BYLAWS of Shekinah Eco-Villages HOA

 

ARTICLE I. Definitions and Purpose.

Paragraph One. Definitions.

A. Shekinah Eco-Villages is an intentional community owned and operated by its members, who act in accordance with its Mission Statement, Values and Vision statement and Waiver. Shekinah Eco-Villages HOA is the governing body of the land and community buildings (hereinafter “HOA”).

B. Throughout these Bylaws, “the Community” is used in a sense that implies that the Community makes decisions or takes actions. All such references shall be interpreted as meaning that the Governing Body of the Community make the decision or take the action referred to unless otherwise specified to mean the voting membership of the Community.

C. Whenever in these Bylaws the word “member” or “membership” is used without the qualifying adjectives such as “resident,” or “non-resident” the word shall be taken to apply to all members.

D. The terms “voting membership” and “voting members” shall in all cases exclude Emergency and Guest memberships. Non-Resident/Retreat members are not considered voting members for items that only concern residents.

E. The “Governing Body” will consist of Full Time Resident Members and any other member who commits to 100 hours of service per year.

Paragraph Two. Purpose

             
A. MISSION STATEMENT:

Shekinah Eco-Villages are intentional communities based on principles of sustainability, educational outreach, healthy living, natural healing, individual responsibility, cooperation, and renewable energy. We are dedicated to an earth-friendly, family-friendly environment through Commitment, Honor and Integrity.

B. VISION:

Shekinah Eco-Villages are sustainable, green, off–the-grid communities that nurture sovereign and responsible citizens. We welcome mature, responsible people with skills of all types: teachers, builders, artists, professionals, healers, businessmen, musicians, craftsman, seamstresses and chefs, to name a few.

We envision a large community center surrounded by twelve to eighteen homes with a comparable number of guest homes nestled in the middle of ninety acres. The community center plans include a commercial kitchen, dining area, library, media center, rooms for guests, a healing center, craft room, playroom, wood shop, classrooms, and greenhouse. We envision a commercial site for businesses, storage sheds, a few farm animals and gardens of all kinds. Working together we can be free of so much: utility bills, mortgages, high food costs, ill health, and stress. We will have creative, fulfilling and personally sustaining work; living and working together, so that people’s lives and work are integrated into a unified environment.

While most of us have a Judeo-Christian background, many incorporate other belief systems: Native American, Eastern and others. We are spiritual rather than religious, though individuals with a particular religion/belief system are supported.

The community offers workshops and wellness training devoted to health, joy and living sustainably.

Paragraph Three. Implementation.

The Definitions and Purpose stated above shall be implemented through:

A, COMMITMENT: (agreement, pledge) Each adult commits to one to ten hours of community service a week on average, depending on Membership type. We uphold the principles and by-laws of Shekinah Eco-Villages. We honor the living earth and commit to use only that which we need. While respecting individual needs, we minimize materialism and the habit of ever-increasing consumption that is common in the West today. We care for all life nonviolently and humanely.

B. HONOR: (revere or hold in high regard) We honor committed relationships between two people and strive to be good role models for the children. All members and guests on the property honor and respect other’s boundaries. We take responsibility for our actions. We reveal, not conceal our frustrations or problems with others in the community. We honor other members by working through challenges with honesty, insight and kindness. We honor personal sovereignty and acknowledge our responsibilities as citizens.

C. INTEGRITY: (adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character and honesty) Our word is our bond. If we say we will do something, we honor that commitment. We abide by the intent of the community documents and not just by the words and legalities. We fulfill our hours of service, and respect and truly care for others.

Paragraph Four. Use by Other Parties.

In all events, whether sponsored by our members or brought to us by others, the resources or facilities of this Community shall be used to further all endeavors in alignment with our stated Mission, Values, Vision, Code of Conduct and Waiver. All who walk our land with us shall be uplifted by being with us and us with them.

Article II. Membership.

Paragraph One. Membership Agreement.

