SCA BOD Election Results

Although somewhat belated, following are the vote results of the Sierra Canyon Association Board of Director elections:

James Nolte- 605
Elizabeth Pietsch- 595
Peter Orsburn- 522
Jack Lehner- 498
Andi Kaylor- 175
David Proehl- 146
Loren Farell- 139
James McKee- 112
Thomas Hedger- 110
Amy Berns- 83

Four seats were up for election, those held by Loren Farell, James Mckee and Thomas Hedger, plus the seat vacated by Steve Guderian that had not been filled. As a result of the election, The new SCA Board Members and their corresponding director positions are as follows:

Newly elected Board members:

Jim Nolte: President, 2-year term
Elizabeth Pietsch: Vice President, 2-year term
Peter Orsburn: Secretary, 2-year term
Jack Lehner: Director, 1-year term

Board member holdovers whose seats were not up for re-election:

Suzanne Flynn: Director, 1-year remaining
David DeLucia: Director, 1-year remaining
Joseph Lasby: Treasurer, 1-year remaining

Given that incumbants Loren Farell, James McKee and Thomas Hedger were not successful in their bid for re-election (not even close), it would appear there was significant disatisfaction within the SCA community regarding their performance on the Board. This was also evident given some of the negative dialog on the “Nextdoor” website prior to the election.

Perhaps with the new SCA Board, some of the disention that has been prevelant in the past year or so between the SOA and SCA Boards can be alleviated, with a new era of positive communication and cooperation.

February 26th BOD Meeting Revised Agenda

Following is the Revised Agenda for the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting at The Club at Town Center (TCTC). Only change from the previously published agenda is the addition of two minor proposals related to Gate Repairs and Fire Fuel Management.

February 26th BOD Meeting Agenda – Revised

Information/comments on agenda items (as obtained from the Board Meeting Packet) follow:

Committee Reports:

4.a. Budget & Finance – Committee is considering the issuance of a homeowner communication on the outcome of the 2019 finance and budget goals.
4.b. Communications – Committee working on homeowner communication improvement via website refresh, cellphone texting options and homeowner surveys.
4.c. Strategic and Facilities – Committee working on 2020 proposed project list consistent with budgetary constraints and a revised TCTC alcohol policy.
4.d. West Park Community Garden – The Committee has developed a SOA owner interest list for the garden plots and will solicit applicants. Also, working on establishment of garden rules plus the fee to charge for the rental of a garden plot. Assessing availability and amount of funding from prior donations and continuance of fund raising activities.
4.d. General Manager – The GM report contained the following summary of key SOA projects completed in 2019. Click-on to access.

SOA 2019 Year End Summary

Old Business:

6.a. Legal Updates – Nothing new to report. Apparently the only litigation currently confronting the SOA is the Rockery Wall Lawsuit Appeal, which is on hold pending a mediation session scheduled for March 13, 2010.
6.b. Ventana Ridge Easement Access – No information contained in the BOD Meeting Packet. Possibly just a discussion topic related to the Developers rejection of the SOA offer to sell them the requested easement property for $300,000.

New Business:

7.a. Revised AGC and West Park Committee Charters – Minor changes, no observed changes to Charter purpose, responsibilities or organizational structure.
7.b. Appointment of AGC Committee Member(s) – No information contained in the BOD Meeting Packet as to any changes on Committee Membership.
7.c. SOA and SCA Architectural Memorandum of Understanding – A document that addresses “streamlining” the architectural review and approval process for Sierra Canyon owners. A copy of which may be accessed via the following link:

Memorandum of Understanding – SOA and SCA Architectural Review and Approval for SCA Owners

Comment – Note that the Memorandum has been signed by the SCA President  and Secretary, but not yet by the SOA. As SU is not aware of any Board actions to generate this document, the question is, was this document generated jointly between the SOA Board, the SCA Board and the AGC, or simply by the SCA for SOA approval? Whatever the case, perhaps it will settle the long outstanding issues between the SOA and the SCA over architectural reviews and approvals.

7.d. Contract Renewal with Dickson Realty – Continues with Dickson Realty as the exclusive Broker (Seller) for the SOA owned lot at 2225 Pepperwood Court, which has been on the Market a long time.

