Recap – Homeowner Information Meeting on Governing Documents

The following is a recap of what transpired at the subject meeting held on July 9th at TCTC:

Attendees:

  • Board Members – Tom Fitzgerald, Jason Roland, Frank Leto
  • FirstService Residential (FSR) Representatives – Melissa Ramsey, Robin Bolson
  • Homeowners – 12

Needless to say, the meeting did not attract many homeowners. Perhaps this because entertaining specific changes to the Governing Documents was not part of the agenda. That is, no opportunity for homeowners to express their pet peeves.

Melissa Ramsey (FSR Area Manager) and Tiffany Roland (Homeowner) chaired the meeting. They summarized the SOA’s Governing Documents as well as other SOA documents and what would be required to change them (for a copy of the meeting handout, click on Governing Documents). A summary of documents discussed, along with additional SU provided info, follows:

  • Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) Chapter 116 Common-Interest Ownership (Uniform Act) – Nevada Law enacted by the State legislature. It establishes the regulations and requirements that all HOA’s must follow. NRS 116 trumps any SOA Governing Document or BOD Action.
  • Somersett Planned Unit Development (PUD) – Approved by the City of Reno, the Somersett PUD is a multifaceted document, prepared by the Master Developer (Somersett Development Company), which describes the overall Somerset Community Development project. This includes all residential, commercial, common areas, community centers, recreational facilities, trails, parks, etc. and their related Development Standards (e.g., Home, Landscape, Hardscape and Architecture requirements). It is the responsibility of the SOA to enforce the PUD’s Development Standards. Variances to the PUD may be requested by the SOA BOD, minor variances can be approved by a city planning staff, but major variances would most likely require City Council approval. The PUD is a legally recorded document.
  • SOA Articles of Incorporation – Establishes the SOA as a non-profit corporation. Defines the objects, purpose and structure of the corporation. A legally recorded document that requires a majority vote (i.e., more than 50%) of all eligible homeowners to change,
  • SOA Bylaws – As with most corporations, bylaws are set forth to establish how the SOA will be run. The SOA bylaws addresses items such as Membership, Meetings, Directors/Officers, Committees and Violations. A majority vote of all eligible members is required to amend the bylaws.
  • SOA Declaration of CC&R’s – Defines the purpose, organization and responsibilities of the SOA. Establishes owner rights, responsibilities and restrictions. Describes the property covered by the CC&R’s, the common areas and amenities, and the protocol for levying of assessments. A legally recorded document that requires a majority vote (i.e., 51%) of all eligible homeowners to amend.
  • SOA Aesthetic Guidelines – The purpose of this document is to “provide guidance to property owners, Builders, Architects and Designers for all development and construction – new buildings, building additions, site work and landscaping – as well as any subsequent changes or alterations to previously approved plans or existing homes in Somersett”. It establishes Architecture, Site Development, Landscaping, and Property Modification requirements along with the design review fees and approval process. The Guidelines are administered and enforced by the Aesthetic Guidelines Committee (AGC). The AGC may propose changes (approved by the BOD) to the Guidelines as long as they are not in conflict with the CC&R’s or PUD.
  • SOA Rules, Regulations and Policies – The purpose of the various SOA Rules, Regulations and Policies is typically to clarify and/or assist in the administration of the CC&Rs and operation of SOA facilities. Changes are usually proposed by the SOA Committees and approved by the BOD.

With regard to changes, the following comments apply:

  • It appears that most homeowner complaints pertain to the Aesthetic Guidelines (e.g., lighting, landscaping, fences) which can be modified (by the AGC) without homeowner vote. That is, as long as they do not conflict with the PUD (the CC&R’s typically do not contain this sort of detail) which many most likely will. However, the PUD can also be changed without homeowner vote. Therefore, it would be sensible for the AGC to conduct some form of homeowner forum(s) to gather input, assess and propose changes, which, if required, can be taken by the BOD to the City of Reno for a PUD variance.
  • The Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws and CC&R’s all require a majority vote of all eligible homeowners to modify. This is an ominous process, not easily obtained and would require a concentrated effort not only on the part of the BOD but Homeowner involvement as well. Also, provisions are often duplicated within these documents, so one change could affect all three documents. This would constitute a longer and more difficult process than Aesthetic Guideline and PUD changes. Therefore, formation of a special committee to review these documents for appropriate changes would probably be the way to go.

At the close of the meeting, the BOD president advised that a decision has not yet been made on future meetings or committee formations. In the interim, He encouraged owners to continue to provide their comments via the “Homeowner’s Forum: SOA Governing Documents” post on the SOA Website.

With the exception of the PUD, all the above referenced documents are available on this website under the “References” tab.

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