SGCC Clubhouse Announcement

somersett UnitedIn an email distribution to Somersett residents, the Somersett Golf & Country Club (SGCC) revealed their plans for “Construction of the long awaited clubhouse ….”. Contents of the SGCC’s email may be accessed by clicking on the following link:

Clubhouse Coming to Somersett G&CC

In their announcement, the SGCC  stated they currently have 300 members, two thirds of which are Equity Members, this equates to approximately 200 Equity Members  and 100 Preview or other non–equity member classes.  With regard to Equity Members, the SGCC reported 115 at the end of 2013 and 194 at the end of 2014. While an admirable growth for 2014, there does not appear to have been any significant growth over the past year.  However, it is anticipated that construction of the clubhouse will be a strong factor in attracting equity memberships going forward.

With regard to the Preview Program, the SGCC email stated “Former SG&CC Members can not re-join under the Preview Program”.  This appears to be a strange restraint given that there may be some former equity members who status has changed to the point where they may now be interested in re-joining, or may have left because of the absence of a permanent clubhouse.  Also, given that most did not receive any, or a very limited, return on their original membership fee when turning their membership in for resale.

Communication Committee Activity

somersett UnitedThe following derived from the January 19th Communication Committee Meeting Minutes:

 

  • Lauren Stemmler has accepted another position within FirstService Residential (FSR) and will be leaving her position as the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Community Manager effective February 11.  It was reported that her replacement (unnamed) has been hired by FSR and will start on that date.   The SOA Board is also looking at the addition of a Communications Manager and Administrator to the FSR staff.
  • A homeowner survey on amenity additions/improvements will be initiated around February 1st and will run for three weeks.  To encourage participation, a $500 prize will be raffled off among those responding
  • The Communication Committee is recommending hiring D4 Advanced Media as the SOA website vendor. The committee has been working on a revamped design of the association’s website.  A beta test version was developed and reviewed by a selected set of homeowners. All is expected to be completed and a website vendor approved at the February 24th Board meeting
  • The Communication Committee is planning on holding Town Hall Meetings on Friday April 8th and Saturday April 9th to present survey results and showcase the new website. Once time and place are announced, be sure to put on your calendar.

SOA Board and Committee Communications

somersett UnitedSomersett United would like to commend SOA Board president Susan Novell for her January 20th “From the Presidents Desk” email to Somersett owners summarizing  decisions made at the January 14th BOD Meeting. To our knowledge this is the first time for an owner email communication that recaps Board Meeting results.  Perhaps our Communication Committees will also follow suit.

A couple items not covered in the Presidents email were decisions pertaining to the SGCC regarding the awarding of a maintenance contract for the Canyon9 golf course and a minor boundary line adjustment on retained land not covered by the purchase agreement (see previous SU Post “January 14th SOA BOD Meeting Recap” dated January 15th).

In previous articles, SU has criticized the SOA Board and Committees for the lack of communication on their activities and decisions that affect us all. Therefore, the Presidents email and purported changes to the associations’ website, which will incorporate improved owner communications, are welcome news. We will see.  Perhaps they can take some token of measure from this website.

SGCC Clubhouse Construction

somersett UnitedAs reported in the January 20 issue of the Reno Gazette Journal:

“Somersett Golf & Country Club:  Will begin construction this Spring with a grand opening planned for Spring of 2017. The 17,853 square-foot clubhouse will complement the style of the Somersett community and feature multiple dining areas, a bar, golf shop, locker rooms, members-only lounge, a multi-use room, meeting room, kitchen, offices as well as an outdoor patio and underground cart and bag storage.”

Given that this is most likely being financed (at least in part) by the $2.75M of Somersett Owners Association money paid to the  Country Club for purchase and lease back of the Country Club land, one wonders why this has not been publically disclosed by the Somersett Board to homeowners, who obviously have a vested interest in it.  Under the Country Club Purchase Agreement, Somersett homeowners will enjoy access to the new clubhouse, with the exception of the “member’s only lounge”.

