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.
Public campaign election signs are allowed on a lot prior to a public election and shall be removed within three (3) days after the election.
"We respect people's rights to free speech," said Clay Wright, Secretary of the High Desert Board of Directors. "But we respectfully ask that they be reasonable in doing so. We do ask that all election signs be taken down right after the election."
A campaign sign should be small, placed in the front yard (not in a back yard facing the street), and limited to a single sign.
Twenty Artists Will Open Studios and Show Their Work
The 8th Annual High Desert Studio Tour will take place on Saturday, November 5th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A total of 20 artists will open their studios, display their work and answer questions about their art throughout the Tour.
The Studio Tour is sponsored by the High Desert Welcome Committee as a way to introduce High Desert homeowners to their artistic neighbors. Thea Berg, homeowner and Chair of the Committee (photo, at right) oversees the Tour.
No Studio Tour signs will be displayed in High Desert on November 5, but purple balloons will highlight each address.
Click here to see a list of artists and a map of the tour.
"It takes more than one hundred volunteers to keep High Desert functioning," Tom Murdock, President of the High Desert Board of Directors, told new homeowners recently at a Welcome Committee Wine and Cheese party. He urged each newcomer to consider representing their village as a Voting Member of Alternate Member and to consider serving on one of the numerous High Desert Committees. (To see a list of Volunteer Opportunities, click here.)
The Financial Oversight Committee (FOG) is seeking one new member. This committee reviews all expenditures by the association and recommends ways to cut costs. The Committee meets once monthly and is currently chaired by Dr. Jim Cole, Treasurer of the Board of Directors. FOG was formed two years ago and has saved the association thousands of dollars through its recommendations.
Also seeking one addtional member is the High Desert Modifications Committee under the chairmanship of Fred Gorenz. The Modifications Committee consists of three to five members appointed by the Board of Directors and is responsible for ensuring that all modifications to existing structures in High Desert conform to the standards and guidelines set forth in the CC&Rs and Guidelines for Sustainability. To indicate your interest in serving on the Modifications Committee, please complete the “Statement of Interest Form for the Modifications Committee” found on the Official Forms page.
The Contracts Committee is seeking one new member as well. The Contracts Committee works on behalf of the Board of Directors to conduct competitive procurements for the major contracts of the Association, such as landscaping, security and property management. Recommendations for award of contracts are made to the Board of Directors. Click to see a pdf of the Contracts Committee Charter.
The Welcome Committee is seeking to replace its co-chairs Maddy and John Shelton who have served for several years. The High Desert Welcome Committee works to develop and implement a process to welcome all new High Desert residents to our community. The group periodically holds a wine and cheese party for new residents. Click to see a pdf of the Welcome Committee Charter document.
Voting Members and Alternates Needed!
There are a number of Villages that currently do not have the full quota of Voting Members and Alternate Members representing them. Voting Members are elected by the members of each Village in alternating years to represent the interests of their Village and to cast votes on its behalf for the annual election of Directors and other important matters that come before the Association. To see if your village needs Voting Members of Alternates, click here to go to a list of Voting Members for each village. To indicate your interest in becoming a Voting Member, please complete the “Statement of Interest Form for Voting Members OR Alternate Members” found on the Official Forms page. For information about the duties of Voting Members, go to the Policies page and the first item on the page "Voting Member Information."
It was a perfect fall evening at the home of Maddy and John Shelton September 9 as the Welcoming Committee and Board Members greeted new High Desert residents at the semi-annual Wine and Cheese Party. This was Maddie and John's final party as they step down this month as Chairs of the Welcome Committee after several years. Tom Murdock, President of the High Desert Board of Directors, thanked the Sheltons for all their work and presented them with a gift certificate, saying "Dinner is on us." The Board is actively seeking a new Chair of the committee.
For more photos of new homeowners, click here.
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) .
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.
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.