|After the Storm|
After the weekend's gusty storm, High Desert residents woke Monday to cloudy skies and a scattering of snow on the ground. But by late morning, the sun broke through. Steve Hamm took this photo just as the clouds parted and the snowy, majestic Sandias became visible.
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.
Wind and Cold Doesn't Stop Studio Tour 2013 Success:
Photo Above: Studio Tour 2013 Coordinator Thea Berg (second from right) shows two visitors samples of her beaded jewelry at her home in The Overlook during the High Desert Studio Tour on Saturday, November 23. With her is (left to right) Ray Berg, Debbie Gunderson (Desert Mountain), and Cathy Weis, far right. For more photos showing the work of High Desert artists, click on the link below.
Despite the storm that rolled into New Mexico on Saturday and swept High Desert with snow, very cold temperatures and high winds, the 2013 Studio Tour attracted dozens of visitors eager to see the work of artists and craftsman in the community.
"We had a cheerful crowd, laughing about the wind and the cold," said Thea. She estimated that about 60-70 people arrived at her house throughout the day.
The Welcome Committee sponsors the Annual Studio Tour in High Desert each year. The Studio Tour is an event that encourages residents to meet their artist neighbors and helps to foster community participation among homeowners.
High Desert artists can choose to contribute a portion of any sales they made during this year’s tour to the charity Paws and Stripes. The organization trains service dogs for veterans.
The Welcome Committee is already planning to sponsor the 6th Annual Studio Tour next autumn. Thea said the Tour is always looking for any new High Desert artists or craftspeople interested in participating. Contact Thea at: email@example.com.
For more photos of the Studio Tour, click here.
High Desert Board Elections Set For Next April:
Statement of Interest Forms Due February 22, 2014
By Tom Kilroy, Nominating Committee Chair
New Volunteer Opportunities Statement of Interest Available to Homeowners
|High Desert homeowners interested in volunteering for committees or activities have a simpler way to make their interest known. They may now fill out a new Volunteer Opportunities Statement of Interest and submit it to a central clearinghouse for High Desert volunteer activities. The clearinghouse will be maintained by HOAMCO. Sarah Hoey, Community Association Manager and Rita Stafford, Managerial Assistant, will receive the forms and distribute the volunteer’s information to committee chairs for follow-up. This will help assure that no expression of interest gets overlooked. |
While there has been a formal process for volunteering for the “statutory” committees and elected positions at High Desert (Board of Directors, Voting Member, New Construction Committee, Modifications Committee, and Nominating Committee), it has always been an informal process for those who wanted to volunteer for the many other opportunities to help the community. The new procedure will provide a reliable way to engage those who would like to help out with these committees:
• Welcome Committee
• Community Events (including Opera) Committee
• Landscape Advisory Committee
• Park, Trail and Tramway Cleanup
• Communications Committee
• Contracts Committee
The new Statement of Interest asks potential volunteers for contact information and to list experience, education and/or background that might prove useful.
Volunteers can still contact Committee Chairs directly to discuss volunteer opportunities, if they prefer. For a list of Committees and Chairs see the Volunteer Opportunities page.
“This new procedure will be a useful way to keep an ongoing list of volunteers, their skills and all contact information for easy access by Committee Chairs, the Board of Directors, and management,” said Sarah. “High Desert relies on volunteers and having a central updated registry of names and interests should prove very helpful in matching the needs of committees to our volunteers.”
The new Statement of Interest can be found by on the Official Forms page (scroll to Statement of Interest for Volunteer Opportunities) and downloaded as a pdf, or filled out and submitted online.
Voting Members Encouraged to Consider Serving on Nominating Committee
Board President Tom Murdock asked Voting Members at their quarterly meeting Thursday, Oct. 24, to consider serving on 2014 Nominating Committee. The Committee, headed by Board Director Tom Kilroy, is responsible for interviewing candidates for the Board of Directors, and presenting a slate of nominees to Voting Members at their Annual Meeting next spring.
