Welcome to the High Desert Residential Owners Association     Albuquerque, New Mexico
 
Vandals Destroy High Desert Property—Cut Irrigation Lines, Destroy Lights, Gate
 


Vandals have struck High Desert again --cutting irrigation lines, destroying outdoor lightboxes, and damaging a pedestrian gate, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage to the association. The latest series of destructive events took place in mid-November following earlier vandalism to irrigation lines in September and October.
 
According to Christopher Lopez, Community Association Manager, the latest vandalism occurred at the High Desert monument sign located on Tramway, just south of Spain.  He listed the damage:
  1. All of the irrigation lines have been pulled out of the ground and cut. (see photo at left)
  2. All of the monument lights have been decapitated and destroyed beyond repair. (see photo above)
  3. Valve cover boxes have been tampered/removed and all irrigation shut off.
  4. Pedestrian gate at Osito Court (the service gate for Heads Up Landscape, High Desert’s landscape company)has been damaged. The gate may have been the entry point for the vandals.
“The fact that someone would do something like this to our property is unconscionable,” said High Desert Board Director and Secretary Clay Wright. 
 
cut irrigation linesTom Murdock, Board President, said the destruction creates a very hazardous situation for homeowners. Cutting the power lines to the monument lights exposed live wires that remained dangerous until Conway Electric was called out to repair them.  In addition, the damage to irrigation lines and valve boxes could result in the loss of thousands of dollars of plants. “The Board is unanimous in using every measure available to us to find these people,” Tom said.  “Once we do, we will apply the full extent of the law.”

This latest spree of vandalism follows five earlier separate events when vandals turned off irrigation pumps, reset irrigation timers, and shut off power to electrical meters on High Desert property.

The first instance of vandalism was discovered a few weeks ago when an anonymous resident called G4S Security to report that they saw and confronted a woman (no description given) tampering with the irrigation system on Cortaderia. The woman claimed she worked for Heads Up but could not provide any information to support her claim. She was gone by the time G4S, High Desert’s contracted security company, arrived on the scene.  Patrol officers discovered the heavy metal cover protecting the irrigation valves was lifted and the valves switched off, cutting the water supply to the entire area.

A few days later, a resident reported they found three in-ground irrigation valve box covers removed near the pocket park on Spain and High Desert. Heads Up was dispatched to the area and discovered the valves had been manually shut off.

Then, on October 30 another tip was given to G4S about a few suspicious people loitering around the irrigation control valves on the southwest corner of Spain and Tramway. Upon arrival, G4S discovered the large metal cover for the irrigation had been removed and the valves turned off. Heads Up was called and crew members turned the valves back on and replaced the cover. The following day,  Heads Up discovered the power to the irrigation timers for all of the Spain irrigation had been shut off and the large metal irrigation valve covers removed again at Spain and Tramway. Conway Electric was dispatched and discovered the electrical meter had been pried open and tampered with. Heads Up turned the valves back on and replaced the cover.

“The motive for the vandalism is unknown,” said Christopher,  “but we believe this behavior has been deliberate and not just a few random acts. We have added locks to the electrical meters and will be adding locks to the irrigation boxes as well. The vandalism has been reported to the Albuquerque Police Department and G4S Security will be keeping a closer eye on these areas.”
 
Those who spot any suspicious activity should also contact the police department (505-242-2677) and G4S Security (505-485-5658).
 
 


8th Annual High Desert Studio Tour is Another Success


Photo above: Artist Mary Martin works on a painting of her husband Bill Freer during the Studio Tour on November 5. Bill is also an artist, specializing in sculptures.

Despite overcast skies and chilly temperatures, the 8th Annual Studio Tour drew scores of visitors as High Desert artists and craftsmen opened their studios Saturday, November 5, 2016.

“We had a nice turnout,” said organizer Thea Berg. Thea has been the driving force behind the Studio Tour for the last eight years.  The High Desert Welcome Committee sponsors the tour as a way for homeowners to meet their artist neighbors.

This year 20 artists and craftsmen displayed their work in 13 High Desert homes. Visitors saw painting studios, silversmiths at work, fiber artists and a variety of jewelry.
 


