Feburary 24th BOD Meeting Recap

Following is a recap of topics discussed and/or approved at the February 24th 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 previous post of  February 20, 2021 “February 24th SOA 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 comment on why the need for changing the AGC Charter (membership change) for the second time in less than a year. Perhaps because the previous committee had to many professional experts, or they want to please Developers by not holding them to a high standard of accountability? Also addressed the issue of potential conflicts of interests by committee members, and suggested that members who have building or landscape projects in front of the AGC not sit as a Committee member, it being a matter of ethics.
  •  An objection to the current make up of the Committee in that it gives the two Board members (Capalongan and O’Donnell) and the homeowner representative (Rob Jordan – a close associate of Capalongan and O’Donnell) a voting majority over the two professionals on the committee. Not necessarily in the best interests of the community, whereas the previous committee make-up of four professionals provided for better representation. Also, a suggestion the Board post a copy of the AGC Charter on the SOA website, which clearly identifies the changes and reasons therefore.
  •  A comment on the Board’s decision to leave the FireFly Court trail access issue well enough alone and in doing so it may go away.  The owner questioned why it should be left alone when its blockage is a clear violation of the Associations legal documents. Quoted correspondence from Reno community leaders advocating keeping the Somersett trail systems open. Also commented on the Sierra Canyon Association’s authority and obligation to provide open trail access between the two communities.
  •  A testimony by a Somersett owner, whose home is adjacent to the trail and butts up to FireFly Court, stating he has not seen or heard of any abuse or property damage to adjacent Sierra Canyon owner or common area property by SOA residents accessing the trail, only the harassments of women and children using the access by FireFly Court residents. Stressed the need for being more neighborly and open up the access for both sides to use. Also, that in installing the blockage, the SCA may have encroached on SOA property (i.e., when turned over by Ryder) with regard to tree placements.
  •  A stated appreciation to Board member Jason Williams for the work he is doing with the City of Reno on addressing speeding along the Somersett Parkway and the installation of speed calming devices.

3.  February 10th BOD Meeting Minutes

 The Draft Meeting Minutes were approved, For those interested, the meeting minutes for the February 10th Board Meeting are contained in the Board Meeting Packet referenced above, which is available on the SOA website (www,somersett.org) under the SOA Documents/Board Documents/2021 link. Alternately, one may access SU’s previous post of February 12th entitled “February 10th BOD Meeting Recap” for a more complete summary of what was discussed and/or approved.

4.0  Committee Reports

4.a.  Budget and Finance  –  Committee recommended the opening of a new money market account with Union Bank. The SOA currently has ~$2.4M of reserve funds in a UBS account and ~$2.6M in a USBank account, both of which are paying 0.1%. A Union Bank account would pay 0.5% along with higher deposit insurance limits. Recommendation was to only open up the Union Bank account at this time and come back to the Board at a future date for approval to actually move funds. Board approved the opening of the Union bank account.

4.b.  Communication Committee  –  The Board approved appointment of Ashley Anderson to the Committee as well as the required funds ($384/annually) to employ use of the Survey Monkey application for Committee surveys. The Board also addressed the so-called “Effective Communications for Somersett HOA Board and Committee Members” document (so-called because the Board Meeting Packet did not include a copy and its content was not made clear), concluded that it was an important guideline document and to put it on the SOA website for all to see.

4.c.  Strategic and Facilities  –  No discussion

4.d.  West Park Garden  –    Board member Williams gave a brief summary of his discussion with the City of Reno an availability of funds for the West Park. Result being that the City apparently agreed that some items were not sufficiently completed prior to turnover to the SOA and will work with the SOA on a punch list of clean-up activities. These were not specifically identified, but some reference was made to the dog park portion.

4.e.  General Manager  –  Reported that the fuel fire reduction project will be completed by the end of February, the TCTC gym stage renovation project will commence on March 22nd  and that Summer Staff hiring has began.

5.0  Financials

The reader is referred to the Board Meeting Packet for the 30+ pages of SOA financial data. Board member Hanson had questions on a couple of over budget items contained in the report. These were cleared up to his satisfaction by Board Treasurer Baker.

 6.  Unfinished Business

6.a.  Legal Updates  –  The Somersett Development Company Rockery Wall lawsuit is still waiting a decision from the Appellet Court. The Preston Homes lawsuit is pending the filing and acceptance of legal documents by the Court. However, the apparent agreement between the SOA and Preston Homes are as stated in the SOA Attorney letter of February 16th, which may be accessed via the following link:   “Preston Homes LLC vs Somersett Owners Association

6.b.  1880 Dove Mountain, Common Area Slope Repair – The improperly installed split rail fence has been relocated from SOA to owner property.  A new engineering analysis has been completed on the hillside slope repair and a request for proposal (RFP) will be prepared.

