Community. It's not just where you live, it's how you interact. Here at High Desert, we believe communication is the number one way to build our community: communication between neighbors, among homeowners and with management.
This website is designed to keep every High Desert resident informed and up-to-date on the vital issues that affect us as homeowners. Here, you'll find quick access to our governing documents, policies and procedures, calendars of upcoming community meetings, copies of our latest newsletter, home improvement information, links to Village news and the e-mail addresses of your officers and directors.
We hope this information will provide High Desert homeowners with what they need to know...and when they need to know it.
For the latest news, scroll down. For more information on High Desert, see the Notices and Reminders page.
Photo: High Desert resident Steve Hamm took this backyard photo Saturday, February 28, following the snowstorm that dropped upwards of 10 inches in parts of Albuquerque.
High Desert Walls, Sign and Keypad Vandalized With Dozens of Raw Eggs
|Several areas in The Enclave, Desert Mountain, Pinion Point and Canyons were vandalized late Sunday night, February 22, by an unknown person or group throwing dozens of raw eggs at what looks to be random targets through the community. Stucco walls, The Enclave monument sign, and The Enclave keypad all required cleanup and some repair as a result of the vandalism. |
“This is completely unacceptable,” High Desert Board member Clay Wright said. “The association spends many thousands of dollars trying to keep our community looking good. Homeowners work hard to do the same. The fact that anyone would be so blatantly disrespectful to their neighbors is unconscionable.”
Christopher Lopez, interim Community Manager for High Desert, said about a case of eggs must have been used by vandals who flung them at various sites in the Canyons and The Enclave. Shells and dripping raw eggs were discovered on The Enclave keypad, sign and on community walls by Heads Up crew early Monday morning, February 23.
“Due to the nature of eggs—and how they can harden and become almost impossible to remove—we had to act quickly to clean it up,” Christopher said. He negotiated with Heads Up and contractor Joseph Cordova. Andreas Birk, Heads Up Supervisor for High Desert, sent an extra crewman, at no charge, to scrub The Enclave keyboard Monday morning. Joseph Cordova had to delay cleanup and repair of the stucco until the weather cleared on Wednesday. Christopher said Joseph also did not charge for the repairs. “They both wanted to show their appreciation for High Desert by donating their time in this situation,” he added.
“We have no idea who committed this vandalism in High Desert,” said Christopher. Police have been notified. If anyone saw any activity that might be related to this incident, or captured video of suspicious activity on their security cameras late Sunday or early Monday morning, please contact the HOAMCO office at 314-5862 or email Christopher at email@example.com.
Snow Removal in High Desert
|Snow removal from streets outside of the gated villages is ultimately the responsibility of the City of Albuquerque (CABQ). If you have a concern about snow removal from streets (except gated villages) you may contact the CABQ mayor's Hotline at 311. The representative should give you a reference number and put the request on their priority list. You can call them back after a period of time to check on the status of your request. In the past they have been very responsive; however, many factors bear on when the city gets to the residential area of High Desert. The amount of snowfall, when the snowfall begins, which areas of the city that may be receiving a greater amount, etc. are all factors in how quickly our streets get cleared. Additionally, residential areas receive a lower priority than major arteries as well as roads providing emergency service access. |
The HDROA has entered into a contract for snow removal with Heads Up Landscaping. While the primary purpose is to ensure safety at the entrances and exits of the gated villages, other areas will be plowed and/or treated. When the conditions reach preset levels the removal actions will begin.
The snow removal contract applies to the gated village entrances/exits, the five major intersections involving Cortaderia, Imperata, Spain, Academy, and High Desert, in addition to bridges. They will be made as safe as possible as soon as practical. To reduce the risk of damage to the gates and facilitate snow removal, gates will be held open until the areas around gates can be made safe for normal operation. Any additional removal of snow on streets inside gated villages will be done on a case by case basis.
