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July 03, 2022

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History of Waterstone Estates

Prelude

This document is respectfully presented as a summary record of our Waterstone community history for the past eight years. It can be tedious reading, but will serve as a teaching tool for those who have joined our community since its inception, particularly those who have arrived somewhere in the middle of our Association’s creation and development process. It is sincerely hoped that this information will dispel any misinformation or rumors that may exist. If anyone within the community feels that there are factual errors herein, please notify the author. Thanks.

     --   Carl Sherman

Waterstone Estates and the Waterstone Homeowners Association
March 2001

Waterstone Estates was developed, built and sold by Pulte Homes (Pulte) during 1995 through 1998. It was built in two phases. Phase 1 consisted of all the homes on Tupelo Drive, Pelican Cove and the lower part of Julian Drive up to an including 327 Julian. Phase 2, begun in early 1997, includes the remaining three houses on upper Julian and all of Murphy Drive and Murphy Court. During the sale of all the Waterstone homes, Pulte did not form a homeowners association; however, the primary governing document, the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions for Waterstone Estates (DCCR), does provide for the formation of an association. The DCCR for Waterstone Estates is a document that is part of every property owner’s deed and was (or should have been) part of the paperwork received during closing of each property. The original DCCR, included with the documents as part of property closing, included three amendments approved by Pulte (Amendments I, II and III). Subsequent amendments would later be incorporated by the Waterstone Estates community. The DCCR for Waterstone Estates is filed for record in Rockwall County as document 147256 and is filed in Volume 0971 on Pages 287 through 322.

As Pulte was closing out the community, several homeowners began to realize that many aspects of Pulte support would cease when Pulte completed the subdivision. The primary support item was the landscape work along the community fence, the entry monuments and the two community parks. A group was formed, informal at first, to discuss the appropriate action to take to ensure adequate maintenance of the common grounds of the community. It was concluded that a long range plan must be adopted, which would include the collection of an assessment from homeowners, if the common areas were to be maintained properly. Although parts of the common area are strictly part of City property, it was agreed that City maintenance would not keep the property to the standards we expect. For instance, the City of Rockwall stated that they would not necessarily mow the grass until it was six or more inches tall. They did agree, however, that they would furnish the water for irrigating the common areas if the community would arrange to do the landscape maintenance.

The group became more formal and assumed the title of Steering Committee. After studying the DCCR, the Committee planned to propose the formation of a Homeowners Association as the first step toward becoming self-sufficient. The DCCR had an ambiguous clause, however, in Article II, Section 2.3 entitled “Association.” It was not clear what the voting requirements were to form an association. Pulte had failed to clarify which percentage (95%, 75%, 66.6% or a simple majority) was required for property owner approval in this subdivision.


Community Meeting, July 12, 1999

The Steering Committee arranged a community meeting for July 12, 1999, at the Rockwall Community Center. Steve Chandler chaired the meeting, and the following items were accomplished. It was agreed that the voting procedure for routine decisions was adequately defined in the DCCR in Article II, Section 2.1(b). Basically, approval of a motion requires 2/3 of the votes cast, either in person or by proxy, provided a quorum is present. A quorum is defined in the DCCR in Article IX, Section 9.4. This meeting then approved an amendment IV to the DCCR to (1) clarify the voting requirement ambiguity for association approval and to (2) provide for an Initial Bylaws Committee to formulate the first Bylaws to govern the operation of an association. The use of the “2/3 rule” (66.6%) was adopted for approval of the formation of our association, and the establishment of an Initial Bylaws Committee was approved. These items are recorded in DCCR Amendment IV, which is filed for record in Rockwall County as Document 0205438 in Volume 01679, Pages 11 and 12. The meeting then voted to approve the formation of an association. The meeting also established the Initial Bylaws Committee. Detailed minutes of this meeting were recorded and transcribed by Linda Sherman and were distributed to all then-current property owners.

