Community Operation and Protective Services
Community Operation and Protective Services
With seasonal, temporary, and full-time residents, it starts with watching out for each other. But for further security measures, COPS (the Community Operation and Protective Services Committee) was formed. This committee investigates, determines, and implements safety and security measures that can be taken on within communities to keep themselves safer. Scroll down to see the “Planning for a Safer Community” document (below the charter).
THERE IS A FIREWORKS RESTRICTION within the Meadow Lake Community! If you own property in Meadow Lake or manage the renting of your property, please make sure your renters are aware of this policy. To report fireworks incidents in the Meadow Lake Community call North Star Security 406-290-3750 or the Flathead County Sheriff’s office at 406-758-5610 to request a deputy or to speak to Dispatch (non-emergency).
Meadow Lake is part of nature’s playground. Wild animals do use Meadow Lake as a wildlife corridor throughout the year. You may encounter them as you walk the streets and trails in the area. Always stay alert and never leave children or pets unattended!
IF YOU ENCOUNTER A WILD ANIMAL:
- DO NOT RUN
- PICK UP CHILDREN OR PETS
- MAKE YOURSELF APPEAR LARGE
- YELL AND SHOUT AT THE ANIMAL TO “GO AWAY”
- NOTIFY NORTH STAR SECURITY (406-290-3750)
Community Operation and Protective Services
The Community Operation and Protective Services committee (COPS) was created to enhance the safety of residents, guests, and visitors and improve the protection of property and resources of the Meadow Lake community.
Note MLCCE HOA (Meadow Lake Country Club Estates Home Owners Association) is the same entity as MLHOA and may be referred to as MLHOA on this website.
- Plan, budget, implement and administer Meadow Lake’s Community Operations and Protective Services program, as recommended to and approved by the MLHOA Board of Directors.
- Direct and monitor safety and resource protection programs, including policy, resources, expenses, actions, incidents, and public/community relations.
- Develop, implement, and supervise Meadow Lake safety and resource protection programs including, but not limited to, administration, education, prevention, and response.
- Maintain an active liaison with public law enforcement and private agencies.
- Conduct an active program for informing Meadow Lake residents and responding to matters relative to their safety/resource protection needs.
- Develop and oversee the implementation of a Meadow Lake Disaster Preparedness Plan.
The COPS committee will be made up of the following:
- MLHOA, Inc. Board of Directors (chair or co-chair)
- Up to four owners from MLHOA.
- Up to three business owners from the Meadow Lake Community.
- General Manager MLHOA (Non-Voting, recorder).
The MLHOA General Manager or Chair of the Committee will call a meeting of the COPS Committee as needed.
Amended by MLHOA Board of Directors, 23 March 2021
Signed copy on file at the MLHOA Office
Documents relating to COPS are currently under review.
“Planning for a Safer Community”
Program Purpose: To enhance the safety of residents, guests, and visitors and improve the protection of property and resources of the Meadow Lake community.
Background: Since the mid-1980s, the Meadow Lake subdivision has experienced a wide range of problems relating to safety and resource protection. The Flathead County Sheriff’s office maintains records indicating incidents occurred as early as 1985. Through the years the reported incident rate remained low, averaging about 5-6 calls a year. Recently, however, resident concerns have increased.
As the subdivision has grown, its various entities increasingly experienced incidents involving damage to property and threats to individual or public safety. There being no central function within the subdivision to cope with these matters, incidents were either referred to the county sheriff or handled by the entity impacted. Meadow Lake Development Corporation occasionally employed resource protection personnel to respond to and record incidents within its operation area. Meadow Lake Golf Resort, Inc. continued responding to incidents primarily impacting golf course interests. Homeowner associations separate from the time-share community and other residents, however, have relied only on the county sheriff’s office.
In recent years the community has sensed an increase in incidents including vandalism, breaking and entering, CC&R violations, violence, and serious damage to private and business property alike. Despite a low incident rate recorded by the sheriff, 2008 logs maintained by Meadow Lake Development Corporation and anecdotal accounts of other Meadow Lake interests suggested much higher rates. Finally, residents began expressing concern for their personal safety and that of their property.
