Starlight Mesa HOA Board Meeting


June 23, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

John Andraos’ House

Board Members Present – Greg Goeckner (GG), John Andraos (JA), Alex Benderskii (AB), Karen Levin (KL), Derrick Pan (DP).

Also Present – Glenn Cunningham (GC), Sylvia Paz (SP), Muriel Horacek (MH), Joe Stitick and Juliann Stitick (JS), Elisa Coleman (EC), Hanjoo Kim (HK).

Home Renovation Request:

MH reviewed her plan to have the exterior of her house painted a different color - “Malted Milk.”  The Board unanimously approved this change in paint color.

Other Items:

MH raised a concern about cigarette butts being found around the gazebo and the potential fire danger created by smoking in this area.  AB suggested that the HOA could install solar powered security lights there.  GG noted that the Board had planned to install similar lights in the putting green park and the children’s park.

MH also raised a concern that no one is cleaning up the pool restroom.  She will monitor the situation and will let the Board know if the problem continues.

MH asked about people not cleaning up after their dogs in the children’s’ park.  She suggested another reminder be sent to residents.

GC said that the Board should check the pool daily.  He also noted that the motion detection lights around the basketball court had been disabled to prevents kids from playing basketball on the court late in the evening.

MH reported that the children’s’ fountain was stuffed with pine needles.

SP raised the question of what to do with non-residents using the community parks without permission of a resident.  GG suggested that residents should call the Sheriff.  JS suggested that residents also challenge trespassers.  He noted that there had been drug dealing several years ago at the pool and that residents had called the Sheriff then.  He also suggested that the Board look into restricting access to the pool area, perhaps through a locked gate with a key or combination distributed only to community members.  JA advised that he would check into zoning regulations for this.  EC noted that the same problem of trespassers happens every summer – the community areas in the Mesa are the “worst kept secret in La Canada” and are treated by outsiders as public property.  JA said he would get a quote for a patrol service to check the Mesa’s parks in the evenings.

EC asked about pool reservations and noted that the previous Board had sent out a list of reservations during the summer.  JS asked if a calendar could be provided on the community website.  GC advised that he and GG are working to do that.

SP and JS asked about the process to update the HOA’s CC&Rs.  GG advised that the Board planned to send a note from the lawyer summarizing his advice and a note from the Board with its thoughts.  He pointed out that Jim Mulligan had attended a board meeting earlier in the year and had expressed great concern about the state of the CC&Rs and had suggested that they be updated.  In addition, the Board had been concerned about how to address issues related to the use of the HOA’s common areas and common maintenance areas.  He also pointed out the current CC&Rs pre-date California’s Davis-Stirling Act, which sets the legal standards for the operation of HOAs in the state.  Many issues in the old CC&Rs were not dealt with in compliance with current law.  JA pointed out that the proper standards for maintenance of neighborhood front yards was unclear.  He also noted that the CC&Rs do not cover many areas that the Board must deal with and that the Board was trying to save the community from incurring unintended expenses in the future.  DP noted that the per-household cost of the project was quite small and that no special assessment would be required.  GC noted that the Board is elected to manage the HOA.  SP suggested that a committee be appointed to take on this task and noted that she trusted that the Board would do what is best.

Maintenance Report:

Brush clearance:  AB and KL reported that they had completed a walkthrough of the brush clearance area.  Jose Toribio is doing the clearance work, which should be completed soon.

Gazebo Plans:  GG reported that he had sent a note to the community about the aluminum gazebo kit as an option.  Most comments from neighbors were positive.  Joe Bergen had raised concerns about the ability of the gazebo kit to withstand high winds.  JS stated that the area around the pool and tennis court acted as a wind tunnel.  JA advised that he would look into whether our insurance policy would cover wind damage to the gazebo. 

Trespassers:  EC commented that the new gazebo might make the area more attractive for teenagers and exacerbate the current problem with trespassers in the parks and common areas.  JS suggested hiring a security guard for a month at the beginning of summer.  GC agreed that a security guard service for the summer would be useful.  GG noted that a patrol of these areas in the summer at dusk would be most useful.  JS suggested that residents call the Sheriff if they see trespassers in the parks.

Dogs:  JS asked whether there was still a problem with dog waste not being picked up. GG reported that he had not observed that this was a problem lately.  GC suggested that the HOA put up dog waste bag dispensers.  JS suggested another reminder be sent to the community about the issue.

