April 14th SOA BOD Meeting

BOD Agenda 2

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, April 14th.

          April 14th BOD Meeting Agenda

Given that TCTC is still operating under some COVID-19 restrictions, Owner participation will again be via  “Zoom” videoconferencing. Video access available in the above meeting agenda copy.

The Board Meeting Packet (i.e., as of April 11th) providing background information on some of the Agenda items is available on the SOA Website (www.somersett.org) under the SOA Documents/Board Documents/2021 links. Comments on Agenda Items follow:

3.  March 24th, 2021 BOD Meeting Minutes 

The Board Meeting Packet referenced above contains a draft summary of the March 24th Board meeting minutes, or one may access SU’s previous post of March 31st entitled “March 24th BOD Meeting Recap” for a more complete summary of what was discussed and/or approved.

4.  Committee Reports

Although the published agenda lists all the SOA standing committees (i.e., 4.a. Budget & Finance, 4.b. Communications, 4.c. Strategic & Facilities, 4.d. West Park Garden, and 4.e. Community Events) there were no reports contained in the Board Meeting Packet. Perhaps no meetings held since the March 24h Board meeting.

5.  Financials 

The reader is refered to the Board Meeting Packet for the 30+ pages of SOA financial data. The condensed version discussed at the last Board meeting apparently not yet developed.

6.  Unfinished Business

No supporting information was contained in the Board Meeting Packet for the three listed Unfinished Business Items (i.e., Item 6.a. Legal Updates, 6.b. Dove Mountain Common Area Slope Repair, and 6.c. Snack Bar Update).

However, the following  Order No. 79921 (click on to view) pertaining to the Somersett Development Company lawsuit was obtained from the Nevada Supreme Court website. It references an oral argument to be held on May 4th, 2021 between the parties.

Order Scheduling Oral Argument No. 79921

7.  New Business

7.a.  Irrigation Head Replacement Proposal  –  A proposal from BrightView in the amount of $67,000 to provide and replace 1675 existing sprayheads ($40/sprayhead) along the Somersett Parkway between Roundabouts 5 and 6. The proposed sprayheads sell for $13.30 on Amazon, leaving about $26/sprayhead for installation. One might wonder what about the rest of the Parkway?

7.b.  Snow Removal, Additional Locations and Pricing  –  Given the recent determination that the SOA is responsible for snow removal from all association maintained sidewalks adjacent to common areas, a proposal to add this to BrightView’s current snow removal contract was obtained. BrightView has estimated the additional cost at $10,000 to $15,000 for each event.

7.c. Discussion and Consideration of SOA Management Consultant  –  Apparemntly the current Board is considering other options for association management and the hiring of a consultant to assist in this endeavor. Under consideration is a proposal from a Somersett owner, Nancy Kerry, to provide such service at the rate of $6,000/month. Ms. Kerry’s proposal letter to the Board is available via the following link. The Board packet also contains Ms. Kerry’s resume.  With all due respect to Ms. Kerry and her apparent qualifications, SU questions the wisdom of hiring a Somersett owner for this consultant role due to potential conflicts of interest.  Also, that there are consultants that specialize in HOA management issues.

Nancy Kerry Consulting Services Letter

SU does not believe a consultant is required to provide negotiation assistance between the Board and our current management company, FirstService Residential, or to consider replacement with another HOA management  company.  So what is the real goal here? Perhaps to assess moving to a self managed structure?  Obviously this is a decision not to be taken lightly. Whereas, money savings might be achieved, it would require a much more involved board in the day to day operations of the association, and hence many more dedicated hours. Could our volunteer members maintain this? To assist in understanding this issue, the following article on the pros and cons of self managed HOA may be of interest to many:

http://www.hoamanagement.com/self-managed-hoa-pros-and-cons/

March 24th BOD Meeting Recap

tmeeting notes

Following is a recap of topics discussed and/or approved at the March 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  March 22nd, 2021 “March 24th BOD Meeting” for a copy of the Meeting Agenda and supporting information derived from the Board Meeting Packet. For those interested in listening to the Zoom Video Conference in its entirety, and hence all the discussions behind the following recap, a recording of such is available on the SOA website (www.somersett.org) under the “SOA Board and Committees/The Board of Directors/2021 links. The following recap references the Board meeting agenda items.

