Thank you to Jim Verhey for your commentary and new approach for a management model for our community. Many of the important points you raise (and have been at the forefront of discussion within our community) are on the agenda of the coming HOA board meeting on November 7th at the Residents Club, 6:00 PM:
1) Update on the Governing Documents Revision Ballot Vote
2) Residents Center Refresh/ Expansion Plan
3) Conflict of Interest Policy
4) Board Approval of the 2018 Budget, to be ratified at the Annual Members Meeting on December 05, unless rejected by more than 544 residents at the meeting.
The board meeting on Nov. 7th, the Meet the Board Candidates Night on Nov. 14th, and the Annual Members Meeting in December are important opportunities to discuss issues and concerns with the board and board candidates. I hope to be able to get some of the questions addressed that I asked in my Letter to The Board via email to the BOD and via the web: Letter to the ACHOA Board, Board Candidates and Fellow Neighbors
This is the entire ACHOA Board Response to Mrs. Beate McGhee, a LOT OWNER BUT NOT A CURRENT RESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION. The Board Response addresses all questions and concerns previously posted on this site. It has also been posted on ArrowCreek Nextdoor and it will be forwarded to Association Members. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO VOTE FOR OR AGAINS The GOVERNING DOCUMENTS.
Letter to the ACHOA Board, Board Candidates and Fellow Neighbors
I have read the CC&Rs, Bylaws and the Articles of Incorporation trying to understand my rights and role as a resident of ArrowCreek and the power and duties of the HOA board. I went to the Town Hall meeting on 9/26/17, I read our president’s, Bob Kirtley’s posting, and other postings on ArrowCreek411 and various messages on the Associa website, and the emails from the board. The following are some questions I would like to direct to the ACHOA board and board candidates, and concerns I would like to share with my fellow neighbors.
A. Added Purpose
The CC&Rs change regarding the added purpose ‘to cooperate with The Club of Arrowcreek’ (TCAC) when the HOA board deems it to be in the interest of the community was not in previously published redlined versions. The first time I saw it was on the blast email to homeowners one day before the Town Hall meeting held on 9/26/2017. The change of purpose was not included in the briefing at the Town Hall meeting.
1. Why was the added purpose excluded from the briefing?
RESPONSE: Mr. Ron Duncan did discuss in his oral briefing and Ms Joyce Seelen answered questions concerning this nominal change as part of the negotiations with the TCAC.
2. Why did the board not respond to owner’s questions and explain the intent of the added purpose, its scope and limitations?
RESPONSE: Ms. Joyce Seelen, Board Member and Chairperson of the Governing Documents Committee did respond and has responded in ArrowCreek Nextdoor to specific questions concerning this clarification of the existing responsibilities of the ACHOA.
3. In more recent publications by the board, reassurance is given that the added purpose is not a “sinister” plan to subsidize TCAC. The amended CC&Rs, and specifically the language of the added purpose, do they preclude financial agreements of any kind with TCAC that could burden homeowners with additional costs?
RESPONSE: Currently within the original and the revised CC&R there are specific easements granted between the Association and the Non-Residential Area owner. Since both organizations cohabit the subdivision and cooperation may be needed on specific issues facing the sub-division, the possibility of new agreements between the parties in the future may occur. Such agreements will be openly discussed and placed on Association Board Meeting Agendas for community member comment and involvement. The arms- length financial relationship with the TCAC does not rely on the CCR’s. The principals of corporate governance transcend the CCR’s. The Board President has described at length the internal controls that govern the fiduciary responsibility of the Board. The question posed in #3 ignores the existing legal framework of the Nevada Revised Statutes, the federally mandated support of internal controls required in an audit and the Articles of Incorporation for Arrowcreek.
