier Peccia report estimated the annual cost of maintaining TSA roads at $128,175 a year for all treatments.

Cavanaugh estimated the one-time costs of fixing drains and rebuilding at $750,000, in addition to the annual maintenance costs of $128K. Varnado said TSA might want to consider asking the county to set up a SID in order to take care of the costs all at once.

Meanwhile, the county commissioners have scheduled a June 30 hearing on TSA’s request for a 50 percent hike in residents’ payments into the RID that pays for road and drain work. Shirley asked if anyone at the meeting objected to that request for an increase, and no one did.

Representatives of Montana Internet gave a presentation on services they offer. They said that, if TSA residents were interested and if the subdivision were rebuilding its roads, they’d like a chance to install fiber optics wires in the streets. However, they said, they can also provide service by tower. They said they will be launching a phone service next month and a TV service in the next six months to a year. They also said they can offer speed services that a lot of customers like.

Treasurer Terry Atwood said he hoped some progress could be made on improvements to playground equipment in the park. Varnado, who is a member of the park board, said the board is planning improvements in the near future. Varnado also said the park’s fund is in good shape and so the board has asked the county to not charge TSA residents for one of their regular park levies.

There was a question whether  anything more was being done about the “box-car” lot at the corner of Montana and Bobcat. Shirley noted that St. Lawrence had made several attempts to contact, by letter and phone, the owners of the lot to tell them they were not complying with TSA covenants. St. Lawrence also had investigated county rules so see if they were violating any county rules, but apparently there were none. The only option left, he said, was to sue the owners, and that would likely cost the homeowners’ association a lot more money than it has in its fund. No one pressed to sue at the last homeowners’ meeting when the topic came up. Shirley said the only option left may be for TSA homeowners to not patronize the business, and encourage neighbors and friends to do the same.

 There also was a short discussion of the Christmas luminaries. Shirley said residents of some streets, like Red Fox and Cougar, are no longer organizing to distribute bags and candles. But there’s still interest on many of the streets in continuing the tradition. He said that what happened this past Christmas – giving out fewer candles, skipping those houses where residents didn’t want them, but giving reduced numbers to those that did – seemed to work OK.

This report was prepared by Steve Shirley

 

MINUTES FOR TSA MEETING APRIL 18 , 2016​


​Secretary Steve Shirley opened the meeting by introducing Tom Cavanaugh of Peccia & Associates, who provided an update on a study being done of selected TSA French drains. Cavanaugh said soil borings were done a month ago near the drains at four TSA intersections and he just got the test results. He said he expects to have a report in mid-May that provides estimates of the cost of repairing those clogged drains.

 Cavanaugh answered questions from TSA residents  and explained that the  report focused on a handful of drains and intersections, rather than all the TSA drains, in order to keep costs of the report down. But the results of the study will help TSA residents estimate how much it would cost to repair or replace all the drains in the subdivision, he said.

TSA officers Shirley and Terry Atwood said they will use the study results, in combination with a Peccia report on costs of maintaining TSA roads to put together a tax request for the county in July. That’s the deadline for submitting the tax levels that county residents want for SID funds for road repairs, maintenance and things like work on drains.

Because of that deadline, the officers and those at the meeting decided to schedule another TSA Homeowners Association meeting for June 13 at the LDS Church in order to go over the Peccia drain report as well as Peccia’s previous road report in order to come up with a request for the county.

Attorney Abby St. Lawrence gave updates on four issues. First, she said she has had no more success, via phone or mail, in contacting owners of the “box car” lot at the corner of Montana and Beaverhead to comply with the covenants. Those at the meeting discussed what it would cost to take the next step, litigation, but took no action.

(Treasurer Atwood noted that the homeowners’ association has about $11,000 in its account, which can be used to pay lawyer’s fees or other costs.)

There also was discussion about complaints about a TSA home in which the owners reportedly are renting out rooms. St. Lawrence talked about how the covenants address the issue, and she was asked to contact the county to determine whether zoning rules forbid renting out rooms in what should be a single-family neighborhood. She will report back on what she finds out.

She said that issue is something that should be clarified if TSA residents attempt to rewrite their covenants, which is something the homeowners association is considering. She said she was involved in a rewrite of the covenants for the Eastgate subdivision in East Helena a few years ago and, while it was long and arduous, it proved helpful for those residents. St. Lawrence said TSA’s covenants could benefit from a rewrite as they are, among other things, too vague on some issues and suffer from a lack of enforcement rules.

Those at the meeting had a general discussion of rewriting the covenants, and several in attendance indicated a willingness to work with a group on such a project.

St. Lawrence also gave a brief rundown on how the developers of the proposed 46 Degrees North subdivision, which would be located in the empty lot just south of TSA, have asked the state’s Department of Environmental Quality for a groundwater discharge permit.

