From the General Manager – March 2018

The Role of Volunteers

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Sun City Shadow Hills Community Association. Without volunteers, the Homeowners Association would not be able to function. At times, being a volunteer is a thankless duty – but it is a necessary one for the good of all the residents and homeowners. Yes, I call it a duty for every homeowner to serve and contribute for the good of Sun City Shadow Hills. Two of the commitments in the Committee Member Code of Conduct for all committee volunteers are to accept and embrace the following:

  • “Strive at all times to serve the best interests of the Association as a whole, regardless of their personal interests.”
  • “Use sound judgment to make the best possible business decisions for the Association, taking into consideration all available information, circumstances, and resources.”

These commitments can at times be a difficult task and should not be taken lightly. A volunteer may have conflict within that could make the volunteer feel like he or she is being pulled by a tight rope in two directions. We can have this feeling through life and, at times, it is an internal struggle. What to do? The volunteer must follow the commitments above and make the best decision, with the best information available at the time, for the good of the entire community and not just one’s self or a group. That is all we ask of volunteers, to do what they think best at the time for the majority of homeowners in the community.

Committees serve three purposes. First, they assist the Board in meeting its responsibilities by gathering information and making recommendations. Second, they broaden the community’s input on decisions by serving as a means of gathering residents’ opinions and attitudes. Finally, committees serve as a good source for future Board members.

With the change of the Board there is no better time than now to volunteer your time and effort to serve your community on one of our committees. Many volunteers with different skills are needed. You may have skills from your work, hobby, or life experience that can be beneficial to a committee.

If you cannot serve, then please thank those who volunteer their time and energy to serve on a committee for the betterment of all that call Sun City Shadow Hills their home. Volunteers make the community a better place to live and to enjoy life. Do your part in helping your neighbors and volunteer for a committee.

The following is a list of committees at Sun City Shadow Hills.

  • Communication Advisory Committee (CAC) (The View)
  • Design Advisory Committee (DRC)
  • Facilities Service Advisory Committee (FSAC)
  • Interior Design Sub Committee (IDSC)
  • Finance Advisory Committee (FAC)
  • Reserve/Replacement Fund Sub Committee
  • Food & Beverage Advisory Committee
  • Golf Advisory Committee (GAC)
  • Information Advisory Committee (IAC) (the website)
  • Landscape Advisory Committee (LAC) (Common area, not golf course)
  • Safety Advisory Committee (SAC)
  • Emergency Preparedness Sub Committee (EPSC)
  • Library Committee
  • Also, Lifestyle desk volunteer

To volunteer or obtain additional information regarding these committees, please fill out an Advisory Committee Interest Form, available at the HOA office or on the website online (



From the General Manager – February 2018

Shadow Hills Resident Privacy Options and HOA Communications

The intent of this article is to clarify how you can manage your personal information on file with the HOA. Included in this discussion is a description of the information on-file with the HOA, the Opt-Out form, the Announcement by Email Request form and how you can use these forms to allow or restrict the release of your information to other Shadow Hills Homeowners.

Sun City Shadow Hills HOA maintains a membership list which includes the names, property addresses, mailing addresses and, in some cases, email addresses of its residents. The HOA is required by law (the Davis Stirling Act) to provide this list (excluding only those residents who have specifically requested in writing to have their information kept private) to any resident that requests it.

If you are okay with allowing your information to be released to other homeowners, you do not need to take any action. To keep all your information private, you must complete the current Opt-Out form approved by the HOA Board on 12/18/2017. This form will be emailed to all members that have an email address on file with the HOA. It is also available at the HOA office and online at (go to Residents Only section, then Documents / Association Documents / Electronic Communication Consent - Membership List “Opt-Out” Form). The Opt-Out form removes your name and all the information named above from the public Membership List provided to anyone making a request.

The Opt-Out form does not exclude you from receiving any of the HOA communications including Association email blasts, general announcements and notices to members, event information and emergency announcements. If you want to receive these communications, you need to complete the Announcement by Email Request form (see the SCSH website Residents Only section under Documents / Association Documents / Electronic Communication Consent - Announcements by Email Request Form).

Since the Opt-Out form has been recently updated we encourage all who want to keep their Shadow Hills Membership List information private to complete the new form.

I hope this information is helpful. The HOA staff is available to answer any questions you may have regarding the Membership List Opt-Out form and the Announcement by Email Request form.

Have a great February and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Best Regards,

Rich Smetana
General Manager

From the General Manager – January 2018

The New Year is upon us and it is time for us to start anew. There is so much to think about and to do, especially when living at Sun City Shadow Hills. I want to first remind our residents that the monthly assessment increases by $4 per unit to $259 effective January 1, 2018, as discussed at the Board Meeting on October 30, 2017. Please make sure you are paying the correct monthly assessment; it is due and payable on the first of each month and becomes delinquent if not received by the 15th. Remember that, just like your mortgage payment, it is the member’s responsibility to ensure your assessment is paid.

