Virginia City Highlands Property Owners’ Association

Minutes -Monthly Meeting

Tuesday March 14, 2006

Virginia City Highlands Fire Station Training Room


Present: Richard Woolley, Rick Bent (until 8:30 pm), Rita Lumos, Debra Gravenstein (after 7:30 pm)

Absent:  Martin Landaburu

I.       Call To Order, Declaration Of A Quorum And Approval Of Meeting Agenda (Discussion/Action)

Declaring a quorum present, President Woolley called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm.

II.     Approve Minutes Of March 2, 2006 Special Meeting (Discussion/Action)

Ø               A motion by Bent, seconded by Woolley, to approve the minutes as presented was approved unanimously.

III.    Financial Statements (Discussion/Action)

A.               Monthly Cash Report

B.               Monthly Financial Statements

Lydia Hammack reviewed the highlights of the financial statements.  Cash on hand in the operating fund account as of March 14, 2006, is $40,488.46.  The amount in the reserve account is $27,419.40.   The expenditures required for storm related road repairs were $6,274.39.  If fuel were included the amount would be greater than $8,000, but it is very difficult to compute the exact amount of additional fuel costs.

Approximately 100 unit’s annual dues are still outstanding which amounts to $9059.25 in dues and late fees.  Late notices were sent out March 1.  There is not a need to transfer fees from the reserve fund to the operating fund this month but it may need to be done soon. 

Lydia noted that transfer fees for the sale of properties are way down.

The county has replaced the sand that they borrowed during the January floods.  It is not certain whether the amount delivered included an additional amount which was purchased until an invoice is received from the county.

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

IV.   Comments by Association Members (NRS 116.3108(3)) (Discussion Only)

Stephen Musser attended a Nevada Legislative update seminar regarding NRS 116 last month and passed out handouts from that meeting.  He stated that the association is missing sources of revenue that don’t have to be approved by a vote of the membership.  He suggested that the board consider instituting some of these fees.  This will be discussed on a future agenda.

A seller or his agent is required to give a buyer a copy of a “resale package” when accepting an offer of purchase.  The package includes the association governing documents, the amount of monthly assessments, current operating budget and financial statement which include a summary of the reserves, and a statement of any legal actions pending.  The association may charge a reasonable fee for the preparation of a certificate containing the amount of monthly assessments, etc., and up to 25 cents per sheet for copying the documents.   

Some associations are charging $50 to $100 dollars for an owner’s certificate.

The amount of the transfer fee paid to the association when a unit is sold is not based on statutory requirements and is based on the association’s rules.  Many associations are charging a percentage of the selling price.  Mr. Musser related that a common fee in Incline Village is 1% of the selling price of the unit.   Some associations around the state are charging $400 to $500 per transfer. 

Cynthia Lak commented that a truck for sale is parked near the mailboxes and asked how long it will be allowed to remain there.  Maggie Hohn pointed out that this is a 10 acre property.  She stated that the sheriff’s office has stated that they need a letter of permission from the lot owner for the sheriff to enter the property and take any action.  Ms. Hohn stated that she will handle it through the 10 acre association.

Dave Abel would like an item on the agenda to discuss the Tahoe Pyramid Link which is still in the planning stages.  Large developments are being planned for the area.  Commissioner Hess would like to talk to the association about the plans.  It is rumored that there is a large development planned north of the Highlands which might be accessed from the planned highway.

Lydia Hammack, a member of the Planning Commission, stated that these developments have not yet made any applications to the Planning Commission or County Commission.  She said that they have been told that there is to be no access through the Highlands. 

There was a discussion as to the ownership of the first mile of Cartwright Road.  It was dedicated by the plat of the Highlands Ranches, but it is not known whether it was accepted for maintenance by Storey County.  Steve Musser said that there is record of acceptance in the minutes of the County Commission and that the District Attorney has opined that it is a county road.

Ron Field asked about snow removal.  He lives on Fey and complained that the road crew cleared the connector road to Fey and piled the snow on Fey.  President Woolley explained that the road crew has changed personnel.  The crew will be advised of the problem.  Maggie Hohn pointed out that there is an agreement from 2002 that delineates responsibilities for plowing between the two associations.  Fey is the responsibility of the HRPOA.  She will look into whether it was their plow or ours.  She said the crews do check the roads at higher elevations first. 

V.     Committee Reports

A.               Architectural Committee (Discussion/Action)

Rita Lumos reported that Sherry McCready has resigned.  President Woolley has put out a call for volunteers and there have been respondents.   

Ø               A motion by Woolley, seconded by Gravenstein to nominate Bob Moore to the architectural committee was approved unanimously.

Three cases were presented where complaints of possible violations of the CC&Rs have been received. 

Ø               Motions by Lumos, seconded by Gravenstein and Bent to send notices of these violations to each of the owners of the three properties to ask them to remedy the situation or appear at a hearing before the board in executive session on April 11 were approved unanimously.

Ø               A motion by Lumos, seconded by Bent, to file a complaint with Storey County Code Enforcement regarding a small building within the front setback was approved unanimously.

Rita Lumos reported that she had gone to the building department to learn of building department’s inspection process as directed at the February meeting.  She noted that the inspector does check for compliance with setback requirements when they do the footing inspection for new construction.  Eric Geuvin, Fire Marshall, stated that they work with the property owner on compliance with proper clearing of fire prone materials around buildings on their property.   

Rita stated that currently property owners are asked to stake out their property and building outline and then a member of the Architectural Committee currently visits the property and checks for setback compliance and clearing before approving a person’s building plans and plot plan. She asked whether the board and those present think these inspections by Architectural Committee members are necessary and appropriate. 

