Saturday, November 19, 2011

Annual HOA Meeting Very Positive

On Saturday, Nov. 19th, 31 of the 111 units were represented by more than 50 attendees at the annual meeting of homeowners.  Many thanks to those owners who took time to attend the meeting, many from out of town.   Nominations for representation on the Board were taken to fill the 3 available two year terms.  Terry Brotherson accepted the nomination and was elected together with Dan Steurer and Jason Schall who agreed to extend their terms of service.

A report of the financial condition of the HOA was given and concern was voiced about the number of non-paying owners (currently 14) which causes a cash flow challenge for the HOA.  The HOA has the powers of a community government and the HOA fees are like taxes.  It was explained that the HOA has the right to file a lien and foreclose for non-payment of fees.   Additionally, services can be curtailed (such as cable TV service).

Those in attendance expressed gratitude for the service rendered by the board members.   A spirit of volunteerism is emerging once again as Richard Evans announced a community effort to repaint the entrance wall and signage.  Those wishing to spend a few hours to help pressure wash and paint should contact Richard who will organize the effort.  A number of maintenance and landscaping concerns were brought to the attention of the board.  If owners are aware of any issues, call or better yet, email Kimberly at C.A.M. to report items or concerns.

Lamond Woods, from Century West Insurance explained that the HOA policy covers the buildings and  everything that is "attached"(including cabinets, carpeting, etc.).  He taught why each owner should obtain personal property coverage to cover not only personal, "un-attached", property but also to cover the exposure of having to pay a $10,000 deductible should a claim be made against the HOA insurance policy.

The majority of the meeting time was spent discussing the current status and progress of the landslide abatment efforts.  Attorney Joseph Hood explained the progress made in negotiating a cost sharing agreement with commercial landowners also affected by the slide.   Homeowners received recently notification of a general assessment of $650 per unit to help fund the construction of an earthen buttress designed to halt the progress of the slide.  Copies of the recent report  and engineered designs are available at the following links:

Buttress Design Letter Link
Buttress Design Illustrations 1 - 4

We will need to get revised construction bids to see if this design is within the draft budget.   We have received permission from the owner of Monster Storage to take dirt at no cost from his site nearby.  There is somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 yards available and it’s a short haul to our location.   If we run out, the BLM site behind the BeeHive property on Tonaquint is available for the taking.  This should help reduce the cost of obtaining suitable fill dirt.

The buttress is design to be faced with a black geotech fabric which is layered every 18".  However, the fabric as shown on the design will eventually deteriorate due to UV exposure (5 years?).   The design has morphed from being a temporary stop gap to a more permanent structure.    A more expensive option is to face the buttress with gravel filled wire cages which will add about about $6 per sq. ft. to the cost . Once we know the cost we can decide if we can afford to use the wire cages.   The consensus at the meeting was to do it right even if it cost a little more.

Because of the need to keep the drive-thru lane open at the DQ, the design provides only a 20% "safety factor". After meeting with Jim Nordquist this week, I think I now know how to explain what the “safety factor” percentage means.  The design is expected to halt the slide according to the math.  The 20% margin is the extra “fudge factor” in the design to account for some of the unknown or unaccounted for possibilities.  This is the percentage that the design is over-engineered.   The problem here is that the building code (hence, the City)  typically requires a 40% to 50% safety factor before buildings are allowed to be constructed (or reconstructed) on such soil.  What this means is that even if the berm is successful in halting the slide, AGEC is not willing to certify that the site is safe for re-construction or permanent occupancy until the safety factor is increased.  We have asked AGEC to provide a draft design that would provide for an increase the safety factor so that we can obtain a cost estimate and determine how to increase this factor so that we can make repairs to the buildings and satisfy code requirements.  This has to be figured out before evicted residents will be allowed to re-occupy their homes.

In a perfect world we would not do the berm now but try to move quickly to do the 50% safety factor design, organize the improvement district and fund the more sure solution.  Given the fact that the slide is accelerating and that it’s taken 5 months for the various land owners to agree to share costs for just the berm requires that we do the most expedient option which is to build the buttress in hopes that further property damage can be halted.  

Currently, there is an agreement in principle to share costs related only to the buttress based on the pro-rata share of assessed valuation:
•EDG Group (DQ, Pier 49)              14%
•Knights Inn Motel                           20%
•Claim Jumper Restaurant                 11%
•Gardens South HOA                       55%

Until now, Gardens South has shouldered 100% of the burden.   Having the commercial owners agree to share in the costs an allowing the berm to be built on their property is a huge step in the right direction.  It is uncertain if the initial budget of $190,000 for the berm is sufficient, especially if the more expensive option of using the wire cages to face the buttress is chosen.  The draft budget at the moment includes the following anticipated expenses:


  Demolition and Buttress Construction:                 $125,000
  Engineering and testing:                                      $  40,000
  Asphalt Replacement:                                         $  20,000
  Legal:                                                                $    5,000

    Total:                                                               $190,000

Gardens South HOA has about $40,000 in a reserve account set aside for landslide abatement costs.  If the $650/unit special assessment is passed, another $60,000 needs to be raised to help meet the nearly $100,000 obligation that the HOA will have in funding the buttress construction.  If the assessment is not approved, the board will be forced to take action to raise the funds by increasing the monthly dues and making a mandatory assessment as allowed by the CC&Rs and HOA By-laws.   Because the funds are needed immediately, passing the $650 assessment is in the best interest of the homeowners.   Owners will be given the option of paying the total amount or splitting up the payments over three months beginning January 1st. 

We're getting really close to seeing dirt fly and stopping the slide as soon as we accomplish the following:

1.  Obtain construction bids for the buttress as designed and for the wire cage option
2.  Obtain the remaining signed releases and consents from all affected property owners
3.  Finalize and sign the cost sharing agreement among the commercial property owners
4.  All participants fund the costs construction, probably by placing monies in a neutral escrow account prior to  authorizing the start of construction.
5.  Finalize the participation of the city in assisting with the demolition and waiver of land fill fees.
6.  Award the contract to construct the earthen buttress

Again, thanks to all who have contributed to this joint abatement effort and for the cooperative spirit that seems to be forming among the various owners affected by this unfortunate freak of nature.   

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