Sierra Canyon President Message

Following is a reprint of the March 8, 2019 Sierra Canyon Association President message to Sierra Canyon owners, which may be of interest to other Somersett Community owners.  Some editorial comments on the part of SU are included in red italic font.

“Sierra Canyon Presidents Message

The new board of directors is in place for Sierra Canyon and their first meeting will be Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 3 pm. I hope that many of you can be there. There are two new faces on the board Dave DeLucia and Joe Lasby. Welcome!!! I am looking forward to working with Dave and Joe as we continue to move our Sierra Canyon Community forward. So here is your Sierra Canyon Board for the next year:

Yours truly, Steve Guderian, President
Chippy Flynn, Vice President
Joe Lasby, Treasurer
Loren Farell, Secretary
Alan Stroppini, Director
Tom Hedger, Director
David DeLucia, Director

The big news of the day is the changeover to the new management company, GrandManors. We are in our first week of the changeover so it is hard to judge how things are going. However, from what I have seen so far, things seem to be moving forward and going pretty well. I am sure that many of you have noticed that we were able to keep most of the office staff. Keeping our staff turned out to be quite a chore as FirstService Residential did everything they could to convince staff not to stay with Sierra Canyon. I am very proud of the staff that we have and I believe the fact that they are staying with us is not only a credit to them for wanting to stay here, but also a credit to our community. The fact that staff wants to continue to work together and with our community says a lot for, and about our community and who we are.”

SU Comment: Given that Sierra Canyon’s previous management company was the same as the SOA’s (i.e., FirstService Residential) it will be interesting to see how GrandManors works out for Sierra Canyon, if a significant improvement, then perhaps some future consideration for the SOA.

“As we move forward through the next year, there are a couple of areas I believe we need to gather information on and report back to the community. I think the biggest one is the Toll Brothers construction monstrosity. That thing is a mess and it is going to affect our community. Therefore, I believe that we need to learn as much, as we can, as well as stay on top of what is going on. I have asked Director Hedger to take on the task of pulling together information about Toll Brothers construction and reporting back to us.”

SU Comment:: A lot of Somersett owners, not just Sierra Canyon, have reservations about the Toll Brothers development. Hence, the February SOA BOD Meeting reference to a letter to be sent to all Somersett owners on this subject. Letter will apparently address compliance with regulatory requirements and the process to be followed by all parties involved (Including individual Somersett owners) who may have disputes/concerns with project compliance, inspections, defects, hillside stability, etc. Letter expected to be completed by mid-March and subsequently distributed by mail to all Somersett owners.

“At the SOA board meeting last week, community manager Tracy Carter told everybody that Toll Brothers wants a copy of audio from all of the SOA board meetings. Mr. Carter’s position is that Toll Brothers will be more responsive to issues that come up in the board meetings… Yea right, since when has a builder been concerned about the community? My position on this is that they want a copy of the audio so they can hear what is going on and then get out in front of anything and protect themselves.”

SU Comment: If Toll Brothers is an SOA lot owner and paying assessments on such, then they have a right to request audio tapes of the SOA BOD meetings. However, suggest if they are really concerned about community issues, that they attend in person.

“The other thing that came up at the SOA board meeting was a report on the condition of items which were turned over to the SOA by the 18-hole golf course, SGCC. Let me cut to the chase on this report: over the next 5 years $700,000.00 in maintenance and replacement costs. I believe that SGCC should pay the SOA community this $700,000 worth of cost because they were supposed to turn over items in good working order and repair. Here is the issue, the golf course does not have this kind of money, and they are, in essence, broke. So this means that we the SOA community members get to pay this $700K over the next 5 years. Hopefully, it will not be that much money and something will be worked out.”

SU Comment: There are also other issues with the Somersett Golf and Country Club. Stay tuned for a subsequent Blog article regarding the referenced report and additional issues.

Over the last few months Sierra Canyon homeowners have been showing up in force to the SOA meetings… We need to continue to do that. Sierra Canyon represents 40% of SOA, but we get 100% of the shaft. It has to come to a stop and we have to make sure we let SOA know that we are also a big part of the community and they need to treat us like part of the community and respect who we are; a solid, vibrant community of retirees.