“This is one of the most important committees we have,” Tom (shown standing in photo) told Voting Members. Any member of the Association can serve on the Committee, he noted. Interested homeowners should contact Tom Kilroy at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete a Board or Nominating Committee Statement of Interest
Tom Murdock also introduced Fred Gorenz, the new Modifications Committee Chair, from Desert Highlands. Tom talked to Voting Members about recent membership changes in the Modifications Committee and noted that the committee is presently seeking one additional member. The Modifications Committee reviews all requests for modifications, additions and alterations to existing High Desert homes each month. Fred told Voting Members that any homeowner may serve on the committee, adding that they are especially interested in anyone with an architectural background. Interested homeowners should fill out a Statement of Interest.
Voting Members heard a presentation by Matt Piccarello, a representative from Nextdoor.com, a neighborhood social network site that is currently used by two villages in High Desert. The Board is not officially adopting use of the site, but Tom encouraged Voting Members to see if it might meet their neighborhood’s communication needs. The password-protected site is free, offers a private way for neighbors to contact each other and communicate within an email list. Neighbors can use the email list to notify each other about break-ins, lost animals and neighborhood events.
David Wimsatt, Voting Member from the Aerie, said his village uses Nextdoor.com and was able to get more than half of the neighborhood to attend the recent National Night Out block party in August. “We’ve never been able to get more than seven families to attend before, “ he said. “We were also able to let people know quickly about a wandering bear in the neighborhood recently.”
Matt noted that the website was built with venture capital and will include non-specific advertising in the future. He said participants will not be “bombarded” with advertising. “This site is user-driven,” he said. “It can serve as a virtual Neighborhood Watch and be used as a tool for owners to meet and get to know their neighbors.”
Blueprints of High Desert Homes
Tom asked Voting Members to determine a way to distribute nearly 600 blueprints and other housing documents to any High Desert homeowner who wishes to obtain their own home documents. The documents have been stored for many years at a facility charging $2,200 annually. The material was used by High Desert developers, and later the New Construction Committee (NCC) to consider new housing projects in the community. “We don’t need to store this material any longer,” he said. “But we don’t want to just recycle them.” All future submissions to the NCC will be in electronic form, he said, so the storage facility rental can be ended. The documents are very large and bulky and cannot be mailed except at great cost to the association. “Perhaps we can have a series of open houses at the HOAMCO office, by village,” he said. “Owners who wish to pick up blueprints and documents pertaining to their home could simply stop in and pick them up.” The blueprints do not have personal information on them, he added, but may be of use to original or subsequent owners of High Desert homes.
Voting Members were presented with the Financial Report. Tom, on behalf of Mary Kurkjian, Treasurer (who was away on business), noted that association fee payment delinquencies are very low (2-3 percent) and that reserves are healthy. An audit of High Desert accounting was completed for the fiscal year 2012-13 by Thad Porch, CPA, and the report was distributed to Voting Members. Voting Members also learned that the Board has hired a consultant to update the Reserve Study for the Master Association and all seven Gated Villages. This study is performed every two years. The reserve study reviews all major assets of the association that require maintenance and replacement in order to determine how much funding is needed over time to meet those needs. The consultant, Great Boards, was on-site in mid-October. Completed studies are expected early next year.
Lynn Claffy, Contracts Committee Chair, told Voting Members that her committee is in the process of seeking a professional landscape architect company to help design a long term landscape plan for High Desert. Added Tom, “We want a strategic vision prepared by a landscape architect firm that is familiar with public landscaping.”
High Desert's New Office on Montgomery Highlighted at HOAMCO Open House in October
Spain Road Construction Ongoing Through November
|High Desert owners that regularly drive on Spain Road should be aware of construction between Juan Tabo and Tramway which began in early October and should last through the end of November. The road will be resurfaced and restriped and work includes curb and signal modifications. Click here to download a pdf of the construction details.|
This project will modify a few hundred feet of Spain Road, east of Tramway inside High Desert. This will impact the landscaping and irrigation in the median which will be repaired in cooperation with the High Desert Residential Owners Association using its landscaper, Heads Up. The cost of remediation of the landscaping and irrigation will be paid by the city.
