Monthly Matters
Posted on May 27, 2024 6:00 AM by Admin
With Spring in the air and summer approaching fast, sometimes our neighbors get antsy and want to treat their home exteriors in the same way they did their previous homes. Living within a planned unit development with a formal homeowner’s association is a new experience for most of us. 
Many are used to making decisions and trying to make changes, forgetting that we have Declarations, Bylaws, and Community Guidelines/Policies for all to follow.
Want to paint your interior? Great.  Want to replace your carpet or hardwood floors? Great. Want to move where your sink and dishwasher are currently located? Not So Great! 
To make major revisions to your unit, which require changes to the original slab, you must have the architectural plans reviewed by the Architectural Committee (Maintenance Committee) and approved by the Board.  
It may seem like a pain, but the homeowner does not own the slab, the roofline, etc.  All of us owners together own all the exteriors of every building in Arbor Grove, including the pool, clubhouse, and grounds. The only thing we do not own together is our interiors, from drywall in, doors and windows. The Architectural Committee will ensure any structural changes to a unit are made by a licensed, insured, and bonded contractor.  Use whomever you want to work on the portion of our home that you own – again, drywall in.
As far as the exterior of your unit – also referred to as common and limited common areas – also requires approval for any changes.  The Rules Committee reminded us that:
“No changes, alterations, or additions may be made to the unit exterior or landscaping or any limited common area without the prior review and approval from the board.” 
Want to change your landscaping?  First, submit your plan to the landscape committee. If you do get consent and approval, you can certainly move forward.
Want to add an additional set of bushes, a tree, etc.? While the approval process is the same as changing out the current landscape, the homeowner has additional responsibility. They will be solely responsible for removing/replacing the additional bushes/trees should they get sick or do not survive. If the Association is put in the position to remove the additional landscape, the homeowner will be invoiced for the Association’s expenses.
If homeowners around Arbor Grove added additional landscaping plants, trees, etc., you would be forcing your fellow neighbors to pay the additional cost of maintaining those additions. This is why there is a process. 
Now, if you are one who likes to ask for forgiveness instead of permission – please be aware: “In the event of any change, alteration, or addition to the exterior unit or landscaping is made without prior board approval – well – you have to restore your unit to the original condition at your expense.” Warning, it will cost you. 
Last, but not least, many aren’t aware that exterior sculptures, statues, exterior fountains, and any yard ornaments must have prior approval from the board (typically goes through Landscape committee as delegated by Board). Want to have a US Flag – absolutely – we support that. Just know how and where you display your flag also needs prior approval according to our Community Guidelines.  Remember – we are talking about a US Flag. No other flags may be flown. 
Whew, that’s a lot of information, but hopefully, it's easier than re-reading the entire Declarations, Bylaws, Covenants, Guidelines, and Policies. These documents are always available and easy to access on our website.  
The best thing to remember is to utilize the website and reach out to the landscape committee, maintenance committee, and/or board of directors to confirm any changes or additions you want to make to your home. Everyone will be more than happy to help you and ensure we are all following the same set of rules and guidelines we all voted into place.  
Posted on November 27, 2023 6:00 AM by Alice Argyelan
Wow, Arbor Grove Monthly Matters is officially one year old this month. What’s Mine & What’s Association’s?  Windows, doors, Use of Amenities

There are Covenants, By-Laws, Association Rules, and Guidelines.  These topics are broad and all-encompassing, yet key to living a good life in Arbor Grove.  The fact that we have a waiting list for folks who want to make Arbor Grove their home is a testament to our neighbors, committees, and board leadership.

Previous Monthly Matters honed in on several topics written by our neighbor authors who prepared articles on Insurance, Rules, and Duties of Homeowners, an entire year’s worth of great topics. We especially love seeing our committees and their good works get highlighted with a tremendous sense of gratitude.

This month, we’ll look at What’s Mine? What’s the Associations? And Use of Amenities.

Generally speaking, everyone is knowledgeable and comfortable with the fact that Arbor Grove owns the exterior of our homes and the surrounding grounds, including the clubhouse.

