A Look Back at 2020

Following is a “Look-Back” at some of the more significant issues addressed by the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (Board) in 2020. The COVID pandemic obviously having an impact on Board operations (perhaps hindering them from misbehaving?). Can we learn anything from 2020?  In 2021, can the new Board members accomplish their campaign pledges? Only time will tell.

SOA Board of Directors:

  • 2020 Elections for 2021   – Three Association members Mark Capalongan, Bill O’Donnell and Jacob Williams ran as a “Team” for the three open Board positions and defeated incumbents Tom Fitzgerald and Terry Retter. Incumbent Joe Strout, who was also the Treasurer of the SGCC, chose not to run for reelection.
  • Officers  –  The new Board chose the following as its officers for 2021: President – Mark Capalongan, Treasurer – Simon Baker, Secretary – Bill O’Donnell, Vice Presidents – Craig Hanson & Jacob Williams.
  • Executive Committee  –  In 2019, the Board activated an Executive Committee to negotiate with the Somersett Golf and Country Club (SGCC) on payment of the Hole 5 hillside repair costs due to rockery wall failures. Since an Executive Committee of the Board must consist of the President, Treasurer and Secretary, the existing Secretary, Terry Retter, who is also a SGCC member, had to resign his position due to conflict of interest considerations. He was replaced by Board member Craig Hanson. Negotiations failed, hence the subsequent filing of a lawsuit.
  • Board Meetings  –   Due to COVID restrictions, all open Board meetings after March 2020 were held via a Zoom videoconference. Attendance did not seem to suffer from the prior physical attendance formats.

Assessments:

  • The Board voted to maintain the 2021 assessments for the Common Area and The Club at Town Center (TCTC) at their 2020 levels of $105/month and $89/month respectively, while reducing the Private Gates & Streets assessment from $54/month to $50/month, this in consideration of excess reserve funds.

Common Area:

  • Rockery Walls  –  Monitoring of two suspect walls continued throughout 2020 with no identified issues. Contracts were awarded to continue monitoring in 2021.
  • Landscape Maintenance – BrightView’s common area maintenance contract was renewed for one year at $961K. They were also awarded annual contracts for Canyon9 Golf Course maintenance at $275K and West Park maintenance at $24K.
  • Projects $50K and above  –  Projects included: 1) Main entrance hillside stabilization at $162K, 2) Irrigation controller replacements, i.e. with “smarter” devices, at $154K, 3) Fuel abatement (fire breaks) at $74K, 4) 1880 Dove Mountain slope stabilization at $74K, 5) Private road concrete repairs (curbs and gutters)  at $56K, 6) Gypsy Hill Trail street improvements at $50K, and 6) Irrigation dripline replacements at $50K. Note that some of the preceding projects will not be completed until 2021.
  • Somersett West Park – The City of Reno construction effort was completed (playground, picnic & dog park areas now in operation) and the Park turned over to the SOA for ongoing maintenance. Work still needs to be accomplished on the Community Garden, which has many more applicants than available plots, these plots will be awarded via lottery in 2021.

The Club at Town Center:

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, closure of TCTC occurred in March when all activities were suspended. The TCTC reopened in April with use restrictions (still ongoing) in keeping with State mandates. The SOA took the closure time to improve TCTC appearance by performing intensive cleaning and maintenance activities.
  • Purchased and implemented the Alosant Amenity Pass System, which provides for self service reservations of TCTC amenities (i.e., Fitness Facilities, Pools, Tennis Courts) via a mobile phone or computer app.
  • Other approved projects –  Conversion of the Gym Stage to a Fitness Room at $51K and resurfacing of the Tennis Courts at $21K.

SOA Governing Documents:

  • CC&R’s, Articles of Incorporation & Bylaws –  An ad-hoc committee of Association members was formed to review these documents for recommended changes. Task was completed and changes submitted to the Board for approval and subsequent submission to owners for an up or down vote. The Board approved the changes to the Articles and Bylaws, but the CC&R’s were placed on hold due to Developer related complications. The Articles and Bylaws were submitted for owner vote in late November with a December 30th deadline for submittal. At the December 16th Board meeting it was announced that only about 450 ballots had been received (which we believe to be the fault of the Board for bad communications and lack of support).  With the Board also not voting to extend the deadline, it is obvious not enough ballots will be submitted for a decision one way or another and the initiative will be tabled. Results have not been made public at the time of this publication.
  • Aesthetic Guidelines  –  More changes proposed in 2020, which appears to be an on-going process and hard to keep up with!
  • A Memorandum of Understanding between the SOA and the Sierra Canyon Association pertaining to  architectural review and approvals was adopted.  A copy of the MOU is available via the following link:   Memorandum of Understanding – SOA and SCA Architectural Review and Approval for SCA Owners

Litigation:

  • Rockery Wall Lawsuit – The SOA Rockery Wall Lawsuit against Somersett Development Company et al. is still in the appeal process, with the parties spending the year submitting appeal briefs and counter briefs. The question for 2021 is what will the SOA do if their appeal is successful, as retrying the case will obviously cost the SOA several $100K’s.
  • SGCC Hillside Repair Lawsuit – The SOA initiated a lawsuit against the SGCC for the Hole 5 hillside repair costs after Executive Committee negotiations failed. This was subsequently settled out of court. See SU post of  December 10th entitled “SOA/SGCC Lawsuit Settlement” for details.
  • Preston Homes Lawsuit  –  Preston Homes filed a lawsuit against the SOA for violating vehicle access requirements to their development in the Back Nine Trail area. The SOA Board reported that the lawsuit was settled out of court, the terms of which had not yet been filed by 2020 year end.

Somersett Residential Developments:

  • The Cliffs at Somersett – This 165 unit Toll Brothers development  is well underway with many homes already sold and occupied. The numerous concerns previously expressed by Somersett Owners regarding hillside appearance and drainage subsided in 2020 with no significant drainage problems reported.
  • The Greens at Town Center – Construction of the 10 connected town house units adjacent to TCTC was completed and are up for sale in the mid $500K range.
  • Ventana Ridge – The offer to sell a small parcel of SOA Common Area to the Ventana Ridge Developer at $300K (i.e., for Pevine Road access) fell through, Therefore no owner vote required.
  • Somersett Village 1A  – Ground breaking and hillside grading started on a 62 residential unit development located south of the Town Center off of Roundabout 1.  Development will cover approximately 70 acres and is the last village to be developed under the Somersett PUD.  Already its hillside grading overlooking the Town Center is drawing negative comments. For a detailed look at this project, click on the following link:    Somersett 1A
  • Growth – The total number of Somersett Units at year end 2020 was ~3176 with ~3338 projected by year end 2021.

Homeowner Concerns:

As usual, homeowner concerns expressed at Board meetings covered a wide variety of topics, the most prevalent of which were associated with the following:

  • SGCC litigation and cost to the SOA
  • Landscape issues, both cost and performance
  • Somersett trail and dog poop & station issues
  • Aesthetic Guidelines: committee make-up, rules and regulations
  • Board responses, or lack thereof, to Owner concerns.

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