Who to Vote For?

 

Good question! What are you looking for in a SOA Board Director? Financial Expertise? Prior HOA Board Service? Administrative Experience?, Diversity?, Sub Association Affiliation? Active in Community Affairs? Other?

For those who attended the Candidate Night sessions you certainly heard a lot to assist you in making up your mind. This via Candidate responses to questions dealing with: 1) qualifications and relevant experience, 2) time available to devote to the position, 2) outside influences and/or conflicts of interest, 3) individual priorities, 4) SOA Committee participation preferences, 5) purpose for running, 6) familiarity with SOA’s governing documents, 8) Somersett Golf & Country Club relationship and other pertinent questions. These as well as the Candidates opening and closing statements.

However, only a small minority of Somersett owners attend these sessions. Therefore, if you did not have the opportunity to attend, how do you decide who to vote for? In the past, videos of the Candidate Night sessions were made available for all homeowners to view. Not so this year, apparently the SOA management staff (FirstService Residential) did not see fit to provide the resources to do so. An unaceptable action, or lack of action, in our mind!

Therefore, what other avenues of information are available to our owner voters? Obviously the Candidate statements contained within the Ballot mailing package, which provide the source that many will rely upon. However, this source is limited, therefore, talk to your friends and neighbors to gain their perspectives. Also, for those of you who want to voice your support for a particular candidate or candidates, and why, consider social media such as this website, Somersett Nextdoor or the SOA’s Facebook Page (not sure what restrictions would apply here).

SU has chosen not to endorse any of the Candidates, feeling they are all qualified to serve. We will leave that to others, and as mentioned above, reader comments, pro or con, on any of the Candidates are always welcome.  This includes postings and comments from our Candidates as well.  In this regard, SU would like to acknowledge and appreciates those submitted by Board Candidate Craig Hanson, and the candidness in which he addressed his position on community issues.

 

 

SOA and the SGCC

With all the discourse going on, (i.e., on the SU website, Somersett Nextdoor and at Board Meetings) with regard to Somersett Golf & Country Club (SGCC) members serving on the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (Board) and accusations related thereto, perhaps some facts, opinions and comments are in order:

Fact:s:

  1. Any Somersett owner in good standing can serve on the SOA Board if duly elected, regardless of their associations with other entities (e.g., the SGCC).
  2. For the two SOA Board seats up for election this year, none of the four candidates are SGCC members.
  3. The current SGCC members serving on the SOA Board, Joe Strout and Terry Retter, seats are not open for election, so baring any resignations, they will continue to serve for at least another year, maintaining the two SGCC member representation on the SOA Board for 2020.
  4. Board Members Joe Strout and Terry Retter, were first elected to serve on the SOA Board in November 2018.
  5. With regard to past Rockery Wall failure actions undertaken by the SOA Board, given that Retter and Strout first took office in November 2018, they could not have been a party to the approvals of: 1) The SOA lawsuit against the Somersett Development Company et al; 2) The securing of the loan to pay for Rockery Wall repairs, including the SGCC portion; 3) The approval of the $1200 assessment; or 4) The Tolling Agreement that put litigation against the SGCC on hold. All of which occurred before they took office. Therefore, there is no basis for accusing them of violating any NRS Statutes on fiduciary responsibilities or conflict of interest for these events.
  6. With regard to the SGCC’s Water Facility Maintenance responsibilities, the SOA Board has not yet put forth any proposition or taken any actions that would directly benefit the SGCC financialy or otherwise. That is, actions that could present a conflict of interest on the part of Board members Strout and Retter.