6.c.  Discussion and Decision on Firefly Court Trail Access  –  Significant discussion here with the bottom line being that the SOA will leave things as they are (i.e., trail access to remain blocked by Sierra Canyon) with no further action.  The Board had referred this issue to the SOA attorney (Michael Schulman) for a legal opinion on SOA jurisdiction and options. The Attorney basically stated that Sierra Canyon has no obligation to open the access and that the SOA had no authority to require it.  The Attorney opinion letter is available via the following link:  “SOA Access Issues with Trail System

SU Note:  Subsequent to issuance of this letter, a SOA owner challenged the Attorney basis citing legal documents identifying existence of the trail access, which the Attorney apparently did not consider.  Is this a closed issue?  Who knows?  With the Board it is, who stated they will do nothing further unless taken to court by others (apparently unaware that the NRED Ombudsman’s Intervention Affidavit process is another avenue open to Association members)

7.  New Business

7.a.  Update AGC Charter  –  The Board approved a new Aesthetic Guidelines (AGC) Committee Charter, which had been revised from the one originally contained in the Board Meeting Packet. Committee membership under the new Charter shall consist of not less than three (3) nor more than seven (7) members, to be appointed by the Board. At least one Committee member shall be a qualified member of one of the allied physical design professions (e.g. ,landscape design, architecture, home design, civil engineering, land planning, and other related fields). The Committee shall also be comprised of one Board member and one alternate Board Member, and a minimum of one homeowner in good standing who is not a Board member.  The current Committee membership consists of the two Board members, one homeowner and two design professionals.

7.b.  Adoption of Community Events Charter  –  At a previous board meeting, the adoption of a Community Events Committee was approved.  Under this agenda item the Committee’s charter was approved. Also approved was the following individuals to serve on the Committee: Melanie Kuzmanich, Jenny Williamson, Sandy Capalongan, Jamie Villarino, Malisa Barclay, Louise Jordon, Gina Bayless, Amber Leland, and Corrine McGrane. The foregoing individuals make up the nine members authorized by the Committee Charter, which may be accessed via the following link:   “Community Events Committee Charter

7.c.  Featuring Homeowner Photos at the TCTC  –  The Board approved the holding of an owner photo contest with winning photos to be displayed at TCTC. An $1800 amount was approved to support this activity.

7.d.  Study of Crosswalk and Speed Signs for The Somersett Parkway  –  Board member Jason Williams summarized his discussions with the City of Reno, which resulted in the following: 1) Given the Parkway’s official city street designation, no physical speedbumps are allowed, 2) crosswalk signs and/or flashing speed feedback signs are permitted, but the City will not pay to  purchase or install them (probably have higher priorities), 3) If the SOA wants to purchase and install them, the City will then provide for their maintenance. However, the SOA will have to select their desired locations, perform a traffic survey and present to the City for final analysis and approval prior to installation, the approval of which is not guaranteed.

Discussions revealed that the 3-4 years ago a similar traffic survey was contracted for. Contact with the same company indicated that a suitable traffic survey could be conducted for $1000/location. The same company advised that based on the previous survey, it doubted approvals could be obtained from the City for installation of speed calming devices (an implied opinion that excessive speeding along the Parkway was not that prevalent). Apparently nine locations within Somersett have been identified as potential locations for flashing speed or crosswalk signs.  After discussion, the Board approved three traffic surveys, one on Back Nine Trail and two on Somersett Parkway. It should be noted that Back Nine Trail is a SOA private street and, therefore, not subject to City approval.

8.  Board Member Comments

Board President Capalongan expressed on opinion that the new AGC is “functioning very well now” (implying that the old AGC was not? or that the new AGC had start-up problems?). Also, that the AGC has adopted a policy of sending a letter of thanks to owners who submitted “exceptional applications”.

9.  Homeowner Comments

An owner expressed disappointment on the Attorney letter addressing the FireFly Court issue and that it was not included within the Board Meeting Packet (the Board advised it was received too late to include in the Board Packet but was now on the SOA website). The same owner objected to the Board President’s use of the term that under the new AGC, owners are happy again. This without a basis that they were unhappy under the previous AGC.

A comment that owners are unhappy with the extended length of times the North and South Gates to Back Nine Trail are open, which compromises security. Also, that Preston Homes appear to be violating City of  Reno regulations by working on Sundays. Stated that one of the reasons owners purchased gated community homes was for security reasons, which was not being accommodated, therefore, a partial rebate on their gated community assessments is in order.  Suggested that perhaps keeping the gates closed and providing Preston Home with gate key access could be a solution.  The Board President responded that Preston Homes has been approached numerous times on many issues, to no avail, and owners will have to live with the legally documented North and South Gate operating times (which were read to the commenter) until the last Preston Homes homesite, or two years, is sold.

A suggestion that automobile license plate camera readers, and warning signs be placed at the entrances to Somersett to dissuade criminal activity and enable police investigations. Board member O’Donnell expressed support and proposed including as an agenda item on the next Board meeting.