Residents may contact the G4s Patrol with urgent concerns regarding the snow conditions. The patrol number is 506-5287. If there is no answer, leave a message as there may be numerous simultaneous calls to the patrol.
High Desert Survey Complete: Residents Can View PDF
|By Clay Wright, HDROA Board of Directors |
The 2014 survey of High Desert residents is complete. 340 people participated. The survey asked 21 questions specific to life in the High Desert community.
The entire survey, including comments is available as a pdf. Click here to download. All personal information and inflammatory comments have been delete from this version.
The High Desert Board is carefully reviewing responses. The information will be used to make adjustments to its governance of the community in 2015.
While there were numerous comments made for each question, some general trends emerged.
Landscaping is an important issue among those taking the survey. Several comments questioned specific landscaping practices and future plans. Those very issues are presently being reviewed by a professional landscape architect contracted to develop a long-term landscape master plan for High Desert. Members of the Board, The High Desert Landscape Committee and some residents are participating in the plan's development.
An issue repeatedly addressed was speeding. In response to the survey, High Desert has asked the APD officers it hires under the Chief's Overtime Program to specifically watch out for speeders and those who don't stop at stop signs - be they motorists or bicyclists.
Another recurring item mentioned on the survey is dog waste. According to Communications Committee member Jay Hartfield, "This summer we co-marketed the 'There is No Poop Fairy' campaign with Bernalillo County. (http://www.bernco.gov/poopfairy) The idea is to humorously educate people about this serious problem." Board Vice President David Bentley says, "we have tried several different approaches, yet the problem persists. Quite frankly this perplexes the board. We spend thousands of dollars every year for waste stations yet some people still won't use them. It's a nasty problem."
Covenant enforcement drew many comments. On the issue HDROA Board President Tom Murcdock says “While the survey shows that a clear majority of our homeowners want the covenants to be enforced, we must continue to strive to find the right balance between too much and too little enforcement.”
The survey opened on September 1, 2014 and closed November 24, 2014. The survey was advertised in the Apache Plume, on this High Desert website, at the top of the quarterly billing in September, and at Voting Member meetings.
Search Underway For New High Desert Community Manager:
Christopher Lopez is Interim Manager
|HOAMCO, High Desert’s association management company, is in the process of searching for a new manager for High Desert. Sarah Hoey announced her resignation in late January, effective February 17, 2015. She is moving to Seattle and taking a new position as Executive Director for an association. Sarah joined HOAMCO in May 2009 and took over the manager duties for High Desert in the summer of 2013. |
Paul Skojec, Vice President for HOAMCO, said “some momentum” in seeking Sarah’s replacement had been already reached due to a previous nationwide search for a community manager for a property in Santa Fe.
Meanwhile, HOAMCO has appointed Christopher Lopez as Interim Community Manager for High Desert. He can be contacted through the High Desert manager email address at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the High Desert office 505-314-5862.
Vacation Watch Form Now Available to Homeowners:
Request Security Patrol Watch of Your Home While You Are Away
|Homeowners leaving on vacation can now fill out a new form requesting that G4S security patrol keep an eye on their home while they are away. In the past, residents were asked to call G4S directly (which can still be done). The form can be scanned and faxed to the HOAMCO office.|
High Desert homeowners can ask for regular checks of their vacant home, walk-arounds, even removal and disposal of unwanted newspapers and ad materials left at your door. In addition, G4S officers can pick up and store any deliveries left outside (if under 35 pounds) your door.
The new form will be posted permanently on the Official Forms page, under Vacation Watch Forms. Click here to download form. To view an online submission form, click here.
Diagnosing Problems in the High Desert Garden Landscape
Photo by Steve Hamm
In the February Apache Plume newsletter, columnist and homeowner Margo Murdock wrote about diagnosing problems in your garden. She provided a number of examples and directed readers to go the website to read more.
Click here to see Margo's Apache Plume article: "Diagnosing Your Landscape Gardening Problems."
For examples of those problems see her article: "Problem Diagnosis: Examples."
