October 14th SOA BOD Meeting Recap

Following is a recap of topics discussed and/or approved at the October 14th Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting, held via a Zoom Video Conference with Association members.  For background information on the agenda items discussed below,  see SU’s previous post   “October 14th BOD Meeting Agenda

Homeowner comments on agenda items (i.e., as interpreted from the meeting audio file)

Three Document Review Committee members voiced their objection to a Board member amendment to the proposed SOA Bylaws changes. This amendment would alter the Board Director term of office from two to three years. The Committee members objection was based on having discussed the Director term of office in detail and concluded that the community would be better served with a two year term of office.

A suggestion that one Board member should be responsible for watching the $1,000,000+ we spend on landscaping and the $300K on fire suppression,  as they go hand in hand. Also, that many of the damaged curbs and gutters were caused by Reno Green snow-ploughing with inadequate equipment. Therefore, should they not be held responsible and did they have insurance to cover the damages?

An owner commented on the proposed 2021 Budget, questioning: 1) why the $564K Contingency line item in the 2020 Budget had been eliminated from the 2021 budget, and 2) noticed that the General Common reserve transfer increased from $430K in 2020 to $610K in 2021, and rather than increasing reserve transfers, could they be decreased in favor of lower assessments?

4.  Committee Reports

4.b.  Communication  –  The Board approved the Committee’s recommendation to release the homeowner acquired survey data to the community at large. This would pertain to the data only, and that Board conclusions, recommendations and/or actions related thereto would be released later.

4.d.  West Park Garden  –  The Committee reported that they have 85 applications for the 50 available garden plots. Allocation will be on a lottery basis.  Committee submitted a set of Rules and Regulations to the Board for consideration. After much discussion, it was concluded that approval at this time would be premature as more work needed to be done. Given that the West Park is open to the general public, a discussion ensued as to how would the rules. regulations, violations, appeals etc. be handled for both Somersett residents and non-residents.

4.e.  Governing Documents Committee  –  The Committee submitted their final recommendations for changes to the SOA’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws with a recommendation for Board approval and distribution for homeowners vote in conjunction with the 2021 Budget mailing package. See Agenda item 6.b. below for Board approval actions.

6.  Unfinished  Business Items

6.a.  Legal Updates  –  No updates or discussion on the Somersett Development Company or SGCC Rockery Wall lawsuits. However, two new issues with Preston Homes were identified: 1) Preston Homes has filed an amended complaint against the SOA on the vehicle access issue to Back Nine Trail.  The parties have met with another session scheduled for the end of October. If an agreement cannot be reached, then litigation in the courts is likely, and 2) the SOA has received a letter from Preston Homes complaining that construction of a rock wall by Ryder Homes has encroached on Preston Homes property. The SOA’s position is that this is a Preston Homes/Ryder Homes issue and does not involve the SOA.

6.b.  Revised Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws  –  The Document Review Committee’s recommended changes were approved as submitted. This after the amendment proposed by Board Member Retter to increase the BOD member term of office from two to three years was disapproved on a 3 to 2 vote. The Board also advised that the approved documents could not be included for owner vote within the 2021 Budget mailing package.

7.  New Business

7.a.  Rockery Wall Mitigation for Main Entrance  –  Two proposals for this work were received: 1) Environmental Protection Services (EPS) at $161,542, and 2) Granite Construction at $200,200. The Board voted to accept the EPS proposal. Work includes the following activities: Slope Scaling (removal of troublesome rocks), Bench Evacuation (removal of rock and sediment from the 400 ft long by 8 ft wide mid-slope bench), and Traffic Control (implementation of traffic control measures along the Parkway as repairs proceed). The authorized work was identified as “Phase 1” of the project in that it only addresses an immediate problem. A “Phase 2” of the project will subsequently be required to provide a more permanent solution. Because of this there was much discussion on slope maintenance costs and potential annual maintenance savings resulting from Phase 2.

7.b.  Community Wide Concrete Repairs – This work consists primarily of repairs to damaged curbs and gutters. Two proposals were received: 1) Cheek Construction LLC at $69,803,and 2) Supreme Concrete at $56,488.  The Board voted to accept the Supreme Concrete proposal. In response to the owner comment on Reno Green liability, the Board responded that this had been addressed with Reno Green to no avail, and that the cost of any litigation would most likely exceed repair costs.

