HOA10 Nov 2008 07:32 pm

At the HOA meeting last September, a well thought out proposal was presented to allow longer term renters here at River Run keep their pets. Pets were never an issue here at River Run prior to the first year of operation of what is known as Phase II, a collection of duplexes and homes that were built and sold in response to a perceived lack of demand for single family condos.

A rift quickly developed between two of the Phase II owners, the Lofstedts and a local owner that has since sold their interests. The rift soon blossomed into a full scale legal battle whose costs exceeded $100,000. Word on the street was that many of the Lofstedt positions were unreasonable, apparently Bonnie Lofstedt is a Diva.

Bonnie is the type of person that will scream and rage bloody murder if someone parks their car in the wrong place and then wonders why anyone would complain when she parked her cars where they don’t belong.

We miss Brodie!

We miss Brodie!

Part of the fallout was an arbitrary board ruling clamping down on pets, dogs in particular. The “flat landers” on the board apparently have little if any appreciation for Lake Tahoe’s favorite pets, the family dog. Dogs are the preferred pet here and for good reason. Lake Tahoe is a mountainous forest area filled with all sorts of mother nature’s more dangerous animals – bears, coyotes, & raccoons.  River Run is backed by national forest. The family dog is a great way to keep these creatures somewhat at bay, meaning out of your hair. It was little surprise to me that the number of bear incidents here at River Run increased dramatically after tighter enforcement of our dog policy went into effect.

At issue is that one of our units was having trouble finding a long term lease because of the arbitrary dog ruling prohibiting renters from having pets. The “reasonable” proposal presented was to allow pets for leases of 6 months or longer.

The proposal was rejected by the board with claims that boarding of family pets by renters would require significant changes to our CC&Rs. I nearly laughed out loud! I can only assume that this verdict was rendered by Mary, a lawyer on the board whom I believe does not practice law in either the real estate or the home owner association fields.

If I’m mistaken, then perhaps this is just incompetence. You only have to read a short paragraph, Section 2.5 Pets, of our CC&Rs to determine exactly what the authority granted to the board is. You would be mistaken to declare that the CC&Rs prohibit renters from having pets or even that you would need to change the CC&Rs to begin to allow approval of renters with pets.

In fact, the CC&Rs declare that “each Member shall comply with such reasonable Association Rules governing the keeping of pets which may be adopted by the Association from time to time”.

There is the rub. “Reasonable”, and “from time to time”.

Tyler Berding, Esq. wrote an interesting article dated Friday, October 31, 2008 entitled “Why Community Associations are Not Governments” where he describes that while many consider associations akin to “mini” governments, and some boards certainly act in this fashion, there are important differences. The primary focus of an association is on the rights of the individual and that the community function in a kind of consensual harmony. The sole agreement is contractually based. It depends on both parties remaining satisfied for the Association to continue to exist.

To state that our board has been and is primarily concerned with the rights of individuals is like republicans proclaiming to be populists on election day. In particular, many of our board’s decisions, in my view, violate one of the fundamental tenants of contract law, the contract cannot be changed without mutual consent.

There is meaning in the feelings afterward, that the only people that objected to the request were people that don’t live anywhere near here. For me it is yet one more example of the lack, or shall I say, feigned concern over individual rights.

The prohibition of pets to renters at River Run is neither warranted or reasonable. It is simply an arbitrary decision that can be changed at anytime.

Anyone who claims otherwise is either a fool, a zealot, or both.

Granite Peak Management10 Nov 2008 01:20 pm

It has been several months since Sean of GPM, with the help of the Amigos, started ripping down the rotting fence surrounding our pool area. Since that time the pool shack has been resided, the old pool area flooring has been replaced, and new fence posts have been installed.

And this is not the first time that our HOA has waited until eminent failure of common area property before acting.

When I first went out to take a look at the progress, jolly ol’ Sean was there and immediately started yelling at me. Sean obviously has a hard time coming to grip with the fact that GPM is a contractor for our HOA and he does like to order homeowners around. I suspect that he is just not comfortable with HOA oversight, let alone have an understanding of the concept of customer service with a smile.