That being said, many do not realize our windows, front doors, garage doors, furnaces, and AC compressors are the unit’s owner responsibility for maintaining and, if necessary, replacing. 

Because we all own the exteriors and grounds, utilizing these amenities in our common areas comes with a set of responsibilities for proper use.  The Use of Amenities policy approved several years ago (updated since), lays out how we can all share our grounds in a fair, safe, and friendly way.

The Use of Amenities is divided into three main categories:  Clubhouse, Pool, and Pond.

First, the Clubhouse (just recently repainted, yeah).  Our clubhouse is a fantastic amenity.  Not only are there Arbor-sponsored events open to all neighbors, but it is also available to rent for your exclusive use at a cost of $75. For non-exclusive use, maybe hanging out with a friend, and you don’t care who pops in and out, the clubhouse is open 24 hours a day (unless rented).  If rented, the exercise room will always be available by entering through the side door so as not to disrupt someone’s celebration. The Clubhouse is never available to rent on the 3rd Friday of each month.  This is our monthly Happy Hour.

Second is our beautiful Pond!  Whether or not you enjoy fishing, a stroll around the pond on a lovely day cannot be beaten!  The pond sidewalk is the only private sidewalk in our subdivision.  Because of this, an Arbor resident must accompany anyone who is walking around or fishing. As most avid fishermen know – our pond is a catch-and-release pond – except that is for the egrets who enjoy their time there. 

Third and last, but not least, is our pool.  Folks wait with bated breath every spring for the pool’s opening date.  We are at the mercy of the schedule of the professionals who open the pool every spring.  Once open, a team of volunteers, led by Gary Goselin and Barry Gadbois, come to the pool twice daily to check chemical levels and ensure a clean and safe environment for our residents.  Residents assume the responsibility of overseeing their guests (maximum of 4) and cleaning their table and surrounding area before they exit the pool area.  

Because the Illinois State Department of Health governs our pool and is a swim-at-your-own-risk pool, there is a large section of the Use of Amenities dedicated to pool rules and resident responsibilities.  Everyone is encouraged to read the Use of Amenities every year before swim season! (Click here to read). 

There are many committees and volunteers who work together in teams to ensure a happy and healthy lifestyle here in Arbor Grove.  Taking care to know our responsibilities and the homeowner association’s responsibilities makes for a great day, which begins on Arbor Way.