4. Why is the added purpose needed?
RESPONSE: The primary purpose was to encourage participation of the Non-Residential Area Owner in community affairs. The question does not mention the fact that the TCAC is a counter party signatory to the CC&Rs. Comments on social media about “tweaking” the CC&R do not recognize and consider that the CC&Rs were negotiated with the TCAC and any changes are subject to their approval. The past Non-Residential Area Owners were not willing participants in the community and it was believed that having a documented clause would protect the Association in the future when the Non-Residential Area ownership might change to non-community owners. Other relationships may develop in the future which may be beneficial to the Association. Cooperate and cohabitate are critical driving elements.
5. If the ACHOA is to “cooperate” with TCAC when it is beneficial to the community, is there a reciprocal provision in the TCAC governing documents to “cooperate” with the ACHOA?
RESPONSE: Currently the Fuels Management joint grant with the Washoe County, Association and the Non-Residential Area Owner demonstrates a positive relationship that benefits the overall sub-division. There was favorable cooperation with the Association concerning the Fuel Management initiative. The joint agreement to use both TCAC and ACHOA facilities for the summer kids program which benefits Association Member children only is another important cooperation program. We also buy fuel from TCAC. If we didn’t have this cooperative relationship, the ACHOA would have to transport thousands of gallons of fuel up Arrowcreek Parkway in the back of a pickup. This would put an incredible liability on the Association. No Board would have our employees bear this risk. The community does not need to fear the relationship but look for mutually beneficial relationships that enhance the amenities within the sub-division. There will be future opportunities to cooperate to improve the sub-division.
6. What role did homeowners have in the process of adding another purpose to our community?
RESPONSE: The Association through its very active advisory committees – Fuels Management Committee, Safety Committee and Social Committee have been active in soliciting participation by the Non-Residential Area Owner in Community activities benefiting the Association Membership. The Summer BBQ function was initiated by the Social Committee with TCAC participation. The Community Fire Safety Fair was initiated by the Fuels Safety Committee with TCAC participation. The Association has and will continue to have a very active role in defining the other purposes that benefit the sub-division and Community Members.
B. Board power to increase dues by 15% and implement special assessments of 15% year after year.
The Governing Documents Committee, that includes members of TCAC, proposed that combined annual assessments and special assessments are not to exceed a 20% cap within a calendar year without a vote by lot owners. The HOA board superseded this proposal without voter input and pertinent language does not appear in the most current redlined version of the CC&Rs for voters to review. At the Town Hall meeting it was simply explained that the board found limiting annual dues increases to a total of 20% too limiting. End of discussion.
RESPONSE: The Board reviews all changes to the CCR’s. The change was not unsupported by any data. The Committee agreed to the change less one member who supports the change without any justification. Absent any support, the Board could not accept a change that would handicap future Boards.
1. Why after years of a balanced budget, secure Reserve Funds, and years of no increases in HOA dues does the board find it needs to maintain its power to implement an annual composite increase of 30%?
RESPONSE: The accepted budgets have not been balanced for many years. Since 2012, the Board has projected annual budget deficits with the plan to use previous year budget surplus to offset the deficits. In each of those years, the Board has practiced sound financial management and has spent less than budget to create surplus funds for the subsequent budget periods. The ArrowCreek Board believes that flexibility to address any crisis remains important. No Board has ever implemented the maximum increase. Likely no Board will, absent a true emergency. The only special assessment in the history of the Association was for the 2004-2005 excessive snow removal bill of $340,000.
2. What role did homeowners have in this decision?
RESPONSE: The Budget and Finance Committee is composed of homeowners who draft the budget for the Board. The Board welcomes more participation in drafting the budget.
C. Underfunded Budget 2018.
The Strategic plan identifies expanding amenities and offerings, and enhancing and expanding the Residents Club as strategic focus areas. It identifies budgetary needs to staff and maintain expanded amenities.
Per Town Hall presentation, the two main cost factors of the 2018 budget are: a) $250K for architect & engineering expenses for the proposed expansion of the Residents Club. b) $230K increase for payroll and benefit expenses.
RESPONSE: These expenses are to be incurred before breaking ground for the Residents Club expansion, and before expanding other amenities. The increases in payroll costs have no direct relationship to the study of the refurbishment of the dilapidated Residents Center.
