Welcome to the High Desert Residential Owners Association     Albuquerque, New Mexico

 Holiday lights

Photo: Holidays in High Desert, by Steve Hamm

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.

December Snow

snow in high desert
Snow began falling with giant flakes late Saturday night, December 13. High Desert residents woke up Sunday morning to several inches on the ground and heavy snow clouds covering the Sandias. This photo was taken at the corner of Imperata Street and Academy Road. 

Four Positions Open on Board of Directors for April Election:
Interested Residents Should Submit Statement of Interest by Feb. 21, 2015

By Dr. Jim Cole ll, Nominating Committee Chair 

Four of the seven seats on the High Desert Residential Owners Association (HDROA) Board of Directors are up for election this coming April and the Nominating Committee is seeking candidates interested in filling those positions which are two-year terms. 

Interested High Desert homeowners are encouraged to complete a Statement of Interest form (see links below)  and submit it to Sarah Hoey at the HOAMCO office. Those residents interested in serving on the Nominating Committee should submit the form by January 9, 2015.  Those residents interested in serving on the Board of Directors should submit the form by February 21, 2015.
Elections will be held at the Voting Members Annual Meeting on April 23, 2015. The Board of Directors terms are staggered with positions opening every year in April. The terms of the current directors expiring in April 2015 are:
• Alfredo Diaz
• Mary Kurkjian
• Tom Kilroy
• Clay Wright

General Requirements
The general requirements to serve as a Board Member are:
• Shall have resided in High Desert as a homeowner for at least six months prior to the election.
• Shall not have any hearings or appeals before the Board, the New Construction Committee or Modifications Committee, nor have any legal actions pending against the Association or its officers.
• Shall not be more than 60 days delinquent in the payment of assessments or other charges due the Association.
• Shall not have been removed as a Director by the Voting Members or the Board within the previous two years.

Time Commitment
The time commitment for a Board Member averages between 10 and 30 hours monthly depending upon committee involvement and position held. The President, Vice-President and Treasurer positions will require time on the upper end of the time range. The Board elects its officers annually, following the regular election of Board members in April

Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee will then review all Statements of Interest and schedule interviews during March. A slate of candidates will then be presented to the Voting Members at their meeting on April 23, 2015. 

Statement of Interest Forms
If you are interested in serving either on the Board or on the Nominating Committee, fill out the Statement of Interest form pdf and mail to the HOAMCO office at 10555 Montgomery NE, Building 1, Suite 100, Allbuquerque, NM 87111, or fill it out online by clicking here.


Andreas Birk is New Heads Up Site Manager for High Desert
Andreas BirkHeads 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. 

Typical Day
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. 

Snow Removal in High Desert
By Sarah Hoey
High Desert Community Manager

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 high desert snowy streetsstatus 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.

6th Annual High Desert Studio Tour Is Another Success


studio Tour visitors

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. 

The Tour is sponsored by the High Desert Welcome Committee. Committee member Thea Berg (shown above, second from right, with visitors)  coordinated the Tour again this year, finding artists, designing the Tour cards and arranging publicity. The Welcome Committee sponsors the tour as a way to encourage homeowners to meet their artists neighbors and see the artistic talent within the community.

For more photos of the November 8 Studio Tour, click here.


Homeowners Review New Preliminary Landscape Master Plan
At Open House November 6
Group at Open House
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 posterponds. 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.

Voting Members Elect New Chairperson, Discuss Estate Sales, and Hear Reports at Regular Quarterly Meeting October 23, 2014

Thea Berg and kari Stevenson
Voting Members re-elected Kari Stevenson as their Chairperson at their regular quarterly meeting October 23, 2014. The vote was unanimous and no other members were nominated. As Chairperson, Kari (seen in photo standing on the right, with homeowner Thea Berg on the left), will conduct the quarterly meetings and act as a liaison between Voting Members and the High Desert Board of Directors.

Estate Sales
Voting Members were asked by Board President Tom Murdock to consider how High Desert should respond to future requests to hold estate sales in the community. The Guidelines do not specifically prohibit estate sales, Tom told Voting Members. Permission has been granted in the past if there are no signs posted or other external evidence of the sale. Garage sales are never permitted in High Desert. "However," Tom said, "We've had some real traffic and parking issues with recent estate sales which could make it difficult for ambulances and other emergency vehicles to get through." He asked Voting Members to discuss options for holding estate sales with residents in their area and provide feedback to the Board. The Board could prohibit the Estate Sales altogether, allow them just once a year in a central location or grant permission with specific traffic management requirements.

Landscape Assessment Public Presentation November 6 at Holiday Park
Tom told Voting Members that a public presentation of High Desert's new Landscape Assessment plan will be held at Holiday Park Community Center on Thursday, November 6 at 6 p.m., at 11710 Comanche, NE, between Juan Tabo and Tramway. The firm of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini developed the new, updated strategic plan at the Board's request following the presentation of the Landscape Committee's Assessment Report (see story and report below). Homeowners can see the plan, drawings and diagrams during the first part of the presentation. A formal question and answer period will follow. The entire Public Presentation will last about two and a half hours.

Voting Members were asked by the Board to encourage their neighbors to take the High Desert 2014 Resident Survey (see story below). So far, Tom said, just a few dozen homeowners have taken this survey compared to about 240 completing the last survey. "Those are some dismal numbers when you realize we have more than 1600 houses in High Desert," he said. The survey provides valuable information for management and the Board, he added.

Financial Report
Treasurer Mary Kurkjian presented the Financial Report to Voting Members saying the Master Association is running a "bigger than expected" surplus this month due to a $9000 payment from the NM Gas Company for permission to build a gas line on the property. Landscape and professional services have also run less than budgeted, she said, although gated communities have had somewhat higher landscape costs. "It will even out over time," she added.

