Sierra Canyon, Somersett, Villages, The Vue – Your Community Forum

NO WAY OUT

Submitted by Joe Bower, Sierra Canyon Owner

I have verified with the City that ONLY Somersett can apply to amend the PUD for Somersett which includes three sub-associations of which Sierra Canyon is one.

That means neither the Sierra Canyon Board nor individual Sierra Canyon Association Members are able to amend the Somersett PUD.

The process requires a master plan amendment put together via a coordinated effort by Somersett and its consultant (possibly Wood Rogers who has done extensive work for the original developer and the Association after he turned Somersett over to an all-owner board) and maybe throw in a lawyer or two and the Reno Community Development Department with final approval being done by the City Council.

I would suppose Somersett would be receptive to Sierra Canyon providing input for their consideration on revising other provisions in the PUD when drawing up their application to amend, but nothing that would allow Sierra Canyon to no longer be part of Somersett.

It is obvious to me that Somersett would never amend the PUD to have Sierra Canyon not be a part of Somersett. They cannot afford to lose our annual/monthly assessment nor any special assessments that might arise.

In my opinion, there is no way for Sierra Canyon to be out/secede from from Somersett.

Sierra Canyon owners are stuck. Enjoy or move out.

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MEETING AGENDA(s)

Submitted by: Joe Bower, Sierra Canyon Owner

To me it is borderline criminal that the Association puts out the agenda for its monthly open session meeting ten days in advance of the meeting per NRS 116.31083 (5) and then about 3 days before the meeting updates it with the serious stuff leaving owners little time to do any research so they can ask intelligent questions at the meeting.

It’s called “How To Keep Owners In The Dark.”

 

SU Comment: Mr. Bower makes a good point here, especially with regard to “serious stuff”. However, given that something may come up that is time sensitive , one can emphasize with the BOD for adding to the agenda within the 10 day period. The Nevada statute that Mr. Bower references does provide some “implied” wiggle room in this regard by stating “In an emergency, the executive board may take action on an item which is not listed on the agenda as an item on which action maybe taken”.
As long as the Mr’ Bower’s concern is not a frequent abuse, then perhaps one can be a little forgiving.

The SOA has released an update to the March 28th BOD Meeting Agenda previously posted. The revised agenda may be accessed via the following link:

Revised March 28 BOD Meeting Agenda

In addition to the revised Agenda, the related Board Meeting Packet has also been released and is available on the SOA’s website at http://www.somersett.net (login required).

Information pertaining to the revised Agenda items, as obtained from the Board Meeting Packet, follow:

Old Business

6.a.  –  Nothing new to report on SOA litigation items, including the Rockery Wall lawsuit against Somersett Development Company et. al.
6.b. & 6.c. – An update on the following SOA projects: 1) Rockery Wall and Slope Failures, 2) Canyon9 Pond Sediment Removal, 3) Common Area Drainage & Hillside Erosion, 4) Asphalt Maintenance and 5) TCTC Slide Relocation and Landing Pool; may be accessed via the following link:

SOA Engineering Update

6.d. – Some additional tests are needed to determine an equitable split between the SOA and SGCC on electrical costs for Canyon9 water pump operation.
6.e. – A discussion on the SW Entrance Monument repair. An interesting development here is that per the FSR General Manager Report he was “contacted by a representative from Somersett Development informing me they would be removing the ‘Del Webb at’ lettering from the Monument at their expense. The reason based on complaints from other buildings indicating that the signage was confusing potential buyers that utilized that entrance into the community”. The question here is, should not Somersett Development Company. be requesting rather than informing, also what buildings are they referring to?

New Business

7.a. – A discussion on last month’s motion to suspend enforcement of poultry wire violations, that is except for egregious violations at the discretion of the SOA Compliance Coordinator.
7.b. – Proposed provision for inclusion in the “Greens at Town Center” Condominium CC&R’s detailing the payment of “driveway assessments” to the SOA Master Association. Initially at $10/month per Condominium owner.
7.c. – A proposal to increase the AGC fees for “External Changes” from $200 to $400. External changes include paint color change, mow strip, landscaping, water features, play structures, hot tubs, solar, trellis, sheds or any other exterior change to the property or home. Refundable portion after inspection is increased from $90 to $175. Note that this gives the SOA a net gain of $115 per application. Reason being to off set increased professional costs due to the increasing number of submittals and inspections.
7.d. – A Finance Committee recommendation to raise Developer transfer fees to $750 as of July 1, 2018 and $1000 as of January 1, 2019.
7.e. – A recommendation from the Communications Committee to extend TCTC WI-FI services to the pool and tennis court areas. Quote from IQ Technology Solutions is for a $70/month recurring charge.
7.f. – Discussion on a petition signed by several Somersett residents for the SOA to enforce the AGC minimal outside lighting guidelines. A specific complaint of non-compliance has been identified for the Eagle Bend Trail area.

