Prescott letter – July 18, 2017

Letter Received by the Board dated June 28, 2017 with Key Legal Points

Dear Bay View Friends and Neighbors,We want to alert you to our concerns about the proposed “responsibility” bylaw and to urge you to vote against it. As you probably know, it was drafted in the context of the membership controversy to encourage all of us to resolve our disputes without resorting to a legal or regulatory process. (Note that we do favor a more inclusive membership policy for Bay View). Unfortunately, if adopted, the bylaw would have an impact on the whole Bay View community well beyond the membership issue:

– The draft bylaw would apply to any member who pursues a regulatory or court decision on any matter and gets an unfavorable result.                                                                        – The draft bylaw would apply to Associate Members even though they have no right to vote on the proposal.                                                                                                                – The draft bylaw is not permissive; it is not that BV MAY charge a member for litigation costs. It says members who lose SHALL be charged regardless of the circumstances.                                                                                                                         – Members would be charged even if they win. The draft bylaw says that if a final decision takes more than two years, members will have to pay BVs costs even if BV loses. It also says members will pay if they lose on more than half the counts, regardless of whether they win on the most substantive counts.                                                                                – We have been told that the draft bylaw is necessary to discourage “meritless” lawsuits and regulatory actions. This implies that any unsuccessful lawsuit or regulatory action is “meritless” even if it is dismissed on a procedural technicality.                                              – If adopted, this draft “responsibility” bylaw will lead to additional litigation. A member whose cottage is at stake is unlikely to sit by and allow the Association to take it without a civil rights challenge.                                                                                                                – If adopted, this draft bylaw could make it difficult to sell a BV cottage. A potential buyer would probably be concerned about joining an organization that has tried to discourage its members from pursuing their basic civil rights.

Please take these facts into account and vote “no” on the proposed “Responsibility” bylaw. It is an example of a well-intentioned idea that could actually create more problems than it solves. Please feel free to send this email on to family and friends who may be interested.

Sincerely, David and Lois Hager


ARCHIVED FROM;   July 19,  2013  Dear Fellow Members:                                         Though a majority of trustees continues to favor updating our membership bylaws, after three years of effort, the Bay View Board has been unable to resolve important problems linked to our current restrictive membership requirements:                                                  1) Bay View’s Bylaws still contain different, more restrictive membership rules than those found in our Articles of Association.                                                                                       2) Our current membership policies continue to run afoul of Federal Fair Housing laws;    3) Many members continue to be barred from passing their cottages on to their children
and grandchildren;                                                                                                                 4) Prospective members willing to commit to our Christian and Chautauqua traditions,        including Christians not affiliated with a particular church, remain barred from our community.                                                                                                                   Providing long-sought resolution of these and other issues, the proposed Membership Bylaw will restore peace and harmony to our community, strenthen our heritage as a Christian Chautauqua, end unfair abridgment of your property rights, and remove the legal cloud that threatens our future.                                                                                                 Amended Membership Bylaw language welcomes an applicant who:                      “AFFIRMS AN UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORT FOR THE  ASSOCIATION’S CHRISTIAN VALUES AND TRADITIONS AND ITS HISTORIC CHAUTAUQUA ROOTS [AND] COMMITS TO ACTIVE SUPPORT OF BAY VIEW’S HERITAGE AND VALUES BY ENCOURAGING, ENHANCING AND  PROMOTING ITS RELIGIOUS, CULTURAL, EDUCATIONAL, AND RECREATIONAL PROGRAMS.”                                                For yourself,
For your children and grandchildren,
For the Bay View community you cherish…
VOTE “YES” ON THE BAY VIEW MEMBERSHIP BYLAW AMENDMENT 2013                                                                    Friends of the Bay View ChautauquaTM
PO Box 1316, Bay View, Michigan 49770

One thought on “

  1. Having read the Bay View website information on its history and the above letter to members, I’m a little surprised. As a member of the Ocean Park Association (Ocean Park, ME), I am including a little of our history and the current membership application practice: The mission statement says, “The Purpose of the OPA is to affirm the tradition and spiritual heritage of which we are heirs, through a summer assembly program where Christian worship, principles and ideals are at the focus….” When I joined many years ago, one had to be a property owner to be a full member, although associate membership was available. Now anyone can join (although youth are identified as such [I don’t know the age cut-off]). The application states that one supports the mission, agrees to pay the dues and to attend the Annual Meeting whenever possible.

    It seems to me that requiring people to be Christian and churched misses what my preacher dad would have called an opportunity not only to be more inclusive but also to touch the lives of those who are, as yet, not squarely among the churched.

    When I told my nephew about the current dilemma that Bay View faces, his question was, “What would Jesus do?”

    Of course, Jesus was a Jew so he could never be a member of Bay View; yet without his history and presence, Bay View would never have come into existence.

    Bethany Nichols
    President, The Pines retirement community, Ocean Park, ME
    Education Committee, Ocean Park Association

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