UPDATE - CC&Rs for Stonebriar and Shadow Hills
The Board of Directors will decide on March 18th whether or not to pursue reestablishment of an Architectural Control Committee (ACC) for Stonebriar and Shadow Hills. The Board has received much input from residents over the past few months. In a collaborative effort, the following Options are presented for your consideration. Please take a moment and read about the three options and share your opinion with the Board. Please email a member of the Board or staff, or attend the meeting on March 18. We hope to hear from you.
Options for Addressing the Current Architectural Control Committee Challenge for
the Stonebriar and Shadow Hills Subdivisions of the Rolling Hills Community Services District
The Rolling Hills Community Services District (CSD or District) has the responsibility of overseeing the maintenance and safety of the streets, parks and open space within its boundaries. Up until 2005, when SB 135 came into law, the CSD also had jurisdiction for Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R) oversight. CC&Rs are a contractual agreement signed by all homeowners when they purchase property within the District, that sets forth provisions to allow property owners to make enhancements to their property in such a way that does not damage, destroy, injury, annoy, distract or offend adjacent property or property owners.
SB 135 took that responsibility away from all CSDs unless each District filed a request to preserve its oversight. The CSD did not file its request by the deadline, so the Architectural Control Committees (ACCs) that were then operating had to be reformed as private committees for each subdivision within the District, i.e. Springfield Meadows, Shadow Hills, and Stonebriar. Toward the end of 2010, the Shadow Hills ACC stopped operating due to lack of necessary work and also lack of interest from individuals within that subdivision. Around the middle of 2011, the Stonebriar ACC dissolved due to lack of individual interest and the growing exposure to personal liability for members serving on the Committee.
Springfield Meadows currently has an operating ACC and would like it to remain as it currently stands. For this reason and the risk for potential liability to the District, the CSD decided it will not include Springfield Meadows in any plan for oversight moving forward as it is not in the best interests of the District to do so.
The challenge currently facing the District is the issue of homeowners who do not adhere to the CC&Rs, to which they agreed upon purchase of their property, in light of the fact that presently there is no enforcement mechanism in place forcing them to do so.
Option 1: No Change – continue without an operating ACC.
This option maintains the status quo. Presently there is not an ACC in operation for either Stonebriar or Shadow Hills to guide and oversee the communities’ interests in upholding the CC&Rs. If no change is made, there will be no place for the community to turn when they have questions about what the CC&Rs will allow or to handle situations when homeowners have not followed the CC&Rs and neighbors want it corrected. Currently, if someone was to violate the CC&Rs and talking to them did not solve the issue, the only solutions available are to live with the violation or sue the neighbor in court. People have pursued the second option and won, however pitting neighbor against neighbor is not a desired situation by anyone. It’s quite possible under this scenario; violations could run rampant, affecting property values and peaceful enjoyment of our properties.
Option 2: Reestablish private ACC similar to what was in place before they dissolved.
This option is for the establishment of a private ACC for Stonebriar and Shadow Hills which would operate totally independent from the CSD. There has been interest expressed within the District of getting the ACCs going again. Each community would need to find volunteers to serve on the ACC committee and raise funds for a ballot for a vote of the people within the CSD to elect the members to the new ACC board. Under this scenario, members of an ACC committee would have personal exposure to potential lawsuits for decisions they make on behalf of the community. There is board of directors insurance available, however the cost could run $1,500- $2,500 annually. The challenge is that ACCs do not operate with enough capital to afford insurance for its board of directors. The ACC does have the ability to bill the community for amounts needed for its operation, however, there is no enforcement authority to ensure everyone pays what they owe. So for those people who do not pay that bill, the board would have no recourse to make them pay. Without board of directors insurance, the board members would be personally liable for decisions they make in doing what they feel is right and serving the community, which could lead to being sued and losing their livelihood and all they have built.
