January 27th BOD Meeting Recap

Following is a recap of some of topics discussed and/or approved at the January 27th Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (Board) Meeting, held via a Zoom Video Conference with Association members. The reader is referred to SU’s Post of  January 23, “January 27th Board Meeting” for a copy of the Meeting Agenda and supporting information derived from the Board Meeting Packet. Agenda Items are noted.

2.  Homeowner Comments on Agenda Items (paraphrased, not directly quoted and apologies for any misrepresentations)

  • A suggestion that the Board consider re-instating the Community Standards Committee wherein aesthetics issues can be discussed and addressed outside the AGC.
  • A request that the Board make available the SOA Attorney’s written opinion (quoted by the Board president at the January 13th meeting) that it is OK to take actions in opposition to SOA Charters and Policies and change them later.
  • With regard to item 8.c. that turnover of parcels to the SOA should not be accepted without a full assessment of its impact on general common expenses.
  • A complaint that Board is taking actions on agenda items not in compliance with NRS 116.3108. That is “The agenda for a meeting of the units’ owners must consist of a clear and complete statement of the topics scheduled to be considered during the meeting”. This with resect to the changes made to the membership of the AGC.
  • A concern that the new Board members are in a rush to revamp the AGC after living here such a short time and blaming previous Board and Committee members for items they find fault with.

4.  Committee Reports

 4.a. Budget & Finance

  • The Board approved the Committee recommendation to transfer money to the reserve funds on a quarterly vs monthly basis.
  • The recommended appointment of Paul Taybi to the Committee was tabled due to the receipt of five additional applicants to serve. The committee will evaluate all applicants and make recommendations to the Board at the next Board meeting.

4..b  Communications

  • The Board approved the inclusion of advertising on the SOA website. Advertisers will be screened, limited to certain categories and required to sign contracts. Targeted advertisers will include those currently advertising in the Somersett Living Magazine.
  • A recommendation that the SOA staff look into (investigate) implementation of a key card access system for TCTC was approved.
  • Bill O’Donnell was appointed as a Board member liaison to the Committee.

4.  West Park Garden

  • West Park Garden representatives are meeting every two weeks on planning for the Spring planting.
  • There are 116 applicant for the 50 garden plots – no date yet on when the lottery will beheld.
  • The Garden representative reported that there are not enough funds to accomplish their goals and are investigating fund raising activities to be presented at the next Board Meeting. The Board advised they are scheduling a meeting with the City of Reno to discuss availability of grants and funds ($30,000) still left over on the project.
  • Jacob Williams was appointed as a Board liaison to the Committee. A motion to reestablish the full West Park committee was tabled to be added to the next Board meeting agenda.

 6.  Unfinished Business

 6.a.  Legal Updates

  • No update on the status to the Preston Homes (SOA defendant) or Rockery Wall (SOA plaintiff) lawsuits.

6.b. American Geotechnical Proposal

  • Proposal was disapproved on a 2:2 plus 1 abstention basis. Proposal was for an inspection of rock walls constructed by Ryder Homes prior to turnover to the SOA. It was noted that these walls were built several years ago and were previously inspected by the builder, and that given the turnover process, nothing would be gained by these inspections.

6.c.  Smoke Guard Proposal

  • The $5,705 proposal from Smoke Guard of California to replace a defective smoke curtain and associated components at the TCTC elevator was unanimously approved.

6.d.  FireFly Court

  • No progress on the status of the FireFly Court trail access issue was reported. Board does not want to take unilateral action on this issue until they can meet with the new Sierra Canyon Board to be installed after the February 9th elections.

8.  New Business

8.a.  Slurry Seal Proposals

  • Two sealed bid proposals for Slurry Sealing of SOA roadways was postponed until next Board meeting, as they could not be opened under the current Zoom format.

8.b.  Robinson Engineering Proposal

  • This $6,600 proposal to prepare architectural/structural plans for a storage building was rejected in favor of going out to bid for a building to be engineered and constructed by a single vendor.

8.c.  Acceptance of Parcel C in WinterCreek from Lennar

  • Turnover of this parcel of land to the SOA was accepted. It represents a 5,402 sq. ft. unirrigated native land parcel at the corner of Scott Valley Road and Chimney Rock trail of no particular value. Apparently turnover of the parcel was missed in previous transactions.

8.d.  Padovan Consulting Agreement

  • The Board accepted the Master Service Agreement proposal from Padovan Consulting LLC for engineering services at a billing rate of $140/hour, with material costs reimbursed at cost plus 10%.

8.e.  P-Card Resolution for Club manager

  • Authorization of  a US Bank Purchase Card for the Club Manager was tabled pending additional information regarding the establishment of limitations as to its use.

8.f.  Revised TCTC Rules and Regulations

  • It appears that many are abusing the amenity reservation process (especially at the lap pool) to the detriment of others. Hence the following suggested addition to the TCTC Rues and Regulations “Management reserves the right to issue a two-week suspension of amenity privileges for any resident who has no-call, no-showed for amenity reservations more than twice in a row”. After discussion it was determined to be to harsh to suspend all amenity privileges and the rule will be amended to address suspension (with prior notice) of reservation privileges only.

