The Board has received questions about the new waiver being distributed by the HOA to all Clubs and Groups. Why is it being done now? In the hope that the State will start to allow the opening of indoor facilities soon, we need the waivers in place for residents to use the Clubhouses. With COVID, the HOA needs to protect itself from COVID claims and the new waiver has such protections. Since there is no insurance for a COVID claim, and residents could be personally liable for any such claim, the HOA needs new waivers in place before residents may use the Clubhouses so that all residents are protected against any such claim. So, before residents can use the Clubhouses, we need these new waivers signed to protect everyone.
We have received questions as to why we need to have waivers at all. Not all residents sign a waiver. It is true not all residents will sign a waiver. There is no legal requirement for a resident to sign a waiver just to live here. A person may live here, and if they do not use Common facilities like the pool, gym, tennis courts, etc. they would never be required to sign a waiver, nor can we make them sign a waiver. Governing documents allow residents to live here and use the streets without signing any waivers.
Simply put waivers put in writing that residents and guests are responsible for their own actions and so they may not file a legal claim for damages. Without such waivers the HOA would be responsible for every accident and claim against the HOA. This would lead to increased claims, increased costs to insurance companies and eventually our rates would increase, or possible insurance companies would not insure us because the risk is too great.
Insurance is for the unexpected and not for the controllable daily acts. Insurance companies do not like businesses that are not proactive in controlling events to help reduce frivolous claims. This not only means taking actions to always ensure safety, but it also includes waivers to explain to residents in legal terms they are responsible for their own actions and so they will not sue the HOA just because an accident occurred on HOA property.
The HOA requires a waiver from those residents and guests that want to use Common Area Facilities like the tennis court, Clubhouse, golf, pool, gym, etc. The HOA has a right to ask for a signed waiver to protect itself from residents using the Common Property. One viewpoint is that all residents and guests using Common Property should sign a waiver. Another viewpoint is that only sport related activities need a waiver, and some residents prefer waivers to be eliminated. The HOA has required a waiver for activities since the beginning of the development. A card player for example, may fall on their own accord in the hallway, break a hip, and then want damages from the HOA simply because their fall occurred on the HOA property. The HOA does not agree that all residents should be able to file a claim and be paid for damages when the accident is the responsibility of the resident.
We are permitted to get waivers from all residents and guests that participate in Club activities, this has been done for years. We get waivers on all residents and guests using the Clubhouse gyms, pools, etc. where we have a main point to check in. We have not gotten a waiver from a resident that happens to buy a ticket for a concert for example, and we don’t have residents sign a waiver to attend that concert. It is correct that we do not have waivers on everyone for every activity. We do the best we can to get waivers but given our circumstances and the different activities we cannot always get waivers for every person for every activity. But that does not mean we should stop getting waivers entirely.
The Board is now, because of a resident request, looking at ways to get more waivers on residents and guests that attend any function, but it is difficult to make that happen. The Board is not looking at removing the waiver requirement that has been in place for years. If residents voted to remove the waiver requirement entirely, knowing all such claims would be paid by the HOA, and possibly each resident personally, and knowing our insurance rates would increase dramatically, that could be a point of discussion if most residents wanted to follow that path.
The Board currently believes that just because some people don’t sign a waiver does not mean we should not get waivers on everyone we can in order to protect the HOA from frivolous lawsuits and claims. I have personally been in court representing the HOA against claims that were the responsibility of the resident, but the resident was seeking damages just because the accident occurred on HOA property. Fortunately, because of waivers and other printed material the judge found in favor of the HOA. The Board believes waivers are in the best interest of the residents of the HOA to protect them legally and financially. Our insurance rate went up $20,000 in one year just because the number of lawsuit threats by residents increased, even though no claims were filed, but just the threat of a claim increased the rate. When insurance rates increase, monthly dues are also increased, so it is in our best interest to do everything we can to keep insurance rates as low as possible.
Board will be looking at ways to require everyone to sign off on a wavier for all activities. But we do not believe it can be 100% foolproof and there will always be people not signing a waiver. Example: if we hold a free concert outside on the driving range, we will not be able to get waivers on every person unless we gate off the concert and make everyone sign a waiver as the enter the concert. We don’t feel that is efficient, so the HOA takes on more legal liability risk in that case. Some residents believe non-sport activities should not sign a waiver, the Board disagrees. But that discussion will take place on Monday to decide on a future course of action and if any changes to waiver requirements will be implemented.
Currently the Board believes the crafts club should sign a waiver, card players should sign a waiver, and anyone using Common Property should sign a waiver. Anyone can have an accident on the Common Property and the HOA Board feels we should protect ourselves from those residents that try to make money for their own irresponsible actions just because the HOA has deep pockets. Just because we can’t get a waiver on every resident for every activity does not mean we should stop getting waivers. We do the best we can, but we also do the best we can to protect the HOA from frivolous claims which will increase costs to each resident.
Some residents believe that all claims except for sports related claims should be paid by the HOA. We get many claims not related to sports and when the HOA is not responsible the Board believes the HOA should not have to pay for such a claim just because the accident occurred on Common Property. Some residents believe that because we have insurance that is enough, the Board disagrees and in the end such actions will lead to higher HOA fees, or possible not being insurable.
Companies that have too many claims will be denied insurance coverage by the best companies with the lowest rates. Too many claims lead to higher rates or no coverage at all. Many insurance companies will not insure unless waivers are in place and they will inspect and approve such waivers. This is the case in my own business. The best insurance rates come from companies that know waivers are in place to protect against the irresponsible and frivolous claims.