A survey on Monthly Matters will be coming to your inbox soon. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey so we know your thoughts and opinions. 
Posted on June 26, 2023 6:00 AM by Admin
“All things the same, except for the differences, and different, except for the similarities.” Thomas Sowell. 
In making the excellent choice to make Arbor Grove your home, you entered the world of becoming a part of a homeowner’s association.  A first time for many.  There’s no way to quickly digest all the bylaws, covenants, conveyances, etc.  Hopefully, by taking bits and pieces occasionally and highlighting them in this monthly feature, everyone will learn, understand and be more comfortable knowing Arbor Grove is organized and operationally together.
For a general definition, let’s look at the firm Sharper Management, which lays it out nicely. “A Common Element is typically a space or component that is “shared” by all.”  In our case, think of the Clubhouse, Pool, parking lot in front of the clubhouse, Pond, internal sidewalks, and greenspace, including grass, trees, and landscaping.  
The association is responsible for maintaining these areas and components, hence, collecting our monthly fees and understanding the need to set aside reserve funds for future repairs, replacements, etc.  The exteriors of our buildings are all considered common elements.  This is why committees and the board must approve changes or repairs to an individual unit. It is also why several units have been repainted, and more to be done this summer and next.  As the old saying goes – There’s a reason for everything!
Now, for Limited Common Elements.  This is where the individual homeowner comes in. They are components of your unit and immediate surroundings where use is “exclusive” to you and your guests.  When you think about it, who should be allowed to walk through your front door or enter your garage without your express permission. The same goes if you have a patio or terrace with your unit. You do not have to share any of these items with anyone.  I should never be able to hang out on your patio because the sunshine is better there unless I am explicitly invited.
Now here is the part that needs to be clarified.  Again, going back to Sharper Management: Limited Common Elements, The responsibility for maintenance and replacement could be entirely the homeowners. Again, all those documents you received when you purchased your unit have the details.  
In essence, though – Homeowners are responsible for exterior doors, including your garage door, windows, screens, patio repair, and replacement. Now, not that this will ever happen, but what if a homeowner doesn’t take care of their limited common element?  Well, the board, for the betterment of all, may have to consider making the necessary repair made for the benefit of the individual homeowner and the overall integrity of the Association as a whole and assess the individual unit owner for the cost of the repairs.  This is one more example of how as members of the Arbor Grove Homeowners Association, we can be sure the overall maintenance and aesthetic excellence can be maintained well into the future.
“While the spirit of neighborliness was important on the frontier because neighbors were so few, it is even more important now because our neighbors are so many.”  Lady Bird Johnson
Posted on April 24, 2023 6:00 AM by Wayne Helgeson
No Matter What, We’re All in this Together!
This Monthly Matters article is dedicated to helping solidify, for all unit owners, just what their responsibilities are when it comes to Arbor Grove. Whether you own or rent, we all live in what is legally described as a “common interest community.”
When Debbie and I opted to buy a unit and move here to Arbor Grove, we entered into a covenant with the association that we will always comply with both the “By-laws,” “Covenants, Conditions, Easements and Restrictions,” as well as the “Guidelines” established by the association.  I was personally reluctant at first to move here as I wasn’t certain I wanted to be subject to all the rules that came with living in a common interest community.
To understand the rules, we must first understand that the association owns the exterior of each building and surrounding grounds.  We, as owners, only own that which exists inside the building (commonly described as being from the drywall in), including all “upgrades” like flooring, cabinets, appliances, furnishings, etc. An exception to the above would be a patio or your air conditioning unit.  The patio of a unit is considered an “upgrade” which exists outside the building, and your air conditioner condenser unit are personal property and, therefore, are the responsibility of the resident. You may be surprised, but doors, windows, screens, and your garage doors are your personal property and responsibility.
Anyone wanting to read the actual duties of the unit owners can find them in Article IV of the Association’s Covenants, Conditions, Easements, and Restrictions—specifically, Section 4.8.  There, you’ll find language regarding duties you are required to perform and steps to be taken if such duties are not performed.  For simplicity’s sake, it really comes down to the following:
  1. Keep the exterior of your unit clean, and clear of debris and trash to include “limited common areas” (such as a patio).  It also includes washing windows and screens.
  2. Clean up after pets in all areas of the community, both common and limited.