8.g. Formation of a Community Events Committee

  • The Board approved the formation of a “Community Events Committee” comprised of owners, to propose and promote some community wide events (e.g., Music on the Green, Farmers Market, etc.). This to supplement the event planning by FSR. A charter will be developed and approved at a subsequent Board meeting.

8.h.  Stage Remodel Change Order

  • The Board approved a $10,544 proposal to add rubber flooring and mirrors to the TCTC Gym Stage conversion. This was apparently previously approved but in an amount that forgot to include this addition.

8.i.  NRS 116.31087, Homeowner Complaint regarding Board actions

  • A revisit of the allegation that the Board did not proceed properly at the previous Board meeting and were not transparent as to their intentions by not providing “A clear and complete statement of the topics scheduled to be considered during the meeting” and “A list describing the items on which action may be taken and clearly denoting that action may be taken on those items”. Again with regard to the AGC membership changes. The Board President took exception to the allegation and restated his opinion that the agenda item description was adequate enough to support their actions.
  • The Board President affirmed the right of homeowners to have certain complaints placed on the agenda, associated with an allegation that the Board has violated one, or more, of the Associations governing documents, but they needed to be specific in what provision(s) have been violated.

9.  Board Member Comments (paraphrased, not directly quoted and apologies for any misrepresentations)

  • Board President Mark Capalongan commented: 1) that they will not be handling Board member Bill O’Donnell’s propositions regarding Aesthetic Guideline changes on a case by case basis, but rather would review Guidelines collectively and recommend changes, Board member Hanson will lead this effort; 2) that his previous proposition regarding the elimination of drive-by compliance inspections, which had been tabled at the December Board meeting, would not be acted upon; 3) defended the qualifications of the remaining two paid professionals on the AGC as meeting the CC&R requirements and stated it was a closed issue; and 4) asked owners (with regard to their comments and complaints) to allow the Board to conduct its business with minimal interference.
  • Jacob Williams addressed the issue of citations that were given to owners on the raising of concrete sidewalks, with apparently a 14 day notice to correct. He advised that these citations will be deferred to a later date. It appears most result from trees planted by developers and a discussion is needed by the Board to see what is fair and what is not fair in this circumstance.
  • Bill O’Donnell, while extolling the virtues of the Board, criticized homeowners for their “comments, complaints, roadblocks, abuse, creating havoc, wanting to make money off us, ignoring the facts, and that is wrong, so give us a chance”.
  • Simon Baker and Craig Hanson both seconded the concern raised by Jacob Williams on the concrete sidewalk issue.

10.  Homeowner Comments (paraphrased, not directly quoted and apologies for any misrepresentations)

  • A comment on implementation of the “Dark Sky” policy within Somersett. That bistro lights on patios or outside of homes are very bright and not in keeping with dark sky objectives. Also, that the SGCC should turn off their bistro lights no later than 9:30. In response, the Board president advised that the current policy would be looked at as part of the Aesthetic Guidelines review. Board member Williams questioned where the basis for Somersett’s dark sky designation came from, as apparently we are not listed as a Dark Sky Community anywhere.
  • A concern that the new Board Members were; 1) not properly researching past policies and why they were initially put in place, 2) their policy of a kinder approach to owners only applies to those who agree with them, 3) taking action on items not properly identified as an agenda item, and 4) showing preferential treatment to the $1M+ homeowners.
  • A comment on dogs running free destroying property and killing wildlife, especially in the Canyon9 areas where two black Labs killing ducks were witnessed. Complained that calls to the Association office accomplish nothing. Also, that some rental homes were not being properly maintained and that “compliance coordinators” needed to pay more attention to rental properties
  • With regard to the FireFly Court trail access, a comment that all the perinate controlling documents would require its re-opening and that it is simply a matter of enforcement.
  • A procedural comment on whether or not the Board could take action on a Committee recommendation that was not identified as an agenda item or previously identified within a Committee report contained in the Board Meeting Packet. An opinion that the Board was not consistent here, as some were acted on and some deferred until the next Board meeting. This in relation to other owner concerns about appropriate agenda item descriptions. This was followed by a response from Board member O’Donnell criticizing the commenter (in very ungracious terms) for being critical and to give the Board some latitude.

SU Editorial Comments:

  • SU does not question the new Boards motivation for change and that their objectives are less than honorable. However, they need to realize that not all will necessarily agree with their objectives, methods, or need for a change, and for a Board member to criticize and dismiss those that they believe are getting in their way is both disrespectful and disingenuous. Homeowners that follow Board meeting actions are generally in a group that are just as concerned about the health of the community as Board members (maybe more so) and will not be intimidated to not speak up in opposition to Board actions when felt necessary, or conversely to support Board actions as well.  It has always been that way!
  • For those interested in viewing and listening to all the proceeds of the January 27th Board meeting, a video recording is available on the SOA website, www.somersett.org, under the SOA Board and Committees/The Board of Directors tabs (log-in required)

SOA Aesthetic Guidelines Discussion

At the December 17th Board of Director (Board) Meeting, Board member O’Donnell presented proposed changes to the AGC process, which he believes will provide a less costly and more friendly approach to owners submitting projects for approval. He addressed eight different problem areas with proposed solutions as follows : 1) A fast track application process for building projects under $100K and landscape projects under $50K, 2) A requirement to complete review and action on non-fast track applications by the next AGC meeting, 3) Using the CC&R’s as the sole basis for approval or denial of applications, 4) Reliance on neighbors to report non-compliances, 5) Return of deposits to owners whose projects did not pass inspection, but with an approved variance, 6) Reduction of AGC costs by not employing a full complement of paid professionals, 7) Elimination of redundant approvals by the Sierra Canyon ARC and the SOA AGC, and 8) AGC appeals to go directly to the Board.

