Virginia City Highlands Property Owners’ Association

Minutes - Monthly Meeting

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Virginia City Highlands Firehouse

Present:  Richard Woolley, Richard Bent, Debra Gravenstein, and Rita Lumos

Absent:  Martin Landaburu

I.       Call to order, declaration of a quorum, and approve meeting agenda (Action)

Declaring a quorum present, President Woolley called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm.

II.      Approve minutes of January 10, 2006 regular meeting (Action)

A motion by Bent, seconded by Lumos to approve the minutes with the correction of one name spelling was approved unanimously.

III.    Financial Statements (Action)

A.     Monthly Cash Report

B.     Monthly Financial Statements  

President Woolley stated that the budget for road work is largely expended so not a lot of road work has been done in the past month other than snow plowing and sanding.

Lydia Hammack went over the financial report.  The cash balance as of February 12, 2006 is $31,127.29 and the reserve account balance is $26,686.79.  Estimated normal expenses for February are $16,046.

The second invoices will go out in March to those who have not yet paid their dues.  Dues have not yet been received for about 300 lots, but dues are still being received regularly. 

There is a large additional vehicle insurance bill to cover the new vehicles and drivers, but this amount falls within the budget amount.

The area has been declared a disaster area by the FEMA as well as by state and local agencies so there is hope that some expenses caused by the January flooding may be reimbursed.  Included will be cleaning out culverts, road repairs, equipment rental, etc.

Transfer fees for sale of lots are very low.

A motion by Lumos, seconded by Bent to accept the financial statements was approved unanimously.

IV.   Comments by association members (NRS 116.3108(3)) (Discussion only)

Dave Abel reported that he had talked to Fire Chief Gary Hames about eliminating fire permits for any open burning in the highlands.  Chief Hames reportedly suggested that if the POA requested this measure it could be considered.  The issue would have to be put on a future agenda for consideration.  Mr. Abel stated that there has been burning at a construction site near his house which required the fire department to respond, although a burn was permitted.  President Woolley stated that he does not believe that it is allowable to burn construction debris.  This item will be put on the agenda for the next regular meeting.  Keith Judson suggested that Chief Hames be invited to the meeting to discuss the issue.  Commissioner Flanagan stated that if the association requested it, the County Commissioners would consider a ban on open burning.

V.     Committee reports: (Discussion/Action)

A.     Architectural Committee

Minutes from the Architectural Committee meeting of the previous week were submitted. Eileen Craig has resigned from the committee and will need to be replaced.

The committee would like to require applicants to obtain an approved grading plan prior to submittal of building plans.  Currently a plot plan is submitted showing the location of the proposed building or addition on the lot.  Property owners are required to flag their property lines, proposed building lines, and clearing area.  A member of the committee inspects the property to ensure that proper setbacks are maintained.  Rita Lumos suggested that if the plan is stamped by a licensed engineer or surveyor perhaps the inspections can be discontinued.  Board members expressed concern about the committee members being responsible for the inspections.  It is not known whether the Storey County Building Department inspects for proper setbacks.

Lydia Hammack stated that Dean Haymore had mentioned at a Planning Commission meeting that grading plans would be required if there is a large amount of earthwork required. 

Rita will talk to the Building Dept. to verify what their requirements and inspection policies are and report to the next meeting.  This item will be continued until more information is gathered.

At future meetings of the Architectural Committee applicants will be reminded to make sure that they are in compliance with the building dept. requirements.

Keith Judson submitted a complaint about a fence that is under construction at 2549 Cartwright.  He went through the minutes of the architectural committee and did not find a permit for it.  It appears that the color will be white, which is in compliance with the current Architectural Guidelines, but not the CC&Rs.

B.     Road Report

Cleaning of ditches from flood damage is continuing although some areas are still too soft to work.  Grading has been done on the north end of Empire, although stone is still needed.  A complaint about the condition of Hermit, on the north end of Sazarac has been received.    A complaint was also received about the condition of Morgan.  A property owner would like it graded and wants to know if it’s on the schedule.  No grading has been done since last fall other than for flood repairs. 

A backhoe was rented in January to do repairs.  The County has not yet replaced the sand they borrowed during flooding.  John DuFresne reported that it is scheduled for replacement.  Keith stated that the last time the association purchased sand it was done through the County.  This may no longer be feasible.  DuFresne said he has been working with the County Public Works folks to settle this matter.

The Highlands Ranches POA has a civil engineer who is a resident and has volunteered to do an engineering study and road maintenance plan for their subdivision.  It was suggested that we might talk to him about looking at our roads as well.  A proposal has not yet been received from the engineer Lumos has contacted.

President Woolley has talked to road engineers at the BLM who specialize in gravel roads.  Due to the clay soils in the area, all the stone applied to the roads sinks and will continue to sink, causing muddy conditions during wet weather.  He has been told that unless a geotextile fabric or similar is installed the mud conditions will continue.  This is very expensive, but could be used in some problem areas as a test. 

