Darien Club Owners Association

Community Memo – Proposed 2022 Budget, KM Opinion on Design Manual Fence Rules

Pictures with Santa!!! The Chawla Family is Opening Up their home to Darien Club Residents for Holiday Festivities!

(This is not a DCOA sponsored event, but rather a kind invite from one of our Darien Club Residents.)

May be an image of ‎text that says '‎join us for PICTURES WITH SANTA & COOKIE DECORATING WITH HIS ELVES FREE FAMILY EVENT WITH RAFFLES AND MORE! November 27, 2021 4pm-6pm 1809 Kelly Ct. Darien, V.P. by November 19, 2021 (773) مEداL‎'‎

Community Update 11-4-21

Community Update from your Board of Directors 11/4/21

Dear Community Members,

We have several important matters to update you on, so please take a moment to read through all the information below.

Fall Updates:

The 18 Chanticleer Pears were planted in the four medians on Darien Club Drive. They are a great enhancement to our subdivision, and we thank the City of Darien.

On Saturday, October 30th, Darien Club hosted our first “Trunk or Treat” Halloween festivities. Kids and adults shared in the fun which included a Petting Zoo, Pony Rides, Food, Drinks, Treats, and Costume Parade. Halloween spirit was alive on Darien Club Drive. We welcome all the families that joined in the festivities, and we thank the Social Commission and Neighbors who worked to put this event together. Thank you also to the generous families that donated treats of all kinds for the kids as well as the adults. The event was a great success.

Also, note that effective November 1, 2021, Real Manage is our new Property Manager. You should have already received a mailing with information. If not, please contact Real Manage. Our community representative is Mark Parlanti. He can be reached at 866-473-2573 or by email at Darclub@ciramail.com. Please see our website for this information as well.

Design Manual Revisions & Survey Results:

On Monday, you received a Notice for our upcoming Board Meeting on November 8th. The Notice is posted on the Website along with the Revised Darien Club Design Manual Rules & Regulations for your review and final comments.

All design manual changes considered the following factors:

  1. Darien Club Governing Documents/ Declaration
  2. State and Local Requirements
  3. Property Value Improvement
  4. Rules and Consistent Enforcement
  5. Survey Results

While the majority of the changes were consistent with survey results, legal factors defined other results.

Specifically, through advice of legal counsel, we have learned that the Design Manual is in conflict with the Declaration with respect to fence rules.

It is important that the community understand the following:

  1. The Declaration is the document that supersedes all other governing documents including the Design Manual Rules & Regulations.  The Design Manual Rules & Regulations cannot remove rights granted in the Declaration. Therefore, inconsistencies in the Design Manual have been corrected to be consistent with the Declaration, specifically fencing rules.
  2. The Design Manual Rules also must comply with all local, city and state regulations.

The Board has done all due diligence to assure that it has met its fiduciary responsibility with the rule revisions through complete legal review and has received a written legal opinion from Keogh & Moody, Counsel for Darien Club, on the conflicting language in the Design Manual Rules and the Declaration with respect to fence rules.

This is no longer a matter of board opinion, community opinion or survey votes. Darien Club and the HOA cannot legally remove fence rights granted to Owners through the Declaration. In fact, the Board would NOT be meeting its fiduciary responsibility if it did not restore this right to Owners. Further, noncompliance with the Declaration could lead to legal jeopardy for the HOA.

Moving past this, we would like to summarize the survey results.

93 Homeowners completed the survey accounting for 56% of all Owners. While we were hopeful to hear from all homeowners, we were very pleased to have over half of the Darien Club Owners respond. Respondents advocated for change to over half the categories. There were strong opinions across the board and on all sides of each category.