There are several ways to pay your assessments:

  • If you are paying using Associa-DRM Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) (no cost), no action is required on your part to have the correct amount taken. This is because the amount deducted is automatically adjusted based on Sun City Shadow Hills’ current monthly assessment.
  • However, if you make your payments through your bank account (banks fees may apply)— via your bank’s online banking service each month or set up via your bank for recurring monthly payments — you are responsible for instructing your bank to change your monthly assessment payment.
  • For payment by credit or debit cards, Single Time Pay or Recurring, please note that PayLease, a third-party facilitator, is available to provide your requested banking services. Their convenience fees are not applied to any Association funds, and Associa-DRM representatives cannot set up or cancel their services on your behalf. You pay your assessments from your own bank account via your bank’s online banking service each month or set up via your bank for recurring monthly payments. Again, since the assessment has changed, you are responsible for instructing your bank to change your payment.
  • Of course, you can send your monthly assessment payments by mail (cost of standard first-class postage). Assessment checks are applied to your account when received at the P.O. Box, not by the postmark; so please mail checks in a timely manner

Additional information on these options is available at the HOA office or on the SCSHCA website at Although assessment statements are not sent to members via USPS, members may sign up for electronic billing statements or view their statement online. Log in at to get started. You will need your last assessment statement to provide account information, etc.

I hope this was helpful. Also, please feel free to contact the HOA office staff at 760-345-4349,, or by calling DRM at 760-346-1161, option 1, for additional information.

New is the year, new are the hopes, new is the resolution, new are the spirits, and new are our warm wishes for you and family. Have a promising and fulfilling New Year 2018.



From the General Manager – December 2017

I would like to take this opportunity to wish for you, a beautiful season at Sun City Shadow Hills. The staff have a full schedule of activities and events for you, friends and family to enjoy. May you
have joy in your home, peace in your world and love in your heart during this holiday season.

With Best Regards,

Rich Smetana
General Manager

From the General Manager – November 2017

Balancing the Budget

I love this time of year. The weather has cooled, the plants look happier, residents are returning, and in general it is great to be in the desert now!

You live in a vibrant community filled with good-hearted people. There are beautiful common area buildings and landscaping plus very low dues based upon the level of amenities and services provided. The revamped South Course is a huge improvement over the past, and the North Course is in amazing condition. Additionally, a large majority of the residents who have compared the old Shadows service and food with the most current version are pleased with the progress that has been made.

Without exception, the vendors that service the community are good partners, and you are blessed with the most caring and talented onsite employees that I have encountered in my 30-plus years in the business. Additionally, the Board and committee members work incredibly hard and long to do their best for the community as a whole.

I know it may be an old-fashioned view, but I believe that a balance between competing needs and interests is important when it comes to making decisions in the context of our Homeowners Association. Almost every aspect of the community revolves around balance. For example, if the Board put every single thing that each resident would like to have in the budget, the monthly assessments would be likely to double from where they are.

The Association can hire vendors that charge significantly more than some of our larger contracts cost. But that also would lead to much higher monthly assessment. So, vendors are selected that provide a balance between good service and costs.

In another example, the fitness centers could be open 24 hours a day, but staffing to that level would significantly increase the assessments. A balance is needed between hours that serve the majority of owners vs. the costs of extending the hours.

Advocating for any particular item, or campaigning passionately, is always welcome. It helps us make decisions that are in balance for the needs of most of the community.

Thanks for listening!

Kerry Leavitt
General Manager

From the General Manager – October 2017

As the new General Manager, my head is still spinning as I get to know so many new faces, activities, and your beautiful facilities. To those I have met so far, thank you for the warm welcome. I look forward to getting to know those who will be returning over the coming months.

This month I would like to focus on the need for partnerships within the context of the community homeowner’s association. Put another way, Sun City Shadow Hills is virtually a city of 6,500 residents and, like any city, we have an elected governing body. Rather than a City Council, though, we have a Board of Directors.

Just like a city, we also have professional and non-paid volunteers. Our volunteers consist of the many committee members and other volunteers who are community residents. Board and committee members come and go over the years, and the community is enhanced through their volunteerism.

However, running a virtual city is a complex process with a wide range of professional skills needed to oversee the long-term administration and maintenance of the grounds and buildings. Some of the services are handled through contracts with independent vendors. Other services are best handled through on-site, full- or part-time employees of the management agent.

Without exception, though, community leaders and committee members, outside vendors, and on-site employees are all partners whose sole purpose should be to provide the type of living experience the community desires. As with any partnership, from time to time there need to be adjustments to ensure we are all on the same page. And part of our review is to remember that you, the residents, are also partners with the various entities listed above. As I educate myself on your community, I will better understand what adjustments might benefit us all.

Please know that it is my goal to do my utmost best every day and be humble, teachable, and honest. I also hope to be a voice of reason, based upon my 30-plus years of professional experience. Achieving these goals is how I will define whether I am a good partner.

Positive and optimistic partnerships create a wonderful world to live in, while negative and destructive partnerships create just the opposite. If we can all partner together for the good of the community, isn’t that a good thing?

Kerry Leavitt
General Manager

From the General Manager – September 2017

As your new General Manager I am very excited to be here and honored to be the GM in your beautiful community. What a wonderful place to live and work, and what amazing clubhouses and recreational facilities you have. I have met so many welcoming residents in the short time I have been here, and I look forward to getting to know many more of you in the near future. And I am sure you will agree that we have a wonderful staff of employees here who work very hard to provide the type of living experience you enjoy.

To help you get to know me a little better, I have been in the HOA management profession for more than 30 years and spent my first 15 years living and working in Orange County. For two of these years, I worked for the Irvine Company as their HOA specialist; and part of my job was to serve on 12 boards simultaneously! So, if you are a present or past board member, please know that I share your pain! I then moved to La Quinta about 15 years ago, initially to be the first HOA manager of the Trilogy at Coral Mountain community in La Quinta and then I began working at Desert Resort Management.

For the past 13 years, it was my honor to serve as the General Manager of the Toscana Homeowners Association in Indian Wells. I am also a Vice President at Desert Resort Management and serve as the board president of my own homeowners association in La Quinta. I graduated from Brigham Young University, and I also served on the Senior Housing Council in Orange County and the Board of Directors of the California Association of Community Managers.