Comments/Opinions

  1. For those who feel that SGCC membership on the SOA Board should be limited, a reasonable position given the consequences, then perhaps they should arrange for more non-SGCC candidates to “Throw Their Hat Into The Ring”, and support them accordingly.
  2. SU does not believe that there is any current basis for believing that Board members Strout and Retter have violated any NRS Statutes to date with their service on the Board.
  3. It would appear that many are aware of the above, and it is not what Board members Strout and Retter have done, but what they might do in the future.
  4. There is a valid concern over the SGCC’s ability to: 1) Pay back the SOA for the Rockery Wall repairs on SGCC leased property; 2) Perform necessary repairs to Water Facility equipment as required under the 2014 Purchase Agreement; or 3) Continue to meet their operating expenses. That under these circumstances the SOA Board might put forth a proposition to pass some or all of these liabilities (as they have done in the past) on to the Somersett membership at large.
  5. Per the SOA By-laws, a quorum for the transaction of business is 66% of the Directors, this would equate to four members, as three out of five is only 60%. Therefore, any proposition that comes before the SOA Board for approval that benefits the SGCC financially or otherwise, if the SGCC members recused themselves from discussions and voting, as they should, the proposition could not pass for lack of a quorum (probably welcome by most). Not recusing themselves would most likely assure passage.
  6. It is the fear that SGCC Board members will not properly recuse themselves from SGCC related issues that concern many. Is there any basis here? Board member Strout, when running for the Board stated he would recuse himself as required and has not, to SU’s knowledge, stated anything to the contrary. However, Board member Retter has equivocated on this issue. At the October Board meeting, he improperly interrupted a Somersett owner who was stating his opinion on the recusal issue by saying, “not so”, an argument ensued, wherein the Board President shut down any further discussion between the two.  (Note: Shutting down the argument was the right thing to do, but not admonishing Board member Retter for his interruptions and not letting the homeowner to continue with his comments, was the wrong thing to do).
  7. It is SU’s opinion that Board member Retter, does not believe recusals for voting on SGCC related propositions are required, and will do whatever he believes is best for the SGCC with an argument that whatever is best for the SGCC is also best for the SOA. This regardless of its financial impact on SOA homeowners (perhaps Mr. Retter would like to respond to this opinion, and any basis for disagreeing with such). With regard to Board member Strout, SU has no basis for forming an opinion on what directions Mr. Strout may or may not take.

Bottom line here is that, apparently the SGCC continues to experience its financial woes, and that something has to give, if not this year, then in the not to distant future.

SOA Board of Directors Election

If you have not already, you will soon receive your Ballot for the election of two Somersett Homeowners to the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD). To make sure your Ballot is properly counted, please follow the instructions contained in the Ballot mailing package. As previously discussed on this website, there are four candidates vying for the two open positions. Whereas the Ballot mailing package contains candidate statements for each, they are relatively brief and while they may provide some insight as to candidate qualifications, they should not provide the sole basis for deciding who to vote for. Therefore, talk to others in the community about their knowledge, experience and/or opinions on the declared candidates. Perhaps more importantly, plan to attend one or both of the “Meet the Candidate” nights, which are currently scheduled for Wednesday October 23rd from 6-8 PM at The Club at Town Center, and on Monday October 28th from 6-8 PM at the Aspen Lodge. These are moderated sessions wherein: 1) Candidates will be given the opportunity to address the audience with opening and closing statements, 2) Specific questions regarding qualifications and community issues will be asked of each candidate, and 3) Given time constraints, Somersett owners will be given the opportunity to ask questions directed to individual or all candidates.

Unfortunately, one of the candidates, Craig Hanson, will not be in attendance at either, this due to prior commitment dates, of which he advised the SOA prior to their setting of the October 23rd and 28th dates. However, Mr. Hanson has provided SU with an extended candidate statement, which was previously published on this website. One may view his statement via the following link:  Craig Hanson SOA BOD Candidate.

The preceeding Post on this website (Decision Time!) addressed the liability issue between the SOA and the Somersett Golf & Country Club (SGCC) over the Rockery Wall failure on SGCC leased land. A brief history of events was provided along with some identified options. This post resulted in several Homeowner comments including a lengthy one from Mr. Nelson (i.e., Craig Hanson on Decision Time!), who addressed many of the items covered in the Post. Since this issue is near and dear to many Somersett owners, you may wish to access his comment in the right hand column to determine what impact his stated positions may or may not have on your vote!

If any other Candidate whishes to post an extended qualification statement on this website, you may do so my emailing it to somersettunited@gmail.com. However, time is short.

Decision Time !

Now that the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) has lost the Rockery Wall lawsuit against the Developer and its associated Subcontractors, it is time to address the perceived Somersett Golf and Country Clubs (SGCC) liability for its share of the Rockery Wall repairs paid for by the SOA. We say perceived, because the SGCC has never acknowledged a liability in this area. In this regard, there has been a lot of ongoing dialog, not only on this website, but on the Somersett Nextdoor website as well, some of which is factually correct and some incorrect. To set the stage for what lies ahead, perhaps some historical recap is in order.