Questions have also come up about guests and residents’ responsibility for guests. You are responsible for your guests; it is listed in the Governing Documents and has been that way from the beginning. If your guest goes through a stop sign, we write the ticket to the homeowner and the homeowner must then get reimbursed from their own guest. We do not have jurisdiction over your guests. Many residents have requested that homeowners should not be responsible for their guests. Once again, then HOA fees could go up to all residents for the actions of guests. One guest drove through the closed gates and caused $4,000 damage. We believe the HOA should not have to pay for that damage, so the homeowner was billed for the damages and the homeowner needs to be reimbursed from their guest. We had one guest speeding. Three weeks later after getting a violation and fine, that same guest continued speeding. The homeowner was again cited for an additional $300. If we did not cite the Homeowner, the HOA would have little recourse in stopping such action by guests and the speeding would continue causing an unsafe condition.
COVID is still among us so please practice all safety measures. We have done extremely well in trying to control the spread of the virus given the actions taken by all the residents. We have confirmation on less than 30 cases in our community compared to 244 cases in SCPD.
As we have stated since last June, the HOA is not looking for violations of the State Order on private property, it is the responsibility of each resident to follow the State Order. The HOA cannot give permission for indoor gatherings on private property because it would violate the State Order.
Some have asked about gatherings among residents that have been vaccinated or opening the Clubhouse for use for those that have been vaccinated. Currently the State is granting no exception for vaccinated people, so we are not allowed to open the Clubhouses yet. Gatherings indoors for residents that have been vaccinated is also still not allowed per State Order. To protect all residents financially we must follow that State Order and hope it changes soon, but until then no gatherings are allowed indoors and outdoor gatherings are limited to 3 households.
Indoor Pool: Currently the Indoor is still closed. State and County Orders are specific that Indoor pools must remain closed at this time.
Gym and other Indoor Activities: Currently indoor activities are closed except for the library. Some residents have asked about opening the gym for people that have been vaccinated. Currently the State and County Order does not allow for this exception. We are all waiting and hoping such guidelines will change soon. For now the Board has no choice but to keep these activities closed according to the State Orders.
Library: The library did open for use on February 1 from 9 am to 4 pm daily. Closed on Sunday. daily. It is limited to one person at a time or people from the same household. If someone is waiting time is limited to 15 minutes. This is for residents only so guests are not allowed. Reservations are not required to use the library. The library is a specific exception in the State Order and may open.
Election Rules: Candidates can email residents and the HOA is required by State Law to give Candidates an email list of all residents unless a resident opted out of such a list. If you do not want to receive such messages just tell the candidate to stop sending the messages.
COVID Questions and Information: I have been asked about why other activities may not open and how does the Board decide on what can open and when. What is the risk if we open activities anyway?
First part of the answer is the Board is trying to proceed carefully to protect the health and lives of all residents, while still opening activities safely.
The Board has an obligation and responsibility under the Governing Documents to follow the Law. The Board cannot arbitrarily disregard the Governing Documents of the HOA without facing potential liability issues. Therefore, the Board has stated we are trying to follow the State and County Orders while allowing as many activities to open as possible, in accordance with the applicable State and County orders. Gatherings of no more than 3 households are currently allowed outdoors. Currently the State and County Orders do not allow for gatherings or visitors indoors, this is all part of the State Order from last March. So, the outdoor 3 household rule is an exception in the State Order from last March. The Board has made clear each resident is to be responsible for following the State Order on their property. The Board has also made clear, since last June, that the HOA is not looking for violations of the State Order on private property.
Where the implementation gets a little tricky is the legal consequences if we do something different. The Board receives the question ‘if we are not looking for violations on private property why don’t we just say it is OK to have gatherings in a private home’? The answer is because the HOA may not implement something illegal without being in violation of its own Governing Documents. Therefore, we have said the homeowner is responsible for following the State Law. We might not be looking for violations but that does not mean we are giving permission for residents to violate the State Law. Some residents have written to me to get permission for a party in their home, the answer is currently no, and until the State changes the Order, gatherings in a home are not allowed. We will investigate any complaint of noise or disruption because those are current rules for the HOA and have nothing to do with the State Orders.
The legal liability is quite huge for implementing the State Order incorrectly. If the HOA gave permission for having a party indoors in violation of the State Order, and then someone got sick and/or died, the HOA could potentially be held responsible for that person getting sick or dying. Such a claim is not covered by our insurance policy because virus related claims are excluded from insurance policies. If the HOA gave permission for a party or gathering inside a home, and a claim was filed, the residents would be responsible personally for all attorney fees and damages. This could easily mean a special assessment where each homeowner would write a check personally for the claim. This is something the Board is protecting very carefully to ensure the residents are not financially responsible for such a claim. It is unknown how much a potential claim could be, but legal fees and damages could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So, as we begin the opening process the Board is carefully evaluating the HOA’s ability to follow the State and County Orders in reopening its facilities so that residents are not liable for any lawsuits resulting from the HOA not following State guidelines.
Crack Repair: The HOA Board has hired an independent civil engineering company to write the specifications and inspect the work that is being done for crack repairs. This work is part of a master plan by the engineering company to help ensure the asphalt is maintained correctly with the least long term cost.
Crack repair work is going on in phase 1 and 2. Residents have asked why they can still see the crack repair when it is done. These repairs will be visible when done unless we repaint the entire street and that is not scheduled to be done at this time. Painting of the street, called seal coating is not scheduled for another 1-3 years. We still want to do crack repairs now to protect the existing asphalt from premature failure because of water and/or blow sand getting into the crack. Asphalt is the most expensive item in the entire community, so the more we do to protect it from premature failure the less future costs we will have to pay.
