Virginia City Highlands Property Owners’ Association

Monthly Meeting Minutes

December 13, 2005


PRESENT:  Bent, Landaburu, Gravenstein, Woolley, and Lumos


A quorum being present, acting president Richard Bent called the meeting to order at 6:40 pm.

The agenda was amended to move the public comment section to item IV in order to conform to NRS 116.  It was noted that some items would be taken out of order to accommodate the schedules of the County Commissioners and Fire Chief.


A motion by Gravenstein, seconded by Landaburu, to appoint Richard Woolley president was approved unanimously.

A motion by Landaburu, seconded by Woolley, to appoint Richard Bent first vice-president was approved unanimously.

A motion by Bent, seconded by Landaburu, to appoint Debra Gravenstein second vice-president was approved unanimously.

A motion by Gravenstein, seconded by Woolley, to appoint Rita Lumos secretary was approved unanimously.

A motion by Bent, seconded by Gravenstein, to appoint Martin Landaburu treasurer was approved unanimously.

President Woolley assumed chairmanship of the meeting.


A motion by  Bent, seconded by Gravenstein, to approve the minutes of the previous meeting was approved unanimously.


Dave Abel suggested that anyone who speaks should identify themselves.

A member asked if publication of the association newsletter would resume. It was pointed out that publication of the newsletter had been sporadic in the past but that one is typically published prior to the annual meeting.  The cost is approximately $1000 per issue, but that advertisement could be sold to defray the cost.  President Woolley asked if there was a volunteer to edit the newsletter, to no response.

Dave Thomas stated that an extra gigabyte of memory could be added to the association website for approximately $30 per year.  He is in the process of scanning old minutes which could be posted on the website if additional memory were added.  He noted that eight or nine sets of minutes are missing for the years between 1979 and 2000.

Mr. Thomas also proposed posting the association’s tax returns, summaries of financial records, and legal matters that are not confidential on the website.

He stated that a Reserve Study must be prepared at least every five years.  President Woolley stated that this subject will be placed on the agenda for the next regular meeting.

Steve Musser stated that there is a problem of Clemens Road not being in the roadway easement through Lots 67 and 68, Block N, causing access problems for the lots on the southeast side of the road.  This item will be placed on the agenda for the next regular meeting. 

Discussion ensued as to whether this was a problem for the association or between the lot owners.  It was suggested that a Boundary Line Adjustment could be done between owners.  Lydia Hammack volunteered to contact Dean Haymore of the Building Department to determine what options are available.

Ray McPartlin stated that he would like the current rates for architectural review be discussed and for the fine on the property with a blue roof to be reduced to one dollar.  No action could be taken at this meeting, but could be considered in the future.


Dave Thomas reviewed the financial report through November, 2005. 

He noted that transfer fees are down, reducing income. 

He reported that equipment for road maintenance has been purchased with funds from the reserve account and the special assessment as authorized at the July 23, 2005 Annual Meeting.  Purchases include two (2001 and 2002) Dodge diesel powered pick up trucks and a 1982 Case front-end loader.  These have been equipped with plows, safety lights, and miscellaneous equipment.  The inventory is included in the financial report.

Mr. Thomas recommended that the 1984 GMC pickup be sold and the 1979 Dodge pickup be retained.  This item will be placed on the agenda for the next regular meeting.

Lydia Hammack reported that there are a small number of owners whose special assessment fees are delinquent.  These will be sent to the attorney for collection.   She will prepare the necessary forms for signature by the secretary.


a.  Architectural Committee:   Sherry McCready reported that minutes of the Architectural Committee meeting have been submitted. 

She stated that in the future the committee wants to require that grading permits be approved by the County prior to its review of plans.  This item will be placed on the agenda for the next regular board meeting.

The committee asked for direction in a case where plans had been approved for homes on two adjacent lots by a single builder.  Due to grading concerns, the builder is asking to switch the houses on the two lots.  The committee would like to know if a special meeting should be held to address this issue and if new fees should be charged for the review of the plans.  The plans were originally approved under the old fee schedule.  They are concerned that the action they take on this application may set a precedent for future actions.

A motion by Lumos, seconded by Landaburu, that the plans be reviewed at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Architectural Committee and that no new fees be assessed was approved unanimously.  It was stressed that this is an extraordinary situation since the plans had already been approved, that the same two houses are being built on two adjacent lots by the same builder, and would not set a precedent for any future action.

b.  Road Report

John DuFresne reported on the status of the new equipment.  He stated that in the next month he would like to do touch-up grading on the gravel roads if there are no storms and fix the guard rail at Cartwright and Saddleback.  He asked for approval of a $250 expenditure to upgrade the power supply in the maintenance yard, approval of the purchase of three new radios at approximately $289 each, motion sensor lights for the maintenance yard, and extension cords. 

The purchase of radios, the miscellaneous equipment requested, and upgrade of the power supply were approved.  The board authorized repair of the guardrail at a cost not to exceed $2000 and the touch-up grading at a cost not to exceed $1000 for labor. Lydia Hammack was asked to look into the possibility of setting up an account at Home Depot for the purchase of small items.

Mr. DuFresne had purchased some small items with his own money and had applied for reimbursement.  He stated that in the future he would add a 25% surcharge if using his own funds.  He was directed not to purchase items with his own funds.

c.     Park Report

Commissioner Bob Kershaw stated that the well location will be the POA’s decision, but that the County would prefer it be at the park site.  The cost to develop the well will likely be between $15,000 and $20,000. 