  • In 2005 the “Second Amended and Restated Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions of Somersett” were duly recorded and still constitute the SOA’s controlling CC&R’s. Article VII Sections 5 & 6 of the CC&R’s clearly identify the SGCC as a separate entity from the SOA with regard to its ownership, operation and right to use (an Article that obviously needs updating an as result of the SOA’s purchase of the SGCC Land, Water Facilities and Water Rights).
  • In 2012 the SOA’s then Developer controlled Board unilaterally (i.e., without Owner vote) entered into an agreement with the SGCC to divert $15/month of Owner assessments to the SGCC in exchange for some amenities. This to offset SGCC operating losses. This action was subsequently challenged by a group of Owners before the Nevada Real Estate Board, who after taking their time, decided that the SOA Board acted improperly and basically directed that the SOA redraft the agreement terms, modify the CC&R’s to permit such an agreement, and submit it for majority Owner vote.
  • In 2014 after paying approximately $1,235,000 to the SGCC under the initial agreement, a new agreement was drafted up by a different and now Owner controlled Board. However, the new agreement took an entirely different approach as it called for the actual purchase of the SGCC’s Land, Water Facilities and Water Rights for $2.75M with a leaseback of such to the SGCC at $2,200/year. The CC&R’s were amended to allow for this type of purchase and both the Purchase Agreement and Amended CC&R’s were submitted for SOA Owner approval and subsequently approved by majority vote. It was also approved by SGCC Membership as they were in need of the money for operating and clubhouse building expenses. As one would expect, the executed Purchase Agreement contains several provisions regarding SGCC responsibilities as the Lessee and SOA responsibilities as the Lessor.
  • In January 2017, two Rockery Walls on the hillside below Trail Ridge Court and adjacent to the SGCC Hole #5 failed after considerable precipitation. This consisted of an upper wall on SOA Common Area property, and a lower wall on SGCC leased property.
  • In October 2017, the SOA Attorney issued a letter to the SGCC advising them of their liability for the wall failure on the SGCC leased land. This under applicable provisions of the Purchase Agreement, which were identified in the letter.
  • In November 2017, the SOA Attorney issued another letter to the SGCC advising that the violation notices contained in the October 2017 letter would be placed on hold pending release of an engineering report on failure assessment. Also, that the SOA would consider paying for damages provided the SGCC will reimburse the SOA on “mutually agreed terms”. The SOA subsequently paid for all repairs without any written agreement with the SGCC.
  • In December 2017, the SOA filed its Chapter 40 Complaint for Damages lawsuit against Somersett Development Company et al. This to recover SOA costs for Rockery Wall repairs.
  • In January 2018 Construction Materials Engineers, Inc. issued their Preliminary Failure Investigation Report, which concluded the lower wall (on SGCC leased property) failed first subsequently causing failure of the upper wall (on SOA Common Area property).
  • In July 2018, the SOA and the SGCC entered into a “Tolling Agreement”, wherein the parties agreed to place litigation on hold pending the outcome of the SOA’s Chapter 40 lawsuit. Under this agreement the SGCC is paying the SOA $500/month in consideration of the loan the SGCC took out to pay for repairs. This agreement ends on December 31, 2019, but also has a 30 notice termination clause.
  • On October 2, 2019 the Washoe District Court ruled against the SOA in its Chapter 40 lawsuit and issued a Summary Judgement in favor of the Defendants.

Which brings us to the present, and what action will the SOA Board now take? We say the SOA Board, because the SGCC has no incentive to do anything in the absence of any agreement for the repayment of any money or other assets. Which leaves the SOA with the following options:

1. Appeal the Court ruling and extend the Tolling Agreement with the SGCC – What would this cost in legal fees and what is the probability of overturning the decision?

2. Do nothing – Accept the status quo and move on. Most likely preferred by the SGCC Members.

3. Proceed with a lawsuit against the SGCC for the recovery of funds for repair of the wall on SGCC leased property (~$680K). In this event, what if:

      • The SOA wins – Does the SGCC have the resources to pay? Probably not without an assessment on its membership. Would it require them to file for bankruptcy with the result that they default on the Purchase Agreement and that all Land, Water Facilities and Water Rights revert back to SOA control? What would the SOA do in this event and what would be the short and long term costs to owners?
      • The SOA Looses – How sure are the SOA Attorneys and Consultants on the cause of failure and that the Purchase Agreement provisions will prevail in a Court of Law? The SOA Attorney’s recent advise on the James’ and Rockery Wall lawsuits certainly did not prevail, costing the SOA around $1M. What legal costs would the SOA be out in this regard?

