21 Oct Regular Board Meeting was held on Sunday, October 11, 2009
ASOCIACION DE REGULARIZACION DE VECINOS DE LA CHOLLA, A.C.
A regular Board Meeting was held on Sunday, October 11, 2009 at the Cholla Community Center. The meeting was called to order at 9:00 AM by President Michael Dugan with the following board members present: Helen Dahlstrom, Alan Peterson, Lew Felton, Michael Eagan, Ken Goodin, Gene Court, Jim Niblack, Jerry Ketelhut,Jr., Pete Pisciotta, Shirley McDonald and Valente Cornejo, Mexican Representative.
Absent: Pat Sledge, Tom Clark, Steve Lee, and Don Schmidli, Delegate of Vigilance.
The Board had previously received minutes of the July 19, 2009 meeting. Mr. Dugan asked if there were any corrections or additions. There being none, he asked for a motion to approve. Motion made, seconded and report approved.
Treasurer Helen Dahlstrom passed out the report showing income and expenditures through September 30, 2009. Mr. Dugan asked if there were any corrections or additions to the report. There being none, he asked for a motion to approve. Motion made, seconded and report approved.
Ms. Dahlstrom reported there are 596 members paid in full, 291 that are not current, 3 Mexican members that are not required to pay, but did for a total membership of 890. There are 98 members who have an unclear status.
Mr. Dugan said only one member of that committee was present and there wasn’t much to report that couldn’t be covered in new business.
In the absence of Chairman Pat Sledge, Mr. Dugan reported that some members had constructed the Palapa over the rear corner of the east patio changing some walls so it would be more useable for some of the functions. He reported that the bar with the mural on it had been paid for with funds collected by the OBSC as a memorial to Eric Parker. Tile will be installed on top of the bar and a new bench area will complete the project.
Mr. Dugan reported that during construction, a propane tank which was located above the fryers in the
kitchen had been moved to a different location. It will be more convenient for the gas trucks. He said while this was being done they found the roof needed to be coated and Mr. Sledge will be taking care of that problem in the months ahead.
Mr. Dugan said most of the refrigerators and coolers were turned off during the summer to cut down on electrical expenses.
Nothing to report..
Chairman Jerry Ketelhut, Jr., reported they had just completed the “all trash” collection and there will be another one in January. Trash should be put out between January 1st and 7th and the garbage truck will start picking up on January8th. Over the summer, the influx of people from Rocky Point kept the garbage collectors busy picking up what was left on the beaches and around Cholla. All the portajohns on the beach were turned over which was a huge mess. Jessie Arvizu and his crew are cleaning the beaches on Monday and also picking up trash on Friday and Monday around Cholla. He suggested your garbage be put in a container and have it out by 9 AM.
Mr. Dugan brought up that Heather Green is getting some people together from the U of A and CEDO, and will be coming to Cholla for the third year on November 14th from 9AM to Noon to collect garbage from the Estuary and the beaches around Cholla. Flyers will be handed out at the police station to remind people of the date and time. Workers are usually given hot dogs, sodas, etc. as thanks for their work.
Chairman Pete Pisciotta reported he had gone around and checked roads and everything seems to be going okay with the new contract. He had not been contacted by anyone with a problem so assumes everything pretty good for the summer.
He said he wanted to install some larger speed limit signs at the entrance to Cholla and possibly install some speed bumps and some traffic signs in Spanish.
Chairman Gene Court reported that weeds had taken over the park during the summer but have been removed. A neighbor had some almost new playground equipment which he brought down to the park. After removing the old stuff, they will start installing the newer equipment on Monday. The two people who donated this equipment are staying around until Monday to make sure it is installed correctly. Mr. Court said he hoped to have the Park up to par by the end of this year.
He reported the middle palapa has a problem in the main beam and is sagging and breaking the tile. He is going to beef up the beam and replace the broken tile.
There are two dead palm trees and he will contact Bengie Brown about replacing them.
He also asked if anyone had varnish and linseed oil they are not planning to use. If so he would appreciate getting it to use on the Firecracker Sign. It is very dry and needs attention.
