Minutes of Annual Meeting on July 21, 2001
VIRGINIA CITY HIGHLANDS PROPERTY OWNERS’ ASSOCIATION
Annual Meeting Minutes
July 21, 2001
PRESENT: Board of Directors: President, Jim Watson. Members: Randy Fruzza,
Keith Judson, Kelly Morris, and Joel Smith
Call meeting to order and approve agenda
A quorum being present, President Jim Watson called the Annual Meeting of the VCHPOA to order at 10:06 a.m. The meeting was held July 21, 2001 at the Virginia City Highlands Firehouse.
Welcome and introduction of current Board Members
Jim introduced Board Members and presented revisions to the Agenda. Joel Smith moved to revise the Agenda as presented. Keith Judson seconded, all approved.
Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 116
Jay Hampton, Association Attorney, was introduced and explained how changes to NRS 116 effect the Association. The new law does not allow proxies to be used for elections. All property owners must receive notice that an election will be held and that they can run for office. Two questions asked by property owners were as follows:
Question: Do nominations and candidates apply to all property owners, whether or not they have a home on the property?
Question: Will there be a mailing?
Explanation of election procedure
Election for members of the Board of Directors is postponed. A notice will be mailed to all property owners of the changes in election procedures.
County Commissioner Chuck Haynes
Commissioner Haynes stated that the Storey County Fire Department (SCFD) and the Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF) would jointly maintain responsibility for fire protection in the Highlands. He asked Storey County Fire Chief, Gary Hames, to further explain this plan.
Fire Chief, Gary Hames
Highland residents should not see any difference in day-to-day station operation. The level of fire protection with Storey County Fire Department and the NDF sharing responsibilities will improve. All branches will respond to fire. He is trying to assign an ambulance to the Highlands within one year. Milt Henderson is the Highlands Station Captain. Electrical power at the fire station is being modified to activate the warning siren. The sirens, which were donated by Washoe County, have three-phase motors and require 400-amp service. Completion date for this work is estimated to be July 27th. Suggestions from the community regarding fire safety, etc. are welcome.
Sheriff Pat Whitten
Sheriff Whitten noted a flyer about fires has been mailed to Highlands’ residents. In brief, the area is broken into four fire zones (color-coded to make it easy to remember what zone you are in). Remember the color of your zone! When the alarm sounds, turn your radio to KOH, 780 AM. An alternating high/low siren means, "prepare to evacuate." A steady tone means "leave your home," evacuate now and listen to KOH 780 AM for further instructions. Messages will relate to the color(s) of the zone(s) that are being evacuated.
Two points he wanted to stress:
Put up a reflective address number sign to help emergency crews find a specific address. Cost is $20 installed from the Highlands Volunteer Fire Department.
Get a Highlands decal (cost is $1.00) from VCHPOA and put it in the front lower left windshield of your vehicle.
A resident commented that in years past, the Sheriff’s Department kept non-residents out of the area during extreme fire danger, i.e., >95 degrees F., with very dry and windy conditions. Was there any discussion of doing this again in an effort to reduce the risk of fire in the area? Sheriff Whitten was not aware this had been done, however, he stated he would check into it.
He also stated red and white reflective tape on a property entrance means the area has been checked for occupants. Do not remove it.
Question: Will there be evacuation assembly areas?
Answer: Yes, Virginia City High School in Virginia City for those in the green and yellow zones and Brown High School in the Virginia Foothills area for those in the red and blue zones.
Question: Is there a backup radio station to KOH in case a resident does not receive KOH?
Answer: No, however, other radio stations will receive this information within five minutes. Following this, a door-to-door system is used in notification.
Question: Does Storey County have reverse 911 similar to the system used in Washoe County during the Martis Fire?
Answer: No, the system is expensive and currently not available in Storey County.
Other comments from Sheriff Whitten included reference to "latch-key kids" which are a big concern. It is extremely important for neighbors to know each other and be aware of children who are at home without adults present.
If you see fire, call 911! If you see smoke for an hour, please do not call 911. The emergency number gets flooded with calls that take critical time from other possibly life-threatening calls.
Olivia Fiamengo said help is needed for emergency animal evacuation. Containers for small animals such as cats and dogs are needed. She would appreciate hearing from anyone willing to help with animal evacuation or anyone with crates to house small animals.
Fire Chief Hames introduced members of the Student Conservation Association (SCA) group, which is assisting his Department with evaluating fire safe conditions in the area. They are all volunteers. Without their help the effort would have taken two years.
Work is in progress to replace the water tender within one month.
Sheriff Whitten said there are three issues in the Highlands that continue to be the major problems, specifically, speed, barking dogs, and dirt bikes. Police calls regarding speed on the road is a constant problem. They will continue to work the issue.
Dogs lead to many complaints. If you own a dog, it is your responsibility to control it. A resident asked when the Sheriff’s Office would enforce barking dog complaints. Sheriff Whitten explained that a Deputy drives to the area and listens. If the barking dog is heard, the owner will be cited. This is a misdemeanor offense. If no barking is heard, the resident must issue a complaint and sign the document. The Law states that the Sheriff/Deputy must hear the dog if he/she issues the citation.
A resident commented they could not run or jog because of loose dogs. Sheriff Whitten asked the audience how many wanted tighter controls on loose dogs. A large majority indicated yes, they wanted tighter controls.
