December 17th BOD Meeting Recap

Following is a recap of topics discussed and/or approved at the December 17th Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting, Meeting was held via Zoom video conferencing with Association members.  A copy of the complete meeting agenda is available via the following link:  December 17th BOD Meeting Agenda

2.  Homeowner Comments on Agenda Items

    • Agenda Item 6.b.  –  Two owners voiced their objections to the Sierra Canyon Association (SCA) blockage of the SOA trail system at Firefly Court (an ongoing issue for several months now). This being a violation of the SOA’s governing documents (i.e., the PUD) and again called for a resolution. One suggestion being that if the SCA did not comply with removal of the blockage they be issued a violation and fined accordingly. The other remarking that all residents should be welcome to walk the sidewalks/trails on either side.
    • Agenda Item 7.b.  –  One owner questioned the need/purpose of the Brightview Tree Replacement Proposal. That it represented the fourth such proposal in the last 18 months for a combined replacement of 400 trees at a cost of ~ $100K. Appears excessive and requested an explanation and walk through by a Board member.
    • Agenda Item 7.d.  –  Two owners spoke in opposition to the Verdi Roundabout Plant Replacement proposal as being unnecessary. One suggesting better use of the $20K elsewhere and the other citing a potential safety issue due to interference with driver sight lines.
    • Agenda Item 7.e.  –  Two owners spoke in opposition to any funding for installation of Back Nine Trail speed calming devices. That the prior Board did not properly vet the previous request (i.e., no speed study, faulted survey, minimal support by residents, SOA maintenance costs) before approval.

4.  Committee Reports

4.b.  Communication  –  Reported on implementation status of a new SOA website. Requested funding, not to exceed $1,000, for a postcard distribution to announce launching of the website and its expanded features (including an irrigation problem reporting process). Funding was approved. In response to a cost question, it was revealed that fees for the new website host and on going maintenance would be significantly less than the current system.

4.c.  Strategic & Facilities  –  Requested approval for a $51K proposal to close off the gym stage and convert it into a fitness exercise room. Basis being that additional fitness space is needed and the stage is never used. Approval was granted. The Committee also advised that they will be soliciting owner comments on the amenities listed on the Capital Projects List.

4.d.  West Park Garden  –  The Committee reported on a proposed $35 annual use fee payable to the SOA to offset operating costs. A lot of discussion followed regading costs, with the committee chairman stating they needed funds to replace bad plot soil (initially provided by the City), erect rabbit containment fencing, some drip line installations, a water controller and a storage facility. None of which was provided for by the city. A $10,000 amount was mentioned, but no contractor estimates provided. Also that ongoing costs would most likely exceed the $35 annual fee with no current plan to make up any difference. Apparently some believe that there are still monies available from the City pertaining to the Park and the Board needs to work with them to free up additional funding. The proposed Rules and Regulations, were approved with the requirement that the Plot Application Form include a liability waiver clause. SU Note: It appears that the Garden Committee does not have their hands around operating costs, where the money will coming from, and establishment of a budget. Suspect they will soon be coming to the Board for funding support, at least initially.

6.  Unfinished Business

6.a.  Legal Updates  –  No update on the Somersett Development Company et al. Rockery Wall Lawsuit was provided, even though the SOA on December 14th filed its response to the defendants brief to uphold the District Court decision. See SU Post of December 16th, entitled “Somersett Development Co. Rockery Wall Lawsuit Update” for details. Announced that the Preston Homes lawsuit against the SOA has been settled but the filing documents have not yet been finalized.

6.b.  Firefly Court Open Access  –  No resolution yet with the SCA on removal of the Trail Blockage. SCA has requested a meeting, not yet scheduled, with the SOA to discuss options. Board member O’Donnell advised that his investigation shows Ryder homes owning the paved area on the SOA side of the blockage and the SCA the parcel on the other side, and that there may be another issue at play here other than just being part of the trail system. Possibly a fire egress requirement, he is looking into this.

7.  New Business

7.a.  Ryder Homes SBE Street Turnover  –  The Ryder Homes development is nearing completion and has requested the SOA accept turnover of some of the common areas. One being the streets. After an inspection by the SOA, Ryder Homes performed some identified repairs and the roads are now deemed in good shape. The Board approved turnover and maintenance of these roads are now the SOA responsibility.