To see other articles by Margo, visit the Plants and Gardening page.
Voting Members Review High Desert Resident Survey Results & Discuss Regulating Estate Sales and Rentals at Regular Quarterly Meeting January 22, 2015
Bobcat Sighted in High Desert
High Desert resident Tom Kilroy spotted and photographed this bobcat near his home in the Highlands this week. Other homeowners saw the animal in the small arroyo near Canada del Oso, too.
6th Annual High Desert Studio Tour Is Another Success
The 6th Annual High Desert Studio Tour was another success as dozens of homeowners and visitors toured the homes and studios of High Desert artists and craftsmen November 8. Beautiful autumn weather encouraged participation, with many people walking between homes, following the purple balloons that marked the tour sites. Potters, painters, sculptors, jewelers, fiber artists and even a violin maker were among the 18 artists featured this year.
Homeowners Review New Preliminary Landscape Master Plan
At Open House November 6
It was a full house at the Holiday Park Community Center meeting room Thursday night, Nov. 6. About 40 homeowners were on hand to see new conceptual designs of seven landscape zones in the preliminary Landscape Master Plan and provide the association with feedback.
High Desert Residential Owners Association hired the landscape architect firm of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini (http://www.dpsdesign.org/) to create a Master Plan for Landscaping for the association's common areas. The firm has been working with the Board and the Landscape Committee during the preliminary phases of the work. Thursday's Open House presented the plan and asked for owner feedback.
Ken Romig, a landscape architect with the firm, presented the new designs through a series of slides which included photos of existing landscape in High Desert, proposed drawings of new landscapes and pictures of plants. Another series of large posters positioned around the room highlighted seven common area zones with drawings of new designs and plants. Those zones include: development entrances, streetscapes and medians, village entrances, parks and pocket parks, sculpture gardens, arroyos, open spaces and ponds. The plan does not include High Desert Park which is maintained by the city.
The presentation was the culmination of study and review by the Landscape Committee and the Board of Directors which included an extensive Landscape Assessment of the approximately 240 acres of open and maintained space in High Desert, including 70 acres of developed and irrigated landscape. Landscape maintenance is about half of the total budget for High Desert. The Master Plan is intended to give guidance for keeping a consistent design to the landscape over time.
High Desert was originally developed to tread lightly on the surrounding desert. The original landscape plan is no longer available and there have been inevitable changes as original trees and plants grew, died and were replaced, drought conditions worsened and invasive plants took over areas.
"There has been a landscape style drift over the past 20 years," Tom Murdock, HDROA President, said. "We must have some overriding principles and decide what our plan will be going forward."
During the open discussion, Steve Hamm, High Desert resident, said he was disappointed there was not more of a stated landscape philosophy for High Desert presented as part of the preliminary Master Plan. "We need a set of principles and assumptions," another homeowner added. Ken replied, “That idea takes some real conversation.”
Homeowners suggested included benches along trails and attention to consideration of school bus stops for children. Other concerns included wildfire prevention and how additional grass areas might be designed to prevent spreading fires. Pest and invasive tree species were discussed. Another resident recommended that no new aspens or pinons be planted. “We’ve spent a fortune trying to save those trees from drought and pests,” he said.
"But, we’ve been irrigating this landscape for the past twenty years," Margo Murdock, High Desert homeowner, said. " So the drought conditions should not have affected it."
A member of the Landscape Committee addressed the gathering. “We have all worked for years to get here,” she said. “Believe it or not, we’re very happy that we’re pretty much in touch with everything you are saying. There is not a question that’s been raised here that we haven’t already discussed and considered.”
Ken told the group that the Board and the landscape firm will develop a final preferred options Master Plan probably by the end of the year. “Your feedback here tonight will greatly influence those final plans,” he said. The final plan will include costs for implementation and maintenance estimates. Implementation of the Master Plan will happen in stages over the next few growing seasons.
To view the various designs (as pdfs) presented at the meeting, click here.