Another comment that the current operating hours of the Back Nine Trail gates compromises security, cited the recent package thefts by those following delivery trucks.  Seconded the need for license plate cameras and for gate assessment rebates because owners are not getting the security they are paying for. Suggested that perhaps Preston Homes pay for this portion. Also remarked on Preston Homes workers playing loud music and leaving trash around to the detriment of the community. The Board reiterated the uncooperativeness of Preston Homes, and that given the current home market, perhaps the last homesite could be sold within three months.

February 24th SOA Board Meeting

Following is the Agenda for the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting to be held at The Club at Town Center (TCTC) at 5:30 PM on Wednesday, February 24th.

February 24th 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 links.  Board Meeting Packet information  and comments pertaining to agenda items follow (agenda items noted):

3.  February 10th, 2021 BOD Meeting Minutes

The SOA published Draft Meeting Minutes for the February 10th BOD Meeting is available in the Board Meeting Packet referenced above, or one may access SU’s previous post of February 12th entitled “February 10th BOD Meeting Recap” for a more complete summary of what was discussed and/or approved.

4.  Committee Reports

4.a.  Budget & Finance  –  No report contained within the Board Meeting Packet for this Committee. However, at the January 27th Board meeting, the Committee was given the task of recommending new members to the Committee from the five owner applicants.

4.b.  Communication  –  The Committee is making the following recommendations for Board action: 1) Approve Ashley Anderson for Committee membership, 2) Approve an “Effective Communications for Somersett HOA Board and Committee Members” document (since the Meeting Packet did not include a copy of the document, not sure what this entails, are they currently not communicating effectively?), and 3) Approve use of the Survey Monkey Advantage system at $32/month for conducting owner surveys.

4.c.  Strategic and Facilities  –  Working on the following tasks: 1) Soliciting owner feedback on the 2021 capital projects list, future desired amenities and TCTC playground modifications, 2) TCTC alcohol policy, 3) TCTC pool snack bar enhancements, and 4) a queueing system for TCTC front desk area(?)

4.d.  West Park Garden  –  The lottery for selecting the 50 winners out of the 114 garden plot applicants was held, all were notified of the results. Orientation sessions for the successful participants will begin in April. The Committee will also be selling tomato plants in May as a fundraising exercise.

4.e.  General Manager Report  –  The reader is referred to the Board Meeting Packet for detailed information and updates on: 1) AGC activity, 2) Community enforcement data, 3) Owner communications,  4) TCTC events and club usage data, and 5) Landscape and Engineering project updates. Of particular interest is Item 4 of the Padovan Consulting LLC Engineering Update report related to Developer common area turnovers, a copy of which may be accessed via the Following link:   “SOA Engineering Update – February 2021

5.  Financials

The reader is referred to the Board Meeting Packet for the 30+ pages of SOA financial data

6.  Unfinished Business

6.a  Legal Updates  –  Again, no update on the Somersett Development Co. Rockery Wall lawsuit, which is apparently still mired in the Appellate Court. However an agreement appears to have been reached on the Preston Homes lawsuit as reported in the SOA Attorney Legal Update Letter of February 16, 2021. The  contents of which may be accessed via the following link:   “Preston Homes LLC vs Somersett Owners Association

6.b.  1880 Dove Mountain, Common Area Slope Repair  –  No status on this project was contained in Board Meeting Packet. However, per the February 10th Board meeting, this project was to be re-engineered and re-bid.

6.c.  Discussion and Possible Decision on FireFly Court Trail Access  –  No supporting information contained in Board Meeting Packet. Plan was to meet with the new Sierra Canyon Board and try to reach a negotiated settlement. Perhaps this item will address the results of whether or not such a meeting was held.

7.  New Business

7.a.  Update AGC Charter  – An action item resulting from the Board’s previous decision to restructure the Aesthetic Guidelines Committee. The revised Charter is available via the following link:   “Aesthetic Guidelines Committee Charter”.

7.b.  Adoption of Community Events Charter  –  At the January 27th Board Meeting, formation of a Community Events Committee was approved by the Board. Following is a copy of its proposed Charter:   “Community Events Committee Charter

7.c. Featuring Homeowner Photos at TCTC and possible photo contest  –  Most likely just a discussion item.

7.d.  Study of Lighted Crosswalk and Speed Feedback signs for Somersett Parkway  – At the February 10th Board meeting, Board member Jacob Williams advised he had been meeting with the City of Reno to address speeding problems on the Somersett Parkway. The following memo is a response from Paul Ellison, City of Reno Public Works, addressing Mr. Williams concerns, potential solutions and prerequisites:   “Somersett Parkway Traffic Calming Devices

February 10th BOD Meeting Recap

Following is a recap of topics discussed and/or approved at the February 10th 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  February 7, 2021 “February 10th BOD 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

 There were no Homeowner comments on agenda items

 3.  January 27, 2012 BOD Meeting Minutes

The Draft Meeting Minutes were approved, For those interested, the meeting minutes for the January 27th Board Meeting are contained in the Board Meeting Packet referenced above, which is available on the SOA website (www.somersett.org) under the SOA Documents/Board Documents/2021 link. Alternately, one may access SU’s previous post of January 31tst entitled “January 27th BOD Meeting Recap” for a summary of what was discussed and/or approved.

