Resident Concerns – The Cliffs

By now, all Somersett property owners should be in receipt of the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) letter “Resident Concerns – The Cliffs”, which was apparently generated in response to “all of the Somersett residents who have communicated their concerns to the Board of Directors regarding ‘The Cliffs’ by Toll Brothers”.

This is basically a “feel good” letter in which the SOA BOD wants to make clear that “While we take an active interest in the outcome of the development, it is not our role or right within our capacity to manage the design and construction of this development”. That is, Toll Brothers is responsible to construct the development in accordance with approved plans, applicable codes, errosion control measures, slope revegetation, water polution, enviornmental protection, etc., and to have faith that the City of Reno and involved regulatory agencies will diligently perform their oversight and inspection responsibilities. That aside, the SOA also has some inspection rights prior to common area turnover and to require corrective action where needed.

Given the particular concern over hillside aesthetics and stabilization, the SOA has pledged to stay in close touch and be proactive with the City of Reno and regulatory agencies throught the construction process. This “….to insure that the future facilities to be maintained by the Somersett Owners Association are completed in a manner that is functional, can be reasonably maintained and is aesthetically pleasing ….”. Also, to keep Somersett residents informed on ongoing discussions and actions.

At the February SOA Board Meeting, in addressing the subject letter, the Board President encouraged concerned homeowners to “stay involved” and , unless this writer misunderstood, that the letter would address how this could be accomplished, which it did not. However, it did do a credible job of summarizing all the “hoops” the developer must jump through for approved project completion. Hopefully, this will allieviate many of the fears that have been raised by Somersett residents.

The subject letter may be accessed via the following link:   “Resident Concerns – The Cliffs

 

NRS 116 Alleged Violation Letter to SOA BOD

SU’s previous Post of “March 27th SOA Board Meeting” addressed an agenda item pertaining to alleged violations of NRS Chapter 116 Statutes. These alleged violations were brought forth by Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Member Steve Guderian (i.e., as a concerned homeowner and not in his capacilty as the Sierra Canyon Association Board President). Mr. Guderian’s allegations deal with the SOA Community Standards Committee (CSC) and perceived conflicts of interest between SOA Board Member Jason Roland and CSC Member Tiffany Roland (his spouse). Mr. Guderians letter to the SOA Board (published with permission of Mr. Guderian) may be accessed via the link below. In addition, Mr. Guderian offers the following as an introduction:

“As home owner in Somersett I believe that the rights of all home owners to fair proceedings within the community is of paramount importance. In the Janurary SOA BOD meeting when I heard who the CSC committee members were, and what their charter said, I could not allow the violations I believe are occurring to continue. So, the attached letter is the first step I have to go through in order to file a complaint/intervention with the Nevada Real Estate Division, the Ombudsman. In my mind the only way the current situation with respect to the CSC can be rectified is a complete do over. Simply put, you cannot have board members making a decision and/or being a part of a sanction or a fine and then being involved in the appeal process too.

Steve Guderian
SOA Home Owner”

Link:         Alleged Violation of NRS 116.3103, NRS 116.31031, NRS 116.31084 & NRS 116.31085

March 27th SOA Board Meeting

The Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) open meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 27th, 2019 at 5:30 PM at The Club at Town Center (TCTC) Sports Court. The meeting agenda may be accessed by clicking on the following link:

March 27th SOA BOD Meeting Agenda

The preceeding is listed as a “Draft”, and based on past practice, an updated agenda will most likely be in the offing between now and the Board meeting. Also, the BOD Meeting Packet, which contains details associated with agenda items was not available at the time of this posting, which will be updated when and if a new agenda is released and/or the BOD Meeting Packet is made available. In the interim, some comments on agenda items follow:

Old Business:

6.a Legal Updates – The only significant occurance since the previous BOD meeting is the Washoe County District Court ruling on the lawsuit between Herbert and Linda James (also co-claimants Allen and Sandra McCulloch) and the SOA, wherein the Court rulled in favor of the Jameses/McCullochs over the SOA. See previous post of March 13th entitled “The Northgate Neighbors Verdict Is In!”, for a recap on this litigation.

