Beachwoods 2nd Annual Owners BBQ

On November 7, the Beachwoods 2nd Annual Owners BBQ was held at the resort.  The weather forecast had been calling for rain. Our drive down to the Outer Banks was cloudy.  However, upon arrival in Kitty Hawk, we found blue skies and 80 degree weather.

Parking was off-site at the Kitty Hawk Elementary School and we were shuttled over by trolley to the resort.  The big white tent had been set up with a stage and lots of tables and chairs all around.

There was no new information revealed.  Three speakers spoke, for no more than five minutes each; Bucky Houser, President of Gold Key Resorts; Ken Taylor, Beachwoods Project Director; and a Diamond Resorts International executive, whose name was missed.

“Turning Gold into Diamonds”.  Bucky Houser reinforced what has been in print since the announcement of the DRI Acquisition.  “The future is bright and holds the promise of enhanced vacation experiences for you all.  Remember, nothing has changed with your ownership other than you will have more opportunity and flexibility in your vacation planning than ever before. Your ownership will not change.”

Next, the Diamond Resorts International representative spoke very briefly.  Unfortunately, she seemed very uncomfortable speaking to a group and stumbled on her words several times.  No information was shared and she quickly introduced Ken Taylor.

Ken Taylor informed the group of what had been taking place at Beachwoods since last November.  He shared that the units were mostly completed, except for some pieces of furniture and punch list items that need to be completed.  He noted the completion of the Woodland Oasis Pool, the North Glen Recreation Center, the new Welcome Center, and the Cypress Lake areas.  The Lakeside Lodge and Pavilion Fitness Center are being completed now with the Water Park area due to be completed by year-end.

There was no opportunity for questions and answers.  We were quickly dismissed to either tour the amenity areas or sit back and enjoy the catered BBQ with live Bluegrass music.  We chose to tour the buildings and grounds first.  There were representatives stationed throughout each area to answer questions.

It was all very impressive to see and my excitement has once again been reignited.  There’s still lots more to be completed to meet what I envisioned when Gold Key Resorts announced their plans for the resort last November.  After seeing what has been finished to-date, I am extremely pleased.  The Welcome Center and the Cypress Lake area, as well as the Woodland Oasis Pool, have surpassed what I visualized after seeing the architectural renderings last year.

The other structures that have not, as yet, been completed are beginning to take shape.  I look forward, with great anticipation, to staying at the resort once everything is finished.   I’ll be on the Outer Banks in March participating in several of the great events scheduled for OBX Taste of the Beach 2016.

After touring and taking lots of pictures, we headed back to the tent to enjoy the BBQ.  It was great food catered by the Black Pelican Restaurant.  The Bluegrass trio were playing and we had the opportunity to talk with another couple while sharing a meal.  They were in their 70’s and were becoming very disenchanted with their timeshare ownership and the changes that had taken place over such a short period of time.  When they last stayed in their timeshare in July, they were very disappointed in the state of things at the resort.  Their unit had not been completed and the only available amenity was the outdoor pool.

After our meal, we got in line to take a tour of the two model units.   Up to three guests were shuttled by golf carts to tour the models. The short line moved quickly.  We were first taken to Unit 2603, which is a two-bedroom lock-out.  The units had some different furnishings and accessories than they had when we toured last November.  The models now have the furniture that made the final cut, which has been installed in the units.

We then rode over to a dedicated three-bedroom unit that sets ground level.  Last year, when we toured, the third bedroom was set up like a “den” with a sleep sofa.  It could be utilized as either an additional sitting area or as a bedroom.  When we toured, this had been changed and it was set up as a bedroom with a queen bed.  I liked this change.  The three-bedroom (non lock-out) was very nice. I really liked the layout of this configuration.

After our tour, we were taken back to the tent where rides by shuttle and trolley were available back to the school where we parked.  We left with no more information than had been offered in the recent newsletter.  However, the owners that attended had beautiful weather, great food and music, and a first-hand look at what Beachwoods is shaping up to be.


Barrier Island Station Duck HOA Meeting

Three years ago, I started attending the Barrier Island Station Duck Annual HOA Meetings.  It is normally held around the end of October.  Since I live about 90 minutes from the Outer Banks and look forward to opportunities to visit, it seemed like a logical step in becoming a more involved owner.