The 2018 Budget is underfunded by $450 K and the deficit is to be covered by surpluses from the previous two years.
1. Most board members serving on today’s board ran for election promising to keep our HOA dues low. What are the anticipated costs to home owners going forward with the goals of the strategic plan?
RESPONSE: At this time, the increase of $20.00 should cover inflationary increases for the next five years.
a. The $5.00 increase for the Reserve Fund should be static subject to the NRS required five-year complete analysis in 2020. The Reserve Fund will be annually updated by the Reserve Committee to determine adjustments but inflationary pressures primarily the cost of asphalt and labor for road paving will have a significant impact as we continue to address our near 29 miles of road over the years.
b. The $5.00 increase for the Capital Fund is to prepare studies for the addition of new amenity assets that cannot be funded under the Reserve Fund Account since it can only be used for replacement of current assets as per the NRS. This may develop plans that the Community will have to review and vote upon if it is desired to add certain new amenity assets to the community.
c. The $10.00 increase for the Operating Fund is to cover inflation in material costs, inflation in utility costs, fuel costs, inflation in medical insurance costs, payroll inflationary costs, additions to facility staff to enhance community member demands for improved landscape within the community, increased security staff to enhance and control access to Resident amenities such as pool, tennis court, and work out facility, increased costs for snow removal, drainage system cleaning, replacement, and repair, and Fuels Management and Maintenance Costs for the Grants.
d. This Board, by exercising its due diligence, in the last two years, has identified millions of dollars of Arrowcreek assets (including sidewalks and ditches) that were not properly represented in our Reserves. As specific costs of repairing or improving our assets are identified, they are included in the operating and reserve budgets.
2. Per strategic plan survey, homeowners thought that the Residents Club was the number one amenity needing improvement. What role did homeowners have in the current plans for a major expansion of the Residents Club rather than a less costly improvement?
RESPONSE: The Association Task Force just recently approved by the Board has started its meetings and is in the process of establishing a methodology and survey format to get community input on the utilization of the Residents Center. The task force made up of community member volunteers will be actively working on numerous ideas and projects presented to the Board to determine feasibility and related costs. This will be taking place during 2018 and the community can submit information or ask questions of the task force at any time. The Community had provided more input than you may realize and more is anticipated.
3. What will the budget 2019 bring for homeowner’s dues and special assessments, when we may begin realization of some of the goals of the Strategic Plan and in case we have other unexpected costs?
RESPONSE: The tentative 2019 Budget plan is to maintain monthly assessments at the same levels in the 2018 proposed Budget. Any significant Monthly Assessment increases to support significant changes to the Residents Center will be above any 15% increase and it will require an approval vote of the Lot Owners within the community. The Lot Owners will control their destiny concerning any funding or increased costs related to the Residents Center.
4. Was consideration given to hiring part time employees, to save on insurance and benefits costs on behalf of homeowners?
RESPONSE: Yes. It was considered but it was not a significant component in the 2018 Budget. Part time employees are currently in the plan along with full time employment. That is why we show a total of 24.5 FTE which reflects four (4) part time positions. There are not many workers now that are seeking part time employment. They are seeking and getting full time jobs. The labor market is very tight in Reno and wages continue to climb. We are competing for instance with landscape companies now paying $14 to $16 per hour to workers without employee benefits. The Association is competing in the marketplace by offering $13 to $14 per hour with health benefits. This may change very quickly as the employment market further tightens. Security continues to have high turnover and hourly wage rates continue to climb to get good staff with potential longevity. This trend in hourly wage creep will not stop when the unemployment rate is at near full employment.
