Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Board Nominations, Budget Suggestions Sought for 2014

Are you interested in improving and maintaining the look, feel, and character of our neighborhood? Do you have ideas on how to preserve and protect our property values, environment, and common areas? The Green Meadows West Homeowners Association needs you!

Nominations for board of directors positions are open year-round, but are actively solicited in the months preceding the association's annual meeting of all members, held in January.

The Nominations Committee invites interested parties to contact the association manager via e-mail, postal mail, fax, or phone.

As announced at the 2013 annual meeting, the 2013-2014 Nominations Committee comprises:
  • DeAnn Lee (chairperson)
  • Jack Sullivan
  • Steve Suvalsky
Directors serve terms of three years. The board of directors meets monthly, usually on second Tuesdays. The volunteer position of director is uncompensated. Directors and other volunteers can also serve on committees and working groups.

September is also a particularly good time to suggest to the directors any spending, maintenance, or other priorities, as the board moves into its annual budget process in October. Please direct communications to:
Green Meadows West Homeowners Association
c/o Knapp Properties Inc.
5000 Westown Parkway, Suite 400
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266 
Phone: 515.223.4000
Fax: 515.222.5220

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Expert Helps Neighbors Survey the Green Meadows West Prairie

Inger Lamb, owner of Prairie Landscapes of Iowa LLC, conducts her final informational "Green Meadows West Prairie Walk" of the 2013 summer season Thurs., Aug. 15.

Green Meadows West neighbors of all ages are invited to meet 7 p.m. at the parking lot at Windsor Park, near the intersection of Windsor Parkway and King's Row.

Following the July prairie walk, Lamb wrote the following note to association members:

Like cats and dogs, plants have families analogous to animal groups. or dogs. In most prairies, plant families include grasses, daisies or sunflowers, and legumes.

On our walks we often see legumes (Fabaceae family), which are well represented elsewhere by soybean and peas. These are important because they have a very special ability to remove nitrogen from the air, and to convert it from an unusable inert form into biologically active forms. Representative plants in the Green Meadows West prairie include both white and purple prairie clover, leadplant, both cream and white wild indigo, showy ticktrefoil (the source of “sticktights” on your socks), roundheaded bush clover, Illinois bundleflower and partridge pea. Unfortunately, this group also includes the non-native invasive crown vetch, but we’re working to eradicate that one!

Members of the sunflower/daisy or aster family (Asteraceae) we find at Green Meadows West include pale purple coneflower, daisy fleabane, smooth ox-eye, yellow/gray-headed coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, the Silphiums (rosin weed, cupplant and compass plant); and, of course, all the asters (Northeast aster, frost aster, sky blue aster, etc.). Species that, at first glance, might not seem likely members of this family are Liatris (gayfeather or prairie blazing star), prairie sage, ironweed and the goldenrods. The ragweeds (common and giant) are native-but-less-appreciated weedy members of this group, and occur naturally in the Green Meadows West prairie.

Thistles are also included in the Asteraceae; some are native and some, like the noxious weed Canada thistle, are not. You’d think with a name like Canada thistle it would at least be from North America, but it’s actually Mediterranean in origin!

On our July prairie walk, the Culver’s root was blooming profusely and attracted some attention. Its “whorled” leaves—4 or 5 coming from the same spot on the stem, radiating out in a circle—is fairly novel in the world of plant leaf arrangements. The flowers are also attractive, many tiny white flowers forming a cluster of spikes at the top of the plant.

Someone asked me what family this plant belonged to and I was not sure, but looked it up when I got home. They are in the snapdragon or figwort family, the wonderfully named Scrophulariaceae. This group is not as widely represented as the others mentioned above, but does also include the Penstemons (foxglove & large-flowered beardtongues), which we appreciate in the early spring. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Keep Pools Cool, Safe, and Within Covenants

The Green Meadows West Homeowners’ Association encourages members to keep kids and pets safe this summer by observing all Johnston municipal laws and neighborhood covenants regarding swimming pools. Consumer and safety experts warn that small children can easily drown in small pools, toilets, and even 5-gallon buckets.

According to the City of Johnston, a pool is “any structure intended for swimming, recreational bathing or wading capable of containing water 24-inches-deep or more. This includes in-ground, above-ground, and on-ground pools; hot tubs; spas.”

Green Meadows West neighbors planning to install in-ground swimming pools should ensure they first purchase a building permit from the City of Johnston prior to construction, and meet building code requirements. Requirements include a 6-foot-high non-climbable fence with a self-locking gate.”

Green Meadows West covenants prohibit above-ground swimming pools other than “small swimming pools for infants.” In-ground pools are permitted.

The association recently successfully litigated the removal of an above-ground swimming pool. The pending removal is the third such enforcement action in neighborhood history. Fines of $17,000 or more may be assessed in the most-recent case.

For more information on Johnston building code requirements, click here.

For more information on Green Meadows West covenants, click here.