There was limited discussion by other Board members on the pros and cons of the merits of O’Donnell’s propositions, no actions were taken but tabled for future considerations.

Mr. O’Donnell’s propositions (i.e., Problem and Solution statements) were published as a “Summary of Proposal for Discussion: AGC Updated Guidelines” to the December 17th meeting minutes and is available on the SOA’s website (www.somersett.org) under the SOA Documents/Board Documents/2021 tabs.

At the January 13th Board meeting it was announced that each of the eight propositions would be discussed and voted on separately, which they proceeded to do for item 6) above under BOD Meeting Agenda item 8.d. “Appointments to the AGC”. Action was to eliminate two paid professionals (Architect Mike McGonagle and Civil Engineer Seth Padovan) from the Committee and to appoint a homeowner (Rob Jordan) to it.

The upcoming January 27th Board meeting contains no Agenda item for the other seven propositions, so it is assumed these will all be handled at a later date.

In this regard, SU has reproduced the “Summary of Proposal for Discussion: AGC Updated Guidelines” document (apologies for any errors) along with some embedded SU comments as denoted in italicized red font. This commented on copy is available via the following link:

Summary of Proposal for Discussion AGC Updated Guidelines – SU Comment Copy

Given that the AGC and AG Guidelines are always a hot topic among homeowners, especially those with proposed building additions/modifications or landscape projects, you are encouraged to review the linked document and offer up your own comments.

January 27th SOA Board Meeting

Following is the Agenda for the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting at The Club at Town Center (TCTC) to be held at 5:30 PM on Wednesday, January 27th.

January 27 BOD Meeting Agenda

Given that TCTC is still operating under some COVID-19 restrictions, Owner participation will again be via  “Zoom” videoconferencing.

The Board Meeting Packet providing background information on Agenda items is available on the SOA Website (www.somersett.org) under the SOA Documents/Board Documents/2021 ltabs.  Board Meeting Packet background and comments on agenda items follow (agenda items noted):

3.  January 13, 2021 BOD Meeting Minutes

The SOA published Draft Meeting Minutes for the January 13th BOD Meeting is available in the Board Meeting Packet referenced above, or one may access SU’s previous post of January 15th entitled “January 13th BOD Meeting Recap” for a summary of what was discussed and/or approved.

4.  Committee Reports

4.a.  Budget & Finance  –  Committee is recommending: 1) the addition of Paul Taybi to the Committee, and 2) the transfer of reserve funds to reserves on a quarterly vs monthly basis, this to accommodate greater cash flow management capability.

4.b.  Communications  –  No report

4.c.  Strategic Planning & Facilities Committee  –  Upcoming activities include: 1) Posting the Capital Project list on the SOA website to encourage community feedback, 2) Solicit comments from the SOA community regarding desired future amenities, and 3) Solicit comments from SOA community regarding playground structure modification.

4.d.  West Park Garden  –  A request that the Board assign a secondary Board liaison member

4.f.  General Manager  –  The General Manager Report (19 pages for this meeting) addresses a variety of topics including: 1) ACG activity and enforcement data, 2) TCTC/Canyon9 activities and usage data, 3) status of community projects, and 4) Padovan (SOA Consulting Engineer) Engineering and Brightview Landscape summary reports. The reader is referred to the Board Meeting Packet referenced above for all the details.

5.  Financials

The usual 30 or so page summary of the SOA’s year to date and monthly financials. For those interested in the details, the SOA financial statements are available within the Board Meeting Packet or on the SOA website under the SOA Documents/Financial Documents tabs.

6.  Unfinished Business

6.a  Legal Updates  –  The monthly SOA Attorney letter to the Board, dated January 22nd, 2021, contained no new information on the Somersett Development Co. Rockery Wall or Preston Homes Back Nine Trail Access lawsuits.

6.b.  American Geotechnical Proposal  –  Delayed action on a $8,500 – $9,500 T&M proposal to inspect rock walls constructed by Ryder Homes prior to turnover to the SOA. Action was tabled at the January 13th BOD Meeting pending receipt of additional information requested by Board members.

6.c.  Smoke Guard Proposal  –  Delayed action on a $5,705 proposal from Smoke Guard of California to replace a defective smoke curtain and associated components at the TCTC elevator. Action was tabled at the January 13th BOD Meeting pending receipt of information requested by a Board member.

6.d.  FireFly Court Update  –  The Board Meeting Packet, as of this posting, contained no update on this on-going controversial issue regarding the Sierra Canyon Association’s blocking of a SOA trail access.

Comment: This issue, although not a significant one, has been ongoing for months now. Seems ample time for the SOA Board to meet with the SCA Board and come to a resolution.

7.  Acknowledge of Action Outside of Meeting

No items for this Agenda category.

Comment: It is not clear to SU as to the purpose of this category as NRS 116.31085 sets limitations on the power of the executive board to meet in executive session and make decisions without publishing an agenda and permitting owner attendance.