 4.  Committee Reports

No Committee reports were submitted. Generally due to Committee meetings being scheduled subsequent to the February 10th Board Meeting date. Reports are expected to be submitted for the upcoming February 24th Board Meeting.

 5.  Financials

Same comment as under Agenda Item 4 above.

 6.  Unfinished Business

6.a.  Legal Updates  –  No update on either the Somersett Development Company or Preston Homes lawsuits. However, it was reported that the Preston Homes lawsuit is nearing resolution with results possibly available by the February 24th Board meeting. The Somersett Development Company Rockery Wall lawsuit is still waiting a decision from the Appellate Court, no legal fees are being encountered.

6.b.  Slurry Seal Proposals  –  Two companies submitted bids for slurry sealing of the SOA private streets both with and without the inclusion of Huntley Road (see note below). The Board approved acceptance of the Sierra Nevada Construction bid (excluding Huntley Road) of $73.3K. This over an Inter Mountain Slurry Seal Inc. bid of $96.5K. Funds to come from SOA reserves, for which $89K had been allocated. There was a discussion as to why only two bids were received. The answer being that the number of local companies that perform Type 2 slurry sealing (as required by the SOA) was very limited.

 Note:  Exclusion of Huntley Road from the slurry seal process was due to the fact that this street had been turned over to the SOA by Ryder Homes in December 2020 and accepted as street worthy.

 6.c.  The Board approved issuance of a Purchase Card to be used by the TCTC Club Manager for the purchase of incidentals. Card carries a limit of $500/transaction and $1000/month.

6.d.  1880 Dove Mountain Common Area Hillside Slope Repair  –  Previous bids received for this work were rejected at the January 27th Board meeting due to an erroneous bid process. Rather than re-bidding the project as proposed, the Board contracted with Stanka Consulting for further analyses on the project. Stanka has issued a report which apparently identified an alternate solution from the one previously proposed, which potentially could save the Association  $30K – $50K. Project will be re-engineered  and re-bid. Meanwhile the split rail fence that had been improperly erected on the common area hillside was being moved to owner property where it belonged.

 7.  New Business

 7.a.  Reinstatement of the West Park Committee  –  The Board approved to reinstate the West Park Committee. This Committee had been disbanded following City of Reno turnover of the Park to the SOA for operation and maintenance.  However, this was determined premature given ongoing issues with the City of Reno. It was not clear as to whether or not the West Park Garden Committee would remain separate.

7.b.  Garden Committee Fundraising Request  –  The West Park Garden Committee was seeking Board approval to conduct a fundraising exercise on the SOA website and e-newsletter. This to raise funds for materials deemed necessary but not originally provided for by the City of Reno. The Committee would engage an outside service (ABC Fundraising) to conduct the activity, which would consist of the selling of flower seed packets. Discussion centered on three areas: 1) ABC’s cut of the revenue, 2) whether or not the fundraising activity would even be required given the ongoing discussions with the City of Reno over Park funds that are still available, and 3) the SOA’s role, or non-role, in funding activities related to city owned property.  It was subsequently assessed that Committee fundraising and the availability of City funds were not mutually exclusive, therefore, use of the SOA website and e-newsletter to support fundraising was approved.

7.c.  Snow Removal Rules for Sidewalks on Homeowner Lots and Common Areas  –  A discussion on sidewalk snow removal requirements placed on homeowners as opposed to sidewalks on common area properties, this with regard to the SOA public roads plowed by the City of Reno. It was unclear to this observer as to what exactly the problem is here, who is responsible for what (City, Association, Owner), and what rules should be enforced or not enforced.  After much discussion, the topic was tabled pending additional information, not only on Association rules and regulations, but City of Reno rules and regulations as well.

 8.  Board Member Comments

Board member Jacob Williams addressed the issue of owner sidewalk damage caused by the improper planting of trees by the original Developers.  Original thought was that perhaps some financial relief here could be provided by the Association. However, it was deemed as not possible. Although an unfortunate situation, this involves owner property, i.e., not SOA property, for which the owner is solely responsible. The Board did offer assistance to affected owners in reaching a collective solution that could save on expenses.

 9.  Homeowner Comments

Note: The Zoom Video conference format enables attendees to engage in “chat” comments during the course of the meeting, which the Board can see, but cannot respond to. Therefore, owners who want to make an “official” comment to the Board should do so at this time.

