Homeowner Analysis of December 12th BOD Recap

The following post submitted by, and the opinion of,  Joe Bower Sierra Canyon Owner 

First of all, I don’t go to Somersett board meetings as often as I used to, especially since owners can get a free audio recording just by asking. And I missed this one.

However, ever since 2009 the Somersett recording system(s) has been worse than lousy. 2009 is the year state law – Nevada Revised Statutes 116 – governing homeowner associations – first required audio recordings of board meetings to be made (and BTW kept for ten years),

Along with inferior microphones and recording devices there is a lot of board whispering/chatter and rustling of papers making for clarity problems on the audio recordings. In addition, when the board is to be addressed by a member in the audience, the person should stand at a miked podium so they can be recorded clearly.

Shouldn’t cost much money to have an adequate sound system for board meetings. Hire a pro to determine what works well in the rooms where it will be used rather than having a staff member unknowledgeable/inexperienced in “sound” simply going to the store and buying a cheap/wrong one.

Wow! How did the Sierra Canyon (SC) board president say all that he did in three minutes? Granted special time allotment?

As a member of the SC association I am embarrassed that the president apparently took it upon himself to address the master board without a SC board resolution that he do so. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t recall “Address to Somersett Board” being on any SC board agenda.

For years sub-association SC owners have had opinions and complaints about the master Somersett association (of which they are also a member) not only concerning how it is run, but also decisions being made that affect them. Is it too simple to say the vast majority (1) have never attended a Somersett board meeting; (2) only a handful attend on a regular basis; or (3) have never volunteered for Somersett committees?

SC owners have long been frustrated about being in a sub-association subject to the Somersett master association and paying two monthly assessments and what they now perceive to be an unjust special assessment. The simplest way to understand the current situation is to look upon Somersett being the federal government and SC the Nevada state government realizing that dues to Somersett are like taxes to the feds and that Nevada taxes go to help correct damage on federal lands (common areas) in other states.

SC owners often say SC should secede from Somersett without realizing that is impossible under current governing documents, primarily the City approved Somerset PUD (Planned Unit Development) into which SC was written. Why not seek a doable alternative solution of benefit to both Somerset and SC, i.e. get off the dream of secession and instead undertake the practical of making Somersett and Sierra Canyon a single association?

That would entail the doable of dissolving the Sierra Canyon Association and drawing up new Somersett governing documents so that SC is absorbed into the Somersett Association as a non-sub, but with certain agreed upon provisions designed to preserve its 55+ status. A joint committee needs to be set up to work out the details for a single board, CC&R’s, bylaws, common area maintenance, etc. etc. etc. everything (including amending the PUD), i.e. re- setting up Somersett from scratch. Lot-a lot-a work, but can be accomplished just like the merger of two corporations, e.g. Exxon and Mobil – as indeed SOA and SCA are two corporations. That is what should be concentrated upon starting soon knowing that the end result might take a couple of years.

Without seeing the backup documentation for the points made by the SC board president it is difficult to comment, but here goes.

1) What makes the letter improper? What threats? Carrying out the Violation Policy all owners are subject to is not a threat.

Speaking of threats, what is the sentence in the Sierra Canyon Board president’s statement read into the record of the Somersett board meeting: “There needs to be action and positive steps taken by SOA Board before we go deep into litigation and expense that many wonder if we will even prevail.” ???

1a) Landscaping issues created by the SC developer should have been addressed when first known. As part of the purchase process for a home the prospective owner is given copies of association governing documents. In them are “rules”on landscaping, e.g. mow-strips and front yard trees now in prolonged controversy. If the developer hadn’t followed the rules as part of the construction process, the prospective buyer should should either: (1) not have not closed until they were; or (2) received a written document from the developer saying they would be within a specified time period. At the time of common area turnovers from developer to the association a joint inspection walk-thru should have been undertaken by a developer representative, a board member, a professional landscaper, and a professional civil engineer so that defects/defaults could be noted and the turnover not accepted by the association until they were corrected. It is difficult without lawsuits to correct what should have been taken care of years ago. Bottom line: Buyer Beware.

2) Private homeowner insurance policies either will or won’t cover various types of special assessments. Those policies are between the individual and the insurance company and have nothing to do with either association. If the Somersett letter in question is dated November 2, 2018, my agent had no trouble with it. Also, the letter contained the phone number and email address of the Somersett General Manager who gladly will answer questions or provide additional information.

