January 23rd BOD Meeting Minutes

The SU Editor was unavailable for the January 23rd 2019 Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Director (BOD) Meeting and therefore, SU’s usual recap and comments will not follow. However, the SOA’s January 29th “Somersett Happenings “ email distribution provided a link to a draft copy of the Meeting Minutes. This is a new feature and SU applauds the SOA’s decision to make draft meeting minutes available to all Somersett owners in a timely manner. That is, those who have signed up for email notifications. For those of our readers who may not be on the SOA.s email distribution list, a copy of the draft meeting minutes may be obtained via the following link:

janurary 23 bod meeting minutes (draft)

The SOA Somersett Happenings email also summarized a few of the agenda item results as follows:

General Manager’s report: The preliminary draft for the rockery wall inspection program has been completed and forwarded for an engineer for review. Residents have expressed concern about the hillside at The Cliffs which has washed away several times. Management will set up a meeting with Toll Brothers, the Board and city officials to discuss the matter.
Rockery wall repair update: Engineer Seth Padovan reported that DL Wadsworth began repair work last week on the Gypsy Hill rockery wall that was failing. The project should take about 10 weeks. Monitoring continues on the three other rockery walls deemed to be at risk. None of the walls have shown movement at this point.
Committee members approved: The Board approved the appointment of SOA committee members. …..The Board also approved the revised committee charters, which will be posted once they are signed.
Back Nine speed calming devices: The Board approved a project to install speed calming devices on Back Nine trail. The project is fully funded by owners who live in the area at no cost to the SOA.
Landscape RFPS: The Board opened bids from Bright View, Signature, and Reno Green, but voted to postpone a final decision until the bids could be reviewed. The Board will review the proposals and interview the contractors at a Board Workshop tomorrow at 9:30 am (this session is not open to members).”

However, the SOA summary did not address Homeowner comments, which provided much more interesting reading than agenda item results. It appears that the meeting was attended by many Sierra Canyon (SCAN) owners voicing their objections over how the SOA was handling (or could one say mishandling) issues affecting the SCAN Community. SCAN Homeowner comments addressed the following issues:

  • An alleged threat against the SOA management staff by a Sierra Canyon (SCAN) resident.
  • A call for Sierra Canyon to be able to secede from the SOA Master Association.
  • Hostility over SCAN residents having to pay (via the special assessment) for rockery wall failures outside of SCAN, and the irresponsibility on the part of the SOA in maintaining  and inspecting “their” walls.
  • A concern over the stability of the vertical hill slopes surrounding the Toll Bros Cliffs Development, and the future liability for SCAN owners should failures occur.
  • Poor leadership on the part of the SOA in the handling of the Somersett Development Company lawsuit. A call for SOA Board Member Roland to resign or take a leave of absence until the lawsuit is settled, this due to his wife’s employment with the Somersett Development Company.
  • Removal of the Del Webb signage from the West Entry Monument
  • Controversy over SOA/AGC control of the SCAN/ARC regarding inspections and approvals for non-structural changes.

Most of the issues commented on above by SCAN owners are not new and have been previously discussed, but apparently not satisfactorily resolved in the opinion of those present at the meeting. Also, comments by SCAN Board Members with regard to the actions of the SOA Board have been hostile in nature and do not set a good tone for future discussions between the two. What is not apparent is do the comments by those at the meeting reflect the majority of SCAN owners, or just a disgruntled few? Perhaps some SCAN owners would care to comment?

Another agenda item not discussed in the SOA’s meeting minutes summary is the request by a Somersett owner to plant approximately 11 trees on a common area hill adjacent to their property and to water them (via drip line extension) at their own expense. This ostensibly to beautify the hill (an admirable objective), but also to protect their privacy from unobstructed views of their backyard from new homes being built nearby. Apparently no final BOD action was taken on this request. This is surprising, given the past ruling against an owner for a similar request citing liability concerns. SU believes that refusal of this request is a no brainer, given not only liability concerns, but what happens if the owner decides to sell their property and the buyer does not want to continue to maintain them? Also sets a bad precedence for a multitude of other owners wanting to modify common area landscaping to suit their own fancy, perhaps to the detriment of others.

Under the Committee Reports Section of the meeting agenda, the Facilities Committee made a recommendation to the BOD “that the Board not pursue Jensen’s and Pollock’s SOA lot purchase within the Town Square, as both offers would possibly preclude from future HOA amenities and the Committee would need additional time to recommend additional amenities”. No BOD follow-on discussion was evident in the Meeting Minutes regarding this request. However, it would be interesting to know what SOA lots are in question, what price were the purchasers offering and for what purpose?

As always comments are welcome!

A Look Back at 2018

Some of the more significant events affecting Somersett Owners during 2018 involved: 1) Common Area Rockery Wall Repairs and Litigation, 2) The Club at Town Center (TCTC) Pool Re-Design, 3) Somersett West Park, 4) Wild Fire Fuel Reduction, 5) Disagreements between the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) and the Sierra Canyon (SC) Sub-Association, 6) Disputes with the Somersett Golf and Country Club (SGCC) , 7) Northgate Owners Litigation, 8) Homeowner Forums and 9) Improved Communications. A brief summary on each follow:

Rockery Wall Repairs and Litigation

Obviously the Rockery Walls issue, which resulted in the $1200 Special Assessment for 2019, was the most significant and costly item (~$4.3M) addressed by the SOA Board in 2018. Unfortunately, this issue will not be resolved in the near future, with unknown future costs to Association members. Given that a summary of the Rockery Wall 2018 events would be rather lengthy to document here, interested readers are referred to the following links to previous post articles, which are presented in chronological order, oldest to newest,

TCTC Pool Re-Design

After previous setbacks, and budgetinng issues, a $560K TCTC pool re-design project was finally approved. Work is underway and will be ready for the 2019 pool opening. Primary upgrade involves relocation and construction of a new landing pool area for the kids slide.

