Board responds to homeowner comment from Oct. 14 Board meeting
Homeowner Peter Joyce posted a Homeowner Comment at the Oct. 14 Board meeting. Here is Mr. Joyce’s letter, with the Board’s responses in bold.
This e-mail addresses the SOA Board’s persistent insincere and dismissive responses to homeowner concerns and comments. I sent a very detailed e-mail to the SOA Board on this subject on September 23rd immediately after that Board Meeting ended but I have not received any response from the Board as a case in point of insincere and dismissive behavior. There was no attempt to further understand the concerns and explore options. There was no recognition of homeowners deep pride in our community and concern for its viability and future success. The full e-mail is attached and I ask for it to be included in the minutes of this meeting. Five instances were identified during the September 23rd Board meeting as follows:
Homeowner #1 raised concerns about irrigation water usage, waste, failing infrastructure and cost. The Board responded with “these issues are being addressed.” I have also personally communicated similar concerns directly to the Board, outlining various options for cost savings and reduced water usage/waste and more effective ways to communicate with homeowners. I am still waiting an official response.
BOARD RESPONSE: This homeowner did receive a response from General Manager Ryan Fields regarding the suggestion the medians be changed from grass to rock in an effort to save water. Mr. Fields responded that many homeowners had indicated the grass was more aesthetically pleasing than rock or xeriscape. The homeowner further suggested an environmental impact study be done to show how much water could be saved and then used to convince other residents of the viability of the conversion to rock. An environmental impact study would be expensive to acquire and I am sure it would show that grass requires more water than rock. However there is no indication the majority of residents would desire rock over grass regardless of water usage. If the goal is to decrease water usage then I would think removal of the golf course grass would accomplish more. Again I think the residents would support the aesthetics of the green fairways over water savings.
Homeowner #2 raised concerns about the significant costs of litigation and how arbitration can offer a more cost effective solution. The board responded with “once legal actions are set in motion they have to follow a certain path”. There was no explanation as to why such a path must be followed. No discussion about what outcome would be better for the community. No discussion about why the massive amounts being spent on legal fees were appropriate.
BOARD RESPONSE: The Board recognizes the cost of litigation and the immense savings that can be realized from mediation or arbitration and has always strived to resolve issues before taking the necessary steps to resolve monetary issues with other parties. Similarly the courts also recognize the value of mediation and require parties to participate in mediation meetings before court trials begin. For the now infamous rock wall case, the court did require the Board to mediate the case and we could not reach any agreement with the litigants after many hours of discussion. For our current law suits, the Board is open to any mediation efforts with a recognized, disinterested, qualified mediator to resolve our court actions.
Homeowner #3 from the Sierra Canyon community offered new outreach and collaboration with the SOA. I was anticipating a very positive response from the Board. Instead, the Board moved on to the next homeowner question. This homeowner outreach seemed like a great opportunity to enhance community relations and improve the Board image. Opportunity missed?
BOARD RESPONSE: This homeowner asked the Board to create a committee to explore a solution to a blocked trail that was allowed by the Sierra Canyon Board. The SOA Board responded that we would meet with the Sierra Canyon Board and seek a solution which would negate the need for the formation of any committee. Since that meeting, Mr. Fields has contacted the Sierra Canyon Board who has offered a possible solution to resolve the issue for both the trail users and the residents by the trail. Mr Fields will explain the solution.
Homeowner #4 discussed his concerns about the rockery wall legal action against the SGCC, offering to assist in brokering a path to arbitration. Once again this was dismissed by the Board who again reiterated their plan to continue legal action. When this homeowner had finished his comments one of the Board members could clearly be heard making the comment “The same guy again!”, referring to the homeowner. A clear indication of how the Board really feels about homeowners and their legitimate concerns about how the Board is being run.
BOARD RESPONSE: When the SOA acquired the golf course from SGCC, the latter entered into a lease agreement. This agreement provided for a lease rate that is very considerably less than what a commercial lease rate would have been. Perhaps as a partial offset to the low rent, the lease also provided that, for a specified period of time, the SGCC would be responsible for any and all repairs to the course, as well as to replace any equipment with that of a similar specification and quality. The rock wall failure occurred during this specified period and hence, under the terms of the lease, SGCC should have paid for the rock wall repair. The Executive Committee of the Board has been seeking to enforce the terms of the lease and has engaged in extensive discussions with Board members and management of the SGCC, and presented an offer to resolve the matter. The Executive Committee considered this offer to be something that would be reasonable to the homeowners of the SOA, as well as presenting a manageable financial solution to SGCC. This offer was rejected by SGCC, and they indicated a lack of willingness to engage in additional meaningful discussions. This left the Executive Committee with little option but to protect the rights of the SOA under the lease by filing suit. The Executive Committee remains open to negotiation, as it always has. The homeowner in question has offered his assistance on several prior occasions and in each instance the Executive Committee has rejected his offer. The Executive Committee did so because the homeowner is not a party to the legal action and has no legal standing. Unless so empowered by the SGCC Board, the homeowner does not represent the Country Club and could not negotiate on their behalf. In addition he is not a qualified mediator and since he lives on the golf course would not meet the objectivity requirement of a mediator to be a completely disinterested party without prejudice. With regard to mediation, again, the Executive Committee would participate in any mediation effort initiated by the SGCC with a qualified mediator to reach an amicable agreement to avoid further legal action.
Homeowner #5 voiced disappointment that the Board was unable to agree on changes to the CC&R’s and Bylaws. Also he mentioned the obvious disagreement between Board members during the meeting. That was shocking considering the Board had met and discussed these items on several occasions. A very bad optic for the Board.
BOARD RESPONSE: Homeowner 5 witnessed the Board disagreeing on the Bylaws and CC&RS which is a common occurrence on many issues. In this instance, some of the changes agreed to at prior meetings were not accurately reflected in the revised document. Hence some Board members saw the errors and wanted them altered before voting to approve the documents. It was an unfortunate error and obviously disconcerting to Homeowner 5. Since that meeting, the Board has resolved the issues and is ready to vote on these important documents. The next step will require the vote of the entire community and without at least 50%+1 of the community approving the documents, they will not be adopted. Each mailing of this ballot costs significant funds to accomplish the necessary votes to adopt. So please vote.
Again, no response thus far from the Board. So my ending questions is “will I be receiving a response?”
BOARD RESPONSE: Yes.