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, links to community 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 menu items to the left, or the Notices and Reminders page or see Community News.
The following update was issued by Trace Salley, Scott Patrick Homes, for Wilderness Cañon, High Desert's newest and final village, now under construction:
Installation of the water, sewer and storm drain pipes are complete and we’ve begun importing new dirt (dirt is needed to raise the center of the subdivision in accordance with our NCC-approved grading plan so that the streets don’t exceed a 10% grade). The dirt import is anticipated to be completed in a month, during which time we’ll get started on retaining walls and offsite drainage and trail improvements. After everything is up to grade, it will take about a month to install dry utilities (power, gas and cable), followed by a month of installing curbs, gutters, storm inlets and paving. Due to previous delays with rock blasting, completion of the development work is now projected for November of this year. We’ll be filing our final plat once we get closer to that completion date.
Homeowners may notice a temporary pile of dirt on the south of the fence by the hiking trail in Embudito Canyon. The dirt pile is a result of the Wilderness Cañon infrastructure work as the construction crew dug to find the end of an existing waterline in order to tie into the new line. According to R.P. Bohannan of the Paragon Engineering Group, once the tie-in and testing are complete, the area will be smoothed out and seeded with native seeding.
Any homeowner with questions can contact Christopher Lopez at email@example.com.
1. Chaco Compound
2. Chamisa Trail
3. Desert Sky
4. Desert Song
8. Pinon Point
10. Sunset Ridge
11. Tierra Del Oso
12. Wilderness Compound
13. Wilderness Estates
14. Wilderness Village
Each representative serves a two-year term from October of this year through September of 2018. (To see a pdf of the election calendar, click here.) Involvement at these meetings is very important, as it allows your representatives to participate in the “big picture” of High Desert while at the same time presenting the concerns, suggestions and special interests of your Village.
This is also an excellent training ground for future High Desert board members. Remember that the election of the Board Members is also the responsibility of the Voting Members.
Serving as a Voting Member or Alternate involves a small time commitment, approximately two hours per quarterly meeting plus extra time, as needed, for meetings with your village members.
Please consider serving your community as a Voting Member by filling out the “Statement of Interest” form and returning it to Christopher Lopez, Community Association Manager, by mail, fax (505-293-0217), or scan/email no later than Monday, September 19, 2016. An election ballot will then be compiled with the names of the candidates, along with a brief biography of each, as provided by the candidates, and will be mailed to each owner of record.
If you have any questions, please contact Christopher Lopez at 505-314-5862 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preventing property crimes requires engagement by homeowners, Jill Garcia, Albuquerque Police Department Crime Prevention Specialist, told Voting Members Thursday, July 28. Jill was a speaker in a presentation on preventing crime that included APD officers and employees of G4S, High Desert's security service.
Jill emphasized locking cars and removing valuables when parking in the driveway. Closing garage doors completely is another important way to prevent burglaries, she added. “Your job as a citizen is to deter a criminal,” she said. “Delay and deny entry.” She said that too often homeowners let their guard
s down when they park their vehicle in the driveway. “Remove your clickers, your garage door openers, your work badges and your house keys,” she said. “When those items are stolen, it can lead to more crimes.” She advised residents to lock the door between their house and garage.
She said High Desert, which is included in APD’s area #533, has a low rate of crime, but that it is important not to get complacent. “Develop a telephone tree with your neighbors,” she said. “Have a group text or some way to contact everyone if you need to reach them.”
APD Commander Shane Rodgers (shown in photo, center, with Jill Garcia, left, and Christopher Lopez, HOAMCO, right) also spoke to Voting Members, saying that new 12-hour police officer shifts will double the manpower on duty at any one time. He said two cars will be sent to all calls for back-up, but officers will drive as singles, not doubles, in each car.
James Gage, G4S Manager, gave a short talk, reminding homeowners to call 911 in the event of a break-in and to immediately call G4S afterward. He recommended residents also fill out Vacation Watch forms that alert G4S that a house will be vacant.