About two months ago, I started what has turned out to be a second nearly full-time job as I rescued a beautiful and very active Siberian husky. So getting my daily exercise is not a problem. I also love to hike and spend time backpacking.

I know that each of you also has your own “story,” and I look forward to getting to know it as well. I do have a favor to ask of you, though, as I am great with faces but not so much with names. (For example, I often mix up the names of my own sisters!) So please be patient with me as I get to know you.

Sun City Shadow Hills is an amazing place filled with amazing people and, by working together, great things are possible. Let’s make it happen!

Kerry Leavitt
General Manager

From the General Manager –August 2017

Just How Important Is It That You Attend a Board Meeting?

If you’ve never attended a Board of Directors meeting, then you are not taking advantage of your right to observe and participate in the decision- making process that protects, preserves, and enhances your community’s assets and, ultimately, your property values. If you really understand what kind of business is conducted at a Board meeting and the important role that you, as a homeowner, play in making those decisions, then you just might change your mind and choose to attend a meeting.

Most of the business decisions made at a Board meeting have a direct impact on the property values of our community. Decisions regarding Association maintenance items are the most common. Some decisions have an indirect effect, such as those regarding rules and regulations and financial operations. But, whether they affect property values directly or indirectly, they all have some impact on our community; and, as a member of the community, they affect you.

There are three different phases of our HOA Board meeting: the Business Meeting, at which the Board discusses and makes decisions based on a pre-established meeting agenda; the Homeowners Open Forum, where homeowners (like you!) can address the Board with your ideas, comments, and/or suggestions pertaining to our community; and the Executive Session, which is conducted without homeowners present in order to discuss issues related to legal issues, contracts, personnel issues, and/or non-compliance hearings. Homeowners can attend the Business Meeting, but they are not allowed to speak to the Board during this portion of the Board meeting. Homeowners are encouraged to attend to observe only.

During the Homeowners Open Forum, homeowners are permitted to address the Board for a limited time period. An important point to remember is that although important issues may be brought to the Board’s attention during Open Forum, don’t expect the Board to act on these issues at this time. Many issues are turned over to management for research and to determine the options available for dealing with the issues. The more prepared the Board is before deciding, the better the decision will be.

Homeowners are not allowed to attend the Executive Session. Sensitive legal, contract, personnel, and/or hearing issues are dealt with there.

The California Legislature has recognized the importance of providing homeowners with the opportunity to participate in decisions that affect their community by passing legislation requiring homeowners be given a period of time to address the Board at the regularly scheduled Board meeting. Isn’t it time you recognize how important it is, too?

Ceasar Larrach
General Manager

From the General Manager – July 2017

Covenants Violations

Sun City Shadow Hills has a three-letter procedure for issuing Covenant violations:

  • Courtesy Letter
  • Hearing Letter
  • Ruling Letter

“I forgot to trim my palm trees ONE time and the HOA sent me a fine.” I know you have heard this story or some version of it, from an unhappy neighbor. However, this is not the case, our compliance team makes weekly rounds in the community, if they see something that may be a Covenant violation they take a photo.

Upon their return to the office they research to see if the item had been previously notated or if an exterior change has an approved Homeowner Improvement Application (HIA).

If a Covenant violation does exist, then the first letter you will receive is the Courtesy letter; the Courtesy letter’s purpose is to inform you the compliance team has witnessed a violation offense, to give you the opportunity to rectify the problem, and to educate you on the Covenants. If you do not know how to rectify the violation or believe it was a mistake, call the HOA office as soon as possible so that we may be able to assist you.

If our compliance team sees the same violation again after 30 days, they take another photo and issue a Hearing letter, inviting you to discuss the violation with the Board of Directors at their next Covenants Committee meeting. A few days before this meeting our compliance team will go out and re-inspect all the violations that have been called to a hearing to verify the violation still exists. In the Covenants meeting the Board will discuss the violation and if you are present give you an opportunity to inform the Board why you are violating the Covenants.

After your hearing the Board of Directors will deliberate and issue a ruling on your violation. Within 14 days of the hearing you will receive the Ruling letter informing you of the Board’s decision on your violation.

The governing documents give the Board many ruling options, some are: the Board can vote to close the matter because they feel the violation no longer exists; they can issue additional time to rectify the violation; or they can issue a one time or weekly fine to the homeowner until the violation is rectified, amount of the fine varies depending on the violation.

Ceasar Larrach
General Manager

From the General Manager – June 2017

The Picture of the Future…

Preserving amenity value is a top priority within the Sun City Shadow Hills Strategic Plan. Amenity planning is an important part of our Strategic Plan. This planning includes complete reviews of existing amenities, gathering information for proposed amenities, and outlining needs for facilities by incorporating current and future requirements. The planning also includes, if needed, extensive financial forecasting tied to each of the projects.

The Board of Directors is empowered by the governing documents to consider, adjust, and implement a “master” plan for the betterment of all members of the Association. In the last two years, the Board conducted several open meetings to discuss the strategic plan; they also asked for recommendations from members and discussed these at open meetings. This year the Board did the same; they have asked for input from members and will be conducting open meetings to add, amend, and/or implement amenities.

In 2015, the first time a Strategic Plan was established in SCSH, the Board of Directors reviewed and considered all member recommendations and established a starting point for amenity and facility enhancements. This plan has changed because of new member recommendations over the past year. This is why member input is critical – it is what drives the course of the Strategic Plan. Without this input, the Board of Directors are left to add, amend, and/or implement amenities which may or may not be needed.