  •  An owner requested installation of additional dog poop stations along Evening Rock Trail and again addressed the issue of speeding along the Parkway, especially between Roundabouts 4 and 5.

 Board member Jacob Williams responded to this comment with the news that he has been meeting with the City of Reno to address the speeding concern. He advised that 1) installation of “speed bumps” are not allowed and therefore cannot be entertained, but 2) they are very open to implementing more speed calming devices (e.g., flashing lights, speed monitoring boards) along the Parkway. This will be added as an agenda item at the next Board meeting where he hopes to have some proposals and costs for discussion and what speed surveys may be required.

  •  An owner commented that 2-3 inches of snow on a sidewalk was actually safer to walk on than one cleared down to the concrete and iced over, and the “compliance police” should be somewhat lenient here.

SOA AGC Updated Guidelines Discussion

The following article submitted by Marilee Watts. Association Member

SU Note: Ms. Watts comments, as indicated in red font below, represent a response to SOA Board Member Bill O’Donnell’s stated problems and solutions (i.e., as indicated below in black font) for Aesthetic Guideline Committee changes as was presented at the December 2020 Board Meeting;

Summary of Proposal for Discussion: AGC Updated Guidelines
Board Meet)ng of December 17, 2020
Presented in reference to Agenda Item 7.m: AGC Updated Guidelines.

As a homeowner who previously was selected to sit on the AGC, here are my responses based on my experiences during the 20 months on that Committee. Clearly, some processes may have changed and there have been additional revisions to the AGs since the position was eliminated by the previous Board. I offer these comments based on memory of this experience which I found to be a collaborative exercise with amiable discussions to reach a consensus.

To make for a more streamlined and cost-effective application process, the following rules are adopted to be used by the AGC:


All projects at the present time must be reviewed by the entire committee and this delays small projects from being completed in a timely manner. Every member of the committee except the board member charges for their time to analyze the plans. In order to justify the charge, they must pour over the plans and find something that they can comment on or reject in order to justify their existence. This wastes the time of the homeowner and unnecessarily burdens the homeowner with extra costs and delays because of some small item that one of the professionals is uncomfortable with. All support the delay because that means that they get to review the plans over again and charge again for the second review.


1.  FAST TRACK APPLICATION: For building projects of less than $100,000 or landscaping projects of less than $50,000 otherwise at the discretion of the committee, the AGC will accept Fast-track applications wherein the homeowner may meet with a quorum of the AGC in person to go over the project details relative to a checklist that contains all the relevant CC&R rules and stipulations. If the project complies to the CC&R rules as listed in the checklist, then it can be immediately approved at that initial meeting by a quorum of the AGC. In this case there will be no fee charged to the homeowner.

To suggest the professionals purposely delay approvals of a submittal is extremely unprofessional and without merit. The Desk Review process (and reduction in fees) was implemented by the previous Board to address the ‘smaller’ submittals and is outlined in the newest AGs Fee Schedule. It is the homeowner’s responsibility and that of their contractor, to ensure the submittal is complete and accurate. Are all the specifications of the AGs met? Is the submittal legible? Are the necessary forms included? If it is submitted on the Monday before the AGC meets the following Thursday, it is very likely it can be approved (IF it is complete) and a response is provided by the Aesthetics Director that same date or shortly thereafter. The Aesthetic Guidelines are applied no matter the size or valuation of the project. Smaller lots may still have detailed plans for submittal; estate lots or custom lots will have more detailed submittals.


Delays in approval or denial can be costly to the Homeowner and the SOA. For every meeting that is staffed by FSR we have a salary to pay. In addition the opportunity costs that go along with delays can be enormous. Just one month delay can cost the homeowner thousands in lost revenue if the housing market changes for the worse.

The Aesthetics Director is a First Service employee and not a member of the SOA staff. If the homeowner is on a specific timeline, it is their responsibility to ensure the submittal is as complete as possible to avoid delays.


2.  For non-fast track projects that involve more subjective or complete analysis, and where questions have been answered by the homeowner the AGC commits to getting an approval answer to the applicant by their next meeting date.

Again, if the submittal is accurate and complete, the homeowner may get approval and notice before the next AGC meeting date. The Aesthetics Director sends the approval/denial notification to the homeowner; this notice does NOT originate from the AGC


There are several professionals on the board that determine the fate of the application. They are paid $120 per hour and some of the professionals overlap. Each meeting cost approximately $3,600 in payments to the professionals to determine the size of rock acceptable for ground cover. The rock has nothing to do with engineering or architecture, yet everything to do with aesthetics. However, there is no professional license needed to determine aesthetics. If engineering decisions are made the SOA is liable if there is a failure.

Solution ;

3. The CC&R requirements and aesthetics shall be the sole basis of approval or denial of applications. Going beyond this into investigations of structural analysis or drainage issues are beyond the scope or responsibility of the AGC, noting that homeowners have already agreed to the CC&R’s as a signed agreement at the time of purchase of the home and such documents already specify certain conditions and restrictions. Where a permit with the city of Reno is required, the AGC shall rely on the city of Reno to make proper determinations and acceptance of project requirements such as drainage, structural, grading, environmental, etc.