The Community shall at all times have a form of a membership agreement, a copy of which shall be filled out and executed between the Community and each member of the Community. Said form of said agreement is attached to these Bylaws as Exhibit 1, and may be amended by the same procedure as this Article of these Bylaws. Upon amendment of said form of said agreement, each member of the Community shall acknowledge the change(s) by executing with the Community a new agreement as amended.

Paragraph Two. Classes of Membership.

Membership in the Community consists of several types of members: Non-Resident/Retreat, Supporting, Full time/Resident and Guests. Please note that each adult in a family pays a membership fee. Annual dues will vary.

A. Guest Memberships are for those wishing to stay for extended stays to check us out as a community, attend a workshop, take a class, have an internship or visit friends. Guests using the campground pay fees to the HOA.

B. Non-Resident/Retreat membership is for those who want to be a part of the Community without living at the community. They may build one approved 200 sq ft shed per family in an approved area for storage purposes for an additional fee. They have voting rights on any changes to founding documents or any major changes to the Master Plan or any bylaws affecting Non-Resident Memberships. The Retreat Membership fee is $1,000 and 30 community hours minimum per year.

C. Supporting Members are those members not able to live on site full-time and/or not able to commit to one hundred hours of community service, but who wish to be part of a home site. Adult children over the age of 21 must be either a supporting member or full member to continue living at Shekinah Eco-Villages. They commit to 50 community hours minimum per year and their membership fee.

E. Full Time/Resident membership is for those wishing to live on the property. Members may purchase a home site and build a home.  Resident members each commit to a 100 hour time commitment per year.

Paragraph Three. Requirements for Membership and Guest Provisions.

Membership is available to any person who is deemed to be a desirable member by 80% of the Community and who will sign a membership agreement which includes the Mission Statement, Values, Vision, Code of Conduct and Waiver. All memberships other than guest have a $1,000 fee. A minimum of $250 must be paid before the Community will accept a payment plan. Exceptions may be worked out for people with skills especially needed, but must be approved by an 80% vote. Work requirements are always a part of membership. The membership agreements state what hours are required. Members may pay a proxy to work their agreed upon hours, but must track and prove that the proxy did the required hours of work.  Annual dues will be assessed based on membership type to help maintain the property’s common areas.

Guests may not stay on the property more than three months in any year. This provision will affect couples where one is a member and one is not. The non-member spouse will be limited to time spent at Shekinah Eco-Villages. Exceptions to the guest rule MAY be made for interns, but must be approved by The Governing Board and sustained by a community vote at the next scheduled meeting.  ALL guests are required to sign a guest agreement to stay more than one day. Members are responsible for the conduct of their guests. Members will be deemed to have been responsible by explaining the Code of Conduct and Waiver and having guests sign and initial where indicated. If your guest is not behaving per the Code of Conduct you will have to ask your guest to leave.

CODE OF CONDUCT:

1. The private community area is off limits unless a community member has specifically invited you there. Please respect the privacy of the permanent members.

2. Do not cut any living wood unless directed by a group leader, and follow the directions of the local community directors with respect to dead wood. Just because a tree is dead does not mean it does not have a place of honor and beauty. Likewise leave all rocks and minerals as you found them.

3.  Do not harm the wildlife, including rodents, reptiles, and insects. There is no hunting allowed by guests.

4. Do not under any conditions light any fires in other than pre-existing fire pits. The trees are juniper and pine, take many years to grow, and burn very fast even when green. Smoking of any kind is strictly prohibited.

5. This is a family friendly environment. There is no public nudity, lewd behavior, profanity, or other such activities. No littering. Shekinah Eco-Villages must approve firearms.  We appreciate your courtesy and respect of our values.

6. Please be respectful and do not trespass on our neighbor’s property.

7.  Stay on the marked paths, and in the designated campgrounds. The chaparral soil is very fragile, and the soil life, though not obvious to the general eye, is precious and takes a long time to recover. If you would like to explore, please ask a guide or community member where to see what.

8. If you are here as part of a work / educational excursion, honor that agreement and finish your duties as contracted before doing the fun stuff. If your only purpose in coming is to have fun at the expense of the community without contributing anything in return, you are invited to go elsewhere. This is not a public campground.