Somersett Monuments

Submitted by Joe Bower  –  Sierra Canyon Homeowner

There are three entry/exit monuments. The one near the Goddard school is the East Monument. The one coming into Sierra Canyon (Del Webb Reno) from Somersett is the NE Monument. The one on Somersett Ridge is the SW Monument – both as named in the infamous MEA Agreement.

The Somersett board is wrong to refer to Monuments as East and West. They forget there is one in the middle.

The damages to the SW Monument occurred in February and October of 2017. It is an embarrassing shame that the Somersett board is just now talking about making needed repairs and how long until they are actually completed???

Another example of how “step-sister” Del Webb is treated by the mighty “father.”

The Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) open meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 28th at 5:30 PM at The Club at Town Center (TCTC) Sports Court. The Meeting Agenda may be accessed by clicking on the following link:

March 28th BOD Meeting Agenda

Note that the New Business Items deal with the SW Entrance Monument Repairs, Temporary Suspension of Poultry Wire Violations and AGC Fees. These are not really new items as the first two were discussed at the February 28th, 2018 BOD Meeting and the later at the October 25th 2017 BOD Meeting. Suspect these items deal with some required final approvals or proposed changes. The BOD Meeting Packet, not yet released, may provide some clarification here, if so, an update will be posted.  However, from past comments, it is clear that use of poultry wire for containment purposes and Monument signage has been an issue for many. This is your chance to make your voices heard.

For our readers who are concerned about Reno growth and its impact on the housing market, renters, traffic congestion, homeless, etc., you may find the following article from the New York Times interesting:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/20/business/economy/reno-growth.html

Submitted by Roger Rabbit – A SOA Common Area Resident

I object to those humans who wish to legalize the use of “chicken wire” on the split rail fences in Somersett. Even though it is inexpensive, easy to install, hard to see, and inoffensive to the vast majority of Somersett owners, it is discriminatory to all us desert cottontails (I despise the term “Pesky Rabbits”) by denying us access to nourishing food supplies (i.e., green grass, vegetables, abundant flowers and other lush plants) that were selfishly planted by humans for their enjoyment only. I do not see any provisions for denying such access to mice, birds, squirrels and all sort of insects, so why deny us cute little white tailed furry animals a similar courtesy?

Also, be advised that us desert cottontails are Nevada protected and designated as a small game animal. We can only be hunted during designated hunting seasons, which for this season was October 14, 2017 through February 28th, 2018, so don’t get any ideas about pellet guns or traps if forced to take down your chicken wire.

Any humans out there with me on this?

Monuments

The following repairs and modifications have been proposed for Somerset’s West Entrance Monument (i.e., the one depicted in the above SU header banner).

  • Permanent removal of the two wing walls and relocation of the attached electrical services. These walls have been the subject of automobile accidents (one fatal) in the past and are considered a visibility safety hazard. The SOA is in receipt of an insurance settlement for the existing damaged wing wall which still needs repair.
  • Permanent removal of the existing column mounted light fixtures (eight total). Apparently these fixtures were improperly mounted and are the source of frequent maintenance.
  • Permanent removal of the existing “Del Webb” and “AT SOMERSETT” illuminated signage from both sides of the upper monument levels. These to be replaced with a new on-ground “Somersett” sign in front of the Monument. Sign to be similar to the one at Somersett’s East Entrance Island.
  • Removal of the existing in-ground landscape lighting and installation of new in-ground up-lighting to illuminate the four monument columns plus the proposed new Somersett sign.
  • Monument landscape/stucco repairs and repainting.

Bids were requested from three contractors, but only one, Avilla Construction, responded. The Avilla bid for $63K was opened at the February 28th BOD Meeting. After some discussion on costs and the basis for the proposed sign changes, the BOD voted to redefine the scope of work to just include demolition of the wing walls and their associated electrical and landscape repairs. Decisions on the proposed signage and lighting modifications were delayed to assess options and community input.

One proposed option (not quoted on) was to eliminate the “Del Webb” signage as well as the “AT” in the “AT SOMERSETT”, replacing the “AT” with the Somersett Leaf logo. In this event the proposed on-ground Somersett sign would not be included.

During the BOD discussion on the basis for the proposed sign changes, no reference was made to the amended Maintenance Easement Agreement (MEA) between the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) and Sierra Canyon (SC). Per the MEA: “SC understands SOA’s agreement to accept responsibility for maintenance of the SW Entrance feature is with the intent to change the signage thereon to reflect it as an entry to the entire Somersett development without mention of any neighborhoods, sub-associations or their developers”.

Chicken Wire

The “Chicken Wire” controversy raised its feathered head in a February 28th BOD Meeting discussion. Board Member Steve Guderian proposed a resolution for temporary suspension on the enforcement of poultry wire use violations, that is, except for egregious circumstances. Mr. Guderian opined that the SOA Aesthetic Guidelines Committee (AGC) has the power to make decisions regarding its use, and that we need to take a closer look at this situation. After much discussion, pro and con, the Board voted, although not unanimously, to approve the resolution.