3) Somersett is not obligated to help in advising SC owners of the special assessment. Early rumors were rampant that it was coming and there was time to ask insurance agents “What if, am I covered.” The official letter explained all that was necessary. Soon there will be another on how to pay the special assessment. Everything in black and white reviewed by a lawyer before mailing.

4) Leadership regarding the status of reserves included two SC owners on the Somersett board and three SC owners on the Somersett Finance Committee. What more could SC want??? Both monthly board meetings and monthly finance committee meetings are open to all owners. Yes owners not attending have no clue as to what is going on. I suggest more often and more informative association business e-blasts even though owners may attend Finance Committee meetings.The Committee reviews the monthly financial statements and ongoing and possible future financial matters. Typically only a handful of owners attend and the committee members while not wanting to be interrupted will pause to take questions from the audience.

5) I don’t recall the status of Jason Roland being on the agenda for a SC board meeting. Was the December 12 letter to the Somersett Board regarding Jason approved at a SC board meeting or did the board president take it upon himself to write it? Perhaps there were discussions about Jason among board members, however, I am unaware of a board resolution being approved resulting in the letter.

How many owners noticed that Jason did not check the conflict of interest box and explain it on his candidate statement? He clearly had and still does have a conflict with his wife (Tiffany) being an employee of the master developer currently be sued by the association. Also, he has a conflict with Tiffany being on the Community Standards Committee which deals with owner violations. A negative decision made by the CSC (Tiffany) against an owner can be appealed to the Board (Jason). I don’t believe recusing himself from board matters that touch on conflicts of interest prevents them from being part of conversations at home. Both Tiffany and Jason should resign their positions. The “pipeline” from board to the developer may not exist, but any appearance of such should be avoided. Owners need to have their violation appeals without prejudice

If Janson were to leave the Board, the Board would have four members for only a short time. Regarding a resignation, the Bylaws say: “the board may call a special meeting of the members to elect a new director to the unexpired portion of the term or the Board may leave the position vacant until the the next annual members meeting, at which time any unexpired vacant directors’s term shall be filled by election of a new director.” A wise and over-burdened board would call a special meeting. Should Tiffany leave the CSC, her replacement can easily be appointed at the next board meeting.

Lighting: Accepting money for holiday lights from an entity that Somersett is suing is a pathetic shame. It should be returned with postage due on the envelope.

Irrigation Main Line Repair: Repairs have been ongoing for +/- fifteen years. Padovan Consulting has been the go-to firm for +/- fifteen years on Somersett projects requiring civil engineering expertise. It is my opinion that after having one-man Padovan Consulting so deeply involved in association matters for so long that the time has come to contract with other companies when association needs arise in the areas of construction and project management, entitlements processing, permitting, design, due diligence, forensics and water resource matters. Is Padovan Consulting routinely given work by the Board without first receiving bids from others? Is there any conflict of interest with Mr. Padovan being on the Aesthetic Guidelines Committee?

Somersett Parkway Crosswalks: Once again SC is treated as the unwanted stepsister regarding the installation of rapid flashing pedestrian lights at crosswalks. It’s always Somersett first SC last. Somersett maintains the parkways in Sierra Canyon and installation of such lights should be on a cycle of one for Somersett and one for Sierra Canyon, one for Somersett and one for Sierra Canyon, i.e. a steady alternation of something badly needed in both associations.

Parks Committee: Although the initial reasons for the establishment of the Parks Committee were accomplished , its charter should be re re-written to continue on with new objectives. The establishment of a “junior” Ad-Hod Garden Group is not enough, especially when there are two parks (East and West) in Somersett that require constant attention and maintenance. Both parks are open to the public and one would expect many non-Somersett dogs to visit a geographically desirable park. How will the Garden, Dog Park, and Children Areas be managed on a daily basis?

I believe it would be most helpful to most owners if a draft of board meeting minutes for both associations were sent out as an e-blast to owners within three days after the meeting. That would help cut down rumors and keep owners more fully informed. Over the years I have asked that draft minutes be readily available in the same time frame as audio recordings. Owners (association members) are adults who understand that draft minutes are just that, i.e. not official until board approved. Why hold them back?

I wish to apologize for any ignorant or erroneous statements made herein. As always I will stand corrected.

Joe Bower

3 thoughts on “Homeowner Analysis of December 12th BOD Recap

  1. Some good material Joe. Thank you for your assessment. I may not agree with everything you commented on but appreciate the thoughtful comments.

  2. I have been told by Tracy Carter, Somersett General Manager, that the xmas lights will go up today on the southwest monument.

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