Sheriff Whitten prefaced his comments about dirt bikes by saying that people move into an area such as the Highlands for a variety of reasons, one being the ability to ride a dirt bike. The Sheriff’s Department tries to handle complaints about dirt bikes by balancing the ability to ride with being a responsible rider. Parents must assure their children know the intent of the Sheriff’s Office if a complaint is received. At present, the dirt bike rider can transit streets to reach a given area. Individuals are not being cited for driving an unregistered vehicle to or from an area. Vehicles must have a fire suppressor or spark arrester. Do not find yourself responsible for the cost of fighting a wild fire. The Highlands Park is not a racetrack for dirt bikes. One resident asked that dirt bike riders be sensitive to horses and horseback riders. One resident was severely injured in a horse/dirt bike incident. Sheriff Whitten also advised riders wear helmets.
Another subject that was discussed was what could be done about cigarettes being thrown from a vehicle window. Sheriff Whitten stated the license plate number of the car should be reported and that it is important to try to get a visual description of the individual who threw the cigarette.
Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association (VRWPA)– Olivia Fiamengo
Olivia Fiamengo explained the VRWPA is a volunteer organization that represents homeowners on 37,400 acres. Their primary objective is to protect wildlife. Storey County is the only county in Nevada that has a cooperative agreement with the State Department of Agriculture to care for animals. Since 1994 the VRWPA has worked with Storey County, not the State. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One of their goals is to keep the horses free roaming for as long as possible. They have monthly meetings and a website.
Another one of their projects is a bird workshop to be held Sat., August 18th at the Highlands Fire Station presented by Jean Pici. They are also working on pond improvements. Issues with the sheep in the area were discussed. It appears that this problem is resolved.
The VRWPA had wanted flashing warning signs on Highway 341 near the entrance to the Highlands to make drivers aware of a horse crossing but the Nevada Division of Transportation (NDOT) said that Storey County would be responsible for maintenance. Storey County Commissioners did not accept this responsibility.
Fire Safe Highlands – Marlene Rebori
Marlene explained the purpose of the Fire Safe Highlands and its major projects. It is a community-based organization. All property owners are invited to the next meeting, Thursday, August 16th at 7 p.m.
Financial Report dated 7/20/01 is attached.
Approximately $40,000 has been spent during the last fiscal year on road related activities. Approximately $30,000 of the $42,000 to $50,000 needed to pave the lower one-mile of Cartwright Road was approved by the Board. The Highlands Ranches will pay 40 percent of the cost.
The Board has considered a one-time fee on new construction. In addition, a $25.00 per year special assessment to maintain the maintenance level of the roads is being considered which would be effective January 1, 2002. Property owners present expressed a variety of opinions and suggestions.
A resident recommended builders be required to complete impact studies and pay the necessary impact fees.
A resident suggested a refundable fee or bond be required to insure a project is completed and the area is cleaned up after construction. He also suggested a larger special assessment so we do not maintain the status quo but actually improve the area.
Jim Watson discussed a special assessment tied to a cost of living index. He also asked the Attorney if the Association could update their CC&R’s through NRS 116. The Attorney responded that if a conflict exists between the CC&R’s and NRS 116, NRS 116 overrides.
Concerns about fairness of the impact fee were discussed and the fact that current residents were not affected.
A resident expressed support for the impact fee, her property currently does not have a residence.
A resident concerned about the fairness of an impact fee would rather see an increase in the special assessment to distribute the cost to all property owners.
A resident supported the special assessment but not the impact fee.
A resident supported the impact fee to support the extra wear and tear on the roads.
A resident suggested restricting heavy trucks to Lousetown Road because it is a County road and is maintained by the County.
A resident suggested we send another newsletter informing property owners of the planned special assessment and impact fee and solicit their input.
Property owner, Jeanne Lamb, sent a letter to the Board and requested it be read into the record (copy attached). Joe Alt presented the letter on behalf of Ms. Lamb.
A show of hands was given on support of the special assessment, the impact fee, and a combination of the above. The majority favored a special assessment.
CC&R’s and Architectural Guideline Report
The revised Complaint Procedure, Hearing Procedure, Variance Procedure and Fine Procedures were presented. The revisions bring us in line with NRS 116.
Property owner and resident, Patty Poston, is the new Chairman of the Park Committee. She will present a master plan to both the VCHPOA and the Highland Ranches Boards.
Report of Collection of Past-due Dues
To date, our Attorney has helped the Association collect over $16,000 in past-due dues.
Report on Mailboxes
The two new mailbox buildings cost $12,500. The one-acre Association pays 60 percent of this total.
Property owners can check the website to read CC&R’s, meeting notices, minutes of monthly meetings, and a variety of other Association related information.
Property owners comments, questions, suggestions
A property owner asked if the Board had looked into property owners’ return on investment from property taxes paid to Storey County.
A property owner would like to know what can be done to solve the problem of an absentee landlord, who cannot be contacted, and who rents said property with an unapproved structure that has been red-tagged by the County.
Nomination of directors
Two property owners accepted nominations for the Board of Directors, Randy Fruzza and Don Ingram.
Randy moved to adjourn the meeting at 1:40 p.m. Joel seconded, all approved.
Joel W. Smith
Financial Statement dated 7/20/01
Letter from Jeanne Lamb