August 26th BOD Meeting Recap

Following is a recap of topics discussed and/or approved at the August 26th Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting, held via a Zoom Video Conference with Association members. Approximately 27 members logged in to the conference at one time or another. For background information on the agenda items discussed below,  see SU’s previous post   “August 26th BOD Meeting

Owners were allowed to submit comments, on agenda items or otherwise, via email up to 3:00 PM prior to the meeting. Those that did so had them read by the Board.  Additionally, at the conclusion of the meeting, some video conference attendees were allowed to speak directly to the Board via voice activation.  Several owners commented on a variety of subjects. Paraphrased summaries of which, as interpreted by SU, follow:

  • A strong objection to the proposed changes to the AGC Guidelines on the basis they were not consistent with the design plans put forth by the Developer and the PUD guidelines (among other stated issues). The commenter also expressed a concern over the current structure of  the AGC Committee.
  • A request that those Board Members (Fitzgerald, Strout & Retter) whose terms are up for election announce as early as possible their intent to seek or not seek re-election as it may influence decisions by others.
  • Due to a number of car break-ins in Somersett, a suggestion that high definition cameras, focused on capturing license plate numbers, be installed at the entrances to Somersett. –  Board response was that this is something the Board will be looking at in the not to distant future.
  • Three owners commented on BrightView Landscaping making the following points: 1) Brightview costs appear to be quite high and suggested formation of an oversight committee to monitor landscape costs and performance; 2) Brightview performance in maintaining the Somersett landscape is subpar and the quality of their workmanship is totally unacceptable; 3) Brightview’s work is not being properly managed by the SOA and: 4) based on BrightView’s poor performance, why was their contract renewed without going out for competitive bid? – In response, the Board defended both BrightView’s costs and performance, stating they were a good partner and very responsive to correcting landscape issues and providing meaningful reports.  Also, that their costs and performance were being closely monitored by the FSR Project Manager. The SOA did not go out for competitive bid because BrightView’s contract included a one year renewal clause which the Board activated.
  • A couple owners complained that mask requirements were not being enforced at TCTC especially in the sports court and fitness center areas. – Board response was that per the Governor’s directive, those engaged in high intensity activities are exempt from wearing a mask, but that social distancing is still required. The Governor’s directive will be posted at the TCTC for all to see.
  • A couple comments on the SOA/SGCC Hole 5 hillside repair lawsuit: 1) A SGCC member questioned the SOA hostility against the SGCC in the filing of the lawsuit, contending that it was a SOA problem and not an SGCC problem, that the SGCC has paid all its contractual obligations as well as other payments as a good faith gesture. Comments included some pretty harsh (and improper) statements directed toward the Board’s motivation (e.g., the SOA seems hell bent on destroying the SGCC) as well as those owners who support the lawsuit (people who are upset with the SGCC can sell their houses and leave). In condemning the Board’s actions as unproductive and unjustified, the commenter pointed out benefits he believes the SGCC brings to the community.  – Board response was that the Board met with the SGCC on 2-3 occasions to resolve differences (unsuccessfully), that this was a simple contract issue, and if the commenter wanted to avail himself as to the causes of actions, the legal documents are available from a variety of sources. 2) Another owner requested the reading of an email sent to the Board, which included: a request for legal fees associated with the lawsuit, a tabulation of all costs (both SOA and SGCC) associated with the Hole 5 hillside repair, plus additional questions.  – The Board advised that the email has been forwarded to the SOA Attorney for response.
  • Three owners commented on open access violations pertaining to the Somersett Trail System. 1) A denied use of a trail through the Canyon9 golf course, which is a designated part of the Somersett Trail System as set up by the Developer and defined as such in the PUD (supporting documentation was provided), hence should be open for all to access, including dog walkers. The issue being that the SOA has denied access to this portion of the trail system during Canyon9 operating hours (7AM to 7PM), citing safety reasons. – The Board response was an opinion that preventing access during Canyon9 operating hours does not violate any PUD requirements. 2) Sierra Canyon (SC) has blocked access (using trees and boulders) to a connector path to a Somersett Trail at Firefly Court, the stated reason being that SC residents were being adversely affected by bike riders, skate boarders, runners, children etc., and that the SOA and SC Boards need to get together and rectify the situation. – The Board responded that the SC is heavily invested in this blockage and not sure what can be done about it. No current action was identified. 3) The sidewalk entering the Cliffs development is equipped with encoded access, thereby denying outside public access and that all sidewalks in Somersett are part of the Somersett Trail System and sidewalk access through gated communities is required by the PUD.  – The Board advised that this issue has been communicated to Toll Brothers with no response to date.
  • A comment that the Board was going to install more dog waste stations as a result of increased complaints of dog owners not picking up their dog waste or disposing of it improperly. – The Board advised that a map showing waste station locations, that will include an additional ten locations, was in the works. However, regardless of where the dog does his thing, the CC&R’s require all dog walkers to pick up their dog’s poop and take it with them until they can dispose of it properly.
  • A question on the status of potential assessment refunds due to COVID-19 mandated closure of the TCTC and other SOA amenities. –  Board responded that this is a budget topic for Finance Committee review and recommendation. A former SOA Treasurer commented that any surplus generated in this area should be used to replace depleted reserves or to reduce our long term debt rather than being returned to owners.
  • A complaint that the open operating hours of the security gates at Back Nine Trail compromises the neighborhood safety and security that the residents are paying for. Gates are apparently open from 7:30AM to 6:30 PM to accommodate Preston homes construction traffic, which will likely extend for 3-5 more years. Unfortunately, this being the time when residents are away from home and break-ins occur. This represents an unacceptable situation for owners with a suggested solution being for Preston Homes to post an individual at the gates to control construction vehicle access. – Board response was, given the existing agreement in place between the SOA and Preston Homes regarding Gate operation, they will forward this complaint to the SOA Attorney to see if something could be done.,

