How Big is Somersett?

That should be a pretty easy question to answer, or so I thought. 3062 lots? 3741? 5000? The correct answer will have major consequences on the outcome of the litigation commencing over the control of the Somersett Owners Association (SOA). And the issues involved are not limited to Somersett – they apply to virtually all Master Developer controlled Planned Unit Developments (PUD) and their HOAs.

The Somersett PUD was boosted to 3062 lots in March 2009 from the 2648 lots previously approved by the City of Reno. The PUD approval is a land use designation delineating the general development plan, but also includes the Project Design Book and the CCRs for the project. Reno really doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about enforcing the details of the design standards, and lacks standing to enforce the CCR’s, as that is a state issue. A summary of the density and lot count changes  in 2009  approved by Reno 3062 lots, up from 2648.

Don’t ever confuse the Somersett PUD as approved by Reno with “Somersett” as defined by the master developer written CCRs. Additional subdivisions outside of the approved Somersett PUD can be added to the SOA. There are 3 approved subdivisions that have been, or are in line to, annex into the SOA – Sierra Canyon II with 375 lots, Wintercreek with 142 lots, and SBE with 162 lots. This would bring “Somersett” as defined by the SOA up to 3741 lots. Reno doesn’t care – they only regulate land use issues, public safety issues like fire and police coverage, and gain property tax revenue from the additional lots. They do not care about the adequacy of the project’s amenities for the residents.

When a master developer files the Project Book and initial CCRs for a project, they shoot for the moon and plan for future success. Somersett Development reserved the right to max out the number of lots in the project (SOA) at 5000. Increases could come from renegotiation of the PUD agreement like happened in 2009, or by adding additional subdivisions to the SOA master association, or by adding additional land to the project.

A master developer always reserves the right to annex additional properties into the development, in Somersett’s case up to a total of 5000 lots. Where these properties might come from is a one time reference in Somersett’s CCRs that absolutely no buyer ever reads and forget even understands. Exhibit A is the legal description of the Reno approved PUD.  Developers dibs on Annexabale Parcels does in no means mean the owners of those parcels are on board with the deal or that the developer has any claim on the parcels.

So how big is Somersett? The courts are going to have to weigh in on that if the present SOA board is legally challenged. And the legal fees will be paid by the SOA. If SOA is taken over by the actual homeowners, the big fishes will be Toll and Ryder and the receivers of REO properties, who could very possibly control the HOA election results.

This post has highlighted Somersett, but the issues are the same at all developments with CCRs and HOAs under master developer control. If you are buying into this sort of development, READ the CCRs to find out what they ultimately may become. What you see is decidedly not what you may get.

Reposted courtesy of our friends at

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