Dr. Janet Brieley, Board director and Crime Prevention Liaison, noted that High Desert has always had one patrol officer on duty, despite the growth of the community. If the association doubled the patrol to two officers, it would cost each household a total of $234 per year compared to the current cost of $118 per year. She encouraged Voting Members to discuss the issue with their neighbors and report back to the board.
Board of Directors Update:
Tom Murdock, Board President, thanked Peter Strascina, Voting Member from Desert Mountain, for his work on the June 25th Park Party. Peter, in turn, thanked the members of his committee and asked for Voting Members to volunteer next year. Tom added that the Board wanted to reinstate the Event Committee and asked for volunteers. Interested homeowners should contact any Board member or Christopher Lopez at HOAMCO (email@example.com) .
Tom told Voting Members about a project underway with Heads Up, High Desert’s landscape company, to determine how best to deal with stressed trees in a designated area. Currently, he said, there are 2,794 trees in common areas with about 15 percent under some sort of stress. Some can be saved and others cannot.
Brett Rayman, New Construction Chair, spoke briefly to Voting Members, saying a new Construction Checklist which outlines standard procedures for building Estate and Premier homes, was recently approved for builders and homeowners and is now available on the website. A Builders' home checklist will be approved in August and made available online as well, he said, adding, “We are trying to make things as objective as possible.”
Three winners were chosen among 63 entries in the High Desert Photo Contest held last month. The following homeowners received gift certificates to El Patron Restaurant Cantina.
First Place: Dakota Saunders, Desert Mountain, for her photo of the double rainbow over High Desert.
Second Place: Dr. Dietmar Rose, Chamisa Trail, for his photo of High Desert and the Sandia Mountains covered in snow.
Third Place: John Ledwith, Overlook, for his photo of a deer taken in his backyard.
“It was not at all easy to choose our winners,” said Clay Wright, Chair of the Communications Committee that sponsored and judged the contest. “We had dozens of absolutely wonderful photos of High Desert. It took a lot of discussion and time to narrow it down to three winning photos.”
To see more photos entered in the contest, click here.
Photo above: Cizon Copeland, daughter of Dolares Melancon, Sunset Ridge, good-naturedly is splashed by a water balloon at Saturday night's Party in Park event.
Several hundred people turned out to the High Desert Park Saturday night for the “Food Truck Party in the Park” event. The party was sponsored by the Association and organized by homeowner Peter Strascina and his committee. It was the first such event in the last eight years with perfect weather and a variety of food, games and music.
Residents lined up to order food from four food trucks that provided barbeque, Mexican food, hamburgers, and frozen yogurt dispensed right from the side of the van. Kids climbed on a fire truck, rode a small motorized car-train, petted two enormous APD police draft horses and a variety of farm animals in the petting zoo. Adults and kids played free games, got doused with water balloons and listened—and danced-- to music from the DJ, ranging from the Beatles to Disney tunes throughout the evening.
“We were not only blessed with just about perfect weather, but we had great attendance as well,” said Peter. “There was an excellent cross section of residents of all ages and from all villages in High Desert. The kids had a ball with all the free games. The food trucks and the music were an enormous hit. Someone remarked that it reminded them of an old-fashioned picnic in a small town square.”
Peter said he decided to coordinate the event with funds provided by the association to foster community spirit. “My hope was the party would be a great vehicle for reminding everyone what an amazing place High Desert is. This sort of event helps us to get know each other better and contributes to the preservation of what makes High Desert so unique and special for all of us.”
“This is just a terrific event,” said one homeowner, standing in line in front of the barbeque truck. “It’s so nice to be able to just walk on down to the park, get some dinner, talk to your neighbors and watch all the kids having such a fantastic time.”
The High Desert Residential Homeowners Association (HDROA) provided funds to Peter and his committee to advertise the event, and hire the company “A Ton of Fun” to provide the games which included free spin-art, water balloons, the petting zoo, the kids’ car/train and several tossing games. The committee arranged to have Albuquerque Police Department provide an ambulance in case of emergency, a fire truck and the police horses. Food trucks were contacted and parking arranged. The committee hired Devin Black-Cosme as the evening’s DJ.