Pool Repair:  JA reported that he had spoken to several pool companies and had received one bid for work on the community pool.  The bid was for about $110k, essentially for an entirely new pool.  The contractors he had spoken to have all advised that it would be difficult and unsightly to just replace the pool pipes.  Because it is an HOA pool, we will have to use a commercial pool company for any work we have done; several residential pool companies had declined to bid on the work.  Essentially, once we attempt to replace the plumbing, we will have to replace most of the pool anyway.  He also noted that the condition of the pool water now is poor.  The pool maintenance service had reported that it could not safely put much more chlorine in the water.  DP advised that we are paying more for pool chemicals this year than last year.  GG commented that the pool is quite old and likely not built according to current building and safety codes, but that the current pool is probably grandfathered in based on when it was built.  JS asked that the Board send him the bid sheet JA had received and he would look into alternative contractors.  JA reported that he expected to receive another bid the following day.  He suggested that the community could obtain financing to avoid having to request a special assessment for the pool work.  DP reported that the HOA has about $40k in its reserve fund and that the pool repairs were scheduled in the reserve study in a couple more years.  Efforts to get bids now were for long-term planning purposes.  GC noted that when the pool house was renovated, a study was conducted and residents voted on a special assessment of about $400 per household to finance the project.

Park lights:  AB reported that he had ordered new solar-powered lights for the putting green park, to replace the existing lights, which had all burned out.  These lights will be motion activated.  He had also ordered spotlights for the signs identifying the parks as private property, to prevent trespassers from claiming they were unaware that the parks are for community members only.  He also will install a security light near gardeners’ shed in the children’s park.

Irrigation:  KL reported that Jose Toribio had checked everyone’s irrigation systems and that they all were working properly.  GG noted that the Board had received complaints that one neighbor was not watering their front lawn; Board members will be in touch with that homeowner.  DP reported that the community water bill is flat compared to last year, demonstrating that our water conservation schedule has helped.  JS commented that the HOA had been aggressive in cutting back on watering in the past and that those efforts to cut back on watering and to plant native, drought-resistant vegetation should continue.

Pool Solar Panels:  KL reported that the broken pipe for the pool solar panels had been repaired and stabilized.  The HOA will have to remove a tree near the pool in the future to prevent recurrent damage to the solar system.  She reported that options for servicing this solar system were very limited.

Pool Vegetation:  AB reported that Jose Toribio had put plants around the edge of the pool to hide the pool fence at a cost of $150.

Other:  KL reported that a dead squirrel was found in the pool earlier that day.  The pool maintenance company came to check that the level of chemicals was appropriate to the situation. 

Treasurer’s Report:

Bank Balances:  DP reported that the HOA’s account had a cash balance of $26k, but that after pending checks clear the balance would be $18k.  The next round of dues payments should be coming in soon.  DP noted that there were several pending major expenses, including completion of the brush clearance project by Jose Toribio, replacement of the gazebo and legal fees for the CC&R project.  After those items are paid and the anticipated dues are collected, the HOA should have about $30k in its account.

Reserve Account:  The reserve account balance was $41k, with a target of about $62k.  The reserve study had recommended over $90k, but after removing some items handled by the Board as routine maintenance, $62k was a good target for the reserve fund.

Delinquency:  DP reported that the delinquency situation was under control, except for one household that was significantly behind in its dues payments.  The HOA, with the help of Cardinal Management, had put a lien on that house and the HOA was moving toward a foreclosure action.  The unpaid dues balance for that house was about $2500.  The Board understands that the homeowner has the means to pay but has chosen not to and that the same situation has been repeated with this homeowner in the past.  KL advised that this had been done repeatedly.  DP noted that a fee of $750 was due to a Cardinal Management affiliate for preparing for this foreclosure process.

Audit:  DP reported that the annual HOA audit had been completed.  Cardinal had provided a representation letter and he expected a clean audit report would be received shortly.

Date of Annual Picnic:

The Board approved setting the annual picnic for September 6th, at 4 p.m., with a movie to be shown after dark.  The Board will discuss food and other arrangements at its next meeting.

Executive Session:

The Board then convened in executive session to discuss legally privileged matters.  Upon the completion of that discussion, the Board approved a resolution authorizing counsel to proceed with the foreclosure action against the delinquent homeowner. 

Next meeting:

July 31, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

GG’s house