Sunrise Mountain View Estates
5550 N. Paseo Otoño
Tucson, AZ 85750
Volume 27 No. 1
Welcome to the Sunrise Mountain View Estates Spring 2018 Newsletter!
The SMVE website and SMVE News Alert emails are the primary vehicles to communicate important information to homeowners in a timely fashion. We recommend subscribing to website update emails to receive the most timely information. Twice each year, articles published on the website since the prior newsletter are consolidated into a newsletter format. An SMVE News Alert is sent to notify homeowners that the newsletter is available. Articles that are no longer relevant at the time the newsletter is published are omitted. We mail a printed copy of the newsletter only to those homeowners without email.
Thanks to all the homeowners who attended our Annual Meeting on Monday, February 19, 2018. This year we tried a shorter format and if you attended the meeting and have feedback, contact any board member and let them know your thoughts and suggestions for our next annual meeting. If you were unable to attend, you can find the presentation that was used during the meeting on the Annual Meeting Tab (you must be logged in to see the information on this tab).
At the Annual Meeting you elected Bill Coan, Tom Kelley, and Larry Spencer to 3-year terms on the Board of Directors. You also approved the minutes of the 2017 annual meeting.
We also recognized all of the volunteers at the annual meeting. If you have volunteered for a task THANK YOU! If you are thinking of volunteering, please contact any board member as we are always looking for help. (We are still looking for a volunteer to walk the streets once a year to identify problem sections of sidewalks and we’d love to see virtually anyone who drives by the south pool in late afternoon or evening stop to close the gate). Volunteers make a real difference in our HOA and enable us to continue to be self managed.
Also, please join me in thanking Guy Scharf, Tammy Eversole, Joe Steiner, and Kip Longan who all served for all or part of the year on the board and who are now officially retired from the board. Each board member has an area of responsibility which takes time and effort to manage. Thanks are due to these folks who willingly contributed in a special way to our community. A special callout is due to Guy who has been instrumental in moving the community forward with the website, the database, and our internal file system, dropbox. These have allowed us to significantly improve our organizational memory and make it easier to communicate with the community and onboard new board members. Also a special call out is due to Tammy Eversole who acted as our treasurer last year. She also helped us continue to improve our financial transparency and controls and made numerous improvements to our financial reporting. We’re always on the lookout for others who would be willing to join the board so if you have interest, let us know.
On the following Wednesday at the Organizational Board Meeting, the Board appointed Kathy Mitton as President, Steve Struck as Vice President, Larry Spencer as Secretary, and Tom Kelley as Treasurer. Please join me in welcoming the new officers:
Finally the board always appreciates hearing comments and questions and I wanted to remind everyone that you don’t have to wait for the annual meeting to ask questions or discuss an issue. The monthly board meetings are open to all homeowners and are held the third Monday of the month at 3:30 September through May. You might be happy to know that we cover homeowner issues towards the front of the meeting so you don’t have to sit through the entire meeting before having a chance to air your concern.
I look forward to seeing you all around the neighborhood!
In 2015, the Board committed to a professionally prepared reserve fund analysis to guide us on our upcoming major road maintenance and replacement expenses. The Board increased homeowner dues to fund these and other major expenses that we anticipated. In 2017, the Board updated the reserve fund analysis to reflect improved estimates of when work would need to be done and changing costs.
How well have we managed our reserve fund and expenses?
We began 2016 with $213,979 in our reserve fund. In 2016 and 2017 we spent $280,000 on roads, yet have been able to begin 2018 with $424,000 in our reserve fund. We expect continued large expenses over the next several years and that the reserve fund will grow only slowly.
Reserve fund standards use a figure called the Fully Funded Balance to evaluate how well funded an association’s reserve fund is. At the beginning of 2016, our reserves were funded at only 24%–considered as a weak funding level. Now in 2018 we are 42% funded—a fair funding level. Our goal is to have a strong reserve fund with 70% to 100% funded. It will take us ten years to reach that goal.
Our reserve plan acknowledges that prices increase over time. National forecasts are that cost of living will increase between 2% and 3% annually for the next decade or so. We assume 3% for planning purposes.
For all of the details on the reserve fund and our funding plan, please see the articles on the smve.org website.