4. Negotiate a settlement with the SGCC outside of a Court of Law. Rather that attempting to recover the entire $680K, perhaps the SOA and SGCC can reach an agreement on a lesser amount (e.g., split the cost?).

Note that all of the above could have been avoided if not for the ill advised Purchase Agreement, which has placed this burden on the SOA Membership instead of on the SGCC Membership where it belongs!

Resolving this issue will certainly be a challenge for the SOA Board of Directors, which will consist of two new members come this November. With the two scheduled “Meet the Candidate” nights, perhaps our candidates will express their viewpoints on this subject.

Comments from our readers are solicited, particularly with regard to the following:

  1. Which of the above four options would you support – appeal, do nothing, sue or negotiate?
  2. Should the SGCC default on the Purchase Agreement, what direction should the SOA take?
  3. Do you believe that the SOA membership has an obligation to help out the SGCC financially to keep them afloat?
  4. To what extent do you believe the two SOA Board members who are also SGCC members, should recuse themselves from discussion and voting on SGCC related issues?

References:

October 16th SOA BOD Meeting Recap

Following is a recap of issues discussed and/or approved at the October 16th Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting. Corresponding Agenda items are noted. The full meeting Agenda may be accessed via the following link:

October 16th BOD Meeting Agenda – Final

Homeowner Comments on Agenda Items

  • Various comments on the 2020 Operating Budget, which included: 1) What is the $500K Common Area Contingency item to be used for? (Although not specifically identified in the Budget, the BOD indicated probable usage would be for debt reduction and/or Common Area cash shortfalls).  2) Why the need for a $100K Rockery Wall legal fee item given the recent Court decision in favor of the Defendants.  3) A suggestion that the Board consider rescinding the $13/month assessment increase given, no specified use for the $500K contingency item, no evidence that additional Rockery Wall repairs will be required in the near future, the potential windfall from the Ventana Easement, and recovery of $700K in Rockery Wall repairs from the SGCC.  4) A suggestion that Common Area Reserves be increased to account for Rockery Wall failures in the future, given their projected 50 year life.
  • A comment that Brightview should not be using DG in the Boulders landscape project. Due to winds, DG is subject to being blown away requiring frequent replacement. Also, the dust constitutes a health hazard.
  • Various comments pertaining to the SGCC, which included:  1) A comment that the community is watching what is happening with regard to the SGCC. That they are legally and financially responsible for their area of expense related to the Rockery Wall and Water Facility repairs and should not be looking to the SOA for assistance.  2) That they immediately pay back their $680K share of Rockery Wall repairs, which could then be used to negate the $13/month assessment increase.  3) A question as to whether the Canyon9 Pump Station repairs included any SGCC responsible equipment, and a concern that the SOA was assuming Operating Manager duties (a SGCC responsibility under the Water facilities Agreement) with regard to operation of the Water Facilities and management of the Water Rights. (The GM responded to both concerns, that the Canyon9 equipment repairs were for SOA equipment, and that the SOA was providing Operating Manager oversight only).

Committee Reports

4.a. Budget & Finance Committee – Made the following recommendations to the Board: 1) Approval of the July 2019 financials; 2) Approval of the SNC proposal of $20,195 for the Split Rock Trail asphalt repairs (see item 7.e below); and 3) Not to move forward with the Drainage Channel repairs along Dakota Ridge Trail (see item 6.a below). The Board approved all three recommendations.

4.b. Communications – 1) Announced the scheduling of two “Meet the BOD Candidate” nights, 6-8 PM on October 23 at TCTC and 6-8 PM on October 28 at Aspen Lodge. 2) Reported that the suggestion to install electronic signs at the Somersett entrances (i.e., for community information activities) was not permitted by the City of Reno, as well as being to expensive. 3) Recommended approval of Rob Jordan to Committee membership, who was approved.

4.b. Strategic Planning – 1) Provided status on TCTC Fitness Center and Pool Resurfacing projects as being mostly completed on time and budget. 2) Preparing list of 2020 projects to be considered in keeping with the 2020 approved budgets. 3) Recommended the Board not move forward on the suggested trail mapping system for emergency services, as being unnecessary given Cell Phone/GPS capabilities and the inability to incorporate these maps within the emergency service provider’s systems.

