The February board meeting was a productive one, and I'm going to share 15 items from the meeting that I believe every owner should know, and many of them are also important to tenants and other non-owner residents.
1. Post-Transition First Quarter Assessments
As you should know, we've completed the transition from AAM to PDS as our management company. With any transition, there are a few issues, and getting your assessment payments into the right place is often one of them.. Please check to be sure your assessment payment was made: if you wrote a check, make sure it was cashed; if you sent it electronically, make sure that the transaction went through.
If you find any problems or if you need any help confirming payment, please contact Lisa and she will be happy to assist. We've already helped several of you, and we're here to help anyone that needs it.
I have a list of accounts (owners) whose assessments have not yet posted, and for those of you that I have an email address, I'll follow up with a short note just asking you to check. For those I don't have an email address for, Lisa will follow up next shortly with a note in the mail.
The board has made it clear that there will be no late fees for any late payments this quarter. We know these sorts of things happen during a transition, and feel there's no need to penalize anyone in the process.
2. Heatherbrae Entrance -- Landscape Revitalization Pilot
The board approved moving forward with the pilot project to revitalize the Heatherbrae entrance. This is the first step in improving the landscape around Rio Crossing which has suffered a good bit over time. If this pilot project is successful, we'll move forward with the Campbell entrance, and then plan for additional small projects around the community.
Here's a small view of the planned layout for the Heatherbrae entrance. Thanks to Dan for his help in the design. He and Julia have been working behind the scenes to create plant spacing criteria and specific goals in how plants are to be selected, placed, and cared for long-term. Thanks to both of them for their efforts on this.
You can click on the image to see a larger version. If you'd like to see more details, let me know, or attend the upcoming Town Hall...
3. Rio Crossing Town Hall - Saturday March 21
Several of your board members will host a community "town hall"-style meeting on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 11am at the Ramada in Roma Park. We scheduled this primarily to answer any questions about the Landscape Revitalization Project overall, and the Pilot project specifically. As usual, though, we're happy to hear your comments (yes... good or bad) on any community related topic.
This isn't a "board meeting", so there's no specific agenda, and the board won't be able to discuss and make decisions -- the sort of thing that requires an actual meeting. But if something comes up that will need a decision by the board, we'll get it on the March regular board meeting agenda.
4. Date and Venue Change for Board Meetings
For those of you that do occasionally come to our board meetings (you are all invited!), please note that we are changing the location and day of the week. See this blog article for more details that what's listed here.
Getting a location that is reasonably priced, easily accessible, has good accommodations, and not too far away -- well, it's not as easy as you might think. For a variety of those concerns, we are moving the meetings back to the Avondale Civic Center at 11465 Civic Center Drive in Avondale, along Avondale Blvd just south of I-10.
Also, it's difficult aligning the schedules of all the board members so we can all attend. In February, we decided to select the meeting dates monthly for a while. For March, we'll be meeting on the second Thursday of the month, which is March 12, at our usual 7pm.
5. Policy Revisions: Collections, Fines & Violations
The board also approved revisions to two policies, the one for collections of delinquent assessments, and the one for fines and violations. The wording was agreed to, and it will be another week or so before the new policy documents are available.
Not much has changed, other than some procedural changes to accommodate the way PDS handles some of the processing of these items. Once the final versions of the documents are ready, I'll send out another email with links so you can see the changes.
6. Register on RioCrossing.org
If you haven't already registered on the PDS-hosted web site at RioCrossing.org, please do! Information about account activity, architectural requests, and violation notices for your lot are available there. Also, association documents are there, including all governing documents, recent financial reports, meeting minutes, and more. If you are looking for something and can't find it, ask Lisa or me for assistance. If it's not there, we'll get it for you if we can.
I often refer to RioCrossing.org as the "internal web site", and we continue to operate the "external" web site at RioCrossingHOA.com, which has some documents, a calendar, blog entries, and some additional information. But your account-specific information is only located on RioCrossing.org.
7. New Architectural Review Internal Process
Your process for submitting an Architectural Review to the Design Review Committee isn't changing -- you should submit a request for any change you want to make to the outside of your home. (There are a couple of things you can do that do not require a Request to be submitted, but you should confirm in advance that one isn't required before proceeding.)
What will change is how the Design Review Committee meets. Previously the committee met monthly, just before the board meeting. This often resulted in long delays for people who submitted a request right after a board meeting, while waiting for the next month to come around. And if your request was incomplete or the committee has questions, even more delay.
Now, we'll meet "as needed", and we will meet one of three ways:
In all three cases, we will attempt to contact the submitter in advance and arrange for the submitter to participate, listen in, and answer any questions on-the-spot. Assuming that we have all the information we need, we'll make a decision, document any stipulations, and sign the form electronically... then forward it directly to the PDS staff for processing and filing. If you as a submitter attend the meeting, you'll have your answer immediately (you don't have to wait for the paper copy to arrive!). We had been using a process that involved a lot of paper... and we're moving away from that, to PDF documents instead.