Homeowners May Sign Up Now For New Email List To Receive Association Updates & News
The Association has a new way to communicate regularly with homeowners through emails. Residents can sign up on the secure site (and unsubscribe at any time) to receive important Association news and updates.
The Board of Directors chose a free version of the online "MailChimp" service as the provider for the new email list so there is no added cost to the Association. Signing up is a secure, two-step process. Homeowners simply click the link below and are taken to the MailChimp site and asked to type in their email address and full name and select their Village. Once they click to subscribe to the list, they will receive a link in their regular email that confirms their subscription and told to "click to subscribe."
To subscribe to the HDROA email service, click here. A permanent link to the information is also provided in the menu list to the left of the homepage.
Homeowners who have already provided their email address to the Association have been automatically included in the email list. Subscribers can update their information online at any time. No passwords or usernames are required. (Note: any name or address changes made to the email subscription service will only affect the mail list and will not update your permanent information in the official Association ownership records. Owners should contact HOAMCO to update those records.)
The Board of Directors emphasized that the email list will never be shared with any commercial organization or used for any commercial purpose or any non-Association business. Owners may update their preferences or unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the links at the bottom of any email.
Time to replace your roof? New Amendment to Guidelines for Sustainability May Help Clarify Your Options
The New Construction Committee has updated the Guidelines for Sustainability to accommodate new technologies in roofing materials that have come to market for residential properties since the Guidelines were first developed. Click here to go to the revised Guidelines for roof color.
The Modifications Committee is seeing an increase in requests for roof replacement. This is not surprising since many of the homes in High Desert are now more than ten years old. Fred Gorenz, chair of the Modifications Committee (MC), reminds owners that putting on a new roof is an external change to the dwelling that needs prior approval of the Modification Committee. He says, “While an owner may rarely see their own roof, it may be seen daily from homes at higher elevations.”
The Guidelines for Sustainability have restrictions on the materials and color of roofs. Russ Welsch of the New Construction Committee, explains, “Our Guidelines are designed to minimize the visual impact of homes on the natural state of the land around us, including from higher vantage points.”
The color of a roof must meet the Guideline that roofs be non-reflective and, in general, darker in color and hue than the building’s exterior walls. While traditional tar and gravel roofs are common in High Desert, new options today include single-ply membrane and spray foam. Many single-ply membranes are white and some foam roofs are yellow or white; these materials must be modified to change their color to one that meets the Guidelines. Homeowners should consult their contractor about the options for making the roof color compliant.
As Welsch reminds us, “Contractors may not know about our restrictions, so it is important for the High Desert homeowner to discuss the restrictions with their vendor to be sure their proposed roof will meet the Guidelines.”
The Modifications Committee has a “fast-track” process to approve roof replacements that are exactly the same as was previously approved. Proposals to change the roof materials will require full review of the Committee, which meets every month. See the Modification Committee page for more information on submitting a modification request to the Committee.
Andreas Birk is New Heads Up Site Manager for High Desert
|Heads Up has named Andreas Birk as the new Site Manager for High Desert. Heads Up is the contracted landscaping service for HDROA and was recently signed to another three-year contract by the Board of Directors. |
Andreas Birk replaces Benjamin Miller who served as Site Manager for High Desert for the past five years. Andreas worked with Benjamin beginning last spring and assumed the position as Site Manager in September. Andreas oversees a Heads Up crew of eight to 10 workers, the crew leader and a full-time, on-site irrigation specialist. The company’s contract calls for year-round maintenance of 70 irrigated common area acres, 240 open space acres and all the arroyos in the community.
“High Desert is a beautiful place,” Andreas said. It’s not the sort of landscape he grew up with, however. He is from Denmark, a country much wetter and greener than New Mexico. His father was a contractor there and Andreas helped him install the landscapes in the homes and buildings he constructed. “I enjoyed that,” he recalled, “and eventually I developed a true passion for landscaping.”