The next step for the Board includes considering recommendations from members, committees, and staff to determine priorities and whether long-term financial planning is necessary for any new costs associated with facility and/or program enhancements.

Please visit our website at for the dates of future Strategic Planning meetings.

If you have suggestions to improve a program or an amenity, please email your idea(s) to for consideration.

Ceasar Larrach
General Manager

From the General Manager – May 2017

Proposed Changes to Governing Documents

Sun City Shadow Hills Community Association’s governing documents were created in 2003; and since then new laws, regulations, rules, policies, and procedures have been implemented by the Federal government, the State, and the Board of Directors.

During this past year, the Board of Directors’ Ad-Hoc Document Rewrite Committee (made up of homeowners who are or were practicing attorneys), staff, and legal counsel have worked together to update our governing documents. The major reason for the update is to make the documents compliant with current Federal and State laws as well as Association rules.

In 2014, the Davis-Stirling Act, the code which governs homeowners associations in the State of California, went through a major revision. Code numbers were changed, new laws were added, and previous laws were changed or removed. We have been complying with these changes, but need to update our governing documents to reflect current law.

Besides making the governing documents compliant with Davis-Stirling, the Association was presented with an opportunity to clarify, modernize, and make the governing documents consistent. The current governing documents are vague and confusing, with rules that conflict with one another.

Copies of the proposed governing documents are posted on the Association’s website,, and can also be purchased at the HOA office for $10. The small fee is to try to recoup some of the color printing costs.

The proposed governing documents cannot be amended unless 51% of homeowners vote to approve them. To clarify, we need 1,760 votes indicating a “YES” on the ballot; this is not the total number of ballots we need to receive.

We are expecting to mail out the ballots late this summer to all homeowners, depending on the outcome of the two Town Hall meetings that were held by the Board on April 18 (after the submission of this article). If all goes as planned, vote on the documents will be held in the fall of this year.

I encourage all homeowners to read the proposed governing documents, and don’t forget to VOTE!

Ceasar Larrach
General Manager

From the General Manager – April 2017

One of staff’s goals this year is to assist your Board of Directors in evaluating resident comments we receive throughout the year.

Like any community, our residents have different views and opinions. We receive comments from residents across the board. Some want more or fewer rules; others advocate additional or less amenities; and so forth. The goal of this article is to explain how we might address some of the common concerns that staff hears.

We have received many comments about adding more meeting rooms; enlarging the Santa Rosa fitness space; remodeling Shadows to make it bigger; providing dedicated table tennis rooms; building a baseball/softball field; establishing a dedicated library room; and providing more parking. The Board of Directors will consider these suggestions and many others at its Strategic Planning meeting in June/July.

Many residents have also commented about matters the Association has no authority or control over, including requests to build on the empty lot on the north end of Madison Street and on the vacant land behind SCSH on Jefferson Street and Varner Road. Residents have also cited traffic concerns and requested stop signs or traffic lights at various intersections.

To install lights or stop signs outside the community, the intersection must meet a variety of “warrants” or criteria before the City of Indio will consider acting. Although these types of installations are outside our authority, we work with the City to monitor these intersections and ensure that they are safe as well as meet the needs of our growing population and traffic.

When we receive a request to install a stop sign inside the community, we forward it to our Safety Advisory Committee, which is made up of retired law enforcement personnel with decades of experience in traffic safety. This Committee then makes a recommendation to the Board about the installation. Please note that we do not install traffic lights inside the community.

Many residents have asked that the Association work to get a grocery chain to move closer to or even inside SCSH. Although I agree it would be nice to have a closer grocery store, the Association alone cannot make this happen. We do not have any viable space to rent or lease to a potential grocery store inside the community. Commercial construction in our area is driven by both market demand and land availability. As our area builds up – especially along Jefferson Street, Varner Road, and the I-10 freeway – it is very likely that additional grocery and retail establishments will locate here; but timing is uncertain.

Another popular subject has been rules. Some may feel overburdened by regulation, but our community’s rules protect property values and motivate many people to live here. The Board approves and staff implements all policies, rules, and regulations; and residents serving on a committee and/or the Board have developed, reviewed, or amended a significant number of them. Staff will continue to enforce the community rules that our Board has approved and, because we may not catch every violation, we appreciate the input of residents whose “eyes in the field” help us to better serve one and all.

Please keep the comments coming – your feedback allows our staff to better understand and address your concerns.

Ceasar Larrach
General Manager

From the General Manager – January 2017

Happy New Year! This year is gearing up to be a great one!

With our annual meeting in sight, it is with gratitude that I thank our Board members who served in 2016 for their steady hand and thoughtful leadership in guiding SCSH into genuine financial stability over the past couple of years. It is only with great volunteer leadership that SCSH can achieve such success!

Hundreds of our residents are volunteering their time and service in SCSH and the surrounding community. Hats off to all volunteers; if you are not now sharing your time and talent, perhaps consider providing value through service in 2017 and beyond. If you don’t have a major area of expertise, don’t worry, your interest is enough to get you started. If you care about your community, YOU ARE NEEDED.

For more information about volunteering in SCSH, visit the website or call the HOA office at 760-345-4349.

I hope your holiday season was filled with family and fun.

What a fantastic place SCSH is to entertain family and friends. Please join me in a huge round of applause for our SCSH staff throughout 2016 and this holiday season, especially our Lifestyle/Fitness team, Facilities, and HOA staff team members who have been working diligently throughout the year.