As inflation increases our reserve and operating expenses, dues will need to keep pace. Rather than waiting until an increase is desperately needed and then imposing a large increase in dues, the Board thinks that small annual increases are preferable. We expect to begin those increases in 2020. If our estimates for inflationary growth in expenses are correct, we would expect an increase between 2% and 3%. Any increase for 2020 will be announced at the 2019 annual meeting.
Year-End 2017 Treasurer’s Report, By Tammy Eversole
(Images included in this article are visible by clicking on the link and reading the article in the browser.)
Operating expenses for 2017 were $256,561.00, $18,839.00 or 6.84% under the 2017 budgeted amount of $275,400.00. With the slight uptick in interest rates and an increase in other income, revenues for 2017 came in over budget with a resulting operating net income of $187,118.00, $20,668.00 or 12.62% over the 2017 budgeted amount of $166,150.00. Operating expenses came in under budget largely due to less than expected utility costs for operating the pools, a reduction in security expenses and less than expected total administrative costs. In addition, north pool furniture repair was well under budget, as the re-strapping of the furniture was considered a reserve expense as it added considerable life to the furniture.
Some major nonrecurring operating expenses that took place in 2017 included cleaning and sealing of the north pool tile, replacing the north pool water heater, repainting the south pool fencing, and replacement of 16 sidewalk sections.
The year-end balances in our operating bank accounts total $194,605.00.
Reserve expenditures for 2017 were $244,250.00. This was well over budget due to the acceleration of paving on Via Sempreverde. The roads committee and board felt it was more cost effective and less disruptive to accelerate the additional paving of Via Sempreverde. Reserve expenses for the year included the paving of Paseo Otono, and approximately 33% of Via Sempreverde. Seal coating was done to all the roads that were not repaved. In addition the north tennis court was resurfaced, the north pool heater was replaced and the north pool patio chars were re-strapped.
Reserve contributions from operating funds for 2017 were $214,000. This exceeded budget by $43,000. Interest earnings of $4919 on reserve fund bank balances provided additional funds.
The reserve study was updated in 2017 to better reflect the actual timing of the repaving of the remaining roads and to adjust the cost estimates to better reflect our cost experience and industry trends. The updated reserve study is available for viewing on the SMVE website under the Finance tab.
The year-end balances in our reserve fund are $426,327.00. This puts us at 43.4% of our fully funded balance per the revised 2018 reserve study.
The board has approved the operating budget for 2018. Revenues will be up slightly to $443,045.00 to reflect a slight increase in interest income. Operating expenses are budgeted at $274,150.00 resulting in an operating surplus of $168,895.00. Surplus funds are transferred into our reserve fund accounts.
This past year was primarily focused on ongoing maintenance and catching up on tree trimming. We have one of the larger budgets because so much is covered in it (regular maintenance, landscape refreshes, irrigation repairs, packrat suppression, pre-emergent spraying, etc.). Overall we were slightly under budget.
The chart shows how the budget was spent in each category as a percentage of the total budget. Note that the category of landscape extras covers things like new plants to replace those that have died, landscape refreshes where we plant and apply new granite and fix swales, and cactus removal when we need to remove large patches of cactus such as what we did at the Gelsomino entrance.
We have a large number of trees and many of them were in dire need of thinning and cleaning. Without a serious haircut many of these trees were close to succumbing to death by mistletoe. You might recall that the article from last year which shared that trees are a valuable asset and our trees were assessed at an asset value of several hundred thousand dollars. The 2017 budget allocated more to tree trimming and less to some other areas to allow us to trim more. We used a combination of vendors with varying price points and managed to clean and trim 64 trees. We utilized the higher cost vendors at our key focal points (entrances) but used lower cost vendors at the trees located away from the entrance. While we aren’t done yet, we’ve made a serious dent in the problem.
We also did 2 small refresh projects. The narrow strip across from the north pool was replanted and new granite was applied. We relocated a young 4′ saguaro which had been growing next to a column and under the edge of the ramada at the north pool and moved this to our refreshed area. Had the saguaro gotten much bigger it would have been difficult to move and its location guaranteed problems in the future so this was a win-win move. We also did a granite refresh at the center Via Sempreverde parking area and repaired the swales which were causing drainage problems in that area.