Here is a summary of the Survey Results. Please note that some respondents left some questions blank so not all will total to 93 votes:

                                                                                Yes         No

Solar Shingles:                                                     64           28

Solar Panels:                                                      23           68 (Note: DCOA must comply with Illinois law)

Detached Structures Guidelines:               59           34

Detached Structures No Approval:            25           67

Perimeter Fence – Pools                               47           44 

Fences for Darien Club Borders                  62           30

Fences for Safety                                             32           60

Fences – All                                                         28           65

Mailbox Choices                                               39           53

Mailbox Colors                                                  23           70

Celebratory Signs                                             70           23

Political Signs                                                      33           60 (Note: DCOA must comply with Illinois law)

Landscape Screen                                            52           39

2.5” Caliper trees                                              63           28

Restricted Wetland Maintenance             68           25

Landscape Rocks                                               60           32

The Board is proud to have surveyed the community to hear its opinions. This is the first time Darien Club residents have been surveyed and asked for input. No other Board has ever asked residents to weigh in on any decisions it has made. While the Board has the authority to change the Design Manual Rules & Regulations, this board went above and beyond to hear Owner opinions.

With the revised Design Manual Rules & Regulations, the current Board’s primary objective is to allow broad enjoyment to all Owners of their home and property while maintaining Darien Club aesthetics. Many Owners through the survey or other commentary noted that the Architectural review/approval process has been difficult, cumbersome, and unfair in the past. It is this Board’s goal to improve the process and to work with homeowners to achieve their dreams to enhance their home, landscape, yard, and other amenities. Rather than being a heavy-handed board with respect to architectural improvements, this Board intends to work with homeowners to approve their improvements and visions while still maintaining the design integrity of Darien Club. This should not be the difficult process it has been historically. Ordinary maintenance and landscape replacements do not require approval.

“All4DarienClub” Detrimental Effect on Darien Club:

In closing, we would like to address a difficult matter that the Board has done its best to maintain professionalism with. The Board has dealt with many inappropriate actions by the All4DarienClub organizers. It is imperative to directly address gross misinformation, misconduct, and unethical activity by these members.

In total transparency, the All4DarienClub Organizers include Laurie Camp, Pat Coutre’, Dan and Deb Marszalek, Linda Pecora, Adele Mitchell, and John Pastore. Four of these individuals are former Board members. A significant portion of their “marketing campaign” is focused on Board transparency, yet they fail in this regard as they only solicit certain members of the community and hide behind a logo, a fake address, and a deceiving email campaign. Back in August this group circulated a petition to the Darien Club Owners that included statements that were not truthful, all of which were addressed in the last Community Update. Certain members of this group purposely mis-informed community members on a multitude of items to cause disruption to our community.  The former Board members of this group know and understand how Rules are changed under the DCOA governing documents, yet they misled trusting Owners on the facts, stating that current Board members were not meeting their fiduciary responsibility, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

This group has sent threatening, disrespectful, and untruthful letters filled with accusations to the Board Members. They have attempted to submit expenses for their meeting which the HOA has no obligation to reimburse per legal counsel, yet they believe they are entitled to such reimbursement and use of your assessments. They have gone so far to have an attorney write letters to the Board Members to bully and threaten the Board. The activity of the All4DarienClub organizers has resulted in significant legal expense to the association. From their petition to their special meeting, to their threatening and accusatory letters, to their attorney letters sent, they have racked up thousands of dollars in cost to our HOA as all these items must be reviewed by legal counsel when fiduciary responsibility is being questioned. This year, we will have unprecedented legal expense as a result that could have been better spent on more critical needs of Darien Club.

We are asking members of the community to disenfranchise this group. Their special meeting had attendance by 49 Owners (including the organizers). On a cursory review, we believe the group consists of less than 30 Owners (18% of the community). The damage done by this small minority of Owners to our community is unacceptable. The costs incurred by the association because of their activity is devastating. This group continues to consistently email blast our Owners. The behavior of these former board members is unethical and detrimental to the well-being of Darien Club. For example, after the Board allowed their Special Meeting despite the fact that signatures were solicited using untruthful statements, this group broke the rules of the Special Meeting by discussing matters not on the agenda including the upcoming election, who may be up for election, and how they intend to vote the current Board Members off and present their own “Slate of Candidates.” It is obvious that their lack of control and wanting to regain power is their primary objective. We have learned that these former board members were uncooperative with owners during their tenures. Whether or not you agree with fences, these former Board members continued to unjustly enforce a rule that REMOVED YOUR RIGHTS GRANTED BY THE DECLARATION. Do not let anyone remove your rights. Certainly, some of these organizers aspire to run for office at the upcoming election. This Board strongly asks that you consider the behavior, lies and detrimental activity of this group when casting your vote in the upcoming election. The Board is currently reviewing the date of the election with legal counsel and will mail the Notice of the Annual Meeting along with nomination form based on this date.