As stated above, the PUD specifies the AGC must approve any submittal confirming compliance with the SOA AGs, BEFORE it is sent to City of Reno for building permit application. As homeowners we sign the agreement to abide by all the governing documents of the SOA and this is why it is important for the applicable AGs to be administered consistently throughout the community.


The aspect of policing infractions of homeowners is counterproductive. All homeowners are fearful of someone who arbitrarily drives around to find something wrong with the community resident’s homes. The climate of fear is counter to a happy community living in harmony. All homeowners have agreed to the CC&Rs when they purchased their homes and must live with neighbors in harmony. 95% of the results of the applications generated by homeowners are never seen by even their neighbors because the changes reside in the backyards. Yet we spend time and money policing frivolous inspections that no one will ever see.


4.  After approval by the AGC, a final inspection as per the CC&R’s Article 6, Section 8 is not required but may be performed at the option of the AGC. It will be made known that even if an inspection is not performed, the SOA will still investigate and respond to neighbors complaints due to non-compliance issues including a failure to build to approved plans.

The AGC final inspection of a project to verify Compliance with the approved submittal, is a protection for the SOA and the Homeowner. If a future claim is to be made, both sides can substantiate the acceptance of the project. The AGC inspection of ‘backyard’ projects is to protect homeowner and SOA property values which are based on the entire building and lot; not just what is seen from the curb. The Compliance drive by is a different function. Previously the Community Standards Committee which consisted of homeowners, two board members and the Compliance Director from First Service, had responsibility for compliance. A homeowner has the right to notify the SOA of a perceived infraction, but they are not obligated to so, and should not be relied upon for this function.


The SOA is holding thousands of dollars from homeowners for years because a former board at some time did not pass their inspection. But who really cares? The prosecutors care. But if their neighbors don’t care, then the homeowner lives in a community that no one cares yet they can’t get their money back because the board of directors care. And the SOA cannot spend the money because it is encumbered.


5.  Former applicants who have submitted deposits that have not been returned can apply for a variance, and if approved then those deposit funds will be returned to the applicant.

There has been turnover within the staffing of the Aesthetics function of First Service, which has had impact on continuity in the processes. Coupled with the increased amount of submittals due to return of building in Somersett, there have been disconnects along the way. If a homeowner believes they are owed a refund then by all means, they should address the issue. I have known FSR staff to be helpful when approached.


The cost of operating the AGC committee is unsustainable. Four qualified professionals are costing close to $40,000 a year to review plans. Aesthetics is a subjective term, yet we are paying qualified engineers, architects and Landscape designers thousands to give an opinion on what is subjective. Lay people can do the same without cost. Contract services can be obtained whenever necessary and the full array of professionals is not necessary to determine what looks good.


6.  As per the CC&R’s Article 6, Section 1, the Committee shall have one qualified member of the design trade and the BOD has the sole authority to appoint or remove members. There must be a minimum of 3 members of this Committee, including board members serving on this Committee. The Committee may contract for professional services as required.

The requirements in the PUD, CC&Rs and Charter specify members of the ‘allied physical design professions,’ not just the ‘design trade.’ The professionals on the AGC have been required since the PUD, CC&Rs were established; compensation for their services was only raised to $120/hour in the past few years. This is an hourly rate far less than they would be charging in the Open Market. An average AGC meeting is 2 hours, with the four professionals at $120/hour a typical meeting would cost $1000. The average number of submittal reviews is 20 (this varies of course) so that equates to $50 per review. Some submittals may require a second review so that would be $100 for those reviews.

Aesthetics is indeed subjective but the AGC is tasked with performing Objective reviews. Aesthetics encompasses a myriad of issues which are outlined in the AG booklet. A homeowner should not be asked to solely perform the duties as specified by the governing documents, as this subjects the SOA to unnecessary liability. There is a Reference Guide for the NV Design and Construction Industry called The Blue Book, compiled for building officials, design professionals, contractors and the public. “The regulatory bodies responsible for assembling this manual protect the public by assuring their registrants and licensees are qualified to competently provide professional design or construction services in their respective disciplines.


It is costly and redundant to require two application approvals.


7.  Sierra Canyon residents who have undergone approval from the Sierra Canyon Architectural Review Committee (ARC) will not need further approval from the SOA AGC.

The SC ARC (and other Sub-associations) can have less stringent requirements but not MORE restrictive. The sub-associations may have different review processes due to the size of the homes/lots within them. For example, The VUE architectural review committee disbanded due to the loss of a Board member on the committee (as required), and to eliminate the duplicate submittal process. Therefore, all submittals go directly to the SOA AGC. The Vue is 153 homes compared to 1,212 in Sierra Canyon, so a major difference in volume of submittals. Now that both sub-associations are ‘built out’ the volume of submittals is probably based upon renovations.