Packrat suppression continued in 2017. We had decreased our budget for packrat suppression and unfortunately we exceeded our budget. However knowing we were not on track to hit our budget target, we under spent in the landscape refresh area so we still hit our budget across all areas for the year. While there are opposing views on packrat control, (should we or should we not spend money on it), this year it cost each homeowner 41$ a year for the control or $3.43 a month. We are continuing to look at ways to reduce spending on packrats and for 2018 this will involve removing some cactus in areas that are ongoing problems, especially those that are not healthy, and lifting more cactus so they aren’t as likely to be attractive homes. We will also continue to reduce the areas that we remove packrats from. Packrats do come with the desert and are an important piece of the food chain. We can’t eradicate them but we can continue to make some of our maintained areas less friendly.
We also experimented with plant reuse. We identified a number of plants (euphorbia, lady slippers, aloe, etc) at the north pool and around the HOA that were used to replace dead plants. We also used some to replace problem prickly pear that was removed. While it was an interesting experiment, we probably won’t use this strategy much because it ends up being pretty labor intensive relative to simply buying the small replacement plants at a nursery. However when we stumble across something like the saguaro mentioned above, we will definitely reuse as that was an excellent specimen that would have been costly to purchase and it looks great in its new home.
We notified homeowners twice during 2017 of problems with weedy yards (March and September). All yards eventually became compliant. Please do your part to keep your yard weed free. Typically yards become quite weedy in August due to the summer rains. You should plan to have your yard tended to in August and September to avoid the courtesy notes and formal violation notes. If we have winter rains, the same problem occurs in the February and March time frame. Note that removing weeds isn’t the only requirement. A well maintained yard also has adequate granite covering, and vegetation (including trees) is neat. Dead vegetation should be removed and if things are overgrown consider replanting. These things are all spelled out in our Yard Rules and Regulations. Fines were changed this year for problem yards. It can be up to $250 and/or $10 a day if the problem is not cleaned up in a timely manner.
Finally we have a number of volunteer water watchers who have taken ownership of a particular irrigated area and are watching for problems (leaks or dead plants due to problem with watering). Join me in thanking Lois Coan, Ardith Grady, Cathy Grant, Cynthia Schneider, and Toz Spalding. I appreciate your eagle eyes! In addition to our water watchers many of our other residents have been quick to notice a problem and report it. Please keep up the good work as the faster we address these problems, the less it will impact our water bills. Some of our water watchers are not here in the summer so if you are here year round and can help in the summer, let me know!
One of the best ways to increase property values in a homeowner’s association is to maintain association property and facilities in good condition. The Board has been working hard on taking care of our property. You’ve likely seen reference to the reserve study in the past years and the update that was undertaken in 2017. There is a separate section in this mailing that updates our status. I hope you take the time to read it.
The most apparent maintenance work accomplished in 2017 was the re-construction and paving of North Paseo Otono, the northern end of North Via Sempreverde, E Strada de Acero and the north pool parking area. Along with that the balance of our roads were sealed as we try to extend their useful life. You may have also noticed that several curb sections were replaced at the time of paving. These were primarily areas at corners where they are frequently driven over.
At the pools, the locks were changed so that it is now possible to exit the pool areas without a key. At the same time, grillwork sections were welded in place so that access to the pool cannot be gained by simply reaching around the door to use the new exit latches.
Another major project was the re-surfacing of the north tennis court. Thanks to Lee Radziemski for managing that work!
Other significant items included replacing sidewalk sections that were judged to be tripping hazards, and the iron railings/fences at the south pool were repainted. A damaged concrete catch basin on the north end of Velazquez was also repaired.
As we exit the year, arrangements have been made to re-strap some of the chaise lounges and chairs at the south pool. This will extend their useful life and allow us to postpone their eventual replacement.
The SMVE board has been working actively to have more owner participation in the management of our HOA. To that end, Rick Levy has volunteered to assist with maintenance. His assistance will be especially valuable in the summers when I’m not in Tucson. Thanks Rick! Thanks also to Rick van Hesselt who watches over our lighting systems.
