Sanitary District

Frequently Asked Questions

How many guests may a member bring to the facilities, like the pool?

The rules currently do not limit the number of guests each member may invite to use the recreational facilities, so long as the capacity of the facility is not exceeded. At the pool, attendants may curtail admissions to the pool or take other measures when the number of users exceeds the ability of staff on hand to monitor users and keep them safe. At the clubhouse, we are limited by the capacity allowed by Westmoreland County.

Is a guest fee charged to non-family members who are guests of owners using our recreational facilities?  

No guest fees are charged for any guests of owners. Some social events may have a charge to cover expenses such as catering, but all attendees, including members, must pay those charges.

How are the rules governing the use of our recreational facilities, including any fees charged for their use set?

The rules for the use of the recreational facility were developed at the start of the GH-CP Sanitary District (SD) by the Association’s Board of Directors and were based on the rules that were in use prior to the formation of the SD.  Some adjustments were recommended to the Association’s Board to reflect the significant increase in membership and to incorporate recommendations from Westmoreland County (WC) to consistently reflect their policies for the use of shared facilities.  The County did not allow the inclusion guest fees. Our rules do limit use of the Association’s recreational facilities to Association members and prohibit use by the general public

Annually, volunteers are solicited at a General Meeting of the Association to participate in a working group to review and update the rules.  Members are also asked to send suggestions to the VP Operations for revisions in these rules.  Once approved by the Association Board, the revised rules are forwarded to WC for legal and administrative review. Upon completion of that review and incorporating any required revisions, the rules are presented to the members of the Association at a General Meeting and posted to the Association’s website: www.//gh-cp.org.

If you have suggestions or questions about the rules and fees for use of the recreational facilities, please share your thoughts at: http://gh-cp.org/wearelistening/

Who makes the final decisions about the rules for use of our recreational facilities?

Under the lease and management agreement for the SD, WC is the final decision-maker on rules for the use of our recreational facilities. Members have significant input to this process through participation in the annual review of the rules and the on-going opportunity to make suggestions to revise the rules at  http://gh-cp.org/wearelistening/

Q: I hate junk email. I’m afraid I’ll get too much if I don’t opt out of email.

A: We we are talking an average of less than one email per month. We are required by our bylaws to notify principle owners of annual meetings and any special meetings that may be held.  We also distribute a newsletter three of four times a year. Even if we allow for some special or catastrophic event could warrant notifying all owners, the emails will be few, relevant to your membership,  and will not try to sell you anything. We really want to save the dollar plus costs per letter we send and improve communications to all owners. We strongly encourage owners to rely on email communications.

Q: I don’t see a place for vehicle tag numbers or the names of my family members on the Property Owner’s Information Form. Why not?

A: Under the  Sanitary District, we will not be issuing decals for vehicles or collecting tag numbers, nor will we be issuing access cards with the name of every person in an owner’s family. The previous system generated over 2500 cards for some 350 full members; it simply would not be practical for 1400 lots.  Instead, the principle owner of each lot will be issued cards for the shared use of the owners their associates and guests.

What is the “recreation user fee” on my tax bill?

The Recreation User Fee funds the operation of the GHCP Sanitary District. Every property in Glebe Harbor and Cabin Point that was registered with the County as an individual lot on January 1st has been assessed the same fee. The fee was determined by dividing the Sanitary District Budget that was approved by the Board of Supervisors for the current year by the number of lots as of January 1st. In 2018, that’s about 1375 lots.

You mean I have to pay twice if my house is on two lots?

Yes, unfortunately. But there is a consolidation process you can use to avoid paying twice in the next tax year if you complete the process before the end of December. Check out Lot Consolidation on the GH-CP.org web site, under the General Information & Forms tab.

What are the amenities can I use?

The GHCP Sanitary District amenities include four beaches, two boat ramps, an outdoor pool, an outdoor wading pool, two tennis courts, a picnic area, playground equipment, a basketball court, and the clubhouse.

Are these amenities  open to all taxpayers in the County?

No. The Recreation User Fee is assessed only on properties within GHCP, and the money collected can only be used for purposes of the Sanitary District and the benefit of the property owners in these two communities.  Property owners are also welcome to attend Association sponsored social events. Please check the web site for specifics as some events have limits on the numbers of participants and may have associated costs.

What is a Sanitary District?

A Sanitary District (SD) is a legal designation for a specific geographic area administered by the County’s Board of Supervisors for specific purposes.  A neighboring community, Placid Bay, formed a sanitary district after their dam failed and the community was unable to raise the money to rebuild the dam.

The Glebe Harbor/Cabin Point Sanitary District was formed to assure ours remains a water access community, and to operate and preserve the amenities owned and managed by the voluntary POA for the benefit of all property owners.  These include boat ramps, navigable channels, ponds, beaches, clubhouse, tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds, and the picnic pavilion.

Establishment of the GHCP Sanitary District was approved by the Westmoreland County Circuit Court on May 4, 2016. The order was premised on the core argument that the formation of the GHCP Sanitary District (1) establishes a sustainable, predictable financial structure which assures the long-term operation, maintenance, and capital management of the recreational assets within the SD; (2) benefits all property owners by providing well-maintained community recreational facilities and amenities that increase the fair market value of their properties; and (3) affords all property owners within the SD the opportunity to use the community recreational facilities.