5. What role do homeowners really have if annual budgets will automatically be approved unless rejected by 50%+1 lot owners (>544 owner) at the annual meeting in December?
a. The community members can have a lot of input. The Budget and Finance Committee and the Reserve Committee have been screaming for years for community volunteers to join the committees. Over the past three years a grand total of two new volunteers have come forward. Are you willing to join a committee? In addition, individual community members can attend committee meetings and ask questions.
b. The September Annual Town Hall Meeting has been established to present the draft budget to the community. In the past the average attendance at those meetings was less than 20 lot owners. This year’s meeting was a refreshing change.
c. Feedback during the meeting was taken back to the following weeks Joint Budget and Finance and Reserve Committee meeting to discuss and further refine additional costs inputs and comments.
d. Please remember that the Budget Process starts in June of every year with an analysis of the current years approved. You can participate.
e. The 2018 Draft Budget was finalized and published for the community to review and provide additional comments. There have been no additional comments by lot owners concerning specific issues within the 2018 Draft Budget.
f. The 2018 Draft Budget is being forwarded for Board approval at the November 7, 2017 Board Meeting. It may go through further revisions dependent upon questions from lot owners or Board members. The Board can approve the 2018 Draft Budget, can modify the 2018 Draft Budget, or it can send it back to the Budget and Finance Committee for further review and adjustments.
g. If the 2018 Draft Budget is approved as per the requirements of NRS 116, the Budget is then forwarded to the membership for review and action at the Annual Meeting. The current CC&Rs requires ratification or rejection of the 2018 Draft Budget. The rejection of the 2018 Budget does require a 50% plus one vote just like the vote to approve the Revised Bylaws and CC&Rs. This ratification requirement is not only in the ArrowCreek CC&Rs but is state statute and applies to every Association in Nevada; some having more strict requirements per their CC&Rs.
6. Will all homeowners be informed of the importance of the annual budget meeting and vote in December?
RESPONSE: The lot owners have been informed about the annual meeting every year. Over the last ten years we have had an attendance of about 30 to 40 lot owners only. The tentative plan is to have the Annual Meeting at The Club at ArrowCreek to hopefully accommodate more attendance. The meeting will not be kept a secret from the lot owners.
General: I am not sure I was able to find much evidence of any “check and balance” system in the documents I read, nor in the governing process experienced by me as a homeowner, but would very much welcome being educated.
RESPONSE: We suggest that you read NRS 116 Nevada Community Association Uniform Act, the Adopted Regulations of the Commission for Common Interest Communities, and the Nevada Administrative Code NAIC 116 that governs all Associations in Nevada including the ArrowCreek Homeowners Association. The status and administrative code provides an additional check and balance that you are seeking. In fact, several changes to the revised governing documents include specific elements added to the statutes and administrative code that govern our association.
In addition to what the homeowners experience, Associa provides exhaustive oversight into the day to day operations of Arrowcreek. They are also charged with governance and our community manager is accredited by the State of Nevada. The financial oversight is governed by a formal set of internal accounting controls that our auditors certify every year. Any significant transaction is reviewed by our accountancy firm and any irregularity would be called out. ArrowCreek’s financials have been certified every year for compliance with all regulations.
1. I am concerned that with the added purpose to “cooperate” with the owners of TCAC one element of a “check and balance” system is being removed as situations may arise where it may become unclear as to whose interest will come or should come first in the view of the HOA board, that consists of TCAC members and non-members.
RESPONSE: The small add to the CCR’s relating to TCAC has no impact on the perceived checks and balances. As noted above, the required compliance of the Board on all matters of governance are controlled by NRS 116 and the Articles of Incorporation. If you are concerned about the relationship, a complaint can be registered with the Nevada Real Estate Division concerning the perceived activities of the Association. In addition, the lot owners running for the Board of Directors are required to fully disclose any potential conflicts. In addition, the Board of Director member is bound by the Conflict of Interest Rules within the NRS 116 and general business practices. The Board members are also community members and they do take their Board duties very seriously.
2. I am concerned about the open-ended commitment by the board to “cooperate” with TCAC and possible interpretations and actions by present and future HOA boards.