Financials

5.a. & 5.b. Treasurers Report and July 2019 Financials – The Board approved the July 2019 Financials. For those interested in the details, the July 2019 Financial Statements (Balance Sheets, Revenue & Expenses, Operating & Reserve Funds, Year-end Projections) for each of the four cost centers (i.e., Common Area, TCTC, Private Streets & Gates, Town Center) are included within the Board Meeting Packet accessible on the SOA website (www.somersett.net) under the SOA/Committees & Meetings tabs.

Old Business

6.a. Legal Updates – The SOA Legal Update letter contained within the Board Meeting Packet was dated September 19, 2019 and therefore did not address the Courts ruling (on October 2, 2019) in favor of the Defendants in the SOA’s lawsuit against the Somersett Development Company et. al. However, the SOA General Manager advised that there was nothing beyond this ruling to report on, and that meetings with the SOA Attorneys would be held to discuss options and issues moving forward. In response to a question about SOA legal fee liabilities, the GM advised that Defendant court costs, which the SOA will be liable for, totaled about $13K. No ruling has yet been made on any SOA liability for Defendant’s legal fees.

6.b. Easement Access Appraisal for Ventana Ridge – No action was taken on the received appraisal, which was apparently 100 pages in length. The Board decided that more time was required to digest all its contents and come to a conclusion on what to quote to the Ventana Ridge Developer for the requested easement. A mention was made of a $938K high end starting point, apparently based on something contained in the appraisal report. The requested easement is through a short section of SOA unused native land at the upper end of Painted River Trail. Easement will permit a Ventana Ridge road to connect to Peavine Creek Road in the residential area adjacent to Somersett. There will be no access to the SOA’s Painted River Trail from Ventana Ridge.

6.c. Drainage Channel Repairs – Based on Finance Committee recomendation, the Board placed this item on hold.

New Business

7.a. Insurance Renewal Poposal – The Board approved retaining LaBarre/Oksnee as the Associations insurance carrier at an annual premium amount of $76,888.65.

7.b. Boulder Landscape Improvements – The Board approved a $16.6K proposal from Brightview for landscape improvements at the entrance to the Boulders and along Circle Stone, Standing Stone and Boulder Ridge Courts. This work will be performed by Brightview at no cost to the SOA, as this cost will come under the $42K in credits put aside by Brightview for SOA usage.

7.c. Fall Tree Replacement Proposal from Brightview – The Board approved a $24.3K proposal from Brightview for installation of one hundred 15 gallon trees, primarily along the Somersett and Del Webb Parkways. Monies will come from budgeted reserves. Due to concerns over tree size requirements, the SOA Project Manager advised that this has been discussed with the City of Reno and approvals obtained based on a minimum tree diameter of 1.5 inches as measured 6 inches from the base.

7.d. Snow Removal Proposals for Town Square and Gated Streets – The Board approved Brightview as the snow removal contractor based on submitted equipment and labor costs, which, in general, were less than the SOA’s previous contractor. It was also noted that the SOA’s previous landscape contractor used subcontractors to perform the work, while Brightview uses their own employees. There was a discussion about the damages caused by last years contractor and that these would be properly documented such that they could be differentiated from any damages occurring under the Brightview contract, whch Brightview would be responsible for. Under the Brightview proposal, there will be a one time cost for the purchase of “poles” for snow removal identification purposes.

7.e. Split Rock Trail Low Spot Asphalt Rrepairs – Subsequent to the receipt of the SNC proposal and recommended approval by the Finance Committee (see item 4.a above), a proposal from Gradex in the amount of $19,860 was received. Seth Padovan (SOA Consulting Engineer) recommended acceptance of the Gradex approval, not only on a lower price basis, but they would be doing other work in the area and would be easier to work with. The Board approved the Gradex proposal.

7.f. Play Pool Pump & Electrical Work (VFD’s) Repair – A decision on the purchase and installation of Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) controllers for the TCTC Play Pool pumps was placed on hold pending additional cost information.