Peter’s committee included homeowners Brenda Gossage, Mary Martin, Bill Freer, Linda Strascina, Linda DeVlieg, Kelly Hardison, Susan Camp and Mark Drendel. “I also want to thank Ray and Thea Berg’s amazing clean-up committee,” Peter added.
Click here to view more photos of the "Party in the Park."
The first blast by developers to dislodge a stubborn ledge of rock went off on time Thursday, June 23 with just a dull thud, raising a cloud of dust and a nod of approval by blast experts in charge. The large underground granite seam, located off High Desert Place, was directly in the path of critical underground infrastructure for the Wilderness Cañon subdivision. The warning siren just before the noon blast was quite a bit louder than the explosion itself. More than 130 separate charges were placed in boreholes throughout the morning and set to explode in a swift, but sequential, explosion. On hand were a number of employees from Salls Brothers Construction, Inc. which supervised the blast with Site Engineer R.P. Bohannan, and John White, geologist and explosives expert in charge of the blasting. City officials, including a city fire marshal, were on site to make sure everything went as planned. Several members of the High Desert Board of Directors and Chelsea Michelini, Violations Coordinator with HOAMCO, also witnessed the blast.
After analyzing the results, geologists determined a second blast was necessary. That blast took place two weeks later on July 6. John White later wrote in a letter to High Desert that the second blast went very well and he anticipates that no more blasts will be necessary. He added that he will not be certain about future blasts until they have excavated the areas already blasted. If more blasts are necessary, John wrote that they will be "negligible compared to what we have already done."
Wilderness Cañon, under development by Mesa Verde development company, will be the 26th and last village in High Desert.
Click here to see a Vibrations Report on the June 23 original blast.
Click here to see the Vibrations Report on the second July 6, 2016 blast
Photos by Clay Wright.
2016-2017 Board of Directors. (Left to right: ) Brett Rayman, Dr. Janet Brierley, Dr. Jim Cole, II, David Bentley, Jr., Nancy Winger, Clay Wright, and Tom Murdock. Brett Rayman was newly elected at the Annual Meeting for a one-year term. Re-elected to two-year terms were David J. Bentley, Jr., Dr. Janet Brierley and Tom Murdock.
Voting Members acted unanimously at their Annual Meeting April 28 to elect four homeowners to the High Desert Board of Directors. Brett Rayman was elected to a one-year term and is a new member of the Board. Re-elected to two-year terms were David J. Bentley, Jr., Dr. Janet Brierley and Tom Murdock. All four homeowners were named to the official slate of nominees presented to the Voting Members by the Nominating Committee under the chairmanship of Nancy Winger. No nominees were introduced from the floor during the meeting.
The Annual Meeting was well-attended by Voting Members with about 60 homeowners on hand. As required by the High Desert by-laws, the meeting was conducted by Tom Murdock, president of the 2015-2016 Board. He began the meeting by addressing concerns over the reorganization of the New Construction Committee (NCC). The Board acted in March to appoint new NCC members under the chairmanship of Brett Rayman who was also elected to the Board at the Annual Meeting. The Board amended the NCC Policy in April to allow a member of the Board of the Directors to serve on the NCC.
Prior to the election at the meeting, Voting Members heard brief presentations from the four homeowners running for office. Brett Rayman, the only homeowner who had not previously served on the board, told Voting Members that he has lived in Sunset Village for two years and served as a Voting Member during that time. He served 22 years with the Marine Corps and holds a MA degree in business management from Central Michigan University. Brett lived in Florida where he held a number of positions with homeowner associations there.
Financial Oversight Group
Dr. Jim Cole, II, 2015-2016 Treasurer for the Board of Directors, spoke to Voting Members about the High Desert Financial Oversight Group (FOG) which was formed 22 months ago to explore ways to reduce costs to the association. The group has no authority to make decisions but can make recommendations to the Board. Jim said the five-member group would like to add two members. It meets on the second Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. at the HOMACO property management office on Montgomery. Any homeowner interested in serving on the committee should contact Christopher Lopez at Highdesertmanager@hoamco.com.