6.b Discussion on AGC Fee Reduction – At the last BOD meeting the Board was going to look at the possibility of fee reductions and approval process for simple AGC applications not requiring permits. Perhaps recommendations will be presented?

New Business:

7.j  Allegation of Violations of NRS 116.3103,31031,31084,& 31085 – Nevada Revised Statute Chapter 116 provides the governing law for Common-Interest Ownership Communities. If an individual (aggrieved person) is of the opinion that the Board of Directors or Community Management of a Homeowners Association (respondent) is in violation of a NRS 116 Statute, the aggrieved person may seek relief via the filing of an affidavit with the Nevada Real Estate Division (NRED). However, before submitting the affidavit, the aggrieved person must first notify the respondent of the alleged violation, incurred damages and proposed corrective actions. This to allow the respondent time to address. If the respondent does not agree with the allegations and efforts to resolve the issue have failed, the aggrieved individual may then submit the affidavit to the NRED, who will refer it to the Ombudsman for investigation and resolution. The aggrieved person may also request that the alleged violation be placed on the agenda for the next BOD meeting. Hence, the most probable cause for this agenda item. Details associated with the alleged violations were not available at the time of this posting, However, the subject titles of the referred statutes are as follows:

  • NRS 116.3103 “Power of executive board to act on behalf of association; members and officers are fiduciaries; duty of care; application of business-judgment rule and conflict of interest rules; limitations on power”.
  • NRS 116.31031 “Power of executive board to impose fines and other sanctions for violations of governing documents; limitations; procedural requirements; continuing violations; collection of past due fines; statement of balance owed”.
  • NRS 116 31084 “Voting by member of executive board; disclosures; abstention from voting on certain matters”.
  • NRS 116.31085 “Right of units’ owners to speak at certain meetings; limitations on right; limitations on power of executive board to meet in executive session; procedure governing hearings on alleged violations; requirements concerning minutes of certain meetings”.

As usual, this posting will be updated if and when the BOD Meeting Agenda is updated, and the associated BOD Meeting Packet is made available.

 

The “Northgate Neighbors” Verdict Is In!

In a court hearing on March 12th, the Washoe County District Court issued their final ruling on the lawsuit (i.e. Case No. CV16-00220) between Herbert and Linda James (also co-claimants Allen and Sandra McCulloch) and the Somersett Owners Association (SOA). The result being that the Court ruled in favor of the Jameses and McCullochs over the SOA. In its ruling, the Court found that former Northgate Golf Course property purchased by the Jameses and McCullochs (adjacent to their Somersett property) was not subject to the Somersett CC&R’s and that the SOA could not prevent access based on such.

A complete transcript of the ruling may be accessed via the following link: Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment

This litigation has roots going back to 2011, and has been very costly to the SOA in legal expenses. For the referenced case, SOA legal fees from 2015 through 2018 totaled approximately $283K. This does not include 2019 YTD fees, legal fees prior to 2015, or related ancillary fees. Therefore, the total cost to Somersett owners pertaining to this issue will be far in excess of $300K. So what was this litigation all about? Perhaps a little history is in order:

In 1985, RJB Development Company (RJB) deeded property to Washoe County to develop the Northgate Golf Course, which was operated by the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA). RSCVA operated the course until 2009 when it became more of a liability than an asset. When RSCVA subsequently closed the golf course, a property deed restriction required that the land revert back to RJB. For the next three years, the Reno City Council and a group of surrounding residential property owners (spearheaded by Somersett “Northgate Neighbor” owners) worked to persuade RJB to allow time to raise the funds to purchase the property for use as a park and open space (i.e., to preclude sale for residential or commercial development). After months of negotiations, the City reached a deal to purchase the property from RJB.. To fund the project, the City formed a Special Assessment District (after a successful petition by more than two-thirds of the adjacent property owners) which would generate $1.2 million. Washoe County and the City of Reno came up with another $1.2 million. However, this still left a shortfall in funding to purchase the entire Northgate property. To make up this shortfall, several Somersett owners along Whisper Rock (i.e., the “Northgate Neighbors”) entered into an agreement with RJB to purchase some of the Northgate property adjacent to their existing Somersett lots. Thus facilitating purchase of the remaining land by the City of Reno, which now comprises the Sierra Vista Park. (click here for park link)