SU Comment: Sierra Canyon owner participation at the recent BOD meetings is commendable, it would be nice if other SOA community owners would also take the time to attend (those with an axe to grind are always more vocal). However, it would appear that they do not have the same disagreements with the SOA Board as does Sierra Canyon. Sierra Canyon owners may have some valid complaints with SOA Board actions, but their past and present President’s rhetoric directed at the SOA Board would appear to be somewhat counter productive in establishing a good working relationship. One thing is clear, they are certainly putting the SOA Board on notice.

I have been working on a couple of different things to push back on SOA. We have to let them know that we will fight for what is right. Come to the SC board meeting this next Wednesday and hear about what I will have done by our next board meeting. I will also make sure that the golf course maintenance report, with costs, gets attached to the board packet.

We are a strong, vibrant community and I for one absolutely love everything about living here. Let’s work together to make it even better and stronger.”

Steve Guderian
Sierra Canyon President

 

Reader Commenting

Having received a reader email questioning comment presentation on the SU website. The following is provided for our readers who may not be familiar with website comment structure and/or the process for submitting:

 

  1. Following all SU postings is a link that says “Leave a Comment” or “# Comments” The preceding appears when no comments on the post have been submitted. The later appears when one or more comments have been submitted.
  2. If a reader clicks on a “Leave a Comment” link, a LEAVE A REPLY section will appear with a text box for writing your comment along with email and name boxes (required), also two voluntary check boxes if the commenter wishes to receive new comments or postings via email.
  3. If a reader licks on a  “# Comments” link (say “4 Comments” as an example) all four previous comments will appear in chronological order, with a “Reply” link following each one. This is for replying to a comment and clicking on “Reply” will open up the same LEAVE A REPLY section described above.
  4. If a reader wishes to submit a comment on the post and not a previous comment, simply scroll down past all the previous comments to the LEAVE A REPLY section and proceed as described above.
  5. The comment process is completed when the commenter clicks on the POST COMMENT box within a LEAVE A REPLY section, wherein the following message should appear “Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview, your comment will be visible after it has been approved.” Note: Comments are approved regardless of content except in the case of profane or libelous language or egregious personal attacks.
  6. Another option for commenting is via the “RECENT COMMENTS” section (right hand column) of the website. This section provides direct access to the most recent 15 comments, in chronological order, regardless of what post or comment it is in reply to. Clicking on one of these comments not only displays the comment, but also the post it is in reference to, plus all other comments on that post. The reply process on the displayed comments and/or the post is the same as previously described.

Hope this helps!

Gypsy Hill Rockery Wall Repair

The $1.43M Gypsy Hill Rockery Wall Repair project has been underway now for about six weeks. As previously reported, the prime contractor for repairs is R. L. Wadsworth Construction at $1.28M. Supporting contractors are CME for shotcrete testing and inspection services at $64K, American Geotechnical for additional testing and inspection services at $53K, Padovan Consulting for project oversite services at $25K and Reno Green for landscape removal services at $8K. Project status as reported by Padovan Consulting at the February 27th BOD Meeting was as follows:

“ The Gypsy Hill wall repair started on January 21st. Prior to the project start Reno Green removed the landscape and irrigation from the wall benches. The contractor mobilized their equipment and has applied about 2/3 of the structural shotcrete to the wall. Weather has caused significant delays, but contractor has remained on-site and recently started drilling the tie-back anchors. Testing and inspection has been conducted by CME and American Geotech. Padovan Consulting has been communication with all parties and conducting site visits on a daily basis. Due to the irregular wall face the shotcrete quantities have been exceeding planned coverages ant there will be a change order for additional shotcrete. Padovan Consulting is checking daily shotcrete tickets and quantity closely.”

Note that the status report indicates a “change order” will be forthcoming because the amount of shotcrete (mortar mixture sprayed on the wall under high pressure) being used is exceeding planned coverages.  A change order usually refers to a modification (e.g., work scope addition) to the original contract, which does not appear to be the case here.  One would expect that the contractor would have adequately inspected the wall before submitting his bid.  Therefore, what will the change order pertain to, was the amount of shotcrete limited by the contract terms, do we have an estimated cost adder, and will it be significant?  Perhaps SOA Management Staff would care to comment?