Welcome Committee Seeks New Chair and Members
|The High Desert Welcome Committee is currently seeking a new chairperson and additional committee members. Co-Chairs Thea Berg and Susan Gall are stepping down after several years of leading the committee. Thea will remain Chair of the committee’s 2013 Studio Tour, however, which is set for Saturday, November 23. If needed, she will remain as the Chairperson to assist the new Chair in the transition over the next several months, she said. |
The Welcome Committee is charged with welcoming all new residents to High Desert. To that end, the committee holds two Wine & Cheese parties each year at the home of a committee member. Invitations are sent to new homeowners and each receives a Welcome Bag that includes a jar of locally made salsa, an Albuquerque Vacation Guide, a general information booklet about High Desert, a packet of wildflower seeds, a newsletter and any other pertinent information the committee wants to include.
“The committee has the freedom to change and add any activities they agree on to the schedule,” said Thea. “It all depends on how creative and busy the members would like to be.” She noted that any new decisions made by the committee are subject to approval by the High Desert Board of Directors.
The Welcome Committee also holds an annual Studio Tour which highlights High Desert artists. The Tour is a chance for residents to meet their artist neighbors and attend a local event within the community.
Anyone interested in joining or chairing the High Desert Welcome Committee can contact Thea Berg at email@example.com, or current members Nancy Coleman, firstname.lastname@example.org or Joan Newsom at email@example.com.
Record Number of Newcomers Attend September Wine & Cheese Party
Pola and Abraham Lichtmacher, new residents of Trillium; Clay Wright, HDROA Board of Directors Secretary; Mary Cockerham, new resident of Overlook; David Bentley, HDROA Board of DIrectors Vice President; Bob Cockerham, Overlook; and Ray Berg, Landscape Advisory Chair. Photo by Steve Hamm.
A record number of 30 new High Desert residents were welcomed to the community at the September 20th Wine & Cheese party held by the High Desert Welcome Committee at the home of Joan and Hort Newsom. Also attending the party were three members of the HDROA Board of Directors and their spouses and six members of the Welcome Committee.
The High Desert Welcome Committee is chaired by Thea Berg. She and her committee members hold Wine & Cheese parties twice a year to welcome all new residents to the community.
"This was the biggest turn-out yet," said Thea. "Everyone seemed to be having a great time. Some of the new residents were able to meet up with new friends, and some of the welcome committee members had an opportunity to talk with new residents from their own neighborhood."
Sarah Hoey Assumes Full-Time Duties As Community Association Manager for High Desert
|Sarah Hoey transitioned to full-time duties as High Desert's new Community Association Manager on Monday, September 16. |
She was appointed in August by HOAMCO, High Desert's property management company, and has been working with Paul Skojec, HOAMCO's Executive Director of Client Services in NM, to transfer her previous HOAMCO portfolio and assume full High Desert management responsibilities.
Sarah was an internal HOAMCO applicant with more than eight years of experience in the homeowners association (HOA) industry.
Sarah may be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NCC Updates Guidelines for Sustainability For Estate and Premier Homes
|By Mary Kurkjian, Chair, Communications Committee |
The New Construction Committee (NCC) has published an updated version of the architectural requirements for the Estate and Premier villages in High Desert. Last published in March 2003, the Guidelines for Sustainability are the foundation for all exterior design and modifications of the homes in High Desert.
Click here to see the August 15, 2013 Revised Guidelines for Sustainability for Estate and Premier Homes, or go to the Governing Documents page and scroll to "Guidelines for Sustainability."
The Guidelines were developed at the time of original construction of the High Desert community in 1995 and were last updated in 2003. The New Construction Committee is chartered under the Association’s governing documents with writing and interpreting the Guidelines. Under the leadership of the former chair of the NCC, Ray Berg, the Committee undertook a major re-write of the Estate and Premier Guidelines to bring them up to date with our current construction standards and to make them more readable.
