April 27th BOD Meeting Recap

somersett UnitedThe SOA Board of Directors held their by-monthly open meeting at The Club at Town Center on April 27th.  Homeowner attendance was rather sparse, about 15 attendees.  Following is a summary of some of the more significant items discussed and/or acted upon at the meeting.  For a copy of the Agenda, please click on the following Link:

April 27th BOD Meeting Agenda

Reports

  • The Communication Committee reported that, as a result of the recent homeowner survey (see previous post “Town Hall Meeting on SOA Survey Results” dated April 15th), it became apparent that a large number of homeowners were unaware of association business, rules, amenities, etc.  Therefore, they plan to write a series of informational articles for distribution to homeowners.
  • The Board President also announced plans for holding quarterly “Town Hall” meetings to help keep owners informed on Association business.

Old Business

  • The Board ratified a boundary line adjustment requested by the Somersett Golf & Country Club (SGCC).  Under the SGCC Purchase Agreement, the SGCC retained ownership of a parcel of land upon which their new clubhouse was to be constructed.  The request was for a slight shift in the parcels boundaries.  There is essentially no negative impact on the SOA associated with the requested adjustment, and the SGCC is to pick up all costs associated therewith.
  • The only litigation item currently before the BOD is a lawsuit filed by a “Northgate Homeowner” challenging the Associations authority to impose certain restrictions regarding access and use of land, which is adjacent to their Somersett property, that was purchased from the previous owner of the Northgate Golf Course.  Apparently there are about 14 homeowners in this situation, one of which has an ongoing lawsuit (a June 19th court date has been set) against the SOA with the remainder in some undisclosed status of negotiations.
  • Drainage and erosion issues have been encountered at the East Park.  The BOD approved adding additional funds to a previously approved contract for East Park work.
  • It was decided not to commission the proposed two new SOA Committees (i.e., Facilities and Traffic/Safety) as “formal” Committees with respective Charters. They will instead be formed as temporary “ad hoc” committees.   Liability reasons were stated.
  • Regarding association goals, the FirstServices Residential (FSR) incentive plan was approved; and landscape plans regarding common area trees were deferred to next year for considerations pertaining to the new maintenance contractor, Reno Green.
  • The Club at Town Center (TCTC) physical alterations were discussed.  Previous approvals were given to assess modifications associated with office and conference room issues.  A new request was made by FSR to “wall-in”, with glass, the second floor open area overlooking the first floor.  Reason given was to alleviate noise interference between activities being conducted at these locations at the same time.  The BOD approved having a consultant address both requests simultaneously.

New Business

  • Approved expanding the number of Association officers who can contact Association attorneys for legal advice.
  • Placed a hold on SOA Aesthetic Guidelines editing.  Presumably to accommodate a proposed new fee schedule.  No indication of what the new fee schedule would be.  With regard to AGC approvals, a homeowner commented on the unacceptable length of times being encountered in the approval process, much to the detriment of the owner seeking approval. Suggested that if the request was not processed in a reasonable time frame, it should be considered approved.
  • Some rules changes for TCTC were approved.  In this regard, the Board President advised that, due to government discrimination regulations pertaining to HOA’s, establishing swimming pool access for adult use only was prohibited, even if multiple pools existed.  They are also looking into issuing identity cards with resident pictures to help alleviate use of amenities by unauthorized individuals.  Another homeowner commented on the unfairness of the same assessment fees being placed on all owners regardless of whether they use or do not use Association amenities.  Also with regard to the number of occupants (e.g., children) in a given residence.  Suggested a graduated assessment fee schedule based on these considerations.
  • Increased construction inspections were discussed to assure compliance with SOA regulations, especially with regard to front yard landscaping by developers.
  • Opened bids from three vendors for the TCTC cleaning contract.  All were in the $4K to $5K/month range not including supplies.  BOD will evaluate based on price, references and apples to apples comparisons.
  • The issue regarding prior placement of trees at parkway intersections was discussed.  Apparently there are many incidents where placements of trees at intersections are in violation of visibility safety regulations, thereby requiring their removal, albeit at SOA expense.  Any removal plan will consider transplanting of these trees to other common areas.

Aspen Lodge Expansion Project

somersett UnitedFor those who may not have seen the original presentation describing the proposed expansion to the Aspen Lodge (see previous post of April 14 for homeowner comments and current status), the following was provided courtesy of Joe Bower, Sierra Canyon Homeowner. 

Aspen Lodge Expansion Project

Please note that the above presentation material is several months old, therefore an obvious schedule change is in order. However, SU has been advised that the basics contained in the presentation material have not changed.  With regard to cost, a current bid estimate of $1,070,000 has been received from one vendor, with more to be obtained.