  3. Keep your unit in a good state of repair, like your doors and windows (including screens).
  4. Maintain sufficient insurance coverage (refer to section 15.2 of Covenants).  As everyone knows, the sole requirement is to have at least $500K in liability insurance.  As we are learning from our recent fire, there is additional coverage that will greatly benefit the residents.  For instance, make sure you have enough coverage for “Loss of Use,” which will cover charges for you to rent something while your property is being repaired or replaced. It is always a good idea to have an insurance review with your agent every once in a while!  
Aside from the physical responsibilities, there are those responsibilities which fall under the heading of “common sense and courtesy.”  Some examples of these are:
  1. Pick up trash around the property if you are out walking.
  2. Check in on neighbors during harsh weather like storms and freezing temperatures.  It’s also common decency to know your neighbors and look out for them, especially if they are elderly (which most of us either qualify for now or are getting there soon!)
  3. Watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists when driving.  While the speed limit is 25 mph, it doesn't hurt to slow down and pay close attention, as many of our neighbors like to get out and walk or ride their bikes when the weather cooperates.
Finally, there is the issue of responsibility.  It is important that everyone realizes that not only are we, as owners, responsible for our actions, we are also responsible for the actions of any individuals we invite over to act and behave in a safe and courteous manner.  Some examples of this would include:
  1. Driving at a reasonable speed. Although already mentioned, there are folks who do not live here who must believe they are on a racetrack here and exceed a safe limit.
  2. Loud noises, another commonsense item.  If you have something to do in your garage that will make a lot of noise, be mindful of the time.  During daylight hours, there is a lesser chance that it will be disturbing as opposed to doing it later in the evening.
  3. Last but certainly not least, is the swimming pool. This is where courtesy and common sense are most important.
    1. If you are going to the pool, be aware that even if you are there with your daughter/son and their kids, you are still ultimately responsible for ensuring they all act appropriately.  If one of your grandchildren decides to do a cannonball anywhere near other residents relaxing in the pool…it is not going to go over well.
    2. Please adhere to the policy that no glass is allowed in or around the pool.  If something gets broken, the pool must be shut down and all the filters must be removed and replaced.  This obviously will result in an inconvenience to all your neighbors and result in significant costs to Arbor Grove.
    3. If you have rented the clubhouse for the day, remember, that the pool does not come with the rental.  Don’t forget: You are required to clean the clubhouse after your rental. It’s always a good idea to look at the clubhouse checklist accompanying the rental agreement.
    4. When not rented, the clubhouse is available for your use (it was originally described as an extension of your living room).  Remember, we do not employ either maintenance or cleaning staff.  It is your responsibility to clean up after yourselves to include - wash all dishes used, returning them to their original locations, wipe down counters and tables, sweep, vacuum, or mop flooring, if necessary, etc. It is a common courtesy to leave it clean for the next neighbor who comes along.
The Arbor Grove Board exists to manage the property and expenditures required for general maintenance and upkeep.  Every member of the Board works for you and the betterment of this community, all without compensation. Just like our Standing Committees, their members, and co-chairs, many hours of volunteerism go on behind the scenes to keep our community a wonderful place to live.
As I originally stated, Arbor Grove is legally referred to as a “common interest group.”  That should mean that we all have essentially the same concept of how we should act (or re-act) toward each other.  If we all use common sense and are courteous toward each other, this should be as close to utopia as we are likely to get.
Again - No Matter What, We’re All in this Together!
Posted on February 27, 2023 6:00 AM by Sandi Frenzke
Confusing?  Yes!   Complex?  Yes!   Necessary?   Answer:  Absolutely!!!
Because insurance can be confusing and complex, this Monthly Matters article has been designed to simplify both Arbor Grove Homeowner Association’s and your insurance coverage responsibilities.
Anyone reading this article should know that once you purchase a home in Arbor Grove, a planned unit development, the Arbor Grove Declaration Of Covenants, Conditions, Easements, And Restrictions voted in by you, the homeowner, is the guide to insurance requirements for both the HOA and the Homeowner.  Arbor Grove’s and the homeowner’s insurance policies work together to ensure your investment is fully covered.
First, let’s address the coverage Arbor Grove is required to have (Article XV,15.1: Commercial Property Insurance if you are so inclined to look for yourself) as follows:
  • Commercial Property Insurance – a policy that covers AG’s common property such as buildings from drywall out, shared roofs, clubhouse, swimming pool, etc.  Coverage provides replacement cost of the townhouse buildings from the drywall out to include the building’s exterior.  In layman’s terms, nothing inside your home is covered by Arbor Grove – that’s for your homeowner’s insurance policy to cover!
  • General Liability Insurance – This coverage protects Arbor Grove in the rare instance of someone filing a claim, including bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and others that can arise from our operations.
  • Directors & Officers Insurance – This insurance policy protects the board members in the event there is ever an accusation or lawsuit from a homeowner.
  • Fidelity Bond – protects against theft or embezzlement by employees, directors, management personnel, or others who might have access to our funds. Not one of us can imagine ever needing this coverage, but alas, it is required, and the Board is going to fulfill its obligations.
Last but not least, we focus on you and your homeowner’s insurance policy. (Again, for those so inclined, please refer to Article XV, 15.2 for Personal Liability Coverage and Unit Owner Insurance Responsibility.  This section of our Declarations and Covenants requires all of us to hold the following coverage:
Personal Liability coverage in a minimum of $500,000 - this coverage protects you from paying out of pocket if you (or another member of your household) are held legally responsible for injury or property damage to a third party.  Of course, you, the homeowner, can purchase more than $500,000 of liability coverage. Many do. 
Before we go any further in this article, I cannot stress enough the importance of meeting with your insurance agent and sharing the Declarations and Covenants with him/her to make sure you have proper coverage.  Hopefully, you will never need them, but as we have all watched from afar the unfortunate events at the 707 building, the unimaginable sometimes becomes a reality.
Insurance coverages that are a homeowner’s responsibility as indicated in Article XV, 15.2: 
  • Building Property Insurance – in some insurance company policies, but not all, this is where coverage for cabinets, counters, trim, sinks, toilets, flooring, patios, HVAC systems (heating and air conditioning), water heater, etc. is covered. Ask your agent!
  • Personal Property – coverage for furniture, kitchen appliances, clothing, electronics, and other removable property items. While typically not the case, with some insurance companies, this may include coverage for cabinets, counters, A/C unit, furnace, water heaters, sinks, toilets, showers, flooring, trim, etc. Again – ask your agent!
  • Medical – provides for medical payments designed to reimburse your guest for medical expenses they incurred while in your unit, whether or not you are at fault.  
  • Loss of Use – helps pay for you to live elsewhere while your home is being repaired after a covered loss.
  • Loss Assessment – Homeowners of units may be liable for their share of the costs for repairs or large insurance deductibles on the HOA’s master policy.  Building deductibles can be high and could be in the thousands of dollars per building. When a deductible becomes payable in a claim, the amount might be divided among all of us as unit owners, who benefit from everything being repaired properly.  Speak with your agent about Loss Assessment coverage.
Declaration Sheet:
Upon home insurance policy renewal, the insurance company provides a new Declaration sheet listing each category and the specific dollar amount of coverage.  Again, we recommend that you review your annual declaration sheet with your insurance agent to ensure the dollar limits provide you ample coverage to protect your investment here at Arbor Grove.  Remember, as an owner in Arbor Grove, you are responsible to replace everything in a unit from the drywall in should an incident occur damaging the interior of your unit.
To assure the HOA’s master policy and the Homeowner’s policy work together, you, as the homeowner, are required per the covenants to list the HOA as an “Additional Insured” on your homeowner’s policy. Being listed as Additional Insured not only makes sure the Association receives a copy of your annual declarations page, but it also assures the Board that in the event of a claim, all parties are considered and protected by our policies. The Additional Insured should be: Arbor Grove Homeowners Association, 709 Arbor Parkway, Bourbonnais, IL 60914.
Not to sound like a broken record, but insurance can get confusing for many, so for the final time in this article, please speak with your insurance agent once a year and share Articles 15.1 and 15.2 regarding the insurance coverages both Arbor Grove and you are required to have.
God willing, you will never need it!   Stay Safe!
Posted on January 30, 2023 6:00 AM by Mark Argyelan and Jean Henley
Let’s start this month’s Monthly Matters with a little humor…..
When an attorney gets married, they don’t say “I do” – They say, “I accept the terms & conditions.”
While funny, the same can be said for anyone purchasing their home in any PUD or Condominium Association.  Yes, when you signed on the dotted line at closing, you agreed to the terms & conditions of the Association.
While the general by-laws, declaration of covenants, and guidelines were set at the time Arbor Grove was originally established, the first-ever Board of Directors established the Arbor Grove Rules Committee.