- Electronically via video conference.
- Informally at Roma Park
- At the lot of the submitter of the Request
8. Can You Spare an Hour a Month?
Your board members spend a good deal of time working on association business. And by working, I mean volunteering. Sometimes we could use an extra pair of eyes or hands on some small task -- most of the time under an hour. Maybe it's proof-reading a draft of a new policy, or checking the backflow valves for leaks.
We don't need any skill in particular -- but if you have some time to assist, we'd love to hear from you!
We do have a need for an additional member of the Design Review Committee -- currently there are only two, and we like to have three. I'd be happy to discuss what's involved. Contact me or Lisa to express your interest.
9. Holiday Decorations Still Up?
If you still have your holiday decorations up outside, they should be down by now. Strings of lights, inflatable figures, that sort of thing. Please take care of these as soon as possible.
Lisa will likely send you one of our "Courtesy Notices" if she spots something during her community tours. Remember, this isn't a fine, and while it is recorded in the violation system, it really is just a note to ask you to take care of something.
If there is some extenuating circumstance about any violation notice, contact Lisa and explain the issue. The board has authorized her to make reasonable adjustments and accommodations when prudent. After a recent notice about holiday decorations, one owner contacted her and indicated they were traveling and unable to take care of it immediately; Lisa took note of it and won't continue to write violation notices while they're still traveling. We try to be very reasonable!
10. Emphasis on Vehicles, Bulk Trash
We continue to see many vehicles that violate the community rules, and many people who put bulk trash out way too early, or leave items out outside of the bulk pickup window. During March and April, PDS will be paying closer attention to these.
Here are the specific vehicle rules we see violated a lot:
- The can be parked in the driveway, but not anywhere else on the lot. Not on pavers, not on granite, not on grass. On the concrete of the driveway.
- The vehicle can't extend into area of the sidewalk or curb.
- There are rules about parking RVs, campers, trailers, boats, etc. In general, these can't be "parked, kept or stored on any Lot so as to be Visible From Neighboring Property", but we have a policy that allows you to contact the management company in advance and advise them that you plan to park an RV in your yard for cleaning for a few days. If you're going to do this, you need to contact Lisa in advance.
11. Lot/House Maintenance Review
Please give your entire home and lot a once-over to make sure that there are no repairs needed.
For example, there was a big windstorm back in the summer/fall of 2018, and it blew a number of tiles off of people's homes. Some homes have been repaired, but there are some homes with missing tiles -- over a year and a half later.
Please do your best to keep your home in good repair.
12. Upcoming Social Events
We're planning a community garage sale in April -- no specific date set yet. And we usually have some sort of a social event in the spring before it gets too hot -- no date for that yet either. We will likely decide dates at the March meeting.
13. Tenant Registration Requirements
At the January meeting, the board approved a policy requiring information to be provided to the management company regarding tenants. Please see the relevant Arizona Statute ARS 33-1806.01 for some information. Contact Lisa for the process PDS uses for the registration process. There is a $25 fee for each registration.
14. Tot Lots/Playground Sand Cleaning
Safe and Sound is the company that does our monthly maintenance inspections and routine cleaning of the playground areas. They reminded us that it has been a while since we had a thorough sand cleaning at both of the playgrounds, so the board has approved these, and should be completed in the next week or two. After that is done, Safe and Sound will let us know if the sand needs to be added to.
15. Avondale Community Resource Officer Visit
At the February meeting, Avondale Police Officer Archer -- one of two Community Resource Officers with the Avondale PD -- came to meet with us, along with Avondale's Vice Mayor, Pat Dennis. Officer Archer indicated that his review of Rio Crossing crime statistics shows that while our crime rate is lower than many other Avondale communities, nobody -- including us -- is immune to crime. He mentioned two programs that the Avondale PD recommends.
First, the Lock it, Hide It, Keep It program. The essential points are:
He indicated that we've had a few burglaries of vehicles lately -- all of which were unlocked at the time. Please lock your vehicles!!
- Keep your vehicles locked at all times! Don’t think “Oh, I’m just running in because I forgot my grocery list.” Lock it!
- Don’t leave anything of any value openly viewable in your vehicle. Not your wallet, not your phone, not your lunch. Hide it!
- In general, don’t leave things in your vehicle for extended times anyway! Certainly not your wallet, and if your car isn’t parked inside the garage at all times, we highly recommend don’t leave your garage door clicker in the car! If they get in your car… they can get in your home. Keep it inside the house!
The second program is the "Report It" program, which in spite of the name, is actually described as a "Citizen Property Inventory System." With this system, basically you list any items you have which come with serial numbers, and if they are ever stolen, you have one place to go for records of your items when you "report it" to the police. We'll be sending out some more information on this program soon.
Thanks for hanging in there til the end. Please drive safely, lock your vehicles, and wave to your neighbors!