9. While you are visiting we ask that you don’t bring drugs or alcohol on the property and that you arrive and remain alcohol and drug-free during your stay. No illegal activity will be tolerated at any time either on our property or any adjoining properties. This includes underage drinking and tobacco use, as well as all illegal drugs at any age. Any illegal activity will be promptly reported to local law enforcement.

10. The gardens and greenhouses are privately held and harvested. If you are here as part of a green-housing project, and wish to share in the abundance, ask your proctor or the greenhouse coordinator, for permission.

11. Please stay with your group and eat in designated areas and at designated times. The kitchen areas are not for snacking unless this is part of the package you signed up for.

12. Entertainment is probably part of your package, so please enjoy yourself. The local residents and wildlife deserve their peace and quiet, so observe normal rules of conduct in social situations. All loud activities must cease between 10:00 PM and 7:00 AM weekdays, and midnight and 6:00 AM weekends.   

13. All occupants of this site, no matter how temporary, must sign the attached waiver / hold harmless agreement and return it for filing. This is a legally binding document and limits our liability. If you do not understand any of it, get advice. If you do not agree with it, you are welcome to stay free of the property and go elsewhere. 

HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENT:           

Shekinah Eco-Villages is pleased to offer a variety of activities in support of personal and group empowerment and sovereign living. These include, but are not exclusive to, green-housing, sweat lodges, instructional and work sessions in off grid living, entertainment, and personal hand’s-on healing work.  Along with the intended healing and empowerment created by our activities comes a small potential for liability which we must, unfortunately, recognize and plan for. All activities carry a slight risk of physical and/or psychological trauma in spite of all our planning and safeguards. Hands-on healing work carries a risk as well, and for every large number of clients experiencing a healing transformation, a small number may have a negative experience; we cannot in conscience deny the positive experience for the many to protect the few with negative possibilities. And even group discussions and group meals positive to most attendees may prove inadvertently offensive to others or carry unforeseen risks.  

Therefore, we must insist for our own protection and that of the attendees that all participants sign this waiver before participating in our activities. (Guardians must sign for minors.) Participants under a doctor’s care must submit a written doctor’s release.  

I, ___________________________, state that I have no adverse medical conditions and am taking no medications that would preclude me from these activities. I agree to hold harmless Shekinah Eco-Villages, and any subsidiaries, officers, chattels, or designated partners for any damages, injuries, theft, or any other liabilities that may occur directly or indirectly as a result of these activities, including all legal fees and court costs, should such occur. I further recognize that Shekinah Eco-Villages is a Federally registered 501[C]3 non-profit organization in the public interest, and is required to meet regulatory requirements that supersedes any private business arrangements. Should a conflict of interest occur, we must defer to the Federal guidelines, and is held by me harmless for all potential indemnity that may be incurred thereby.

 Paragraph Four. Termination.

A. The term of membership is for the life of the member, unless voluntary termination of membership or expulsion occurs.

B. Voluntary termination consists of a public statement by a member that he is resigning membership, which shall include, however, a member’s departure from the Community, and interpretation by the Community that he intended to terminate his membership. The effective date of termination shall be set by the member with the consent of the Community, and shall be designated on the leaving document signed by the leaving member. If the member fails to set such a date or submit a leaving document, the date shall be set by the Community.

C. If a member voluntarily terminates membership in the Community, or membership is involuntarily terminated as provided in paragraph Four of this Article II, member shall not be entitled to a return of any property which may have been donated to the Community. No member nor heirs nor assigns shall have any claim or right, title, or interest in any property of the Community on account of the services performed by such member for or on behalf of the Community during Member’s period of membership.

D. In the event that a member, after leaving the Community as above described, shall change his mind within 30 days and wish to return, the Community may, at its discretion, readmit him to his former status and treat the intervening time as if it had been vacation.

E. Expulsion of a full member may, but need not, take place for any of the following reasons:

1.    Member openly repudiates the Values, Mission Statement or Code of Conduct and/or principles of the Community and works against their implementation.

2. Member is found guilty by local, state, or federal authorities of some crime or felony and the Community therefore feels it is no longer appropriate for him to remain a member.