Chairman Jim Niblack reported that with the help of Mr. Dugan working to qualify candidates for the Auxiliary Police, hiring them, seeing to training and a pay method that won’t put the Vecinos in jeopardy, and from that help, we now have two more people helping secure Cholla against breakins and other problems. He also said he hadn’t heard of any break ins during the last month.
People can tell the Auxiliary Police by their beige shirts with a Rocky Point Logo on it. The shirts will change with a new logo due to the government change. This is not round the clock staffing because for that seven people would be needed. The two people hired are local, Memo Green from Borracho Flat area and Arturo Arvizu in the middle of Cholla.
The Vecinos purchased a Quad which will enable Auxiliary people to patrol along the beaches. Mr. Dugan wanted to get a mega light to check out anything they might see at night.
Mr. Niblack said since he is Chairman of Security he tries to keep track of break ins and asked the audience if they had heard of any problems to please let him know.
Mr. Dugan said with the Government change, the top 3 people in the police organization are gone and new ones will come in as well as the rest of the local government. He said Paul, who has been in Cholla for quite a while, had car problems and he helped get the vehicle fixed so the change to PAN also affects Cholla.
Mr. Dugan plans to go into the new Police Commandant, introduce himself and tell him what the Vecinos do to help the police do their job even though we do not pay their salaries. The Vecinos pay the phone, electricity and maintain the building and appreciate what they are doing and want them to know we are grateful.
Mr. Niblack said they had checked on better lighting at the Police station. More visibility is needed to monitor the outgoing traffic and work at stopping break ins. Unless the police are sitting outside the building, it is very hard to see what might be in a vehicle. A digital video recorder or a network base recorder would be very helpful in being more aware of what comes and goes by the police station and would help with license plate recognition.
Mr. Niblack said the Vecinos are looking at other alternatives. He contacted a couple of security companies for bids, they are not interested when they find out it would be in Cholla. He asked the audience if they know of good surveillance contractors, he would like to get their names.
He also asked people in the audience to stop at the entry and tell the police they appreciate their hard work in helping keep Cholla safe. There is a new police chief and he and Mr. Dugan plan to visit him and form a relationship with him and show that Cholla wants to work with them in any way we can.
WATER AND SEWER:
As everyone knows, the Vecinos purchased a water concession over a year ago and normally the water flow is very good but does have it’s ups and downs. Usually if something goes down or the valves aren’t turned on, he contacts Bengie Brown and he will let him know if there is a problem. The biggest problem is on Monday when they are filling the reservoirs on Sandy Hill
Mr. Dugan told the audience the Vecinos have a utility reserve. In talking to Mr. Brown, he would give us an area behind the garage across from the police house for some kind of holding tank that can be used to supply 3 or 4 days worth of water. If the line does go down, we still have the ability to have water from our own reservoir. That is planned for the future so we don’t have to rely on the City or Company having a full reservoir in case of an emergency. As to size, type of tank, height, etc, it will be worked out by the Company’s engineers.
Mr. Niblack wanted to know why there is such a change in water flow at times and Mr. Dugan said there could be several reasons such as the city broke a line, more useage at the hotels, and various other problems. It is a slow process but it is moving forward.
Mr. Niblack thinks some thought should be given to elections since they will be here before we know it and he feels we should be giving some thought to board members and who should be encouraged to run. He thought we should seek people who are bilingual, served as board members on other non-profit groups, and possibly has a background in something that would be an asset to the Vecinos. It was determined that 3 officers and 3 or 4 board members are up for re-election this year. Mr. Dugan did warn people interested in running that the meetings are on the weekend but there are a lot of duties pertaining to the Vecinos that necessitate weekly work, too.
Mr. Felton said he planned to do the WiFi during the following week. Mr. Dugan told the audience that there had been discussion in the past year about getting WiFi at the Clubhouse so that people who are down that don’t have internet at their home, they can either sit outside (or inside if the Clubhouse is open) and be able to use the internet.