There is currently approximately $52,000 in the park fund.  The County can help with getting contractors to do work on the park.  He stated that he hoped to improve services in the future, but that income from the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center has not yet been realized and the County will be obligated to provide services and facilities to that development in the future.

Commissioner John Flanagan stated that any costs to be incurred on the park will have to be included in the County budget.  He stated that the proposed well would help with fire insurance rates in the Highlands.

President Woolley stated that according to park chairman Patti Poston the park money was set aside to build according to the park master plan and not to construct a well.  Some feel that a well is not a great benefit to the park since there are no immediate plans for restrooms or water fountains.  He asked what the procedure is for spending the park impact fees.

Commissioner Kershaw stated that the County Public Works Department administers the fund.  The Park committee needs to prepare a plan of development and present it to the commissioners for approval.  He stated that work could begin in the spring of 2006 if decisions for development are made soon.

Lydia Hammack stated that in the past both associations had to approve a plan and then it went to the County for approval. 

President Woolley stated that at the last meeting the board had approved a well and tank.  Commissioner Flanagan noted that there are many comments on the web site chat room in opposition to a well and storage tank at the park.

Fire Chief Gary Hames urged both associations to approve the well construction.  He stated that he does not have money in his capital improvement budget for a well.  The well is essential in the effort to improve the ISO rating for the Highlands although there are other aspects to the plan.

Ray McPartlin stated that he feels the well is a valuable improvement to the park and would not greatly deplete the park funds.  Commissioner Kershaw stated that the County might be able to augment the park development in other ways, such as providing labor.

Chief Hames stated that the Water Rights Application and permits need to be completed.  This will take at least 60 days.  That process should be started immediately.

The Highland Ranches Property Owners’ Association meets on January 31st and their approval is needed. 

A motion by Bent, seconded by Gravenstein to approve construction of a well at the park site was approved unanimously.


a.  Signs

Chief Hames reported that the new street signs have been assembled and would be installed within the next three days.  The firefighters will supervise detention workers doing the installation.  The sign project has been about five years being completed and is part of the plan to lower the ISO rating.

A motion by Gravenstein, seconded by Bent, to authorize one of the road crew contractors to drive an association truck pulling the compressor needed for the sign installation was approved unanimously.

b.  Fire Station:  Lease and Well use:

Chief Hames reported that the training room being constructed behind the fire station would be complete in about 30 days and will be available for community meetings.

The lease has expired and is now on a month to month basis.  It needs to be reviewed.   President Woolley stated that the present rate if probably sufficient since the Fire Department has done a tremendous amount of maintenance to the facility.   He and Chief Hames will meet to discuss terms prior to the next regular meeting.  The lease renewal will be on the agenda for the next meeting.

Chief Hames reported that well use is down from previous levels.


c.     Pricing and agreement to rent VCPOA equipment to HRPOA in the event of a snow emergency:

Mike McDonough, President of the HRPOA stated that they would like a two year agreement about the use of equipment, including rates, stipulated drivers, etc.  Currently they are required to use our road contractors due to insurance constraints but pay them directly for their labor.  It was agreed that a Memorandum of Understanding needs to be developed and approved by both associations. 

Keith Judson asked if the HRPOA is required to pay for extraordinary repairs if the equipment is damaged while in use by that association and stated that he feels they should.  It was suggested that the HRPOA add the VCHPOA as an additional insured on their insurance policy.

These matters will be discussed and a proposed MOU discussed at the next regular meeting of the board.

b.  Independent contractor rate for drivers of association equipment:

The current rates are $15 per hour for a pick-up operator, $20 per hour for a water tender operator, and $$25 per hour for a heavy equipment operator.  The board felt that these rates are appropriate and took no action to change them.

c.     Telephone for maintenance yard:

The board authorized the installation of a telephone line at the yard.  It should be set up so that only local calls may be made.  Lydia Hammack will look into the installation.

d.  Long term road plan – discussion:

President Woolley will post a notice on the web site chat room asking for volunteers to serve on a road committee.  He is currently communicating with some other communities for information on how they handle road maintenance.  This will be discussed further at a future meeting.

e.  Complaints that the Association is not complying with the terms of the governing documents and NRS 116  and NRS 82.

Keith Judson submitted a written complaint on this issue and asked that it be on the agenda.  He withdrew the reference to NRS 82 as it does not apply.

He stated that the Architectural Guidelines may not be more restrictive than the C.C.& R.’s; they can only elaborate on the provisions therein.

Any property owner who violates the guidelines must be notified in writing by the board.  He stated that a procedure for this occurrence was developed and adopted by the board in 2001.  This procedure should be reviewed by the current board.

In the meanwhile, President Woolley will direct the Architectural Committee to bring violations to the board for action and not to send out any further notices of violation or fine until the board has a chance to review this issue.

Mr. Judson asked that no more white fences be approved until the issue is resolved.  Some felt that since a precedent had been set by allowing such fences that the association could no longer enforce that guideline.

A motion by Gravenstein, seconded by Bent, to have President Woolley write a letter to association attorney asking for clarification on these issues was approved unanimously.

Debra asked if the attorney was ever in Reno so that the board could meet with him about several issues.  Lydia Hammack stated that he has offices in Henderson and Reno and that he has been very responsive in the past.  His office also handles collections for the association.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 pm.


Respectfully submitted,



Rita M. Lumos, Secretary