RSFA March BOD: Changes

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Chhhhanges … Lots of changes being proposed this month. Please read on and comment to the Association, or forever hold your peace.

Golf Club Inactive Status

Brad Shupe pitched several operational changes that would bring RSFGC in line with industry practice. The first regarded the ability for members to stop their golf course membership, and then reactivate it at a later time. It had been the policy that you could suspend your membership for one year for every five years of membership you had accumulated. The new policy says you can inactivate your membership for only six months for every ten years of membership you’ve had. 

In addition, it used to be that members who cancelled their golf membership and then, potentially years later, came back and re-joined, wouldn’t have to pay the initiation fee (currently $50,000) again. The new policy says the initiation fee must always be paid when joining, regardless whether or not you used to be a past member.

The board voted 7-0 to post these new rules for member comments and will likely adopt them next board meeting. More details contained in this staff memo.

Golf Club Lounge Areas

When the golf club player’s clubhouse was built about fourteen years ago, three lounges were created. A men’s lounge, a woman’s lounge and coed lounge in the middle (Veranda Lounge below). 

Golf Club Player’s Clubhouse

However a threatened lawsuit turned both the men’s and woman’s lounges into coed lounges, even though I’ve never seen women in the ex-men’s lounge area (and I’ve never been in the ex-woman’s lounge area). The golf club would now like to switch back to the way it originally was, with a separate men’s lounge in addition to the woman’s and coed lounges. Click here for more info. The board voted 5-2 to post this rule change for comment, directors Laurel Lemarie and Sharon Ruhnau voting against. They did not raise objections during the board meeting and I reached out to each to ask why they voted no, but have received no comment.

Proliferation of As Built Submissions

Art Jury president Bill Danola gave a thorough update on what the Art Jury is seeing. Among other things, they (and the building department) are swamped. To give you an idea of how swamped, the next Art Jury meeting will take place over two days rather than the usual one day.

One of the items discussed was a proliferation of as built submissions. Basically, these are members who:

  • Don’t get a permit.
  • Have an approved permit, but make changes during construction and then never get these changes approved.
  • Have an approved permit, but ignore the permit provisions which ask for approval once very visible items like paving stones and house color are finally selected.

Various ways of trying to get better member compliance were discussed including increased fines and higher as built permit fees. In the end, the consensus seemed to be that the Association staff should do an even better job at educating members and possibly contractors about permitting requirements. In particular, it seems that many local contractors ignore required Association inspections. They know what Country inspections are required, but are not knowledgeable about Association inspections.

I know in my experience with contractors, they have no problem getting and interfacing with County permits and inspectors, but usually don’t want to have anything to do with Association permits and inspections, leaving that to the homeowner. 

By the way, here’s pretty much a complete list of the times you DON’T need an association permit:

  • Interior remodels that have no exterior visibility.
  • Building garden walls 32″ or less in height.

You need a permit for almost anything else. As I explained in my article about an earlier Art Jury experience, it need not be difficult or time consuming to get a permit.

As an aside, I’d just like to point out that getting “caught” by the Association for non-permitted construction is a major pain in the butt for everyone involved. The Association is well within their rights to ask you to deconstruct things you’ve built at potentially major cost to the homeowner. Fines are then issued to force compliance, and much time and money is expended by everyone. I offer no advice, but if I were to do unpermitted construction (not recommended), I would make sure to follow both County and Association regulations anyways. The alternative is unneighborly, potentially dangerous, and may result in a giant time and expense headache.

New Grading Regulation

As predicted, the Association has posted for 30 day review a new grading regulation that adds significant new restrictions on how people may grade their property. I guess it could have been worse. Director Bill Strong talked for quite a while agitating for even more restrictions like restricting grading within set backs, imposing a maximum amount of grading, eliminating proposed limited exceptions to the grading restrictions that allow people to build driveways and houses, and even adding restrictions regarding basements.

Anyways, the proposed new grading regulation has these changes in it:

  • Allowable grading changes from 10 feet of cut and 10 feet of fill to 8′ and 8′.
  • Retaining walls have a maximum height of five feet.
  • Allowable cut slopes have been changed from 1.5:1 to 2:1.
  • Allowable fill slopes have been changed from 3:1 to 4:1. Both these spread grading further onto the property (uses more space).
  • Grading permit now required for anything over 100 cu yards or 3′ of change, down from 200 cu yards (which is the current County limit for no permit).

You can read the full regulation here. The board voted 7-0 to post this for a 30 day comment period, after which it will likely be voted to be put into effect.

Exterior Building Materials

The Association is on the working draft stage for a revision of the Exterior Materials (section 49) of the Regulatory Code. The major changes currently being contemplated are:

  • New house construction may now have up to 33% exterior building material being wood, up from the current 25%.
  • Remodels will no longer have any set restriction on how much wood they use if the existing structure is primarily wood.
  • New glass restrictions: Glass including glass used in doors and windows, may not exceed 33% of any exterior wall plane, and may not exceed 50% of any elevation. The sole exception to this is if there is a patio covering protruding at least 12′ from the house covering the large glass surface.

Note that the RSF Fire Department has recently updated their regulations concerning wood as an exterior material, and they now have a list of allowable treated wood manufacturers/products that maybe used. Contact the RSF Fire Department for that list.

In the board discussion about this draft, director Greg Gruzdowich asked why Hardie Board (cement fiber board that looks and performs better than wood) wasn’t being discussed (no one took him up on the suggestion). Currently, Hardie Board is not allowed as an exterior building material. He also cautioned against restricting wood at all, as it would effectively disallow certain types of architectural styles.

On the other end of the allow/disallow spectrum, directors Bill Strong and Sharon Ruhnau called exterior glass (meaning windows) a non-preferred material and wanted even more restrictions on window size than the new restrictions being contemplated.

Expect a final draft regulation hewing more or less to this working draft (click to view) to be posted for comment at the April board meeting.

Forest Health

Bill Beckman gave a presentation about the state of Rancho’s forest. Following a study by Dudek, he called the current state of the forest to be “generally good”. Over the years, we have lost most of our red gum Eucalyptus trees to the lerp psyllid, and a more diverse forest has sprung up. He noted that citrus groves are now under pressure for a variety of reasons. 

I personally have been cutting down my red gums (save some specimen trees here and there) and replacing them with a variety of other tree types, including some Iron Bark Eucalyptus when I can find them (any kind of Eucalyptus is hard to find at growers these days). 

The Association, the Fire Department and the Irrigation District have collaborated on making this useful list of recommended trees to plant in our climate.