The Board would also like to make the community aware of a number of serious issues that occurred recently that has this board on high alert. First, someone created an email address using a Board member’s name and sent an email to Oak & Dale requesting a $7,900 check be cut and express mailed to an unknown vendor. Oak & Dale believed the email was sent from the Board member and prepared the check. It was caught by another Board member when a signature was requested. In addition, it was found out that the HOA Gmail account was compromised. A former board member that participates in the All4DarienClub group unethically continued to receive auto-forwarded emails from this account long after their tenure and without informing current Board members. More disturbing, the HOA Website was hacked, and an event was posted with details for an upcoming legal meeting. While all details related to these events are not yet known, some are, including who had access to these databases and information.

Despite these disruptions, the Board has continued to focus on its work. We will continue to move forward. We ask our community members to move forward. Do not let a disgruntled group of owners fog your mind, tell you what to write on a survey, or cast your vote for you. Think for yourself. Ask your own questions.  Do your own research.   The current Board members welcome a conversation from any and all Owners. John Becker is a resident of Darien Club for 27 years and happy to have a discussion. Alan, George, and Daniel have dynamically different backgrounds and are happy to have a discussion.  Community members that speak Hindu can contact Sara Vaince so there is clear understanding with no confusion of facts.

We welcome your calls,

Your Board of Directors – John Becker, Alan McNea, George Battaglia, Sara Vaince, Daniel Carnet

Notice for DCOA Board of Directors Meeting November 8, 2021 – 7pm and Zoom Link:





7:00 pm

A notice is hereby given of a regular meeting of the Board of Directors on Monday, November 8, 2021, at 7:00 pm via Zoom.  Link is attached below.

A copy of the Revised Design Manual Rules & Regulations dated 11/8/21 is posted below for your review.



Call to Order

Roll Call

Approval of Minutes of October 11, 2021, BOD Meeting

Treasurer Report 10/31/21

Approve Social Commission Budget 2021 (Halloween/Christmas)

Review 2022 Budget Draft for Approval

Discuss and Approve Revised Design Manual Rules & Regulations

Community Comments

Adjourn Meeting


Darien Club HOA is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting on November 8, 2021.

Topic: DCOA Board of Directors Meeting

Time: Nov 8, 2021, 07:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 854 5893 0018

Passcode: 119543

One tap mobile

+13126266799,,85458930018#,,,,*119543# US (Chicago)

+13017158592,,85458930018#,,,,*119543# US (Washington DC)

Dial by your location

        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

        +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

        +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

Meeting ID: 854 5893 0018

Passcode: 119543

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kc8ca2wp5U

Darien Club Design Manual Rules & Regulations 11-8-21 Draft for Review

Darien Club Halloween Parade! October 30th 3:30 PM

Darien Club Design Manual Survey Attached Please complete and return by 10/20/21

10-11-21 Board of Directors Regular Meeting and Zoom Link

Monday, October 11, 2021
7:00 pm

A notice is hereby given of a regular meeting of the Board of Directors on Monday, October 11, 2021, at 7:00 pm via Zoom. Link is attached below.


Community Comments
Call to Order
Roll Call
Approval of Minutes of August 30, 2021, BOD Meeting
Treasurer Report 9/30/21
Discuss the 1998 Design Manual Rules & Regulations
Adjourn Meeting

Darien Club HOA is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting:
Topic: DCOA BOD Meeting 10-11-21 7pm
Time: Oct 11, 2021, 07:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 815 8388 7345
Passcode: 493653
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,81583887345#,,,,493653# US (Chicago) +19292056099,,81583887345#,,,,493653# US (New York)
Dial by your location
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 815 8388 7345
Passcode: 493653
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kddTz0oHUD

Community Update from your Board of Directors 10-1-21 regarding Petition

Date: 10/1/2021

To: Darien Club Owner’s Association

Fr:  John Becker, DCOA President

Dear Darien Club Owners and Neighbors,

We have received inquiries from numerous Community Members regarding a petition circulated in our community by a few owners.  So that Community Members are not misled, the Board of Directors has the obligation to provide the community with facts which can be verified related to the Petition circulated. 