2016-17 Budget Review
Dr. Cole also reviewed the 3rd quarterly association financials noting that the reserves were healthy and the association is “well positioned to meet its financial requirements and obligations.”
Dr. Cole next reviewed the association’s upcoming 2016-17 budget which begins in July. The Board approved that budget at its last meeting but the Voting Members may act to “not approve” the budget if they wish. There was no motion to not approve the budget.
Dr. Janet Brierley, Board member and Crime Prevention Liaison, and Director David Bentley, Jr. spoke to Voting Members about security issues. A review of patrol practices was recently made, she said, and G4S officers are now required to patrol at just 5 miles per hour with the windows down, radios off and frequent changes of their route. An additional $10,000 was added to the patrol salary. Dr. Brierley emphasized that homeowners must activate and maintain their alarm systems, communicate with their neighbors and start neighborhood watch programs.
A discussion about installation of security cameras followed. One Voting Member said her neighbors definitely want to see cameras installed at the High Desert entrances at Academy and Spain. Other Voting Members wanted cameras at each village entrance. Dr. Brierley said her research shows that photos captured through a windshield from video cameras often are not useable by police. Thieves also frequently use vehicles with stolen plates, making the car untraceable. Monitoring the footage could increase expenses as well, she noted. She asked Voting Members to talk to their neighbors and find out what they think about the present level of security in High Desert. “Ask them about cameras and about increasing patrols,” she said. “Ask them what they might be prepared to pay.” Currently the yearly base assessment of $684 calls for $118, or 17 percent, to go toward security costs. She said she would put together some figures of possible security measures and distribute them to Voting Members.
The newly elected Board met on Sunday, May 1 to elect new officers. They remain the same as the year prior: Tom Murdock, President; David Bentley, Jr., Vice President; Clay Wright, Secretary; Dr. James R. Cole II, Treasurer.
More than 60 High Desert volunteers gathered for a special buffet in their honor at El Patron Restaurant Cantina Saturday, April 16. The event, organized by Nancy Winger, Board Director, was held in conjunction with National Volunteer Week and recognized all High Desert homeowners who have volunteered their time for the community over the past year. Those invited included Voting Members, Alternate Voting Members, committee members, and participants in special projects.
"Gathering together our volunteers and recognizing them has become an annual social event," said Nancy. "Turnout at Saturday's event was excellent and everyone seemed to have a great time."
The buffet included a full array of Mexican foods with individual flower cupcakes for dessert. The windy, chilly weather outside--with falling snow in High Desert--lent a cozy atmosphere to the gathering. "This has been a lot of fun," said one Voting Member afterward. "It's always nice to get a pat on the back."
To see more photos of the event, click here.
Excavators began removing boulders on the site of the new 19-home High Desert village of Wilderness Cañon in late March. The large surface boulders will be given to the city for various flood control projects and will be removed by the city. After the boulders are removed, Scott Patrick Homes, developers of the project, will begin grading the site and installing storm drains, utilities and roads over the next several months.
Infrastructure work is expected to be complete by September, according to a spokesman for Scott Patrick Homes, followed by construction of a model home. The company is hoping to sell all 19 lots within the next two to three years, depending on the vitality of the real estate market. Most of the lots will require custom designed floorplans due to the variable sizes and shapes of the lots. Sales literature will become available over the next several months.
Christopher Lopez, High Desert’s property manager with HOAMCO, is sending regular email notices to homeowners living near the construction. Dust control during the windy spring months has been a concern expressed by some residents. City ordinances are in place that regulate how contractors deal with dust. Water trucks will be used by the contractors to soak areas and keep the dust to a minimum, he said. The city also has a ‘High Wind Event’ rule that states if sustained wind speeds exceed a certain threshold, the city will announce a temporary cease order on all grading work until winds die down.