2. Homeowner Comments on Agenda Items

The following questions and comments, from two homeowners on Agenda Item 7.d Snack Bar Proposal:

  1. What consideration will the SOA receive from FSR as a result of their being released from Snack Bar operation responsibilities?
  2. A two week notice to quit operation on the part of the Peavine Taphouse is too short, should be at least 30 days to permit time to secure an alternate operating staff.
  3. To rely on pool lifeguards, probably teenagers, to police alcohol behavior is not realistic, what expertise and authority will they be given to accomplish this?
  4. A stated oposition to the selling of alochol at poolside due to its accompaning responsibilities and liabilities.
  5. The Peavive Taphouse would be responsible to hire and train a mature food service staff, what is the definition of mature?
  6. The project summary gave no indication of any income to the SOA from the lease agreement, which is not common in a landlord/tennet relationship.

3.  February 24th, 2021 BOD Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the February 24th Board meeting were approved with a minor amendment.

4.  Committee Reports

4.a.  Budget & Finance

  1. The SOA Treasurer, Simon Baker, reporting on behalf of the Committee reported the following: a General Common operating cash of $1.0M and a debt of $3.6M, a TCTC operating cash of $1.4M and a debt of $1.7M. The $5.3M in referenced debt being a consolidated 5% loan split up internally for accounting purposes.
  2. With regard the the Committee recommendation to pay down $1.5M of the SOA’s $5.3M debt via available cash reserves, the Board approved an amount ot $1.0M to be allocated as follows: $800K from TCTC reserves and $200K from the General Common.  The SOA Treasurer recommended the lesser amount at this time and to revisit the other $500K at a future date
  3. The Board approved addition of Quinn Rooker, Alynn Delisle, James Inhong Na and Dedre Lynn Sonne as members of the Committee and to revise the Committees Charter to accommodate more members than that currently authorized.
  4. The SOA Treasurer expressed his disappointment that FSR had not yet opened the new (higher interest paying) Union Bank account approved at the February 24th Board meeting, and therefore, precluded transfer of the proposed $250K into this account. The Board directed the immediate opening of this account and a $250K deposit.
  5. The Board also approved the opening of three other money market accounts and deposits to increase the yield of our cash reserves, these included: $1M in a Certificate of Deposit Registry Service wherein monies would be used to purchase one to two year CDs not to exceed $250K each (limit of FDIC insurance), and the opening of two additional bank accounts (Signature and Enterprise) with a deposit of $250K into each.

4.b.  Communication  –   Reported on: 1) the “Enter to Win” (sign up for SOA website log-in) contest in which 817 Association members responded and 24 prizses were awarded, 2) ten businesses have indicated an interest to advertise on the SOA website, and 3) will kick off the SOA photo contest next week.

4.c.  Strategic and Facilities  –  The Board approved the following Committee recomendations: 1) replacement of the existing TCTC Alosant reservation system with a Zen Planner system (the Zen Planner system is currently in use at Sierra Canyon and apparemtly half the cost and more flexible than the Alosant system, 2) increasing the Association’s Spectrum Internet service from 200 Mbs at $135/month to 600 Mbs at $199/month, and 3) allocation of $25K for the TCTC Snack Bar renovation project (see Item 7.d. below).

4.d.  West Park Garden

The Committee Chairman, Ken McNeil, reported that the garden was in danger of not opening this year due to required work and the lack of funds to accomplish. This included: movement of soil into the raised beds, installation of critter fencing around the beds and a storage shed for tools and carts. Drip irrigation components for the individual beds have been supplied but cannot be installed until the soil movement is accomplished. The Committee has some fund raising activities planned, but will not have the necessary funds ($2500 was mentioned) to accomplish work in support of the May opening date.

Board member O’Donnel offered use of his tractor, and General Manager Fields some Brightview support in moving the soil into the garden beds. No action was proposed for the fencing and storage shed issues nor any motion for SOA financial support.

SU Comment:  The West Park is a public facility, the capital costs of which are the responsibility of the City of Reno with the SOA only having maintenance responsibilities. Therefore, it is inappropriate for the SOA to fund any sheds, fencing, irrigation components, tools, etc., related to the construction and operation of garden beds. This should be the sole responsibility of the City and/or the 50 bed proprietors (some of which may not even be Somersett Association members).  For example, if a bed proprietor feels it is necessary to amend the soil, surround his/her bed with critter fencing or install specialized drip irrigation components, this should be his/her responsibility (requirements can differ depending on the crops planted) to accomplish and not the SOA. This is not an amenity available to all Association members and should not be supported by SOA funds.