Let me describe the work that is being done.
Phase I & II Crack Sealing – Project Report
The onsite engineering inspector is very pleased with the crack sealing IPS (the contractor) has completed. IPS is supposed to seal cracks ¼” or wider. Nothing is done to cracks smaller than 1/4 “. They have completed most of this work and actually a significant number of cracks less than 1/4” wide were also done. The reason we specify 1/4” or wider is that when a crack is less than 1/4” the crack seal material will not go into the crack very well due to the thickness and viscosity of the material. Crack seal material can and will settle in some of the wider cracks especially when they are closer to 1/2” wide or wider. Keep in mind the cracks are generally as deep as the pavement is thick. When sealing cracks that are closer to 1/2” wide the material will most likely settle. These cracks are sealed even though the material is not to the street surface. There are draw backs to making the contractor go back and apply more material in these circumstances. The result will be the material is likely to flow down the crack to the concrete gutter pan and pool on the concrete. Especially in the desert climate when temperatures are triple digits in the summer. The inspector does not recommend having the contractor do this. The crack does not have to have material to the level of the street to have been sealed correctly.
IPS was very diligent in their sealing process. They had two crews sealing cracks. Both crews consisted of two separate crack seal trucks working in tandem as they worked on a road. It is likely residents will find isolated cracks or portions of cracks at or near 1/4” wide that were not sealed. They do not measure every crack so some cracks just under at 1/4” might not be done. This is acceptable given the specifications.
The Contractor that is doing the parking lot, a different contractor, was watching the crack seal work being done and told us IPS is doing a great job and they even videoed the work for their own benefit.
We do not seal coat after this crack repair process unless seal coating is necessary and justified. You can apply too much seal coating which can cause a failure of the seal coating process. If you apply too much seal coating to the street, the seal coating will not bond to the asphalt and will cause cracking of the seal coat layers, eventually causing debonding. This cannot be repaired. If a street gets too much seal coating causing excessive hairline cracks looking like broken glass, all you can do is let it wear for as long as possible and then you need to put down new asphalt, awfully expensive. Some other HOA’s will seal coat too often because the street is no longer black, but grey, and many will think that it means they need more seal coating. This is not always true and needs to be inspected. One of the reasons the HOA has decided for an independent engineering report is so we do not rely on a contractor’s report which might be motivated by getting the work rather than what is best.
It is very possible the seal coating can look old and worn but it is still doing the job and should not be coated again until it is needed. Yes, streets will look grey but that does not mean we need to seal coat the streets. So, when we are done with the crack sealing work, we will not be seal coating the entire street which will mean all the crack sealing work will show.
Phase III Asphalt Cracks Report
Phase III streets are scheduled for crack seal and surface seal coat in 2024. After evaluating the cracks in Phase III there are intermittent cracks 1/4” wide and isolated cracks or portions of cracks near 1/2” wide. Most of the cracks are not wide enough for crack seal at this time. Based on the existing condition of the cracks in Phase III the engineer recommends waiting until January 2022 to perform crack sealing of select cracks that meet specifications. The current cracks in phase 3 are related to asphalt material shrinkage and thermal changes. They are not structural. Waiting so seal the larger cracks in phase 3 will not accelerate structural damage to the streets.
I wish you all a safe and healthy weekend and I will be back as soon as we have more information or if you have more questions, so let me know.
Frontier: We sent a message that all residents could call for appointments to install the Frontier internet, including the 205 homes that were never installed with the Fiber optic cable. As many residents found out when they called Frontier was not ready and they were turned down for appointments. Frontier announced they resolved that problem so all residents may now call. Let us know right away if this is not the case.
Annual Meeting: The Annual Meeting for the election of two open seats on the Board will be held on April 6, 2021. Ballots will be mailed on about February 12 to all homeowners. If you decide to mail in your ballot it is due by April 5 at noon. There will be a ballot box in each Clubhouse so you can drop off your ballot if you so desire.
On the day of the election April 6, 2021 the polls will open at 9 am in the Montecito Clubhouse. You may drop off your ballot at that time if you have not already mailed or dropped it off. Polls will close at 10 am and no more ballots will be accepted.
Spectators will not be allowed because of the COVID restrictions, so the meeting will be done virtually. At about 10 am we will recess the meeting while the Election company counts the ballots, and we estimate to reconvene the meeting at 2pm to announce the winners of the Board election and the outcome of the ballot measures.
The Campaign rules for Candidates and their representatives are as follows:
Signs may be placed in front of homes beginning March 7,2021. Signs may not be placed in the backyard of a home. I sign per candidate. Candidates have a choice of placing signs on Sun City Blvd or in front of homes, but they may not do both.
There is no campaigning on Common Property without HOA permission. This means candidates may not walk up to people on the street, playing Tennis, Pickleball, Bocce, Golf, etc. to campaign and/or to hand out flyers.
Candidates may hold meetings on Common Property with prior approval of the HOA.
Candidates may go door to door between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm provided masks are worn at all times. Social distancing is required. Candidates may not leave information unless the homeowner agrees. Candidates may not leave information when a resident is not home. Candidates are able to go door to door now. This began on January 26. If a resident places a ‘No Solicitation’ sign in the front yard Candidates are not allowed to go to the door of that house.
Candidates may not use the Mail tubes. These are for HOA use only.
Candidates may mail letters to residents and the HOA is required by State Law to give candidates an address mail list of all residents unless a resident opted out of such a list.