The purpose of the committee is to periodically review the declarations, covenants, guidelines, etc. The Rules Committee then makes recommendations to the Board and ensures they are kept up-to-date, all for the end result of assuring residents our community will remain attractive, well-maintained, having continuity in appearance, and continue as a harmonious place to live.
Only the Board has the authority to accept or reject committee recommendations for “guidelines.” Any change to “covenants” and/or “bylaws” must receive approval from 67% of Arbor Grove homeowners (referred to as “the membership”). Of course, Illinois State law can also affect the need for changes.  Please know, all changes are sent to our attorney to ensure we are in full compliance with the law.
Nine Arbor Grove homeowners serve on the Rules Committee.  They all take this responsibility seriously and have spent countless hours reviewing documents and discussing potential recommendations for change.  Your neighbors who serve are:
  Mark Argyelan and Jean Henley, Co-chairs
  Marlo Beeman
  Karen Denoyer
  Marlene Ganci
  Debbie Helgeson
  Donna Miller
  Lois Ware
When you run into any of these fine people, please be sure to extend a “thank you” their way.
All the documents relating to rules, regulations, by-laws, covenants, etc., are available on this website under the “Documents” tab.
While all the information in these documents is essential, the committee recommends you pay particular attention to the following:
  Article VIII – Meetings and finance
  Article XI    - Resale of units 
  Article XV   - Insurance
And all three pages of the “Community Guidelines” and “Use of Amenities.”
Finally, the rules committee was not put in place to police violations but to recommend sensible suggestions to make our Arbor Grove community the most enjoyable place to live in the county. Anyone with a suggestion for change, don’t hesitate to reach out to any committee member.
This article began with a little humor to bring a smile upon your face.  
In closing, our current By-laws and Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Easements, and Restrictions, last updated in 2022, are good for the next 39 years.  Yes, 39 years!  In the meantime, who knows what might change. If anything does change, the Rules Committee and Board will be sure you are aware. 
Posted on December 26, 2022 6:00 AM by Steve Husak
There are Association Dues? Why?
For a good portion of our neighbors, moving to Arbor Grove was their very first experience being a member of a PUD (Planned Unit Development) and the first time they belonged to a "Homeowners' Association.
There are lots of other reasons people pay monthly dues. Maybe you belong to a Health Club, a Social Club, Country Club, or Political Association. Well, being a member of Arbor Grove requires everyone to pay dues. This isn't a choice – it's a necessity – and well worth the investment! 
The monthly dues (assessments) we make every month are held in an account. By participating in our community Board elections, you have given Arbor Grove Board of Directors the funds to utilize for various reasons – all of which enhance your way of life and help maintain the value of your home. In addition, you have given our elected Board of Directors the following responsibilities:
 a.     Own and manage for recreational use a clubhouse, certain areas of green space, and other related property, including all Common Areas, Common Facilities, and areas of common responsibility. Think lawn care and landscaping, snow removal, clubhouse and pool maintenance, drainage and pond, and maintenance of every one of our ninety-two units.
b.     Collect periodic homeowners' association assessments. Think monthly dues and, if ever needed, a special assessment.
c.      Pay expenses in connection with the Association Property. They are responsible for a nine-acre footprint of property and buildings.
d.     Maintain insurance on such Association Property. We, unfortunately, now know just how crucial good coverage of the association and our neighbors is.
e.     Enforce the terms of the Declaration filed in the Kankakee County Recorder's Office and any reasonable rules and regulations adopted by the Board. This area occasionally requires attorney fees to ensure we are well within State and Federal Laws.
 f.     Perform other and further acts that are necessary and appropriate to accomplish the foregoing purposes.
Having the above responsibilities, the Board of Directors sets the monthly dues (assessment) amount based on an adopted budget approved at the annual meeting.  To see how the Board allocates your dues, please see this year's and previous years' budgets in the Finance Committee or Documents sections on the Arbor Grove website.
Beginning January 1, 2023, our dues will increase to $250 monthly. Considering the amenities we enjoy, the excellent maintenance of our facilities and landscapes, and the necessity to grow reserves for the future, this dues increase is extremely competitive, necessary, and reasonable.  
Sure hope you agree how fortunate we are here at Arbor Grove to have Our board members and incredible host of volunteers devoting their time and talent to assure the management of our community, without whom our dues would undoubtedly be considerably higher.  
For more information, please see Article ll, pages 40 and following, "Declarations, Covenants, and Bylaws.