Virginia City Highlands Property Owners’ Association

Minutes - Monthly Meeting – Tuesday, April 9, 2013

V.C. Highlands Fire Station Training Room

Present:  Dave Thomas, Mary Tallent-Stewart, Patrick Flanagan, Jack McGuffey, Karlyn McPartlin, and Jim Watson

Absent:  None

I.                     Call to Order, Declaration of a Quorum, and Approval of Meeting Agenda

President Thomas called the meeting to order at 7:02 pm and declared a quorum present.

II.                  Approve Minutes of March 12, 2013 Meeting

A motion by McPartlin, seconded by Flanagan to approve the minutes as submitted was approved unanimously.

III.                Resignation and Replacement of Board Member

Mary Tallent-Stewart tendered her resignation to the board for personal reasons.  She was applauded for all her work for the association.  

Jim Watson was proposed as a replacement to serve until the board begins a new fiscal year in August.  A motion by Thomas, seconded Flanagan to approve the appointment was approved unanimously.  At this time Tallent-Stewart relinquished her seat to Watson.

IV.               Review of Financial Statements

Thomas reviewed the financial statements for the month of March.  Total expenses were $2,747; income was $18,439.  The cash balance at the end of March was  $310,922.

The complete financial statements are available on the association web site at

Thomas reported that there was little activity for the month.  The larger than average administrative expense included the purchase of five used filing cabinets.  There was little road maintenance done.  The damaged fence on Highland is being repaired.  Collections are better than budget year-to-date.  Other than insurance renewals there are no unusual or large expenses expected in the coming month.

Flanagan requested that the insurance costs be listed as a separate item rather than included in road maintenance, vehicle expense, etc.  He also requested that there be a line item for park fund donations received.

A motion by Flanagan, seconded by McPartlin to accept the financial report was approved unanimously.

V.                 Comments by Association Members (NRS 116.31083.5)

James Reeves stated that he has been paying attention to record-breaking drought.  He is concerned that if it becomes a big problem and gets in the news everybody loses.  He urges conservation and would like to have a meeting solely about water issues.  Thomas stated that water usage has been discussed at recent meetings.  He explained that the association can only do education and has no real authority over water.  That is the purview of the State Engineer and Storey County officials.  Flanagan suggested that having such a meeting and getting owner support could influence county toward stricter building codes and regulations.  McPartlin referenced the report that Dale Morgan prepared a few years ago and which is available on the association website.  No date was set for an informational meeting.

Steve Morrow said it would be beneficial to to update the well logs to compare static water levels from the wells’ origin to present.  This would give valuable data and educational material for owners.  This could be included in the annual newsletter, which is sent to all owners in late May or early June.

Jim Watson said that there is a possibility that we will have meter on wells in the Highlands within the next five years and a fee for usage assessed.  Jay Carmona noted that the Highlands Ranches have a size limit for lawns in their CC&R’s and asked if there is a similar provision in the VC Highlands documents.  There is none. 

If water becomes a very serious issue the County could restrict future building.  The State Engineer would have to support such a measure.  A very expensive study would have to be done by a professional organization to collect data to support any action.   Building restrictions could trigger a number of lawsuits for illegal taking of property rights. 

Jack McGuffey reported that the Neighborhood Watch program is reorganizing.  The previous attempt had a number of problems and floundered.  There is now support from Sheriff’s office to restart.  The first meeting will be Friday, April 12.  McGuffey has donated Neighborhood Watch signs to be posted at the entrances.  There will also be individual window stickers.  Owners are urged to participate and may donate to the cause.

Daryl Saccheri said that he feels the board is not properly representing him.

VI.                Committee Reports

A.     Architectural Committee :  Rita Lumos reported that the committee approved an application for a detached garage on Grizzley.  A complaint was received and recommended for action by the Board of Directors.

B.      Road Report – Steve Morrow reported that the road crew began working on ditches this week and inspecting those culverts that are maintained by the association.  Reflective signs damaged during snow plowing have been replaced.  There is a flat tire on the sand truck and the seat on the grader that must be replaced.

The road committee will meet to look at the budget and plan for the season’s roadwork within next the four weeks.  The Fire Dept. inspected the equipment yard and recommended fire extinguishers in several locations.  He has obtained cost estimates.

At the last meeting there were a number of statements regarding mag chloride.  He had requested references and back-up for the statements and has received none.  He has found no evidence that several states have banned its use.  He called the manufacturer that supplies mag chloride across the whole country.  The manufacturer has no knowledge of any bans.  In Ohio a different product with a similar name has been banned, but it is not the same product.   Saccheri insisted that there is  “banned wells in Ohio”.  Says banned within 20 feet of wells.  Steve said there are some restrictions in Clark County, but not in a similar situation to use in the Highlands.  Thomas said that the application both keeps dust down and stabilizes the road surface. Mike Kester asked if he could refuse to have it put on his road.  Thomas said that the all owners on the road would have to make that request.  He noted that the issue was voted on at last annual meeting and overwhelmingly approved by the owners present.    

Paving has been rejected by a majority of owners.  The cost to pave the roads would be between $2-3 million per mile.  Carmona said that if a cost analysis for various alternatives were available it would be helpful to educate people.  He said that many are frustrated with the situation.  Poll could be sent to owners on this and other issues along with the newsletter.  Carmona volunteered to put together a questionnaire. 

C.      Park Committee:  There has been no activity by this committee.

VII.             Unfinished Business

A.     New Signage for Entrance-Legal Review

McPartlin reported that she had requested status of the legal review from the District Attorney’s Office and was told that they are still working on it.

B.      Proposed Ban on Wildlife Trapping

McGuffey reported that he has done considerable research on this issue, as promised.  NRS 503 governs wild life issues in the state.  A person can trap on private property if they have the owner’s permission.  There are rules about distances from roads and trails.  Washoe County has additional regulations in their County Code.  Storey County has regulations about firearms and trapping in congested areas.  It appears that only Virginia City, Gold Hill, Mark Twain, and a section of land along the Truckee River are listed as congested areas; the Highlands is not.  There is a sign on Lousetown, but not at the main entrance on Cartwright.  Ordinance 27 dealing with this issue was repealed in 1980 and may have been replaced.  He is still doing research and will report at the next meeting.

He believes the Board of Directors would have to vote on its preference and then present the results to County with a request to create or amend an ordinance to include the recommendations.  This issue could be included on a property owners’ poll.  Owners urged that the board doesn’t waste time in accomplishing this task.  It was stated that six male bobcats had been trapped off Lousetown over the past season.

VIII.            New Business

A.      Insurance Renewal Quotes

Flanagan stated that neither he nor the bookkeeper were able to get quotes from other companies or agents after receiving the invoice and prior to the premium due date so the existing policies are being extended for another year.  It was not possible to extend the policy for a shorter time period or to be refunded if the policy changes before term.  Tallent-Stewart and he are both working with brokers to get quotes for next year.

B.      Meals on Wheels

Flanagan has application forms if anyone needs this service.  Currently there are about five individuals participating in the program.  Anyone can donate food or money to the Senior Center to support the program.  At least one hot meal is provided five days per week.  The program is also working to get counseling to people if needed.

IX.                Any Other Matters which the Board Members Wish to Discuss

No further matters were presented by the board members. 

X.                  Comments by Association Members (NRS 116.3108.3(c))

No further comments were offered at this time.

XI.                Adjourn

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:35 pm.


Respectfully submitted,

Rita Lumos,

Recording Secretary