Although not as interesting as the homeowner comments, the meeting agenda Items were disposed of as follows:

Committee Reports

  • 4.b.  Communication Committee  –  The Committee has been evaluating migration of the SOA website to a different platform hosted by HOA Express (currently the Sierra Canyon’s website platform). They have completed their evaluation, presented a slide show of results at the meeting and recommended moving forward with the HOA Express system as being less costly and more functional than the current platform. This evaluation apparently began as a result of dissatisfaction with the current vendor’s (D4) technical support and costs. The Board approved moving forward with the project.

Unfinished  Business Items

  • 6.a.  Legal Updates –  No discussion by the Board
  • 6.b.  Revised AGC Guidelines  –  Board members Strout and Hanson had questions and  concerns regarding the proposed changes, which were considered too numerous to discuss at the meeting.  It was decided to conduct a “workshop” between these Board members and an AGC Committee representative to address their questions and defered approval, or disapproval, to the September Board Meeting.
  • 6.c.  Revised CC&R’s and Bylaws  –  Basically the same disposition as for item 6.b. A workshop will be held between Board members and the Document Review Committee Chairman to provide additional background on the proposed changes and the cost/benefit to the Community for moving forward. Board member Terry Retter (a Document Review Committee member) gave a roughly estimated cost of $40,000 for legal review and the process for presenting to owners for a vote. Mr. Retter also revealed that the Somersett Developer (Blake Smith)  has declined to participate in the elimination of those sections of the CC&R’s that still provide certain rights and approvals to the Developer.

New Business

  • 7.a. Turn Over of West Park  –  The Board formally approved turnover of the West Park from the City of Reno to the SOA. The SOA now has responsibility for upkeep and maintenance, even though some work (e.g., dog park clearing) still remains to be accomplished.  However, the West Park Foundation has $25,000 available for any needed improvements, which is available to the SOA. The SOA costs of maintenance have been estimated at $2000/month for landscape and  $600/month for bathrooms.
  • 7.b. Unanimous Written Consent $78  –  No action, just a discussion on a previously approved ” Kids Program Liability, Release and Indemnification Form” as required signing by all parents or guardians. Primarily with regard to the contacting of COVID-19.
  • 7.c. Rockery Wall Monitoring Renewal Contracts  –  Renewed the Kane Geotech contract in the amount of $5,500 for equipment rental, inspection and data monitoring services (quarterly reports) for the Crescent Point Rockery Wall and SBE hillside. Extended the CFA contract in the amount of $12,750 for three additional stability observations at four month intervals at ten SOA wall locations. Given that to date there has been no movements detected on these walls, there was a discussion whether continued monitoring was necessary. Renewal was subsequently approved. There was a request by a Board member that the resulting Rockery Wall monitoring reports be summarized in a more understandable format for Board members, particularly with regard to data implications.
  • 7.d. Design and Construction Management  – Approved a  Padovan Consulting proposal in the amount of $8,400 for Construction Management Services pertaining to erosion repair of the Common Area hillside behind 1880 Dove Mountain Ct.
  • 7.e. Irrigation System Replacements  –  Approved two proposals from Brightview Landscape; one in the amount of $50,000 for replacement of 13,000 feet of ¾ inch driplines, and another in the amount of $154,488 for replacement of 32 irrigation system controllers with 24 “Smart” controllers . Discussion centered around the cost/benefit of the replacements and the need for Brightview to include, in a meaningful way, a cost/benefit analysis in their proposals. A comment was made that the positive effect on water savings by using “Smart” controllers could amount to $46,000/year. The motion to approve included a requirement to institute a process that closely monitors water usage to confirm the projected savings.
  • 7.f. Holiday Lighting Proposal  –  Approved three proposals from Lawn Express to install and remove holiday lighting at the following locations:  $11,900 for the  Somersett Parkway entrance cottage, $2,500 for The Club at Town Center, and $1,200 for the Verdi entrance monument.
  • 7.g. Revised Rules and Regulations  –  For consistency with City of Reno ordinances, the Board approved a change for the display of political signs. Signs may now be displayed starting 90 days prior to an election date (was 60 days), and removed within five days after the election date (was 10 days). Which means residents can now put up their political endorsement signs.

Note:  For those interested in the details, the proposed changes to the AGC Guidelines (agenda item 6.b. above and a summary of the CC&R and Bylaws changes (Aaenda Item 6.c above) copies may be accessed via the following links:

Proposed AGC Guideline Changes

Document Review Committee Summary of Recommendations