January 14th SOA BOD Meeting Recap

somersett UnitedFollowing is a summary of items discussed and acted upon at the January 14th Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Director (BOD) meeting.  The full agenda may be accessed by clicking on the following link: Jan 14th Special BOD Meeting Agenda

Presidents Report (Item 3.b)

A Somersett and Sierra Canyon homeowner meeting is being scheduled for February 4 to address community security and safety issues.  This is being accomplished in conjunction with Ward 5 Councilwoman Naome Jardon.  Homeowners will be notified as to time and place, but it is expected that sessions will be held both at The Club @ Town Center (TCTC) and the Aspen Lodge.

Sierra Canyon Parkway Easement (Item 5.a)

A boundary line and water split agreement for maintenance of the Sierra Canyon Parkways was proposed by a committee representing both SOA and Sierra Canyon. Under the proposed agreement, the SOA will have responsibility for landscape and maintenance of property approximately 20 feet on each side of the Parkways and 80% of the irrigation costs.  Apparently there was no dispute regarding SOA responsibility for Parkway maintenance, only boundary definition, landscaping schemes and irrigation costs.  There was some discussion regarding the proposed boundaries, but ultimately, the agreement (to be implemented via an amendment to the current agreement) was approved. For those interested in reading the current agreement, this may be accomplished by clicking on the following link:  Del Webb Maintenance Easement Agreement

The agreement also addressed maintenance of the monuments at the front and back entrances to Sierra  Canyon. Sierra Canyon will have responsibility for both, until such time as Sierra Canyon build out is complete, at which time the SOA will take over responsibility for the  back entrance monument, ostensibly with a signage change to reflect the Somersett community as a whole.

Sierra Canyon Public Trail Maintenance (Item 5.a)

There has been a controversy over which association (Sierra Canyon or the SOA) was responsible for maintenance of the public trail system within Sierra Canyon.  Sierra Canyon has been including funds for this activity (at Sierra Canyon homeowner expense) in their reserves.  However, the Sierra Canyon Board has contended that this is an SOA responsibility.  The SOA’s attorney, after looking at all the SOA’s governing documents, sided with the Sierra Canyon position. The BOD accepted (with one abstention) this decision and will proceed accordingly. What remains is for a walk down of the trail system to establish which are actually public and fall under the decision.

Canyon 9 Maintenance Agreement (Item 5.b)

The BOD approved awarding the contract to the Somersett Golf & Country Club (SGCC) for the Canyon9 golf course maintenance. The SGCC’s proposal apparently was submitted with two parts, one for course maintenance ($286K) and one for water pumping system utility costs ($23K).  One BOD member questioned the later, contending that under the SGCC Land and Water Rights purchase agreement, the SGCC was responsible for at least some of the utility costs. This portion was approved contingent on an evaluation of the purchase agreement (within 60 days) and a determination as to whether or not some cost allocations, and the dollar amounts, would be appropriate.

Common Area Landscape Services Contract (Item 5.c)

The BOD approved (with one no vote) awarding the Common Area Services contract to Reno Green Landscaping, although theirs being the highest ($840K) of the three submitted bids (current vendor The Groundskeeper included). There was much discussion supporting this decision, including references, organizational structure, equipment, technology usage and a full time account manager.  The discussion included a summary of deficiencies encountered with the current vendor and a determination that the higher bid amount would be offset by the SOA’s incurred cost associated with these deficiencies. Also, that the Reno Green bid was within the SOA’s budget amount.

SGCC Boundary Line Adjustment (6.a)

Under the SGCC Land and Water Rights Purchase agreement, there was an area (approximately 5.5 acres) established for future construction of a SGCC clubhouse.  This area was excluded from the purchase agreement with the SGCC retaining its sole ownership.  The SGCC has requested an adjustment to this area’s boundary of about 0.19 acres on an equal exchange basis.  This to accommodate clubhouse construction concerns.  It was determined that this adjustment  had no impact on the SOA and was approved contingent on the SGCC agreeing to cover all costs associated with the requested adjustment.