Following a series of incidents in 2007 and 2008, the MLHOA Board of Directors began studying options for improving safety and property protection within the subdivision. At the 2008 general membership meeting residents requested action. The board of directors therefore appointed a resident committee to make recommendations. The committee’s report recommended the development of a phased, long range plan serving the needs of all Meadow Lake interests. At its October 2008 meeting, the board accepted the committee’s report, agreed with its recommendations, and directed a plan be developed.
In 2009, the MLHOA approved a plan titled “Community Operations and Protective Services” (COPS). The COPS program was designed to improve resort safety and resource protection. The plan involved three elements designed to reduce risks for residents and businesses. These elements, or steps, involved establishing a steering committee (an administrative function), installing gates to reduce access to Meadow Lake during times of day when risks are highest, and contracting for professional patrol/guard services during the community’s most vulnerable periods. Implementing these elements was to occur over time and in phases as Meadow Lake builds-out to its designed density. Despite these efforts, MLHOA recognized it could not guarantee a risk-free environment for the subdivision’s businesses, residents, property and guests.
- Safety and resource protection should improve following a multi-phase process designed to meet the changing needs of the Meadow Lake community. By focusing on administration, to include program management, education services and preventive measures, this plan integrates existing but separate Meadow Lake activities thereby enhancing the benefits for all. The plan creates a central safety/protection administrative function reporting directly to MLHOA Board of Directors. While recognizing the independent needs and operational obligations of each member organization affiliated with the homeowners association, the plan facilitates the blending of common community interests so that all interests represented by the association are mutually supported. This is achieved through coordinated efforts administered by a “steering committee” for COPS activities chaired by a member of the association’s board of directors. The steering committee consists of the following members: MLHOA Board of Directors, Meadow Lake Development Corporation, Meadow Lake Golf Resort, Inc., and the MLHOA General Manager (serving as non-voting member and recorder). The committee’s purpose is to insure safety and resource protection goals and objectives specified by the MLHOA Board of Directors are achieved, and phases of this plan implemented as the board directs. The steering committee will determine manpower, facility, equipment, administrative and funding requirements necessary for implementing phases as directed. It will also ensure assigned tasks are accomplished. With MLHOA Board of Directors approval, the steering committee will implement initiatives designed to fulfill the purpose of this plan. Any funding requirements will be served by the MLHOA Board of Directors.
- Access Gates. Currently Meadow Lake has five recognized public access routes into the subdivision. People interested in entering the resort for non-resort purposes can enter and leave in a vehicle without a reasonable opportunity for detection. Most interested parties believe the remote access points are favored by those who conduct the majority of the vandalism and criminal activity within the subdivision. Closing one or more of these points while leaving open the main entrance would help minimize the opportunity for persons with illegal intent to enter the resort. While maintaining an open and ungated resort main entrance, the closing of gates at a time when most traffic has ceased for the day (i.e., 10 pm) and opening them when traffic might resume (i.e., 6 am) would still allow Meadow Lake visitors free and open access at times they usually require entry. Installing appropriate gates could incur a one-time cost and unspecified periodic maintenance expenses. The steering committee, acting on the direction of the MLHOA board, will research and determine the need and type of gates required. The requirement for gates may come in phases, or not at all, depending on resort growth patterns and social/cultural circumstances impacting the resort community. It is anticipated the “Access Gate Element” will remain a viable option for the community until resort build-out has occurred. When the MLHOA Board of Directors determines gates (or some gate consideration) may be needed, the HOA board will coordinate with the Columbia Falls planning staff and the Columbia Falls fire department to insure gated access plans for Meadow Lake satisfy policies pertaining to emergency access and subdivision planning.