As we move into 2018, we are working on plans for the road sections that are next in line for replacement. We are also considering painting the iron work at the north pool. As usual, please let me know if you see items that need attention. It’s good to have lots of eyes.
I hope all of you are enjoying our repaved and seal coated roads. Thanks to your dues, our roads are in much better condition than they were a year ago!
Several years ago, the Board focused more acutely on road condition and noted that our roads were going to need repaving in the near future. To get an accurate estimate of future costs for all major projects, the Board engaged Association Reserve to prepare a Reserve Study, which was completed in 2015 for the year beginning 2016.
In response to the Reserve Study findings, dues were increased in 2016 so that the HOA would develop sufficient reserve funds to pay for replacing our aging roads. 2017 sees the first major use of those funds for paving.
The 2016 Reserve Study envisioned extensive patching and postponing any major road work for several years. The Board decided in 2016 to hire pavement consulting engineers to evaluate our roads in more detail, and the resulting Roadway Maintenance report revealed that the roads needed attention sooner than the Reserve Study had anticipated. The first step of that “sooner attention” was patching of potholes on Paseo Otoño in January 2017, followed by repaving of Paseo Otoño, Strada de Acero, and the northern portion of Via Sempreverde in late Summer. In addition, failing curb sections were replaced, various sections of asphalt were patched for safety or comfort, and all other roads were seal coated.
The Reserve Study estimate for this work was $208,100; we spent $233,797. We were over budget for several reasons: 1) We used a consultant to help prepare bids; 2) we used consultants to help manage the construction and for quality control; and 3) we repaired many feet of curbs that we had not budgeted for. Without those additional expenses, we would have been comfortably within our budget.
For 2018, we plan to repave Via Velazquez from the intersection with Paseo Otoño to the intersection with Via Gelsomino with a budget of $144,550, which we hope not to exceed. We would like to have the paving work done in May, but cannot be certain until a contractor is selected and contracts are signed.
2017 Paving Photos
We invite you to view the photos of the project, from the beginning with patches to the end with seal coating of the older roads.
The Architecture Committee received 36 architectural requests in 2017. The most common requests received were for changes to exterior lighting, fences, gates, walls, and windows. Most of the requests were approved easily; a few required more extended discussion with the homeowner.
Another frequent request to the Architecture Committee is for a copy of the Approved Paint Colors. You can always find the current list of approved paint colors on our website at http://smve.org/approved-paint-colors. The approved list for 2018 will be included with the the Spring newsletter; if you print it and place it in a handy spot you’ll find it easily when needed.
To guide the Architecture Committee, as well as to help homeowners understand issues about some changes, the Committee published the Architectural Design Notes on our website. This document describes considerations that apply to specific issues such as adding a room, raising a wall, changing exterior lights, etc. We recommend that anyone considering a change read the part of this document that applies to their proposed change.
We also strongly recommend that anyone considering architectural changes first read Planning for Architectural Changes. Please remember that any external change to your house, walls, gates, lighting, paint, etc. requires Architectural Committee approval. The most difficult problems the committee deals with are changes that have been made without permission and which do not comply with standards. These problems could have been solved early and easily if the homeowner had contacted us when first considering a change. We’re always happy to work with you to find a solution you like that is compatible with our standards.
Whether raising a wall, changing a gate or front door, replacing a window, changing a post lamp or any external light fixture, adding an extension, building a BBQ in your back yard, etc. contact the ✉ Architecture Committee to gain approval for your project before starting work. (The Architecture Chair’s email is visible if you click the link at the top of this page and read the article in your browser.)
As more homes in SMVE are sold and new owners move in, there is an increase in interior remodeling. Most new homeowners have been very cooperative and requested the “Rules for Contractors,” which the contractors read and sign, stating that they are aware of our rules and agree to follow them. This results in many fewer complaints about roads and driveways being blocked, it avoids visible portable toilets, dumpsters, etc. Neighbors are much more amenable to improvements when they are less disruptive to the neighborhood.
We have streamlined the permission process so much of it can be accomplished by email. We do require contractors to sign a form that contains the HOA’s rules and expectations concerning parking, building materials, debris removal, etc. Talk to us first about your proposed changes and we’ll tell you what information we need.