RESPONSE: That will require that all lot owners be aware of Board Agendas and to express interest in the community and maybe volunteer to assist in steering away from your perceived conflicts. Each Board member brings to the Board its own agenda and over time that other six Board members will need to be agreement with the agenda before it becomes policy. The current Board structure or seven members forcing a Board that follows a less radical agenda and at times maintaining the status quo is an acceptable plan. As an example, Arrowcreek had about $7.9 million dollars of cash at the end of August. Of that cash, $7.0 million is walled off by statute in the Reserve fund and are unusable for any discretionary expenditure. $330k of that cash is held in trust for homeowners. An additional $400k is reserved for via the budget as an operational contingency. That leaves about $215k for monthly operations which run $100 to $200k a month. Where would the cash come from for your “open ended” support? Please provide the Board with additional information.
Conflict of Interest: The HOA board that consists of TCAC members and non-members is in the process of reviewing a Conflict of Interest Policy that was already approved by board counsel. The policy was derived from the NRS and the statutes of the Nevada Commission on Ethics.
1. I am concerned that the added purpose of “cooperating” with TCAC would make any conflict of interest policy for our community a meaningless document.
RESPONSE: Your opinion is appreciated. The fact of the matter, the Association as stated above has already adopted cooperating plans that benefit the community – Fuels Management Grant and Social Activities. There have been no conflicts created that would violate the Conflict of Interest Policy. As noted above, a policy is important, but governance is dictated not by an internal policy but by the NRS and the Articles of Incorporation.
2. I am concerned that the added purpose of “cooperating” with TCAC may give rise to situations of at least perceived or potential conflict of interest.
RESPONSE: Please provide us with your guidance. The Advisory Committees that have reviewed the Conflict of Interest Policy and the Board have not been able to enumerate these potential conflicts. The Board would like to avoid those potential conflicts of interest so we ask you to provide your concerns.
3. I am concerned that such situations will not help unify our community. However, unifying our community is a specific goal listed in our Strategic Plan.
RESPONSE: The current cohabitation and cooperation initiatives with the Social Committee Activities and Fuels Management Committee have helped to unify the community. There have been very positive returns from this relationship. Please provide us with areas of concern since the community is looking for further areas that unify the sub-division. The Board wants to find ways to cohabitate and cooperate with the other entity that makes up our community – Non-Residential Area Owner.
Communication and Governing: The board already has the power to interpret any provisions of the CC&Rs, can incur debts for the purposes of the community, inforce and administer any provisions in our declarations. The board announced that CC&Rs needed updating to take out language pertaining to the declarant (developer), and to reflect changes in the law, but did not inform residents about plans to make substantive changes and adding a new purpose.
The timing of HOA meetings and Town Hall meetings is not considerate of all sub-populations: from busy retirees to busy families. The last Town Hall meeting was held one day after ballots had been sent out. Offering opportunity for homeowners input via emails to the board or the managing company is a very unsatisfying and unrealistic way of communication. In recent days, the board and individual board members communicated with residents via multiple email blasts to all homeowners, by a poster at the gate, and by flyers handed out by the gate guards regarding the vote on CC&Rs and Bylaws.
1. I am concerned that as a resident I have very little influence on decisions made by the board on behalf of the community based on a very inefficient communication process and subsequent lack of transparency.
RESPONSE: The Board understands your concern.
a. The Board recommends that you and all that read this response start attending Board meetings. The Board would like to see more than ten (10) lot owners at Board meetings.
b. The board has and will continue to respond lot owner specific information requests and questions.
c. The Board wants more community involvement and that is why the Board has numerous Advisory Committees to increase input from the community. The Board has numerous committees that are in desperate need of additional volunteers.
d. The Board would like to have more than 680 e-mail addresses from our 1,086 lot owners to enhance electronic communication. This has been a five-year project to increase email addresses with minimal success.
e. The plans for the new website which will include a smart phone application is being pursued to determine its communication return in providing timely communication.
2. I am concerned that, other than community member comments at HOA meetings, there is no official venue for questioning or opposing views and concerns to be heard, while the board and individual board members have multiple venues at their disposal.