8.  New Business

8.a.  Slurry Seal Proposals  –  At the time of this post, no information was available in the Board Meeting Packet. Therefore, no available knowledge as to contractor. price or extent of proposal.

8.b.  Robinson Engineering Proposal  –  A $6,600 proposal to prepare architectural/structural plans for a storage building extension to the existing SOA Maintenance Building.

8.c.  Acceptance of Parcel C in WinterCreek from Lennar  –  A 5,402 sq. ft. non-irrigated common area parcel at the corner of Chimney Rock Trail and Scott Valley Road to be transferred to the SOA.

8.d.  Padovan Consulting Agreement  –  A Master Service Agreement proposal from Padovan Consulting LLC, for continuance of professional engineering services to the SOA at a billing rate of $140/hour, with material costs reimbursed at cost plus 10%.

8.e.  P-Card Resolution, Club Manager  –  Authorization of  US Bank Purchase Card for TCTC Club Manager, Camille Porter, subject to a purchase limit of $1.000/month and $500/transaction.

8.f.  Revised TCTC Rules and Regulations  –  Adds the following provision with regard to Amenity Reservations: “Management reserves the right to issue a two-week suspension of amenity privileges for any resident who has no-call, no-showed for amenity reservations more than twice in a row.”

8.g. Formation of a Community Events Committee –  No background information in Board Meeting Packet. Most likely just a discussion on the need.

8.h.  Stage Remodel Change Order  –  The Board previously approved a $51K proposal to convert TCTC gym stage into a fitness room. This item addresses a $10,544 change order to add rubber flooring and mirrors.

Comment: This Donovan Contracting, Inc proposal is identified as Change Order 6. Does this imply that there have been five previous change orders? If so, it would be interesting to know how much this project has escalated from the original $51K.

8.i.  NRS 116.31087, Homeowner Complaint regarding Board actions  –  No background information on this Agenda item was contained within the Board Meeting Packet.

Comment: NRS 116.31087 addresses the right of owners to have certain complaints placed on the agenda, usually associated with an allegation that the Board has violated one, or more, of the Associations governing documents. Since the Agenda did not identify the subject of the complaint, i.e., the normal process, we will just have to wait and see what the actual complaint is about.

As a further comment, as SU is sure the Board is aware, per NRS statutes the Agenda for a meeting of the Board must consist of “A clear and complete statement of the topics scheduled to be considered during the meeting” and “A list describing the items on which action may be taken and clearly denoting that action may be taken on those items”. It appears to SU that the Board Meeting Agendas have become a little lax in this regard.

January 13th BOD Meeting Recap

Following is a recap of topics discussed and/or approved at the January 13th Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting, held via a Zoom Video Conference with Association members.  See SU’s Post of  January 11th “January 13th BOD Meeting Update” for a copy of the Meeting Agenda and previous information obtained from the Board Meeting Packet. Agenda Items are referenced.

2.  Homeowner Comments on Agenda Items

Five owner comments were submitted and read into the record. All five of which addressed Agenda Item 8.d “Appointments to the AGC”. Points made were as follows, not necessarily in order:

  • Objections to the reduction of paid professionals on the Committee. That diligent oversight of property improvements and new construction is required to maintain the Architectural Standards and aesthetics of the community, which requires a diversity of knowledge.
  • Reduction of the number of paid professionals would put undue burden on the other members of the Committee.
  • Major construction efforts are still on-going within the Somersett Community under changing building codes, requiring a diversity of expertise on the AGC to assure compliance, this is not conducive to the reduction of paid professionals on the Committee at this time. Perhaps in the future.
  • Given that one of the purported reasons for reducing the number of paid professionals was cost savings, what actually are the projected savings?  This in consideration that the AGC may often have to contract with an outside professional to account for the lack of expertise on the Committee.
  • An opinion that the Board could not take any action on re-organizing the AGC without first revising its Charter, which was not on the Agenda.
  • Board member O’Donnell’s motions on re-organizing the AGC represent a personal agenda that is shortsighted, detrimental to the community and would undermine the AGC process.
  • Suggestions that a homeowner representative be included on the AGC

3.  December 17, 2020 Meeting Minutes

The December 17th BOD Meeting Minutes were approved and may be accessed via the following link: December 17, 2020 BOD Meeting Minutes

4.  Committee Reports

4.a,b,c,& d. – No reports from any of the SOA Standing Committees

4.e.  General Manager

  • Reported that the Fire Fuel Reduction program had started on January 12th. SU assumes this relates to the clearing of common area land adjacent to owner split rail fences as approved at the October 14, 2020 BOD meeting.
  • Advised that 692 owner ballots were received (as of the December 30th deadline) on the Governing Documents (Articles of Incorporation & Bylaws) amendment initiative No breakdown was provided. However, SU subsequently learned that there were 536 in favor and 156 against, far less that the approximately 1500 votes required to either approve or disapprove the initiative.
  • SU Comment – Why the lack of ballots? SU believes the following; 1) ineffective communications, 2) lack of support by the Board, and 3) ballots of this type most always require time extensions, which unfortunately the Board voted not to extend.

