Is Another Amenities Planning Report Necessary?

Somersett United
Somersett United

The Somersett Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) and our Board of Directors (BOD) is in the process of generating a Request for Proposal (RFP) to engage a land use planner to prepare a “Master Plan Amenities Recommendation” (i.e., conceptual renderings, building size, and space layout for moved/expanded amenities). Also, under consideration is the purchase of the parcel of land adjacent to The Club at Town Center, should it become available again. These actions may be well and good at some time in the future, but believed by SU to be patently premature at the present time. This based on the following:

  • The Amenities Assessment Report recommendations regarding amenity expansions (see previous post of July 25) were based on old (2010 census) demographics and inadequate homeowner (2013) survey data, and that new data is necessary before any amenity changes/additions are undertaken.
  • There is an apparent lack of control and supervision by the management staff in amenity usage.  The result being inadequate data and abuse of facilities by unauthorized users. Operational improvements are necessary to assess actual amenity usage and the problems associated therewith.
  • There is a general feeling that older adults (e.g., those without resident children) are getting shorted in amenity usage and venues, primarily due to the increase usage by children (see previous post of August 3 & Comments). There is a need to address this issue before proceeding with any land use planning.
  • There are many Amenities Assessment Report recommendations that should be acted upon before considering the hiring of a land use planner.  Most notably the implementation of a key card system for amenity access.  This would enable an accurate assessment and tracking of amenity usage as well as limiting access to authorized users.
  • Purchase of additional land at this time would not make sense given the recent SOA purchase (November 2014) of the parcels adjacent to the Town Center retail buildings, for which no current usage plan exists. Also not covered in the Amenity Assessment Report was the SOA purchase and leaseback of the Country Club property.  Given the ongoing failure rate of golf courses, what would the SOA do with this property?  To our knowledge, no contingency plan exists.  Hopefully, there will not be a need for one.

The conclusion being that no amenity expansions, purchase of additional property and hence, engagement of a land use planner, should be considered until: 1) implementation of a comprehensive key card system, 2) operational improvements, and 3) updated homeowner demographics, amenity usage data and surveys; have all been accomplished.

Let’s not get the cart before the horse, and perform the Amenity Assessment Report recommendations in the proper order.

Comments welcome!

5 thoughts on “Is Another Amenities Planning Report Necessary?

  1. These comments are excellent and are offered in the best interest of the community at large. The BOD must be stopped from spending money on ethereal improvements that have no basis in facts. The order of action must be: get a card key system implemented. Obtain updated amenity usage information through a new survey. Using the card key system usage information coupled with a current survey, will provide factual data for planning.

    Last year, the BOD spent $2.5m of our money on an under utilized Golf Course with no controls as to how that money was to be used. Lets get this BOD under control and make sure they stop spending our money based on unsupported facts.

    We also need to know what it is currently costing to manage the amenities we have. How many staff members has the management company employed to run the town center? If the dominant usage is for children, perhaps a fee per child should be considered. Children are not properly supervised at the town center, in the locker rooms and pools, therefore, adults are uncomfortable being there. Due to this unsupervised behavior, there is more wear and tear on the town center facilities. This factual condition needs to be addressed by the BOD before any further monies are spent on new amenities.

  2. An improved key card system makes a lot of sense. It would better control access and provide a useful data base on how many residents are availing themselves of various amenities.

  3. The Board should engage Somersett United to write the study since SU knows the community and its needs better than anyone!

  4. It does seem that unlike most of the residents, the Somersett United post contributor has read the report. Apathy, apathy…

    The Amenities Report itself provides some excellent commentary, comparisons and does make some practical suggestions. Somersett is a small business with a high debt load, and, our reserves still have to be fully funded…monies budgeted for reports should perhaps be put into the reserves. Who knows when the next recession will occur?

    A modern keycard id system makes sense for all residents – young and old – to ensure that the SOA keeps “order”. No harm in following the Tahoe Donner system, which keeps late payments of dues to under 1%. During the Great Recession 2008 – 2012 (in Reno), it seemed to me (as a frequent user) that the adult use of the gym, pool and facilities were greater then than they are now. That hi-use level was achieved during a 30% shortfall in dues payments!

    I personally think an ad hoc committee comprising of the Board, SGCC members, and SU supporters would be able to come up with a way to plan forward without spending more money on another report. The report uses outdated statistics, and survey data gathered two years ago with modest (but not that bad) community participation. (following Old Joe Clark’s suggestion).

    I have been relatively active in the community, attended meetings, met several times with the Board President. I am happy to make thoughtful suggestions and yet have not ever been invited to join in. When I applied to join the strategic planning board over 2 years ago, I was rejected!

  5. Did anyone think of such amenities as an ice skating rink, bowling lanes, a Wall Street trading room, a Formula One racing simulator, and a soccer field? All can be found at a 5.6 acre development in of all places, Miami, Florida. Upscale Somersett could match as we have owners with the same interests.

    Maybe we could one up them and put in a riding stable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s