Please don’t forget your elevator speech about SCSH when visiting friends and family. Here are some talking points:

  • SCSH is a great place to live because…
  • My favorite thing to do here is…(bridge, art, photography, discussion series, yoga, dance, tennis, cycling, bocce, golf, and pickleball are just a few ways to become involved within your community).
  • Our Fitness Director is awesome, he helped me with my…
  • SCSH is filled with people just like you who value and enjoy the things you all do!
  • Tell your friends, one and all: come see us, you’ll fall in love with SCSH!

Key to the success of SCSH is our residents. Thank you to the many residents who contributed to the betterment of Sun City Shadow Hills.

Happy New Year.

Ceasar Larrach
General Manager

From the General Manager – December 2016

I am often asked, “What are the differences between managing a community in southern Nevada vs. northern California vs. southern California?” — the three places where I have managed HOAs. My response is simple. All HOAs have three “issues:” people, pets, and parking.

When it comes to dogs, dog poop is always at the top of the list. I have had residents submit complaints about their neighbors for throwing dog waste on their windows, or leaving it on top of their car, or depositing it at their neighbor’s front door. The list goes on and on. As a matter of fact, just a couple of months ago we had a homeowner who found dog poop (I hope that’s what it was) inside a BBQ grill located in their backyard. Now, that’s first!

Dog waste is one of the most difficult issues that HOAs must deal with. For many, a pet (be it a cat, a dog, or something else) is like a family member; and rules and regulations (like limitations on the number and types of pets, weight restrictions, nuisance barking, and pet waste cleanup) can provoke a strong emotional reaction from homeowners who own them. Fortunately for HOAs, the law provides some clear “dos” and “don’ts” about common petrelated issues.

Many years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court observed that governmental bodies may be entitled to ban pets altogether. While many local governmental bodies have imposed restrictions on pet ownership, including measures such as “dangerous dog” laws and the like, none has been so bold as to ban pets altogether, which could run up against the constitution. But homeowner’s associations, as private entities, have the legal ability and latitude to do so if they wish. A “no pets” policy generally would not be politically appealing, but it is lawful.

Inside this great community, homeowners have several places they can walk their dogs, for example: the dog parks in Phases 1 and 3, the North Channel, or along Avenue 40 or Madison Street, just to name a few. The one place where it is prohibited to walk your dog is on the golf course. Specifically, this includes the golf course areas adjacent to the streets such as Sun City Boulevard and Avenida Sombra, Sun City Boulevard east of San Mateo, and the area around Sun City Boulevard and Los Milagros. These areas belong to the golf course, and pets should not be walked or allowed to do their business there.

I read an old Wall Street Journal article by Jim Sterba which states that part of the reason we are seeing more dog poop may be the significant increase in the number of dogs in the United States. Since 1960, the U.S. pet population has more than tripled to a record estimate of 78.2 million in 2010. This is more than the number of pigs, sheep, and horses in the U.S. combined. “At three-quarters of a pound per day on average, waste production per dog comes to 274 pounds a year – or 10.9 million tons dropped on the landscape annually.” By some estimates, about half is cleaned up. The rest is left to kill the turf. This is why the above areas are off limits to pets, and it would be a shame if another increase in your assessments is necessary because we have to repair the damage to the golf course caused by pets.

From one pet owner to another, please pick up after your pet, and stay off the golf course.

Ceasar Larrach
General Manager

From the General Manager – November 2016

Hello, Sun City Shadow Hills!

Are you bored? Do you feel there isn’t enough to keep you busy? On a monthly basis, we publish your SCSH events, activities, etc., in the View and they are also published daily on the website, and if after reviewing all the Association, Club and Group events, you answered “yes” to my question, I need to hear from you. I need to find out where we may be “missing the boat” by not giving you the opportunity to live an active and enjoyable lifestyle. I’m quite sure you chose to invest in Sun City Shadow Hills because, among other things, you saw how much was provided for your personal pleasure.

SCSH is a unique place to live in and, as your General Manager, I feel obligated to compare our community with other HOAs in the Valley to see what services they are providing for their residents and what we might do differently to make our community better.

I can assure you that what you are receiving (especially for your assessment rate) is far superior to the vast majority of similar communities here. When you talk to your friends from other HOAs, ask them what recreational services they receive and make your own comparisons. That said, we are not perfect; and we are always looking for other ways to do things better and make other investments that add to your pleasure of living here.

Your input is very important and welcomed, please contact me and let me know how we might be able to improve our services.

Ceasar Larach
General Manager

From the General Manager – October 2016

It’s been a great summer!

Please check out all the great issues of the View you might have missed during the summer on our website,

I’d like to give a big thank you to Gus Ramirez, our Communications Manager, for his diligent work on all these issues of the View, he is seldom seen because we keep him chained to his desk, but without him I would be lost, especially his great work on our routine e-blasts and internal marketing materials.

Yard of the Quarter

I am pleased to announce a new Yard of the Quarter Contest, where your front yard could win you a $100 gift certificate to Shadows Restaurant!

In an effort to recognize homeowners who keep their yards looking beautiful, which enhances our community, our Landscape and Design Review Committee’s will be nominating front yards that catch their eye. There will be six yards nominated each quarter, and they will be pictured in the View and on the Association website.

The schedule is as follows:

  • January – nominees pictured
  • March – winner pictured
  • April – nominees pictured
  • June – winner pictured
  • July – nominees pictured
  • September – winner pictured
  • October – nominees pictured
  • December – winner pictured

The first place winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to Shadows; Second place will receive a $50 gift certificate to Shadows and third place will receive a $25 gift certificate to Shadows.

Our first nominees will not be pictured until the November edition of the View.