He would like to begin road work in March and would like to have the engineering study complete at that time.

C.    Park Report

There are no members on the park committee and volunteers are needed.  Several in attendance stated that there is a plan already developed and the park impact fees are available.  Commissioner Flanagan suggested that the association submit a list of what development is desired to the County Commission.  They will then place the request on their agenda and vote on approval of the construction.  He said that now is the time to submit the list since budgets are being prepared at this time.  Gravenstein and Lumos will take responsibility for the submittal to the County Commission.

VI.   Old business (Action)

A.     Fire Station: Lease Approval

The proposed lease was reviewed by volunteers attending the meeting.  The Fire Dept. is asking for a 10 year lease term.  They are also asking for shared costs for future repairs on the water and septic system.  Under the current lease these are the County’s responsibility. All agree that the current provisions should remain in effect.  The private residence is the association’s responsibility. 

It was suggested that a sentence be added to Section 11:  Use of water which says that any use of water other than by the Fire Department needs specific approval of the VCHPOA.

It was also suggested that a sentence be added stating that the lease becomes “month to month” when expired until a new lease agreement is completed.

Ray McPartlin questioned the language in Section 12 regarding termination of the agreement.  He commented that the language makes it too easy to get terminate.  It was pointed out that this is boilerplate language present in most lease agreements.  Most agreed that this is not an issue at this time. 

Dave Abel asked if water from the well can be used on the roads.  Currently it is not allowed.  The well is just a domestic well and is not permitted for quasi-municipal use.  President Woolley stated that putting water on the roads during dry weather is a waste of water and ineffective.  The association will look into other means of dust abatement. 

President Woolley will make the suggested changes and return to Gary Hames to obtain County approval.

B.     MOU with HRPOA regarding equipment use

President Woolley stated that this might be a moot issue since the HRPOA has passed a special assessment for the purchase of equipment.  Shelley Hansen, secretary of the HRPOA, says the recently approved special assessment for that subdivision is for road work and not equipment; however they are planning to buy a grader in the future.  They will not be using our equipment at all for road work.  She commented that she did not find a rate quoted for the water truck in the proposed MOU.  In prior years the rate was $35/hr. 

C.    Long Term Road Plan

A proposal for the engineering study was due today and not received.  A special meeting will likely be called to formulate a plan for the study and repairs.  Repairs need to be done in the spring in order to be effective.

VII. New business (Action)

A.     Sale of surplus vehicles/equipment

There are two of the older trucks that are no longer needed and are no longer in very useable condition.  The plows on them may be worth more than the vehicles at this point.  President Woolley would like to obtain approximate values for them, sell them, and put the money back into the reserve account.  The money could be then used to purchase gravel for the roads. 

A motion by Lumos, seconded by Bent, to authorize President Woolley to obtain values for the vehicles, advertise, and sell the excess equipment was approved unanimously. 

Dave Abel said that if an advertisement is placed in the Comstock Chronicle it automatically goes into the Big Nickel and Sparks Tribune.  Woolley will also look into advertising on Craig’s List on the internet.

The front loader that was purchased last fall is not working as expected.  The loader is too big for its intended use.  A substantial amount has been spent in upgrading and repairs.  It is the opinion of several present that a back hoe would be a better piece of equipment for the necessary work.  President Woolley stated that we could possible rent a backhoe when needed over a 10 year period for the amount a good used hoe would cost.

John DuFresne has approached the association about trading rock for the loader.  He has apparently purchased or obtained rights to a quarry near Virginia City.  A written agreement would have to be signed by both parties stating the value of the vehicle and the amount of rock to be delivered.  Legal ramifications would have to be investigated prior to entering into any such agreement.

Dave Abel asked how the loader was purchased.  It was purchased with funds from the special assessment, so if sold, the money would have to be put to a similar use.

No action was taken on this item at this time.

B.      Reconstruction due to flood damage; possible transfer of funds from reserve account to operating fund.

Emergency repairs from the January flooding amounted to about $8000.  There are still issues to be resolved on many roads.   Money for the repairs could possibly be obtained from the sale of excess equipment, transfers from the reserve account, or a special assessment.  State law requires that a certain amount must be maintained in the reserve account.  

No action will be taken until a report from an engineer on road maintenance is received.

President Woolley stated that the ditches along the sides of the roads need to be stabilized.  This may require the installation of rip rap, gabions, or small weirs.

Keith Judson stated that he feels it is appropriate to tap the reserve fund to do repairs in the short term and defer sale of equipment until later. 

C.     Attorney response to questions from Board

A response to the questions sent to the association’s attorney has not yet been received.  If received soon this may be added to the agenda of a special meeting within the next few weeks.

VIII.          Adjourn

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 9:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted,


Rita Lumos, Secretary