Candidates can email residents and the HOA is required by State Law to give Candidates an email list of all residents unless a resident opted out of such a list. If you don’t want to receive such messages you may request the Candidate to stop sending messages.
COVID Update: With the return to the Purple Tier in COVID guidelines, 3 households may meet together outdoors with restrictions. Masks are required if you cannot maintain 6’ social distancing. This can mean more than 6 people; the issue is households. If one household has one person, another household has three people, and the last household has four people living in the home, the gathering of eight people is allowed. No gatherings of any size or allowed indoors at any time. The 10 pm to 5 am curfew has been lifted.
As the vaccine is slowly distributed, please be careful and exercise caution, we still don’t want anyone sick if possible.
Here are the highlights from yesterday’s podcast concerning the lifting of the Regional Stay at Home Order that was issued on 12/3/2020.
As a result of the new State Guidelines, the Board has implemented new guidelines for the opening of certain activities which is now allowed by the State and County.
As we move forward please be aware that the State’s Stay-at-Home Order from March is still in effect. There are exceptions to this order that we have incorporated into these guidelines. Please understand that the exceptions are not always consistent. Some activities are granted exceptions while others are not. For example, Restaurants can open outdoors but indoor activities are still closed.
Indoor gatherings are still prohibited for any size in any venue, so residents are not supposed to have visitors in their home. The only gatherings allowed indoors are for people that live in the same household.
Gatherings: With the lifting of the Regional Stay at Home Order, new gathering rules are in place for outdoor use. Gatherings of up to 3 households are now allowed outdoors. This means residents and/or visitors from outside the HOA may visit your home provided everyone remains outdoors. Social distancing and masks are still required if you can’t maintain at least 6’ apart.
Curfew: The Curfew of 10 pm to 5 am is no longer in effect.
Guest on Streets: The Board voted to allow guests to use the streets and North Channel area. Residents may now walk with children, grandchildren, or friends on the streets and/or North Channel area. Visitors may bike on the streets and ride in golf carts but age restrictions on who can drive a golf cart still apply. Keep in mind the use of skateboards and scooters (or motorized skateboards and scooters) is strictly prohibited within SCSHCA streets, parking lots and common areas.
Putting Course: Guests are now allowed to use the Putting Course behind the Montecito Clubhouse. Reservations are not required for the Putting Course.
Library: The library will open for use on February 1 from 9 am to 4 pm daily, closed on Sunday. It is limited to one person at a time or people from the same household. If someone is waiting time is limited to 15 minutes. This is for residents only so guests are not allowed. Reservations are not required to use the library.
Courts and Pools: Tennis, Pickleball, Golf, Pools, and Bocce have no changes. Outside play or visitors are allowed for golf, but visitors are not allowed for Tennis, Pickleball, Pools, or Bocce. Reservations are required to use any of these activities.
Dog Parks: There are no changes for the Dog Parks.
South Side Driving Range: The South Side of the driving range is still closed.
Clubhouses and indoor activities are still prohibited.
Shadows Re-opening for outdoor dining:
Takeout and Delivery will continue. Hours for outdoor dining: 10 AM-7 PM Every day.
4 people per table maximum.
No changing of tables even if a seat is available at another table.
Reservations with the number of people may not change when you arrive at the restaurant.
Advance Reservations Required: Residents only and residents must show their Resident ID cards upon entry.
No Public Access.
Temperatures will be checked upon entry and if temp exceeds 100.0 you may not enter.
Masks required upon entering building.
Masks required to walk to table.
You may take your mask off once seated.
You need a mask when leaving the table for any reason, including going to the restroom.
Capacity: 6 tables outdoors based on distancing.
Limited Menu-Not the same as before.
Guests: The Stay at Home Order is still in effect. The State Order is still in effect about ‘Stay-at-Home’ and no gatherings indoors. Residents are responsible to follow the State Order. The HOA will not be looking for violations of the State Order on private property. The HOA will investigate any complaint of noise or conduct on private property. The HOA will enforce no guests in all areas of Tennis, Pickleball, Bocce, Basketball, Library, and the Pools.
Masks: Remember that masks are still required at all times if 6’ social distancing cannot be maintained.
The Board wishes you a safe and healthy weekend as we slowly move to reopen activities here at Sun City Shadow Hills.
As you may have heard the State has lifted the Regional Stay at Home Orders from 12/3/2020. The prior Stay at Home Orders are still in effect including the Stay at Home Order from 3/19/2020.
The Board will be meeting tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. to go over the new guidelines from the State and County, but it appears we will be back to the guidelines from last November where three households could meet outdoors, and outdoor dining will be allowed. In also states no indoor gatherings are allowed, the same as before.
We will also be discussing the opening of Shadows outdoors to see when it is possible that staff will be ready to take such action.
We will get back to you Thursday morning with the new guidelines.
Outdoor Library Book Exchange: Some residents have asked about the outdoor library book exchange that a resident put in their front yard. The HOA contacted the resident to explain that this had to be removed because our current governing documents do not allow for such actions. A posting on Next Door felt this action should continue and requested residents write to the Board in support of the book exchange remaining in the front yard, so we have had many requests to leave the book exchange over the last few days.
Many times, our decisions are not based on what we like, but what is required by law. Our governing documents do not allow for such activity in front yards by residents. The Board is required by law to follow the governing documents. I understand some people do not like certain rules, but just because we have a COVID pandemic does not mean we can set aside those rules in our governing documents.
