Mount Pleasant, S.C.
One of the earliest “Traditional Neighborhood Development” (TND) communities in the country, I’On has a unique way of doing things, known fondly as “The I’On Way.” How can a third party management firm even begin to provide the ultra-customized service this community needs?
SCS made it a priority to understand the I’On way of doing things, then worked with board members individually to exchange expertise and provide guidance in navigating through an unusually complex set of governance issues. The result? Success on many fronts, including a healthier bottom line.
Founded in 1995 in Mount Pleasant, S.C., a few miles from historic downtown Charleston, I’On is one of the country’s earliest new urbanist “TND” communities. Over 750 single-family homes make up the community, which features closely spaced homes with large front porches and tree-lined sidewalks to encourage neighborly interaction.
Narrow, traffic-calming streets, shared green spaces, lakes and trails give I’On a relaxed feel, and residents love the wildlife refuge as well as the restaurants, cafes, shops and I’On Club amenities.
Understanding “The I’On Way” requires a close reading of extensive governing documents and a grasp on the relationships between different entities such as the HOA itself (called the I’On Assembly); the town of Mount Pleasant; the I’On Trust (the 501c3 nonprofit which hosts the community’s many events); the I’On Design Committee (which functions as the ARB); the Montessori school inside the development; and the Creek Club, among others.
SCS’ community manager at I’On, Mike Parades, is not only a retired CPA with 30 years of experience; he also comes to the table with 20 years of upper-level PCAM certification, he’s served on five national CAI committees, and he served as president of the South Carolina chapter of CAI for two years.
Mike knew that in order to get in sync with “The I’On Way,” he needed to do two things in particular: get to know every governing document backward and forward, and sit down with every volunteer board member individually.
He encouraged and supported board members, developed a stronger bond with each of them, and in the meantime gave them extra financial training and coaching on deciphering governing documents so that they’d have more tools to do excellent work in their elected positions.
Through working closely with the I’On board in this way, SCS has been able to reduce accounts receivable to a record low and recently completed a reserve study update that revised reserve structure and funding, saving money, time and talent. Additionally, SCS completed a risk management program evaluation, improving procedures and obtaining a new directors’ and officers’ liability insurance policy that includes coverage for non-monetary damages, at a lower rate.
In short, SCS sat down with each board member, dug in deep on the paperwork, and figured out multiple ways to better protect the community’s assets and save a great deal of money in the process.
I’On is a very unique community. Our SCS community manager is highly respected by all neighbors. He frequently goes the extra mile and handles his responsibilities as if he lived here himself.