December Snowstorm in High Desert - Photos by Clay Wright, Steve Hamm and Jay Hartfield.
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.
The new rental policy amendment reads as follows:
(Prohibits) Rental of a unit unless it is for a period of six months or greater, and fully complies with the provision of the Rental Policy and Procedures as approved by the Board of Directors. Rental periods of less than six months must be approved in advance in writing by the Board of Directors.
Amending the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) required approval by both Voting Members and the Board. Voting Members, representing 81 percent of homeowners, approved the amendment in November.
The restricted activities of Exhibit D already prohibit operating a timeshare, all garage sales, installation of prohibited antennas, or other objects, raising livestock, obstruction of drainage flow, subdivision of units, parking commercial vehicles, trapping wildlife and destroying vegetation, among others.
The official copy of the amendment was filed with Bernalillo County in early December. Board members approved a detailed rental policy document at their December meeting (see link at bottom of this story). That policy prohibits any rentals in High Desert of less than six months unless approved by the Board. It also requires all homeowners renting their properties to provide the association with contact numbers and information on the renters. Renters must sign a document agreeing to abide by all community rules and regulations. All homeowners were notified by mail. The policy goes into effect February 1, 2016.
Homeowners who continue to rent out their properties for less than 6 months or do not provide management with renter information will be subject to immediate fines. There are an estimated 25 to 30 rental houses in High Desert, some of which are rented for brief periods on internet vacation sites.
“When High Desert was established in the 1990s, timeshares were explicitly prohibited in the Use Restrictions,” said Tom Murdock, president of the High Desert Board. “Nobody anticipated internet rental vacation sites, so there were no provisions against renting out your property for a weekend at a time.” Long-term rentals can cause problems as well, he said. “We don’t know who the renters in High Desert are. If there is a problem or an emergency, who do we call? The owner could live five states away and may not contact us for days. We need to know who lives at a specific address and how we can contact them.”
The Board considered some exceptions to the six month minimum rental rule. Those exceptions might include rentals for active duty military on temporary assignment, visiting professors, rentals to movie or television production companies, home swaps, or others.
Click below to view a pdf of the documents:
First Amendment to the Amended and Restated Declaration of the CC&Rs (Dated November 21, 2015)
High Desert Rental Policy and Procedure. (Adopted December 15, 2015)
These documents can also be viewed on the Governing Documents page and the Board Approved Policies and Procedures page.
Four Positions to Open on HD Board of Directors in April; Nominees Must Submit Statement of Interest by February 12, 2016
By Nancy Winger, Director, HDROA Board of Directors and Chair of the Nominating Committee
I am happy to be chairing this year’s Nominating Committee and plans are being made for the April 2016 High Desert Residential Owners Association Board of Directors election. Opportunities to serve the community are available for High Desert homeowners who are interested in a Board of Directors position.
The Board of Directors:
The seven-member Board of Directors each serve two-year terms, which are staggered with positions opening every year in April. Current directors whose terms will expire in April 2016 are Tom Murdock, Dave Bentley, and Dr. Janet Brierley. A one-year term director position is also open. In order to apply for a Board of Director position, there are some general requirements a High Desert homeowner must be in compliance with.
An applicant for a Board Director position:
- Must have lived in High Desert as a resident for at least six months prior to the election,
- Shall not have any hearings or appeals before the Board, the New Construction Committee, or Modification Committee, nor any legal actions pending against the Association or Association officers,
- Shall not be more than 60 days delinquent in the payment of any assessment or other charge due the Association,
- Shall not have been removed as a Director by the Voting Members or the Board within the prior two years.
The time commitment for a Board Director is also a consideration. The Board meets formally once a month and occasionally in between meetings. Directors’ volunteer time averages between 10-30 hours a month depending on the level of involvement with the Board’s special projects, committee membership, and/or being an elected officer of the Board. The Board elects its own officers annually and shortly after the Voting Members’ April meeting.
Statement of Interest Required
Homeowners who would like to apply for a Board of Directors position need to complete the Statement of Interest form. Click to download the blank Adobe form or complete the Online Submission or fillable Adobe PDF versions of the form. Whichever format is chosen, Board SOIs must be submitted by the February 12, 2016 deadline.
Jim Cole (photo, right) Board Treasurer and coordinator of the contest, presented the iPad to Kim Meyer (photo, left), saying electronic sign-ups increased from 105 households to 304 during the contest period. “If every homeowner signed up for electronic statements,” he said, “the association would save over $5,000 per year in printing and mailing costs.” He said each statement costs an average of $1.75. “We may require everyone to go to electronic statements in the next year or two,” he said, adding there would be exceptions made for homeowners without computers.
Guest speakers at the Voting Member meeting included representatives from HDROA's security patrol company, G4S. Caroline Enos, Voting Member Chair, introduced G4S General Manager Jimmy Ramos and Robert Miller, new Operations Manager, who made a brief presentation on the duties of the G4S patrol in High Desert. “We are there to be a security force in addition to police,“ said Robert. “But we are not the police. We do not arrest, search or detain anyone. We will patrol, observe, go by your residence, document and report unusual activity.” He said the G4S patrol officers are “the eyes and ears for residents,” adding, “and the bad guys know it. We are professional witnesses, we observe and take pictures.”