Although they had the opportunity, the Somersett Development Company (SDC), under Blake Smith, who controlled the SOA Board at the time of the acquisitions, did not participate in the Special Assessment District, did not attempt to purchase any of the Northgate property, nor object to such purchase by the “Northgate Neighbors”. However, subsequent to their purchases, the SOA notified the Northgate owners that they were in violation of the SOA’s CC&R’s by accessing their adjacent Northgate property from their Somersett property (i.e., backyards) and therefore, were subject to fines. They also opined that the acquired Northgate property required annexation into Somersett proper and that the combined property was subject to the SOA CC&R’s. Ostensibly to protect Somersett home values due to potential improper use of the land. This in spite of the Northgate owners having adopted their own set of CC&R’s to protect against improper use.  A series of negotiations between the parties went nowhere. Hence, the necessary hiring of attorneys to resolve the issue.

One can perhaps understand SDC wanting to annex the property into the SOA and possibly extending their control of the SOA Board, which ended in November 2012. However, it is difficult to reason why in the following six years, subsequent SOA Boards felt it necessary to take up the cause and continue it to the present day.

What nonsense! It was this same homeowner group that championed the cause and provided funding for the defunct Northgate Golf Course property being purchased by the City for open space and a public park. Bottom line, the SOA BOD’s should have been grateful to the homeowners who spent time and money to convert this land to a park rather than harassing them about violating the Somersett CC&R’s and subjecting them to fines. A lack of proper judgement and common sense perhaps?
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For additional background, a rolling chronology of litigation events, is contained in the SOA Attorney’s monthly “Legal Disclosure” letters to the SOA Board. The latest of which is dated February 19th 2019, and may be accessed via the following link:  February 19, 2019 legal Disclosure.

Per the Legal Disclosure letters , by the end of 2017, the SOA had entered into settlement agreements with most of the “Northgate Neighbors”, leaving only two owners (James and McCullough) as outstanding litigants. For those interested, an example of the settlement agreement, may be accessed via the following link:  SOA Lot Expansion and Easement Agreement.

Under the Lot Expansion and Easement Agreement, the affected owners agreed to the application of the SOA CC&R’s and other Association Governing Documents to their acquired Northgate property. This in exchange for some CC&R variances and Aesthetics Guideline Committee (AGC) concessions. However, none of this applies in the James/McCulloch case, wherein the Court has ruled that the SOA has no jurisdiction over their acquired Northgate properties.

Hopefully, the March 12 Court ruling finally brings closure to this multi-year saga and the expenditure of SOA funds, or will the SOA still be liable for the James’s and McCulloch’s legal fees?

 

 

SOA and SGCC Water Facilities Agreement

As a supplement to the previous post entitled “Golf Course Water Supply System Report”, and for those who are interested in the details of the Water Facilities Agreement between the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) and the Somersett Golf & Country Club (SGCC), it may be accessed via the following link:

Water Facilities Agreement.

In accessing the Agreement, particular attention should be paid to Section 3 “Operation of Water Facilities”, Section 4 “Maintenance of Water Facilities: Cost Allocation”, Section 5 “Cost Allocation for Water Facilities” and Exhibit E “Water Facilities”. These Sections clearly describe what constitutes the Canyon9 and SGCC golf course water facilities and who is responsible for what.

Per the Agreement, it will become obvious that the vast majority of the costs for operating and maintaining the water facilities currently resides with the SGCC. However, to what extent they will be willing to bear the costs as estimated in the previous posted Canyon9 & SGCC Water Supply Infrastructure Review report remains to be seen.

If indeed the maintenance and repair costs estimated in the report are accurate and required, one would hope that the SOA Board would not support the SGCC “dipping in the SOA money well” to cover costs. Perhaps if they are short of available funds, SGCC equity member assessments would be in order.