7.g. Proposed String/Bare Bulb Lighting Policy – Content of the proposed policy was approved in general, but refered back to the Aesthetics Guidlines Committee, for some clarifications and incorporation within the Somersett Aesthetic Guidelines document and/or as an official SOA Policy document.  For owners who have or intend on installing string lighting on their patios or otherwise, suggest accessing the following link:

Proposed String Lighting Policy

7.h. Various Canyon Nine Pump Station Repairs – Estimates from Commercial Pump Services, Inc. totaling $45,727.76 were discussed and approved for work. Equipment designated for repair/replacement is that associated with the operation of pumps supplying irrigation water to the SOA’s Canyon9 Golf Course and not that of the Somersett Golf & Country Club (SGCC). It was also noted that some of the equipment, a minor amount, contained in the estimate had been previously identified as a SOA/SGCC shared cost item, which was a mistake as the equipment in question is only associated with the operation of the SOA’s Canyon 9 irrigation system.

7.i. Appoint Board member to West Park Community Garden Committee – Director Strout was appointed as the Board Member representative to the Committee. No disussion on Homeowner members, so it is assumed they are yet to be appointed and still open for volunteers

7.j. 2020 General Common, TCTC, Town Square & Gates Budgets – The motion for approval was to approve all cost center budgets collectively, which after some discussion the budgets were approved on a 4:1 vote with Director Roland, who expressed issues with the Common Area Budget, voting NO. Copies of the Operating Fund Budgets for each of the cost centers will subsequently be mailed to all Somersett Unit Owners for ratification at the November 18th Annual Members Meeting.

7.k. 2020 General Common, TCTC, Town Square & Gates Reserves Study Updates – Reserve Studies were collectively approved on a 4:1 vote with Director Roland again voting NO. A copy of the Reserve Studies for each of the cost centers will also be mailed to all Somersett Unit Owners for ratification at the November 18th Annual Members Meeting.

7.l. Revised Collection Policy – Approved. This policy establishes the procedures for the collection of assessments and the penalities associated with late or non payment thereof (e.g., late fees, collection assignments, liens, forclosures, cost recovery). For those interested in reading the details, a copy of this Policy may be accessed via the following link:

SOA Collection of Assessments Policy

7.m. Revised Compliance Policy – Approved. This Policy establishes proceedures for the handling of violations to the SOA Governing Documents by Unit Owners. Policy required updating due to the recent elimination of the Community Standards Committee. With the elimination of the Community Standards Committee, hearings and fines for reported violations are conducted by the Board of Directors. Decisions are final, with no further method of appeal available within the Association. That is, appeals must go to the Nevada Real Estate Ombudsman for mediation at owner expense. For those interested in the details, a copy of the edited revision may be accessed via the following link:

SOA Compliance Policy – Edited

7.n. Investment Policy and Executive Board Awareness Form — These documents require annual review and signatures of Board Members. No change from previous years. Copies of these documents may be accessed via the following links:

SOA Investment Policy             SOA Executive Board Awareness Form

Post Meeting Homeowner Comments

  • A past president of the SGCC presented an argument before the Board basically stating the SGCC ‘s position that they have no financial responsibility for the Rockery Wall failure on SGCC leased property. He opined that the CME report commissioned by the SOA to investigate the cause of failure was flawed (Note: The CME report concluded that the lower Rockery Wall on SGCC property failed first resulting in the upper wall on SOA property to fail). The report flawed because it did not take into account a previous instability affecting three Toll Bros homes on the hill above where the Rockery Wall failures occurred, and that it was this instability that contributed to the upper wall failing and then the lower wall. He also expressed a concern over how the issue was to be resolved, that as a Somersett owner, litigation by the SOA, win or lose, was not in the best interests of the community. His opinion was that the SOA would lose the lawsuit based on the facts associated with the previous hillside instability, thereby costing the community much money in legal fees. Should the SOA win, what would they do? “Run the Golf Course from down here”, operate as a “Green Belt”, either of which would cost owners significant additional expense. (Note: Was this some sort of admission that losing the lawsuit would result in bankruptcy for the SGCC, that the Equity members would not support an assessment to save their Golf Course?).
  • A comment that the light bulb replacements on Town Square properties were improper (radiating upwards) and annoying to neighbors. The GM advised they were aware of the situation and steps were underway to insure that proper bulbs were installed in the fixtures.
  • An owner commented on the Boards responsibility to all owners when dealing with SGCC liability issues and that the two Board members who are also SGCC Members needed to recuse themselves when dealing with these matters, upon which he was improperly interrupted by Board Member Retter (one of the SGCC Members) denying such and an argument ensued resulting in a lack of decorum, whereupon the Board President shut down further discussion.

