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June 20, 2013
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ASPOA board president mum on recall efforts

Paul Hoefler, president of the Alta Sierra Property Owners Association, has been silent recently about the recall effort undertaken by neighborhood residents and accusations that he and some of his fellow board members are power-hungry, secretive and actively attempting to suppress those opposed to their governance.

Hoeffler has failed to return multiple calls and emails spanning the past two days seeking comment regarding the ongoing recall effort. He did comment in two previous stories regarding the recall, however.

Kathy Monteiro, the leader of the recall effort, said the board has been secretive about its intentions to renovate the neighborhood’s CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions) that are placed on a group of homes by a developer), install mandatory dues to the approximately 3,200 property owners and grant the board the authority to fine property owners and enact tax liens.

“They’ve kept this secret from the homeowners for over a year,” she said.

Monteiro said the board has expended nearly $15,000 on legal fees, much of which was not disclosed to the public until recently.

The board’s annual budget is $65,000.

Hoefler has asserted in past interviews that the renovation of the CC&Rs and other major policy changes the board is contemplating will not occur without the vote of all homeowners.

Monteiro said the recall vote should precede such a vote because the board is spending exorbitant amounts on its attorney without first soliciting the input of those they represent.

“We need to stop this board from spending more money,” she said. “The annual budget for legal is $2,000.”

Monteiro questioned why the board failed to ask homeowners if they desired the major policy changes before, and not after, they spent a large amount of money to have an attorney look at specific changes to the CC&Rs.

Monteiro said the board is also using tactics to disenfranchise those attempting to collect signatures to initiate the recall effort.

Instead of agreeing to count the signatures with two representatives from the board and from the recall effort, the board demanded the petitions be turned into the same attorney who has been collecting checks for the past year, she said.

Monteiro has circulated two petitions — one demanding a recall and the other demanding a public debate between Hoefler and Monteiro.

Hoefler has repeatedly denied Monteiro’s requests to debate her in a public forum.

“I have no intention of engaging in a debate with her,” Hoefler said in a May 12 email to The Union. “She is welcome to attend the forums or our board meeting and we will address her questions like any other member.”

After submitting petitions to the ASPOA board’s attorney, the recall petition was promptly returned to Monteiro. The attorney said her petition fell short of eight signatures from current ASPOA members.

About 1,600 of the 3,200 property owners in Alta Sierra are ASPOA members. Monteiro said she has repeatedly requested a membership list, only to be denied.

The attorney who holds the petition demanding a public debate said the signatures have yet to be counted, and said they would not be counted in the near future as his office is busy with other matters, Monteiro said.

Alta Sierra, which has become increasingly divided over the issue in recent weeks, is littered with signs supporting the recall effort.

One such sign was reported stolen by a caller on Norlene Way at 5:20 p.m. Monday, according to the Nevada County Sheriff’s daily activity reports.

In past interviews, Hoefler said the portrayal of the ASPOA board as interested in unduly expanding its influence is not correct.

The board wants to give enforcement strength to regulations already on the books, he said in early May.

“We want to be able to enforce the deed restrictions,” Hoefler said.

He pointed to a recent instance where a property owner cut down a swathe of trees within his property, contrary to regulations put forth in the neighborhood regulations.

ASPOA asked the person to desist from the project but was repeatedly rebuffed, and without the ability to levy fines, the regulations are not enforceable, Hoefler said.

Another problem exists with residents keeping derelict vehicles on their front lawn or neglecting properties to a point where it detrimentally impacts neighboring property values, Hoefler said.

Nevada County Code Compliance does have enforcement ability to address derelict vehicles on properties.

A public meeting that took place in early May did little to calm tempers, as many in attendance felt as though the questions they had prepared were suppressed by board member Don Bessee and Hoefler.

The men denied the accusations, claiming the only questions dispensed were duplicative.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email mrenda@theunion.com or 530-477-4239.

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The Union Updated Jun 20, 2013 12:27PM Published Jun 22, 2013 12:33AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.