Ms. Dahlstrom said Lila and Patty were in attendance to start an audit and she is meeting them after the meeting. They will start picking and choosing what records they would like to see and will be going back 3 years. Lila is a homeowner in Cholla and has worked for the Internal Revenue Service as has Patty.
Mr. Dugan discussed the new dues schedule and said it was the methodology used such as vacant lots, etc that caused the problem with the schedule. He wrote a letter to homeowners at that time and explained the dues structure. We did not have a full board at that time to really give it due consideration so his suggestion was that homeowners with questions submit a payment that was right and fair for them and the community. Then it would be discussed with a full board. Since four board members were missing and at least one of those members was instrumental in design and development of the fee structure. Mr. Dugan felt we should defer that issue until the next meeting in November when the board will be back.
CC&R’s were the next thing on the agenda from the July list of things to be discussed at the October meeting. Since most of the large audience in attendance were there regarding the CC&Rs, Mr. Dugan suggested adjourning the meeting and discuss them in the audience participation of the meeting.
Mr. Ketelhut said with 9 breakins and the influx of people coming into Cholla during the summer, it has been very difficult to keep up on the trash. There is a large group of Pongas who launch in Cholla and it is his understanding that they were being charged in Rocky Point so they now use Cholla. All the extra traffic has taken a toll on the roads as well as a lot more trash.
Secretary asked Mr. Ketelhut if he felt we should continue providing Portajons on the beaches for mostly Mexican use when they had all been turned over leaving a huge mess to clean up as well as toilet paper being strewn over the beach. He explained that Mexicans don’t put paper in any toilet so it is left in the urinal and when the door hung open it was blown over the beach. He reported that doors were repaired and toilet paper disposal provided. Mr. Ketelhut felt the system was working well now.
Mr. Ketelhut said there are 7 Portajons on the beach and 2 in the park and feels the system is working and we need to continue. Mr. Dugan said the containers are needed because one Sunday he was on the beach and there were over 200 vehicles parked on the beach and 75 of those were on Tucson Beach. If you figure that most of those cars had an average or at least 4 people, with no bathrooms, it would be a real mess.
There was a lady in the audience who was complaining about the smell from a portajon that is stationed near her garage. He suggested that she talk to Mr. Ketelhut after the meeting and if they can find another place to put it, they will do so. If there was a way to limit the amount of people who come into Cholla, it would solve a lot of problems. It is an issue that will have to be addressed at some time because the amount of people who are in Cholla on the weekend is absolutely incredible. They have total disregard for handling their waste because they know the Vecinos will pick it up.
With Rocky Point having 50% unemployment, the people have nothing to do in the summer so they come to Cholla where vendors are selling on the beach so it is party time.
There being no further business to discuss, Mr. Dugan asked for a motion to adjourn. Motion made, seconded and meeting adjourned at 10:14 AM.
A gentlemen in the audience said with all the influx of visitors coming to Cholla, why couldn’t we charge a clean-up or useage charge? Mr. Dugan said he didn’t know if we could do that. Mr. Peterson said Gus Brown, Sr., used to charge a camping fee on Cholla property and he was told he couldn’t do that as long as there was business in Cholla. Mr. Dugan wondered how they did that downtown where the a restaurant charges money to park in a certain area. Mr. Dugan said if people parked outside Mr. Brown’s maintenance yard, it would be free.
Mr. Niblack took a vote as to how many would be okay with some kind of restriction coming into Cholla. The majority would like some kind of restriction, but did bring up the fact that there are businesses in Cholla.
Someone asked why someone didn’t stop people from parking on the beaches and was told we had no enforcement except the Police Department and we can’t actually direct them to handle the problem.
There was a question about the people at the gate, wanting to know if they were the Police or our security? They are both but we do not have security. We do not have employees because you get involved with Mexican Social Security and that is something the Vecinos do not want. If you terminate someone, you have to pay 1 ½ year severance pay based on their salary.
We do not pay the Auxiliary Policeman any money at all. The Vecinos give the money to the police official who then pays them. Basically Arturo and Memo are eyes and ears for the policemen in our community and if they see something that needs to be handled by the Police, they contact them with the radios they have.