Barrier Island Station Duck was our first timeshare purchase in 1984.  Since that time, we have owned various weeks at this resort.  It has gone from a developer-controlled resort to owner-controlled.  Once the resort was “sold-out”, a Homeowners’ Association was formed and a Board of Directors were elected.   A management company, SPM Resorts, was brought in to manage the resort.  SPM Resorts plays a strong participative role at the annual meetings, in conjunction with the elected Board members.  Board members are voted on by the owners in attendance, as well as through proxies received from owners that have been mailed in their proxies.  A 10% participation from owners (either in attendance or through mailed in proxies) is required in order to conduct official business.

At last year’s meeting, the Timeshare Termination clause was discussed.  This clause is contained in the original condominium documents.  The Association’s documents include dates when the timeshare regimes would come to an end unless amended.  The termination does not end the ownership, but takes away the structure and changes ownership from fee simple to tenancy in common.  The Association needs approval from the ownership to amend the by-laws.  An attorney, Mr. John Gaw, was in attendance during the 2014 meeting.  An amendment to the by-laws was formulated, voted on and approved by the Board.  In order to change the by-laws, the Association needs approval from 75% of the ownership from each of the four condo regimes.  The VIP building does not contain this clause in its documents. The language for the amendment would state that the timeshare regimes would continue until the owners decided not to continue, instead of ending in 2024.  This past year, a vote ballot was sent to all owners of record.

At this year’s meeting, the Timeshare Termination clause was discussed again,  and Jeff Lessey of SPM Resorts reported on the percentage of returned ballots.  Some owners in attendance offered suggestions to get owners to vote on the amendment.   Impediments were discussed that could make it difficult to get the required 75% vote of approval in order to continue the timeshare regimes.  Again, this clause will not end the ownership, but will remove all structure as a timeshare ownership.  Fifty-one owners of each unit would then have to determine among themselves how and when the unit would be used and how it would be maintained.  Barrier Island Station Duck is not the only resort that has this Timeshare Termination clause in its documents.  This has been discussed on the timeshare forum, Timeshare Users Group (TUG).

The 2015 and 2016 Operating Budgets were discussed.  Several owners had questions regarding line items, and requested explanations and more transparency in the numbers.

The exterior renovations taking place at the resort were discussed.  The exteriors have been completed on Buildings 100 and 300.  This past September exterior renovations were started on Building 500.  Buildings 800, 400 and 700 should be started during the off-season and be completed by next Spring.  Building 600 should only require minor exterior work and will also be completed by next Spring.  The VIP Building is also included in this renovation project.  There are lots of pictures on the SPM Resorts’ website, with explanations for the work being completed and the related costs .

I rode through the resort during my stay on the Outer Banks for the HOA meeting.  Pictures were also included in the most recent Newsletter.  The new exteriors will provide a great first impression for owners and guests arriving at the resort.  However, the interiors have yet to be renovated.  Studies are being conducted and this will be the next order of business in the renovation process after all exteriors have been completed.   It has not been determined, as yet, how the interior renovations will be budgeted.

There is a $45,000 line item in the 2016 Operating Budget for “Reserve for Replacement. ” An owner in attendance questioned what the Reserve for Replacement balance was at this time.  This was another topic where things were questioned about transparency.  Is there enough of a reserve being budgeted in order to upgrade the interiors without requiring another special assessment?  The owners received promises at the meeting that a more detailed line item budget would be forthcoming, as well as disclosure as to what balance was in the “Reserve for Replacement” fund.

Currently, there are 291 non-paying owners at the resort.  The pay rate is hovering between 82 and 83 percent.  SPM Resorts is starting the foreclosure processes, and the Association has contracted with MVP Services to help sell the foreclosed timeshare inventory, as well as assist paying owners with the sale of their units.

The Board is well aware of the spotty Wi-Fi service at the resort, and recently hired a consulting firm to perform a study and offer solutions. The study has been conducted and solutions are in hand.  The Board can now move forward with implementing a new Wi-Fi service in the least expensive way possible.

I appreciate the BOD’s efforts on behalf of the owners and the resort.  These are unpaid positions, and time and effort are required in order to stay on top of things at the resort.  It is necessary for them to meet four times per year; however, things do not end there.  SPM Resorts is there to manage the resort and offer guidance.  It requires a cooperative effort among the BOD, SPM Resorts and the owners, with each doing their part.  I had once considered a run for the BOD, but reconsidered.  I am not in a position, at this time, where I could provide the time necessary in order to be a productive Board member.  Therefore, attending the meetings and staying as well informed as possible is the next best thing for me.

Barrier Island Station Duck sets on a lovely ocean-to-sound property in the heart of Duck. The Village of Duck, and all it has to offer, is a short walk up the road from the resort.  One can enjoy great sunrises on the ocean and beautiful sunsets over the sound.  I am hopeful for the future of the resort.