SPC Report on TCTC Amenities and SGCC Land Usage

somersett UnitedThe Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) has been diligently performing its charter to develop and maintain a strategic long range plan for the Somersett community.  In this regard they focused on the following two tasks:

  • Task 1.  The Club at Town Center (TCTC) amenity improvements for 2016 and beyond.
  • Task 2.  Options for the Somersett Golf and Country Club (SGCC) land usage.

As a result of their extensive work on the above tasks, a special meeting was convened and a report issued detailing their activities, discussions and recommendations.  The full report may be accessed by clicking on the following link, which all are encouraged to read:

SPC Special Meeting Report

Task 1 TCTC Amenity Recommendation Summary

Recommendations contained in the report pertaining to TCTC amenity improvements include:

  1. Expanding the TCTC on the north side to add sufficient square footage to accommodate youth services programs, exercise facilities and meeting rooms.  Also recommendations on reconfiguring the TCTC facility to accommodate increased usage.
  2. Double the size of the lap pool, provide enclosed access from TCTC, and provide a convertible pool enclosure to allow for year around use. 
  3. Revise member areas around the outdoor pool to accommodate additional seating/lounging.

It is interesting to note that the SPC concluded that to construct a facility to accommodate an indoor pool and fitness center on the land adjacent to the Town Center retail buildings was not feasible for a variety of reasons.  This being somewhat contrary as to why the SOA BOD opted to purchase this land (i.e., for $260K) in the first place. That is, for future TCTC amenity additions. This now raises the question as to what this land (currently an eye sore) will ultimately be used for.

Task 2 SGCC Usage Recommendation Summary

Whereas the Task 1 recommendations will most likely provide for little controversy, SU expects that the Task 2 recommendations will not follow suit. The following SGCC land usage options were considered:

  1. Continue to operate the golf course and related facilities as now and offer it free to Owners.
  2. Do nothing but water and cut the grass on the Golf Course
  3. Operate the course as a private golf club except that there would not be any “free” golf for SOA members.
  4. Operate the course as a semi-private golf course
  5. Operate the course as a public course.

In evaluating the above options, the SPC rejected Option 2 as the least acceptable and estimated the annual cost to the SOA to maintain as green space would be in the $500K- $750K range, and that water restrictions may not permit maintaining such a large green space. 

Option 1 was also rejected based on the basis that most Somersett owners do not play golf and that the required increase in owner assessments would never pass a vote.

Options 3, 4 and 5 were presented as alternatives by the SPC Chairman who is also a SGCC member. He presented financial estimates, wherein options 3 and 4 could be accomplished on a break even basis with no impact on SOA member dues.  Based on these scenarios, the SPC recommended consideration for operating the golf course as a semi-private club (Option 4) with the backup for a private club (Option 3).

However, SU considers that the Option 3 and 4 scenarios presented by a SGCC member are potentially self-serving.  Therefore, the BOD should not act on the SPC recommendation without an independent assessment of the scenario data and assumptions. Note that Option 3 does not appear to offer Somersett homeowners anything for their $15/month assessment and Option 4 assumes 100 rounds of golf per day by Somersett homeowners – is this a stretch?  Also, the $2.0M estimated operating budget is not consistent with the SGCC’s reported expenses of $2.92M in 2013 nand $2.73M in 2014 (2015 financials are not yet publically available).  Additionally the scenarios do not appear to address what it would cost the SOA to acquire the SGCC business license, equipment, and club house.  These were all not a part of the purchase agreement. 

Interestingly, the report contained no reference on the SGCC’s current financial status and/or the probability that the SOA would be faced with a SGCC default anytime in the near future.

Additionally, the preceding recommendations appear to be at odds with what the SOA BOD presented to homeowners when arguing for a positive vote on the CC&R amendments and purchase of the SGCC land and water rights.  That is, to be able to control what happens to the SGCC land should they fail, stressing maintenance as a green belt (with little impact on assessments) as opposed to buying a golf course with a commitment to operate as such (as being more costly to homeowners).

Whatever the BOD or SPC recommendations turn out to be, if the SGCC property reverts to the SOA, one can only hope that the BOD will live up to its commitment to let the homeowners make the final decision. Presumably through a majority voting process.