5.  Financials

For those interested in the details, this 30 page report is available on the SOA website (www.somersett.org)

6.  Unfinished Business

6.a.  Legal Updates

  • No update on the status to the Preston Homes (SOA defendant) or Rockery Wall (SOA plaintiff) lawsuits.
  • The SOA Attorney, Mike Schulman, provided a ruling that the SOA Consulting Engineer could not open sealed bids for review, then reseal and present to the Board for re-opening. Mr. Schulman.s letter may be accessed via the following link:    Legal Opinion RE Sealed Bid Question

7.  Acknowledgement of Action Outside of Meeting

7.a.  Rescind of Motion taken at December 17th Board Meeting

  • The Board rescinded their previous approval of  a $74K proposal from Gail Wiley Landscapes for hillside repair work at 1880 Dove Mountain Court. This based on the SOA attorney letter referenced under Agenda item 6.a. above. Project will be sent out for re-bid.

8.  New Business

8.a  American Geotechnical Proposal, Rock Wall Inspection

  • An American Geotechnical T&M proposal estimated between  $8,500 – $9,500 to inspect the rock walls located in Back Nine Trail that are currently owned by Ryder Homes, but subject to turnover to the SOA in the Spring of 2021. The SOA Consulting Engineer, Seth Padovan, has recommended that the SOA perform their own wall inspections prior to turnover, hence the proposal from American Geotechnical.
  • This item generated a discussion as to the need for our own independent analysis. That is, why we should not accept the Ryder Homes inspection report if prepared by a qualified engineering firm. Also, what would the legal ramifications be if the SOA inspection report differed from the Ryder Homes inspection report. As a result of these discussions, action on the Geotechnical proposal was tabled until the next Board Meeting, pending the acquisition of additional information and answers to Board member questions on the turnover process.

8.b.  Smoke Curtain Replacement Proposal

  • Action on the  $5,705 proposal from Smoke Guard of California to replace a defective smoke curtain and associated components at the TCTC elevator was also tabled. Need for the work was not disputed, but there was a question about an extra charge comment contained in the proposal that needed clarification.

8.c.  Formation of Audit Committee and internal audit of assessments and expenditures across associations.

  • A proposal by Board member O’Donnell to establish an ad-hoc committee to investigate whether or not the assessments being paid into the master SOA by the sub-associations are fair and equitable. After much discussion, primarily led by the Board Treasurer, Simon Baker, as to the complexity of this endeavor and whether anything meaningful could be accomplished, it was decided not to act on the establishment of a committee. Rather, they passed a motion to contact Ray Lee, who as a previous Board/Committee member, apparently looked into and reported on this issue and to communicate the results of that effort to the Board.

8.d.  Appointments to the AGC

  • Action on this item came after considerable introduction by the Board president, Mark Capalongan, in which he: 1) wanted clear up what he felt were misconceptions on the Board’s objectives in re-organizing the AGC and emphasized that there were no intentions to lower the SOA’s Architectural or Landscape Standards, but to obtain better compliance and execution, 2) referenced the many motions made at the December BOD Meeting with regard to the AGC process and that they would be addressing them on an individual basis with specific recommendations, therefore, only AGC membership would be addressed under this Agenda item, 3) obtained an opinion from the SOA Attorney, Mike Schulman, that reorganizing the AGC did not first require a modification to its Charter, that the Charter was an “operational document” not a “legal one” and that the Charter could be amended later to reflect the Boards actions and 4) suggested that the current AGC membership did not represent the correct mix, which resulted in some questionable decisions and hence the need for a change.
  • Subsequently the Board approved a motion to remove Mike McGonagle (paid Architect) and Seth Padovan (paid Civil Engineer) from the Committee and to add Rob Jordan as a homeowner representative. Existing AGC members Steve Hendricks (paid Residential Planner) and Mike McNamara (paid Landscape Contractor) and Board members Capalongan and O’Donnell were retained as Committee members.
  • SU Comment  – Obviously the hottest topic on the Agenda. Whereas SU recognizes that the Board has the right to appoint whomever they want to the AGC, we believe that the manner in which they proceeded here was somewhat disingenuous and sets a bad precedence. First, it was obvious that the Board had already decided on this action, but did not clearly identify it on the BOD Agenda or in the Board Meeting Packet.  Second, legally or not, do we want a Board that acts on their own agenda by ignoring SOA operational documents, under the premise they can be amended later?  Does this also mean that the Board can ignore the Aesthetic Guidelines in their decision making with the justification they can be amended later? Would it not be a better approach to amend the operational documents first and, when appropriate, let the community comment on them before acting, especially for those of significant impact on the Community such as the Aesthetic Guidelines.  One could perhaps defend such action if urgency was an issue, but this was not the case here.  In their haste to implement their campaign promises, the three new Board members need to be careful and not get the cart before the horse!

9.  Board Member Comments

No additional comments were made by Board members

10.  Homeowner Comments at Conclusion of Meeting

Three owners submitted written comments to be read into the record and five others voiced opinions via the Zoom video conference connection. Points made were as follows, not necessarily in order:

Any suggested changes to the AGC process, as introduced by Board member O’Donnell at the December Board meeting be posted online for residents to comment on prior to implementation.