This raises the question as to what constitutes an egregious violation (i.e., conspicuously bad, flagrant, gross, shocking, outrageous, or whatever)? Assume that it will be up to the SOA Compliance Director, Kenna Foote, and the AGC to decide while its use is adjudicated.

Following the controversy over the removal of bird nests from the golf course cart path tunnels last year, the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) commissioned Rubicon Environmental Consulting to conduct a biological recourses and habitat evaluation survey throughout Somersett. The purpose being “to identify sensitive biological resources that require protection measures during maintenance and disturbance activities to comply with local, state, and federal regulations”. At the February BOD Meeting, the Board accepted their report, which may be accessed via the following link:

Biological Resourses and Habitat Evaluation Report

Those interested in Somersett’s environmental setting (e.g., climate, hydrology, soils, vegetation, animal species, etc.) complete with maps and pictures, will find the report very interesting. The report further identifies sensitive plant and animal species found within the greater Reno area and whether the habitat for such is found within Somersett. These include:

Plants: 1) Webber’s Ivesia, 2) Steamboat Monkeyflower, and 3) Altered Andesite popcorn Flower

Animals: 1) North American Wolverine, 2) Cui ui – a large sucker fish, 3) Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, 4) Townsends Big-eared Bat, and 5) Osprey

So what does this mean for Somersett? Actually nothing, as field assessments (described within the report) did not identify any suitable habitats within Somersett for the above or any other sensitive species.

The report also contains a recommendation for conducting nesting bird surveys and to perform maintenance activities outside of the migratory bird nesting season (March through August), this to comply with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Note: The Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale, purchase, or barter, any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to Federal regulations. The migratory bird species protected by the Act are listed in 50 CFR 10.13.

How this Act applies to SOA maintenance activities is unclear. Perhaps the bird nests removed from the golf cart tunnels were listed in the 50 CFR 10.13 regulation. Any ornithologists out there care to comment?

 

Submitted by Geoffrey Brooks, Somersett Homeowner

Double Rockery Wall Failure at Trail Ridge Ct.

The SOA had a report prepared by CME (Construction Materials Engineers, Inc) of Reno to look into the reasons behind the failure of the rockery walls. This report may be accessed via the following link:

Trail Ridge Rockery Wall Failures Report

The report is thorough, makes interesting reading, has plenty of documentation concerning the building of the walls and whether they were built to normal standards.

CME dealt with how the wall was engineered – pretty standard. They also talk about the location of the walls, built in a part of the Peavine foothills that were terraformed to allow for the building of housing and Golf Course fairways and greens. These rockery walls were placed in areas where fill had been placed to enable pads and houses to be built. Analysis of the soils showed that a mixture of many different soil types, including clay soils, were used to backstop the walls.

Nothing unusual here, other than if one was to buy a building pad in Somersett – soil analysis would be required, and if clays were found (apparently quite prevalent in the foothills), they would have to be removed. Clay does not make a suitable foundation material in a building pad on which a house is to be built!

CME’s report indicates that we had unusually heavy rainfall a year ago, causing the soil behind and under the wall to become super-saturated. The lower wall (on the SGCC), was found to be built to 14’ high, outside the normal 10’ height. Those boulders are mighty heavy, and extra 30% in height adds immensely to the load on the wall.

So, the weight of the rocks caused the soil under the wall to move, and the wall came tumbling down. The slumping soil de-stabilized the upper wall which secured the building pads for the houses on the edge of the golf course – and that came down as well.

Why do soils flow when saturated? In the Santa Barbara hillsides, the sandy soils, with houses, gardens, rockery walls have been washed away by these “mud flows”. Once mud gets going it is difficult to stop! Clays form thixotropic systems – very thick when static – but under sheer they will flow very nicely.

Digressing slightly, In cosmetics they aid the even spreading of foundations on the skin… their ability to flow when rubbed in is responsible for the great soft feel of the product.

Trail Ridge (in Mountain Crest) has suffered from failing pads (prior to the 2017 rains) causing Toll Brothers to spend upwards of $500K on fixing up 5 houses, securing them on the pad. This was blamed on improper pad construction. Terra forming gone awry? I suspect that Toll Brothers in Village 6 – the layout so dramatically changed, requiring walls to be removed and new ones built – have made sure that all the 160 + pads are a great place for a house to be built.

Based on what has happened, it seems that the Trail Ridge area in Somersett is especially vulnerable. Other areas in Somersett where there are extensive rockery walls separating folks from golf, include Laurel Ridge… these walls did not fail. We have 71,000’ of rockery walls only 760’ have failed. We have an understanding of what went wrong. As sad and expensive as this event was, it can be fixed. Walls over 10’ high, built on, and backstopped by fill can be inspected… the chances of further failures are slim

Somersett is well, life goes on. By understanding the failures, we can manage the risk! Now, we have nothing to worry about.