RESPONSE: It appears the ArrowCreek Nextdoor and CNA’s 411 have been effectively used by community members to voice their commentary. In fact, your document was posted on 411 and ArrowCreek Nextdoor before being presented to the Board.
3. I am concerned that regarding the vote for the amended CC&Rs’ and Bylaws there was little time for open and two-way communication to fully understand the implications.
RESPONSE: The draft redlined versions of the documents were posted and noticed to the owners for input for several months prior to the final versions being sent out to vote. Requests for owner input were given at every board meeting and in several mailers. The final vote will take time and the Red Line Version has been posted as requested. Individual questions have been asked by Lot Owners and individual responses have been provided as requested. It will take upwards of 16 to 18 months to get over 750 Ballots to determine if the Revised Governing Documents will be approved. In the meantime, the 1997 Governing Documents remain intact and will govern the operation of the sub-division.
$. I am especially concerned about my HOA dues increasing without the possibility of providing input or a vote on those increases.
RESPONSE :The Board does listen to everyone’s concerns about monthly assessment increases. We suggest that you become a member of the Budget and Finance Committee and share your expertise and insight. This is the first proposed increase in five years and inflation has hit many expense categories within the budget. However, the Budget and Finance Committee did initially propose a $30 per month increase that has been decreased to $20 per month because of community input. You do have a voice.
POSSIBILITIES FOR CONSIDERATION
1. Consider changes to the CC&Rs and Bylaws that would formally establish homeowner input into the decision making process before major decisions based on a democratic process allowing for an equal and inclusive review of pros and cons.
RESPONSE: The governing documents were posted on the website for community input and discussed at many Board meetings. There were only two community members that provided any commentary on the governing document changes prior to the Town Hall Meeting. Governing Document committee members sought individual input from community members and added that to their due diligence. The approval vote process as dictated in the NRS 116 is being followed. Community apathy continues to plague the process and voting for or against has been very lethargic. The Board is always looking for improved processes to enhance vote involvement. The Online Voting was a significant step forward in this process for approval of the governing documents.
2. The CC&Rs are not broken; there is no urgency to fix them. We do have everything to gain from taking all the time needed to make the CC&Rs into something that represents and empowers all homeowners and have all concerns heard and discussed.
RESPONSE: Non-compliance to the NRS 116 changes since 1997, may force quicker action than you may believe. A low owner complaint filed with the Real Estate Division may force the Board’s hand in this regard.
Speaking for myself and perhaps other ArrowCreek residents trying to stay informed and making an informed decision as a resident when we are asked to vote is not easy for several reason, including reasons on a personal and procedural level. Improved communication and generating confidence that homeowners do have control and can make a difference may help overcome some of the difficulties. Regarding the CC&Rs, the Bylaws, and the 2018 Budget there are questions and concerns that have yet to be adequately addressed by our ACHOA board.
1350 Sinagua Court
ADDENDUM AND UPDATE 10/17/17
I incidentally came across a new draft of the 2018 budget posted on the ACHOA website. One day later, the budget changes were also announced in the ACHOA newsletter.
Major changes I found include:
Monthly HOA dues: up $20, instead of $30.
Payroll & benefits in 2018: up by $260K instead of $230K.
Architects and Engineering for Residents Club: down to $50k from $250K
Grand Total deficit: $560K instead of $450K.
Although some of the details have changed, most of the questions and concerns above remain valid in my opinion. How are homeowners to keep track of a quickly changing managing plan and a series of communications from the board, and make a sound decision on the CC&Rs and Bylaws that will govern our community for years to come?
RESPONSE: The Governing Documents up for vote are not going through any changes. The documents are what they are. The Red Line is posted and copies of the documents have been provided to each member for review. It is up to them to read ad decide.
VOTE YES or NO but VOTE.
I’ve posted before about the rationale for including the “cooperation” phrase in the ArrowCreek Homeowners Association (ACHOA) CC&Rs. For those still asking about that rationale, I suggest you look back in the posts for a complete discussion for including the phrase.