The SOA AGC and the SC ARC have met in prior years when the SOA AGC first removed approval capabilities from the ARC, due to their continued approvals of non-compliant submittals. After much negotiation, the SOA AGC and the SC ARC created and signed a MOU to address which submittals the ARC would be allowed to approve.


Presently appeals of any decision of the AGC must be appealed to the AGC. This makes no sense. An appeal should be administered at a higher aggregated level of decision making.


8.  Appeals of AGC decisions shall go to directly to the board.

The homeowner can ask to appear before the AGC in person. If the homeowner is not satisfied with the AGC decision after this meeting, the homeowner can then request to appeal to the Board for a variance.

February 10th SOA Board Meeting

Following is the Agenda for the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting to be held at The Club at Town Center (TCTC) at 5:30 PM on Wednesday, February 10th.

February 10th BOD Meeting Agenda

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

The Board Packet providing background information on Agenda items is available on the SOA Website (www.somersett.org) under the SOA Documents/Board Documents/2021 links.  Board Meeting Packet information (as of February 7, 2021)  and comments pertaining to agenda items follow (agenda items noted):

3.  January 27, 2021 BOD Meeting Minutes

The SOA published Draft Meeting Minutes for the January 27th BOD Meeting is available in the Board Meeting Packet referenced above, or one may access SU’s previous post of January 15th entitled “January 27th BOD Meeting Recap” for a summary of what was discussed and/or approved.

4.  Committee Reports

The Board Meeting packet contained no supporting information on Committee reports.  However, a carryover from the January 27th Board meeting was for the Finance & Budget Committee to review the five candidates for Committee membership and make recommendations for the two open positions. Perhaps this will be accomplished at the February 8th Committee meeting.

5.  Financials

The Board Meeting Packet contained no supporting information for this topic. Perhaps deferred until the Board meeting scheduled for February 24th?

6.  Unfinished Business

6.a  Legal Updates  –  No update information was contained in the Board Meeting Packet. Suspect nothing new to report on either the Somersett Development Company Rockery Wall or Preston Homes Back Nine Trail Access lawsuits.

6.b  Slurry Seal Proposals  –  Opening of contractor bids for slurry sealing of SOA roadways was postponed at the January 27th Board meeting. Assume that this will now be accomplished under this agenda item.

6.c.  P-Card Resolution Club Manager  –  This item was also tabled at the January 27th meeting pending additional information on usage restrictions. It calls for authorization of a Purchase Card to be used by the TCTC Club Manager with a $1000/month and $500/ transaction limit.

6.d.  1880 Dove Mountain Common Area Slope Repair  –  This pertains to slope repairs to a common area hillside adjacent to 1880 Dove Mountain Ct. At a previous Board meeting, following a discussion on the opening of bids process, it was decided to reject two submitted bids and to rebid the project. Apparently the Board subsequently contracted Stanka Consulting, LTD to perform an independent analysis of remediation alternatives and make recommendations. The Stanka Consulting report is contained in the Board Meeting Packet. SU assumes that this agenda relates to a discussion of the Stanka report and actions moving forward.

7.  New Business

7.a.  Reinstatement of West Park Committee  –  At the January 27th Board meeting a representative of the West park Garden Committee recommended reinstatement of the full West Park Committee, which had been disbanded after turnover to the SOA, from the City of Reno, for ongoing maintenance.

7.b.  –  Garden Committee Fundraising Request  –  The West Park Garden Committee is seeking permission from the Board to publicize a fundraising exercise on the SOA website and e-newsletter. The fundraiser proposed being the sale of flower bulb packets in association with ABC Fundraising . The funds are apparently necessary because to quote the request “ From its discovery, the committee has found numerous items not installed, budgeted or planned for, such as irrigation parts, spaghetti line tubing, critter fencing and gardening tools. One such item, the fencing, has been approved to protect gardeners and plants from snakes and invasive small animals, respectively. The committee would like to conduct a special fundraiser to help purchase the necessary items …”.  The request further states: “ The West Park Community Garden Committee wishes to manage the garden as financially independent from the SOA Board as possible, believing this fundraiser will accomplish this as the first step”.

SU Comment  –  The forgoing raises the concern that the Garden Committee, if unsuccessful in its fundraising activities, will come to the SOA Board for additional funding. SU does not believe that it should be the business of all SOA members to subsidize the operation of the 50 available garden plots, especially given that many may not be allocated to SOA members (the park is open to the public). There are already more than twice as many applicants as available plots, but how many of these are from non-SOA members is unknown. With regard to critter fencing (i.e., around plots), irrigation tubing (within the plots) and garden tools being the responsibility of the Committee, should not this be the responsibility of the individual plot owners?