Golf Course Water Supply System Report

At the February SOA Board meeting is was revealed that a report (prepared by Padovan Consulting, LLC) on the condition of Pump Station components supplying water to the Canyon9 and SGCC Irrigation Syctems had been completed. The report contained recommendions for both short and long-term repairs/maintenance of the Pump Station components along with associated cost estimates. The Board advised that a meeting with the SGCC is being scheduled to discuss the report and action plans. A copy of the report may be accessed via the following link: Canyon9 & SGCC Water Supply Infrastructure Review

To help understand the content of the report, the following diagram of the water supply system is provided:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The report identifies specific issues with Pump Station components and provides the following estimates for recommended short term and long term repair/replacement costs:

  • Truckee River Pump Station – $31K short term, $35K long term
  • Canyon9 Pump Station – $24K short term, $95K long term
  • SGCC Hole 5 Pump Station (Main) – $15K short term, $124K long term
  • Sierra Canyon Well 5 – $93K long term or $400K if a new drilled well is required.
  • Clubhouse Well – Nothing estimated short or long term

The report concludes with the following statement:

“This concludes the review of the various water supply pump systems and wells. Overall the system is at the age where costly upgrades will be needed in the 5 year time frame if the water supply system is to be managed responsibly. These costs could exceed present dy costs of $700,000 based on the above information. The information presented here is meant for planning purposes to better understand the overall condition of the water supply system and likely associated costs.”

What the report does not address is where the cost liabilities lie. Since the vast majority of the total water supply is for SGCC course irrigation, it is fair to assume that the majority of the maintenance, repair and replacement  costs would be the responsibility of the SGCC. This is further upheld by Exhibit D “Water Facilities Agreement” of 2014 SGCC Purchase Agreement. The Water Facilities Agreement basically states that during the 4 year warranty period following commencement of the Agreement, The SGCC was responsible for all maintenance, repair and associated costs for the entire water supply system. However, the warranty period expired in December 2018. After the warranty period, the Water Facilities Agreement establishes that maintenance and repair costs for the aforementioned Pump Stations will be the responsibility of the following:

  • Truckee River Pump Station – Shared between the SOA and the SGCC based on water usage.
  • Canyon9 Pump Station – Split between SOA for the Canyon9 irrigation system and SGCC for the SGCC Hole 5 Pond water supply system
  • SGCC Hole 5 Pump Station (Main) – SGCC
  • Well 5 and Clubhouse Well – SGCC

Given past experience with the SGCC living up (or perhaps not living up) to its responsibilities under the Purchase Agreement, it will be interesting to see how the discussions proceed.

 

Sierra Canyon President Message

Following is a reprint of the March 8, 2019 Sierra Canyon Association President message to Sierra Canyon owners, which may be of interest to other Somersett Community owners.  Some editorial comments on the part of SU are included in red italic font.

“Sierra Canyon Presidents Message

The new board of directors is in place for Sierra Canyon and their first meeting will be Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 3 pm. I hope that many of you can be there. There are two new faces on the board Dave DeLucia and Joe Lasby. Welcome!!! I am looking forward to working with Dave and Joe as we continue to move our Sierra Canyon Community forward. So here is your Sierra Canyon Board for the next year:

Yours truly, Steve Guderian, President
Chippy Flynn, Vice President
Joe Lasby, Treasurer
Loren Farell, Secretary
Alan Stroppini, Director
Tom Hedger, Director
David DeLucia, Director

The big news of the day is the changeover to the new management company, GrandManors. We are in our first week of the changeover so it is hard to judge how things are going. However, from what I have seen so far, things seem to be moving forward and going pretty well. I am sure that many of you have noticed that we were able to keep most of the office staff. Keeping our staff turned out to be quite a chore as FirstService Residential did everything they could to convince staff not to stay with Sierra Canyon. I am very proud of the staff that we have and I believe the fact that they are staying with us is not only a credit to them for wanting to stay here, but also a credit to our community. The fact that staff wants to continue to work together and with our community says a lot for, and about our community and who we are.”

SU Comment: Given that Sierra Canyon’s previous management company was the same as the SOA’s (i.e., FirstService Residential) it will be interesting to see how GrandManors works out for Sierra Canyon, if a significant improvement, then perhaps some future consideration for the SOA.

“As we move forward through the next year, there are a couple of areas I believe we need to gather information on and report back to the community. I think the biggest one is the Toll Brothers construction monstrosity. That thing is a mess and it is going to affect our community. Therefore, I believe that we need to learn as much, as we can, as well as stay on top of what is going on. I have asked Director Hedger to take on the task of pulling together information about Toll Brothers construction and reporting back to us.”