The pool reconstruction is another example of poor property management by GPM. GPM employed one of their Amigos to complete the plumbing work for the jacuzzi and I am forced to conclude that this several day project implies that GPM and their employees are registered plumbers as required by California state law for any project where the cost of materials and labor exceeds $500. But we all know that GPM certainly doesn’t pay their employees $500 for 2 or 3 days worth of work, but it is clear that the cost of materials does exceed this limit.

While I was not impressed with the plumbing work, none of the pipes were laid in straight and at the proper angles, it became apparent that the plumbing work was also faulty as late last week GPM dug up parts of the pool AREA flooring to apparently fix the plumbing.

Faulty new plumbing?

Faulty new plumbing?

Of course doing something twice is par for the course for GPM. They recently managed our near million dollar siding replacement which last winter resulted in water leaks into several of our units. The north facing leaks were repaired late this summer. No word on if and when the south facing repairs will be completed. Guess who paid for the mistake?

HOA20 Oct 2008 11:28 am

If one cares to search, one will find numerous examples of petty leadership in the ranks of the boards of HOAs across the country. In fact, it is a lack of integrity in HOA leadership that prevents HOAs from performing their primary task, that of promoting property value. It is curious why unqualified homeowners seek active roles on their boards, after all, it is often described as a thankless job. It seems that one motivation is a desire to control others.

John Dean, in his book “Conservatives Without Conscience“, gives us perhaps the best insight into this problem as he has extensively studied the impact of authoritarian thought in our society and had come to the conclusion that perhaps 30% of our population subscribes to some form of authoritarianism. On one side of the equation, we have many cultures that would never dream of questioning authority. These cultures are content to accept the status quo thinking that, that is just the way of the world. It does not seem to matter to them that they are being taken advantage of. On the other side of the equation are those double dippers, those that derive pleasure from controlling others. These folks boost their self esteem with their personal power quests, whether they actually deserve the honor is always another question.

So today I present another one of those ludicrous power trips from a HOA president whom seems unable to place the business of his HOA in broader social context.

It is my guess that this “mad as hell” HOA president will next attempt to sue the homeowner over the flagpole. I am sure you have heard the argument, “What if every homeowner put up a flagpole?”.

Where's the Beef?11 Sep 2008 02:51 pm

For the last several years, since the Board decided to propose a 3/4 million dollar assessment, I failed to receive some of my mortgage statements. It then came to my attention that a former board member was accepting delivery of my statements when they knocked on my door with the opened statement in hand, offering up a sanctimonious explanation about how the statement had the wrong PO Box on it, and demanding that I have my address corrected. Little did she know that I had already spent hours on the phone trying to get the address corrected with no results.

I occasionally get mail in my PO Box that is not mine and it is a simple act to walk 20 feet and drop it off to Larry or whomever is working the counter at the time. All this started after I helped defeat the first 1/2 million dollar assessment on the grounds that our president at the time, had failed to adaquately do her homework and was prepared to give the job to a local handyman.

Since that defeat, various members of the board have gone out of their way to spread rumor and levy petty political attacks against me for having the audacity for questioning their supreme wisdom. There is no doubt in my mind that my statements were reviewed by one or more board members to check the status of my loan to ascertain whether I could afford the new proposed assessment.

This type of behavior is consistent with my 12 year plus experiences with the board that continually believes that they can arbitrarily deny rights granted in our CC&Rs. But what would one expect from a board that actually spent time discussing and voting on whether they should allow me to work from my home on my computer?

Where's the Beef?24 Jul 2008 12:03 pm

I received this rather unflattering email from Paul:

xxxx,

if your going to edit my comments like a f***ing english teacher, put your name on the comment and make it your own damn comment!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pf

This is not the first time I have received a crass email from him.

First of all Paul, the post was mine. Second, there is a difference between a post and a comment, although this subtlety is probably beyond your comprehension. I posted your email to demonstrate the usefulness of this new site.

The post generated a comment from Alpine Springs Water District and as a result homeowners learned that they did not have to pay their $1000 water bills immediately, although the “payment terms” are rather extravagant.

So Paul, please be advised if you wish to continue to send me your hot-tempered emails, I’ll be happy to start a category called ‘humor’ and post all of them there. Or perhaps the correct category would be ‘nuisance’ per section 2.6 of our CC&Rs.