3. Member consistently does less than their annual committed hours.

4. Member physically, sexually and/or mentally abuses another member or guest of the Community, or any child, by any aggressive action and/or words which the Community interprets as sufficiently serious and/or likely to be repeated to warrant expulsion.

The application of the foregoing provision to abusive words is not intended to inhibit the free expression of information, opinion, belief or emotion. It is intended to apply when oral or written language is presented in a threatening, harassing, or violent manner such that it would be reasonably expected to cause physical, sexual or mental harm.

5. Member deliberately and overtly attempts to destroy or disband the Community by any legal, extralegal, or financial means or in any other manner, provided that this shall not be broadly interpreted to refer to the holding of disapproved opinions or to behavior which from time to time might be considered dangerous. It is intended to refer specifically to deliberately making trouble between the Community and civil authorities, involving the Community in a lawsuit, involving the Community in unauthorized financial obligations, and such similar hostile acts or attempted hostile acts.

The above provisions shall not be taken as requiring the Community to expel a member, even for these reasons. The Community may, but need not, expel a member for any of the above reasons. The Community also has the option of substituting other remedies, penalties or sanctions.

F. Expulsion Mechanism.

The procedure for expulsion shall be as follows: Expulsion may be proposed by any voting member. The Governing Body, and/or such other body of members as they may authorize either ad hoc or as a matter of policy, shall hold a public meeting or meetings on the proposed expulsion—provided, however, that at one meeting or another the member in question shall be given full opportunity to answer any accusations or to explain members conduct or view and express members desires concerning membership, if possible. If, after the member in question has been heard, the Community desires expulsion by a 90% margin, if possible member shall be so informed, at which time he will normally be allowed an appropriate amount of time based on membership class between three days and three weeks before being required to leave the Community premises. Extensions of this period may be made at the discretion of the Community. Expulsion of members requires a 90% vote because of the financial ramification to the community and the expulsed member.

If the expulsed member would like to sell their existing lease, home, or shed or other improvements to another member they may do so. If no buyer can be found and if Shekinah Eco-Villages uses the improvement they will pay a fair market value for the improvement over time, with no interest, as they are able. Members who live in an improvement of an expulsed member must pay a fair market value rent to the expulsed member. If a shed or other improvement of an expulsed member is undesirable to any member and the community decides it does not want the improvement, the improvement may be torn down with no recompense to the expulsed member. Expulsed members will be given six months to find a buyer for said improvement unless it is a home and then they will be given two years before it is torn down.  At no time will the expulsed member offer to rent or sell any improvement to someone who is not aware they must be a member to use the improvement. Improvements may not be transferred off of the property unless removal involves the replacing of any trees or bushes displaced by the move.

ARTICLE III. Governance.

Paragraph One. In General.

The affairs of the HOA are, in accordance with its Articles of Incorporation in the State of Utah, managed by an 80% vote of voting membership. Meetings will be held at least quarterly in January, April, July and October.

Paragraph Two. Officers.

Voting members shall appoint three voting members of the Community to be the President, the Secretary, and the Treasurer of the Community. They shall be responsible for preparing all HOA dues invoices, paying bills, hiring necessary work done, reconciling the checking account and preparing agendas for quarterly meetings, preparing the annual budget and suggesting what the annual membership dues and HOA fees shall be and such other duties as agreed upon in membership meetings. Said officers shall be appointed for a term of one year, and shall serve until their successors are appointed or until 80% of voting members ask them to resign.

Paragraph Three. Participatory Governance.

A. In general, any reasonable means of managing the affairs of the Community may be entered upon and tried, without the necessity of amending these Bylaws, so long as such means shall be upon direction by and supervision of the Officers and an 80% vote of the voting membership; however, minutes will be created and kept to track such decisions and added to the Bylaws as addendums.

B. Provisions for Voting:

1.  The record date for any notice shall be the date of the notice. The record date for eligibility to vote at any meeting shall be the date of the meeting.