He decided to pursue his interest by studying landscape management and applied to Brigham Young University in Utah, a university known for its landscape management degree programs. During his studies he developed new interests in plant pathology. Following graduation, Andreas worked in Utah with municipalities and homeowner associations to maintain their landscape’s plant health. He analyzed tree diseases, identified pests and determined the best practices to restore trees and plants to optimal growth. “That sort of work calls for a fair amount of time with a microscope,” Andreas said. He also completed work to obtain an Landscape Industry Certified Manager designation.
Andreas was approached by Heads Up to join its team in Albuquerque. “Heads Up recruits heavily from Brigham Young University,” Andreas said. “I knew Heads Up has good values and produces quality work. It was an excellent opportunity.”Andreas and his wife Karen, a native of Oregon, moved to Albuquerque earlier this year.
A typical day for Andreas starts early. Andreas is at the 2nd Street Heads Up site well before 7 a.m. He sorts through any new service requests from HOAMCO, High Desert’s property management company, and then schedules the day’s work for the crew with Crew Chief Teddy Noedel. Teddy and his crew spend all day, every day at High Desert, removing weeds, mowing, picking up dog waste, raking leaves, pruning trees, and, when necessary, cleaning out arroyos, removing snow and salting streets.
Andreas will usually meet with Lorenzo Rodriquez, Heads Up’s full-time irrigation specialist for High Desert. They will determine what areas need sprinkler maintenance. Lorenzo drives a Chevrolet truck fully equipped with all his tools and irrigation supplies for High Desert. The company also rents two garage units at the Broadstone Apartments where all the necessary equipment and supplies are stored for quick response time to urgent maintenance, irrigation or snow and ice needs.
Later in the morning, Andreas will drive up to High Desert, training the crew, reviewing their work and driving through the community to evaluate the common areas for landscape maintenance issues. “When I arrive on-site I offer training and instruction to the crew and respond to concerns from the community or workers,” Andreas said. During his drives around the community he looks specifically for plant material growing over curbs, any areas or medians with invasive plants and pays special attention to the overall health of the trees and shrubs.
One of Andreas’ concerns are pests in High Desert— this year specifically bore and twig beetles that attack pinion and locust trees. The rains this summer helped the trees, but many of them remain stressed from the long drought.
The new Master Landscape Plan (see story below) now being developed for High Desert may result in new projects for Heads Up. For example, currently High Desert has about 1300 pinons growing in the community, each of them watered through the main sprinkler system. The water source was placed close to the tree’s trunk years ago, per industry standard, when the young trees were first planted. Now, with the trees much larger, each head should be extended out to the new dripline. “Moving the water out to the dripline will take some time,” Andreas said, “but ultimately it will make a real difference to each and every tree.”
Other projects may include changes to pocket parks and the introduction of new plants. Andreas is enthusiastic about the possibilities. “ I’m very excited to be a part of the implementation of this new plan,” he said.
Landscape Committee Report
|High Desert homeowners can now view the full Landscape Assessment Report here as a pdf. That report was submitted last spring to the Board by the Landscape Committee, led by homeowner Ray Berg. |
The report, including recommendations, was the result of more than a year's effort by the Committee and several dozen High Desert volunteers who surveyed all the common areas and portions of open space within the community.
Billing Information For Residents
|High Desert residents now have several options for paying assessments. Billing information and payment instructions can be found on the Billing Information page. |
Wildlife in High Desert
Do you have any terrific pictures of wildlife in High Desert that you'd like to share? Submit your photos (in jpeg form) to email@example.com and we'll post them on our Wildlife in High Desert page. The top photo was taken in High Desert by Bruce Loughridge. The lizard was seen on a large boulder in Bruce's front yard in Mountain Highlands back in 2007. He said it measured about 10 inches from front to back and his mate was lounging in the shade nearby.
The hummingbird photo below was taken by Steve Hamm in August 2014. These birds are everywhere in High Desert this summer.
Notices & Reminders
To see "Notices and Reminders" for High Desert, click here.