A Landscape Committee member will work with you to have a representative from Cherry Landscape or another HOA approved tree trimmer – along with a representative from the Committee – to review the scope of work and quote a price to do the work. If you agree to the quote, they will set up a date (convenient to you) to have the work done. Remember that there are limitations as to how far into the common area we can trim trees as that is protected land.
We are grateful to Kip Longan for his many years of service on the Board. This past fall, Kip stepped down as Recreation Director and I was appointed to replace him for the remainder of his term. All of the following accomplishments in Recreation were completed during Kip’s service.
Things were fairly quiet at the south pool and tennis court in 2017. At the north pool the tile was cleaned and the heater replaced. The north jacuzzi was drained and acid-washed to smooth the surface. The north tennis court was completely resurfaced (and thanks to Lee Radziemski for overseeing that project). Lee has received Board approval to purchase and install a windscreen on the east fence of the north tennis court in order to provide some much needed shade for morning tennis players. That project will be completed in the first few months of 2018.
I appreciate the input I’ve received from pool users regarding lighting needs. Please continue to let me know when you notice anything that needs attention; with your help we can keep our recreation facilities looking beautiful and operating properly.
The Hospitality Committee works as a team; one person takes leadership for an event and other members provide support. Our plan is to try different ideas for events, offer them at a variety of times and days so we can include as many people as possible. We invite you to pop in to say “hi;” come early, come late, or visit for the entire time. If you need a ride to or from an event, we can help! Just contact any one of us —all of us are in the SMVE Homeowner Directory. We welcome comments, ideas, and helpers!
During the Spring of 2017, Teresa Scharf was Chair of the Hospitality Committee. Members organized events every month. They:
held a brunch in January
provided refreshments and volunteers for the HOA annual meeting in February
sponsored a speaker about the SNAP Program in March
held a BYOB and appetizer event in April
Details of these events were published in the April 2017 HOA Newsletter. With so many committee members and residents scattered for summer homes and on vacations, no events were planned between May and September. BUT we would be happy to offer an event if there is interest and someone is willing to lead the effort.
In October, Teresa stepped down as Chair and I moved into that role. The continuing Committee members are: Sonja Allen, Pat Larsen, Diane Meuser, Teresa Scharf, Joyce Steiner, Carole Stephan, and Susie Struck. In late fall, we welcomed two new members, Margie McCoy, and Judi Fisher.
October’s event was a “Bring Your Own Beverage (BYOB) and an appetizer to share” format at the clubhouse; the event leader was Carole Stephan. Fall colors and Halloween were the theme for decorations and about 30 residents attended. With the BYOB format there is no fixed seating so attendees have space to socialize inside the clubhouse and outside under the ramada. There is always plenty of food so several people can join together to bring one dish.
November’s event was a true potluck dinner organized by Pat Larson. Close to 40 people RSVP’d for this event! Pat’s lovely table decorations and the wide variety of delicious food made for a festive party.
December’s BYOB and appetizer event was a true winter season celebration. It was led by Sonja Allen with assistance and live music by Carole Stephan. The decorations had a north-woods theme, there was the surprise appearance of a jolly guest in a bright red suit, and gifts for all.
2017 was a very quiet year from a security point of view. While there were a few issues at the South pool early in the year, they were considered more of a nuisance than a security issue. Nothing has been reported since March but please keep your eyes open and call 911 if you see something suspicious.
It is very important to keep the gates to the pool areas locked. Exit mechanisms have been installed so a key is not required to leave the pool areas.
It is also important to make sure your post lights are lit at night. They are the only lighting provided on the HOA streets, and they also help to deter criminal activity.
Some homes have a door in the garage that provides direct access to the house. Those homeowners are encouraged to lock that door as garage doors can sometimes be manipulated and raised. An unlocked door offers the potential for a burglary.
At its September 2017 meeting the Board voted to discontinue using Central Alarm. As noted above, there have been no security issues reported since that decision.
The annual neighborhood watch meeting was held on March 6, 2017. It was attended by 20 homeowners. The 2018 watch meeting is being organized and once the date is finalized notices will be posted by all of the mailboxes. Everyone is encouraged to attend!