Comment – The SOA acquired this lot via foreclosure and appears to be an undesirable parcel on which to build.

7.e. Gate Repair Proposal – A proposal in the amount of $14,665 from Community Access Systems (CAS) for repair of the Back Nine Trail South privacy gate.
7.f. Fire Fuel Management Proposal – A proposal in the amount of $3,800 from High Sierra Forestry for some hazardous fuel remediation management services.

February 26th SOA BOD Meeting Agenda

The Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) open meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 at 5:30 PM at The Club at Town Center (TCTC). The initial Meeting Agenda as published by the SOA may be accessed by clicking on the following link:

February 26th BOD Meeting Agenda

Pending a subsequent update (typical), the February agenda is surprisingly sparse. Primary items of intrest include the following:

6.b. Ventana Ridge Easement Access – As previously reported, the SOA’s $300,000 offer to sell the requested easment to the Ventana Ridge Developer was rejected. Perhaps a discussion on what to do moving forward?

7.c. SOA & SACN Architectural Memorandum of Understanding – Not sure what this understanding will consist of. Perhaps some resolution on the ongoing dispute between the SOA and the SACN on architectural/landscaping approvals.

As usual. when the final Board Agenda and/or the associated Board Meeting Packet is published, an update with agenda item details and comments will be provided on this website.

SOA Executive Committee Charter

In the January 22nd SOA Board Meeting Recap posting, SU reported on the formation of a SOA Executive Committee to address and resolve the Somersett Golf and Country Club’s (SGCC) liability for repair of the failed rockery wall on SGCC leased property. The repairs of which the SOA paid for while expecting future pay back by the SGCC.

The approved Charter was not available to SU at the time the meeting recap was posted but has subsequently been obtained. A copy of which may be accessed via the following link:

SOA Executive Committee Charter, Resolution # SOME.0069

The Scope and Purpose of the Committee is defined under Article 4.a. therein as follows:

Scope and Purpose of Committee: The purpose of the Committee is to meet with representatives of the Club and to negotiate, and if possible, execute an agreement between the Association and the Club pursuant to which the parties agree which entity is responsible for which portion of the Rockery Wall Costs and how the Club shall reimburse the Association its agreed upon portion. The Committee may, on behalf of the Association, agree to any form of payment and the timing of the payment by the Club, provided the Committee is satisfied that if the Committee causes the Association to agree that the Club may pay over time, that there is sufficient security for such payments. As part of any agreement with the Club, the Committee may cause the Association to release the Club from claims relating to the Rockery Wall Costs if the Club pays the Association an agreed upon portion of the Rockery Walls Cost.”

The composition of the Committee is to be comprised of the SOA Board President, Tom Fitzgerald, the Board Secretary, Craig Hanson, and the Board Treasurer, Simon Baker, as voting members (Note that the Committee is authorized to act on behalf of the Association). The Committee also has the authority to add non-voting homeowners to the Committee. At the Board Meeting is was indicated that there would be two yet to be named homeowners.

Owner Comment on the SGCC

The following Post submitted by Patricia Brooks, Association Member:

“My disagreement with support for the SGCC has never been about golf or golfers..It’s just that the SGCC has never provided/shared financial information regarding their ability to fulfill the terms of the Purchase and Lease Agreement….as in being able to maintain and replace equipment on the course, which may fail. To the best of my knowledge, we entered into the Agreement, without taking any collateral from the SGCC, which seems not to be in the interest of homeowners in the SOA, other than golfers. So, without collateral, nothing has changed, bankruptcy at any point is an option for the SGCC… and I see no advantage to homeowners to renegotiate the terms of the P&L Agreement.. Unless the SGCC furnishes real proof that the CME Engineering report is erroneous, we need to call for payment, and, if not received, legally end the P&L Agreement. That is the fiduciary duty of our homeowners’ board. Their duty is to us… the homeowners, not the SGCC.. We have water rights, and the course can be kept green and manicured. No fear of the course “going brown”.. We need a board that has the courage to take our community forward.”

