Jon Nickles, at the microphone, addresses RMA representatives and fellow Village residents.
Almost 100 Murieta Village residents gathered Monday morning to hear Rancho Murieta Association officials explain why they’re considering eliminating gate bar codes for Village residents.
“Our available capacity as an association is shrinking, so what we are able to do today and what we were able to do last year is slowly shrinking,” RMA Director Tim Maybee told the group, meeting in the Village Clubhouse. He said the arrival of development – and greater population, possibly in separate associations – forces the RMA to act. He called it ”a business process that we have to go through with our association.”
Late in the hour-long meeting, Maybee explained, “Please understand, I’ve got 89 rooms going in (at the hotel) across the street from you. There’s a developer that believes those 89 rooms have access, just like you folks do, to all the amenities.”
Much of the audience was muttering and impatient about the RMA’s explanations, which arrived over the course of the meeting. Lew Parkinson, the association president, repeatedly asked the crowd to allow the RMA representatives to speak without interruption.
Villagers turned out in force at the last Community Services District meeting. CSD officials acknowledged they were working with RMA on a new gate policy, but emphasized the final decision on the policy would be RMA’s.
About a dozen Village residents asked questions or offered comments Monday.
“We figured (this is about) your fear of new development, and we’re right,” said Jon Nickles. “But we’re not them. We’re unique and special, very unique and special. We should be dealt with specially and unique.”
Nickles, who also spoke at the CSD meeting, repeated his claim that Village residents are “part owner of all the common ground of union Pension Trust Fund.” Maybee later responded that the PTF land has always been private property – with no ownership rights for Village or RMA members. Further, Maybee added, there is no PTF land now: It was sold for development. There are also RMA-owned common area and parks, he said.
Nickles quoted from a September 2005 legal opinion, which the RMA got from its lawyer and shared with members. The quotes said non-annexed Rancho Murieta residents have a right to use the community’s common area, parks and recreational facilities.
He said the RMA’s threatened action damages Village property values and could prompt a lawsuit. He asked the RMA to formally recognize the 43-year-old special status of Village residents.
Wendell Baker, a 29-year Village resident said, “All of a sudden, I guess us old people are the Mongol hordes that are invading your community and destroying it. Like was already said, if you wonder who’s tearing the place up, read the Security logs. It’s your kids; it’s not us old people.”
Maybee was unwilling to say money is a driver in the RMA’s deliberations – he kept calling the problem “available capacity” – but Director Sam Somers Sr. said flat out that money is an issue.
“Look: It boils down to this,” he said. “Every member of RMA over there, starting the first of the year, will pay $130 a month plus to support and maintain and finish out all of the stuff that’s going on over there. You folks pay dues over here, to do all the things that you need to do here....
“It boils down to this: What’s it worth for your 189 lots to come over there and have all of those amenities available?”
“Oh, here it comes,” a woman yelled out.
“There’s a value here,” Somers continued. He said RMA members pay $130 a month, and so will residents of the new developments. “See, somebody has to maintain those parks, those trails, those streets...” he said, adding that RMA can’t keep raising member dues.
Somers’ bottom line: “We’re not here to keep you out. We think it’s only right that you pay your fair share.”
Several Village speakers agreed there’s value in the access. Another speaker said her household couldn’t afford a fee.
RMA officials could not answer the audience’s repeated requests for numbers of Village people using RMA property. Maybee said there have been about 300 bar codes issued to Village residents. He said the RMA would try to get data from the CSD, but he couldn’t speak for the CSD’s ability or willingness to produce the information.
Maybee said the issue is on Tuesday night's RMA board agenda, but he said there won't be definitive action taken.