ABI Shares & Voting
Two of the most commonly misunderstood practices of Arden Beaches Inc. are the selling of "shares" and the voting practices to which those shares entitle their shareholders. Although the following is not a definitive explanation of both of these practices, we wanted to try to cast some light on both so that residents living within Arden, as well as anyone considering the purchase of property within Arden know how both practices worked.
Arden's beaches were not always owned by the community. In 1976, the Arden Civic Association was able to purchase the land and create Arden Beaches Inc. to manage and maintain them. Before and after that purchase, outside entities tried to control these properties by holding board member positions where they could steer ABI decisions in their favor. To that end, ABI established bylaws to protect both the community and the beaches through the ownership of shares.
Any owner of a residential lot shown on the subdivision plat of Sunrise Beach may purchase a membership certificate (or share) in the corporation. The bylaws state that you are able to vote on matters as long as you own a minimum of one share. The purchased shares last for the life of the ownership of an Arden property, but are transferrable to another owner of an Arden property as long as the current owners submits a written request to the corporation for proper recording on the corporate records. What this means is, if you want to transfer your shares to your neighbor, or if you are selling your house and you want to transfer shares to a new owner, you may do so by writing to the corporation and submitting the request to be formally recognized.
Purchasing shares is as simple as owning property within Arden, requesting shares from the ABI Board of Directors, and paying for said shares. Any resident of Arden is welcome to do so. Please note that the ABI bylaws enforce fairness by maintaining that no member(s) singly or jointly, owning one lot as described in Article III, Section 1 of the bylaws, will ever be permitted to collectively own more than five (5) percent of the total outstanding votes. This means that no one may ever hold a monopoly on voting.
Each year, usually in January, Arden Beaches Inc. holds their annual Shareholders Meeting. At this meeting, shareholders have the right to vote on many decisions that need to be made. If you hold one share, you are allowed one vote. If you hold multiple shares, you are allowed multiple votes. You are not allowed any more votes than shares that you hold, ensuring fairness of the process. Usually, votes are in relation to replacing Board Member seats that are up for rotating election cycle, but issues of environmental impact, financial well-being, property maintenance, financial investment, changes to the governing bylaws, etc., can be voted upon at this meeting. The intent is to remain transparent and allow the voice of the shareholders to be heard.