A concern as to whether or not, after elimination of the Architect (McGonagle) and the Civil Engineer (Padovan) and appointment of Rob Jordan (homeowner), the revised AGC had the requisite qualifications to carry out its business. That with the elimination of the Architect and Engineer, did the remaining Committee members meet the requirement of at least one “qualified physical design professional” on the Committee as required by the CC&R’s.

Objections to the elimination of an Architect and Civil Engineer from the AGC. These were needed because of the major construction activities still on-going within Somersett and also the need for professionals conversant with what was going on within the City of Reno.

An objection to the removal of members from the AGC as the Agenda item only addressed Appointments to the AGC, therefore removals could not be acted on. A request that the removal issue be deferred until the next Board meeting to allow more owner input.

That the AGC be active in fending off any annexation efforts into the Sommerett community by the original developer, Somersett Development Company (Blake Smith).

An objection, by Sierra canyon residents,  to the re-opening of the Firefly Court trail access into Sierra Canyon, citing safety, damage, and privacy concerns.

A comment questioning the need for the ad-hoc “assessment” committee (Agenda item 8.c). That most of the complaints come from Sierra Canyon residents, especially after levying of the special assessment, and that the issue of SCA common area assessments has been previously addressed and put to bed.

January 13th BOD Meeting Update

The upcoming Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (Board) meeting agenda was previously published on the  SU Post of January 4th entitled ”January 13th SOA Board Meeting”, with limited comments. This prior to issuance of the Board Meeting Packet, which is now available on the SOA Website (www.somersett.net) under the SOA/Committees & Meetings tab. The Board Meeting Agenda is again made available via the following link, followed by associated information (or lack thereof) obtained from the Board Meeting Packet:

January 13th BOD Meeting Agenda

Agenda Item 4.  Committee Reports – It appears that none of the SOA’s standing committees have anything to report at this Board meeting

Agenda Item 6.a.  Unfinished Business – Legal Updates

This agenda item listed three topics for discussion, 1) “Preston Homes”, 2) “Rockery Wall Update”, and 3) “Legal Opinion on Sealed Bids”.

Items 1) and 2) represent outstanding legal actions to which the SOA is a party to. Since the Board Meeting Packet contained no update on these items, one may assume there is nothing new to report. With regard to the Preston Homes lawsuit against the SOA, their legal complaint is accessible via the following link:  CV20-01274 Preston Complaint (081820).

Item 3) appears to be a result of a December Board Meeting item related to the opening of sealed bids for the Dove Mountain hillside repair project. During a conversation on the bids with Seth Padovan (SOA Consulting Engineer) it was revealed that when bids are received he opens them for review, reseals them and then submits to the Board for another opening and action. Board members Simon and O’Donnell questioned this process as it could be subject to malfeasance.  Mr. Padovan and the FSR General Manager, Ryan Fields, who stated he does not see them, defended the process. However, concerned Board members who were not aware of this on-going process apparently requested an opinion from the SOA legal team. The result of which is contained in the following letter from SOA attorney, Michael Schulman, in which he states this practice is not in compliance with Nevada Law, and provides the reasons therefore.

Legal Opinion RE Sealed Bid Question

One would think that FirstService Residential, who is very big in the HOA business, especially in Las Vegas, would have known that this practice was not appropriate.

Agenda item 7.a.  “Rescind motion taken at December 17, 2020 Board Meeting – Gail Wiley proposal for erosion repairs at 1880 Dove Mountain”.  Perhaps as a result of the legal opinion on opening of sealed bids, the Board wants to revisit this project, and perhaps put out for re-biding.

Agenda Item 8. New Business

Four items in this category: 1) “American Geotechnical Proposal for Rock Wall Inspection”, 2) “Smoke Curtain Replacement Proposal – 1st Floor Elevator”, 3) “Formation of Audit Committee and internal audit of assessments and expenditures across associations”, and 4) “Appointments to the AGC”.

Item 1) represents an American Geotechnical proposal estimated between  $8,500 – $9,500 to inspect the rock walls located in Back Nine Trail that are currently owned by Ryder Homes. Ryder Homes intends to turn over their common area to the SOA in the spring of 2021 and it has been recommended that these walls be inspected prior to turnover. This raises a question as to who is recommending the inspection and why should the SOA be paying for it?

Item 2) represents a $5,705 proposal from Smoke Guard of California to replace a smoke curtain and associated electrical components (anybody know what this is all about?) at TCTC.

Items 3) and 4) contained no associated information in the Board Meeting Packet, will have to see what these items consist of.

SOA/SGCC Settlement Documents

Subsequent to our previous Post “BOD Meeting – Rockery Wall Legal Update”, SU has obtained copies of the legal documents pertaining the Somersett Owners Association’s negotiated settlement of their lawsuit against the Somersett Golf and Country Club (SGCC). These documents are presented here as follows:

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT AND MUTUAL RELEASE

This nine page document consists of two parts; 1) the RECITALS, which provides the history behind the lawsuit, and 2) the AGREEMENT, which documents what was agreed to between the parties along with all the terms and conditions related thereto. For the interested, following is a link to the complete document (minus the signature pages):

SOA-SGCC Settlement Agreement

Note that the Agreement contains a clause that provides for some payback to the SGCC in the event the SOA wins its lawsuit against Somersett Development Company et al. What is not clear is how this will be accomplished. That is, by reduction of the annual rent payment, requiring another amendment to the Lease Agreement, or via cash, or perhaps the SOA could pay it to them over a 44 year period.