January 27th SOA BOD Meeting Recap

Following is a recap of issues discussed and/or approved at the January 22nd Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting (Note: Board Member Baker was not in attendance). Related agenda items are referenced. A copy of the BOD Meeting Agenda, updated from that previously published, may be accessed via the following link:

January 22nd BOD Meeting Agenda – Final

Homeowner Comments on Agenda Items

Ventana Ridge Easment – A homeowner suggested that the Board consider approaching the Ventana Ridge Developer with an “Annex” into Somersett option. This in lieu of selling them a portion of SOA land to satisfy their access needs. Doing so would not only provide Ventana Ridge owners with the benefits of living within Somersett, but also generate additional revenue for the Association.

Todd Shaw Settlement – A homeowner complained that the Shaw settlement was basically unfair to other Somersett owners who were fined and not granted variances for more minor infractions. That the owner, a long time resident of Somersett , was aware of the AGC requirements but when building his new home violated them willingly and subsequently had the means to fight the SOA over the imposed fines and alleged violations. (see item 6.a. below)

Committee Reports

  • 4.b. Communications – Committee activity includes the following: 1) Investigating the implementation of a SMS Texting system as an additional means for communicating important SOA information to owners, 2) Looking into the preperation of an annual or multiple surveys as a way to gather input from owners, 3) Currently unhappy with D4 Advanced Media’s performance in supporting SOA Website updates, considering alternate vendors.
  • 4.c. West Park Community Garden – No verbal report. However, the report contained within the Board Meeting Packet addressed the following: 1) A visit to the park to view sample raised beds raised a concern over the height of the handicapped beds, 2) Identified the following immediate tasks: Prepare an interest list for garden plots, a lottery to assign plots, fees for garden plots, irrigation of plots, anti-rabbit fencing, garden rules, and non-Somersett usage factors.

Old Business

  • 6.a.  Legal Updates – The Todd Shaw litigation settlement terms were read into the record. Terms are contained within the January 17th SOA Attorney letter to the Board. A copy of the settlement terms, as extracted from the Attorney letter, may be obtained by clicking on the following link: Todd Shaw Litigation Settlement Terms
  • 6.b.  Ventana Ridge Easement Access – Apparently Ventana Ridge has rejected the SOA $300,000 offer for the Developer to buy the requested easement. No discussion on actions moving forward.
  • 6.c.  String/Bare Bulb Lighting Policy – The official Bare Bulb Lighting Policy, SOME.0063 was read into the record and approved. A copy may be accessed via the following link: Bare Bulb Lighting Policy
  • 6.d.  Appointment of Executive Committee and Proposed Charter – The purpose of this Executive Committee is to negotiate with the SGCC on resolution of the outstanding issue related to SGCC Rockery Wall repairs and related expenses. Executive Committees have the power to act for the Board and per the SOA Bylaws must consist of the Board President, Secretary (see related item 7.d. below) and Treasurer. The Committee will also include two, yet unannounced, non-voting homeowners. The resolution establishing the Committee and its purpose was read into the record. This resolution was different, and much more lengthly, than the one contained within the Board Meeting Packet. SU will obtain a copy for subsequent publishing on this website.
  • 6.e.  SGCC/SOA Water Facilities Committee Appointment – Board Members Fitzgerald and Hanson were appointed as the SOA Board representatives on the Committee. This is the joint committee with the SGCC overseeing the operation and maintenance of the golf course (SGCC & Canyon9) irrigation water facilities and water rights.
  • 6.f.  Canyon9 Landscape Maintenance Proposals – The Board approved acceptance of the BrightView proposal. This is a three year contract at $275K for the first two years, same cost with an inflation rider for the third year. Can be renewed for a fourth and fifth year if mutually agreed upon.