4.e.  General Manager Report  –  It was reported that: 1) the installation of a camera at Hole 1 of the Canyon9 Golf Course has been effective in catching poachers, 2) the City is continuing work on rock removal and hydroseeding of the Dog Park and, 3) the hiring of seasonal employees is underway. 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, the reader is referred to the Board meeting packet.

4.f.  Community Events  –  Association survey results for the 25 identified event possibilities are available on the SOA website.  The top five most favored were: Food Truck Night, Music on the Green, Wine/Beer Tastings, Holiday Lighting and Evening Tunes at the TCTC pool.  After a detailed assessment of looking into re-establishing the Farmers Market at the Town Center, it was determined as not feasible for a variety of reasons. It was also reported that over 100 residents have volunteered to assist in these events.

5.  Financials 

The reader is referred to the Board Meeting Packet for the 30+ pages of SOA financial data. Also, the SOA Treasurer advised he was working with FSR to develop a “short form” financial report for Board meetings that would be more meaningful to Association member review.

6.  Unfinished Business

6.a  Legal Updates  –  The Preston Homes lawsuit settlement has been signed by all parties. Under it the Back Nine Trail gate opening times will remain as is until the last lot goes into contract whereby gate control will be completely under the auspices of the SOA. Preston Homes will also be paying off their back assessments.  No activity on the Somersett Development Company Rockery Wall lawsuit.

6.b.  1880 Dove Mountain, Common Area Slope Repair  –  Nothing significant to report on project status.

6.c.  Snow Removal Rules for Sidewalks, Homeowner Lots and Common Areas  –  This was a carryover topic from the February 10th Board meeting wherein it was tabled pending additional information regarding City of Reno requirements on snow removal from sidewalks. It was determined from a reading of Reno Municipal Codes that property owners adjacent to sidewalks (private and HOAs) are responsible for snow removal and not the City.  This being contrary, in the case of Common Area property, to current SOA understanding. As a result, it was decided to obtain a quote from Brightview for snow removal from sidewalks bounded by Common Area property.

6.d.  Clubhouse Cleaning Proposals  –  Three sealed bids were received and opened with approximate annual fees of $77K, $93K and $108K. It was approved to proceed with the lowest bidder, Prestige, who also happens to be the the SOA’s current contractor. Proposals included the East and West Park bathrooms.

7.  New Business

7.a.  Canyon Nine Access Controls: Signage, Camera, Options for Remote Payment, Fee Changes  –  After much discussion on public abuse of the Canyon9 Golf Course (both damage and non-payment of fees) and whether or not the course should be open to the public, the Board voted to make the course private. That is, open only to Somersett residents and their guests, with no playing fees to residents and a $10 fee to guests.

7.b.  Upgrade of Cameras at the Gates  –  This item is not currently on the Facilities Committee radar for investigation and therefore no action required at ths time. However, the discussion was expanded beyond gate cameras to address the need for license plate cameras at the entrances to Sommersett. The result being that an integrated system including both applications will be investigated by the Facilities Committee. No time frame was established.

7.c.  Sports Court Painting Proposal  –  Approved a $7,497 proposal from Alder Ridge Development to prep and paint the TCTC Gymnasium walls.

7.d.  Snack Bar Proposals and Approval of Funds  –  After much discussion, the Board approved moving forward with the renovation of TCTC Snack Bar and a lease arrangement with the Peavine Taphouse for its operation. A $25K budget was approved for the project. Given the numerous details that still need to be addressed (much around the alcohol issue), the motion included a provision that project financial details and progress be presented at the April Board meeting.  The following link provides an initial summary description of the project, changes to which will be addressed at the April Board meeting.   TCTC Snack Bar Facility Renovation 

7.e.  Determination of Community Events Budget for 2021  –  No action at this time as the Comunity Events Committee is still in the process of event planning and budget requirements.

7.f.  Camera Upgrades in Somersett, Discussion and Proposals  –  This item was meant to address camera upgrades at TCTC.  Requirements are still  being prepared, therefore no action at this time.