She said that anyone who lives in Treasure State Acres who wants to comment on the permit request must do so – by mail or email – by May 10.

There also was a short discussion of the Christmas luminaries, with some in attendance noting that many of the residents in the subdivision seem to be losing interest. Shirley said he gave out fewer candles and bags this past Christmas, and most residents of at least one street – Cougar – decided not to keep putting out bags and candles. But at the same time, he said, there is still active interest on many of the streets in continuing the tradition. He said that what happened this Christmas – giving out fewer candles, skipping those houses where residents didn’t want them, but giving reduced numbers to those that did – seemed to work fine.

In the last order of business, those in attendance elected Steve Shirley as president and re-elected Terry Atwood as treasurer.

(No one was willing to put their name in nomination for the secretary’s job. If you are interested, please ask Steve for details.)

This report was prepared by Steve Shirley



RESULTS OF SURVEY OF TREASURE STATE  ACRES RESIDENTS 

Here are the results of our survey, which was sent to all 350 or so property owners in TSA earlier in 2015. We received 63 responses – for a response rate of  18 percent.

PARK IMPROVEMENTS

Those surveyed were very split in their views on what improvements they most want to see in the park. Their two favorite options were a gazebo and a running track, with more playground equipment their third choice and a basketball court their fourth.

Eighteen respondents made the running track their first choice while the same number listed the gazebo as their first choice.

Eight said the gazebo was their second choice, while seven said a running track was their second choice. Eight had a gazebo as third choice, and one as a fourth choice. Five listed the running track as their third choice, and three as a fourth choice.

A basketball court was the first choice of five people, while six more had it as their second choice. Two more had it as their third choice, and three as a fourth choice.

Eleven people listed more or better playground equipment as their top priority. Six put it as their second choice, two more had it as a third choice, and six as a fourth choice.

Those who wanted to see more playground equipment suggested various types: A fort, better swings, tunnel, climbing wall, see saws, merry go round, jungle gym, climbing tube, replace rocking horses, replace rocks with chipped rubber, and so on.

There were also other suggestions for improvements in the park: garbage cans for dog poop and so on, a fence on perimeter to keep out vehicles, tennis courts, picnic shelters, baseball field, benches.

At the same time, a number of those surveyed were complimentary of how well kept up the park is. Some said the park doesn’t need any improvements and the subdivision should focus on other areas, such as improving the streets. (those are separate pools of money, by the way)

Some sample comments: “We like it just the way it is, it looks great. It seems like the kids’ play area has been vandalized already after the new improvements, which is too bad.”…..”Enough, no more equipment, maintain what’s there now.”…..”We are not in favor of the gazebo and we are concerned the people will leave garbage after their picnic….”….”replace the rocks with chipped rubber”….”Lets put park benches or picnic tables around the park.”….baseball diamond and fence around playground to keep dogs out….gliders, tunnels and things to climb and crawl into …..

 
CHRISTMAS  EVE CANDLES

Here, too, sentiments of TSA residents were mixed.

Fifteen said discontinue the candles, while ten said keep up the tradition as done in the past.

The largest number – 28 – said keep doing the luminaries but make changes.

Four liked the idea of hiring a group or asking a volunteer organization to take over the task. A similar number suggested cutting back the candles to the TSA entrance and near the LDS church. And 11 liked the idea of making candles and bags available ahead of time to anyone who wants to pick them up to put them out on their streets or property. Some folks picked more than one option.

Some sample comments: “I never know about this until they deliver the bags. Better notification/announcement needed.”…..”Make it a community event or a specific date. Bighorn Road does it on Christmas Eve at 10 am. We can finish it in 2 hours. Maybe the church will allow us to fill bags in their parking lot.”…..”I think it is a great tradition but it seems I’m never well on Christmas Eve and it has been challenging to light them each year…”….”I would help I just never know where to meet and when.”….”

Some people suggested getting LED lights to replace regular candles, which don’t always work well when it is windy and can be difficult to light. We’ve looked into them and they are a lot more expensive than regular candles. There’s also the problem of getting LED lights collected after Christmas Eve, as many people don’t pick up their candles after the event and the LED lights are too costly to let go to waste.

If you are wondering why the numbers don’t add up in each category to 63, some respondents had opinions on one category or not the other. A few just wanted us to know they were concerned about other issues, such as repair of roads or covenant violations, rather than improvements to the park.We are taking those comments under consideration as we make plans for maintenance of our roads. We also expect to be acting on covenant issues, and will keep you alerted on that. We appreciate the time you took to fill out the survey and consider your input valuable. We will pass on the park information to the Park Board, and use the rest of the information to help us make decisions as we move ahead on TSA issues.