New Business

  • 7.a.  Vegetation Removal in Drainage Channels Proposals – This project calls for drainage channel maintenance work throughout the Somersett community. Contract was awarded to Signature Landscapes at a price of $52,313. Board Member Hanson voted No on the basis that all channels did not constitute an immediate problem and could be deferred to subsequent years, thereby saving on the 2020 reserves.
  • 7.b.  Gypsy Hill Street Improvement Sealed Bids – A grading improvement project related to the Gypsy Hill Rockery Wall failure repairs. Three bids were received ranging from $49,540 to $68,444. Contract awarded to Apex Grading & Paving at $49,540.
  • 7.c.  Downstairs Hallway Painting Proposal – Color Trends was awarded the contract for painting TCTC stairwell and hallways at a price of $14,900.
  • 7.d.  Change in Board Officer Position – Board Members Retter and Hanson resigned their Board positions as Secretary and VP respectively. Retter was then appointed as a VP and Hanson as Secretary. This was done to accommodate item 6.d. above wherein an Executive Committee must consist of the Board President, Secretary and Treasurer. Since this Committee was commissioned to deal with the SGCC Rockery Wall liability issue, and given that Board Member Retter is a SGCC Member, it was felt appropriate to do so to forgoe any conflict of interest concerns. Mr. Retter agreed to the position change even though he felt his serving on the Committee would not constitute a conflict of interest.
  • 7.e.  Revised Board Liaison Committee Assignments – Board members and homeowners assigned to the various SOA Committees are identified on the following link:   SOA Committees
  • 7.f.  Ad-Hoc Governing Documents Review Committee and Charter – The Board approved establishment of a homeowner committee to review the SOA’s governing documents (e.g., Articles of Incorporation, CC&R’s, Bylaws) and provide recommended changes to the Board. Board member Retter was the driving force behind formation of the committee and will be the Primary Board liaison to the committee. In discussing the purpose and need for the committee, Mr. Retter listed the 24 homeowner volunteers already received. Of these volunteers, Jim Haar was appointed as interim chairman. The resolution authorizing the committee was read into the record and its charter approved with minor changes. The Resolution and Charter may be accessed via the following link: Governing Documents Review Committee
  • 7.g.  Appointment of Committeee Members – See link in item 7.e. above.
  • 7.h.  Revised Committee Charters – The SOA GM summarized the changes for each of the SOA’s standing committee charters which were approved. When signed and officially published, updated copies will beome available on the SOA website and on this website under the References Tab.
  • 7.i.  Todd Shaw Settlement Agreement – See Item 6.a. above.

Board Member Comments

With regard to the Shaw settlement, Board President Fitzgerals explained how this lawsuit was assigned to the SOA’s insurance carrier who prosecuted the case with their own lawyers, under which the max cost to the SOA was $7,500. The Board was kept informed throughout the process, but in the end it was the insurance carrier who negotiated the settlement terms , which the Board approved. For those who may be critical of the settlement, Board member Retter discussed and commented on how far, financially, should the Association go in pursuing issues of this type. Basically that cost/benefit assessments need to be considered on a case by case basis.

Post Meeting Homeowner Comments

A homeowner read into the record a letter she had sent to the SOA Board regarding the SGCC Rockery Wall failure liability issue. in which she stated now that the Tolling Agreement has expired it is time for the SGCC to pay-up their $630K liability, and if they cannot pay, then declare bankruptcy. Wherein the SOA could take control of the land and proceed with alternative uses.

A SGCC Board Member spoke up on the Rockery Wall Liability Issue, basically refuting the conclusions of the CME Rockery Wall Failure Report, in that all the facts were not considered.

Note: The above Homeowner and Board member Comment sections reflect what the writer remembers (as paraphrased) from attendance at the Meeting and listening to the audio tapes of such, which are not always clear. If any of the above characterizations are not entirely correct, corrections are welcome.

CC&R’s, Bylaws, Board Elections and the SCA

It appears that the Sierra Canyon Association (SCA) Board needs to recognize the intended purposes of HOA CC&R’s and Bylaws. Typically, the CC&R’s include: 1) language establishing the HOA, 2) the purpose of the HOA, 3) what an owner may, may not, or must do with respect to their property, 3) a description of the property covered by the CC&Rs, 4) the process for levying assessments, and 5) a description of the common areas and amenities.

In contrast , the purpose of the Bylaws is to establish how the HOA conducts its business under the CC&R’s. Typically the bylaws cover matters including: 1) how often the HOA holds meetings, 2) how the meetings are conducted, 3) the make-up and duties of the various offices of the Board of Directors, 4) the establishment of committees, and 5) membership definition and voting rights.

Obviously, member voting rights need to be established within an HOA governing document, but there is nothing in the NRS-116 statutes that require or prevent owner voting rights from being established within one or the other of these documents, or both for that matter. If both and a conflict occurs then the CC&R’s, a County recorded document, would supersede the Bylaws.