Briefly, the ACHOA Board has been working with the Non-Residential Area Owner (FOA) to increase value to homeowners and to decrease some of the hostility that our community has experienced for years. There is no “explicit” authority in the CC&Rs to do so. The authority is “implicit”. It seemed more straightforward and clearer to simply make the possibility of cooperation explicit in the CC&Rs. Frankly it didn’t seem like that much of an issue.
The independent Strategic Plan emphasized that homeowner values are increased with cooperation as opposed to dwelling in the antagonism of the last few years. Who would object to cooperation with a golf course owner where that golf course runs through our community when that cooperation is in the interest of the homeowners? Nothing in that phrase eliminates or reduces the obligation of the HOA Board of Directors to act in the interests of the homeowners.
The recent claims that anyone on the Board would (or could) take money from the homeowners and give it to the owners of the golf course is flat wrong. That type of action is precluded by statute, by documents and by the fiduciary duty owed to homeowners by every Board member. Again, I wrote extensively before and refer the reader to that discussion of “Implicit” and “explicit” cooperation. The Board has been working with the owners of the golf course in the past few years where that work benefited the homeowners. That cooperation has saved the homeowners tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars. Examples follow. There is no way to shorten this discussion without missing depth, for which I apologize. The following dozen paragraphs were written by Board member and FOA liaison and Documents Committee Chairman, Joyce Seelen, and originally published on ArrowCreek Next-door:
After I was elected to the Board of the ACHOA several years ago, I was appointed as a liaison from the Board to the owner of the golf course. I asked the ACHOA manager at the time what the ACHOA needed from the golf course. His answer was unequivocal — guaranteed access to our maintenance area. The original developer had created a maintenance area which was (and still is) shared by the ACHOA and the golf course owner. The ACHOA staff needed to cross golf course land to enter our facility. Given the increasing hostility at the time of homeowners toward the owners of the golf course, the manager was concerned that some subsequent owner of the golf course might return anger toward the ACHOA.
So, I began trying to figure out how much it would cost if we had to quickly create our own access to the maintenance yard. It was not an easy task. To understand, please drive past the maintenance facility: you will see a berm, utilities, and trees. The maintenance facility sits behind the berm. Creation of a driveway would be expensive, but we began to plan what would be needed in case the antagonism grew into a war or if some new course owner was less cooperative. We learned that the owner of the golf course had, along with ownership the driveway, the right to require that the ACHOA build a fence down the middle of the property. What we then learned was that, if a fence was built, the fire department would not be able to make a three point turn within a newly fenced ACHOA yard. That meant that most or all of the berm would have to come down for access and to allow a 3-point turn. The cost estimates were between $80,000 and $120,000.
As importantly, all of the maintenance area would be exposed. Instead of an attractive berm with trees, exposed maintenance vehicles would greet drivers going past. All of this was disclosed at open Board meetings. The Board then appointed a negotiating team. That is sort of how cooperation began. The Board was trying to protect homeowners. We had no explicit authority, but we believed it was important. The owner of the course was open and agreed to provide permanent access. Earlier this year, a permanent easement from the owner of the golf course to the ACHOA was recorded in Washoe County Records. The ACHOA, in return, agreed to allow the golf course owner to continue to use the Trademarked Right Facing Arrow with feathers as long as conditions guaranteeing quality were complied with.
I worked for that easement for years, and I am proud of the result. We now have permanent and recorded access to our maintenance facility. Some residents objected because they did not want any benefit to flow to the golf course: That is a rationale that I do not understand. it is a rationale does not want the golf course to get any benefit — ever — even if it means that the ArrowCreek homeowners would be hurt. Cooperation continued.
The owner of the golf course has a large gas tank within the maintenance facility. ACHOA attempted to have Washoe County authorize a tank authorized for us, but Washoe County refused. Since the FOA took ownership of the golf course, it has allowed the ACHOA maintenance access to the gas at their cost. The ACHOA estimates that access to that tank saves us about $10,000 a year. We no longer have to go down the hill to get that gas. FOA asked nothing in return. The benefit was to the ACHOA. Cooperation continued.
