Thursday, February 28, 2013

Update: Tierra Bello Covenants - ver. 2/27/2013

Dear Neighbors,

Yesterday I received for review the attached revised covenants from Mr. Ron VanAmberg, attorney for developer Joe Miller. These are the covenants for the Tierra Bello 73-lot subdivision. I'd appreciate your reviewing this document for substance (don't bother with typos, editing changes, etc.,- I'll flag those) and sending me comments, so I may consolidate them and return them to the developer for review. After he's had a chance to look at them, I'll arrange a public meeting with him and his staff to negotiate items of continuing community concern. His development was tabled by the County Development and Review Committee (CDRC) at its meeting on Feb. 21, until March 21. Shortly thereafter, if recommended, the development will go to the County Commissioners for final approval or disapproval.  This email distribution is for all the people whom I have addresses for. I'd appreciate it if you'd forward the email to any neighbors in the subdiivisions along Avenida Compadres, since I don't have contact information for them.


If you've been keeping up with earlier versions of the covenants, you'll find these greatly improved with respect to organization, structure,  languange, and overall clarity.  There are many provision in the covenants which are positive. In my quick reading, however, I've noticed a few items which are likely to be of community concern. Please note especially the following articles:


Article 2.4:  The definition of "manufactured housing" refers to a 36'x24' minimum heated area (864 sq. ft), but also a 1400 sq. ft. minimum footprint. It is unclear what this means (does the 1400 sq. ft. include a garage?)


Article 2.5, 6.1: The definition of "mobile home" is odd, because it refers only to movable or portable housing structures that do NOT meet national standards. The question is whether moveable structures which DO meet standards are included in the definition? If not, then that second type of mobile home would not be prohibited.


Articles 2.1, 8.1, 12.2 - These articles refer to leased residences and "lessees" (those who lease to others). To me, the covenants appear to permit an unrestricted number of rental units. The small square footage requirements (1400 sq feet) suggest the possibility that Mr. Miller wants the flexibility to construct low-income rental housing, rather than selling owner-occupied residences.


Article 6.12: This article stipulates that no "direct access" for owners or the general public is permtted into the connecting Tierra Colinas subdivision roads. The article does not specify how this restriction will be implemented  (e.g., gates, etc.), or who will pay for any costs. To my knowledge, the Tierra Colinas HOA has not yet weighed on this important matter.


Article 5.5:  This article defines the minimum 1400 sq. ft size (1800 sq. ft for a two-story house) as applying to "heated areas." This is a change from the previous versions, which stipulated only a 1200 sq. ft minimum (1600 sq., including the garage).. I doubt it is the intent, but technically if the builder heated a garage, it would reduce the  actual living area requirement to only about 1000 sq. ft.


Article 2.3, 8.1: The covenants mandate an "architectural committee" (AC) which has considerable powers. Mr. Miller and his associates/family comprise the AC for the first three years, but eventually the HOA board will appoint the AC. However, as mentioned in the following comment, there is no mandatory requirement that an HOA be formed.


Article 11.1, 14.1-14.3: These articles stipulate that, after six lots have been sold, those lot owners "may, at their option" form a homeowners association, and they assign responsibility to the HOA to maintain roads, common grounds, easements, etc. To me, an HOA should be mandatory, since without it there is no continuing mechanism for maintaining the subdivision's infrastructure.


Article 11.1, 12.2: Mr. Miller is specifically exempted from any HOA assessments or from being bound by any subsequent changes in the covenants, even if he owns most of the lots/ rental units. His exemption applies both to any annual or special assessment fees.  This is an unworkable provision, for several reasons. Suppose, for example, that after six lots have been sold, the owners form an HOA. Under the covenants the six owners "shall" be responsible for maintaining all interior roads in the subdivision, and yet Mr. Miller is exempted from paying any share of this cost. As a practical matter, the owners have a strong disincentive to form an HOA until nearly all the lots are sold. Of course, if Mr. Miller intends to own a large number of rental units, then that will never happen. Mr. Miller's intentions need to be clarified.


Article 14.1: The HOA, if one exists, shall assess owners (Mr. Miller exempted) for a "pro-rata" share of maintaining the  northern 0.61 mi segment of Avenida Compadres. There is no provision for maintaining the remaining 1.0 mi. segment of Compadres, nor of contributing any support for Spur Ranch Road.


I'll keep you informed when public meetings are scheduled, and look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions. Please respond by March 11 at the latest, so we will have time to coordinate our response. Thanks!



Jim Garland

President, Spur Ranch Road Association









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