It’s time for the truth about Alta Sierra controversy
June 27, 2013
My name is David Johnson and I am writing to set the record straight regarding what the Alta Sierra Property Owners Association’s board of directors (BOD) are, and are not, doing. There have been several stories and letters in The Union presenting accusations and insinuations that the BOD is grabbing for power, spending money frivolously and is out to destroy the bucolic nature of our community. The last article even insinuated that the board was depriving people of free speech and of removing private property.
The free speech issue falls within the broader context of the covenants, codes and restrictions (CC&Rs) that are recorded as part of every property deed.
When people purchase property in Alta Sierra, the escrow papers include a copy of the CC&Rs that are legally part of the deed. Clause VII reads in part, “No billboards or other advertising device shall be erected or placed upon any lot in said tract without the written permission of the Architectural Committee.”
Equating the loss of an illegal sign to the loss of freedom of speech is ludicrous, and the insinuation that the BOD was somehow involved in the removal of the sign is insulting.
Free speech is evident at every board meeting, which is open to members of ASPOA (first Monday of each month at the Alta Sierra Country Club 9 a.m.) and any ASPOA member may request to be placed on the agenda to speak to the board regarding any issue that concerns them.
The names and phone numbers of board members and committee chairpersons are listed on our website along with the board meeting highlights and our treasurer’s report.
Some of those who insinuate the BOD operates in secrecy seem unaware of how our meetings are conducted. It also demonstrates ignorance of how nonprofit home owner associations operate.
Several of The Union articles present claims that the BOD wants to turn Alta Sierra into a gated community. Because the Alta Sierra roads are owned and maintained by the county, it is impossible to gate any of the entryways and the board never had any intention of turning Alta Sierra into anything like Lake of the Pines. This argument is knowingly false, but it serves their purpose as a hot button to scare homeowners into joining there false cause.
Those opposed to CC&R revision and enforcement must be OK with violations such as a lot destroyed so the owner could grow marijuana, property used as a day rental for parties, lots that are clear-cut of mature pine trees, aggressive dogs that harass walkers and multiple derelict vehicles parked in the front of a property. These are just a few of the CC&R violations reported to the board from concerned residents.
The real question facing home owners of Alta Sierra is, do they want the BOD to come to their aid when they encounter a neighbor who egregiously violates the CC&Rs? Writing letters and threatening legal action has not worked. Lawyers charge $250 per hour and a lawsuit can run upwards of $30,000 dollars.
The only viable option available under our current ASPOA structure is an unacceptably expensive lawsuit. Because ASPOA simply does not have the financial resources to file a lawsuit, when violators refuse a BOD request to comply, lot owners are on their own to resolve the violation.
As further proof that the BOD will be guided by the will of the community, the Alta Sierran monthly paper will contain a survey in the July issue for those who own property within Alta Sierra to indicate whether they want the BOD to continue or abandon efforts to make CC&Rs enforceable. Don’t let the distorted opinions and false insinuations influence your decision.
The survey contains an argument in favor of moving forward. As part of embracing free speech, we also provided the opposition with equal space to register their opinion of the questions.
A “yes” vote on the three survey questions simply means the BOD will move the process forward, allowing you to vote on the CC&R revisions as they become available.
A “no” vote stops the process, and you will be left with exactly what you have.
David Johnson is a member of the Alta Sierra board of directors. For more information, visit http://www.aspoa.org.