There is no limit to the number of times a yard can be nominated, but a yard can only win once per year. Once our Committees have selected the six beautiful yards each quarter you will have an opportunity to vote for your favorite each quarter through our website, To be eligible to be nominated, the owner must agree to have a picture of their yard shown in the View and on the Association website.

Good luck to all the first nominees, and thank you for helping to keep Sun City Shadow Hills beautiful!

Ceasar Larrach
General Manager

From the General Manager – August 2016

It has been a fast-paced two years since I started on September 2014 as the new General Manager. I’ve enjoyed meeting many of you and look forward to meeting many more residents of Sun City Shadow Hills. It is a pleasure to work here and with you, and I hope that together we can continue to make Sun City Shadow Hills the best place to live at in the Coachella Valley.

As a matter of fact, you’ve made the Sun City Shadow Hills Montecito and Santa Rosa Clubhouses the best clubhouses, not only in the Coachella Valley, but in the nation. The website,, the most visited website for active adult communities when searching for a new home, voted the Sun City Shadow Hills Montecito and Santa Rosa Clubhouses the Best Clubhouses in the nation in June 2016.

Speaking about great spaces, by the time you read this article our expansion of the HOA building should be complete. We have added a new conference room for the Board, committees, and clubs to meet in. We have also added two new offices to properly accommodate staff working conditions; we really had a staff member working out of a closet, which was originally designed to be a restroom.

If you were not aware I did not have an office for approximately six weeks during the construction. I was working out of a suitcase and a laptop. Sometimes I could not connect my laptop to the Wi-Fi so I had to use my cell phone to send/receive emails and create documents.

This experience reminded me that many of you accomplished much more difficult tasks than just writing emails without the use of computers, laptops, and cell phones, and for that I applaud you. This experience also reminded me of an experience from my youth… When I was around 11 years old, one of my friend’s fathers, Mr. Ponce, was a programmer working for IBM. When I would visit my friend, sometimes his father would be working from his home office, where he had two or three refrigerator-size processors with a green screen with the huge hump in the rear of it. Mr. Ponce would tell me, “One day everyone will have these computers in their homes.” My reply to him was, “Why would anyone occupy a whole room with these huge metal boxes?” “No, no, ‘C’ (that was my nickname), these metal boxes will be the size of your lunch box one day.” Well, I think we are here now. Computers are smaller than my lunch box when I was 11 years old and they’re so complicated I have to pay my 9-yearold daughter to install apps and change the settings on my cell phone.

But I’m still waiting for the flying cars I saw on the Jetson’s cartoon show.


From the General Manager – July 2016

The fastest growing form of housing in the United States today is common-interest development (CID), a category that includes planned unit developments of single-family homes, condominiums, and cooperative apartments.

Membership in a homeowner association by a residential buyer is typically a condition of purchase; a buyer isn’t given an option to reject it. Most homeowner associations are incorporated, and they are subject to state statutes that govern non-profit corporations and homeowner associations. State oversight of homeowner associations in California is governed by a large body of homeowner association laws, just like Florida. Other states, such as Massachusetts, have virtually no homeowner association laws.

Each year, your HOA Board of Directors (BOD) prepares a community budget. That budget includes what the BOD will set as the total HOA fee per month, per unit, for the upcoming year. The HOA collects fees from each unit to pay for current year operations such as landscaping, water, insurance, and vendor contracts.

The HOA also has to save money over time for longterm repairs and replacements, such as roofs, roads and parking lots. To understand how much your BOD has to save, they have an outside expert do a “reserve study.” The reserve study expert makes a 30-year schedule of when HOA assets will need to be repaired and how much they will cost. The reserve expert calculates an annual amount needed for those long-term repairs.

Therefore, through the HOA fee, owners are putting money away each year to pay for those repairs. This money accumulates into “reserves” so that the HOA can pay cash for large-item repairs/replacements when they come due. This helps avoid special assessments because the HOA has the money on hand to pay for these repairs/replacement items.

Currently, $39 of your $217 assessment fee is placed into the reserve fund to cover future repair/replacement costs for HOA assets. Earlier this year your BOD hired a reservist to evaluate your current reserve study and produce a new study for operating year 2017. We will soon find out if this monthly funding of $39 will need to be increased or stay the same.


From the General Manager – June 2016

The Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) Board of Directors will soon consider a proposal for rate increases and changes to the rate structure.

Based on a comprehensive Cost of Service Study and national industry standards, CVWD staff has proposed a five-year plan for domestic water rates. If approved, the new rates would go into effect on July 1 and would be the first rate increases for domestic water since 2010.

The adjustments will affect HOAs, residents, and businesses differently because the new proposed fixed rates vary based on customer class. A homeowner who efficiently uses water may see approximately a $6 monthly increase in their water bill while HOAs will see as much as a 90 percent increase.

The CVWD Board also will consider changes to the rates for Replenishment Assessment Charge (RAC) customers who have their own wells. These rate adjustments are also based on a Cost of Service Study and are critical for CVWD’s groundwater replenishment program, the key toward ensuring a reliable, long-term supply of high-quality water for the Coachella Valley.

Thanks to the forward thinking of your past Sun City Shadow Hills Board of Directors – which approved turf reduction, selective overseeding, and precision removal where plant material was overpopulated – the Association has saved tens of thousands of dollars in water fees.

The historic drought and state-mandated conservation encourage changes to the water-budget-based rate structure. In addition, CVWD is facing the largest capital improvement project in its history, responding to the state’s new drinking water standard for Chromium-6. The best solution is projected to require approximately $250 million in capital expenses, plus ongoing operating and maintenance costs. Ongoing capital improvement also is needed to protect the drinking water system to ensure it can meet the needs of approximately 318,000 residents daily.