Mr. Dugan reminded everyone that the police in Cholla are similar to ours in the States. We can’t tell either of them what to do. We can ask them politely if they will check something where someone is breaking the rules.
There was a comment about Pitecho filling his truck from the stand pipe in Cholla and charging too much. Mr. Dugan said he had heard that and he gets some water from the pipe but also gets it from town, too. When the pipe was installed, the agreement was $7 for a small tank and $14 for a large one.
There were comments about so many people on the beaches and all over Cholla and a discussion followed about Bengie Brown’s talk of plans to have parking down by the equipment yard for anyone going to the beach. Mr. Dugan brought up the window stickers furnished to paid Vecino members so the police can identify homeowners.
Mr. Dugan gave a history of trying to get some kind of building guidelines into being for the past
15 years or more. He also gave the history of how the present CC&R’s were put together and the journey they took in trying to get them approved and the fact that there are some rules in the document that were not put in by the Vecinos. Since we are a part of Rocky Point, they put in restrictions that were not in the guidelines originally put together by the Vecinos building committee.
Mr. Dugan said Cholla was a poster child for how not to develop an area. The original attempts to get some guidelines to cover Cholla were not approved by Mr. Brown even though he had asked the Vecinos to put something together. This happened more than once and all attempts were dropped for a while.
During the building boom in the area, we all saw things happening that were not good for the community of Cholla. Too many dwellings being put on one lot, built to the road and with no parking except on the road. The Vecinos decided to try again to get some kind of restrictions that would benefit all residents of Cholla now and in the future if and when another boom hits the area. Mike Eagan and Steve Lee put together what was shown to the audience and in this attempt they used many of the items in the Rocky Point Guidelines. Having run into problems in trying to get some rules in place, the committee hired two gentlemen who worked for an engineering firm in Hermosillo to handle it for them. Mr. Dugan explained the procedure to the audience and took them through the whole process to the present time. They produced a book that was presented to Rocky Point for our community that complies with the city, state and federal government rules.
In the guidelines, the Vecinos had planned one meter around each new building which was approved by the Company but the city wanted 3 meters all around. Therefore, it was necessary to comply with the ordinances.
In June or July, the CC&R’s were presented to the Administration. They had a council meeting attended by Mr. Dugan, and the presentation was made to the council by the company who put the CC&R’s together. There was an issue with the Mexican Nationals who live in Cholla because there is one area that says a deposit has to be made prior to construction regarding cleaning up construction debris. Mr. Dugan went back to the City and told them it was not a problem, that it could be waived for them.
At that point with elections coming, there was a major upheaval in the city with PAN coming in and PRI going out so nothing much was accomplished. We are now basically waiting for them to get settled and the new mayor to sit down and review everything.
The CC&R’s were put together by Mr. Lee and Mr Eagan, approved by the Vecinos’ Board and the Company and then taken over by the engineering company who finalized them. Mr. Dugan said he was the facilitator only, contrary to what some homeowners thought and spread around Cholla.
The CC&R’s, if approved tomorrow, is only a starting point. There will not be someone at anyone’s door to tell them they must do this and that. This is for future construction. Everyone’s home is grandfathered in as built, but if anyone decides to tear down an existing building and build something new on that site, it will be built according to the new guidelines.
A member asked what will happen if someone has a lot, plans drawn according to what has been allowed before, no trust yet, and now the drawing does not meet what is required by the new CC&R’s.
Mr. Eagan said each case will be looked and they will look at variances as need be. He did say there were things they would not vary from such as parking, one for each bedroom, with no parking on the street. He said there is not a lot of meat in the guidelines and they are willing to work with anyone
and are definitely not the Gestapo.
There is also a provision in the guidelines stating that the Vecinos can change things so this is not written in stone, but is a start to go forward.
Mr. Dugan brought up the fact that people in the audience were asked if they would be interested in serving on the Architectural Committee and no one raised their hand. Bill Hensler said he had volunteered and he had talked to Pat Sledge about it, but no one ever contacted him. Mr. Eagan explained that there will be five people on the Architectural Committee. Two are to be from the public and three from the board. Mr. Hensler volunteered to be on the committee, but being a developer, he would have to recuse himself when voting.