7.c.  Snow Removal Rules for Sidewalks on Homeowner Lots and Common Areas  –  The Board meeting packet did not contain any specific information regarding “rules”, only a map illustrating public vs private roads and gate locations.


The following submitted by Geoffrey Brooks, Association Member

I was following comments published on the Next Door Somersett blog, initiated by Ivonne Richardson (Sierra Canyon Resident) based on the  changes rapidly made at the behest of the new Board Members to the AGC and posted this comment.

“It is mystifying to me why Board member O’Donnell has taken such an antagonistic tone. I would like to thank Ivonne Richardson for bringing the ins and outs, commentary, fair or not, to all who live in Somersett. The Board is elected to represent the will of the residents! We have had several Board members in the past with personal agendas; that has not always worked out for the over-all well-being of our community.

I served on the Documents committee, where with Rob Jordan, Terril Retter, Board member Craig Hansen. We discussed “ad nauseam” the supposed defects of our current AGC guidelines… and the improvements to the Rules & Regulations many felt were necessary, to make them responsive to community needs. There was much discussion as to whether a “variance” or “exception” given by the AGC to one homeowner, should become the norm.

The ugly “box like” new construction on-going and planned, is best seen in the Cliffs & the Pointe; and, yes… also on top of the Boulders, where all the architecture was supposed to have been original and exceptional to justify a $2 million house.

Now, this new modern style “box-like” closely packed construction is coming to Brea (Village 1A). Terril Retter was at pains to point out that the AGC had no power to make the builders construct houses which had similar aesthetics to the community already built. Housing built in the 2000’s on “tiny” lots, as found in Talon Pointe, the Vue, Sierra Canyon had variety of styles, maintained the community “look”. Whereas I agree that “Rockery Walls” look quaint and natural, I also believe given the unstable, loose nature of our soil found on the foothills; engineered walls, when landscaped are much better. They are less likely to expensively collapse and require repairs. Just look at the repaired rockery wall near Timaru Court (which look ghastly to me)! Contrary to that, the “great” engineered Walls below the “Stan Lucas” house in “Eagle Bend” now landscaped, look good.

It is disturbing to hear “fake facts” such that the previous professional AGC members took “kick-backs” to approve the use of extensive engineered walls in Village 1A. In actuality they had no choice but to acquiesce to City approved construction plans. Just look at the fuss (to no avail) kicked up by Verdi residents to construction plans approved by the City in 2001. Urbanization in rustic areas is never going to be pleasing to the eye!

While kudos are deserved to our “new” Board for their intensive efforts to make everything better; their handling of the AGC revamp is less than desirable. There should have been no rush to arbitrarily try and  change the AGC guidelines, without perhaps better understanding what the actual purpose/function of the committee might be. Dismissing professionals required by the current charter and CC&R’s, who had worked hard on our communities behalf, was done in a very unprofessional manner. Ask yourself the question, if you had been fired without notice, would you not be “hurt and upset”?

A better approach would be to re-install the Community Standards Committee and engage everyone in an aesthetically nuanced discussion to make Somersett better (looking?). There should be a close look at the CCR’s, to see what changes we can make to the aesthetic guidelines to prevent new housing being built that is jarring to the original Somersett concept.”

Geoffrey Brooks

Somersett Aesthetic Guidelines

Now that the new Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (Board) has restructured the Aesthetic Guidelines Committee (AGC) to their liking, their next task will be to look at the Somersett Aesthetic Guidelines document itself for potential changes. This ostensibly to fulfill the new Board members pledge of a kinder more friendly approach to compliance issues and most likely in concert with the propositions put forth by Board member Bill O’Donnell at the December Board meeting.  These propositions were addressed (with SU comments) in our previous post of January 26th entitled “SOA Aesthetic Guidelines Discussion”

To move forward on the Guidelines, at the January 27th Board meeting, Board member Craig Hanson was appointed the task leading a review of the Guidelines and providing recommended changes where and if appropriate. Since the content of the Guidelines, or perhaps the administration thereof, has always been a hot topic with many homeowners, owner feedback to the Board is essential in any review of the Guidelines. Therefore, our readers are encouraged to read the Guidelines and provide your comments and /or suggestions to the Board via email at SOABoard@mysomersett.com.  To share with others, you are also encouraged to post them on the SU website via comment to this post, just click on the “comment” at the bottom of the post.

A copy of the Guidelines (all 61 pages – a daunting task) is available via the following link:

Somersett Aesthetic Guidelines 010121

SU Comment:  Here we go again, unless SU’s files are not up to date, the Developer last revised the Aesthetic Guidelines in 2009, then we went several years until the three revisions in the last four years, culminating with the 2020 revision which just took effect on January1, 2021.  Whatever the case may be, one may question why the necessity for these revisions? To satisfy the whims of whatever Board is in power? Or to make warranted additions or deletions? Hard to tell without reading all of them, and who wants to do that?