Security Cameras for Sierra Canyon?

somersett UnitedThe following status on Sierra Canyon security issues provided courtesy of Sierra Canyon homeowner Michael Ferrell.

As a result of recent robberies, a homeowner initiated petition has been circulated calling for installation of security cameras at strategic locations within Sierra Canyon. This signed proposal will be presented to the Sierra Canyon BOD at the January 13th Board Meeting.

The petition circulators have confirmed with the City Attorney’s office and the Code Enforcement Department that there are no restrictions, fees, permits or regulations pertaining to installing security cameras that record public streets. Therefore, installation of cameras at both Sierra Canyon entrance/exits would be perfectly legal. Estimates were solicited and received from Reno commercial alarm companies that range from $11K-$14K, plus some nominal additional costs.

In addition to the Security Camera initiative, another Sierra Canyon homeowner, Mike Lehr, contacted Reno City officials about the recent burglary situation, and the apparent lack of police follow-up. This gained the attention of Ward 5 Councilwoman Naome Jardon, which resulted in an offer to schedule a community meeting at Aspen Lodge to discuss public safety issues. Date has not yet been announced.

Sierra Canyon homeowners are encouraged to attend the 5:30 PM Board Meeting on January 13 and express their support for the Security Camera initiative.

As a side note, Sommersett residents may want to consider signing up for AlertID at alertid.com. This is a totally free website that alerts one to crimes in your neighborhood with details and location maps. It is helpful to know what is going on in your neighborhood!

January 14th BOD Meeting

somersett United

The Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) will be holding an open Board meeting on Thursday, January 14th at 9:00 AM in the Canyon View Room at The Club at Town Center. This special meeting was called specifically to address the following time constraint items:

  • Review and Approval of Requested Sierra Canyon Sub-Association Agreements.
  • Review and Approval of Canyon Nine Maintenance Contract.
  • Review and Approval of Common Area Landscape Services Contracts.
  • Somersett Golf & Country Club Boundary Line Adjustment 

As in all open BOD meetings, homeowners will have the opportunity to ask questions or provide comments on agenda topics or any other non-related items.

PARIS DECEMBER 2015 – AND HOW IT WILL FAVORABLY IMPACT RENO

The following post submitted by Geoffrey Brooks – Somersett Homeowner.  Obviously a controversial subject.  Comments are welcome.

New Year resolutions are very passé – many are made and most are not fulfilled.

In Reno we have an opportunity to benefit from the US commitment to the Paris Accords to reduce green house gas emissions (GHG’s) on our planet.

Our City is the 8th most sunny in the US…there is still is a substantial tax credit for installation of Solar Panels or Wind turbines. Economies of scale have now resulted in solar and wind generated power costing no more, if not less, than power provided by burning Carbon and building new GHG generating behemoths. (Yes we are paying more for electricity than we should so that NV Energy can invest in 19th Century planet destroying technologies!) – Shame on you Warren Buffet!

Reno should place a carbon tax on all electricity consumed generated by burning Coal and Natural Gas in our city. NV Energy produce some of their power from solar, geothermal and hydropower which would be exempt, but 85% of the power they sell in NV comes from Carbon. These tax revenues can be used to subsidize the installation of additional solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower systems needed to replace Carbon fired generating facilities. An investment can be made in a secure modern electrical distribution systems. This enterprise will create good jobs, in addition to those at the Tesla Battery facility. Free Electrical power can be provided in various city locations to re-charge PEV’s and Plug In Hybrids. Just imagine the transformation, our air would be cleaner, the stunning mountain vistas would be clear. Better, healthier living by not burning carbon!

 Washoe County residents should volunteer to visit the desert brush lands and our forests to clean up the brush, remove dead vegetation and recycle human debris!  This will reduce the chance of a fire.

Walking through the woods near Thomas Creek reveals, lots of dead vegetation, dead trees. Using battery powered saws, carts and chippers this can be removed and reduced to wood particles which can be re-used in particle board and engineered woods. Now that Carbon which would be released into the air through decay or fire, will be “captured” in solid structures which can be used for construction. The EV equipment will be powered by the battery packs produced by Tesla in their TRIC mega-factory.