Is it related to the sewer project?

No.  The names of these two projects are confusing.  The sewer project is a county sponsored initiative to improve sanitation and wastewater management which benefits the county at large. Connecting to the sewer system is optional; property owners can choose not to connect.

The Sanitary District is a taxing district formed for a specific purpose, in our case to assure that the unique waterfront and water access amenities and the recreational facilities of our community are well-maintained, thereby preserving the fair market value of all properties within the subdivisions.  Every lot within GHCP is part of the Sanitary District and will be assessed the corresponding recreation user fee.  It is not voluntary.

 Why did we need to establish a Sanitary District?

While initially all property owners were members of the voluntary property owners association, over the past 50 years many property owners have chosen not to maintain their memberships.   It was the voluntary contributions of those property owners who  remained members that  maintained the natural resources and infrastructure (e.g., beaches, waterways, and recreational facilities) of the GH-CP communities. That model could not be sustained. The costs of assuring inlets, creeks and beaches in both subdivisions remain navigable and maintained now and in the future became too high to be carried by the approximately one-third of residents who were voluntary members of the POA.

The purpose of this Sanitary District is to provide all property owners within the District certain services and amenities, and full access to all community amenities for all property owners.  The Sanitary District creates a revenue stream to fund the costs of management, operation, maintenance, improvements, and preservations of the community amenities, including the costs associated with beach and shoreline management and restoration, dredging of creeks and rivers to maintain existing uses, and maintenance of boat ramps and facilities, and other community recreational facilities.  All of these assets and amenities contribute to the property values of all properties in the community.

What might have happened if we had not succeeded in establishing a Sanitary District?

Without the Sanitary District, our water access and amenities were at significant risk.  The voluntary Association just spent $160,000 in 2016 to dredge the inlets and nourish the beaches.  Structural improvements like breakwaters and geo-tubes reduce the need for dredging and ultimately save money, but are costly up front.  We estimated in 2016 the additional work  needed to protect the inlets and beaches would exceed $400,000.  The work actually completed July, 2018 cost over $500,000.

 Why are all residents required to pay, especially if we don’t use them?

Even if you do not use them, the presence of navigable waterways and other amenities adds value to every property in GHCP.  GHCP was developed because of its proximity and access to water. The value of every property is increased by the option that people have to use the beaches, boat ramps, and waterways. The same can be said for the Clubhouse, swimming pool, and other community amenities, whether individual owners use them or not. And the value of every property would suffer if the waterways become unusable, if the beaches erode, and if the other amenities were to fall into disrepair.

Under the Sanitary District, we  have a sustainable foundation to preserve them, and all owners have access to all amenities for the cost of their recreation user fee. The lower cost – compared to a $1000 initiation fee, and $340 annual dues under the voluntary POA –  benefits families who may have found the higher costs unaffordable.

 I’m confused about the budget. It seems like early on I was paying twice, and some people were getting a free ride.

The transition period to establishing the Sanitary District was confusing.

The dues paid by the voluntary members of the POA in May, 2016, paid off the existing dredging loan and covered expenses to operate all facilities through 30 April, 2017 (the end of the former POA fiscal year.)

The Recreation fee all property owners paid in December, 2016 funded the Sanitary District Budget approved by the Board of Supervisors in August (for the County 2016-2017 Fiscal Year, July 1, 2016- June 30, 2017.)  That budget had two major components. It paid for SD operations May 1 – June 30, 2017, and it allocated about $210,000 to dredging, waterway management, and beach nourishment.

In the process, we got the Sanitary District and the POA fiscal years and budgets in sync with the County budget cycle, and we got a jump start on the major reason for establishing the SD – to keep Glebe Harbor and Cabin Point a well-maintained waterfront and water access community. This also reduced future borrowing to complete needed dredging, waterway management, and beach nourishment, which reduced overall costs and budget pressures. And in this transition period, it simply was reasonable to open the boat ramps, beaches, tennis courts, and social events to all property owners.

No SD tax (recreation user fee) dollars were spent before all property owners have access to all facilities.

What is the role of the GH-CP Association?

The Glebe Harbor-Cabin Point Association owns the recreational facilities, assets, and amenities of the two subdivisions. It  leases those facilities and recreational amenities to the county for the purposes of the SD.  Under a management agreement with the County, the Assocation manages day-to-day operations and maintenance.  All property owners within the GHCP Sanitary District are also members of the GHCP Assocation.

The Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors is the governing body of the Sanitary District.

How will future Sanitary Budgets and Recreation Fees be established?

In February,  the GHCP Assocation Board of Directors proposes an SD budget to the County Administrator. The proposal is based on input from members and an assessment of the funds required to maintain and operate the recreational assets and facilities leased to the Sanitary District. The County Administrator will consider our proposal in the context of other demands on the County and recommend a budget he feels appropriate to the Board of Supervisors.  The Board of Supervisors will advertise the proposed County budget, including the SD budget and recreation user fee, and schedule a public hearing at which all property owners may express their views. At the end of the process, the Board of Supervisors makes the final decision.