The committee explained that they are trying to stop problems between neighbors as happened between Bill Coughlin and his neighbor. That problem wound up costing a lot of money over several years and there is still not a solution to the problem.
There was a question from a member asking how we could tell homeowners they could not park on the street when locals come out and park anywhere they want. Mr. Dugan replied that when the CC&R’s are approved then we can go to the Police and say that these people are violating the law. The reply to Mr. Dugan was that we can’t tell the police what to do, and he said at least it is a start in trying to control the problems.
A member said she had two parking places but did it mean if her children came down, they couldn’t park on the street. Mr. Dugan answered that was what not what was intended. He said no one was going to be driving around Cholla telling people they had to move a car. What it does mean is that someone can’t pull their boat to the front of their house and leave it for several months. The CC&R’s say that if someone is blocking the right-of-way, they can be asked to move whatever is blocking it.
There were some people who got up and spoke, some duplicating what had already been said about leaving Cholla alone. They didn’t want any changes and Mr. Dugan informed them that what they are complaining about are Rocky Point requirements that they can enforce any time they desire. At least if Cholla has rules, there is a variance committee they can approach for relief.
One lady complained that her view has been blocked by a 3 story house and she can only build 2 stories which means she lost her view and she will block other peoples view. She also complained about the trailer near her home when she thought they could only be there while doing construction on your home.
Mr. Dugan told her the trailer was brought in by the Company for someone who worked with them and the property is owned by Gus Brown’s sister. They moved the trailer in. Do we have a rule against having trailers? Yes. Was it enforceable? No. If the CC&R’s had been passed, we would have the ability to go to RP and say there is a law against this and could have the City Engineer approved moving it. Regarding the trailer, Mr. Dugan asked the person living there how long the trailer would be there and was told the occupant was moving out in August to a move into a home he was having built. He. talked to Bengie Brown and asked whatever happened to that person and was told he left Cholla and the trailer and went to El Paso. At the present time the Vecinos have no authority to move it but the
CC&R’s would correct that. There were several people who complained that the Board had secretly made up the CC&R’s and tried to get them approved without the knowledge or approval of the members. Mr. Eagan said the CC&R’s were brought up at every meeting for at least the last year and also at the General Meeting. There was also a copy that could have been seen by anyone if they had attended a meeting and asked to see it. Mr. Eagan said we were your tools, elected by you, to watch out for everyone in Cholla. The Board was trying to do their best, but can only do it with the support of the membership.
Some gentleman got up and ranted about the Vecinos changing the laws of Cholla. He loved Mexico and wanted to live by the laws of Mexico. Mr. Dugan assured that these were the laws of Mexico and Cholla only wanted to enforce them. Mr. Dugan also gave him the heights approved by Rocky Point which are in our CC&R’s. It was suggested that the laws of Mexico which differ from what the Vecinos wanted be in a separate section and the laws being proposed by Cholla be in it’s own section. Mr. Ketelhut and Mr. Niblack are going to work toward that goal.
Mr. Dugan said he, Mr. Peterson, Mr. Maud as past and present Presidents, along with other members of the board, had been approached by someone who had a problem with someone building next to them and they were looking for help. They didn’t have a permit, leaving no room between house and no parking and there was not one thing the Vecinos could do.
A lady got up and told everything she thought was wrong with the CC&R’s, the fact that people had asked to see it and was told it wasn’t finished and then it was at the Mayor’s office waiting to be approved. She sounded as though the rules would affect her home, etc. Mr. Dugan asked her how the CC&R’s would affect her and her reply was that they didn’t affect her now but might in the future.
A gentleman said he purchased a lot several years ago with a view and according to one Section in the CC&R’s that view could be taken away. Mr. Dugan quoted the section he was talking about and informed him that was not included by the committee, it was put in by the Company and Rocky Point. Mr. Dugan said he thinks in the city and state building plans, they plan so many one story, two story and three story buildings for a manzana. He asked if there was anyone in attendance who might possibly be next to or behind where a 3 story might or could be built. Mr. Eagan had made a map according the the zoning section of the CC&R’s as to heights proposed by the city.
