Member Comments Requested Regarding Minimum Yard Standards

During the September 3, 2020 GHI Board of Directors meeting, the Board proposed revisions to the minimum yard standards as written in Section III. Minimum Use and Maintenance Standards – Home and Yards B. Exterior. The proposed revisions can be seen here. This includes standards for outdoor storage of wood and building materials.

-Section III.B addresses the maintenance of unit exteriors, including fences and yards.
-Subsection B.10 has been removed and Subsections B.11-B.20 have been renumbered.
-Subsection B.10 addressed yard areas, specifically trash, debris, and noxious plants, such as poison ivy.
-The new section B.13 addresses English ivy and other creeping vegetation. A final sentence has been added, “Yard areas shall be free of noxious plants, such as poison ivy.”
-The new Subsection B.19 is a rewrite and reformatting of the old B.10.
-Subsection B.19 begins with the broader statement that exterior areas must be maintained in safe and orderly condition. This statement is broken down in further Subsections a-f. Members should review all of B.19 carefully.

The Board has requested member input regarding the proposed changes. Comments are due to the manager’s office by Thursday, October 8, 2020. You can submit your comments through email or postal mail to mgmtoffice@ghi.coop or Manager’s Office, GHI, 1 Hamilton Place, Greenbelt, MD 20770.

Sign up for alerts when new articles are released, and check back at MembersUnited.net for more updates on the proposed changes.

Opinion: My Thoughts on Attending a Virtual Board Meeting

woman in black blazer sitting on black office chair

I attended the virtual Board of Directors meeting on July 9, 2020.  Since the stay-at-home order in March, the GHI Board of Directors has been holding their twice monthly meetings via Zoom.  As with in-person meetings, all GHI members are invited to attend the Open Session meetings.  I have attended in-person meetings in the past, but this was my first virtual meeting. I’ve compiled a list of positives from my experience and some suggestions I think would improve the meetings. Continue reading “Opinion: My Thoughts on Attending a Virtual Board Meeting”

This Week’s Board Meeting: Request for Audiovisual Recordings of Board Meetings to be Made Available to Members

young unrecognizable woman during video chat on laptop

Of note for the July 9, 2020 Board of Directors meeting is an agenda item previously explored by Members United: that audiovisual recordings of the Board of Directors meetings be made available to members.  Since the stay-at-home order began in March, Board meetings have become virtual; Zoom meetings have been made available for Board members and GHI members alike.  The quick action to do this by GHI allowed our cooperative and Board to remain up and running, while providing members with a virtual platform to be involved while staying in their homes. Continue reading “This Week’s Board Meeting: Request for Audiovisual Recordings of Board Meetings to be Made Available to Members”

It’s That Time of Year Again

person dropping paper on box

It’s that time of year again: The GHI Annual Meeting is just around the corner.  On Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 7:30pm, the Annual Meeting will commence.  Elections for the GHI Board of Directors and Audit Committee will take place during the annual meeting, as well as the presentation of member agenda items.  Here are some upcoming dates to mark on your calendars:

  • Tuesday, March 10: The Nominations and Elections (N&E) Committee makes their first announcement of candidates
  • Thursday, April 9: Members may propose an agenda item by petition to Secretary Ed James or GHI office
  • Tuesday, April 28 at 7:30pm: Candidates’ Forum in the City Council Room, Greenbelt Municipal Building
  • Thursday, April 30 by 5:00pm: Candidates must submit consent forms (found here) to GHI office or N&E Committee member
  • Thursday, May 5: Final deadline for candidates to submit nominations by written petition
  • Thursday, May 7 at 12:00pm – Wednesday, May 13 at 12:00pm: Members may pick up applications for absentee ballots at GHI office
  • Wednesday, May 13 at 12:00pm: Deadline to submit applications for absentee ballots
  • Thursday, May 14 at 7:30pm: GHI Annual Meeting at the Community Center Gym; read about Roberts’ Rules of Order here.
  • Thursday, May 14 after meeting and Friday, May 15 from 7:00-10:00am & 5:00-8:00pm: Polls open
  • Friday, May 15: Election results announced

For complete information, see the GHI Elections page and the Candidates’ Packet.

Community Beautification Program: Does It Apply to Common Spaces?

common-space-sidewalks-e1571422331845.pngThe Community Beautification Program (CBP), also known as yard inspections, takes place every year beginning in late spring. Members’ yards are inspected to ensure that they are meeting “minimum upkeep standards.” This year, after revisions to the program, 1,379 units failed their first inspection thereby requiring a second inspection to determine if the citation was corrected.  As of the September 3, 2019 Community Beautification Interim Report, 3,470 citations were issued during the first and second inspection.

