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.
By Clay Wright
Pinion Point resident Jamie Kaplin reports being alerted Wednesday night (6-21) at approximately 2 a.m. by her dog. The dog (Gracie) led Jamie to the back door where she witnessed a bear on the patio. Ms. Kaplin reports that the bear had pulled a trash bag from the garbage cans she stores behind a fence along the side of her house.
Ms. Kaplan describers the bear as being “quite large” and apparently “showed little concern as to her presence.”
Resident John Ledwith also reports “clear signs” of bear activity Wednesday night at his Overlook residence.
G4S has been notified of the sighting and will be on the lookout.
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is aware of the situation. Further action is being considered.
The Department of Game and Fish has extensive bear encounter information posted on its website. View it here.
High Desert Property Manager Chris Lopez reminds all residents that “It is High Desert policy that trash cans be stored out of sight and set curbside on the morning of scheduled pick-up.” Mr. Lopez notes that “while storing trash bins out of view along the side of the house does meet Association guidelines, residents should consider moving trash bins into the garage during the summer.” It is also Association policy that trash bins be returned to an appropriate storage area as soon possible once emptied.
Tom Murdock, standing far left, President of the High Desert Board of Directors, speaks to Voting Members at a City presentation of the new zoning project.
High Desert Voting Members met with zoning officials Wednesday, May 24th to hear about the City’s new zoning plan for Albuquerque and how it might impact the community.
The project, called “ABC to Z,” is an effort to update the established Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Comprehensive Plan and simplify the city’s zoning regulations.
The city’s ambitious new zoning plan will take place in two phases. Phase 1, the current phase, is to simply match new zoning designations (such as R1A, MX-FB, NRC1 as shown in the box) to the existing zoning maps and city development. The new code designations are designed to simplify the 1970s zoning code as the city as has expanded in the ensuing years with scores of sector developments. Phase 1 will translate the old codes into the closest possible match with the new codes. Phase 1 is not the final effort to zone the City—simply an attempt to match the new codes with existing zoning maps. Phase 1 will include a series of public meetings and citizen input over the next few months. Phase 1 calls for the City’s Land Use, Planning, and Zoning (LUPZ) Committee to present the updated maps to the City Council for approval which should take place sometime next fall. A public hearing with LUPZ is set for August 16 at 5 p.m. at City Hall.
Once the City Council approves Phase 1, the project will enter Phase 2 which takes the new codes and matches them to existing development. This is an effort to fix mismatches of the new codes to actual buildings and development throughout the city. An example of this is already in High Desert. Land on which the Legends was built was zoned commercial originally on the older zoning maps. In the early 2000s, developers decided against building a shopping center and instead developed the Legends. Phase 1 matched the new codes as closely as possible to the old codes, designating the original commercially zoned area of the Legends from C1 to MX-FB, or Mixed use-Form Based. In Phase 2, LUPZ will look at the actual development of the land (now residential) and should then designate the area R-1A, Residential Single Family Detached.
The High Desert Board of Directors recently hired a real estate attorney specialist to represent High Desert’s best interests as the city undertakes the new zoning project . Tim Flynn-O’Brian was hired in May and will work with the Board and HOAMCO to make sure any new zoning changes will not impact High Desert’s Guidelines and CC&Rs.
Shanna Schultz, Policy Analyst/Planning with the City, gave a slide presentation to Voting Members at the Holiday Park Community Center meeting. She emphasized the zoning project is in progress and will include public hearings over the next year.
She emphasized the new zoning will not include a new road between High Desert and Glenwood Hills, a concern several residents had voiced.
“Our intent is not to change anyone’s zoning,” she said. “Phase 1 is about trying to figure out what your zoning allows you to do and match it to a new set of letters.” Phase 2, she said, will take the new letters and match them to the actual construction in an area.
Some Voting Members expressed concern about the possibility the new zoning could allow High Desert property owners to build two units per lot with two apartments in each unit. Russell D. Brito, Planning Manager with the City, said High Desert’s CC&Rs will always prevail over the new plan. He said building permits are granted with the New Construction Committee’s recommendations in mind.
Another Voting Member asked if the new zoning project is an effort by the city to encourage more development east of Tramway. Shanna said she has been with the project for two years and has never heard any discussion of the possibility of more development as the result of the project.
Open Space within High Desert was also discussed at the meeting. High Desert owns a number of Open Space areas with trails within the community. The new maps matched some of those areas with new codes for parks which could impact High Desert’s obligations to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) along the trails, including paving and handrails. Tom Murdock, President of the Board of Directors, said the new attorney will address those areas with the City.
Shanna encouraged Voting Members and High Desert residents to visit the project’s website at www.abc-zone.com for details and a timeline.
2017 Board of Directors: Left to right: Clay Wright, Scott Abbate, Dr. James Cole, Dr. Janet Brierley, Tom Murdock, David Bentley, and Brett Rayman.
Voting Members elected four Directors to the Board at their Annual Meeting April 27, 2017. The newest member to the Board is Scott Abbate, homeowner in the Aerie, who will serve a two-year term. Re-elected to two-year terms were Dr. Jim Cole, Brett Rayman and Clay Wright. The new Board will meet within 10 days of the meeting to elect new officers.
About 40 Voting Members were on hand for the Annual Meeting, voting unanimously to approve the 2017-2018 budget presented by Treasurer Dr. Jim Cole. There will be no increases in any monthly assessment, he said, including all gated villages and the Master Association. However, due to anticipated increase in landscaping and utility costs in 2018-2019, the Master Association may see an increase in assessments presented at next year's Annual Meeting. The Legends' budget may also require an increase at that time, too, he said.