Collection of outstanding accounts has stabilized, Mary noted. "We've cleared three of our foreclosures," she said. She noted that High Desert has a delinquency rate of less than four percent. Some associations in the city have delinquency rates as high as 20 percent.

Mary also heads up the Communications Committee and made a brief report to Voting Members explaining the new email service (see story below). Emails on pertinent subjects are sent to homeowners who specifically provide their email addresses for that purpose. "This is totally separate from the information you provide HOAMCO," Mary said. "We plan to send out just one email per month so that we aren't overloading everyone." So far, she said, the committee is "very pleased" with the success of the new service and has 628 email addresses on their list.

Studio Tour
Voting Members were reminded that the 2014 High Desert Studio Tour will be held on November 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Chairperson Thea Berg was on hand with Studio Tour cards for homeowners with information about the tour.


Homeowners May Sign Up Now For New Email List To Receive Association Updates & News
mailchimp sign-up page

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.


Welcome Committee Holds Wine & Cheese Party for New Homeowners

The High Desert Welcome Committee held its semi-annual Wine & Cheese party Friday night, September 26, to welcome all new residents to the community. The party was hosted by Maddy and John Shelton, Co-Chairmen of the Committee, at their home in The Highlands. The group enjoyed wine, cheese, crackers and fruit while meeting members of the Board of Directors and the Welcome Committee. Dave Bentley, Vice President of the Board, spoke briefly to the assembled group. He explained how High Desert is governed and encouraged the new residents to volunteer on one of the numerous High Desert committees. Ray Berg, who heads up the park, trail and highway cleanup projects, also spoke to the new homeowners about upcoming events.  Thea Berg, a member of the Welcome Committee, talked about the committee's November Studio Tour set for November 8, 2014.

Wine & Cheese partySheltonswine & cheese party
First photo, top left, includes Kathy Mengoni, Dave Bentley, Rick Mengoni and Ray Berg.  Kathy and Rick Mengoni are new homeowners in Chamisa Trail.  They moved here from Kansas City but received their degrees in pharmacy from UNM in 1980. "We always wanted to come back here," said Kathy. She and her husband both work as pharmacists at two Walgreens in the Northeast Heights.  Kathy's parents also live in High Desert and have been residents for 15 years.

Jeff and Shelly Johnston (second photo) are new residents in The Aerie and moved here from Tucson in mid-January. Jeff is originally from Canada and Shelly is a native of San Diego.  They chose High Desert because of its low crime rate and easy cycling distance from Jeff's job at CVI Laser Optics.

Linda Lee and Bob Baker (third photo) are building their new house in Wilderness Estates.  "We only have the footings in place so far," Linda Lee said, "But I can't wait to move in."  Originally from New Hampshire and Massachusetts, the couple lived the last 20 years in Florida. Their daughter moved to New Mexico and Linda Lee and Bob decided to move here, too.  "It's just so beautiful," Bob said. "Every day in High Desert is a show. The mountains change all day long." 

Christine and Greg Gan, (fourth photo) moved into their home in Desert Mountain from Denver in July.  Greg is a physician at UNM Cancer Center and Christine is a scientist. 

Lower photo, far right: Maddy and John Shelton are co-chairmen of the Welcome Committee.

High Desert Neighborhood Watch Groups Participate in 
'National Night Out Against Crime' August 5

Chamis Trail National Night OutNational Night Out CanyonsNational Night Out Aerie
Several Neighborhood Watch groups in High Desert took to the street Tuesday night, August 5th, as they participated in 'National Night Out Against Crime.'  Block Captains in Chamisa Trail (photo 1), Canyons (photo 2) and Aerie (photo 3) organized block parties for their groups, bringing neighbors together for food and conversation.

Neighborhood Watch is one of the oldest crime prevention programs in the country, uniting citizens  with law enforcement to deter crime and make communities safer. National Night Out is traditionally held the first Tuesday in August.  Neighborhood groups (including Neighborhood Watch) are encouraged to turn on their porch lights, hold block parties and meet their neighbors in an effort to discourage crime and encourage a sense of community.

In Chamisa Trail,  Diane Goodwin and Barbara Towers are Co-Captains for 24 houses on High Ridge and Sandia Ridge. They organized their Neighborhood Watch group in 2011 with a meeting that included an Albuquerque Police Department officer who discussed ways to prevent crime. The group received two Neighborhood Watch signs for the street.  "We meet about three times a year," said Diane.  "We have roster of members and we meet for brunch periodically to welcome new people."  She said the neighborhood as had no problems with crime since the group was established.  "It helps that we all know each other," she said.  "We look after each other, especially when people leave on vacation."

Mike Redding has been the Block Captain for the Canyons Neighborhood Watch group for the last 10 years.  His group includes all 44 homes in the gated community.  "We need more Block Captains here," he said. Canyons homeowner Joan Schueller helped organize the event held in the Canyons cul-de-sac Tuesday night. About 40 residents attended. "This is such a nice neighborhood," she said.  "We have luncheons for the ladies once a month, we get together in the evenings to play Bunco, and at Christmas we always have a potluck." Crime has stayed low in the Canyons for past decade, she added.

Another party took place over in The Aerie at the home of David and Anne Wimsatt.  Anne is the Block Captain for her Neighborhood Watch group which includes homes throughout the village. She established her group 10 years ago.  "We have about 75 homes in this Neighborhood Watch," she said.  "The participation is very encouraging."

High Desert homeowners are encouraged by the association to establish Neighborhood Watch groups in their neighborhood.  Interested homeowners should contact High Desert homeowner Hugh Barlow, Crime Prevention Liaison, at 550-0916 or barlow.hugh@gmail.com for information.

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 eenews@comcast.net 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.


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