2. No vote may be cast by proxy, but any voting member may submit a written or telephoned vote in absentia on an issue which is brought before a vote of the membership, and said written or telephoned vote shall be treated as a vote cast in person or as a signature on a petition, as appropriate. For a telephoned vote to be valid the member must speak directly to two voting members of the Community and state that he/she is casting a vote.

Paragraph Four. Meetings of the Membership.

A. Meetings of the membership shall be held at least quarterly (January, April, July, October) by the second week of said month on the property of Shekinah Eco-Villages. January will be the annual budget meeting. An officer shall post notice of said meeting in a public place in the Community or by email, which shall constitute personal notice to each voting member of the Community, at least 10 and not more than 50 days in advance of said meeting, except that if said meeting will be the official meeting with respect to a change in the Community’s Articles of Incorporation, said notice shall be provided at least 25 and not more than 50 days in advance. If no notice is posted, then the meeting will be held on the first Friday of the month at 7:30 p.m. in the normal place at which Community meetings are held, and no changes in the Community’s Articles of Incorporation shall be discussed.

B. Any voting member of the Community may call a special meeting of the membership by posting notice of such a meeting in a public place at least 10, but not more than 50, days before the date of such a meeting or contact each member by email. Such a meeting may be called for any purpose for which a general membership meeting is required or for any other purpose. A quorum (defined as 51% of voting members) must be present in special meetings in order to have any binding effect on the bylaws.

ARTICLE IV. Architectural Committee

Paragraph One. Purpose of the Architectural Committee

The architectural committee exists to protect the integrity and visual impact of the community in accordance with our Mission Statement, Values and Guiding Principles.

Paragraph Two. Committee Structure

The architectural committee will consist of three voting members who will serve for a minimum of two years. An officer may also serve on the architectural committee, but it is preferred that when there are more members available, different people serve in these positions.

Paragraph Three. Design Review and Approval

All blueprints and site plans are to be submitted to the architectural committee via email for all structures needing a building permit. A simple one page summary of building method and materials will be included with the plans including desired color palettes for the walls, roof and fencing. The committee shall have twenty days in which to approve the plans, make suggestions or reject the plans. Rejected plans may be appealed to the officers. If one of the officers is also on the architectural committee, an appeal may be made to the general membership at a special meeting.

All sheds, outbuildings, stables and so forth need to be approved by the architectural committee whether or not they require a buildng permit. A simple one page summory of building method and materials and colors desired and a simple sketch must be delivered to the architectural committee (preferably via email). The committee shall have five days to approve, make suggestions or disapprove. Appeals may be made to the officers. If one of the officers is also on the architectural committee, an appeal may be made to the general membership at a special meeting.

A 2/3 majority of the architectural committee is required for any decision. If an answer is not received in a timely manner, plans shall be deemed approved, but proof of delivery is required.

Paragraph Four. Required Elements

All plans for homes/guest homes must include a grey water recycling module, passive solar elements, an alternative energy plan, rain water capture system, and a landscape plan with native/low water plants. It is strongly encouraged to have a green house and/or wallapinis or some sort of a food production module as part of the plan.  Stones or rocks must be incorporated in the exterior of the house plan as a design element of at least 10% of the surface area. Roofs must be white, black or earth tones OR living roofs. Shiny metal roofs will not be acceptable nor will uncovered metal walls.

ARTICLE V. Amendment of the Bylaws.

Paragraph One. Amendments by the Officers.

In the event of any decision to amend these Bylaws, such amendments shall be posted in a public place for at least ten days prior to a forum of the membership in which such amendments shall be discussed or by email. Additionally, notice of said forum shall be publicly posted at least ten days or by email and not more than fifty days before said forum. The amendments shall not take effect until after said forum. After said forum, if the officers of the HOA does not change its decision, they shall be signed by at least 80% of the Governing Body and shall be added to and become part of these Bylaws.

Paragraph Two. Amendments by the Full Membership.

Any member may petition to change the by-laws and may call a special meeting or add it to the agenda of a regularly scheduled meeting at least ten days before it is scheduled to happen. The proposed amendment must be posted in a public place or sent to each member by email

Amended Sept 2, 2017