Our HOA enjoys a very good relationship with the Sheriff’s Department and the Rural Metro Department. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with either organization if you have questions or concerns.
At the 2017 annual meeting, some owners expressed concern about problems caused by tenants of rental units in the HOA. The Board also received comments after the meeting. Concerns revolved around parking problems (lots of street parking), maintenance issues, and tenants not following HOA rules. Also, concerns were expressed about the density of rentals when many of them exist in a small area.
The concerns expressed above were specific to individual rentals in SMVE but they also suggested the need for a more in depth understanding of HOA rental issues in general. For example, what other issues are common? What percentage of rentals in an HOA becomes problematic in terms of mortgage availability, insurance rates, and home values?
A rental policy committee was appointed (Joe Cybulsky, Kathy Mitton and Steve Struck) that began meeting in April of 2017. Its goals were to:
Understand the current rental restrictions
Determine the current number of rentals
Identify issues associated with rental units
Recommend possible policy changes
Existing Rental Restrictions
Article 8.I.i of the CC & Rs permits rentals of an entire lot/building. The same article specifies that no rentals of less than 30 days are permitted, no single room or any portion of a unit may be rented, and that units may only be rented to families (as defined in the Pima County Zoning Code). No renting for business use is permitted.
Number of Rental Units
As of early 2017, the HOA believes the following are use demographics of SMVE homes:
Primary home of owner
Declared a rental by owner, or advertised as rental
Occupancy by friend, relative or other than above
Issues Relating to Rental Units
The committee assembled the following list of issues often associated with rental units. These issues represent both complaints made about SMVE HOA rental units, and issues that have occurred in HOAs and planned communities in general. It should be notedthat this list does not attempt to judge validity of the issues. Rather, it is a compilation of complaints that are typical for planned communities where rentals are permitted.
Parking violations/excessive number of cars
Substandard landscape maintenance
Substandard building maintenance
Multiple family occupancy/over crowding
Owners of rentals have less of a stake in preserving the sense of community
Higher rental percentages can make obtaining mortgages more difficult (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac won’t underwrite mortgages when rentals exceed 30%)*
Common ownership of multiple units greater than 10% also are ineligible for Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac underwriting
Higher liability and casualty insurance rates
Renters tend to be shorter term residents with limited interest in the welfare of the community
The more renters, the more difficult it is to get volunteers for HOA board and committee positions.
Higher rental percentages make the HOA less attractive and lower prices
Density or saturation (multiple rental units in a small area) impact small areas disproportionately
*This is an example. Policies can change, and individual mortgage sources can have different standards.
Items 1 through 5 are primarily issues relating to enforcement of current HOA rules and regulations.
Issues 6 through 11 are cited in many articles on rentals in planned communities. There is little disagreement in the literature that these are valid concerns.
Item 12 regarding the impact of rentals on property value is more problematic. One argument is that a high percentage of rental units leads to lower prices due to the issues cited above. The flip side of that view is that higher levels of maintenance, an improved sense of community and wider participation in HOA management raises prices. Others would argue that rental restrictions may reduce the number of potential buyers, thus lowering prices. This issue is a complex one.
Current Status and Conclusions
The SMVE Board is sympathetic to the concerns raised by some residents. The research done by the committee validates many of the concerns. After consultation with legal counsel, the Board chose to first address those concerns that may be handled by improved enforcement of existing policies (items 1 through 5 on the list of concerns). To that end, the Board revised enforcement procedures and clarified potential fines that can result from violations of existing rules such as parking, noise, and maintenance of yards. A lot of progress was made in the area of landscaping maintenance this year.
The next step could be to modify the HOA’s current rental regulations. However, making any change to the CC & Rs requires a 51% approval of all owners (not just owners who attend an HOA meeting). Acquiring the necessary 51% approval would not be a casual effort; it would require a lot of time and effort to solicit input from owners and then to publicize the proposed changes, as well as to get buy-in before a vote.
The Board decided not to pursue this course of action at this time. The directors would like to see if improved enforcement policies can address at least some of the issues. The Board will monitor this situation and consider further action as results merit them.