High Desert Place will be narrowed to a single lane for about a week as storm drains and utilities are installed this spring. Flag persons will be stationed at both ends of the street to control traffic during that time. Christopher said he will notify all neighbors in the area in advance.
The proposed village calls for 19 houses on roughly four acres directly south of Wilderness Compound, with the entrance off the southern end of High Desert Place. The village will be developed by companies associated with Scott Schiabor from Scott Patrick Homes and Mesa Verde Development Corporation along with Panorama Homes owned by John Lowe. Of the 19 homes to be built within the Wilderness Cañon village, 11 must be single story based on the specific lot the house will be built upon. Eight lots are allowed to have two-story homes, but some of those might end up being single story, depending on a buyer’s preference. The village’s streets will be private (i.e., not an Albuquerque public street) and the village will be similar to other gated villages in the Association with a gate will installed at the entry.
Questions about the project can be directed to Christopher Lopez at (505) 314-5862 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to view a map of the proposed village.
Photo: High Desert newcomers (left to right:) Margaret Gordon, Judy Hansen and Moslema Sharif.
The High Desert Welcome Committee drew 40 homeowners, new and not-so-new, at its semi-annual Wine and Cheese party Friday night, April 8. The party was held at the home of John and Maddy Shelton, chairmen of the Welcome Committee, in The Highlands. New residents who have moved into High Desert recently were invited along with members of the Welcome Committee, the HOAMCO property management team and members of the Board of Directors. Tom Murdock, Board president, welcomed the new homeowners and invited them to become involved in the association by volunteering as a Voting Member, a committee member or helping on various projects in the community. "Remember," he said, "it takes more than 100 volunteers to make High Desert work."
Among the newcomers at the party were Judy and Neal Hansen who moved into their home in Solterra two months ago after relocating from Seattle where they had lived for more than 40 years. "We love it here," she said. She and her husband relocated to Albuquerque when Judy took a position as Executive Director for Organizational Development and Learning at Presbyterian Healthcare.
Moslema Sharif and her husband Mohammad Hossan moved into their home in the Trillium early this year after moving to Albuquerque from Dallas. She has a position at Sandia National Laboratories.
Margaret and Ken Gordon are new residents of Pinon Point. She is also an employee of Sandia National Laboratories where she is a chemist. She and her husband moved to New Mexico from Wisconsin last November. "We love the views and the way we can go out the door for a run and be right on the trails," she said.
Pets are a part of life here in High Desert. For some homeowners, a pet is as much a member of the family as any human. For others, pets are an important tool in deterring crime. Owning a pet carries serious responsibility. Maintaining their health and wellness is one example. Cleaning up after them is another important obligation.One very important aspect of owning a pet is ensuring that they exist harmoniously within our community. Allowing a pet to bark incessantly destroys the tranquility we work so hard to achieve in our community. Sound carries. One barking dog can disturb literally dozens of households.
City law is clear on the topic:
§ 9-2-3-7 Animals Disturbing the Peace.
No person shall allow an animal in his possession or control to persistently or continuously bark, howl or make noise common to its species, or otherwise to disturb the peace and quiet of the inhabitants of the city or keep or maintain an animal in a manner which produces noxious or offensive odors or otherwise endangers the health and welfare of the inhabitants of the city.
('74 Code, § 6-2-6G) (Ord. 40-1987; Am. Ord. 71-1989; Am. Ord. 33-1992)
Pet owners can keep the peace and avoid hefty fines by taking measures to control their pets. Those affected by barking dogs have options as well. Concerned homeowners can visit the City of Albuquerque website and fill out a complaint form. Click on the link to file a complaint: http://www.cabq.gov/pets/programs-services/animal-noise-complaint/
The city will want a written log and/or a statement with dates and times of disturbances. Animal Control may then investigate. An Animal Control officer will want to know if you are willing to file criminal charges against your neighbor. The officer will also want to know if you have exhausted all means of dealing with the problem, such as talking with your neighbor or contacting the city's Alternative Dispute Resolution office for help through a mediation process. If there is sufficient evidence, charges may be filed and you may need to testify in a criminal trial. It is not a quick process. It can be several months before a trial date is even set.