April 27th Board of Directors Meeting

somersett UnitedThe Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) will be holding their open Board meeting on Wednesday, April 27th at 9:00 AM in the Canyon View Room at The Club at Town Center. For those interested in attending, the meeting agenda may be accessed via the following link:

April 27th BOD Meeting Agenda

As in all open BOD meetings, homeowners will have the opportunity to ask questions or provide comments on any of the agenda topics (i.e., at the beginning of the meeting) or any other non agenda topics (i.e., at the end of the meeting).  If you have any comments or concerns regarding Association business, this is your chance to be heard.

Somersett Fire Station #19 Closures

The following was submitted by Jeff Church – Retired Reno Police Officer:

At the Ward 5 Reno Neighborhood Advisory Group (NAB) covering Somersett, I spoke about RFD Station #19 (2105 Hawk Meadow) being closed. Contrary to reports they were available during emergencies (quote on request) I reported that Skyline #7 was empty (no trucks) and that both stations were closed even on high wind red flag days and 4th of July. Other than that how do you predict an emergency?   I suggested it would at least be a good REMSA and volunteer station. I suggested an agenda item.

After I spoke the RFD Fire Chief spoke to correct my “misinformation”. He insisted the station was browned out not closed. He did say they were looking at an RFD rescue unit there. Contracting with REMSA would be much cheaper but a two person rescue unit is better than nothing.

Current labor contract prohibits volunteers in Reno. Also Reno refuses Automatic aid with Washoe-TMFPD down the hill except for fires but not medical which is well over 90% of all calls. Houses can be replaced, lives cannot.

According to stats I received, #19 was browned out quite a bit in 2013 and 2014 however in all of 2015 it was100% closed. The 2016 stats are pending but I strongly suspect it was 100% closed as well.

Station #19 used to hold two fire trucks (apparatus). Today it holds just one and a pick up. My sources tell me that truck is “An engine with number 87, a 30 year old with 179,000 miles, condition “poor”, is in Station 19”.

So 100% closed for the last 15 months. I title the Chief’s “Clinton-like” comments as “50 shades of brown”.

Jeff Church

Town Hall Meeting on SOA Survey Results

somersett UnitedFor our readers who did not have the opportunity to attend one of the recent Town Hall meetings on the 2016 Homeowner Survey Results, the following is provided:

 

  • The power-point presentation, which was well detailed, used in the Town Hall Meetings to present survey results and provide the basis for discussion. The presentation slides may be accessed by clicking on the following link:

2016 SOA SURVEY RESULTS

  • The first Town Hall Meeting was also videotaped, which may be viewed by clicking on the following:

https://youtu.be/77UfpyIoUN4

The preceding links are also available for access on the SOA’s www.mysomersett.com website.  If you currently do not have access to the SOA’s website, SU urges you to sign up.  An updated website is currently under development, which promises to be more user friendly, incorporate some informative additions and provide for improved homeowner communications. No specific date yet when the contracted vendor, D4 Advanced Media, will have the new website up and running.

Aspen Lodge Expansion Update

Re-Printed with permission of Michael Ferrell – Del Webb Owner

Here is an update on Lodge Expansion. The Sierra Canyon/Del Webb Facilities Committee (Glenda Powell Chairwoman, John Imsdahl, Jim McKee, Doug Wilson, Maryann McKinley, Harold Allred) work on Lodge Expansion continues, but has slowed a little.  It appears the matter will on the Board’s agenda for their May meeting at the earliest but more likely at the June meeting, and not April’s.

There are a lot of comprehensive details being looked into. It appears the Committee would like to line up all its ducks in a row before all Sierra Canyon Association (DW) members (Lot owners) will vote. This is so owners are asked to vote up or down only once. The Committee doesn’t want to have to “go to the well” repeatedly as the more times votes are asked for the less likely passage.

Only one owner per Lot can vote; and yes, Pulte will be able to vote the Lots they are paying dues on.

So far only one construction company has been contacted for a bid. I don’t know if an actual bid was requested or the company, K-7 Construction, was simply “brought in” as they had done the West Entry in 2014 and 2015. However, it appears they are only company the Committee, primarily the chair, has talked with so far.  The plan is to get two additional bids in order to obtain the best overall price and terms. However, to do this, architectural drawings would have to be drawn up with specifications and not just ask companies to bid on a concept drawing as the 500 Footers did. Such detailed drawings could cost thousands (even up to $60,000) in order for bidding companies to respond accurately.

The problem is it could be a waste of $$$ to have the drawings done, get more bids, and then have Lodge Expansion voted down by us DW owners. (Note: some construction companies have their own in-house design department.) So the plan is to get the Lodge Expansion voted on before spending this sizeable sum, but then owners would be asked to approve Lodge Expansion without knowing exactly what they are voting on and all the numerous related costs.

Speaking of $60,000, the Committee wants to hire a knowledgeable/experienced person at that price to oversee the project as a Construction Manager.