Tom Murdock, 2016-2017 Board President, presented the Board Report to Voting Members, saying arrests have been made by Albuquerque police following repeated vandalism to the drainage tunnel at Pino Pond. There have been other reports of vandalism to sign entrance lights and Tom asked Voting Members to be alert to any suspicious behavior by anyone near the entrances and to report it to the police and G4S, High Desert's security patrol. Tom said High Desert has contracted with the Bernalillo Sheriff’s Department to provide extra patrols in the community, replacing Albuquerque Police Department's "Chief's Overtime" patrols. A lack of officers to staff Chief's Overtime led to the change.
Christopher Lopez, High Desert's Community Association Manager, distributed zoning maps and charts and explained the City's new move to expand zoning designations from 9 to 23 types throughout Albuquerque. The new maps mistakenly had listed Legends as a commercial area because at one time the property was slated to be developed by High Desert Investment Corporation as a shopping center. Those plans were discarded, however, and the Legends subdivision was built instead. Christopher said the city officials have agreed to revise the new zoning maps to reflect the reality of the residential area. The new zoning changes will be sent to the City Council for approval later this year.
Lynn Claffy, Contracts Committee Chair, told Voting Members that the contract for security was awarded this spring to G4S for another three years. The Committee will begin review of the landscape contract next, she said.
It was a cold, blustery and sometimes snowy April Saturday outside, but inside the El Patron Restaurant it was all warmth and cheer. More than 75 High Desert volunteers and their guests gathered April 29 at the Montgomery restaurant as the Association recognized them for their time and effort over the past year on behalf of the community. Board members, Voting and Alternate Members, Committee and Project members were all on hand as they enjoyed a Mexican buffet and plenty of conversation with fellow homeowners.
Board of Directors member Clay Wright organized this year's volunteer recognition event."This event is a small token of gratitude to the many volunteers who put in countless hours making High Desert such a nice place to live," he said, adding, "It's also important to recognize the tremendous effort put forth by Kathy Blyth and Chris Lopez at HOAMCO. Without their tireless work, this event would not have been possible."
By Trace Salley
Scott Patrick Homes
Interior paving began May 22 in Wilderness Cañon. The development of the village is near completion. The utilities are installed, nearly all of the curbs and gutters are in. They will be repaving a small segment of High Desert Place as well. Once that is done, we will install the gates, common area landscaping and other finishing details. The final steps include survey confirmations, engineer certifications, and final inspections. We should be ready to start building new homes by the middle of June.
The Chaco Compound home of Amy and Tom Hudack was filled with new High Desert homeowners, Welcome Committee members and Board directors Friday, April 21 as the Hudaks hosted their first Wine & Cheese party. The Hudaks took over the chairmanship of the Welcome Committee earlier this year after John and Maddy Shelton stepped down following more than two years leading the Committee. Click here to see more photos.
Presented With Certificate of Appreciation
Photo Above: From left to right: Office Manager James Gage, C.P.O. Charles Nichols, General Manager Jimmy Ramos.
High Desert G4S Patrol Officer Charles Nichols was presented with an internal Certificate of Appreciation from G4S April 5th for “Outstanding Customer Service to the Residents of High Desert.”
“This award was given for his general ability on the job,” said James Gage, G4S Office Manager. “We’ve received multiple compliments on his customer service, particularly pertaining to assisting with open garage doors in the community.”
The award read: Charles Nichols is a dedicated officer who has been a driving force for the safety of the residents and shows great concern for the homeowners. His level of awareness, job performance and dedication to providing excellent customer service to the residents of High Desert and maintaining G4S values along with his attention to detail has prevented numerous possible thefts and vandalism in the High Desert communities.
Officer Nichols has been assigned to High Desert since joining G4S in October 2013. He works the midnight to 8 a.m. patrol shift Monday through Friday. He is originally from Mesa, Arizona and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1972, retiring in 1995. During his time in the Air Force, Officer Nichols received more than 18 medals and commendations. He lives in Rio Rancho.
“I love working here in High Desert,” Officer Nichols said. “I enjoy doing my best to make the residents feel safe and secure.”
Heads Up Landscape Contractors was one of two winners of the Jack & Donna Rust Award for Excellence in Ethical Business Practice by a for-profit business. Heads Up has been High Desert's contracted vendor for landscape maintenance for many years. Samaritan Counseling Center of Albuquerque announced the recipients of its 2017 New Mexico Ethics in Business Awards in late February. There were 28 nominees for the Awards this year. The selection committee is made up of community and business leader volunteers. The announcement was also made in the Albuquerque Journal. Click here to read the article in full.
"Our relationship with Heads Up has always been based on ethical principles and we are very pleased to see the company recognized for their excellent business practices," said Tom Murdock, President of the High Desert Board of Directors.
Those precautions include putting your mail out as late as possible before pick-up by USPS mail carriers and picking it up as soon as possible after delivery. Other alternatives include choosing to have your mail delivered directly to the Steve Schiff Post Office at 9719 Candelaria Rd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111; (505) 346-0985.
Albuquerque Police Department’s Crime Prevention Specialist Jill Garcia issued two documents to neighborhoods concerned with mail theft. One of the documents deals with mail theft of tax documents as people begin filing tax returns and anticipating refunds through the mail. She advises filing taxes online, dropping off documents at a secure receptacle or site, and picking up mail daily as early as possible at a cluster box.
Jill also advises residents to advise their mail carrier if they plan to be out of town so that mail can be held.
Or, alternatively, have a trusted neighbor pick up your mail daily.
Click below to see both mail documents issued by the police department concerning mail.
Protecting Your Mail
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.