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.
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.