It is hard to believe that 85% of units aren’t meeting the minimum upkeep standards. When walking around GHI, the egregious violations that I have observed are few and far in between. In fact, it tends to be the same units consistently year after year, and these units have most likely already been identified by GHI.  So how is it that 85% of units are violating what is considered to be “minimum upkeep”?  Where is the breakdown in the CBP inspections? Continue reading “Community Beautification Program: Does It Apply to Common Spaces?”

Check Out Our New Member Spotlight Series

Our new Member Spotlight series debuts with videos focusing on those who are active in Members United.  Learn more about who we are and our backgrounds as members in GHI. Future videos will feature interviews with other members of GHI and the Greenbelt community.  

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to get notified when future videos are released.

Interested in becoming more active with Members United or being featured in a future video?  Reach out to us at wearemembersunited@gmail.com to find out how you can become more involved.

Results of Livestream Survey

macbook pro beside papers

Members United hosted our first ever livestream on April 17, 2019 to review the results of our livestream survey.  In case you missed it, you can still view it here on our YouTube channel.  You can view the survey for complete results.

The survey was completed by 77 members.  Here are a few highlights of what they said (percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number):

  • 23% have never attended a meeting of the Board of Directors and 24% have never attended any other GHI meetings (such as annual meetings, special membership meetings, etc.).
  • 90% believe that it benefits the co-op when they attend meetings, however only 65% believe that it benefits them when they attend meetings.
  • 71% would like to engage more in Board meetings than they currently do.
  • Some major reasons that would encourage members to attend meetings more than they currently do include: if the agenda was made more clear to members, if members felt the agenda items applied more to them, if the meetings were shorter in duration, and if the meetings were more accessible (physical accessibility and ability to hear Board members more clearly).
  • 96% say that technology is an important part of their everyday lives.
  • 79% say they would be more likely to engage in Board meetings if they were livestreamed.
  • 87% believe that livestreaming is relevant to GHI and its members, and they also believe it is a way to engage members more fully in the Board meeting process.
  • 83% think that livestreaming is a safe and secure option to engage GHI members in Board meetings.
  • Only 39% say they are knowledgeable about livestreaming and its security features; however, 52% would like to learn more about livestream options and security features.

Tips for HIP

gray nails beside beige wooden planks and hammers
We were part of the 2017 HIP cohort for our frame home. After our experience and listening to those of other members, I have compiled a list of Tips for HIP.  Please join in the chat to share additional tips and suggestions.

We selected only one optional improvement – covering and sealing our trash door which was already sealed by a previous owner, but the unusable door remained. With a comparison of winter 2016-2017 versus winter 2017-2018, our house maintained 8 degrees warmer (we only use 3 of our 5 baseboard heaters) while our electricity bill averaged plus or minus $15 from the previous winter. With a bill that was relatively the same, our house was warmer and we were significantly more comfortable. Continue reading “Tips for HIP”

Notes from the 9-6-18 Board Meeting

two person wearing gray and blue suits
GHI’s most recent Board Meeting was held on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at 7:45pm. Read more for highlights of the meeting.

The Executive Session Meeting was held prior to the open board meeting:

  • Approved the minutes of the Executive Session Meeting held on August 2, 2018
  • Considered and approved the proposed contract for the solar panel installation at the administrative building (2nd reading)
  • Considered the terms of the 2018 fall concrete repair contract (1st reading)

Continue reading “Notes from the 9-6-18 Board Meeting”

Results of the Special Membership Meeting on August 6, 2018

four people holding green check signs standing on the field photography

A Special Membership Meeting was held on August 6, 2018 to approve two motions related to frame crawlspaces and asbestos found in those crawlspaces.  It was noted by Secretary Ed James that 87 members were in attendance by 7:30pm, and there were most likely more who had signed in since that number was totaled.

The first motion was read by Vice President Stefan Brodd: “Motion #1 – Amendment of the motion passed on February 8, 2018: On behalf of the GHI Board of Directors, I move that the membership of Greenbelt Homes Inc. authorize Greenbelt Homes Inc. to enter into a contract with ACM Services, to remove all abandoned above-ground heating and hot water pipes including those that contain asbestos materials, existing vapor-barrier materials and batt-insulation, from the crawlspaces of 185 frame buildings, at the contractor’s base bid of $1,588,520, plus a 10% allowance for contingencies, for a total not to exceed $1,747,372.”

Continue reading “Results of the Special Membership Meeting on August 6, 2018”