Voting Members Urged to Consider Volunteering for Nominating Committee

Voting Members were urged to consider joining the Nominating Committee at their quarterly meeting October 27.  Dr. Janet Brierley, 2017 Nominating Committee Chair and member of the Board of Directors, spoke to Voting Members concerning the 2017 April election when four Directors’ positions will be opening.  Voting Members will consider a slate of officers presented by the Nominating Committee and vote to select the new Directors.  Nominations will also be considered from the floor.

“Please consider joining the Nominating Committee,” she said.  “We will be interviewing homeowners who express an interest in running for the Board.  After the interviews are conducted, we will meet to put together a slate for April’s election.”  Anyone interested in joining the Nominating Committee should fill out a Statement of Interest, she said. Click here to see and submit a Volunteer Opportunities Statement of Interest.

The following Directors’ terms are ending in April: Clay Wright, Nancy Winger, Dr. Jim Cole II and Brett Rayman. Homeowners interested in running for a Board position may fill out a Statement of Interest at any time. They will be contacted by a member of the Nominating Committee and an interview will be arranged.

Committee Reports:

Tom Murdock, President of the Board of Directors, presented the Board Update to Voting Members, saying all villages now have their own Voting Members for the first time ever.  In the past, one or two villages had no volunteers interested in becoming a Voting Member, but September’s election resulted in all positions filled. Tom’s comment was met with a round of applause.

Tom also told Voting Members that Margo Murdock has been appointed by the Board as Interim Landscape Advisor Committee Chair while long-term Chair Ray Berg recovers from a hiking accident. Margo, in turn, updated Voting Members on the recent activities of the Landscape Committee, saying members are surveying High Desert entrances to see how best to replace dying plants and open areas where plants were previously removed.  She also asked Voting Members to consider joining the Landscape Committee.  “We are looking for new members,” she said.  “We’d especially like anyone with commercial landscaping experience or landscape design.”  Interested homeowners should fill out and submit a Volunteer Opportunities Statement of Interest.

The Financial Report was presented by Dr. Jim Cole II, Treasurer for the Board of Directors. Voting Members had received copies of the Treasurer’s Report prior to the meeting which he reviewed in detail.   Dr. Cole noted that an independent auditor had favorably reviewed High Desert’s financial status and submitted a 14-page report to the Board in August. Interested homeowners can review the report at the High Desert office, he said. 

Additionally, Dr. Cole told Voting Members that several separate reserve accounts in banks throughout the country will be moved to Albuquerque’s Bank of the West.  “This will allow the Board immediate access to reports and important information,” he said.
 
Clay Wright, Board Secretary and Chair of the Communications Committee, reported that the website’s Volunteer Opportunities page was recently updated and several separate Volunteer Opportunities Statement of Interest forms were consolidated to one single form.  “This makes it much easier for homeowners to navigate,” he said.

Lynn Claffy, Chair of the Contracts Committee, said the committee will begin review of security companies as its next project in a month or two.  The Contracts Committee reviews one significant High Desert contract each year, alternating among landscape, management and security contracts.  The Committee recently reviewed the management contract and recommended retaining HOAMCO.
 


High Desert Doesn't Run Without Volunteers-- We Need Your Help!
Four High Desert Committees and nine Villages are actively seeking volunteers this month.  Homeowners interested in serving their community should  fill out a  Volunteer Opportunities Statement of Interest.

"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 information about the duties of Voting Members, go to the Policies page and the first item on the page "Voting Member Information."  


Perfect Weather for September's Welcome Committee Party

Sheltons




















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.


Wilderness Cañon Update
August 15, 2016:
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 highdesertmanager@hoamco.net.

 


Winners Named In High Desert Photo Contest

snow photodeer





















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.

 


Barking Dogs Disturb the Peace of High Desert Neighborhoods....Please Take Responsibility for Your Pet
dog
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. 


Board Adopts New Enforcement Policy
trailA new enforcement policy adopted by the High Desert Board of Directors in January includes stiffer fines and penalties for violations to the rules and regulations of the community.

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."


New Rental Policy in Effect

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.


For More News...
Click on the Community News page for other news stories pertaining to High Desert.
 


 


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