- Contracted Services. The presence of a “watchman” or law enforcement representative promotes safety and property protection on many levels. Individuals considering criminal activity are less inclined to engage in a crime if they believe there may be an immediate response to their behavior. Residents and business interests benefit from knowing such resources are available. For Meadow Lake, the benefits may include improved customer satisfaction, reduced criminal activity, and potential improvements in property values. Contracting an agency to provide night patrol/guard duties will provide coverage when the administrative element of the subdivision’s safety and resource protection team is not available. Services provided may include night patrol of Meadow Lake properties, on-site checks at construction sites, building checks, recreation venue visits, response to calls, and contractor or uniform personnel serving in marked vehicles. Of necessity, contractor personnel would be certified and insured. The steering committee may determine such services are necessary for short term and specified periods. At some future date, however, the board of directors may determine a full time contractor presence is required. The board, prior to entering the association into any such contracts, will first coordinate with the HOA’s legal and insurance representatives.
Funding: While measures outlined in this plan will benefit all business interests and owners, the plan does not preclude community members from pursuing separate safety or protective measures within limits of the law and consistent with the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions of Meadow Lake Country Club Estates. However, all will have an obligation for their membership share of expenses incurred with this plan. The steering committee will annually submit to the MLHOA Board of Directors a budget for its operations, capital improvements, and contract services. The board of directors may render an assessment on all association members to fund COPS initiatives.
MLHOA Board of Directors: Responsible for maintaining this plan and funding its operations; directs plan implementation through the COPS program steering committee; provides steering committee member who serves as committee chair; reports on program matters to MLHOA members.
COPS Steering Committee: Four member committee (three voting members) responsible to the MLHOA Board of Directors for planning, budgeting, implementing and administering Meadow Lake’s Community Operations and Protective Services program; develops, directs and monitors safety and resource protection programs, including policy, resources, expenses, actions, incidents public/community education, and prevention/response initiatives. Maintains an active liaison with public law enforcement and private agencies. Selection of individuals named as committee members is the responsibility of the participating member organizations; member organizations include the MLHOA Board of Directors (chair, voting), Meadow Lake Development Corporation (MLDC) (voting), Meadow Lake Golf Resort, Inc. (voting); and the MLHOA General Manager (recorder, nonvoting).
MLDC: Serves as voting member on the steering committee; coordinates committee matters pertaining to or impacting MLDC obligations, resources, resort guests, and infra structure ; provides appropriate levels of support for MLHOA safety and resource protection needs as negotiated between MLDC and with the HOA Board of Directors.
Meadow Lake Golf Resort, Inc. Serves as voting member on the steering committee; coordinates committee matters pertaining to or impacting golf resources, operations, and customers as well as corporation infra structure facilities; provides appropriate levels of support for MLHOA, Inc. safety and resource protection needs as negotiated with the HOA board of directors.
Other Commercial and Residential Interests. Other business, homeowner association and owner interests affiliated with the MLHOA are represented on the steering committee through the MLHOA member appointed to the committee; provide input/feedback to the committee or to the MLHOA Board of Directors to insure safety and resource protection issues are adequately vetted and receive the necessary attention; provide through assigned fee assessments necessary funding for related expenses.
Phase Management: This Community Operations and Protective Services plan is designed to be implemented in phases. Each phase may be revised to accommodate changes in the type or amount of safety/protection activities required to serve the interests of Meadow Lake residents, owners and business activities. Upon approval by the MLHOA Board of Directors, the program’s steering committee may implement or modify one or more phases of this plan. It is anticipated changes will be necessary as circumstances dictate.
This plan is intended to be a “living” document that will be modified to meet the needs of Meadow Lake throughout its build-out period (approximately 20-years, or through 2030). It is the responsibility of the homeowners association board of directors, with input from the steering committee and interested residents and owners, to keep this plan current and its phases focused on the anticipated needs of the entire community.
Phases: There are three phases to this plan. As a “living” document, phases may be modified, added, or eliminated. The three phases focus on plan review and acceptance, implementation, and operations.