For those who are not familiar with the job site, visit the following link:      Gypsy Hill Slope Stabilization Project Area

The following job site pictures illustrate progress (note tie-back anchor locations) as of March 3rd. The shotcrete walls are certainly not very attractive. However, once complete, a decorative layer will be applied to replicate a rockery wall appearance. It will be interesting to see how this will compare with the adjacent non-repaired rockery walls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BrightView Landscaping

Starting this month, residents may notice a different logo (shown at left) on the uniforms and/or equipment of the landscape company performing work throughout the Somersett Community. BrightView was chosen over Signature Landscaping and Reno Green, whose bids were as follows: BrightView – $1,440,868: Signature – $1,376,874; and Reno Green – $1,361,430.  Although not the low bidder, the SOA Staff recommended BrightView with the following testimonial:

“Jim O’Connell, Project Manger for SOA, was present to provide a staff recommendation. He is confident in the recommendation that the Board vote in favor of awarding the landscape maintenance contract, as defined in the 2019 landscape maintenance RFP, to BrightView. This recommendation is based on the following: full understanding of the scope of work and a progressive strategy to minimize landscape deficiencies; a culture of partnering for successful results; planning for adequate staff quantity and experience; in-house irrigation experts, certified arborists, tree crews, snow removal, special project crews, and a golf course maintenance specialist; innovative technology; client credits for multi-year agreements. This contract is for 18 months and includes opt-out options based on performance. There is an additional one year renewal, if needed. Terry noted there were issues with local and national suppliers and the cost of additional work. Throughout the contract period, it would save SOA $200-$400 thousand dollars a year.”

Whereas BrightView is new to the Reno area, they are “the nation’s leading commercial landscape company” with a very impressive nation wide portfolio.  for our readers interested in finding out more about BrightView and its services, markets, portfolio, locations resources, etc., please visit their website at:     www.brightview,com

February 27th BOD Meeting Summary

Following is a summary of some of the more pertinent topics discussed and/or approved at the February 27th Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting.

Homeowner Comments;

  • Several homeowners spoke (pro and con) on a homeowner group proposal to install speed calming devices along Back Nine Trail (i.e., to be paid for by the homeowner group and subsequently maintained by the SOA). Three homeowners spoke in favor of the proposal, citing speeding observations and safety concerns for pedestrians and children at play. Three spoke in opposition, their concerns being: inadequate data to support the speeding claims and effective use of speed calming devices, impact on low clearance vehicles, maintenance issues and other unintended consequences, but primarily that the entire Back Nine Trail Community (approximately 250 homes) had not been adequately consulted or surveyed on the proposed project, only a select self-interest group. Opposition recommendation was that full community input and approvals be obtained before proceeding. (See Agenda Item 6.d below for Board action on this subject).
  • A couple homeowners spoke on what they consider to be an untenable relationship between the SOA’s Aesthetic Guideline Committee (AGC) and Sierra Canyon Architectural Review Committee (ARC). Points made were: 1) Sierra Canyon (SC) homeowners should be able to get minor changes approved by the ARC without going to the AGC, 2) Sub-associations can impose stricter requirements on homeowner changes than master associations, therefore, the perceived notion that SC homeowners only need to obtain AGC approval is not valid, 3) minor changes (e.g., landscaping) should not require an application fee, 4) SC homeowners and the ARC have been treaded badly by the AGC and 5) AGC and ARC issues have been dragged on for too long and action is required now.
  • A homeowner spoke on a personal issue with the Board regarding a perceived threat and the reactions thereto. Being somewhat personal, SU chooses not to summarize on what was said. If the homeowner wishes to air his comments publicly, he may do so via reply to this article.
  • An SC Association Board member again addressed the Board on Rockery Wall issues. He made several points which the writer was not able to completely capture but appeared to address the following: 1) a request for Rockery Wall inspection reports, 2) a mistrust of the City of Reno to adequately inspect the Toll Brothers Cliffs project, 3) SOA direction with regard to Rockery Wall inspections and 4) funding sources.
  • The SC Association President requested that a copy of the SGCC Maintenance Report (as referenced in the “SOA Engineering Update” link below) be sent to the SC Board for review.