FIRST AMENDMENT TO COMMERCIAL LEASE

Again two parts: 1) the RECITALS and 2) the AMENDMENT, a copy of which is available via the following link:

SOA-SGCC Lease Agreement Amendment

Note that the Amendment not only amends Section 1.1 of the Lease Agreement, wherein the Base Rent is increased by $5,979 annually for 44 years beginning in 2021, but it also amends Section 8.1 “General Tenant Obligations”.  Not sure what the overall purpose here is but it appears to accomplish two objectives; 1) to eliminate Warranty provisions that no longer apply due to the passage of time, and 2) to cut the SGCC some slack in allowing them to replace components with those of equivalent usefulness and functionality rather than equal value. Which circumvents the SOA’s premise that the Failed Well 5 228HP water pump had to be replaced with like kind and not with a 60HP pump as the SGCC had done.

Bottom line here is that the Hole 5 Hillside repair cost issue is now thankfully behind us and, per our Board President, relationships with the SGCC are good with no issues on the horizon. Let’s hope it stays that way!

BOD Meeting – Rockery Wall Legal Update

The January 13th Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting, under Unfinished Business, includes a “Legal Updates – Rockery Wall Update” Agenda Item.  One would assume that this pertains to the SOA’s Rockery Wall failure lawsuit against Somersett Development Company et al.  However, at the time of this Post there have been no new docket entries in the Appellate Court.  The last one being on December 14, when the SOA filed its reply brief to the defendants brief of why the District Court decision should be upheld  (For details, see SU Post of December 16th, entitled “Somersett Development Co. Rockery Wall Lawsuit Update”).  Perhaps the SOA legal team has some knowledge as to an upcoming Appellate Court ruling or when the ruling will be made, as we are all waiting with “bated breath”.

Then again, there was also the Rockery Wall repair lawsuit against the Somersett Golf and Country Club (SGCC), for which a negotiated settlement was reached (For details, see SU Post of December 10th, entitled “SOA/SGCC Lawsuit Settlement”). The Court action dismissing the lawsuit may be viewed via the following link:  201218 Order to Dismiss

Per the reported settlement, the SGCC is to pay $263,097 to the SOA through an increase of $5,980 in their annual property lease payment over the remaining 44 years of the Lease Agreement. Currently there are two “rent” elements that make up the SGCC’s required annual payments, one at $1000/year subject to escalation, and one at $1200/year with no escalation. Given that the $5,980 increase was not subject to escalation, it is fair to assume that the SGCC’s annual payments will now be $1000 escalated and $7,180 non-escalated.

Which raises the following question. Is not a written amendment to the Lease Agreement required? SU suspects so in order for it to be legally binding.  If such an amendment has been generated, when will it be published for the benefit of owners? Perhaps the Board can answer this question at the January 13th Board Meeting.

Aesthetic Guidelines Committee Membership

A controversy appears to be brewing over SOA Board member O’Donnell’s suggestions on revamping the Aesthetic Guidelines Committee (AGC) process and responsibilities, which were tabled at the December Board meeting to allow time for other Board members to digest his recommendations (See SU Post of December 21st “December 17th BOD Meeting Recap, item 7.m).  This brings us to the January 13th Board meeting, wherein the only Agenda item related to the AGC is Item 8.d. entitled “Appointments to the AGC”.  Therefore, one could properly assume, that under this Agenda item, the Board will only be taking action on who will be serving on the AGC and not any other AGC issues as, per NRS statutes, the Board cannot take action on items not identified on the meeting Agenda.

Regarding AGC membership, perhaps some background information is in order:

The AGC is the only SOA standing committee established by the CC&R’s, whose requirements must therefore be adhered to. Pertaining to membership, the CC&R’s, under Article VI, Section 1, state the following:

“The Committee shall be composed of not less than three (3) nor more than seven (7) members, to be appointed by the Board, at least one of whom shall be a qualified member of one of the allied physical design professions (i.e., civil engineer, architect, land planner, etc.). Committee members shall be subject to removal by the Board, and any vacancies from time to time existing shall be filled by appointment of the Board, except that the Committee need have no more than three (3) members. A quorum of the Committee shall consist of the lesser of a majority of committee members or three (3) persons. A decision may be rendered by a majority of committee members at a meeting at which a quorum is present. Committee members need not be Lot Owners or officers, directors or employees of the Association.”

As one can see, the CC&R’s grant the Board considerable leeway on make-up of the Committee. However, the AGC also has a Charter, approved by the Board (the latest in January 2020), that supplements the CC&R’s, under which the Committee’s purpose, responsibilities and organization are defined. The current Charter is available for viewing via the following link:

Aesthetic Guidelines Committee Charter

Note that the AGC Charter states “The Committee shall be composed of seven Board appointed members: two Board member and five qualified members of allied physical design professionals (civil engineer, architect, landscape architect) who are independent professional service providers. A quorum of the AGC shall consist of a majority of members. A decision may be rendered by a majority of members at a meeting at which a quorum is present.”

