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.

3 thoughts on “SOA Board and Committee Communications

  1. I’m sure Susan will be thrilled to receive words of praise from an anonymous person named “SU” running a blog on a free website, who apparently doesn’t know much about what’s going on in Somersett.

  2. I did not see a reference to the $22,000 in question for course maintenance, that Tony Fakonas thought was the responsibility of the Golf Club, in the GC Purchase Agreement..

  3. Messages from the Somersett board president are more than welcome. In layman’s terms, its about time. The recent one was a triple. However about going for a home run next time?

    Instead of having a special board meeting in January, a month typically dark in past years, why not have an open session board meeting every month? Too much is constantly going on and a semi-monthly meeting schedule is unjustified.

    It is shocking to read that “Members of both boards met prior to the meeting to layout proposed easement boundaries.” Unit owners have the right to attend all meetings other than executive session meetings. The few topics allowed to be discussed in executive session do not include trails or landscaping. Going forward not only should communications be more open and more frequent, but also both board and committee meetings need to be noticed closer to their date/time and not just one time a year.

    “Due diligence” on maintenance of all trails in Sierra Canyon was initiated, and primarily done, by a lowly ordinary non-board member owner. Everything he discovered was in “black and white” and lawyers with their high fees were unneeded. Anyone, even board members, can read what is in the governing documents of both associations, if they know where to look.

    As far back as 2006 the portion of the Somersett Trail System (aka walking paths) within Sierra Canyon was subject to discussions.

    In 2008 the Sierra Canyon on-site manager (aka executive director) sent an email to the reserve analyst which said “Looks like Somersett will not be taking care of our waking paths according to Michele Attaway at Somerset so the walking paths would remain in our Reserves for now. I need to look into this more but we can assume they are ours for now.” Boy was that assumption not only wrong, but costly for Sierra Canyon owners. Of course Somersett should be taking care of the walking paths/trails per the governing documents. The exec director always looked up to mighty Somersett and never challenged what it said. “Somersett says” was a frequent beginning to many sentences on various topics.

    That email was followed the next day by an exec director to reserve analyst email which said “By the way we don’t feel that the ‘walking path maintenance’ should be our Association’s responsibility it should be Somersett’s responsibility but we are trying to iron this out. In the meantime leave it in there.”

    The reserve analyst told me in 2015 that “From 2008 to the present, I do not recall any discussion (with me) regarding responsibility for paths. From 2008 to the present, path maintenance was just a routine component in the reserve study. The only exception was slurry maintenance. When the board decided to change to the 1120 tax form,I was instructed to remove any slurry maintenance from the study along with painting components.” Responsibility what responsibility!

    At this time, over $108K of owners dues money has gone into the Sierra Canyon reserve line item: Repairs and Maintenance: Asphalt/Slurry Sealing. That money should never have been collected and instead owners’ dues lowered by the monthly amount that was. Now that Somersett has acknowledged responsibility, what should happen to that money? What should the amount of Sierra Canyon dues paid to Somersett be?

    Why not name the board member who abstained on “Master Association should assume full responsibility for the Somersett trail system which spans both the Master and Sierra Canyon areas?” Anyone in attendance heard. It will be in the minutes! BTW why aren’t minutes posted as a draft a few days after every meeting?

    I have no doubt as to the accuracy of maps in the PUD or promotional material. The maps contained in the PUD document are unreadable due to their being shrunk to 8.5×11. Poster size maps are available. Also, data from trail initial installation. However, walking the trails with the reserve analyst is a good idea. Hopefully s/he has a laser measuring tool.

    Regarding the landscaping Maintenance Easement Agreement (MEA) between Somersett and Sierra Canyon, the first MEA stating that Somersett would maintain the parkway landscaping in Sierra Canyon was written in September 2007. Listed on the first page were the parcel numbers to be maintained. However, that document was never signed. The second copy doesn’t have any parcel numbers listed and was signed by Sierra Canyon on April 30, 2009 and by Somersett on May 4, 2009, and recorded on February 17, 2010. Thirty months from start to finish! Part of that time was devoted to insistence on the need for the MEA by Somersett and resistance to same by Sierra Canyon.

    BTW never signed: the current Security Services Agreement for “Patrols of Somersett Owners Assn.” that says Security services will commence on 12/01/11 is still not fully signed. It was signed by a Somersett board member, but NOT by the Authorized Representative of the company, Securitas Security Services USA, Inc. Is it valid??? How can something like that go undetected for over four years? What else needs to be checked for completeness and accuracy? Is making sure that everything is “nice and neat” last on the list of concerns of board members or have golf club and amenity matters swamped them?

    What needs to be decided for now is how a landscape crew member can know how far to go “in” when doing maintenance. “Going in” means when standing on the trail with his back to the parkway what is to be maintained from the farthest edge of the trail from the curb. Naturally, he would go to a nearby adjacent wall, if there is one. Where no wall, I suggest he lay down his rake end-to-end three times and that be the distance.

    The purpose (desire) of SOA maintaining the landscaping down the center divider and sides of the parkways to provide a uniform look is a failed effort, if not a sick joke. The landscaping on Somersett Parkway looks like color TV while that on Del Webb Parkway East and Somersett Ridge Parkway looks like black and white TV. Even the tree species are different.

    Once again who either voted No or abstained on the revised MEA is hidden from owners. That shouldn’t be. Why do we know more about what goes on in Washington, DC than in our own backyard and have to wait almost sixty days before minutes are available. Draft copies anyone!

    The Sierra Canyon Board does not need to vote on proposed landscape maintenance boundaries. Here’s the pitch for the Somersett home run. The Somersett PUD applies to and includes Sierra Canyon. It was recorded as document #3738238 on 03/12/2009 and on Page 2-23 it clearly states:

    “All common areas, including pedestrian easements, streetscapes, major entries and intersections, open space parks, ‘commons,’ and trails will be maintained by the Somersett Owners Association (when enabling legislation is passed by the City of Reno allowing such districts).”

    Please disregard “enabling legislation.” I have checked with the City and have learned that is now an unnecessary clause that had been inserted when the PUD was being worked on prior to its approval and there is no need now for such legislation as the Somersett HOA is already in place.

    Needless to say, “All common areas” include those in Sierra Canyon. Boundaries not needed. Somersett does it all.

    Sierra Canyon should never have made a separate contract with a landscaping company and should not do so now. However, Sierra Canyon should have operational oversight of what Somersett provides. The current Sierra Canyon landscape contract can continue on a monthly basis until Somersett acknowledges, accepts, and implements its responsibility. I suggest that be done before the warmer months bring required landscaping.

    While not part of the President’s Message saving on irrigation water should be a Number One topic. The simplest thing that can be done is to convert certain patches of common area grass to xeriscape on a year-by-year basis (too much for one year). Xeriscaped common areas will not only cut back water usage, but also mowing costs. One side of Del Webb Parkway is almost 100% xeriscape, while the mow strip on the other side is 100% grass.

    Oh yes, many owners want the choice between turf and juniper for their mow strips to be expanded to include xeriscape options, including decorative rock. Not only do they not want to mow, but also not to water. While the PUD only offers the limited choice, the City says modifying the PUD is easy and not costly to do and a change resulting in the saving of water will be looked upon favorably by City Council.

    A for efforts so far, but time for Somersett to go for an A+ and hit a home run.

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