Some of the proposed changes include:

Decreasing the indoor portion of the water budget to reflect industry standards based on today’s water-efficient appliances.

Tightening the outdoor portion of the water budget to promote conservation. Previously, the budgets were designed to allow enough water for 100% grass. Given the historic drought and increased support of desert-friendly landscaping, the budgets will be designed to accommodate 50% grass and 50% desert-friendly landscaping.

Slightly increainge the irrigation efficiency factor for outdoor budgets.

For more information about the proposed water rate changes and the dates of upcoming public workshops and CVWD Board of Directors meetings, visit


Ceasar Larrach on Design Review

You bought the house in your dream neighborhood, Sun City Shadow Hills, you were handed lots of papers and packets, rules and regulations, not to mention all of the papers associated with the sale. You vowed to read them all when you got a spare minute. Sadly those minutes are rare.

One day you go to your mailbox, on the way out you notice your front door needs some paint. You retrieve a letter from your mailbox which looks very important – the words “Courtesy Notice” jumps off the page! You quickly read the rest and indeed your front door needs to be painted. Maybe it’s not painting the front door but your carriage light is out or your front landscaping needs attention or you’re missing a shutter on your window. One frequent request by the covenants team after comprehensive inspections are completed in a section is for an application submission for a structures that are already in existence. Maybe you don’t understand what it says at all, or you think it has reached you in error.

Somewhere in those papers you didn’t get a chance to read, was an explanation of the Design Guidelines, what the Covenants are and the procedures and enforcement policies are for the Association. All changes, permanent or temporary, to the exterior of a residence are subject to review and approval by the Design Review Committee. The review process is not limited to major additions or alterations, such as adding a room, deck, or patio. It includes such minor items as changes in color and materials. Approval is also required when an existing item is to be removed.

The enforcement of the design guidelines not only enhances the physical appearance of your community but protects and preserves property values. Homeowners’ who reside in association communities which enforce design guidelines are protected from actions of neighbors which can detract from the physical appearance of the community and, in some cases, diminish property values.

What now? How can the HOA office help you?

If you receive a letter and need clarification about what to do next please contact Carol Kardos at 760-345-4349 or at

We will clarify and assist you in any way we can to resolve any concerns or questions you may have.


All About Committee Membership by Ceasar Larrach

Every year about this time a very important process begins. That process is the approval of our committee
chair persons and then the committee members by the Board. If you have not served on a SCSH committee or
even if you have, it might be difficult for you to realize how much the committee structure means to SCSH.

The Board and staff work hard and perform many tasks to help keep the community operating as well as possible. However, the research, evaluations and projects that the committees undertake equate to a significant portion of the Association’s work. Simply put, without the committees there would be a need for a much larger staff (more expense to the homeowners) or the community would not be able to accomplish the volume of work that is presently undertaken.

Please consider being part of the solution and volunteer for one of our vital advisory committees or other volunteer opportunities we have. In addition to ad hoc committees that the Board may appoint fromtime to time, the committees here at SCSH are;

Communication Committee
Design Review Committee
F&B Committee
Finance Committee
Information Committee
Landscape Committee
Golf Committee
Safety Committee

The Board provides each committee with a job description,  goal and mission statement to help it succeed
as a community resource.

Our association has three types of committees:
• Administrative committees, like our Design Review Committee, are set out in our association’s bylaws
and CC&Rs. They are ongoing, permanent and often have clearly defined power and authority.

• Standing committees, such as our Finance and Safety Committees, are established by the board for an
ongoing and specific purpose. These committees generally make recommendations to and act under
the supervision of the Board.
• Ad-hoc committees, such as our Facilities, Transition and Governing Document Re-Wording Committees,
are established by the Board as needed for specific projects and tasks. When the task is complete, the committee is disbanded.

Now is your opportunity to get involved in shaping the future of your community. If you are interested please
fill out the “SCSH Community Association Advisory Interest Form” which is located in the HOA office or on
the website and return it to the HOA office.

The Importance of Your Board Election by Ceasar Larrach

I would like to begin by thanking Agi, Carey, Glen, Joan, and Vicki for submitting their self-nomination forms and running for a seat on the Board of Directors, we all know the road was a very daunting one.

Congratulations to the three new Board of Directors that will be elected on March 3rd at the Annual Meeting.

Your Board is a representative form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people. Much of our country is based on the principles of representative democracy. It starts with organizations like community associations and progresses through our schools boards, city governments, county governments, state governments – all the way to the federal government. We vote for a person, or persons, who will act on our behalf. So, your vote is very important for the future of this community.

The role of the Board in governing an association cannot be overestimated. The Board makes the difference between a good association and a great one, and can even make or break an association. What happens when the Board does not understand its role or embrace it? The association becomes an “orphan,” unable to secure services, attract committed staff and enthusiastic volunteers or reach its potential as a great community to live in.

For the association to grow and remain healthy, board members must grow in their roles to become more of a “governing board.” To form an effective Board, directors must have a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the association, its history and what is to be accomplished.

It’s important to realize that the Board is made up of homeowners. They are volunteers who are willing to give the time and participate in the procedures of being on a board. There’s a lot of time and homework involved with the position. I would like to wish the 2016/2017 Board of Directors great success in the coming year, I look forward to working with you. You have been empowered to participate in the decision making process which will affect you, your neighbor and everyone in your community!