So what is the point here?  The current AGC only has five members (i.e., the two board members and three design professionals listed below), so they are currently in violation of their own Charter (but not the CC&R’s). Therefore, the Board needs to either appoint two more design professionals to the Committee or once again, revise its Charter. In this regard, SU questions the need for five design professionals on the AGC and would encourage re-instatement of unit owner membership, whose participation was eliminated by the previous Board.

AGC Members as of January 2021

Mark Capalongan – Board Representative
Bill O’Donnell – Board Representative
Mike McNamara – Landscaping, paid professional – Chair
Seth Padovan – Engineer, paid professional – Co-Chair
Mike McGonagle – Architect, paid professional

Perhaps, when published, the January 13th Board Meeting Packet, will address Agenda Item 8.d in more detail.

January 13th SOA Board Meeting

At the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) December Board of Directors (Board) Meeting, the Board voted to have two open meetings in both January and February, ostensibly because of the large number of items to be addressed. The first of which is scheduled for 5:30 PM on Wednesday, January 13th at The Club at Town Center (TCTC). Given that TCTC is still operating under some COVID-19 restrictions, Owner participation will most likely again be via  “Zoom” videoconferencing. The meeting agenda is available via the following link:

January 13th BOD Meeting Agenda

Agenda items of particular interest include the following:

  • Item 7.  Acknowledgement of Action Outside of Meeting –  This is a new Agenda category not previously seen. The only item under this heading being: 7.a.  “Rescind motion taken at December 17, 200 Board Meeting – Gail Wiley proposal for erosion repairs at 1880 Dove Mountain”. This Agenda item appears to be a result of the new Boards concern over the contractor bid submittal process and whether the Association has been in Compliance with NRS 116.31086 “Solicitation of bids for association project; bids to be opened and read aloud at meeting of executive board”. Also, item is most likely related to Agenda item 6.a “Legal Updates – Legal Opinion on sealed bids”
  • Item 6.a.  Legal Updates, Preston Homes  –  Back in August 2020, Preston Homes filed a lawsuit against the SOA over Back Nine Trail access issues seeking both access relief and damages. It had been previously reported that agreements had been reached in a settlement meeting. Perhaps this agenda item addresses the settlement, or perhaps if indeed it has not yet been settled. For those interested, a copy of the Preston Homes lawsuit against the SOA is available via the following link:        CV20-01274 Preston Complaint (081820)
  • Item 6. Unfinished Business  –  At the December Board meeting it was revealed that another meeting was scheduled with the Sierra Canyon Association (SCA) to resolve the Firefly Court Trail blockage issue. With no such item included under this Agenda item, it is fair to assume a resolution was not reached. Given that this issue has been ongoing for several months now, it is time to either drop it or issue some sort of disciplinary action against the SCA. The trees continue to grow!
  • Item 8.c  Formation of audit committee and internal audit of assessments and expenditures across associations  –  Purportedly a look at sub association assessments and expenditures to determine fairness.
  • Item 8.d.  Appointments to the AGC  –  Since Board member assignments to the various SOA Committees was announced at at December Board meeting, could this item represent a shake-up of other members on the Committee?

The Board Meeting Packet for the January 13th meeting was not yet available on the SOA website at the time of this Post. When published, if additional information is provided, an update will be provided.

More Surveys Coming?

On December 22nd, the SOA published the following newsletter on the SOA Website.

“Starting immediately in January, the SOA Board of Directors intends to obtain feedback directly from homeowners on a variety of subjects. These may include: budget/spending (to spend or not to spend/how much to spend); facilities (what to do with or about …); communications (how are we doing?); staff (do we have the right people doing the right things?); and many other topics.

An electronic/digital e-survey is the right way to do this. We are at the point where we can reach a majority of homeowners in Somersett via e-mail or text.  An e-Survey is totally free of costs; it provides instant results. (If you are unable to take an e-Survey, a hard copy will always be available at the front desk at the Club at Town Center.)

We’re going to make our e-Surveys focused and easy. About 5 questions, answerable in about 5 minutes or less.

The Communications Committee has developed a logo for our Surveys, and we want to introduce it now. When you see this logo, it indicates there’s a Survey where we need your input. We’d appreciate it if you completed the survey on your computer or phone.      

This is YOUR community; the SOA Board works FOR YOU. These e-Surveys will be your chance to give the Board your opinion about important Somersett topics. Survey results will be published to all residents.”

The proposed surveys apparently represent follow-ups to the Survey conducted back in June/July of 2020, which centered more on resident demographic and “are you satisfied” questions. Regarding the June survey, at the October BOD meeting, the Board approved Communication Committee release of the survey data to the community at large. However, unless SU missed it, we do not believe this was ever accomplished.  Whatever the case, for those interested, the June survey data may be accessed via the following link:  SOA Resident Survey June 2020.

Note that only about 500 residents participated in the June survey. Hopefully, with improved e-communications  the upcoming surveys will attract a larger audience.  It also appears that they intend to focus more on specific issues rather than generalities, which sounds like a good move. However, past surveys also had good intentions, but nothing really ever came of them (a SU opinion of course) and participation was always low (16% for the last one), so how valid were they? Will the new Board be successful in altering the course? With your participation they can, so make sure you have registered to receive the SOA’s e-communications. For any questions in this area you can contact the SOA’s Communication Coordinator, Robin Bolson, at 787-4500 x339 or email at robin.bolson@fsresidential.com.