DSCA Governance FAQ
- BOD - Board of Directors
- CC&Rs - Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions
All documents are available here.
Governance - Frequently Asked Questions
Who can change the CC&Rs?
CC&Rs can be changed at any time by a vote of 51% of the entire membership.
Who can change the Bylaws?
Bylaws can be changed by a vote of 51% of members who attend (or are represented by proxy) a special meeting called specifically for modifying the bylaws. At least 20% of the entire membership needs to be represented at the meeting to make it valid.
The Bylaws can also be changed via mail-in ballot by 51% of the entire membership.
- Bylaws Article 9, paragraph 1
Who can call a meeting of the DSCA Membership?
Meetings need to be called occasionally for the purpose of changing the bylaws or CC&Rs, approving a budget, or other types of governance decisions. Here are the conditions that must be met to call such a meeting:
The President can call a meeting by notifying the membership (even if other board members don't want it).
A majority of Board member can call a meeting (even if the President doesn't want one).
10% of the Membership can call a meeting (even if the BOD does not want one).
- Bylaws Article 4, paragraph 2
How are Dues determined?
Old Dues Rules
Below are rules captured in the bylaws around dues. These rules were invalidated by Washington State law in 2018:
The Membership comes together once a year at a special meeting to establish dues for the next year.
- Bylaws Article 5, paragraph 1
The BOD must establish dues before the year starts.
- Bylaws Article 8, paragraph 2
Special assessments in excess of $100 must be approved by a majority of the membership.
- Bylaws Article 8, paragraph 5
New Dues Rules
Here is a summary FAQ of the Washington State laws that went into effect in 2018, which nullified the rules around dues that DSCA had been accustomed to for 50 years. These new rules can be found in RCW 64.90.525. Accord to these new rules:
- By state law, the BOD is now required to prepare a Reserve Study. (RCW 64.90.545, paragraph 1)
- By state law, the BOD is required to create a budget. (RCW 64.90.525 & RCW 64.38.025)
- By state law, the budget is now passed by the BOD (not the membership), and it’s nearly impossible for the membership to reject the budget. (RCW 64.90.525, paragraph 1a)
- By state law, DSCA dues and special assessments are now required to be assigned to the members without any need for input from the membership. (RCW 64.90.525 paragraph 1 and 3, RCW 64.38.025)
- As before, if a member does not or cannot pay these dues, then a lien is taken out against your property and you lose the ability to participate in DSCA governance. (Bylaws Article 8, paragraph 2)
These law changes take power away from the membership and gives it to the board. It sets up an adverserial relationship between the board and the membership, and contradicts the conservative spirit expressed in the wording of the bylaws. It is incredibly important that the membership vote carefully when electing board members, their attitude towards improvements to DSCA, and the inputs to the Reserve Study, as it directly impacts the amount of dues they will be forced to pay.
A solution currently being discussed is to set up a permanent budget committee. The board would still be legally required to pass a budget and follow the reserve study, but they can off-load the responsibility to the budget committee. This would allow members to join the committee and have a voice. At the same time, it stops animosity directed toward the board, because they are simply following the input from the budget committee. This is a compromise that mitigates the damage caused by Washington State on the DSCA community culture (expressed in the bylaws).
The Washington State rules around dues make governmence much more complex, because the dollar amount of the DSCA annual budget triggers different legal obligations. My research into DSCAs legal compliance can be found in DSCA RCW Compliance. DSCA needs to seek legal council on these matters, which has not been done.
What are the privileges of the President?
- The President is the only officer that can sign contracts.
- Bylaws Article 6, paragraph 2.
- The President can call a meeting of the membership.
- Bylaws Article 4, paragraph 2.
Other than the above two privileges, the President has no more power or influence than the other member of the board.
What's up with all the sheds?
Buildings in DSCA must comply with both the CC&Rs as well as San Juan County building codes.
Shed rules for DSCA
Before any structure is built on a lot, a site plan must be approved by the architectural committee. This is typically a picture of the lot showing the location of the eventual habitable dwelling, in addition to any guest houses or accessory structures. Once the site plan is approved, a shed can be constructed.
If the architectural committee fails to approve or disapprove the application within 30 days, lot owners can move forward with their construction plans without the feedback of the architectural committee.
- Source: CC&R 72732, Section 3c.
The CC&Rs call out the difference between a 'temporary shed' and an 'outbuilding'. Temporary sheds must be removed within 18 months. Very few people build 'temporary sheds'. Most of the sheds in DSCA are 'outbuildings' made for permanent construction. These are totally valid to bulid, once the architectural committee approves the site plan.
- Source: CC&R 72732, Section 3d.
Shed rules for the County
A building with a square footage or 400 feet or less (as measured by the roof area) can be built without a permit.
In an email exchange I had with the chief building inspector, he broke down the following definitions used by the county:
- Dwelling contains three elements: a sleeping room, a bathroom, and a kitchen. These buildings must have an occupancy permit.
- Bunkhouse is has a place to sleep and either a bathroom or a kitchen, but not both. These building must also be permitted.
- Non-habitable space can only contain one of the three elements. These buildings do not need to be permitted.
Many 'sheds' in the neighborhood are permitted with the county and are either dwellings or bunkhouses. Some sheds contain neither a kitchen or a bathroom, and are thus considered 'non-habitable space' and do not require a permit.