Stephen Musser stated that he feels the inspections are necessary since once the plans are approved there is no chance to rescind the approval.  The inspection also gives the committee member to check the houses in the neighborhood to ensure that the plan is not too similar to another within 2500 feet.  Woolley says that it is an informational process.  It was pointed out that owners can be informed of the rules and advised to comply with all the requirements of the building department.  It was reiterated that the county is responsible for code issues while the Architectural Committee is responsible for aesthetic issues. 

Ø               A motion by Gravenstein, seconded by Lumos, that the Architectural Committee be instructed not to do physical onsite inspections for building setbacks at proposed construction sites was approved unanimously.

Eric Geuvin stated that the Certificate of Occupancy would not be issued until any necessary remediation is complete.  President Woolley asked whether the county enforces conformance to approved grading plans and ensures that culverts are installed on drainage ways.  Mr. Geuvin stated that the county is encouraging a dip in the driveway rather than culverts which plug easily.  They are concerned about fire and rescue access and don’t want very steep dips across driveways that would impede their access. 

B.               Road Report (Discussion/Action)

John DuFresne has been plowing snow from the roads as necessary.  He has enlisted his father who is experienced in roadwork and equipment operation to help with plowing.  The two younger men who had been helping him are no longer working on the roads.

VI.   Old Business

A.               Fire Station Lease Approval  (Discussion/Action)

The proposed changes to the lease agreement discussed at the February meeting were submitted to Chief Hames.  There has been no response to date.  The lease continues on a month to month basis until the new agreement is approved by both parties.

B.               Sale Of Surplus Vehicles/Equipment  (Discussion/Action)

The two vehicles were posted on Craig’s List on the internet.  President Woolley did research on the internet to determine an approximate value for the vehicles.  They were listed as $2500 each with the rationale that they are worth at least that much for parts.  They have not yet been posted in the newspaper.  They will be listed in the Tribune, Chronicle, and the Big Nickel.

C.              Park Construction Priority List  (Discussion/Action)

Per the approval at the February meeting, the priority list and plan posted on the web site were updated with the well as a top priority and a letter sent to the County Commissioners urging the development of the park utilizing park impact fees.

VII.   New Business

A.               Position On Open Burning Permits In The Highlands Discussion/Action)

As a result of a request by Dave Abel at the previous meeting, the issue of supporting a ban on open burning permits was discussed.  President Woolley stated that he is not opposed to open burning permits during the winter months, but not during the dry months.  The Fire Marshall stated that it is their position that open burning is an unnecessary risk.  The trees in the area will burn in any conditions and wind is a factor.  Issuing of a burn permit does not mean that it will be a supervised burn.   There were only about 5 permits issued last year.  Those owners present expressed agreement with support of the ban on open burning.

Ø               A motion by Woolley, seconded by Gravenstein, to urge Storey County to discontinue issuing of open burn permits in the highlands was approved unanimously.

B.               Attorney Response to Questions from the Board (Discussion/Action)

Rita Lumos reported that the answers to the questions the board sent to the attorney in January had been received.  The attorney has asked that the exact correspondence not be published although the information could be imparted to the board and owners.  She read the questions and responses.  The opinions are summarized as follows:

The attorney pointed out that at some point in every association’s history some rules are not enforced.  If the Association is making an effort to enforce the rules uniformly, despite previous violations, then a court would find the Association is acting properly.  If there is widespread violation of a rule then it may not be able to enforce the rule.  If there is only a limited number of previous violations, then the court would likely rule that the Association has the authority to enforce the rule.

The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that a use restriction is valid and enforceable if the purpose of the use restriction can still be served.  A similar test may be applied to the Association’s right to enforce an architectural guideline.

A discussion about impact fees ensued.  The language currently in the Architectural Guidelines appears to meet the conditions described by the attorney in order to be valid.  The authority might be stronger if the language was included in the By-laws.

President Woolley went over a method for calculating the amount of an impact fee based on the cost of road improvements based on a study done in Nye County.  The amount of the fee will depend on which of the alternatives in the long range road plan is approved by the property owners.  These will be presented to all owners by ballot before the annual meeting.  Depending on which alternatives are chosen there is the possibility of an assessment charged to all lots and an additional amount charged to those owners building new homes, additions, or outbuildings.

Ray McPartlin asked whether there is any way to make the County take responsibility for the roads.  This would be difficult since the roads are not built to County standards and they are not required to accept them for maintenance.  The roads are owned by all the individual owners whose lot contains the roadway easement.  Each owner would have to dedicate his/her portion or the County would have to obtain it by Eminent Domain. 

The board considered whether to continue charging the fee of $100 for new residences and $75 for additions, barns, and outbuildings, or to raise the fee to what is estimated for the future road improvements to be voted on.  The current fee of $100 approximately equals the cost for one hour of grader and driver use.  Many feel that the method outlined by President Woolley is an appropriate one.  It was decided to continue with the existing fees until the long term road plan is voted upon and adopted.

C.              Any Other Matters Which The Board Members Wish To Discuss (discussion)

Karlyn McPartlin read a passage from the CC&Rs regarding signs which states that only signs advertising a property for sale and of a reasonable size are allowed.  She stated that the Wireless Highlands vendor has put signs in people’s yards without their permission and reportedly told her that he has written permission from the board to put up his signs.  No one has knowledge of the board granting him said permission.  Maggie Hohn doesn’t recall that the HR board granted him permission for the signs.

It was suggested the Mrs. McPartlin should submit a complaint in writing and the board will place it on the next agenda for action.

VIII.          Adjourn

Ø               A motion by Lumos, seconded by Gravenstein, to close the regular meeting and go into executive session was approved unanimously.  The executive session is required by law to discuss possible violations by owners of the governing documents.  At the end of the executive session the regular meeting was reopened.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 10.45 pm.

Respectfully submitted,


Rita Lumos, Secretary