8.  Board Member Comments

  1. The Board President proposed holding an April 14th Board meeting which was passed.
  2. Board member O’Donnell addressed the issue of signage and media to alert the public that the Canyon9 Golf Course will no longer be open to the public.
  3. Board member Williams advised he was working with the Reno Police Department to produce a process for SOA management to deal with Canyon9 poachers.
  4. Board member Williams advised that the equipment for the traffic speed survey will be installed at the agreed upon locations after spring break.

9.  Homeowner Comments on any Topic

Four homeowners commented as follows:

  1. Community Garden – Why not have the individual plot owners bring in their own bags of soil?
  2. Owner Surveys  –  On issues where the community can have an input, to do a survey before making a decision? Referenced the Canyon9 Golf Course public/private decision as an example
  3. Canyon9 Golf Course  –  That: a) users sign some sort of liability disclaimer indicating responsibility for self caused damage, b) residents register for play and be provided with a red bag tag for easy identification by spotters and 3) age restrictions associated with Golf Course usage be established.
  4. Sidewalk Snow Removal  –  Consider contracting with the SGCC for sidewalk snow removal required of the SOA.
  5. Somersett Entrance Cameras  –  Before conducting any homeowner surveys, the Board take a good look at camera specifications, requirements and costs, there is excellent technology available to capture not only license plates, but driver identification as well.
  6. Snack Bar Proposal  –  The agreement with the Pevive Taphouse for Snack Bar operation be crafted in such a way as to recoup some of the $25K in SOA lost revenue, it is not prudent to give away ones assets without getting something in return.

March 24th SOA BOD 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, March 24th.

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

The Board Meeting Packet (i.e., as of March 22nd) 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 referenced):

3.  February 24th, 2021 BOD Meeting Minutes 

The SOA published Draft Meeting Minutes for the February 24th BOD Meeting is available in the Board Meeting Packet referenced above, or one may access SU’s previous post of February 27th entitled “February 24th BOD Meeting Recap” for a more complete summary of what was discussed and/or approved.

4.  Committee Reports

4.a.  Budget & Finance  –  The Committee is making the following recommendations for Board Approval:

  1. Allocation of $1.5 Million in available cash reserves to reduce the SOA’s current loan principal, with $0.5M coming from the the General Common and $1.0M from The Club at Town Center (TCTC).
  2. Approval of Quinn Rooker, Alynn Delisle, James Inhong Na and Dedre Lynn Sonne as members of the Committee, this would require a revision to the Committee Charter to accommodate 2 Board members, 5 voting Association members and 2 alternate Association members. The current Committee consists of 2 Board members and 2 Association members and the current Charter only allows for 2 Board members and 5 Association members.
  3. Move $250K in Association funds into the newly opened Union Bank account which was approved at the February 24th Board meeting to achieve a higher interest rate on deposits.

4.b.  Communication  –  No recommendations for Board approval at this time. Currently working on the Somersett Photo Contest (approved at the last Board meeting), new surveys and SOA Website advertising.

4.c.  Strategic and Facilities  –  The Committee is making the following recommendations to the Board:

  1. Replacement of the existing Alosant reservation system for TCTC with a Zen Planner system. The Zen Planner system is currently in use at Sierra Canyon and apparently less costly and more flexible than the Alosant system.
  2. Approval of $20,000 (with a $5,000 contingency) for renovation of TCTC Snack Bar, which includes a two year lease agreement with the Peavine Taphouse for its operation. The details of which are available via the following link: TCTC Snack Bar Facility Renovation
  3. Increasing the Association’s Spectrum Internet service from 200 Mbps at $135/month to 600 Mbps at $199/month.

4.d.  West Park Garden  –  The Committee has ordered the drip irrigation system components for the raised beds (not funded by the city) and wiill be ordering new soil to replace the previously removed substandard soil (also not funded by the city). Costs to be absorbed by the Committee. Garden to be opened sometime in May following irrigation system testing. The Committee is also asking for the assignment of a FSE Staff member to the Committee

4.e. General Manager Report – The reader is referred to the Board Meeting packet for 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.

5.  Financials 

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

6.  Unfinished Business

6.a  Legal Updates  –  No updates on either the Somersett Development Co. Rockery Wall lawsuit or the Preston Homes Back Nine Trail lawsuit was provided for in the Board Meeting Packet.

6.b.  1880 Dove Mountain, Common Area Slope Repair  –  No status on this project was provided for in Board Meeting Packet. Apparently waiting for the development of a new Request for Proposal for the required repairs.