7.b.  2020 Fall Tree Replacement Proposal  – After much discussion as to the need to replace 100 additional trees at this time (for a total of 400 in the last 18 months), the Board placed BrightView’s $20K proposal on hold to allow Board members time to meet with BrightView to assess this and other issues. This over a vigorous argument as to their need by FirstService Residential’s Project Manager.

7.c.  1880 Dove Mountain Slope Repair Proposal  – Apparently a common area hillside adjacent to owner property is having slope slip issues endangering the owners property.  Repair work is necessary to reduce the slope angle of the hillside, which includes some hillside grading and installation of a rockery wall. Two bids were opened, one from Gale Wiley Landscape at $74K and one from Joy Engineering at $144K. The board approved the Gale Wiley proposal. During the conversation with Seth Padovan (SOA Consulting Engineer) it was revealed that when bids are received he opens them for review , reseals them and submits to the Board for another opening and action. This prompted a discussion as to whether or not this process was appropriate as it is subject to malfeasance.

7.d.  Golf Equipment Fence Proposal  –  Approved a proposal from Tholl Bros in the amount of $12.4K to install security fencing (similar to that employed at the West Park Dog Park and Community Garden) at the Canyon9 Pump House to protect golf course equipment and materials.

7.e.  Verdi Roundabout Plant Replacement Proposal  –  A $20K proposal from BrightView to replace/install 700 plants along the median from Sierra Canyon’s Aspen Lodge to the Verdi Roundabout. Proposal was tabled for similar reasons as to the Tree Replacement proposal.

7.f.  Back Nine Speed Calming Devices Funds Request  – A request from a homeowner for the SOA to provide funding for the installation of speed calming devices along Back Nine Trail. The Board had previously approved this request, but with the understanding it would be self funded by the Back Nine Trail residents. However, it now appears that the residents promoting the project were not able to raise sufficient funds from their neighbors, hence the request for the SOA to make up the difference (approximately $4,700). After some pro and con discussions, no funding was approved, but  a motion was passed to revisit the issue with a new resident survey.

7.g.  Dissolve Executive Committee  – This pertains to the Executive Committee formed to negotiate with the SGCC on resolving the Hole 9 Rockery Wall failure costs. Since a settlement has now been achieved, the committee was dissolved.

7.h.  Newsletter Contract Renewal  – The Somersett Living magazine publishing contract with Just Imagine Marketing was renewed at no cost to the SOA, with a provision that the SOA could include a “Show Case House” article within the magazine.

7.i.  Building Maintenance (TCTC) Cleaning Contract Renewal  – The board tabled approval for the renewal of the contract with Prestige Building Maintenance. This over the recommendation of the FSR Project Manager.  Basis being they wanted to see a competitive bid.

7.j.  2020 Audit Proposal  – Approved maintaining Hilburn and Lein audit services at an estimated $7,275/annual fee, which is the same fee as for last year. Board member O’Donnell introduced a motion to approve $5,000 to hire an auditor to look into Sub Association assessments payable to the SOA and determine their value received. This was not acted on as it was not an agenda item, therefore not possible under NRS regulations.

7.k.  Board Liaison Assignments for Committees  – Board member assignments to the SOA committees, were approved. SU will not list them all here, but refers readers to the the SOA website for the updated assignments. SU also assumes that these assignments will be announced in a subsequent “Somersett Happenings” email.

7.l.  2021 Meeting Calendar  –  The 2021 SOA Meetings Calendar was discussed with some proposed changes. Most significant was the scheduling of an additional Board meeting in the months of Janurary and February. This to accommodate large backlog of issues. Same comment as for item 7.k. above as regards publication and notice to homeowners.

7.m.  AGC Process Changes  – Board member O’Donnell presented proposed changes to the AGC process, which he believes would provide a less costly and more friendly approach to owners submitting projects for approval. He addressed eight different problem areas with proposed solutions and motions to approve.  Motions addressed : 1) A fast track application process for building projects under $100K and landscape projects under $50K, wherein applicants would meet directly with committee members with no required deposits, 2) A requirement to complete review and action on non-fast track applications by the next AGC meeting, 3) AGC approvals not being required for “aesthetic” type  projects, as requirements in this category are adequately covered in the Association documents, 4) Elimination of unattributed to drive-by property policing, 5) Timely return of deposits to owners whose projects did not pass inspection, 6) Reduction of AGC costs by not employing a full complement of the paid professionals when projects are not in their area of expertise, 7) Elimination of dual approvals by the SOA and SCA AGC’s, and 8) Streamline the appeal process.  There was limited discussion by other Board members on the pros and cons of the merits of the preceding motions, as these motions were very complex and more time was required to study them. Also, that they needed to be published in a media accessible to owners so their comments could be considered. For these reasons O’Donnell’s motions were tabled a month until this could be accomplished.