The cost being talked about with K-7 is $1.1 million, but this is without detailed architectural drawings so the project cost could and probably would change.  Other than the Committee no one knows what the $1.1M includes (Flooring? Window/door glass? Soundproofing? Sound system? Lighting? Outdoor umbrellas? Tables? Chairs? Kitchen appliances? Landscaping? Shades? Molding? Wallpaper? Room dividers? Etc. Etc. Etc.

The K-7 bid for the West Entry was $63,229 and their final cost was $93,590, i.e. 48% over bid. In addition to K-7’s cost other costs, including design work and glass, amounted to $14,197, putting the total cost for the West Entry at $107,787 – 70% above what owners thought, plus subsequent outdoor lighting and landscaping. AND DW didn’t get the window in the west entry that they voted for. Also, DW owners voted for a new revolving front door to the lodge. This was never done either.

To me, these real costs makes the K-7 estimate of $1.1 million highly questionable and underscores the need for two more bids from other reputable companies. Obviously, a critical fact here is that DW owners need to know exactly how much lodge expansion will cost and exactly how it will be paid for in order to intelligently vote on it.  Equally important is that we have to be sure that we need to expand the lodge in the first place.

After the Facilities Committee is done with their work, the Lodge Expansion matter will be turned over to the DW Budget & Finance Committee to work out how to pay for the project.  It appears financing can be obtained in a like manner as what was done in the Somersett/Private Golf Club matter. That is a bank loan at 5% for which $8.00 of our $ 80.00 monthly dues to Somersett goes to pay off.

There are two main options for financing.  The first would be to get a bank loan and then raise the DW monthly dues for the life of the loan.  At this time, an estimate in the increase in monthly dues is not available as there are simply too many “unknowns” and the DW B&F Committee has not dealt with this yet.    This option would cost more as there would be significant interest expense to pay over and above the estimated $ 1.1 million loan.    The second main option would be a one-time Special Assessment, possibly $1,000 – $1,300, on each Lot. Perhaps other means of financing will be looked into.

The next step before putting Lodge Expansion up for the all-owner vote would be to put Lodge Expansion on the agenda for Board approval.  At this time, the earliest estimate for completing all the necessary paperwork for board review is at a minimum a few months away with actual construction starting in the spring of 2017 as no one wants the work going on in the colder months.

To me, all this detailed work does not adequately address whether we actually need to expand the Lodge or seriously  examine other options such as more efficient use and scheduling of the facility we already have and as addressed in my Lodge Expansion Survey of a few weeks ago.  Since then, I have asked Karen Brown, DW Community Manager, for the attendance sheets we all sign at each event/activity to see exactly how many owners do attend them.  She is working on rounding up, assembling, and collating these sheets so I can see exactly how many people use the Lodge for each and every event, including the gym, pool, and the multi-purpose, and billiards rooms, etc.  When I get these and have analyzed them, I will email everyone an update as to what the facts show for attendance and what this information tells us about the real need for any Lodge Expansion.

From what I’ve been told the two main drivers of Lodge Expansion are not all owners being able to attend some events, e.g. the New Years Eve party.  Some have said why not two parties, one at an early time and one at a later time i.e. like staggered church services. How many stay till midnight? The other is the kitchen. Have you ever seen anyone doing any cooking in there? I see things being heated up and others placed temporarily in the refrigerator.

While the thrust for Expansion is focused on the large room, many owners agree that a larger office space is needed, along with a series of smaller rooms to be used by our various clubs and for small meetings. Do you know the Facilities Committee members meet in the Library all squished around a table?  This proposed lodge expansion for $ 1.1 million is for the expanding the main lodge room without any increase of office space.

There are some DW owners who sincerely believe that Lodge Expansion is worth it without knowing exactly what it will cost and how they will pay for it; or how disruptive it will be; and whether there will be enough parking; etc.; and there others who oppose it for these very same reasons and ultimately the majority vote will decide. And be aware, there are some whose objective is to steamroll lodge expansion through for their own agenda and this is simply not acceptable and not in the best interests of our DW community and all of us who live here.   For sure all DW owners need to have accurate and complete facts and drawings and cost figures in order to make their own most intelligent and best decision as the final vote to approve or reject lodge expansion will affect all DW owners on so many levels.

Feel free to respond to this update as your opinions and concerns do count and they should also count when it comes to addressing this matter at board meetings. Check the agendas and see you there.

Thanks, Michael Ferrell – Del Webb Owner

 

Sierra Canyon Construction Defects Settlement

somersett UnitedThe following memo from the law firm of Shinnick & Ryan NV P.C. was reportedly sent to many homeowners in Sierra Canyon with regard to a construction defect settlement against the builder, Pulte. Apparently this law suit (Reference: Second District Court, Case Number CV 12-02049) has been ongoing since the spring of 2012 and involves approximately 240 Sierra Canyon plaintiffs and 40 Contractors. Main defect is stucco, but many others from window, heating, plumbing, drywall, tile, roofing, electrical, shower doors and others.

Shinnick & Ryan Memo