Jimmy said the contract with High Desert calls for conducting vacation watches of homeowners who ask for the service. He added G4S has recently voluntarily begun spreading salt over icy intersections throughout the community when needed. One Voting Member asked if G4S could do anything about recent vandalism to cluster mail boxes in High Desert. “We have one officer for each eight-hour shift around the clock,” Jimmy replied. “We just can’t be everywhere at once. I would like to see two officers on each end of the community.”
Another guest at the meeting was Chealse Michelini, the new Violations Coordinator for High Desert. She works out of the High Desert/HOAMCO office on Montgomery and began her duties as Violations Coordinator last fall. She told Voting Members that she and Christopher Lopez, Community Association Manager for High Desert, are taking a strong “communications stance” concerning homeowner violations of the rules and regulations in High Desert. “We want to talk with the individual homeowner about their violation and what they can do to get it fixed,” she said. Christopher emphasized that Chealse is “constantly reading and reviewing the High Desert governing documents.” Her role, he said, “is to enforce the governing documents as they are written.”
Dave Bentley, Board Vice-President, presented the regular Board update to Voting Members, noting the new rental policy (see story at top of homepage) is now in effect in High Desert and the new Enforcement Policy, approved at the January meeting, will be used as the guideline for violations. The policy can be viewed as a pdf on the Policies and Procedures page. Scroll to the bottom and click on the Enforcement Policy.
Dave also told Voting Members that all gated communities in High Desert have received new LED lightbulbs in street and park fixtures. Only gated communities are responsible for their street and park lighting while un-gated communities in High Desert fall under the city’s jurisdiction. Christopher said he and the light installer will do a night inspection in early February to determine which bulbs need to be shielded. Some Voting Members expressed concern that the new LED lights were “stark” and “intrusive.” Christopher said shielding should help and they will address all concerns. The lighting is in accordance with High Desert’s guidelines, he added.
Nancy Winger, Board Director and Chair of the Nominating Committee, spoke to Voting Members about the upcoming election of new board members at the April Annual Meeting. Voting Members elect new Board directors from a slate of candidates presented by the Nominating Committee. Nominations can also be presented from the floor at the Annual Meeting. There are three two-year Director terms opening and another 1-year term to fill the office recently vacated by Dave Williams who took a job out of the country. “We are accepting Statements of Interest (SOI) by homeowners now,” she said. “I’d like to encourage all of you to consider running for a director’s position. Being a Voting Member is a good first step. You are all prime candidates.” Homeowners should fill out a Statement of Interest (see story above) and submit it to HOAMCO by the February 12 deadline. The Nominating Committee will review the SOI and schedule an interview with the candidate at the High Desert office on Montgomery.
Jim Cole presented the Financial Report, reviewing the figures distributed to each Voting Member and noting that High Desert is halfway through its fiscal year. “Our replacement reserve balance remains healthy,” he said. “Here at the midpoint of the fiscal year, our association continues to be well-positioned to maintain all our financial concerns.”
Jim said G4S recently asked if a restroom facility could be made available in High Desert so patrol officers do not have to leave the community to find a public restroom. The guardhouse at Trillium has suitable plumbing and the Board has agreed to outfit the building with a basic toilet and sink. “This will not be a rest area or an office for the patrol officers,” he said. “It’s just going to be a restroom for their use as needed.” Currently the guardhouse is not staffed and is used to store bags of salt for icy streets.
Steve Hamm, Chair of the New Construction Committee (NCC), updated Voting Members on the Wilderness Cañon, the final and 25th village under construction in High Desert. “The project is through city permitting and in late February or March we may see construction begin.” He reported while the village was originally proposed without a gate it will probably have one after all. In other matters, Steve said the NCC has been very busy dealing with the 23 houses currently under construction in High Desert.
Following the reports, Caroline opened the floor to discussion which ranged from more concerns about addressing mailbox vandalism to snow removal on sidewalks and streets. One homeowner asked if any progress had been to install video cameras throughout the community. Dave Bentley said Requests for Proposals (RFPs) have recently been sent out to various companies asking for a full evaluation and assessment of distribution of cameras throughout the community. “We are looking at one camera, at least, per village,” he said. The RFPs are coming into HOAMCO now, he said, and will undergo review.
Streets in Un-gated Villages: City’s Responsibility
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 by telephoning 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 status 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.
In addition, HDROA has 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, and all road bridges. They will be made as safe as possible, as soon as it is 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.
Urgent Concerns? Call G4S Patrol
Residents may contact the G4s Patrol with urgent concerns regarding the snow conditions. The patrol number is 485-5658. If there is no answer, leave a message as there may be numerous simultaneous calls to the patrol.