HOA must follow the current governing documents:
The second paragraph of Section 8.5 of the CC&Rs states that "except as provided for herein, no furniture, fixtures, appliances, or other goods and chattels not actively in use shall be stored in any building or open area or on any Lot in such a manner that such material is Visible from Neighboring Property . . . " See also Section 2.17 of the Rules which states in pertinent part: "All storage of items not in active use . . . are to be located in rear or side yards behind a solid wall and shall not be visible from any street, common area, golf course and/or neighboring properties."
There are some people that might not want to look at the display, nor have other displays as a result. The rules of our governing documents must prevail until such rules are changed.
We might not like certain rules, but unless they are changed, we are required to implement them according to the governing documents.
The outdoor library book exchange in question also violates the State and County Orders for cleaning protocols which might lead to the transmission of the virus.
We have also had some residents contact us that they don't like the library display and if that is acceptable what about other displays like furniture, clothes, or ongoing garage sales. So, one exception can lead to many problems, that is why we must follow our existing rules.
Frontier: Frontier has been installing the internet at homes except for 205 homes because they needed to connect the fiber optic cable. We will hopefully have the information next week as to when those 205 homes may make appointments for the install.
Wireless vs. cable connected computers. Many have asked about the speed of the internet because they are not getting 500/500 speed. The speed of Frontier internet of 500/500 is only available if your computer is connected to the router by a cable. Wireless speeds are not guaranteed because of so many variables. Even Cable connected computers might not get 500/500 if components in the computer will not go that fast. Frontier’s obligation is to make sure the 500/500 speed is at the router; it is the responsibility of the homeowner to make sure all equipment and cables are working correctly to insure the best speed possible. If you’re wireless device is doing 150 to 300 it is probably working correctly at the best speed possible for that device. But my old iPad doesn’t go faster than 30-40, it is just too old, but my computer is doing 500/500.
Montecito Paring Lot: This is a planned and scheduled repair and replacement project because of old asphalt and pavers. Some of the areas have become a safety issue. It is always a point of discussion to repair or replace items. It was decided that too many areas were going to need increased repairs in the future and since we have already saved enough money in the reserves to replace everything Board decided on replacement rather than a repair would be more cost effective long term. We have already had one trip and fall, and we don’t want more. This work is not coming from the operations budget, so it is not impacting the ongoing operations budget. Keep in mind we have an operations budget for the day to day operations and we have a separate replacement fund to save and pay for all these projects over time. This work is being paid for from that replacement fund and has already saved the cost for 100% payment.
Crack Repair: Crack repair work is going on in phase 1 and 2. Residents have asked why they can still see the crack repair when it is done. These repairs will be visible when done unless we repaint the entire street and that is not being done at this time. Painting of the street, called seal coating is not scheduled for another 1-2 years. We still want to do crack repairs now to protect the existing asphalt from premature failure as a result from water and/or blow sand. Asphalt is the most expensive item in the entire complex, so the more we do to protect it from premature failure the less future costs we will have to pay. Just like your home, if you repair a wall, after the repair you need to repaint the wall otherwise you will see the crack repair. We do have our hired inspector that will review all the work, and anything not completed correctly will be corrected. So, if you think a repair is not done right in front of your home let us know and it will be checked out before final payment.
COVID Information: I have attached some information about the County vaccine appointment plans. This information will be attached and on the website.
There has been issues with making an appointment. As a result, many residents have asked the Board to reconsider being a vaccine distribution site. At this time, we are not allowed to be a distribution site be we are investigating further. Given the problems with the existing sites it makes sense why they would not want to increase the sites at this time, but we will continue to monitor the situation. The Board will be meeting on Monday and will again discuss the possibility, if allowed, of being a distribution site. We will be talking with the insurance brokers at that time to realistically determine the legal exposure of any claim along with the benefit of waivers. Naturally if the County does not allow for us being a site these discussions become irrelevant; we will see. The Board is being careful trying not to put the HOA in a financially liable position because without insurance any claim would have to be paid for by residents.
It appears from the information it will take another 3-6 months for the vaccine to be distributed, but people 65 and over are able to make appointments now, once the system is working and space is available. During this time, please use caution, more and more cases are coming up every day. If you are high risk, please consider not participating in any events for the next few months or until you get the vaccine. If you play in the different sports you might even consider wearing a mask at all times, even while you are participating in the activity. State rules don’t require a mask as long as you are 6’ apart at all times. Gatherings of any kind are still not allowed on Common Property or in your homes. So please don’t gather before you play and leave immediately when you are done. Don’t gather to talk or eat after you play. Please leave the area for everyone’s protection.
The Board gets many requests on how to proceed and they seem to fall into one of three groups:
Residents that always want masks even outdoors and everything closed down for now.
Residents that want everything opened because Government should not do this, and the science doesn’t justify the closing of activities.
Residents in between.
No decision is going to make everyone happy, so the Board has decided not to evaluate the right or wrong of the policy, but to implement what is allowed by law. We are required to follow the law.
Example, if most cases of COVID are coming from the family and friends’ gatherings over the holidays, there is no reason to close Shadows for use. There is merit in every opinion on how and when to do what. The Board’s position is we need to follow the law and the State and County Orders. That is our place, not to decide if the policy is good or bad. We have focused on what is allowed by the State Orders and allowing those activities to open per State and County instruction. It does not mean all instructions are consistent with another activity, some instructions conflict between one activity and another, so we do the best we can.