NCC member Russ Welsch told the recent Voting Members meeting that the Guidelines have been updated, but not really changed. “We have published a few specific updates to the Guidelines over the past couple years, but essentially the requirements have not changed. We hope that this complete update will allow members to find what they need quicker and with greater clarity.”
Changes included removing the two-column format, which was confusing and duplicative. The Table of Contents was made more complete and accurate. The committee also removed all references to the original developer, High Desert Investment Corporation and replaced them with the Board, NCC or Modifications Committee (MC), as appropriate. They also reordered some sections to collect similar topics together. The Prohibited Plant List, which applies to both Estate and Builder villages, was placed in a separate document by reference so that it can be easily updated and accessed. Provisions that duplicated city, state or federal laws were removed.
Most importantly, the document incorporates the updates that were previously made to the sections on mechanical and solar equipment; mailboxes; lighting; exterior artwork; and screens, shades and accessory structures.
Builder Guidelines To Be Updated
The NCC will be updating the entire Guidelines document for the Builder villages in the next few months as a parallel document to the Estate and Preview Guidelines. In the meantime, the guidelines for mechanical and solar equipment and for exterior artwork were updated at the same time as the Estates. The updated guidelines for Screens, Shades and Accessory Structures were just published (see Governing Documents page) and are similar to those for Estates. The guidelines for exterior lighting will also be updated soon and will be similar to those for the Estate and Premier villages.
Policy Clarified for Outdoor Art in High Desert
|New Guidelines for exterior art, including outdoor sculpture, large pots, windchimes, water features and other decorations in High Desert exterior areas have been approved by the Board of Directors and adopted by the New Construction Committee. The policy has not been changed, but clarifications have been added.|
The updated guidelines regulate outdoor art height, color, movement and placement in order to reduce drawing undue attention to the art from other lots, streets and public areas. The new guidelines pertain to Builder, Estate and Premier homes.
To see the guidelines in full, click on a pdf below.
Exterior Art Estate Premier Guidelines
Exterior Art Builder Guidelines
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.
Board Adopts New Policy On Homeowners' Responsibilites for Common Property Wall Maintenance
The High Desert Board of Directors has adopted a new policy outlining homeowners' responsibilities for maintenance of common property walls.
New Form Available for Homeowners to Report CC&R or Common Area Landscaping Concerns
|A new online form is available for High Desert residents concerned that a neighbor's property is not in compliance with governing documents, or that a common area is not being properly maintained.|
The new "Form for Reporting CC&R or Common Area Landscaping Concerns" can be filled out online or downloaded and printed (see link to Official Forms page below).
"As a member of High Desert Residential Owners Association, it is every homeowner's right and responsibility to help ensure that each lot is in compliance with the governing documents," said Sarah Hoey, Community Property Manager. "If there is a property or common area within your village which you feel is failing to uphold these local requirements, you may use the new online form to communicate your concern." She recommended that homeowners first check High Desert documents and policies before filling out the form. The online form asks that, when possible, a specific policy or covenant be cited.
Anonymous reports will not be considered. Your identity will not be divulged to the offending party unless it is needed as evidence in a legal proceeding. Sarah Hoey will provide an email response acknowledging the receipt of your report; however, in accordance with HDROA policies and procedures, the High Desert office cannot share information about violations. Valid violations will be handled in a timely manner in accordance with established HDROA Governing Documents.
Click here to go to the Official Forms page where a form is available for High Desert residents concerned that a neighbor's property is not in compliance with governing documents, or that a common area is not being properly maintained. Scroll down to the bottom of the Official Forms page to see the "Form for Reporting CC&R or Common Area Landscaping Concerns" which can be filled out online and submitted, or downloaded and printed, or filled out on your computer, saved and sent as an attachment.
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. |
Notices & Reminders
To see "Notices and Reminders" for High Desert, click here.