Note: Both of the above Homeowner Comment sections reflect what the writer remembers from attendance at the Meeting and listening to the audio tapes of such, which are not always clear. If any of the above characterizations are not entirely correct, please feel free to submit a correction or clarification.

Craig Hanson SOA BOD Candidate

Submitted by Craig Hanson, Somersett Owners Association Board of Directors Candidate

Hello my name is Craig Hanson and I am a candidate to become a member on the Somersett Homeowners Association Board.

I am running for the position because of concerns I have with the current direction of the Board with regard to their decision making process and policies.

I have 35 years of experience with the State of California managing large organizations with
budgets of billions of dollars. I was the budget officer for several state departments of diverse
program goals including health services, fish and game programs and social welfare programs.
I have reviewed hundreds of budget proposals, enacted numerous budget reductions,
reviewed legislation and regulations, analyzed program systems, managed automation projects
and testified before many legislative committees and control agencies. I have served on an
international board for interstate trucking holding discussions on decisions affected all truckers
nationwide

I believe with my skill set I can bring a rational, practical, logical approach to ensuring
decisions are made that benefit the majority of residents of our community and do not raise
fees or assessments for unnecessary expenditures.

I will use my voice to improve the current communication environment with more open
comment and discussion from residents on the issues they have. Three minutes with no
discussion is not the way to get public support for policy and expenditure decisions. Open
dialogue with discussion and sharing of information provides the residents with the logic
behind decisions and leaves no room for conjecture.

Further I can promise you I will not vote to approve any budget until I am satisfied the
expenditures are completely necessary and within our current means of paying for it. New fees
and assessments will be my last consideration after all other alternatives are exhausted.
Budgets are choices between priorities. Needs versus wants. Maintenance versus
enhancement.

I will also use my voice to change the current compliance environment which I believe has
become very restrictive and not conducive to any person seeking to purchase a home in
Somersett. Requiring residents to submit a plan and pay $40 to replace a dead plant is
beyond the pale. I understand having standards to ensure the community keeps its charm and
attractive looks is important but so is making residents and potential buyers not feel oppressed
by numerous detailed rules which contribute little to housing prices. No one wants to buy or
live in a neighborhood where you are afraid to change a plant.

Finally I will use my voice to enact a policy to minimize the use of law suits to resolve issues. I
think recent events have shown the fallacy of using attorneys to resolve a fiscal problem. Tort
claims rarely yield the results you expect and oftentimes cost more than the gain.

Thank you for your consideration and I hope you will cast your vote for me in the upcoming
election. I can guarantee you I will live up to the promises I have made.

October 16th SOA BOD Meeting Agenda Update

Following is the Final Agenda for tomorrow’s Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting at The Club at Town Center (TCTC). The only significant change from that previously published is the addition of a Strategic Planning Committee Report.

October 16th BOD Meeting Agenda – Final

Agenda items that address topics that have been, and still are, the subject of controversy within the community are summarized below:

6.a. Legal Updates – Actually, is not what is to be discussed here, but what apparently will not be. The BOD Meeting Packet does not address the recent Court ruling for a Summary Judgement in favor of the Defendants in the SOA’s Rockery Wall lawsuit. This ruling basically states that the SOA’s lawsuit has no merit under the six-year statute of repose. This raises the following questions: 1) Will the SOA pursue any other legal proceedings? 2) What Defendant legal fees will the SOA be liable for? and 3) Will the SOA now terminate the Tolling Agreement with the SGCC and take legal action to recover the $700K in Rockery Wall repair the SOA believes they are liable for under the Land and Water Rights Purchase Agreement?

7.b. Boulders Landscape Improvements for Entrance & Roundabouts from Brightview  –  A $16.6K extra work proposal from Brightview for landscape improvements at the entrance to the Boulders and along Circle Stone, Standing Stone and Boulder Ridge Courts consisting of 103 plants, 5 trees, and 23 tons of DG and cobble.  Has this work been previously budgeted, or is it an unsolicited proposal from Brightview?