6.c.  Snow Removal Rules for Sidewalks, Homeowner Lots and Common Areas  –  No info on this topic provided for in the Board Meeting Packet.  Apparently a carryover from the February 10th Board meeting wherein this topic was tabled pending additional information, not only on Association rules and regulations, but City of Reno rules and regulations as well.

6.d.  Clubhouse Cleaning Proposals  –  No info on this topic provided for in the Board Meeting Packet.

7.  New Business

7.a.  Canyon Nine Access Controls: Signage, Camera, Options for Remote Payment, Fee Changes  – No info on this topic provided for in the Board meeting Packet.

7.b.  Upgrade of Cameras at the Gates  –  No info in this topic provided for in the Board Meeting Packet.

7.c.  Sports Court Painting Proposal  –  A proposal (estimate) from Alder Ridge Development in the amount of $7,497 to prep and paint TCTC Gymnasium walls with a $700 option to prep and paint four doors.

7.d.  Snack Bar Proposals and Approval of Funds  –  Action on the Strategic and Facilities Committee recommendation described under Item 4.c.2. above.

7.e.  Determination of Community Events Budget for 2021  –  No info in this topic provided for in the Board Meeting Packet.  However, most likely establishes a budget for conducting community events as proposed by the newly formed Community Events Committee.

7.f.  Camera Upgrades in Somersett, Discussion and Proposals  – No info on this topic provided for in the Board meeting packet

SU Note:  It can’t help but be noticed that the March 24th Board Meeting Packet was rather short on supporting information related to both the “Unfinished” and “New Business” agenda items. It also appears to SU that the SOA published Board Meeting Minutes are becoming briefer and less informative.

Maps and Somersett

The following submitted by Geoffrey Brooks Association Member

Do You Know Where You Live? Are you on the map?

Somersett Living, published bi-monthly contains a map of Somersett which shows the location of every street in our community? It shows the locations where developers are active, and the magazine has ads, paid for by the builders advertising their wares. The two golf courses (plus ponds for irrigation and fire control) in Somersett are clearly visible, along with the two community centers – Aspen Lodge (Sierra Canyon) and the TCTC at Town Square.

Link to  –  Somersett Community Map

Did you know that the road layout is now obsolete, especially if you live in the “Cliffs”? The property lots have yet to be updated for Hillbrow and The Pointe. (annexed into our PUD as SBE & Wintercreek).

I served as Secretary to the Ad Hoc committee to review and update our communities documentation (Includes PUD, Articles of Incorporation, CCR’s); the fallacies of the community maps and documentation (every owner in Somersett should have a complete set) were painfully obvious. For instance, Washoe County had updated many of the APN #s pertinent to Somersett. First Residential were requested to up-date the document package with reference to the Washoe County Assessors APN’s and area maps. Will the Board make sure this is accomplished?

On the Somersett Living map there is reference to 27 miles of hiking and biking trails. These are controlled, maintained by the Somersett Master Association.

link to  – Somersett Trail Map

This is in need of an update, as several trails are closed (temporarily, during construction, at Brae Retreat, in one instance)…or were not actually completed.

The trail map, which is a part of the PUD shows the controversial link from SBE (The Pointe) through Firefly Court. This trail link has been closed down by Sierra Canyon sub-association and the Firefly Court residents.

Many residents live near public trails (I do) and are always happy to see folks using them, as short cuts, for dog walking, or just walking, bike riding. There is a connector at Dakota Ridge (should be) to the neighboring Reno City Sierra Vista park, where a mountain bike trail riding loop (with jumps) has been constructed. The existence of Sierra Vista Park (formerly Northgate Golf Course) should be on our community map!    (there is plenty of room!)

Needless to say the views from any of the trails of the surrounding Sierra Nevada and the foothills of Peavine Mountain to the North are outstanding, the best in the City of Reno!

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:

Problem:

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.

Solution:

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.

Problem:

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.

Solution:

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

Problem:

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.

Problem:

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.

Solution:

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.

Problem:

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.

Solution:

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.

Problem:

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.

Solution:

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.

Problem:

It is costly and redundant to require two application approvals.

Solution:

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.

Problem:

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.

Solution:

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.

AESTHETICS, PLANNED DEVELOPMENT THEN AND NOW – OUR PUD NEARLY 20 YEARS LATER

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