The Board was recently informed that an unlocked vehicle was rifled through while parked in the driveway. Nothing was taken and no damage was done to the vehicle. But the incident is an important reminder to lock your cars, not to keep any valuables in them, and whenever possible, park in your garage.
SMVE attempted a rather novel experiment spearheaded by one of our newest board members, Bill Coan. Many garage doors in the community were looking stained or faded and Bill co-ordinated a deal for homeowners with Vann and Son Painting which enabled 50 garage doors to be painted the approved color. The completed project made an immediate difference in the neighborhood with much improved overall curb appeal. This ended up being a huge effort so lets all please thank Bill for thinking of this idea and then putting in the hours necessary to drive it to completion!
We still have a number of garage doors in the neighborhood which need attention, though happily the number is much smaller. If you have not painted your garage door in the last five years, please take a hard look at it. Is it oil stained? Is it faded? Is it the wrong color? If so, please get the door painted. (Dunn and Edwards Cliff Brown is SMVE’s standard color for garage doors). Our CC&Rs and Rules and Regs require that we keep our property looking tidy and maintained. Painting a problem garage door can make a significant difference to the overall look of your property and our community.
We had an informative annual neighborhood watch meeting with speakers from the sheriff’s office and Rural Metro. We also had yummy homemade cookies, donuts and coffee thanks to the hospitality committee! Some highlights from the meeting:
In general we’re a fairly low crime area.
Between December 1, 2017 and March this year there were 22 incidents called in for our area (which is bordered by Craycoft and Kolb on the east and west and Sunrise and River on the north and south).
The largest category of problems called in was theft from vehicles. Protect yourself by parking in your garage whenever possible and if you are parked outside, always lock your vehicle. Do not leave items visible on the seats. The majority of the thefts were to unlocked cars but there were also reports of actual break-ins when items were visible on the seats.
If you see a suspicious vehicle patrolling the streets or a suspicious person, don’t hesitate to call 911.
Most break-ins occur in neighborhoods during the day (not at night) whereas most businesses have break-ins at night and not during the day.
If you are away and want volunteers from the sheriff’s department to cruise by your home, you can still request this service: call Sargeant Gibson at 351-3119 to arrange for it.
Phil Mowbray reminded us to lock doors to our homes which are accessible from garages. This is an often overlooked easy point of entry.
Some insurance companies are raising rates 40-60% for lack of proof of fire coverage. If you are a Rural Metro subscriber and this happens to you, call Tim Torres at 520-265-7262 and he will provide proof of coverage.
Besides the typical services like fire, we were reminded of other services such as snake removal or smoke detector testing. Rural Metro will even change the batteries in your smoke detector if you are unable to get on a ladder to do it yourself.
We were also reminded that old smoke detectors should be replaced. Even if they still sound an alarm, newer smoke detectors are much improved. And in some cases, if you are taking advantage of the inspection service, Rural Metro might recommend replacement of the entire detector.
Tim mentioned that Rural Metro would be happy to come do CPR training and Water Safety training if we have enough interested homeowners. If this is something you might be interested in, send Kiki Cheney an ✉ email
Navigating our narrow streets can be a challenge, especially when vehicles are parked on the street. Please remember the rules and be aware that these also apply to your visitors and contractors:
When possible use the garage and the driveway, not the street
No overnight parking
Limit street parking (no more than 8 hours during the day)
Fines of 20$ a day for first occurrence after a warning and 50$ for a second warning in the same year
While the following are not official rules, they help make our roads easier to drive. If a visitor or contractor must park in the street,
Avoid parking directly across from one another as that makes for a very narrow path to drive through and may prevent emergency vehicle access
Avoid parking immediately across the street from a driveway
If you’ve ever had to back out of your driveway when a vehicle is parked immediately across the street you know it takes extra attention and care. If you’ve encountered vehicles on both sides of the road, you know that it makes for a very narrow pathway. Please do your part to minimize these situations and have your visitors park in the driveway or in overflow parking whenever possible. Your neighbors will thank you!
Our streets are so much easier to navigate and the neighborhood looks so much nicer when few vehicles are parked on the street!
