Daybreak News

Homeowner Insight on a Developer Board

Monday, April 30, 2018

by Tanner Gooch

Homeowner Insight on a Developer Board


When considering a move to a new neighborhood, Joe Mitchell didn’t have a difficult choice. Upon visiting Daybreak in South Jordan, Utah, he found exactly what he wanted: a community with a great layout, strong development, and a well-organized community association.

 

“I really loved it here and wanted to be part of what makes Daybreak a great place to live,” Joe said.

Though the community remains under declarant control, Joe found an opportunity to serve his community on the Board of Directors. He is one of two non-voting homeowners who sit alongside three developer representatives on Daybreak’s governing body; the community will soon elect its first voting homeowner to the Board.
 
Board member and developer representative Rulon Dutson said homeowner involvement and engagement has been a cornerstone of the Daybreak community since its inception. While the two current homeowner Board members don’t have voting authority, their feedback, and input factors heavily into any decision affecting the community.

“We, as a developer, hope we can be confident in the direction we’re heading as a community, but we would never suggest we have all the answers,” Rulon said. “We never want to lose sight that, at the end of the day, the community is its residents.”

As the community matures, this structure enables preparation for the future, when control transitions from the declarant to the homeowners. The ability to work alongside voting Board members in considering community decisions provides first-hand knowledge and experience of community operations.

This representation also creates a connection between the Board and homeowners, who feel more comfortable addressing potential concerns with someone familiar. “As issues arise, they have an audience and a voice with their peers,” Rulon added.

 

                                                                                         
  Joe Mitchell   Rulon Dutson   Suzanne Gamvroulas

 

For homeowners, serving on the Board also opens their eyes to a new perspective. “Once you get on the Board, you realize how much it’s not about you; it’s about the community, and you have to continue to think that way,” Joe said. “People want to be informed. Transparency is one of the things that makes residents feel comfortable.”

And, Joe has found his voice does matter. Though he’s not able to cast a vote, he said the other Board members grant him the ability to fully express his opinions on each matter to reach the agenda. In many ways, this has been an educational opportunity, as well, as he’s learned about governance, laws and the day-to-day operations of community association management.

The Board selected Joe, as well as another non-voting resident, to serve after an elaborate application process. Homeowners serve two-year terms, with appointments alternating annually. When seeking candidates, Rulon said the Board casts a wide net in an attempt to ensure the diversity of the community maintains its representation on the Board.

They seek candidates with tenure in the community who understand the issues facing Daybreak, who are trustworthy and respected by their peers, who are willing to take a stand and engage in challenging discussions and who will truly act with the community’s best interest in mind.

Securing more applicants than they’re able to appoint, the Board attempts to foster a sense of community involvement in these individuals by asking them to serve on various committees, which, in turns, provides experience and potential to serve on the Board in the future.

“It’s a great training ground for residents who want to be involved,” Rulon said. “We’ve been extremely fortunate. We’ve had some outstanding people volunteer their time.”

Daybreak community manager Suzanne Gamvroulas said this structure has worked extremely well through the years and has made preparing for the first homeowner election easier. Those interested in serving on the Board have a realistic idea of what that entails and an established sense of stewardship to build upon.

“They’re right there on the front lines with the voting Board members,” she said. “Their influence, input and voice is certainly felt very strongly in the final decision.”

Rulon, Suzanne, and Joe all advocate incorporating homeowner representation on declarant Boards, even in a non-voting capacity.

“They will make a difference,” Joe said. “Board members do listen. They’re inclusive. There’s a reason they want homeowners serving alongside them.”