Sycamore Island
Meeting Minutes

April 13, 1994

Twenty-two members attended the April 13, 1994 meeting of the Sycamore Island Club on the Island. Warren Brown, president, chaired the meeting which began at 8:05 p.m. Brown proposed that the Club discuss and act on capital budget, scenic easement, membership issues, large parties, safety/liability items and other business.

Jane Winer moved that a letter go to Tryon Wells thanking him for his energetic and caring leadership as president. The motion was enthusiastically endorsed. John Thomson will draft a letter.

Capital Improvements:
High water prevented John Wiebenson and John Matthews from meeting on the Island to develop an alternate plan for remodeling the Clubhouse. Matthews is reasonably sure that plans and cost estimates for each plan can be submitted at the May meeting. The chair requested that they be publicized in the Islander.

Ben White has notified the editor that Charles Cake, a member since 1961, died recently. Ben White will write a memorial note for the Islander.

The Maryland Historical Trust has acknowledged and catalogued data about the Ruppert Island archaeological dig. Artifacts date to 15,000 years ago.

The Potomac Whitewater Canoe Race has been postponed from May 1 to June 5.

Volunteers for folding and mailing the Islander are needed.

The mailbox has been damaged by a car. Thomson recommended purchase of a new mailbox and frame. The consensus was to purchase it.

Treasurer's Report:
Johnna Robinson summarized her written report. The bank balance was $17,041.50 on March 31. In March she bought a six-month CD in the amount of $10,000.00, interest 3.7 per cent. Phil Jones, Finance Chair added that he expects additional dues to come in after April 15. After that date Mable Wallich, Financial Secretary, who is a tax consultant will have time to make deposits, prepare reports, etc. He will undertake to follow up on dues in arrears but the information is not at hand now. Membership totals 155, with about 130 on wait list.

Captain's Report:
John Matthews recommends purchase of a submersible pump to go in the well. Although a capital item, he recommends purchase now while repairs are being done. He has had an estimate of $450.00 for pump and installation. Motion by Thomson seconded by Burchell, carried that a submersible pump be installed and connected to the tank.

Also, Matthews is interested in devising a way to keep the canoes safe during high water without moving them. He is going to try to work out a U-shaped tube. George Loeb asked that he put a diagram in the Islander together with a description and, if possible, a cost estimate.

Spring Workfest:
WILL BE HELD ON Sunday, April 17. George Loeb is prepared to cook chicken for the workers on the Island at noon, the usual potluck to follow at the end of the workday. Supervisors reviewed the jobs each has in mind -- locker numbers to be verified and contents of unassigned lockers checked, painting, launching floats, building new picnic tables, replacement of walkway board, putting fascia on tool house. Peter Jones, caretaker, recommended postponement for a week if water is above five feet.

Scenic Easement:
Mark Schlefer and others have been in touch with some conservation groups, including the Maryland Environmental Trust, but is not yet recommending what group to convey an easement to. He described the significance of an easement -- permanent, legal action. Brad Coolidge will draft a preamble for any easement to be conveyed. Schlefer submitted a listing of items to be reserved and items to be granted. Essentially, maintenance of Sycamore Island and Rupperts as at present, with the possibility of a canoe dock on Rupperts are visualized by the committee, the easement to make it impossible to subdivide and sell parcels of land, to erect signs, to operate a commercial establishment, to dump offensive material, or to cut large live trees. There is precedent for scenic easements.

Paul Rosa, Potomac Conservancy member, spoke of his personal interest in protecting the Potomac from capricious tree cutting and other, environmental blight. The Potomac Conservancy was formed to protect the river from Madeira School down to Rock Creek. The Conservancy is incorporated in Maryland because the Potomac River is in Maryland. Eight islands in the river gorge are privately owned. Forty-one land trusts have been established. Rosa is available for further consultation.

After discussion, it was clear that there was not a meeting of minds about what to do, although the group had become aware that an easement would lock in its decision. Scenic easement to be discussed at the next meeting.

Kathleen Peters recommended that the Club establish an annual maintenance for applicants during their waiting time, which can be up to five years. Such a fee would cover cost of the Islander.

Guest cards are charged at half the current dues but are not a budgetable income. Motion by Peters, seconded by Phil Jones, and carried that a yearly maintenance fee of $20.00 be established. The Finance Committee will work out the details, as when to start.

At this time the Club has a $50.00 application fee and a $20.00 initiation fee. Phil Jones moved that application and initiation fees be set at $100.00 each. Motion seconded and defeated. Another motion by Jones, seconded and carried that application fee be set at $75.00 and initiation fee become $50.00.

Large Parties:
John Krasny, Camping/Parties Supervisor, requested direction for his committee. Large parties foster a sense of community, as in the dinners.

Safety will have to be discussed at a future meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 9:55, with a call for a volunteer to take the minutes for the next meeting, and a reminder of decisions to be made.

-- Jessie Bakeman, Acting Recording Secretary