We’ve received several reports from people who were walking and almost hit by a vehicle backing out of a garage. One homeowner reported getting bumped by a vehicle! When backing out of a driveway please be on the lookout for walkers – from any direction – and ensure you don’t hit someone by backing out slowly. An accident can happen in an instant and we don’t want one to happen to you.
Also remember the speed limit on our roads is 25 miles per hour. We’ve had an increase in the number of complaints about vehicles speeding through the neighborhood. Please slow down! The seconds you save by speeding will evaporate if you hit a walker or catch a speed bump, get airborne, and damage your vehicle. We’ve had at least two single vehicle accidents in the last 2 years. Don’t be the third!
There are many benefits to owning a dog but there are also some drawbacks. One of them is that owners – or dog walkers – are responsible for picking up their dog’s waste. It’s not the most pleasant task but it’s an extremely important one… for several reasons:
Dog waste can take months or even years to break down; one gram of dog waste contains 23 million fecal bacteria!
Dog waste is not like cow manure. It does not serve as fertilizer.
Dog waste is not broken down when it rains and the dangerous bacteria are not washed away.
The toxins from dog waste can seep into the soil; the EPA warns that dog waste is as harmful to our environment as chemical and oil spills.
If health and environmental reasons aren’t persuasive enough, then how about these reasons:
Dog poop ain’t pretty!
Our neighborhood is beautiful and we want to keep it that way. So please respect the care and attention homeowners have for their yards and pick up Rover’s waste. (And if your dog kicks gravel onto the sidewalk, then please kick the gravel back into the yard.)
Don’t set boobytraps for pedestrians.
No one wants that on their shoes!
Tip: always carry an extra bag to collect your dog’s waste. Not all surprises are good ones!
Unfortunately a homeowner reported that a large and valuable cactus (endangered hedgehog cactus) was stolen from their front yard. The cactus was planted in the ground but it was dug up and the gravel was raked back in place to **hide** the theft. This has been reported to the Sheriff’s office.
As we recently learned at our Neighborhood Watch meeting, what helps the Sheriff most in crime detection/prevention is identifying patterns of crime activity. You can help in that effort by calling and reporting incidents such as this one to the Sheriff. The phone number to call is 520-351-4900.
It is unusual to have a plant dug out of the ground but clearly it can happen!
SNAP stands for Sunrise Neighborhood Assistance Program. It is a dedicated group of your neighbors who provide FREE support services to disabled or elderly residents in the area bordered by Craycroft, Sunrise, Kolb/Sabino and River roads.
Its mission is to provide an array of “neighbors helping neighbors” volunteer services, educational programs and social events that assist and support residents who choose to age-in-place in their own homes – for as long as possible.
Save the Date: Sunday, March 25th, 2018:
10th annual Home & Garden & Treasures Tour of the Fairfield Community
1 PM – 5 PM
Stay tuned for information about tickets! (Proceeds benefit SNAP volunteer efforts)
There are events planned for each month through the summer of 2018, and we hope you’ll join us! All programs are offered on Mondays from 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM at the Lutheran Church of the Foothills (at the corner of Territory Drive and Craycroft Road).
February 19th: Write your own obituary. Ron Zack, Esq., Hospice Education/Legalline and Ellie Brecher
March 5th: TBD
April 23rd: National Institute of Civil Discourse (U of A College of Social and Behavioral Sciences)
May 28th: The how-to’s of planning a funeral. Margie Rhodes (formerly of Brings Funeral Home) and Pastor John Lillie of Lutheran Church of the Foothills
June 25th: Hoarding. Lisa McNeill, U of A Center on Aging
July 30th: Medications and Drug Interactions. Dr. Jeannie Lee, U of A College of Pharmacy
August 27th: Successful Grieving and Ice Cream Social
Who can use SNAP?
Any resident (55+) within the service area can use SNAP services and participate in SNAP programs and events.
Is SNAP really FREE?
Absolutely!! Thanks to our volunteers, SNAP clients pay nothing for services they receive! However, there are expenses to keep SNAP operating and for these we need your help.
As an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) organization, SNAP relies on tax deductible charitable contributions. EVERY DONATION HELPS.
Please call us at the SNAPLine: (520) 437-9556 or email us at or visit the SNAP website at www.sunrisesnap.org.