The High Desert ROA and G4S security patrol cannot investigate or file complaints on behalf of residents. The city indicates that it must be done by the affected resident.
Homeowners who ignore violation letters, neglect to pay their association dues, rent their houses without notifying the association, or fail to comply with New Construction Committee directives will be subject to a series of escalating penalties. These fines will increase with time and then lead to the following: a property lien; a legal suit and trial with attendant costs, fees, and post-judgment enforcement; possession and sale of the homeowner’s non-exempt property by the Bernalillo County Sheriff; writs of garnishment of bank accounts et al.; and eventual foreclosure.
The Board of Directors contracted with an Albuquerque lawyer last fall for a trial period to address the escalating problems with homeowners who are delinquent in paying fines and assessments. Using this service has already resulted in successful collection of approximately $25,000 owed to the HDROA. His work is paid through inclusion in the legal procedures noted above.
For example, a homeowner who does not pay the association’s assessment in a timely manner will now face a series of actions beginning with a fine of $100 for the first quarter of delinquency followed by fines of $200 for subsequent quarters. Accruing interest will also be added. The homeowner will have the option of a hearing before the Board of Directors. Failure to reach an agreement at this hearing will lead to a property lien, intervention by the attorney, and a legal suit.
Speaking for the Board of Directors, Vice President Dave Bentley noted that a small number of homeowners in High Desert have simply ignored paying their assessments. "This is totally unfair to those many residents who do pay their assessments on time," he said. "Our enforcement policies did not have sufficient teeth in them to provide the necessary incentive for every resident to comply. As a result, residents who did pay their assessments were subsidizing the costs of all the features and advantages associated with living in High Desert for those people who did not pay."
The newly adopted enforcement policy has four sections: Assessment Delinquency Policy, Non-Monetary Violation of Governing Documents Policy, Rental Agreement Violation Policy, and New Construction Committee Directive Violations Policy.
For non-monetary violations, no fine occurs until 10 days after the third notice when the fine will be $100. The fines for continued noncompliance will then increase to $250 after 10 more days and increase to $500 after an additional 10 days.
Residents can view the new policy on the Policies page (or click here to see the Enforcement Policy). The new policy replaces the previous Enforcement Policy, New Construction Committee Enforcement Policy, and the Billing & Delinquency Policy. The 11-page pdf document is fully searchable.
"This new policy provides for a hearing where the homeowner can appear before the Board of Directors to discuss any problem," said Dave. "Our Board of Directors understands that circumstances happen, and we are available to work with residents who experience such situations. We do, however, have a responsibility to ensure enforcement of all the rules and regulations that apply to living in High Desert. Adoption of the new policy and the engagement of an attorney who specializes in this area provide a fair and expeditious process for such enforcement. Please refer to the document on the website for specific information."
Are you already renting your High Desert house to tenants, or plan to rent it soon? If so, you are now required to notify the association and provide tenant names and contact information— and you may not rent your property for less than six months at a time. Short term rentals, such as those done on vacation rental online sites, are now prohibited in High Desert. Information on tenants must be provided to the association. Continued failure to comply will result in a series of escalating fines, possible court action, liens and even foreclosure.
The new High Desert Rental Policy was approved by the Board of Directors December 15, 2015 after Voting Members acted last autumn to amend the Use Restrictions of the CC&Rs. The amendment added a new subsection prohibiting rentals of less than six months unless approved in advance by the Board. The new Rental Policy spells out the procedure for renting homes in a four-page document that includes a "Tenant Information Sheet" to be completed by the homeowner with contact information on all tenants.
Failure to comply with the new policy will result in a $200 fine after 10 days following the second notice, and a $500 fine 10 days after the third notice, along with a series of actions outlined in the new Enforcement Policy adopted in January. The Rental Policy can be viewed as a pdf on the Policies page. All homeowners were recently notified of the new policy by mail.