The Waterstone Homeowners Association was now a reality, and work was begun to prepare the initial Bylaws. All property owners were invited to participate on the Bylaws Committee, and 44 signed up initially. After a few weeks, the group dwindled to about 10 who did most of the work. Matt Scott was elected to chair the Initial Bylaws Committee. It was a tough task and took eleven months to finalize. The committee was intent on hearing all comments from the community; therefore, the process was an iterative one, with much deliberation. In June of 2000, after everyone had an opportunity to review the final draft, it was time for a vote, and proxies were provided.

Community Meeting, June 6, 2000

The Initial Bylaws Committee arranged a community meeting for June 6, 2000, at the Rockwall Community Center. Matt Scott chaired the meeting. Apathy prevailed, and there was not a quorum, either in person or by proxy, to conduct a vote on the Bylaws or to nominate and elect a Board of Directors. The meeting was adjourned without results. It should be noted here that the DCCR does incorporate a good quorum rule, which provides for reconvening later with successive halving of the quorum requirements. This meeting required 60% of the 122 property owners (i.e. 74 owners) in attendance or by proxy.

Community Meeting, June 27, 2000

The Initial Bylaws Committee arranged another community meeting for June 27, 2000, at the Rockwall Community Center. Matt Scott chaired the meeting. The stated purpose of this meeting was to approve the Bylaws and, using the voting procedures contained therein, nominate and elect a Board of Directors. The quorum requirement was now reduced, per the DCCR, to 37 in attendance or by proxy, and a quorum was present. The Bylaws were approved. The Bylaws are filed for record in Rockwall County as Document 0226643 in Volume 01991, Pages 267 through 277. Director nominations were presented by the Nominating Committee chaired by Carl Sherman. There were 10 nominees from the Committee and no further nominations from the floor. The first Board elected included Matt Scott, Bill Johnston and Rebecca Morris, who were elected for 2 ½ year terms and Lupe Gonzales and Harold Snyder, who were elected for 1 ½ year terms (since the first election took place at mid-year, it was agreed that the normal terms would be extended by ½-year). Bill Johnston has since moved from the community, and the Board, per the Bylaws, appointed John Gaede as his replacement until the next election. Matt Scott was asked to serve as temporary Chairman of the new Board of Directors. Matt was later elected to the chairmanship at the first meeting of the Board of Directors. Detailed minutes of this meeting were recorded and transcribed by Linda Sherman.

The first and primary task of the Board of Directors was to draft a budget and secure the approval of an assessment from the property owners. From the outset, this was understood as most necessary to provide the resources to maintain the common grounds and to ensure the enhancement of community property values. Many budgets were considered and discussed. It was also decided that another amendment to the DCCR was needed, to allow the Association to maintain the monument areas at the community entrance. The DCCR had put the monument maintenance requirement on the adjacent property owners. The Board considered this unfair to the two property owners and also preferred that the Association have the responsibility to ensure consistency of maintenance. After about six months of deliberations, the Board presented the budget, the recommended assessment and the recommended Amendment V to the DCCR by letter to the property owners. There were few comments, but all were considered and suggestions were incorporated. The DCCR requires that 75% of all property owner assent to the assessment. Proxies were delivered, and two meetings were held, yet sufficient votes were not immediately forthcoming. Most proxies received were affirmative votes, but not enough proxies had been received. Therefore, a team of volunteers, under the direction of Carl Sherman, went door-to-door and returned enough of the proxies to exceed the 75% requirement. A meeting was scheduled to formalize the vote.

Community Meeting, March 19, 2001

The Board of Directors arranged another community meeting for March 19, 2001, at the Security Bank of Rockwall. It would be a joint meeting, beginning with a brief meeting of the Board, followed by a meeting of the property owners to finalize the vote, and ending with a full meeting of the Board. Matt Scott chaired the meeting. The stated purpose of this meeting was to approve the assessment, and to approve the recommended DCCR Amendment V. When the vote was taken and the proxies counted, the assessment of $10 per month per property owner had passed, and the recommended DCCR Amendment V, giving the Association maintenance responsibility for the monument areas, also had passed. DCCR Amendment V is filed for record in Rockwall County as Document 0234901 in Volume 02134, Pages 304 and 305. Detailed minutes of this meeting were recorded and transcribed by Rebecca Morris, one of our directors on the Board.