Mr. Dugan said if there was a problem with height, it would be taken care of prior to going to the City for a permit. Without any rules, the person building doesn’t have to be checked and will go in and get a permit and the neighbor probably won’t know anything about it until he starts. Then it is too late.
A homeowner asked for those who want CC&R’s to raise their hands. Those that don’t want CC&R’s raise their hands. He suggested that we get everyone’s email addresses and keep them informed of what is going on.
There were several more who spoke about losing their view, etc. One didn’t want anyone telling him what to do about parking or anything else that pertained to his property.
A member who was on Phoenix Planning and Zoning for 10 years he said there is a difference in
planning and zoning and he thinks there is confusion with the CC&R’s. He said we are following the
laws that already exist and CC&R’s aren’t needed. He said developers set up CC&R’s when they develop a community so there is no problem. We, however, are in a community where the developer did nothing like that so things were built however people wanted them. There were rules in Rocky Point, but they weren’t followed because people didn’t know about them. .
Someone said we should send a copy of the CC&R’s to every member because he felt they should have a say in them as the people clapping showed. Mr. Dugan said there were 850 paid members and there were about 50 in attendance so that didn’t represent what the others thought.
One lady said what is causing so much concern of the members is the height restriction and that is put in by Rocky Point. Without the CC&R’s, people will continue to go there for a permit and they don’t care as long as they get the money. With the CC&R’s, the Architectural Committee will have to approve what they want to build and if it inflicts a hardship on a neighbor, they will have to seek a variance which will not be given. Now there is nothing to stop someone from building 3 story condos on any vacant beach property.
Barb Damman said people are forgetting that as visitors to Mexico, their rules are non-negotiable and everyone needs to remember that Whether the CC&R’s are approved by the Vecinos or not, they are still the laws of the land and as such, we have to abide by them. A gentleman in the audience said they are the laws but the board needs to make sure the items that were included by the city, rather than the Vecinos, needs to be spelled out for people.
After all was said, one man got up and asked why we are so determined to do this when it is evident people don’t want it? That question had already been answered. They are the guidelines from Rocky Point and we are a part of that city.
Mr. Dugan said in the City CC&R’s it states that the scope and purpose is ” due to the irregularity of the community, uncontrolled construction, uncertainties and the need for reasonable rules and regulations, hereby adopting the architectural concepts, standards and procedures”.
The Architectural Committee is in effect the guardian of the standards and goals in the architectural regulations working in conjunction with the City of Penasco, the State of Sonora and Mexican Federal Agency.
Someone asked if this document was going to be voted on by the members. Mr. Dugan replied it has been submitted to the City. You elected people to do things and this board like in the states has proceeded to do the business for you because you are not here to do it. There will be a lot of positions on this board in the April elections. You can get voted in and become one of these seven people and do what you want. You need to run and be here 24/7 to take care of everything that needs to be done in Cholla. You can be called, emailed and visited and help take care of this community because there is a lot more that has to be done than you see at a meeting in one two hour period. There are weeks where something has to be done every day and I beg you to please run because you folks can take over all the responsibilities it takes to run this growing city.
Paul Schoonover wanted the board to change the way voting is done so everyone can either be in attendance or send in a proxy because there were not enough people present at the last General Meeting to vote the proxies received. He said people should be able to send a mail-in ballot because it is done that way in the states. Mr. Dugan told him the Vecinos’ Constitution has a method to do that but you have to do what the Constitution says to amend it. Mr. Schoonover wanted a copy of the Constitution since he didn’t have one. Mr. Peterson said he gave a copy to everyone when they became a member to get a trust.
Mr. Dugan told Mr. Schoonover to read the Constitution and the people who get elected next year can handle the Constitution and how a change will be done.
Shirley McDonald, Secretary
Sunday, November 15, 2009 9:00 AM
Sunday, December 13, 2009 9:00 AM
TOPICS TO BE DISCUSSED AT NOVEMBER MEETING:
1. Audit – Progress
3. Dues Structure