The ACHOA has several storage containers and a green waste facility across the street from the joint maintenance facility. Again, I suggest you drive by. The ACHOA uses the land to store equipment, waste, and, several times a year, rents a chipper to refine and reuse the green waste. ACHOA recently ordered several new containers and a pole barn for that storage land. The problem? ACHOA doesn’t own the land, the golf course owner does. The FOA has allowed the ACHOA full access without charge for years. That use and access continues.
Another example: Our maintenance yard, even without a driveway, is significantly smaller than that of the FOA. The FOA allows us to store equipment, including snow plows, in exchange for plowing the TCAC entrance. The easy access allows snow plows to quickly begin their work when the snow falls.
Another example: The State of Nevada this year offered a grant to communities that cooperated to reduce fire fuels. It was a powerful grant, with a 10 to 1 match. Only non-profit homeowner associations could apply, and the State wanted to see cooperation. The ACHOA approached the FOA and Washoe County, both of whom agreed to cooperate under our (non-profit) name and to put their money match where their cooperation was. The three entities applied for and received the $300,000 grant and are working together to reduce fire fuels in this area.
Along the same lines, the ACHOA approached the FOA and asked if FOA would agree to language in the proposed CC&Rs that gave adjacent homeowners easements to enter onto FOA land to additionally reduce fuels near homes. Without requiring anything back, the FOA agreed. The details are in the proposed revised CC&Rs which creates an easement to, but no responsibility of, homeowners.
Other examples: Archer magazine sponsored and paid for a summer BBQ this year to celebrate a positive community. They paid for a BBQ for both homeowners and Club members. ACHOA provided the land; FOA brought tents, child toys and chairs. It was fun.
Other examples: We have a growing Pickleball group. FOA provided meeting rooms to the large homeowners group, a televised pickleball tournament and baskets for their local pickle ball tournament. Last year, the FOA allowed a Pickleball Court within their tent. (The wet winter overwhelmed the indoor court, but the FOA is determined to try again). FOA has supported Pickleball for a year asking nothing in return. I learned of the support when I began to play pickle ball, approached the organizer of Pickleball and eventually approached FOA and the ACHOA Board and suggested ACHOA pickleball cooperation. Cooperation by the Board with FOA continued for one reason: It was good for the homeowners.
How do we decide what words mean? First, there is clear meaning, What do the words say? Second, do outside sources like laws and documents change the meaning. Then we can look to how the words are used. Clear meaning: “cooperation” doesn’t mean “collusion”. It means what it says. Next, the outside sources (statute, documents) refute the definition being suggested by an angry few. Finally, cooperation between FOA and ACHOA has repeatedly benefited the ACHOA.
As to the claim that the revised CC&Rs increase the Board’s ability to increase dues, those sections of the old CC&Rs are identical to the proposed revised CC&RS. There is no increase. Finally, I have been accused of having a “conflict of interest” which causes me to ignore homeowner interests. I fully disclose that I choose to be a member of the Club at ArrowCreek. I am a member partly because I have begun to golf (not well), but mainly to support a vibrant entity that runs through our community. Because of that sentiment, I support the Club at ArrowCreek WITH MY OWN MONEY — not your money — my money. I also support the Nevada Humane Society. That doesn’t mean I have a conflict with the Humane Society.
For the TCAC membership I have been criticized and told that my “conflict” should prohibit me from trying to assist homeowners whenever the FOA is involved. Our lawyer has opined differently. However, more important, I understand what a fiduciary duty means. It means that I carefully review and weigh my feelings and biases — ANY biases — to make sure always that my work on the Board is in the best interests of the homeowners. Period. There are those in the community who seem to want to feed a war with the Club at ArrowCreek at all costs, even if it hurts the HOA. They use anonymity and toss allegations unsupported by fact. Those types of actions, to me, suggest a true conflict of interest with the best interests of the resident of ArrowCreek. JOYCE SEELEN