Committee Reports:

  • The AGC Committee recommended non-approval of a homeowner request to plant trees, at their expense, in SOA Common Area. (See Agenda Item 6.e below for Board action on this subject)
  • The General Manager Report included updates on the following projects/programs;
    1. Rockery Wall Inspection Program – Scope of work for a proposed inspection program expected to be completed within a week with RFP’s to follow. Objective is to identify any changing conditions and identify areas for preventive maintenance.
    2. SGCC Mechanical Equipment – A report on the condition of the Somersett Golf & Country Club (SGCC) mechanical equipment was completed along with recommended short and long-term repairs/maintenance. A meeting with the SGCC is being scheduled to discuss the report and action plans. No discussion on SOA vs SGCC financial liabilities ensued.
    3. The Cliffs by Toll Brothers – A letter to be sent to all Somersett owners regarding the Cliffs residential development is currently under review. Letter will apparently address compliance with regulatory requirements and the process to be followed by all parties involved (Including individual Somersett owners) who may have disputes/concerns with project compliance, inspections, defects, hillside stability, etc. Letter expected to be completed by mid-March and subsequently distributed by mail to all Somersett owners.
    4. SOA Engineering Projects – Updates were provided on the following on-going projects: 1) Rockery Wall Failures, 2) Common Area Drainage & Hillside Erosion, 3) TCTC Slide Relocation & Landing Pool, 4) Somersett Parkway Irrigation Leak, and 5) Golf Course Irrigation Facilities. For details, click on the following link:       SOA Engineering Update – Feb 2019

Old Business Items

  • Item 6.a Legal Updates – Nothing new to reeport here except that the hearing to announce the final ruling on the James /McCulloch case (Northgate owners issue) sheduuled for February 28th was cancelled to be rescheduled in March.
  • Item 6.b Committee Charters – Some minor revisions to the previously approved AGC Charter were approved. This did not effect the previous revision that eliminated the Construction Manager and Homeowner positions on the Committee.
  • Item 6.c Rockery Wall Update – See the SOA Engineering Update link referenced above.
  • Item 6.d Back Nine Speed Calming Devices – Based on subsequent opposition to the previously approved homeowner request for the installation of speed calming devices on Back Nine Trail, the BOD placed its implementation on hold. This to obtain additional input from other Back Nine Trail homeowners. Perhaps in the form of a meeting between homeowners and SOA BOD and Management Staff to discuss concerns and solutions. Editorial Note: Although a generous and admirable request, SU questions the wisdom of BOD approvals for modifications to common area elements proposed and paid for by self interest groups, as it sets a bad precedent for other self interest groups to pursue their agendas. Common areas belong to the community as a whole and any modifications thereto should only be considered in that context. Permitting homeowners to individually pay for common area modifications could have unintended consequences that could financially impact other homeowners or the Association at large.
  • Item 6.e 8643 Gypsy Hill Common Area Planting Request – At the January Board Meeting, the Board took under consideration a request by a Somersett Homeowner to plant eleven trees on SOA Common Area property adjacent to their property. Homeowner would pay for the trees , installation costs and irrigation cost via extension of drip lines from their property. Request was denied. Editorial note : SU believes that denial of this request was 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.

New Business Items

  • Item 7.a  Discussion on AGC Fee Reduction – Discussion centered mainly on the reduction of AGC fees for simple applications not requiring permits. That is, fees associated with the “Edxternal Changes” and “Desk Review” categories, which are currently estblished at $400 ($175 refundable after inspection) and $100 ($50 refundable after inspection) respectively. It was suggested that there should not be a charge for these types of applications and homeowners should not have to go to the AGC for approvals. Board will review the current fee structure with Finance Committee involvement. For those interested, the current AGC fee schedules may be accessed via the following link:           AGC Fee Schedule