The Board deemed the petition to be invalid as duplicate names and non-owners were represented on the petition.  More so, petitioners made demonstrably false and misleading statements, both verbally and in writing to Owners, some of whom forwarded petitioner emails to the Board.  Numerous homeowners have voiced concerns that they were misled into providing their signatures.  Despite the petition’s validity concerns, the Board has chosen not to impede the petitioners’ request for a Special Meeting.

Specifically, in the petition, the representatives included two Items:

Item 1 – “Discuss the procedures of and conduct of Board meetings, including, but not limited to:  in-person meetings, the ability of homeowners to comment during meetings while receiving equality of time and topic, requirement for homeowners to receive adequate notice of open DCOA meetings including the agenda and prior minutes, and the need for more details in the minutes of the meeting discussions and financials for full transparency.”

The Board is providing the following clarification to the community for Item 1:

In-person meetings: Historical in-person Board Meetings were poorly attended, often having single digit attendance.  The current Zoom format was established by the prior Board President (now a Petitioner) based on Covid concerns.  The Zoom format has continued for the same reason under the Current Board and has also resulted in the largest attendance and participation in Board meetings than ever before due to the safety, flexibility, and convenience, and as demonstrated by the vast numbers of HOAs and organizations adopting this platform.  The safety of the community is priority to this Board.  Read the following link on HOA’s moving to virtual meetings: https://www.buildium.com/blog/how-to-run-virtual-hoa-board-meetings

Ability of homeowners to comment with equality of time and topic: Our current Board members instituted a new and formal “Community Comment” session as a part of every board meeting beginning with the June 3, 2021, meeting. Attendees were given 2 minutes to comment on Agenda items and to keep the meeting on schedule. The 2-minute equality of time rule allows ALL residents a forum subject to the time allocated for comment. In recent board meetings, a few attendees spoke well beyond the 2 minutes on items unrelated to the meeting Agenda. Some attendees spoke over each other, and background noises also led to interruptions.  For this reason, and consistent with common Zoom practice, attendees are muted while other Attendees speak for their 2-minute interval. There are protocols the Board must follow to keep meetings orderly during community comment.  Also, once the meeting is officially convened, public comment is closed.  For this portion of the meeting, attendees will be muted.  This is protocol for all Homeowner Associations as well as other organization board meetings.

Homeowners to receive adequate notice of open DCOA meetings including the Agenda and prior minutes: The current Board has provided proper notice for all meetings in accordance with the Bylaws

section 4.05 and 5.04.  Agendas have been provided by the current board in advance of meetings for the first time in 27 years.  Notices and Agendas have been posted on the DCOA Website by this Board.  For the most recent meeting, Agendas were delivered by both E-mail, physical mail, and listed on the website.  In addition, notices were posted on the entranceway monuments which were removed by unknown persons.  Minutes are available to all Owners by request from the current Management Company, Oak & Dale Properties.  For the new Management Company, Real Manage, these minutes will be immediately available on the Owner web portal to provide transparency that has not previously existed.Please see the DCOA website for Notices and Agendas for the meetings run by the current Board: https://dchoa.org/

The petition states that there is the “need” for more details in the minutes of the meeting discussions:

The minutes prepared by the board are complete, accurate, and under the direction of legal counsel.  Our newest Board Member, Sara Vaince is our Secretary, responsible for minutes, and an Attorney. Board meetings have been recorded to ensure accuracy of minutes.  Historical minutes formerly prepared by the prior Management Company often had inaccuracies and omissions.  A stated “desire” of certain Petition Organizers was to include their personal monologue in the minutes of the Association meetings.  This is inappropriate, historically inconsistent, and HOA Associations should not include these as directed by our Association outside counsel.  Again, homeowners can request minutes from the management company anytime.