7.c.  Fire Fuel Abatement Proposal  –  One bid for $78,000 was received and accepted. Abatement work will be centered on SOA Common Areas behind owner residences adjacent to split rail fences, and is expected to be completed this year. Note that the 2020 budget for this work was $100K. The budgeted amount for 2021 is $300K and will concentrate more on hillside slopes.

7.d.  2021 General Common, TCTC, Town Square & Gates Budgets  –  Budgets were approved as submitted with the exception of the proposed $2/month increase in the General Common assessment, which was disapproved on a 3 to 2 vote. The result being that the General Common assessment will remain at $105/month. There was much discussion on this issue, with the Board majority voting against the proposed $2/month increase over the objections of the Board Treasurer and Finance Committee. An objection was also raised over the increase in the Common Area reserve transfer fee of $610K for 2021, which is up from $430K in 2020. The Board member questioning the increase felt the monies could be better utilized within the operating budget or paying down the SOA debt. After discussion, the Board decided to leave the transfer fee at the proposed $610K figure. The TCTC budget was presented with two options for the TCTC loan debt payment, one at $250K and the other at $100K, neither having an effect on the TCTC assessment amount, which will remain at $89/month. After discussion the Board approved the $250K amount.

7.e.  2021 General Common, TCTC, & Gates Reserve Study – The SOA reserve studies prepared by the Browning Reserve Group were acknowledged. Note that HOA Reserve Studies are required by Nevada Law and are not subject to Board approvals, rather it is a document prepared by a third party to assist the HOA in budgetary and planning purposes. That is,” to forecast the Association’s ability to repair or replace major components as they ware out in future years”. The study established a reserve funding level of 63.8% for TCTC and 116.4% for Private Streets and Gates, the overfunding of which providing the basis for the $4/month decrease (i.e., from $54/month to $50/month) in the Gates assessment.  For reasons unknown, the Board meeting packet did not contain a Reserve Study on the General Common, the reserves of which had been significantly depleted as a result of the Rockery wall failures. SU suspects that the funding level for the General Common Area is still under recommended amounts.

7.f. Policy Reviews  –  Previously approved policies for: 1) Collection of Assessments, 2) Compliance with SOA Governing Documents, 3) Association Expenses, and 4) Association Investments were acknowledged and approved for owner distribution/access.

Post  Meeting Homeowner Comments

A scathing comment from a homeowner complaining about the Board’s persistent, dismissive and insincere responses, and non-responses, to owner concerns, comments and suggestions, the owner cited five examples pertaining to irrigation waste, legal fees, community outreach, SGCC lawsuit and governing document changes, wherein the Board provided no or inadequate responses. Board response was that, in the future, they will provide responses to post meeting comments at the next Board Meeting under “Unfinished Business” as well as some interim feedback either on the Somersett website or directly to the commenter.

A letter to the Sierra Canyon Board from a Sierra Canyon owner objecting to reopening of the trail access at Firefly Court was read. The owner cited several adverse impacts that unblocking the trail would have on adjacent property owners (two total ?). In the event that a decision was forthcoming to reopen the trail access, it was requested that some type of barriers be installed to isolate and protect owner property from intrusions and disturbance by trail walkers, such as a fence and stairs to discourage bikers and skaters. The Board advised that discussions between the SOA and the SCA are currently underway in an attempt to resolve this issue.

A couple owners commented on  “dog poop” problems and the need for additional stations along walkways and trails. Response was  that plans have already been made for the addition of five new poop stations and others will be considered.

A recommendation that additional lighting be installed at the West Park area to accommodate those wishing to use the dog park after work when it becomes dark, especially with the end of daylight savings time. This could become a City of Reno issue

A comment that the SOA is unnecessarily expending legal fees in pursuing their lawsuit against the SGCC rather than negotiating a settlement. An allegation that the SOA Executive Board has refused to meet with the SGCC in this regard, which, rightfully so, the Board refuted. Also requested an accounting of legal fees, past and present, for pursuing the lawsuit.