Somersett West Park

Plans for the proposed Somersett West Park were finalized with the City of Reno. Park construction to include a dog park, community garden, childrens play area and common space. A fund raising partnership was established with the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation to raise additional funds for Park construction. Apparently the City of Reno has $800K in their budget for park construction, but an additional $700K is required to complete the Park as currently designed. Park construction will be a phased approach, beginning in 2019, as additional funds become available. Individuals , or entities, wishing to donate to the Park fund are encouraged to contact the SOA Board or access the Foundations website at: http://www.tmparksfoundation.org/somersett-west-park. Having completed its Charter, the SOA’s Somersett Parks Advisory Committee was dissolved in December. The SOA Board and staff will assume future coordination with the City of Reno and the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation. Park layout plan is depicted on the previously referenced Foundation website.

Wild Fire Fuel Reduction

Based on previous SOA funded reports, the SOA Board approved a project to reduce wild fire fuels between residential structures and open space. Work to begin in 2019, with additional areas to be identified given that the initial project came in under budget. Areas covered under the initial contract may be viewed via the following link: Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project. Work to be managed by High Sierra Forestry, who was previously contracted to oversee implementation of the SOA’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan prepared by Resource Concepts, Inc. in June 2017.

Disagreements between the SOA and Sierra Canyon

Issues between the SOA Board and its Sierra Canyon (SC) Sub-association continued throught 2018. Issues included 1) disagreements/responsibilities between the SOA Aesthetics Guidelines Committee and the SC Architectural Review Committee, 2) responsibility for front yard developer landscape deficiency repairs, 3) use of varmit fencing (e.g., chicken wire), 3) financial support for SOA Common Areas outside of SC (e.g., Special Assessment for Rockery Wall failures), 4) priorities on roadway speed reduction signage, and 5) removal of Del Webb signage from the West Entrance Monument.

Hopefully the newly installed SOA and SC Boards can work out their dissagreements in 2019. However, in light of the SC Board Presidents address to the SOA Board at the December SOA Board meeting, this could be problimatic!

Disputes between the SOA and SGCC

2018 disputes with the Somersett Golf and Country Club (SGCC) involved the following: 1) equitable sharing of water pump operating costs ( i.e., pumps providing irrigation water to both the SGCC and Canyon 9 golf gourses, 2) fulfillment of SGCC responsibilities under the “Water Facilities Agreement” portion of the Purchase and Lease Agreement, and 3) SGCC Liability for Rockery Wall and Hillside Repairs on SGCC Leased Property. Item 1 has been resolved with items 2 and 3 still open. Item 3 is on hold until June 2019 via an agreement between the SOA and SGCC pending outcome of the SOA’s current legal action against the Somersett Developers via the SOA’s Chapter 40 Claim for Construction Damages. Details are available via the following link to a previous post article: SOA Disputes with the SGCC

Northgate Owners Litigation

The trial on this litigation between the Plaintiffs and the SOA was held on November 19th and 20th of 2018, with a tentative ruling in favor of the Plaintiffs (i.e., against the SOA). However, the Courts final ruling has yet to be released. Hopefully this brings an end to this issue which has been ongoing for several years with the SOA racking up approximately $250K in legal expenses since 2015. For those unfamiliar with this litigation, background information may obtained via the following link to a previous post:  SOA Attorney Litigation Letter

Homeowner Forums

In addition to the monthly SOA Board meetings open to all unit owners, the SOA held the following homeowner forums in 2018:

  • Rockery Wall Litigation Information Meeting
  • Homeowner Forum on Governing Documents
  • 2019 SOA Budget Presentation
  • BOD Candidates Night Meeting
  • Annual Homeowner and Budget Ratification Meeting

Aside from the Rockery Wall Information Meeting, owner participation at the above referenced meetings were less than desireable.

Improved Communications

The SOA Communications Committee and FirstService Residential staff implemented inproved communications with Somersett owners via: 1) SOA website improvements, 2) Somersett Happenings email distibutions and 3) Monthly General Manager Reports. The General Manager Report is available to all owners on the SOA website under the SOA/SOA Documents tab. This report sumarizes Aesthetic Guidelines Committee, Community Standards Committee, The Club at Town Center, and Communication activities during the reporting period. Also updates on landscaping, maintenance, engineering and special project endeavors.

For those who have not yet signed up for SOA website login or the Somersett Happenings email distributions, you are encouraged to do so. For help in this area contact the SOA Communication Coordinator, Robin Bolson, via robin.bolson@fsresidential.com or 775-787-4500 x324.

Other

  • TCTC Facility Improvements
  • Retention of FirstService Residential through 2021 as the SOA’S Community Management firm
  • Canyon9 Golf Course pond repairs

If any of our readers feel we have left out other significant events or accomplishments, please feel free to comment.