Bottom line, it would appear that the SCA Board in disallowing cumulative voting because it was not established within the CC&R’s is on a very slippery slope here and in violation of their own governing document (i.e., the Bylaws).

It would be interesting to see if the SCA Board has received a written legal opinion validating their position.  If this is really the case, is their own previous election invalid and therefore, all should resign?

Janurary 22nd SOA Board Meeting Packet?

As our readers know, SU posts the “Draft” SOA Board Meeting Agenda when released by the SOA and then follows up with the “Final” version along with information contained within the accompanying Board Meeting Packet. Both of which are usually released, and available on the SOA website, a few days prior to the scheduled meeting. However, we are now at the end of the day before the January 22nd meeting, and the SOA has not yet published a “Final” Meeting Agenda nor the Board Meeting Packet supporting it.  Unfortunate, as interested owners now have no advance information pertaining to the meeting agenda items, which help to form owner comments and opinions on agenda items.

Hopefully, this is just an oversight and not an indication of things to come for 2020.

SCA Cumulative Voting – Yea or Nay?

Apparently, there is a controversy brewing within Sierra Canyon about the use of Cumulative Voting with regard to the upcoming election of Board Members (Directors). So, what is Cumulative Voting? Simply defined: “A system of voting in an election in which each voter is allowed as many votes as there are candidates and may give all to one candidate or varying numbers to several.”

Cumulative Voting has been permitted in the election of Sierra Canyon Association (SCA) Board Members since 2006. this in accordance of Section 4.05 (e) of the SCA Bylaws which state:

“Section 4.05 (e) Cumulative Voting. Each Member entitled to vote at any election of directors where two or more positions are to be filled by a vote of the Members shall have the right to cumulate his or her votes by giving one candidate a number of votes equal to the number of directors to be elected, multiplied by the number of votes to which the Member is entitled, or by distributing his or her votes on the same principle among as many candidates as he or she desires. No Member shall be entitled to cumulate votes unless (a) the candidate’s or candidates’ name(s) have been placed in nomination before the voting, and (b) a Member has given notice at the meeting, and before the voting, of the Member’s intention to cumulate his or her votes. If any one Member has given such notice, all Members may cumulate their votes for candidates in nomination. Those candidates receiving the highest number of votes, up to the number of directors to be elected, shall be elected.”

So, given the preceding, why the controversy? This because the current SCA Board has stated that Cumulative Voting will not be allowed in the upcoming election.  Why? Apparently based on a legal opinion that an NRS Statute only permits Cumulative Voting if so defined within the SCA CC&R’s (Declaration), which it is not. Therefore, it is immaterial that Cumulative Voting is provided for in the SCA Bylaws. However, is this the correct intrepretation? Let’s take a look at NRS 116.2107(4)(b), which states:

“NRS 116.2107  Allocation of allocated interests

4. The declaration may provide:
(a) That different allocations of votes are made to the units on particular matters specified in the declaration;
(b) For cumulative voting only for the purpose of electing members of the executive board; and
(c) For class voting on specified issues affecting the class if necessary to protect valid interests of the class.”

Note that the Statute does not say the CC&R’s but refers to the “declaration”, which the SCA legal advisor must believe is synonymous with the CC&R’s. However, NRS 116.037 defines Declaration as follows:

“NRS 116.037  “Declaration” means any instruments, however denominated, that create a common-interest community, including any amendments to those instruments.”

One could argue under this definition, note the plural “instruments“, that the Bylaws are also a denominated instrument in the creation of the SCA.

Note also, that the NRS Statute states that the declaration “may provide” for cumulative voting and not “must provide” nor does it prohibit it from being addressed in any of the Association’s Governing Documents, which include both the CC&R’s and the Bylaws.

Regardless of how one may want to define “declaration”, It is clear that the intent of this statute is to allow for Cumulative Voting if so authorized under an Association’s Governing Document. Also, we all know that Homeowner Association legal opinions have not always been correct, when challanged before the Ombudsman’s office or in the Courts.

So why the change at this time? How did the legal opinion to support this change come about? Do some of the current Board Members fear that Cumulative Voting will result in them not being re-elected?

Good questions, perhaps our readers can provide some insight or comments on this matter.