This week you should have received a request from the RMA soliciting your comments concerning the annexation of the first 22 homes being built by Retreats West (hereinafter RW). The RMA Board of Directors will vote to approve or disapprove this annexation on October 20, 2015. They have allowed only 22 days for the entire membership to respond to their request for comment. When our board votes, only 4 of their 7 votes will be required to annex Mr. Sullivan’s project. The request for comment states (more than once) that the Board of Directors intends to view a “non-response” as an endorsement of the RW plan of development by the members who cannot be contacted or fail to respond (and physically return their comments) to the RMA. We are being rushed, and there is a reason for that. Even though the developers are responsible to pay the costs of any annexation, we were not provided with a return envelope, further encumbering the process. For some reason, RMA has made it very easy to minimize participation in this exercise.
The Request For Comment solicits an opinion ONLY on the remaining variances from the CC&R’s of the first 22 homes. The real issue is not those variances themselves, but the basic fact that we intend to reward RW with annexation. RW has always intended to build non-custom homes. The homes under construction repeat themselves numerous times and in no way represent custom home development.
In 2003, RMA signed and recorded a Mutual Benefit Agreement with the developer, then called Rancho North. We did this because we understood that development would occur exactly as is happening now. We have no legal right to prevent non-custom homes, and we assumed that we would not annex these subdivisions to the RMA. The negotiators understood that developers would not want to annex into the RMA, and, until now, that appeared to be the case.
The developers have applied to annex because it is to their advantage to do so. Our MBA requires them to pay ALL of the same dues to the RMA as you and I now pay, with the exception of cable and some miscellaneous charges. If RW is allowed to annex, RMA will have to pay to maintain the developers’ roads, and we will provide all the administrative services to them that are now provided to us. It is almost a sure bet that the developers will ask RMA to manage this development, just like it manages the association for us. The developers will have to pay a fee for those services. If they annex, they become just a part of the dues, and this saves the developers a considerable sum of money.
The developers must inform the Department of Real Estate of their intentions to annex or begin their own homeowners association BEFORE they builds the first 22 homes; RW is in a hurry to have the RMA make this decision. Hence, the “rush” to have residents respond to this request for comment and to have the RMA Board quickly vote in the developers’ favor. Once again, it is all about what the developers need. It is not about giving the membership the time to digest this complex problem and properly discuss with and inform the community.
The Mutual Benefit Agreement thoroughly addresses the issue of non-annexation and how RMA and developers will work together in the transition. Rancho North established a homeowners’ association that is ALREADY IN PLACE. This homeowners’ association is designed to govern the new development.
THE RANCHO NORTH HOMEOWNERS’ASSOCIATION HAS WRITTEN ITS OWN CC&R’S.
Rancho North’s CC&R’s are widely recognized to be equal to or even BETTER than the CC&R’s that we as a community currently enforce. These CC&R’s are to be used to govern the new RW subdivision in conjunction with the MBA to ensure we have SEAMLESS governance while development continues in Rancho Murieta. This development period may exceed ten or more years. It prevents the annexing in of some development “subdivisions” and the non-annexing of other subdivisions. More importantly, it avoids having three, four or even six homeowner associations. If we deviate from the MBA, we begin to establish precedents that will make this unfavorable hodgepodge of associations VERY possible.
The best way to play on the fears of the RMA membership (while the lobbying occurs to annex the developer) is to make statements such as, “This will allow them to have motorcycles on our streets,” or, “We won’t be able to enforce speeding CC&R’s for the residents of un-annexed properties.” THIS IS SIMPLY FALSE! You can easily verify this protection for yourself by reading Exhibit F or the MBA. It addresses all of these issues.
IT IS IMPERATIVE THE RMA VERIFY THAT THE RANCHO NORTH CC&R’S ARE IN FULL EFFECT AND ON FILE AT THE DEPARTMENT OF REAL ESTATE. IF IN FACT THESE CC&R’S WERE NOT IN PLACE, A VOTE WOULD BE A BREACH OF THE BOARD’S FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY.
RW will come back to us at least two more times asking us to annex in more and more units. When Village A is mapped and ready for development, Mr. Sullivan and his legal experts will challenge us and make the case that we have “established precedent” and should annex in this next 170 units of development. The variances in that project may be much more dramatic than what is presently on the table. There may be condominiums, non- standard fences, casitas, and height limit variances. What this simply means is: WE ARE GOING TO GET A SECOND HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION ANY WAY WE DO THIS. Why not start from a position of strength with this developer and do what the MBA was intended to do for us?
Ironically, the developers want us to accommodate them at the same time they continue to ignore the agreement that governs them and us. Last week, at the County Planning Department, the developers applied for a rezoning of the R2 property they own so that it could be converted to 827 residential units (RW is an extra 84 units above this number). Using the 827 figure, the developers continue to ignore Exhibit H of our agreement, which “caps” development to a specific number of units in each of the proposed “villages”. I keep asking why we should continue to make this easy. Why should we treat the developer with favor when all we get is an “in your face “response that it is my property, and I will do with it as I choose; EVEN IF IT IGNORES MY LEGAL AGREEMENT WITH YOU?
Please vote “DISAGREE - DO NOT ANNEX” on your form and send it back or drop it off at the RMA. If you cannot return it, call me at 916-761-2765 and I will be sure it gets picked up and deposited at the RMA on your behalf. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me if I can answer your questions.
We are looking at legal ways to insist the entire membership be allowed to vote for or against RW annexation. We may also ask you to attend a meeting to review this important topic and to discuss a petition to the RMA. We will get back to you with that information ASAP.
For Now: JUST SAY NO!