Golf News: “Evaluating Switching the Nines” by General Manager Ceasar Larrach

Switching the Nines

The Golf Advisory Committee (GAC) and Western Golf Management are evaluating reversing the nines on the south course.

This would put Shadow Hills in line with many courses that start with a relatively easy hole, and finish with their signature hole leading right into the clubhouse. All of the SCSH golf clubs have been polled, and have been overwhelmingly in favor of the switch. The only costs involved would be new hole markers.

Since many of the current ones are damaged and need replacement, this would be a good time to make the change. And, the cost is covered in the current reserve fund. Scorecard updating is a non-factor since they are reprinted several times each year. If the plan is adopted, it will take effect this summer. Comments may be directed to Dave Bakshy, chairman of GAC, at:

Year End Safety & Maintenance Report from Ceasar Larrach – GM

With 2015 officially over, here is a year in review of some of the tasks/projects accomplished by Sun City Shadow Hills staff.

• Installed complete new transponder entry system to replace old, outdated system.
• Added third patrol driver on day shift to enhance property coverage and reduce response time to incidents.
• Implemented revised vendor control programs to ensure all vendors entering SCSH are currently licensed and their vehicles registered and insured.
• Completely upgraded all camera and recording systems at all gates with state-of-the-art IP cameras and recording devices.

• Montecito indoor pool re-plastered.
• Montecito Billiards Room wood tables restained.
• Shadows restaurant patio tables/chairs powder-coated.
• Replaced six driving range speakers.
• Montecito Locker rooms, installed non-slip surface on tile floor.
• Repainted wrought iron fence on Phase III.
• Golf club buildings recoated foam roofs.
• Installed 30,000 BTU mini split heat pump for storage room at Santa Rosa clubhouse.
• Montecito clubhouse pool chairs, restrapped and powder-coated.
• Installed 2 new ice machines at Santa Rosa pro shop.
• Santa Rosa tennis courts, replaced rubber bumper.
• Installed 10' X 12' Weatherwood solid shade structure awning on Santa Rosa pro shop patio.
• Replaced Montecito indoor pool filter pump.
• Installed 2 granite counter tops, 20" wide X 14' long, at the golf snack shop.
• Montecito indoor spa, replaced filter pump.
• Installed 1,914.56 square ft. of pool deck to include Kool Deck coating at Santa Rosa pool.
• Installed new 157 linear ft. of wrought iron fence around new deck area at Santa Rosa pool.
• Replaced Montecito pool/spa heater.
• Repaired Jefferson entrance wrought iron fence.
• Phase II pony wall repaired and repainted.
• Color-stained 1,800 sq. ft. of concrete at the Shadows golf club patio and entrances.
• Replaced Santa Rosa HVAC.
• Installed wrought iron fence in front of fountain at Santa Rosa pool area.
• Replaced Montecito ballroom carpet.
• Installed LED street light at Madison gate.
• Replaced Montecito lobby carpet.
• Installed new concrete area for golf cart parking at Shadows driving range.
• Installed new cabana for starter area in golf course.
• Montecito ballroom: refinished dance floor, painted walls and ceiling, recovered partition walls, installed new sheer drapes, replaced stage motor/curtain, replaced 2 cabinets, replaced VCT flooring on stage.
• Seal-coated tract 31195-4 and 32390-4

From the General Manager – December 2015


Associa Cares

In 1979 John Carona founded a boutique property management firm providing limited property management services to apartments and condominiums in Dallas. Today, as the global leader in association management, Associa brings over 30 years of experience. We understand and strive to meet the unique needs of each community, including exceptional expertise and resources for your association.

We serve associations of all types – single-family, condo, mixed-use and master-planned communities, luxury high-rise, active adult, resorts, golf, and commercial – while also helping builders, developers, and real estate professionals achieve their goals. Associa manages communities and /or resorts through-out the United States, Canada, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, and South Africa.

Associa South Africa

In 2006 Associa founded Associa Cares, a 501(c)(3) non-profit to assist people throughout the world who are victims of natural or man-made disasters. Funded solely by the donations of Associa employees and the generosity of concerned citizens, Associa Cares seeks to provide needed goods and services to families affected by these tragedies. Here are just a few of the donations made by Associa Cares:

  • In May 2015, over $14,000 to relief efforts in Nepal.
  • In March 2015, over 45 $1,000 checks were handed out to help homeowners that were victims of a large-scale fire.
  • In 2014, $100,000 to help residents and employees in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, recover from Hurricane Odile.
  • In the summer of 2013, $100,000 to victims of the Calgary floods. $10k went to the Calgary Red Cross and the remaining $90,000 was handed out to 90 different residents in increments of $1,000.
  • In the summer of 2013, over $40k to victims of the Moore, OK, tornadoes.
  • In November 2012, over $45k to Hurricane Sandy victims.
  • In November 2011, nearly $60k to Bastrop fire victims.

Below is the total money donated by Associa employees and generous, concerned citizens over the years:

2010 $349,941
2011 $442,802
2012 $542,037
2013 $583,058
2014 $826,212
2015 $735,530

Another great program is ASK (Associa Supports Kids), which encourages children to be active, healthy, and strong. ASK sponsorships are our opportunity to give back to the communities that we serve in a unique way by sponsoring local, “grassroots” youth sports and other youth activities. We understand financial assistance is sometimes necessary for teams to purchase uniforms, equipment, or register a team for a season, playoffs, championships, and more. We have awarded 74 ASK Youth Sports and Fitness Scholarships to date in 2015 for local swim teams, youth football and baseball, and cultural dance troops and high school robotics teams. ASK youth activities sponsorships are but a small way that we can help support the communities that our clients call home.