As a result, each resident needs to be responsible for their own safety. If you are high risk, you need to self-quarantine. Perhaps wear a mask at all time outdoors even if people are not around. The HOA will not be looking for violations on private property, but we will investigate any complaint. Guests are still not allowed for any activity, except golf, and according to the State Order guests are not allowed in your home. Given the increase number of cases and how fast it is spreading please be careful, extremely careful. We are in the last few months of this pandemic once everyone can be vaccinated. We all would hate to see anyone become sick and die when we are so close to the end.
I wish you all a safe and healthy weekend and I will be back next week as soon as we have more information. I think there could be much happening quickly in the next few weeks so we will keep you update as fast as possible. If you have any questions, please let us know and we will get you the answers you need.
Tyler Ingle will be the new GM. Richard Smetana passed away a few weeks ago and Tyler has now been named the new GM. We will be looking for a person to replace Tyler as Controller.
I need to correct an error in my Podcast from last week. I was describing the reasons for allowing Golf to have outside players or guests and miscalculated the guest fee revenue. It is not $1.5 million but about $400,000 in revenue. My error for adding and subtracting different columns incorrectly. Thank you to Jurgen Gross who contacted me right away about the error.
The annual meeting for the HOA will be on April 6, 2021. The Board election, along with two CC&R changes will be on the ballot, so all ballots must be in before that date. Please fill out and send in your ballot right away-it should arrive at your home in late February.
There are four people running for the Board this April. Kim Fuller and Linda Aasen are running for re-election, while two new people are also running for the Board, John Macdonnell and Moira MacLeod-Foster. The current January edition of the View magazine will have statements from all the candidates. The Board election, along with the CC&R and By-law changes, will be on the ballot for the April annual meeting, so be sure to get your ballot’s in as soon as possible.
One of the CC&R changes that will be on the ballot is for a new State law, California AB3182, that went into effect on January 1, 2021. The CC&R Section that needs to be amended is 2.6.2. I describe this new law in the current View magazine, which changes the minimum rental period to 31 days, from 90 days as stated in our CC&R’s. The HOA will not allow rentals for 30 days or less. Our HOA is required to follow the new State law even though the CC&R’s state something different. So, effective January 1, 2021 our HOA will not allow rentals for 30 days or less.
We also have a provision in the CC&R’s most residents do not realize. If you hire a management company, you may rent your home for any amount of time, so as little as one night. The proposed change to the CC&R’s limiting rentals to 31 days will also eliminate this exception.
The new law requires us to change our CC&R’s to conform to the new State Law. We will present to the residents a CC&R change to conform to the new State Law. Hopefully, we can get enough ballots in favor of the change, but even if we do not get enough ballots to change our CC&R’s we will be required by law to enforce the new law no matter what our CC&R’s state. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to simply change the wording in our CC&R’s, we are required to have residents vote for the change in order to change our CC&R document.
A change to the CC&R’s happens by a ballot vote to all residents. To change a CC&R we need 51% of all homes to vote in favor of the change. This means we will need 1760 homes to vote in favor of the change to make it happen. If we do not get 1760 votes in the affirmative, we will have to leave the language in our CC&R’s the same even though it will not apply and it will be different from the new State law. When the ballot comes out be sure to vote for this provision so we can hopefully align our CC&R’s with the State law we are required to follow. If we don’t pass this in April with 1760 affirmative votes, we will have to hold a special election at a cost of $10,000 in the fall to try again to change the CC&R Section 2.6.2 to match the State Law.
The other provision the Board will present for a change is By-law Section 4.6.4, Balloting Time Requirements. This provision limits the time we can request ballots to 90 days. The proposed change is to remove the 90 day limit so the HOA can still request ballots from those that have not voted after 90 days to get more participation in the election. We are currently limited to the 90 day rule which affects the number of ballots that are turned in. The goal of this change is to have more residents vote by giving the HOA more time to collect ballots. This change does not affect how many affirmative votes it takes to change the CC&R ‘s or By-laws. It will still take 51% of all residents to make any change, this just allows more time to collect more ballots, so more residents participate and vote.
Some have asked if it is possible to have the COVID vaccine done onsite. The Board has discussed this possibility and decided against the idea because we have no insurance for any claim related to a virus. Virus claims are excluded from insurance policies.
Beginning on Thursday, January 7 residents in phase 1 will be able to call and make appointments for the Frontier internet plan installation. The Exception is residents not yet hooked up to Frontier will not be able to call in for about two weeks. The list of the 205 homes is on website. Frontier has not completed the work so another two weeks is needed before these 205 homes can call to make an appointment. If you call, they will say you can’t install yet because you won’t be on their list to install.
When we do hear of more COVID Cases we do try to contact anyone that might have had contact with that person in the last two weeks. Given the current reservation system we can track all the people that have participated in an activity and then send them notices of possible exposure if a resident participated in that activity. Please let us know if you are taken sick or test positive for the virus, we can help in the contacting of other residents to try and limit the exposure to other people. Given how fast cases are now climbing in areas around us, please use extreme caution. If you are high risk stay home, if you participate in activities, we suggest you always wear a mask, but the State only requires a mask when you are not able to keep social distancing.
Please be careful, wear a mask, keep social distancing, and no gatherings, this will all help to keep you healthy and safe.
It has been verified that residents are now sick with the COVID virus from almost all activities. We have confirmed cases for golf, tennis, and pickleball. The Board is asking for everyone’s help to minimize the spread of this virus which is now growing at an alarming rate in the Southern California area. We have also been told of another death which was caused by the virus. If you don’t feel well, please stay home and follow all recommendations for isolation and testing before returning to participate in any activity.