Likewise, this is the same lack of authority a private ACC would experience in being able to enforce compliance with the CC&Rs. This was a challenge faced by the past ACC Board of Directors. They volunteered their time to review landscape plans and reviewed complaints from within the community about people in violation of the CC&Rs, etc. If they ran into situation where a homeowner was violating a CC&R (they mostly only focused on the major ones), they would talk to the homeowner and discuss solutions. Usually the homeowners would fix whatever issue was raised and move forward. However, there were times when the ACC would have a situation where the homeowner refused to comply. In those situations, they would write letters, etc., but had no additional authority to enforce compliance. This lack of enforcement authority can render an ACC somewhat powerless. When this results and word gets around that the ACC has no authority, ability, or leverage to encourage compliance with the CC&Rs, the ability to be effective can be lost. When that happens, the board tends to disband as happened previously and the result returns to Option 1, no oversight whatsoever.
Option 3: Establish the ACC committee under the umbrella of the CSD.
This option is for establishment of an ACC for Stonebriar and Shadow Hills that would operate independently as a committee but under the CSD. The CSD would reach out to the community to seek volunteers to serve on the ACC committee. The current CSD Board of Directors insurance would automatically cover the ACC committee at no additional cost to the CSD or ACC committee and would shelter the committee members from personal liability, keeping their family, home and personal belongings free from risk. With this insurance coverage, it could make it easier to get volunteers to form a new ACC committee. The goal is establishing a new ACC committee made up of at least three homeowners within the Stonebriar and Shadow Hills communities but a five member committee would be preferred. The new ACC committee would operate independently of the CSD. The CSD would not have any input or influence over the committee, and would only have involvement in the event of a dispute between a homeowner and the committee. Only then would the CSD have oversight of the ACC. There would be a hearing process whereby the CSD would hear the dispute from the homeowner, take input from the ACC, and would decide what action might need to be taken, if any. This option provides authority for enforcement. In a situation where there is clearly a CC&R violation, the CSD would have the authority to require the violation be corrected or there could be a fine or penalty enforced. Enforcement could go as far as to place a lien on the property; however it is not likely a situation would get to that point knowing the possibility exists. The awareness of the fact the ACC is acting independently but under an umbrella which affords it enforcement authority, could make the difference for ease of ACC operation and conformity by residents to the CC&Rs to which they previously agreed to abide.
Additional Note – CC&R provisions to which the District does not agree
If there are CC&R provisions that the community as whole does not agree with, there is a process to have those provisions removed or amended. There are a few provisions currently within the CC&Rs to which the community has voiced opposition. This process would be easier for the CSD to help with since it would have the overall responsibility over the CC&Rs if it were to exercise its current ability to request restoring its latent powers over the CC&Rs.
Above are the current options available with regards to the ACC committee and CC&R situation in our District. It’s good to have options. Everyone just needs to decide how they would like their community to be. The developers of the communities within our District intended them to be a nice place to live, with rules in place to keep them safe and looking good. A decision needs to be made on how we should move forward keeping that goal in mind.
Rolling Hills Board of Directors
Last Updated (Thursday, 20 February 2014 06:53)
As a courtesy. please remember to pick up after your dog in any CSD common areas. We are having problems with waste being left on sidewalks and in the park. Thanks
Last Updated (Monday, 08 April 2013 08:24)
Please help prevent your parked vehicle from becoming a safety hazard. Help educate your visitors too!
1. No parking at fire access roads.
2. No parking on the roads within Springfield Meadows.
3. Maintain 100 feet of visibility by parking further away from stop signs and corners.
4. Do not park in crosswalks. Although not always marked, crosswalks exist near every stop sign. A blocked crosswalk forces pedestrians into the street where a driver's view is obstructed.
5. Avoid constricting traffic flow by not parking cars nearby or across from each other, especially on narrow lanes or those roads specifically marked for no parking.
6. Do not park on sidewalks. Walkers and bicyclists are in danger when they have to move into the street to avoid your parked vehicle blocking the sidewalk.
Thank you for helping to keep our neighborhoods safe.
Last Updated (Sunday, 14 July 2013 16:10)