Property Management21 Jul 2008 10:16 am

Fellow River Run Owners,

What needs to be accomplished by everyone in the association is to write an email or a letter to Water District (pam@alpinesprings.org) about this unreasonable once per year billing practice. I got my bill a couple of weeks ago and the annual $925 August payment is quite shocking nor is it easy to pay. I do not believe the Water District is considering it’s customers best interests with this unreasonable practice. My bill has tripled since I have bought at River Run and it’s time for the water board (to) restructure the actual billing process as they have done for the bill amount. I just have a one bedroom so you folks with larger units are probably billed/pay even more. I would like to see monthly bills that I can auto pay via my bank on-line plan. Even the IRS (Placer County) bills property tax twice per year! This needs to be done prior to the August 7th noon when the Budget and Finance Committee meets.

thank-you for your consideration

Paul Fulkerson
Unit #2.

HOA20 Jul 2008 09:37 pm

The following Internet resources are available for helping homeowners:

  • Homeowners' Resources

    Homeowners' Resources

    Numerous information is available including: Construction, Renovation, and Maintenance; Energy, Heating, and Cooling Systems; Buying and Financing; Lawn and Garden; Safety; & Water.

  • Homeowners' Resources

    Homeowner' Resources

    Information available includes: Home Price Comparison Index; Home Value Estimator; Mortgage Center; Interest Rate Watch; Home Sweet Home Improvement; Is There Value in a Bathroom Update?; Home Safe Home; What Is Your House Worth; Preventing Burglary; Lower Your Water Bills; Which Renovations Truly Boost Home Value; Space Saving Tips; Seal Your Ducts and Save Money; The Best Remodeling Projects to Raise the Value of Your Home; & Making the Most of Curb Appeal.

  • The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services’ website contains a wealth of information including stories on current news and events, Preparedness and Training, and Response and Recovery procedures.
Administration09 Jul 2008 03:22 am

Welcome to River Run
Are you ready? Much has changed in the web design business since I first introduced our homeowners to the Internet over 10 years ago. While technology of that decade provided a great marketing tool for homeowners to take advantage our of great natural resource of Lake Tahoe tourism, it was still difficult to help other homeowners deal with life in the mountains and the often times frustrating adventures of owning property at River Run Condominiums. And this was not from lack of effort, or good faith.

In fact, accepting an invitation to join the board years ago revealed how much work needed to be done. It quickly became very clear that very little, if anything, could be changed from working from the inside. Since I came to Tahoe from Silicon Valley, I had long taken for granted the vast toolkits used to manage companies from the start up phase to public offerings. I must say, I was shell shocked with the toolkits available to our association.

Welcome to technology of the 21st century, euphamistically known as Web 2.0. Bingo!

Today, I am able to offer up a few tools that have the capacity to greatly improve the communications flow in our association. And make no mistake, there will be some members of our association that will resist. After all, we still have board members that are uncomfortable with the decades old tool called email. Still, others will object to their perceived loss of control and power.

Any homeowner that has studied and reviewed the current state of the art of affairs dealing with the majority of homeowners associations will be quick to embrace any tool that streamlines and simplifies the communications process. Cost savings abide. For example, our property management company could eliminate the costs of sending their quarterly management newsletter just by utilizing this web site. And we might see an end to posting notifications of the next quarterly board meeting on our trash bin.

So with the audacity of hope, our association now has a tool to increase revenues from our tourism industry, a tool to improve communications with our property management company, a tool to improve communications with our board, and we now have a tool to facilitate communications between each other.

This is but a start. Hopefully we can develop the critical mass needed to leap frog that 20 year window into the future.

Feel free to comment. I am looking forward to the correspondence. When you reply or post comments to any of the articles posted here you will be asked to register. All we require is a ‘handle’ and your email address. Once you register you will automatically be sent an email with your passcode so that you may login. Your initial passcode will be a bit ugly for the sake of security, so just cut and paste it. You can update your password after you login for the first time. Your new passcode will be rated for strength, but you can have as strong or as weak a passcode as you wish. When you submit your new passcode, look for the updated message at the top of the page. Once you see that message, you will be all set to go. The login menu is at the bottom right hand side of each page.

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