Dozens and dozens of visitors followed the purple balloons Saturday, November 7th as they toured High Desert studios featured in the 7th Annual Studio Tour. Ten High Desert artists and craftsmen opened their homes for the tour with a total of 15 artists displaying their work. The Studio Tour was organized nearly seven years ago by the High Desert Welcome Committee as a way to introduce High Desert homeowners to their artist neighbors. Homeowner Thea Berg coordinates the Studio Tour each year which allows the public to tour the artists’ studios and view their work. Purple balloons marked the homes open on the tour.
" The wind and cold this year didn't seem to stop visitors from coming by," said Thea. " We had a very good turn-out at our house. The positive and upbeat attitude of our customers was wonderful and we enjoyed visiting with old and new friends."
Photo, top, left to right: Visitors Sandy Culler and Joan Eddy (both from 4-Hills) examine jewlery made by Thea Berg, coordinator of the High Desert Studio, at Saturday's event.
By Steve Hamm, New Construction Committee Chair
High Desert’s final and 25th village is in the planning stage now. Wilderness Cañon is the village’s name.
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 Mr. Scott Schiabor from Scott Patrick Homes and Mesa Verde Development Corporation along with Panorama Homes owned by Mr. John Lowe.
The New Construction Committee (NCC) worked with the developer for over three months to assure the plans were in compliance with the High Desert Guidelines for Sustainability – Builder Homes. The final plans were approved for compliance by the NCC on August 20, 2015. The High Desert Board Of Directors also approved the proposed development plans shortly thereafter.
Additional steps in the approval process rest with the city of Albuquerque. The plans were reviewed and approved by the city’s Development Review Board on October 21st, and various city department’s requirements must be met in order for permits to be issued. Additionally, there are legal steps to register the 19 individual “lots” and village common property with the county.
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, but no gate will be installed at the entry. See map above of the village.
If the city permits are obtained this fall, construction would begin with several months of infrastructure work of roads, utilities, and walls, followed by construction of the first houses next spring. The NCC will monitor the construction process for compliance with the Guidelines.
Christopher Lopez, High Desert’s Community Association Manager, can be reached at 314-5862 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to answer any questions by homeowners.
Have you recently taken a good scenic photo in High Desert? Want to share it on the website? We're always eager to run High Desert photos taken by residents. Submit your photo (in jpeg form at 72 dots per inch) to email@example.com and we'll post it here. Don't forget to let us know where you took it in High Desert (village or street). We'll try to get it up as soon as possible.
We also are looking for good photos of any wildlife in High Desert. If you have one, send it on. We'll post it on the Wildlife in High Desert page.
Photo of Lauda Miles Medara Memorial Park by Tom Kilroy..
The High Desert Welcome Committee entertained new homeowners at its regular semi-annual Wine & Cheese Party September 11 at the home of John and Maddy Shelton, Co-Chairs, in the Highlands. Twice a year, the Welcome Committee, under the leadership of the Sheltons, welcomes new homeowners to the community with an evening of wine, cheese and conversation, along with a short talk by the president of the Board of Directors. Tom Murdock, current president, explained how the governing of High Desert is structured. He also encouraged the newcomers to consider volunteering for one of the many different committees now operating in High Desert and to participate in activities and projects throughout the year.
Photo, far left: Camille and Babu Singaraju moved into their new home in Sunset Ridge in June. They have been longtime residents of Albuquerque and found their High Desert home after deciding to move to a single-story house. "We've found everyone here very welcoming," Babu said.
Photo, immediate left: Bob and Susan Allardice moved into Pinon Point July 1st. They last lived in Washington but decided to move here in order to be closer to their two grown daughters. Bob is a retired Air Force pilot and he and Susan own and operate a consulting business. Bob said they looked for a home with low maintenance and easy access to the mountains. "In Washington," he said, "I had to drive an hour to get to a trail. Here in High Desert, it's just a few blocks away."
Want to check the High Desert website with your smartphone or tablet? Recent enhancements of the system make viewing easier than ever, with individual "pages" scaled properly and menu items appearing at the top right corner of the page.
The new responsive design won't change how the High Desert website appears on a normal width desktop screen-- but on a smartphone, pages should scale properly and allow for easier and more intuitive navigation. Tapping the 'menu' button at the top right will drop down the High Desert website's normal menu items. Simply make a selection and go on to the next section. Each page of this website will have a 'home' button in the menu as well, making it easy to return to the main page.
The High Desert website content is maintained by HDROA which contracts with NORD Enterprises, a professional services firm that specializes in homeowner association websites.
Photo by Steve Hamm
In a recent article in the Apache Plume newsletter, columnist and homeowner Margo Murdock wrote about diagnosing problems in your garden. She provided a number of examples and directed readers to go the website to read more.
Click here to see Margo's Apache Plume article: "Diagnosing Your Landscape Gardening Problems."
For examples of those problems see her article: "Problem Diagnosis: Examples."
To see other articles by Margo, visit the Plants and Gardening 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.
Notices & Reminders
To see "Notices and Reminders" for High Desert, click here.