Financial Statements Transparency: The current board released historical financial statements and the 2021 budget on July 14, 2021, since financial data had not been released in recent years.  Oak & Dale’s Email Address is: donotreply@cincsystems.net.  Please confirm your receipt of the July 14th email that included a community newsletter along with the financial data and to assure you are receiving all Board communications.  Check your spam and confirm your email to the management company if you did not receive an email.  Homeowners can request financial data through the management company at any time.

Item 2 – “Discuss the Design Manual and the creation of a Commission comprised of a diverse set of participants to be selected by the attending Owners.  The Commission’s goal is to be transparent and inclusive of all Owners.  The Commission’s purpose is:  to review the Design Manual, determine if any changes are necessary or requested by a majority of Voting Members, and if so, provide recommendations, if any, to the Board at an open meeting of the Owners where they will be discussed openly to ascertain the general will of the Owners before being voted upon at the same meeting by the Board in its fiduciary capacity for all Owners.”

Item 2 asks for a discussion but is asking to subvert the 1998 Design Manual Rules & Regulations to the benefit of the Petition Organizers.  A significant number of Owners have agreed that the Design Manual Rules & Regulations from over two decades ago are outdated and should be reviewed.  Family need, technology, and safety concerns have evolved and ALL Owners, legacy and new community members alike, should be able to provide input as opposed to a vocal minority.  All Owners will have the opportunity to provide comment/input via survey while the Board conducts its review of the current Design Manual Rules and Regulations.  This process will be substantially more inclusive than a handful of petition organizers usurping the ability for ALL Owners to provide input.

The Board does not wish for this petition to be a divisive factor in our community. The Board was reconstituted on July 29, 2021, a mere 60 days ago.  Former Board Members that are petitioners were allowed the latitude and respect to do their work.  While change and lack of control may be difficult, this Board should be afforded the same responsibility allowed under the governing documents for this board to do its work on behalf of the community. This Board understands that it represents the community in its entirety and hopes to bring community members together for the benefit of the subdivision.

The Board is proud of recent community events that have brought neighbors together.  Please visit the Darien Club Community Social Facebook Page for neighborhood social gatherings, events, and communications.  A Halloween Parade is currently being organized by members of the community and will be posted on the Facebook page and DCOA Website.  All events are open and inclusive to all community members.

A regular meeting of the Board of Directors is scheduled for October 11, 2021. The Board is currently reviewing contracts for renewal in 2022 for preparation of the Budget.  In addition, the transition to Real Manage as the community management company will be effective November 1, 2021. Real Manage will present their services to the community at an upcoming meeting or by way of a welcome packet.  The Board looks forward to working with Owners who wish to improve and enjoy their homes and at the same time add value to the Darien Club community.  The Pandemic brought much change in recent years.  Families found themselves working at home and socializing in their backyards.  This led to Owners making improvements to their homes including adding home offices, gyms, outdoor entertaining space, pools, etc.  The Board recognizes the importance of this societal change and wishes to work with owners to make their home the perfect family haven while upholding standards of value.  ALL owners of Darien Club should equally be allowed this privilege.  One of the most significant drivers for the review of the Design Manual Rules & Regulations is to assure consistency in application of the rules rather than what appears to be inconsistent enforcement on a cursory review of the subdivision.  Many homeowners have expressed their frustration with the Architectural Review process for improvements to Owner home exteriors.  The Board will work to facilitate and improve this process with rule revisions.  While there is a need for a formal approval process to maintain value, the process should not be cumbersome or subjective.   Any owner that feels they have had a difficult process in the past is welcome to contact the board so that consideration can be given to improve the process through rule revisions.   The Board urges homeowners to work with reputable architectural firms and designers to create a beautiful project that enhances value for the homeowner and the subdivision. 

We welcome the community to email the board of directors dchoa2014@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or concerns.  Please feel free to reach out to any one of us anytime in the neighborhood or through the directory.  We are here to answer your questions, hear your concerns, and dispel rumors. We look forward to everyone coming together as a community to promote Darien Club as the inviting, kind, and premier neighborhood it is.