Phase 1, Approval (2009)
- MLHOA Board of Directors review and indorse plan
- Assign responsibilities for gaining Meadow Lake community support
- Develop plan implementation cost estimates
- Coordinate plan with key parties
- Draft funding proposal for board of directors approval
- Board of Directors approve plan
- Develop concept for administrative support
- Consider early start up of contracted safety/resource protection services on a “part-time” or “as needed” basis
- Consider early installation of 4 access gates
- Present plan to Meadow Lake owners, annual meeting
- Revise plan, implement
Phase 2, Implementation (2010)
- Establish steering committee and membership
- Define immediate program needs
- Obtain administration/office support for program
- Define and develop safety and resource protection administration programs
- Develop operational guidelines/procedures
- Examine gated access initiative
- Provide resources supporting immediate safety/resource protection needs
- Develop community telecommunications support for program
- Define priorities, begin funding upcoming requirements
- Provide status reports for Board of Directors, community
- Begin implementing safety/resource protection measures
- Begin developing prevention information programs for community
- Hire supporting part-time employee(s) as needed
- Conduct “annual” program review with MLHOA, Inc. directors
- Develop program requirements for Phase III
- Conduct insurance review with MLHOA agent, reviewing exposure, potential need for increased limits, and coverage protecting board members
- Prepare budget and funding for next 12 months
- Present report to annual Meadow Lake owners meeting
Phase 3, Operations
- Conduct annual review of safety and resource protection initiatives
- Conduct annual review of insurance coverage for HOA relative to this program
- Develop annual budget requirements and secure necessary funding
- Define short and long term program needs
- Obtain adequate manpower needs for anticipated requirements
- Respond to changing demands with appropriate plans, resources
- Develop cooperative relationship for support with local agencies
- Develop long term plans as may be needed
- Define/begin long term programs to satisfy long term requirements
- Insure program costs remain within community resource limits
- Conduct effective community safety and resource protection education programs
- Conduct effective community safety and resource protection initiatives
- Maintain a “Montana” atmosphere with regards to program initiatives
- Obtain adequate facility and resource support for increasing staff requirements
- Present a “professional” Meadow Lake image to all owners, visitors
- Keep program focus on community service through community oriented administration, education, prevention and response initiatives
- MLDC Contract: Provides “hot line” services, 24/7, resort-wide monitoring and response for safety and resource protection. Cost: $12,000 annually.
- Security Patrol Contract: Provides security patrol services during peak holiday periods or at other time determined by the MLHOA, Inc. Board of Directors when safety and resource protection are at highest risk. Cost: Grizzly Security Contract estimated at $3,000 for 8 evenings per year, FY 2012/13.
- Winter Closure of Turnberry Lane: Uses snow berm to block winter-time access to resort via Turnberry Lane; reduces unnecessary traffic. Cost: Estimate pending; reduces snow plowing costs for access route.
- Education/Communication: Use of periodic website reports and bulletin board announcements help inform community of safety/resource protection issues. Costs: None.
- Fireworks Restriction: Reduces risks of fire and injury, promotes improved wildlife environment. Cost: $100/year for poster announcement.
- Disaster Preparedness Plan: Will communication between resort agencies, local emergency operatives, and community members/guests in times of disaster or emergency. Cost: Yet to be determined.
Other Initiatives Being Considered:
- Turnberry Lane, Summertime Access: Restricting summer time access to Meadow Lake Resort via Turnberry Lane until Tamarack subdivision construction resumes will reduce security and resource protection risks. Status: Requires further coordination, developers/owners, city.
- Long Term Budget Reserve for Gates: If gates are in the resort’s future, building a reserve over the next 15-20 years would help minimize cost impact once gates become necessary. Status: Pending discussion and recommendations, COPS Steering Committee.
- Member Survey: It has been three years since the COPS Steering Committee has surveyed HOA members regarding their perception of resort security needs. Another survey may give future direction to the COPS program. Status: Pending Steering Committee discussion.
Revised plan approved June, 2012