There are those in our Waterstone Estates community who have resisted the idea of an assessment, perhaps because they are not familiar with the DCCR requirements to which they have agreed. It may be of interest to note that the DCCR requires an assessment, whether or not there is an Association. The formal approval process, completed on March 19, 2001, was not to decide if we would have an assessment, but to determine and approve the amount. For those unfamiliar with the requirements of the DCCR, you are referred to Article IX, Section 9.1 regarding “Creation of a Lien and Personal Obligation of Assessment” and Article IX, Section 9.2 regarding “Annual Assessment.” Section 9.1 states, “Each owner, by acceptance of a deed to a lot, is deemed to covenant and agree, to pay an account or fund established by Developer or the Association annual assessments and special assessments, such assessments to be established and collected as hereinafter provided.” Section 9.1 continues by discussing the consequences of non-payment of assessments. Section 9.2 describes the process already taken to establish an appropriate assessment.

As of March 24, 2001, the first assessment billing statements were mailed. It is hoped that the Waterstone community response will be enthusiastic, which should result in a noticeable improvement in the maintenance and landscaping of our common areas.

It has taken three years, but the Association, the Bylaws, the Board of Directors and the Assessment are now in place. Many thanks to all those who worked so hard and so long to assist the community to reach these goals. As someone said, after the assessment was approved, “Well, we’re finally off and running!”

This, by far, is not the end of the Waterstone story; it is only the beginning . . . . .

Update of 8/31/03

On August 15, 2003 the First Amendment to the Waterstone Homeowners Association Bylaws was filed for record in Rockwall County Records as Document 00286455, Volume 03156, beginning on Page 00240 (9 pages). The Amendment includes eight new items which are either additions or changes to the original Bylaws. These changes were made in keeping with Article IX, Section 4, “Amendments to Bylaws,” of the original Bylaws, which requires 2/3rds of all property owners to approve amendments. A ballot for approval of these eight items was mailed to all property owners in May of 2003. By early August 2003, sufficient favorable ballots had been received to approve all eight items. These signed ballots are filed with the records of the Association. These eight approved items are integrated into the Bylaws of the Waterstone Homeowners Association, Amendment 1. The document is signed by Harold L. Snyder, Jr., Board Chairperson, and Carleton K. Sherman, Association Business Manager. It was notarized by Diane Gonzales, a Waterstone property owner and Treasurer of the Association.

Chronology of Updates

Prepared by Carl Sherman 3/30/01; editorial update 4/12/01, editorial update 5/28/02, content update 8/31/03.

The update of 5/28/02 was primarily to include the document numbers, volume and pages for the filings in Rockwall County Records of the Waterstone Estates DCCR and of Amendment 5 to that document.

The update of 8/31/03 was to include the document, volume and page information The update of 8/31/03 was to include the document, volume and page information for the First Amendment of the Waterstone Homeowners Association Bylaws, which are effective 8/14/03. See 8/15/03 Update. 

Recorded Documents

  1. Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (DCCR)

    Original Pulte document
      Rockwall County Records: Document 147256, Volume 0971, Pages 287-322
    First Amendment (Pulte)
      Rockwall County Records: Document 151268, Volume 1011, Pages 121-122
    Second Amendment (Pulte)
      Rockwall County Records: Document 156399, Volume 1062, Pages 128-131
    Third Amendment (Pulte)
      Rockwall County Records: Document TBD, Volume 1071, Pages 93-94
    Fourth Amendment (WHOA)
      Rockwall County Records: Document 0205438, Volume 01679, Pages 11-12
    Fifth Amendment (WHOA)
      Rockwall County Records: Document 0234901, Volume 02134, Pages 304-305


  2. Waterstone Homeowners Association Bylaws

    Original as of the approval on June 27, 2000
      Rockwall County Records: Document 0226643, Volume 01991, Pages 267-277
    Amendment 1, interleaved into a complete Bylaws set, approved August 14, 2003
      Rockwall County Records: Document 00286455, Volume 03156, Pages 240-248

     


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