SU Comment:: A lot of Somersett owners, not just Sierra Canyon, have reservations about the Toll Brothers development. Hence, the February SOA BOD Meeting reference to a letter to be sent to all Somersett owners on this subject. Letter will apparently address compliance with regulatory requirements and the process to be followed by all parties involved (Including individual Somersett owners) who may have disputes/concerns with project compliance, inspections, defects, hillside stability, etc. Letter expected to be completed by mid-March and subsequently distributed by mail to all Somersett owners.

“At the SOA board meeting last week, community manager Tracy Carter told everybody that Toll Brothers wants a copy of audio from all of the SOA board meetings. Mr. Carter’s position is that Toll Brothers will be more responsive to issues that come up in the board meetings… Yea right, since when has a builder been concerned about the community? My position on this is that they want a copy of the audio so they can hear what is going on and then get out in front of anything and protect themselves.”

SU Comment: If Toll Brothers is an SOA lot owner and paying assessments on such, then they have a right to request audio tapes of the SOA BOD meetings. However, suggest if they are really concerned about community issues, that they attend in person.

“The other thing that came up at the SOA board meeting was a report on the condition of items which were turned over to the SOA by the 18-hole golf course, SGCC. Let me cut to the chase on this report: over the next 5 years $700,000.00 in maintenance and replacement costs. I believe that SGCC should pay the SOA community this $700,000 worth of cost because they were supposed to turn over items in good working order and repair. Here is the issue, the golf course does not have this kind of money, and they are, in essence, broke. So this means that we the SOA community members get to pay this $700K over the next 5 years. Hopefully, it will not be that much money and something will be worked out.”

SU Comment: There are also other issues with the Somersett Golf and Country Club. Stay tuned for a subsequent Blog article regarding the referenced report and additional issues.

Over the last few months Sierra Canyon homeowners have been showing up in force to the SOA meetings… We need to continue to do that. Sierra Canyon represents 40% of SOA, but we get 100% of the shaft. It has to come to a stop and we have to make sure we let SOA know that we are also a big part of the community and they need to treat us like part of the community and respect who we are; a solid, vibrant community of retirees.

SU Comment: Sierra Canyon owner participation at the recent BOD meetings is commendable, it would be nice if other SOA community owners would also take the time to attend (those with an axe to grind are always more vocal). However, it would appear that they do not have the same disagreements with the SOA Board as does Sierra Canyon. Sierra Canyon owners may have some valid complaints with SOA Board actions, but their past and present President’s rhetoric directed at the SOA Board would appear to be somewhat counter productive in establishing a good working relationship. One thing is clear, they are certainly putting the SOA Board on notice.

I have been working on a couple of different things to push back on SOA. We have to let them know that we will fight for what is right. Come to the SC board meeting this next Wednesday and hear about what I will have done by our next board meeting. I will also make sure that the golf course maintenance report, with costs, gets attached to the board packet.

We are a strong, vibrant community and I for one absolutely love everything about living here. Let’s work together to make it even better and stronger.”

Steve Guderian
Sierra Canyon President

 

Reader Commenting

Having received a reader email questioning comment presentation on the SU website. The following is provided for our readers who may not be familiar with website comment structure and/or the process for submitting:

 

  1. Following all SU postings is a link that says “Leave a Comment” or “# Comments” The preceding appears when no comments on the post have been submitted. The later appears when one or more comments have been submitted.
  2. If a reader clicks on a “Leave a Comment” link, a LEAVE A REPLY section will appear with a text box for writing your comment along with email and name boxes (required), also two voluntary check boxes if the commenter wishes to receive new comments or postings via email.
  3. If a reader licks on a  “# Comments” link (say “4 Comments” as an example) all four previous comments will appear in chronological order, with a “Reply” link following each one. This is for replying to a comment and clicking on “Reply” will open up the same LEAVE A REPLY section described above.
  4. If a reader wishes to submit a comment on the post and not a previous comment, simply scroll down past all the previous comments to the LEAVE A REPLY section and proceed as described above.
  5. The comment process is completed when the commenter clicks on the POST COMMENT box within a LEAVE A REPLY section, wherein the following message should appear “Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview, your comment will be visible after it has been approved.” Note: Comments are approved regardless of content except in the case of profane or libelous language or egregious personal attacks.
  6. Another option for commenting is via the “RECENT COMMENTS” section (right hand column) of the website. This section provides direct access to the most recent 15 comments, in chronological order, regardless of what post or comment it is in reply to. Clicking on one of these comments not only displays the comment, but also the post it is in reference to, plus all other comments on that post. The reply process on the displayed comments and/or the post is the same as previously described.