We live in a desert, where water is invaluable, it is resource that needs to conserved, it shouldn’t be free to anyone. A cost should be assigned which all will pay, including the agricultural industry. All crops should be grown using drip-feed water conserving techniques. Look at the vineyards in nearby NAPA. Industrialization of farming is essential to ensure that it continues to provide food for all. As in Vegas, TMWA should be facilitating the adoption of desert landscaping, which requires the use of drought tolerant plantings, using drip-irrigation techniques. TMWA should encourage the plantings of more trees and bushy shrubs. Trees remove more CO2 from the atmosphere on a sq. ft basis than other vegetation. Trees are good, as is drip-feed irrigation!

What can we do here in Somersett? – we can copy Del Webb in Roseville where the community has installed large scale solar power for the amenities.

We can pick up the brush and garbage in the common areas, remove dry brush from the fence lines to reduce the fire risk.

We can sponsor a tree planting campaign…

Most can install solar panels on their roofs, or put up wind turbines (like you see by the Squeeze In on McCarran).

We can do a lot, we can all help to make Somersett and Reno the capital of a “green” and pleasant land by eliminating as much carbon burning as possible.

 Respectfully,

Geoffrey Brooks BSc. (University of London, England)

Are Solar Roof Top Panels in Your Future?

somersett UnitedIf homeowners want to be environmentally conscious by installing roof top solar panels to generate their own electricity this is all well and good. However, most non solar customers do not want to pay more for their electricity as a result of Utilities losing revenue due to mandated financial credits extended to their solar power customers.  Nor do most potential solar power customers want to engage in such if it does not make economic sense.  It appears that both cannot be accommodated.

Currently Nevada Energy is required to pay (i.e., the Net Metering Rate) solar power customers for whatever electricity they generate back into the local grid.  Sounds like a good deal, generate more electricity than you can use and get paid for it.  However, in Nevada there was a cap in place on how many customers could participate in the Net Metering program. With the growth in roof top solar panel use, this cap will soon be reached.  Therefore, solar panel providers and environmentalists, argued for an increase in the cap. However, Nevada Energy contends that increasing the Net Metering cap is problematic, because they still have to maintain all the costs associated with maintaining the entire electrical grid. These costs along with the loss of revenue from Net Metering customers must, therefore, be passed on to non-solar customers in the form of increased rates. This being unfair to their non-solar customers.

Understandably, the Nevada roof top solar panel providers and Nevada Energy were at loggerheads over a solution. The solar panel providers lobbying for an increased customer participation cap, no decrease in the Net Metering rates paid to solar customers and no increase in customer service rates. They argue that without such, the existing cap would soon be reached, sales will drop and many providers will have no choice but to leave Nevada, resulting in significant job loss (they predict 6,000).  The Utility arguing that the economics of such is not plausible without increasing non-solar customer rates.

Much to the dismay of the solar panel providers, the Nevada State Legislature did not act on increasing the Net Metering participation cap, which left it essentially the same and deferred to the Nevada PUC to come up with a new Net Metering policy. In late December 2015, the PUC issued a new policy effectively decreasing the rate paid to roof top solar customers for the electricity they export to the grid while increasing fixed service fees, which escalate over time. This action has caused solar panel providers Sunrun, SolarCity and Vivian to announce they will shut down their Nevada operations under the premise that the changes will lower net metering compensation to the point where roof top solar no longer makes economic sense.

Details on the new Net Metering rates may be obtained from the following Las Vegas Review Journal link:

http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada/nevada-puc-staff-recommends-denying-bid-delay-new-net-metering-rates

Obviously a complex issue, the pros and cons of which are arguable.  However, it does raise the following questions:

  1. Do most roof top solar panel customers do it for environmental purposes or financial incentive?
  2. With the increase in Utility wind and solar farms have Net Metering programs outlived their usefulness?
  3. Should individual solar panel homeowners be in the electrical grid producing business requiring Utilities to purchase their excess generation?
  4. To what extent should non-solar power customers subsidize solar power customers?