The following post submitted by SOA Board candidates Jacob Williams, Bill O’Donnell, and Mark Capalongan
Our combined Pledge to Somersett Residents
The three of us are motivated by positive change and if elected will invest the time and energy to make this happen. Your association board can better represent homeowners by instilling a “New Culture” that works WITH you rather than against you.
Better Transparency and Communication.
So much is currently misunderstood or miscommunicated about the Somersett Homeowners Association. Let us fix that with email updates, publishing in the magazine and with readily accessible information. No action will ever be hidden or pushed through without prior homeowner notification.
A Kinder and Gentler Culture.
Our homeowners are intelligent and accomplished adults and need to be treated as such. The enforcement of the rules should take on a more cooperative approach where homeowners are treated with respect and alternate ideas are considered. We can work together on compliance efforts and realize community standards yet at the same time foster a happier and more cooperative community. We also need a process for appeal when there are differences. We need to ensure the AGC (Aesthetic Guidelines Committee) does not overstep their charter and homeowners should have independent appeal rights.
Lawsuits between our friends and neighbors can never be fruitful. It needlessly divides the community and rarely does it benefit anyone monetarily (except the attorneys). An over-dependency on legal action wastes precious resources and to-date the SOA major lawsuits have failed to recover a dime. We intend to re-engage directly with opposing viewpoints and sit down and put in the effort to reach a negotiated solution.
Somersett Homeowners vs. Somersett Golf and Country Club.
Whether you golf or not, the Golf Course itself is a net benefit to homeowners as well as the Grill and Restaurant. These amenities increase property values of the homes here and beautify the look and feel of the community. But the Golf and Country Club needs to stand on its own and not be subsidized by the homeowners of Somersett. With the right thinking we believe this is quickly achievable.
Both parties here have responsibilities, and both can enjoy benefits if we choose to set aside the lawsuit and re-engage directly so that creative ideas can again emerge. We are looking for a win-win and when that happens the homeowners will get good value and the golf course will remain on a path to sustainability and success. We intend to set this right so that the issues are fully resolved and will not re-emerge with added costs every time the unexpected happens. The differences are significant, but the rewards of a negotiated solution are far greater.
Expenditures and Budgets
Holding down costs will allow us to afford future amenities. This requires a tightly managed budget and getting good value on every line-item. Two contractors, First Service Residential and Brightview Landscape represent over half the budget! (1) We want annual performance reviews of our major contractors. Why does First Service Residential seem to be renewed without competitive bids? We need to hold BrightView accountable for water waste which includes not just smart controllers but also a comprehensive survey of sprinklers heads that soak the street, needed pressure reduction, and water leaks which go un-repaired.
We spend $400,000 each year on water so this represents a big savings opportunity. This takes some independent analysis from someone independent of our landscape contractor. In the last two years the SOA has spent or budgeted over $750,000 in legal expense. What kind of amenities might we have had for that kind of waste? There remains huge potential for savings if we stop throwing it away on principles and loose management. We intend to get on that.
Construction and Development
Why do the construction companies have debris, cargo containers, and garbage set about long after the homes are finished? Why are security gates left open even when residents are charged for them? When drivers should be watching crosswalks, why are there countless signs on each roundabout pointing to homes and models that are not even there anymore? Yes, there are developer rights in place but that doesn’t mean we can work with our builders to make this the quality community that they advertise in their brochures. While they finish their homes, they need to respect the residents who have already purchased their homes.
We all live in Somersett and we should plan activities that unite us. Let us look for opportunities to cooperate, perhaps share amenities, or host friendly get-togethers. The SOA should respect the wishes of the Sierra Canyon board and residents should not have to submit their applications and plans first to Sierra Canyon and once again to the SOA. Let’s work together to find the solutions that benefit both communities.
Kids and Families
Expand activities for kids. Keep the pool open longer in the year. Consider Somersett sports leagues. Temporarily allow limited basketball hoops during COVID. Improve some of the pocket parks in our neighborhoods. Expand and restore access to trails that are already a part of the planned development in this community. Keep our homes and kids safe. Work closer with law enforcement when there is a theft or problem in our community.
You have our pledge.
We would like your support to make this happen. This October, vote “JBM”: Jacob, Bill and Mark.
We also have a website where more information can be learned, including a feedback and comment form. Visit us at www.NewSomersett.com