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.
Altezza High Desert Apartments will be resurfacing its asphalt parking lots and entrances from October 4 through October 17. High Desert homeowners traveling on Cortaderia and Imperata Streets should be aware of increased traffic and trucks in the area during those dates. Please note the schedule on the colored legend in the upper left corner of the map. Click on the map to enlarge it.
Apartment parking lots adjacent to Imperata Street will be sealed between October 4 and October 10. Lots adjacent to Coraderia Street will be sealed October 12 and on October 17. The lot highlighted in red will be resurfaced at a later date.
"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.
Called the “Thirty Day Garage Door Pledge,” it also states that “I am taking a pro-active stand as a caring and concerned neighbor to prevent auto theft, residential burglary, auto burglary and the potential for person-on-person violent crime/home invasion by taking a minute or two to alert a neighbor about their open garage door.” The 30-Day Pledge runs from August 29 through September 27, 2016.
The problem is seen throughout High Desert with homeowners either cracking their garage doors to allow ventilation, or accidently leaving them completely open. A burglar can gain access to the garage via a door only open a few inches by using a jack, Jill said. Once inside the garage, burglars can simply open the garage door from inside, stealing vehicles, bicycles, lawn mowers and tools. If the door to the house is unlocked, burglars can enter the home. “I see too many crimes that were preventable that started with accessing open garages and have led in some cases to accessing the home via the garage,” she said.
Christopher Lopez, Community Manager for High Desert, said he receives at least one open garage door report per day. “This is a major problem for the Association,” he said. “Security starts at home and people should never give burglars easy access to their house. An open garage door is an invitation. Don’t make the mistake of inviting a thief inside.”
Board member Clay Wright asked High Desert residents to work together to keep neighborhoods safe. “If you see that your neighbor’s garage door is left open, let them know,” he said. “They may have come home, carried in their groceries and forgotten to close the door. Hours can go by—hours in which a thief can dash inside the garage and steal a bike, a car or even enter the house. Call them—let them know their garage door is open.”
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.
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.
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: email@example.com.
Click here to view a map of the proposed village.
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.