Hope this helps!

Gypsy Hill Rockery Wall Repair

The $1.43M Gypsy Hill Rockery Wall Repair project has been underway now for about six weeks. As previously reported, the prime contractor for repairs is R. L. Wadsworth Construction at $1.28M. Supporting contractors are CME for shotcrete testing and inspection services at $64K, American Geotechnical for additional testing and inspection services at $53K, Padovan Consulting for project oversite services at $25K and Reno Green for landscape removal services at $8K. Project status as reported by Padovan Consulting at the February 27th BOD Meeting was as follows:

“ The Gypsy Hill wall repair started on January 21st. Prior to the project start Reno Green removed the landscape and irrigation from the wall benches. The contractor mobilized their equipment and has applied about 2/3 of the structural shotcrete to the wall. Weather has caused significant delays, but contractor has remained on-site and recently started drilling the tie-back anchors. Testing and inspection has been conducted by CME and American Geotech. Padovan Consulting has been communication with all parties and conducting site visits on a daily basis. Due to the irregular wall face the shotcrete quantities have been exceeding planned coverages ant there will be a change order for additional shotcrete. Padovan Consulting is checking daily shotcrete tickets and quantity closely.”

Note that the status report indicates a “change order” will be forthcoming because the amount of shotcrete (mortar mixture sprayed on the wall under high pressure) being used is exceeding planned coverages.  A change order usually refers to a modification (e.g., work scope addition) to the original contract, which does not appear to be the case here.  One would expect that the contractor would have adequately inspected the wall before submitting his bid.  Therefore, what will the change order pertain to, was the amount of shotcrete limited by the contract terms, do we have an estimated cost adder, and will it be significant?  Perhaps SOA Management Staff would care to comment?

For those who are not familiar with the job site, visit the following link:      Gypsy Hill Slope Stabilization Project Area

The following job site pictures illustrate progress (note tie-back anchor locations) as of March 3rd. The shotcrete walls are certainly not very attractive. However, once complete, a decorative layer will be applied to replicate a rockery wall appearance. It will be interesting to see how this will compare with the adjacent non-repaired rockery walls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BrightView Landscaping

Starting this month, residents may notice a different logo (shown at left) on the uniforms and/or equipment of the landscape company performing work throughout the Somersett Community. BrightView was chosen over Signature Landscaping and Reno Green, whose bids were as follows: BrightView – $1,440,868: Signature – $1,376,874; and Reno Green – $1,361,430.  Although not the low bidder, the SOA Staff recommended BrightView with the following testimonial:

“Jim O’Connell, Project Manger for SOA, was present to provide a staff recommendation. He is confident in the recommendation that the Board vote in favor of awarding the landscape maintenance contract, as defined in the 2019 landscape maintenance RFP, to BrightView. This recommendation is based on the following: full understanding of the scope of work and a progressive strategy to minimize landscape deficiencies; a culture of partnering for successful results; planning for adequate staff quantity and experience; in-house irrigation experts, certified arborists, tree crews, snow removal, special project crews, and a golf course maintenance specialist; innovative technology; client credits for multi-year agreements. This contract is for 18 months and includes opt-out options based on performance. There is an additional one year renewal, if needed. Terry noted there were issues with local and national suppliers and the cost of additional work. Throughout the contract period, it would save SOA $200-$400 thousand dollars a year.”

Whereas BrightView is new to the Reno area, they are “the nation’s leading commercial landscape company” with a very impressive nation wide portfolio.  for our readers interested in finding out more about BrightView and its services, markets, portfolio, locations resources, etc., please visit their website at:     www.brightview,com