John Becker

John Becker, President on behalf of the

Darien Club Owners Association Board of Directors

Community Memo From Your BOD

Date: 9/16/2021

To: Darien Club Owner’s Association

Fr:  John Becker, DCOA President

Dear Community Members,

As you know, the reconstituted Board had its first meeting July 29.  With that meeting, we added two exceptional professionals.  Sara Vaince, an accomplished Corporate Attorney, serving as our Secretary and Daniel Carnet, a 25-year accounting professional, as Treasurer.  With these additions we have a diverse board representing a cross section of our community.  The Board has divided duties to better serve the owners.  Sara Vaince has volunteered her legal background to review legal, contract, and Oak Trace Phase III Zoning matters for the Association.  Daniel Carnet will apply his accounting expertise to develop a proper reserve study which is long overdue while assembling a plan to address the depleted reserves due to prior spending for large non-planned capital projects.  Alan McNea, Vice President with his construction expertise is overseeing the maintenance of common areas and owner lots while George Battaglia, Vice President has been focusing his energies on reviewing the future needs of the community to improve the Darien Club Subdivision, its vitality, visibility, and value.  The Board has asked Gary Wadhwani to manage and improve the Darien Club HOA Website (https://darienclub.com/). 

Our mission is the following:

The mission of the Board Members of the Darien Club Owners Association is to preserve and enhance the property values of our subdivision by maintaining/enhancing the common ground areas, upholding our Declarations and By-Laws, and ensuring that the Design Rules address the needs of community. The Board will serve the Homeowners by taking a fair, ethical, and objective approach in representing the interest of all homeowners.

The Board has been hard at work to address, for the benefit of all owners, the many issues facing our community.   It has immediately established various commissions with our dedicated community members to ameliorate many of the issues that have grown over the last 20 years. 

Commissions established:

  • Wetland/Pond Commission led by Scott Carson
  • Common Area Commission led by Marie Becker and Pat Coutre’
  • Oak Trace Development led by Cindi Lopez
  • Social Committee/Facebook page (Darien Club Community Social) led by Shawna Herbert

All Commissions have been given clear charters to make recommendations to the Board to be considered on balance with the overall needs of the community.

Management Company:

In addition to organizing our Community, the Board is moving swiftly to address Management Company concerns moving away from Oak & Dale Properties to Real Manage, effective November 1, 2021.  This move is driven by Real Manage’s broader range of capabilities including Board and Community Member web portals, text blast capability for urgent community issues, ability to ensure consistent enforcement of Association rules and a broad array of professional support.  At a meeting soon, a representative from Real Manage will demonstrate the web portfolio functionality and speak to their capabilities.  We are certain you will immediately see the improvement in professional service and administration for the community.

Financial Transparency:

The Board recently issued historical financial statements and the current year budget to all homeowners.  The Board is also in the process of reviewing all current contracts and vendors in place with the intention increasing overall value while controlling cost.  During the process, the Board will have an overdue reserve study prepared to evaluate current reserves which were significantly depleted with the replacements of the monuments.  Other elements in the common areas will be reviewed and included in the reserve study in addition to necessary replenishment of reserves to allow for capital improvements and maintenance that will be required over the next several years. 

The Board is focused on enhancing the value of the subdivision, re-establishing it as the premier community in Darien while focusing on the needs of the community which is now over 30 years old.  Today’s needs differ from those in 1990.  We look to invite the next generation of owners to our community.  In doing so, the Board will complete its review of the Design Manual Rules & Regulations for any necessary updates and improvements.  Community comments, requests and recommendations for any rule changes are welcome.  The Board’s objective is to allow owners broader enjoyment of their ownership, increase buyer interest in the subdivision, and as a result increase property value. A board meeting will be scheduled in the upcoming weeks for this purpose.  In the meantime, compile your comments and email any recommendations or comments to the Board Members at DCHOA2014@gmail.com

We look forward to your feedback as the Board works to the benefit of all Community members.


John Becker DCOA President