Please, no gatherings of any kind because more than 70% of the spread of the virus is from such gatherings. If you have attended a gathering please isolate for 3-5 days and then have a COVID test before participating in any activity.
The virus can easily be transferred to other people when participating in other activities. If you are going to participate in other activities please follow all the State, County, and CDC guidelines. If you can’t maintain social distancing at all times be sure to wear a mask. Now, more than ever, caution and best practices are needed for the health and safety of everyone.
Once again, the HOA is not looking for violations of the State Order on private property but will investigate any complaint. The HOA will enforce the State Order on common property including streets, courts, dog parks, etc. Guests are only allowed for golf at this time. According to the State Order there are not supposed to be any guests in any home at any time. Please, for your own health, and for the health and safety of all that live here at SCSH, cancel all gatherings, and follow all the guidelines when participating in any activity.
We have a couple of difficult months but given the rapid growth of the virus at this time we hope everyone will take extra precautions to help ensure the health and safety of everyone.
It seems so long, sometimes it is hard to remember what normal used to be. As we come into this holiday season, it is clear we still have some difficult days ahead. But we need to stay focused, we need to care for each other, and we need to know it will end, for that I am sure.
There is hope, and with hope comes help, and with help comes the bright light of the future. The Board wants to wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday, knowing a moment of magic is coming, when once again we will be thankful to be together.
Those are the days to look forward to, those are the days that are coming, and those are the days worth waiting for. There is no task so great that we cannot overcome. Take a moment and know those days are coming, when once again we can hold hands. The sun will be rising on those days soon, so look to the sky, and BELIEVE.
I wish you well this holiday season. Take care and be safe.
Pools: We were required by State and County Order to close the Indoor pool. The Board met on Monday with staff on how to implement the outdoor pool schedules given the increased demand with different types of swimming. Some people want to walk, some want to lap swim, some want float around, etc.
Beginning January 4:
The Montecito pool will start with a 45 minute time slot for 8 people, then a 15 minute break, then a 30 minute time slot for lap swimming only for 3 people, then a 15 minute break, and then it will repeat.
Santa Rosa Pool will start with a 30 minute time slot for one person in the area, then a 15 minute break, then a 30 minute time slot for 2 people in the Pool and 1 person in the spa.
We will keep the same hours to start and see if the reservation system becomes full, in which case we will then decide on extending hours beyond 6 pm.
Let us know how it goes during this time so if we need to make adjustments it can be done.
The spas are open at both pools but only for one person at a time or for members of the same household.
Email from Marie Devito: Sometimes the Board and I receive messages which attack our character and question our integrity. I don’t see any value in responding to such messages, but I want to share one such message in the hope we agree such messages serve no useful purpose. We want residents to volunteer, to help, and such messages as this do nothing to help promote that outcome. It is one thing to ask the Board why they reach a decision, or to offer information to help reach a decision, but it is quite another thing to attack the character of the Board or its members because you disagree with a decision. That serves no useful purpose. The following message was sent to Kim Fuller on 12/19/20:
It is amazing to me that you feel it perfectly okay to compare SCSH to SCPD when it comes to the Covid -19 Virus.
Why is it that you were not willing to compare SCSH to SCPD when they negotiated a deal with Spectrum for $43 per month for internet, cable and telephone; even though a majority of the residents in a survey wanted Spectrum. Why have you not compared SCSH to SCPD when they negotiated Dewey Pest Control for $12. per month. We do not.
SCPD self manages and therefore make decisions on what the majority of the residents want. Not SCSH – You make decisions and I quote your rude answer to me at an open meeting “Because I can.” I have been told by another resident that when she said she didn’t understand something your answer was “You don’t have to understand.”
Your name here has become “Fuehrer Fuller” and it is rightfully deserved.
I shall respond to the different points one at a time.
We compare information from SCPD with ourselves all the time to compare best business practices. That does not mean that SCSH will follow the policies of SCPD, they are a separate business, and each will do things the way they think best.
We did compare SCPD’s Spectrum plan with all proposals given to us by all companies. This information was discussed at the Town Hall meetings. This is responsible planning and makes the final decision on how to proceed more informed. If you all recall it was Spectrum that stopped all negotiations for months while we waited to get a new proposal from them. There is nothing we can to about that process, it was out of our hands. Spectrum then changed the proposal to one with reduced services and an increased price. Originally Spectrum plan was favored by a great majority of residents, but after the Spectrum plan changed, the number of residents in support declined. The Board’s unanimous decision was to try and not impact in a negative way so many residents. 40% of the residents polled did not want the Spectrum plan for a variety of reasons. It is true 60% of the residents still wanted Spectrum, but the increased cost to the other 40% was just too high. Some people use Dish, some streaming, some have no TV at all, and a $50+ per month increase in the HOA dues seemed unreasonable. 97% of the residents have internet, so an internet only plan would benefit 97% of the residents with a negative impact to only 3%. The Board’s role is to evaluate the positive and negative of any decision on how it affects everyone. The Frontier internet-only plan would benefit 97% of the resident while only impacting in a negative way 3%. The Spectrum plan would benefit 60% of the residents, but the negative impact to 40% of the residents was too high. The Frontier plan benefits more people with less impact to a few, so the Board’s unanimous decision was Frontier.
The residents then had the ability to vote by ballot if they wanted to go forward with Frontier and that vote passed by 71% approval. The Board understands there will not be universal agreement on any decision, and hopefully residents understand and respect that just because the Board did not vote your way does not mean they deserve an attack on their character.
