Sycamore Island
Meeting Minutes

January 12, 2005

Carl Linden, Norm Metzger, Faith Earll, Jane Winer, Jim Drew, Tryon Wells, Gerald S. Barton, Charlotte Brewer, Alan Gelb, Ann Marie Cunningham, Jack Sanders, Bill Bays, Joe Hage, Peggy Thomson, Johnna Robinson, Brad Coolidge, and Peter Winkler

Call to Order
President Ann Marie Cunningham called the meeting to order at 8:10 p.m., at the home of Alan and Caroline Gelb. Ann Marie expressed our thanks to the Gelbs.

The minutes of the December meeting were approved as amended, to show that Charlotte Brewer and David Winer attended the meeting.

Announcements and Communications
Ann Marie announced that author and photographer Roy Sewall, who has produced a book about the Potomac River, will speak at our February meeting. [See page eight] Ann Marie reported that she had received an email from past president Bill Eichbaum about the responsibilities of the Club’s Board of Directors. All past presidents who remain regular members are on the Board. Ann Marie and others observed that the Board has the authority to act for the Club in an emergency, but otherwise is inactive.

Ann Marie also commented upon her statement about monthly meetings in the January issue of The Islander. Henceforth, she will prepare an agenda for our monthly meetings, to be published in the Islander, so that members will be apprised of business to be discussed. She will then endeavor to stick to the agenda. Once a decision has been made at a meeting, Ann Marie stated, she will strive to move forward and not let meetings be consumed with rehashing of issues. Ann Marie stated that she would be very happy to answer any questions about past business or decisions that are addressed to her after meetings or by telephone or email. Peter Winkler then asked that we also try to maintain a standard of civility and respect for others at our meetings.

Caretaker’s Report
Caretaker Joe Hage reported that our canoe that was missing, the one kept by the swim float, has now been found at Lock 5. Joe also reported an otter sighting. Everything is fine at the Island, although we probably need to protect more trees from the beavers. Volunteers are welcome to help wrap the trees--Joe will provide the chicken wire! Joe has given the Club a foosball [sic] table, and it is in the Clubhouse.

Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Alan Gelb stated that the Club ended the year well under budget on expenditures. The money not spent was transferred to the reserve fund. Alan would like to see that the Club maintains a healthy reserve.

Captain’s Report
Captain Tryon Wells stated that we will have to do something about the Clubhouse roof, and the task now is to determine how soon and what method to use when that time comes. Tryon is investigating several possibilities, including a membrane roof. Ann Marie is getting an estimate from a roofer she has used.

Canoe Report
Tryon reported that Financial Secretary Lisa Kliefoth wants to ascertain whether members who pay for canoe rack space have been properly billed for 2005. Members other than regular members and regular members with more than one space must pay a fee. Canoeing Supervisor Jim Drew will advise Lisa.

Building Committee Report
Committee Chair Jack Sanders reported that the Committee is moving forward, neither at a snail’s pace nor that of a NASCAR contestant. The Committee has reached the point where it is time to get more specific in its plans, leading towards the commissioning of architectural drawings. Jim Drew asked whether we might limit the plan and lower the cost by going forward with only the upper floor additions/modifications. Ann Marie stated that we could consider that proposal. She explained that one of the ideas embodied in the current plan is to add space for members to make up for any space taken for the caretaker’s quarters.

Brad Coolidge asked for an explanation of the need for rebuilding. Jack responded by observing that the primary goal is to get the caretaker’s quarters above flood level. A secondary goal is to improve the quarters to make them more attractive to the present and future caretakers. And there are other goals: for example, replacing the wiring in the interest of fire protection. Jack acknowledged that there are differing views on the need for additional and/or improved space for Club members. Peggy Thomson asked about the plans produced by John Wiebenson. Jack observed that the “Wiebenson Plan” was no longer feasible because the County is requiring us to build within the footprint of the current structure.

Tryon Wells then spoke in favor of the Committee’s minority plan. It would move much (including the kitchen and bath), but not all, of the caretaker’s quarters up to the second floor. Tryon is interested, among other things, in maintaining a clean separation between the Club spaces and the caretaker’s space. For that reason, he would prefer that we not put caretaker’s quarters on both sides of the main Clubhouse room. Tryon believes that the minority plan will allow members, esp. youth, to make noise but not impinge on the caretaker, and vice versa. Jane Winer, who also voiced support for the minority plan, spoke about the benefits we would gain from being able to have natural light coming in from both ends of the main room. She favors placing the caretaker’s kitchen where the Club kitchen is now, moving the Club kitchen to the current location of the ladies’ locker room, and moving the ladies’ locker room downstairs. Johnna Robinson pointed out that we will have to consider where to put the wood stove.

In answer to another question, Jack observed that we cannot effectively dam up or divert floodwaters that approach the Island. If bedrooms are going to remain downstairs, we should count on their being flooded about every 7 years. Ann Marie stated that we could address that question to our consulting engineer. Alan Gelb then observed that if we are going to do any serious renovation of the downstairs area, there will have to be a lot of thought given to the rebuilding of the floor. There are a number of possibilities, including a simple brick floor.

Ann Marie spoke in favor of the Committee’s majority proposal, stating that she did not think it was desirable, for a host of reasons, to be forced to clear out the caretaker’s bedrooms every time a flood was threatened. Ann Marie said “we should do better” for our caretakers, present and future. Charlotte Brewer stated that we should try to learn just what the effects of a flood would be.

Tryon stated that, in his view, the real question was whether the upstairs area where the ladies’ locker room is now is going to be space for members or for the caretaker’s bedrooms. Jack pointed out that the Committee had started considering these matters in November 2003, and that all Club members had had the opportunity to be heard. Tryon complained that Committee members had not had advance notice of the vote on the proposals.

Tryon then made a motion that, at the next Club meeting, we vote up or down on the Committee’s design proposal. Jack and others spoke in opposition, stating that it would interfere with the Committee’s work. After more discussion, the motion was defeated.

Final Announcements and Adjournment
The next Club meeting will take place February 9, at the home of Carl Linden. The meeting was adjourned at 10:05 p.m., after which members stayed to enjoy refreshments offered by the Gelbs.

-- Peter Winkler, Recording Secretary