7.c.  Fall Tree Replacement Proposal from Brightview – A $24.3K extra work proposal from Brightview for installation of one hundred 15 gallon trees, primarily along the Somersett and Del Webb Parkways, plus an extra $21.5K for a 24″ boxed tree size. Same question as for item 7.c., has this work been previously budgeted or is it an unsolicited proposal from Brightview?  Also, how does this relate to the previous $20.5K Brightview proposal approved at the June BOD meeting for the replacement of 100 trees (200 trees total)?  Are items 7.b. and 7.c. really necessary at this time given the strained resources within the Common Area Budget?

7.g. Proposed String/Bare Bulb Lighting Policy – The issue here addresses the controversial use of String/Bistro lighting by some owners in their backyards that apparently other owners (as well as the SOA compliance officers) find annoying and/or in violation of some nebulous dark skies requirements. The proposed policy under discussion may be accessed via the following link:

Proposed String Lighting Policy

7.h. Various Canyon Nine Pump Repairs – The issue here stems from SOA and SGCC responsibilities under the Water Facilities Agreement, and whether or not the SGCC is living up to its responsibilities as the “Water Facilities Operating Manager” and funding their share of maintenance costs in a timely manner. Although the $45.7K repair estimate deals primarily with repairs to pump equipment within the SOA area of responsibility, some of the identified repair costs deal with SOA and SGCC “shared costs” equipment. Also, is the SGCC proceeding with needed repairs to their pump equipment as well?

7.j. & 7.k. 2020 General Common, TCTC, Town Square & Gates Budgets & Reserves. – The proposed SOA Operating and Reserve Budgets will most likely be approved under these Agenda items. The $13/month increase in the SOA Common Area monthly assessment has certainly elicited some negative response within the Community. Especially within Sierra Canyon, who owners are also looking at an additional increase in their own common area assessment. This meeting represents one’s last chance to address the Board (pro or con) in this regard.

7.m. Revised Compliance (Penalty and Fine Schedule) Policy – No changes in penalties or fines. Revision simply eliminates references to the Community Standards Committee, which was, amid some controversy, recently dissolved by the Board.

And Then There Were Four!

Per Mr. Leto’s comment, and in light of Mr. Orsburn’s Candidate Form being withdrawn from the SOA Website, apparently, Mr. Orsburn has removed his name as a candidate for the SOA Board of Directors. Mr. Orsburn was the only candidate not to submit the supplementary one-page write-up supporting his candidacy, and the letter designations he used on his Candidate Form were most likely unknown to most, therefore, his qualifications the most unrevealing. Although it is not our place to question his motives, which are likely well placed, one can question the veracity of those who place their hat in the ring only to withdraw it at the last minute (this has happened before).

2019 SOA BOD Candidates & Candidate Night

All Somersett Owners will soon be in receipt of mailed Ballots for the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) 2019 Board of Director (BOD) elections. Two two-year Director positions are open with five declared candidates. In addition to the actual Ballots, the Ballot Package will also contain Candidate Statements for each of the five, which may also be accessed via the following links:

 

Of the five Candidates, Mr. Leto is a current BOD member seeking re-election.

While the Candidate Statements provide some insight as to candidate qualifications, they should not provide the sole basis for deciding who to vote for. Therefore, talk to others in the community for their knowledge, experience and/or opinions on the declared candidates. Perhaps more importantly, plan to attend one or both of the Candidate Night Sessions, which are currently scheduled for Wednesday October 23rd from 6-8 PM at The Club at Town Center, and on Monday October 28th from 6-8 PM at the Aspen Lodge. These are moderated sessions wherein: 1) Candidates will be given the opportunity to address the audience with opening and closing statements, 2) Specific questions regarding qualifications and community issues will be asked of each candidate, and 3) Given time constraints, Somersett owners will be given the opportunity to ask questions directed to individual or all candidates.

It is interesting to note that four of the five candidates (i.e., Hanson, Leto, Orsburn and Wild) are Sierra Canyon Owners. It is unfortunate that we do not have more candidates from the other half of Somersett.

Any Candidate who wishes to post any additional statement on behalf of their candidacy are welcome to do so, just email it to somersettunited@gmail.com.

October 16th SOA BOD Meeting Agenda

The Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) open meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at 5:30 PM at The Club at Town Center (TCTC) Canyon View Room. The Draft Meeting Agenda as published by the SOA may be accessed by clicking on the following link:

October 16th BOD Meeting Agenda – Draft

Typically, a revised meeting agenda will follow, along with the corresponding Board Meeting Packet. When the Board Meeting Packet is published, an update with agenda item details and comments will be provided on this website.