7.n.  Upgrade TCTC Audio-Visual Equipment – Approved $5K to upgrade TCTC’s conference room AV equipment

7.o.  Variance for Driveway Basketball Hoops  –   In consideration of COVID restrictions, the Board approved a temporary variance (i.e., for 6 months) on the use of basketball hoops in owner driveways, provided they are free standing.

7.p.  BrightView Meeting to Discuss Benefits of New Water Controllers  –  An acknowledgement that Board members would be meeting with BrightView to discuss the merits of their $154K proposal to replace irrigation system controllers. Board members O’Donnell and Williams will represent the SOA.

7.q.  Meeting with City of Reno to Discuss West Park  –  Given the perceived shortfalls in completion of the West Park, and the belief that monies are still available from the City, Board members O’Donnell and Williams were designated to meet with the City to discuss this and other Park issues.

7.r.  New Rules & Procedures for Violation Enforcement  –  Board member Capalongan presented proposed changes in procedures pertaining to owner property violations and a motion to approve. Proposed changes addressed: 1) Elimination of random or periodic patrols to look for violations, to rely on the community to police themselves, 2) Investigation of reported violations, 3) Contacting the affected owner in a more polite and cordial manner with assistance in correcting the violation, and 4) Non reporting of violation statistics in SOA owner communication media. The intended purpose of the motions being to implement a more friendly approach to property violations. Discussions followed on the elimination of the random patrols and the need for more time by other Board members to to study the proposal.  As a result, the motion was withdrawn to be included with the action of Item 7.m. above.

7.s.  Canyon 9 Signage and Payment Options  –  This issue was prompted due to the poaching of the Canyon9 golf course by outsiders. Board member O’Donnell introduced a motion to approve $5K to provide signage depicting operating times and fees, the purchase of monitoring webcams, and credit card readers to facilitate pay for play. Motion was passed with Board member Hanson dissenting due to lack of detail.

7.t.  Motion on Voting Process for Document Revisions  –  The Board passed a motion on a 4 to 1 vote to close the voting on the proposed changes to the SOA’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws effective December 30. Board member Hanson dissented arguing that ballots of this type most always required extensions to obtain the required number of votes to reject or pass.

Homeowner Comments Post Meeting

Homeowner comments following the conclusion of the Board meeting agenda items (agenda related or not) included the following:

  • Affirmations that the placing of agenda items 7.m and 7.r on hold was warranted. That they both need further discussions and owner involvement.  Also, that the perception of the AGC by some Board members may be misaligned with reality. AGC changes implemented in the past year have already addressed some of the problems referred to in agenda item 7.m.
  • A defense of the current AGC and that the actions of its professional members have been in the best interests of the community and not their own personal gain.
  • Objections to elimination of the random/periodic compliance patrols. That relying on owners to  “tattle’ on their neighbors is counter productive and would result in many violations not being reported. This to the detriment of the community.
  • Objections setting December 30th as a final deadline for the submittal of the Governing Document ballots. It appears that the Board is not interested in marketing or pursuing this initiative.
  • Why no announcement of the Preston Homes lawsuit against the SOA if it has been settled?
  • A need for Somersett to update their records on which properties (parcels) comprise  the current Somersett community as well as the adjacent lands, that according to the PUD, can be incorporated in the future.
  • The parking restrictions on the gated private streets and issued violations are unreasonable and need review.
  • Speeding  on the Somersett Parkway is still an issue. When will we get speed signs, especially between the 1st and 2nd roundabouts, to help control speeding? It appears the Board in not doing anything to address this problem with the City, action on the part of the Board is required to obtain more police presence.
  • The  construction of cinder block walls in new developments are not in keeping with the Somersett environment. They are ugly and why were they approved?
  • The TCTC amenity pass cancellation and penalty policy is unreasonable and needs review.