I cannot comment on the Dewey Pest Control contract but if you make a request, I am sure the appropriate committee will begin an investigation as to the merit of such a request. The Board has no information, nor has the Board investigated such a proposal at this time. Once again, I don’t think because the Board has not acted upon a request never received, that it deserves an attack on their character.
SCPD is self-managed while SCSH has currently decided on hiring a management company to supply staff. Marie’s inaccurate assumption is that self-management means they make decisions for the majority of the residents. This concept is just simply false. Both management structures have their good points and bad points, but both structures have a Board and it’s the Board that makes the decisions. Self-management is irrelevant to this process.
When SCSH had a case of staff embezzlement, the HOA was fully reimbursed plus additional money for the damages by the management company. We were not only made whole but got additional funds for the inconvenience, etc. In the case of the embezzlement of SCPD, the entire cost was born by the HOA.
Marie further describes Board decisions as my decisions, and this again is simply false. The President does not make decisions, the Board does, the President is just the person to carry out the decisions. To blame the President for any decision means you don’t understand the governing process, which is the Board makes decisions and the President is to implement them. When the President makes an operational decision, which can be done according to the governing documents, the Board may override that decision at any time. So Marie, the decisions are not mine, but belong to the Board.
Marie states I have been rude in my answer to some question she posed in an open meeting. Extremely hard to respond since I don’t know the meeting, the question, the context, or circumstances. Once again it is possible for people to make up what they want to attack the character of people when you don’t like the outcome of a decision. But since Open meetings are all recorded, why don’t we just look it up. Marie, give me the meeting you describe, and the question you asked, and we can look up what happened. You are not the first person to make accusations with no supporting facts. Just like you quote a friend with no supporting facts so how is one to respond to such accusations which I have shown in the past can be totally false.
No matter what the outcome of these accusations are, which currently have no facts to support the claim, it is no reason to state the President or any Board member is the same as a person or group that is responsible for the murder of over 6 million people. The Board members are volunteers, just trying to help, residents just like everyone, and just because you don’t get your way on a decision does not mean it is appropriate to attack the character of people and equate the members of the Board or myself as a murderer. To claim we are Nazi’s is just unacceptable.
We want residents to volunteer and help. No need to wonder why so many decline when residents like Marie Devito make such comments just because she does not get her way on a particular decision. I hope and have faith the majority of residents will agree with the Board that Marie’s comments are out of line and should never be tolerated.
Frontier Update: Over 1100 installs have taken place so far. I will hopefully have information soon about when phase 1 will open for installations. Again, if you are having any difficulty let us know and we will put in you touch with the onsite supervisor.
So far, my information is 90% of bills are saving $40 and up. I have seen a few bills at a savings of only a few dollars or breakeven, but they do get the increased speed for the same cost. I have not had documented yet a bill that was going to cost the resident more money once the promotional price was gone. Please check to be sure you use your promotional pricing up before you make the conversion. You can install anytime so do that is best for you.
COVID Rules:I want to further explain about the implementation of the State Order on Common areas such as streets. The current State Order does not allow for any gatherings at all, indoor or outdoor, nor in any venue, even on private property. There are still questions about why can’t guests walk on the streets so let’s talk about that one.
If there are not supposed to be any guests or gatherings at all, how there can be a guest on the streets, they are not supposed to be here according to State Order. The Board is trying to follow the State and County Order for your own safety as well as the safety of all residents.
The additional problem I have tried to explain is one of the legal liability. We always have an issue to be sure we are not placing the HOA in a possible legal claim for not following the law. In the case of COVID requirements there is no insurance available for a COVID claim, insurance policies exclude all claims for virus. The Board is and needs to be keenly aware of this issue.
Let’s give an example: If the Board allowed residents to walk with guests on the streets, which are common property controlled and supervised by the HOA, and if that resident were to become sick and die from COVID, the family could make the claim it was the HOA’s fault for the sickness and death of the person because the HOA did not follow the law. This becomes one of the biggest and most dangerous parts of implementing the restrictions. In this case the family files a claim against the HOA and since we don’t have insurance, we would have to pay for all defense costs and then any awarded damages. All these costs would come from the HOA and if no insurance depending on the amount of the claim, we would have to ask each resident to pay a portion. Now imagine given the virus is growing exponentially at this time, there were multiple claims from residents because the HOA did not follow the State Order. It is possible damages could amount to millions of dollars given many people are now dying from this virus. Our only defense is that we implemented the Order correctly and followed the law. Given this issue, there is no room for the Board to allow for exceptions, we must follow the law if we are going to protect the financial health of each resident. So, there is not only the health and safety issue we must discuss, but there are legal and financial impacts which must be considered to keep everyone out of harm’s way.
Cases are growing extremely fast. We have more reports of COVID within the community. Last few are from gatherings. We will never know the accurate number because many do not want to report that they contracted the virus, but we do hear from neighbors, but we can’t verify that information. I do believe by watching SCPD we are probably going up by the same percentage given similar demographics. SCPD went up by 12 cases yesterday compared to Friday. All anyone wants is for everyone to be safe, and gatherings are the biggest problem with over 70% of the spread coming from such gatherings. The HOA is not looking for violations of the State Order on private property, but we hope you will carefully consider any gathering during this time. The HOA will investigate any complaint and will enforce the State Order on Common Property.
I had one person say the virus was all a hoax, I kid you not. I said we did walk on the moon and Elvis is dead. I could not think of any other response. Everyone, it is real and very deadly at this time, please be careful.
I, the Board, and all the staff want to wish you a Happy Holiday Season and want everyone to be safe and healthy as we approach 2021.