Keene Mill Woods II Condominium was named Communicator of the Year in our Community Association of the Year Contest. They are managed by Gates Hudson Community Management, AAMC. This is the essay submitted with the community’s application.
To build 75% support for a crucial Bylaw Amendment, a daunting task, we could not leave any communication stone unturned at the Keene Mill Woods II Condominium (KMWII). Neighbors did come together in unprecedented numbers and, incredibly, passed the measure. But communication did not stop when the confetti fell. Diligently reaching out to our fellow neighbors, as a regular practice, has been essential to our success, as a community in transition.
KMWII owners had not been able to vote and elect Board leaders since 1997, due to a high quorum set in our 1970s Bylaws. We contacted our state senator, Dave Marsden, and he worked to pass a bill that allowed KMWII and other communities to seek court help to hold an election. We sought this help and were finally able to vote. There was a changing of the guard, and new leaders proposed the Bylaw Amendment to permanently lower our quorum and ensure owner voting every year.
To build support for the Amendment, we reached out on doorsteps and in meetings, as well as on email and social media. We mailed an educational letter, well in advance, so owners could carefully consider the issues, know what to expect, and have time to ask questions. We posted a short YouTube video, with helpful graphics, and posted physical signs at our entrances: a thermometer that rose, as owner support grew. We set up a new system so proxy forms could be returned via text messaging, as a convenient option. When the Amendment passed, we also had many ways to get the word out and celebrate.
Our dynamic mix of communication methods was also key to building excitement for other new initiatives, such as electronic voting and a neighborhood Food Drive to help folks in need. To preview our Annual Inspection, we created and mailed a checklist for owners. It identified focus items and invited owners to take a self-inventory, well before the actual Inspection, making the process a cooperative effort.
We also regularly send email newsletters with meeting agendas, minutes, maintenance updates, volunteer recognition, Neighborhood Watch tips, event information, and pictures, among other items of interest.
We want to hear from our neighbors. The footer of every newsletter includes key contact information, so it is always handy. We also invite feedback through a quarterly survey and at meetings in our open forum. We provide a welcome packet to all new owners and offer to answer questions. As one example of valuable feedback: Prompted by a resident inquiry about volunteer opportunities, we created a partnership with our local high school so that students can earn school service hours, for helping the neighborhood.
KMWII has come a long way as a community, and we look forward to future progress. Great communication will continue to make that possible. We thank our neighbors for their support, as well as John Lyons of Gates Hudson, our manager, for his tremendous efforts to move KMWII forward.